Mercy and Grace in the Midst of the Storm
I have been pondering for weeks now what to write about for a follow-up to the session Claire and I lead on Mercy and Grace. Shortly after that SHE event, our family was delivered some life changing news. Henry, the four year old nephew of my brother in law, Joe, and my sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery almost immediately, and surgeons were able to remove 50% of the tumor. No more treatment will be done at this time, and Henry is currently under hospice care. When you hear news like this your mind begins to buzz with millions of questions and emotions. Whatever emotions or questions you may be asking as you read this; I have already felt or asked over the last month. On Halloween, the local news station in Georgia did a story on Henry. I will link it for you to watch, but be prepared, you WILL need tissues.
As I watched the video, I was overcome once again with a deluge of emotions. Yet, as I reflected back on it today, I see lessons that Father can teach all of us. When Claire and I lead our session, we never said that extending grace and mercy to yourself and others would ever be easy. It is a struggle and a battle. He wants us to lean on Him and His strength for EVERY NEED. The Kelley family is doing that right now. They are in the midst of leaning on Father to meet their every need right now. They are not only doing that, but they are proclaiming the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus during this time. The fact that the news station did not edit Jessie’s words about her faith shows that Henry does have a story to tell. Is this the story Ian and Jessie dreamed their son would tell?? Of course not, but they are just following Father’s hand as He leads them through their story. "We believe that Jesus's heart is for us, and for Henry, and for healing and restoration," Jessica said. "We may not see that on this side of glory. We'll still be with him in a short amount of time, forever."
In one of the most poignant parts of the video, Jessie described a recent experience with Henry.
"We were throwing pennies in the pond and I said 'You're supposed to make a wish before you throw the penny in the pond. What do you wish for? If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?' And he said, 'This.' And it was the most amazing lesson to me to just enjoy the moment with him, that there is joy and peace because right now, my little boy is throwing pennies in the pond and we can smile and we can cherish that to a new level."
Children can teach us so much. They see the world in such a different way than we do. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and take a look around us and be thankful for the situation we are in right at that moment. I did that recently as I sat with some friends and thought back to when I first got involved with Total Woman U. It was amazing to sit back and see how Father’s hand had guided me and lead me to where He has me today. That road was not smooth and straight…it was bumpy and rough and lead me through some tough times, but without them, I would not be where I am today.
Henry’s situation is not fun nor is it something any of us would want our children to go through. I just know that when these kinds of tragedies rock our world, there is someone who can keep us from falling. Father holds us up in such an amazing way and makes Himself known to all those around us. Jessie, Ian, Henry, and Miri Kelley are allowing Jesus to shine through them wherever they go. Do they have rough days?? YOU BET THEY DO!! Please pray for them over these next few months. Continue to pray for a miracle. Our Father can do amazing things. Pray for peace in the midst of this storm and for comfort.
I am praying for all of you that Father can give you His perspective in the midst of your circumstances. Know that ALL of the ladies on the TWU team love you and pray for you. Next time, I will be reflecting on a song by Matthew West on our perspective.
I love you!
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/262491/3/Henrys-Last-Holidays Story Link
Last Spring we had a SHE event titled “Strengthening Her Endurance,” and my topic was “Persevere and Push Through.” As I was preparing for that event, I had certain people come to my mind to ask to share their journeys of perseverance. One of those beautiful ladies was Leslie Molbert Dame, the sister of one of my dearest friends. I shared part of Leslie’s words at that SHE event, but no one had a copy to take home. I am including her email to me in this blog for a few special reasons. Leslie passed away on Thanksgiving Day of this year, and her memorial service touched so many lives. Parts of this email were used that night as a way to share Leslie’s trust in Father even to the very end. My topic for the last SHE event was Best Editing. The last two points I made relate directly to Leslie: “Embrace Your Mission” and “Leave a Legacy.” Leslie embraced her mission, and she left a beautiful legacy. To read more about Leslie, you may also go to www.lesliestrong.org or like Leslie Strong on Facebook. Please continue to pray for her family. Her loss has been so hard on them and all of us. I pray her words will encourage us on the days we miss her. This blog is in honor of her and her infectious smile.
Love you all,
First, let me say I'm sorry I did not respond sooner! I wanted to have time to really think about and share with you what God laid upon my heart...so I took a couple of days to pray over it! I hope this hasn't messed up your time table! :)
I have been reading a book by Beth Moore called Believing God. I wanted to tell you about it because it has just touched my heart so much. Many of the scriptures I am including God gave to me through this study! I am daily so inspired by the ways He reveals His promises and truths to me. I am more aware of the blessings in my life than ever before...
Habakkuk 2:3: " But these things I plan won't happen quickly. Slowly , steadily, surely the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed."
Romans 5:1-5: " Therefore since we have been made right in God's sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord had done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of highest privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us- they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love."
Isaiah 55:10-11, Psalm 131, Psalm 107:19-21, Ephesians 6:16-17,
Philippians 4:13, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Psalm 119 ( this psalm refers over and over to God's word, and all the ways that we as His children are revived, encouraged and given hope in His word), Ephesians 1:3-8, 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. Matthew 7:7-8, Joshua 1:9, Mark 9:23, Luke 1:37. ( I have a new living translation Bible)
The most critical thing I have learned through my circumstances is that in order to endure, in order to be able to hold tight to my hope each day, in order to believe when to others I must seem silly: I must cling to His word. I never before understood the need to study, read and reread His promises- to commit them to memory, to truly hide them in my heart. There are moments each day (a multitude of them) when I am faced with fear, or discouragement, or sadness, or anger. And in those moments, I can call upon the Words of God that remind me to hope, that I am promised a future, that nothing can separate me from His love, that I am precious to Him- adopted into His family, that I can do all things, that His truth sustains me, that His words accomplish what they set out to accomplish, that He heals. I do this all day long. I say it aloud. I think it, I write it. I am learning what it means to meditate on His words. And I am so full of peace and strength when I do this...I wish it hadn't taken something like cancer to open the eyes of my heart. After all, how can we as children persevere when things seem impossible if we do not know what God promises? That He is indeed who He says He is, That He can do what He says He can do, That we are who He says we are, That through Him we can do all things, and That His words- His promises- are alive today, in us. We must know His truths in order to endure. They are there for the taking! And that in itself in a gift.
The greatest thing about our God, to me, is that He is unchanging. He is today who He was yesterday. He fulfills His promises, He never rests, He loves beyond measure, nothing I ask of Him even begins to deplete the strength and power He has. Wow. That is more than enough to sustain me!
I hope this helps, Suzanne. And thank you for using me. I am humbled by you asking. I'm looking forward to coming with Mom and Claire to the next workshop! I think Claire was going to get us tickets! Thank you for the prayers and love! They are felt daily!
I don’t know about you, but it seems I’ve been hearing the words "journey" and "path" a lot lately. There are all sorts of paths that we can take. I guess it is even safe to say we are all on a journey of some type. I think the biggest obstacle we can face on our journey is the choice to take that first step. Sometimes it is easy to take the first step. Journeys like college, marriage and parenthood are pleasure trips compared to the journey of weight loss, divorce, and the empty nest. No matter what path we are one we have someone that cheers us on. God calls us off the sidelines, gives us the much needed pep talk and pushes us to the starting line. He does everything possible to equip us, but we must choose to take that first step.
All it takes is one step. God’s path for you is filled with good things. Jeremiah 42:3 says “show me the way in which I should walk and the thing I should do.” He will show you and if you are careful to follow where he guides you, He will not let you off the path. Trust God to provide the strong shoes. Once you take that first step God promises he will lead you and guide you.
Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.”
Isaiah 30:21 "Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left."
In the Equip and Engage swap-shop , we learned that we are always equipped for the path we are on. You will be equipped with exactly what you need, not what someone else will need. Your path is YOUR path; it is as unique as you are.
Step on your path with purpose!
In the book While the Heart Waits, the author says the struggle is where God is found, not in the erasing of the experience, but in the embracing of it. Embracing looks different for everyone. From our examples in 2 Timothy 2:1-7 we see this. As the soldier embraces his struggles he makes sacrifices, stays strong, and willingly faces conflict. As the athlete embraces her struggles she is dedicated, disciplined, and diligent. As the farmer embraces his struggles he is patient, hard-working, and ready to deal with whatever comes his way. Their difficulties aren’t taken away, but they embrace and push through them. Sometimes God does take things away, but not always! Embracing doesn’t mean it’s easy or any less painful! It just means you trust God to provide what you need to make it through.
In the Psalms, David was honest with God and we can be too. In Psalm 55:4-5, David says, “My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.” His pain and heartache are evident. It’s okay to hurt! But God never intends for us to run and escape struggles, He wants us to trust Him to sustain us through it. At the end of Psalm 55, David says, “Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you.”
What does embracing look like for you? Take time to search your heart and understand what not running away from difficulties will look like in your life. Do you need to cry out to God? Do you need to face a conflict, cry, scream, reach out to someone to hold your hand? Do it today.
When you fall and scrape your knee, eventually you have to take the band-aid off to allow the healing process to be completed. You can’t cover it up forever.
Today is band-aid ripping off day!
Embrace, don’t erase.
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