Thursday, December 16, 2010

Giving Grace

As many of you know, I am a graphic designer. I design brochures, business cards, pamphlets, booklets, postcards and more. But the designing is just half of the process. I also have these items printed. I outsource my printing needs to different printers, some locally and some long distance. At Christmas time, I am extremely busy with corporate and personal cards. November and December are two of my busiest months of the year. Things get pretty hectic, mainly because everyone and their mama is getting cards printed, and they all need it finished by Christmas. So essentially, every one's deadline is the same. That creates madness.

Are you still with me? I promise this will eventually make sense. (I think)

Long story short, I did quite a few jobs for large companies in and around the Baton Rouge area. One company in particular decided to go with a mailing option (meaning the printing company prints and mails out the cards for them) Much to my horror, I received one of the cards and low and behold the message inside was upside down. I literally burst into tears. Here... this huge client had depended on me for getting a Christmas card mailed to all 300 of their clients, and I had screwed up. Well...not me technically, but ultimately my services to them had failed. I called the customer service at the printing company and was told there was a glitch in the system, causing their orders to be rotated 90 degrees...resulting in an upside down Christmas card.

I was livid. I know I am tiny...I know I am barely 5 ft tall... but let me tell you, I let that poor customer service rep have it. I was furious. Even Lexie, who was sitting on my lap, got up and went into the kitchen for fear of being thrown across the room!

How dare they give me a defective product. How dare they not check these things out. What the heck are they doing all day? Why weren't these mistakes caught BEFORE being mailed to 300 clients?

I got off the phone with the printing company and fearfully called my client, whose cards I had messed up. I was terrified. I had made mistakes in the past in business, but nothing like this.

I just knew I was gonna get it. I told my client what had happened and in tears, I waited for him to holler. I waited for him to scream. I waited for him to criticize me or go on about "How could you let this happen?"

You know what he said to me... He said, "Ashlee, take a deep breath. It's okay. I'm not worried. My clients will understand. Don't even worry about it." Much to my amazement he went on to show concern for if I was going to lose money on the deal.

Here he was, totally having just been told bad news for his business and clients, and he was worried about me and my welfare. I began to cry even more. He totally should have been angry or at least frustrated with me. But no, he was so gracious and kind in dealing with my mistake.

I was so shocked by his response. His graciousness was so astounding.

He will get his new cards delivered, and hopefully by next year we will both laugh at this crazy ordeal.

But in the meantime, he has reminded me of the power of grace. He displayed grace to me when I was undeserving. It is so much like our heavenly Father. He has time and time again given us abundant grace. He has every right to get angry, to zap us on the spot for our behaviours, but does He? No, instead He forgives, He loves and He encourages us. Then He goes above and beyond and blesses us.

I am so thankful for my client's display of grace, and for reminding me that I am so undeserving of God's grace. It also challenges me to begin to give more grace to others. What a true testimony of our commitment to Christ... if we can extend grace to others, even when they don't deserve it.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


  1. WOW! Girl, i would have been SOOO UPSET, too! And what an awesome man to be so kind & show such grace. He knew it wasn't your fault, i think. But he handled it so kindly like it was nothing. I try to be like that (but often fail!).

  2. What a wonderful and unexpected picture of grace :0)

  3. Your client is obviously one of those rare and special people - thankfully!