Monday, April 28, 2008

Precious Grace

Today I had to grovel. Is that how you spell it? I'm not sure, but I did it. I figuratively got down on my hands and knees and begged for a huge favor. And trust me, only a desperate and extremely loving mom would do such a thing when her son is the one who should have been groveling.

Daniel missed the deadline for registering for his all important AP Music Theory test. I was livid. He certainly had plenty of notice, according to the counselor who was the object of my groveling. I do not in any way hold this woman responsible for Daniel's irresponsible behavior (and I told her so at least a dozen times!). But I'm a mom who wants good for her son and so I begged for her to show a little grace. After two phone calls, getting choked up several times, and finally expressing that "my son is very bright, at the top of his Music Theory class, and he is not only trying to get in to college; he is trying to get scholarships...because I can't afford to pay for it myself..." the wonderful woman on the other end of the line showed a little mercy.

She took my number and promised to call me back within 30 minutes. I have no idea what she did during those 30 minutes, but I attribute that precious time to her putting a little grace on the table. She owed us nothing, but she got off the phone and went to bat for me and my son. She called me back in less than the 30 minutes and offered to let Daniel sign up for the test if he got his money in first thing in the morning. I thanked and praised and adored her over and over. She gave me a lecture about how parents have to let their children go and no one is going to extend deadlines for him in the real world... and I just listened with humility. That's hard for me, but that's how grace is accepted - humbly.

This all serves as a huge reminder to me of the grace we are shown over and over by our precious Savior. We don't even have to gravel; we just have to come to Him with a recognition of our need for a little grace and accept it humbly. Amazing. In fact, just recently I made the off the cuff remark that certain Christian songs like Amazing Grace are over done. In fact, if you'll notice, it's true that most TV shows portray churches and Christian groups singing Amazing Grace because I suppose it's the only hymn the producers know. That still irks me a little, but I take back what I said. You can never "over do" Amazing Grace. After all, grace is always amazing - whether it comes from a school counselor showing an irresponsible student a little mercy or whether it shows up in the beautiful words, "You're forgiven." Grace should amaze the recipient every time.

I don't know if Daniel's counselor is a Christian, but somehow God used her to hand me the gift of grace today. Not only that, her gift has inspired me to show a little grace to others as well. After all, we're all quite irresponsible when you get right down to it. And only a little grace can fix some of our irresponsible mistakes. Thank God for grace.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Faking It

Do you ever have to do anything that you feel like you're just "faking your way through?" I spent the better part of my day filling out spreadsheets on Excel for my Women's Ministry budget and calendaring process. Believe me, I had no idea what I was doing! But in the end, I do believe I produced a product that made me look quite proficient at Excel. Of course, those who peruse my forms will never know about all the times I just had to quit the form I was working on, scratch everything I'd done up to that point and start all over again simply because I didn't know how to just back up one step. No, I had to start over! But they'll never know...
Come to think of it, I fake my way through a lot of things in life. Sometimes I still feel like a little girl who's just pretending to be an adult. For instance, I'm not sure I load my dishwasher correctly. Is there a right way to load your dishwasher? If there is I never learned it and I'm just faking my way through the whole dishwasher thing every day. I'm not sure I make the bed the right way, I doubt I bathe my dogs correctly, and I have no idea if I'm using the right cleaners and polishes and soaps on all my furniture, appliances, windows, and fixtures. Worst of all, every time I go to the store to buy simple things like hairspray or shampoo or mascara I have to read all the labels and try to figure out what in the world it is I need from these beauty products. Other women seem to just know these things, but maybe they're just faking it too.
I remember Tom Hanks (or was it Meg Ryan) saying on You've Got Mail that Starbucks simply presents those who can't make a simple decision in any other area with the opportunity to make one very clear and concise decision each morning so that they'll feel like they know what they're doing rest of the day (or something like that). I find that amazingly true. I take great satisfaction in ordering my "grande, decaf, iced, caramel machiatto with fat free milk." But the best part of all is when they call your order back to you after they've finished making it and you walk up to the counter to get it, feeling like everyone around you must be so impressed that you managed to order such a specific beverage! And yet, you know you're just faking it. You only managed to order such a sophisticated drink because it's the same one you always order and if you had to order something else you'd be up a creek!
The good news is, I don't have to fake it with my God. He knows me too well and when I stupidly try to fake it with Him, I can almost see Him shaking His head and chuckling at me. He doesn't condemn me for it, He just gets tickled at my silliness. So I don't try to fake it with Him very much. And what a relief that is. I can sputter and second guess and shrug my shoulders in confusion over and over and He loves me just the same. He knows what He's doing, so I don't have to. But I don't have to fake it either. What a blessing!