Saturday, February 28, 2015

By the Grace of God I am what I am.....

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At some point in my journey over the years I lost a piece of luggage.  The bag contained expectation, jealousy, bitterness, frustration and a few trinkets I collected along my way.  From time to time, usually a holiday, birthday or family gathering, I would set up camp and unpack my bag.  Upon arrival I would pull out one of my prized possessions.  It was my very own bottle of  "What about Me?". It's fragrance was bitter.  Almost smelled like dandelions and grapefruit. I unfolded expectation and wrapped that garment tightly around my shoulders.  I had worn this so much that I could no longer remember it's original color. Jealousy dangled on my chest close to my heart.  It was cold to touch and didn't feel pleasant.  But I thought it looked nice so I wore it on occasion.  Bitterness fit like a glove. When adorning it I realized that it never prevented me from doing my tasks.  At times, when overwhelmed in self pity, it helped me get the job done.  And one of the last items in the bag was my red hot pair of frustration.  I am not sure where I picked them up.  But I would look in the mirror, shed a few tears, and place them forcefully in each ear.

 Once decorated with all these "goodies" I would enter a room waiting to be noticed.  I had sprayed "What about Me" on so heavy that I thought family and friends would be able to smell me from a mile away.  As I rounded the room my life long garment of expectation became unraveled and almost fell off my shoulders.  Nobody seemed to notice how important this wrap was to me.  All those around me were consumed by another element.  Some watched the comings and goings with a smile.  Others had a flair for being the center of attention. Me, I just wanted someone to help me with my expectation.  Each time I tried to flip expectation around my shoulders I would feel the harsh beating of jealousy pounded forcefully on my chest.  It pierced my heart.  I would find myself running to find a task that could make bitterness useful.  From time to time someone would comment on the gems that hung from my ears.  It seemed that my pair red hot frustration was an attention grabber.

One evening, after a few "woe is me" tears, I began praying.  Why is it that I have such a tight hold on expectation?  I have become so obsessed with it that I started to wear it every day.  Lord, by your grace, help me to enjoy life's moments.  Give me strength to smile in this journey.  Remove this pendant of jealousy. And soften my hard heart.  Give me a desire to do for others and replace these bitter hands with the hands of a servant instead. Quiet my mind Lord.  Take my red hot frustration and give me peace.

The following morning I got up and lightly draped expectation over my shoulders.  Went to my dresser and reached for jealousy.  But something that I had had for years grabbed my attention instead.  I gently placed "By Grace Alone" around my neck. I couldn't seem to find my bottle of "What about ME".  So, I dabbed a little essential oil called "H.Spirit" behind my ears and proceeded to go about my day.

That evening I realized that I must have dropped my expectation at some point in the day.  I was sad at first but realized that the day was less cumbersome without it.  I had this joy in my heart that was
indescribable.  My heart also seemed lighter and I had a greater desire to do for others. And I also noticed this aroma as I sat down to reflect on my day.  Normally I would get a whiff of bitterness.  But this evening was sweet and very aromatic.  I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.  And found myself singing, "By the Grace of God I am what I am".  As my family ate the meal I prepared I sat back and smiled.

In hind sight I don't know how, where or when I lost the contents of that bag.  But I can't seem to locate most of them.  One thing is certain I have discovered that my trip has been much less cluttered and less restricted with out that bag.   God is truly faithful to answer prayer.  He is my comforter, my rock, my protector, my All in All. And over the past few years I have truly discovered that "By the Grace of God I am what I am. and His grace to me was not without effect.  No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."~1 Corinthians 15:10