Diary of a Prodigal Daughter: Grace
by Christine Carter
Each time He said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." (II Corinthians 12:9)
First, I just want to say a word about current events. We need to be aware of what is going on in the world around us, and take precautions as instructed by experts.
However, we do not have to live in fear, and we do not have to focus on the problem.
As I mentioned in previous columns, ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but power, love and a sound mind’, and ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.’
Spending time at home, we can take this time, when not working from home, to get our own house in order so to speak, and to get the much needed rest that many of us have not had in some time.
Now on to the topic of grace…
When my son was a little boy about 5 years old, we lived in an apartment. In the center of the complex was a courtyard. I would take him outside to play. Around this time, I was teaching him to ride his bike.
So, he would bike, initially with training wheels, and then without—and mommy supporting the back of the bike, trying to keep him balanced. I remember one day when going around the sidewalk of the courtyard, my son discovered a small, round, white ball on the walkway.
Like most little boys would do, he picked it up and threw it. The ‘ball’ cracked open and what was inside oozed out onto the ground. That’s right, it was not a ball, it was a bird’s egg. When he realized what had happened, he wanted to make it better, but he couldn’t.
What was done was done and wasn’t intentional. It couldn’t be changed. That is a lot like life. We usually don’t get a chance to do things over, even if we desperately want to. In spite of our tumbles, God is there picking us up, dusting us off, and holding the back of the bike.
I remember when I was in 6th grade, I had a talking problem. That is to say that when the class was supposed to be focused on the teacher’s lesson, I was focused on talking to my friends.
This problem continued until my name went up on the blackboard under the heading ‘The 40’s Club’. What is the 40’s Club, you may be asking. That was a group of students who were given a paragraph to write 40 times to remind them not to talk in class.
Now, I have never been perfect, and I am going to take a guess that you haven’t either. As an 11 year old my primary focus definitely wasn’t paying attention in class. Because of this I was given consequences for my actions.
Now I certainly do remember hand writing that paragraph so many times, my hand hurt. However, what I remember most is that after I apologized to the teacher for my actions, as my mom mandated, my name was inexplicably removed from the blackboard.
This is something that has stayed with me for my entire life since; my first tangible evidence of grace in action. I have always clung to this idea that forgiveness essentially wipes the slate clean, and with it, removes the consequence. But is that true?
As an adult, I have had a different experience. Yes, God’s grace removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more. But I have found that the most seemingly insignificant mistakes can carry consequences that follow you throughout your life.
Life’s decisions cannot be undone, and the truth is, God may wipe the slate clean spiritually, but some of the consequences for our decisions will still remain. This may sound a bit ominous; I know. But here is what else I know, ‘God’s grace is sufficient for you’ (and me) and ‘His mercies are new every morning’.
Though sin touches all of us – we all make mistakes – we can rest assured that God does not hold our mistakes against us. Some of us may learn a hard lesson through our choices, as my son did that sunny day years ago, but God promises that all things work together for the good of those that love Him. How? We learn from our mistakes. We learn how to do things differently.
My mother told me that when I was a little girl and I wanted to restart my train of thought, I would lift my hand up in the air like an eraser and move it back and forth like I was erasing my words.
We all have had moments we wish we could erase and start again. While this is not possible in the literal sense, it is in the spiritual sense. We can know that in spite of our mistakes, and in spite of our detours from God’s perfect plan for us, He can turn things around for good if we trust Him.
If God does not hold a wrong turn against us, we should not hold it against ourselves. ‘For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Our lives are in the hands of an all-knowing, loving and forgiving God, and that is a comfort we can all hold onto.
When we mess up, as no doubt we have and we will, remember God’s promise to us all, ‘For by grace are you saved, through faith, this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. Thank you, God, for your gift of grace in our lives.
"Once I was broken
But You loved my whole heart through
Sin has no hold on me
'Cause Your grace holds me now."
(Whole Heart - Bethel Music)
About the Author
Christine Carter is a working mom of a 12-year-old active son Marquis and has been married to her best friend Brent Carter for almost 15 years.
She attends Bethel: the Church at Philadelphia Mills, where she has been attending for almost 12 years.
She is currently a Quality Assurance Specialist at Gate 1 Travel in Fort Washington, PA. She resides in Levittown, PA, where she has lived for most of her life.
She is currently attending John Brown University’s online program where she is working on finishing a Psychology Degree which she began at JBU in NW Arkansas in the 1990s. She expects to graduate in May 2021.
She has always enjoyed writing, and poetry has been her method of choice. She believes that if you have a talent or a gift from God, or a desire to be used for His kingdom, He will make a way. You simply need to be willing.
You can read Christine’s Diary of a Prodigal Daughter column on the 3rd Friday each month here at Mustard Seed Sentinel.