Sweet, Sticky Grace

I shouldn’t have even tried it, but I did. No need to bother my grandmother when I could do it all by myself. My young little eyes barely could see over the kitchen table, but all I needed to do was pour milk from a carton into a glass, add a little Ovaltine (chocolate syrup), and stir it with a spoon. Easy peasy, right? 

Shaky little hands lifted the cardboard carton and poured the milk into the tall glass. “Whew! I did it! Pouring chocolate syrup will be easy.” 

Unfortunately, my success with the milk provided the smidge of swag that took my eyes off the glass. Onto the table went the chocolate syrup – enough to make tastier 10 full glasses of milk! As I stood looking at the mess, the pile of syrup slowly oozed into a circle the size of Texas.  

I had no idea how to even begin cleaning up such a mess; so, I did the only thing I knew to do. I ran and pretended it never happened. 

I only ran to the other room; far enough that I thought I could appear innocent, but close enough to see and hear how my grandmother reacted to the discovery. I felt sure I’d be in a heap of trouble. Yet, to my surprise, “Oh!”, was all she said. Unfazed, she grabbed a dishcloth, ran it under the water, and began wiping up the thick dark syrup. Again and again, she rinsed the cloth and wiped until all the syrup disappeared down the drain. She didn’t scold, didn’t punish. She knew it was a mistake, and she knew I was embarrassed. 

All these many years later, I can still feel the embarrassment and frustration of that day. I was helpless in knowing how to clean up such a mess, but one thing I knew for certain: I hated the thought of my grandmother being unhappy with me. What a life lesson and relief to experience such grace! Not only did she forgive me, but she mixed up a fresh glass of chocolate milk for me. 

Without Jesus, we find ourselves in a messy situation. Sin oozes through our lives whether we want it to or not. It keeps us separated from God. But Jesus looked down at all of us and agreed to be the One to spill His blood in order to clean us up once and for all. Jesus wipes away our every sin and washes them all down the drain. “And by his one perfect sacrifice he made us perfectly holy and complete for all time!” (Hebrews 10:14, TPT) Putting our faith in Jesus and allowing His Spirit to lead us delivers the grace needed to accept the love of God. 

Since many of us have been in a right relationship with God for a while, we know all of that. So, why do we continue to beat ourselves up when we make a mess of things? Why do we try to hide and pretend it never happened? Why is it so hard to say, “I’m sorry”, and why do we make asking for help our last resort?

For me, it’s been a pride thing. But I doubt any of us readily enjoy admitting our mistakes. We’d rather hide for a while until we can figure out how to clean things up on our own. Messes have a way of oozing to the size of Texas if given too long to sit. It’s never good to ignore our need for help or minimize God’s willingness to help. You may not feel like your life matters one whit, but you matter to Him. If you must hide, hide yourself in Him where it’s safe.

The grace that brought you and me into a relationship with God is the same sweet, sticky grace that continues to cleanse us every day. When you stubbornly ruminate on things that bring you down, grace sticks. When you use harsh words to a friend or family member, grace sticks. When you lack self-discipline or wear a bad attitude, yep, grace sticks. When your pride causes you to refuse correction or wise counsel, grace sticks. When you do or think those things you know you shouldn’t, yes, grace even sticks then too. The same grace that saved us is the grace that sustains us.

Jesus stands ready to wipe our messes up again and again and wash them down the drain. That’s not permission to keep on making messes, it’s the reason not to! “[It’s grace that] teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:12, NIV) We know we can’t do it on our own, so we allow God to fill us to the brim with the milk of His word. Then, Jesus adds the sticky sweetness of grace, and the Holy Spirit stirs up a fire within us. The more we drink in that the Lord is good, the tastier a grace-filled life seems to the world. 

“Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. 
Experience for yourself the joyous mercies He gives
to all who turn to hide themselves in Him.”

Psalm 34:8, TPT

Posted in
IMG_0547-2

Donna Jackson

Leave a Comment





Take Me as I Am

By Donna Jackson | July 20, 2021 |

The waitress poured us another cup of coffee. Not seeing the bottom of our cups for a couple of hours would earn her a nice tip. Measly crumbs from breakfast lingered on empty plates as we each revealed our own tidbits of angst. Realizing we’d both had similar frustrating weeks, my friend sighed, “I started…

What a Sweet, Sweet Spirit!

By Donna Jackson | July 13, 2021 |

Does any of this sound familiar? Your emotions are pushing you in one direction, but you’ve learned you can’t trust swirling emotions. They’ve misled you more than once. Yet, in the middle of your wrestling, you feel a stronger-than-usual nudge. You wonder whether it’s the Spirit or Satan. On one hand, you’re tempted to believe…

Props for the Drooping

By Donna Jackson | July 6, 2021 |

Street corners, window boxes, and yards are filled with beautiful flowers this season! Newest plants continuously soak in raindrops and rays that push down roots and help sprout new leaves. Older established plants in my yard received extra attention during our months of quarantine. Faithfully, they’ve put down deeper roots and grown stronger branches. A…

Keeping the Light On and Staying Out of the Darkness

By Donna Jackson | June 29, 2021 |

What Won’t Help Someone Struggling with Depression Trying Harder Criticizing Disbelieving Comparing Over Spiritualizing Dismissing Deflecting Redirecting Minimizing Reducing Taken from Out of the Cave by Chris Hodges, p. 38 What Will Help Someone Struggling with Depression Committing Being Trustworthy Connecting Supporting Accepting Helping Encouraging Giving Hope Listening Offering a new perspective Taken from Out…

A Solid Lump of Burning Fire

By Donna Jackson | June 15, 2021 |

Our house sits perched on the edge of Gunter Mountain. From our deck, you can take in the view of the Tennessee River slicing through Lake Guntersville. My husband says we can see 20 miles up and down the river. (I can’t tell you how many yards it is to the mailbox, so I just…

Martha and Mary’s Hidden Gem

By Donna Jackson | June 14, 2021 |

If you listen to playing children for very long, you’ll most likely hear the words, “That’s not fair!” Exasperated parents often respond with, “I’m sorry, but life’s not always fair.”   If we’re honest, even as adults, it’s easy to fall into the “that’s not fair” trap. We grudgingly witness others happily waking up in our dreams, or…

Reflections of You and Me

By Donna Jackson | June 8, 2021 |

Mountains or beach? Most of us develop an intense preference for one or the other early on. I enjoy going to the mountains, but the beach ALWAYS blesses my soul. The smell of salt air mixed with sunscreen and the taste of freshly grilled fish (or steak at Big Mike’s Steakhouse) paints my face with a big wide grin. I bask in the constant…

The One Jesus Loves

By Donna Jackson | May 25, 2021 |

I love Jesus for many reasons, but one of them is for teaching us the importance of friendship. Jesus was a friend to everyone, but perhaps His three closest friends (Peter, James, and John) knew Him best of all. Do you have a nickname?  In my family, everyone has at least one, and most have…

Sweat, Grass, and Sam Cooke

By Donna Jackson | May 18, 2021 |

Last summer, the swelter of the hot southern day forced my skin to do more than glisten. Sweat dripped off the end of my nose, temporarily watering the stubborn weeds being jerked out of my flower bed. Lively tunes in my ears helped make the task more bearable while drowning out my husband’s roaring mower. …

Can You Answer One Question?

By Donna Jackson | May 11, 2021 |

The message for ladies struggling with drug and alcohol addiction rested quietly in my notebook. My outline on grace was simple – one I thought would resonate with ladies who humbly admitted their unhealthy choices. I prayed that my newfound passion would be evident, and that it would entice others to want the Jesus I…