I’ll never forget my first college writing class. My professor paced back and forth in front of us with his hands clasped behind his back. He stopped, faced us and declared: “The best writers write about what they know.” That statement, along with hefty required doses of E.B. White, helped me understand the power of authentic, honest writing.
When I landed a weekly newspaper column many years later, I wrote about my life – ordinary events in the life of an ordinary woman. After all, that’s what I knew! This chronicling had an unexpected benefit: to find column material I was forced to slow down and really mull through my days. I’d turn an event over and over in my mind, pushing and pulling at it, taking it apart and piecing it back together. Usually, even a common occurrence would take on new meaning once I pondered it a bit. Perhaps for the first time, I understood the opening line of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.” I wasn’t living in the woods, but I was striving to become more deliberate in my examination of ordinary events. It was through this process that I started noticing and writing about God’s grace in our lives.
As my columns accumulated, I realized most had the common thread of grace, and readers were recognizing and embracing this thread. When my column ended, I had hundreds of folks of various stripes ask me to publish a collection of my columns as a book, and it was from these requests that Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days was born. About half the book is comprised of previously published newspaper columns; the rest was written the year of publication.
Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days is a book about finding grace in all areas of daily life. It helps readers remember to pull often-elusive glimmers of grace out of our chaotic world, examine them, and hold them up as evidence of a loving God. This can be powerful evangelism.
Recognizing grace is not always easy. Certainly, some days grace abounds – it’s nearly impossible to miss. These are the good days, and I included many examples in my book. But there are also other days – periods of time filled with simply plodding along in the ordinary. These days are sometimes so route that we don’t recognize the grace hidden within them. After all, where is the beauty in changing a diaper or driving to work? I write about these days quite a bit, because I believe for many of us they’re the most common.
Some days, however, aren’t beautiful or uneventful. They’re horrible. As we claw through these tough times, we can become overwhelmed with the realities of a fallen world and literally refuse to see the grace notes playing around us. These trials are also featured in Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days.
I wrote my book with hope: hope that while we navigate our lives with their highs and lows, we’ll remember that seeing grace must often be deliberate. We need to slow down, breathe deeply, and look for the glimmers of grace in our lives. They are there, even in the worst of times. We just need to remember to look for them. Grace is a free gift from a God who loves us, and like any gift, we must receive and unwrap it before we can enjoy it.
This gift will take many forms and look different to all of us. Perhaps Frederick Buechner said it best: “Grace is something you can never get but can only be given. There’s no way to earn it or deserve it or bring it about any more than you can deserve the taste of raspberries and cream or earn good looks. A good night’s sleep is grace and so are good dreams. Most tears are grace. The smell of rain is grace. Somebody loving you is grace.”
Thoreau also wrote that “(he) wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life.” He called it marrow, but I call it grace. My prayer is that I can encourage people to view these rich, satisfying flavors in life as God’s handiwork, and give thanks for it.
Christine Litavsky is a writer, mother, and dog lover. She began her career as an acquisitions editor; then switched gears to freelance writing after her children were born. She loves seeing glimpses of God’s grace in ordinary events, even when they’re not happy ones. Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Christianbiblestudies.com, American Family Magazine, Glancer Magazine, and Wheaton Sport Center Magazine. Her first book, Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days, published in 2013. She teaches a neighborhood bible study and has spoken at numerous women’s events. Her website is: www.glimpsinggrace.com.