What does erasing a whiteboard have to do with grace and forgiveness? Find out as you read a sneak peek of my juvenile fiction novella.
What you need to know before reading…
It’s a work in progress, so I’ll need some grace. 🙂 But as I was editing this week, I felt like I should share this part with you. Especially since last week’s blog was all about grace!
The story is about Briana (12) and her brother Mack (6) who are sent to live with a host family operating through a ministry after their mom is in an accident. Bri and her brother are scared of being sent to foster care and have just run away, but they get caught. The discussion you are joining is between Bri and the host mom, Carrie, as they talk about grace.
I hope you enjoy it. And I hope the visual of erasing a whiteboard sticks with you the next time you are working through extending and receiving God’s forgiveness and grace in your own life.
Novella Scene About Grace
Carrie nestles deeper into the plush couch pillows. Her eyes are fixed on the shiny green tiles that line the floor around the fireplace. I keep rocking with my toes. With each push, the rocking chair rails go over a creaky floorboard.
Push, squeak. Push, squeak. Push, squeak.
The room is dark and comfy. Instead of the burning tightness that’s lived in my chest for days, I feel a calm spreading all over, like sitting still in warm bath water.
“Do you know the word, grace, Bri?”
“The dinner kind or the one about being nice?”
“The second one. Grace is something you give someone when they don’t deserve it. It’s how you react to a person when they are at fault. Like forgiving someone or speaking kindly to someone even if they’re mean to you. Does that makes sense?”
“I think so.”
“I bet you’ve had to give someone grace before, right?”
I immediately think of my mom. I’ve given her a lot of grace over the years. I’ve covered for her, protected and cared for Mack, been the adult when she couldn’t. But I’m so mad right now. I’m not sure she deserves grace. She put Mack’s life in danger.
“What if you’re too mad?” I ask, then clamp my lips together. I didn’t mean to say that out loud. Flowing gold and blue flames flicker and flash on the blackened logs. I peek at Carrie. She’s looking at the flames, too.
“That’s a good question, Bri.” Carrie pauses, takes a deep breath. “I have to ask Jesus for help. He knows about giving people grace when they don’t deserve it.”
Geez. I gave her an opening to preach at me.
“Grace is mostly the reason why we didn’t tell Mona about Friday night.”
Now I’m interested. “What do you mean?”
“When you took Mack and left, Rob and I were really worried about you. And you stole from us,” Carrie says looking at me with the you-know-better-than-that look given by moms to all misbehaving children. Then her face clears. “But after we talked it out with you, Rob and I decided to not hold your actions against you.”
“Why’d you do that?”
“Uh, let me see if I can explain.”
Carrie takes a deep breath, in and out through her nose. A little frown of concentration makes creases show up between her eyebrows. “Have you ever erased a dry erase board, but the marker didn’t come off all the way?” she asks.
“Ok, that’s like kind of forgiving someone. The ghost image of how they messed up or hurt us is still there on the board. Like an echo. A pain echo.”
I can see her point. I can’t count the number of times I’ve forgiven my mom, but maybe not really all the way. Because it still hurts.
“When we ask God to help us give someone grace, he helps us erase the residue completely.”
The fire is dying down, the embers glowing red every time a rush of wind sweeps down the chimney. Small pushes from my toes keep up the melody of the chair on the floor boards.
Push, squeak. Push, squeak. Push, squeak.
“So…grace is giving someone a clean whiteboard with no residue?” I look over at her.
“Yep. Clean slate.” She nods once. “Rob and I forgave you. Now we choose to believe the best in you. You’ve got a clean slate.”
“Huh,” I say under my breath. “Weird.”
Carrie is watching me with a slight smile on her lips. Her eyes communicate a message to me just like mine do to Mack. It’s a good message that makes me feel seen.
I’m not sure if these people are for real. But, so far, they kind of seem like they are.
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