Grace upon Grace

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by Dannielle Johnson

Remember this – had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there. – Spurgeon

graceGrace is in every crack and crevice of my life. It’s like water, always finding a way in, always working down deeper into places in my heart I didn’t even know were vulnerable. Then as my heart gets cold, the grace expands, cracks me open, and makes more room for grace. And every once in a while I get moments where I can look back and see it in every breath along the way.

I got married later than I thought I would. It wasn’t in my timeline to get married at 26. And I almost married the wrong man because I was so desperate to not be single anymore. I chose all the wrong men for me, and stumbled through relationships that pummeled my heart with impermanence.

BUT God chose someone better for me. And God prepared him to be my husband. And God knit our hearts together in miraculous ways that only God can.

I used to beg God for pregnancy. Every month I would weep with the confirmation that once again I did not have life growing in my belly. I read about barren women in the Bible with profound understanding. I got their urgency and desperation. I got their willingness to do whatever it took, even things outside of what God told them to do. It made sense to me. The ache made me bitter. Was God punishing me for some earlier indiscretions in my life? Did he make my body broken just to mess with me and make my marriage harder? Oh, the bitterness of my heart!

BUT God knew there would come a day when I couldn’t take care of myself. God knew there would be days when my husband would carry me to bed like a child because I couldn’t move. God knew what was coming, and in his mercy didn’t give me children.

I was sure with everything in me that we were adopting a beautiful 12 year old girl. I knew she was mine. I prepared her room, and my heart for her imminent arrival. I waited with joy and hope. Then things got complicated. And we heard conflicting stories. And she turned 13, then 14. And we finally had to face to truth, she wasn’t coming home. I took her beautiful bed apart and it felt like my heart came apart in big chunks as well. I struggled with the goodness of God. I know that God is sovereign, but I had to preach to myself that God is good. It just didn’t make sense! There are too many unanswered questions. There is still the place in my heart that loves a girl I will never meet.

BUT God knows intimately every breath of my life, and has planned them all perfectly for my good because of the great love with which he has loved me. He knows I have questions that may never have answers in my lifetime, but he lets me ask them anyway. He knows how my heart aches for children, and has blessed me with dozens of kids who are so woven into my heart I rejoice in their every triumph, and weep over their broken hearts. And yet I don’t have to care for them every moment of every day.

And now I have doctors telling me there is a tumor growing in my neck. It’s messing with my nerves, and disrupting blood flow, and generally wreaking havoc. I sat in a room waiting for a woman to deliver bad news to me, and the immediate outpouring of my heart was “Jesus, I trust you.” I laid in the MRI tube trying not to panic, and God caused me to remember his attributes, who he is to me, and my heart became so peaceful I was able to sleep. I struggle to swallow and God reminds me of  sweet little boy I know who has trouble swallowing for totally different reasons, and I pray for him. My heart starts to worry about the future, and surgery, and tumor location, and then I hear my voice singing “Great is Thy Faithfulness” without my even thinking to do so.

This is grace upon grace.

God has given me the husband he made for me to comfort, protect, guide, and pray for me. When I am afraid, he reminds me that God is my refuge and strength. When he is afraid, I can remind him that God is good, and sovereign. We’re on this road together, hand in hand.

Sweet grace.

In times when my hands are numb, or my legs won’t work, I thank God that I don’t have babies to hold, or toddlers to chase. When I realized I shouldn’t drive in the afternoons, I thanked God that I didn’t have kids to pick up from school. My heart still aches for kids in my home, but I am so comforted by God’s perfect timing. And my sweet church kids give me hugs on Sundays, and send me emails that they are praying for healing and trust in God for me, and bring laughter to my heart.

Precious grace.

I’m more forgetful than ever right now, but God brings to mind songs I learned as a child that are Bible truth. Scripture I didn’t even know I had memorized pops into my head and just the right moments of desperation. Friends text me reminders of God’s love and faithfulness right in the midst of my fearfulness. All the added stresses and fears that I pile on my weak heart, God lays on the hearts of sweet friends to take care of for me. Others are bearing burdens for me in real and tangible ways.

Inexplicable grace.

Undeniable grace.

Pervasive grace.

Grace upon grace.

by Danielle Johnson

Posted with permission from Danielle’s blog Randomness of D

 

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