Grooves of Grace—for Lent and for Life

“Grooves of grace.”  I first heard that phrase many years ago from a great giant of the faith, Dr. Vernon Grounds.

Dr. Grounds was a man with a brilliant mind and a huge heart.   President of Denver Seminary for many years, he is now with the Lord he served so faithfully.  I once had the privilege of hearing him speak about daily disciplines that helped him grow in his relationship with God.   I remember particularly his time in the Scripture and daily prayers walks.  These routines, he said, provided “grooves of grace.”

Recently in my Lenten readings I have been reminded of the importance of daily disciplines in our spiritual formation.  And in my daily life, I’ve been reminded loud and clear that I am 100% reliant on my morning time with God to get through each day.  As I read God’s Word, pour out my heart to Him, and try—really try—to listen better to His voice, I feel His presence and His peace pouring into these grooves of grace.

These days I actually have time and space for “morning time with God.”  But it wasn’t always this way.  When my kids were young, they were—as many of you Mom to Mom friends know—some of the world’s earliest risers.  My days began as if I’d been catapulted out of bed into a traffic jam of constant noise and activity.  So where were the grooves of grace then?   Often in a whispered one-sentence prayer before the launch: “Lord, please help me get through this day.  I can’t do it without You.”   OK, that’s two sentences.  But some days I only managed a single word: “Help!”  Even that opened up a groove of grace.  Sometimes it was a Bible left open in the kitchen, with a passage I needed to focus on amidst the frenzy.  Or a verse posted on a bathroom mirror.  Or favorite Scripture I could meditate on during a stroller walk.  All were grooves of grace.

God’s grace.  It’s what we live on—and live in—every moment of our lives.  Or at least we should be living on.  It’s always there.  Abundant.  Rich.  Free (though not cheap, as Bonhoeffer reminds us).  But are we providing the grooves into which God can pour that grace?  Sometimes I wonder if the grooves are filling in with other “stuff,” blocking access to God’s grace.  Busyness.  Fuzzy priorities.  Mom-life.

Or, in my case, anxiety.  Going through testing and inspections and contingencies amidst the sale of our home is providing plenty of that.  But I wonder: Is it clogging up the grooves of grace?  What am I opening up more access to: what I’m worrying about or what God says?

How about you?  Are you opening up grooves of grace in your life?  Some days it may feel like just a trickle.  Enough for that day.  But sometimes it floods in.  You can almost feel it sloshing around.  Either way, it’s worth digging out the trench.