Saturday, July 13, 2013

Extra Grace Required

2 Corinthians 12:9
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

 Have you ever heard the phrase "EGR?"  I heard this phrase from another Christ follower in early adulthood.  At that point in my life I was following Christ, but looking back now, I was a fairly immature believer.  The phrase was meant to point out the people in our lives who were, shall I say, a bit quirky.  You know what I mean, the person who might seem awkward at care group or that special someone who always seems to have "issues."

Among my friends we would throw in "They are an EGR," as we referred to that person.  Meaning that there was extra grace required when talking with or spending time with them.  We all thought it was kind of funny and was a better way than saying we thought they were weird.

At that time in my life I was a young mom with several little ones.  When I look back at my prayer journals at the time I almost laugh at the things I had listed as "challenges" in need of prayer.  I am sure that my view of God was fairly shallow.  I am so glad that God did not leave me in that shallow, selfish  place.  He is so kind and full of grace that He waited to push me into a deeper knowledge of His power when I was ready.  Actually, I wasn't ready.  But I began to pray that God would  show me more of Himself and He did not disappoint.

 Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive 
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

As I continued to walk through my adult years I began to experience deep hurt, loss and pain through many circumstances.  It is amazing how God uses pain, suffering and loss to draw us to Himself.  It is in that time of need that He makes himself known in amazing ways.  The pain and hurt grow us and mature us in ways that times of ease cannot.  This kind of growth can also help us to see others through the eyes of Christ.

Christ made every single person on this planet.  He has a plan and a purpose for us all and He does not prefer one of us over the other.  I know this may seem like Christian Ethics 101, but I think we can get caught up in life and forget these very powerful truths.

There are many ways that God shook my world to draw me close to Him.  Looking back I am so thankful.  But I do not believe that anyone enjoys the process of refining that pain and struggle can take us through.

As I matured in Christ, my heart for the helpless began to grow.  The EGR's in my world became wonderful friends.  I actually began to seek out those who looked a little lost or in need of a friendly ear.  I began to teach my children to do the same.

Then our whole family answered the call to adopt.  We were so excited!!  It is an amazing feeling when you know you are walking in the path God has chosen for you.  Not everyone in our circle understood this calling.  We were met with many questions and concerns.  We admitted that we also had questions and concerns, but believed that God would equip us for this step of obedience.

We read books and took hours of training to prepare us for these precious people that God had chosen for our family.  We had expectations of what the transition into our home might look like.  We prepared ourselves to be amazed at the work of God.

Then we flew on a plane to meet our newest little additions.

The transition at home began and was much like we expected.  It was very hard bonding with two little ones who were scared and confused and mad.  But we continued forward knowing that this was part of the process.

Then one year and then two went by and things were a bit different than the first months, but still very hard.  I found myself wanting to take all of the prayer request time at care group because I felt like I was drowning.  I didn't understand what was happening and why it wasn't getting better.  I knew God was good and faithful and full of that wonderful grace, but where was it?

My heart hurt.

I cried out to God asking for Him to move on behalf of my precious little ones who were hurting so badly.  I knew that I couldn't repair their brokenness.  The only person who could do it was God.

I began taking them to attachment therapy.  I asked anyone who would listen to pray.  I read God's word searching for truth, hope and more of that wonderful grace.

Ephesians 2:8
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Through the past three and a half years I have seen God move in absolutely amazing ways.  The difficulties that our family experiences on a daily basis are growing us in ways that never could have happened if we had not answered that call from God.

Our family is quite different from the average family.  I am not referring to the beautiful chocolate brown little ones or the fact that we have half a dozen kiddos... I am referring to some of the ways we parent our little ones that the "world" doesn't understand, but we know it is what is best for them.
One of our little ones is still struggling to trust and open his heart to real love.

But that little one has given me the incredible privilege of truly loving like Christ.  I am rejected on a daily basis and I have learned to see my little EGR as the most precious being that God ever created.
I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.  Yes, I do hope that God will heal his little broken heart, but aren't we all broken?

I hope that when God looks at me I have a big EGR next to my name.  I want Him to pour all of His Extra Grace on me.  I sure need it!

Sweet Momma

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