GRACE

autumn back light clouds dawn
MY GRACE IS ALL YOU NEED!

But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

Acts 20:24

How strong is my witness for Christ? Well, I’m not quite sure because I have never been given the opportunity to speak on His behalf. I tend to keep my faith out of my social engagements. It isn’t because I chose this, it’s because it never comes up. I guess I don’t recognize the moments when I could bring God up. I have people in my life that I can speak freely with about God and then there are those that, I assume, don’t care to know. Judgemental thinking, I suppose. It’s a whole lot easier to go with the flow of conversation instead of bringing up my own interests. I am afraid that silence will follow when I interject with a subject change. Yes, there is a tremendous amount of growth that needs to happen in the area of Evangelism. I don’t want to push my beliefs onto another. I simply want to share the love and power of Jesus. I  want others to receive and experience Him too.

I’ve often imagined a verbal conversation in regards to my faith, and I can tell you, it never ends well. I end up looking like a fool as I watch the other person jump to another subject, with another person. What would it feel like to actually speak for God with impact? I have visualized the countenance on a skeptic’s face when I’ve been moved to say something that opens the door to a spirit-filled chat. It’s one thing to write for Christ but it is an entirely different arena to share the Gospel verbally. I just know that day will come! I feel it way down deep!!

The other morning, I was given the chance to express my personal beliefs to another. At that moment, I didn’t realize the impact that it would have on me; I pray that it was just as effective for the other person. We had a divine connection and from this, I learned a valuable spiritual lesson. The Lord knows our weaknesses as it is stated in 2 Corinthians 9-11:

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

If you’ve been following my story, then you are already aware that I struggle with my weight. I am currently on Weight Watchers and not following the program. No surprise to me!! I do, however, enjoy their forum. This is a place where members can speak freely of their struggles. Some post videos and pictures and the more introverted just post updates of where they are in the plan. It’s a great place for encouragement, support, and tips. I have been faithfully posting of my accountability to my abstinence of cookies, cakes, and chocolate. These are trigger foods that usually end up in a binge. I’ve eliminated them from my diet due to the huge amount of guilt and shame that I feel afterward. I have to tell you, once I did this, my spiritual growth went through the roof.

Luke 9:23, 24 says:

“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. ‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.”

I want to share this conversation with you with the permission of my Weight Watcher friend.

Me:  43 days of 45 without cookies, cake or chocolate. Work was much better today. I have to say that it was quite eerie passing meds in the back hallway, near the room of our recent death! I couldn’t help but peek in his room before I started my med pass. Something sinister and heavy in there, that’s for sure. One coworker said that there were a couple of times during breakfast that she swore she saw our deceased resident standing at the back of the dining room. We feel that he is unsettled by his untimely death…

Friend: Fascinating. There is much unseen that science has yet to observe. One day it may be explained. BTW: I have worked in hospitals and have a science background.

Me:  I do believe there is a lot that goes on that is unseen. I also believe that there are some of us that pick up on the unseen through sensations and visions, for whatever reason. From working in a nursing home, assisting living and in Hospice, events occur that only the compromised individual can experience, the one transitioning. We, as observers, can only imagine! What we see can be used as scientific advancement, for sure! These observations can also be used to grow in faith and in relation with God, if one’s heart is open and accepting. I respect all opinions and beliefs. For me, I will stick with God! Not only because I’ve seen death but because of what I’ve seen with my own spiritual senses. One day, each one of us will know the answer whether we want to or not. We will all experience death, so yes, it is all very fascinating!! Thank you so much for stopping to comment! I value and appreciate what you’ve said! You got me thinking 🙂 Wishing you a lovely, safe Memorial Day!!

Friend:  You reminded me of a hospice nurse with whom I shared an office. She told me about her encounters with spirits while caring for her patients and even asking their indulgence to let her finish administering the pain meds. Both of us were talking in a rational manner about something that some would label as “unreal.” BTW: we were university teachers who are trained in the sciences with a high regard for the limits of medicine to explain the end of life events. We accept and do the best we can. I never could do the important work of that nurse and not freak out.

Me:  I would have been so intimidated by your response, especially your educational background, a couple years back, but you’ve just shown me how much I’ve grown spiritually, and for this, I thank you! I do not mean any disrespect in any way, but I am a child of God, and I am secure in who I am because of who God is! I have never in my life felt this confident, and I do give God all the glory!! I am an uneducated nursing assistant who loves God and all people, especially the elderly. The nursing assistant part used to make me feel so inadequate and insignificant, especially next to someone such as yourself. I truly thank you for this enlightening conversation, and I mean this from the depths of my heart!! You’ve allowed God to show me just who I am when I’m standing next to Him!!

I paused for a moment to reflect on this conversation.

Me: …as I sit here and meditate on our words, it’s been impressed upon me to correct my last statement from: “You’ve allowed God to show me” to: “God has used you to show me just who I am when I’m standing next to Him.” Sorry about that (heart emoji)

Friend:  I think you are a healer without the degrees. Let me share my testimony. I was blessed with opportunities to get my Ph.D. and have to maintain my humility. When I had to write my dissertation and got to page 11 and I told the Holy Spirit, “I got no more words left in me about this research” and then He pulled another 300 pages out of me because I surrendered my will to His. The healthcare system especially nursing homes need someone like you. I see your sensitivity (hands clapping emoji).

Me:  I absolutely love your response!! Thank you for sharing your testimony! Thank you for this honest, vulnerable conversation! You’ve given me a boost in faith!! God bless you today and always!!

I was unbelievably encouraged after this exchange. I could not wait to share this with my husband. What a huge breakthrough! I ran to get my notes so that I wouldn’t miss one little, tiny detail and as I was making my way back, I heard the Holy Spirit:

“Don’t sit down to share this news. I want you to stand before him as if you were standing before an audience. Speak to the crowds!”

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