My beautiful niece was born this week, and starting today, we will observe and celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My niece’s birth, and the reawakening of our redeemer, has caused me to reflect on God’s grace in my life. His grace is one of the most precious and invaluable things, He could have given to mankind.
I didn’t always understand the meaning of God’s grace. There was a time when I wasn’t able to identify what Grace looked like in my life. But, a few years ago, God helped me obtain complete understanding of what He meant when He said, “My grace is sufficient for you,” and I now know exactly what the “Amazing Grace” that we always sing about, looks like.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9
When God first moved me to New York back in December of 2011, it was the beginning of a long, hard test of faith.
God created the perfect storm for me to learn to depend on Him. At the time, I didn’t understand a lot of things that were part of the process. For starters there was my financial situation. I could not understand why God would move me to an expensive city like New York to work a job that didn’t pay very much. My money didn’t stretch, I struggled terribly to make ends meet and sometimes eat. Then there was the job itself. A job, that for me became painful to show up to everyday. It was a hopeless place, full of hopeless people. Each day, I literally had to talk myself into showing up.
God gave me a promise before I left home that He would promote me. I often reminded myself of this promise to help me keep moving. There came a point during my time at that awful job, that I became numb. I became weak. I became tired. I felt like I couldn’t go another day. Things became very dark. Although I remembered the promise He gave me, I became angry, and frustrated due to a lack of unbelief that I would see the promise come to pass. There were days when I wanted throw in the towel because I saw no reason in sight to continue. I knew that God had something better for me, that it would come in His perfect timing, but I often let doubt seep in because the situation looked so hopeless. I also felt as though I wasn’t going to pass the test.
During this time I was constantly reminded of 2 Corinthians 2:9. It was almost as if He was shouting, “MY GRACE IS ENOUGH FOR YOU, BRANDI!” I couldn’t understand it. Through puddles of tears I would say, “NO LORD! I need more than grace. I need a job, and I need money. I need you to turn this situation around!” What I thought I needed was money and provision, but surely not grace. I didn’t think grace would be enough.
For starters, I needed to understand what Grace was. My pastor, Steve Milazzo, of Bethlehem Assembly of God, helped bring it full circle for me. He said, “GRACE IS GOD GIVING YOU WHAT YOU NEED, WHEN YOU NEED IT, EVEN THOUGH, YOU DON’T DESERVE IT.”
My pastor helped me put it completely into perspective when he said, “Grace does not leave you the same.” WOW! I will never forget that statement.
REVELATION #1: GRACE DOES NOT LEAVE YOU THE SAME
God’s grace in my life was Him moving me to New York and stripping me of everything so that I would learn to depend on Him, have faith in Him, and trust Him. Grace was God putting me through the trial to learn what it means to persevere. Grace was God helping me pass the test. That is right, He will send you to it and then see you through it. Grace was Him healing me from the wounds of my past. Grace was Him sending my sweet husband into my life. Grace is every person that He’s sent to help pray for and counsel me during those difficult seasons. Grace was him blessing me with my husband's family. A family that has accepted me as one of their own and believes in being rooted in one another. Grace was Him breaking the negative perspective that I had of His character off of my mindset. Grace was Him showing me who I really am in Christ Jesus. Grace was Him loving me so much that He created the perfect storm, so that I would not be the same. His grace is EVERYTHING that has taken place, that has changed me, and I will NEVER be the same. Grace was him helping me understand grace. WOW! HIS GRACE TRULY IS ENOUGH!
My pastor mentioned Matthew 19:26, Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Usually when I hear this verse I often think of the tangible things in life that are impossible for man to accomplish, but that are possible with God. My pastor explained in His own words, how sometimes we feel like it is impossible to make it, and to pass the tests God gives to us. But, I saw this verse differently when he explained in his own words that we do not have to do it on our own because “Grace is strength.”
REVELATION #2: GRACE IS THE STRENGTH GOD GIVES YOU TO FACE EACH DAY!
We do not have to do it on our own. God is with us. He said He would never leave us. He is living inside of us and is much greater than we are. He gives us trials, but He also helps us get through the trials. He is strong, when we are weak. Yes. It is impossible for us to make it through without Him. It is impossible for us to pass the test without Him. Without Him, it is impossible to hold on just a little while longer. WITH HIM WE CAN AND WILL MAKE IT. With Him, we can hold on until the end. With Him we can pass the test. With Him, we can face each day, no matter how hard it seems. With Him, we can come into the fullness of all he created us to be. With Him, we will make it to see the promises of God. He WILL complete the work He began in us. We must look to Him for the Grace we need to make it through this journey of life.
REVELATION/REMINDER #3: GRACE IS JESUS
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” -Luke 22:42
Before Jesus was crucified, He prayed the above prayer. I actually never knew what the “cup” that He was referring to was. I assumed it was being nailed to the cross. But, a few weeks ago my pastor explained that" the cup," is the wrath of God, which was about to be poured out on Jesus for the sins of mankind. He essentially explained that Jesus drank the heavy cup of our sins. A cup that we were supposed to drink. I want you to really put this in perspective. God hates sin. He despises it. It is detestable to Him. We sin every single day. Imagine the wrath of God being poured out on you for your sin. That wrath was instead poured out on Jesus. He loved us so much that He sent the Savior in our place.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ~John 19:30
We often forget that God found us. We didn’t find Him. He called us out of darkness. He saved us from our destructive, evil, and sinful nature by sending His Son to drink the cup of our sins, so that we might be reconciled with God. If that is not grace, then I don't know what is.
I don’t know about you, but I thank God for calling me out of darkness and for saving me from myself! I thank Him for sending a Savior to save me from the miry pit! I thank Him that I now have a direct path to the throne. I thank Him for every test and every trial I have ever faced. I thank Him for the good, the bad and the ugly that has renewed my mind, changed my heart and has never left me the same.
Lastly, I believe that grace is anything that has caused you to draw closer to Jesus and turn your heart back to your first love.
Today I encourage you to reflect on God’s grace in your life. His grace may look like the sunrise, it may look like a newborn baby, it may look like a wedding or an engagement ring, it may look like comfort in a time of sorrow, it may look like the answer to a long awaited prayer. It may look like help in a time of testing. It may look like the test itself. It may look like a broken family that has been mended. It may look like healing from sickness. It may even look like your children.
You can make it through whatever trial you are facing today with His grace. If you are waiting to see a promise from God, by the grace of God, you will. You may feel like you have no more strength, and as if you are tired, but His grace is your strength. Ask Him for His grace today. Remember that with Him, it is possible. Matthew19:26. You can make it, with Him.
“My Chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy reigns…Unending love. AMAZING GRACE.” –Chris Tomlin, Amazing Grace
THANK YOU FOR YOUR GRACE OH GOD! YOUR GRACE IS ENOUGH FOR ME!
Check out the song below. It is a great song that really helps put God's grace into perspective. I pray it blesses you. Have a blessed and amazing Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday!
Comment below, I'd love to hear what God's grace has looked like in your life.