Saturday, June 27, 2009

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God...

– not by works, so that no one can boast. Eph. 2:8-9

Grace. What a beautiful word. It conveys so much in such a simple manner. When I stop and think about how it is by grave that we are saved, and I mean really stop and think about it, it literally brings me to my knees. Where else can it take us? When I think about how unworthy, unable and unqualified I am for a life beyond this earth, it can become almost overwhelming. Those little darts of doubt that Satan uses to try and pick us apart, driving a wedge into our thinking, can start to take root if I’m not careful.

But then, the larger, more powerful voice is heard. The one that reminds me that I am not here to become worthy, able or qualified. I am here to bring glory to the one who made me. To make His name famous. That’s the voice I want to hear every day, listen to every time there is even an inkling of doubt and cry to every time I need the strength to get through that “one more thing.”

This verse is one that I know I’ve read more than once, it’s underlined in my Bible. But, a couple of days ago, my daughter and I were graced with the opportunity to attend an event for a Christian radio station in Tampa, FL. That appearance featured a lovely singer named Francesca Battistelli and was put on by The Joy FM. Abby and I got up on the first morning of our vacation, trucked an hour in rush hour traffic to find the little restaurant that was hosting the event. What a great morning. Abby was thrilled and treated like a little princess. The fact that we had come from so far away and came to the remote really seemed to move the radio team. Funny because we were so moved by their hospitality, welcoming attitudes and friendship! We received t-shirts and each of the team signed it and wrote their favorite Bible verse on it. This verse from Ephesians was the one noted by Carmen Brown, one of the morning cruise team members. I thumbed through my Bible today to re-read it – and realized I had focused on it before when I saw the highlighting. But today, I am seeing it with a fresh perspective.

The way that God takes events, interactions and opportunities and weaves them into the tapestry that only He can create is marvelous and awe-inspiring. That one seemingly little event, a breakfast and performance on the radio, was probably thought of as a routine, everyday occurrence by many involved. However, we took it as a gift from above. And a reminder that our salvation is also His gift – His gift of grace and mercy that I am so thankful to have accepted.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalms 119:105 NIV

I love the vividness of this verse! It has taken me far too long to learn put my trust in the Lord and not in my ability to affect a situation or overcome an obstacle. I’m naturally wired to be a problem-solver, and when I rely on myself to resolve something, I am usually left with a sense of regret. And, I can directly point to specific instances in life where I put it out there to God and He took care of it. Sure enough, something occurred, a favor was granted or a decision came easily and assuredly. It’s funny, because every time, I find myself amazed and in awe of Him! And yet, I still slip into the old ways of trying to “make a change” on my own.
When I trust in him, he shows me the way. Even when I don’t even see it. This has been true for me and now, it’s exceptionally clear for my husband. Several months ago, he was laid off from his sales job. After his severance ran out, God provided with a bonus from my company. And then, he provided an income tax return. Soon, we knew we’d be fine for at least six more months. What a blessing! And, in this time, the Lord started opening up doors for Steve (my husband). A former professional baseball player, Steve is incredibly gifted at coaching and teaching the game. With people practically materializing in front of him telling him he should make a career of coaching, it was becoming very obvious that God had a plan. Then, we were given the opportunity to have a very heartfelt conversation about the situation. I’ve always known in my heart that this is what God wants for him. So, we talked about his path and the Lord lighting the way for him, like the verse. In the span of under 48 hours, he saw it, too. It was really a miracle.
Now, a couple months later, he’s growing his business – he now has almost 20 clients when he started with about 4. He’s got great people around him, supporting, encouraging and sharing wisdom. He’s looking down the road at other related opportunities that will grow the business even more, and more importantly, impact the lives of young ball players in a very positive manner. It’s simply amazing.
We have both learned a lot through this about trusting the Lord and looking for the light on the path. He’s faithful and true – and has shown us the next step, time and time again, in His perfect timing.