So there we go, I've had a really rather indulgent week of telling my story, and you have been most kind to indulge me in the telling, with your generous and encouraging comments. But the theme behind the telling was meant to be the amazing grace of God, which means his unconditional love for each one of us. Although I gave away my copy of Philip Yancey's book about Grace, the words in the blurb on the back are indelibly etched into my memory: 'There is nothing I can do to make God love me more. There is nothing I can do to make God love me less'. I remember sitting on a London to Leeds train, discussing those words with a fellow teacher, as she worried about some aspects in her life which she felt were letting God down. It is perfectly possible to let God down - I know my anger and irritability do that frequently - but those things don't stop his love for me or you, not one little bit.
I know my life story is a rather cheery, easy one. Nothing terrible ever happened to me, so of course it is easy for me to say, as I did a week ago, 'Life is fun and God is good'. But I could have told my life story from the shadowy side, too. In every good thing that I recall, there is an element of God's grace making it work, and highlighting the light instead of the shadow. I can see God's grace in taking an isolated, slightly arrogant girl and teaching her gently what she wasn't prepared to learn from church or Christian friends. I can see God's grace in leading me into teaching when I thought I was preparing for museum work. I can see God's loving hand guiding me and Ben again and again as we needed to change home and church. I can see God's grace in allowing me to break open so that a softer, deeper, more receptive layer of my character was ready to learn about living with him, living with my family. Those could have been, in fact were, some of the dark sides of my story. But seen in God's light - seen in the light of Jesus and his Easter Resurrection, my story is just a little part of God's story, full of grace and hope.