Tuesday, February 13, 2007

"I can be nothing but that grace adorns me."

Yesterday was rather rough. The majority of the day was just fine, nothing particularly bad or stressful to set the stage for the rest of the evening. However, it quickly snowballed into an evening I could have done without. Many who know me, particularly those who have known me since my adolescence (which at times still feels like it was two days ago) know that I am one to carry much more on my shoulders than I should, or than is necessary. When it comes to certain people, I will let guilt trips set in, and as a my boyfriend put it nicely last night, I sometimes have "punching bag" written across my forehead. Some of those people know that I've let myself be in such a position with my family in particular, but also with certain other individuals who may have crossed my path and some point. Here recently, there is an individual who has started communicating with me in such a way; regardless of the ways I have tried reaching out to her, she is quite unpredictable when it comes to being either warm and friendly or distant and cold. A few subtle, passing comments were tossed my way at different times yesterday, words laced with an underlying hint of bitterness and self-centeredness. After having these tossed at me a couple of times, I finally just broke down. Rather than boldly confronting her right then and there, I caved and took the brunt of her words. It was raining last night, and to help my mood all the more, I unknowingly stepped in a present my puppy had left in the front yard. So there I was, sitting in the bathroom after all of this, crying and wiping the mess off of my shoes. Not only had she pushed me to the point of being upset, but I had failed in confronting her with my concerns. My boyfriend happened to be over with another friend of ours, and he came into the bathroom to see what was wrong. After hearing me blubber through my frustrations, he very lovingly rebuked me. Yes, it was wrong for her treat me in such a way, but I had also failed to respond to her in the way I should have and knew I should have. It reminded me of all the times I carried unnecessary weight from certain individuals in my family, and rather than standing up for what is good and true, I retreated to my bedroom. To an extent, there was probably little I could have done in my youth, but I still never at least did what I could. So some of those familiar tears and frustrations with myself came flooding back during all of this last night.


Of all the instances that could have turned a difficult night into one of encouragement, there were two which the Lord pretty obviously set in place. For one thing, my boyfriend was very honest and gracious in his words, but also harsh when he was telling me the truth of the situation. And let's be really candid here--I need brutal honesty sometimes, and last night in the bathroom was one of those times. It was one of those key moments in which the Lord showed me a measure of His grace when He didn't have to. He didn't have to bless my life, bring me encouragement during times when my own sinful responses are exposed, but He did. And He does so everyday--oh, how often I miss it and go about without a thankful heart.

Even before the breakdown, I was blessed with a rather unexpected surprise.
My dear friend Gretchen suddenly stopped by my apartment on her way to the grocery store. She came by with the most thoughtful gift I could have imagined--a copy of Valley of Vision. Not only had she bought herself a copy, but she intentionally purchased one for me with the hopes that we could read through some of the prayers and petitions therein together. I really almost started crying, and in fact, had the setting been a little different (standing in the entryway of my apartment with the dogs trying to knock us over), I probably would have responded much more emotionally than I did. I am overwhelmed by the grace given through friends sometimes. What made the gift funny was that I had just been thinking of buying the book yesterday as well, and I DID just minutes before Gretchen. I had even looked for her when I initially went into the bookstore, but forgot that she was working in the back. So when she showed up at my doorstep with something so meaningful, I was almost speechless at the goodness of the Lord shown through such dear kindred spirits. As I was going to sleep last night, after the priceless gift, after the harsh comments I was dealt, after having to endure the surprise on my shoe, after crying all over myself, after hearing the words of truth from my boyfriend, I put my head down on the pillow and was thankful. I asked the Lord's forgiveness for the ways in which I had sinned, the thoughts that were reactionary rather than edifying, and I was thankful. He is good and His mercy endures forever. How easy it is to sing or speak these, yet how unfathomable they really are.

Give me a deeper trust,
that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring
of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as saviour, master, lord, and
king. Give me deeper power in private prayer, more sweetness in Thy Word, more
steadfast grip on its truth. Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from Thee.
Plough deep in me, great
Lord, heavenly husbandman, that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of
grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden
like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.
I have no master but
Thee, no law but Thy will, no delight but Thyself, no wealth but that Thou
givest, no good but that Thou blessest, no peace but that Thou bestowest. I am
nothing but that Thou makest me. I have nothing but that I receive from Thee. I
can be nothing but that grace adorns me.
~from Valley of Vision,
"The Deeps"~


Ashley said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I agree 100% that Funderstorm makes a great 2nd mom! :)

Sorry about your rough day. I think it is at those low moments that we see God and His grace and love the most.

Sarah said...

I hope that the encouragement you drew from the friends in your life has uplifted you today. Isn't it funny how the Lord brings the right people in at the right time? So comforting to know that He knows our need before we do!
Anyways, to answer your question on my blog--yes, I have read the Emily series. They are one of my favorites by L.M....as she would put it, I think we would have been bosom friends if we had lived in the same place at the same time.:-)
Also, I am extremely jealous (in a good sense) that you are blessed to have Gretchen in the same town as you! We had them around for a year after we were married (I think we got married the same summer) and it was so fun to do stuff with them. We consider them some of our dearest friends. Enjoy them!!!
(OK, longest comment ever....sorry!)

GloryandGrace said...

No, Sarah, yours isn't quite the longest comment ever--but rather, highly enjoyed!! Thanks for the comment and the word of encouragement :)

Panda-Mom said...

Awwwwwwwe....I am (((hugging))) you right now. I love you and you know that after paying for enough counseling I can now confront those kind of joy-sucker type people. I know you can do it, too. NO ONE HAS TO TAKE CRAP OF ANY KIND!!! It is your choice to stop the insanity. I love you, call me if you need to.

Gretchen said...

Grace -- I just love blogs like this: devotional in nature. It was so well written, and so purely reflective. I really enjoyed reading it, and I am in fact a little misty-eyed. :)

I hope you are enjoying the book. I am just starting it tonight. I talked to Kayte today (she came to the big sale at the bookstore) and she said she reads one prayer a day with her devotions. I am really missing devotional reading. Last year I did way TOO much devotional reading (and not ENOUGH Bible reading) but so far this year, I haven't really read anything devotional. All that to say. . . I am excited about this book!

As for my little Sarah friend: she is the funnest and cutest little thing ever! We did get married the same summer, and had a few evenings at one another's apartments in which we talked late into the night. She is really bubbly and funny and is the kind of person that about a million people consider their best friend! :) (she knows that's true!)

Sorry about the hard stuff. I would say you don't deserve that, but my theology doesn't quite allow for that statement! :) I guess what I want to say is, I am so glad that there was grace there for you to receive from the Lord what He gave you. Bless your heart! Anything that gives us more of the Lord is a mercy! :)

GloryandGrace said...


Thanks, dear sister, for your words. I totally understand what you mean when you said your theology doesn't line up with "you don't deserve that"--I feel the same way, thus the tension during such difficult times as that was.

I read two prayers the first night you gave me the book--the sort of introductory one and then one other. Do you want to work out something where we can routinely discuss what we've been reading? I think that would be wonderful~

As for the girls I invited for Saturday, they're not going to be able to come to the "girls afternoon," but I would still LOVE to do something. Have you talked to anyone else who might be interested? Let me know!

Love you, Grace and peace to you this day~

Amber said...

That book of prayers sounds wonderful!

Sorry I was unable to be there for you on that difficult day with my appointments and busy work schedule and all. You've been such a blessing to keep contact with during the day, and I regret that I didn't have the chance to return the favor. Nevertheless, I am so grateful to the Lord for providing the comfort and encouragement you needed through other means. He never leaves us to ourselves, does He?

I love you, dear friend. Thank you for sharing.

Gretchen said...

I am still up for Saturday and Heather, the only other girl that works at LifeWay with me is coming too. I thought I'd invite those girls I met at my workout class, too. I thought we'd eat cheesecake and watch a movie (I ordered the American Girl movies but I foolishly had them sent to my old address, so I won't be getting them for a few weeks, I guess!) -- 4:00 okay?

I kind of want to do something encouraging with the girls, but I guess just fun, open conversation facilitates that!