And from the overflow of his fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace!
Ben and I were married 3 months after I graduated from college, and we welcomed our first child four and a half months later. You don’t need to be good at math to figure out that I was pregnant well before we were married. Growing up in the church we both recognized our sin, and I think maybe for the first time – really began to own our own faith. We were blessed by a family and church community who showed us nothing but grace and love and came alongside us in amazing ways. But I carried a lot of guilt and shame with me for a long time even though I could have quoted you the Scripture that assures us of God’s forgiveness.
One day, when our oldest was about two, I happened to catch a part of a video of a female Christian comedian – and her words (or rather her husband’s words to her) would mark a change in my life from that point forward. She told a story about how she was getting ready for a show and she was completely stressed about what she looked like and what she wore out of fear that her audience wouldn’t accept her or she would offend them, all due to her appearance. Should she not wear pants? …If she wore a skirt, was her skirt too short? …was her lipstick too red? …Should she wear lipstick at all?! Her husband looked at her in the mirror and then took her lipstick and wrote a single word on the mirror – GRACE. He reasoned that if Jesus could show her grace…it didn’t really matter what the audience thought. Only what Jesus thought.
I realized that day that I had allowed that guilt and that shame to keep me from being who God had called me to be. I shied away from volunteering for fear of awkward glances. I didn’t use my gifts because I felt I was disqualified somehow. But that day I felt God’s grace – his undeserved favor – in a new way…and it felt like freedom. I have been in ministry now for over twenty years, but the journey to where I am now can be marked by the starting point of that day. I still struggle from time to time. But now when I do, I stop and mark the journey of each day remembering all the times when God has heaped grace upon more grace – and I find joy in being exactly who He has called me to be.
Written by Danielle Schoenfelder