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The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you....

There's only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you'll reach out and take it.

Maybe being able to reach out and take it is a gift too.

Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking, 1973

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Listen

But not only that! We even take pride in our problems, because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope. This hope doesn’t put us to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 5:3-5

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Think

First Paul tells us that we’re going to be boastful. Okay, that I can understand. But then Paul pushes our boundaries and encourages us to be uncomfortable. Paul says that we should be proud of our problems. We live in such an egocentric society — a ‘“me first” world — that it is not natural to take pride in our flaws and faults. We're trained to hide or minimize them instead. But life as a Christ follower calls us to be different.

There have been many times in my life that I have felt like I’ve failed: maybe I disappointed other people, or I didn’t reach a goal I set for myself. Looking back on those times now, I see how I became a more fruitful Christian because of the situation. Through God’s grace, I’ve learned to be okay with my mistakes because of the lessons I learned and how grace worked through them. Always look for a lesson. There is always one to be found — even if it’s only by the grace of God that we find it.

Mary Kate Deal

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Pray

God of Grace, help me to find grace through my failures, downfalls, and sins. Remind me that your grace is sufficient and that there are lessons to be learned. Help me turn to you when those lessons are hard to find and even harder to accept. Amen.

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Go

Take pride in God’s grace.

Accept God’s grace.

Have faith in God’s grace.

Thank God for grace.

Mary Kate Deal

Mary Kate Deal is a 2013 graduate of McAfee School of Theology. She currently serves as the Parish Administrator of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer outside Richmond, VA. She is married to William, and they have 17-month-old twin daughters, Dorothy and Adeline, who bring them more joy than they ever knew possible. She loves to write and preach and is thankful for any opportunity she is given to do so.

The Prayer: Be Thou My Vision

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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