grace upon grace
Before you, I lived in a box.
A box where people who didn’t do the right thing didn’t fit. Those who struggled to be kind couldn’t be a part. And if they had a hard time making friends they didn’t belong there.
My box was for those who didn’t have struggles. The people who were perfect. The ones who had it figured out.
And my box was a very empty place. Just me and my judgmental thoughts.
Then you came along.
And you smashed that box into a million pieces.
I have a good life. Many might say it’s an “easy” life…not one without problems, loss, frustration, and all the other things that are guaranteed, but one that from the outside looks pretty picture perfect.
I’ve made friends easily. I always did well in school. I never had problems fitting in. I am disciplined and orderly in all I do. I find joy in most everything.
Life just came easy for me.
And while that sounds wonderful and like something to be envied, my “easy” life is so much of the reason I began building this box around me.
A box where my expectations of people were not realistic. Where my standards for all those around me were incredibly unattainable and only set people up to fail. Where my judgmental thoughts flowed much too freely.
This made my world was so small.
And then you came.
In all of your squishy, cuddly, baby perfection, you came and showed me a world outside of my box.
A world where we all were designed to live. A place where imperfection is expected and even encouraged.
Maliyah, you were born with a story.
We picked you up from the hospital two days after you were born and as a thirteen-year-old girl, all I could see was a six-pound bundle of perfection. A baby girl I was going to love forever. The cute outfits, baby giggles, and snuggles consumed me.
I didn’t know enough to predict what would come next.
There were first steps, smiles, and baby jabber. Eventually it led to preschool, learning to swim, and getting excited about Santa…all the wonderful things that come with the first few years of life. Then, it went onto kindergarten, learning to make friends, trying out different sports, having your first sleepover…all those big milestones. Those childhood years that should be perfect and fun.
But they weren’t always like that for you.
Along with all those wonderful moments came other things. The understanding of what it means to be adopted and the struggle of coming to terms with that. The reality of family genetics and the impact it had on you. The hard truth that life isn’t always “easy” for everyone.
All of those seemingly perfect and easy moments weren’t often perfect and easy with you. Because while you were trying to navigate this thing called life, you were also trying to fight the battles that came with your story.
You still are.
You see, so many moments in time when you have not responded the way I would expect someone to respond, my only thought is, “Morgan, you don’t know what it’s like to be in her shoes. To be adopted. To carry the weight she carries daily. You just have no idea.”
When you would get angrier than ever, when you would say unkind things to me, when you would panic over something that didn’t even matter…I thought the same thing over and over, “You have no idea what it is like.”
My grace for you was so immense, because my love for you was unconditional. There was nothing you could say and nothing you could do to keep me from covering you in that grace.
You see, grace was not a part of my vocabulary before you were born. There was right and wrong. There was reward and consequence. No in between.
But with you, I discovered the in between.
Slowly but surely, over the years this grace has began to permeate so many of my other relationships.
As I learn people’s stories, encounter people different from me, or hear of someone’s struggles, I think of you.
I think about your story, your battles, your heart…and I can’t help but think, “Morgan, you have no idea what it is like to be in their shoes. You have no idea what else is going on.”
That box where no one fits has been smashed to pieces.
I now understand that behind each action, each word, and each person is a story. It could be one full of blessings or it could be one that includes shame, guilt, heartbreak, abuse, fear, addiction, or mental illness…we just never know.
God never designed His children to build boxes. He created us to live in unison with one another, lifting each other out of the pits, and celebrating the triumphs together.
And this can only come when we adopt a heart of grace.
People are going to drive us insane. People are going to make us angry. People are going to do weird things. People are going to be annoying.
And this is where I now say…grace upon grace.
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
Daily, He offers us that grace. That chance to try again. To ask for forgiveness. To run to Him and bask in His love.
None of us are without fault, and the quicker we can accept that and choose to love one another despite that, the quicker we can make His truth known.
Maliyah, you wrecked my world. You showed me the beauty of struggling. The victory that comes with fighting. And the life change that comes with offering grace.
Grace upon grace…
All my love,