Monday, April 16, 2012

I Used to Think Grace Was a Woman

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We sang Amazing Grace at church on Sunday. 
I sat there secretly giggling inside my head because I realized a year or so ago that growing up I always thought grace was really Grace. Meaning, I always thought this beautiful old hymn was about a woman named Grace.
 I even pictured her. 
She was an old southern black woman, heavy set and motherly, welcoming, kind. The type of woman that always had a baby strapped to her and really knew how to use a cast iron skillet. The type of woman that had wisdom in her eyes and calluses on her hands. The type of woman who cared little for herself but would bend over backwards for the needs of her family. The type of woman that just embodied the epitome of what I envisioned a "mother" to be.

I laugh at this now, because although it was a beautiful thought for a child to have, I realize now that I never knew what grace was. 
I didn't understand the concept of grace, it was too abstract. So instead of attempting to wrap my young mind around it, I transposed it onto something tangible and real -- I personified it. 

In reality, the word grace can probably be understood as God's undeserved favor. Or at least, that is how I've come to understand it. It pretty much means that I am an imperfect human being, I screw up all the time (despite the fact that I try really hard not to) and I have made plenty of decisions that Jesus would definitely not have made. However, for some reason that I can't pretend to have the ability to understand, God still loves me, has never turned His back on me and is active in my life every second of my life.

I think this concept seems so abstract to the human mind because it is outside the realm of human understanding. Realistically, we are egotistical creatures. If someone where to treat us the way we often times treat the Lord, our gut reaction would not be to love and care for that person, but instead to push them out of our lives, turn our back on them or seek revenge against them. The idea that we can screw up that bad and still be loved is often times hard to comprehend. 

But that is why He is so beyond belief amazing. 
He loves us.
He will always love us and He will always be right there waiting for us to return, tail between our legs and all. 
He loves us dirty and disgusting and wretched.  
He loves us when we are at our lowest low.
He loves us, period. 
No conditions. 

Pretty amazing huh? 
Well, I have to admit, I will probably always picture my dear sweet momma Grace whenever I sing Amazing Grace, but now I know that beautiful hymn is much more full of meaning that I ever thought. Grace wasn't so bad, but grace is so much better.

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