Kara’s Collection: Seeking Grace in 2014

From an article originally posted January 7, 2014…

The search for grace is not a new one to this site. It is certainly not a new concept. But the utter necessity of it through my illness gave me life when everything reeked of death. I looked for the glimmers of life, the hope in my day, and the places I was met by Jesus.

2014 has found me in the midst of a beautiful exhale from treatment. I’m still in the constant cycle of testing and waiting, but I have met the first moment where breaths don’t feel counted. A longer horizon has presented itself with one MRI coming back with encouraging news. I tell you it feels glorious.

But I do not wish to leave the lessons of 2012 and 2013 behind. I long to live in the intention of noticing my moments. In our crazy, busy, go, go, go society it would be easier to fix my sites on a full calendar and forget the hard we have just come out of through treatment.

Our suffering required a slower pace, a set of boundaries around our time and energy, and a looking at each moment as precious. I remember as a young mama thinking a brief virus would give me a day off. All I really wanted was a day in bed sick, quiet, and resting. Then the day would come, and the entire time I was in bed, I was dreaming about what I could be accomplishing.

That is where I find myself this 2014. I find myself gloriously ABLE. Able to go, able to clean, and cook, and be going. For that I give thanks, but when I look back at the lessons of my treatment and the pace it set in our home, I wonder if all the going is better? I wonder at this strength that has been returned to me, and I long to use it well, spend it well.

Dear reader of this blog with strength—what would happen to your life if it suddenly found you face down in bed for months upon months? Do you believe the goodness of God would meet you there? Do you believe you would see the grace before you? Would you be looking for it? And what if it didn’t need to take a dramatic event, what if you took stock of all your going and truly looked at what enriched your heart, your home, your life. What if in 2014 your high calling is to slow down? What if it meant doing less, committing to less, being less up front and more quietly in your home, your neighborhood, serving quietly where no one would notice? Could you hear the quiet call of that high call in your life?

I love that my strength has returned, LOVE IT! But the gift of cancer is that I realize my significance is not in my ability to go and do. For years, my great ability to do was much of where I put my identity. People were always ready to line up to consume what I had to offer. There was ugly and beauty in that season of my life. My hope for 2014 is that I would be slow enough, quiet enough to hear what my calling is. Being busy often keeps me from hearing.

I love you dearest reader. I pray in this place you are not met with a list of things to do, but the freedom to listen to what the Holy Spirit is asking of you in the coming year. What if in the New Year you freed yourself up from the knots of expectations you place on yourself? What if you were gloriously free to follow the leading of a loving Jesus? Is there space in your day to hear that still small voice? I long for that for you. I never want this to be a place you come and leave with a laundry list of “shoulds.” You should do this and this and this to be okay. BLECK, I do not believe that is why Jesus came.

Dream with me, will you? A 2014 with the freedom to be recklessly loved and pursued by Jesus. Who’s in?

From the overflow of that amazing love—I can meet my day and in my going—love BIGGER than I ever imagined! Not going and hoping to encounter grace and God in the midst of my busy. How will you seek grace today? How will you slow yourself to look? It should not take cancer to see the gifts of grace in our days. Let’s hit a pace that allows us to see, I’m not sure what that is, I’m so given to going. But I’m fighting to see, to slow, and to notice God in my days.

The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven. It serves as an expression of gratitude rather than an effort to earn forgiveness. Thus the sequence of forgiveness and then repentance, rather than repentance and then forgiveness, is crucial for understanding the gospel of grace.
— Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel