Friday, November 6, 2015

Me? Have grace?

It's been over a year since I've posted a blog. I've intentionally stepped back from writing because I wanted to figure out this new life that I stepped into. It's been one of the craziest, most exciting, eventful years for the Kelley family. It's hard to believe that 1st Anniversary of Discover Family Church has come and gone! I have to say it's so fun to look back at the journey so far and see what great things have happened in our lives and in the lives of the people who have become DFC. It makes me so excited for the years to come and so determined to take the HUGE dreams that Johnny and I have and make them happen. I have to admit that in the midst of the excitement and accomplishment of this year I have taken more than a few deep sighs of relief. I walked into this "pastor's wife" role without training or experience or even with half an idea of what to do with myself. I have been far from perfect. I've not even been above average. I've just been myself, and the people of DFC have met me with such grace.

Ah yes, grace. As most of you know I recently fell like an elderly woman, broke my shoulder, and had to have major orthopedic surgery all while 7 1/2 months pregnant. While all of this was going down a friend posted on my Facebook wall how I was handling myself with such grace. Me? Have grace? Ha! If she only knew how very ungraceful I was. After all, I had the most boring reason in the world that I broke my shoulder...uh, yeah I a grace there!  If she only knew how angry I was at myself, actually choosing to put my baby in danger to regain full use of my right arm. And if she only saw me weeping every night in fear before my surgery. And if she only saw me weeping in pain and more fear in my hospital bed all night long after the surgery, wondering how I'd manage a newborn AND a toddler in this kind of pain. She'd change her mind. I have no grace.

What a foolish thing to think! I'd forgotten the gift of grace? While a different meaning than physical or emotional grace, I'd still overlooked the most important thing in my life. God's grace! You know, "Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me"? I may never achieve physical grace. I may always dance like Elaine on Seinfeld. But God's saving grace was given to me the moment I accepted it. And I NEED it every second of every day because I am imperfect. I'm a klutz physically and I'm a klutz spiritually. I'm a weak and imperfect human but I'm supposed to depend on the grace of God. His gift of grace translates to strength for me:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10

It's backwards and illogical from what we would think...boast? Be glad in my weakness? Delight in hardship? For real? Ok, can you imagine this Facebook status?: 
OMG you'll never guess the good news! I fell down and broke the head off of the bone in my right shoulder and now I have to put my unborn baby's life at risk so they can fix it! Yeah, and guess what? It's going to hurt a LOT! I won't be able to dress myself or even brush my own hair for months. It's going to be awesome! And then, just when I'm starting to feel a little better, I'm going to have a C-section and have to care for a newborn baby with one arm. I'm so GLAD this is happening!

I don't think Paul intended for us to literally boast our woes and problems to the world...although some people on social media have clearly interpreted that differently...but we're supposed to be glad in the midst of them. Why? Because grace exists! Because when I am weak he is strong. That's what you boast about. God's power is made perfect...perfect!!! in our weakness. And when you're knocked down, tired, and weak, not only are you being carried by grace, the power of Christ rests upon you. Think about that for a second. You can't get any stronger than that.

When life deals us hardship and pain Jesus wants us to see his grace. And not only to see it, but to rest in it. Be carried by it. When that happens he is glorified. Looking back, I was carried by grace. I was strong because of Christ and Christ alone. The grace my friend saw, it was not mine. Not even a little bit of it. I hope next time a storm comes I remember clearly how grace carried me, and I hope that remembering it makes me glad. I hope that I remember that the power of Christ rests on me and I can be grateful for the storm simply because I have Jesus to guide me through it. It's hard to admit weakness, much less be delighted in it. But next time I'm faced with one of those awful life storms, I want to be delighted. Not about the storm, not about the problem, but about how I know I'm going to make it--by the sweet grace of God.