I’m welcoming Karin, today’s guest contributor, to our cottage to share about grace and faith and all the beauty discovered when those two gifts collide.
It was one of those utterly crazy day. Laundry everywhere. Crabby kids. Piles of paperwork. No dinner plan. Normally it wouldn’t bother me much. I’d give myself a little pep talk. Get organized and move on. This time that strategy wasn’t working. I was frustrated and exhausted, and couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out why.
After some reflection, I eventually realized my emotions were the result of a very challenging year. Certainly, many have experienced significantly worse, and while hard, this season was also filled with God’s faithfulness. Isn’t that how it works? We see Him more clearly when we are the most overwhelmed, worried, and upset. He is there, in the middle of the storm.
This past year was a storm. My family said goodbye to a precious foster baby we hoped to adopt. I was hospitalized for six days. A volunteer committee faced a demanding season. My mom’s breast cancer diagnosis literally brought me to my knees. After seven foster babies, we let our certification expire. Mix in work and kid-related stress, family dynamics, and a hectic but fun sports schedule, and I was flat out tired! It all swirled together to create the “not so perfect, perfect storm.”
While I thought I handled it pretty well, I also realize I haven’t been myself. I’m worn down. I’m a little irritable. I’ve barely seen my friends. I’m unmotivated. I’ve said and done some dumb things. And, I’m frustrated because I expect more from myself.
I’ve been so busy doing the next thing on my list that I haven’t taken time to reflect. When I finally paused, all sorts of emotions bubbled out. I found myself wanting to make sense of the storm.
Years ago, I discovered we are to obey God with our steps, and trust Him to handle the bigger picture, even when it’s unclear. He is always faithful. I knew that, but what was I to learn from this season?
I realized something significant about grace. In love, God extends His amazing grace to us. He has always been faithful. He provided for us, protected us, and guided us. This past year wasn’t all bad. While painful and scary, it was also filled with love, joy, and laughter and I think that’s why I didn’t realize how much everything impacted me.
I can focus on the storm itself, or I can glimpse His grace in the midst of the storm.
Recognizing His grace in the middle of the chaos is significant, but I also need to have grace with myself. Sure, I haven’t been normal, and that drives me crazy. But, God’s grace means I don’t dwell on it. I can apologize, and hope others will forgive me. I can extend that same gift to those who have been hurtful to me. The truth is, they are probably “in the storm” as well.
Let’s decide to lean into His grace, to be patient with ourselves, to go easy on each other, and rest in Him. Let’s be thankful for God’s grace in our life and let that flow into having grace with ourselves and with those around us. Let’s decide it isn’t about the storm, but about Him. And let’s decide His grace is enough. Because His grace is enough.
Karin Perry’s most favorite job is being a wife to her husband, David for almost 20 years, and mom to her two amazing kids, Caitlin and Daniel. A credentialed Middle School teacher and Graduate School professor, her specialities are working with struggling readers, at risk kids, and advanced/GATE kids. Her passions focus on Differentiated Instruction, mentoring new teachers, and encouraging parents to use family time as a way to increase learning and deepen family connections. After feeling a deep desire to help orphans, she and her family became certified foster parents for LA County, and while that ministry has been amazing, they are currently taking some time off as they seek the next step God has in store for them.