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She had not been so nice. In fact, she had been so not nice, I started crying while on the phone with her. My 4 year old piped up from the back seat, while in car-pool line “Mommy, why are you crying? Mommy, what happened?” Honestly, I wasn’t sure what had happened to be on the other end of that call.

Here is the thing:

Conversations like that are merely symptoms of other major things in our (or someone else’s) lives. Some great hurt, issue deep inside, or a breaking heart is the cause behind what I received. And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that when we are hurting, we sometimes cannot help ourselves. We just hurt others. Mostly unintentionally, but we still hurt.

All afternoon I kept thinking about Ann’s challenge to be the G.I.F.T. and that sometimes the best thing we can do is participate in grace for someone, mirroring our own freedom. “For by grace you are saved through faith…” So if she is saved by grace…and I am saved by grace…my response should be one of grace and forgiveness that leads to freedom. I don’t deserve grace any more than the next person.

I am not sure what hurts you have received in your lifetime. The symptoms of someone else’s hurt leaking into your life, unbidden. I am certain that no matter what those hurts are, He receives you and values you far more than any thing we hold precious in this life. I have always thought “I want to be like the priest in Les Miserables who reported to the police that he had ‘given’ the candlesticks to Jean Val Jean,” instead of reporting them stolen, as Val Jean had planned. But I’ve had the chance many times to “gift” and respond with grace and have squandered those opportunities. With my daughter in the backseat, I can no longer just “think” about what the best response should be. I am called (and held accountable) for my responses. I cannot spend time telling her that God commands us to love and forgive, and then not follow through myself.

So, I G.I.F.T.’d today. What surprised me was the joy and freedom that came after my G.I.F.T. It was my key to freedom in that moment. It unlocked love, forgiveness, and peace.

I pray it does the same for you.

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