This was not the Christmas I had planned. This was not the year I had planned. So much of this year has been hardship and heartbreak. There are certain things about this year I would love to change. I would love to have all of us 100% healthy.
But other things, while hard and unpleasant, I would not change. God used so many things this year to teach me more about grace. I know I have a whole lifetime left of learning about grace, about how to show it, about how to accept it. But this year has shown me so much about how grace isn’t always an immediate response. Circumstances have shown me that sometimes, grace isn’t as hard to show as you might think it is…and sometimes it is much harder.
One thing that I am learning is that it is okay to have to process some before you can extend grace. A few circumstances this year had me having to privately, in my own home with just my husband, go through anger and sadness before I could extend grace to the person or people who needed it. In years past, I would have thought that showing grace meant your first reaction to circumstances would be that grace. I now no longer think that is true. Time to process your emotions is important in some situations. It is perfectly okay to tell someone that you need time before you can react to the news they gave you. It is better to need some time to calm down and extend grace in the end then it is to react immediately and lash out in anger.
I am also learning that sometimes you will extend grace outwardly before you are internally ready to do that. There were times when that completely shocked me. Everything in me was screaming at how upset I was but the words coming out of my mouth were full of grace. There no way that was me. That was God working through me.
I am also surprised at how quickly I am at peace with my decision to extend grace. Grace is not who I am. I want to judge and be angry. That is my natural inclination. Every time this year when I was faced with a decision to hold a grudge or extend grace, I always felt immediate peace when choosing to extend grace.
Overall this year, I’m amazed at how much God taught me about grace. I’m still learning, especially when it comes to extending it to myself…and my husband. (Why is it so much harder to show grace, forgive, etc. yourself and those close to you?) I’m interested to see what God has to teach me next year. I already have an idea of what He is leading me to choose for next year’s word of the year. I truly hope it isn’t as hard as this year was. But I do know that God has a reason for all He does. And I know that it will be for my good. (Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though. 😛 )