I was born a baby. A female Caucasian baby in Los Angeles in 1990, to be precise. I honestly can’t say it’s a particularly vivid memory. I assume that I was very cold, confused, and annoyed by having to use my lungs. The next part of my story leaves me grateful that I don’t have memories of those early moments. For weeks after my birth, I was hooked up to a feeding tube as my doctors waited for me to die. No one knew exactly why, but I didn’t have an instinct to eat. Something was wrong inside of me, and it was the sort of thing you didn’t come back from. All of the professionals said it was a matter of time. My parents, however, were patiently waiting for God to do a miracle. We still don’t understand exactly what happened or why I suddenly started to thrive, but we know that He did something supernatural. He breathed new life into me, and I plan to keep seeing miracles as long as I am still using that breath.
Post-hospital, my childhood was all-American. We had a creek in the front yard and a forest full of honeysuckle in the back. We had the neighborhood’s coolest trampoline and watched Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood religiously. I was the nerdy girl in class who enjoyed extra credit assignments, and I was fueled by graham crackers and adventure. By the time I was in elementary school, I already knew about my supernatural survival. Unfortunately, I took it to mean I was a “special person.” My personal, prideful little interpretation of that miracle has taught me a lot as I’ve debunked it over the years.
I had skewed God’s blessings to be all about me.
The heart behind my little philosophy was simple. What my loved ones told me as a testimony, I skewed to be all about me. Isn’t that our human way? To take a blessing in our lives and, instead of reflecting it back to our perfect King, to reflect it onto our own specialness. I thought that because God had saved me, I must be very important. In making that miracle about me and what I had to offer, I completely missed the beautiful concept that I was covered by a faithful Father. I couldn’t grasp that God’s goodness didn’t come by my merit, but out of a deep and relentless love for His daughter. There is a depth and security to basing things out of God’s love and grace that I missed for many years.
When we accept God’s grace and blessing in our lives without accepting that we cannot deserve it, it steals the joy and wonder in our relationship with Him. We cheapen His love by saying that somehow, with some grand gesture or amazing calling, we’ll earn it. Our good intentions will never match His generosity, and He knew that before He ever decided to love us. He’s just good. He doesn’t dangle His love out of our reach, waiting for us to do something impressive. He offers it freely for us to abide in. Grace is God’s endless affection for imperfect people. Let that sink in. If you’ll stop for a moment, recognize His perfection, and still allow yourself to receive from Him, then you will find a humility wrapped in confidence. I’ve discovered that as I learn to accept grace for what it is, I gain not only a more wonderstruck view of God, but a healthier view of myself. Isn’t that just like Him, though? Even in how He glorifies Himself, He works things for our good.
I’m still asking myself, “Does how I see myself draw me closer into my relationship with God? Where in my life do I need to recognize and receive grace?” Sometimes, the answer is that I haven’t even thought about it. Sometimes, I realize that my response has been to strive for affection or to believe I’m perfectly fine. If you are struggling, seek out a truthful, scriptural perspective on yourself and God again. And then stop and appreciate afresh what that relationship means as you boldly approach your Father. He sits atop a throne of grace.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Hebrews 4:16, NLT
• Does how you see yourself draw you closer to your Father?
• Do you need to remind yourself that grace is freely given, with no way to earn it? How does that make you feel? Frustrated? Relieved? Grateful?
• Is there anywhere in your life that you have begun to believe it’s all about you?