One day over the summer I was sitting on my friend JoJo’s couch, and she asked me how I was doing. She’s one of those people that I can’t just look at and say “fine” while quickly trying to change the subject. Mainly because I know she really cares and won’t accept a blow-off answer. This year her home has become a place where I can be honest. About myself and about my relationship with Jesus. So I looked at her and said, “I’m just ready for this year to be over. I want to be on the other side looking back and seeing what the heck God was doing in my life.” She told me she understood. And she did. She’s been through her share of not-so-great times. But she also said she didn’t want me to miss what God was doing right now. And I’m so glad she said that! It was a wake up call for me. (But we did agree to party like it’s 1999 on New Years and kiss ‘ole 2013 goodbye!)
Ever since that day I’ve thought a lot more about what God wants me to take away from this year.
A couple weeks ago we made a (very) quick road-trip to South Carolina for my Nanny’s (my Dad’s mom) funeral. I hate road-trips but was so thankful for the time spent with my family and the time to think. When we’re at home I never sit. It’s just hard for me to do nothing. But in the car there aren’t many options! So as we passed cotton fields under a beautiful blue sky, I was able to think and pray. About family. About this year. And about how God never wastes a hurt. I asked God what he wants me to take away from everything we’ve been through this year. I believe he always wants us to grow through trials, but it’s totally our choice. While we were driving home the word grace came to my mind. I wrote it down. I’m not sure why. I just felt like I needed to. He wants me to focus on grace. Amazing grace. His grace for me. The grace that saved a wretch like me. But it goes further than that. He wants me to be more gracious with others. It’s easy (for me) to go through a tough time and come out on the other side thinking I’m more spiritual/more mature/deeper than people around me.
Here’s a perfect example that may or may not have happened: We were sitting in a group at church and the guy across from me asks us to pray for his cancer treatments. Um, yeah. Of course I’ll pray for him! Then the girl next to him asks us to pray for her sick cat, and I seriously wanted to take my high-heel off and throw it at her head. What the heck? Is she serious?! She wants me to waste my time praying for her cat when the other dude is having cancer treatment? Oh, uh uh. Is this really happening?
But God is teaching me that we’re all at different places in our walk with him. I have a long way to go and so much to learn. And I KNOW there are times people have wanted to throw something at my head, but I’m thankful that instead, they’ve shown me grace. It’s so not my job to judge anyone! I’m just supposed to love them and offer grace, because that’s what Jesus did for me.
And maybe say a quick prayer for that dang cat.
A few pics from the road. 🙂