Grace in the Grades

It’s that time of year: Graduation; college admissions; transcript requests; all things end-of-school-year! As I prepare to move forward with my own personal education, I found myself looking at my college transcripts tonight for the first time in probably 20 years. Wow, it evoked some serious emotion that I was not anticipating . The idea that I even have a college degree is absolutely a testimony of God’s grace in this life! (Any of my former high school teachers who may remember me will testify!) While skimming the dates attached to the different semesters I spent in college, the year 1993 was not my finest to say the least. But seeing the grades attached to one particular semester, Spring of 1993, hit me hard. Knowing the stories that were associated to that blip on my timeline, and to each letter F that scars my transcript, were humbling and somewhat embarrassing. Each letter represented a choice I remember making. They were choices made by a girl who had no idea of her true value. A girl I don’t remember as clearly as I remember the outcome of those choices.

But, praise Jesus that despite the embarrassment of those awful transcripts, and a brief moment of shame memories, I was reminded that those days were turned around for God’s best in my life (recalling Romans 8:28) and that they were even redeemed over time; the literal grades themselves were redeemed through grade forgiveness and a little hard work on my part. The stories attached to all of those ugly Fs would prepare me to have grace toward people, even when they have no clue that I can relate to their brokenness. It’s been many years since I have recalled some of those moments of failure. I’ve spent 25 years keeping those moments in a special room of my heart, only recalling them out of necessity to show compassion and grace toward others. I seldom allow the enemy the opportunity to play the shame game with me anymore in regards to those stories. Tonight when I pulled up my transcript, I will admit, a little shame tried to rear it’s ugly head. But, as in so many of those moments over the last 25+ years, I couldn’t help but marvel at how good my God is to me. That young girl from 1993 eventually graduated, not just from college but from a life of shame to a life of grace and confidence in Christ Jesus. And for that, all I can say is, “Amen!”