Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Changed by Grace

This whole situation is putting a new level of compassion and grace into our lives. There is so much hurt and difficult circumstances going on in the lives of people all around us. Many times we are completely unaware. I've made it to the store a couple of times in this past month. As I walk up and down aisles passing by people, I've thought to myself....."They have no idea what I am dealing with right now. No idea."  And well, the opposite is true as well. I have no idea what is going on in their lives either. They may be climbing a steeper mountain than I. They may be in a darker valley. 

The unattentive cashier may have buried a beloved grandparent a couple of days ago. The rude driver on the road may have lost his job that same day. The crazy young child in the restaurant could have a parent diagnosed with terminal cancer and his home life could be a little less than structured these days. 

We. just. don't. know. 

The last thing they need is for me to respond to them rudely or in an offended manner. We do live in a rude world. It's incredibly "me" centered. People are often looking for something to be upset about or to complain about. 

But it doesn't have to be that way. Lately I've tried really hard not to get annoyed by trivial Facebook statuses complaining about the woes of life that someone has and it relating to the weather, a sports team loss, or a trivial annoyance. I've made those same statuses in the past also. 

But when going through something difficult, you see life wearing a different set of glasses. And hopefully, when difficult times pass, you are still able to be sensitive to those around you and their possible situations and also remember to not let the little things become big things. 

I used to say that my dream job would be to write the text for greeting cards (or naming paint colors - that would be so great! Can you even imagine?!). We've been reading each of the cards that has come to us, many times more than once. Not only are we very touched by what many of you take a moment to express from your pen, but we've also been touched by what some of the cards themselves communicate to our situation. Many speak of God and of our faith in Him - as that is what we have found to be central to our existence and purpose. Maybe they are also fitting for others that are going through something difficult. 

Here's a few of my favorites:

Knowing That He Knows You
He knows you personally and will not confuse you 
or your needs with another sheep in his flock.
He knows where you are and will guide you;
He knows your fears and will keep you safe;
He knows your hunger and He will feed you;
He knows your weariness and will give you rest;
He knows your valleys and will bring you through;
He knows your enemy and will defend you;
He knows your dwelling place and will safely bring you home.
(Roy Lessin)
He speaks these words to you, "My child, I love you, you are mine!"

No ocean can hold it back.
No river can overtake it.
No whirlwind can go faster.
No army can defeat it.
No law can stop it.
No distance can slow it.
No disease can cripple it.
No force on earth is more powerful 
or effective than the power of prayer. 

I'm praying for you today...
asking God to come into the middle of your circumstances, 
the middle of your road, the middle of your life,
and do what only He can do - 
wrap His arms around your heart,
fill you up with love from deep inside,
and give you peace that passes understanding.
He's got good plans for you and He's going to see you through.
So know you're loved...
and keep holding onto the One who will never let you go. 

Difficult things can cause us to ask, "Why did this happen?"
But if we're trusting in Christ we never need to ask,
"How could He let this happen?"
God may never reveal all His reasons to us,
but He has revealed His character to us.
His character assures us that 
He never makes mistakes,
is never uncaring,
and that He never separates Himself from our need.
(Roy Lessin)
The need you face is great, 
but the grace that is yours in Christ is greater.
May your heart and your faith stay fixed upon Him
as you go through this difficulty.
Be assured that He is holding your hand and will never let you go.
You have a DEFENDER
who knows your name,
who fights on your behalf,
who protects your heart.
He surrounds you with love,
fortifies you with favor,
keeps you in His care.
The battles rage,
and yes, in this fallen world,
sometimes we are wounded.
But with Him on our side 
we can be sure we will never be defeated. 
You are not alone as you face this battle - 
many prayers and much love are with you.