Hungry for Grace

It was just one line in her teaching, but it snagged on my heart.

“The Pharisees believed that if everyone could just keep all of the law perfectly for one day, they would usher in the coming of the messiah.”

I thought of how terrible a young Pharisee must have felt the moment he broke a law, believing that the chances for the messiah to come were ruined for yet another day and it was all his fault.  Oh the heart-sinking, gut-wrenching, breath-taking sense of failure.

Maybe I thought of that because this week I have felt the heart-sinking, gut-wrenching, breath-taking sense of failure.

It isn’t that I’m failing to usher in the messiah; but my failure as a mama is painted across the bridge of my daughter’s nose in a nasty gash sewn shut with 5 bright blue stitches.  Believe me, I rationally understand that accidents can happen to anyone, and that I can’t blame myself for the tumble she took out of a shopping cart and onto the can of paint while I tried to decide between Parrot Bay and Venus Teal.  But like any mama, I do blame myself.  And I worry about the scar that might linger – always shouting at me that I don’t pay enough attention… If I’m being honest, I know the scar on my own heart might last longer and do more damage if I’m not careful.

But that isn’t where the story ends, is it?  We aren’t left with just scars.  We attend a Presbyterian church… the service is contemporary, but there are traditional elements carried over.  This isn’t my background, so much is new to me when it comes to the traditions.  Communion is done every Sunday “by intinction.”  A fancy word that means you come forward, tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the cup while you look the server in the eye as they tell you that this is the body and the blood, broken and poured out for you.  There’s something holy in that moment.  I have seen tears pooled in the corner of a woman’s eyes, spilling out as she repeats “this is the blood of Christ, poured out for you” for each person who dips their bread in her cup.  It’s holy and it is raw and it is real and it is intimate… this reminder – from one sister to another – that this meal is enough… enough to fill our deepest needs and satisfy our aching hunger.

I watched a young boy eagerly walk to the front of the line today.  The man holding the bread bent down and the boy ripped off a chunk.  Not a dainty little bite like most adults take, but a palm-sized chunk.  He smiled a gap-toothed grin up at the gentleman as he whispered the words, “This is the body of Christ, broken for you.” And I thought, “He’s hungry.”

And shouldn’t we all come to the table that way?  Hungry for more of this grace?  Hungry for more of this slate-cleaning, new-beginning, another-day’s daily bread?  “I’m hungry, too.” I realized.  I don’t want to be a pharisee in motherhood – holding myself up to a strict code of conduct and berating myself when I fall short; staring at my tear-stained face in the mirror before I go to bed, wondering why I can’t do a better job… why I failed yet again.

I want to be like the young boy, joyfully ripping off a hunk of grace and eating till I’m full – knowing that this meal is enough.  Today communion meant more to me than simply a reminder of my salvation – it spoke “plenty” to me.

I’m hungry, and He’s inviting me to come to Him… to shamelessly tear off a big hunk of grace and eat till I am full and satisfied, content in His provision.  To trust that this meal – and what it represents – goes before and behind me, making the way smooth and turning my brokenness into something beautiful, making scars faint but vivid testimonies to the mighty power of his healing love, speaking of His grace.  To believe that when I am hungry, He is enough, and since He is in me, I am enough, too.

Are you hungry?

12 thoughts on “Hungry for Grace

  1. Definitely hungry for more of Him and His Word…

    And she's cute as a button with or without stitches!

    You're a good mama, Carrie! Know what makes you a good mama? Being HUNGRY for Him!



  2. This is an example of what we hoped and prayed for when we started planning the service over 4 years ago.

    Thank you. And may the wound (and your wound) heal quickly.



  3. Wow, thanks for sharing this. Sorry about Cora's stitches. I can only imagine how you feel. It's so hard to be gracious to ourselves. There's a lot at stake being a mom, isn't there? A little overwhelming at times to me. God's grace is enough for Cora, too. He will fill in the gaps.


  4. A similar thing happened to me when Amelia wasn't much older than her. I stopped the cart too fast, she was standing (should not have been) and flipped over the front. I began crying immediately. Thankfully my little monkey was holding on with two hands and managed to do a flip out of the cart while holding on…yes she had sore arms for a few days, and I obviously still have a sore heart 5-years-later…but that's what makes us good moms…we care! You're a great mom – and it's the most challenging job I've ever had!


  5. Beautiful post Carrie! I am SO glad that you are writing again. That is a reminder that we all need, as we all fall short and we all need His grace.

    And you are a WONDERFUL mother by the way. 🙂



  6. What a beautiful reminder. Thanks for sharing this. And I'm so sorry about your daughters's accident. But accident's happen no matter how careful a parent you are. She and you will be fine.


  7. Laine, I love you. You are a mama-inspiration to me. Thank you for always encouraging!

    Jenifer, I miss you friend! I think of you often (especially when my inner grumbler rears her ugly head), and I remember to give thanks in all things. I hope you are well!

    John and Shannon – thank you for all you do making a space of peace and love each Sunday. I think The Bridge definitely is headed in the right direction – mostly because it is really a community. I love it more and more!

    Yvette, I just read your blog to see what “tomorrow” holds – wow, I'll be praying for you today as you walk alongside Cavanaugh through this journey. It must be very bitter-sweet to see him go into surgery; my limited experience in hospital emergency rooms have taught me that mama's to kids with special needs are a strong breed! Hugs to you.

    Shari – Thank you for reminding me it can happen to anyone! Most people have been so kind and gracious… Only one woman said “Oh it makes me sick when I see parents letting kids stand up in shopping carts” in response to my story about what happened. I'm choosing to ignore her. 🙂

    Anneli – I'm glad you are writing, too! I know I rarely comment – mostly because I read your posts via email – but I love seeing your journey in China. It is uniquely yours, yet it reminds me of my own!


  8. I appreciate you opening up, being “vulnerable?” here to remind everyone of this important truth.

    I'm guessing it was also hard to post this picture of Cora. How poetic, though that she is smiling at you in the picture.

    You're awesome!


  9. Carrie – you have so many gifts. I am in awe! I love your post. I love following along with you in blog and on facebook. Thank you for writing. You are so_very_relevant!!!


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