My Grace-Full Life

7.17.18 Praise & Prayer Prompt: A Tree Stump & A Buick

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I was 16 or 17 years old when my friend Carrie and I decided we were old enough and (BWHAHAHAHAHA!!!!) sophisticated enough to go out for afternoon tea. There was a gorgeous old Victorian house that had been converted into a very charming tea shop and we were excited to try it.

As I pulled my car into the gravel parking lot, I noticed there was a large tree stump, but quickly forgot about it. Ooh, we were so fancy! Never mind that neither of us drank tea… And while I wouldn’t have called us picky eaters, we were suspicious eaters who questioned and hesitantly nibbled at what we didn’t recognize.

To say we were out of our element is a bit of an understatement.

But the real story happened after tea when we were back in the parking lot. We chatted away as we got in my grey Buick Somerset (the envy of teenage girls everywhere — insert sarcasm here). And being a new driver, with limited understanding of how much space one really needs to back out of a parking space, or how much acceleration is actually required… I promptly and efficiently backed my car on top of a tree stump.

And Friends, let me tell you.

I took the art of parking a Buick on a tree stump to a whole new level…

I had all four tires off the ground and the bottom of my car was completely resting on top of a ginormous tree stump. In a moment born out of teenage panic, all I could think was, “My mother is going to kill me!” I told Carrie to get out of the car and push.

Stop right there and wrap your head around that visual.

I asked my teenage friend to push a Buick.

Off a tree stump.

A car whose four tires were pathetically suspended in air.

As she looked at me like I’d lost my mind, I started crying. Since this took place around 1991-1992ish and carrying cell phones wasn’t quite commonplace yet, we had to go back into the sophisticated tea shop and borrow a phone. Any assumed sophistication and dignity I had were left in a Buick sitting on top of a tree stump.

Carrie’s dad came to the rescue and hired a tow truck to get the car off the stump. And I begged him not to tell my parents. He promised he wouldn’t, as he tried not to laugh at the circumstances I’d landed my car in.

And for years, I kept that moment a secret.

Not joking when I tell you I was 40 before I ever confessed that whole story to my mom, and only when I was certain that I was too old for her to ground me.

Turns out – she’d known all along.

There are no secrets, Friends. Just as my mother knew the whole time about the now infamous Buick & The Tree Stump Incident, God knows every detail and every moment we ever experience. He knows every thought we have, even the ones we never articulate into words. We aren’t going to shock Him with anything. He already knows and He’s waiting for us to confess it all so He can show us His extraordinary grace.

Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” So often, though, we are afraid to go to Him. Afraid that we’re the one exception in all of history that His grace won’t cover.

And that’s a lie.

In 1 John 3:20, it says, “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.” Let’s look at the next two verses — “Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” (1 John 3:21-22).

The problem is one I struggle with daily.

We know God gives grace, but we’re not so good at giving it to ourselves. That’s where the lie takes root because when we can’t believe that God’s forgiveness extends to us too, we diminish His love and His power. We have to constantly remind ourselves that His grace, mercy, and forgiveness transcend ANY understanding on our end.

It’s not about understanding.

It’s about accepting.

I spent 23 years terrified to tell my mother about the car instead of just admitting I screwed up and letting her give me grace.

And we do the same thing to God.

Only He knows how much time we individually have wasted trying to hide things from Him when He already knows! We have to give Him the opportunity to give us grace. He wants to lavish it on us because He loves us beyond human comprehension. Who are we to deny God that opportunity?

Today, as you pray, thank God for His grace. Thank Him that there are no secrets. And ask the Holy Spirit to help you accept His grace and forgiveness. Ask Him to help you go to God with the bold confidence described in 1 John 3:21.

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