Blurry. That’s how I would describe the last days of 2016.
Blurry not from the hustle and bustle of the season, no not this year. Blurry because of the cloudy, hazy, fuzzy, pain-induced comatose-like state that permeated my existence. I’d like to forget the pain, and I will eventually. Thankfully, the painkillers dulled some of my memory. I think those pills should really be called, “I don’t really care pills” or in my case, “I might walk into a wall if I get up pills.”
Now before you go and assume I have an addiction problem, let me assure you I do not. I hated taking the pills, but found them quite necessary in order to minimize the pain that tormented me. The last month of 2016 was all about managing pain—to the bone kind of pain.
Why? An unexpected shoulder surgery that I would not recommend if avoidable.
Yes, my December was spent managing pain, all the while forcing myself to fix my hair and make-up, which isn’t so easy with only one working arm. Getting all dolled-up in suitable party clothes to go to this or that Christmas function even though I didn’t really feel much like it proved difficult as well with a wounded wing.
There was, however, quite a bit of online shopping (I can do some real damage on Amazon.com baby!). And the watching of every Hallmark Christmas movie aired this season. These two endeavors seemed not so bad to me in my hazy state.
Ultimately though, I allowed myself some much, much needed guilt-free REST!
Yes, REST. Now that’s a word that I fail to embrace a lot. And I know rest is foreign to many of you as well.
But you know what I’ve learned over these last twelve weeks?
It’s okay to rest. It’s more than okay!
We don’t allow ourselves to understand the importance of rest. Instead we buy into the lie that rest makes us sound lazy and undisciplined. Rest makes us look inferior or weak. Rest seems like a guilty pleasure.
Lies! All lies, I tell you!
How does that happen? How do we take a God-given gift like rest and allow the enemy to twist our thinking, causing us to believe such nonsense? At creation God set aside an entire day for us to rest from our labors, and in the New Testament we are told to rest or refresh ourselves numerous times. Jesus, Himself, rested and gave us instruction about rest. (Matthew 11:28)
After coming to this conclusion during my blurry hours of pain and healing, God gave me a word for this year. It’s not the word rest. But, this word implies rest on some level. It’s a multi-faceted word that God wants me to grow in this year.
So today when I looked at our family calendar that hangs on the wall and realized it still read “2016,” then looked around my house and gasped at the messy chaos, I chose grace. Yes, I chose to give myself a smidge (or two) of grace, reminding myself that life has been difficult these past three months. The arm still hurts, yet the work still remains, regardless of the pain.
So yes, this is my year to learn more about grace.
I’m learning that I need to give myself (and others) some grace. I need to allow myself the opportunity to rest more. I need to implement guilt-free margin. I need to do less but affect more lives for the Kingdom. I need to show grace in my speech to others, allow God to pour grace on my life and really teach me about the sufficiency of His grace.
And y’all, do you know what?
He’s teaching me.
I can’t wait to tell you all the ways God has already worked grace in my life. But today, today’s lesson did not leave me feeling guilty or judged (Girl, I even posted this picture on the Instamagram!).
Today’s lesson went something like this:
This calendar faux pas and this mess of a house is real life. That’s right. Real, stinkin’ life. You are not the only woman in America whose calendar still displays last year’s dates and whose house is a hot mess. And girl, you don’t have to pretend like you have it all together or kill yourself to get it all together. Just take it one step at a time. Move slow. Take frequent breaks. And don’t you dare feel guilty about doing so. God loves you even though your calendar is behind and you have clothes all over the place. You’re His girl.
I am reminded every time I move my right arm and try my best to use it that I have limitations and weaknesses, but this surgery has taught me that those weaknesses have a much farther reach than my arm. Those weaknesses and limitations extend into my every day life.
Yes … grace.
Grace. Grace. Grace … this year’s mantra.
I will embrace grace this year.
What about you? Will you embrace grace with me?
Beth Frits says
Jacqueline, thank you for being so transparent & REAL! I needed this message today. ?
Jacqueline Heider says
Beth, so glad it was helpful. Over the years I’ve learned that God takes our messes and blesses us and others along the way if we will only tell our story! Love to you!! 🙂
Sindy Behrends says
Oh Jacqueline thank you so much for your transparency and sharing your heart! Just what my weary heart needed to be reminded of! The Lord used your willingness to share your heart to be His vessel to minister to mine (and others) to confirm what He has been trying to reveal to me! Thank you from the depths of my heart and tear filled eyes! ??????
I’m so in awe of His loving, patient, faithful, gracious ways as I have been taking such needed time to draw near, seek, be still, rest in, and listen to His still small voice today! His Spirit drew me to read this and oh how glad I am that I did!!! Thank you again❣
I’m very familiar with and quote 2 Cor. 12:9 so very often but receiving that grace well ummm let’s just say I’m still a work in progress ?
He is such a Good Good Father! Oh His GRACE GRACE GRACE AMAZING GRACE❣❣❣
Jacqueline Heider says
I am in awe of the lengths God goes to teach us and make us more like Christ as well. This was a tough lesson but one I am truly grateful for!