Tag Archives: God’s grace

Belated Mother’s Day Message: Lean into Truth…

To each Listening on the Journey…reader who is a mother, who has longed to be a mother, or who is a mother-of-the-heart, today’s post is for you!

     Mother’s Day snuck up on me this year—partially, because my sense of time and scheduling has been turned upside down by the Covid-19 quarantine and partly because of a spiritual struggle.

     Around the first of May, my soul seemed to engage in a wrestling match. The opponent was a skillful wrestler named REGRET.

     At times, my opponent pinned me down, nasty voice taunting, “Hah! you blew it! You know mothering do-overs don’t exist!”

     Then, I’d manage to pin down REGRET, reminding my bullying foe, “God’s grace is bigger than my mothering mistakes!”

     Several days passed before I recognized what was happening.

     First, cultural upheaval had upset my routine equilibrium. On top of that, raw emotional motherhood regrets, which surface easily for women this time of year, emerged.

     The enemy of my soul recognized my vulnerability and snuck up on me!

     While I don’t give a lot of attention to the work of the enemy, I have experienced and believe theologically that a very real spiritual enemy exists.

     During my struggle, I was reminded of important truths, two of which I’ll discuss today:

First, any message delivered by my soul’s enemy will always be untrue, and when I realize I’m in a spiritual wrestling match, my first strategy must be to lean into what I know is true!

     Of the devil, Jesus said, “He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character….” (John 8:44 NLT)

     Adjusting to quarantine has been unsettling. Recognizing and coming to grips with the emotion of regret also felt confusing since this is not something I struggle with typically.

     Even though I know full well I made my fair share of mothering blunders, I also know I did the best with the knowledge I had at the time, and with subsequent realizations, I’ve sought and accepted forgiveness. Being a good mom will always be a top priority for me, even as I realize it is for most reading these words.

     Even though it can be difficult to lean into uncomfortable emotional issues, this step is important. The enemy’s preference will prod me to overly dissect, deny, or discount what is taking place in my heart.

The second thing I realized is the enemy of my soul is cunning and always on the lookout for weaknesses in my character or vulnerability created by difficult or unexpected circumstances.

     Peter, who knew a thing or two about the devil’s tactics, warned: Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

     Several years ago, Ron and I went on a night safari in South Africa and came upon a lair of lions. One big fellow lay lazily a few feet from the open seat where I sat. The guide promised we had nothing to worry about as long as we stayed in the vehicle. He also warned if we were to exit, that lion, who appeared benign, would in a split-second pounce on us. Just in case anything unexpected happened, the guide assured us he carried a high-powered rifle!

     When we refuse to lean into lies that sabotage our ‘story,’ we give our enemy an opportunity to ‘pounce.’ But we need not fear because the ‘high-powered’ spirit of Jesus is a whole lot greater than the tactics of any enemy. (See 1 John 4:4)

     In my next post, I’ll expose some of the enemy’s common tactical lies as well as ways we can fight them.

Prayer:

Giver of Every Good Gift,

Thank you, God, that Your very character is Truth,
And that You desire to lead us into messages that are true.

Give us insight to recognize lies perpetrated
The enemy of our souls.

Give us strength to lean into every lie and
Turn quickly to the truth of Who You are and Whose we are.

Amen

Blessings to all…

Sue Reeve

God’s Grace is Woven into Our Insufficiencies

By Sue Reeve

“Grace is God walking into your world with a sparkle in his eye and an offer that’s hard to resist. ‘Sit still for a bit. I can do wonders with this mess of yours.’” – Max Lucado[1]

     It’s too painful for me to watch! You know, when one of those young people auditions on a reality television singing competition, and the insufficiency of his or her talent is glaringly obvious.

     It’s been said,

          “You can be anything you want to be.”

               “You can succeed if you only work hard enough.”

                    “Whatever you believe, you will achieve.”

                         “Prayer changes everything.”

     While diligence, persistence, hard work, deep belief and fervent prayer can lead a person to incredible heights, the reality is we all have areas in which we have insufficiencies.

     Our God-design may not enable us to be what we think we want to be. Our God-given gifts may not include the talent needed in order to achieve a certain level of expertise regardless of how hard we work. We may believe fiercely, recite every positive affirmation known to man and still not achieve what we believed with all our heart we would. We may not receive the exact answer to our prayer.

     It’s when our deepest dreams don’t materialize—or hard work hasn’t paid off— or our fervent prayers haven’t been answered that we have the opportunity to lean in and allow grace to be woven into our insufficiencies.

     Several weeks ago in one of my blog posts I related an incredible life lesson I learned about the sufficiency of God’s grace. When I was 23-years-old, I was in a terrible head-on automobile collision. Almost every bone on the right side of my face was crushed. I spent several days in intensive care and many months convalescing.

     I looked awful.

     After several weeks during which I was protected emotionally by some special unseen force, the reality of the toll the injuries had taken on my appearance set in. One evening when I was alone with my thoughts and my pain, I recall weeping uncontrollably, asking God, “Why? Why? Why did you let this happen to me?”

     About thirty years after my questioning lament, I was asked to speak for a Mother’s Day luncheon. In my preparations, I thought about this incident and commented almost nonchalantly in prayer, “God, you never answered the “Why?” questions I asked that night.”

     It was then I recalled another incident—one that occurred several weeks after my agonizing prayer. I’d never before made the connection. This time, I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, looked at that lady peering back at me and said to her, “Okay, Susan, this is the face you have now. Learn to deal with it.” From that moment I began experimenting with make-up and different hairstyles and never thought a whole lot more about how I looked.

     What God showed me thirty years post-prayer is what he also revealed to the Apostle Paul some 2000 years earlier after Paul prayed three times God would remove some unspecified ‘thorn’ from his flesh.

     God’s grace was sufficient!

     A teaching I once heard about this passage of Scripture[2] indicated that when God told Paul Divine grace was all he was going to get, God was in fact saying it in a way that indicates the answer was final. In other words Paul’s Heavenly Father was saying, “Okay, son, you’ve asked me three times already, and I’m telling you, ‘Don’t ask again! My grace is sufficient—now and forever.’”

     I cannot say I received such a direct message from God as Paul did, but I do know regarding my facial injuries, I never again asked God “Why?” Somehow, the unheard voice of the Spirit assured my spirit that I was going to be all right because God’s grace would be sufficient.

     As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve also been praying for a great niece who’s recovering from her second surgery this year. Grace is a tiny little thing. A congenital birth defect prohibits her from absorbing nutrients necessary to grow normally. Multiple major surgeries will undoubtedly be required to repair the condition. There’s a ‘mama/grandma’ part of me that wants to ask, “Why, God? Why must little ones like Grace suffer?” But, then, I think about the ‘big, feisty’ spirit this little girl possesses, and I’m reminded this special child was named aptly. She was endowed by her creator the spunk she’s going to need to face her medical condition. I’m comforted to know that even as Grace’s name suggests, God’s grace will be sufficient for not only Grace but for her mama, daddy and ‘big’ brother who are walking through this difficult season with her.

     When grace is woven into the difficulty and pain that come from living in an imperfect world, a new dimension of God’s goodness—God’s sufficiency—is discovered. I don’t want to sound ‘Polyanna-ish’ about all of this. If I had my druthers, I would never have experienced the physical and emotional pain of that automobile accident. Little Grace certainly wouldn’t be going through the pain connected to major surgeries. There’s a whole mess of pain going on throughout this world that wouldn’t be happening.

     I don’t understand the reason for life’s pain. Truly, I don’t! But, in spite of life’s difficulty and discomfort, I do believe with every fiber of my being there is an unexplainable but very real adequacy when grace is woven divinely into our insufficiencies.

     Blessings on your journey as you experience the sufficiency of grace!

Sue Reeve

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‘Spunky little Grace’ and Emmi had so much fun becoming acquainted at a family reunion last summer. Emmi prays often God will help Grace get better soon.

  1. Grace – More than we deserve – Greater than we imagine by Max Lucado

  2. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV