Yesterday, I remembered I had a bridal shower to go to and needed to get a wedding gift. I rolled into Target, printed the registry and searched for aisle “N63.” After finding the gold-outdoor lantern, I quickly strolled by the books section. I thought maybe I’d find a wedding devotional I could add to the gift. No luck. Instead, a bright pink book caught my eye. Titled Grace, Not Perfection, I thought to myself, “Wow, this is what I’m struggling with right now.” All day (well, let’s be honest — for the past 20 years of my life) I anxiously beat myself up about how I “should” be a better friend, a better Jesus-follower, a better daughter — the list goes on. During this season of rest I’m having difficulty turning my mind off, but I feel like God is tenderly teaching me about grace.
With the book in my hand, my rational side kicked in as I reminded myself I don’t have a job right now and need to save money. I opened the book to read a few lines, though, and my heart won. After comparing prices on Amazon.com (just a few cents cheaper — hey, I’m being fiscally responsible here), I excitedly placed the book in my cart.
Over the past few months, God has really shown me how He is in every detail of life. Through malfunctions in Bible study DVDs to random restaurant companions, I have seen Him weave the most beautiful stories together. This book ending up in my hand is another confirmation of His intricate plan.
The book centers on God’s grace. Simplicity. Rest. Joy. Margin. Gratitude. I think God speaks to each of us differently in a way that is so personal to our individual hearts. During this season of my life, God has loved me through books and words. Stories and phrases. Specific sentences on random pages. In this book, it was this:
“Sweet precious one, if one day you are worried about what God is calling you to do with your priceless gift of a life, listen to that heart of yours. Run like crazy down the path God has set your heart ablaze for, and the One who loves you will be around every corner, cheering you on. Be you, little one, and trust that heart God so tenderly gave you. If you don’t know what that passion is yet, then keep trying things until it finds you. And in the meantime, you can build a life you dream of.” -Emily Ley, Grace, Not Perfection (p. 166)
Grab the tissues because the tears started flowing. During this time of rest, I’ve been trying to “figure out” what’s next. I’ve been trying to grasp all that God is teaching me, afraid I’m going to miss something. I’ve been trying to prepare for the future. But these sentences reminded me how gentle God is and how He specifically gave me the heart I have. And the cheering on part? I’ve never thought of God like that. Three years ago, I ran a half marathon. My mom and brother saw me at the starting line — and at miles 3, 6, 8, 9, and 13. They ran and drove around so they could see me as often as possible. They held up big, colorful signs and cheered so loudly. It meant so much to me and it was such a joyous day. I wonder if God is really like that. My mom and brother love me and the Bible says God loves me infinitely more, so I can’t help but believe these author’s words are true.
And it even gets better (God is such a God of abundance!) —a few weeks ago, I read Hannah Brencher’s If You Find This Letter and it was another “God book” for me. About an hour ago, I finished Grace, Not Perfection and randomly flipped to the cover pages. On one of the first pages was the photo of a bookshelf. On that bookshelf was none other but If You Find This Letter. Coincidence? God is in the details.
Who knew that a trip to pick out a wedding gift would turn into something so beautiful? God, you are in every detail and you are full of loving-kindness. I love that about you. I pray you open the eyes of the person reading this so he/she can see it, too. At the workplace. At the grocery store. On the playground. In the car. Washing the laundry. Cooking the meal. Lavish your love on us, Jesus. And then let that love overflow into the lives of everyone around us so they can see your love, too.