The Grace of God



 The grace of God pours down like rain, to wash away my guilt and shame.
The grace of God so undeserved, s
o free a gift that perseveres
Through all my fault and daily failing, through hardened heart and disobeying.
Why don’t You turn and run from me, why do You care to set me free?
From chains that tie me to the past and hardened heart that breaks like glass.
And when I fall and lose my way, You pick me up and gently say
Fear not my child, My love is true, it does not waver; though you do.
I’ll mold you into something new and bring new courage through and through.

O God to You I humbly bow, amazed by grace You give me now.
Your grace, it daily sets me free;  Your mercy, drops me to my knees
As I submit my will to You old strongholds fade like morning dew.
I’m overwhelmed, my mind is reeling, my heart is full with grace You’re giving.
Then dawns on me a fearful jest, t
hat I hold grace tight to my chest
But rather, judgment fills my heart; I hold contempt when they fall short
Forgetting all my sins and failing, I pound the gavel; pronounce them guilty
With pride filled heart I give no mercy.

How can this grace that I’ve been given be kept from those that need forgiving?
Forgive me God; help me to see that what I do is grieving thee.
Remind me when I am offended Your grace must always be extended
Grace isn’t mine to hold so dear but rather give without a fear
To make more room for grace from You to share Your love each day anew.

By Rhonda Shelford Jansen





Emotional Baggage

I’m sitting at my desk with the computer on, IPod playing, and an inviting warm mug of coffee sitting next to me.  They are waiting patiently for me to start work, but I don’t.  My feet are resting on the edge of my desk while I hold our big fat cat in my lap.  She contentedly purrs and occasionally nuzzles me on the chin.  Absently, I notice how her soft, heavy, weight in my lap feels comforting.  I continue to stare out the window lost in thought.

My chest feels heavy like an invisible brick is pushing down hard between my breasts, my head aches, but it’s the heavy sensation on my chest that’s troubling me.  The weight isn’t the beginning of a heart attack; it’s the result of years of hurt.  This brick has been carefully constructed by the fibrous tissue of judgment, verbal abuse, bitterness, self protection, and un-forgiveness.  And it’s heavy, pressing down on my sternum making it hard to breathe.

The unusual thing about this brick is that it’s frequently weightless, as if gone from my life.  During this time my home is peaceful, my heart is hopeful, and I want to spend time considering and praying about my marriage.  Once again, with hopeful spirit, I choose to forgive.  I choose to lay my hurts down before God and set aside my right to hold harsh judgments so that nothing hinders my drawing closer to

Then something happens to set off old patterns of abuse and hurtful words are hurled through the air and I feel the impact of them.   I feel them working their way into the brick, finding a comfortable resting place next to the other festering pain.  The brick is back, heavier than before, pressing mercilessly down on my sternum and I wonder how all those negative, hurtful, emotions from the past can come back with such force after I have chosen to forgive and let go. 

So, here I sit at my desk with every necessary tool for a productive day in front of me.  But instead of working I watch the tree branches move to the rhythm of the wind while pondering the uncomfortable pressure of the emotional brick on my chest.  I want to know how to truly lay down the hurt from yesterday.  I want to forgive so deeply that past pain will not have the power to mix with and amplify the hurts of today.  But, I’m human and for some unknown reason God made us emotionally complex beings that feel passionately, struggle mightily, and desperately need His guidance.

I’m grateful that God’s forgiveness is not like that of humans, Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions (sins) from us.”  This verse is comforting and humbling; how can God forgive so completely?  I long to be able to forgive like God, but as of today, I don’t fully understand how to forgive the transgressions of others.  Maybe that’s the point. Maybe our seriously limited ability to forgive keeps us humble before God. 

Debora Shelford Hobbs