Recently I returned home for the graduation of my sister Abby (the world’s newest, and most beautiful, nurse). The trip had a double mission, for with the day’s flying by, I was running out of time to find shoes for my walk down the aisle. As usual, the time with family went too quickly, and I was left with one day to say yes to the shoes.
Now as women, and some married men, know, the search for the perfect shoe…. well, this can be quite the process. It’s an adventure that usually involves many different shops, maybe a lunch break, and in my case, much prayer, and reassuring talks from Mama. I wanted something classy and casual, lovely, and functional…basically, I had no idea what I wanted (many men are now understanding women a little bit more).
Five disappointing stores later I postponed my search and headed off to a friend’s house. We sat chatting about the wedding, school, family, all the things that come up when two friends are only together a few times a year. Right as I was about to bid my goodbye she asked if I needed anything for the wedding. “I have been searching all morning for the perfect pair of shoes.” I replied. “Oh, what color?” She casually asked as she stirred in the spaghetti sauce. “Gold.” She stopped immediately, and without saying a word went into the front closet and returned holding a pair of gold sandals. Somehow, they managed to be classy and casual…and can you believe it…lovely and functional.
Through the process of planning this wedding the only way I can describe these past few months is with the word grace. From the very beginning, I saw God’s love. I saw it in the way people volunteered to help me plan, the way my parents were so generous and excited even though it would happen in a place they had never known, even how my students hugged me and asked me to tell and retell the story of our engagement, and most recently when God (and Tracy Wu) blessed me with the PERFECT shoes.
The most amazing aspect of grace is how we can never deserve this gift. This also can be the most challenging aspect. My human instinct is to feel as though I owe something when given a gift, or I must somehow earn the grace. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
So, maybe we have a responsibility after all. When we receive grace, it should be a gift. A gift without strings attached. And then we read 1 Peter 4:10 and understand that grace given to us from God or others, this gift should be used to serve and bless others. And now I pray that you will be on the lookout for grace, even the small ways that are oftentimes overlooked in the business of the day, and be ready to deliberately find ways to give grace…even if it’s just a used pair of shoes.
– Sarah Quigg, GEM missionary