We pulled one out last week to watch with our kids. We hadn't seen these tapes in over fifteen years. In fact, I am not sure we have ever watched these tapes...
In the first scene, here she was---Stephanie---a blond pony-tailed girl, hardly touched by the early morning 5 AM taping of our departure! Young kids we were... in our early twenties... leaving the known of California and venturing out to follow God's call overseas. Duffle bags, a scarf for my head and wearing a long skirt, we were flying away to Central Asia. What were we thinking?! We had only been married for 2 years. We knew that God was asking us to go.
Bright eyed and not a speck of grey in my hair, we were so young!
I watched and found myself judging that young Stephanie. Liking "her" sometimes and not liking her much at other moments in the video tape, I watched and judged and wondered... who was she, anyway? And, who am I now? Did I like her better then? Do I like who I have become now?
Is this what a mid-life crisis feels like?!
As I sat in my clunky and chunky living room chair, I wondered and I prayed. Feeling heavy with the memories of mistakes and victories, I needed to process these VHS moments. In my mind's eye, I prayerfully walked through those fifteen years with Jesus... asking. Watching... Wondering.
What does He see? What would He say?
Taking a walk down memory lane with Jesus, I asked for His thoughts.
His words poured over my soul. Grace. Unmerited favor.
It is all grace.
My grace has covered you since before you were born! I have walked with you. I walked with you then, Stephanie... yes, as you stumbled and fell. Yes, as you stood firm and walked in victory.
All along... I have poured out grace.
Grace. Favor poured out.
My grace has covered you and covers you now. And, will continue to cover you. Every day.
Every day grace. It is all grace, Stephanie. Just grace. Just beautiful, powerful, unexplained grace.
"From the first to last... all my life will pass through grace!" ~Mike Rayson, "Just Grace"