The Dancing Puritan

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

14 Days of Love: Day 9: Grace

Day 1: Write a Song: Here
Day 2: Pray, Tell, Pray: Here
Day 3: Kiss: Here
Day 4: Meet: Here
Day 5: Read, Journal, Share, Remember: Here
Day 6: The 30-Day Challenge: Here
Day 7: Work on the Inside: Here
Day 8: Friendship: Here

I am writing near a fireplace in a rustic den as the snow outside falls gently to the ground. Earlier this morning, I walked over to the dining room where hot coffee was waiting on me. I took my coffee to a sitting room where I read the Bible and spent a few minutes journaling. My thoughts centered on the word “grace.” Each morning before an open Bible, I am confronted by my need for grace.

Before this night is over, I will look deeply into the eyes of my wife Lori. I want to see her, really see her. I know a few of Lori's burdens, but I imagine that a number of her challenges are hidden from my view. Perhaps she does want to put anything else on me. Maybe I have built walls that seem impenetrable. I have often been too been busy or too distracted to notice what her eyes, if not her words, were telling me.

What does Lori need from me? She needs grace. How foolish of me, a recipient of the lavish grace of God, to ever withhold grace from my dear wife. I need grace from her. How utterly thoughtless I am when I fail to be a conduit of God's grace into Lori's heart.

This evening, look into the eyes of your spouse. Look deeply. See, know, and discover them. See them through the eyes of grace.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. 
I Peter 4:10

Activity: Show Grace!

G: Generosity. Are you a generous person? Or, do you withhold love, intimacy, and good gifts that you have the opportunity to share? Don’t try to save up generosity, open your heart to your spouse. Recently Lori needed new shoes. She felt that I did not want her to get new shoes. I don't know exactly how I communicated to her that "her old shoes were just fine" and that "new shoes could wait." But something I said, or didn't say, led her to think that I didn't want her to have the shoes. When I discovered how she felt, I was horrified. Though we do not have a lot of money, I want to display a generous heart to my wife and children.

R: Rest.  My guess is that your beloved works hard. Beyond their workplace responsibilities, or their homemaking duties, they carry other burdens. What can you do for them that will provide a place and time for refuge so that they can experience restorative grace?

A: Acceptance. Life comes quickly. Dreams can be lost in a moment.  Rejection is around the next corner. You are married to a person who, like you, falls short and needs forgiveness and acceptance. Our arms are designed, in part, as a safe place of acceptance. Let your husband/wife know, verbally and non-verbally, that they are accepted.

C: Compassion. Whereas acceptance works to restore confidence, compassion enters into the brokenness of your spouse and lets them know how much you care.

E: Encourage. You encourage your spouse when you stir up courage in their heart. Encouragement offers hope, indicates belief in, and strengthens the one to whom it is directed. Discouragement is no respecter of persons and it can lead to utter despair. When you encourage your beloved, you are instilling hope into their heart. They need one person, at least, who believes in them.

Grace:  Generosity, Rest, Acceptance, Compassion, Encouragement.

Read the following verses with your spouse before retiring to bed tonight.

God generously gave his Son (Romans 8:31-39). God offers rest to his sons and daughters (Psalm 23, 127). To know Christ is to be accepted (Ephesians 1:5-6). God is compassionate beyond compare (Psalm 78:38-39). God encourages us that we might encourage others (Romans 15:5-6).

Romans 15:5-6New International Version (NIV)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ray Rhodes is President of Nourished in the Word Ministries.