Jan 21, 2010

Amazing Grace

This afternoon my (just turned) four year old granddaughter said to me, "Grandma, I'll play this horn while you sing "Amazing Grace". So she did. And I did. Priceless.

But God's amazing grace is exactly what has been on my mind for about the past 24 hours. In the midst of my own self-pity as I have been working through the family issue that has pained me so much, He has taken pity on me and picked me up and dusted me off, and set my feet back on the Solid Rock!

It never ceases to amaze me that when God takes over, things can happen really fast! In just a few short days I have gone from a lot of anger and a whole lot of other volatile emotions and sleepless nights, to a real sense of peace and trust in the One who knows me inside out.

When I started blogging about 11 months ago, I made a decision that I wanted to be "real" in what I wrote. There is a lot of power in the pen, so to speak, and I determined that I wanted the blog to be an accurate account of my "life between the buns". That doesn't mean that I feel the need to say things that would be unnecessarily hurtful to others. Sure there have probably been a few things I've said that would have been better left unsaid. But for the most part, I have tried not to just portray the mountaintop times of my life, but also record things that, if I had a choice, would not be part of my "history".

Still, the temptation is always present to put the best foot forward at all times and not to air the dirty laundry. I'm human just like everyone else, and I want people to think good things about me. I don't want them to see my struggles or my doubts.

I took a big risk when I posted about my inner turmoil over the upcoming "wedding" of my niece and her girlfriend. All kinds of questions went through my mind: How will my blogger friends react? What will they think of me now? What will my family and friends say when they read it? And perhaps the most pressing -- Why do I have to be so intense all the time???

I'm not digging for comments on this post or looking for a pat on the back. I just want a chance to say to each one of you who have commented and/or prayed for me that I felt it. I have felt it big time. And I want you to know that God has used YOU to transform me and help me regain some clear thinking. I mean it when I say I am now at peace over this whole thing. No, I still cannot support the decision of the people involved. But I am no longer thinking about me, and how this has affected me.

There is something so much bigger going on. For the first time in my life, I think I have a handle on what I've always thought to be a very difficult teaching of Jesus. It is found in Matthew 10:37-38. "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me."

Conflict is an inevitable result of following Jesus Christ. The battle is between light and darkness, between eternal things and things that are temporal. The Gospel continues, "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (verse 39) Jesus is simply stating that if we think that the life we live in the here and now is all there is, and we love it's (sinful) pleasures more than we love Him, all those things will eventually be lost. But if we let go of that kind of thinking and living for the sake of allegiance and obedience to Him, His perfect will, and His perfect law, we actually will discover what REAL life and living is.

In a few short days I have literally gone from praying, "Lord make this all go away--don't let it happen" to praying "Lord, change me! Work in me! Make me respond in a way that best represents YOU".

No, it's not about me at all. It's all about HIM and His amazing grace. All I have to remember is how I too once was lost, but now I'm found. I was blind, but now I see. Remembering helps me to pray for those who are still confused, hurting, lost, blind. Those who, because of continued rebellion, are still living outside of the amazing grace that is offered so freely. The grace that helps me be more concerned about their souls than about my righteous indignation.

I'm certain there will still be days ahead where the circumstances will be distressing. But I think I have more perspective now. My blogger friend, Shirley said this to me and I appreciated it so much:

"...we have to remember that all sin, including our own, is equal in the eyes of God--it is all about disobedience to Him and what He declares to be best for us. That puts all of us on a pretty level playing field..."



Shirl said...

God is so good! I'm so happy you've found peace!


Pat said...

Shirley is so very wise, and so are you my friend.
The Christian walk is one of never
knowing it all, but constantly learning and applying it to our lives.
That same knowledge came to me when hubby and I had a rough spot. It was right after he retired...a real adjustment. The Lord impressed me to stop praying to change him, but to change ME to be loving and accepting and more like Christ. My prayers have since changed to work on me, my attitude and thoughts when someone else is not doing what I think they should. God already knows about them...he doesn't need a complaint department of one...me!

Jamey said...

I can totally relate to what you wrote. I too had struggled with things that I was going through and being unsure if I wanted to share that on my blog.
I am glad for my my blogging friends and their encouragement when I was struggling. And I am glad for my friends who share their struggles as well. We all learn from each other, and we can lift each other up when we are going through our struggles.

Have a great weekened Jacquelyn!

Lori said...

I love every bit of this from your heart written post. I didn't get a chance to comment to your recent posts but I did pray that you would find your way through this. And have you ever! I love that you share from your heart and are real. Even if I don't agree on something I would never think badly of you or stop reading your blog just because I know your heart is pure and real. Thank you for sharing this today...I am really blessed to have read this. XX Happy weekend to you and yours, Lori

Jacquelyn said...

Thank you Shirley, Pat, Jamey and Lori. I thought about a song we used to sing in church when I was young, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus". These words come to mind:

Oh what peace we often forfeit
Oh what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

I am also so grateful that all of have shared your lives with me...both your ups and downs...I truly feel your love!

Rebecca said...

I'll try again :)

I loved the opening lines - you singing Amazing Grace while your granddaughter played the horn....

That pretty much summed up the whole rest of the post. And it sums up my desire - to be singing Amazing Grace while others play THEIR horns.

Just beautiful. As are you! As is our Savior!

Jackie said...

Hey Jacquelyn!

Wonderful words here and your being "real" so blesses my heart.

We all go through struggles and difficulties so why not (with wisdom) share our experiences and how the Lord encouraged and brought us through those very real things! And I can concur with you that most of those struggles and difficulties were resolved when I allowed the Holy Spirit to change me! He then gives me His eyes and ears and heart and Divine perspective on things! Hallelujah.......Thank you Jesus for your mercy, grace, patience and compassion. I always need it!!

Thanks for sharing!

Jacquelyn said...

Rebecca and Jackie, thanks so much for the encouraging words. Today I sent off letters to the two girls, as well as to my brother & sis-in-law. I believe God gave me the words to say, simply, that we will support them in ways that we can, but not in the context of gay "marriage", and that we would not be able to attend the celebration on Mar. 6. I would not have been able to write with the same tone even a week ago. God is so gracious! And to think that His grace reaches even me!