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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Open To Grace

 By way of introduction, I must begin by saying that I am an Alaska-born girl on a journey. When I first thought about what to call this blog, many ideas came into my mind, but there was one that captured my attention more than the others. The longer I thought about it, the more it seemed to encapsulate my life-story: one that I had only recently come to be at peace with.
  Several years ago, I was a young lady trying to navigate the uncertain waters of youth, attempting to discover my God-given purpose in life and yet finding myself seemingly drifting further away from the fulfillment I desired. Driven into the depths of darkness by loss, pain, and and the grip of unforgiveness, I became disillusioned with God and the love of others. I became my own best friend, which I soon learned was poor company. I wandered for a long time...until Grace found me and swept me into its irresistible reality.
  The journey of my life can be summed up in these three simple, yet powerful words - an idea that has given meaning to the narrative of my personal experiences: Open To Grace. We are so prone to shut ourselves off to that which can heal, which can touch us in our broken state and make us alive. The ever-changing world we live in and the inevitable pain we all incur while passing through it only seem to compound our desire to protect ourselves, to avoid the risk of loving, to refuse to be open to life. At times, we simply feel like running the other way. It is easier to hide, to defend, to want to keep out even the things that are said to offer us the purpose that we seek so desperately.
   And yet, I have discovered that being open is what allows us to receive, to be thankful, to live. It took me many years to understand this. Closed living was the norm for me. Others tried to offer me love; they tried to tell me they believed in me; they tried to make me believe in myself. But, to me, it meant nothing. As feelings of failure, insecurity, grief, and anger ruled my life, their well-intentioned care seemed like naive positive-thinking to me. I was open to nobody. And yet, Grace - irresistible and free - won out. The hands began to open to life, the heart to soften to love. The darkness started to flee and the shadows to vanish as the penetrating Light of the World entered in. As this unfolded, I experienced something so amazing, so profound, so attractive that I couldn't push it away and remain closed anymore. Becoming open to Grace allowed me to become open to life, to the things that matter, to people that matter. Most importantly, Grace led me to the end of myself and the beginning of God.
  For over two years, my life has consisted of letting go and taking in - of turning loose of the things that long held me in bitterness, selfishness, and pain and, in so doing, receiving the joy of a life filled with hope, having once believed that I had none.
  The purpose of this blog is to invite you to come with me as I discover the stories,  ideas, places, and things that bring me deeper into the Grace that gives me life, day by day, journeying from darkness to light, from despair toward hope.
   And so I welcome you to walk with me, to perhaps discover for yourself what it means to be open to Grace, to be open to God.