As a Christian who believes the Spirit of the Lord lives within me, I’m blessed to have the inherent ability to allow God’s manifold grace to work through me. The catch being, I need to allow the grace to flow, which doesn’t always happen. Some days I can’t muster up any benevolence. Anyone with me?

Not to toss Adam and Eve under the party bus for the millionth time, but their little mishap of disobedience in the garden sorta dammed the free-flowing river of grace for the rest of us. When God asked Adam why he ate the red delicious, he could have said, “I’m sorry, God. I shouldn’t have disobeyed, but I was starving and the promise of knowledge sounded scrumptious. Please forgive me.”

Instead, he chose to sidestep a mercy offering from God and blocked the flow of grace from within by pinning a prideful tail of blame on Eve. This after Eve accused the serpent jerk.

And now, light years later, we all struggle with the sludge of sin in the form of human faults and weaknesses gunking up the river of grace inside us. Being mindful of how much grace we receive helps clear the muck, allowing unmerited favors to pour out of us onto others.

Grace as a general word warms the soul with its many inherent definitions: prayer before a meal, kind and polite demeanor, simple elegance, a special favor, honorary presence, good fortune.

When considering Divine grace, one definition declares the favor a divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses, to impart strength, and to endure trial and resist temptation.

Episcopal priest, Justin Holcomb, simplifies the concept this way, “Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely; the peace of God given to the restless; the unmerited favor of God.”

God placed me on the receiving end of such defined grace during a recent family scenario. My husband did something that poked a nerve and I retaliated with a demeaning, sarcastic barb. The real rub was I made the jibe in front of his parents, our daughter, and an uncomfortable waitress while she took our dinner order.

I embarrassed my soulmate, esteemed him not in front of his parents, and disrespected him in front of our daughter. No grace. And when he let me know how he felt, I offered a snide and bogus apology in return. Pride snuffed out any semblance of even a little grace.

By God’s grace, however, my spouse let his anger go for the rest of the meal and engaged in small talk to ease the tension around the table. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely

By God’s grace, my in-laws rolled with the invisible punches and weaved themselves into the conversation. Grace is the peace of God given to the restless.

By God’s grace, our adult daughter closed her gaping jaw and chose not to comment on my surly conduct. Grace is the unmerited favor of God working through another.

The full measure of the following scripture came to life,

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10

Almost every person sitting at the table exhibited the manifold grace of God; I was the ugly exception to rule. Cue, Adam’s dammed river. Yet, I am grateful for the humble reminder my family portrayed.

Adding the rich descriptor of manifold to the sentiment of grace enhances the eloquence, like placing a crown on its noble heritage The two words seem destined to complement one another. And sitting for a spell within the meaning of both in relation to God disarms my heart.

The emotional nourishment strengthens and clears the dissonance which tends to resonate from my grace weary, pride heavy, sinful heart. I’m compelled to crawl into the words, snuggle up against the blanket of Divine favors God calls me to steward.

Mark Batterson tells us in, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities,

“Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. And within each, there are infinite varieties. That’s why it’s called, ‘the manifold Grace of God’.”

How often do we forget we aren’t getting what we deserve because of mercy? And how many times do we overlook the blessing of getting what we don’t deserve; grace?

When it comes to putting a number on my oversights, I can’t count that high. But I don’t think Jesus ever claimed living the Gospel was a breeze. If He did declare easy peesy, then I beg to differ. Please accept my apologies in advance, Mr. Jesus. And daughter, spouse, in-laws: please forgive my poor example.


The word alone contains enough spiritual undercurrent to change the world.

Manifold grace.

The emboldening adjective makes it impossible for us to hide from the implications.

Each one of us receives a special gift for serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God May we all remember our inherited pardons, and pass them along to others, especially when doing so is a challenge.

Kindle the kindness, crazy Mommas!

*This post first appeared on

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog

God Redeemed the Broken Parts of My Infertility Story

In: Faith, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Two young children walking on a path near a pond, color photo

It was a Wednesday morning when I sat around a table with a group of mamas I had just recently met. My youngest daughter slept her morning nap in a carrier across my chest. Those of us in the group who held floppy babies swayed back and forth. The others had children in childcare or enrolled in preschool down the road. We were there to chat, learn, grow, and laugh. We were all mamas. But we were not all the same. I didn’t know one of the mom’s names, but I knew I wanted to get to know her because she...

Keep Reading

God Has You

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman hugging herself while looking to the side

Holding tight to the cold, sterile rail of the narrow, rollaway ER bed, I hovered helplessly over my oldest daughter. My anxious eyes bounced from her now steadying breaths to the varying lines and tones of the monitor overhead. Audible reminders of her life that may have just been spared. For 14 years, we’d been told anaphylaxis was possible if she ingested peanuts. But it wasn’t until this recent late autumn evening we would experience the fear and frenzy of our apparent new reality. My frantic heart hadn’t stopped racing from the very moment she struggled to catch a breath....

Keep Reading

My Husband Having a Stroke at 30 Wasn’t in Our Plans

In: Faith, Living
Husband and wife, selfie, color photo

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV) This verse in the book of Jeremiah has long been a favorite of mine. In fact, it’s felt relevant across many life events. Its simple, yet powerful reminder has been a place of solace, perhaps even a way to maintain equilibrium when I’ve felt my world spinning a bit out of control. In this season of starting fresh and new year intentions, I find great comfort in knowing...

Keep Reading

She Left Him on Valentine’s Day

In: Faith, Marriage
Husband kissing wife on cheek, color photo

“Can you believe that?” Those were the dreaded knife-cutting whispers I heard from across the table. I sunk deeper into my chair. My hopes fell as everyone would forever remember that I had left my fiancée on Valentine’s Day. Maybe one day it would just dissipate like the dream wedding I had planned or the canceled plane tickets for the Hawaiian honeymoon. Some bridesmaids and guests had already booked plane tickets. It was my own nightmare that kept replaying in my head over and over again. I had messed up. Big time. To be honest, if it made any difference,...

Keep Reading

God was In the Room for Our Daughter’s Open Heart Surgery

In: Faith, Motherhood
Child's hand with IV

I’ve had a strong faith for as long as I can remember, but I always felt bad that I never had a “testimony.” I had never gone through something that made me sit back and say, “Wow, God is real, He is here.” I have always felt it to my core, but no moment had ever stopped me dead in my tracks to where there was no denying that it was God. And then, that moment happened to me on December 5. After five months of fervently praying for a miracle for our daughter, the day came for her heart...

Keep Reading

A Benediction for the Worn Out Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman leaning against kitchen counter, black-and-white photo

Blessed are you, Father, for bestowing upon me the honor of motherhood. For allowing me to experience the deep joy of bringing forth life—a joy I often take for granted and instead choose to begrudge. My children’s cries and demands have worn me down. I do not recognize myself. I selfishly long for the old me. My thoughts are an intangible mess of never-ending tasks, self-criticism, and comparison to those around me. RELATED: God Sees You, Weary Mama But Your word says you are near to the broken-hearted and downtrodden. You do not forget the cause of the tired and the...

Keep Reading

God Doesn’t Forget You When You’re Lost and Unsure

In: Faith, Living
Woman looking into camera, color photo

I’ve been wandering around feeling lost for over a year. Wondering where I’m going, what I’m supposed to be doing. Nothing seems to make sense. I felt purposeless. I felt stuck. I questioned everything: my faith, my marriage, my career—if it could be questioned, I doubted it. And I was completely clueless how to fix the funk. For over a year, I’ve been in the wilderness. I’ve wanted to find my way, but every path seemed like another dead end. The wilderness. I’ve been residing there. Not feeling fed. Not feeling heard. Not feeling seen. Struggling to find a purpose....

Keep Reading

And Then, the Darkness Lifts

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother with baby smiling

Today when I woke, it had lifted, like sunshine peeking after rain. And as my toddler clicked on the lamp beside my bed to see her mama, I saw me too. I got out of bed and I walked down the hall. And the coffee pot sat there waiting for me, as always, like my husband at the kitchen table with his books. He smiled at me, and I think he could tell as I took my medicine, took down a mug, and poured my coffee. I opened the secretary desk and pulled out the chair and my Bible, like...

Keep Reading

Joy in This Stillness

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother holding sleeping toddler, color photo

I woke up suddenly in a sweat while it was still dark. Except for the humming of the oxygen machine, the house was silent. For a moment, I thought I might have time to enjoy a cup of coffee before my son woke up. However, a glance at my daughter’s crib told me that feeding my caffeine addiction would have to wait. My daughter has a terminal brain disorder called Lissencephaly, a side effect of which is uncontrolled epilepsy. Many mornings, a subconscious recognition that she is having episodes of repeated seizures rouses me from my sleep. Throwing on a...

Keep Reading

Sometimes All We Can Do Is Say How Hard Motherhood Is

In: Faith, Motherhood
Tired mom with baby in foreground

I have been sitting in the peace and quiet of the office to do some long overdue Bible study for all of five minutes when the baby wakes up. With a heavy sigh that is becoming all too common, I go to the bedroom to pick up my fussy, probably getting sick, 8-month-old daughter who has been asleep for approximately 15 minutes. I bring her to the office and put her on the floor with some new books and toys. Sitting back down in front of my own new book of Bible maps and charts, I begin reading once again....

Keep Reading