Grace and forgiveness. At first sight they look like they could be a happy couple, but with a second glance I can see how one could take complete advantage of the other. This week I found that Grace and Forgiveness surfaced at a time when I need to give and receive it most. This week, of all the weeks in the year, all the possible lessons for learning these two character traits, landed on me. Business Relationships. Early on, I was so excited as we planned our first CP31 retreat. This would be an opportunity for all the ladies who support CP31 behind the scenes to get away for a couple of days, to rest, worship, and reimagine what the future of this ministry will look like. Somehow, our thoughts and plans for this weekend, although set and confirmed, did not flow the way that we intended. In difficult moments it's-so important to be authentic in sharing your truth; whether your truth is good or bad. Therefore leaving space and a need for grace and forgiveness. Not the type of grace and forgiveness that comes over time. The kind of grace and forgiveness that is intentional, direct, and on demand. The truth is that there was too much at risk, to allow the challenge of the moment to spoil the victory of the future. Assessing this early on, allowed us to pivot as a team and calibrate what was necessary to find success for the duration of the weekend. Parental Relationships// This week my immediate family was under lots of stress and pressure, because of the impact of me going away (I’m sure all of you moms know how much planning can go into trying to get away for 2-3 days without the rest of the family). Ideally, I wanted to clean the entire house, prep meals, lay out clothes, reassure my husband that the kids HW assignments were low maintenance. But in actuality, due to work duties and in home construction and furniture rearrangement, the house looked as if a stick of dynamite was tossed in the middle of it. With postmates bags on the counter from the night before, my weekend agenda looming in my head, my sister then calling to say she had arrived at the airport, with staging shopping and groceries still to be purchased. I was beyond triggered. As I walked toward my office, I had to go through my daughter’s room which was covered with a sea of Barbies--- I nicely asked her to pick them up and put them away, and when she didn’t really respond-- I snapped and kicked the Barbie camper clear across the room. Everyone stopped and immediately got the message that I was at my limit, my grace for overlooking the chaos had lifted, and their needed to be a change. I felt so bad afterwards that I needed to give myself some grace and ask for forgiveness from the folks around me. Spousal Relationships// Another family connection, and probably the most authentic of them all. I believe my husband and I are like everyone else, sometimes we argue. The arguments can be short, quiet, fiery, or the length of a small vacation. The problem with these arguments is that they are distractions. They always arrive at a point in time where focus on a bigger spiritual objective is at stake. They are also distractions because it shines a billboard light on issues that we are, sometimes, unable to solve in our own power. They demonstrate the need for a God that can make two individuals become one flesh. If we are not careful we could unintentionally show the world that there is no benefit to being a child of God, if the power that raised Jesus from the dead, is of no use within our marriage. After a day of going back and forth--- not wanting to fight, but feeling a need to be understood, we had entered the silent zone. The place and space of no talking, avoidance, no texting, no laughter, sending the kids to the other parent for answers….you know- that space. I realized that I would have to share. I’ve found that holding it in, makes you practice life with limitations and overtime breeds illness and secrecy where their should be complete transparency.
Friendships// Speaking truth with grace or truth in love is essential to any relationship, but especially friendships. Sometimes withholding the truth from a friend could aid in the stagnation of their personal development. If you really care about the person, it is important to interact with them on the basis of truth. In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul talks about the armor of God and references the belt of truth. It plays a significant role in armor as it is the essential piece that all other pieces lean on. The breastplate and leg coverings, couldn’t sit in place without the belt of truth. Therefore sharing the truth with someone can help to shed light on their intentions and inform them of their impact. These are defining moments that we often shy away from because they can be challenging to navigate. The truth is...stepping up to these challenges can help a person better navigate uncharted waters, while learning about the impacts of their decisions from someone who is personally invested and who cares about their overall success. All the things; the what, the how, the why, and the who...they care about it all--- who better to get the truth from?
Final Thought// Grace and Forgiveness could lead to resolve and personal restoration, but not always reconciliation. Know that in a perfect world you would have all three, but in reality one does not equate the other. Reconciliation requires that the two involved parties come to an agreement in terms of future engagement. Prayerfully over time, this will prove to be the demonstration of God’s power in your life and mine.
Julieian- Alexis is a speaker and writer who is passionate about teaching women how to live life, chosen and set apart. She loves all things modern with user-friendly comforts. You will most likely catch her learning something new on YouTube, cuddled up with her husband, kids, and dog on the couch watching a movie with some popcorn in hand.