“Mama, I got somethin’ to tell ya…” said four-year-old Maggie as she knocked on my door during naptime.
“What is it hon?” I casually replied as I closed my notebook.
“Mama, I cut off all my hair!”
And she had. Her shoulder-length bob had been turned punk-like with several bangs only 1/8 inch long.
For once in my life, I was speechless. But I distinctly heard a voice in my head, “Be careful, Cindy, she will always remember how you handle this one!”
After studying GRACE for so long, I was now faced with the Lab Exam.
As I held Maggie close, her words tumbled out,
- “Mama, can you make my hair long again?
- Mama, am I still pretty?
- Mama, do you still love me?”
My actions-have-consequences sermon could wait. What she needed now was an assurance of love, an offering of grace.
Do you ever feel like you’re running out of love? You’ve simply used up your allotment for the day, the week, the whole month.
If so, isn’t it great to be reminded “If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4.12) When the Lord dwells in our heart, it’s “His love” that fills and releases through us.
Because love was “brought to full expression” in me that snowy day as I was writing a presentation on grace.
On my own, I would have FLIPPED OUT – horrified that she had found and used scissors. Chagrined that the next day was Picture Day at Preschool and I had, of course, pre-ordered a gazillion photos (see Exhibit A – attached photo). But with God’s love inside me, I was able to wash her hair, trim it and tell her no matter what she did or looked like, I would always love her.
For Maggie, at that time, it was enough.
Who hasn’t stumbled into the heavenly Father’s presence with a similar confession – “Lord, I have somethin’ to tell ya’. I blew it again. Do you still love me?”
How grateful I am that He, too, gathers me in His arms of love and grace.
Because God’s very nature is love, He cannot be other than what He is.
We can refuse the love of God. In fact, most of us have at one point in our lives found a reason to do just that. But we can never stop God loving us. We can reject His love which may prevent its flow into us, but we can do nothing to stop its outflow from Him. Grace is God’s unconditional love freely given to the sinful, the imperfect and the totally undeserving.
Are you having a hard time loving someone today? Would it help to remember how very much you have been loved, even at your lowest point of failure?
“Christianity is not primarily a moral code, but a grace-laden mystery; it is not essentially a philosophy of love, but a love affair; it is not keeping rules with clenched fists, but receiving a gift with open hands.” (Brennan Manning)
Open the GIFT of Grace. Put away the scissors. And take the LOVE deep into your heart.
under the mercy, Cindy
©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell – adapted from Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press)