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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Now THAT Was Grace

I was out this week enjoying a rare, brief moment of solitude. I wasn't doing anything special or exciting -- just an appointment with my optometrist. But hey, if it means I get to be alone for a few minutes, I'll take it.

I was driving along, basking in the peace and quiet, listening to some praise music. I glanced down, for just a second, to grab something laying on the passenger seat. And then it happened. I rear-ended the car in front of me.

My hands started shaking, my stomach tightened into a knot and a lump formed in my throat. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!! I can't believe I just did that!

The car in front of me was a BMW. A nice one. It looked pretty close to brand new. And I just plowed into the back of it with my big ol' Yukon XL. Perfect.

A nicely dressed man got out of the car and went to examine his rear bumper. I threw the Yukon into park and started digging for my insurance card and registration.

Less than a minute later, the man approached my window. I rolled it down and braced for the worst. I was at fault, I deserved for him to really let me have it. But this man did the strangest thing... he smiled at me. "Hey, don't worry about it" he said. "It doesn't really look like anything major. Just give me your cell number and I'll call you if anything comes up."

"Sir, are you sure?" I asked him. "My neighborhood is right up there. Do you want to pull in and take a closer look?" He smiled again. "It's fine. It's almost dinner time. I'm sure we both need to get home." And with that, he hopped into his BMW and drove away.

Whoa. I sat for a second not really able to comprehend what had just happened. Did that just happen? Did I just do something completely stupid and irresponsible and I got off scot free? As if it never happened?

And then there was nothing left to do but put the car back into "D" and drive it home. It wasn't until that moment that I realized I was so overcome with gratitude and relief that tears were actually running down my cheeks. When I turned into my neighorhood a few moments later, I distinctly heard the Lord whisper to my heart..."and that, my child, was grace."

True grace isn't just NOT getting what you deserve. It's getting way more. Grace is a smile and a kind word when you deserve a serious tongue lashing. Grace is excessive patience in a stressful situation. Grace is gentle humility towards a person who has wronged you.

I've replayed the rear-ending scene in my mind about a million times this week. I've gone outside and examined my bumper, looking for evidence that this thing really did happen. It's caused me to ponder the miracle of grace afresh.

It's prompted me to demonstrate grace, not just mercy, but grace -- when my children really have it coming to them. It's prompted me to humble myself towards others and to smile and offer an encouraging word -- when that's the last thing I feel like doing. Grace is the gospel. And the gospel is grace. It's getting way, way, way more than we ever imagined.

When you've experienced grace firsthand, you can't help but extend it to others. And, if you're a Believer in the Lord Jesus, you have definitely experienced grace. Spread it around.

"Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. And grace is getting what you absolutely don't deserve." --Cathleen Falsani


The Fruitful Family said...

Oh sweet friend. Tears in my eyes. Glad you are okay. Glad God revealed Himself in such a real way today. We don't just accept the Gospel once. We need to accept it over and over and over. Love you

Joy Portis said...

So true! Thanks for the reminder!

Nancy said...

That was so beautiful and I was so moved by that man's picture of grace that I started crying!!

Wild Olive said...

Um...you kinda left that out of our conversation earlier! Oh, man! So glad no one was hurt and so thankful for the gift that Mr. BMW Man gave you. I love "Grace is gentle humility towards a person who has wronged you." Love.

Alison said...

So beautiful! So thankful for grace...especially grace from my heavenly Father!

the_blissful_mommy said...

Wow, Shell. God sent you an angel. *love*

Sophie said...

Wow girl you are lucky, and thankfully no one was hurt.

I must say that reaction is not typical, it's so nice to see someone respond with grace.

Anonymous said...

I have never met you and just found your blog link on FB. But wanted to thank you for sharing your story and important precious reminder it just gave me. The Lord uses us to do his work sometimes and we have to be ready always. Mr. BMW was, thank you again.

Kim said...

beautiful post!!

Chasity said...

I love you. That's all.