I was just going to sit by myself, way up high in the back of the sanctuary, where the bad kids and late people sit. Back there. I was going to just sit and try to worship, try to focus, try to hear. But then he said to go find someone, group ourselves in twos or threes and pray for one another. The room is 95% packed with men, so I look to my left and right for a group where I won't feel so conspicuous. Tonight is not a night for conspicuousness. I briefly consider pretending to receive a phone call and ducking out the back door. There are 900 people in the room, I won't be missed.
But there is another girl sitting there, a row behind me and several seats over. I pick up my Bible and bag and sit down next to her, say my name and get on with the business of asking God on behalf of another. But I am sour and there is no hiding that. My heart is sour and though I don't know this stranger, I feel okay saying the truth: that today is a day and this week is a week where I need extra grace.
We don't get time to pray, we are women, after all and we spend our three minutes pouring our hearts out. At the end, after the teaching, before I can get the words out of my mouth, she says them to me, "Can I pray for you quick, before you leave?"
And this is how we make a friend.
But this is also, and more importantly, how we are made aware again and again of the need for grace.
I am so prone to living on yesterday's grace, last week's sustenance. I forget the daily bread. I forget the ask that must happen every day and multiple times within that day. I forget it while I am staring at my laptop all day long at work, moving margins and resizing images. I forget it when I come home and spill every nasty and frustrated thought that has pulsed through me this week to my gracious roommate.* I forget it when I buy a coffee at Starbucks and then promptly spill the entire cup after only one hurried gulp. I forget to ask when I am sitting in that back row.
Every day I need grace.
Grace upon grace upon grace.
Not even for others, I am finding. I cannot even begin to offer it to others when to myself I am preaching a false gospel instead. This is the gospel I have been preaching to myself this week: you are worthless, you are sinful, you'll always be eaten up by guilt, you can't succeed, nothing you do makes any difference.
And the truth is, well, that is the truth. But it's not the whole truth. And I forget that part of the gospel. I forget the grace part, the part where I don't deserve and that's exactly why I get it.
*None of those frustrations were about her. She's a lovely soul who never frustrates me, ever. Praise Jesus.
day thirteen of 30 day challenge put down by one Jason Alan Churchill Thorburne Morris.