My family has taught me a lot about grace through my life. Our Dad especially has gotten really good at showing grace to my sister and I.
I remember one summer in particular, when Dad had taught me how to drive the tractor and wheel rake and entrusted me with the responsibility of raking one of our fields. One sunny North Dakota afternoon, my sister and I were raking a field. Ann was riding on the tractor with me. At one point, I turned the corner too sharp and totally didn't quite make the corner. The wheel rake was entangled with the fence that marked the boundary for the field. I looked at Ann and Ann looked at me.
For a few minutes, I am pretty sure neither of us showed grace to each other. We argued over why this calamity had happened in the first place. I am pretty sure that I blamed her for being in my line of sight and she probably blamed me for not paying attention to where I was going. After arguing, we jumped down off the tractor and tried to figure out how to get the wheel rake unstuck.
We decided it was a lost cause. We had to admit defeat. Ann and I walked back to find Dad who then came over to find our conundrum. He just shook his head and asked "How in the world did you get the rake that stuck?" As he tried to figure out the best way to untangle the rake from the fence, he was not at all gracious with either of us as he was disappointed in our actions.
But once the rake was unstuck and Dad had a minute to reflect on the situation, he offered us grace; grace that came in his forgiveness to us. I remember that day well. I remember totally turning that corner too sharp and tangling that wheel rake in the fence. I remember my sister and I arguing over what happened. But most of all, I remember that grace that we were offered through forgiveness by Dad and the rest of our family.
It is one of those stories that definitely changed me and did not leave me where it found me. For you will never see me turning a tractor too sharp again...instead I will turn the tractor much wider so I have lots of room to swing that wheel rake around.