The Meaning of Grace

June 6, 2014 | 16 comments

It’s what you say at meals.
What you name your girl.
What you extend to the guy who cut you off in traffic.


It’s the birthday cake, but it’s also the buttercream frosting.
It’s the light dancing atop of your candles.
It’s the present you always wanted but never thought to ask for.
Go ahead. Unwrap it:


It’s the so-much to your not-enough.
The shine to your lackluster.
The double-portion to your table scraps.


It’s also sandpaper.
The kind that rubs you wrong, while rubbing you better.
Like how an old dresser becomes art, or an antique tractor shines.
It’s how the broken, rusted parts of people get made new again:


It’s not a rule
a guilt
a formula
Or rabbit-in-the-hat trickery.
It’s not a spreadsheet
a scorecard
Or voila
Or abracadabra.
It’s not crossing your fingers in hopes,
or wagging your finger in faces.

It’s grace.

Just grace.

It’s language of angels,
Silent Night in the dim sanctuary,
head under the baptismal waters,
(feel it beading on your face again,
or for the first time in forever.)
Sword-sharp Word of God,
silk edge of the wedding gown,
your own reflection, ruby, in the communion wine,
and the single tear sliding down your cheek when they sing your favorite hymn.


It’s true north
when everything goes south.

It’s your broken hallelujah.

It’s the arm around your shoulder at the graveside,
the soft eyes of your Mom’s favorite nurse in the stale corridors of the cancer ward,
the kiss on the boo-boo,
the weight of his arm across your waist when you decide it’s never good to go to bed angry.

See it there in the shadows of your life:


It pursues you
finds you
forgives you
binds you–
but not with chains.
With stubborn love.

For this grace?
It delivers you.

It is
the gift:
Son of God forfeiting Heaven for you.
It is a friend who lay down His life,
not to condemn the world,
but to save it.
To save all of us.

It’s the cross.
It’s The More.

It’s your first breath, and your last,
and every one in between.
It’s in the miraculous and the mundane.
It’s scandalous and extravagant,
exceeding all that you wanted,
and avalanching you with everything you needed.

It’s your life.
And it’s your forever. 

Grab it,
but don’t hoard it.
There’s enough to share.
Invite the world.

This gift
is for us.

Watch how it saves you:



by | June 6, 2014 | 16 comments


  1. Kris Camealy

    Grace messes me up in all the right ways.

  2. Beth

    Amen! The greatest gift of all. Grace. Love this, Jennifer. Thank you so much. <3

  3. Megan Willome

    Love that “true north” and the photo with it!

  4. Birdie Cutair

    I’m breathing in the grace and breathing out the praise…

  5. Trudy Den Hoed

    Thank you, Jennifer. I so love how grace never condemns us or binds us with chains. I need that reminder daily.

  6. pastordt

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Every work, every image. Thanks so much! And I’m with Megan – that true north photo is poster worthy.

  7. Caryn Jenkins Christensen! “It’s True North when all goes South.”

  8. MsLorretty

    Reading this.. my heartbeat skipped and I got a lump in my throat because…. grace.

  9. Jillie

    (Stubborn) Love that will not let me go. Faithful-ness when I am faithless. True North. All is grace.
    Jennifer…I loved this.

  10. Sharon O

    wow. the words and the pictures … gently touching my hurting heart. thank you.

  11. lindalouise

    Oh Jennifer. This is exquisite. Where would I be without grace?

  12. Katherine

    The is beautiful! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful message of GRACE! Every day is a gift, but sometimes we forget–thanks for the “graceful” reminder.

  13. Michele Morin

    You’ve brought a “churchy” word into real life with your words and your pictures. Thank you.

  14. Barbie

    I’m breathing this in deeply tonight. So beautiful!

  15. Ceil

    Hi Jennifer! Beth mentioned that this was a wonderful post, and it is! Such a quiet, image-filled post, and I can relate to so much of it. Buttercream frosting, baptism, an arm at the gravesite. Those are what really spoke to me.
    PS I won a copy of your book, just waiting for it to arrive. Can’t wait to read it!

  16. Trish

    Tears at 7:03 in the morning, Jennifer. Now I get to reapply the mascara and head out to the workaday grind…but with a vision of grace to smooth out the wrinkles of the day…thank you.


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