There has been one common theme I have gathered on social media the last few days. Many people were very glad to see 2017 go. As I read and read, I pondered the state of our society and just why people think 2018 will be any different than 2017. For some, many things were out of their control, i.e. deaths, accidents, illnesses, job changes. For others, I wonder about the heart. Will 2018 make a difference if there is a heart change?
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21
The Erwin family certain had its ups and downs as I tried MY BEST to “be still and know that He is God.” In every situation, I questioned God’s mercy as He delivered us over and over again. I deserved His judgment so many times, yet He was faithful and merciful even when I didn’t see it in front of my face.
There was still anger in merciful deliverance. Hummm…have you been there?
He also TAUGHT me how to use His mercy in my own family. So many times I cried out to God begging for mercy with Jay’s cancer as I watched him suffer earlier in the year with the side effects from the drug he was taking. It caused horrible body cramps that would land him in the floor and there would not be anything I could do but wait until the cramps passed. Thankfully, we believe the drug did enough of its job and Jay does not have to take it anymore. Wait, is that grace? And I was begging for mercy. Grace is when God gives us good things that we do not deserve and could never earn. I could never earn the bountiful blessing he gave to Jay of healing.
I’ve spent years praying for Collin and I continue. Raising children is not for the faint of heart, and they can break our heart. It’s like puppies when they know they have done wrong, our children do too. They don’t want to hurt us, . This summer, only through prayer, grace, and mercy did I watch my son turn a tragedy into a triumph to where I have never been more proud of who he is…not perfect, but my son. He worked to graduate one semester early and is a graduate of Collierville High School and heading into the Tennessee College of Applied Technology this semester. Grace has a purpose and every day we live as an act of God’s mercy. For four years, Collin saw mercy and grace in someone daily at CHS who guided him and loved him. Without Kristy Krotzer, Collin’s life would be so different. OUR life would be so different. I walked in her office one day and there was this picture of a kid on her bulletin board. My Collin. Collin keeps reminding me how to extend grace and mercy. Isn’t that what children are for?
I have been battling my health for months and my battle is not done. If there has been an emotion to go through, I’ve gone through it. But we are close! Mayo Clinic did what they were supposed to do, but I came home still stick and not able to eat. I talked to Mayo and they told me to see my doctor in Memphis. I saw Dr. Farooq and he told me there is a possibility I have what is called Median Acurate Ligament Syndrome or Dunbar Syndrome (nurses will know what this is). As I sat crying in his office, totally exhausted of all emotions at that point, he took the time to show me on the computer a model work up of the Celiac Artery and Ligament. This artery provides the oxygenated blood flow to the abdomen and its organs. If this artery is blocked or the ligament it kinked, this will cause EVERY symptom I have been experiencing. So I am waiting to have an angiogram to find the blockage, possibly schedule surgery with a vascular surgeon, and hopefully get back to a normal life.
Have I questioned God? YOU BETCHA! I’ve searched scriptures, and even began visiting our home church, Germantown Baptist. God continues to lead me back to the same scripture that I have around my house:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” James 1:2-3
That scripture is a direct promise of mercy and grace. I think mercy and grace are best shown in salvation that is available through Jesus Christ. We deserve judgment, but if we receive Christ as Savior, we receive mercy from God as we are delivered from judgment. Just as with the scripture above, if I face my adversity with joy and glorify God, the testing of my faith will not seem as hard. I know, I’ve experienced it! What GRACE!
Because of the mercy and grace we receive, we are able to bypass judgment and spend eternity with Jesus. Can we start 2018 with joy knowing that we will one day be with Him because our sins are forgiven?
“Let is then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
There is a Facebook status that is going around where you ask the following:
“Leave a positive word I can carry into 2018 that starts with the 1st letter of your name. It can only be 1 word. Then copy this to your wall so I can leave a word for you. Happy, healthy, and prosperous New year to my wonderful fb family!”
I fell for it because my love language is Words of Affirmation. I share this because so many are searching for “words” to define their year and to help their resolutions. I did that last year. But what if we were this way EACH DAY? I looked at each word and I thought, this is what a Christian is called to be! THIS needs to go on my prayer wall for encouragement! So as Mercy and Grace collide there will be forgiveness, kindness, loyalty, joy, strength, courage, warmth, compassion, passion, hope, laughter, blessings, but most of all, salvation.
Do you know who has all of those attributes? I think in 2018, instead of a word, I will strive to be more like my Savior who has shown me more mercy and grace that I have ever deserved. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. But I look forward to the day that I can stand before my Savior and He will be able to say to me, “Well done thy good and faithful servant”.
May you search your heart for the same mercy and grace.