The greatest abuse of grace happened on Golgotha. Grace, the Man, hung there, battered and bleeding out. The Church and The State willed it to be so.

“Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Still the most revolutionary words spoken. A feeble revolution, by our standards.

“The meek shall inherit the earth.” Probably not true, but it should be.

Grace’s life was dominated by varying levels of fear and guilt.

Early on, Grace doubted whether she was really saved. When she played with her stuffed animals, she would have them say the Sinner’s Prayer, and she would “count” the prayer for herself too, hoping it would work as insurance in case the first time she had prayed it for herself hadn’t been legitimate.

When she was 9 years old, Grace rededicated her life to Jesus, but she told her mother she couldn’t be sure if her motivation was pure, or simply inspired by fear.

At youth group, the pastor said you could go directly to God in prayer to repent when you felt you had sinned. Grace ended up whispering little prayers of repentance under her breath dozens and dozens of times a day. Every once in a while, a classmate would catch her doing it, and Grace would lie about what she was saying. The lie would induce another repetitive session of requests for divine forgiveness.

On Grace’s 16th birthday, she went to a public park, stood on a bench, and preached the Gospel to five pigeons and three old men. None of them got saved.

In college, Grace led her first convert to Jesus. She felt absolutely empty and unfulfilled. Her convert did too.

Grace stopped being a Christian sometime in 2016 or 2017. It was a slow, personal loss.

Her life was filled with proof that Jesus was not, in fact, fulfilling his promised graces, at least not with the level of regularity one might expect from someone who was the Son of God.

Today, Grace lives in a quiet suburb outside of Boise, Idaho. She sells insurance and hosts a weekly book club.

Sometimes, she misses the fantasy of grace. Sometimes, she reaches it.