Lately, my mind has been reminded once again about amazing grace. Years ago when I struggled as a new Christian to understand my pastor from Texas, James Turner said, “If the cross of Christ has lost its meaning, something is wrong my friend.”
I will never forget it. There was something wrong, very wrong. I had let my love wane. It hurts to think I could have treated my beloved Savior even after knowing I was His child.
I had become disappointed at the way God worked. After all he took the life of a missionary friend.
I ended up refusing to allow God to use me for ten years because I held a grudge toward my Lord. Yet His love still won me over.
This is my story…
We had moved to Missouri in 2007. Our new church, Mt Zion, was a blessing to us. I thought a new start would do us all some good after our sad departure from Texas.
I knew that is where we belonged. Others who knew and loved us confirmed it to be so. But I had a hard time receiving such blessings. I kept fighting.
Despite my resistance my Lord was still calling. He gave me a desire to be a blessing in the lives of women. He pointed out a young woman to me. I was not sure. How could God want anything to do with me knowing my heart?
I appreciated all Christ had done for me on the cross. He had become my Savior but I could not accept the way He did things. They just did not make sense.
I was unsure about accepted this desire God was giving me. I questioned it many times, making excuses that I had girls of my own. They as did all my family suffered by my disobedience.
It is easy to show up Sunday Morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night to church with a smile on ones face. I did enjoy being in church, singing of our Savior’s love for He had saved me. But to go the extra mile I hadn’t the strength.
Eventually, out of guilt, I gave in. I was willing to deal with the young lady God had given me. What a struggle for I was sure she could see right through me. In fact I did not hide the fact and told her, “I don’t know why God would want me to disciple you when I am in such need myself.”
Not long after that encounter I walked out on my family, willing not to return. Yet God’s amazing grace met me on the road. The sun shone from behind, causing the leaves to glow and incandescent gold.
As I watched the leaves that would soon fall I heard a still small voice, “Death is not as ugly as you think.”
Tears of surrender, “Oh Lord may I be as these leaves that willing fall at your command.”
Beauty from Ashes
We left as a family to Panama in 2009. Our desire was to receive language training in preparation for Colombia.
I had been reading Love Dare. I was desperate our marriage lacked any evidence of God’s love, though others could not tell. After all we were missionaries, there was an outward image to keep.
“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6
God used the ministry of Sherwood Baptist and the Kendrick brothers in a precious way. I learned to trust God in my marriage. I had trusted God for my salvation but rarely knew how to trust Him in my everyday living. This was certainly a big step for me in His amazing grace.
But our Lord deals with the issues of the heart. He dealt with mine that year when we had our first miscarriage. I knew why God had taken our child. I knew I was under our Lord’s chastisement and I did not despise Him.
“My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Proverbs 3:11-12
It was during this time of sorrow our Lord showed me my heart. I had held a grudge against my Heavenly Father for the death of our missionary friend. My Lord taught me in the loss of our baby to accept God’s purpose even when I did not understand.
During this time I spent hours upon hours, alone with my Lord. Songs like, “I Surrender All,” became a reality to me. I desired His amazing grace to permeate my life.
While still in Panama we decided to leave on a trip for Nicaragua. There we sought the Lord for direction for we could see that our door of opportunity to minister in Colombia was closing. Once again I learned to accept God’s purpose.
Then when we returned to Panama and I contacted the missionary wife we were to work with in Colombia I was put on the spot. Her husband and gone to the states when a tragedy occurred. One of their most faithful elderly couples was murdered.
It had only occurred the previous day. She needed someone to speak with desperately because she did not want to be a discouragement to brethren they were ministering to. Here God used me to be a blessing in the life of one woman.
My heart went out to her as she poured her heart out. As she unloaded all the pain and fears she felt over the recent events. How she had to make decisions without her husband there to help her. How she had to be strong and was glad she could be herself for that brief moment of time with me.
These would have been people we would have worked with together. God was closing the door to Colombia and my Lord’s timing did not make sense. I didn’t like all the tragedy that happened but once again I learned to accept God’s purpose, though I did not understand.
As our Lord wills, my story continues in my next blog post…
Copyright: Photo A cross bridges the gap between a dead forest and a beautiful meadow kevron2001 / 123RF Stock Photo