Groaning for Grace

JANUARY 2018

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by Shauna Falconer Shauna was a member of the 3-month South Africa IMMERSION team in the Fall of 2017. She wrote this post during her time there.

“The gospel is good news for sick people and is disturbing for those who think they’ve got it all together. Some of us have been told our whole lives that we are wretched, but the gospel reminds us that we are beautiful. Others of us have been told our whole lives that we are beautiful, but the gospel reminds us that we are also wretched. The church is a place where we can stand up and say we are wretched, and everyone will nod and agree and remind us that we are also beautiful.”
- Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution

“Do you want coffee?” is the first thing said to me in the morning, and a steaming hot cup is the first thing I see when I open my eyes. Yes, my wonderful teammates/roommates spoil me. If you know me as they do, then you’ll know mornings are not for me. If the sun is not up, then I am not up. The only thing that really works to get me up is to shove some black coffee in my face (even then it takes another hour before I’ll be functioning). I should be so much better at this stuff, I’ve been getting up early for long enough. Plus, I’m working for Jesus so I should be excited every morning, right? If these are the standards for a “good missionary” then I’m screwed.

We’ve been talking a lot this past week with the teens here about how God uses our brokenness and “calls the unqualified.” While I know all of this already, it was such a good reminder for me. Like Gomer, I am terrible for running back to the wretched things of my past. Like David, I try to cover up my mistakes in the worst ways. Like Jonah, I run from God and His plans. I could go on and on about how messed up and broken I am, but I won’t. All you need to do is open up the Bible and you’ll be met with all kinds of messed up people who God used, despite their fears and worries. He is a God of redemption and grace. He is a God of second, third, and fourth (etc…) chances. We are broken people, living in a broken world, in desperate need of redemption and grace.

Africa Mission Trips

My God takes the girl who was afraid of her own voice and has her share advice with her teammates. My God takes the girl who “doesn’t like kids” and breaks her heart for the children in our school. Now those children light up and yell her name when they see her. My God takes the girl who struggles to see how she fits into a team and gives her a servants heart. He gives her the strength every morning to make coffee and care for her team when they aren’t functioning yet (ie. me in the AM). He takes me, the girl who quit soccer in primary because “her jersey made her look fat” and has her play soccer with our students at school every day. I am brought to tears just thinking about these stories of grace and healing from our wonderful Saviour.

We are a people meant for so much more than sitting in our pain. We are groaning for the grace He offers.

God makes our scars shine and tell stories of His love. He is not disgusted with our pasts or limited by our current mistakes.

I want to encourage you to look to Jesus. To fall down on your knees and tell Him what’s on your heart right now; whether it be something wonderful or your fears or your struggles, tell Him. And then, follow Him. Even if you don’t think you can, try.

Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:12-13)

Africa Mission Trips

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