Many years ago one of the wisest people I ever met told me grace was a gift and it was free. She stopped me dead in my tracks with that comment. No one had ever said it with such certainty and peace. Gaila was one of those people that appeared to go around with her head in the clouds. Some would say she was naive. She is the type of person that is slow to anger and just being around her makes you feel at peace. Many would say she wasn't the typical minister's wife, and she wasn't. She was Gaila, and I know that God intervened in my life the day I met her as each and every person who has crossed my path. If it is possible for angels to walk the earth, Gaila is one.
See I'm not a very good person and not a good Christian at all. I'm prideful, stubborn, sinful, have an awful temper, and I never accept anything from anyone without looking behind me. I never received anything in life without having to fight for it. My own mother in her misguided attempt to make me strong would stand before me and try to break me down and taught me how to hurt without letting anyone see me cry. Yet, I always knew God loved me, but being me I would never take that 'gift' without paying back as much as possible. I don't try to 'save the world before midnight' for altruistic reasons. It is a simple matter of pride.
Still, Gaila's words cut deep into me. The thought that free was free was an exhilarating feeling. Then the weight of that gift came crashing down on me. I realized that there was nothing I would ever do or be able to earn to pay it back. That's when I learned to give more. The thought of God looking down on me smiling while shaking his head has never been far from my mind. I know he looks at me with amazement because he wrote everything down in this book called the bible and I still manage to get it all wrong.
Life doesn't have to be this hard; we just make it that way. Love doesn't have to be a struggle; we just expect too much back in return. Grace doesn't have to be earned; it can't be. There is nothing my children can do to earn my love. They had it from the first time they drew their breath, even Oskar and my heart daughter in Estonia. Though I am miserable at being the person God intends me to be, he loves me anyway. He loves you too, you know.
It's a pretty powerful thing to know your purpose on this earth, and I have known mine from the time I learned about God at 5 years old. I was brought here to love and be loved. It's not a matter of whether I deserve it or not; of course I don't. Still, it is what it is. No matter how many times we fall, we are still children of someone much better than we can hope to be. You can call him by any name you want, and the damn powerful thing about it all is you don't have to even acknowledge it. You can chose not to believe in him in any shape or form. Like the air you don't see, God will still be there. I know this like I know my soul. When I look inside I see darkness, but a dim light always shines. It guides me back when I fall, and believe me, I fall more than anyone could ever know. If there is a sin, I have pretty much been there.
Thank you Gaila for teaching me what grace meant. It's a pretty rare thing in this world to see the face of God, and because I'm the kind of person who needs it, God shows it from time to time to me. He stands above me shaking his head willing to give me just one more chance, knowing all the while 1 will turn into a thousand. I'm not going to invite you to pray and receive Christ like some people do, but Christ is so powerful and good, I hope you will want to know him.. I'm not going to tell you if you are going to hell. I'm not going to judge you; God is quite good at his job without me taking over. I'm not here to preach to you. You won't hear me tell you to go to church. God is not always found under roofs. I'm just here to remind you that if you ever feel alone, if you ever need to be loved, it is so much closer than you can imagine. When you accept grace powerful things happen. Life is a pretty hard thing to live alone. One needs all the help they can get. So it's there if you want it. God waits very patiently, and he is very good at it. He is quite the gentleman and never barges in uninvited, and I think that makes me want to know him even more ;)