Tag Archive | Lent

Divine Grace Experienced…

It was requested that parishioners write up their own experience of the Grace of God for a book for Lent. I agreed to do so and wanted to share my own experience here as well. Of course first I defined God’s Grace (like a good student)… I used the Wiki definition found HERE. The portion I used:

Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.

Now, I can’t say for certain it is the Grace of God that led me to the conclusions and actions below… but it is an experience I still hold as something akin to a release in order to receive.

The grace of God is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God. I have never felt that grace as much and as clearly as I did when we finally decided to move to Minnesota from Alberta, Canada. God’s grace is not what we deserve, but a reflection of what we need, what will help us to become a more whole person. It is this gift that myself and my husband fought so hard against.

For months we fought tooth and nail to stay in Canada with the friends, family and familiarity of life in my birth country. It was not until we released our wants and listened to the direction of God that we began our big move. When we let go, the grace of God allowed us to transition. With this grace the process which usually takes many months was completed in 2 weeks. Passports, packing, goodbyes and the journey were all seamlessly and successfully accomplished.

Without this laying of our worries and path at God’s feet we would not have been where we needed to to help my husband survive his worst bout of depression to date; not been nearby when others needed our help. Rather by the grace of God we were where we needed to be when we needed to be. This gift has enabled us to have a fuller life and is a blessing.

This is what I have given to my church to share, and now given to you to also have a read. I think that no matter what we like to put some sort of reason or structure to chaos. Reason to the unknown, reality to the unreal. All I can say is, right now, I am here where I seem to need to be. Who knows what the future brings. DSCN1565[1]

Are You Where You NEED To Be?

I know that during Lent a lot of people give up something for the season. I have done so in the past. The discussions that seem arise from this practice online and in person as a result have brought me to wonder about the question of wants vs. needs. In moving down to Minnesota from Alberta Ken and I had to face straight on the question of what we want to have vs what is absolutely needed. In the final cut of our own worldly possessions we discarded over 3/4 of them as wants and kept a storage unit and a van full of needs.

It is very humbling to realize how much baggage, both figuratively and physically we collect in our travels through life. We look to others and compare, what they have, how simple their life looks, how easily their wants and needs are met and in doing so we lose track of what we have and truly need.

Ken and I fought for many years to remain in Canada, through his illness and the result of that, through instances that were born out of circumstances both out of our control and a result of choices made with the best of intentions. It was in the process of STOPPING, PRAYING and THINKING QUIETLY that I realized as did Ken, that our problem was not a lack of will or intent but a lack of listening. We were ignoring the signs (out of hope and faith in things working out) that we were NOT where we NEEDED to be but where we WANTED to be.

In letting go of the wants and letting the needs sort themselves out in front of us the path we needed to take opened up. There were sacrifices, good byes, decisions to be made and processes to begin but they occurred and in good order (how often do people manage to decide and up and go to the US in a little over 2 weeks without major issues??). I must admit, the lining up of all those little ducks and the ease of the process further opened up my heart and mind to the fact that this rather large and all encompassing decision was the RIGHT one.

We started to realize that we WERE where we NEEDED to be at the right times. Echo is now 100% heart healthy because we fought as hard as we did, the children experienced many “Canadian” things as we made our move possible through being where we needed to be… good byes not normally possible were said and gifts were given all as a result of our listening with our entire selves to what the world was telling us.

Now that is not to say that in decreasing the clutter, admitting the needs and making the move we did has made everything simple. We still need to work towards our own permanent residence and my permanent status, get the kids their dual and set down those very necessary roots in faith, friends, family and schooling… but the path is much less scary.

What this process has done is opened up my mind to how much I have held onto… how many worries, bad feelings and even physical things that really, in the long rung will do me no good. Instead I have been able to start fresh in some instances… we are planning our new home with the intent to buy what is NEEDED and not create a house full of selfish wants. We are teaching our children that major change can be an adventure and that starting fresh is not the end of the world. We are creating stability in a world where stability must, in the end, come from within.

What I challenge you to do is this, in some facet of your life where you have great dissatisfaction ask yourself – is this where I NEED to be, is this what I NEED to have, or is this just a question of wants? Where needs are satisfied the heart can have some peace. Lets those wants come when it is possible for them to be fulfilled or let them fall to the wayside. I am going to continue with this hope and prayer for the rest of my life. The path I am walking has never been the simplest – we imported Ken, the twins born so early, downsizing, health concerns, etc etc. but the future is bright because we are continuing to create a life that fulfills needs and in time will allow us to enjoy some of those wants.

The true challenge is to find joy in who you are with and what you have beyond all things. (Gavin left)