Monthly Archives: June 2013

Grace on a Train Ride

Lately you’ve been telling me, “I’m feeling shy a little bit.”

Even when you don’t admit it, there are occasions when I can see it written on your face in scenarios that you used to do nothing but smile through.

It makes me sad, sometimes, to see it, especially on the day we prepared to board the train at the zoo. You have always loved riding that train, not once have you boarded without an excited smile. But not this day.

You were excited to get on, so we made our way over to the station. This day we had an exceptional conductor. He went above and beyond from the beginning of our encounter with him. We were his first customers of the day, but he made it seem we were royalty who had rented out the entire premises. He asked your name, and the shyness came on you then.

You looked down with timidity, and gingerly handed over the ticket when He bent down, called you by name, and welcomed you aboard. I wondered at this exchange.

Why would you be anything but excited by this special treatment? He kept talking to you over the intercom throughout the ride, continuing to call you by name. Still you looked down with your shy face intact, seemingly ignoring the sights the conductor was pointing out to us.

The kindness of this man continued to touch me, and it’s as if he knew that if he kept pouring grace and blessings on you, you’d eventually realize what a beautiful trip this trek around the tracks with him as your conductor could be.

Our conductor stopped at the station after only one time around the tracks, but instead of kicking us off, he let on two more passengers before continuing on the journey. Slowly, the smile started warming your face as our new friend at the wheel made this the best train ride of our lives.

We received a bonus trip around the tracks thanks to the grace of our conductor, and the last time around, your shyness left. You even found enough confidence to wave at by-standers and point out the turtles who sunned their weathered bodies on the logs by the shore.

That day on the train, I felt a connection to the part of you that felt a little bit shy. I feel it sometimes when I go before God in prayer. I feel a complete mess as I attempt to pour out my requests to the very One who created the world and all it contains, and it’s hard for me to look up at Him with confidence. I’m thankful He doesn’t take offense at my shyness or write me off as some rude kid who doesn’t know what a gift He’s giving me with grace greater than my sins.

He calls me by name, no matter how much I cower and ignore His voice. He gives me more and more grace with each trip around the track, and He silently cheers when I get it enough to show the confidence He longs for me to possess and exude so that I may boldly approach the throne of grace.

So that day when you finally showed your smile and wave, I cheered for both of us, and I thanked God for grace on a train ride.

Grace and Speeding Tickets

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I recently read Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman and immediately identified with the good girl Miss Freeman described. Over the past decade of my life, God’s given me one situation after another to force me to overcome the false security I’d spent a lifetime building up in my head by playing the good girl game. Reading the book was kind of like putting a punctuation mark at the end of an issue I’d spent a long time working out with God.

Or so I thought. Maybe it was just a comma because last month I got a big test from the highway patrol.

The kids, a friend, and I took a road trip to Kansas last month to visit family. Since we are a one-vehicle family and Tanner needed our vehicle to get to work and back while we were gone, we got a rental car for our trip. It was a fancy new Dodge Avenger – a major upgrade from our humble family car with the dangling rear view mirror (that’s my fault, too, but a story for another day).

It was a looooong journey. What usually takes just over four hours took a solid six. If you’ve traveled with an infant before, you understand my pain. Also, I’m not the kind of person who loves to drive. I get major claustrophobia when it comes to semis on the highway or being sandwiched between vehicles of any size. However, I put aside those fears, braved the screaming baby in the back (only because I had my sweet friend soothing her with a pacifier as much as the baby allowed), and trucked on down the road.

We were in the home stretch, with only thirty minutes left to go! I could taste sweet freedom.

Then the baby woke up.

I had put off stopping to feed her as long as possible, and I knew any cry she had uttered up to that point on the trip was a mild whimper compared to what was coming. My phone also rang about that time and I made the foolish decision to answer it and try to answer a quick question that required engaging my mental calendar.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the patrol vehicle whip his way across the median, but it couldn’t be for me. I glanced at my speedometer and felt confident I was going in a safe range to not catch the radar. You see, I’d never been that girl. I was a good girl who doesn’t get in trouble with the law. We’re talking squeaky clean record here

When he followed me and pulled me over, I was in shock. What on earth could I have done wrong? Then he told me my speed, and I thought he must be joking. I know this sounds ridiculous to most of the world, but really. I could NOT believe that I was speeding.

But I was.

That rental car’s speedometer and my car’s speedometer don’t look the same, and let’s face it, I was not paying one bit of attention to it because deep down, I never worried about getting in trouble for something like speeding since it has never been an issue for me before.

He asked me why I was speeding and I told him I was trying to get to a place where I could feed my baby. Lame! Insert obvious answer from officer about needing to arrive safely with my baby first. Also note that my precious, darling baby decided to be cool as a cucumber the entire time we talked to the officer. Thanks a lot for choosing that moment out of all the rest to not scream your head off, child. ๐Ÿ˜‰

As I sat there waiting for him to process my ticket, I processed what was happening in my head. First off, I was really ticked at myself for driving that fast with my babies in tow. How could I put them at that kind of risk by allowing myself to be distracted and frazzled? Second, I wondered how on earth I was going to pay for this ticket (I’m still trying to figure that one out, by the way. I’ve decided that being an adult running a lemonade stand might not be as effective, but one can dream.)

I was also struck with reality. No matter how long I have made it in my life without getting in trouble with the law, one infraction has tainted my record. It’s only by paying my debt that I will I get out of trouble with the law. No amount of, “But…I’ve never been in trouble for this before!!!” is going to make the debt go away. No number of excuses – it should be noted about now that the baby started screaming at the top of her lungs the second we pulled back onto the highway, thank you very much – make it disappear.

As I am a few weeks on the other side of it, praying about how to pay for this ticket, I see the beauty of grace in an even greater way than before. The funds for this citation are so minimal that they are hardly fair to compare to the pile of debt my sins would have accumulated by now if it weren’t for the grace of God present in my life, washing me clean and giving me an identity that is greater than good girl…who has only one speeding ticket on her record.

How has life shown you how much you need grace? I’d love to hear your stories, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

Linking up with:
Soli Deo Gloria

 

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