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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"My Grace is Sufficient for You"

"My grace is sufficient for you, Laura." (2 Cor. 12:9)

That scripture raced through my mind while I sat on the toilet, with a neighbor of mine standing next to me, as my back wrenched in painful, unrelenting spasms. At nearly 6 months pregnant yet too often hoisting my 18-month old daughter, I found that my back stopped working a week ago.

The clenching pain was far more serious than anything I felt in childbirth. I literally couldn't walk for days. My legs wouldn't respond. Any movement exacerbated the pain. Over the last few days, I’ve relearned to walk, and the pain has diminished. But I also know I must take better care of my body if I don't want to face that kind of paralyzing pain again.

(Honestly, if you want to read more, you can click here and here. But read what follows first.)

In this experience I became helplessly dependent on people around me. And they had to help me do things like walk me to the bathroom and pull my pants down for me. It was profoundly humbling. Far from home, an expatriate in the Middle East, I had no choice but to turn to people near me who were willing to help and receive what they could give.

These neighbors were God's gracious gift to this proud and self-dependent soul. We received meals, childcare, and ministering presences over this past week--none of which we could have planned. These "coincidences" awakened our little family to the reality that our Lord knows what we need and will give to us. He will.

Today, you may be facing physical pain, emotional turmoil, marital strife; or life for you might be rather cheery. Regardless, I know with confidence that our Lord is actively at work to provide for you.

But it might not be in the ways you want or expect. I never would have wanted what I've been through. But God opened my eyes to his provisions right in the middle of my pain. He gave me the eyes to see what he was giving me; the pain woke me up to his mighty hand of grace.

My priest prayed this prayer for me when this whole episode began, and I'd like to give it to you: I pray, Father, that you would give (your name) a clear perception of your grace today in the midst of the circumstances in which she finds herself. Let her know that your grace is sufficient, in whatever form it comes. Amen.

A clear perception of grace - that means having the eyes to see it: "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints..." (Eph. 1:18).

Open the eyes of our hearts, Lord. We want to see you. We know you are with us.

Dig Deeper: Pray the prayer above, and watch for God's hand at work today. Pay attention to the small things. Take the time to thank God--and the people he uses--for the ways his grace meets you today and everyday, even if it's not how you'd expect.

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Blogger Denise said...

Yes Lord, open the eyes of our hearts. Bless you dear for sharing this.

January 29, 2008 at 4:06 AM  
Blogger Belinda@upsidedownbee said...

May we all have the perception to see the abounding grace He gives us each day...from each breath we draw to the salvation He freely gives! Thanks, Laura. Feel better. B.

January 29, 2008 at 5:00 AM  
Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

"a clear perception of grace" - may that be our prayer.

Thanks for sharing even in the midst of your struggle.

January 29, 2008 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Joyce said...

Thank you. I learn about God's grace in new ways daily. I pray the next months will become better.

Love and Hugs,

January 29, 2008 at 10:43 AM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

His grace is always sufficient for whatever we are facing. I'm so thankful that He reminds us our need for Him regularly.

January 29, 2008 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Beth/Mom2TwoVikings said...

Wow, powerful! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's super-Laura! *wink* Actually, it's a Super God we serve, eh? Glad to know you are on the mend, kiddo. Take it easy!

January 29, 2008 at 3:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post - I can appreciate the fact that, as women, we struggle to let anyone minister to us on such a personal level!

January 29, 2008 at 4:38 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

Amen. Sometimes it's hard for us to see His grace at work in the midst of suffering. I have prayed for my husband in this manner today. Thank you for this profound and timely devotional. God bless, Cory

January 29, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

Oh Bless you honey! What an ordeal for you to go through.
I understand how difficult it is to ask for help - ever. I am the same way most of the time. Praise God, He knows what He's doing with us 'self reliant' types.
Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing what God has done. We need to be reminded.

January 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

God bless you.....Cindi

January 30, 2008 at 3:01 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Isn't it amazing that no matter where in the world we may roam that God is already THERE, ahead and behind us, providing sustenance and deliverance.

I pray you are recovering well and that you will allow God to give you rest through the servants He has raised up to help you.

Much love,


February 1, 2008 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger oh amanda said...

Great post, Laura. You took a concept/idea/word/act, "grace" that can seem so other-worldly and made it tangible!

I want to see His grace in my life!

February 1, 2008 at 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Laura,

You wrote this for me, didn't you? How could you have known that I have suffered chronic back pain for over 10 years to the tune of whining and complaining? How could you have known that I am too stubborn, proud, and independent to accept help from others (including God)? How could you have known that God would win this battle with my stubborn pride, incapcitate me at great length and force me to rely on others (and on Him)?

I've been so long embarrassed by my back trouble (that is worsening due to an auto accident) that I've grown angry to prevent my pride from further injury. But there is no pride that God cannot break - not in His children. Especially not a child of His who prays to be made humble.

And "humble" He will gladly give. God likes humble and God likes total dependence on Him. "His grace is sufficient" - it's a theme I'm learning to appreciate more and more.

Why do the stubborn have to suffer before this learn this genuine, valuable lesson? This is one chronic sufferer of back pain (discs herniated) that is truly blessed to have stumbled upon this article. It was no accident that I found this - I've never heard of CWO before today. Thank you for opening my eyes.

February 15, 2008 at 4:46 PM  

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