Meeting Grace, Finding Peace

We go through so many seasons in life, but I find that of all the ways my life can look, chaotic is my least favorite. It is hard to swallow and draining. Bad days that turn into bad weeks, and that "I can't catch a FREAKING break" feeling filling my headspace always gets the best of me through self doubt and hopelessness. Lately I've been working my way through one of these what I've always thought to be, unenjoyable seasons, and my usual ways of coping which included ignoring the mess, hoping for a random change in luck, and anger were not cutting it. Desperate and in need for a bit of hope I was met by grace, some mercy from the Man Upstairs. 

These seasons are inevitable. 

Nearly 7, 600 miles away from home and the people who I love in a country where everything was so foreign that even simple tasks were a challenge, I saw my life fall apart. I found the disappointment of a relationship that I had so much hope for falling short and a quarter life crises arise about my career path just a month after I made the decision to completely change majors all tied up with a bow made from unexpected loneliness on my life's doorstep, like a gift absolutely no one wants to receive. Following what felt like the collapse of my life was a lost phone in the streets of Florence, Italy, a water damaged laptop, and an allergic reaction to makeup remover. To be blunt life sucked, but it wasn't supposed to. This was the semester I had been looking forward to since I was in middle school. I was living most people's dream, traveling through Europe for four months, and seeing the most amazing places, but I just couldn't find it in me to be happy. I found myself asking God, "I know we all have to go through challenging times but why NOW, can't I just have a break this one time?". 

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You must seek His grace.

Remember that grace I was talking about? Here's where is comes into my story. As I spent all this time asking God "Why???" I had blinded myself to the fact that he had already answered me at the first sight of chaos. He had answered my prayers for relief, as he does for all things, with unbelievable grace and unwavering mercy, and I hadn't taken the time to see that. I didn't see that as my heart broke over a boy, I found that this now made time for something better, and he hadn't been that good for me all along. I failed to appreciate that the fear I felt about my future was because for the first time I was boldly creating the life I had always felt I was called to live, but that I was too afraid to, thinking it was too late to choose another path. I ignored the abundance of love and support I was receiving from friends and family at home, that I would soon be around again, to focus on loneliness that was draining the life from me. All this time I spent doing things that made me feel worse, I should have spent searching for the grace, silver linings of all of these seemingly bad situations, and furthermore I should have been thanking the good Lord for being so patient with me as I ignored his mercy in my time of struggle.

Come boldly to the throne of grace, so that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
— Hebrews 4:16

His grace is enough. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9

I finally saw that in this time where I felt like I had nothing, I had enough. I had more than enough. I learned while reading Hallelujah Anyway , that there is grace in every part of life. The author explains that God is grace, it is his foundation, and since God is in everything, so is grace. This means to me that there is good in everything. I had seen this goodness in my own life once I opened my eyes to it and with it came happiness. I don't know how much more you could wish for in life than for everything to have a little goodness sprinkled on top. To make things better, this good is promised in His word. As we walk along in this life with God by our side, we are never alone, he will always protect us, and he will always lead us to a life that is truly good. I think that he does this through grace.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11

I couldn't help when I came to this realization but to think about how good my life could have been in my eyes, if I had spent my time seeing the grace in it all, looking towards the Lord. 

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Through grace, I found peace. 

Not only did choosing to search for the saving grace in my life shift my focus from the things going less than how I had planned and provide me some relief, it gave me a lasting peace. Finding God's promises in the midst of my life gave me relief I was so badly in need of and so much more, because it changed the way I approach life. It is hard for life's struggles and challenges to put a damper on a spirit that KNOWS and is always actively looking for the grace, the good, the mercy or whatever you wish to call it in everything even the things others may think contains none. You can call it the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel, or whatever your little heart desires, but I can tell you there is no denying that it, grace is always there and making my life (and yours) always good. 

What does grace look like in your life right now?

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
— 2 Timothy 1:9
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