Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: HOME (02/07/19)
- TITLE: Herb of Grace
By Linda Lawrence
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Stenciling a grapevine on a wall of the cozy two-bedroom house had transformed it into the charming cottage of my dreams. I eagerly planned a guest room for women to come away for a personal retreat and savor grace. I longed to share what I never expected to have.
I had a name for the cottage and a plaque for the front porch - HERB OF GRACE.
Finished with final touches, I leaned back on the slip-covered couch, exhausted, but sighing with contentment in my peaceful surroundings, reflecting on how God had paved the way for this major move. A relative’s financial investment, adult children moving out, a change in my husband’s job description, his approaching retirement, frequent trips to visit my best friend living in this appealing college town, an affordable cottage for sale. And here we were.
But suddenly, words the Lord spoke to me twenty years earlier flashed to mind. Words that encouraged and comforted at the time, but now sent a chill of fear through me. I bolted upright. God had identified me with the Levites! My inheritance or portion was NOT a place, but the Lord Himself. Unable to sit still, arms squeezed tightly across my chest, I rocked back and forth, moaning. What have I done? How could I have forgotten? What was I thinking?
Gradually my soul quieted enough for me to sense His Presence. This house isn’t yours. It’s Mine. Was God chuckling? I grabbed my Bible and found the words again. Reading Deuteronomy 10, verse 8, I understood His assignment: Care for My house, serve Me by blessing those I bring to the door.
The soothing aroma of God’s grace overwhelmed me. Why me? Why are You so good to me, Lord?
I had no answer but I kept counting the many blessings.
I prepared the guest room for whoever He might bring and the Lord filled the room with Himself. For seven years God used our guest room as a place for weary or troubled women to have their own personal encounter with His Presence. What a privilege to be God’s servant, a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.
To my shame, however, I grieved and resisted when God (and my husband) insisted it was time for my mother to move into our guest room. I couldn’t imagine having enough grace to live with her and Alzheimer’s. How, Lord? How can I do this ungrudgingly, willingly?
I received my answer reading 2 Corinthians. I am able to make all grace abound to you. Always, Lord? In everything? Yes, in everything — an abundance for every good deed. I’ll help you do what you purposed to do, cheerfully. Serving my saints not only supplies their needs but brings Me much joy.
God poured His grace into our stressful situation, taking away our fear of that dreaded disease. Watching Alzheimer’s transform my mother into the accepting, grateful, inspiring woman of God she always wanted to be was grace to both my husband and me. It enabled my husband to accept dementia, without fear, when it was his turn — as he anticipated the refining and renewing of his own mind. He was able to finish his days in the home he loved. We recognized grace strengthening us to love each other well at the end.
This world never feels like home to me. Ask my friends. They all shake their head at my eagerness to age, my longing for an eternal home, my looking forward to the end of my days on earth. Maybe that’s why God lets me live in His house.
“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek; That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD and to meditate in His temple.”
Living, tasting, savoring grace upon grace, makes the wait for my eternal home bearable. God is Grace. For now, the Herb of Grace is home.
2 Corinthians 9:8; Psalm 27:4 NASB
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