What is even MORE interesting to me...or astounding...is how good God is during those absolutely rocky times where we feel like nothing is permanent, nothing is stable, nothing is, indeed, good. Why I'm shocked by that makes me feel a bit like a bad Christian...but 100% human at the same time. Needless to say, its a humbling reminder of God's grace, and His mercy. Pastor Brenda just spoke last week on "Authentic Faith." The whole sermon really spoke to me...but the best part of it was this: the differences between grace and mercy...because that has always been a conundrum to me. What WAS the difference? Well, here you are:
Mercy: the assurance that God will never allow life to be more than I can handle (excellent!)
Grace: power for the moment...in the moment...through the moment (awesome!)
When we walk in obedience to Christ, He won't give us more than we can handle. And in that, we feel incredibly blessed. So...as our family walks through this maze of emotions, circumstances, and ups and downs...we know this: as we humble ourselves before Christ...He does give us grace and mercy to continue on. I don't know any better promise!
What I want to share with you are some unbelievably tangible times that God has shown me his grace and mercy in moments of difficulty. (And please understand...by no means do I think that blessings always come in the form of something with monetary value, but I do believe that God always knows what our needs are...and fulfills them through the obedience and love of others.) For all of these things...we are truly thankful:
- Sarah and Matt Habuda and Connie and Gary Weimer: without your selflessness...we weren't sure how we were going to be able to see Joshua in February. I love you ALL beyond belief for making this possible for us. Your constant prayers, emails and phone calls at just the right time *wink* have been life-saving. You are truly forever friends.
- Rachel Carpenter: Your authentic friendship allows me to truly be myself, share myself and process all of my emotions freely. I am unbelievably grateful for Jesus piecing our friendship together over the years. Oh...and I'm thankful for my second husband, too! *wink* Thanks, Aron.
- Tonya, Elena and Aaron: While I don't think on most days anyone would call us a functional family...we sure are fun! You guys are the best...and have helped out the most...with little complaint. We know you'll always be there and we love you.
- Our parents: Whether you've supported us emotionally...or you just buy us groceries a lot...we know you're only a phone call away. We're thankful. Dad Carr...deck. This summer. You. Me. My pink hammer. ;-)
- Our "Y" family: Jill, Kristy, Melanie, Donna, Mary, everyone at Riverfront and Green...it does my heart good to know that we really do have another family outside of our family. I'm so glad that you take care of our little man every day...and you always have our best interests at heart. Joshua always said the Y wasn't just a job. It certainly isn't...WOW!
- Pastor Brenda and our Cornerstone family: Prayer is certainly a powerful thing. I for sure feel it tangibly sometimes. Love you guys so much. Brenda, your hugs are the best...
- Tara, Lynsey, Katie, Joelle, Mary-O, Cassie, Neal and Ashli, Melanie...the phone calls, texts, support, offers of Girls Night's Out, working out together, swimming, etc. have NOT gone unnoticed. Trust me...they're coming soon.
- Joshua's basketball guys: Holy. Cow. We don't really know what to say. I don't even know if any of you even read this...but please know how blown away we were at your gift. It was timely (though absolutely unexpected) and greatly appreciated. He really does love playing with you guys...so thanks for bringing joy to all of our lives (though I'd love it if the alarm went off a little later...).
- Our neighbors: snowblowing our driveway...shoveling our walk...helping my sister clean off her car...taking our trash down...such little things that mean a LOT.
- And all the rest who are not forgotten in my heart...but maybe just my jumbled head right now. :-) It certainly isn't just the people above who we're thankful for. It is everyone, seen and unseen, heard and unheard, who are loving and praying for us continuously.
Blessings. Yes. We are incredibly blessed. Because of YOU...so thank you. YOU have shown me God's grace and mercy these last 4 weeks. YOU have blessed our family beyond reason. It is absolutely our prayer and hope that one day we can return the blessing...but for now...we know that God sees. And He loves you for it as much as we do.