bio photo of author Nina hall

It’s Grace and More Grace

The Your Stories blogs are a place where women can bravely and authentically tell their story as it really is. We invite women to collide with Jesus and share how He is meeting them, transforming them and redeeming them. We hope this “your story” meets you in yours…

I have been in this weird place for a while. A place of just listening, reshaping, and molding what it looks like to follow Jesus after I thought I had it completely down. At the same time, I am feeling more comfortable and confident in where I am and what God has called me to.

So yeah, it’s just weird. Good weird.

College for me provided a space of deep growth in following Jesus, solid friends, spending time with countless high school girls in ministry and just… flourishing. After college was a little bit more difficult. No one really explains that this comfortable, cozy cushion of community and life that you have built over the last 4 years will all of a sudden be gone. Change happens, people leave, you now work a full time job and there are no more naps in the middle of the day (I really miss the naps). I found myself, once again, needing to rebuild, find community and a new rhythm of life. And on top of that, friends were getting married… or not, getting their dream jobs… or not, traveling the world… or not.

And there I had Jesus in this nicely kept box. A box where I could see Him and get to Him but my understanding going forth into the world was what I thought was required of me. I would think, “if I am doing, ‘x, y and z,’ then Jesus will love me more, will be pleased with me and even want to keep me around.” But this twisted state of mind was damaging, and my own understanding of Jesus started to feel heavy.

Right when I thought, “I got this Jesus thing figured out…” He said, “No dear one, there is still so much to learn.”

I feel like our mid-twenties are kind of like middle school again. I thought I knew myself, had this life thing down pat but all of a sudden, I questioned, “Who am I? What am I about? Am I even a Christian? I literally have screwed this whole thing up.” I felt awkward and unsure. And so, like I have done before… I dug deep, asked hard questions and figured out my life again. My purpose and meaning. Most importantly, I figured out my relationship with Jesus again in this new life stage.

And now, once again, after I thought I finally arrived in this new life stage of post-college, working adult stuff… finally broke down that twisted mind and rebuilt…I feel another exciting life stage shift happening. Babies. Which launches exciting unknowns and fear in my ability in one single swoop. So I am beginning to wonder… What if God brings about change to call you deeper in with Him? What if there is never a time you “arrive” but rather just trust and listen to Him wherever you are at?

I love the book of Isaiah in the Bible. I love how it’s dynamic, intense, and God’s grace is so clear. Below, Isaiah is speaking to the Israelites because, once again, they didn’t trust God and thought they knew best. Here is what God has to say to them:

Therefore, The Holy of Israel says this:

“Because you scorn this Message, preferring to live by injustice and shape your lives on lies, this perverse way of life will be like a towering, badly built wall that slowly, slowly tilts and shifts, and then one day, without warning, collapses— Smashed to bits like a piece of pottery, smashed beyond recognition or repair, useless, a pile of debris to be swept up and thrown in the trash.”

God, the Master, The Holy of Israel, has this solemn counsel: “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me— The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do…”

But God’s not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you. God takes the time to do everything right—everything. Those who wait around for him are the lucky ones.

Oh yes, people of Zion, citizens of Jerusalem, your time of tears is over. Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment he hears, he’ll answer. Just as the Master kept you alive during the hard times, he’ll keep your teacher alive and present among you. Your teacher will be right there, local and on the job, urging you on whenever you wander left or right: “This is the right road. Walk down this road.” You’ll scrap your expensive and fashionable god-images. You’ll throw them in the trash as so much garbage, saying, “Good riddance!” 

Isaiah 30:12-15, 18-22 (MSG)

As I process through life changes, I love this scripture and how I can apply it to life. There will always be changes. This rebuilding and shifting will continue to happen until we are home with our Father. Through these changes, sometimes I will choose Jesus and sometimes I won’t. I am going to slip and choose comfort, selfishness, etc. I might even slip into the performance driven love seeking. And He knows this. He is not surprised or ashamed of me. He loves me (and you) too much and will not force our relationship… but is patiently present and waiting as we learn and grow.

And when we get to that dry, desert place, or when we have put up the badly built wall because of our own disobedience, we can remember, “Your salvation requires you to turn back to me [the Lord] and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves. Your strength will come from settling down in complete dependence on me—The very thing you’ve been unwilling to do…Cry for help and you’ll find it’s grace and more grace. The moment He hears, He’ll answer… urging you on whenever you wander left or right: ‘This is the right road. Walk down this road.’” 

Isaiah 30:15, 19-22 MSG

YES.

It’s Him. It’s grace and more grace. The moment He hears, He’ll answer. It’s us turning and going to Him. This brings me such a comfort and assurance of His love for me even when I don’t get it right or “collapse: smashed beyond recognition or repair.” He will be there! He is “not finished. He’s waiting around to be gracious to you. He’s gathering strength to show mercy to you.” So maybe instead of resisting the change, fearing the unknown, holding comfort with clenched fists… I can trust and turn to Him?

Maybe, we can settle down in complete dependence on Him. What change has the Lord brought into your life to call you deeper in with Him?

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2 Comments

  • Pam Wolfe says:

    “There will always be change.” Wow, Nina! So much good stuff here! A cup of tea and a long chat are needed! Love you, dear girl!

  • Janet Sharpe says:

    So much insight! Loved reading it and digesting your words.. as well as God’s words through Isaiah.. we are studying Isaiah in Community Bible Study so this is particularly meaningful to me. I wondered if there’s a CBS in Bellingham.. it’s international and such a great organization. Thanks for your words❤️ Aunt Janet