Roberta Bondi, a seminary professor of mine, used to tell us "Accept grace where grace is offered." Many of us, preparing to be ministers, enjoyed helping others, but we often found great difficulty in allowing others to help us. Now, grace isn't just about being helped, it is about love, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and understanding. So accepting *grace* is also about accepting those other things. So this week I found grace in three particular places.
1) I had a brilliant idea for our Lent studies, and like many of my brilliant ideas, the work involved to do it right is a bit overwhelming. With my other responsibilities as of late, I just haven't had a chance to plan like I would have wanted. On Tuesday I went in to meet with my Senior pastor, stressed about all that would need to be done, and he began to tell me which groups and folks were going to prepare the meals and lead the groups. Of the 6 weeks of Lent, 4 were ready to go! Woohoo!! God's mercy was abundant that day as I no longer had to keep myself up in order to get this done.
2) We are planning a baby shower for a mother in our congregation. This is her 5th child and she doesn't really need "stuff", so instead it is a "service shower". We are encouraging members of our church to give gifts of service (folding a load of laundry, making a meal, taking another child to the park so mom can sleep, etc). I have been able to recruit two helpers, but I am still the primary person in charge. Well, with two 12 hour days this week, I have hardly thought twice about it. Nevertheless, on Thursday, helper #1 called and checked to see if there was anything she could take care of and offered to pay for the cake. =) And helper #2 said food was all taken care of and had one game idea (and liked my other 2) and said she would take care of door prizes. Woohoo! amen for people who get things done without me reminding them!
3) I attended the UMW luncheon today and after lunch I was serving eclairs to the other women at my table. (just for the record, eclairs are one of my favorites). Well, I was also drawn into conversations with others around the room and by the time I finished serving everyone else, there weren't any eclairs left. I checked the kitchen and the caterer was gone. No eclair. =( so I sat back down next to this adorable woman who runs our food pantry. She asked where mine was and I said I was fine without. She said, "Well, aren't there any left?" I said no and she said, "well, take mine." I refused and so she told me to take half, which I did. We shared our eclair and I received my extra helping of grace.