Gravel, Grace & a Place I Can Celebrate

There's this place. It's at an intersection. It's a little roadside church. White and plain, but perfectly placed in the middle of nowhere. It has a gravel parking lot. I don't normally notice gravel parking lots, I only know this because I pulled into it one day. Since that day, I seldom travel by it anymore.

But coincidentally, just the other day I drove by that place. Immediately that sick feeling you get in your stomach just before you are about to face a bad situation happened in my gut. A rush of emotions took over and guilt enveloped by mind. It's a place I wish didn't exist. That beautiful little country church’s gravel parking lot represented a dark side I want to erase.

It was a place that has brought me guilt as a parent. On that day, I allowed my flesh to control me as a mommy to our first son than allowing the Spirit to lead me and I simply blew it. I exploded in my words and attitude toward my toddler for cleverly squirming out of his car seat. I never harmed him physically, but it is a moment I still wish I could take back… even to this day, 10 years later....

But as I think about that intersecting place marked by the gravel lot, I begin to see a place where grace and forgiveness collide over my sin. Admittedly, we all have those parts in our lives that are ugly and dark. Places we want to bury and forget about. But maybe God wants us to bring those dark spots to light only so they can converge with His forgiveness and grace.

“Grace is nothing more nor less than the face that love wears when it meets imperfection, weakness, failure, sin.” – Joseph Cooke

Did you ever think that our places of past regrets can become places of celebration? They truly can be marked this way only because they reveal our emptiness and deepest need for God. Who are we apart from Christ anyway? Those spots that once haunted us can become places that remind us of God's forgiveness. Even though we can't forget the past, we can choose to celebrate our now changed lives. Tears of guilt are transformed into tears of gratefulness.

"There is hope in forgiveness." -- John Piper

The Bible is full of naming stories, from names of places based on something significant to names of people. Naming something reflects our relationship with it. In Genesis 22:14, after God spared Isaac's life because of Abraham's obedience, Abraham marked that spot and named it, "The Lord Will Provide". Maybe that's what we should do. Mark our spots of grace and name them. Remember it for a place of redemption... a place of that we've been rescued from. Not a place of disgrace. "Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return.

Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you." -- Paul Zahl

I named that spot. I will remember that gravel parking lot I drove into that day. But now I will remember instead, Christ being my rock... "Stone of Help".

Do you have a place of shame or guilt? Do you avoid it? Take the long way just to go around it? Next time, don't. Drive right by it. Slow down. Name it. Celebrate the place you were at and the beautiful place God is or has taken you to. And by naming it, you can remember the broken spots and the place that God has made new.

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