Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Growing up in a Christian home, the word “grace” has always been a household word. I always knew what grace was and knew that God’s grace applied to everyone, including me. However, recently I have come to realize that knowing something is different than truly understanding something. I know that I’m forgiven and God shows me grace but its never really sunk in. The concept of grace lost its meaning and its significance as I grew up. I’ve always considered myself a “good girl” and have frequently been called a “goody two-shoes” so I always felt like my sins weren’t that big of a deal to God. My sins were easily forgiven. I really never felt truly remorseful for a majority of the mistakes I made. While reading the book Redemption by Mike Wilkerson, I discovered that my attitude toward grace and forgiveness is arrogant. He writes,

“a preoccupation with self-forgiveness is to believe that your sin is a bigger deal to you than it is to God. You think, “Of course God has forgiven me,” as if it were a small thing to Him. The fact is that God is always the most offended by your sin, even when you sin against someone else. No one knows more than God just how big a deal your sin truly is. It cost  him His perfect son”.

He goes on to say, “It is the height of self-centeredness to think your sin somehow offends you (or anyone else, even) more than it offends God”. I felt very convicted by this. I obviously considered my sin insignificant when in reality, my sins don’t differ from murder or greed. All sins are equal in the eyes of God (James 2:10).

My conviction led me to re-read the gospel so I could truly understand the price Jesus paid for my sins, no matter how small or insignificant they are in the eyes of man. Every night I read a chapter and every night I’ve notice a pattern: its all about faith. In almost every chapter someone either lacks faith and Jesus forgives them or someone has faith in Jesus Christ and is blessed because of that faith. As I’ve mentioned in blogs past, I’ve been struggling with worry and anxiousness about my future. Every night I am hit with the realization that my worrying is really a lack of faith in God, which is my constant sin struggle. Despite the fact He has always provided for me and things always work out a million times better than I could ever plan, I still worry. Yet, as I’ve been reading, I have caught myself getting frustrated with the disciples and others who lack faith. Unlike us, they actually met Jesus Christ. They watched him perform miracles, they watched fulfill prophecies, and they witnessed him rise again. They have no excuse to doubt, right? Once again I have considered my lack of faith not a big deal. But I’ve realized that I also have proof of God’s authenticity: the Bible. So I don’t have an excuse. Jesus died for me and I think its trivial that I don’t trust him? Pitiful. However, it is comforting to know the disciples and I struggle with the same thing. Doubt and worry are natural parts of being human. When the disciples became afraid of the storm Jesus said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:26). God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and EVERYWHERE. And this perfect, loving God gave His only son to die for my sins. ALL of them.

So for those of you reading this and thinking, “I thought this blog post was supposed to be about grace?”, let me explain. You cannot truly understand grace until you understand the validity of Christ and the meaning of what He did (AKA: the Gospel). Jesus died for our sins. He DIED. He didn’t just ‘die’ either. He suffered the most humiliating and painful death at that time in history and not even for just one person. He died for His friends. He died for His enemies. He died for everyone in His present, His past, and His future. He died for you before you were you were formed in your mother’s womb. He died for your lies, for your greed, for your sinful thoughts and your sinful actions. He made Himself filthy in the eyes of His father. So filthy, in fact, that God turned away from Him. He did all this so that you and I have the opportunity to spend eternity with a loving God. So he suffered for the things I am apathetic for. So no matter how small I consider it in relation to the sins of others, it still cost Him his life. And he did all of this because he LOVES us. Let that sink in.

So as you can see, I’m being convicted a lot recently. And, subsequently, I’m learning a lot too. I was shown the following video from a very dear friend of mine. I feel this video truly encompasses what I tried to convey. Enjoy!

A Historical Conviction

A Historical Conviction

As you may or may not know, I am a history buff. I love learning about different generations, eras, wars, cultures, etc. They truly fascinate me. So it was very exciting when I was granted membership into the Highland Park Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Membership into this exclusive organization is only given to women who can prove their lineage to a soldier or patriot of the American Revolution. My mom was able to get all the necessary documents to file for membership and I am now a proud member. With such a detailed, yet small record of my family history, I became curious, asking myself “Where did I come from?” Yes, I am related to William Mauzy, a private in the Virginia Militia, present at the Battle of Yorktown, but where did he come from? My journey led me straight to Michael Mauze, my 9th great-grandfather and a prominent French Huguenot.

Now are you ready for a history lesson? According to the biography, Genealogical record of the descendents of Henry Mauzy: a Huguenot refugee … By Richard Mauzy:

“So far as we have been able to learn with any degree of certainty, all the Mauzys in the various States and Territories of the United States have descended from a single ancestor, a prominent and zealous Protestant who would not abjure his religious faith to save his property, official position, or even life, and for his devotion to principle sacrificed home, friends, and country, and at the risk of his life made his escape from France to England, by concealing himself in a hogshead in the hold of the vessel, whence, after a time, he came to settle in the colony of Virginia. He left France in this way because of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685 by Louis XIV, which deprived the Protestants (at that time called Huguenots) of the freedom of worship and other liberties which were granted by that Edict of Henry IV in 1598, and thus authorized and encouraged cruel and fanatical Catholic persecution to harass and destroy the lives and to seize and confiscate the property of the Huguenots, whom they denounced as heretics deserving of death.”

Yeah. My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was hardcore. But seriously. I read that paragraph and was not only impressed, but deeply humbled. My ancestor stood up for what he believed in despite the consequences. His faith ultimately forced him to flee his home, his official position, and he risked his life for it. He was willing to conceal himself in a hogshead (a large cask or barrel) in the hold of a ship in order to have the freedom to worship how he pleased. And I get nervous sharing the gospel with children in Haiti! As my conviction began to grow I came across the following paragraph:

“The immediate family of which he was a member was one of prominence and of zealous protestantism, and was consequently under vigilant espionage, and hence had a trap-door in the floor under which they concealed their bible when not in use. Whilst one would read the bible in their daily devotions, another would watch to annonuce the approach of any one, and in such event the bible was instantly put beneath the trap-door.”

If my ancestors wanted to study the Bible and strengthen their personal relationship with their Father in Heaven, they would have to have someone stand guard as they retrieved the family Bible from the floorboards. I, on the other hand, have to force myself to stop staring at Facebook and do my quiet time. Here I am living in a country with the freedom of religion and the right to read my Bible without consequence, and I daily choose to do anything but. Talk about convicting. As I continued to research my family line, one thing stayed constant: their faith in Jesus Christ. My family was full of preachers and pastors (with the occasional doctor thrown in) with personal accounts from their friends and neighbors of their “remarkable fervency and power in prayer”. I hope that I too will leave that kind of legacy. I hope that I will keep my faith against all odds and without shame. Time and time again God has proven his love, mercy, justice, omnipotence, and omniscience. But I admit, it is a daily struggle to make Him my number one priority in the midst of this busy world we live in. However, if being a Christian has taught me anything it has taught me that nothing in impossible with God (Luke 1:37). And so I will end this post with a promise to myself: that I will make my ancestors proud and honor my Father.

and now I’ve got to read my Bible.