Welcome back to “Friday Feature!” Grab a cup of coffee, relax, and enjoy today’s devotion! If you missed last week’s devotion, you can read it here!
Anna Turner, my sweet cousin and friend, brings us today’s devotion titled, “Sustaining Grace.” A preacher’s wife to Matt, mom to Elia & Edyth, blogger & DIY creator, Anna also has a BS degree in psychology from Liberty University. Give Anna a follow for some creative inspo! (Anna can literally make anything that she sees!) @annakateturnerdiy @turnerlittles www.turnerlittles.com
I want to begin by thanking Laura for the opportunity to share a post to her wonderful blog. I hope you find comfort and hope in these words and know that God is always there, and His grace is sustaining.
To begin with, I want to give you a little bit of background on the situation. When I was 17 years old, I was having odd health issues. I presented those problems to my Doctor, and she diagnosed me with something called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. At the time, I had never heard of it. After researching, I found it was one of the leading causes of infertility in women.
At 17, that was a bit concerning but not something I worried over until I started dating Matt, my future husband, the summer after graduating high school. We were almost instantly in love, sappy, I know, but I began to worry about the diagnosis. He wanted a family, and I did too. We briefly discussed it, but honestly, we didn’t think it’d be an issue. Well, it turned into an issue that caused so much pain and grief for years. A lonely hurt that most people didn’t know I was going through.
Soon after getting married, we thought, why not have kids now? We waited and waited, and I never got pregnant. It turned into years. Doctor visits. So many tests. A roller coaster of emotions and hormones. We were married in 2010, and I didn’t have my little girl until February 2017. Those years without and waiting were so challenging and frustrating! Honestly, towards the end, I was ready to give up.
In May of 2016, after almost six months of monthly medication and monthly blood draws, I still had not shown any improvement. The Doctor wanted to try one more medication. We decided this would be the last time we tried for a while. We were so tired of the bad news. Miraculously, this time we conceived and nine months later had a perfect baby girl. Those in-between years were so hard, but goodness, they taught me so much about God and His grace.
The first few months of 2016, before I got pregnant, were difficult. Another year had come, and I still wasn’t a mom. I started getting bitter and angry. And then I started reminding God of all I was doing for Him. Why wouldn’t He answer this one simple prayer for me when I was doing so much for the kingdom?
I would list my works. Got saved young. Served God since then. Pastor’s wife. Sunday School Teacher. Youth Teacher. WM President. Church decorator. Cooked food for the needy. I had a laundry list of works to bring to God.
He is so kind, gentle, and patient with us. There’s no doubt He was listening to my list while trying to remind me that it wasn’t necessary. He wasn’t asking me to earn His favor. He hadn’t placed a checklist on my life to get my prayers answered. He wanted to do it because He loved me, and His amazing grace is for us.
Instead of trusting, I was trying to bargain. I was trying to trade my works for a blessing, and I was exhausted. I couldn’t work hard enough to earn God’s grace, and He didn’t want me to. If we could earn it, we wouldn’t need Jesus. Galatians 2:21 says, “I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”
I am here to testify that there is freedom in knowing you can’t earn His grace. You don’t have to follow a list of man-made laws or traditions, and you don’t have to have a laundry list of works. We’ve got to quit putting laws on ourselves and others. Galatians 4 even warns us of this; it says, “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
He wants you and your repentance.
Galatians 2:16 says, “…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”
The last month or so before I found out I was pregnant in 2016, I finally felt like I was coming out of my bitterness. I realized I had to trust God fully and understand that it may never happen, and even if it didn’t I would continue serving Him. I also found freedom in knowing His grace and favor is not dependent on my works and a superficial checklist of being a good person. He wants to be gracious to us, and His grace will sustain us.
We live in a fallen world with awful things going on around us, hard things happening to us, and times where God seems so far, but He’s there. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient.”
Take time and look for His favor. As a child of God, His grace is sustaining you during trials, His favor is showing up in some ways you may never even realize, and He shows us mercy daily. I could recount so many times to you where I look back at trials and see God’s grace.
After having our little girl in February of 2017, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly five weeks later. She was so excited about her son finally having a baby. She had been praying for us all those years too. Understandably, Matt was heart-broken, and it was a hard thing to go through and still is at times. As we talked a few days later, I started helping him recount some of the amazing things that happened-things that were God’s grace in the situation.
A few quick examples. Matt was supposed to be out of the country the day his mom passed away, but the trip was moved up a week. Instead of getting the call while he was in Chile, we were at his parent’s house within an hour. His brother, a truck driver, happened to be at home instead of working, and one of the most gracious things at the time was his mom passed away at home in her sleep. She had many health problems and been in and out of the hospital. Her being home and the family not having to make any hard decisions was a blessing.
As I said, I can recount so many of those situations. Hard times where God continued to be gracious.
So, why is His grace so amazing?
It saves us.
Provides new mercies every morning.
We can’t earn it.
We don’t have to work for it.
We don’t deserve it.
But, He freely gives it because He loves us.
Don’t let His grace only be a song or a slogan on a coffee cup. His grace is real and provides us with His favor and mercy until we are reunited with Him. Be encouraged; His grace will sustain you. It sustains me.
I want to end with one more testimony of His favor. We have always wanted more kids, but I didn’t know if we’d have anymore. In May of this year, the weekend of Mother’s Day, I felt a little weird. I decided to take a pregnancy test, and it was POSITIVE! We were stunned and never expected to conceive spontaneously. I’m 30 weeks now, and I’m so thankful for God’s favor.