My friend had just given birth to her first baby, and a tiny one at that.

Little Viv was a preemie, but such a cutie, and was finally home in the arms of her mama. I took a meal over to the family, chili and some fresh baked bread. I had no children at this point, and was so excited for my friend, I had a million questions. And I wanted to see the baby room! We sat down in her living room and she was trying to nurse, but was having a difficult time. I kept blabbering on about who-knows-what, asking questions, and looking around, while she was being polite and gracious but trying to focus on getting her baby to eat – which the baby would not do. I don’t know when I finally stopped talking and left, but looking back, I can’t believe my friend didn’t say to me, “Sarah, can we chat later? I need to nurse Viv now.” But she didn’t do that; her kindness covered my poor etiquette.

I really had no idea how inconsiderate I was being that day. I would never do that to a mama now unless she asked me to stay and chat.

Maybe you’ve seen the movie Bridget Jones’s Diary. There is a scene in which she shows up to a party in a ridiculous bunny costume, thinking it’s a costume party. Turned out, it wasn’t. Everyone was dressed nicely, and poor Bridget had a bunny tail on. Talk about a cringe worthy moment!

Do you have any of those cringe worthy or “wish-I-had-a-take-back” moments? A “what was I thinking?!” kind of time? It is those times that I want you to remember right now. Did you ever do something so awkward or foolish? Have you acted rudely at some point, not even realizing it until later? I bet you wish you could erase those times, or at least go back for a do-over. But you learned, right? You have a take away from your not-so-flattering experience. Now think of someone who has done something rude or foolish or engaged in bad etiquette around you at some point. I want you to remember them, and I want you to remember your moment, and I want you to think of grace.

Let your love cover the thing, and extend grace and a smile.

We just don’t all get it sometimes, and we are prone to mistakes and sin. We are, after all, human.

Today, let’s love and give grace well. Smile at the woman who doesn’t know. Smile authentic. You can free with your kindness, and you can lead others to the blood that spells out grace on a cross.

Especially for the woman who doesn’t know.

“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31

“Grace, then, is grace,–that is to say, it is sovereign, it is free, it is sure, it is unconditional, and it is everlasting.” ~ Alexander Whyte

By Sarah Mae

Pictured: Redeemed Grace Necklace by DaySpring

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  1. 1

    Yes. When Ann Voskamp says “All is grace”, this is what I believe her to be saying. Not a grace that runs roughshod over people with carelessness. Not a grace that exercises our own freedoms for our own personal pleasure or simply because we believe we have no responsibility. But a grace that covers us in our imperfection. A grace that continues to refine. A grace that reshapes us into something that resembles just a little bit more the image of our Father.
    Yes, in that respect, all IS grace.
    Thank you for sharing this. So encouraging this day!
    Steph

  2. 3

    Thanks for sharing this Awesome devotion <3. It truly blessed my heart <3

  3. 5

    Do I have any of those moments? Hah. Too many. Oh, too, many. Praise God I’ve embraced His grace and those moments no longer torment my soul.

  4. 7

    Oh you made me relive them (cringe!) , and then set me free (praise God!) ! Great words today Sarah :)

  5. 10

    No … We just don’t all get it sometimes & Why do we expect to we would ALL get it at the SAME time … it ain’t the EASY button … or not a journey it would be …. Thanks Sarah

  6. 12

    I had a moment yesterday. Finally met my new neighbor and thought she was wonderful. Problem is, my hair was a hot mess and my t-shirt was oversized and stained. Ugh! I had a women’s fellowship last night and actually dressed up a bit for that. Took all I had not to run over to her house, knock on her door, and show her what I look like in “normal person” clothes! Petty, I know. But reminded me that I need to read your “Frumps to Pumps” book!! ;)

    • 13

      Picture!!!! Just kidding. I hope a new neighbor never shows up at my unexpectedly, it could be a scary sight for them! Eek! Kidding. Mostly.

    • 14

      I always meet new neighbors on the days I don’t look in the mirror while putting my hair up. And without fail I get home and realize there’s something very obviously amiss with it. You are not alone! :)

      But I bet your neighbor thought you were wonderful too :)

  7. 15

    Oh yes there are lots of those. What freedom in the granting it to others. What joy and gift in receiving it from others. And oh, how sweetly HE, HE covers us in His Grace.
    Great post, beautiful words. Gratitude abundant here.

    wishing Grace given, Grace warmly and gratefully received today

  8. 17
    r.elliott says:

    so good…”Today, let’s love and give grace well. Smile at the woman who doesn’t know. Smile authentic. You can free with your kindness, and you can lead others to the blood that spells out grace on a cross.” …this says it all…this is my heart desire…a great way to start my day…blessings~

  9. 18

    Oh my. Have I ever? Only a gazillion times! It seems I was overblessed with the ability to “step in it”. God is so very gracious. He has humbled me and set me back on course so many times. I’m thankful that he never gets tired of it.

  10. 20
    Beth Wiliams says:

    I’ve had far too many of those moments lately — the last 6 months–at work. I don’t say anything out right, but the thoughts & emotions come & I usually do something stupid like slam a door or pound something.

    Thank God for His all consuming Grace & Mercy that keeps on forgiving us frail fragile humans who keep making the same mistakes over and over.

    Thanks for the wonderful post Sara!

    • 21

      Thanks, Beth. And you know, I feel the same way. So often I feel awkward around certain people, and I say dumb things. Oh, we all our weaknesses. Thank goodness He’s our strength.

  11. 22
    Robin in New Jersey says:

    At fifty something, you bet I have had many of those moments. I am so thankful that the Lord has really been teaching me about grace over the last five years. It is much easier for me to extend that grace than it would have been a few years ago. Thank you Lord!

    • 23

      The older I get (and I’m only 32), I realize how much I don’t know and how much more I want to give grace because that’s what I’ve been given.

  12. 24

    Oh yes! Those cringe worthy moments really have a way of sticking with us, don’t they? The first that comes to mind for me was a time I was in a BIG hurry to get off a plane in order to make a connecting flight. I hopped up from my seat as soon as the plane landed and tried to grab my luggage before anyone else. Unfortunately, the rest of the plane had the same idea and I my luggage bumped a man in the row across from me. He let out a yelp and I raced to get off the plane without looking back….pretended I didn’t notice. Naturally I did not get very far…maybe 5 steps and ended up just standing on that plane with everyone else waiting for the doors to open. I can’t believe I was so concerned about getting off the plane that I couldn’t apologize!! CRINGE!

    Insightful post as usual. I don’t want anyone carrying around that kind of shame after an interaction they had with me. Grace is good.

    ps I love that necklace in the photo you used…any idea where that’s from?

  13. 27

    I think we all have those cringe worthy moments. I’ve never thought to release them to my Savior and embrace His grace for those moments. I know I can, I just never offered that to myself. Thank you for this today.

  14. 28

    Ohh I have had tooo many to count. I praise HIM for HIS grace! Thank you for the reminder to show others the same grace that is extended to me!!

  15. 29

    Thanks for these words. “Today let’s love and give grace well.” Grace to ourselves as well as to others!

  16. 30

    Sarah Mae,
    Thanks for your well-written words on this topic! I reallly try and live this way, giving that grace to others in their ungracefull moments, knowing I myself have them daily. Thanks for putting it so well!
    Angie
    P.S. I’m on day 9 of Frumps to Pumps challenge and am loving it (so is the hubs!)

  17. 32
    Del Marie says:

    This reminds of a time I was at a Jesse Duplantis conference. We were all looking at the different resources he had available. I saw something I liked and swooped in quickly to get it. The last one. Only 2 seconds later I realized I had taken it right in front of someone who was looking at it too. So I bought it and gave it to her. I love the smile she gave me. I needed that smile, I didn’t need another book.

  18. 33
    Anonymous says:

    This is so beautiful, Sarah. I remember friends coming over after my eldest daughter was born and having the same experience as you write about. I’m so ashamed to say that until I read this post, I still harbored feelings of frustration with them about it. Way to hold onto bitterness, yikes! They just didn’t realize at the time, and their joy in me welcoming my daughter covered any thoughts of anything else. I am blessed to have such supportive friends, and I can recall many times that I have been the cheerfully oblivious one to others. Grace is so special, so amazing. After all, my firstborn daughter is named for it. :o )

  19. 35

    Glad you were able to catch yourself! I bet she was so thankful!

  20. 36

    Whoops, that last comment was me – obliviously anonymous haha!

  21. 37

    Wow, You really nailed me. Now that my kids are teenager we often do the “you drop off I will pick up” thing. Many times messages have gotten crossed and I have gotten so frustrated with the other mom. Good Grief, I need to be a whole lot more patient with my less organized friends. I would rather be less organized than short tempered and unforgiving as I have sometimes been. Thanks for the good word.

  22. 39

    I have wished so hard that I could take back the time I left my sister standing alone in the kitchen and went into a crowded room full of our family, and smiled up at her angrily thinking that, “You can’t get me here in front of all these people” because I have often wondered how our relationship may have changed if I hadn’t finally given her a reason to hate me. I am sure she thought I was smirking at her. Maybe I was.
    She’d been body slamming me repeatedly, from the circus when I was eight, she three, where my father ignored her slamming me repeatedly, and then cuddled her when I finally, fearfully poked my elbow out closely at my side for the next time she rammed, then they watched and laughed at the show while I sat alone in the bleachers, a small girl crying alone in the dark while they were close. How often that happened! — I forgive myself for that first act of self defence. Much better than weeping under covers or keeping my nose in a book as I always did. From the hits at the top of stairs to that last one where she threw me into a hot stove and told me she’d be so happy if I was dead. I did not understand until recently why she spent her time hating me and bullying me with her high school friends and others. I only knew she was my little sister and I should protect her.
    I remember playing with her: dolls, barbies, imagination, inside, outsidoors in the yard. I remember lunches and babies and holidays. I remember so many good times and never knowing if the next one would be wonderful or painful to my body and my emotions.
    The dark side: my father spending all those years raging his hatred about his older brother, almost manic, and being sexually abusive toward us girls with his friends, while my mother turned away in denial. Another dark side: my twin, and every girlfriend from when he was 17 to 40 years old, trying to turn me away from my little sister and them demanding I not invite her to parties I invited them to or they wouldn’t go, which I refused to do. A girl loves and needs a sister and I tried to be in that relationship. I was sad that my brother ‘bought into’ my father’s teaching that we weren’t ‘good’ and that we should ‘protect’ our little sister because it was our fault if she was hurting. It was not our fault.
    When we were little I tucked her into bed after her nightmares. I ended or loosened all my relationships with all my brother’s girlfriends and sat in my bedroom waiting for my sister to come home. Instead, she and her girlfriends returned to sit on the front steps singing, “F-g bit–, f-g bit–, Betty is a f-g bit–!” And my dad said, “Bettinka be nice to —, she has it sooo hard!” many times.
    I journalled it and threw out every one of my journals trying to be loyal and knowing that she must hurt more than I did.
    I went to bat for her to my parents when she had a little girl and she asked me to talk to my parents about not inviting the sexually innapropriate ‘friends’ of my father over. Nothing changed. My mother accepted them, my father drank with them, his friends S- and J- laughed about porn and my sister’s and my “beavers” and “nice round mounds”.
    I went to bat for the sake of my little boy when he was born. Nothing changed.
    Except my father raged more about his honour and his reputation and I was disowned! In some sort of Sharia-ish law I became an outcast, shunned, lied about, sent hate mail … I cannot even begin to imagine what delusions my father presented to the family about what I had ‘done’ in finally yelling back at him and asking him if he knew what he sounded and looked like …
    I removed myself and my little boy from the responsibility of having to try to keep him happy.
    I tried to understand why a brother could hate a little girl and buy into his father’s mixed up need to blame us for her anxieties and put my twin brother down as worthless when he could see what his father really was: broken!
    My brother is an alchoholic. Since he was a teenager he has drunk and cried to me, often in the middle of the night by phone, about his hatred for both our father and our little sister ….is a father truly capable of blaming his own little children for his own mistakes? Yes. ….is a son truly capable of accepting that blame and feeling worthless and hating a younger sister? Yes. Did they all stay and try to ‘fix’ our father and ourselves with compassion and God’s love? Yes. We tried.
    At 51, have had that Ah-ha moment and understand some things!
    He tried to make me her ‘bad’ older sibling so we and everyone would a)believe that all his mistakes were because of his older brother he constantly raged about, saying how he loved him, his voice dripping in malace and hatred and grief and b) that older sibling really are truly evil and hurt their little siblings. He needed me to do that. To blame me!
    What a way to grow up! All of us hearing such pain. All of us trying to understand. I was unable to set boundaries without be screamed at or threatened. When I had my little boy I wrote kind stories and poems, that focused on building up the beautiful parts of a broken family that had good times, good memories, if only he could put away his split self and bad friends and put himself together. That was the family I desired for my little boy, the strong one, the loving parts that laughed together – but there could be no foundation in his dishonesty to us and to himself. A home without a foundation crumbles and so did our family.
    What is the “ah-ha” moment?
    Recognizing that he tried to make me ‘bad’! Knowing he blamed me, and I accepted it, even though I did my best and I WASN’T THE PARENT! I was a ‘good’ big sister!
    He could not make me ‘bad’! I am not bad! I am just who I am. Honest, loving, trying my best, working hard at college, my job, at being a wife, mother, a person with feelings. A person who reads, gardens, loves to laugh.
    Yes – I have walked away, skipped away, run away, laughed away and even given the finger a few times! as a teen and a young woman. It was a learned ‘skill’ that allowed me to live my life and enjoy the many gifts God has given me and the positive relationships in my life when I did not have a voice. I now forgive myself for those times, it was much better than weeping under covers or keeping my nose in a book as a little girl! It was the beginning of courage. I tell mom’s who have complained about their preschool daughters with strong personalities to enjoy it, their child will know how to stand up for herself, to say what she needs …have even taught my son to speak out, debate, contract, even argue to the point I sometimes regret it! (he tries to debate homework time, piano lessons….whew, how and when will he use that skill in his life?!) because I want him to have a voice and be heard, not ignored. I taught him if someone does something accidental or is contrite we should forgive but if there is something innapropriate to use his voice and scream! God gave him that voice! It can be a voice of honesty with himself and others.
    Yes- I have failed my little sister by leaving and she stayed in a situation where my twin brother is constantly seeking parental approval, even repeating my father’s hurtful comments and writing/mailing what he dictated, while being free myself. I now forgive myself because she is able to see how it is done. How one leaves without falling apart or picks themself when they do fall apart at every delusion, every hurtful word because I have learned to be strong in Christ who strengthens me and she can too.
    Yes – I have also learned that when men, boys or anyone else overstep boundaries of respectfulness I ‘break’ and I am in no way able to teach their hearts what only God can do. I forgive myself for losing my temper with them because I gained my voice and now I know what to say and when to just give the job to someone more capable to deal with…
    I sincerely ask for the prayers of anyone who reads this to pray that my sister’s heart will heal from her anger and her grief. If I did not manage to keep my father’s hands off her as I thought I did or off my niece when I called child and family services because my father was not able to ask God to heal his heart, be honest and be appropriate with himself and us. In that case we would have had the many graces of compassion, forgiveness, honesty, respectfulness, and grown strong as a loving family – I am sorry if I played any part in that!
    If I did not ‘help’ enough when I offered to babysit her two kids for my mom bc she was exhausted mentally and physically from his rages because I was turned down because of their pride I am sorry, but it wasn’t my choice. My frequent offers were there, for my mom and my sister. I was still there, listening, and I cared.
    He was screaming at me too, whenever he called or my mom called me to beg for my help to ‘please listen’ for awhile. Whenever I was blamed because I’d ‘worked him up’ by listening or ‘hadn’t done enough’ listening, or he was suicidal or threatening to me because he raged to me, ‘You don’t listen’. We all listened.
    We learned to love, defend and cover up for a broken man who loved and hated deeply. We bear the scars of a broken family and hearts that may never heal to the fullness that God intended for us if we aren’t honest with ourselves and with each other.

    This may perhaps be the longest letter I will ever write.
    I hope the next one will be to tell you the story of a family who has learned to trust one another again after the illness and death of a sad and spent old man who did not trust enough in the family that loved him and God.
    That family would respect boundaries, feelings and give space for healing but close the spaces where there needs to be confidence and affection. That family would be honest and open.
    I ask for your prayers today.
    God bless.

  23. 49

    Great post, Sarah Mae!

    My husband often tells me I’m too tough on myself. You know, he’s probably right. I try to edit my like like I edit my writing. Thankfully, God presses the delete button on all my sinful parts. I think He sometimes allows the other (slightly embarrassing) parts to teach me more humility and self-grace.

    • 50

      That’s me! I know I often don’t extend grace to others, but even more often, to myself. As I learn to walk in humilty, the grace will flow more easily.

  24. 51

    Oh you spoke right to the core with that one! It’s because I have had so many of those open-mouth-insert-foot moments of not knowing that I love so much to be the person who empathizes in a room full of shock. I think you’ve got a special annointing there – helping us be the awkwardness-lovers and grace-lavishers!

  25. 52

    Oh Sarah…if we knew then what we know now! I was a birth teacher and did some lactation consulting. And even had a baby that wasn’t nursing properly. Yet, I felt if anyone came to the door, I should be ready to receive. I later advised my new moms to say no to visitors till mom and the new baby had settled into their relationship, particularly breastfeeding. But you just don’t know till you experience some things for yourself!
    Thank you for this reminder to extend grace. And we do need to start with ourselves. Because if we are hard on ourselves and turn unforgiveness, condemnation, loathing inward…it just tends to be expressed outwardly. Our Good God News: If we confess, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1John1:9). It’s so much easier to forgive when we understand that forgiveness has been extended to us constantly as a free gift. You might find this relates http://bit.ly/OurPart
    Blessings!

  26. 53

    Remembering my own shame always helps me to extend grace to others.
    I didn’t always understand grace. Now I do. How can I not extend it to others?

    Thank you for your words.

  27. 54

    Great post Sarah Mae, sincerest thanks!

  28. 55
    Sheri King says:

    Thank you for this. I had a conversation about this exact thing with some friends this week. I wish I had read this earlier so I could have referenced it. But thankfully I shared it on facebook and hope that many others do as well. If women lived by this principal more fully I think we could all be so much happier! I just recently started reading your blog, and you are quickly becoming my favorite “distraction” during the day. :) Thank you!

  29. 56

    oh wow…Grace…Some great examples of Jesus applying Grace. Jesus knew that Judas would betrayed him, but allowed him to benefit from the Grace of God. Jesus knew that Peter was open to satanic and worldy influences but still worked with him. He didnt disconnect himself from peter, only let the glory of Christ be shown in truth and grace. Thomas didnt believe that Christ could rise from the dead but the grace of God gave him another opportunity to become a believer. Even the disciples werent always there for Jesus when he needed them, but the grace of God made him overlook their frailties, weakeness and mistakes and it was that grace that made them into great apostles. wow. I’m taking after Christs example with grace, and being gracious towards others. Thank you for this much needed message. God bless you. http://www.daghewardmills.org.

  30. 57

    Thank you so much for this. I really needed it. I tend to strive for perfection and immediate perfection at that. I need NEED to really focus on practicing grace, especially on myself. Not just for those awkward “whoops” moments, but the biggies too, like yelling at my children or saying something snarky to my husband. I get overwhelmed and frustrated in my pursuit of perfection and then take it out on my precious family :( Then I beat myself up about it – the moment I “act out” I immediately wish I could take it back… and then I ruminate on it, which makes me feel even worse about myself which, guess what, I then take out on my family. Ugh, vicious cycle.

    Anyway, thank you for this. I’m going to print it out and put it in my journal and write about it a little.

    And am I the only one that really wants that necklace charm? It’s a good reminder :)

  31. 58
    Maggie says:

    I need to remember this, especially with my children!

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