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Grace was a word that eluded me

Major Steph Herring and granddaughter
Major Steph Herring is a corps officer of the Singapore Central Corps.

I love the word ‘grace’.

Our youngest granddaughter’s middle name is Grace, and her full name is Aria Grace. Aria means ‘symphony’, so her name means ‘symphony of grace’.

Aria really suits her name. I call her ‘Miss Personality, and she is grace-filled with it—Aria Herring is full of the joy of life!

But for me, grace was a word, a characteristic and an attitude that eluded me for a very long time. I wanted it, but couldn’t give it.

The journey to find the reality of ‘grace’ in my life has been a long one. At times, it was filled with pain, as I searched God’s heart and then my own. I realised that until I knew without doubt how much God loved me, I couldn’t pass his love and grace on to others. So long as I was empty, I had nothing to give.

And so I set out on a journey to find grace, discovering along the way how much God loves me and how rich his grace truly is. The evidence of God’s grace is everywhere … if you know how to look for it.

I love to worship God in song. This is where I experience closeness with God, and it is one place where I find his grace—through the words of songs and even in their melodies. When I worship God in song, I experience his grace flowing over me like a waterfall. I find joy that is uncontainable when I seek God’s face in this way.

God’s grace also comes through people, those I share life with on a daily basis. When I hear their stories and see how God has set them free, I am amazed! Seeing God’s transforming grace in people’s lives is better than any thrill ride.

I see God’s grace in creation, as I look and experience the beautiful world God has made. No, it’s not perfect anymore, but it is awe-inspiring nonetheless.

God’s grace comes close in the forgiveness he gives when I stuff up and go my own selfish way, instead of God’s way. It comes through the gifts of kindness, love and care that people shower upon me every day.

I remember God’s grace being so real when our family went through a difficult time a few years ago. The grace we saw in the things that happened (which I can only call miracles) and in the love and kindness people showed, was incredible!

But most of all, I see God’s grace in the cross of Jesus. As the Charles Wesley hymn says: ‘Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?’

There is nothing I can do to make God love me more—there is nothing I can do to make God love me less. Rhythms of grace, found all around, prove how much God really does love us.

By Steph Herring (abridged from War Cry, 20 October 2012, p9)