30 Days of Stories: Day 9
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re telling 30 stories of God’s faithfulness in and through Fellowship North. You can read all the stories here.
Until recently, I thought grace was simply something that I didn’t display while trying to shoot a layup on my junior high basketball team. I thought it was what made Princess Diana so enchanting and something my sister’s cat perfected while jumping from the couch to the windowsill. In fact, if you look up the definition of grace, the first explanation describes grace in the form of movement or earthly behavior. It appears that the writers of these dictionaries haven’t prioritized the most important form of grace – God’s grace.
My entire understanding of grace changed after attending a women’s bible study class at Fellowship North called “The Gathering”. It was there, surrounded by bold and encouraging women, that I learned grace has little to do with my basketball skills and more to do with …. well, none of my skills.
Grace has absolutely nothing to do with anything I accomplish or any time I fail. The truth about grace is that it’s already been given to me – abundantly and unconditionally. It’s the love that God pours over us just because he loves us, not because we have done anything to earn it.
Confusing? It was, and sometimes still is, for me too. Grace has been hard for me to truly comprehend because I grew up believing I needed to do [or not do] certain things for God to look upon me favorably. Until January 2014, no one sat me down and explained this amazing truth: Nothing I do will make God love me less and nothing I do will make God love me more. God loves me as much as he ever has and as much as he ever will! It’s so simple that it’s almost difficult. I started to question everything from the purpose of the 10 Commandments to wondering why I should even do good works. With the help and support of my bible study group I went through months of grueling and sleepless struggles until I finally had a breakthrough!
Instead of living my life checking off boxes to win His worth, His grace shows me that I AM ALREADY WORTHY. God doesn’t love me because of anything I can do for him, DUH Jennifer, He’s God! What could I really do? Let him borrow my iPod on his day of rest, ya know, right after he created EVERYTHING?! I doubt he would like my taste in music anyway. I’ve learned that the reason I strive to do better isn’t because of what I give Him but because of what He’s already given me – grace.
With the help of Fellowship North, The Gathering, my bible study group, and God’s tolerance of my ignorance, I’m finally living a life clothed in His grace … and I’m not so worried about all those un”graceful” layups I didn’t make in junior high.
Jennifer was recently married to Spencer Ragsdale and is enjoying her time as a newlywed despite trying to figure out how one man can compile so much laundry. She’s is a Certified Professional in Human Resources and enjoys spending her time outdoors, with family and friends, and strengthening her relationship with God.