Grace can sometimes be hard to understand and even harder to accept, especially in a society that values the individual "earning" or making a way for himself. I often feel like I have to "work" in order to earn people's favor or find a way to "repay" people's kindness. Yet I know this is not the freedom I am called to live in. Although that sometimes might be the way that people relate to each other in our western society, it is not the way that God relates to us or intends for us to relate to each other. God lavishes His grace on us through His Son Jesus Christ. We cannot earn God's favor or our own salvation, yet He chooses to freely give it.
But God, being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loves us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ-- by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus... For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-8
Liz, who has been giving me breast milk to supplement Phoebe's feedings because I could not produce enough on my own, has been a wonderful representation of God's grace to me. After reading one of my first blog posts Liz contacted me and mentioned that she had been pumping extra breast milk and had a bunch stored in her deep freeze. She offered it to me if I wanted to use it to supplement Phoebe instead of formula while I worked to increase my own supply. Yes! So with Liz's help I was able to feed Phoebe breast milk. And then a few weeks later when I had decided to stop trying to nurse Phoebe I still wanted extra breast milk, but I felt bad asking her. I felt like I didn't "deserve" more breast milk because I had "quit" and was no longer working to nurse her. Sub-consciously I had rationalized that she was giving me the milk and that I had "earned" it because I was working so hard to breastfeed. I had to stop and think, no, I never deserved the milk in the first place. That was the beauty of it- she had been showing me love and grace by giving me something that I needed/wanted and wasn't able to produce on my own. In this way she was a sweet picture of God's grace to me.
The Lord has also used my neighbor, Judi, to reveal His grace to me. Judi has given her time, resources, and herself to me. She not only accompanied Phoebe and I to all of our lactation and occupational/speech therapy appointments, but also came over to the house and would spend at least an hour with me to help me nurse Phoebe and manipulate the SNS. Judi brought us over several meals and supplied me with several batches of lactation cookies to help increase my milk supply. She has been a tremendous emotional and spiritual support through her prayers and encouraging words. Judi had a way of coming over to check on us at just the time I would be having an emotional breakdown. Her selfless giving has again been a reminder of God's grace. I certainly did not deserve all her help and support and could not have earned it in any way and could never pay her back. But that's the point- she's not expecting me to pay anything back; her love to me is an extension of God's grace.
I am reminded of the parable of the lost son in Luke 7. The younger son squandered his father's wealth and his inheritance after essentially telling his father he wished he were dead. Yet when the son returns to his father after hitting rock bottom His father, like God, lavished him with grace welcoming Him back into the family and throwing a big party to celebrate his homecoming. Certainly not what he deserved or he had expected. On the other hand, the older son had stayed at home with his father and did everything "right" just as his father had asked. He was working to "earn" his father's favor and blessing. Yet he is not rewarded for his hard work because we cannot work to please God or to earn His favor. He chooses to freely give us what we do not deserve- that's grace.
Thank you Liz and Judi for being a picture of God's grace.
|Phoebe and Judi, aka Gigi, Mama Gigi, or Mama Judi|
As a side note we have been using cloth diapers for almost 2 weeks now and LOVE them! I mean look at how cute these diapers are. Because of the fun colors you don't necessarily need bloomers. And then when I changed her diaper I can just switch out her bow and ta-da easy outfit change :)