When you have a child like Hayden, there is a very tangible reminder of how much grace my family and I need. When you see a family struggle with taking care of their child and his medical needs, doctor appointments, therapists, anxieties and panic, and all the other things that come along with a special needs child, people looking in on this situation are overwhelmingly kind and gracious. People often have a special interest in Hayden, which is so lovely. And prayers for him and our family and all that we endure. We covet those prayers and appreciate every person who loves on our family from near and far. It’s why we feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity to have Hayden in our family and be used in this special role God has given us.
I am thankful people give us so much grace because there are plenty of times when life is just too much and I can’t do the things I want to do in a way that typical people do. Or when we have to make adjustments to accommodate Hayden. Or we have to have others be more accommodating to us and our struggles so that life could be a little bit easier on us. And generally, people are more than happy to go out of their way when we ask for something or need to change plans.
This idea of people being so generous with grace to our family because of our visible struggle just made me begin to ponder the idea of what unseen struggles people around me are going through that I’m not generously giving grace to. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for YOU, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. A couple of things stood out to me in that sentence.
First, HIS grace is sufficient. So while other people’s grace can be incredibly amazing to experience, we don’t always receive grace. But Jesus’ grace is enough. It’s enough. He’s enough. So when we’re upset that someone isn’t more understanding or being kinder or more patient or loving, HE is. And He is enough.
Secondly, His grace is sufficient for “YOU.” The Word doesn’t say, “His grace is sufficient for special needs kids/single mothers/cancer patients.” His grace is sufficient for YOU. Regular old you. Isn’t that wonderful? I know that’s more than I deserve for sure. But it just reminded me that we ALL need grace – and I know that because Jesus said that. He promised to be that for me. But the thing of it is, we’re ALL struggling with something that we need grace for, but it’s unseen. It’s much easier to offer grace to the special needs kid or the single mom struggling or the cancer patient fighting for his life. But you’re not a child in a wheel chair; but maybe you still have a struggle. It’s just that because your body is healthy, the tendency is that people don’t generally go out of their way to be kind and gracious to you. Instead, if your struggle is unseen and hidden to the world around you, people can tend to expect things from you, rather than give grace to you. Maybe your struggle is you were abused as a child and because of that you have significant struggles as an adult; but no one can visibly see that internal battle. So the people around you set your bar just as high as any other “normal” person and when you don’t measure up, they aren’t loving and understanding. There are a million and one scenarios of challenges we all walk through and struggle with that you could plug into that equation.
What’s the solution? Walk around with a sign around your neck that says, “Be nice, I have trust issues”/“My self esteem is low and I think I’m not enough”/“I care too much about what people think about me”? No. I think the solution is for us all to offer grace to everyone, no matter what. Let’s be like Jesus and offer grace to “YOU”. Everyone. To random strangers who don’t know which direction the traffic is flowing – because maybe they just left their baby in NICU and their mind is somewhere else. To the teenage girl at the checkout counter who doesn’t understand how to make exact change when at the last minute you throw her a quarter to make even change – because maybe she has a learning disability and relies completely on the cash register to tell her what change to give out. Or maybe to the family member, who shares your DNA, who said something offensive to you and hurt your pride – because maybe they struggle with healthy communication and were doing the best they could and it came out wrong. You fill in the blank. There are an infinite amount of opportunities every day. If the whole point of this life is to always be striving to be more like Jesus, get it, y’all! There are countless chances every single day when you wake up to get it done. If you give me grace, I promise I’ll be doing my best to offer it back to you and everyone I encounter. It’s the least I can do.