Categories: Book, Community, Faith



Grace tastes like a warm piece of toast with melted butter.

Grace sounds like a laugh that can’t be contained or a sob from the deepest part of the soul.

Grace smells like Jergens almond lotion.

Grace feels like the arms of a loved one.

Grace looks like Grandma’s face when she smiled at me.


My first recollection of grace is tied to the sound of my mom playing the piano after we girls had gone to bed. It was her routine to put us down and then play until we went to sleep. Most nights it was a peaceful way to drift off to sleep.

But not on that night.

On that night I lay in bed weighted down by a secret. I had to tell my mom. But how could I? She’d be so disappointed. Just one floor below me she played away, ignorant to the truth I knew. Unable to bear the burden any longer, I got up and crept downstairs.

Mom, I have to tell you something. The piano playing stopped and I slid on the bench next to her. I lost one of the Broncos mittens Grandma F knit for you. I’m so sorry, I sobbed. I know how much you loved them and now one is gone and I don’t know what to do.

{As I look back, I’m not sure my mom loved them as much as I thought she did, but in that moment I was devastated to have lost something precious to her. Something one of a kind and irreplaceable in my young mind.}

She put her arms around me and said that though she loved the mittens, it was OK.  She knew it was an accident, and that if I it would help me, I could call Grandma the next day and ask her to make another one.  She loved me and was glad I’d told her about the mitten, and hoped I could sleep now.

I returned to bed, released of my burden, able to sleep in peace.

Ah, the freedom that grace brings. I was in desperate need at the moment and was offered a cup of kindness instead of shame. Paraphrasing, if an earthly mother offered a good gift to me, how much greater the Gift offered by a Heavenly Father!

How Epic.

When Kurt Bubna asked  for folks to review his book Epic Grace: Chronicles of a Recovering Idiot, I jumped at the chance. The tag line of The Messy Middle is, after all, where GRACE and truth reside. Having tasted grace, first at the hands of my parents, and ultimately at the hands of Jesus, I want everyone to dance in the freedom that grace offers.

If, for any reason, you need/want a high resolution of the book cover, here it is.

Not just a little grace, like doled out dribbles of water to desperate workers on a chain gang under that beating sun. No. Epic Grace. Grace that rains down like candy from the biggest, best Pinata at a party.

Yes, Kurt is a bit of a recovering idiot, but aren’t we all? He shares story after story from his own life of the ways that God’s grace enters a story line and makes a difference. They are funny, honest, relatable, and encouraging.

God is the God of do-overs, second chances, and the One who offers mercy in the midst of our stumbling. Amen and amen.

And what better way to bring a bit of grace to life than to offer a FREE COPY to one of you :)! Leave a comment sharing

  1. a time grace was extended to you OR
  2. why you’re in need of a dose of grace now OR
  3. a look at grace through your five senses.

and I’ll enter you in the drawing Winner chosen Friday.  {Related article: Grace is confusing}

Leave A Comment

  1. sandy August 26, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

    grace looks like a big, wooden round table. where there was always room for more people, more stories, more love. when my parents moved, and sold that table….i lost a place of grace.

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      Amy August 26, 2013 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Oh Sandy, I wish you had that table! I know you metaphorically do, but to actually HAVE that table. What a loss.

  2. Kelly Grace August 26, 2013 at 9:35 am - Reply

    Grace is my middle name, and I collect it everywhere I go — in books and music and poetry and art. I love the examples of Grace in this story, and now I know why Jergens lotion is my favorite!
    I can always use a dose of grace, and especially now, as I am feeling God tugging on my heart and soul and calling me to the ministry and a master’s degree in divinity. I am saying yes and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  3. Holly August 26, 2013 at 10:27 am - Reply

    I need a dose of grace now because my emotions have been getting the better of me lately and my husband has to put up with it! I’m trying to figure out where I fit in as I adjust to new roles, living in a fairly new place, working for myself, creatively speaking, spiritually speaking, etc. I’m just feeling a little “lost” and I can’t quite put my finger on it. But I know I need GRACE as I figure it all out.

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      Amy September 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm - Reply

      Holly, can I just say how very much your comment meant to me … my emotions have been a bit all over myself recently :)

  4. C Burgess August 26, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Twenty four years ago when my mother died, I had never felt so alone in my life. I was in deeeep neeeeed of Grace, the Grace only God can give. I had a series of dreams where there was no doubt at all that Mom had been with me and I with her. One in particular was the experience – not the “sense” of an experience – of a deep embrace. My mother’s arms were fiercely around me. I could feel the warmth of her, and knew that Mother scent we come to know in the womb. The fragrance of my Mother’s perfume, as well as the halo of cigarette smoke and its accompanying ummmm, scent filled my senses and lingered. Tears of joy ran down my face as I slept, as they do every time I “re-member” the moment. After years of priestly ministry, and work with Hospice, I believe the space between this world and the next is liminal – a thin place – a place of immense Grace.

  5. Pam August 26, 2013 at 11:35 am - Reply

    surprise at finding grace by Rachel Hodel

    who knew that grace is so full of sorrow? or sorrow matured is another name for grace?
    like vines intertwined, sorrow and grace weave together, expressing themselves best in adorning the other.

    distinct yet indivisible, who knew to what grace sorrow led?

    what is beautiful is made so by scars; and who knew that grace is sorrow dancing?

  6. T. Anne August 26, 2013 at 2:17 pm - Reply

    . Grace greets me in the early light of a new day and walks silently with me along the shore when I watch the sun rise on the sound. Grace never leaves my side throughout the challenges of my day, and sweetly tucks me in at night.

  7. Mike August 26, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Grace is forgiveness offered in the very tangible form of love expressed in a smile, a hug, a kiss, and an “I love you!” in spite of the fact that we both know that I blew it.

  8. Kristi August 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

    Thought I’d share something I wrote last December when grace was being applied to my life like a healing balm. Grace does truly reside in the “messy middle” of life on planet earth.

    Grace Upon Grace (John 1:13 &16)

    My cup is already full
    Filled up to the brim
    Pride, fear, doubt
    Dried out, solid, hard, stuck
    Without my efforts, plans, accomplishments
    Grace upon grace
    Is poured in
    The hardness is
    Softened, cracked, loosened, washed away
    Now my cup is filled
    Humility, courage, faith
    Heaped up
    Piled high
    With grace upon grace

    KCM December 16, 2012

    • Erin Hernandez September 3, 2013 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      May I repost your poem in a weekly women’s devotional I’m writing tonight? I will credit you with your name, blog, etc. as you wish. I worked with Amy in China 12 years ago!

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        Amy September 5, 2013 at 8:26 am - Reply

        I think that should be fine … did you hear from Kristi?

      • Kristi September 5, 2013 at 4:21 pm - Reply

        Sure. If it’s not too late.

  9. sandi August 27, 2013 at 8:46 am - Reply

    Grateful that God has given us many different ways to experience Him and to embrace grace…grace that can be seen in eyes that empathize, accept and forgive…grace that is the fragrant breathing in of supper smells made by hands that knew you needed a break…grace that can be tasted in the sweet prune plums brought to you by the older gent at church who said it was ok that you hadn’t found the time to come over and pick them off his tree like you said you would so he did it for you…grace that whispers ‘it’s ok mom’ from the child whom you’ve had to apologize to yet again for losing it and yelling…grace that you can feel in the softness of the babies skin and the truly aged hands, both reminding you that His mercies are new every morning…ah sweet grace.!

  10. Elizabeth Smith August 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Okay, so first caveat: This is only going to make sense to Amy. Second: Wow, is this going to sound like an arrogant pat on the back! It’s a time I extended grace well, not that it was extended to me. But, another mark of God’s grace is that He gives us grace to sometimes Do Things Right.

    The story: You know my preschool ornament? The “precious family heirloom” we joke about and I can NEVER bring up without at least a few family members (okay, just you and Emily) groaning? Well. Do you remember that she broke it? Maybe not. And the amazing thing is: I don’t think she does either. This is grace. After we have joked for years about how our kitten broke it, and its importance has been elevated way past its due, she dropped it hanging it on the tree a few years ago. You guessed it: it hit the metal tree stand and broke. She looked at me with that naked devastation, realizing the importance of what had just happened. And I did it right. No jokes. Just a hard hug, and a downplaying of what had just happened. And God gave us both the grace of the glue to dry clear this time, not the lightning jag of white left by the first time it broke.

    That’s grace. That it was lightly, graciously, handled to the degree that she doesn’t even remember. Which would be my wish for her. …And the stories and groaning about the original accident continue. :-)

    Elizabeth (Amy’s sister)

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      Amy September 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm - Reply

      Who knew one cat could bring so much joy and be a channel of grace on so many levels :). Now that might be something to have tattooed somewhere!! Wink!

  11. Jessa August 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    Why I need a fountain of grace right now: I feel like I’m surrounded by death, like maybe I bring it with me everywhere I go. Two weeks ago, we had 3 church members die within the span of 4 days. I had the painful privilege of ministering to the families through music, but in so doing, I neglected my own emotions and I’m now in a state of numb rebellion against God. We had another church member die last week, on the same day that a dear and wonderful man, one of my college professors, died much too young. I keep recovering memories of the deaths of my own children, 4 who were born alive, 3 who were miscarried, and one who was forcefully aborted. I feel empty, hollow. My heart feels like a bit of a black hole, sucking all the light, all the life from the world around me. That’s probably programmed, cult-generated magical thinking, and it’s something I cannot overcome without grace.

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      Amy September 2, 2013 at 2:20 pm - Reply

      Oh Jessa, yes yes yes to a fountain of grace for you! Three church members die within four days?! And the other deaths you have experienced. No words. May you experience some grace today. Blessings sister.

  12. Amanda August 28, 2013 at 8:09 am - Reply

    I was witness to “epic grace” working with a friend (from a different organization) in the NW during my time with ELIC. She opens her home to children who are failing to thrive. She had rec’d a new infant, a precious little man with a heart condition, and called me to come over that afternoon. I sat there, holding him and breathing in that amazing infant smell, watching him take in his new surroundings and then – finally relax from being held for more than a minute. The tears poured silently as I felt the Father whispering “THIS is redemption. This is grace.”

  13. Mark Allman August 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    We need to a people who extend grace who still do so when uncomfortable.

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