“Gratitude prepares a space for grace to reside.” – Jimmy, an A.A. old timer
We all need grace; some of us more than others. Those of us in recovery (from drugs, alcohol and life) know this; we know that grace is the primary foundation of recovery.
I am a firm believer God sends grace to us through two primary ‘opportunities’ – one is through our wounds and the other is when (intentional empty) space has been prepared.
It has been my experience that God rarely if ever forces grace upon us, but that like an every-flowing river, it is always available to us if we but ask and seek it. Grace comes when we create an empty space for it.
You see I know God is in the “Grace Business” for I am a wounded alcoholic/addict who has experienced divine grace more than I can even recall. But I am learning ever so slowly that grace does not force its way in, but rather I must open myself up to it, empty myself of all that is ego, then and only then does grace come rushing in.
I must be intentional in preparing a space and for me that space is created most immediately through gratitude. Gratitude is a reality that claims that God IS and because God IS therefore all is well.
Gratitude knows that all things, moments, and experiences are and can become blessings when seen through the whispered prayer of ‘thank You.’ Gratitude understands that nothing lies outside of God and God’s will for if anything did stand outside of God’s hands then God is neither omnipotent nor omnipresent.
Gratitude understands that in truth all things are present now, that I do not need to beg God for them, and that trust and thankfulness are the keys that open us up to the blessings of grace in all things. Gratitude is about fleshing out my “thank You’s” to God. It is about knowing I am only what and who I am because of God’s grace. And let me tell you, I need grace, daily, sometimes minute by minute because the world wants to ensnare my heart, strangling it with fear and dread and my dis-ease wants to consume me.
I have to empty myself out and make some space for grace and the space I need to empty out is where the ego resides, for my ego takes up a great deal of space. But empty I must if there is to be any room for grace. I am to be like Mary, Jesus’ mom, who in order to be so full of grace had to be emptied of herself…as in when she said “be it done to me according to Your Will.”
I am rarely in the headspace for grace or gratitude for that matter. But when I shift into gratitude I move into the ‘heart space’ and in that space grace comes – and it comes in ways unexpected, forthrightly, surprisingly, sometimes messily, always tenderly…but always, always does God’s grace faithfully come.