As, I sit here and ponder my next few words, the question that plagues my mind is this: “Where would I be without God’s grace?” How would I have been able to survive the past few years if not for God’s leading and His ability to pardon and protect?
I have a bad habit. I mean a really bad habit. It’s the confession of “I can’t”. I am guilty with concocting any reason why I cannot do the hard things instead of BOLDLY trusting God.
Throughout this book study of ‘Make It Happen’, God has been daring me to launch out. Each chapter is a call to action, I find myself wanting to make excuses instead of making a plan, and wanting to interject with ‘but’ even though I can hear the nudging in my heart saying, “But What?”
I am one of those people who has purchased all the tools I think is needed to get the job done, but since I am such a critic of myself, I paralyze myself into non-action and do nothing. This is where the words of GRACE seem to soothe my anxious soul and leave me without excuse. God had to remind me of His grace in one of the hardest seasons of my life.
It has been close to two and a half years ago that Wesley and I made the decision to move back to Atlanta to plant Tri-Cities Church on the South side of the city. Although viewed as altruistic in some sense, it left me lost and dissatisfied. I left my “dream” job at the nation’s top university (Go Tigers!) where I helped shape the world’s future leaders. I left to return to a common place. A place where I have been many times before… a place all too familiar… a place where I have lost and struggled… a place where I truly did not want to invest my blood, sweat, and tears. A place where I wanted to forget– I felt stuck. Yes! I am a Pastor’s wife and I felt stuck.
I had attained and gained so much in those last few years to squander it on a “wasteland”. I cheered my husband on with my words, yet silently protested in my heart. I believed GOD had called us back so I initiated our return, but saw no purpose to me being back here. Why would GOD drag me back here?
January 1st, 2013, things became acerbic in my home. My husband looked me in the face and sternly pronounced my fate. He said, “Whether you realize it or not, I believe that God brought us back here so you can figure out who you truly are. You lost yourself along the way and what I see is only a shell of the woman I married. You need to do the work to figure out who are and you need to accept it. This season is for you”. For the next months we argued, fought, screamed, and forgave each other. Our frustrations forced us to the couch of our marriage counselor and the mercy-seat of our Heavenly Father. It was HARD!
I soon realized that the caustic seeds that had been implanted in my mind and heart began to be unearthed. The multitude of layers was being stripped away piece by piece uncovering raw wounds that were never healed, only repressed. I felt naked. I felt guilt and shame. Some of my actions repulsed me that they left me nauseated at times. I had to confess… I had to admit that I had adopted the titles branded upon me not knowing that it meant detriment to my soul. I had to admit that I was caving under the weighty expectations of others and myself to perform even when I had no idea what I was doing. I had traded God’s pronouncement about me for the flighty compliments of others. I felt naked… exposed to the very core of my being with no place to hide. I had to deal with me. I had to allow the healing presence of God’s Spirit to renew every sinew of my being. I had to surrender! Praise God that He does not despise brokenness.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
Even in the midst of brokenness, God had a plan for me. He dared me to leap- to believe that He could accomplish more than I could in my own strength. God’s gift of grace could make the impossible possible. It would repair my marriage and reconcile us. It would restore visions and dreams.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
God’s grace did not simply save me from myself and my sin, but grace saved me for even greater purpose. Making room for God’s grace prepares us something even greater. My sin and fears in the past had seemed to blind, cripple, and shut me up, but the grace of God brings vision so to walk in the places that I have never expected and boldness to declare things that I could not see with my physical eyes, as if they already exist.
Making room for grace means that I ready myself for the work I was created to do. The work we did before was good, but Jesus promised that we would do even greater things. When we allow God to lead us the ordinary becomes extraordinary. Why? Lara highlights, ‘We aren’t perfect, but we know our purpose.’
Grace pardons the sins of the past while making room for the promises of the future. It gives us the spiritual ability to do right and because God’s plan is never linear, it covers us in the midst of our missteps.
In the next year there are a few things that I desire to see God do in my life. At times I fear to even speak them but God’s grace has made provision for me. Nothing is too hard for our God.
In this season: I choose to have the faith of Abraham. I know where God has called me from and I have only few details of where he has called me to, yet I will trust Him. I will seek each opportunity to remember him at each destination in this journey and I will believe Him for what I deem to be impossible at the moment. Just like Abraham and Sarah – I long for the promise of a child. So I will continue to prepare myself and do what needs to be done so God can do what He does best… the impossible. Until then there is much work for us to do, may He give us the grace and courage to live on purpose in the midst of fear and disappointment. Let’s continue to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
When GOD has placed a desire in your heart, acknowledge it. Do what is required of you & trust GOD with the rest. His grace is sufficient!
What has God’s grace saved you from? What purpose has God’s grace saved you for?
What leap of faith are you considering now? Write it out in bold letters in your Study Journal or a notebook and date it. Be specific. And it wouldn’t be a leap of faith if it wasn’t a little ( or a lot) scary to write it out. You can do this!
A little music for the journey…
What a beautiful gift it is to know that His grace is enough, it is sufficient and it requires nothing on our part but placing our trust in Him! This song is an oldie but goodie and perfect for those days that you need this reminder.
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