I was recently talking with a friend who had just found out that she was expecting a girl. On Facebook she wrote the name her and her husband had picked out. On her status she wrote “Hana = Grace”. My name is Ana, and it means the same thing. I commented about how I was actually glad that I was named that. I am thankful to my mother who chose this name for me, although I doubt she knew what it meant. But God knew.
And I can really say that my name really describes me. Because who would I be and what would I be if not for His grace? I ask myself sometimes if I would even be alive, and would my life be a constant cycle of hopelessness and guilt.
I was not born into a Christian home and my parents did not raised to know God, I did not have the opportunity at a young age to know God. I was a sinner until I was 22 years old. And then God came across my path where I lay in the mud and blood, He brought me to Himself and washed off the blood and mud and told me to live. This is a picture of my life. This is God’s grace that marks Him.
I cried after the conversation with this friend because I remembered that my life is grace. Without God’s grace I probably wouldn’t be living today. Croatia is a country that has less than 1% of newborn Christians. And God decided to show me this grace so that I could actually be among those few thousand who are saved. So, how could someone not feel thankful when considering this? How could one not be thankful day after day that we are alive and that God has said to us, “Live!” Who am I that He has chosen me?!
A few years ago I celebrated Thanksgiving with my American friends. One thing we did during our celebration was to take a piece of paper and write down one thing we were thankful to God for during that year. Most wrote that they were thankful for their families, husbands, wives, children and so on. I am still single, so this was something I was not able to identify with, in addition to that, it had been a very hard year for me. I had never felt lonely before, but I had lost some friends and had been very hurt. My heart was completely crushed. But I knew that I could be thankful to God for being faithful. I was thankful that I had Him, and that I could call Him my God, that in all that had happened that I wasn’t alone and that He would lead me through all that I was facing. It is true that you cannot say that God is everything in the world to you until you’ve lost it all. At that point it seemed I didn’t have very much, but I had God’s grace that held me, led me, and everyday gave me the strength to get up in the morning and go on.
When everything is going for us we forget to thank God for His grace. We consider it as something that belongs to us and take it for granted. But it isn’t, and we don’t deserve it. I have not deserved anything that my Lord would come along my path and pull me out of the mud and clean me off, but He did it anyway. He came to me and had mercy on me. He showed me His grace and that is why I am glad that my name is Ana – grace.
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Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.