Responding to Grace

In my ramblings and tirades, I occasionally skip over some of the more valuable stuff. Not intentionally, it just happens when my brain gets moving at warp speed and I miss my exit. There’s something that I have been thinking about lately. It’s probably one of the most amazing words in our language.

Grace.

A pastor once told me this…
Justice is getting what I deserve.
Mercy is not getting what I deserve.
Grace is getting what I don’t deserve.

With my past, my mistakes, my epic failures and everything I consciously did wrong, the very fact that I still have my family is pure grace. I know what I deserved. I know how my story was supposed to end. It wasn’t supposed to include reconciliation with my wife. Getting to see my kids everyday, after the way I was, is a miracle. Waking up next my happy wife every morning is enough to bring me to tears some days.

Abusive and angry men don’t normally get happy endings.
Neglected and abused women don’t normally get to see their husbands come back to their senses.
Children in homes headed for divorce, don’t normally see things improve.

So, what makes us so special?

All I can say is that we responded to the grace. When the opportunity to save the family became a clear reality, we took it. She didn’t believe it was possible or worth the effort, at first. I wanted to reject it, at first. Even the kids seemed to be preparing for the worst.

I deserved to lose my family. I had dug a deep grave for my marriage. They had been neglected and put up with my anger too long. Logic declared that I had gone too far.

In desperation, I typed the words “God save my marriage” into a search engine and found the answer I was looking for. I found out what it would take to restore our home. I was confronted with the damage I had done. I was challenged to accept full responsibly for the condition of my family and do whatever it took to fix it.

The problem was me.

I didn’t want to accept it. My anger was aimed at my wife and everyone who helped get us into the condition we were in. I felt like a victim of a hard life and believed that it wasn’t my fault… At first.

When the grace showed up, it wasn’t the gentle and peaceful experience I hoped for. It was an opportunity to become the man I needed to be. It was something that didn’t feel like grace at all. But it was. It was God giving me something I didn’t deserve. It was the chance to undo all the damage and save our family.

That same grace is being offered to anyone willing to accept it.

If your family is in shambles. If your wife has begun to detach from you. If your kids aren’t interested in being with you. Accept the grace that is being offered. Allow yourself to listen and learn. Take the high road and become the man you were supposed to be. Let the past go. Forgive and move forward. Be willing to grow again.

Not all wives will be willing to work towards restoration. Some have just had enough. Restoration is not always an option. If you expect it to happen quickly, you are kidding yourself. If the motivation is just about getting them back for selfish reasons, it’s probably not going to happen. If it’s just the reaction of a toddler who doesn’t want to lose his toy, that won’t do it.

But, if you truly love them and can make new decisions based on that, there’s hope. If you can let go of unrealistic expectations and love them because you love them, anything is possible.

During our counseling, Kathy told me something very powerful. She told me that I had to become the man God created me to be. I had to learn to love. Whether or not my wife was willing to accept it was irrelevant. Whether or not she responded didn’t make any difference. For the sake of my kids and my own future, I had to make changes and grow up.

My future was doomed to repeat the same cycles if I didn’t make these changes.

These stories and books are opportunities for you to learn from my mistakes. I am giving you the chance to find the same grace that I did. When I tell you how bad it got, and compare it to how good it is now, it’s the truth. We survived the impossible. Not because I am great or perfect.

Just because of the grace.

If you are ready to find your answers, and tap into the same grace, I suggest getting one of the books in my store. I doubt your situation is much different that anything we experienced. Learn from my mistakes.

Respond to the grace.

One thought on “Responding to Grace

  1. Thanks Erik. I just purchased your newest book, Becoming a Better Man: Life lessons from a formerly abusive husband Surviving marriage, family and faith after reading the blog and 21 Days to Save My Family.

    This post is a good summary of what I have been going through on the journey to restoration. I am glad to share in the grace of God everyday.

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