The Mystery of Grace {A Lenten Season With Purpose}


A Bible Scholar I am not, but as these eyes stare up at me in wide-eyed wonder, oh how I wish I were. Their question’s simple, yet after decades of claiming its truth, I still struggle with explaining it plainly. In a way these childlike hearts could understand. I’m over-thinking it, clearly, as it shouldn’t be that difficult. I cling to grace each day. Surely I can explain what it means to a group of 5 year-olds.

Her heart-shaped sequins glisten as she reiterates the question:
“So what does grace mean, anyway?”

I feel like a deer in headlights as I stare back at her long lashes and find myself quoting Romans 5:8 without really realizing why.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

He’s the first one to say it. This boy who is normally too shy to draw the attention questions bring.

“But Miss Nikki, that verse is about love. Not grace.”

Impulse makes me nod in agreement, providing enough time for my heart to catch up with my head…

You see, I’m not sure grace could exist without love.

So I tell them as plainly as I can about this thing that’s so hard to believe.

Each one of us makes mistakes. No one is perfect, and yet, Jesus loves us anyway. No and, ifs, or buts about it. He loves us.

Jesus knew we’d mess up. Still He came to earth. Jesus saw how bad we could be. Still He offered to lay His own life down in exchange for ours.

No matter how much we blow it, He loves us anyway.
Doesn’t matter how many times we fail.
We could come in last place at everything and still we’re kept first place in His heart.

His love is unfailing. Amazing. Unabashed. Forever.

That’s grace. Plain and simple.

Grace is love that never fades, fails, yet always forgives and forgets.

Grace is loving someone anyway.

Later that night I realize how these children helped me see.

It’s settled then. As I walk into this Lenten season, I am determined to keep looking with the childlike heart He’s given me.

And maybe if I spend some time acknowledging the grace He gives, I’ll have an easier time extending it to others who don’t deserve it — same as me.

Perhaps if I focus on how He never fails, I’ll be able to step more quickly when He calls. Bend more fully when He suggests. Extend His hand through mine.

Friends, I don’t care how your tradition prepares you for Easter. Regardless of how ashen or how much you sacrifice these 40 days to come. We each can dedicate ourselves to focusing on His grace. love. forgiveness. Doesn’t matter how you look at it, I don’t think they’d all exist without the other.

Let’s live this Lenten Season on purpose. His grace deserves it.

Would you like to join me?

Tell me, how will you be preparing your heart for the significance of the cross this season? How do you see grace? I’d love to hear.

12 Responses to The Mystery of Grace {A Lenten Season With Purpose}
  1. Lisa
    March 5, 2014 | 12:11 am

    Nikki, I have missed you and your beautiful posts! Wow! I look forward to folllowing your Lenten journey. Would you be so kind as to link this post up with my Lenten linkup? There are many wonderful posts already and it will be open throughout this season of repentance for people to share, read and be inspired. Much love to you!

  2. Tina
    March 5, 2014 | 5:04 am

    My new year began with a reading of the Psalms, highlighting the trust passages. When I finished, I sensed I should do it again and picked up the highlighter and a different version of the Bible. Then as this beautiful season began to approach, I wondered, what next? The words from Psalm 37 wouldn’t let me go “feast on His faithfulness.” I decided to take a treasure hunt, searching the Bible for scriptures regarding God’s faithfulness. Of course, the hunt included beautiful words from the book of Romans. God is leading me on a journey of seeing His love in a greater way and how could I if not for grace. I’m so delighted when your thoughts hit my inbox. As this season continues and I make my way through the gospels, contemplating what it means to “be in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) and marveling at the great grace lavished on us, I will thank God for your encouragement many times.

    • Nikki
      March 5, 2014 | 4:46 pm

      just soaking this in, friend…all your wisdom here. “Feast on His faithfulness” — love that! thank you…what a gift you are to me! {HUGS}

  3. Kari Scare
    March 5, 2014 | 8:37 am

    Preparing my heart by doing a Lenten devotional, choosing a deliberate focus in my daily quiet time on the significance of the cross. I view grace as getting something I don’t deserve but being oh so thankful there’s an abundance of it. Grace makes me want to be brave because I know I can do the best I can and God gives the grace when I mess up. It makes me not afraid to stay persistent.

    • Nikki
      March 5, 2014 | 4:47 pm

      “Grace makes me want to be brave” — I love that thought! oh so true… thank you for that and for sharing with me, Kari! {HUGS}

  4. Laura Rath
    March 5, 2014 | 12:58 pm

    “Grace is loving someone anyway.” So simple, and yet if only I could live it better!

    • Nikki
      March 5, 2014 | 4:48 pm

      You and me both, Laura! we’re striving, right?:)

  5. Ginger Harrington
    March 5, 2014 | 10:11 pm

    Thanks for setting a great tone for entering into lent this year. Enjoyed you post so much.

  6. Beth
    March 5, 2014 | 10:29 pm

    Oh, I agree! Grace can’t exist without love. I can’t help but to think of the verse… “the greatest of these is love.” But love how you wrapped together grace, love and forgiveness. This was beautiful and great encouragement as I take my first Lenten journey. Thank you. Blessings.

  7. ~Karrilee~
    March 6, 2014 | 12:23 pm

    “Grace is love that never fades, fails, yet always forgives and forgets.
    Grace is loving someone anyway.”

    I love this… and you! And I have missed your voice, sweet friend!

    Leaning in to Lent with you, with eyes wide open!

  8. Sherrey Meyer
    March 9, 2014 | 3:08 pm

    Nikki, you’ve done it again! Written the most beautiful post and did it by sharing your experience teaching children about grace. Amen, sister, amen! You did a beautiful job of even providing more fuel for more grace-needing fire.

    Look forward to your return but don’t rush it. Remember how long you waited for this gracious gift and how quickly he will grow.

    As for Lent in our home and faith lives, we are starting it out patiently (or impatiently, depending on who’s typing) waiting for my husband’s back surgery on the 18th. He has been in debilitating pain due to a ruptured disc since Christmas Day, and it has taken this long to jump through all the doctors’ offices and insurance companies’ hoops to get the surgery approved. He has never been sick before or needed surgery before so an all-new experience. I have had four back surgeries, but do you think I can give him any advice on pain relief or what he should/shouldn’t be doing? It’s just like being the mother of a teenager again! So, prayer occupies a lot of my time each day. Not a bad thing for Lent, and as our message this morning taught us much reflection as to the gift given.

    Love you,

  9. Maxine Gonzalez
    March 12, 2014 | 5:57 pm


    Thanks for this post…..I do plan to do a “FAST” day with a friend for encouragement…..we will pray as well and devote time to our LORD. Let us never forget what CHRIST did for us on the Cross. It is all GRACE, HIS wonderful GRACE!