Saturday, April 26, 2008

Dying the Cloth with Grace


I have always maintained that the message of Grace had to be absorbed into my life bit by bit. It reminded me a lot of the process of dying a cloth. You can take a cloth and dip it once into the dye and it will take on a light shade of the dye. You can dip it a second time and it takes on a bit more color. Dipping again and again produces a vibrant color of the dye that it is dipped into.

The first time I read Wayne Jacobsen’s writings (who writes so much about Grace in anything he is writing or talking about) I told Husband that I felt as if I needed to listen to the book (He Loves Me) again and again. I felt as if the “cloth” of my spirit could only absorb just a little bit of this wonderful Grace that he was speaking about and that it would take multiple times of hearing it to be able to wrap my mind and my spirit around this concept before it began to make a major change in my actual life.
(btw, I capitalize the word "Grace" because I believe it is a "who" not a "what," a person, not an idea)

In reading the book, “Families Where Grace is in Place” I again had the same feeling about being dipped yet again in this vat of dye called Grace. I realize that there are areas of my life that it is really helpful to have Grace applied specifically to that one area. The area of Grace that this book addresses is of course marriage and parent/child relationships. It is a life changing, life giving message to these relationships and I can already see how it is beginning to give me perspective on what is God’s job and what is my job. How I can give input into Husband’s and my children’s lives but I don’t have to effect the actual change. Nor is it my fault if change is not the outcome.

The biggest way I tried to effect change in the people around me was to be the BEST wife and mom that was possible. I felt if I could be the perfect mom that my kids would love me enough to want to obey me. That if I was the best wife for Husband that he would always choose what I wanted. That if I could be the BEST member of our CLB (church left behind) that they would never question my loyalty.

It was amazing to me that this was just a form of manipulation. I was manipulating the people around me by trying to not make any mistakes. No wonder I got so very tired. I used to say I (my personality) was nothing but the sum of all the expectations of others. I never understood that this was MY FAULT. Of course I was nothing but a bag of expectations – but they were my own expectations – put on me by me.

And I was tired. And I was worn. And I was ready to give up.

But Grace gets this job thing right. It is not my job to control people – not through anger, or sham or threat or by being the best you can be. Grace says, “This part is my part, that part is God’s.” Grace says that I don’t have to make people do what would make me happy. Grace lets me be me and it allows others to be themselves – and above all Grace loves through it all.

Erin nominated me for a “Subversive Blogger Award” yesterday. I decided that if this new message of Grace and the color my heart is being transformed into is “Subversive,” then I accept the award with great delight.

6 comments:

Heidi W said...

I did buy the book, and am just starting it. And if subversive means people like you, it must be a good thing. :)

Tracy Simmons said...

Barb, what a great analogy of the dyeing of cloth to absorbing the truths of grace! I have found the same thing so true of my own life.

About 10 years ago this little band of trouble-makers here in Vermont met with Wayne Jacobsen. We sat around a bonfire in my hometown and just shared life. As I look back on that time now, I realized that it was just him cracking the door open for all of us. I don't think we actually "heard" a lot of what he had to say, even though we were listening attentively. Still, it was water on parched ground. We soaked it up.

The more I hear the same message, though, over and over again, the deeper it sinks in. I think I'm starting to be more than just a dry riverbed soaking it in, and am just at the verge of a tiny flowing river that can share the overflow with others.

I figure by now I'm a brilliant, raging purple color after sitting in the vat for a decade, huh? Sweet, very sweet!

Your post has stirred so much wonder and gratefulness in me, once again! Thanks, Barb.

Tara said...

I found you thru Erin's last post. I love your use of words. Great picture of Grace and how it is just too big to absorb it all...it is a constant layer upon layer of wonderful color. Thanks for the lovely picture. And the honesty and effects of being "ALL" to everyone. Exhaustion. I'll keep reading and stopping back in. *Cheers*

Anonymous said...

(Eccl 9:11 NIV) I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

I hate this verse as it messes with all my religious theology. The Hebrew term for "chance" is LUCK. Oh well.

Tony said...

I found this link at the Free Believers Network. A great post. I look forward to reading more on your site.

Barb said...

Thanks Tony!