One of my favorite seminary professors often talked about what he called "the theology of the pit." Essentially, when we fall into the inevitable "pits" of life, when we invite God into that pit it becomes holy ground. My particular favorite reference to this comes from Psalm 40:1-2.
      He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
         out of the mud and mire;
         he set my feet on a rock
         and gave me a firm place to stand.
      3 He put a new song in my mouth,
         a hymn of praise to our God.
         Many will see and fear the LORD
         and put their trust in him.
It requires some intentionality in looking for grace while in a pit, but it is possible to identify grace and the presence of God amid the messiness of life. Of course, it is often easier in hindsight to look back and notice where God had been present.
After completing a series of scrapbooks on our son's life, I was struck by the abundant grace that had been present during the years when parenting had been particularly challenging. In particular, when I uncovered a photograph of a group of women (Heartspring) who had been prayer partners and encouragers during this time, I was struck with renewed gratitude for their role in my life. It made me think reflectively about other people, places, and events when had been blessings and the name them as GRACE. Whereas during the struggles I had spent most of my energy lamenting these challenges, the reality was that God had been present in amazing ways. The final touch: I name the grace on the little hearts on the "GraceLine."

"Heartspring" was the group's name and our theme for prayer.

Embossed art paper with colored pencil. Pretty doodling when thinking.

Stenciling for no particular reason-more time to reflect & ID grace.