There is a new song, or at least new to me, by Matthew West call “Grace Wins” and the lyrics have been playing over and over again in my mind like a record stuck in the same position. The only reason something like that happens to me is if the Lord is trying to impress a certain concept on me that I really need to learn.
“There’s a war between guilt and grace, and they’re fighting for a sacred place, but I’m living proof that grace wins every time.”
This is the concept I want to discuss today. I have been taught for years that guilt is something the enemy uses to get us to stop looking at the Lord and keep looking at our faults. Analytically, I know that’s correct, but the day-to-day enacting of that concept is a little more elusive. Lately I am having many times where I look backward in my past, my “baggage,” and I have a tendency to get stranded in a place where I hear the voice of guilt and condemnation only.
So what I am thinking is this. I need to start looking at each instance where my mind travels back to my bad stuff and put a name of grace on it, fully understanding what the Lord is telling me about it. Because I have to put labels on everything (it’s a sickness, I think), I need to label those acts of grace.
I had a marriage of twenty-three years end when my family, guided my my husband, told me that I needed to change ‘or else.’ There was no possible way for me to meet their demands, without becoming another person, that is, so they collectively divorced me. (That is a terrible thing in and of itself.) The worst part is, that it wasn’t until a few years after the divorce I came to see that my ex-husband was and is a narcissist. And just by virtue of that fact, he trained our son to be the same way. So I have a total of about twenty-nine years of falsehood that I am still trying to wrap my head around.
Lately, things pop up that are part of that very painful past and I hear voices that keep telling me that I was to blame. I hear the words “if only” way too many times in the course of a week. But I need to stop listening the voice of the enemy. I need to concentrate of the voice of the Lord Who has covered, and continues to cover, me with GRACE that is immeasurable.
The Lord has brought people in my life to extend a hand, a voice, a gesture of grace so many times that I cannot count them. When I was going through a tough period, He sent my parents. They helped me get back on my feet and helped me focus on my future. He sent me a job working with senior citizens. They touched me and let me vent any time I needed to cry. Grace came in the form of a new home, close to my parents where I could help take care of them. Grace reached out to me in the form of a friendship with someone who had also been abused by my ex-husband. The Lord extended grace to me in my new husband, whose quiet demeanor and perseverance allowed me to grow in the midst of my pain.
The sound of rain on my tin roof. The smile from a stranger. The compliments of a friend. New friends who offer encouragement and hope. Old friends recalling the precious times. Parents with grounding advice. All are the gifts of grace that are in my life. Now all I must do is allow grace to win the battle for that sacred place in my soul.