Endless Lack or Holy Fullness, Part 2

 

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This post is not one of my normal writings. This last week has been extremely rough, with trials knocking me flat. And yet, this week has been one of the most beautiful times for me, as moments of GRACE from the hand of my Jesus have slipped in around me all unaware. 

And I would like to invite you in, to have a glimpse at the ways that Jesus met me and led me deeper into convictions and further in to His moments of giving and receiving.

Come along with me, for a week of small graces that changed my heart:

 

When I published my last post on Endless Lack or Holy Fullness, another dear blogger, Melissa McLaughlin, also published a post that same day, entitled “One Thing You lack.”  You can click here to read her beautiful complementing and convicting post gifted from God. Later that day I began to enter into a very deep and painful RA flare.  As the flare progressed on Tuesday, all of my typing ability was taken away, and the “rule-follower” in me had to admit that one thing I still lack: I cannot pridefully follow all the rules, I cannot keep up with all that I think is required of me. He took His conviction deeper in me, to show me yet again that Jesus is my only GRACE.  And so my responses to your beautiful comments were delayed last week. But only so that HIS beautiful grace could be seen even more deeply in my heart.  As He slowly began restoring strength, and relieving pain, I longed to enter more fully into those convictions, to depend more deeply on His Strength alone, to see less of my own pride ruling my days.

On the day I published “Endless Lack or Holy Fullness,” and my blogging friend wrote her post on “One Thing You Lack,”  my dear friend Joy Lenton sent out a heartfelt post about surrendering all of our words and creativity to God’s design. You can read her beautiful post by clicking here.  The Lord was sending ways to prepare for the days that would be spread out in front of me. When the pain hit, and  I could not respond to those comments, when I could not find energy to even thank the dear one who had linked my post, God was opening the way for me to more fully surrender all of my days and strength to Him.

When the pain and inflammation knocked me flat, He reminded me of prayers offered by my young Granddaughters only days before. They had called to tell me that they felt Jesus in their heart saying that Grandma would be healed. And when the enemy came in like a flood to accuse me of ruining the faith of those precious young ones, as I lay covered in a pain that looked nothing like healing, Jesus interrupted the attack to remind me of what TRUE faith looks like.

He sent me back to the post I had written earlier this summer, when the Resurrection Lilies spoke a picture to me of the faith that had carried my brother through his struggle with an ugly cancer. “He won his battle with cancer,” I had written of his home-going to Heaven.  Hope stirred in my heart as Jesus whispered to me that TRUE faith holds onto the promises of Jesus that lead us to full healing, of which every healing on earth is a reflection of the most perfect wholeness that awaits over there.

But the days of weakness did not stop, and I longed for more grace to see how Jesus could possibly be dwelling in my own cut-off and slowed-down days. As I was able to pick up my tablet for short amounts of time, I read the words of another dear blogger, Tammy L. Mashburn, as she so tenderly encouraged us to renew the gift of hand-writing letters to those we care about. You can read her post by clicking here.  Another memory was stirred then, as Jesus led me to look for the stacks of letters from family members that my Mother had painstakingly preserved through the years. I easily found the box, and there on top lay a letter from the very brother who had won his battle, and was now at home with Jesus. This letter was the first one he had written home to my parents in 1967, when he moved away to attend Bible College. And here was his first mention of the girl who would become his wife–she who had won her own hard-fought battle with cancer and followed him to Heaven not many years after he went.  More evidence of TRUE faith was being displayed before my eyes and my heart.

As my weakness continued, but my hope was being renewed, I sealed up that old letter and addressed it to be sent to my brother’s daughter. Perhaps God would encourage her as He had encouraged me.  And while I was praying for my family, I suddenly longed to speak with my other brother.  His youngest son had been injured in a horrible accident the week before, and I could not wait any longer to hear an update on how he was doing. Thank God, prayers were being answered, and my nephew was able to sit up and eat a meal for the first time on that very day, my brother told me.  But when I wanted to pray with my brother, he could not understand what I was saying. His own loss of hearing, and my weakened voice were not a good combination. The more I tried to shout, the more my voice could only waver. We finally said “I love you,” and hung up.  I cried bitter tears, as I so longed to pray with him.

In the middle of that call, my dear friend Anna had sent me a quote from the book she was reading. How could the words have been planned to so perfectly match the cry in my heart:

“God does not offer us a map so much as a promise to guide us on the journey. Speaking through the prophet Isaiah, God reminds His people that though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”

Names: Anderson, Hannah, 1979- author. Title: Humble roots : how humility grounds and nourishes your soul / Hannah Anderson. Description: Chicago : Moody Publishers, [2016] Page 159  Identifiers: LCCN 2016019854 (print) | LCCN 2016029563 (ebook) | ISBN
 
 
 

And lest I think that all of these things were not truly God’s way opening before me, He sent one more confirmation, through yet another praying friend, Lisa Enqvist.  You can visit her site by clicking here.  Lisa knows well the struggle of dealing with RA, as she has walked this path for over 30 years. And when she says she will pray, I know that she understands what it feels like, and prays from a heart of compassion. She had sent me the title of a hymn that we both had loved, “Burdens are lifted at Calvary,” and my heart melted at the beauty of my Lord’s care for me.  But further down on the YouTube feed for that song, was the very song that was the “trademark” song for my brother and sister-in-law who are now with Jesus. Over their many years of traveling with ministries and missions, this song was the one they both sang together in perfect harmony. It was the one that made me wish I could sing with them when I was young:

 

 

At the end of these several days, as I pondered all of the ways that Jesus had led me along His pathway of following with open eyes, I wondered whether He was asking me to tell  about His gifts.  Could it be that He would want me to share all of these small little bits in the life of someone who feels more like a “shut-in” than a “warrior” on many days? 

I opened one more blog post, and there, in the precious words of a dear warrior who is facing his own ugly battle with cancer, Andrew Budek-Schmeisser, expressed those same thoughts that I know my brother lived:  he will win the fight with cancer when he crosses that finish line with Jesus. You can read his post by clicking here.

 

Oh, my dear friends, so many of you have been part of my encouragement this week. Others that I have not mentioned here, have been just as vital to my heart’s comfort.

And Jesus wants to meet each one of you, reading this today, with those same kinds of small graces.  Whenever we hear His call, whenever we respond to His convictions, He will make sure that the way is open for us to follow. He will make sure that we see the next step that will plant His truth more firmly in our hearts.

 

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:20-21 NIV

 

 

While I may not be able to shout loud enough for you to hear me on the phone, I know that our prayers are heard by the ONE who is always listening. I would love to pray for you today:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your convictions that lead us to Godly sorrow. Thank You that You always make the way open for us to turn and to walk with You. Thank You that whatever we lack, You have the true fullness that we need. I pray for my friends today who long to hear from You. Will You speak their names, and show them the grace step that is set before them even now? Will You gently lead them on their own trail of small graces that will open their hearts to more of You?  We praise You Lord for the mercy that is showered upon us because of Your gift of love.

In Your Name we pray,

Amen.

 

May we truly be blessed with a Thankful Heart this week, as we watch for God’s small and large graces to be scattered throughout our days.

 

 

I am linking with:

#LMMLinkup

#Teaandword

#Tellhisstory

 

 

29 thoughts on “Endless Lack or Holy Fullness, Part 2

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers Melissa. Jesus has been so good to bring such hope and caring! I pray that you are feeling relief from pain today also. May you have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  1. Your true-to-yourself-and-Him faith is an excellent encouragement to those of us who may know fully what you are going through physically. Your authenticity is a gift, dear Bettie. In this post, you share your story, His omniscient power and grace in outing through others to reach you, and your brave facing reality with an even bigger courage not to stop connecting with others. The story of you wanting to pray with your brother on the phone tells me the beat of your precious heart, dear Bettie. I love you and am keeping you close to be lifted when I pause with Our Savior.

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      1. Oh Dear Julie,
        Thank you so much for your precious prayers and sweet comments. Isn’t the love of our Jesus so amazing? How He would speak to our own moments through so many others’ words at just the right time! I truly don’t know where I would be today if He had not stepped in and gave HOPE in the middle of the trials. I know you understand that deep gratefulness for His Grace also. I appreciate your love and your dear thoughts so much my friend. May we keep pressing deeper into the arms of our Lord. Blessings, Love and Hugs to you!

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  2. Dear Bettie, the tears are flowing. I am humbled by your deep faith and the ways you allowed God to touch your heart and sooth your mind this past week despite the debilitating pain. You are more than a warrior to me, for you are carrying a painful cross like our dear Savior. One of my husband’s favorite verses is Philippians 3:10-11 and your post reminds me of this even now, knowing Christ, sharing in the fellowship of His suffering, becoming like Him in His death and knowing that resurrection awaits us as His believers. We were made for something more and Jesus made that possible. When I think of Jesus walking to Calvary, each step more painful and more blood-soaked, somehow at the same time He is more and more beautiful to behold. Who could ever love me so much? I am heartbroken at the depth of your pain, but your faith shines ever brighter and more beautiful. I am praying for you, dear Sister. May the love of Jesus give you strength and peace for every moment.
    Could I please link to this post again this week? Your messages are so powerful.

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    1. Dear Melissa,
      Oh your words are so encouraging, as I think of all that my Lord Jesus bore for me. He truly does become more beautiful as I see more deeply the suffering that He bore. That is not our normal way of thinking in the flesh is it? Oh, but HIS Spirit in us draws us Heavenward, and to the power of His resurrection as we join in the fellowship of His suffering. Thank you for those precious Scriptures, Melissa. Our Lord is amazing to meet us then in the very place of that suffering, with His Hope of something more–His purpose to be joined with Him for eternity. May I keep my eyes fixed on Him. Thank you for your post last week, and the ways that God used it to draw me more deeply along His path. And, yes, I would be humbled again if you want to link this post. Thank you so much for all of your prayers. May you be blessed this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dear Bettie,
        His ways are definitely not our ways. It is truly amazing, as you say, that Jesus meets us in the very place of our suffering with something more, His purpose to be joined with Him for eternity. May the joy of our salvation never grow dim, no matter the darkness of our days here. I’m praying for you even now.
        Blessings and love, Melissa

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          1. Thank you so much Dear Sister. And yes, “may the joy of our salvation never grow dim, no matter the darkness of the days here.” I am so grateful for your prayers, even today. So very comforting to me! Blessings to you!

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  3. This is such a precious testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness through the deep valleys, Bettie. Thank you so much for sharing it. My soul feels awed and silent at the goodness and glory of our God. I pray you have a pain-free, peaceful, and gratitude-filled Thanksgiving! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Dear Trudy,
      Thank you for your precious prayers and sweet encouragement my dear friend. Your words mean so much to me, as I know you understand the trial of chronic illness also. Our Lord is so good to bring us His grace and faithfulness, right there. May you have a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving also! Love and Hugs to you!

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  4. Dear Bettie,
    Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing your week with us. I can imagine how hard it must have been not to be able to pray with your brother. But to follow you through this week and see how God brought you ever closer to Him has been so encouraging to me. God truly does meet us right when and where we need Him. Through the trials He hears us and knows our pain and is with us through it all. Oh, we used to sing that song all the time. I even have a piano arrangement I used to play. This arrangement you shared is beautiful! Blessings, love and hugs to you my dear sister! xoxo

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  5. Dear Gayl,
    Oh I am so blessed that you knew and sang this song that my brother & his wife used to sing! What a shared blessing. I have such sweet memories of standing around the piano with them, after late night church services, and singing one hymn after another. Won’t Heaven be so rich when we all can sing together? Truly, it is like little glimpses of eternity when we see and hear His grace moments here in our days. I am so thankful for all of your prayers and encouragement my dear friend. He has brought me grace through your words and thoughts. May He bless you tonight, and bring such sweet grace-gifts to you. Love & Hugs! xoxo

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    1. We used to have people over after evening church for what we called Singspiration and we would have refreshments and sing. We had a piano to use and it was such fun. Sometimes we would meet at other people’s houses, too.

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  6. He’s our strength in our weaknesses and His grace is sufficient for all our needs. There are so many ways beyond our words and our voices to show God to the world and be an ‘instrument of His peace’ as St Francis wrote. Caring for yourself is another way we worship God, I believe! You’re honesty Bettie of all that you are enduring with God’s strength is a testimony to His love and promises. May you always know who you are in Christ shines through and influences others even when you cannot type! hugs!

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    1. Dear Lynn,
      Thank you so much for your very sweet encouragement; your words always bring such a lift to my days. Truly our Lord does walk with us, and helps us to see how to care for ourselves in the way that He knows is best. We are His beloved creation, and His rest is so much better than any striving–or typing 🙂 that I might try on my own. What an amazing gift He brings to us, to give us His own dear strength! I pray that He might shine through me, even in my weaknesses, as He brings His peace to me. Praying for you to have a Happy Thanksgiving week! Hugs & Love to you!

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  7. Dear Bettie! I am SO very sorry to hear of your dark battles, but so thankful to know how close Jesus has been to you sending reminder after reminder to let you know He is watching over you. I do hope the pain has lessened by now and you are finding relief. I am praying for you, dear friend.

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    1. Dear Cheryl,
      Thank you so much for your precious prayers. They mean the world to me! I continue to pray for you and your family, even though I have not sent an email for too long! God puts you on my heart, and I ask Him to take care of your precious family, and keep leading you on His path. May you have a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

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  8. “You are my all-in-all” is playing as I type my comment and I cannot but help see that in your post, Bettie. He truly is your all-in-all and we get front-row-seats to see how the LORD delights in those who delight in Him. May your faithful life continue to shine hope into the lives of others that they too may know just how much the LORD delights in them in those deep places of pain and trial. And may your thanksgiving be filled with more of those grace gifts and a lifting of that awful pain and a stilling of the waves in Jesus’ Name. Love you.

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    1. Dear Anna,
      I am so very, very grateful for your prayers and encouragement. It is such a mystery the way that He brings us His help and love, isn’t it? I can never get to the end of it, He always has so much more for us. And then to think that He wants to be our All-in-all amazes me too. How could He love us so? I pray that I will continue to let Him lead me through these moments, and every wave. And I pray that He will bring those same sweet blessings to you my Dear Friend! Love and Hugs across the ocean! xo

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  9. Dear Bettie, that scratchy “bread of adversity” can be pretty hard to swallow some days, can’t it? Then we fervently wish for a different narrative, a new song to sing and for our lives to shift into more comfortable times again. But oh how you have shown time and again what a powerful yeast works though our souls from such a loaf! Because when we are pulverised by pain, sidelined into accepting a “shut-in” staycation kind of lifestyle and lowered by our limitations, it is there we meet with our Jesus in such a sweet way.
    I detest and empathise with how awful your pain is, my friend, and how wretched it makes you feel. Though I am in awe of what beautiful fruit it keeps producing in your soul! Not all of us can yield as well as you have done. The more impatient ones among us (hands up here!) find the waiting for improvement endless and struggle to endure with a faith and hope filled heart. Your words offer such hope to others, always, always pointing them back to Jesus. Thank you for being you and for inspiring me more than you know. I appreciate the mention too… 🙂 Sending gentle hugs, much love and continued prayers across the pond. xoxo ❤

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    1. Dear Joy,
      Oh your words bring tears to my eyes–my husband is in the middle of a “stay-cation” right now, and I have felt the sting there, as usually we try to take small outings together during his time at home. But this year even that has been stilled for me. I too grow impatient and and weary in the waiting. And yet, even then, our Precious Lord doesn’t condemn, but He continues to draw me back into the safety of His arms. I am so grateful that you were encouraged here–you know how often I have been encouraged by your words! What a sweet gift from the Lord, that across the pond He would let our “paths cross” and speak of HIS hope to each other. Much love and gentle hugs and prayers for you too my Dear Friend. xoxo

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  10. What a beautiful testimony. Your story of pain was a story of Jesus and how he redeemed your struggles. It speaks to me of your deep faith and willingness to share and encourage others. The way others’ words crossed your path at just the right time is God’s gift of letting you know He is right by your side. Thank you for this deep, heart-felt post.

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    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh, yes, what a precious way to define His grace throughout my days. He really is redeeming all of the struggles. I so appreciate your encouraging comments. What a blessing to be able to share our paths that the Lord leads us on. Thank you for all that you do, Mary, to encourage community through #Tellhisstory too! Blessings and Love to you!

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