Only By Grace

Earlier this year, a friend of mine gave me a Giving Keys necklace with the word GRACE. I was going through some of the toughest days that I have ever had to face in my life. When she gave me the key, it reminded me that I am strong and that everything in life, even the stuff that seems bad at the time, serves a purpose.

A few months later, I met a young woman named Aila who beamed positivity and love. She became a close friend very quickly, we just clicked. We talked about our struggles in moving to Los Angeles (she is from the Middle East), finding our place in this city, and shared our memories from the homes left behind. About two weeks after we met, Aila smiled at me with tears in her eyes and gave me a big hug. I knew something was on her mind... She told me that her father had unexpectedly passed away a month ago and that she was unable to travel home for his funeral services. This caught me completely off-guard. How could she be so far from home, mourning the loss of her father, and be so happy, strong, and generous with the rest of the world??? Grace. Only by grace.

The next day, I showed up with my necklace in a little gift bag and told her why I felt this necklace now belongs to her. Her eyes lit up, she thanked me and humbly told me how much it meant that she could inspire another woman with her strength. A moment later, she put the necklace on as I stood in front of her. I haven't seen her take it off since.


-Kristen Nicole