Early this year (but not early enough for it to count as a resolution or anything), I decided that 2013 would be my year of grace. I decided to purposely extend grace to others, regardless of whether I knew them, or whether we had had a bad relationship or encounter in the past, or even if I was in an everyday relationship with them. Let me tell you – that part about extending grace in your everyday life is hard. My husband, who is a good man, is still human (or so I’ve been led to believe), and, as such, is entirely capable of driving me out of my mind. Sometimes, I grit my teeth when I talk to him because I am furious or impatient and that doesn’t really make him happy or feel warmly towards me. (Wonder why that is?) Also, I work in public service in a library (perhaps you guessed that from my blog name). People ask the same questions over and over (different people, but still…). The printers stop working. The book that was supposed to be on the shelf isn’t. There is someone who is trying to fill out an online application and they have never used a computer before and on top of that, the mouse doesn’t work properly so even if they are trying their hardest, it is difficult to be patient and kind. (See, this grace stuff is hard!)
Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was given an opportunity to review a pre-pub copy of Tim (and Darcy) Kimmel’s Grace Filled Marriage. It was awesome (you can see my review on Amazon here). (Yes, I know it was already published, but this is my year of grace, not necessarily promptness, although I am working on that as well and hope that the nice folks at Worthy Publishing will extend some grace and let me review more of their pre-pub books.)
So, back to the review: Really good book. Really well written. Practical. And marriage is good, even when it isn’t perfect. For all its (and our) flaws, it contributes to financial stability on a personal level and to the greater economic good. It is a place of stability for children. It creates safety nets that allow adults to explore careers and further their education. So if you are in a marriage, even if you are not a believer, don’t you want to be in the best marriage possible?
Grace Filled Marriage gives you practical tools to extend grace to your spouse. Even if they never read the book. Even if they don’t get it. Even if they never extend grace to you.
In practicing grace this year (and goodness gracious, I fail at this attempt in some way just about every day!), I’ve learned what a powerful force grace is. No one can force you to offer something that you are extending freely. You have the power to choose to be kind. You have the power to choose to forgive. You have the power to choose to let go of hurt and grudges. You can make the choice to rejoice in the kindness you show. Grace is a gentle assault; one that persuades your opponent to lay down their weapons because they need not fear being hurt.
As I said in my Amazon review, every married believer should have this book on their nightstand. I stand by that, but amend it to say that if they can afford it, they should buy 2 copies, one for each side of the bed (and a third to go in the bathroom, if that is where they read). Also, this is a great wedding gift, even for people who aren’t believers. Even if you think they don’t have a snowball’s chance.