The Grace-Giver Gives and Gives and Gives Again

“He giveth and giveth and giveth again.”

Words I still hear in my mind from a cassette tape many years ago. Darlene Rose, a missionary in Papua New Guinea during and after WWII, suffered in a Japanese prison camp for four years and lived to testify of the power of God’s grace. Through torture, death threats, and her husband’s death in another prison, Darlene continued to place all her hope in Jesus. He was the Grace-Giver she constantly cried out to. And He repeatedly reminded her that His grace is sufficient. Not was. Not will be. But IS.

Through all our troubles in life, whatever they may be, we need and have the same Grace-Giver. When we’re sinking in the midst of troubles and losses, we can’t always see God in them. But often in hindsight, we can see He gives and gives and gives again. Far above what we ask or think, His limitless grace sustains us and makes it possible for us to survive.

A couple of weeks ago, triggered emotions of pain and betrayal ran deep and threatened to drown me.

I longed to walk in God’s creation, a place of rest God has often used to comfort me and remind me He is Almighty and still in control, but the air was too cold for me. Then God gave us a warmer day and I headed to one of my favorite areas on the bike trail.

As I walked, I asked God for a deer, but I quickly withdrew my request – “I’m so sorry, God, if I’m being unthankful. You already showed me a butterfly. Thank You!”

Several steps further, my heart stilled in awe. A deer! Thank You, Lord!

Jets thundered overhead, and she gracefully leaped over the brush into the safety of the woods nearby.

My heart, too, was longing for refuge from the thunder of my emotions. Oh, how I ached to leap into God’s arms.

I headed over the bridge and sat down on a bench and begged God to bring truth to light and to take my fear away. This heart-wrenching fear for victims of abuse.

“I am the Truth… I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” He whispered. He assured me that if I open my heart to be filled by Him who is Truth, I need not fear what happens. I just need to listen for the voice of Truth Himself who has the power to reach every single person in this world.

The lyrics of a song by Casting Crowns began to play in my heart and continued often through the coming days:

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory…”

Victims all over this world are silenced and not believed, afraid and devastated beyond what many can ever understand. But God who is Truth Himself remains and knows what’s true. He cares and understands us more than anyone ever will. He sees every single tear that falls, and He cries with us.

His unlimited grace pours out to hurting souls. This moment. Right now. No matter what we have lost. No matter how dark and lonely we feel. No matter what anyone thinks or says of us.

We may not always feel like His grace reaches us, but often in hindsight we see His steps of grace all along the way. Lighting our way in the dark, carrying us when we are too weak to walk on, and breathing hope into us when we feel like giving up.

Yes, the Grace-Giver gives and gives and gives again. He invites us to tap into His powerful love that heals us. And even when we waver and doubt, He still keeps giving us His strength to keep going. His grace IS sufficient. Not was. Not will be. But IS.

“But He said to me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you,
for My power is made perfect in weakness.'”
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Jesus answered,
‘I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
John 14:6
“Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32

“Voice of Truth”
by Casting Crowns

Hope and Strength When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

Negative voices piercing me, backing me into a corner, knocking the wind out of my sails. Satan worked furiously this summer to bring to my remembrance voices and actions from past abuse, slander, and hurts that tell me I’m not enough and I will never be enough.

It’s hard to keep fighting sometimes, isn’t it? To not believe lies that are so rooted in us? To reach for and cling to our identity in Christ Jesus who tells us we will always be enough in Him?

Also this summer, I visited a new pulmonologist, and I was so thrilled that I didn’t get a bronchial infection for two months. Thank You, God! Surely He must be blessing the new treatment…

Bang! Those hopes deflated like a popped balloon. A chronic bronchitis bout hit me extra hard throughout August. Thrown into a tizzy again, I questioned God’s wisdom… Why, God? 

It can be so hard to surrender our plans into His, can’t it?

I began to feel even more useless, and I fell headlong into the comparison trap. I was so envious of other people’s energy and how much God uses them. Defeated and drained of energy, physically and emotionally, it was hard to fight that “poor me” syndrome.

God so often rescues me from my selfishness and despondency. I’m baffled at His endless patience with me.

A blogging friend shared a new book that was exactly what God knew I needed. The first devotion was headed by a verse that God has often used to give me strength to refute those condemning lies. A verse I’ve been forgetting to take to heart lately…

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

As I read on, the second devotion sent a soothing balm to my troubled soul as I read how sickness and exhaustion never diminishes the work of God in our lives. Each of us has an inherent value as an image-bearer of God Himself. (Always Enough, Never Too Much: 100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and Start Living Wild and Free)

You, too, have inherent value, deeply rooted in our Creator who fashioned us after His own image. No matter what you’re going through or what anyone says of you, God never condemns you. If negative thoughts are condemning us, it’s not coming from our Savior who has borne all condemnation for us so we can be set free.

Rather than condemning us, He opens His arms wide and invites us into His cleansing grace when we mess up or fail, His strength when we are weak and helpless, and His healing love when we are broken and afraid.

No, we will never be enough in ourselves, will we? We so desperately need Jesus to fill our emptiness. We need Him to breathe strength, hope, and life into our souls each and every moment.

“For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

The Lord willing, I will continue to post every Tuesday. However, I am still wrestling with balance. I need to put less pressure on myself here. If there are other needs pressing me or overwhelming me, whether in my family, around me, or otherwise, I need to let go and tell myself it’s ok if I post something shorter or don’t post at all.

But please know that whether or not I post, you’re always welcome to share your heart in the comments of any blog post or through my email. I would love to pray for you and with you. Above all, remember God is available 24/7. There is no better place for us to go with our hurts than to Him and His loving and compassionate heart. May He fill you with His love and hope!

How was your summer?
Did deep hurts sometimes feel like they would consume you?
Is there a Bible verse/promise that fills you with hope?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!

“YOU SAY”
by Lauren Daigle

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe…”

Jesus’ Suffering Became Our Healing

“But He was hurt because of us; He suffered so.
Our wrongdoing wounded and crushed Him.
He endured the breaking that made us whole.
The injuries He suffered became our healing.”
Isaiah 53:5 Voice

Have you been hurt in your life? Is your pain so deep it takes your breath away? Do you feel like you’ll never climb out of the dungeon of darkness? Hopeless. Helpless. Alone.

Abuse of any kind can cause deep pain and devastation in our hearts and lives. We can even wonder where God was or is. It can take a lifetime of healing.

I was confused and distrustful of God for many years. But now I know and believe He would never, ever hurt us like that. He would never, ever abuse us in the name of love. He would never, ever steal our voices and grind the very essence of who we are into the dirt as if we are a good-for-nothing.

The older I get and the deeper He heals me, I see how He held me through it even when I didn’t see it at the time. The more He fills me with His love and grace, the more I see He values me. My identity is not in past abuse but in Jesus. And He alone practices the true meaning of love, because He is love Himself.

When people don’t believe us and slander us, God knows the truth and He will never, ever turn away from us. When people reject us and ostracize us, God will never, ever abandon us. When people judge and condemn us, God will never, ever condemn us.

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:28

Who has hurt you in your life? Who has treated you with disrespect and disdain? Who has ground your voice and the essence of who you are into the dirt?

God knows. God cares. God understands.

There is no one who has been wronged more than Jesus. There is not one thing we have suffered in life that He hasn’t experienced Himself. Can you see Jesus suffering under the load of our sin and the sin of those who have hurt us? The staff hammering down and piercing the crown of thorns into His head, the whip slashing open his skin, the slander, the mocking, the desertion of those He loves, the stripping and nakedness for all to see, the stretching of His body against the nails pounded into His hands and feet, forsaken by His Father, descended into hell. And oh, so much more than we can ever put in words. We can’t begin to describe the pain He endured. If we put the suffering of all mankind together, it would not even be a drop in the bottomless ocean of suffering He endured. And He did it for us!

He was broken so we could be healed. Isn’t that amazing?! If He didn’t count us as valuable treasures, He wouldn’t have done this for us. If He hadn’t done this, there would be no love. No grace. No hope. Ever.

It takes a fathomless love to suffer unspeakable agony like He endured. Not for Himself, but for us. Because of Him and what He suffered, there will always be hope for the hopeless. Healing for the broken. Strength for the helpless.

The Lord
who made you
knows just what you need.
The Lord
who heals you
knows just where you hurt.
The Lord
who loves you
knows just what to do.

(From the front of a greeting card)

“When Life Gets Broken”
by Sandi Patty