As a longtime spiritual director and a chaplain for all faiths, I’ve witnessed firsthand the workings of grace (which rains abundantly). Sometimes I wear a waterproof parka and can’t feel a drop. But Divine Grace awaits my awakening to it. I hope some of these reflections will help you remember what you've always known and live the truth within you.
Today, be aware.
God's Life floods your heart.
It's always Raining Grace.
Tune in to the Drama Within
Many of us have more or less sworn off drama. We realize there are people who manufacture torment in their lives and relationships because it gives them something to do, enemies to fight, problems to gnaw on. We know there’s no need for such creative pursuits. There is authentic drama to be had. We live in a world where life and death decisions are sometimes demanded, where people fall in love, grow ill, choose between right and wrong … It’s not an uneventful, boring life! So we can say no to artificial drama and live in (relative) peace. And we’d be wise to limit our contact with drama-creators lest we become an actor on their stage.
But to secure true peace, we need to tune in to the interior drama, the conversations, confrontations, and battles within us. We may actually need to participate in this drama until things quite down inside, in our minds.
Most of us earthlings grew up in an imperfect world. Our siblings and classmates weren’t saints and our parents weren’t perfect. The voices of those early influencers still pipe up in our minds unless and until we’ve done some inner work. We are each a “committee of persons.” In our thoughts or self-talk, unrealistic demands from childhood are often still echoed by certain committee members. Many people have a relentless critic within them.
Greater than the danger of feeling oppressed, stressed, and depressed, is the danger of thinking the voice of the demanding bully is the voice of God. A careful reading of the whole of Scripture tells us that God is love, not a big/old, judgmental tyrant. So, the inner voices need to be heard and some dissolved.
I had a fairly good childhood, but (I tell myself) I’m sensitive. I made mild family disfunction go a long way. At one point in my life, I decided I needed to be an involved, intervening parent to my somewhat trampled inner child/adult. I decided to stick up for the downtrodden within and put a halt to the words of perfectionist bully my tormented committee members lived with. I realized I had been more compassionate to other people in my life, a much more vocal advocate for them, than I had ever been for myself.
If you decide to adopt the role of self-advocate and begin to listen to your inner dialogue. You can become a bully squelcher, an encourager, a comforter. Decide to give the heckled and harried inner person a break. Actively stick up for your harassed committee member(s). Make sure a new, kinder voice rings through and rings true in your thoughts.
A time will come when just awareness of what is going on inside your skin will be enough. You will find the bully or bullies are full of hot air and even a look their way is enough to silence them. When that happens, there is more peace inside. A peace that is greater than the peace this world can give. It’s time to bloom in the sunshine of self-love.
(1 John 4:8)
Today, be aware.
God’s Life floods your heart.
It’s always Raining Grace.
(Taken from Pearls of Promise)
Lord, I believe; help my unbelief (Mark 9:24).
I flew out of bed at the sound of Brian’s chilling screams. My five-year-old had had his share of bad dreams, but this was different. The air in his room seemed charged with fear. “It’s okay, honey.” I sat on Brian’s bed and gently patted his hands. “It’s just a nightmare. Mommy is right here.”
Brian’s body remained tensed with terror. I flicked on the light. I kissed his cheek and carried him to the rocker. Brian was inconsolable.
It occurred to me that I should pray, in fact, I should pray aloud. In the same moment I had the opposite inclination. What if I prayed and God did nothing? After all, Brian was just learning about God. I needed to protect his young faith against the slings and arrows of outrageous life. Sometimes God’s “mysterious ways” made me doubt his providence altogether. “It’s okay, honey. Really.” I sighed and hushed in motherly tones: “Shh, it’s okay, baby.”
Still Brian’s fear remained.
“Sweetheart, let’s talk to God about this,” I said feebly. “Dear God,” I began.
Between the “Dear” and the “God” of my salutation, Brian’s little body went limp with peace. My prayer wasn’t powerful, memorable, or well-spoken—a lackluster string of words—but it didn’t matter. The moment, the meeting, belonged to my son and God. My prayer trailed off with a final “Amen.”
As I rocked my peaceful child, I realized I’d had a wake-up call. Not Brian’s terrified screams in the middle of the night, but a wake-up call concerning my own lack of faith. I had, after all, been afraid to pray out loud with my son. I’d had so little trust that God would come through. In addition, it seemed I was interpreting the struggles in my life as some sign of abandonment. When God’s answers weren’t what I’d hoped for, I felt He hadn’t answered at all.
Brian stretched, re-positioned himself in my arms, and laid his head back on my shoulder. I let the warmth of his body comfort me. I had so much to learn, so much growing to do. “Lord,” I silently prayed, “I believe; help my unbelief.” For good measure, I added. “And Lord, help it sooner rather than later, so that I can support this little one in his faith walk.” How amazing, I thought, that God had responded so quickly to my plea for help. It gave me chills, despite the warm little body snuggled up to me.
Brian interrupted my musings as he sat upright in my lap. His eyes wide with wonder, his little voice solemn with awe, Brian whispered, “Mommy, how did he get here so quick?”
© 2019 Sally Metzger