Yesterday was my mom’s birthday (I won’t tell you how old she is; she has insisted that she’s 29 as long as I can remember). My mom’s name is Gracie. Not Grace or Graciola or any other derivative; just Gracie. And it is so appropriate. My mom is, and has always been, an “understated grace.” She’s hardly ever in the forefront, always more comfortable in the background, but her presence is always felt. It’s that kindness, that goodness, that aura of support you feel when she is around – but she doesn’t have to say a single word to make you feel that way.
Her middle name is “Mae,” but if you ask anyone who knows her well, “Encourager” or “Empathizer” seems to fit her better. She’s the type of person who will listen to your stories, nod or show concern at just the right time, and then give you a hug or an affirming smile; and that’s all you’ll need for the rest of the day.
And she will give Jesus all the credit. She’s been a “whole life worshiper” of Jesus a lot longer than I ever was inspired with the term or the concept. (It’s good to know that some nuts don’t fall too far from the tree!)
I share this with you, not only to honor a great, godly woman, but also to coin a phrase. The life of a whole life worshiper is characterized by the receiving and giving of “gracies.” Yes, there are those Graces: those huge, momentous epiphanies and miracles that part the seas and shake the mountains of our soul. But “gracies” are the small favors of God that constantly bombard our lives like electrons from the sunlight; they happen all the time and all around us. The non-spiritual person doesn’t notice them. Even the average Christian in our culture, though perhaps somewhat aware of them, takes gracies for granted; like the air we breathe and the water we drink.
But the Whole Life Worshiper sees them, recognizes them, and revels in them. Like Jesus, we believe the Father is at work around us all the time (John 5:17). Part of that work is the dispensing of “gracies” to our world, so that we would know He is indeed “with us.” So we are on the alert each day, looking and receiving “gracies” from the hand of our Father that empower and encourage us to do His will in the world. “Gracies” take many different forms:
– An insight from reading Scripture
– A gentle breeze on a warm day
– A smile from a friendly person
– An unexpected string of “green lights” during rush hour
– A boost of energy while working on a project (that doesn’t come from an energy drink)
– A helping hand
– An encouraging word
Gracies can come directly from God, but many of them come from people who let His love flow from them. When I experience gracies, I’m learning to respond by saying “thank you” both to God and to His wonderful vessels of His small gifts.
But that’s only half of the story. As we receive, Whole Life Worshipers give out gracies to others. As we are filled with grace (through the accumulation of gracies), we pour ourselves out. We reach out, we help, we encourage, we come alongside, we love, we give, we smile, and we sacrifice. The funny thing is that if we are in the flow of God, as long as we give them away, we never run out of gracies. As Jesus declared, “Whoever drinks the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14) and as He taught, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matt 10:8).
Gracies. Understated grace that speaks volumes to our souls. I should know; I’ve had one with me all my life. (Happy birthday, Mom!)