Grace Abundant

A few months ago, as Price and I sat in our little living room surrounded by sweet memories and the vague threat of complacency, we made a bold prayer. We asked the Lord to make His will "abundantly clear" for us in this next stage of life.

And so now we are signing leases, as tenants and as landlords. We are beginning the short, sad road of winding down - spending as much time as physically possible with this large and blessed community.

Together, and yet so very much alone, we are beginning an eager journey toward winding up ... up to something new and oh-so-exciting that we - just the two of us and our little cat - will get to do together.

It's a bittersweet, anxious, exciting time as we step out in faith that the Lord's less-than-gentle-nudges will continue to guide us.

But there's a difference between "winding down" and "shutting down" and I'm not sure my tired, achy heart can handle the difference between the two. I'm fighting to stay present, in my own life and in everyone else's. My natural, introverted self wants to lock the door and not have to deal with the knocking reality of the end of something so sweet.

And this odd little mix of grief and guilt burns in my eyes and the back of my throat, the way spring's flowers do when that sunny season first peeks out from under the clouds.

Each beat of my wayward, mixed-up, anxious little heart stretches me in new, ugly, beautiful ways. I'm fighting battles in every breath.

How do you separate leaving from breaking?

And how does my fragile identity - of a mere twentysomething years, all tied up and tangled in these roads and these restaurants and these moments - survive the breaking?

The Lord is wielding his steady sword of sanctification in my heart. Like a worker in the fields, slaying sugar cane in the hot sun, He is fighting and forcing His way into deeper parts of my soul.

It's funny to me, those preachers on tv who promise that abundant blessings will come when you give your life to the Lord. They speak the truth, of course, but not in the way their fragile audience might expect. Sanctification is a never-ending, never-ceasing battering away of my pride, full of snotty ugly cries and willful anger and every wretched thing. I feel as though every day I am on the front lines of it, and yet I can never expect anything less as long as I walk in this body.

But it is in these trying days of new - new places and faces and feelings - that I am grateful for grace undeserved. Grace that is never-ending, never-ceasing. Grace that is battering away at my pride, one beat and breath at a time.