Sufficient grace…

I was just sitting here, holding this cup of coffee in my hand, thoughts brewing in my mind… and feeling utterly overwhelmed.  Can you relate?

It has been some kind of month in our house.  After my last post, we made our trip to the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore for Harper’s testing, which was actually a lot of fun.  We took Grammy and our big girls along and made a mini-vacation out of it, touring Washington, D.C. and taking them all into Baltimore to see the sights for the first time.  After that trip, it was time for Christmas, and then this mama and daddy did something we have never done- we took a trip totally alone together to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  It was completely nerve-wracking to leave the kids, but it really was a much-needed time for the two of us.  Who knew we could actually carry on real conversations??

Anyway, after that trip, we came back to the real world, and it’s been fairly crazy ever since.  Harper got a stomach bug while we were gone, which led to some other issues, so she was sick for a good while.  We ended up with two ER visits in the middle of a crazy snow and ice escapade (which never happens here), so it was an adventure.  She’s all better now, but in the midst of that my middle girl has been dealing with reflux and digestive issues, and has been down the last couple of days with a stomach bug on top of it, so no fun there.  And then I caught the crud this week while dealing with a kidney stone that I’m supposed to have surgery for on Monday.  Apparently we just need our own wing at the hospital these days!

So, as I’ve been forced by my health to slow down this week, I sat down with this cup of coffee and my calendar and my overloaded brain, and I just started talking to the Lord.  Here’s a peek at how that conversation went:

The calendar is full.  Three girls in three very different stages of life.  School and activities and friends and doctors and appointments.  I have a husband with a job and military duties that will be taking him away for several weeks pretty soon, and big decisions of his own to deal with right now.  I have duties to fulfill at church and a ministry to lead.  I have schoolwork to complete (what was I thinking??).  I have a household to keep running, bills to pay, mouths to feed, and let’s not even talk about the laundry pile!  I don’t have time to be sick or deal with these health issues. 

And speaking of big decisions, we’ve got family decisions to make.  It’s time to start thinking about school for our kiddos for next year- I’ll have one going into high school (that alone can bring me to tears), one in 4th grade (who was surely just in PK4 yesterday!), and one starting kindergarten (again, cue the tears), and many schools are starting enrollment now for next year.  It should be simple, but it’s not, as we just received Harper’s results from her neuro-psych testing, ten pages, complete with recommendations about her educational needs.  Ten pages!!  And I have no idea what to do with it. 

Overwhelmed is an understatement.  I feel ill-equipped to handle all of this.  I feel incapable of making the right decisions for myself, much less these three girls who are counting on me!  Surely I am not the right woman for this job (“this job” referring to any of the many jobs on my plate right now!).  Look at me- this is the picture that defines “hot mess express”!

And as I rambled on, I glanced down at that coffee cup in my hand, the cup I grabbed without thought from the cabinet earlier (possibly because it was the only one clean!), the cup my sister gave me some time ago knowing that it was a reminder I needed daily… and I saw the word “grace.”  And my rambling stopped, and I let that word sink in.  Then I turned to the scripture that is also printed on that coffee cup, found in 2 Corinthians 12:

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Sufficient grace… the grace that can only be found through Christ.  It covers all of my shortcomings- all of them!  It looks beyond my failures, beyond my confusion, beyond my poor-decision making.  It even sees past my mess- me, my kids, my house, my laundry, the whole lot of it!  It’s the kind of grace that doesn’t need anything from me, other than surrender.  It doesn’t need me to have the right answers or to have it all together or to even look like I have it all together.  Sufficient grace finds me where I am, sees me for who I am, and blankets me in the love of the Great I AM.

I cannot do it all, I cannot take it all, and I cannot be everything that everyone needs me to be- apart from Christ.  I am weak in my own flesh, but the power of the One who lives in me is anything but weak.  His power is perfect.  So, as life comes at me with all its got- “weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities”- may I be content… content in knowing that God is working, that He has a plan, that His grace is sufficient, and that His power is perfect…. content in knowing that it isn’t about what I can do, but what He is doing.

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