Grace Notes


A couple of days ago, I was talking to my Sweet Mama and told her I needed a fresh view of God. I was tired of my old view. I needed to see Him differently and see myself in relationship with Him differently. I’m totally annoyed with my current physical state (not life-threatening, just quality-of-life- threatening!), and the Lord is, well, distant. I do my Bible study and I love the “study,” but I’m missing my Lord. I need a fresh view.  The Sweet Mama understood and (knowing my “bibliophilia”) recommended a book and promised her prayers. And she always prays. 

*Just a note: Some folks have Beth Moore or Kay Arthur or Priscilla Shirer–I have “Sweet Mama.” She’s my spiritual hero.

So Wednesday morning–after showering and taking care of some work stuff, I put the work down and said, “OK, God. Let’s have this out.” And you know what He said? Nothing. But I did keep feeling the phrase “my grace is sufficient” rolling through my soul.

My. Grace. Is. Sufficient. Not was or will be, but “is” sufficient. Right now. The “is” matters.

And just like that, Grace Notes popped into my noggin. It’s purely self-serving, but necessary. I need to be reminded that His Grace is–and continues to be–sufficient regardless of my physical pain and weakness. To recognize His grace requires a recognition of His character. The Bible is our source for knowing God. Everything we need to know about God waits for us in Scripture. And no book of the Bible lays out God’s character so clearly (for me) as does the Psalms.

So, I turned to Psalm 1 and started gleaning. I wanted to find all the descriptions of God I could locate within the Psalms and compile a list. I love lists, but lists don’t equal grace. They do provide words though–words that might fit those tiny grace notes I experience throughout my day. It might only be one a day, but I’m going to write that one grace note down. For me. I want to see God with fresh eyes.

Obvious question: How will I recognize a “grace note” when I experience it?

I’ll start with what grace notes are not: momentary joys or pleasures. If they were, I would be writing down red lipstick, coffee, peanut butter, and dark chocolate for every grace note.

Nor are they feelings. Lord knows I’m an emotional beast prone to zip from one tumultuous forest to the other in a matter of minutes. My feelings aren’t grace. Sure, I might respond to grace in an emotional way, but it’s not what I’m after.

Grace notes are those momentary glimpses of “life done right” that remind me of God’s sovereignty. His imagination. His sense of humor. All those characteristics of God’s personality revealed to us in the Psalms.

Grace Note 1:

Yesterday I was on my way to my surgeon. I have one. Or two. Soon to be three. They remind me of how fragile our earthly bodies are–they start deteriorating the day we are born. Some deteriorate faster than others.

I needed a Grace Note, something to remind me of the character of God. Of Christ. Of the Holy Spirit.

It’s a beautiful day for mid-December in Northern Colorado. A day of aching sunshine that confuses the hibernating trees. My mind is racing back and forth planning what I need to do after the appointment. I slow it down and just stare at the mountains. I drive west, and they’re right there–straggling the horizon.

Christmas is only a few days away. We’re heading south and east towards my family and grandchildren. I don’t want to feel cranky or whiney. Bring on the grace note, God!

And He does. My Christmas playlist shifts to Christy Nockels’ song, “Wrap This One Up.” It’s haunting and balladic. It tells a story of sacrificial lambs. And of Christ. When the last verse played, I cried and lifted my hands (well, just one–since I was driving). And suddenly a Grace Note was there–right in alignment with His character.

When I got home, I looked at my list and there in Psalm 4 I found the truth of my first grace note. Psalm 4 reminds me that my Lord is righteous, He hears, and He fills my heart with joy! Christy’s song was a vessel for God’s grace to touch me yesterday.

Hallelujah to the King.

His Grace is sufficient for today. And that is enough, until tomorrow. Sigh. “What fragile creatures we mortals be!” (A little Ted Hughes…)

Take a listen to this Grace Note: Christy Nockels–“Wrap This One Up

Christmas photo credit: Bennilover Silver Bells via photopin