How many times have we missed the grace God offers to us?
Sometimes a simple phone call causes life to take a hard turn. A trusted instructor for one of our sons shared information that rocked my world. He observed a condition that answered a lot of questions Hubs and I had. But his difficult-to-hear words took time to process.
I began reading what I could and talking with a friend whose child has a similar condition. And, I called our doctor’s office to begin the testing process. Only this boy-man wasn’t the right age to see the person who could help us.
Days slipped into weeks, and my hopes for completing testing before school began six weeks later faded. Each passing day pressed hard on my heart, on my thoughts, as we continued with no progress forward.
I shared my frustration (desperation, really) with a friend who is closely connected with our doctor’s office. Within a day, we had the process moving forward.
How many times have I tried to solve a problem on my own?
How many times have I attempted to carry the weight of a burden too heavy for my shoulders?
I’ve said it before. I’m a “git-er-done” woman. Why ask for help if I can do it myself?
But sometimes the problem is too complex for me to figure out. There are too many moving pieces and too many factors to evaluate that I simply can’t gain the answers for.
Sometimes the burden is far too unwieldy for my small fifty-something shoulders.
When I try to do things in my own strength, I sort of tell God, “Speak to the hand, I’ve got this, Lord.”
I ignore the grace God offers.
Recognizing the Grace God Offers
Sometimes grace looks like a provision I didn’t know I’d need.
A friend who has been through the trial I’m struggling with.
Sometimes grace looks like rest.
And I too often ignore it.
I’m thankful God has given me the capacity to handle what He has. But I’m even more thankful that when life’s problems loom too large, He’s there with me.
Sometimes, He’s just waiting for me to turn to Him.
The grace God offers is always available, whether or not we embrace it. But why would we ignore it when He’s already offered it?
For me that answer—and I’m hanging my head—is frequently pride and control.
Pride because I’ve been caught up in being self-sufficient. I’m quick to believe I have the necessary knowledge, and I craft a plan. But, in that place of independence is also isolation. I isolate myself from God and from those who love me.
Control because I like to be the one who determines my steps and the timing of things. Which reveals my pride . . .
God doesn’t force His grace on us. But when we choose to walk in our strength rather than His grace, we’ll end up weary and discouraged. When we pour all of ourselves into dealing with our challenges without allowing God’s grace to fill us, we end up empty.
How do we handle those way-too-big situations that force themselves into our lives? In the case of walking through our son’s diagnosis, there were many days when I was barely able to draw a deep breath.
This turned into a season where a number of big hard situations pried their way into my easy-to-manage life.
It was in that season when I came to terms with the fact that all my managing, all my trying to do things on my own, wasn’t enough. God had more for me, if I would trust Him.
In His tenderness, God reminded me of His nearness. He walked with me through each decision, each phone call with a professional, each outburst as our son grappled with this life-altering condition.
There is no shame in accepting the grace God offers. Our Father’s grace is a gift waiting to be unwrapped by a yearning heart. Will we unwrap and use His present, or trample on it by denying His goodness?
What about you? When have you found God’s grace in a difficult situation? How does God’s grace show up in your life?
Click to Tweet: When I try to do things in my own strength, I sort of tell God, “Speak to the hand, I’ve got this, Lord.”
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Pride and wanting to be in control are too important to me, also. Your message was a reminder to let God in!
Kathy, we can both work on letting God in. 🙂 It’s something I struggle with too. Sigh. Thanks for visiting!
I tried so hard to fix my kids; God called me to love them. Yes, Jeanne, God’s grace always accomplishes more than my striving.
Shirlee, there seems to be such a balance between trying to fix our kids and figuring out when helping them morphs from loving to “fixing” them. We’re working to better understand all of this as our sons grow closer to leaving the nest. I so appreciate your honesty here, my friend.
So often we strive to fix our kids, when God calls us to love them.
It may sound strange, but God’s grace doesn’t always ease our pain. After trying so many times to intervene in my son’s drug addiction, and seeing no success, I know God’s grace is there, but it still feels lousy to be living through it. Then we connect that grace to the knowledge that we don’t walk by feelings, but by faith and trust in God, things start to be put in order. It isn’t always the order we anticipated or even wanted, but it’s the only order that is true. To me grace is being able to live at peace with whatever God plans. It’s reassuring to know He is in control.
Jan, there is such depth of wisdom in your words. You’re right. Sometimes grace, though present, doesn’t ease the pain we’re walking through. I’m truly sorry you’re living through such difficult circumstances. Thank goodness we walk by faith and not by feelings. Thank goodness our Father is trustworthy and is always working. I love how you described grace. Thank you so much for sharing so honestly here. Hugs, friend.
Ah, Jeanne … you’ve described so well the kind of season that we look back on and say, “How on earth did I even survive that?” Then we see how God strengthened us, carried us, provided for us, loved us. And hopefully, we remember all that the next time, right? (Although it can take some pretty big fits and starts for me to remember …) Where would be with His grace? Hugs, friend.
Yes, Lois! We can look back on those seasons and see how God carried and strengthened us through them. And yes, He definitely loved us through them. I’m so, so thankful for our Father’s grace! Have a sweet weekend, my friend!
This is beautifully encouraging, Jeanne. Not only do you make me feel less alone by honestly admitting the struggle with surrendering our control, but you remind us that “when we choose to walk in our strength rather than His grace, we’ll end up weary and discouraged.” So true. Thank you, also for the hope-breathing photos! Love and blessings to you!
Trudy, thank you for your kind words, my friend. It is so hard to release our desire for control. I’m with you, tired of being weary and discouraged. So, we can continue to encourage each other to seek the Lord and surrender all that’s on our hearts to Him. Sending you love and blessings back, sweet friend!
Oh, how I needed to read this, Jeanne! First, I am glad you and your husband are getting help for your son. You were brave enough to address the situation, rather than sticking your head in the sand and wise enough to know that you needed some help getting his the medical attention he needed.
How many times have I tried (because of pride and control) to solve a problem by myself rather than accept the grace freely offered by God? Self-sufficiency is surely overrated. Thank you for bringing this problem to my attention. It is certainly something I need to be reminded of.
Laurie, thanks for your encouraging words. I tried not to smile today when I was talking with one of the boys about when he leaves the house. He’s looking forward to being self-sufficient. I thought it ironic that he used those words. And I began praying he would find his sufficiency in God. We all need to come back to that, don’t we? I so appreciate you stopping by!
I’m so glad that you’ve gotten the professional help that you need for your son. It’s so incredibly frustrating to advocate for our children some times–it’s as if no one believes us or thinks we caused the problem in the first place. May God continue to lead and guide your family :).
I have learned that when I turn things over to God, I feel His comfort and peace.
I completely agree, Melissa! Turning our “stuff” over to God gives us His comfort and peace. Thank you so much for visiting!
I saw this link on the Instaencouragements link up. We’ve all been through hard times and your insight was encouraging. Far too often I realize I’m trying to do it on my own, but I’m so grateful that God is always there and always good.
Marielle, I’m so glad you stopped by! Like you, I tend to think I’ll handle things on my own. But God . . . you’re right. He’s always there and always good. Thanks for your words!
Oh the marvelous beauty of God’s grace in our roughest challenges …
I couldn’t agree more. There’s peace and hope in His grace, isn’t there?
Jeanne, this hit home. I am also a doer, a planner and a get-it-done-er. And probably a control freak, but we’ll save that for another post. COVID 19 has brought me to my knees more than once because there is absolutely nothing I can do to change any of it, or its ripples into my life. I am helpless before God. Which is a good way to be if we only are smart enough to realize it.
Kathy, I suspect COVID has altered a lot of us in our plans to “git-‘er-done.” He does have a way of bringing us to our knees, but sometimes it’s in that place where we come to see Him more clearly and understand just how great His love for us is. When we get into those “gotta do!” places in our thinking, may we both be quick to remember God’s ways are always the best ways. Sending you a hug, friend!
And so the curtain rises
on another fateful day
that will bring no surprises,
but merely hell to pay.
I slowly, slowly gain my feet,
turn and face the rising sun,
in which red orb I see defeat,
but ain’t gonna run.
If God would care to lend a hand,
I’ll welcome Him, for sure,
but He better understand
that I aim to endure
and that this ain’t what it may seem;
I’m bleedin’ out, but live the dream.
Andrew, I’m praying for you, my friend. God is the One who gave you this determined-to-endure spirit. He’s still working in and through you, even in these horrible-hard days. Sending you a gentle hug.
Great words of wisdom. I think women in today’s society are forced to be self sufficient and when we get in this mode we often forget Hus grace. I know this is especially true for single moms. Sometimes we fell we are all we have forgetting HE is standing right there whispering softly to us. I too have had difficult conditions with my sons and am sending prayers your way.
Anita, I think you are right. Self-sufficiency is exalted and dependence on another is looked down on. We can easily forget our Father’s grace, can’t we? I love your picture of the Lord standing next to us whispering to us His soft words of love. I truly appreciate your prayers!
Jeanne, some days I wonder if the mere idea of “control” is a lie I have believed. Do I truly have control of the circumstances around me? Can I control what occurs? Truly I cannot and I am discovering the more I realize this, the more I will lean on the Lord to make every provision in my life. Praying for you and your son this morning as you navigate through this season. Blessings!
Joanne, I am coming to believe that me having control is a facade. Sometimes I like to live in it for a while, but God always reminds me that He is ultimately in control. And His plans are always, ALWAYS better than my own! Yes, the sooner we realize that He is the best Person to take the reins of our lives, the sooner we can walk in peace. And thank you for those prayers. We’re all adjusting to the changes and a better understanding of how God has wired our son.
Ahhh…the diabolical dua of pride and control. I’ve been there, done that many times. Thankfully God keeps showing up with His unending grace – ususally when I get to the end of myself. I am getting somewhat better at turning over the reins before I’ve run out of rope. It’s the hard turns in life that have pulled me into His abundant love and care. I may not choose the road of struggle, but I never regret it. Great post!
Oh, the tension when the git-er done woman is forced by circumstances to wait for God to do the next thing. Groaning with you in this moment. Thanks be to God–he interprets our hearts.
Amen, Michele! Thank goodness God is gracious, even when we struggle (for a time) with. him over control. Thanks for your words. We’re all adjusting to this life change, with God’s help!
Bev, pride and control have teamed up against me many times. As I age, I’m learning how to lean into Jesus more quickly, but it’s not usually my initial response. I’m working to change that. Yes, it does seem that the hard things in life are the things that draw me into a deeper understanding of God’s love for me. Thanks for stopping by, my friend!
Storms are inevitable … bad news are too. It often takes discipline and effort to make our thoughts move upward. They, like water, try to settle in the lower parts, get drawn into our valleys. You helped me this morning to go against this worldly current, pull my mind up and set it higher … namely on the grace God pours over our lives.
THANK YOU, Jeanne, for continuing to help us face our storms. What an encouragement this morning!!
Heidi, you’re right. We can’t avoid all of life’s storms. I love your visual of how water settles in the valleys. We need to keep our eyes and heart looking toward Jesus, don’t we? Thank you for always being an encourager, Heidi!
Your testimony was inspiring 🙂 Sometimes we just need to “Let Jesus take the wheel.”
Yes, Celly, letting Jesus take the wheel is the best course of action! Too bad I don’t always do that right away. Thanks so much for stopping by!
I agree…it is not always easy to do but we live and learn and hopefully make better decisions in the future