“But, Mom, I was disrespectful and not being nice to you, and now you’re showing love to me when I don’t deserve it at all.” These words tumbled out of my daughter’s mouth. It had been one of those mornings, where love and kindness and understanding were spread pretty thin.

“Oh honey, that’s what Jesus does for me all the time. It’s called Grace.” I replied

She doesn’t know how many times God and I have this conversation. “God, I messed up again. I don’t deserve your love, your forgiveness…”

That’s the beautiful, amazing, mind-boggling thing about Grace. We don’t deserve it. Ever.

The woman caught in adultery knew what she deserved. She knew her story, all the secrets, all the pain. It seemed like maybe the whole community knew it too. But Jesus looked past the shame, the guilt, and saw her heart. He saw her hopelessness. He saw her destiny. And in that one moment, He changed it all for her; He offered her Grace.

So often, I am that woman. I know the mistakes, the “should-have,” the “why-didn’t-I,” the ache of failure and mess in my life. I could make a list as long as my arm if you gave me a minute, of all the ways I’ve messed up in my life. But God chooses to love me anyway, even in my mess. He chooses to cover my sin with His blood, even to go as far as removing it “as far as the east is from the west.” (Ps. 103:12)

What if I would wake up every morning with that thought front and center? I am forgiven. I am loved. I am free. I am loved. I am righteous. I am loved. I am His. I am loved. My whole outlook changes when I begin to grasp His unconditional love for me. I am no longer chained to my mistakes. Now I have the power with Christ in me, to overcome, to accomplish, to dream, to move forward.

I read a quote recently that went like this, “Grace means that all of your mistakes now serve a purpose instead of serving shame.”

When we begin to understand God’s Grace, we extend that Grace to others. We begin to use our pain to minister to others in similar situations. Our story becomes a springboard for loving people. We put down our walls because we realize we are all the same kind of people, deep down- in need of Grace.

Wanda Stutzman