Tag Archive | Divine grace

Aunt Jean, you are loved!


Aunt Jean 9-2-38 to 6-10-13Yesterday my Aunt Jean passed away. I didn’t see it coming, frankly. She’s been sick many times and with prayers from so many, she always had the grace of God behind her healing and pulled through. But yesterday was her “Going Home” day and our prayers were answered differently.

It was a tough day yesterday. I heard of 5 deaths, ranging from an infant, to a young man in his 20’s, to a girl battling cancer, to an expert in his field, and finally, sadly, to my Aunt. My heart was so heavy with that news.

Aunt Jean was actually my aunt in my birth family. At the age of 19 she recognized me out at the mall. I was shocked but as I grew to know her, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. She always had her eye out for me and my siblings who were placed in an orphanage years ago. She had the memory of an elephant – she could remember details and tell stories like no other. Although she hadn’t seen me since I was 3, she said she knew my eyes and that was it. I must admit, I wasn’t always emotionally ready for the heaping and mixing of birth family and adopted (what I call my “real” family). And through the years I bobbed and weaved in and out of Aunt Jean’s hugs. It didn’t really matter. She was steadfast. She was patient. She was faithful. And when, in my 40’s I was finally ready to be whole, she was waiting for me without hesitation. She shared pictures, and stories … and love. I will never forget her generous heart and her happy laugh. She was an angel to me in many ways. We used to fantasize about what it would have been like if she had been my birth mother instead of my Aunt. Those were fun little fantasies and I knew, there was something special in her that allowed her reach out through the turmoil and the years to recognize me.

My heart is heavy from this loss. There were still words and stories unspoken. But I count myself blessed for having been given the chance to get to know her. I got to cry with her, laugh with her, break bread with her, and pray with her. What could be better. And now, I know she is singing and dancing with the love of her life, Uncle Norbert, as they praise at Heaven’s throne. I love you Aunt Jean. As a  fellow writer I wrote this simple little poem for you.

See you on the other side! Be BLESSED!

“The tears I shed are bittersweet,
And with hand to heart I pray.
That your joy in heaven be complete,
As we say good bye today.
The hole we feel as our lives go on,
Will only hurt a while.
I’ll keep my eyes on eternity’s gate,
Where I’ll once again see your smile.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller

Gift of Grace


Over the years I’ve learned  a lot about people by observing how readily they grant “grace” to others. I surely have learned that there are many times and situations when the greatest gift I could receive is just that – a little grace.

I’m sure I’m not using the term in the same way theologians might. I’m not really referencing God’s saving grace. Nor his Divine grace and love directly, although I believe we have it in us to give because we are part of the Divine.

The grace I’m talking of is about loving someone in their weakest, ugliest, or most unlovable moments. And rather than punishing them … we let it go, on purpose and without malice. It’s about honoring their intention and the person we know them to be, which is good, even if in the moment they were not successful at showing it. That’s the grace I try to give, and I know I need the most.

So to all my friends, family, co-workers, and strangers … I thank you for granting me grace when …

* I forgot to send the birthday or holiday cards on time. I love you, I just got busy and forgot.

* I was in such a hurry that I forgot to look up and missed saying hello. I wasn’t angry or stuck up, just busy.

* I was in such pain I overlooked your need to connect. I could scarcely think of anything outside my pain.

* I got so excited or impassioned that I interrupted you. It’s my extroverted flaw I’ll be working on my whole life.

* I made a mistake and was embarrassed so I didn’t apologize as soon or as well as I should. My heart wanted to do better.

*  I didn’t pause long enough to acknowledge or thank you for your efforts. I truly appreciate you even in the hurried moments that I don’t say it.

* And so many more …

I acknowledge freely that I need grace more often than I want to admit. I need you to love me because you know that I am doing my best, even though in some moments my best isn’t very good. I try to make up for that when my best is shining bright.

I joyously, humbly, and thankfully accept your grace. And I offer you grace in return.  Be blessed!