Choosing Grace

I'm reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional book. The subtitle says reflections on finding everyday graces. 

His secret purpose framed from the very beginning [is] to bring us to our full glory
— 1 Corinthians 2:7 NEB

She talks about her sister, who died at a very young age. We often ask, how can God allow these terrible things to happen when he is a good God. Why do parents have to bury their children, why marriages implode, and dreams crushed. Where is grace when cancer gnaws and loneliness aches?

But from the beginning, that moment in the garden, God had a different purpose for return us to our full glory. I love when she says when we open the bible, His plans are there...right before our very eyes. "His love letter silences any doubts. He means to rename us." Why would he do that for us? We are unworthy!

He means to heal our soul holes.
— Ann Voskamp

Grace means "favor," from the Latin gratia. A free and ready favor. It's one thing to accept the grace offered at the cross but another to choose to live and accept His grace in our daily living. It's a choice.

It's only a few weeks into the new year and "grace" is a recurring theme. I was touched by this devotional.

It's hard to see that Doug's death could be Your plan for our lives. It makes no sense that a wife has to lose her husband and the hopes and dreams they had are shattered. Why parents have to pray to You to take their child because they can't stand to watch him suffer in excruciating pain. Why a sister, who loved her baby brother so much, has to become an only child. Why one of your children had to suffer that much. Then I realize how much your suffered for us...for me. Unworthy!


And yet you offer GRACE! People were touched by Doug's life and because of his testimony, lives were brought into relationship with you. In Doug's words, "it's all worth it." He isn't suffering anymore. He is healed. He lives with you! Isn't that what we all want?

Thank you that even in the hard days, you have it under control. Help me to have the faith and to accept the GRACE you want me to accept.


Your Will, O God

In the devotional book Revealing Jesus by Darlene Zschech, today's devotional is entitled Your Will Be Done.  God doesn't force his will on us. He offers his unconditional love, but it's our choice to accept or reject it.

In the humanness of Jesus, he asked God if the cup that contained all sin, all evil and all the pain of mankind could be avoided. He didn't wait for a response. He knew his mission. He simply restated, "your will be done." Jesus showed us how to completely trust. He also teaches us the most important prayer we can utter: Your will, O God.

photo credit: lauradake

photo credit: lauradake

I don't want to be selfish. Watching my brother fight for every day, every moment, every breath is so difficult to watch. Even though it's difficult I would not want to be anywhere else.

I watch this man whose funny loving spirit is inside of him but is masked by so much pain. I am afraid of the void he will leave behind. For a wife. A parent. A sibling. But I'm comforted to know that he loves Jesus! He prays constantly to God Our Father. Even in the pain and suffering. There is no doubt that he will see Jesus and look into his Glory. 

So through tears, a broken heart, I need to pray like Jesus prayed. Your Will, O God! 

Peace & Calm

Today I sit next to you at home. Laying in a hospital bed. Weak. So frail. Watching you sleep. Breathing. Your request is "peace & calm" for you and for us. I need peace. That's the new word to claim.

Yesterday's devotion from Darlene Zschech, Revealing Jesus was entitled Not Our Home.  The words are raw to my heart. She says, "as Christians, we receive the gift of salvation that is for today but which places in us the promise of heaven and eternal life. That's why we aren't to get too comfortable here. This is not our final home. Our highest aspirations of life are fully realized in heaven."

It is so hard to see you in pain but me being human and selfish doesn't want to let you go. You told me yesterday to not be angry but to have peace. We talked about you seeing Jesus and that you will be perfect.

I love you Doug! More than you will ever know! Words cannot express how much I will miss you that day God is ready for you to come home.

I pray for peace too.



Amazing Grace


I was reading my devotions yesterday from Darlene Zschech's devotional book, Revealing Jesus. It was titled Amazing Grace.

The fourth stanza says:

 The Lord has promised good to me.

His word my hope secures.

He will my shield and portion be,

as long as life endures.

I haven't seen these words before so I looked for The Salvation Army songbook (our hymnal.) I was right. A different verse was published. I was confused. Are these Darlene's words? She is a song writer after all. My next step, Google!

I discovered those are the words of the fourth stanza written by John Newton. In fact, there are six verses. The stanza that is familiar to us, when we've been there ten thousand years...was written by an anonymous author and is often inserted as the fourth verse.

Confirmation. Words I needed to hear. God's promises. His word my secure hope!