What does a grace-filled moment feel like? For me, it felt like an enormous weight lifted off my shoulders the day I decided to let God’s grace change a difficult situation.
My youngest son turned 18 years old at the beginning of his senior year of high school. Everyone agreed that such a big birthday deserved a big celebration. So the planning and scheduling began.
Over two full days, we treated Taylor to dinner with his friends at his favorite Spanish restaurant, lunch at his favorite taco shop, time spent at the shooting range, and massages to finish things off. These activities were divided up equally between his father and me. As always, we handled the splitting of Taylor’s time amicably as we’ve done with all three of our kids since we divorced eight years ago.
And as always, Taylor expressed his sincere thanks to both of us for the outpouring of love. But when the second day of partying came to an end, I could see the weariness in my boy’s eyes. He didn’t have to say the words for me to hear the sentiment, “Thank you both, but that’s enough.” By turning his birthday celebration into a two part marathon – one with Dad and the other with Mom – we had nearly worn Taylor out. (Who knew too much partying was even possible? But trust me on this. It is!)
That’s when I realized the folly in what we were doing. We believed we were keeping things equal and fair by celebrating family milestones separately. But instead, we were robbing ourselves – and our kids – of the full measure of joy at these significant life events. Even when we tried our hardest to make all the little parts feel special. By dicing them up and serving them in measured portions, no moment was fully celebrated by anyone.
I imagined all the big life moments coming up. More birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Babies.
And when I pictured us dividing up our time to celebrate these events, I saw how our kids – every one of them tenderhearted enough to want us both there – would be kept from experiencing their own joy to the fullest. And that was just not ok.
So I prayed and asked God to give me the grace necessary to make a change. I asked Him to help me put aside my feelings of lingering sadness and uncomfortable awkwardness. To show me if it might be possible to reach across the chasm divorce had caused in my family. And even though I wasn’t sure what to say, I picked up the phone and let God pile on His grace.
We decided that day that we would celebrate the big milestones in our kid’s lives together. One big messy cast of characters at every important gathering. And the parties – including two graduations, an engagement, and a wedding to date – have been incredible. Filled with laughter and love and stories we will all share for years to come.
But more than the parties being off the chart, the load we were all carrying has been lightened. By allowing God’s grace to flow freely among us, a burden lifted from our shoulders. Grace does that.
God lightens our load when we ask Him to pile on His grace.
The world has a lot to say about how to handle broken relationships. “Keep your guard up. Watch out for yourself. Move on.” They would have us believe it’s not possible to celebrate with someone who has hurt us. That even after forgiveness and healing, no one expects us to throw a party together – even if it’s a party for our mutual loved ones. “That’s crazy talk,” says the world.
But grace says something different.
When we ask God to pile on His grace, it changes us. And the way we believe we must handle difficult situations fades away. The burden lifts and a new way emerges.
The way of grace.
Maybe you’re dealing with your own heavy burden. A broken relationship or sadness over a loss. Disappointment or anger at someone once close to you. Or difficulty getting along with someone you must continue to see even after they’ve hurt you. You’re not alone. And while it might feel difficult or even impossible to change the way things are, there is a way.
We can ask God to pile on His grace. And every grace-filled moment He provides will lighten our loads by changing our hearts.
If you’ve seen God change a situation in your life by piling on His grace, please share your story in the comments. And let’s keep growing in grace together!