Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday Grace Letters - Met by Grace

Mundane FaithfulnessOften on Tuesdays I link up with Mundane Faithfulness, a wonderful blog penned by my friend Kara. I hope you'll click over and read her words too.

My story ... 

I give up and I don’t care! It came to that. The tears flowed. My friend listened quietly.

The hour before we sat in the large group meeting. She (another friend) was up front, again! It’s important that it was a she. Why did she get all the opportunities? I want to minister too! Why does the offer never come my way? My husband says he saw the steam exiting my ears.

For me, ministry meant being up front.

The meeting ended. I put on my friendly mask and hurriedly stomped (I mean walked) from the meeting room. 

Later my husband sat patiently with me while I poured out my MAD to him. He too listened; he also had a suggestion, “Perhaps you should see a counselor,” he offered. Had it come to that? Would nothing else work? A counselor—now that was really bad, bottom of the barrel bad.

Grace came slowly; but grace came. It came in bits. In bits God knew I understood.

I am glad to remember and recall the gentle line of transforming gospel grace that pulled me toward freedom.

Looking back I see the first grace step.  Back then it didn’t seem even close to grace—more like 'a severe mercy' as C.S. Lewis describes. I needed to come to the end of myself, my striving, and my definition of ministry. That was an important beginning.

Grace showed up in my friend and in my husband as they both listened. I know they were crying on the inside with me and for me while my tears visibly soaked every available tissue. Even in the midst of my pain, I recognized the grace of their presence.

The next evening grace showed up through the story of another friend, a friend I highly respected. We were walking to the banquet together lingering behind the rest. My mask was firmly secured; she knew not of my tears the night before. She just happened to mention the counselor she was talking with. I’m sure she must have noticed my jaw fall open. My friend, the one who had such a vibrant ministry, was talking with a counselor?! Not only did that surprise—no, shock, more importantly God used her words to put a crack in my belief about counselors and those who need to talk with them. A BIG grace.

Then grace slowed; I needed time to live this chapter, to calm my heart, to be ready for the next. That two year hiatus prepared me. 

God’s love and care, his grace, showed up in an unexpected way. I was ready.

As a result of my husband's of burnout and depression, it was suggested that we talk with a counselor. Bill, never wanting to repeat his hard, was eager. I had no problem joining him; it was his problem—not mine.

That two week counseling intensive changed the course of life for us. My perception of counselors radically altered. I am so thankful for those gifted grace-filled friends. Their discernment blessed.

Not only did the calendar ring in a new century that year, those two grace filled weeks rang in a new understanding of the transforming gospel; a new understanding of the meaning of living in an environment of grace. Grace was recognized because of the hard.

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 15:2 ESV (Italics mine)

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