When January comes along in the blogging world, there are lots of posts about everyone’s “word of the year.” I never jumped on the “word” train, not because I didn’t think it was a great idea, but because I had no idea what my word would be.
In February, Maya and I visited my friend Tara Clapper (founder of No.41) in Nashville. Her word for the year is “Seek” and she had it posted all around her totally cute little home. We stayed up late nights having heart-to-hearts (more like me spilling my guts all over her floor!). I admitted all of the ways that I feel like I am falling short. I am never wife enough, mom enough, photographer enough, friend enough, daughter enough, blogger enough for my liking. I can always find a way that I should have tried harder, thought longer, stayed calmer, been smarter. My sweet friend said to me, “But Jenn, what about grace?”
This wasn’t the first time someone pointed out to me that I was definitely lacking in the grace department for myself and for others. It was the first time that I paused to let it really sink into my soul. It was the first time I realized that “Grace” is my word. Not my word for the year. My word for life. All of the sudden it clicked for me that my struggle in life has always been grace. I had lived every day in the last several years with a cloud of guilt following me around. Not guilt for one thing. It was a different thing all the time. When I was with my family, I felt guilty for not working enough. When I was working on something, I felt guilty for not being with my family.
My father was a very legalistic, controlling parent when I was growing up. Perfection was the only way to be praised, so I sought after perfection and I have never stopped. But perfection is not Jesus’ way. The whole idea of Jesus is that we aren’t perfect. We need help. We need forgiveness. We need second chances. AND THAT IS OK.
Understanding this and living it are two very different things. Each day is a chance to live in the moment, give all I can and be ok with what I cannot do. I know that living in grace is my destination, but that I will probably be chasing it forever. I wanted a reminder for myself and little notes around the house didn’t quite seem enough. So I did what any girl would do…I got the word tattooed to my wrist. A forever reminder to settle into God’s grace and live each day giving it to everyone around me. I have needed the reminder every day since. It is a battle for me to live in the moment, to give myself grace as I try to be the best wife, mother, friend and daughter that I can be each day.
Ephesians 2:4-9 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us…made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—…so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.