Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
We went to dinner with another family last night. Our daughter is visiting from New Hampshire and their children are her godchildren. We have adopted the role of god-grandparents in her absence. (Not sure if there is such a role but nevertheless we embrace the role wholeheartedly). As we sat talking over pizza, burgers, wings and other horrible food choices, I watched my daughter share details of her new life up North. How much she and her husband love what they are doing? How the people there love them? The many new adventures that they have embarked on and new places they have seen. It occurred to me in that moment that it is well… with my soul… with her soul… God is pleased. I felt a peace in this new move that I haven’t felt before. God is in the midst of all of it working it all out for His Glory and our blessing. I miss my daughter and even her husband, our newest son. I hate that in just a few short days she will head back. But something has changed in these moments together as I realize with vivid clarity – it works. It is all working together.
I love Romans 8:28. It has given me peace, joy and hope in the midst of great chaos over the last several years of our life. A kid joining the military leaving immediately out of high school to follow his heart and fight for his country. The Lord gave me peace to endure a year of him in a country that hated him and wanted his life. Another son graduating and heading off to college with a hidden invader that would soon surface followed by almost four years of fighting the deadly beast. Then coming home to plan, prepare and execute a fairytale wedding for our princess bride who somehow grew up and met her prince charming in the midst of the war. I was not ready for her to leave our home so soon I had time to reclaim. I was even less ready for her to answer the call of God and move 21 hours away just four months later, our lives have been in constant change. A workplace at odds with inner turmoil too exhausting to explain. There came a point in the midst of these challenges when two things were desperately needed – I needed to know that His Grace is enough for me (and it is) and I needed to realize that everything was working together for His Plan and Purpose (and they are) not spiraling down a vortex of fate with no real purpose. I am here to tell you today that God’s Grace works and His Purpose always prevails. I think I can honestly say that finally after years of feeling lost at sea in a life raft of faith that I can see the shore and know how those people feel when the beach is near.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
The change in my heart that I am feeling today is called peace. It is the part of me that once held back that somehow allowed itself to open up and view the Power of God working all around us. The problem is that to see such things in the natural usually requires brokenness that no one would willingly endure. In those times that the enemy uses to break us, the Lord takes our open and exposed heart too weak to go on and fortifies it. In our absolute and utter weakness is the very moment that we become strong. I used to think that meant we would have it all together and become the spiritual powerhouse that could fix everyone else’s problems and become spiritual icons in the church but now I know it is not the case. It is the moment when we step out of the way and let them see God, our Savior and His Spirit holding us together and working everything out. I do not have to be the super Christian just super surrendered to Him. That is why I can smile with a broken heart. I can laugh when everything is falling apart. I can keeping walking in exhaustion. It is the Lord who ushers me on. He keeps whispering my grace is enough for you and I am working this all out for your good just keep loving me, trusting me and obeying me – we are almost there. It is working.
Psalm 103:1-5 (MSG)
O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I’ll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing! He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence.
The hope that I have in Jesus has been a long and hard battle within me. I am strong willed. I want what I want when I want it and am not afraid to work for it. The bigger they are the harder they fall. It took a lot to force me to my knees and surrender my life to the Lord. When our son was diagnosed with cancer, the very first one that I went to was the Lord. It was such a traumatic experience that I had absolutely no control over and there was no certainty how it would end. In the moment that I cried out to the Lord in a dirty bathroom on the eleventh floor of Shands Hospital in Gainesville Florida even my body was reacting to the overload of emotions flowing in that moment. Anger, tears, nausea, and hyperventilation – my body was in a state of complete breakdown in that moment. But one thing I left that room knowing without a shadow of a doubt was that I trusted the Lord. I knew it. I was confident in it but nevertheless I was absolutely terrified of the fire that we would walk through in the days ahead. It was in that state of complete devastation that I discovered the faith and hope I have now. It doesn’t make new challenges easier just gives me confidence that it works.
If you are looking for the perfect life, you have it. All the details are already there, the rest is up to you! The Holy Spirit is ready to provide every single fruit that will satisfy your soul and fill you with God’s Goodness. Will you become hungry for Him? His Grace is enough for us all if we are willing to stop walking ON it and decide to live in it. All things do work together for those who love the Lord but we must be willing to surrender all things to Him for His Careful Reconstruction! Everything that we need to have a rich and satisfying life is already in our life if we will choose to accept it. He forgives every single sin that we are willing to give up. He will heal every single disease given to His Care. He will save your life if you indeed want to be saved. You have His Love and Mercy if you will only receive Him as Lord. I love this part – it may just be my favorite – “He wraps you in goodness!” Yep, that’s where I am today! Wrapped up in His Goodness and I never want to leave – it works for me. It works for you! Everything is renewed in the Presence of God. The proud cannot live there it is only for the humble. You don’t have to have it all together – He only requires ALL the broken pieces. The masterpiece that He makes of our life is priceless. No one is ever too far gone or a life too broken for the Lord to make it beautiful – nothing is wasted. For someone today, like me, they will have renewed hope just in the knowing His Love works, faith works, grace works, and hope works! It works for you!
Ephesians 2:7-10 (MSG)
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.