Leaning Back into Grace

Resurrection is a gift.  Pure gift.  God kneading Kingdom  and spreading into us Life.

“If the Spirit of Him who rose Christ from the dead is living in you, then the Spirit of Him who rose Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies.”  (Romans 8:11)

This is our very present Hope.  Romans 8 whispers that resurrection is not just a future reality, but a Spirit-infused present reality.  Our powerful God of Easter pursues our death and with our surrendered help, conquers our death by His death.* (See prayer below)

We can lean back into grace.

This week, all I can do is receive.  I have had walking pneumonia that has knocked me off my feet. Literally horizontal…avec heating pad.

I have been leaning back into grace.

A friend came over and cleaned my house Monday: pure unadulturated grace.

My husband fills needs wordlessly and shows me grace in action.

And then there’s been that other grace: Grace to have enough energy to coordinate the tradition of coloring eggs. Thin shavings of crayons spread over steamy eggs.  Crayons melted, spreading a confetti of 3D color.

But here’s the gift, as Ann Voskamp would say, the hard eucharisteo: Sickness has been resurrection at work, raising me from of the death of expectations, out of law and into grace.

I have had no where else to go.

This has been the gift:

This sickness my ipad has 2 new books on it and I’ve been switching back and forth writing on little virtual notepads (way too much fun, I’m such a nerd!):  Holley Gerth‘s, You’re Already Amazing and neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Who Switched Off My Brain.  They are informing and filling out eachother.

Holley Gerth speaks truth about our crazy expectations for our lives and how we eat every expectation handed to us by those who “love us and have a wonderful plan for our lives.”

She says: “Expectations are laws we place on ourselves and each other…You must do X or you will be punished in some way.” (Chapter 8)  She says that when we accept others’ expectations of us (or even our own Tower of Babel: our own expectations are often built from bricks of pride), there are usually unspoken punishments involved: disapproval, guilt, rejection, withdrawal of love, shame.

Huge aha moment: I’ve been living hunchbacked, bowed down under law.  Expectations force its way into every corner of my calendar, consume my housecleaning, pepper through my mothering and worse of all, make idols of my dreams.

What have I discovered?  Others’ expectations are subtle in my life, but my own…not so much. Expectations are weighing me down, drowning me in law.

I clean around my house angry that I haven’t done more.  I hold up a standard of perfect, and when I don’t see it, slap myself around in an internal dialogue, frustrated.  I am angry I don’t clean like my olympic homemaker of a mother-in-law, gifted in holding out her hand and making the chaos obey. (Where did Mary Poppins buy that snappy song for tidying up the nursery?)

Good mothers have clean houses.  Good wives welcome their husband home with order.  My expectations have created a harried woman, overwhelmed by perfect, unable to accept grace.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist, teaches that thoughts can be formed and reformed, in fact, “transformed by the renewing of our mind.” (Romans 12:2)  Scripture is powerful and when meditated upon, literally transforms the landscape of our brain.

I have been getting up off the heating pad for a half hour at a time deep-breathing grace:  Summer, you are not under law, but under grace.  I am loving my family through tasks, loving myself by not demanding a sacrifice of pain in order to pursue perfect.

I have dropped expectations and have been drinking a new concoction: resurrection laced with grace.

And I am noticing grace is starting to spread.

Grace is spreading on the heat of my struggle and the surprise is: a confetti of celebration.  Who knows how far?

Summer Gross

*Paschal Troparian from Easter Liturgy:

Christ is risen from the dead,

trampling down death by death,

and on those in the tombs bestowing life!
linking with Ann Voskamp:

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19 Comments

  1. we are neighbors at jennifer’s…sorry you are feeling bad but so wonderful to see how you can let God redeem this time. I heard Dr. leaf on Tv…she was fascinating. blessings as you heal.

    1. Thank you for your blessing…I visited your site and was blessed by your teaching your daughter thanksgiving. Thanks

  2. Fabulous! Oh, how often we compartmentalize the God Of the universe and His boundless grace! As if His redemption could not extend to our daily comings and goings. Hope you are well soon 🙂

  3. Beautiful post. So true– we must let go of expectations and embrace grace. I am glad that you have had help recovering.
    with joy knowing that Christ is Risen,
    Carol

  4. Powerful words….I am going to Amazon right now to get those books. Letting others set our expectations is a curse on many of us….Oh to just live in His presence. In Today’s “Jesus Calling” was the same idea—think I better listen. Thanks

    1. Hi Darnly,
      I’m loving Jesus Calling as well. Right now, I’m going back to March 21st often: “Human weakness, consecrated to Me, is like a magnet, drawing My power into your neediness.” Blessings, daughter of the most high God.

    1. You’ll love it! I’m Going to do a book club on it in June here in south haven, mi. Great depth written as an easy read.

  5. You have given a lot of food for thought, here. I am ruminating on “expectations becoming a law for me.” I also like Dr. Leaf’s idea: “Scripture is powerful and when meditated upon, literally transforms the landscape of our brain.”

    Thank you for sharing!

  6. Grace spreading.. a confetti of celebration. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing. Hope you are feeling better soon. Isn’t it crazy how sometimes God just needs to put us on our backs so we’ll gaze up at Him without distraction? So glad you’ve been held up by the hands of others, too. Happy to have stopped by today!

  7. The heavy self-expectation of perfection is one of the biggest grace killers I know. You show us here how to fight back, even when we’re laid low by illness. You ministered to me tonight.

    1. Such a gift to have you come by Jennifer. I’m so blessed by your blog and the anti-ambition it calls me to…Jesus-centered, not me-centered.

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