Journal entry by Vicki Bunke
This past Saturday, I traveled to Chicago with my friend Leah for Stop #8 of The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour. We were joined at Ohio Street Beach by other Team Amazing Grace members and supporters. Among those on our team was Kelly Hazenfield, a friend of mine from high school. We stood together at the start of the mile swim, and right before we walked to the water, Kelly leaned over and said to me, “I wish I knew Grace.”
As I swam along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, I thought of Kelley’s comment and was reminded of something Caroline said to another Kelly (Kelly Brumbeloe) and Brian and I as we were planning Grace’s funeral. Caroline said, “Sometimes I get confused whether we are talking about God’s grace or our Grace.”
On Saturday, I was fully aware that Kelly was referring to our Grace, but it made me wonder how many people wish that they knew the other grace, God’s grace. And I thought how easy it is for us to miss God’s grace in our lives. Sometimes it’s just so simple, that we miss it. We miss knowing grace.
We can miss knowing God’s grace in the ordinary occurrences in our lives, such as the nearby parking spot in the rain or the last shopping cart available. Even a string of green traffic lights when you are in a hurry can be a Heavenly gift. If we aren’t careful, we can miss these small ways that God showers grace upon us.
We can miss knowing God’s grace when things go right. The biopsy comes back negative. You get the job. A relationship is restored. Do you see those gifts as God’s grace? Do you think those good outcomes have to be earned? They don’t. It’s sheer grace. God’s grace.
And sadly, we can miss knowing God’s grace when things go wrong. Last week, I participated in an interview and was asked a familiar question. It is always asked in different ways, but the central theme of the question is this: “How can you remain joyful and hopeful even though Grace died?”
The answer is always the same. The reason is because I knew Grace and I know grace. For those reading this, you may be like my friend Kelly and might not have known our Grace, but you can certainly know His. His grace is what keeps our family afloat and moving forward. His grace is what allows me to truly embrace and believe what our Grace taught us when she said, “Hope has no finish line.”
Here is a short video of swim #8 in Chicago and a glimpse into the moments where our family met Grace…both our Grace and His: The Amazing Grace Swim Across America Tour-Chicago
Take it in, don’t forget
Today is the day your new life begins
Remember how you feel right now
Oh, that fire in your bones will never let you down
Oh and come back to the moment whenever your heart aches
Thank the Lord and say
“Here’s to the day, the day that I met grace”