Thursday, July 19, 2007


This photo by Gail Nadeau is filtered. And colored. (Not with crayons I imagine.)

When I think of my life, I realize that it too is filtered. Through a lens of grace.

Now there have been times when it was all too different. When my life was filtered through the identity of "victim". Or when everything was interpreted through issues of power, loss or gender. And I suppose these still creep in to veil my days. Memories have a way of shaping and driving us.

And yet. Grace.

The other day Scot McKnight mentioned that he'd done a talk on the restorative aspects of grace. I commented, "Yes, grace is often seen as a one-time offering to the sinner who takes it up and is saved. But grace is wider, longer, deeper, isn't it?"

Indeed. Grace is my filter. It colors my days.

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy... Psalm 126:5

Photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.

Seedlings Invitation: If you write a post related to this post and Link It Back Here, let me know and I'll link to yours.


Inihtar's Grace

Halfmom's Strange Word Post

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Blogger Craver Vii said...

So, you're talking about the grace we extend towards one another?

9:30 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

You are so very right - the lense of grace is like the camera lense (or the microscope lense for me) - things are fuzzy and out of focus and make no sense -not in the present, not in terms of the past (or preparation of the sample for the scope) - but when things suddenly come into sharp focus, when the lense is moved to the "efficacious" position, suddenly everything looks different and has such different depth and meaning.

But, with all things, the camera can get bumped, the microscope tweaked, and you, for a time, look through the out-of-focus lense. I think of it this way in my own life; it is not like the memories of abuse go away or even that they get softer and less painful with time, but the pain becomes something that sits on my shoulders rather than residing inside my soul - and this, I think, is the work of grace in my life each day.

The grant goes poorly - but I suppose according to my time-table, not God's. I was at the church early yesterday morning when a "situation" came up that, due to my past and my training, I was ideally equipped to help handle - but it took all day, literally and so I "lost" 12 hours of time for the grant and am, even after to enormous Starbucks, this morning, feeling drained and lethargic. I think the absolute deadline is 5pm central today (Thursday), so after a bit of reading, I'm back at it.

9:33 AM  
Blogger Pair of Noid said...

YES! We sell ourselves so short and miss out on so much that God offers when we take the wrong view of grace you mentioned. It isn't a one stop fix. It's a spring that flows into every part of our lives. The problem is we sandbag and dam it up and won't accept what it can bring.
I LOVED this post

11:29 AM  
Blogger Katrina @ Callapidder Days said...

Absolutely! Grace is so much more than a one-time event. It seeps into every moment of every day. Thanks for this reminder.

12:36 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Craver... I suppose if grace colors my days, it would need to do so through extension... yet, it's the healing power of grace working on me that often makes that possible. I think it's interesting to consider what shapes and drives us. If, for the Christian, it is not grace, I guess we might want to reflect on why.

Halfmom... I liked your further expansion of the image, to include the microscope. Everything does look different depending on our lens, especially some of those microscopic details that, as it turns out, have big implications for us.

Also, I was thinking the same thing. Or questioning rather.... does grace mean the pain is replaced or muted? Either the pain of our own sins or the pain of others' sins towards us?

Sorry about the grant. Still, best wishes on it.

The Cob... a spring. What an apt metaphor. Makes me thirsty for grace just thinking about it.

Katrina... I do wish it would seep into every moment. Sometimes though, like The Cob said, I dam it up, push it away, and let the old things rule my responses and attitudes.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

umm - I'll have to think on that one -

muted/replaced/displaced/transformed? dunno - though my inclination is to say transformed, although I think Is61:3 might indicate otherwise - still, as of yet, this is not (at least not very often) my experience. I think that only the "lense" changes - I think it's psalm 119:71 - good that I was afflicted that I might know your statutes

3:28 PM  
Blogger christianne said...

I loved this post, too, Laura. Grace has become one of the most important aspects of my life and faith.

I was really moved by what Halfmom shared, both about the pain becoming something that rests on our shoulders instead of residing in our souls, and also about the experience she was able to share with someone at church, given her background. Not knowing anything about Halfmom's background or the situation that came up, of course, it still seemed to me like a space in which she allowed grace to descend and filter through that place. Thanks for sharing.

7:51 PM  
Blogger 23 degrees said...

You say memories have a way of shaping and driving us...I agree.

A good friend told me once that every battle is won or lost on the threshold of our minds. We choose what we want to think, process, meditate on, lust over.

How did you move from the victim filter to the filter of grace? Was it a learned process of what you allowed our mind to think, or...?

9:18 PM  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

L.L., This reminds me of Philip Yancey's wonderful book, one of my favorites: What's So Amazing About Grace?

You're so right. We see life and experience it through so many filters, but we need to do so more and more through the filter of grace. Very nice and helpful thought and truth to ponder on and hopefully by faith, live more!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Inihtar said...

I like this post. All too often, we forget to look at the world through the filter, and believe our own efforts and abilities are sufficient. . . and thus don't extend the grace that has been extended to us to others. Thanks for the reminder!

10:45 PM  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!

Isn't that wonderful! I'm sure it is grace that has enabled me to forgive things that once I thought unforgivable and has turned around a potentially angry, self-righteous llama into sometimes (only sometimes mind) seeing other points of view!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Every Square Inch said...

Great thoughts, LL. It's when we're overcome by the grace and kindness of God that the other issues of power, race, etc... fade into the background.

It's not that they aren't in play in our lives, it's just that they're secondary...they get filtered out from our primary view of life.

10:14 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Halfmom... I like all those possible words. Perhaps they each fit in different ways. When I wrote this post, I was thinking "transformed". Because I realized that things which used to have the power to hurt me now have the power to heal me and others because of the work of grace.

Christianne... the shoulder image resonated with me too. I see it as a spectrum, really. Some pain has moved out to the shoulder area. Some has dissipated into the atmosphere. I'm not sure what the goal should be...that's just how it seems to work.

23 Degrees... wow, I could write a whole book on your questions (oh, wait a minute... ! :) Definitely a process, in which God's Word and some very special people moved me along. It has taken years.

Ted... I read that a while ago, but the main message I took away was something along the lines of what 23 Degrees said... that we can choose to see life through grace, and, oh how that changes things.

Inihtar... yes, the old saying from Jesus about he who has been forgiven much loves much... (that characterizes all of us... forgiven much, but we don't all get it, do we?)

Lorenzo... indeed. Forgiveness for the unforgivable. I must say I've had some similar experiences, though I'd be interested in hearing yours.

Every Square... oh, race is another one. Thanks for bringing that up too. We have so many lenses we look through, don't we? And it's true that they don't go away necessarily. But I do find I am actually more free to deal with those issues when I'm not completely bound up in them...

2:57 PM  
Blogger kirsten said...

Oh, how I love this post!!

When I think of the grace extended toward myself in both the once-and-for-all sense and in the ongoing day-by-day & moment-by-moment sense, I am humbled and reminded that I need it, and though I might shun it, I crave it, and ultimately, I am to mirror this grace toward others. How grateful I am to those who mirror this grace for me.

Amazing is such a weak adjective for what grace is.

11:38 PM  
Blogger Kate said...


I love this post. It is so easy to sell ourselves short, to hug hurts and injustices close and hold the possibilities that God has for us at arms length in the process. God's grace. He extends it to us so that we can wrap it around us and emerge as someone different than who we started as. He extends grace so that we in turn can extend it to those around us.

I love the verse May those who sow in tears... I don't know about you, but for me the greatest victories come after the lowest lows...and I reap with shouts of joy

You've given me something to think about here.


12:17 AM  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Nice filtered photo, have a good weekend LL! Sorry I have not been by for a while!

5:47 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Grant is in - under the wrong title - but, what else are Mondays for but sorting out these things.

More posts coming - love Lorenzo's information on potting - it will help my thoughts very much - and certainly ties in with this post - I think that my first "example" will make you laugh - so I will leave it with that and wish you a blessed weekend.

3:42 PM  
Blogger 23 degrees said...

Thanks for the response. Can I ask:

What was one significant person and how did God help you through them?

What was one verse that helped you?

12:15 AM  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

Alright missy - first "potting" example done - not crayons for sure, but play-doh. And the filter is still grace - but a different definition - since grace is efficatious - accomplishing what it sets out to, sometimes it takes a very interactive relationship between the giver and receiver of said grace.

2:15 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

23 Degrees... yes, of course you can ask. I'm kind of floating in a daze this week, so forgive me if I can't form the best answer.

One special person. Definitely my spouse, who first showed me that all men are not the same, and who held on against all odds (and, surely, the odds were against us). I've always liked Psalm 27:10 "if my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me up." God took me up and also held on against all odds.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Cassandra Frear said...

Grace is the air we breath and the light by which we see. We may not realize it, but it's still there. Faithful and ever-present. Like Him.

5:55 PM  

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