If you have been following my blog for a while, then you might know that I like to choose an anchor word at the beginning of each year. The idea is to focus on this word throughout the year, keep it in mind each day, and hopefully it will help bring growth in the months ahead. In 2020 I chose the word “grace.” As the year is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on where this word led me this year.
Initially, I felt like I did not give grace the attention it deserved. But as I thought about it more and more, I realized that God still brought grace into my life in a variety of ways. I will start by explaining the ways that I tried to learn about grace this year. And then I will talk about God’s amazing work to teach me about grace.
In the beginning of the year, I read a book called Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado. I have never read a Max Lucado book that I didn’t enjoy. His writing style is easy to digest and entertaining as well. This book was no exception. Grace was insightful, yet also humorous. Lucado has a way of keeping one’s attention with fascinating stories that bring the point home. Therefore, reading this book was an excellent way to learn about and focus on the grace of God.
Another thing that I did to help keep my mind in the right direction was to write the word “grace” at the top of every journal page, each day throughout the year. I also put sticky notes in a variety of places with the word “grace” written on them. These two things helped keep the word in the forefront of my mind.
Also, in the beginning of the year, I tried to make note of “Grace Moments” in my journal. These were moments in my day when I saw grace extended. These were moments when life slowed down a bit and love took precedence. Unfortunately, I neglected to keep this up though, as the year moved on.
The items above were the extent of my efforts. At first glance, I felt that I failed to embrace grace. But as I dug deeper, I realized that I learned more than I thought. Thankfully, God showed up, and helped fill in the large gaps that I left empty. Ironically, I needed God’s grace to teach me about grace.
It is no secret that 2020 has been a year of upheaval. I don’t have to go into all the chaos we saw, because you saw it yourself. But through it all, God’s grace was with me and my family. I was fortunate to work remotely for three months when the pandemic hit. I was fortunate to keep my steady job, when many others did not. I was fortunate that God provided for us and protected us through so much chaos. All by the grace of God.
There was something that I thought might come to pass this year, but it did not. It was disappointing, but I held onto the the words of Romans 8:28. The Passion Translation puts it this way: “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” All by the grace of God.
This year actually turned out to be a very rich one in my spiritual walk. I have a newfound love of the Psalms. I learned the importance and the joy of Praise. I developed a stronger Faith and Trust in the Lord. I also sought a more intentional life and a more confident life. And I must say that I truly have had more peace and contentment on the inside. All by the grace of God.
I have also learned to extend grace to myself. I am learning the art of balance. I am learning to let things go. And I am learning it is okay to be me, even if the world wants me to be someone else. All by the grace of God.
To be honest, I did not want “Grace” to be my word for the year. I really wanted the word “Joy” instead. But I felt God nudging me to choose the word “Grace.” But the funny thing is that Grace has brought me Joy. God always works things out in a divine way.
I have much to be thankful for in 2020, thanks be to God. Looking back, I am amazed at all the ways He has been by my side and forever extending grace. Only God can work in such miraculous ways.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas