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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Grace Under Fire

Is not just a TV show. It is real life.

I never watched the TV show...but I have lived the life. Grace under fire.

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

Grace is the presence, favor and power of God. God's grace and power are clearly visible in a profound, irrefutable way while we are in the midst of our tribulations. In the middle of our weakness God comes in with His awesomeness....and just blows the lid off the situation....sometimes.....
And then sometimes we are instructed to wait....

"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord." Psalm 27:13-14

Just after the Christmas feasts were consumed all around us, my family watched as my sister, Wanda's breathing became more and more difficult. Swallowing was next to impossible except in very small amounts. That verse is what my sister, Wanda has been praying. Claiming a tight hold on. We each have our own...for the different times of our lives. You probably do as well. I have held this one as well. What is so odd....or maybe not, Wanda had been praying this "strengthen thine heart" prayer... and one of the doctors stated-seemingly in amazement "for the condition she is in, her heart is surprisingly strong".

No surprise to God. We have each been on our faces before the throne of heaven--- He has strengthened her heart. As He has ours, as we have all watched. And waited. And trusted.

The neatest thing happened a few weeks ago. We have accepted the fact that Wanda may be on oxygen for a while, and my friend (the seamstress---crafty creator of all things fabric, Vivi--aaahhnnnne--as I pronounce it with extreme Southerness), has gladly accepted the task of creating Wanda a "Vera Bradley" -look alike- purse with matching oxygen tank cover. We had discussed that morning, the need for measurements for the tank cover. Hmmmm. My brother, Charlie works with a medical supply company that places equipment in homes. However, I didn't have time to call him and give him a full explanation---[which he'd want]---before he measured anything---[since he's a guy and all].

Anyway (I feel myself chasing a rabbit here), shortly after I had hung up the phone with Vivi--aaahhnnne (sorry, I must do that each time--I am from the South!), a client walked in that had been in before. Wait for it----- she ---- had ---- her very own ----- oxygen tank! Now how like God is that! I greeted her in my "officie, cordial way" and then said, "Mrs. Smith (not her real name), I have a crazy question for you"---she smiled---"I would like to measure your oxygen tank". She kind of chuckled and said "why, sure". As I got my tape measure, I began to explain the situation with my sister, Wanda. I gave her the short version. Ending with the fact that when she was allowed to come home, she would be on oxygen. I explained the need for her to feel as stylish as possible while breathing!

I gave her a bit of information of the severity of Wanda's condition, ending with the fact that we really were praying for a miracle in her life. She looked me straight in the eye and said, "honey, don't you discount what God can do". Her face was very solemn.

I replied, "No 'mam, we don't. We have witnessed miracles before as she has faced death head on and the Lord brought her out. We fully expect God to turn this situation around."

She began to describe to me her own heart/lung condition. Her heart was enlarged and had compressed one lung almost closed. Her heart was growing larger and was now starting to compress the other lung. I would have not guessed this at all. She drove herself to our law office. She came in with her tank, purse and brief case. She was very stylish and extremely sweet natured. She told me that in 1991 two of her doctors, her cardiologist and her internist, gave her instructions to get her affairs in order and be swift about it! As she told me this I felt the tears and the excitement in me stir. I felt she was sent by God. She was told that in 1991. Girls (and any fellows that may be reading), it's 2008 in case you forgot. See what God can do? Miracles. This precious lady has lived "grace under fire".

I am quite certain that we can each name a place of grace in the midst of a burdensome trial. One so heavy that we crumpled under the load. But with His power, He reached down and relieved us of that burden as we each came to the realization that we could not carry on without Him. And we can't. I can point you to scripture verses, show you places on the floor where I buried my head crying out to Abba Father, and take you to the place where God "did the work" in my own heart and life in critical times.

Since Wanda was released...we have been meeting in her living room for Bible Study each Wednesday night. We are studying the Beth Moore series called "Stepping Up". What a study! Can I say, "perfect timing"? But then, God's timing is always perfect. So let me offer you a bit of encouragement, if you're stuck in a situation that there seems no way out---look up. He's there. Or, if you feel like you have held on as long as you possibly can....let go. He is waiting on us. He's been there the whole see, if He did it all---without us ever asking----would we learn? Would we learn to trust? Would we learn to believe without doubting? Would we still struggle for days, months, and sometimes years with the problem before we let go and handed it over? Hand it over sister. It's past time. Walk out of the fire and into His grace....marvelous grace.

Father, in the precious name of Your only Son, I pray right now that each and every reader of this post will feel Your mighty power flow through their spirit. If they know You in their heart, please encourage them. If they don't know You, please allow them to feel the tug in their heart that each of us felt as we came to the place in our lives that we knew we couldn't do it alone. Lord, we give You us. Just as we are. Right now. Help us. Use us. Enable us to be what You desire. Show us where to turn in every situation. Guide and direct our lives. Be glorified in our lives. Everyday. May each of us feel Your presence as I felt it when You directed that sweet lady into my path. Thank You Lord for that. You are awesome in Your grace. In Your sweet name I pray---believing---trusting----~Amen.

I feel like I have worked on this post as the Lord has worked on me. It has been lengthy...if you stayed around for the very last hat's off to you! If you skipped through it...sorry, but growing in grace is sometimes a lengthy process. At least for me it has been. I am a somewhat slow learner at times. I pray that you are blessed in your journey with Christ. If you have not started on that journey yet, I encourage you to scroll down on the page and find the "READY" button on the sidebar. Meet Him. Your life will never be the same. The fiery trials of life will still be around, but this time you will have Someone that will be your Rescue Team. Be blessed!

Come by for a visit!

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Blogger Darnelle said...

Your sister is very blessed to have family so devoted to her. You guys are true servants.
I am praying!

February 6, 2008 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

I appreciate you sharing yourself and your family with me. I have been in similar circumstances with my brother and my mom. God bless you, your sister and your families! Cindi

February 6, 2008 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger Mary Lou said...

What a blessing. Loved every word of it...thank you for sharing. I know of one dear Sister who is in a situation that there is no way out and her faith and encouragement blows me away every time.....haven't been in a physical situation like this but I'm in another kind that seems neverending and no way out. He is coming to meet me as I seek His face and His grace is truly sufficent for the day each and every day....Blessings on you and your family. Your sister is very blessed to have a family such as yours...Mary Lou at dlowran1(at)comcast(dot)net

February 6, 2008 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Your sister is very blessed to have you by her side. May you always be blessed with grace overflowing in your life. I love you my friend.,

February 6, 2008 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Heather@Mommymonk said...

Angie thanks for sharing that story. It brought tears to my eyes. God is awesome.

February 6, 2008 at 12:48 PM  
Blogger lori said...

I READ the WHOLE thing and I'm filled with tears too....
they started early on....but then really welled up with....
"One so heavy that we crumpled under the load. But with His power, He reached down and relieved us of that burden as we each came to the realization that we could not carry on without Him."

ahhh...I'm tearing up again....
that was beautiful and passionate, just like grace....
you and your beautiful heart did it again....
blessed me!
hugs, and prayers for wanda!

February 6, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Yes! Yes! What a powerful message! "Hand it over, sister!" Thank you. God bless you!

Wanda is in my prayers.

February 6, 2008 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...


Wow, Grace Under Fire.... I understand this too well as do you my friend.

Praying for your dear sister. Love you

February 6, 2008 at 10:00 PM  
Blogger Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I love how God sends little reminders to us like that. He cares about her fancy oxygen tank. Cuz if YOU care about it, and he loves Wanda so much more than even you do - then GOD cares about it too. And if He is in charge of her gussied up oxygen tank, then He is *certainly* in charge of her health.

He's such a sweet God, to not let yall forget that.

February 7, 2008 at 12:01 AM  

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