BY JOYCE PELLETIER
‘Grace in Christian theology is the spontaneous, unmerited gift of the divine favor in the salvation of sinners, and the divine influence operating in individuals for their regeneration. It also alludes to elegance and courtesy.’
It also means that when things get tough, you don’t have to give into the difficulties and challenges of facing a tough situation. Surrendering your life to Jesus gives us the gift of grace to allow God to be there to help us through all things. That includes the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
His Word tells us in 2 Cor 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
When we admit our shortcomings, it makes it real, yet it doesn’t have to knock us down. God promises us in Eph 2:8-9, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
Many years ago, I had to face some challenges I never thought I could do. Our daughter was the first grandchild in the family. She doted on her, as well as the other two grandkids. When Jackie was planning her wedding, we noticed something different about Mom. Her normal mode when we were together was to go to extremes to celebrate whatever was going on. Her granddaughter’s wedding was so different. It wasn’t “Mom.” They came to Vermont to be with us, and they enjoyed the festivities that go with a wedding.
At the time of the wedding, I was so involved in helping our daughter with the preparations, I was too occupied and distracted, I just pushed it aside. I knew something was different, yet in my distractions, I was able to just push it aside, besides I could get it figured out after festivities.
A few months later, I received word from my brother that they took Mom to the doctors so they could run some tests. They discovered she had Alzheimer’s Disease. I didn’t know much about the disease, but I did what I could to get my parents to move to Vermont. They agreed. It was four years of rebuilding our family. Coming from a dysfunctional home, those years, God led us through a lot of healing and they were the best years ever.
In 1997, we had to place Mom in a nursing home, as the care that was needed was causing my Dad more issues with his health. The following February, my Dad was also placed in the same nursing home because of his failing heart.
These few years were filled with pain for me. Visiting them was quite difficult. Mom couldn’t hold a conversation, Dad fell into depression because of his health. Some days when I finished my visits with them, I’d get in my truck and sit there and cry, sometimes I’d scream at God before I could drive home. The days when Mom didn’t know me were the most difficult.
During that time, my brother came for a visit from South Carolina. We’d been estranged for over 40 years. During that weekend, we were completely reconciled. Less than a month later, David passed away in his sleep. Less than 2 months later, my Dad passed away. Mom hung on for three more years.
It’s now many years later, and God taught me so much about myself and his relationship with me. I struggled with my losses, but I knew all three of them were with God in heaven. They believed in Jesus and were not afraid to die.
The dependance I put on God grew, and from those years of loss, was life-changing for me. In Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."
John 1:16 says, “And from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”
God’s Grace, (the Holy Spirit) is the promise from God given to us. In Acts 2, you will see that His Ascension back to Heaven didn’t mean he was abandoning us. He left us a gift of the Holy Spirit to be in all the hearts of believers. As the song says, “Only by grace can we enter, Only by grace can we stand, Not by our human intensions, but by the blood of the Lamb.”
This year of the ‘tent caterpillars’ defoliating our trees, yet a few weeks after they died off, the leaves are returning. That is an Act of God’s creation to not fret. We just need to move forward.
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