I handle grace and love like I handle fresh baked goods. I hide them in the freezer so that I’m never without.

When I was a kid I remember watching my mom bake.  She would take out the measuring cup and fill it with flour – even push it against the side of the bag to max out the cup’s capacity – and then she would take the smooth back of a knife and bounce it subtly along the top of the cup and then scrape off the excess.  

As adults, I watched my sister add some extra steps – she actually scoops the flour with a spoon into the cup to make sure there are no mysterious gaps and then she quickly pierces it with a knife to eliminate air pockets.  

All of this is for the same reason as my mom’s technique – to make sure as much flour is in there as possible.  

Yesterday I made a poor decision in regards to gossip and tearing someone down.  I shouldn’t have said what I said, but I said it.  Ted kind of called me out on it in the moment.  It was a completely judgmental statement.  AND, to boot, it was about a topic I was hoping no one would judge ME on! 

I wanted grace and love
but the last thing I wanted to do
was give it to someone else.

This whole covid-19 thing has me a bit of a mess. The government is slowly easing restrictions – we are literally in phase one – but I already start to question easing my own limitations. 

I had agreed to something for one of my children to see their friend – socially distanced, of course, but still not ‘legal’ yet.  It ate me up all afternoon as the time approached and finally I texted the friend and said I just didn’t feel right about it. 

I needed to cancel because how do I explain to my younger ones why I’m allowing their brother this special privilege?

In the meantime, through other conversation, I had learned that someone else closely associated with me had decided to let her kids see friends…go to their homes even.  I shared this oh-so-juicy information with some other people in such a way as to really make her seem like a terrible person. 

Truth is, we are all conflicted right now.  None of us know what to do.  All of our children miss their friends.  This is unprecedented and no one has been in this position before – not even government officials.  We are all walking on new ground right now. 

I so desperately wanted grace from my friend for cancelling on her – I wanted her to respect and understand my decision.  And yet I quickly spun on my heel and threw daggers at this other person for their own decision that I know didn’t come easily.

This morning I read the verse:

“Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  
Luke 6:38

I had never fully understood what this verse was saying until recently.  I heard someone explain that it is like my mom or my sister filling that cup with flour.  Technically, I suppose, my mom was pressing down the flour…my sister was shaking it together…they were making sure that cup was filled to capacity. 

In fact, in this verse it says that the cup would run over because so much was being given.  It couldn’t be contained.  And that is the way I should dole out grace and love.

My family comes from a German Mennonite heritage and so there are these delicious pastries called Apple Perishky that are HEAVEN.  This week I saw that a lady on Facebook was baking and selling them. 

I initially ordered 2 dozen but when I realized I would have all of my children this weekend, I upped it to 4 dozen so that I, Nancy, would still be able to have as many as I, Nancy, desired.  

Avery and I ate some on the way home from picking them up, then we ate some as we walked to the grocery store…we continued to have one here and there.  My parents popped in for a porch visit and I KNEW they would love one. 

Ohhhh the battle in my mind! They didn’t even know I had any so technically they wouldn’t know if I didn’t offer them one. 

Eventually, though,  my guilty conscience forced me to bring them ONE.  One.  I didn’t even put some on a plate and bring it out to them.  I hand delivered the minimum.  One.  And they ate it and loved it.  I joked (sort of) that that was all they were getting…even though I had put a dozen and a half in the freezer!

Sadly, this is often my approach to grace and love. 

I wanted perisky and this lady happily made me 48…it isn’t even her job.  I go to God and I want grace and love…I expect it.  Especially for the big screw ups!  How good it feels to know that my mistakes are nailed to the cross…all of them. 

But I go home with that grace and love…I go home with 48 perishky – 48 – and it KILLS me and takes all of my strength to give any away to someone else in need.  I’ve been given so much grace and love and I don’t want to share it.

I can’t imagine the size of God’s grace and love container for me…for you, too.  It must be huge.  And still He would press that grace down…squish it in there to make room for more. 

Then He shakes it around, gets rid of any air pockets so there is no void space…no emptiness.  And then He crams more and more grace and love in there. 

And if I imagine that I am sitting in a chair, holding the container for Him so He can do this, I imagine it pouring into my lap…soaking my clothes…He just squished that thing to max capacity and then some.  

How can I walk away from this, His container in hand, filled to the brim…and dole out grace and love by 1/4 teaspoon fulls? 

In my journal I wrote : “Wow, I’m stingy.” I followed up by googling the definition of stingy which led to me searching its opposite.  MAGNANIMOUS.  What an awesome word and the definition is even better.  Magnanimous: generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or less powerful person.

It’s time to put our teaspoons away. ⅛, ¼, ½…none of that is adequate. God didn’t go to His teaspoon drawer for me. Let’s get the cups out…and don’t let that limit us.  God never put a limit on his measures of love and grace.  Let’s overflow these cups.

That verse says that what YOU use is what HE will use for you.  My prayer in my journal was this: Help me to receive from You a love that is pressed down, shaken and overflowing because I will give your grace to others where it was given as much as possible…squished in to make room to give more. 

I can give grace to that woman for making the Covid-19 decision she made because she needs grace, not judgement.  And usually, if I’m honest, most of my gossip is to make someone else look ‘less than’ to cover up that I am ‘less than’. 

Instead of walking with a pointing finger, I’m going to walk with cups…overflowing cups.  Filled with grace and love.
Where can you walk with cups today?  With whom can you put the teaspoons away?

3 Responses

  1. I think that you sometimes judge yourself to quickly. You were the first person to offer me help when i was ill. You went out of your way to welcome me and my family into your home. Making us meals when i couldn’t. Leaving gift baskets at my door on a day when i needed a lift. I truly would not have made it as far as i am today without you. It is easy to see the mistakes in ourselves. It is difficult to see the good. Whenever i see you walking down the street with Raffa it brings a smile to my face. I instantly remember sitting on your back porch with the fire going and the neighbours at my side laughing. LAUGHING! When i was in the hardest battle of my life, you made me laugh!!!! We are all scared right now. This is something that we have never seen before and hopefully never will again. Forgive and forget. Remember that this applies to yourself as well as others! Love you!

  2. Nancy,you are an AWESOME human being. We all wouldn’t be human if we didn’t make mistakes. His mercies are new everyday. May you always know you are loved by my family but most importantly by God.

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