Grace Upon Grace

Dear friends,

This is a love letter to you and to the Savior who brought us together.

John 1:16 says “From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

I have been thinking about grace lately and what it all means. Sometimes we use the word grace interchangeably with mercy, but we also use it to describe elegance: a dancer’s steps, the way eagles soar.

Maybe grace is beauty when we don’t expect it, goodness in a world that is often far from good.

Spring always feels like the season of grace to me: when we are reminded the world can be warm and green, when barren tree branches burst into bouquets of fragrant flowers.

Fall is never easy for me. It feels like the season of bad changes. Everything is about to be cold and miserable, and I worry that I will never be as happy as I was the last year.

But it’s always better in the end, and I see that in spring.

Friends, some of you will be leaving me soon. I want you to know how thankful I am for you. How thankful I am that Jesus came and led us each out of dark places, to the cross and to each other.

You have shown me what love is and what faithfulness means. You have made me see who I am in Christ.

In my teenage years, when I couldn’t believe the things I thought I believed anymore, I was so sad and angry and disconnected, and I started to believe I wasn’t worth anything.

I have been proved wrong again and again, and I see the ways Jesus was with me there now, the way he kept bringing me things and people to make me believe life was more than what I was seeing.

Friends, we were all the one lost sheep that Jesus searched for in the wilderness and laid on his shoulders when he found us. We were all the prodigal son he ran to on the road the moment he saw us, rejoicing before we offered any apology.

Friends, you have reminded me of this when I don’t see it. When I look at myself and see only the girl who was a slave to sin, you have reminded me that our God is the Creator, the one who defeated sin and death, that I am walking with the one who is sanctifying me, cleansing me so I may be presented in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.

Friends, we are being sanctified together.

I’ve never been good at making friends, so I know that this is the grace of God, that there is nothing I could have done to gain your friendship. It is Jesus who brought us together, who let us see each other as we were created to be.

I never want to let go of my friends. Spring is my favorite season, but sometimes it reminds me that I’m scared of fall. I’m scared of things changing, and I’m scared of being alone. I’m scared that I won’t feel loved and connected like this again.

But friends, I know this year more than any other that I won’t be alone. The Lord who has worked all things together for our good is not going to stop. He will do beautiful things with each of us wherever we are. Grace has brought us safe thus far, and grace will lead us home.

So friends, let us rejoice. When I think of grace, I think of a song by Mumford & Sons, After the Storm.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

I feel like I am over a hill. Not the final hill, by any means, but some sort of plateau we’ve reached. It is beautiful here–there are stars and bonfires and picnics and singing hymns and so much joy.

We won’t be here forever. Things will get hard again. We will walk through dark places in this world, through the valley of the shadow of death, but our savior will never leave or forsake us.

For now, let’s rejoice over what we have and how far we have come. For our savior who has showered us in grace upon grace.

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