About the Author

Vanessa is an Army National Guard wife and working mama of two. Her dream is to encourage and celebrate God’s love for women through her writing.

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  1. Vanessa,
    I agree that in order to accept the full grace of God, we need to repent of our sins…we cannot bestow grace upon ourselves. The enemy, however, plays a big part in wanting to cause us to stumble by whispering lies to us…lies we are all too willing sometimes to believe. Lies that produce false guilt. That’s when I cling to Romans 8:1: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I can then tell the creep to get lost. Thank you for a thought provoking post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Bev,

      Those whispers from the enemy, oh, I know them well. In fact, I spent a good week earlier this month battling those whispers that had me ugly-crying in a fast-food drive thru and crying out in an email to faraway sisters, begging for them to wrap me in prayer. He had beaten me down to the point where I felt incredibly alone, wondering where God was. Romans 8:1 is a great verse, but what ultimately helped me stand up against the enemy’s lies? Ephesians 6:16 — “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;”

      It was in Paul’s words I realized I wasn’t alone and through the faith He had given me, I had the strength — His strength — to extinguish those lies and “tell the creep to get lost” as you say πŸ™‚

      Thank you so much for your comment, Bev! Always love seeing what you have to say here πŸ™‚

  2. Our sermon this past week was “All Are Invited.” It was about just what you have been going through – comparing ourselves to others who seem to have it all together and do things better than we do. (Even those people with the beautiful yards have some secret shame.) No matter what our weaknesses and shortcomings, all are invited to the heavenly banquet. When I had one of those days when I felt “less than,” I just kept telling myself, “It’s ok. All are invited.” It helped me to accept myself by reminding me that God does. Then I can move on to repentance.

    • Beautiful point, Helen. All are invited! Not all will accept (“For many are called, but few are chosen” Matthew 22:14), but we are all invited to take a seat at his table of mercy and grace! Love to you today, friend!

  3. Love this!!! πŸ™‚

    I have to admit that I have been guilty of telling others to give themselves grace, when it seems that they are being to hard on themselves. I’ve recently been convicted that when I do this I am really doing a disservice to them and myself. I don’t know what God is laying on their hearts to change. Yes, God forgives our sins, but He also wants our obedience. If we continually give ourselves grace and prompt other to do the same, we won’t ever be able to grasp the fullness of grace or the redemptive power of God’s love. I don’t want to keep giving myself grace for the same thing over and over again. I want God’s grace to wipe away sin and change me from the inside out! Thank you for being such a great friend and pointing out when words don’t match our hearts. Love to you, friend!

    • Kelsey – your comment here has me in tears! And you might, too, when I tell you that you are the inspiration for this post. God spoke to me after you had told me “Give yourself grace” during a crazy time. Your words had brought me comfort, but God whispered to me to dig deeper, go further, seek more. His grace is mighty and we need to work to not trivialize it!

      Love you so much, Kelsey! So thankful to have you standing shoulder to shoulder with me on this journey. {{Hugs}} to you!!!

  4. Good morning sweet friend. It is such joy to see you here!! Truly!!! Your smiling face and your lovely words!

    I wanted to whisper here that you are beautiful, that God has granted you with such a gift of love and encouragement!! I am so happy that you found His grace right in your moment of surrender to Him. Praying that you continue to see how He uses you in the lives of those that you impact on a daily basis.

    Tonya

    • Tonya, you bless me daily. Your friendship has meant the world to me, lifting it up when I need it most, celebrating life with me with every hill conquered in His name! Cannot wait to see your words here, too, friend! He has blessed you with an amazing talent, and I can’t wait to celebrate with you!!!

  5. Vanessa,
    Thank you so much for allowing this word to flow through you so freely. It comes at a time where I have been wondering if I always ‘measure up’ in certain areas and I never considered that Grace was something that I could give myself. I always saw it as an excuse. Yet, you gave such a clear explanation of the biblical differences that now I know it is ok to offer myself Grace as long as I remember who my source for that Grace is. I can’t be everything everyday but God can certainly be my EVERYthing EVERYday.

    Thank you…

    • Tiffany! So glad that this spoke to you in such a new and amazing way! I always thought of it as an excuse as well, but as people — Godly people — kept saying it to me, I really felt His call to pray and dig deeper into it. Pray that this message is a blessing to so many who struggle with feelings of inadequacy and guilt! Love to you, friend!

    • Dana! Thanks for all your encouragement and for cheering me on daily πŸ™‚ You are such a blessing! And I just love Bonhoeffer! He was an amazing man of selfless service. Happy Thursday!!!

  6. This is amazing, Vanessa! Definitely a perspective shifter. I love what you said about what happens when we give ourselves grace – that we really aren’t giving ourselves anything, but learning to accept the grace God has to give us. Such a beautiful and important reminder that He should be the center of our lives. You are such a talented writer – God has given you a beautiful gift!

    • Thank you, Courtney! It certainly threw my world upside down when I prayed about it. I had been so confused by these words, but He set me straight. Love to you, girl, and thank you so much for your sweet words. I am blessed by so many amazing writers in this community. I just love how we love each other and lift each other up!

  7. Love it, Vanessa! This is a great reminder and great timing for many moms sending kids off to school or starting up homeschool again. I pray it reaches and touches many hearts.

  8. Love your words here today, girl! You mix grace with absolute truth. Both belong together, and you did a fantastic job at pouring the words out to describe it beautifully. God bless you today!

  9. What a nice surprise to find you here this morning, sweet friend! Aah – you know me well and know how I feel about Abounding Grace! You also know how I feel about those nagging whisperings that scream so much louder than His thoughts toward us! We are all in need of grace… we extend it out and so often withhold it from ourselves… I love the quote and understand that sentiment, but Grace always costs something! Cheap grace costs US… Extravagant Grace cost Him… and don’t you just LOVE the difference?

  10. Timely. Just this morning I was feeling overwhelmed by all that needed to be done. I was considering going back into the work field?! How in the world would ANYTHING get done around here?! I have known that praying and giving my anxiety to Jesus gets me over it, but the idea of receiving His grace… It IS okay. I don’t have to work for my salvation or His love. I just need to take one step at a time with Him, working on His priorities first, and it will get done. He does not want me to be overwhelmed. He has given me enough time to do what He requires of me. His grace is sufficient for me at all times in all circumstances. Thank you!

    • Absolutely! Beautiful points, Diane! I am so glad that this was a blessing to you this morning. Yes, one step at a time. This receiving of faith and grace is not an event, it is a life long journey! And He is sufficient! πŸ™‚

  11. I love the distinction between giving ourselves grace and receiving grace from Christ, AFTER repentance. I also tend to encourage friends to live in grace, but it’s good to remember that costly grace. A life of repentance. Thank you.

    • Betsy! Grace is such an amazing gift from Him! And it is so wonderful to encourage friends to live in grace, as long as that encouragement always leads to them to the grace of the cross! Hugs to you today!!!

  12. I, too, have often said these same “grace” words, and I appreciate this insight. We as women are often so hard on ourselves, it is a quick and easy phrase to remember when we are beating ourselves up. Maybe my new, easy-to-remember phrase when I’m overwhelmed (or my friend is) will be, “open up to grace” and know that we’ll remember look to God to receive His loving grace.

    • “Open up to grace” <— wonderful!!! I love this change to the words. May He always hold our hearts open to Him so we may receive His loving grace!

  13. For me I’m at the just rest stage.

    I work at my marriage though. A lot.

    My grandsons as well. We both do.

    But for me, it’s the rest stage.

  14. I disagree with this… or perhaps I’m just tired of the emphasis on repentance. On guilt.

    We can cheapen grace, but I don’t believe that giving it to ourselves cheapens it. I spent 20 years desperately repenting of things I hadn’t even done, because I hoped one day if I repented enough, I would feel grace from God, I would be allowed to give grace to myself, I would get to stop trying so hard I made myself sick.

    The answer only came when I stopped worrying about repenting (except for the moments when I am actually, specifically convicted of something) and started allowing grace to rule my life–whether I have sinned or not, whether I know it or not, whether other people are mad at me or loving on me. I’m trying not to let guilt teach me how to think any longer, but to stand in God’s grace instead… without earning it by finding something to repent of.

    A different stage, perhaps.

    • Sarah, I appreciate you sharing so openly and honestly. Repentance for me is not about guilt, it is about apologizing to God for our failings. Guilt involves letting those failings hang over us, repentance is dropping those failings at the cross, giving them to Him, and letting Him wash them clean.

      Repentance is a command from God. We must repent. No ifs, ands, or buts. Without repentance, without handing over our sins and failures to Him, there is no grace or salvation to be had.

      I pray that your heart would be opened to the distinction between guilt and repentance. For the difference is of the utmost importance. Repentance is not about earning grace, it is about accepting it. It’s not something I do to earn my salvation, it’s an admitting and agreeing with God that His grace is something I NEED. Without repentance, without admitting that we need His grace, do we ever really receive His full grace? I don’t think so.

      Blessings and prayers to you, today, Sarah.
      -Vanessa

      • I appreciate your prayers, but I would also ask that the Lord would open your heart to remember and acknowledge that while our repentance can bring us into the grace of God, sometimes it is the experience of the grace of God (of his kindness–not only in forgiveness but in acceptance and love without condition) that brings us into growth (including repentance where it is needed).

        It’s not just one way–God is not that small. And I praise him for it!

        Thank you for your post, because in reading it I came to understand what God has been teaching me this year: to receive his grace and love utterly without condition, as he gave it to us on the cross.

        • I agree. God is not small, and His power to forgive and give grace is immeasurable. He can do anything. All is in His power. But I would warn against going beyond what He has revealed to us in His word. Luke 13:1-5, twice we are told “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Or again in Acts 17:30-31 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

          Jesus directly tells us, commands us, to repent. Matthew 4:17 – “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'”

          Yes, God can forgive us and give us grace without our repentance, without our admitting we need His grace. But just because He CAN does not mean He DOES. I realize we may be delving into theological/doctrinal differences here, but I just encourage you to delve into the scripture, into the word He gives us as our one true way of knowing Him. I will join you in praying that my heart is always open to the Holy Spirit who guides me in my walk with Him.

          Blessings to you, friend!

          • I have delved into Scripture my whole life; my heart is full of it, and it is beautiful.

            But the way people talk about God’s grace, putting conditions on it, kept me from experiencing it for 20 years, no matter how much I sought his face, how much I repented of my failings, how much I longed for him.

            Freedom and grace, because of Christ, is this: no matter what I do or fail to do, God’s love and acceptance and grace chance not one iota. I cannot change God’s unfailing love, which means I am free to grow and try and live, rather than stifle myself in terror of failure or sin. I am never unloved; I am never without grace; God is never far from me, even when I fall. “We may be faithless, but he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

    • Here is scripture I pray would be a blessing to you on the subject of repentance:
      “And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” – Acts 2:38
      “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus” Acts 3:19-20
      “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:9
      “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” – Romans 2:4
      “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:46-47

      “Repentance” as used in the new testament is the greek word metanoia – which means “a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done.” — Repentance isn’t about guilt, it is about letting go, changing your mind, handing it over.

    • I struggled with this as well….this is what helped me; maybe it will bless someone else as well.

      Once I made a mistake. I felt CONVICTED so I REPENTED and prayed. God FORGAVE me immediately. But I had not forgiven myself. Because of this, thoughts of GUILT ran through my mind, overpowering my way of thinking.

      While talking with my dad about this situation he told me, “Faith, the Holy Spirit will convict us so we are able to know when to repent to our Heavenly Father for that sin. Once we repent we are immediately forgiven and our slate is wiped clean. Any feelings of guilt past that point of forgiveness is the working of Satan.”

      That stuck with me. It wasn’t God making me feel guilty, I fell into one of Satan’s traps. If we keep repenting for the same sin over and over again we are not accepting God’s forgiveness or grace. There is nothing but the blood of Jesus that can cover our sin. NOTHING that we can do ourselves; not even repenting over and over. That’s true grace. We have NOTHING to offer Him, nothing that will suffice to cover our sin and yet He chose to give us EVERYTHING.

      Scripture tells us to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and bring it under the authority of Christ. If the Bible says we are forgiven after we repent and yet we still struggle with thoughts of guilt, that does not line up with God’s word. So, we are to bring that thought captive under Christ’s authority. That means recognizing it as a lie, casting it out of our thought process completely, and dwelling on that thought no more. The sooner we recognize Satan’s lies in our thinking and identify them the easier it is to rid our thinking of them because they haven’t taken root in our heart. πŸ™‚

      I love reading Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer. πŸ™‚ She stresses this verse a lot —> “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5

    • Hi Sarah,

      I am saddened to hear that you were so guilted into repentance by others. That sounds simply horrible. Did you know that Martin Lutheran (the man who started the reformation) also made himself very sick over this very thing? He traveled to every ancient relic, prayed to all the saints, was a monk, did everything he was told to do to receive grace and without fail he’d continue to sin and worry and punish himself for it.

      It wasn’t until he was guided by a spiritual mentor (an older monk teaching in the university) to teach theology that Lutheran learned of the difference between law and gospel. Lo and behold he learned that it is BY FAITH (grace) ALONE that we are saved. It is not by works but through faith in Christ Jesus that we are saved. Grace is simply God’s willingness to provide the justification. Grace is not the forgiveness of sins but the act of giving forgiveness when not earned. This realization helped Luther immensely.

      Though once we learn of our justification and God’s grace we have a natural response and a calling to carry out good works, while striving to more and more Christ-like. This response to our saving is called sanctification and it is the act of living out your life in Christ’s family as part of the living body. For faith without works is dead. (James 2:26). Conviction is a guttural, sprit directed and sanctified response to our sin. We are convicted in our sin. We know the law, as it is written on our hearts (Heb. 8-10). We then fall at the foot of the cross with a contrite heart and repent where we are gifted forgiveness as a means of grace. He creates anew a clean heart. This is the spiritual discipline of a disciple. It is the cycle of receiving forgiveness in a sinful world BECAUSE of God’s grace. Again grace and forgiveness are not the same thing, though they are closely related. Sarah you are right so say God’s grace is enough, and that His forgiveness is abundant. But it is also right to understand grace is a God thing. It would not and could not exist with out Him and neither would forgiveness. We simply cannot give ourselves grace as it is not of us or ours to give.

      I am so thankful to be living in the grace of God, to receive his forgiveness time and time again though I greatly deserve His punishment. I am also thankful you are a part of this family. And I pray that you too can find how your sanctified life works within your justified one. God’s peace and understanding to you.

      • Beautifully spoken Jessica. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing (I don’t know much about Martin Lutheran so that was very informative and interesting to learn). Love the points you made about forgiveness and grace being separate.

        “But it is also right to understand grace is a God thing. It would not and could not exist with out Him and neither would forgiveness.” <— So true. πŸ™‚

        • Thanks Faith! I once read a book called Here I Stand. Which is the history of Martin Luther. It was mind blowing. I still think about his faith journey. It’s pretty incredible. I digress.

          I loved this post and I adore Vanessa! She is a dear soul.

      • Thank you Jessica for sharing!! I love Martin Luther, and his journey to discovering such truth in the scriptures is amazing. Love to you, friend! πŸ™‚

        • Whoops I see that my fingers like to type Lutheran and not Luther… old habits and the perils of two years old climbing all over my lap! So please excuse my bad grammar and typos. I tried to look over it but there’s only so much a toddler will let you do! <3

  15. “The thing is, we don’t have the power to truly pardon ourselves. When we attempt to skip a step and go straight to self-grace, we cheapen it. When we attempt to give ourselves grace, we abuse it. We misuse it. We distort it until it’s no longer grace, but an excuse. The grace we show ourselves is earthly, weak, and incapable of providing the redemption we need, even for the smallest of sins.” Exactly! Well said! πŸ™‚ We discussed this once in my church group about giving grace to others and the question was raised, “Do WE even have the power to give grace?” We came to the conclusion in our discussion that there are two versions of grace. Our definition of “earthly-grace” (the best we can come up with, as you said “cheapened grace) and then there is the God-given grace straight from the Father that only He can give. When we get used to giving ourselves grace and extending that cheapened grace to others we forget how beautiful and how overwhelmingly AMAZING God’s grace truly is! πŸ™‚ Thank you for your beautiful words, Friend!! <3

  16. Love this. I repent all the time. Not had much to repent to really in the last goodness know how many years.
    Taught this in Sunday School in my early twenties. Take care of all the small sins, like yelling at someone, hating someone, and the heart is light.
    HIS yoke is LIGHT.
    Repentance is a very important part of our life with JESUS.
    Love this one.
    I love to confess my sins at once.
    My husband and I, we have this thing, he often says things that hurt me and I tell him to tell me he is sorry and he does but firstly, to God. Then me.
    Sorry LORD JESUS.
    Then, I’m sorry I said it.
    Probably my Catholic upbringing. Repentance is daily. Moment by moment. Don’t wait. Things pile up. So do sins. Minor sins.
    Love this one.
    We are indeed saved by grace that none may boast. Humility before a HOLY God.
    πŸ™‚

    • Karyn! Love your comment here. Yes yes yes. Repent always, for the minor things, for everything. His forgiveness is utterly amazing. πŸ™‚

  17. Beautiful to see your words here. And to read the unfolding of acceptance that comes with surrender to Him. Loved how you closed with this > All the glory is His alone, and all true grace comes from Him alone. < Because this is the heart of it all. It is from Him and for Him that all is accomplished. Blessings to you girl!

  18. I struggle with this all the time. I can hear the evil one say “not good enough, smart enough, why even try”. I feel defeated a lot & call myself stupid, dumb, etc. Fortunately with lots of prayer and repentance I can overcome these feelings.

    I’ve learned to compare myself in the light of all the blessings I have been given. That helps me realize how much more I have than a lot of people, especially co-workers. They may be good at their jobs, but I can do other things. God has gifted each of us differently

    Great post!

  19. I have been stung by guilt as well. Having grace with others comes easy, learning to have grace with myself has been a process. A beautiful process full of fresh air and deep breathes.