My Grace-Full Life: Grace Learned From a Tree Stump and a Buick

Once upon a time, a 17-year-old girl and her friend decided to go out for a bite to eat at a quaint little tea shop. When they pulled into the gravel parking lot, they were too busy admiring the historical Victorian home-turned-tea-room to notice a large tree stump in the middle of the parking lot.

After sampling crumpets and finger sandwiches, and feeling completely out of their element, the girls got back into the car. The still relatively new driver grossly underestimated the amount of space and acceleration she needed to back out of a parking spot and promptly found herself stuck on top of a tree stump.

And that, my friends, is my story.

Yep.  It’s true.

And I have to say—when it comes to getting a car stuck on top of a tree stump, I took it to a level of epic proportions. I managed to get all four tires of my Buick off the ground, and the bottom of my car was completely resting on top of a ginormous tree stump.

In a moment born out of teenage panic, all I could think was, “My mother is going to kill me!”  Since this took place around 1992ish and carrying cell phones wasn’t quite commonplace yet, we had to go back into the elegant, sophisticated teashop and borrow a phone. Any assumed dignity I had were left in a Buick parked on top of a tree stump.

We called my friend’s dad and bless his heart, he met us there and paid for a tow truck to get the car down.  I begged him not to tell my parents.  In hindsight, I could see he was choking on his laughter, but he promised he wouldn’t.  And for years, I kept that moment a secret.

I was 40 years old when I finally confessed to Mom.  And I only told her after I was fairly certain that I was too old for her to ground me. Turns out—she’d known all along.

Just as my mother knew the whole time about what has heretofore been known as the “Infamous Buick & The Tree Stump Incident,” God knows every detail and every moment we ever experience. He knows every thought we have, even the ones we never articulate into words.

We aren’t going to shock Him with anything. He already knows, and He’s waiting for us to confess it all so He can show us His extraordinary grace. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”

So often, we are afraid to go to Him. Afraid that we’re the one exception in all of history that His grace won’t cover. And that’s a lie.

In 1 John 3:20 it states, “Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.”

Giving myself grace is a daily struggle. Many of us have that in common.  I spent 23 years terrified to tell my mother about the car, instead of just admitting I screwed up and letting her give me grace. And we do the same thing to God. It’s pointless to try to hide what He already knows! We have to give Him the opportunity to give us grace. He wants to lavish it on us, because He loves us beyond human comprehension. Who are we to deny God that opportunity?

Otherwise, a lie takes root when we can’t believe that God’s forgiveness extends to us, too.  That lie diminishes His love and His power. We have to constantly remind ourselves that His grace, mercy, and forgiveness transcend ANY understanding on our end. It’s not about our understanding. It’s about our acceptance.

In 1 John 3:21-22 we read, “Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey him and do the things that please him.”

And when we go to Him with bold confidence, we can be confident of the forgiving grace that surpasses all understanding. And simply accept it with humble gratitude.



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