I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life. [1 John 5:13]

Friday, September 25, 2009

Easy Yoke, Light Burden and Sufficient Grace

Two days after making my last post our lives changed dramatically. On Friday, Sept. 18, my mother-in-law suffered an ischemic stroke. To say we have been on a roller-coaster ride in the past week would be an understatement! We have literally lived at the hospital, and in the past two days at the assisted living facility where she will be staying for some indeterminate length of time. We have been away from her to work, to change clothes and sleep and little more.

Last Friday morning when we got up, we had a long, long, long list of all the very important things we had been putting off and absolutely needed to get done by Sunday in anticipation of the week ahead.

Our family was anticipating with great joy and excitement and reveling in God's blessings upon our lives as we looked to the week ahead: Second wedding anniversary of our beautiful daughter and wonderful son-in-law; my birthday, our son's victorious graduation from Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, my husband having been offered a full-time job after more than 2 years of working multiple part-time jobs simultaneously while looking for full-time employment. We had planned a marvelous, joyous, yes, perhaps even a bit rowdy, family celebration this weekend!

Since shortly before our daughter's wedding we have been through a refining process. My husband was laid off from his job. I wasn't working full time. We had planned that I would be able to pursue my writing full time. But God decided we needed further refining in order to fulfill His plans for us. That's how we have viewed it. I went back to work--we needed health insurance and a steady, assured minimum income. We offered up to God all of our desires and dreams, all of our hopes and plans, even our very survival. There were days, weeks, months where it was our absolute and complete reliance upon God alone that allowed us to make it at all.

These were not only lean years financially, they were lean in terms of our control over circumstances--very literally we hung by a thread for a long time, hoping, praying, trusting, and ultimately believing without question or hesitation that God held our very lives in the palm of His hand and that he would sustain us. We were ready to accept whatever He planned for us - even losing everything we owned. We knew that He would provide for us what we truly needed and that He would never leave us on our own. And we were okay because we had our family and our faith.

We had learned to rejoice, even in our adversity, lack of financial security, lack of certainty about what the future held. God's grace transformed our lacking by the world's standards into an attitude of abundance only possible through belief in Jesus Christ. And our faith has grown strong and deep roots. And God has refined us and reworked and reshaped and revitalized us. And we have rejoiced that He has considered us worthy of His time and effort.

His yoke became easy and His burden light. Then Audrey had a stroke.

I could write a book about just the past week. Some of it, no one would even believe. Some of it would be just too hard to relive in the writing of it. Some of it, God isn't done using to teach us about yet. But this much we know: All of it is written in God's book of plans for Audrey and for us. He is in it all and He is in control. And we rejoice in that! We are grateful for Jesus' easy yoke and light burden. We continue to rejoice in all the "worse case scenarios" that could have played out that didn't -- not just for Audrey but for us in the past two years -- no, for us in the past 50+ years we have been alive.

One week out: we are grateful beyond expression for God's grace and mercy. We rejoice that He is in control and we are thankful for the prayers and expressions of kindness from friends and strangers regarding Audrey. We don't know the prognosis for Audrey, beyond our assurance that she will one day be in heaven - and hopefully, we will be there too. Until then, we are leaning on God and relying upon His strength, trusting in His mercy, rejoicing in His grace and coveting prayers on her behalf and ours. Oh, and we're going to have that family celebration:-)

"Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you" (Philippians 3:1 NIV).

"But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:13 NIV).

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4 NIV)!

Blessings on your journey


Andrea said...

Praying with you and praising GOD as you soak in HIS blessings. Thanks for being a faithful witness to each of us.

Alleluiabelle said...

Dear Sister,

My thoughts and prayers are with you, your husband and your mother-in-law.

Our lives sound similar and we still rejoice and have peace because of His amazing grace, love and tender mercies. Oh what a mighty God we have!

Peace, Blessings, Love & Hugs,

RCUBEs said...

Sorry to hear about your MIL. Praying for His healing, comfort, strength to cover her and all of you.

Your post reflected a trusting heart in Jesus. That no matter what circumstances you are facing, you remain joyful because of His love and grace. God bless you sister Mary and may the Lord keep you.