Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sustaining Grace

"For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield; 
the Lord bestows [present] grace and favor 
and [future] glory (honor, splendor, and heavenly bliss)! 
No good thing will He withhold 
from those who walk uprightly."
Psalm 84:11

This morning I was contemplating all that I have to be thankful for and all the ways God has sustained me this year. I took a few minutes to read my sister's blog post, Purpose & Joy. She mentions that we have two empty seats at our table this year. They are not literal seats for me as my family lives in Texas, but empty seats in my heart. I actually have four empty seats for four precious people who went home to be with Jesus this year. 

I began to think back to January when I received the phone call that Momma and Aunt Jo had been in a car accident...Aunt Jo was gone and Momma was not doing well. I made that trip to Texas with my two oldest boys and it was hard. Probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. My life changed that week and I didn't think I could do it...

But for His sustaining Grace...

During those six days, time after time I felt like I had hit the wall; I could go no further. One more trip to the hospital. One more decision to be made. Then the funeral. The graveside. Cleaning out the apartment. And going to the nursing home to see Daddy...who didn't know or understand what had happened.

And each time I told God, 
"I'm done! I can't do anymore!" 
But for His sustaining Grace...

So today, as I look back over the year and all the challenges we have had to face, I remember His Grace that carried me through those six days in Texas. And I realize that same Grace has carried me through this entire year. Through the loss of my Mom and Aunt; the loss of my dear friend, Lori and another precious saint, Ruth; the strain of finances; the challenge of a move we did not expect or instigate; the pain of broken family relationships; and even the "growing pains" we suffer when our children grow up and move on with their own lives. Each time I again said, "God, I just can't do anymore".

But for His sustaining Grace...

"For out of His fullness (abundance) we have all received 
[all had a share and we were all supplied with] 
one grace after another and 
spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing
 and even favor upon favor 
and gift [heaped] upon gift."
John 1:16 (amp)

Not only did He carry me through each and every circumstance, but He granted me favor time and time again. He has blessed me over and over with friends who have stood beside me, carried me through the difficult times. He has provided in ways we could never imagine. He has reminded me repeatedly that He is faithful. And through the hurts and disappointments, and yes, there have been hurts and disappointments, He gently nudges me and says, "It's not about you." 

So, as I reflect on Thanksgiving today I have much to be thankful for. I have shed my own tears this week as I miss the ones who are not with me, as I reflect on the changes in my life and my family and as I adapt to those changes. But His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). And His promises are Yes and Amen! And no matter what the future holds He will be right there beside me all the way. 

As you count your Blessings today, as the old hymn says, name by one. 

Friends and loved ones; 
Family, near and far; 
Food on the table; 
Clothes on your back; 
Roof over your head; 
Love of the Father; 
Redemption by the Son; 
Guidance of the Holy Spirit...
and His sustaining Grace through it all.

"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. 
My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen! 
(1 Corinthians 16:18)

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


Margie Rubel said...

Amen! I agree wholeheartedly with you -you just have a gift at putting it all into words. I also thank the Lord for you and that you simply dropped everything to come minister to me and my family during our loss:) I love you friend, Margie

Linda said...

Wonderful post! You and your family are in my prayers. It is so hard to say goodbye to the ones that we love. Only through knowing that we will see them again is it possible. Thanks for sharing your point of view and for the beautiful words that express it.

~Stephanie Wafer said...

Amen, Lena! I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you to go through this loss, pick up all the pieces, and keep living life. You have done exactly that though :) Praise God for His comforting hand in your life. Praise Him for His faithfulness, and that even in such a trying time of life, He has a purpose in it for you, and for those you touch! Just as Job persevered and God's purpose was clearly seen (Jas 5:11), I pray His purposes in you will be revealed. God bless you, Lena.