Grace is on the Dark Side of the Fence

suck without grace

jodylehigh / Pixabay

When I think of contentment I often think of finding joy and pleasure in my daily life. I do things like the #100HappyDays challenge.

It is beautiful on this side of the fence. The grass is green, the sun shines brightly, and I’m surrounded by blessings, happiness and joy.

I look at my house and thank God for a roof that keeps us dry during the rain. I’m thankful we were able to get it replaced this summer. I don’t have to worry about it “lasting one more winter” anymore.

I look at my children and thank God for who they are. Watching them grow up brings so much joy into my life. I can’t imagine life any different. There would be a hole in my family if they were not in it.

My friends richly bless my life. They keep me in check, pray for me when I need it, and make me smile and laugh. They bring lots of joy to me each day.

But there is a dark side to contentment.

It is the side that has to acknowledge the bad days. It is the side that sees sickness and death. It is knowing that bad things happen, houses burn down, people lose their jobs, bills have to be paid, and some people are mean. It is the side of anger, resentment, jealously, and stress.

Living in Green Grass is not living in a bubble.

It is being real.

Suddenly finding joy in every day life becomes a chore.

dark fence

bykst / Pixabay


My roof may be fixed but there is still so much wrong with my house. The carpet is thin, fraying, and getting holes in it. New laminate flooring is sitting in boxes in the middle of a room, waiting to be installed. Because of time and money for the rest of the materials, it will be at least another year before we install it.

The fence is still not complete. There are weeds knee high in parts of the yard that are hard to get to. The pear tree needs to be trimmed. The grass is dead in the back yard because we’re saving money by not watering it. The front yard is 70% weeds and 30% grass. The only reason it is green is because of the weeds.

My children can get so annoying. Their constant questions nag me. I never get peace and quiet. They seem incapable of taking care of things on their own and interrupt me often.

The excuses and complaints of my life could go on and on. I could allow myself to get sucked into the mud hole and suddenly my life looks dirty. Not so green on this side of the fence after all.

But on the dark side of the fence is something beautiful. There you can also find forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

Forgiveness comes from my children when I act harshly toward them. They understand that sometimes I’m overwhelmed and stressed, and that I make mistakes. I could stay in that place but instead I choose to acknowledge that I messed up, and ask for forgiveness.

Forgiveness also comes from me. Sometimes friends or family do wrong toward me. I could hold a grudge. I could hold it against them. Even if I never tell them, I could allow it to grow and fester in me until it affected our relationship. Forgiveness is not something they have to ask for, it is an internal choice in my soul to let it go.

Forgiveness is something you do long before the ‘offender’ comes and asks for it. Forgiveness is not always forgetting about the offence, but it doesn’t have to consume your life.

Like contentment, forgiveness is a choice.

When you choose forgiveness, you are offering mercy. It is being compassionate, understanding that nobody is perfect. It is not nagging my husband, but instead knowing that I already asked him to do it. It is trusting that he will take care of it like he said, in his time–not mine.

Mercy is giving him the freedom to take care of it, and if he never does, mercy is happily doing it myself or just letting it stay undone.

It is walking in grace. That may be the hardest thing of all to do when you’re covered up to your neck in dirt and mud. When the dark side of the fence has completely overwhelmed me, walking gracefully is the last thing I want to do.

I walk in stress and lash out. Suddenly my internal problem becomes the fault of others. It may have nothing to do with the current situation but I put it all on them. I become ugly.

I don’t want to deal with the root. The fact that I’m allowing things to grow inside me that shouldn’t be there. I’m living on the dark side of the fence.

But when I choose to walk with grace something miraculous happens.

[dropshadowbox align=”right” effect=”lifted-both” width=”250px” height=”” background_color=”#d9f2fd” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Grace is the shower on the dark side of the fence. [/dropshadowbox]

Grace is forgiving those around me and moving on. Grace is seeing that others have more, but I have enough. Grace is understanding that people forget or screw up and it doesn’t matter, I screw up too.

Grace is the shower to wash off the mud on the dark side of the fence.

Even when someone may not deserve it. Even when I may be right. Even when it is just too much. It is saying whatever.

Grace is letting it go.

When you walk in grace, mercy, and forgiveness the dark side of the fence gets a little brighter. The mud is still there at your feet, but the puddle is manageable. There are other things around than just dirt.

From the dirt comes stronger relationships with your friends. You have been through the thick of it, and now those bonds are tighter than they were before.

From the dirt comes growing and learning experiences for your children. They see that nobody is perfect and most everyone deserves another chance.

From the dirt comes a renewed vision of my house. My carpet may be wearing out, but when something spills on it I don’t have to worry about stains. They just blend in with what is already there. I may not be able to run the weed-eater for the weeds, but at least I’m healthy enough to mow the rest of the lawn now. And the dead grass means there is less to mow.

From the dirt comes budget management. Yes, there are bills to pay but with a managed and appropriate budget I know that everything should get paid every month. We may not be able to afford gas to go on any fun outings, but we have plenty of fun things we can walk to locally instead.

And when you’re living in contentment and beauty on the inside there is no room for mud to cover your outside. It is a choice and in that choice

Grace shines through.




On my side of the fence, in my patch of grass:

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

LoggaWiggler / Pixabay

  • I am thankful for my truck. Yesterday I went grocery shopping and got groceries for the entire month. This would not be possible if I didn’t have a truck to fill up. That chore is now done until August.
  • The Husband has been going to work early and working extra long days because of a company deadline. I miss him, but I’m thankful he is getting extra hours as Friday is an unpaid holiday for him. We won’t lose income this week.


This post was shared on:

So Much at Home Link Up Party

Thank You Honey: Adventures in Mommyhood

What Joy is Mine

Soul Survival



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lisa Koster
    Jul 09, 2014 @ 07:54:47

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing!



  2. Chris
    Jul 10, 2014 @ 15:58:04

    Thanks for sharing this great post on link up!
    God bless.



  3. sophiareedmft
    Jul 16, 2014 @ 13:04:40

    I enjoyed reading this and it really hit home for me. I have a dark side of contentment too. I sometimes try and want to be perfect but get down on myself when I react to my son too harshly. I think I have to realize that I am not perfect and I never going to be.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: