God is amazing. It amazes me that He has time for all of us. Really, this is beyond my scope of understanding. I barely have enough time somedays for the people just in my household...let alone the whole world for all that has come and all that is coming. Not only does He have time for us, He truly knows us. I can't tell you how many times I have said (or heard my friends say) that I wish someone (usually spouses) really knew me...knew who I was deep inside. He does. Our spouses can "know" us to a certain extent but there are always places we don't let people in...He is there. Do you want to know what is so amazing about Him knowing you? It is that He can give us an amazing grace we can find no where else for our very life situation. I didn't get this. Not at all. When others said that His grace was sufficient I saw grace as being more like just forgiveness and couldn't really understand how it could cover a situation. It was like the grace we give our children...we don't kill them for making sometimes horrible choices instead we just hold them. It is the thing that keeps us from beating them senseless somedays. I can only imagine how incredibly frustrating it must be for God, since we have free will and all, to watch us make the same bad choice over and over and over and over with no real desire to change. Good thing His grace covers a multitude of sins, huh?
That is all I thought grace was. Grace is so much more. Grace is also giving us what we need for our own life's journey. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." There fore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." When we come before Him in weakness, it is by His strength that we are able to not only endure a situation but actually rejoice in our suffering. Please, let me put this in to some context so that you may see how I finally came to have this understanding of grace.
Before my daughter was diagnosed with cancer, I was in awe of others who could endure hardship. The family that lost their house to a fire. The husband and young children who watched their wife/mother succumb to cancer. Missionaries who endured unspeakable torture. And not just catastrophes such as these but the homeschooler mother, the mother with a large family, grandmothers raising their grandchildren, foster parents, etc. You can see where I am going. Those who had bigger, tougher or just different situations than mine. I would always say, "wow, I could never do that." or "Thank God I was never expected to do that." Well, be very careful making statements to God about what you can and cannot endure or live through/with.
What we don't get is that we are incapable of nearly everything without God. Ok, really...everything. Sometimes, I think He just lets us handle some things on our own. You know...I can pick up dirty clothes and I know I am capable...hmmm...now that I have said that if it wasn't for God giving me the body I have and the mental facilities, that may not be possible... but you get the idea. There are lots of activies we do everyday without thinking about whether or not God helps us do them. We simply do not think. But what about when He asks us to do something bigger than ourselves? You know...those tasks when we feel like Moses at the burning bush and we just keep giving God reasons why we are not the right one for the job. He knows that...that we are incapable without Him...that is the point.
Let me let you all in on a little secret about me...I am not a great mom. Especially before all of this. I am selfish, disorganized and not always attentive. I was very focused on my life. I was also the kind of mom who could barely keep things straight. I rarely made my kids finish their antibiotics because I wasn't organized enough to remember to give all of them. And I didn't always pay attention...I was selfish. I was NOT a good candidate for the mother of a cancer child. Not to mention that I am very emotional. Not going to be good. So, what on earth was God thinking???? I couldn't remember to let the dog out in time or get dinner on the table before 7:30pm (thank the Lord I had my mom!).
God had so much to show me. I needed a multitude of grace...I mean grace upon grace upon grace...and He knew that. But HIS grace was sufficient. He gave me exactly what I needed for MY situation. Not for my neighbor's or friend's or someone in my family...but what HE knew I needed. Amazing.
Only through God did I begin to focus on something other than myself. Only through God did I develop a system for keeping track of appoinments, feeding and medicines. Only by the GRACE OF GOD. It was God who changed me...not me, not my situation...I could have remained the same person...I would have sucked as a mom and wife to Austin, Kennedy and Keith through all of this, but He changed me. He taught me, molded me, melted me in the Refiner's fire in to the person I needed to be for my situation. Kennedy's cancer was just the vessel through which He worked. Sadly, because of who I had chosen to become, it had to be this. I had to be brought to a place of complete brokenness (now there is an oxymoron, huh?), absolute submission before He could begin. Nothing until this had done it.
Ok, so my point...back to the beginning...His grace is sufficent to our individual situation...to us individually. Now isn't that amazing? He didn't give me the "universal grace" for "mother's with children who have cancer." He didn't even give me the "universal grace" for "a 32 year old mother of 2 with a 4 year old child with high risk, slow responding ALL." Nope, He gave me the grace necessary for Melenie. Just me and it was designed to meet my exact need. Not for anyone else. And even better? He gave Kennedy her own grace designed exclusively for her to complete her journey and Austin his own grace to be the sibling and Keith his own grace to be the father. No two graces (is that even a word??) are alike. They can be as big or small or bright or smooth as that individual needs for that individual situation. Amazing.
The reason we do not understand how someone is able to endure their life's journey is because it is not ours. It is not our cross to bear or enjoy, depending on what it is. We do not understand because God has not given us their grace.
Countless people (families, friends, strangers) have asked us how we could endure or how we survived and it is ONLY by God's grace. Without it I would have crumpled in to a ball and would be probably living out the rest of my days in an asylum somewhere. I am NOT strong, nor do I claim to be, but I don't need my own strength...I have His. I have His grace. He provides every single thing I have needed and will need to get through every moment. So, the mother who is enduring the 3rd cancer round (relapse now of original cancer) in 3 years has sufficient grace. The grace given to me for my journey would NOT be sufficient for her and I won't pretend otherwise. The mother whose child breezed through treatment and is having absolutely no long term effects...the grace God gave her...won't work for me. That isn't my journey.
Next time you are presented with a situation in which you think, "Oh, I could never do that" or think "What can I do to bear their burden, " remember that God is way ahead of the game. What can you do? Pray, pray and listen to God for what you are to do. Sometimes your part is just to pray and that is fantastic. Sometimes you will have a bigger role, but He will let you know. Don't try to play God to someone else...been there, doesn't work but that is for another entry!
May you always seek God first.