On the surface you might see a first born, relatively well adjusted, fairly confident and out going middle aged woman who has been the recipient of lavish grace and who understands what it cost. Who seeks to be obedient to God’s word with all parts of who she is because that is how she sees she must love God.
And on most days she confidently walks in this identity. As a ‘new creation’ who is God’s handiwork.
Then there are other days when she’s harassed by her ‘old man’ ways. When she feels more like the insecure, ‘wishy-washy’ teenager who makes or does not make decisions based on her desperate need for approval. Who is more concerned about whether people like her than of doing God’s will. Who gets anxious, bossy and controlling when things feel increasingly out of control. Who leans more towards ‘plan for the worst’ than she does ‘hope for the best’.
It’s by God’s grace that my father was posted to Ottawa where I could spend my formative high school years as part of a solid youth group at Woodvale in the mid 80’s. Where I had what I remember as my first real and personal encounter with God by His Spirit.
It’s by God’s grace that even as I walked away from what I perceived to be a bunch of rules and regulations to do my own thing during university my mother prayed and the Holy Spirit pursued. That I didn’t end up pregnant and alone or killed in some drunken accident. Or completely estranged from my loving family because of my pride and confusion. It is during this time period I remember another memorable encounter with the Spirit of God. Romans 8:1-4 took on special meaning as I repented and began to grow in my own personal relationship with Jesus. I was 23.
It’s by God’s grace that despite a harsh and judgmental attitude towards all things ‘Pentecostal’ I found my way back to Woodvale (via many beautiful experiences at churches of other denominations) after graduation while I served in the Canadian military. That I met my future husband eventually married and had 2 amazing daughters. [It is no surprise the middle name of our eldest is GRACE].
It is by God’s grace that through circumstances only He could orchestrate I was freed from destructive self-centeredness and frustration that would lead to irrational and near violent outbursts of anger. During this season Psalm 32:5 meant so much to me. God hadn’t just forgiven my sin he had forgiven the GUILT of it too. I didn’t need to live in regret over my past mistakes or live in fear of screwing up again. And I came to love the beauty of Colossians 1:6. I was growing up in my understanding of God’s grace in ALL its truth.
It’s by God’s grace I have maintained relationship with two young women (my daughters) that are not the same as me. [Forming and fostering relationships isn’t easy for me I think because I am fairly introverted and moved around a lot growing up]. They don’t think or feel as I do. Their desires are not always my desires for them. I sell them short and assume things that aren’t necessarily true all the while attempting to lead them to Jesus in a meaningful, if not broken way.
It’s by God’s grace that they exceed all my expectations as they serve and love Him.
It’s by God’s grace that my husband has loyally walked this journey with me. Selflessly giving to show his love. He has been a picture of God’s grace to me every day.
And it is by God’s grace that I traverse with joy this present season. Supporting our youngest through her cancer treatment and recovery. The twelfth chapter in Hebrews is very meaningful to me.
Cause ultimately it’s all about Jesus isn’t it?
"For it is BY GRACE you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God--" Ephesians 2:8