Monday, May 23, 2011

"Bittersweet" Grace

At my youngest sister's recommendation, I recently finished reading Shauna Niequist's memoir, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way. Her writing was funny and heartbreaking by turns and brutally honest throughout.  This book afforded a glimpse into a very different temperament and lifestyle and insights into shared struggles.

One passage I highlighted spoke directly to my orientation toward performance-based acceptance and the resulting insecurity that has intensified in this chronic illness flare with my increased limitations and dependence on others:
I don't like the idea that someone can judge me and that I have to depend on their grace.  I want to take that power out of their hands.  I hate to think about the fact that the people who love me show me grace for all my faults.  I prefer to believe instead that the math works:  that there are good things about me and hard things about me, but that they've checked the math and because I'm funny enough, they can let go of how terrible I look most days, or that if I'm interesting enough, the fact that my house is dirty isn't such a big deal.  But that kind of math is specifically anti-grace.  Grace isn't about netting out on the right side of things.
If arithmetic is numbers, and if algebra is numbers and letters, then grace is numbers, letters, sounds, and tears, feelings and dreams.  Grace is smashing the calculator, and using all the broken buttons and pieces to make a mosaic.
Grace isn't about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty.  It's when you finally realize that the other shoe isn't going to drop, ever.  It's the moment you feel as precious and handmade as every star, when you feel, finally, at home for the very first time.
Grace is when you finally stop keeping score and when you realize that God never was, that his game is a different one entirely (83, Kindle edition).
Looking back over the week, I'm remembering and thanking God for
325. God's grace, bigger than my understanding or even my need, and unchanging security in Him
326. Sharing book talk and reading memories with friends and family
327. Wearing my Tuesday Night Tangent Society tee and realizing it is actually Tuesday
328. Good memories of our 3 1/2 years with the TNTS Bible study youth and host parents
329. Joy watching God's unique plan for each of them unfold
330. Big Al responding quickly to medicine for what ailed him this week
331. Lots of rest and quiet reading time on his unexpected sick day
332. A week where nothing went as planned or expected, reminding me once again how not in control I am
333. God's control is better than mine
334. Helping lost dogs get home again
335. Talking to my grandmother on the phone... a happy place for me
336. Young nephew "Buzz" all right after a bad fall
337. Whataburger twice in one week (decadent, I know)

338. Cousin bringing her firstborn for lunch and a visit
339. Special Agent Hoover's delight in chasing Dr. Miao out of the yard not once, but twice
Finally caught on camera! Cocky or careless? Stay tuned...
340. Tea poured from my favorite pot, from the Lenox Butterfly Meadow set

341. Roses following A. home from work

342. Neighbors working together on a project
343. Sonic Happy Hour limeade date on a muggy Saturday afternoon
344. Some answered prayer for loved ones
345. 0.7" needed rain

Praising God with the community at Holy Experience...


  1. White roses--beautiful! As is the teapot and thoughts from the book about grace. Love the variety of your week. Whataburger--we don't have those here. We got hooked on In N Out in CA, but now you're having me want to try your burger place:)

  2. @Brandee Shafer It was a good, quick, summer-feeling read. The full activity level of her life astounds me; it's so different from my current experience. My sister's local library carried it, so you might check there first if you decide to pick it up.

  3. @Amy It was a varied week, more than usual by far.

    Whataburger is a Texas native, I think. Their breakfast tacos and pancakes are at least as good as their burgers, maybe better. Good road trip food if you ever come this far south. :)

  4. Precious insight into Grace to go along with your precious list of gratitude. :)

  5. I'm going to have to check that book out. What a great reminder! Hope you have a blessed week!

  6. @Kelly Let me know what you think. Tricia really liked it. God bless your week with your littles, too.

  7. yes- grace. so grateful. and a Sonic date sounds lovely! Can't wait for our first date in our new country- Uganda!

  8. Ok. That decides it. I am going to get that book from the library asap. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us!

  9. An awesome excerpt (now I'll have to get that book!), Whataburger, and a Sonic limeade! My goodness, what's not to love? : )

  10. @withgraceandgratitude Guilty pleasure week here, it seems. Although the limeade was diet. :)

  11. I love this beautiful mosaic of grace. He uses it all...

  12. @Laura Me, too! You are welcome here any time, Laura.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.