Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Circle of Grace

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 
Ephesians 2:8-9
Each year, I like to pick a word to focus on for the whole year. I have only been doing it a couple of years, but for 2016, I picked the word LOVED. And while I have seen this word played out in my life (also, it is the meaning of my name), there was another word that kept appearing - GRACE.

The circle of Grace.

It was probably about 1.5 years ago already that I started seeing the word, hearing it, thinking a lot about it.

The story is not all about me. In fact, I really only have a tiny part to play in it all. God is the author and our family, friends, and church play the supporting roles. This story has been a long time coming and there is so much more to it then I can even share, but here is a little bit of the circle of grace that I have seen over the last year.

In the Spring of 2015, my mom was asked to be a part of a new group starting called Grace Ladies' Fellowship. It was not at the church we were currently attending, but was at a church we had attended many years before. My mom was asked to be one of the main speakers at the event they were having and also head up the food aspect of it. After a lot of prayer and encouragement from our family, mom agreed to it. And of course, my sister and I helped with making the goodies!

Cheesecake tarts that we served
Some more of the yummy food we made
More desserts
That summer, we were asked to help with the food for a shower of a family friend. The shower was also held at Grace Covenant Church. 

Later in the summer as we headed into fall, a family friend was diagnosed with cancer. She also went to Grace. We attended 2-3 prayer services for her there. I watched as the family of God came around her and her family during this time. 

One of the prayer services
It was about that time, August 2015, that we started attending, once again, at Grace. (We had also went to a confirmation service for my nephew around the same time.)

We saw the grace that was extended to us as we returned and were a apart of the body of Christ. 

I continued to see the word grace and God's grace in different situations. 

Our friend that was going through cancer, her middle name was Grace.

One day, I had a friend named Grace call me and ask me about the gal who was going through cancer and she prayed for her with me right on the phone. 

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Ephesians 4:7 

One of the most inspiring things that our friend with cancer said was along the lines of "If I live, I win, if I die, I win). She knew that whether God gave her more time on earth with all of us or called her home to Him, she won!

Jesus did call her home in June. When we had talked with her, earlier in the year, she had said she wanted cupcakes for her party (We had made them for her graduation). Whether it was a party to celebrate her coming home to her family or going home to Jesus, we were going to have cupcakes.

And we did indeed! Mom and I made over 800 cupcakes and then we had many helpers from church to decorate them!
Mom and I with all the cupcakes

This was the orange sunset on the day she went to be with Jesus.

It had been about a year since God had started showing me so many different ways. I thought it was maybe over, this year of grace. But God had one more surprise in store! There had been a job posting in the bulletin at church for a children's ministry assistant. I had thought about applying, but it was during my sabbatical time and I wasn't planning on working right then. But then I felt God tell me that the door to a job was not closed just because I thought it was during this time. So after the posting was no longer even in the bulletin, I inquired about the position. It turned out the position was still open. I ended up applying and being asked for an interview, but I was going to be out of town for about 3 weeks. They said they were willing to wait to interview me. So when I got home, I interviewed and was then offered the job at Grace. God is so good. He takes the unexpected and shows you His plan and He offers us GRACE!
This past weekend, I and another staff person were presented to the church and prayed over as we start these new jobs.
I have seen a circle of GRACE this year and I can't to see what God has in store next. I have loved seeing the community of Christ and how the church can work together. Grace really is a beautiful thing.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

9/11 - 15 years ago...

It was 15 years ago, but we all remember it like it was yesterday. Thank you to those who fought to protect and rescue on that day. And thank you to those who are continuing to fight for our freedoms, here at home and around the world.

May we always remember... 

September 11, 2001