In Which I Finally Understand That All Is Truly Grace {All Is Grace, Part Seven}

We all have days where worry gets the best of us, we let our concern over circumstances consume us–but often something will shift, and the problem we were worried about will dissolve into thin air.

But sometimes it’s our very soul that is anxious, and the ups and downs of daily life can’t touch a deep down worry.

Such was the case for me and my soul in Fall of 2012…we were living in the bus in the trailer park my in-laws had acquired that year, working to help manage and maintain the property. I had just come off of a mountain-top experience: asked to speak at the Allume Blogging Conference, I had felt nervous and ill-equipped, plus circumstances had completely overwhelmed me just an hour before my public speaking debut, and yet God had shown up and I’d been able to passionately and eloquently share my heart for fellow sisters who share this crazy-amazing call to blog.

The way He had provided had me overwhelmed in all the best ways, and I should have been purely at peace.

But I wasn’t.

Deep down I was worried. Worried about the stability of my faith. I had been physco-analyzing my faith lately, concerned there might be a leak in the boat. Worried this whole thing could only last so long and I could only trust in it to a certain extent. Deep down afraid that the sweetness I’d been experiencing in my relationship with the Lord was a fleeting thing, ultimately out of my control.

I still didn’t understand just how out of control I really was, and what a beautiful thing that could be.

My SOP: Phone a Friend

So, I employed my Standard Operating Procedure and called my friend Shannon. (Have you noticed in this tale how many of my defining moments have happened inside a close relationship? Maybe it’s because I’m an extrovert, and process things verbally. Or maybe it’s because we were built for community.) Shannon is a beautiful, seasoned, wiser woman than myself whom I met via her blog a few years ago, and had had a chance to meet in person at the blogging conference. I had felt safe and understood in her presence, had gotten her phone number, and now this dear woman was on my short list of people to call when my soul is freaking out. (Poor thing–she rarely hears from me except in when I’m in distress. And she’s so sweet about it. I want to be like her when I grow up.)

Anyway, I called Shannon and tried to phrase questions my soul couldn’t quite verbalize, tried to outline the fear I was feeling. Only looking back do I clearly see what was the problem, but even in my confusion at that time, Shannon saw clearly what was happening in my heart, and spoke truth that pulled me out of my pit.

She new much of my personal testimony by now–how I’d been raised in a conservative Christian home and my personal response to that environment had been to become a pretty little pharisee. And then how, through some key relationships and mountains and valleys, I’d come to see and understand the true nature of faith–that it wasn’t a ticket to heaven with a heavy load of rules to haul along the way, but a relationship with a God who loves us like a father. She understood well that warped, works-based mentality, having conservative legalism in her background. And that’s probably how she was able to put her finger on the root of my soul fear.

Would I Be the Deal Breaker?

Although I had witnessed my Father’s love and mighty work in my life for over a decade now, I still didn’t understand my role in how we had gotten to this place. I still felt like some part of this amazing relationship was up to me, and I was worried I was going to drop my end of the deal, and all would be lost. I kept going back to that first defining moment in which my faith became real, and hyper analyzing it, trying to figure out what I did to get where I was, and why I didn’t get to God sooner, and how I could garuntee that I would stay in this place.

Notice all the “I’s” in that sentence? I still thought my efforts were part of the equation. But the truth is, Christ paid it ALL. He didn’t ask me to contribute to my own debt. And my journey closer to Him has not and never will be about my worthiness or initiative. Even when it feels like I did something to respond to His wooing of my heart–even my ability to hear the invitation and respond was a gift.

That was what Shannon said that finally brought me peace: “Even the repentance is a gift, Trina.” She gently pointed out the lies I was believing and helped me see that at every point on the journey, though God had given me actions to take (seek His face, repent, embrace accountability, etc.) all was in response to His love extended toward me. I hadn’t earned a right to this relationship, and thus I needn’t worry that I could lose it.

That day, pressing my cell phone to my ear so I could hear Shannon’s voice over the sound of my babies playing in the shade of the bus, I finally understood that all is truly grace. How and why He has wooed my heart as He has is still somewhat of a mystery to me. But it’s a mystery I no longer feel the need to unravel–because I trust that it is not my own actions or strength that hold me near to God–it is His love and work on the cross that gives me security.

Although I still occasionally slip into the mode of trying to earn approval from God, something shifted that day in my theology, and worrying about my security in Christ is a thing of the past. When I finally trusted that everything I had been given was a gift, not a reward, I finally had peace deep down in the bottom of my soul. I am His and He is mine. And all because of grace.

{Find all the posts in this series here–All Is Grace.}

The themes in this story are some of my favorite to chat about–join me in the comments or shoot me an email! I’d love to hear how God has wooed your own heart. Has your faith had defining moments such as the ones I shared in this tale? Maybe it was via a relationship, or nature, or grief, or blessing–how does He speak to you?

5 responses to “In Which I Finally Understand That All Is Truly Grace {All Is Grace, Part Seven}”

  1. Alison Treat Avatar

    Trina, I was there in your talk at Allume in 2012. Loved it! And I love this post. Feel like I’m still struggling to get to that place of complete peace you talk about. I know grace in my head, and sometimes in my heart–but not always. Thanks for encouraging me to keep looking–or to relax and receive it.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Alison, So lovely to connect with you again. Does it help to know that I am not always in that place of perfect peace? despite diving to those depths repeatedly, my soul still has its ups and downs. But trust is possible in both places. Praying He continues to pour His grace and peace out on you, His daughter.

      1. Alison Treat Avatar

        Thank you, Trina. It does help! Great to reconnect with you again as well.

  2. Stephie N Avatar
    Stephie N

    Beautiful! I think that is something we all struggle with, me especially lately, the L-rd has been working hard on my heart and I sometimes wonder how much of me is stuck in a Pharisee view and how much I truly feel is about grace the way it should be. I recently had a somewhat long discussion with an Orthodox Jew on Facebook that as I sat there shaking my head at how sadly lost he is in his thought process, I realized he is no more lost than I am, still trying to earn grace when grace has been freely given.

    1. Trina Avatar

      It’s a daily thing for me, too, Stephie, and I think it is because grace is truly the backbone of our faith–we struggle to accept or understand how it works because of our pride. I pray we both see it more clearly each day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *