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Grace Notes 4/8/2017: Offering up some random notes on grace

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By Nancy Kennedy

I hate clutter, although you’d never know it by looking at my desk.

This morning I had some free time, so I decided to go through the piles of notes and scribbles scattered around, which usually results in a “random notes of grace” column.

I hope something will be helpful or encouraging to you today:

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Some months ago, I wrote down something my friend Mike said: “I had faith that I was going to heaven, but I didn’t trust God to fix me NOW because I didn’t see how he would or could do it.”

After being a Christian for almost 39 years, that’s still pretty much my go-to belief too. I often tell God that if he would just give me a hint or two about what he’s doing in my life or in my kids’ lives then I’d trust him more. I want to see first before I believe, but he wants me to believe first without seeing. 

My faith is so small, but Jesus said that’s all anyone needs — teeny faith in an immensely powerful and kind God.

After nearly 39 years, I’m beginning to learn that he can be trusted to fix me and the people I love this side of heaven, if that’s his will. Not everything gets fixed, but he even gives grace for when things stay unfixed, and his grace is enough.

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“I’m right where I’m supposed to be.” That’s what I heard someone say recently. I believe that God is sovereign, which means there’s not one random molecule in the entire universe that is out of his direct control — even our free will. He even uses that to accomplish his plan.

So, whenever I see my life getting chaotic and not going my way, I remember that I am right where I’m supposed to be. Because, if I was supposed to be somewhere else I would be.

I truly do believe that, even if sometimes I may not like where I am.

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I also recently heard someone say that the definition of expectations is “premeditated resentments” or “resentments under construction.” Hmmm.

I’ll try to remember that the next time I think other people should meet all my physical, emotional and spiritual needs, or expect them to read my mind. Because when they don’t, I tend to get resentful.

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I wish I could figure out how prayer works. I remember once praying for a frog. My husband was cleaning our driveway and didn’t see the frog in the grass nearby and the little guy got hit by some bleach. 

As my husband tried to wash him with the hose, I prayed a frantic, “God, please help this poor little frog! Help him! His eyes must be burning — help him, please!”

The frog hopped away into the bushes, hopefully not to die.

My prayers are often of the “Please help!” kind — “Help him!” “Help her!” “Help me, please!”

I know that God hears and that the rest is up to him. That, I think, is the essence of prayer. It’s believing that God is, it’s knowing that he hears and then trusting his goodness with the outcome.

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Another time, when my daughter, Alison, was little, I wanted to teach her about prayer, even though I was new at it myself. One morning she couldn’t find her shoes, and after looking everywhere — twice — I said, “Let’s pray about your shoes.”

We knelt next to my bed and she prayed, “Dear Jesus, you know where my shoes are and we don’t. Amen.”

No lie — the minute she said, “Amen,” she peeked underneath my bed and there were her shoes — with a dollar bill inside one of them.

I don’t know what to make of that except to think that God must have fun being God and answering little girls’ prayers like that.

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The other day I went to my church to meet with the music director for a newspaper story. The side door was unlocked so I walked in. The lights were out in the sanctuary and no one was there except God and me. I stood there smiling for a few minutes — it felt scandalous.

I hummed a song we used to sing: “God has smiled on me; he has set me free. God had smiled on me; he’s been good to me.”

In all, it’s been a good week. God has smiled on me. 

 

Nancy Kennedy is the author of “Move Over, Victoria — I Know the Real Secret,” “Girl on a Swing” and “Lipstick Grace.” She can be reached at 352-564-2927 or via email at nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.