Showered with Grace

I could not move, nor could I get over the fact that as bad as I am, the true emptiness in the words I speak, my heart failures, and all my failed attempts to get Him right [and I would so love to get Him right], that seemingly always turn out bad, combined with all the nothingness I have to offer Him… He still loves me, cares for me, forgives me, cleanses me [even the hairs on my head], and showers me with Grace.  And I began to sing…

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.  ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved; how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! …

“And at that very moment, I am on my knees or huddled over in a hopeless mess– speechless, and completely amassed in the mercy, grace, and holy presence of Almighty God.”

“I’ve showered with Grace!”  Hard to imagine one’s shower or bathroom as a sanctuary, I know, but He just so happens to be in mine… all the time.  😉  I’d like to open the door a little and let you in on some of my “private” times with Jesus, but first, I have to tell you how this post got here ahead of you.

Every year, beginning on St. Patrick’s Day and continuing until the day after, I pause to remember that it was on these days that my 3 sisters and I gathered together in a hospital room and spent the night saying “good-bye” to our mother.  To have all of us there, including the sister who took the brunt of the abuse & suffered the greatest hurt, to me, was amazingly gracious.  I still “Thank God” for all that, today!

My Mom really wanted to get it right in life, but she never really could.  A head trauma from a childhood car accident, losing her baby brother to pneumonia, the addictions [alcoholism, smoking tobacco, etc…] resulting in failed health and long-term hospitalizations (captivity) and complicated by strokes & paralysis; the end of her nursing career, the failed marriage [she never remarried], the loss of friends & family, her [& her children’s] abusive childhood stories, and all the insanity that goes with it… seemingly adding up to “nothing good”.   Yes, be it what it may, she [and we] were left in the wake of her choices and circumstances with what appeared to be an unhealthy and turbulent mess… her appearance as the poor daughter, wife, mother, sister, friend, co-worker, patient, and even Christian.  Still, one thing remained-  and His name is “Jesus!”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“ [Matthew 5:3]

Surrounded by Methodist pastors and mostly born-again Christians in her family, Mom knew the Truth and loved Him.  She had gotten up close and personal with Him when she was very young, and although her life didn’t reflect it much- Jesus too, was with her.

Even I have days, when I wonder how I can say this.  I have spent a lifetime trying not to be her.  My mother could have, and probably did, burn the ears off a brass monkey or two or three, on either side of her love affair meetings with Old Mr. Boston.  But, on that day, the day she went to live with Jesus, through all the emotional baggage and physical pain she suffered [lung cancer from decades of smoking cigarettes and congenital heart failure from the decades of alcohol addiction], not one cuss word, foul mouthed curse, insult, negative slur, or even a frown was seen or heard—no not one!  She was amazingly peaceful, smiley, and the life of the party.  When lucid, she looked at each one of us with her now, not so threatening ‘big eye stare’, seemingly to try and tell us each- something very special.

At this point in time, I had only been reading my Bible again after decades of not, and I was still currently unchurched for at least as many decades.  But, for some reason [I didn’t fully understand at that time] I needed to know right then, so I asked  “What do you see Mom?”  “What are you hearing Mom?”  “Can you see Jesus?”  -over & over and every time she would look up, sometimes even trying to raise her half sided paralysis body toward the ceiling and murmur “Oh, oh, oh!”   And her response to me was always the same- she would turn and look at me intently with her eyes appearing to be with me, yet fixed somewhere else.   She really tried to speak, but no one in the room could understand her.  We advocated with the nurses for pain meds and were told she wanted to be “awake for us girls” so she endured more pain then was necessary.  Still no peep from her- no not one!

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! …

After Mom had left for Heaven, my husband came and picked up our kids and I went home to shower and change.  I was all alone and feeling the effects of the lost sleep and emotional roller coaster I was still apparently on.  I entered the bedroom to get a change of clothes before showering when out of nowhere, with no remote control to be found anywhere, the television turned itself on from the other side of the bedroom.  The cat on the bed jumped up rather perturbed because he was sleeping peaceably until the rude awakening.   And involuntarily, almost like a reflex, I said “Hi Mom!”; my knees hit the floor and I sobbed.

“And at that very moment, I am on my knees or huddled over in a hopeless mess- speechless, and completely amassed in the mercy, grace, and holy presence of Almighty God.”

~~~

On a lighter note [“I know I need one right about now”], I’ll share a very special moment that happened on the way home from the funeral.  My husband was driving, and our six year old daughter and three year old son were in their car seats in the back.  [Both of the children happened to be with me in the hospital when Mom passed because their dad couldn’t watch them.]  It was very quiet in the car, when all of a sudden my daughter who is now whimpering says  “Mom, do you miss your mom?”  No sooner did she utter the words, when out of the mouth of the babe [my son], we hear rather emphatically “Sissy, she’s with Jesus!”  –I could almost hear him say “Duh!”  ♥ 

[[If I was unchurched at the time
of my mother’s passing, what did that make my children?
So, how did my baby know?  😉
 ♥
God is so good!!!]]

~~~

I think you sort of know by now where I’m going with the grace, but as for the shower… I’m getting there.

Growing up as the oldest and also the recipient of the parent child role reversal in a dysfunctional family system was rough [assuming the role of the parent], but it wasn’t without perks, either.  One of which, was watching late night TV.  Whenever Mom wanted company watching the tube, she would wake me up after all my sisters had fallen asleep to watch it with her.  I loved watching monster movies back then [not so much now, real life seems to imitate all that for me].  This was the one thing I recall, that I truly enjoyed doing with her.  In these times, it almost seemed like life [and Mom] could be good, better, and maybe even a tad bit perfect.

“Hi Mom!”
‘And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those called according to His purpose.’  [Romans 8:28]

[I have found that it is our need (those left behind), to search for meaning, or for some evidence of faith, to hold onto while we are still here- and they are not.  I believe that the Lord knew, and only the Lord, just what I needed- most. He’s that good!!!]

So why am I telling you all this now and how does this fit into my shower?  Walk with me please… into “the rest room”.  I have found in my bathroom- numerous, daily, and sometimes ‘numerous in a day’ sights, sounds, humble submissions, “for crying out loud”, amazing worship, and from His Word to full messages.  It is in here that I find God often… and especially in the shower!

Two days before Christmas 2013, I had something happen to me in the shower that completely arrested my thinking and challenged me to stop seeing grace for what it was, but rather Who it is.

I was preparing to go to a family get together [to celebrate Christmas] and I was already not in a good place.  [Too much & too long of a story for this post.]  So still not in a great mood and at this point rushing, I get into the shower and go to reach for my [sample size] shampoo bottle and lo and behold it slips out of my hand, onto the bathroom floor and rolls over to the sink that is a couple of feet away.  Without even thinking, “That did NOT just happen!” flies out of my mouth.

Ok, even you can surmise by this point that I was not in “a good spirit” going into this and I surely wasn’t at the moment I said
“That did NOT just happen!”

Then, all of a sudden as the last word [“happen”] had left me, that same shampoo bottle began its journey back to me across the level floor to the shower, where I could then reach it.  I picked up the shampoo bottle, somewhat in shock.  [Although I shouldn’t have been-  Crazy, miraculous, out-of-the-box, and out-of-this-world is usually how I roll with The Holy Spirit.]   Then, I suddenly grabbed my chest and fell forward like I was having a heart attack.  As I was hunched over sobbing [hard to hit one’s knees in the shower], and crying out loud to God, I’d become completely overcome…  with Grace!

“And at that very moment, I am on my knees or huddled over in a hopeless mess- speechless, and completely amassed in the mercy, grace, and holy presence of Almighty God.”

I could not move, nor could I get over the fact that as bad as I am, the true emptiness in the words I speak, my heart failures, and all my failed attempts to get Him right [and I would so love to get Him right], that seemingly always turn out bad, combined with all the nothingness I have to offer Him… He still loves me, cares for me, forgives me, cleanses me [even the hairs on my head], and showers me with Grace.  And I began to sing…

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed! …

I understood at that moment that [with faith] I really could say to this mountain “move” and it would be moved  — or – to that shampoo bottle “That did NOT just happen!” and it was [almost] like “it hadn’t”.

Still in the shower, I was reminded of my mother again as I began to sing that old beautiful hymn “Amazing Grace”.  [I had discovered through the arrangement process of her funeral all those years ago that it was one of her most favorite songs and one of two sung at her funeral.]  It hit me pretty hard in the shower and I almost did hit my knees to the floor again the moment I remembered it.  For all the horrific things my sisters and I endured in our childhood, the cuss words, this, that, and the other things, at the hand [& mouth] of Mom—Jesus had enough grace for her too.

“It’s NOT about us!!!”  It’s not what we’ve said, done, or gone to -or- not said, done, or gone.  It’s all about Jesus!!!  What He’s said.  What He’s done.  And how far He’s gone for each one of us.

I KNOW my mother loved Jesus!  Her faith for Him was child-like.  Her delivery stunk at getting Him across to others, but her heart was in it and she meant to do it right.  If it were not for my mother and her parents, I would never have stepped foot inside a church or received any religious education from Sunday School in my formative years.  This education by-the-way, helped to form my understanding that suicide was not an option and that hurting others or bullying was not His answer either (“Do unto others …”); that I was to love everybody and do good; that I was a sinner saved by grace; and that the wages of sin are death (But- “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”)   I even have a Bible with my name engraved on it to prove it (I had to recite John 3:16 out loud to receive it.)

((Maybe you also have your name written [engraved]
in the Lambs Book of Life.))  😉

Granted, I often wanted to gnaw off my limbs to get out of there [church], but was made to go anyway [Thank God & my mother!].   Church back then was certainly not what it is for me today, but even then I thought “I’m good!”  “I’ve got my room deposit slapped down for Heaven.”  “I’ve got a Bible and my name’s on it.”  [I feel foolish even writing this now.  “Thank You Lord” for the grace!]

It’s been quite the journey since I’d made my prodigal voyage back to the church.  I’m not saying church is the answer [although it is most certainly a great place to exercise the love and gifts He gives us].  But- I’ve learned a thing or two, and maybe something new– that “His” amazing grace says  “It’s really not about me, my mother, or even YOU.  It’s about His amazing & unmerited favor for us.  For all my mother was- there’s Jesus.  For all the things she wasn’t- there’s Jesus.  She was too weak to make it in this life on her own and He knew it.  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:3]  There is only one reason and one reason only that my mother is in Heaven today… His name is Jesus [and she knew Him]!  (I’m thinking she saw Him too, in that hospital room.)

I think what makes this message so personal, so special, and so current for me on that day, and even today- is that His love, mercy, & grace never fails, He meets us right where we need Him, and always right on time.

There is only one way, one truth, and one life to reach the Father in Heaven- and His name is Jesus!  But I have discovered, there are many ways we find ourselves ~ finding Jesus, and then, moving in with Him.

There’s only one reason and one reason only that any of us shall find our way to Heaven and His name, again, is “Jesus”!

Showered in Amazing Grace!
…  jam4JESUS

Hart Impressions... Grace All Around Necklace front Lost Wax Cast Sterling Silver “Grace all around”.
“Grace” on the front (tag) and “Grace” on the back (heart).

Compliments of HartImpressions.
“For of His fullness we have all received,
and grace upon grace.” [John 1:16]

And at that moment, I am on my knees or huddled over in a hopeless mess- speechless, and completely amassed in the mercy, grace, & holy presence of my Almighty God, I remember  Mom, and I think about you & me… and I sing [especially best in the shower]:

Amazing grace! how sweet the sound,
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
was blind but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
and grace my fears relieved;
how precious did that grace appear
the hour I first believed!

The Lord has promised good to me,
his word my hope secures;
he will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
’tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
and grace will lead me home.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The world shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun refuse to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Shall be forever mine.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
than when we’d first begun.

Advertisements

About jam4JESUS

I... 'will seek [First] the LORD my God, and I will find Him if I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul.' Deut. 4:29 I... 'shall love the LORD my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.' Deut. 6:5 I... 'Trust in the LORD with all my heart, And lean not on my own understanding; In all ways... acknowledge Him, And He shall make my path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 I... 'remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you' 2Tim. 1:6 I... 'thank God, whom I serve... without ceasing... I... remember YOU in my prayers night and day,' 2Tim. 1:3 I... am to 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God' Phil. 4:6 I... KNOW: 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.' Phil.4:13 'My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' Phil. 4:19 'My GOD will never leave me, nor forsake me.' Heb. 13:5 JESUS so loves me, this I... KNOW
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Showered with Grace

  1. RJ Dawson says:

    Excellent post, Julie! Your words continually point toward the Lord Jesus, our hope and Life, and the answer for any and all questions. It is truly His great unlimited and loving grace that sees us through, strengthens us, and most of all disconnects us from the evil of sin and its effects through our repentance.

    This is a great tribute to your mother who soldiered on regardless of conditions, but also a tribute to yourself, since you have not taken the Words of the Lord lightly but have applied them and trusted in Him. As long as we continue to walk with Him no matter how hard it may be at times, He will always be there to help us and guide us, and shower us with His grace.

    Be abundantly blessed.

    For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. [Romans 5:19-21]

    Like

    • jams4JESUS says:

      RJ — “Thank you!” Your beautiful words [whether posted here or on your blog] have GREATLY touched my heart and mind and I truly do take them to heart, and consider them “honorable” to the mind. I thought of you at one point when I was writing it and I thought “I hope he likes it.” 😀 So thanks again for all your kind words, guidance, and support… you & they really do matter & make a difference to me. “Thank You Jesus for my friend!”

      Thanks again RJ– God Bless you and your beautiful family “as well”! ❤

      Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s