Tamára Lunardo

Author & Editor



October 2011



Grace for the Everyday

Written by , Posted in faith, life

I write about grace a lot. Probably because I think about it a lot. Probably because I need it a lot.

When I catch even a hint of a suggestion that someone wants to place limits on grace, I am all intensity and vehemence. I think that those of us who have felt most deeply our need of grace are usually the ones most ready to defend its depth and breadth, its transcendence and permanence.

But I wonder: Do I actually, practically give grace a lot?

I have all sorts of philosophical grace for people who have done terrible wrongs to people who are not me. I even have grace for people who have done me serious wrongs. But I’m not sure I have a lot of little grace, grace for the everyday. And I don’t know that there’s a more necessary kind to give.

My birth father wholly abandons me at four months old, and I forgive him. But my mother lets me down in a hard moment, and I allow resentment to simmer for years.

My boyfriend verbally abuses me, and I forgive him. But a friend makes a potentially negative comment on my Facebook wall, and I consider her effectively dropped.

My best friend betrays me, and I forgive her. But a couple of people I barely know treat me harshly, and I skewer them publicly with my words.

And I realize that it’s easier to offer grand, nebulous grace than to offer small, concrete grace. To forgive deep wrongs is no trivial thing. But to look little wrongs straight in the eye and say, I will do the work of laying down my rights to offense even for this– that is hard and humbling, and it is important.

This everyday grace is included– essential, even– in that grace that I am always so ready to fight for. If I am going to be all intensity and vehemence about placing limits on grace, then I cannot ever say that this thing or that is too small to receive it.

I’ve felt deeply my need of such everyday grace, and it’s not enough just to defend it– I have to give it, a lot.

  • http://stryka66.wordpress.com stryka66

    Excellent insights…thank you for sharing

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      My pleasure. Thanks for reading!

  • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

    I find it hugely true that giving grace improves my attitude tremendously.

    But it’s VERY hard to do.

    Part of it is the lurking (but wrong) belief that God gives grace once. At the moment of salvation. After that, almost EVERY theology / soteriology has SOME way of insisiting that “we need to clean up our lives” – in other words, grace from God is EASILY available for even the worst sinner, but Christians must live a certain way, or at the very least have a certain attitude, in order for grace to continue.

    This mentality easily crosses over into our daily lives, just like you point out so well.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      That idea of “God forgave you, so now you need to clean up” is exactly what gets me so riled up!

      • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

        “Cleaning up” is virtually always the goal It does bother me, though, that I have a really incredible tendency to stray into doing stuff that I’m pretty sure God doesn’t want for me if I push against legalism hard enough. And I start to either “not care” about sin or I slide back into being dominated by the rules. I simply can’t get a grip on grace, because I can’t discover that freedom that comes with abundant forgiveness without becoming obsessed about not abusing that grace. The Bible talks about that, too, and the impossible conundrum for me is reconciling it. So, likewise, I often don’t know how the heck to give grace to someone else without basically saying “it’s okay to say the f-word to my kids”.

        And the fight with how much grace to give to the kids is a whole different battle, as duplicating what I THINK is God’s grace to me to them means that nobody gets punished for the crap they do, or else that SOMEBODY ELSE gets a virtual crucifixion so that they can get off scot free.


        • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

          This is something that I’ve thought about a lot and will probably address in another post (Another grace post, Tamara? Really? *I know, I know.*), but I think that there’s a huge difference between effectively saying, “What you did was okay” and “I will not hold what you did against you.”

          And especially with raising kids, I think there’s an important distinction– we have to give them grace, but we also have to give them correction. I don’t think these things are mutually exclusive, but the balance between them can be hard to arrive at for sure. An example: If my son is irresponsible with his cell phone and it breaks, I give him grace by not laying into him about it; I give him correction by making him save up the money himself for a new one.

          • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

            But how to teach him to forgive freely when I don’t forgive him freely for wrongs against me? 🙂 Why must he endure punishment for calling his dad an idiot when I tell him that God completely and graciously forgives when we simply believe in Christ and his substitution for us? 🙂 What if he’s doing things that only harm himself? Grace and correction have a hard time – for me – coexisting without one winning. Does he only “get” grace if he’s had a good attitude, or if he’s had a good attitude in the past? Does he only get grace if I’m having a good day and his sister hasn’t gotten on my nerves? When does grace become soft parenting, and when does good parenting bump into “living graciously”?

            There’s plenty of room for grace posts. No worries.

  • http://scream911.wordpress.com scream911

    I was struck by this just this morning, God’s timing is once again impeccable. I wrote a post a while ago called “The right to be offended” (http://havemyword.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/the-right-to-be-offended/) dealing with a similar thing and about how God’s love for us actually nullifies our right. His love for us should spur us on too, to extend the grace for the everyday that He gave so freely to us. Truth sets free.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I think you’re right– if we’ve accepted God’s grace, then we’ve pretty much traded in our rights to offense. Easier said than done, though. 🙂

  • http://ramblingwithbarba.wordpress.com Ken Hagerman

    Thanks for sharing. Sometimes it sucks to look in the mirror and determine you’re jacked up in some way. But, It’s so much better when you do to have a God to give it to.

    I wrote a post a while back in this vein called “With Liberty and Justice for All, Except me…i want mercy.”

    I want grace or mercy for me but I want others, the bad guys and jerks of this world, to take slug to the groin. I am the bad guy and jerk so I better wear a cup, I guess.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You and me both, brother.

  • http://arilive.wordpress.com arindam_maitra

    Wow! Need to give everyday grace.. what a wonderful thought, and very well written! THank you for sharing Tamara…

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks. The thought is easy– the doing is hard!

  • http://gravatar.com/belovedjoy Amy Hunt — a {Grace} full *life*

    You nailed it–just what’s so incredibly challenging!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Funny how the small stuff turns out to be the hard stuff, huh? 🙂

  • http://sixringcircusdotcom.wordpress.com Annie

    It is SO challenging. I’ve been struggling for months with this one situation. It’s been easier just to avoid the person, and I keep telling myself I’ve forgiven them – and I told them I forgave them. But I don’t think I really have. I have to pray about it every day.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Good for you for wrestling with it, though– for not being okay with “I said I forgave,” but for seeking to truly forgive.

  • http:/sarahaskins.com sarahaskins

    So true, everyday grace is the hardest. Beautiful words today.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks, Sarah. Hoping I can do more than beautiful words today– hoping I can do real grace.

  • http://up2randomthoughts.wordpress.com Phil

    Very insightful and thought-provoking words. Just what I needed this morning. We all need to disconnect from the mode of habitually reacting to things that others may do, and to instead consciously think about it with perspective and choose an action that fits the character of who we truly wish to be. That’s a tall order and difficult, yet necessary if we are to become and remain good people in our lives. Thanks for poking me in the forehead and reminding me of that!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Ha! Glad you appreciated the forehead poke!

  • http://guidetowomen.wordpress.com Sharideth Smith

    now i feel like i need to delete my tweet about “crushing heads” with my fingers on the freeway this morning….

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You crack me up. I think it’s okay to have a little humor alongside that grace. 😉

  • http://whoivealwaysbeen.blogspot.com Carolyn

    You nailed it, sister. Glad I’ve “found” you. 🙂 xo c

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Glad we’ve found each other too!

  • Sarah H.

    Thanks for this post. We had a discussion in small group a while ago about what it means to love everyone (in the whole world), and we ended up finally agreeing that we’d do well if we could just manage to love those right around us. Same sort of idea…the daily living is the hard part.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I love that small group– so glad I get to be a part of it now!

  • http://drgtjustwondering.blogspot.com Diana Trautwein

    You know, I preached a lot of sermons on ‘grace’ in the big scheme of things. And I tried to include examples of everyday, ordinary grace-giving, too. But man, those are so, SO much harder to do, to live. Thanks for this good reminder, Tamara – and here’s to taking that reminder seriously, every frickin’ day, especially with the people we live with. :>)

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      How I would have liked to have heard one of your sermons, Diana!

  • clunkienz

    Some days though – just some days – doncha feel like you’re just all out of grace, in a please-come-back-tomorrow-when-levels-of-grace-have-been-replenished kinda way? Patience and grace go hand-in-hand with me, and when I’m short of one, I’m definitely short of the other.
    Thanks again for a timely post :o)

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Some days? Please. Most days! I’m preaching to myself here, lady!

  • http://communicatingacrossboundaries.wordpress.com Marilyn

    Oh – this is hard. What scares me is that the less I am able to receive grace for the little things, the more it affects my view of the worthiness of those around me, usually my kids and husband, to receive grace for the little things. I put myself and those around me out of the reach of grace which is terrifying. “Grace is everywhere”, said the dying priest. “Yes, but how easily we pass by, deaf to the euphony”

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      “How easily we pass by”– frightening. Here’s to trying a little more each day not to pass by grace.

  • Kara

    It’s sitting in my brain, this thin line that seems to delineate grace and discipline. Grace doesn’t mean I don’t get some sort of discipline. My parent’s didn’t let me “get away” with doing harmful to myself or others types of things, but there love didn’t waver or change as a result. But I don’t have the right to go around disciplining others willy nilly. Grace, however- well, what a wonderful thing that it is free to give and typically doesn’t arouse other’s frustration.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      It’s an important distinction, for sure, and I don’t think we have to choose one or the other. In fact, I think sometimes grace comes in the form of discipline.

  • http://symbolsofourlives.wordpress.com onlytheshadowknows

    Tamara, thanks for your grace filled words. Grace for me is something that is beyond my abilities as a human to express in its fullness, because I am human and conditional. Grace is a gift from GOD to us all, not because we deserve it, but because we often don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve it more often than I should, cause I continue to make mistakes and allow my ego, my desires, my will to receive for myself to control my life. The GOD of my limited understanding continues to offer me GRACE, freely; this humbles me. I give thanks that everytime I fall, fail or I am just plain stupid GOD offers me GRACE. To quote Richard Rohr; “GOD doesn’t love us because we are good; GOD loves us because GOD is good.” This is grace for me. The minute we apply conditions to GRACE it becomes something other than GRACE. I don’t think many people like GRACE, because it is something that is free and we can’t work for it. It is given.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I think you are absolutely right in this characterization of grace. So grateful it’s just given; Lord knows I’d never earn it.

  • Amanda

    I feel like I think about this very thing a lot yet I didn’t really know how to express it until after reading this post. Thanks you!


    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      You’re welcome– I’m glad it helped!

  • http://www.seeprestonblog.com Preston

    Oh, how do you always seem to know? Yes, this. This needed to be today. Thank you, friend.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I’m here to help. 🙂

  • Pam

    Ok. So – I retweeted this today and it has eaten at me since. I’ve gone from: “Sheesh, she’s talking about you. You really need to figure this out. Is she hiding in your closet and seeing the rage and anger you have? It’s time to forgive and move on. Find Grace and let God give you grace for being angry”. To – “She’s crazy. You are entitled to be angry and you are forgiving. It just takes time”.

    Then tonight at dinner we have a discussion about excusing others and forgiving them when they say or do stupid things. Forgiving – Each other. Ourselves. Grace. It’s hard for us as adults – even harder as teens.

    Thanks for sharing. And making me think. And allowing me to share. And letting me steal your words tonight (it was ok – wasn’t it?) And for having grace while I wrote a book on your blog.
    The End

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      I’m honored my words made their way to your family dinner. Thank you for wrestling with this today; it lets me know I’m not alone in the struggle for everyday grace.

  • http://rasjacobson.com Renee Schuls-Jacobson

    This is EXACTLY what I need to talk to you about.

    Must figure out a time.

    I’m not understanding. At all.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Can’t wait to talk with you, friend. xo

  • http://moonchild11.wordpress.com moonchild11

    I needed to hear this. I saw you tweet about it earlier and guessed what you were going to say but I didn’t want to hear it because I knew it would convict me. And it did. But thank you.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Thanks for coming to hear what I had to say in spite of yourself. I hope the truth of this very inconvenient grace will change us both.

  • http://asoulswalk.wordpress.com asoulwalker

    You know I remember being angry at my father after he was dead and thinking– “it’s not really OK to feel this way.” I remember thinking, “I should forgive him.” I remember (as a child) thinking things like, “I have no reason to feel this way…” and then promptly doing the best to stuff it all in and pretend it wasn’t there.

    I think that for myself the hardest part of showing grace is admitting that I’ve been hurt or wronged… why that is I have no idea, but it is real hard for me to forgive someone when I don’t want to admit that they have done anything wrong to me– no matter what the scale of the offense is or was.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      Holding in anger is definitely not the same as giving grace– the one hurts you; the other frees you.

      As someone who has *no* trouble seeing where she’s been wronged (haha, but seriously), it’s interesting for me to see that the opposite problem– not admitting it– can lead to the same un-grace-giving. Aren’t we all such funny little pieces of work? 🙂

      • http://asoulswalk.wordpress.com asoulwalker

        I’m totally laughing on the inside.

  • http://baristabruce.wordpress.com brooskolin

    Ja, I’m bad that way sometimes. I cower behind a blog and/or twitter and Jesus Juke people instead of just having grace. Maybe that’s why God has told me to surrender writing for a season and also why I read this blog.

    Thanks Tamara. I’m so glad we met (virtually) . . . your blog feeds my soul.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara


  • http://randomlychad.com Chad Jones

    I suppose this means I’ll have to what the Word says now, right? “Freely you have received, now freely give” grace. Dang! That’s hard. I grew up in home that knew nothing of grace, but everything of ignorance; as in, if the issues were ignored long enough, they didn’t exist. My wife (bless her!) isn’t exactly wired that way–and I’m a better man for it. She’s taught me much of grace–and held my feet to the fire, too. Thanks for sharing, Tamara!

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      That verse sounds so lovely but is really so freakin’ hard sometimes. How blessed you are to have your wife for the journey.

  • MarieLa

    Oh Tamara, once again, you hit the nail in the head!! I would love to post something here, but it would be soooo long….
    I’ll try to make it small and concise.
    When I was not a Christian, I had issues with my family. For example, my dad leaving my mom when she was pregnant with me was the equivalent of him dumping his child too. And that ate away at me for decades! Then in school I was regularly mobbed by the same group that turned out to become a Christian band! I grew up with a whole lot of hate in me!!
    When I graduated, these guys all came up to me and apologized. Turns out that giving grace is easier when the other party apologizes. But it doesn’t end there. The first moment I felt free in my entire life was when I forgave those people who wronged me. And the change inside me began to happen. I began forgiving the little things, as in the Lord’s Prayer.
    This year I visited my cousin and she and I had lots in common. Now that I see her battle with all those memories of her past, the neglect, the abuse. I just wanna get on my knees and love God more for putting this seed of change in my heart.
    You are so right, though. Doing the little gestures is a bunch harder! And in the Bible there is the solution to grace vs discipline. You can discipline but also give the person the chance to redeem themselves.

    • http://tamaraoutloud.com/ Tamara

      “Giving grace is easier when the other party apologizes.” No joke!

  • Tesiro Inspired

    Good read.
    It is easy to request / demand / expect grace be extended, but harder to dish out. Easier too when the person is out of your life than when you have to deal with them regularly, or if they keep coming at you for more!

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