Let’s face it, relationships can be hard. Marriage can be hard. Whenever you take two broken people trying to have a relationship with one another in a broken world, you get some hard to deal with things. I’m a big believer that the enemy doesn’t want us to have flourishing relationships within our marriages, within out friendships, and within our families. I think we have to fight for these soul-filling relationships and it definitely isn’t easy, but SO, so worth it to have these kind of people in your life, fighting in your corner.
The Grace Pants Story. I told this story years ago, but felt the need to bring it back out recently. One night back when Daniel and I were newly married, we got in a huge fight. I said some unsavory things (that I really didn’t even mean). Needless to say, we went to bed angry. Now let’s get one thing very straight, I was in the wrong. I was being prideful and arrogant. I snapped, and I deserved his anger the next morning. But, what happened was very different. We woke up, both of us reluctant to speak to one another. We decided to walk down to the square for some coffee and brunch like we did a lot of Saturdays. We were waiting for the restaurant to open and Daniel popped in a store. He came back out and gave me a bag. He said, “Here, I got these for you because I knew you wanted some and thought they would look cute on you.” I opened the bag to find some adorable Nike workout shorts that I’d been wanting for a while. I immediately said, “Awe babe, are these my grace pants?” And from that point on, it became a frequent saying in our home. Are you putting on your grace pants? The whole point of this silly story is that I DESERVED his anger, and yet he gave me grace. I was wrong, and deserved to feel shame or at least suffer through a day of silence from my husband. But instead he CHOSE to forgive and show grace. The question is, are you showing grace to those in your home?
PRIDE. Our pastor often says, “You can be right or you can be married.” and I probably recite this to myself daily. In our relationships, we can be right or we can die to ourselves and show grace because at the end of the day WHO CARES who was right?! Pride is this little sneaky enemy that creeps in and wreaks havoc. We can stand alone in our righteous anger, or we can wake up and choose grace in every situation with our husbands, with our kids, with our friends or family. We can spend more time on our soap box about how things should be done, or we can praise our family for the things they do right. We can try and control every situation, or we can let go and let them be them (this one is especially hard for me).
Resentment. This is something my friends and I talk about often. It happens a lot in marriages especially. You’re doing life, everything is great, and then BAM, resentment creeps in. You know how it starts ladies, one little thought in our heads – I do EVERYTHING around here, the least he could do is XYZ. And listen, YES and AMEN we should both be giving 100% to the marriage, to taking care of the family in whatever way works for you, but resentment can be a silent killer in any relationship so it’s best to squash it when it begins. Scripture says that love keeps no record of wrongs. Ouch. That means we don’t keep a running list in our heads about how they are falling short. Yes, you should be able to talk through these expectations and figure out how to help one another better, but also don’t let that resentment grow and fester. Give those unmet expectations to the Lord, and continue to give your 100%, and watch how your kindness, your love, or your patience changes that other person much more than those passive aggressive comments you would normally throw out.
Prayer. Lastly, because relationships are hard, dying to ourselves is hard, putting on our grace pants day after day is hard, and we simply cannot do it in our own strength. We NEED someone who can do it through us. Prayer is like our lifeline to Jesus, it’s our way of tapping into the WiFi if you will. Prayer can move mountains if we even have the tiniest bit of faith or belief in the One who we’re praying to. So for me, I have to pray pray pray for myself and the way I choose to love those around me, especially my family. I have to pray for the ability to put on my grace pants, die to myself and my pride, and to have more patience and loving kindness towards the people I love. I have to pray God helps me to live out grace in my home on the daily.
So to all of my friends reading this, are you putting on your grace pants today?