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Grace and Mercy: Part 1 – Grace

This article is the first in its series. Please refer to Part 2 – “Mercy”, to continue reading on after “Grace.”

What comes to your mind when you hear the words: “Grace” and “Mercy?”

Perhaps you think of a specific religious denomination? Or spiritually perfected concepts that are unattainable? Or beautiful words with loving sentiments that you can use to feel lighter on mentally heavy days? Or maybe they are values that always go together but seem difficult to separately define and apply?

I have a question for you today: What if they were words with intense healing power that you could utilize to heal your own heart and gift to others as well?

As a birth mother on a journey of healing post-placement, I could sure use some power-packed grace and mercy in my own life, not only for myself, but for those around me as well.

In this two-part article series, I will break down the difference between grace and mercy. While they are often used interchangeably, they are not the same things. It may be difficult to grasp the difference, but I have faith that you will see how their differences help them to work together to create a wonderfully woven healing way of life.

What is Grace?

There are many different definitions and understandings of what grace really is. One definition by Merriam-Webster includes:

  • unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification
  • a virtue coming from God
  • approval or privilege
  • a special favor
  • disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
  • a temporary exemption or reprieve

The Bible has beautiful descriptions of grace and the power behind it. One scripture reading about grace is:

“And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8 (AMP)

Many people throughout history have famously quoted about grace. Here are a few of my favorites:

“Grace has to be the loveliest word in the English language. It embodies almost every attractive quality we hope to find in others. Grace is a gift of the humble to the humiliated. Grace acknowledges the ugliness of sin by choosing to see beyond it. Grace accepts a person as someone worthy of kindness despite whatever grime or hard-shell casing keeps him or her separated from the rest of the world. Grace is a gift of tender mercy when it makes the least sense.” – Charles R. Swindoll

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“Grace is the very opposite of merit… Grace is not only undeserved favor, but it is favor, shown to the one who has deserved the very opposite.” – Harry Ironside

“Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks.” – Frederick Buechner

“Showing grace to others is about showing kindness even when they don’t deserve it.”  – Dawn Klinge

“Grace is a gentle thing. Easily destroyed by selfishness, envy, ill will, and fear. Easily invited by kindness, hope, forgiveness, and love.” – Donna Goddard, Touched by Love

“Without grace, our failures cannot become wisdom.” – Casey Tygrett

Grace Speaks

Grace is favor gifted when no action has proved it deserving. It is unearned favor and blessings. Birth mothers know all about grace: we gave it to our babies when we chose adoption for them.

Our babies didn’t have to do anything or prove anything for us to decide to give them better lives by us, as birth mothers, choosing adoption. We choose to give them this grace out of our love for them, not because of their actions. Just the fact that we love them unconditionally is an act of grace on our part.

Grace says, “I will give my baby a better life through different parents, and I can get through this as a mature and loving being, no matter what.”

Grace is also something we can give to others. As a woman who chose adoption, I have dealt with a lot of misunderstanding from others who ask me if I have children or assume that there was something wrong with me for me to place my baby for adoption.

I give others grace when I forgive them. I give grace to myself as well because I’m not perfect and I have had to make hard decisions in my life. However, I made the best decisions that I have been able to throughout my life with the abilities I had at the time. I have no regrets regarding the decision to place my baby for adoption, even over a decade later.

We can learn a lot about who we are by how we practice grace in our lives, giving it to ourselves and others whenever we see an opportunity. My hope is that you take this new understanding of grace and utilize it on your own journey of healing, coupling it with mercy to provide you with a more elevated and mature view on yourself throughout your life.

This article is the first in its series. Please refer to Part 2 – Mercy, to continue reading on after “Grace.”

-Lindsay Arielle

Lindsay Arielle is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption more than a decade ago. Over the years, Lindsay has chronicled her post-placement healing walk via her writing to share her experience, strength and hope with other birth mothers on their own paths of healing. Lindsay’s blogs boldly reflect that, “Healing is a journey, not a destination.”