top of page
Chapter 1

The Reason

Why radical grace?

Red juice splattered the room where I stood, frustrated, next to my infant son in his crib as he cried, profusely. I had just hit the wall, physically when I hurled his bottle at it, but also emotionally and mentally.

I was 24 years old, depressed, stressed, and at the peak of my agoraphobia (fear of public places). My marriage was hanging on by a thread, my husband, Phil, was a full-time engineering student at college by day and worked full-time at a hospital during the graveyard shift, and there I was, in the middle of the night, with a baby boy that wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t stop crying. I had spent the last twenty years keeping it together, hiding my shame, excelling in everything so I could cover up how awful I felt about myself. That dreadful night was when it all reached my breaking point.

I was an exhausted new mom without the faintest idea of how to care for another human being. I had gone into my son’s room several times to see if I could convince him to go to sleep to no avail. I picked up his bottle of juice…okay, so you seasoned moms are thinking, why juice? No wonder he wasn’t sleeping. Yeah, I could have used your sage advice back then.

Anyway, I took that bottle and pitched it at the wall as if I was Orel Hershiser on the mound at Dodger Stadium. My voice cracked as I screamed in despair. The bottle broke and juice went flying everywhere. Red dots spotted the walls like it had the chicken pox, and tears poured down my face as I realized that I couldn’t do this anymore. I was at the end of my rope.

As I fell to the floor, broken and sobbing, crippling thoughts filled my mind. I don’t want to be this kind of mommy. Am I capable of abusing my child? Am I going to allow the effects of my childhood abuse to be inherited by my own children? I am tired of trying. I can’t do it anymore.


These thoughts scared me to my core. I knew something had to change. I also knew that I couldn’t fix myself on my own. If God would speak to me, I would listen.

We all have our unique story. You may have a pivotal point in yours, like this juice fit I had, that woke you up to the knowledge that something had to drastically change. Maybe it was a devastating medical diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or hitting rock bottom somehow. Maybe that pivot point is taking place right now as you find yourself feeling lifeless or thirsting for an elusive freedom that you thought you would obtain by receiving Christ, yet it remains out of reach.

I found that freedom, and I want to share it with you. It took time, but I did finally discover the pure and revolutionary grace of God that extended that freedom to me and healed my soul.

I am free from that old self, free from trying to do the impossible of making myself right, and free from thinking I am unworthy of anything good. I am free in God’s radical grace, and you can be too.




I want you to understand something vital. Knowing grace to the extent that I have discovered hasn’t made everything in my life perfect. There are two factors that still affect me: the world, which includes the devil, and my flesh that is influenced by it. I make mistakes. I’m guilty sometimes. I still have bad days, get angry, deal with physical and emotional pain. The difference, though, between me now and me thirty years ago is that I recognize that those reactions are the old me and I don’t need to beat myself up over my mistakes. I know that while I still have my flesh hanging around, more importantly, I have been made new, holy, and righteous by Jesus’ blood. I’m born again. I’m forgiven, clean, and whole. That is the new me and my true identity.

So, I have become authentically Laurel. I accept who I am. I desire to live a life of love, forgiveness, and grace, but I also accept the fact that I mess up sometimes. I’m just going to be the best me, by the Spirit of God, and when my flesh gets out of control and messes up, I apologize, do what I can to rectify the damage, and I move on. I don’t mean to sound flippant; I am in no way minimizing my sin. I understand the magnitude of my actions and how they affect others. Simply, I am saying that I understand I have a flesh. Like Paul the apostle writes about in the Book of Romans, sometimes I do not do what I want to do. It is not me that does it, but the sin in me. I have come to accept my existence, for now, as a two-part person, consisting of my flesh and my spirit. Thankfully, because I understand God’s radical grace, I land in the love camp more often and more quickly than I used to. I also have a peace and joy that are an unmovable foundation in my life. 

And to be honest, I look at others authentically too, recognizing they too have two natures if they are in Christ. I realize you have a flesh, you make mistakes, but at the same time you are a child of God and are renewed in your mind and spirit. I accept you; warts, mistakes, and all. I also see the beauty of who you are in your spirit because that is your new identity. This has been a big revelation for me. And it might be for you too.

Through this process of learning about God’s radical grace, Phil and I have learned that most people suffer from some form of self-doubt. I’m sure we all expect that from people who have had trauma or have struggled with unrighteousness, whether it be self-inflicted or inflicted by others. But we are not alone. People raised in a great family by parents who love them and even have grown up in the church also deal with the consequences of living in a world that reminds them they are not perfect.

The typical answer to this issue in our Christian culture is to work on our sin, try to become a better person, and do good things to help counter the bad stuff. However, through our years in ministry, we have found that answer isn’t really solving anyone’s problems.

I will share a story with you as an example of what I am talking about. There was always a huge turn-out when one of the local churches would bring in an evangelist to the little town in New Mexico in which we lived and ministered. Many people in the community would gather at the convention center to hear their message.

Each year something struck Phil and I as odd. At the end of the speech the speaker would offer an altar call. They would ask people to come forward if they wanted to receive Jesus as their Savior. It was a beautiful thing to watch people make a public dedication to Jesus. However, the odd thing was that people would go forward who had already given their lives to the Lord and had been attending church for years.

Why would these believers feel the need to accept their Savior again? Perhaps they didn’t feel like they were saved, and they wanted to make sure they were. But why would they doubt their salvation? Because they still sinned, and they had been told that their sin was separating them from God and was an indicator that they weren’t doing enough to be righteous or holy. They weren’t living up to the expected moral standard. I know those feelings. I lived with them for many years.

It is a common experience, and it is time to stop this terrible cycle that is pushing people either into a life of shame and doubt or pushing them away from the church entirely. This tragic situation is caused by the widespread misinterpretation of the gospel by our faith leaders. This book represents a break from that. My intent is to redefine grace as radical and to free you into your new life.

What about that abundant life Jesus promised? What if you could have a life that is rich with love, full of the Spirit of God, and marked by joy and peace? What if you could be authentically you? What if you could let go of all the anger, negative self-talk, and doubt that plagues you? What if God really did put all your pieces back together, heal you of your past, and show you that you have a blessed future? What if you felt free? What if you truly felt alive again?

He can do this. He did it for me. His grace is radical, and that is what has inspired me to write this book.




What is so different about the Gospel message presented in this book than the one you can hear any Sunday morning?

This book is based both on pure Biblical theology and my story. Every scripture that I mention, or paraphrase, is listed by chapter in the back of this book. Take some time to review them. My desire is for you to see my transformation as we explore the Biblical concepts that facilitated that transformation. Radical grace is the thread that ties everything together.

We will travel back to the early days when Jesus and the writers of the New Testament were teaching people about the good news of Jesus’ coming. And as we explore each building block of the Gospel, you will see Christ’s revolutionary love for you, what He has done so He could spend forever with you, and we will rediscover the lost and forgotten promises of God’s Word. We will carefully step through each topic based in scripture and I will give some practical examples so you can understand and apply what I present to you.

I would imagine that most protestant theologians agree that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved. I believe the Bible teaches that grace is not only for our ultimate salvation and trip into eternity, but also for today. God’s grace is given to us every day and we are to share that same grace with others. Grabbing ahold of grace to the extreme changed me and can change you too.

This book has some answers you might be looking for, but it’s not a “how-to” book, it’s a “who-to” book. Let’s take a fresh look at Jesus and His mission and unlock your freedom as we thoroughly explore God’s radical grace.

In preparation for our adventure together, though, I would ask you to leave your baggage behind; especially the baggage of burdensome or mistaken Biblical teachings that weighs you down. Approach this book with an open mind. I will teach you a concept of grace that probably challenges many of your long-held conventions. That is the nature of being “radical.”

Go ahead, grab a snack and a cup of coffee, and let’s get going on this life-changing journey to discovering God’s radical grace.

Butterfly glyph.png
Butterfly glyph.png
bottom of page