"It's time for you to accept my unconditional love," He says. " So often I stand before you with my arms open wide, longing to enfold you in them, but you duck your head and walk away. You let shame, guilt, or feelings of inadequacy keep you from Me. I have loved you with an everlasting love. 2 Nothing you've ever done has made me regret that great love and nothing can take it away.

"When I died on Calvary, I made it possible for us to be in close relationship. I washed your every misstep away in the river of my blood. There is nothing to separate us. Yet sometimes you are so determined to make yourself worthy that you refuse my free, unconditional love." 3

You're weeping freely now. He's right. The Christian life is about Jesus and the righteousness He gives. You keep making it about your performance, causing both your pride and your guilt to keep you from His arms. "I'm sorry." You whisper.

Jesus puts an arm around you. "Take the next letter."

You reach into the box and hand Him the "C." He lays it across your heart. "C is for Christ in you, dearest. I am your hope of glory. You try so hard to be good. Trust Me and let Me make you good. The good work I've begun in you will be completed. Stop striving. You are My masterpiece. Will I not finish it?" 4

The Lord reaches into the box for the last letter. You still weep silently, leaning your head against His shoulder. 

"E is for Empowered. I am the One who empowers you to be all I've created you to be. Spiritual maturity isn't chasing after good works or achieving your dreams. It isn't being the perfect mother, wife, or daughter. It is knowing Me and letting your life flow from our relationship.

"Let me empower you, dear one. I am the one who gives you the grace to accomplish all I ask of you." 5

You nod. He hugs you and then kisses your cheek. As He walks away you finger each letter, His words echoing in your soul. You place the letters back into the box, one by one:

G-Guilty no more
R-Rest in Christ
A-Accept His unconditional love
C-Christ, my hope of glory
E-Empowered by His Spirit

You linger with the open box in your lap, breathing in the scent of grace. There could be no greater gift.

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A home schooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace and intimacy with Jesus. Her website offers home schooling hints, book reviews, and a free weekly devotional, Soul Scents. Subscribe to Soul Scents at www.soulscents.us. You can contact Paula at Paula@soulscents.us.

1 Matthew 11:28 (AMP)
2 Jeremiah 31:3
3 Ephesians 2:13
4 Philippians 1:6 & Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
5 Philippians 4:13, 2 Timothy 3:17