My Grace is Sufficient

As I have been studying and praying about my word of the year, compassion, it seems that I have found myself more and more without compassion.

I don’t think it is any mistake that the Lord would have me choose this word, and then right along with that word, have me start the study Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. Through these 2 things (my word of the year and the book) the Lord is showing me more and more ways that I am not like Him. That I’m not compassionate. That I’m not meek and quiet. I admit, it has been discouraging. I feel like I’ve been even less meek and quiet with my children lately. (read that: harsh and angry.) I have been down. Frustrated and angry with myself for not being able to change myself or snap out of it.

You know what I have been forgetting these past few weeks?

“Three times I pleased with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Cor. 12:9.

I admit, I find it hard to boast in my weaknesses. I would much rather they go away! I have been struggling greatly with my oldest child lately. I have asked a few people to be praying for me…that I can be patient with her (because I haven’t been) and that I could be full of grace towards her (because I haven’t) and that I can love her. I love my children. But at times, my actions don’t show it.

But, God’s word tells me to boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses. You know what? I am weak. I am harsh with her. I’m not patient with her like I could be. We have good moments, but in my mind, the bad outweigh the good at this point in time.

Again, God reminds me that I’ve been looking to myself. I’ve been forgetting that His grace really is sufficient. His power rests on me when I acknowledge, and even boast, in my weaknesses. I can be thankful that God has shown me my weakness because now His power can shine through.

In the book I’m reading, Teri Maxwell reminds us of the power of God’s Word. She reminds us not to neglect that time with Him. When I’m angry, go to Him. When I’m frustrated beyond words, go to Him. When I’m upset that I’ve missed the mark one more time, go to Him. “Cast all your cares on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7.

God ordained that I be reading this book at this exact point in my parenting journey. He knew just what I needed. And Teri reminds of that in her book:

“I know there were plenty of other activities I could have done over the past 15 years during that half-hour I spent with the Lord. We could have done more schooling, had a cleaner house, more fun playtimes, more ministry, more individual time with each child, more sewing, more exercise, or more sleep! I look back over all those years and all the choices set before me as to how to use those hours. I know there is nothing that could have had the impact on my life, and the lives of my family members, than time with the Lord. This is particularly true in the realm of a meek and quiet spirit. Any other decision for that time would have been one more robber of a meek and quiet spirit. However, time with the Lord is the opposite. It was the one “needful” thing for me. It was a meek and quiet spirit builder!”

I am thankful for today that God has reminded me (once again) that His grace truly is sufficient for me. His grace is sufficient for my parenting struggles. His grace is sufficient for my lack of wisdom. His grace is sufficient for those times I speak harshly to my children. His grace covers me. His power rests on me when I trust in HIS power and not my own. I’m so thankful that though I am weak, so very weak…He is strong!

Jesus loves me this I know
for the Bible tells me so
Little ones to Him belong
they are weak but HE IS STRONG.

Compassion, Meekness, Quietness, Kindness

The words I listed in the title of my post have all had an impact on me in the past week. I am learning that as I choose to focus on this thing called “compassion” the Lord is showing me that so many of the words and qualities are all intertwined. In the original verse I chose to memorize, Col. 3:12, compassion is mentioned right alongside kindness, gentlness, humility, patience…all things, if I were to be completely honest, that I need more of in my life!
This week I have begun a book study with a small group of ladies from an online message board. The book is called Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit by Teri Maxwell. I have read this book (well half of it) before and really, really thought it was very good, practical and encouraging. Teri Maxwell shares some of her own experiences where the Lord showed her that she was lacking in meekness and quietness. She shares scriptures and practical help for those of us who are also seeking these qualities.

 

So, as I have been continuing to focus on compassion, while also starting this book on being meek and quiet, I am seeing how much they all go together! And if I were to be completely honest and blunt with you, I would also say that up to this point I have had serious doubts that these changes could even happen in me.Therefore, as of today, I am claiming a verse over this study and over this area in my life. A verse that I have read so many times throughout my lifetime, but still brings such encouragement.

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13.

And another verse that I am going to cling to as well:

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Cor. 9:8.

I looked up some synonyms of compassion: charity, pity, condolence, kindness, leniency, mercy, tenderness. All things that I desire to be. I have also looked up the definitions for meek: mild temper, soft, gentle, not easily irritated. And quiet: peaceable, not turbulent, not giving offense, mild, meek, content.

Well, right away I notice a few (or maybe a LOT) of things that I am NOT. I’m not always kind, I am not always tender and gentle. I am actually quite easily irritated. And I’m not always content either. It looks like I have alot of work to do. Or, should I say, it looks like God has so much to do in me. He has such a difficult job being my Father, the molder of my heart. Praise God that nothing is impossible (or difficult) with Him! I am praying, though, that I would open myself up to His changing power. I want Him to do this in me so badly that I can taste it. However, I know that the responsibility does not lie with Him alone. He has the power, I have to be ready, willing and able for it.

For the past few weeks I have been looking up scriptures with the words compassion, meek and quiet in them. Here are the ones that have stood out to me the most.

“Because of your great compassion you did not abandon them in the desert.” Neh. 9:19.

“But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.” Neh. 9:28.

“Praise the Lord…who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion.” Psalm 103:4

“when Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion for these people…” Matthew 14:14.

“…the Father of compassion and God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received.” 2 Cor. 1:3.

“He leads me beside quiet waters…” Psalm 23:2

“Better a dry crust with peace and quiet, than a house full of feasting and strife.” Prov. 17:1.

“He will quiet you with His love…” Zeph. 3:17

“The one I esteem is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2.

“But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.” Psalm 37:11

Oh Father, You show me so much through Your Word. So much so that at times (like now) I am completely overwhelmed with my own inadequacies. Yet, more than my own shortcomings, Your character and Your will for me shine through. You are the God of compassion, a Father to the fatherless. Jesus had compassion as soon as He saw people everywhere He went. I want that. I want my attitude to be like His. But, God, you are going to have to come into my heart and just do a complete makeover. I trust You, though. I trust You completely. I want to yield myself to You and allow You to do Your thing. Work in me. Change me. Mold me. Amen.

Uncharted

Friends, I come to you today with a heartfelt recommendation that you read this book, Uncharted, by Angela Hunt. This book is going to the very, tip-top of my MUST READ book list of all time!! I can say without a doubt that I have never read anything like it. This book was so good that I read it very quickly, but the images…the story…the things I have read about will stay with me forever. You might call this story a parable. This book tells the story of our lives with such amazing creativity that I can’t even find words to adequately describe it!

I also don’t really even want to tell you what it is about because mentioning the very subject of the book would ruin the story for you!! So, all I can say is PLEASE read it!!

Here is what Publisher’s Weekly has to say about this book, “…a blend of the movies Castaway and The Big Chill, with a touch of the television series, Lost, creatively thrown together with the biblical story of the beggar Lazarus and C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce.”

It is moving. It is emotional. It will keep you on the edge of your seat. And…I believe, God can use the story presented in this book to change you.

(note: this is a book I picked up from our church library and wanted to read on my own, it’s not written for any of my reviews.)

UPDATE: Ladies, I’m sorry to be so mysterious! LOL! I’m not doing it on purpose…but am glad that you guys are taking my advice and looking for the book! My guess is your city library might carry it too, ours has several of her books. I’m serious when I say that I could give you a one word description of the book…but for me, I think it would have ruined the suspense. So, I’ll just have to be mysterious this time!!