When I was a kid I wasn’t nearly as graceful as I am today. Those of you who know me now, know that I’m about as coordinated as a block of cheese so that’s saying a lot. The first face to face meeting with my new neighbor last fall began with me stepping in a hole and falling flat on my face. She was grace filled enough to never speak of it aside from asking me if all my teeth were still in place.
I vividly recall being among the last chosen for kickball. I broke bones playing catch with a nerf football. I was injured during a break at practice one night in marching band. MARCHING BAND. Who gets hurt in marching band?? We weren’t even actually doing anything for crying out loud!
One of the best examples I have of my cheese like coordination was in elementary school when we would gather around a plastic, yellow and green jump rope during recess. The girls would take turns on ends of the rope and chant the universally known “Cinderella dressed in yella”. I was always the rope turner. I bet you can guess why. As hard as I tried, when that rope started turning I couldn’t find the right place to run and jump in.
Rope on top. Run in. Rope smacks me in the legs.
Rope on bottom. Run in. Rope leaves notable evidence of the error in judgement on my face.
Rope slightly in between. Run in. Rope tangles in appendages. I fall. Rope is ripped from the hands of turners. I am ejected from the game.
There was one girl who could jump that rope perfectly from the moment she jumped in til Jesus’ return. She did it in sync, on time, and with perfection each and every time. When it was Angeline’s turn there was no telling how many doctors it would take to fix Cinderella’s mistake of kissing a snake. Angeline did her best to explain the rhythm to me. She told me not to worry about where the rope was and where I was standing. She said to find the “beat” and jump with it. In my second grade mind, she was nuts. How could I not think about where I was at? How could I not think about what that hard, plastic rope would do to me? I watched her though, and she could do it blindfolded, on one leg, with her hands behind her back. She bobbed to the beat of the rope hitting the ground and swishing through the air. When she felt the swish she would join the flow. Run in, jump, run out. Run in, jump, run out. The rope kept turning and she would join in to enjoy the ride.
I’ve recently learned this about God’s grace. It’s an unbroken, unforced rhythm that is in constant motion.
Grace. It is not an additive to your situation.
Grace. It isn’t required for one sin more than another.
Grace. It isn’t just for sin. It is for life.
Grace. It is not something that begins and ends as needed to save us from our mistakes.
Grace. Like the presence of God, the rhythms exist with or without our participation.
The rhythms are not broken because we refuse to join or cannot find the entry. We are invited to join and have the choice of when to leave. And when we leave the flow, that’s usually when things get tough. My girlfriend told me that it sounded a lot like Crush the Turtle’s advice to Nemo’s dad. Crush seemed pretty much at peace if you ask me.
Jesus said, “…Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:29-30 (The Message)
“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
Feel the swish and join the flow.
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.