Just as many women (and some men) do, Hunny B enjoys decorating our home. With the changing of the seasons, and from holiday to holiday, B has home décor items appropriate for the times. Floral and other natural displays, artwork, crafts, knickknacks, splashes of color, and increasingly, words or even just letters. Right now, I am looking at a sprightly colored sign of cut out wooden letters that spell “SPRING”. Another that she added recently is a framed sign that reads “Grace changes everything.”
Some readers may have already noted that we were getting the kids a new puppy. After a couple of delays totaling more than two weeks, we finally brought the little one home from the shelter. As anyone who has ever brought a baby home – whether human or canine – can attest, your life becomes very different with a little one in the family. Oh, did I mention we named our puppy Grace? Yeah, Grace changes everything! Our usage of paper towels has increased about ten-fold since Grace came home on Good Friday. Puppy toys are strewn around the floor. I get up two or three times a night when she starts squirming around in her crate and needs to go outdoors. Oh, and you cannot just buy a bag of Puppy Chow anymore; that just will no longer do. Now, we buy wild bison and green pea, grain-free kibble that costs four times as much. Yes, Grace changes everything.
What I hope is that Grace does make some changes in our lives. Certainly, having a puppy can be very good for the kids, providing a fun playmate and offering the opportunity to accept responsibility for another life – feeding, watering, brushing, bathing, and walking. But, it is also good for me. I can be a bit of a hard task master. Like Hunny B’s sign, naming our puppy Grace can serve as a frequent reminder to me to exercise grace in my dealings with others. As one of my favorite authors, Chuck Swindoll, has written, “Grace is not something to be claimed, it is to be demonstrated.” I have spent too much of my life dependent on the grace of others, but too unwilling to extend it to those around me. How very wrong of me. I have repeatedly been the recipient of the greatest gift anyone could receive, but was unwilling to share that gift. In Romans 3:23-24, Paul famously tells us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus”. I have been tragically wrong at times in my life, and more generally wrong in one way or another every day of my life. I am gratefully justified by and completely dependent upon God’s grace, as well as the grace I receive from others. Perhaps I am growing more gracious in my life as I age. I know that I still have much room for improvement. At least now, I have some reminders in the house that grace does, indeed, change everything. Even me.
~ Hudd ~
Kevin Huddleston is an Elder at Fellowship at Cross Creek Church in Branson, MO