“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

Grace. Such a small word, but containing so much power. It represents gentleness of heart. Grace is softness. Grace is moisture in a sun scorched land. What does it mean to have grace? Receive grace? Show grace? Grace is a peculiar thing, because many speak of it, want it, need it, yet it illudes so many who crave it. Grace by itself is impossible without God. The word of God says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God…

We cannot earn grace. It is a free gift. We are not good enough for it, none of us. We are altogether unworthy of it. Romans 3:10 says this, “There is no one righteous, not even one.” I don’t say this to depress you, but rather to encourage you! It is wonderful that we do good deeds. We feed the poor. We give to charitable causes. We are polite to people. We demonstrate courtesy, but still, the fact remains…no one is righteous. We cannot earn the grace that God bestows on us.

I have been refined by the Fire of Affliction and God had developed in me His heart for grace. I believe I have a supernatural anointing for it. That may sound boastful to you, but it is not intended so. I’m sure I still have a lot to learn about grace, but I press forward everyday. For truly, I have nothing to brag about but hear my heart in this…

when you are gifted in a specific area, you get regularly tested in that area. Here is what my God has taught me over the years. When we show others, through love and grace, they have value and they are not the sum of their past mistakes, something unexpected and supernatural happens inside them. It is like a tender shoot of a seed that you have planted and watered and now you see the shoot, the stem, the bud come forth. You nourish and cultivate an atmosphere of love and that flower grows and blossoms and becomes a shrub…or even better the acorn becomes the oak. Just like the acorn, with the hardest of shells, much moisture penetrates the tough exterior and new life comes forth. People are not much different. The toughest of hearts can become moist, soft, new. The toughest of people are frequently the softest of heart, but the cares and wounds of life has made them covered. I believe it is an unconscious form of self-protection.

I look at people and see what God sees…the heart. I choose to view people through the eyes of “possibility”.

“God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whoever should believe on His name should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

One of the all time most quoted verses. But what does it mean? It means when God could have looked down on creation and decided to forsake us all for our mistakes, flaws and shortcomings, he didn’t. He looked down and said in His own heart…”I want to have relationship with them.” So, he made a way where there would otherwise not have been one. He showed favor. He showed grace, amazing grace, and he saved me. He saved you. If you don’t know Him this way, you can, today. He takes all the “ick” inside that makes us hurt, that makes us feel badly about ourselves. The things that cause some to not like themselves. He takes it and throws it into a Sea of Forgotten. God will never remind you of your past. All we have to do is lay it at his feet, apologize for it and learn from it. But that’s it. It’s gone…forever. Sometimes, there  will be a tug on your heart, encouraging you to go make things right with people, but either way, he loves you with an unspeakable love that brings Him joy.

Now, allow me to apply these truths to daily life and relationships. Sometimes it’s hard for people to get along. People have so many different personalities. Humanity has so many different cultures and backgrounds. There are so many different ways of being raised, and how we are reared as children shapes our perspective…good or bad, or just different. So many things to disagree on…but getting along is possible. We have to look at each other always filtering our perception through the eyes of grace. Join me, as we practice each and every day, how to look at others with eyes of forgiveness, eyes of compassion, empathy and humility. Let us love others as we long to be loved. We may make mistakes and fumble at times, but when we are vulnerable, one to another, there is a myriad of opportunities to enjoy each other and experience a true communion of heart with others.

The power to change somebody's life lies upon our tongue. Will we bless or will we curse? Abundantly, shall I shower blessings upon those who's hearts have been hurt, tattered and torn, for I desire to be a gardener of man's heart. I want to see the bud, the blossom, the acorn pour forth and raise up a harvest of goodness in others, just as I desire the same shown back toward me. But grace is only grace if you give it without knowing if you will indeed ever receive it back. Though it is hard, with God all things are possible, because he gave Grace first and so I Believed.

Blessings be yours today and forevermore. -Nicole

“You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.” Psalm 45:2