The Grace of the Gospel

How do you live so that when your kids think of the Grace of the Gospel, they think of you?Ann Voskamp ~ The Importance of Being the Prodigal Parent

Why did I have to read this at work and have my eyes cloud over my computer screen? Why couldn’t I have read this in the privacy of my home where I could weep unabashedly? Why did Marty have to post from “A Holy Experience” anyway? Why, oh why, oh why did I check Facebook while I was at work?

The tears fall and fall and I pray that my co-workers won’t wander over and see me, head on my keyboard, tears falling and heart overwhelmed.

Thoughts and memories rush over me and my eyes flood again. Because so many times I haven’t lived out the grace of the gospel and it hurts my heart. Because I am such a hypocrite – I sit and I write, and I talk, and I write more, and I talk more…and all the while how am I living?

And then I get mad at Marty because I can’t get mad at Ann Voskamp, because I don’t know her and she won’t care. But Marty knows me well. And Marty will care. And I get mad because she isn’t here to talk to and process these tears and this gospel thingy. And these damn tears….they are like my drippy faucet back home, persistent and never-ending.

But over and over the words “grace of the gospel” come to me. Over and over like the music on the blog, like waves erasing the beach, like the hum of cicadas on a summer night. And I realize that this grace, this grace of the gospel, is for those times when I parented so poorly. For those times when I shouted or swore and I shouldn’t have. For those times when I was overwhelmed and made the wrong decision. For those times when I didn’t pray enough, didn’t care enough, didn’t live my life through the grace of the gospel – for if it can’t cover all of those times, then I don’t want it. The grace of the gospel has to be big enough to cover my parenting.

And the tears slowly stop so now they are like light raindrops on my cheeks. Raindrop tears calmed through the grace of the gospel.

Bloggers Note: The post I was reading as I wrote this was “The Importance of Being a Prodigal Parent”. I decided to post a comment – here it is:

“I was ok reading this post until I read “How do you live so that when your kids think of the Grace of the Gospel, they think of you?” And then the tears flooded and I realized that I can’t read this when I’m at work because too often my eyes cloud over and tears fall and I’m a snuffly mess. 5 I have. 5 who have seen all my hypocrisy, all my flaws and failures and my tears fall more. And then I realize that this, these flaws, are what the Grace of the Gospel is for. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and my clouded over eyes.”

And Ann Voskamp, in all her graciousness, did care! She responded with this:

And 6 here, sister… There is grace and His scarred love covers our sins when we turn. Exactly, Marilyn: “these flaws, are what the Grace of the Gospel is for. ” You see Him. You beautifully see Him, heart open wide for us to come home.

Praying with you right now, Marilyn….

12 thoughts on “The Grace of the Gospel

  1. Oh Marilyn, though I know there is a special place for moms and dads, this weight/ache/wondering isn’t only for parents. As a non-parent I wonder about my interactions with nieces, teammates kids, friends kids. They get to see the “less than lovely” me. I wrote about something similar this weekend in “You in the fitness: not your native tongue” ( — Grace we have! and growth we’re working on :)! Amy


  2. You’ve really opened your heart and I’m sure touched many. Marilyn, we look back from a greater distance at our parenting and often wish we had not done this or done that. Very fallible parents. Why did God give such awesome responsibility to such weak vessels?But then comes the message that came to you. Amazing grace. ‘That’s okay my child. You are a child of grace, no more, no less. I’ll deal with your children as I have dealt with undeserved grace.’ Also, wonderful that Ann answered you


  3. Thank you for this post with is poignant reminder of grace, the grace so lavishly received and the grace we should lavishly extend. Have my 5 children seen grace extended or demonstrated in my everyday life? Oh how I pray this would be true and yet in reality I know they have seen me at my worst, but that is where grace received is most visible. Like a diamond against a black velvet backdrop, so is grace in our lives against the ugliness of our sin. It is brilliant and shines forth and reflects the rich love of our Savior. May we, may I, be an instrument of grace towards family and others. I printed your post out for a friend who does not have internet access hoping she will be encouraged. Thanks for the link to Ann’s blog. Her most recent post speaks to grace, too, as seen in forgiveness. There is beauty visible against the frailty of our weak human condition which lifts our eyes to the One who alone can change our hearts and cleanse us as white as snow. These have been such encouraging words to my heart. Thank you, Thank you.


  4. wow. That’s powerful. I have to think of something I heard yesterday, about the grace of God for the present and for the future. We think we’re going to repay God for all that He’s done, and for all the grace He’s poured on our lives – but the very fact that we’re taking another step just digs us deeper in debt to His grace! So we need to stay needy. Stay dependent. We’re just channels for His grace. “Channels only, blessed Master….” :) God bless you, Marilyn!


  5. Marilyn, it has to be His marvelous, matchless, and infinite GRACE. The good we’ve done will never outweigh the ugly. Thank God for Grace inexhaustible. “He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”


  6. I’m completely dependent on them growing up and learning to extend grace to me in their memories…. I also pray like crazy for certain moments to be forgotten.
    Once again, Marilyn, you made me cry…..


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