GRACE…FOR A LIFETIME…Part II

As we talked about our areas of spiritual gifts, I learned that discernment and encouragement are hers, among others.  My gifts lie for sure, in those two areas as well.  We attended a small Christian school in Ft. Lauderdale, FL back when Christian schools were not popular.  (My dad was principal.)  We memorized lots of scripture and I know it contributed to developing discernment…possibly some wisdom over the years.

As I reflected more on our conversation, I realized that over time, God had overruled our personal idols, to protect us from many dangers!  Since that statement sounds so bizarre, I’ll probably need to give an illustration.  Each of us could have had one, but I’ll use one from my life.  (I didn’t get to discuss my use of hers with HER.)  My idol to please others whether family members or others in authority, often caused me to make the “right” decision but for wrong reasons.  It was not because I wanted to please God or out of love for Him and appreciation for His work of grace in my life but because I wanted to please people. I knew what decision would make them happy so that was what I did!

Of course, at some point I developed huge amounts of resentment against those people and sometimes became depressed from all the anger, resentment and feelings of powerlessness I was carrying around.  But they didn’t make me make those decisions.  I made the decisions.  At some point, I had to learn to take personal responsibility for the decisions I made.  God used my idol to protect me from terrible consequences, but later in life, He dealt with the idol itself.  It was a lot like the difference between pulling out a weed at ground level and pulling out the weed with the root!

We have traveled a long way from two little girls spending nights with each other and talking trivia to two grown women in their 60’s who are now grandmothers, looking back over our lives.  What is the point?  That God has been graciously guiding us all through our lives.  At the time, we thought our Christian life, or the living of it, was all up to us.  We grew up in a legalistic church setting that looked way more at the outside wrapping than at the gift itself.  At this point in our lives, we can look back and see how a gracious and loving God has guided us through a variety of life circumstances.  We have raised only daughters; have buried our parents; dealt with many aspects of resentment from childhood and are now grandparenting.  We discussed a number of people we went to school with…all of whom have died from cancer it turns out!  (That was weird and a little spooky…we’re way too young for that…I say with a wry smile.)  All the time, God has graciously been orchestrating our sanctification and changing us.  Now He is changing our children through circumstances that are at times difficult for us to watch.  But He is changing them and making them into His image as well.

20Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrews 13:19-21)

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