When Grace is Discovered Beneath the Debris

by Cathy Baker

trunk of the Chaste tree hugged our white picket fence but its branches
shot out in all directions, covering everything in its path. While
preparing to sell the house last September, Brian cut the tree to ground
level so the yard would appear neater for prospective buyers. 

weekend, while taking a tour of the yard, I spotted a pink patch of
clematis sittin’ pretty as you please alongside the same picket fence. I
planted them years ago but forgot about them. I’d never seen a bloom,
thanks to the gnarly branches of the tree. However, once the debris was
cleared, I could finally see the beauty that awaited. The timing of this
discovery was no “coincidence.” 

see, since childhood, the relationship with my mom has often been
covered in debris, scattered from a decision made long ago that neither
of us initiated. Its roots spread into deep, dark, hidden places
resulting in hurt, bitterness, and simple misunderstandings.

recent years, each of us has grown in our faith, and through this
growth, He has exposed those dark places to the light of His truth,
lovingly reminding me of my own failings as a parent (humble pie is
bittersweet) and how my mom did the best she could do with the
circumstances facing her at the time.

relationship has never been stronger or more vibrant than it is today
for it remains covered—no longer by debris from the past but by grace
and mercy—beauty in its truest form. 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus 
our Lord. 2 Peter 1:2

Trading Bitterness for Blessings

I’d not passed it in months.
Now I pass it every Sunday morning.
“It” is the church we left under difficult circumstances in 2008.
It was a church we loved.

When we drove away that April morning, our Christ-knit “family” wasn’t the only thing left behind. The dust cloud also included my dream job and creative ministries I loved, so to say the departure was difficult would be a vast understatement.

And yet…I’m reminded every time I pass the church that, although we now differ theologically, there’s no doubt that it’s full of people who know, love, and pursue Christ— and for that, I rejoice. 

I believe it was Charles Stanley who said you know you’ve completely forgiven someone when you can pray God’s blessings for them, and I believe this to be true. Don’t believe me? Try it.
Now, when I pass by each Sunday morning, I pray wisdom, discernment, and blessings for their staff and the body. I desire God’s best for them.

Does a twinge of disappointment remain? Absolutely. But I’ll take that twinge over the lasting sting of bitterness any day. 

Am I alone here? Perhaps there’s a family member, friend, co-worker, pastor, or church body that needs you to trade in your bitterness for blessings. You’ll both be blessed and God will be glorified through your obedience. Go for it!

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and
anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind
and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in
Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

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