Whispers of Grace
In my neighborhood live a group of women who meet together for coffee each month. They’ve lived in the neighborhood forty years and more. In the beginning they left their babies at home with their husbands, “Any man can manage to care for children for an hour” they would tell each other. They knew the value of the support of other women and the preciousness of an hour away from home. They named their group the Birthday Club, but they never needed a reason to celebrate.
As their children grew and moved away, these women continued to meet. They shared their joys and struggles, the winding road of life.
When I moved in with my young family, they invited me to join them. “Leave the kids with your husband,” they told me. “Any man can manage to care for children for an hour.” They knew I needed the support of other women and the preciousness of an hour away from home. They also knew the restorative power of a lemon bar among friends.
There came a season in my life when attending Birthday Club was not possible.
It was then I received a lesson on grace. Because these beautiful women did not dismiss me as a lost cause. They continued to invite me each month. After each meeting they noted my absence and asked if things were well at our house. God’s grace whispered through them. “You are wanted. Your presence is enjoyed.”
Their gentle pursuit of me mirrored God’s pursuit of each of us.
Friends, it gets even better. After a long hiatus, I once again joined the Birthday Club. Do you know what? Not one woman stood with her hands on her hips, scowling and asking where I’d been those long months. Not one of those lovely women accused me of not adhering to the rules of the group. Not one woman said I should be turned away because I hadn’t taken my turn to be hostess. Instead they welcomed me back. They asked me about my children. By. Name. They wanted to see pictures and to hear stories about our life. And then they smiled and offered a lemon bar.
Those women gave me a precious gift: the sweet taste of their open, unconditional friendship. In doing so, they reminded me of the truth that God also welcomes us back to Himself. He doesn’t stand with His hands on divine hips, asking where we’ve been. He doesn’t turn us away for not following the rules. In fact, Romans 5:8 reminds us that while we were actively sinning against God, He still died for us. In Luke 15 we see a picture of God as a loving Father, arms wide to embrace us, His straying children.
God loves you and wants to commune with you. If you ever need to be reminded of this truth, come on over. I’ll bake the lemon bars.