From Tracie: Grace and Dreams

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Grace and Dreams

"They don't have a clue what it is like to live my life. Let them come do it for a month and then see what helpful advice they have for me. I don't think they would even make it a few days. But I don't wish that on them, I don't hate them or want them in pain. Let them keep their cushy lives....and stop trying to run mine."

I know the darkness of depression as it closes in. I know the hopeless feeling of not knowing what move to make next and hoping that everything will just stop....and contemplating exactly how to make it stop....only holding yourself back because of those who would be left behind. And even in that moment, wondering if they might not just be better without you anyway.


I wonder what exactly grace is. How to live in it. What it means. How it actually applies to a real life. A life lived shattered, torn, and often in darkness.

I find myself begging for grace silently in my heart. Never asking out loud. Never wanting to hear that rejection or try to explain once again a life that someone else will never understand.

Prayers for grace that often sound like, "Please. I just can't take it anymore. Please. Just help me. I have no words, I have no plan that will work, I just need You to do something, to let me know that I will make it through this."


I wonder if living grace is much less about receiving it than it is about giving it. Giving it to those who don't understand. Choosing to treat their opinions and advice, even when they are extremely painful, as coming from a place of a good intention. I'm sure that they often do come from that place. I'm sure that those people have no idea how much their words cut. At least, I hope that is true. So today I choose. I choose to release anger and hurt caused by their words and show them grace.

They might not extend that grace to me. They might never try to understand, or forgive me for not following what they think is the best path. I will extend grace for that too.

My heart tells me that these people aren't in my life. Not really. They aren't there for the good moments. They don't mourn with me or rejoice with me. Their involvement is more akin to a drive-thru. Or maybe a drive-by.  They care as much as their schedule allows, not as much as their heart can love. <--but this isn't really grace is it? This is my judgement of them. Of their hearts and positions. I am grieved over the judgement that just came from me.

This is the cost of allowing heart feelings to become entangled in relationships. If I truly believe what my heart feels about them, how can I have any relationship? How can I move past that pain? Only a changing of expectations. No longer placing my life in their path with an expectation of love or grace from them-because it probably won't happen.


I struggle to find a family identity. A heritage that is older than I am. When I was a child I dreamed that I was adopted. Reading books like Face On The Milk Carton only exasperated these dreams. I fantasized what it would be like when I finally met my "real" family.

When I got older, I accepted that I was indeed the child of my parents, at which point I had new dreams. Dreams of tracing back my family tree and finding distant family members who lived far off....and of course in the most perfect of dream worlds we would meet and feel an instant connection that would only strengthen with time. I would move near them and carve out a new life (intentional, perfect, and lived in a small cottage somewhere most likely in the United Kingdom.)

I see now that I have placed the burden of my dreams on my very real family. The ones who do exist and already have relationships with me. They will never be my dream UK family. There is no cottage with roses covering it sitting next to their houses and no new life hiding by them just waiting for me to start living it.

Life is happening now. It isn't waiting for dreams to start or come true. Because they probably won't. That is why they are dreams. They happen in the dark places...only to disappear when the light of day shines down on them.

Maybe grace can be found in letting go of those expectations and leaving the irrational dreams behind. The most merciful thing that I can do for myself and my extended family. Maybe releasing those dreams worshiped in the darkness will bring in the light of morning and life.


  1. Truly, there are no words. I can post silly crap on my site and THEN you take my breath away with yours...
    i might have to get back to my writer-y non-humorous posts this weekend. Or not.

    I do like to make others laugh.

    You are extraordinary.
    If you are suffering, and I have ever offended you, Just know my friend, i am sorry. i don't EVER want to hurt you.

    You CAN do great things.
    You really can.
    Look at what Erin did.
    Look at what you are doing with your blog.
    You marvelous person you.

    Grace and mercy is wonderful thing.
    I am glad when I cry at night sometimes, when things are down and low, I can pray and He hears me.
    He truly does.

    Beautiful post Tracie. Thanks for sharing. YOU can guest post at my place anytime.

  2. Wow Tracie,

    This is profound and it's beautiful. It makes it all the more clear to me that I made the correct choice. (I was sure I came and left a comment the other day, but I don't see it here now.)

    I was given an award by a really good person that I met shortly after starting my blog and when it came time for me to pass it on to more people, I thought long and hard about who I felt deserved it. One of the first people who came into my mind was you. I haven't commented here in a while, but I read here often.

    I hesitated because I wasn't sure if you might think it was just some frivilous little game, and it may well be to some people, but it was given to me with complete sincerity and I'm passing it on to you with the same.

    I hope you'll accept it.

    It's an award called "One Beautiful Blog", and in my mind, that isn't about superficial beauty. It's about inner beauty and integrity, and I believe that you are most deserving of it.

    If you'd like to accept it, please check out my blog at I hope you will.

    Peace and Blessings,

  3. You are truly one of the most loving, caring grace-filled, grace-giving people I know. There are people in your life who share your dreams... and who have let go of those expectations themselves... When I let go of the expectation of a perfect life, God led me on a path that brought me straight to a sister I never knew I had... and her name is Tracie... and she rocks my face off. I love you and I'm praying for you. Praying that God will bring you into the fullness of His dreams for you. Hugs!

  4. This is so heartfelt and powerful.

    Line that really hit home with me: "They care as much as their schedule allows, not as much as their heart can love."

    So heartbreakingly true.

    And I used to dream that one day, I'd be told who my real family is. I still feel like that.

  5. Oh my... the section on "Grace"... I read like 20 times.. its like the words in my heart... you spoke them for me...

  6. It's interesting that you're writing about darkness, expectations and grace right now - because they are the things I have been dealing with in my life. My sister and I just today discussed the benefit of living a life free from expectations, and that there is light and grace in movement - in the journey. Just don't stagnate.

  7. I just sent a very long email to someone I met through blogging, discussing this very thing.

    There are so many truths here: no one owes anyone anything.

    We are all free to live, and there should be no expectations.
    We give when we can, and if we can, end of it.

    It hurts, but I believe that is how it is.

  8. Tracie,

    What an engaging and emotional post....I connected with so much of it.

    As far as grace goes, I believe that you epitomize that quality. And I also agree with Empress' comments above mine.

    There are often days where I wish my life was all a dream, or that I was adopted. But then I wouldn't be the person I am today, the person I'm trying desperately to be proud of---and the same holds true for you, my dear friend. You are so special to me and you wouldn't be the incredible woman, mother, and wife you are if you hadn't gone through everything you did......

    just my random chatter.


  9. I have been here a few times, but have been unable to come up with lovely words with which to compliment yours.

    So I will just say that I see you.

    And that you are very familiar to me.

    Big love to you.

  10. Wow, every word you wrote here is what I was thinking and going through many years ago when I was going through a lot of things in my life. I can totally relate to the people who think they mean well... but they're not really people who are "there" for you, who don't really understand or know. Hugs and prayers to you, dear. ♥

  11. I love ya, and I miss you horribly when I don't see you around the web. I feel as if a part of my story is missing.
    Grace, grace is the step beyond mercy, a mountain past forgiveness. It is the difference between the scapegoat and the lamb. It is the ability to see something far greater then what someone would be displaying in this moment. It is the beauty of a sunrise the day after a horrible storm. Mercy was the crucifixion, grace is the resurrection.

  12. I felt grace firsthand after being with my brother when he died. It lifted and carried me but it also wore off.

    I do appreciate your questions and exploration here. Thank you for sharing such meaningful real life reflections.

  13. Maybe the grace you need most is the grace to unburden yourself from false expectations. Children growing up with abuse learn the fine art of magical thinking--just what you described here. I know I certainly did. It took decades for me to even begin to suspect that there was something off with my thinking.

    We are hard on ourselves when we refuse to give up on what we never had to begin with. It's natural to have those desires and dreams, but at some point in life they turn sour, causing a sort of emotional heartburn.

    I too wish there was some magical family out there to replace the family members I had to walk away from. There isn't, except as we extend love and friendship to others, walking alongside them on their own unique journey of healing.