Growing in Grace, is the realization that you don’t start living until you are living for Jesus, not accepting him with lip service, but actually allowing God to be Ruler. Allowing your will, what you desire, to be subject to his will. As a child, I used to wonder what God’s will was for my life like it was some hidden treasure, as if it were a secret that I was not privy to. Now, I realize that it has always been at my fingertips within the pages of the Word of God, and that if I were honest with myself, I was not drawing near enough to God (James 4:8). I have always possessed the key to all of the answers, but I did not unlock the door to live the life God desired for me. Once I began to apply God’s Word as opposed to doing things my way I began to see the grace of God upon my life. It is no surprise because his ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9). Prior to Jesus, I only existed by the Grace of God. I was thriving by the Grace of God. Though I did experience success while I was not committed to Jesus, I was favored, promoted, and recognized, it was meaningless because I was empty, misguided, and was not living abundantly. Now I’m fully living the best life imaginable, the Good Life. Therefore, I can state from experience that until you are living wholeheartedly, passionately for Christ, you are merely existing, and to differ from this belief is to be exactly where I was, blinded by the enemy and as a result, ignorant to the things of God. In my youth, I wavered in part because I viewed Christianity as a religion of rules. I felt as though it was full of restrictions, I was too blind to see at that time that what I considered restrictions were protections by a caring, loving Father. I did not utilize the Holy Spirit to help teach and guide me. I was not growing at all spiritually; I was simply going to church, and trying to follow all the rules. I rarely opened my Bible outside of church, I lacked a prayer life, and I occasionally read devotionals for my age group which made me no different. I had no idea about how rewarding a relationship (not a religion) with Jesus could be. At the height of my youthful, rebellious conduct I did not even want to attend church, for me, it was a forced ritual. I realize in retrospect that my associations only contributed to my rebellion and that my friendships should have been made up of other little lights that would encourage me to live for Christ and grow in Grace (2 Peter 3:18), that could pray with me, and that would hold me accountable. As women of God, the company we keep is crucial to the level of our spiritual growth and development, because bad company has the ability to corrupt everything you stand for (1 Corinthians 15:33). Undoubtedly, I know that God used every experience that I have had leading up to me living solely and unapologetically for him for my ultimate good, and for the good of those I influence. I believe wholeheartedly as my life verse states that, “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Although I learned many things through experience instead of through listening to wise counsel, God is so good that when I “came to myself” like the Prodigal Son eventually did, I was welcomed back home with open arms by a loving Father who was not only waiting for me, he was expecting me. I found that beyond a warm welcome and restoration, God had given me beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). All things, even the most painful or regrettable things are made beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). My life experiences have given me a beautiful story and a rich humility. I believe that without my experiences, I would not be the woman I am today. Growing in Grace is about being made and becoming all that you are purposed to be. How have you grown in Grace? Tell your story.