It was November last year, I think Husband was away on a business trip, and it was the dark, cold and rainy end to a Swedish autumn. The clouds sometimes did not lift for days, the black faded around 8am and then 8:30 and then 9 by the time Christmas rolled around. Light disappeared in the afternoon at 4pm then 3:30 then 3. And before you know it, your day is spent in this little sandwich of light. Sometimes there is sunshine, the yellow ball inching its way to the top of trees before dropping back down again, but most days it is a weird grey lightness under a blanket of clouds. Even after one winter, getting out and about in the darkness was still intimidating.
One afternoon I piled my boys into the car and drove to my friends for an afternoon play date and dinner. I don’t remember the details, likely all of us were crying at some point or another, one child requiring a time out, the other a cuddle, Please share admonitions flowing freely, scowls about dinner and anything else you can imagine. But the chaos of a few hours with lots of kids is worth it for the soul-strength of being with a friend. I will probably say this as long as I live, there is nothing more necessary for the years with small kids than a friend who has small kids as well.
When it was time to go home, it was easily after 6pm, in other words the hours marching toward the worst time of the day for a one-and-three-and-a-half-year-olds. It was pitch black outside and raining, Husband was not at home and wouldn’t be there for another few days. I could feel the anxiety starting to clutch at my chest when I thought about getting home.
Getting the kids out of the car, where are my car keys? I can’t see to walk to the door, will the boys get wet and sick? What if I drop the keys between the stairs and can’t get in the house at all, what will I do then? I can’t give them both attention right away when I get home, how will I put them both to bed on my own? I have to drive in the dark and the rain.
A spiral of thoughts leading toward one destination, I cannot do this.
I walked across the large grassy field toward the parking lot to put the boys in the car for the drive home, and I started driving. The last song we listened to started back up again, Grace Abounds from Hillsong’s album, Cornerstone, and these were the words that came blasting through the speakers.
Your grace abounds to me. Your grace abounds to me. Jesus, in you I find all that I need.
I could feel the prick of hot tears in my eyes, as strength started to rise up in my soul, and I find the faith to declare, to believe, that yes, grace abounds to me. I started singing the words as loud as I could, allowing the truth to wash out the self-doubt and the fear.
In this moment when I feel overwhelmed and weak, when I look at the minutes ahead of me and can imagine all the ways in which I cannot do it, God holds out an invitation to me to believe. Grace abounds to you, there is no lack, grace carries you, strengthens you, gives you everything you need, you have everything you need in Jesus.
That was last year. November 2015 in some ways is polar opposite. I’m in the southern hemisphere where the sun shines brightly almost every day, and we run around barefoot outside because it has been so warm. But my life feels even more overwhelming than last year. Our kids are more defiant, we’ve moved country and continent, we are in the process of setting up a life in a place that is mostly unfamiliar. Every day I have reason to be discouraged and overwhelmed, every day we have enough things facing us that make us feel like we cannot do this.
This is the lie of our time, the subtext under every product, self-help book or piece of advertising. Your life lacks something. You are lacking. In every difficult you and I face, these are the words that come back to us, it is the script out of which we live our lives. Lack. Not enough.
I’ve been thinking about that moment in my car last year, and tonight as I type these words out before I turn in for the night, I am offering it to myself. Grace abounds to me, my life has no lack.
I won’t pretend to know what faces you today, but I know life holds its share of pain, difficulty, confusion and discouragement. Can I offer you these simple words?
His grace abounds to you. His grace abounds to you.
In this moment of weakness, he comes with his grace, and his grace is sufficient for you, he will make his power perfect in your weakness. He is everything you need.
I’m linking up with Jennifer and Holley today.
6 thoughts on “grace abounds”
I’m going to keep stalking you, though some of it is unintentional–I just commented on a post from another 31 dayer and the only other person who had commented on it was you!:-) (The series “choose Brave”–one about staying, I think). I also took a look at one of your past 31 series and noticed you wrote about Simplicity Parenting–I LOVE that book! I had thought about writing a review for it as well! I’ll be praying for you and your family during this transition since I feel like God has put you in my path:-) (And thank you for mentioning me in one of your posts!) Blessings on you, new friend.
You are so funny, Leslie!! It has been such a pleasure to get to know you, and I’m thrilled that you will keep reading.. it will be great to keep a dialogue going about these transition + marriage + parenting things. I always feel relieved when I find someone who gets it. And yes Simplicity Parenting is a keeper, my favourite parenting book, I think. Have a great week.
Thanks Devi for your thoughts tonight. this afternoon found me on my floor face down and feeling like I am in waaaaaay over my head. I have a 1 month old, a 2.5 year old, and six year old. And, with our own recent move I feel overwhelmed at the responsibility of parenting and feeling like I can hardly keep my nose above the water of it all. I’ve decided that babies are significantly easier than any other age. ha! That nagging voice telling me I am failing can so easily drown out the voice of Grace if I let it. Thanks for the reminder.
So glad this ministered to you, Liz, and saying a prayer for you right now that you would know the presence of God lifting you up every day as you lift up the little ones in your life.
What a beautiful message and beautiful writing – I’m so glad you’re my neighbor at Holley’s place. Thanks for exposing the lie “of our time, the subtext under every product, self-help book or piece of advertising. Your life lacks something. You are lacking.” I need continue reminders of God’s truth – His grace is enough. Thank you. Be blessed!
Sandra, thank you so much for this lovely, encouraging note. Have a great day!