Second Chances

by Christine Stahl

When 6-years old, my son asked from the backseat, “Hey, Dad. Do you know the difference between mercy & grace?” Without waiting for any parental input, he continued. “Mercy is when you get a second chance. But grace. Grace is unending second chances”. And after a slight pause & quiet sigh, “I sure wish my mom would show me more grace…”

I few weeks later I was speaking with our adopted daughter’s birthmom. Nicole struggles to find value in herself or believe there is forgiveness available for the choices she’s made. During our phone conversations she often asks about Alexander and as we were speaking, God nudged me to share the conversation about grace and mercy. I hesitantly relayed his words to Nicole, hoping I did not sound “too preachy” but knowing she viewed herself as undeserving of second chances, especially when those second chances involved God. The conversation ended without any continued discussion of the topic and I wondered if I had spoken unwisely.

But a few days later, I spoke with a mutual friend who told me Nicole had shared the mercy/grace story & asked sincere, seeking questions about “what exactly is this grace?” And during our next phone call, Nicole said she’d told many of her friends about this grace & these unending second chances. Fast forward several weeks. As she returned to a really hard place after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl whom she gifted to our family, she told me, “I have been talking to God more. And am trying to believe He might hear me. That He might give me a second chance, or even, like you said that one time, unending chances.”

I had prayed over & thought for hours upon hours about how to share the Gospel with Nicole. Crafting in my mind the perfect words. Hoping to find a way to reach her heart. And the words God used came from my son, who prayed last night, “Thank you, God, that I have a baby sister. And thank you for Nicole, too.” I am convinced, more than ever, that God uses our children to grow us into the people He wants us to be.