“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.”John Newton, 1725 – 1807
Grace. In society, it simply means a state of elegance or refinement. I always think of Audrey Hepburn when I think of grace in this manner. To me she epitomizes the word in all ways.
In Christianity, though, grace takes on a different, more profound meaning. In this context, grace has very little to do with any physical or outward manifestation, and is rather a state of being that is soul deep.
Webster’s New World College Dictionary provides this theological definition of grace: “The unmerited love and favor of God toward human beings; divine influence acting in a person to make the person pure, morally strong; the condition of a person brought to God’s favor through this influence; a special virtue, gift, or help given to a person by God.”
To me, this is the definition of grace that allows us, as flawed individuals, to rise above our weaknesses. To forgive, and learn, and grow. To strive to become more than what we are in any given moment. Grace, in this sense, is something to call upon; something freely given to us; something we can be sure of.
In my life, I’ve witnessed the manifestation of grace, in this context, many times. Most recently, I recognize that it was grace that shepherded me through a decades long battle with an eating disorder and alcoholism, to the other side, where surrender granted me the healing and peace I had long desired but thought unattainable. Grace showed me the way.
It was in those moments, the ones in which I truly felt grace and the truth of its presence in my life, that I finally understood. Grace is not something to attain, something to pursue. Grace is already present and readily available. It’s a gift. Given to us by our Maker. Not only does it provide for our salvation, but if we allow it, grace enables us to live abundantly and fully.
I understand this now. I am a living, flawed, but grateful recipient of this gift. “I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see.” Amazing grace. And it is.
And I pray that anyone who struggles, who feels lost and undeserving, shamed or guilty, reaches for grace and trusts that all will be well. That you are not the sum total of your flaws, but a beautiful being worthy of this precious gift. Worthy of peace.
Grace is waiting. And if allowed, grace is always, always enough.
Jennifer N. Fenwick | Author | Four Weeks: A Journey from Darkness