Category Archives: Isaiah 43

God’s Grace

I was definitely a target this past week, because hell came against me in all its fury.  Somehow I survived this week of being hit with one fiery dart after another after another.  It was non-stop, and it was draining.

 

And now I stop.  Because did I really just say “somehow”?  It’s not somehow.  It’s never somehow.  It’s never an unknown, nameless force.

 

It was grace.  It is always grace.

God’s amazing grace.

God’s uplifting grace.

God’s encouraging grace.

God's Grace

God’s grace.  It kept fists at my side when I was assaulted by a mistimed encounter with a disgruntled sibling.  Way too early in the morning.  Before I was ready for work, had breakfast, or was even fully dressed.  When the conversation was predicated with a repeated “I just have one quick question” – that was neither quick nor singular.

 

God’s grace.  It kept frustration at bay – and hopefully out of my voice – when a customer ripped into me about her dissatisfaction and demanded money back.  Without providing any information on who she was and what exactly happened.  She insisted on talking and expressing herself in demands without giving me much opportunity to speak.

 

God’s grace.  It kept insanity from bubbling over.  It said “get up” when several crazy things happened at one and I was completely overwhelmed.  When the screams inside my head threatened to expel from my lips and I felt my last good nerve snap because there were too many things at one time coming at me.

 

God’s grace.  It kept tongue in check when no one paid attention and then no one took responsibility for a call that should not have happened.  When the finger pointed in every other direction than toward self and it was always someone else’s fault.

 

God’s grace.  It stayed back exhaustion each night until I could get home safely and collapse into bed.

 

Because I know without a doubt that I would have imploded or just stayed in bed without the hope and uplift of God’s grace.  Because grace reminds me that God is wise beyond my own human understanding.  That God will help me find balance in the middle of my chaotic emotions and crazy reality.  That God loves me through all the messes, the meanies, and the wrong messages.  God’s grace.  So beautifully explained in Isaiah 43.

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me of His love unconditional and true.  “… I have called you by your name; You are Mine …” (1d-e).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me that He is always with me and will keep me safe within His purposes.  “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” (2).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me that I have a loving Savior who purposely chose me and has a great plan to redeem me.  “Fear not, for I have redeemed you … For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (1c, 3a-b).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me I am completely precious to God.  “Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you” (4a-c).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me that fear and frustration only invite darkness in and keep me from hope and peace that want to envelope me.  “Fear not, for I am with you” (5a).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me that I am uniquely and wonderfully made by His loving hands for His glorious purposes.  “Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him” (7).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me the impossible is never out of reach when I trust in the God of the impossible.  “Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea And a path through the mighty waters … I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.” (16, 19d-e).

 

God’s grace.  Which reminds me that there is always a new opportunity, a new possibility, and a new chance.  “Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?” (19a-c)

 

It’s grace.

It’s always grace.

When you think there isn’t another step you can take, grace nudges you forward.

When you think there is a word you have to say, grace encourages silence.

When you think your strength is gone, grace infuses you with a little more.

When you think there is no way out, grace shines a ray of hope through the darkness.

When you think God has forgotten you, grace whispers “never!”

When you think God’s love has run out, grace whispers “impossible!”

When you think God isn’t working for you, grace whispers “watch!”

 

So this past week reminded me the importance of leaning into grace.  It will get you through.

 

Marie Fremin.  4/29-4/30/17

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Lessons in Sickness

I have been sick.  It started last Friday, when I woke up in the middle of the night with my throat on fire.  Using the red pepper trick (put a pinch of red pepper in any liquid and drink up), I was able to go back to sleep with some relief.  But my symptoms spiraled, and I spent four days in bed with extreme congestion causing dizziness, coughing, fever, and a run on tissue.  I tried several over-the-counter remedies, popping allergy medicine as often I was conscious.  But there was no relief to be found – my head continued to pound, my nose continued to run, and my lungs continued to heave.

 

And why do I share my travails?  Because God is using them to teach me a few things.

lessons-in-sickness

I slept.  I took simple medicine.  I slept.  I took simple medicine.  See the pattern?  None of my attempts to make myself feel better gave me any kind of long-term or lasting relief.  I continued to be miserable, and nothing seemed to be getting better.  I may have gotten an hour or two of relief, but my symptoms quickly came back with a vengeance.

 

Just like things of this world will never satisfy us.  1 John 2:15-16 – “15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

 

We can run back to alcohol, to sex, to gossip, to self-pity, to money, to work, to food – again and again and again.  But what are we ultimately doing?  Giving ourselves temporary relief from our pain, our problems, and our pressures.  We are swallowing the pill of self-denial, thinking we will fill whatever hole is in our heart and ease any pain we are carrying.  But we are only giving ourselves momentary relief.  It is only when we allow God to have full access to our lives that we begin to find peace, joy, and ease.

lessons-in-sickness

Back to I slept.  Were the over-the-counter options the best that modern medicine had to offer?  Definitely not.  I had other options available to me.  One actually right at my fingertips.  I had a prescription for an antibiotic, one of the stronger ones available.  In my filing cabinet, ready and able to be filled.  Yet I allowed it to sit there, not pulling it out.  Why?  Was it stubbornness?  Was it laziness?  Was it denial?  Yes to all.  I allowed myself to go through four days of misery for no good reason.

 

Just as we allow our past and our mistakes to drag us down – and keep us there.  But God has a different plan for our lives.  He wants us to let go of our mistakes and choose to grab onto the grace He offers us.  Isaiah 43:18-19 – “18 “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. 19 Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.”

 

God doesn’t dwell on our past.  God doesn’t disqualify us because of our choices.  God doesn’t disown us because of our mistakes.  So stop denying yourself the right to be whole.  To be happy.  To be forgiven.  Stop pushing away God’s comfort.  Stop thinking you don’t deserve God’s goodness in your life.  Stop being stubborn and tuning out God’s grace.  Because God wants more for you than regret, pain, and suffering.  He wants freedom.  He wants peace.  He wants wholeness.

lessons-in-sickness

Again, back to I slept.  The whole time I did things my way, nothing got better.  I wasted at least four days being sick.  By my own stupidity.  Because the longer I refused to fill the prescription, the longer I suffered.  For no good reason.  Because without it, there was no relief to my agony.  Yet relief was within easy reach.

 

But I needlessly allowed myself to suffer – and it was no one’s fault but my own.  Because I had a solution to ease my sickness and I refused to utilize it.  Just like God has the solution to everything in our lives.  His presence!  Psalm 23:4 – “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

 

He is with us, no matter what is going on.  He is with us, no matter what choices we make.  He is with us, no matter which direction we go.  He is with us when we choose to handle things our way instead of His.  He is with us when we choose to tune Him out.  He is with us when we outright ignore Him.  Yet He is always ready to comfort us.  To guide us.  To heal us.  All He asks is that we turn to Him.  We choose Him.  We reach out to Him.  And He always leaves the choice up to us – hoping we will choose wisely.

lessons-in-sickness

One more time back to I slept.  What was crucial for those first four days?  Rest.  My body needed to be still.  My body needed to relax, even if just for a few minutes.  My body needed time with no activity to get to a healing place.  Because in rest I would find relief.  I would find peace.

 

But rest feels wrong in our busy is better society.  And we need to fight the urge to go and do and be every minute of every day.  Because we need to stop every once in a while.  Rest is crucial.  Rest is necessary.  Rest revitalizes.  Rest rejuvenates.  Rest refreshes.  Body, mind, thoughts, and emotions.

And God calls us to Himself to rest.  Matthew 11:28-30 – “28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

 

He beckons to us – come to Me to find refreshing.  Come to Me to find wisdom and direction.  Come to Me to find ease to your life.  Come to Me to exchange your busy for My rest.  Come humbly.  Come willingly.  Come often.  Just come to Me.  I am always here for you.  I am always waiting for you.  I will always embrace you.  I will always love you.

lessons-in-sickness

So I finally chose wisdom and got my prescription filled.  And because I did, I finally start to feel better, with relief lasting longer than a few hours.  Am I fully recovered?  Not quite.  Am I wiser for having gone through the experience?  Obviously.  Because God keeps showing me simple truths, reinforcing that He is always with me.  Even when I choose unwisely.  Because Paul’s prayer continues to be answered – “[that you] know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).  I may not be full of health in this moment, but I soon will be.  But I will ALWAYS be full of God’s grace, which will keep me and protect me no matter what I go through.

 

Marie Fremin, 1/14/179