This is a post I do not want to write, friends. But God has been convicting me today and that Holy Spirit has been just as pesky. So here I sit, writing a post I don't necessarily want to write, but feel called to write.
Another school shooting....
Where does one even begin....
Yesterday morning, as I was waiting for my aunt and grandparents to come pick me up. I picked up my I-pad mini and watched a replay of one of my favorite Periscopers. She scopes under the name WNOPtribe and does a prayer scope every morning at 6 am. 6 am is early for me, so I always watch the replay. This morning's scope was different because Christina felt convicted. She had come across a blog post titled "Be a hero not a zero." Christina said she found herself shaking yes along with the article, but then something happened. In her words, God smacked her upside the face. She heard God whispering "No one is a zero in my eyes."
The minute I heard those words, I stopped dead in my tracks. As I heard her reading the title, I found myself shaking my head along too. But then God's words spoke to me too. In God's eyes, no one is every lost. There is always hope. Now I am not saying that, we shouldn't punish those who have committed a crime. In fact, I believe they should be punished. But God's grace has this way of changing us and not leaving us where it found us. God's grace is always available on that table. It is just whether or not we pick it up and receive it into our hands.
And sometimes God's grace comes in the most unexpected places and through the most unexpected people. I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I came across a re-tweet from Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. Nadia's story is full of grace. She is a recovering drug addict and not your typical Lutheran Pastor. She has tattoos covering most of her body. She also started the congregation House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver CO which is a diverse worshiping community. There you will find business men and women worshiping next to gays, lesbians, etc. Nadia has written two books "Pastrix" and her new book "Accidental Saints." In the re-tweet, Nadia shared about a woman inmate who read her book "Pastrix" and was changed by it. This woman inmate is now out, but the book is still being passed around on the inside of the prison. That's grace, my friends!
Yet even though I have seen and experienced grace around me in the most unexpected places, I'll admit that I am just as guilty of not offering grace to those we want to classify as a zero. But as I reflect on this horrible event and all of the other school shootings, I wonder why they keep happening. I wonder if we offered each other more grace and gave each other more love if the world would be better and we would feel safer in our schools and in our homes.
My friends, I really don't know what the answer is and how we can make a difference. In fact, most of the time I'm not even sure I can make a difference. But what I keep coming back to...is God's grace! God's grace is a beautiful amazing grace. I am reminded again of Ann Voskamp's words; "Grace catches us. Grace catches us as we fall behind, grace catches us when we fall miserably, grace catches us and calms all our tangled anxiety...and says it's okay--You'll carry us over the finish line--assuring us a thousand times of just that: Grace embraces you before you prove anything and after you've done everything wrong."
There are days when I feel like grace isn't anywhere in sight...especially when I turn on the news or pick up the paper and hear of another school shooting, more violence, or whatever horrific event has happened. On those days, it seems like God's grace is no where within my reach; within my grasp. But then there are days that I am reminded that God's grace is enough; that it is completely and totally within our grasp. On those days, I know for certain that God's grace is always and ever enough!
Knowing that truth, may we always be reminded that, on the hard days, God's grace is especially enough. God's grace allows us to pray for all including the shooter and his family. God's grace allows us to ask for forgiveness. God's grace allows us to wrap all God's people in God's tender love. God's grace gives us the courage to be brave and do things we never thought possible. God's grace opens up doors and closes windows.
But most importantly, God's grace is always and ever enough!
*I feel like my thoughts are a little jumbled here friends. But I felt like it was important for me to write about this current event: yet another school shooting. Besides that, God along with the Holy Spirit called me to write my words today. I hope that they make you think and reflect on our latest events. May we pray for ALL who have been affected by yet another school shooting. May we also pray for God's grace to be offered freely to all God's beloved children...even when that is the hardest thing for us to offer. Thank you for reading my words friends!