Abounding Grace

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

A few years ago, I wrote the following post for an event in my church. The theme of the event was Overflowing, and the coordinator asked me to write about overflowing grace. A lot has happened since this post, but God’s grace still abounds.

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Let’s jump back to the first half of last year (2015). After a lifetime focused on various family issues, life was going well. I was on track with my goals and had time to devote to them. Bruce and I were enjoying, thoroughly, the empty nest life.

What could go wrong?

In early August, we realized our second child’s life was falling apart, mostly through her own doing. I tried to help long distance, but things got worse. Then she disappeared, with my grandchildren. I spent frantic days praying and searching. The police refused to issue a missing persons report stating the children were not in danger while they were with their mother. I knew differently. She was not stable.

Thankfully, after a week my daughter resurfaced and asked us to take the children.

OK. Not what we planned. Having already raised five children, we didn’t expect to raise our grandchildren. Spoil them? Sure. Just not raise them.

Victoria and Amari arrived with nothing. We struggled to find room for them in our down-sized home. Before their arrival, finances were not an issue, now, our wallets hemorrhaged money—clothes, shoes, school supplies, daycare, groceries, and medical care. How could we manage this so close to our retirement?

But God is true in His promises. We needed furniture, and a local store offered us an incredible deal due to the sacrifice we were making for our grandchildren. Acquaintances donated clothes. Medical personnel helped me navigate the legalities of medical care without court-ordered custody. A Facebook friend, who is also a lawyer, gave me legal advice for free. Old friends in the same situation surfaced and offered their support. People stepped up and helped where they could. Most importantly, prayers overflowed in our direction.

The right thing is rarely the easy thing. Paul tells us that in all things and at all times He will provide. A four year old and eight year old take a lot of work, especially at our age! We’re exhausted, but I know our grandchildren’s welfare is more important than anything else we could be doing. We may not have a surplus now, but we have what we need and so do our grandchildren.

We are the living proof of His abounding grace.

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So here we are two-and-a-half years later. Victoria is eleven and Amari is six. We’ve adapted. Do I wish for things to be different? Sure. Who wouldn’t prefer their child walking the straight and narrow path? But if wishes were … well you get the idea.

A lot has changed in our lives. I’ve met amazing people who I’d never know if this hadn’t happened. I’m more tuned into the culture of today, too, which pays off in my career. We are still the living proof of his abounding grace.

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Finalizing Your Vision: Finding Your Passion For Service Pt 8

© Barbara V. Evers, All rights reserved.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” Jeremiah 29:11, NIV

 

 

 

During the first two months of 2018, I taught a Vision Board workshop to women at my church. During that time, we explored how we prefer to serve, why we want to serve, and whom we want to serve. I summarized each of the sessions in the following posts:

Wednesday night was the last night, and we finished creating our vision boards. As I’d reminded these wonderful women each week, the best way to create a vision board is to pull images that spoke to them, whether they understood why or not. Even though I teach this process, I’m still amazed at how well this approach helps someone recognize their passions.

In last week’s post, I shared an older vision board of mine:

My Mission Statement at the time of the above board’s creation was:

To inspire, motivate, and encourage women in their search
for personal acceptance and development.

This blog grew out of that mission, and I have focused many of my posts on my personal story of overcoming barriers and traumatic events in my life. Although this remains a passion of mine, recent changes in my and my husband’s lives have drawn me toward a new focus in service.  Although it’s a work in progress, my current Mission Statement states:

To open communication, touch lives, and create close relationships that
support grandparents as they meet the challenge of raising their grandchildren.

 

This is my new vision board:

 

 

The process of creating a Mission Statement and Vision Board helps us create something that points us in the right direction when asked to serve. Does it fit our Mission? Should we say yes or no? I’m the kind of person who always wants to say yes, but realistically I can’t. I serve God best when I stop and listen to the Spirit’s guidance. My new mission resonates with the verses in Jeremiah 28 and 29 where God instructs the Israelites to grow where they are (in Babylon captivity).  In this blog, I’ve already begun sharing the experience of raising grandchildren. How will I expand in this area? Where it will take me, I don’t know, but I’ll be sure to share here.

This workshop series was a great journey for me, and several of the women who participated found new purposes in their Christian service. Two wonderful ladies gave me permission to share their finished boards here.

As you can see, they took very different approaches in creating their boards. Throughout this workshop, I encouraged everyone to follow where the Spirit led them, and I’m thrilled and humbled to have shared this journey with so many amazing women.

Have you followed this process through these posts? I would love to hear what you learned about yourself!

 

 

Interested in offering a Finding Your Passion For Service workshop? I’m available for one day workshops or weekend retreats. Please use the form below to contact me with questions.

Miracles In the Making: Finding Your Passion for Service Pt. 7

Image courtesy of Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot/freedigitalphotos.net

During the months of January and February, I’m teaching a workshop at my church about finding God’s Will as you serve Him. This blog provides brief summaries of the previous classes in order to help people stay up to date if they can’t attend or have missed a session.

 

Previous Posts In the Series:

 

Some of the handouts are available on their respective posts. If you can’t locate the appropriate handout, feel free to request them from me here.

Miracles in the Making

At first, I didn’t think I’d post about our class this past week because we’re in the final stages of our Mission Statements and Vision Boards. I haven’t completed my vision board yet, but I’m sharing a picture of a board I created a few years ago. My Mission Statement is shaping up but not finalized. I’ll share it here next week.

This past Wednesday, we had a small group. The numbers each week have fluctuated from five to fourteen women. That’s one reason why I’m leaving updates on this blog.

At first, I thought my only participant would be a woman new to our church. She hadn’t attended the workshop prior to Wednesday, so I gave her the handouts and a brief overview of what we’ve been doing. Then another woman showed up and wanted help with her Mission Statement. Last week, she’d shared with us a program she’s starting and she wanted her statement to fit this mission and help her create that quick blurb to use when telling others about this new program.

Her program will help children who have experienced something many of us can’t imagine. Because of the nature of this post and the confidentiality of the women who attended Wednesday night, I’m not going to share more about her program at this time. Sometime later, when she has everything ironed out, I will share her information because it is for a very worthwhile cause.

What I wanted to share was the amazing way God brought women together that night. We ended up with six of us seated around the table talking about this program and helping her work on her Mission Statement. The more she revealed, the more we bonded. And I’m still getting cold chills as I recall what happened. One by one, five of these women revealed their OWN experiences with the trauma this new program will focus on. Five out of six of us had personal knowledge and experience!

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20

I felt God’s hand in this gathering. Many of the women had missed several sessions while those who regularly attended were not there. God brought this particular group of women together as encouragers for each other and, in so doing, gave this program first-hand knowledge and validation of its mission.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

I’ll admit, that night as I drove to church to teach this workshop, I didn’t want to go. I was tired. I hadn’t eaten dinner. I needed to get up very early the next day. Yet, God blessed me and five other women by being there with us as we revealed our secrets. I drove home feeling very different than when I drove to church.

Amen!