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Embracing Grace

Read about when Mackenzie Watson realized that God actually desired a loving and intimate relationship with her. By Mackenzie M. Watson
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You know that lesson you learned the hard way?

The one you wish anyone would have stepped in and given you some wise advice about? The lesson for me was one of grace. It took me years to work through what it means to lean in on Jesus and trust Him. I could have been thriving for years, but instead, I was rooted in pride. For every three steps I took towards Jesus, I made 92 steps away from Him. But it was never about the steps I took away—Jesus was still continually pursuing my heart.  

When I thought about what it would look like to have grace, I was already confused. What does “grace” even mean? Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is receiving what we do not even deserve. God Himself extended grace to us so that we can be children of God. God, in His goodness, sent Jesus to die on a cross, so that we could have life in Him. That is grace.   

Romans 3:24 (NIV) says, “And all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came in Christ Jesus.”

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This great grace allows us to thrive in our lives with humility, elegance and a heart to serve others. We are designed to thrive. We can now live in grace!

I wish I had learned this beautiful lesson of grace earlier. God’s grace wasn’t exactly something I thought I needed. I would have never dared to even say this out loud, but even at 16 years old, my heart was deeply steeped in pride. I was top of my class. I played all the sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball—you name it. I was popular. I had a boyfriend. My life, well, despite a few twists here and there, seemed pretty good on my own terms.

Amidst all these “good” things in my life, I was left unfulfilled. I look back now at my journals from my final years in high school and I can see how desperate I was for something more. Popularity, sports, friendships, and relationships … these things weren’t filling my soul. I so desperately wanted to find my identity in something that was around me, but I continually came up empty. Why was it that I couldn’t find my identity in what was around me? Could it be because we were designed for more?

My desire to find myself was rooted in my pride. It was a vain pursuit.

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I entered college broken, experiencing a full-fledged identity crisis. I did not know who I was or even who I wanted to be. All I knew is that I wanted to be different. I wanted to find my identity in something more fulfilling.

It was in my first year of college that I uncovered the truth that I was missing. I met Peyton. She was my college roommate and became my best friend. This woman was the voice of the Holy Spirit to me. To this day, I don’t think she quite understands the weight of her friendship to me. I looked up to her with unimaginable adoration. She loved Jesus, and amidst my mess, she loved me. The way she lived her life gave me peace. Peyton was living in grace. She was thriving and I wanted what she had. It was the first time I felt like I had seen someone my age really respect herself and be confident in who she was.

Peyton’s eyes were fixed on Jesus and less on herself. She wholeheartedly trusted the Lord for His provision regarding her future. I had heard about Jesus my entire life, but I actually met Jesus that semester through the love of a friend. I realized that this God that I had heard so much about actually desired a loving and intimate relationship with me.

“I realized that this God that I had heard so much about actually desired a loving and intimate relationship with me.”

For the first time my identity was in Christ Jesus.

I was radically changed. My identity crisis was a detachment from God. I felt like Jesus literally picked me up off the floor and said, “Let’s go! You are living for My Kingdom.” Jesus radically changed me.

You can live in grace. You, sweet friend, can thrive as you enter your 20s. And even better, the Lord wants you to.

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For Further Study:

The book of 2 Corinthians in Scripture. Paul, the author of Corinthians, encourages the church of Corinth to lean into the grace of Jesus.

“Grains of Grace” by Mackenzie M. Watson dives deeper into a study of thriving in your 20s with humility, elegance and the desire to serve others. Get yours today at a bookstore near you!

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Mackenzie Watson, the author of Grains of Grace, is also a blogger, wife, and retail assistant manager. She thrives in leading college Bible studies for young women. Watson lives in coastal North Carolina with her husband Mitchell, three cats: Zelda, Zöe, and Finch, and most recently, a baby Boston Terrier named Pluto.

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