"Oceans of Grace" www.laurenchurch.com
Definition of GRACE
a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
Grace is always undeserved and unexpected, at least to me it is.
Today was not an easy day at my high school teaching job. I learned some things about some former students that just broke my heart. I grieve because I believe we all deserve to grow up understanding, feeling deep in our bones that we are surrounded by love.
And when we don't, we fill up the yearning with whatever comes our way - drugs, alcohol, sex, food, a stubborn sense of failure and inadequacy. And it is painful to watch that process play out in slow motion and to feel powerless to do anything but be a witness.
I know plenty of people who turn their heads, who would rather not know the unpleasant truths, the God-sized holes in hearts that distort human longing into violence, addiction and yes, sometimes an attraction to what looks shimmery but really is evil.
I don't know how to turn away. I feel as if I am supposed to look at whatever, whoever has been placed in front of me with clear eyes and an open heart. At least today I was able to tell a student what a good friend she has been to another, how good it is she was able to be a loving presence to a soul that had lost its way.
Sometimes, especially on gray days like this when it feels as if winter just won't leave, I end up driving home with tears steaming down my face and the only sound my breathing, in and out, in and out. Too sad to sob or even utter a word. I took to the sofa when I got home.
And only after a few minutes of rest did I realize that the sounds coming from the upstairs were the sounds of music being made by our teenaged son on his bass and a guitar-playing buddy. And this felt like grace, like the Mystery's way of telling me that no matter how rough the road, there is Beauty just around the bend, calling us to continue, and asking us to pray for the orphaned hearts, including our own.
Lauren Church, who painted the piece shown above, describes it this way: In this work, the depths of our brokenness and sin are shown through establishing a turbulent, textured background using different textiles and papers. Thankfully, our lives don't have to stay in this broken state, which is why the work is overlaid with a calm blue, symbolic of God's grace that washes over us and reminds us that He is in control. He makes everything new.