I stood before a gathering of teens, trying to explain why I was late for class. I was quiet when I started, I had a peace as I began. They were gracious with me. They listened close.
Perhaps they had already heard why I wasn’t on time before I arrived…but they silently waited for the speech they knew was coming. Perhaps, not a speech but a hope-filled confession from a woman who longs to be a light to them. And I think they actually know that, too. They are my Tuesday People.
As I had walked into that 3rd floor room that morning, ascending flights of stairs and praying as I went, I was reminded that each moment we live is filtered first through His hand. Trials are a chance to see God at work in our midst. Interruptions in our day are a reminder to slow down. Valley moments surely leave us with mercy and grace trailing us.
And if really believe that, does it show…in real life?
A moment of grace waits with baited expectation, because love is the reason we extend favor to others. It’s why we count grace like a gift. It’s why we choose to look for it at all.
Actually, I had been early. We were the first car parked in the lot. And it felt good to be ahead of the day. Or so I thought…because as we unloaded the vehicle with our ration of a week’s worth of work for one day and carted it up 2 1/2 flights of stairs, I realized my teaching notebook was sitting at home by the door.
Our youngest daughter is in my class. She is the most like her father of our three kids. Usually mild mannered and discerning, she cuts to the chase in every conversation. She’s the one who always finds a way of escape for me… most of the time. She’s also the one that gives me permission to be imperfect, a lot of the time. She’s got an old soul in that young heart, even in our difficult days she is a blessing to me.
She already decided to give me permission to go get my binder before I calculated how much time I had. She assured me they would be ok and they’d play a Latin game to prepare for the lesson while they waited.
This #gracemoment was now a lens to look at an inconvenience as an opportunity instead. Sometimes we need the acknowledgement of others to permit us to wear those glasses of grace and to remember that God directs our steps.
A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs His steps and makes them sure. -Proverbs 16:9
The lack of sleep from the night before made me slow in the morning. I was giving in to the fear of the unknown a little more than I was comfortable admitting. When fear and worry push their way into your midst, it’s easy to forget what you plan and prepare for. Hard moments, valley dark happenings, and fiery trial instances threaten to undo the work grace has completed in us, if we let it.
But God always makes a way for us. Long ago lessons on that spirit of power and love and sound mind thinking started rolling in my head, confessions that peace is the promise and stillness is my active choice to make surfaced in memory and prayer.
He makes space for us in our trials to look for Him, to look for a way to praise and pray beyond the obstacle. If we look, He shows us the way to choose victory and love as our banner to wave and fly over every fear and inconvenience. He is always there speaking right to our hearts telling us that this is the right way to walk, surely mercy is always following close, and we are beset before and behind with the covering of His favor.
Surely grace abounds. Surely mercy covers. Surely love wins.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. – Psalm 23:6
Our oldest daughter was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy at the very young age of 6 months. Years of medicines and you-name-it-attempts to make her whole have sort of produced a control-freak prayer-warrior persona for me. God has done a big work in me from the beginning of her diagnosis till now, and a bigger work in her. But, So many prayers, so many tears for her, so many memories of her being sick makes it is hard for my momma heart to let her be an adult. While all we have been through has been the catalyst that brought me closer to God, my need to fix all things broken was fed by the ever increasing need to control the environment around her so she would be safe.
And that may be understandable, except there are many times when I have stepped right in front of God and made it very clear what I thought needed to happen instead of trusting her into the very capable hands of the Heavenly Father who has inscribed her very name on His palm. (Is. 49:16) The reality is that most of the time I was operating on a whole lot of fear and a little bit of trust. Trusting God takes time. It takes relationship. It takes faith.
And sometimes the only way we really come to know Him in a way that we can trust Him is in the fire of the trial and in the dark valley dying to all that is not meant for us.
The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to praise, honor, and glory when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7, (amp)
As we help our 21 year old have the freedom and the independence she longs for, we have been working on stepping back and letting her control parts of her life that she can. Living with a chronic illness sometimes creates a fear that we can control nothing in our lives, and it is overwhelming. We want to equip her with the confidence that she can do all things through Christ, to help her see what we already know, that she is more than capable to complete all He has made her to do.
However, this past week we learned a little more about trust and grace and faith, because when things happen beyond your control, trusting God is the only real choice we can make.
One evening we realized we weren’t sure if she took he meds. She simply couldn’t remember taking them, I didn’t remember seeing her take them. It wouldn’t have been an issue, normally, because she could just take the pills and life goes on. But this time, the pill box was empty and she was sure she did not take them.
The dilemma is that if she doesn’t take her meds, she will have a seizure. We know it. And sometimes her seizures don’t stop. Fear of that happening always attempts to remind us of what that was like. It has been a long time since that happened, but it is never something we forget. And if she takes too much medicine, she will become toxic.
There’s a whole lot of not good going on with both situations and a lot of heart palpitations on the parental end of the equation. In the end she was sure she didn’t take them. We had to trust both her, as we had been leading her to take control of her health and God as He was leading us into peace as she did.
Trusting God with my daughter, even when I am afraid, is placing her right in the secret place of grace. It is the very best place for her to be.
Sleep didn’t come easy , but thankfully, prayer did.
I asked Him for mercy and for protection and for healing in her body. I asked Him for the peace that passes all understanding to be the guard of all my thoughts and actions and words. I prayed for wisdom to know what to do and for the ability to hear her if she needed me.
It worked out fine. She was fine. Those control-freak emotions lasted a little less this time.
I know He loves her more than I ever could. I know His plans are to prosper her and not to harm her…but I am finding more and more that these midnight and mid-day prayer vigils are about changing me instead.
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time -waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me. – CS Lewis
The road-trip for the forgotten binder was about changing me. It was about finding the mountain that my faithless heart had been running around for 21 years. I didn’t forget that binder on purpose, but God took advantage of the moment, and my tender plea for grace in the midst of it, to speak so close to my heart that I felt the wind of His whisper move right through me.
We belong in the secret place of His heart. All. The. Time.
One thing I have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider and inquire in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter, in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock. -Psalm 27:4-5
Everything that happens may not always be a trial, but in everything that happens we can look for a way to glorify God through it.
I spent those 25 minutes driving back and forth giving my daughter and myself back to God and crawling into that secret place that grace carves out for each of us. I had a moment to talk to her doctor and be reassured that we didn’t need to worry. I was able to let my heart rest before I had to spill out all that I had prepared for my Tuesday people.
I am continually amazed at the way He meets us, the way He provides for us before we even utter a word. But He does…Faithfully.
And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28
I arrived as the kids finished their Latin game. I thanked them for being the amazing young people I knew they were. The peace in my heart accounted for the lack of stress as I shared my morning with them. And the brief respite, that #gracemoment of an inconvenience, allowed me to pour out faith right in front of them.
Our testimonies of how we face the obstacles are usually opportunities to look for grace, and the barriers may be a way we learn to trust the Lord even more.
How are you letting grace filter the way you see inconveniences this week?
Praying for you to be found hidden in the secret place, to collect grace as you go and for your faith to be strengthened in every trial and trust to grow deep with every obstacle.
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.