Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Finding Grace Again

 He who covers and forgives an offense seeks love, but he who 
repeats or harps on a matter separates even close friends.
Proverbs 17:9

I remember asking my mom, "Why on earth did you give me the three most common names on earth?"   I, the young teen, wished that my name was more unusual, more exciting, intriguing, or fun.  But Lisa   Ann    Smith, really?!!   She told me several reasons but none of them satisfied me.  Who cares that school teachers suggested shorter names for ease of learning to write one's own name?   Who cares that Daddy did not want me to be named after him?  --Randallyn, no one else would have had that name!   But I was Lisa Ann Smith!   And I hated it,     for a while.   And then at twenty-one, I got my wish!   I changed my name.   I dropped the Ann right out of my name legally when I married.  It was a family tradition from my mom and both my grandmothers.  We all dropped our middle names and used our surnames as our middle name after marriage.   I also did it as a reminder of my dad.   Having lost him at age 9, I wanted to maintain the part of my name that came from him.  It was important to me to maintain my identity as his daughter. 

And then I grew up and matured a bit.  Truthfully, I'm still working on the maturing process and trying to get out of the way and allow God to work in that process also.   Through the years, as I got the chance to pick names for little people to wear throughout their lives, I began to appreciate my name.  

I still feel that it's entirely possible that I was named for the popular character from the long-running soap opera, "As the World Turns," Lisa Hughes Shea Coleman........  I'm not sure how many times she changed her name through marriage.  But when I discovered that my first name, Lisa, means consecrated to God, I was more impressed with it.   I realized that of all the lessons my Daddy taught me in those nearly ten years we had together, the number one lesson was that I had a Creator and that I was made for His purposes and my life should be built around Him.  My name came to mean a lot to me at that point.  It became a sort of lifetime reminder of my parents' wishes and blessing bestowed by them on my spiritual walk.  

And then there was the poor dropped Ann.  Ann means full of grace.  Over the last few days, months, year, I have found myself in conflict with several different people(s) in my life.  When I survey those relationships and missteps in relationship closely, I can see that I am much of the problem.   My own discontent and lack of grace shown to others when they make mistakes has been the cause of many of the problems I have had.   I have become discontented with the one who seems to "blow me off" in favor of speaking to someone else or acting as though I am not standing right there; I have been overly sensitive when criticized by my husband or a close friend, even though I know that person's true intention was to help me in my walk with our Lord.   And heaven help the friend or relative who had a bad day and said the wrong thing at the precise time I was least able to be gracious and loving!   

So while I will not be contacting the federal government and adding Ann back into my name legally, I do plan to add it back into my thinking and for a while, into my writing persona.   I am completely convicted in the thought that I need to regain my grace towards others and their shortcomings and "do unto them as I would have them do unto me."  As I recently shared with a loved one, one thing is certain:   for the rest of my days on this earth I will make mistakes.  I am human and messed up and will be as long as I live this side of heaven.  And I will need grace and forgiveness from all of those who come into contact with me in my failures.  And honestly, so are you.  We are all in the same boat when it comes to making mistakes.  And so I also need to extend grace daily to others.  So for now friends, I am,

Pressing on in Him,

Lisa Ann

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