Joy is the wife to a missionary pilot and they, along with their five kids, live in Indonesia. She is anundeserving recipient of amazing grace, and grateful daughter of God. Joy’s heart is to encourage women to revel in their job as mommy and wife, and to see it as good and needed work. She shares her heart and life of being a mom with readers at her site, Grace Full Mama.
Grace. It was a word for “those” sinners.
I was a first-born pastor’s daughter. I felt I had to be perfect. All eyes were on me. I sang beautiful songs about grace, but it never got down to the heart level.
I figured that if I looked perfect, spoke spiritually, and plain ol’ never let anyone get to know me, I’d be all right. After all, I was saved, right?! Now I needed to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. I’ve always been an excellent rule keeper, and I thought grace was for “those people” that lived by no rules at all.
It wasn’t until I realized that I was just as vile a sinner as the rapist, the thug, the drug dealer that grace got a hold of me. I realized that I was as full of sin as they were, maybe even more.
My big sin wasn’t the flashy kind. It was a more insidious one that looks good but burns hot and deep in a soul.
Mine was pride.
I am the older brother in the prodigal story. And my grace story doesn’t begin all that long ago…..
Six years ago we were preparing to move our family overseas to Indonesia, to serve as missionaries. My younger sister was going through some turmoil in her life and became the quintessential prodigal. In fact, the week we were leaving for Indonesia she ran away and got into some ugly, ugly stuff.
And I was mad. I was mad at her for bringing so much pain to our family, for making us look bad. And you know what else? I was mad at her for “stealing the show”! I wanted to be noticed! Here I was leaving for the mission field. I was the model daughter, and here she was getting all of the attention! Ugly pride.
A few hours before we left for the airport she came back to say goodbye, and I wanted nothing to do with her. I was mad and self-righteous.
And in that mess of a moment, my dad showed me the most beautiful picture of grace I have ever seen. My sister had put him through so much for many years, ruined his reputation, caused him more stress and pain that I can ever know. And he sat down next to her, in the midst of the filth, knowing what she had been doing, and put his arms around her and told her how much he loved her.
A picture of our Father reaching down in the mess, whatever it may be, and putting His arm around us and speaking words of love into our ear. When I came to the realization that my sin was just as horrible as the more public ones and that the Father loved me in the midst of my sinful mess, it was then truly understood grace.
And now, I reach out for that grace every single day.
Grace. A word for me. A sinner.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
I met Joy during a blog hop when she was writing as The Stay at Home Missionary. I loved her warm words and her heart for her family. At the end of last year, she made a decision to step away from blogging for a bit, and (gratefully) she re-emerged this fall as the Grace Full Mama. I subscribed to her new blog the day it launched. Imagine my own joy when I had a chance to meet and hug her in real life at the Relevant Blogging Conference. What I love about Joy is that what you see online is what you get in person. She is precious. I am grateful she has added her story of grace for us at 29lincolnavenue. I’m still crying over it. Please visit and subscribe to her blog, if you haven’t done so already. Thank you sweet Joy for this gift of grace today! Merry Christmas friend!