The Thread of Grace
By Kristi Stoughton
Trying to make meaningful connections between the generations can be quite a task. At by design ministries, it’s the concern we hear most often about from you, our readership. We hear you. And although we don’t have all the answers, we felt that the first step would be to talk about it. That’s why we produced the blog series “Building Bridges Across the Generational Divide.”
In this series we’ve heard from women from different walks of life, who have offered varying perspectives and have highlighted many of the issues surrounding the challenges we face. We hope that this series has given you some insights and some encouragement, and that it has prompted you to think more deeply about this important issue.
Like you, I’ve been reading through the posts, listening to these insightful women share their experiences. And although on the surface these posts may appear to have little in common, there’s a common thread I found in every single one: GRACE.
Grace as we get rid of ingrained stereotypes to see people as God sees them. (Valuing Millennials)
Grace as we allow our intergenerational relationships to be flexible, a two-way street that blesses both. (The God Who Sees Me)
Grace as we open our eyes and our hearts to those who might feel marginalized in our church bodies. (Singleness)
Grace as we allow the vulnerability of having our church family become intimate and multigenerational. (Beloved Family)
Grace as we throw away our preconceptions for the sake of seeing the imprint of God in others. (Releasing Our Preconceptions)
Grace as we allow our intergenerational relationships to develop differently than what we’re used to. (Connecting Across the Generations)
When it comes down to it, building bridges across the generational divide is all about offering grace. About not waiting for the other to act. About releasing our expectations and preconceptions. If we wait for those from another generation to be the first to reach out or the first to bend to our way of thinking, we may be waiting for a long time. We need to be the first to show grace where there is a different perspective, and to be the first to love unconditionally.
We can only do these things with the love, grace, and power of God. He is the original bridge-builder, bridging the gap between broken humanity and the God who loves them. And now He calls us, as emulators of God, to bridge gaps and take intentional steps to reach others.
Ponder: Where is God calling me to offer grace for the sake of relationship? Is there a particular person God wants me to reach out to?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that I sometimes get stuck in my own way of thinking. Please break me out of my comfort zone! Give me Your perspective on people and enable me to reach out with grace. I release my preconceptions and my expectations for the sake of Your Kingdom. Use me as You will, dear Lord.
Kristi Stoughton, Director of WeConnect, is a native of New Hampshire, where she currently resides with her husband and their two sons. As a speaker for women’s events, Kristi has a passion for women to know God’s love deeply. She loves to share about the joyful, exciting, heartbreaking, beautiful, victorious, rollicking adventure that is Life in Christ! Kristi hasn’t yet met a craft that she doesn’t like, and thanks her husband for his kind indulgence as she gleefully stockpiles crafting supplies she “might need some day.” Kristi loves playing her guitar and singing on her church’s worship team as well as serving with her musical “sister chicks” as the worship team for women’s retreats and other events. You can visit her online at www.krististoughton.com.
If this blog series encouraged you or challenged you, we would love to hear from you. Or if you or your church are already making successful intergenerational connections, please tell us about it so we can spread the word. Let’s continue the conversation!