Never Beyond Grace

That year I taught, my whole body moved clenched and knotted up with fear those first few weeks. I stayed up late and labored over syllabi and lessons, convinced that I would not succeed. Every evening, I ran my hands through hair tensely and tears slid down cheeks like rain drips down window panes. The three days before that first day of school, I lay awake all night with heavy, seeping eyelids and I couldn’t rest unless my husband held me tightly. I was gripped with crippling fear of failure.

That first day of school, I wandered through the motions of day one feeling lost, and I moved rigid through each step, leaning on the words breathed into my ear by a friend. His grace is sufficient for youThat promise flooded my soul with more peace than I’d found in all the desperate prayers and Bible reading of the previous week.

I’d forgotten about His grace.
Have you been there with me, in that place of insecurity about something, feeling lost, alone, empty, and oh, so very little?
His grace is sufficient for you. Don’t forget.
We are never beyond grace.

When you are asked to do that one thing you said you’d never do (for me it was teaching), when you answerless face a haunting question that demands a response, when your life reeks of ordinary and you wrangle with finding a glimmer of purpose, there is grace for you.

Why do we resist? How have we come to think that there must be more than grace? I’ve lived there in that twisted heart-clutch too much of my life, smiling fake, stumbling through, hiding. I’ve been there, that woman saying “no” because I didn’t see it as my talent. Over and over again, I have limited my experience with grace, because I could not look beyond the limitations of my humanity to the all-sufficiency of God.

I have an “I can’t” list. I am thankful God is patient because I do a lot of whining. Some things on my list are always there, and some things come and go with the ebb and flow of life. I wake up each morning and when I talk to God, I go over my list with Him.

I wrestle through the demands of my day or a duty or a role. I have cried out with helpless feelings about exercising, making a pan of granola bars, submitting to my husband, and hosting a group of thirty youth. I have pleaded for relief, for excuse, for a way out. I have struggled and cried over my city girls and their lives and told God “I can’t” be there for them because I don‘t know how.

Is this why we resolve that we are beyond His grace, because if we think otherwise we must reckon with it – His grace, greater?
We are never beyond grace.
His grace is sufficient for you the drunkard, the addict, the homosexual, the liar, the prostitute, the religious one who resists, going never beyond.
Did you know, He’ll never let you go beyond His grace.

When she whispered those words His grace is sufficient for you, it was like a bolt of enabling power struck my heart. I am not alone. I am not incapable. I can do what I must do right now.
Because His grace is sufficient for me.
The promise aches with terrific adventure and we choose to be paralyzed with fear or supernaturally empowered.

Grace never negates obedience. Grace always initiates obedience. – Ann Voskamp