Sufficient Grace

My journey through life in God's grace.

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Summertime

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“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”  Psalm 90:12

Summertime and the livin’ is easy.  Porgy and Bess

There’s something about summer. Life is slower, maybe because of the Iowa heat and humidity. Kids love being out of school. Families are traveling for vacations. Lightning bugs wink in the dark night.

Growing up outside of Waverly, summer meant transforming the corn crib into our special hideaway so my sister and I and the neighbor kids could play.  My Aunt Nea lived in town close to the A&W, which isn’t there anymore.   We would visit her and walk to get an ice cream cone.  Then the big favorite was to go see the fountain on the Wartburg campus with the lights that would change from green to red to purple to blue.  I was at a conference at Wartburg a few weeks ago, and I’m happy to say the fountain is still there, albeit remodeled with newer lights.

Once in a while, summer would turn dark with a tragedy.  One year the brother of a classmate of mine was hit by a car and killed while he was crossing a busy street on his bicycle.

Another dark summer night, a few high school guys went to Cedar Falls and got into a fight. One of them was pummeled to the point of death. His friend drove him back to the Waverly hospital where he was pronounced dead.

There were a few times when the serene Cedar River would claim a life and then the water would churn with search boats and divers.

All of these events created a heaviness incongruent with the ease of summer.

Last week, our hometown of Cedar Falls experienced this tragic darkness in a horrible accident that claimed the life of a mom on a walk with her family.  I wasn’t a close friend of Kris Martinson, but I know the family.  She and I had played golf a few times, and we were always friendly enough to say hello and ask how one anothers’ families were doing.

In all of these instances, our natural human instinct is to ask “Why?”

But there is no answer to why.

Even though the circumstances were different, I know the sorrow and pain of death. And from that experience I can say, the only way to make it through each day, each hour is to lean on God.

That may sound trite and religious but, trust me, it’s the only way I have gotten out of bed and continued living since October 2016.

God is still on His throne.  He is still sovereign.

Yet the pain and grief we feel is real.  We can’t minimize those emotions or rush through them because life will never be the same. Our hearts and souls absorb the deep cuts and scabs form and scars remain forever.

Jesus wept for His friends Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus died.  He felt their sorrow. He showed compassion.

Sometimes I wonder if part of the reason Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus was because He knew Lazarus was coming back to this life from his heavenly home.

This world and our life here are not our home or our destiny.  Our lives on earth, no matter how many years we have, are just a vapor.

Our society tries to deceive us into thinking this life is the best it will ever get.  Satan tells us to live for today because it’s all we’ve got.  Or worse, the lie that we are immortal and we’ll never die.

But we will all die.  None of us are getting out of here alive.

So, while we grieve and pray for families whose lives are touched by tragedy, I take great comfort in knowing this life is short.  I know that Tom is at home in eternity with Jesus.  I know that I will be there one day with him.

I pray that God will help me always to number my days, to not waste one of them that He gives me.  To cherish time with family and friends and to share the Good News of His love so that everyone I encounter can be assured of life in eternity after this one where there will be no more sickness, no more dying and no more sorrow.

Heavenly Father—teach me always to number my days here on this earth.  Always keep me mindful that this life is not the real life You have for me.  Give me wisdom, Lord, to live a life that brings others to You and brings You glory. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

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Long Time Coming…

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“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”              Ecclesiastes 3:1

This blog has been a long time in the making.  God has been tugging on my heart—throughout the last nineteen months since He took my husband home to heaven, the previous four and a half years of a cancer journey we never would have expected, throughout our marriage, through caring for my elderly parents, in my single life and even my younger years.  It’s amazing when we look back and see God’s grace and sovereignty played out when we don’t recognize His presence at the time.

As I reflect on the promptings the Holy Spirit has put within me, I recall random comments from friends and acquaintances about my writings and how they appreciate my honesty and writing from my heart.  A dear brother in Christ also shared wise advice for when we receive callings from God which applies aptly to my writing.  “God never calls someone before He is ready to use them. If you are called ‘Abraham’, best to say yes!”  

Then there is the parable Jesus told of the talents given out to servants.  The two wise servants used their talents and multiplied their return so that the Master was pleased when he returned.  The foolish servant buried his talent because he knew the Master was a harsh taskmaster. His reward was to be cast out into darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Yikes!  That’s pretty convincing.

My friend Lynn recently shared with me an image that she uses in her discipling of young women and men.  She draws a small dot on a piece of paper followed by a line as long as the paper is wide.  Above the line she writes “heaven” and below “hell”.   The dot represents our life here on earth.  It is just a small speck in light of eternity.  However, it’s in that speck that we decide where we will spend eternity—in heaven or in hell.  And the only thing we can take with us after this life is the people God allows us to lead to Him.

Wow.  I’m so awed that God gives each of us this enormous responsibility and privilege.  And not only does He give it to us, like everything He asks of us, He gives us the power and tools to accomplish it!

Looking back at the past eight years or so, I also see God has been working in my heart helping me to understand more and more that this life is not mine.  Nothing I have is mine, but a “talent” on loan from Him.  My reward is life after this life, forever, with Him and my beloved husband in heaven.  My life here is about bringing others to Jesus and giving Him glory.

So why start this blog now?  Two reasons—the promise and the command.

Throughout our journey and at the end of his life here on earth, I promised Tom that I would share our story.  It’s time for that promise to begin to be fulfilled.

And the command is from Jesus.  Before He left this earth Jesus said to His followers “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”   Mark 16:15

In this world, so many people are hurting and walking in darkness without really knowing Jesus.  I can’t reach everyone, but like the little girl walking on the beach throwing starfish back after a storm, I can make a difference to that one!

But, really, it’s not about me.  It’s not about us.  It’s all about God and His great love and grace that is more than sufficient for our every moment here on this earth.

I invite you to share this blog with your friends.  My goal is to write at least one post every week.  You can sign up for notifications when a new entry is posted.

I’m off to the Holy Land next week (June 11) and will be posting about my travels in the land where Jesus walked!

Thank you for your interest and your support.  God bless you all!

Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace and mercy and patience with us. Thank you for the talents You have loaned us. Help each one of us be obedient to use those talents in every area of our life to bring glory to You.  In Jesus name, Amen.

holiday lake july sunset 1 (2)