His Grace is Enough

Cross on Flowered Hill SmallStress? What Stress?

I used to go to my chiropractor “all crinkled up.” (He called it subluxated. Whatever.) He would ask me if my stress level was high. If I said, “Yes,” he would then ask, “Is it going to get better?”

Great question. Sometimes we are in a specific situation that is short term and will resolve itself, such as the pressure of taking a test or a job interview. But sometimes we are in a situation that is more long term, such as when the stress is coming from dealing with a chronic illness or a strained relationship. It’s especially difficult if the situation is out of your control and you are powerless to change it.

The Long Term Situation

As many of you know, my awesome husband works in North Dakota. (We do not live in North Dakota!) And we are blessed. His schedule is two weeks on and one week off. So he is home for five days every two weeks. That’s a good rotation for someone who works in the oil field.

He’s been going over there to work for two years already. The Lord’s grace for me in this situation has been amazing. It’s hard to have him gone. It’s hard for him to go. We really like each other! 😉 That’s why we got married. We aren’t one of those couples who needs space and time away from each other. We really like being together all the time. Even though it’s not easy, I’ve been mostly ok with it. Until last Fall…

Wait! I’m All Done…

All of a sudden, I wasn’t ok with it anymore. I had this terrible feeling like, “Oh no! What if I can’t handle this anymore? What then?” I cried more. I was more lonely. I was anxious and more panicky. I had to be ok with this. I couldn’t change it.

Then, I remembered. … His grace. His grace is enough. Oh, that’s right. Breathe. (In and out!) The Lord brought to my mind a two-step process for difficult, long-term situations.

The Two Step Reset

First of all, count our blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for regarding Scott’s job. As I mentioned, his rotation is one of the best. His company flies him back and forth so he doesn’t even has to make the ten-hour drive every two weeks. His salary and a truly great benefits package. Fulfilling work, a good crew, opportunity for advancement, God’s favor. Plus, he gets vacation time and it’s like a five-day weekend every time he comes home. And he is always home over a weekend so he gets to go to church. Many things!

I needed to focus on the positive. Look at all the good things about this. And give thanks for them. Count those blessings!

Second step is to remember that His grace is enough. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’,” (II Cor. 12:9.) This is the Lord saying, “You’re ok. I’ve got this. And I’m in you, so you’ve got this.” I was able to tell myself, “His grace is enough. I have all the strength I need to deal with this. I am ok.” And you know what? My feelings came back in line and I felt much better. I didn’t need to worry that I couldn’t do this long-term. I can do this for however long God has ordained this situation and season to be because He gives me the strength.

Hope & Strength

It’s still hard. It was an adjustment again after Christmas when my son went back to college and Scott went back to work after some vacation time. I was by myself again, which is still so weird. There may have been some tears when I took him to the airport. But I know what to do now. Count blessings. Rely on God’s grace.

And so can you. If you’re facing a long-term situation that you wish you could change, but you can’t, follow these two steps to peace and joy. Count your blessings. Walk in His grace. Amen!

Is there a difficult long-term situation you are facing today?

Greatest Gifts: Grace

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Christmas Shopping!

Sometimes I feel like the worst “one for you, one for me” Christmas shopper ever! I get home and there are a number of small items for me mixed in with my gifts for other people. Nothing big and nothing on my Christmas list, of course. But if it’s something I need and it’s on sale, Merry Christmas to me!

Another “Greatest Gift”

There is a gift that is perfect for the “one for you, one for me” shopper. Just like the gift of forgiveness that we talked about previously, it is the gift of Grace. Grace for you, grace for me.

The dictionary gives one of the definitions of grace as “free and unmerited favor.” I also think of it as giving someone space. Space to make a mistake, space to fail, space to be human. Which means, grace is definitely something we need to give ourselves as well as others.

One for You…

This is a great season to extend grace. There’s plenty of opportunities: grace to “that … person” in the parking lot who doesn’t know how to drive, grace to the one who is taking forever at the checkout ahead of you in line, grace to the mother with the screaming toddler when you’re making your last run to the grocery store. We need to give lots of grace to anyone working retail during this busy season. They just want to get home to their families too. Instead of looking irritated in these situations, a smile and “Merry Christmas” can go a long way.

The holidays often mean time with extended family. This is a great time to give more grace. So maybe the relatives have the same political argument every year. Grace to be who they are. Maybe there’s someone who always finds a way to undermine your parenting or insults your cooking. More grace.

One for Me…

But then, do we extend any grace to ourselves? This strikes at the heart of the perfectionist, let me tell you. Grace to not be perfect. Grace to admit we made a mistake (because we are not perfect) and to not keep going over and over it in our head, but to let it go. Grace to not get everything done we have dreamed of doing this Christmas. Grace to let go of past regrets.

Giving ourselves some grace will bring us another gift: peace. When we can let go of some things and give some grace, some space, we will feel relief.

Grace Brings Peace

When we give grace to other people and stop expecting them to act differently than they do, we will have less frustration and anger inside. We will find peace in that moment when we decide to give them grace. Maybe we should try giving them our favor instead of our disapproval. In our hearts and minds, let’s give them grace. Grace for you. Grace for me.

Let’s keep giving the greatest gifts this Christmas season.

 

To whom can you extend the gift of grace to this Christmas? In what way do you need to give grace to yourself?


  • Hi, I'm Erica ~ a wife, a mom, a Christian speaker, singer, author, and worship leader. I love coffee & chocolate, reading & writing, music & more music, Facebook & Twitter, time with family & friends! Thanks for dropping by ~ I hope you are encouraged here.

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