I’VE FALLEN AND I’VE GOTTEN UP!

Embarrassment is so much a part of our thinking, isn’t it?  We want others to think the best of us and certainly don’t want them to see us do something stupid!  However, there are times in our lives when we do things by accident that still cause us embarrassment.  Last night was that night for me.  I was scheduled to do the closing interview for my current intern in front of the those who attended our Summer Fun Night!  That’s no big deal to me. I’ve talked in front of many people on many occasions.  I’ve said some embarrassing things in some of those times. Actually, I didn’t even realize what I said at the time I was saying it!  There are those who do remember those times and now it causes us to laugh a great deal.  My embarrassment has become a source of fun! But then there’s last night!

I looked at the schedule of events and then looked at our emcee for the evening, it was time for me to go up to the front of the gym.  I stood up and began my first step and my foot caught on the purse strap hanging out from under my chair.  I started to fall and there was nothing I could do to stop it.  I landed all my weight on my left knee with my head in the lap of one of the ladies sitting across from me.  I sat up for a moment then moved my knee. It moved, so I got up to continue on my trek to the front.  At that moment there were people all around me wanting to know how they could help.  One particular person said to me that I fell gracefully.  I’ll take that as a compliment.  I was just relieved that I didn’t rip my pants.  The more people who came to my rescue, the more embarrassed I was.  How could I have fallen like that in a crowd of people?  People saw me!!

People see us.  We can’t get away from that fact!  They see us in many different situations and make conclusions from what they see.  I was sure many were thinking some of the following:

            “Boy, is she ever clumsy!”

            “You know she’s over 60, brittle bones!”

            “How stupid was that to put your purse under your chair!”

Our minds can run away with us when we’re embarrassed.  We begin to make scripts of what is going on in the minds of others.  Even though we don’t know what they’re thinking, we’re pretty sure we do.  Then we judge others by what we think they are thinking!  The result is embarrassment about who we are and what we did rather than thoughts of good toward others.  This is not how the Lord wants us to respond.

Accidents happen to all of us.  We fall, hit a car with our car, drop a glass, or spill our milk.  Our lives are filled with opportunities for embarrassment.  The Lord looks at us and wants to see how we handle each one.  Do we begin to think negative thoughts about others?  Do we just want to withdraw from life?  Do we get angry and allow it to spill out in to every aspect of our lives?  We have choices on how to handle it when we’re not measuring up to what we think we ought to be.  The choices are as follows:

  1.  God has not left the building.  As I fell to the floor, God was there!  He hadn’t left me alone so I would fall.  He promises that, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5b In our most embarrassing moments we have to remember God.  We get so large in our thinking that we crowd out thoughts of God.  We MUST be aware that he MEANS what he says.  He is with us!
  2.  I’m not perfect.  I can say that I know I’m not perfect, but I don’t really mean it.  When I do something like fall in front of people, my mind tells me that I should have been able to walk without falling.  I’m strong and agile.  I’m healthy for my age.  I shouldn’t fall! This is not truth.  The truth is I’m older and not as steady on my feet as I used to be.  The truth is, “So we do not lose heart.   Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16 My body is wasting away which puts me closer to eternity!  I need to rejoice in the eternity to come for me because Jesus, who was perfect, lived and died in my place.
  3.  Gratitude is crucial!  When I fell, I allowed my embarrassment to miss all the people who wanted to help and ease my pain.  I said “thank you” but my embarrassment was overruling my gratitude in my mind.  We need to always be looking for what God is doing through others on our behalf.  He gives us so many people to be grateful for in our lives.  We can’t allow embarrassment to overrule gratitude.

Today I’m grateful for all those who came to my rescue.  They wanted to help me and that is so encouraging.  The body of Christ is to rub shoulders together, helping and lifting others up.  I got up but if I hadn’t been able to, there were many who would have picked me up.  I heard three times last night that I fell with grace.  I know that it was the grace of God given to me as I fell. May we each allow God’s grace to override our embarrassment as we look forward to that day of no more shame!

FLOWERS OF GRACE

Our Spring Tea was held on March 20th at Cornerstone Baptist Church.  If you were unable to come, the following is the message of God’s grace that was presented.

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”  2 Corinthians 9:8

Flowers, we all love them.  They are colorful and filled with aroma.  They are great decorations and bring a smile to our faces.  It’s always a special day when we receive flowers.  Recently, I received a beautiful bouquet without the sender’s name.  The message was “you are much loved and appreciated.”  What a wonderful uplifting gesture someone made to me!  Flowers say “I care.”

When we receive flowers, it’s a bit like the grace of God.  We didn’t do anything to earn the flowers.  They have been sent out of the love of someone’s heart.  God’s grace is like that; it’s his favor given to us, totally unearned.  Our theme verse says that God is able to make all grace abound to you.  To abound means to exist in great quantities.  We’re going to look at this word grace as an acrostic today.  This won’t even touch how wonderful and awesome grace is, but I hope it helps.

G – Great

When we think of something that is great, we may think of size or presence.  We determine what is great.  Sometimes we want to be great in another’s eyes or even in our own.  I remember when I was 12 years old, I thought it would be great to see the Beatles.  I heard they were coming to the Olympia stadium in Detroit.  I knew when the concert was, but my parents didn’t buy me a ticket, so I couldn’t go.  However, I did walk around in my yard thinking it would be great to see their plane go overhead.  It wasn’t long before there was a plane flying over and I looked up and waved to the greatness that I was sure was in it!  Yes, in that day, people thought the Beatles were great, but were they?  The truth is they were humans with many flaws.  The only great one is God.  He is great and good.  Because of this he has shown great favor to us as a sinful people.  He has made it possible for us to have a relationship with him through the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf.  Jesus lived perfectly and died perfectly in our place taking all of the wrath of God against our sin for us.  This grace is greater than anything else we could imagine.

R – Righteous

God’s grace is righteous.  This means that it’s always right, good, and true.  When God, in his great grace, sent Jesus to this earth to live in our place, He lived a righteous life.  Jesus never sinned.  He never had an oops, sorry moment.  He did this for us because of God’s great grace, which is always righteous.   When we believe in Jesus and accept him as our Savior, his righteousness is given to us!  Now that’s something we don’t deserve.

A – Always Available

God’s grace is always available. There are many things in our lives that we want to always be available.  When we turn on the kitchen tap, we expect water to flow.  When we go to the grocery store, we expect there to be toilet paper on the shelf.  But as we have learned last year, these things are not always available.  Sometimes I think we think relationships will always be available.  We can begin to take people for granted.  It may be we put off going to see someone or contacting them by phone, text, email, or letter.  People are not always available.  I remember how I took my mom for granted.  I was able to call her when I had questions, and she had the answer.  Then the day came when I didn’t call her very much because I decided her attitude irritated me.  Life had changed for my mom and me.  She wasn’t available in the way I wanted her to be.  I responded in the wrong way at first, until I discovered she was sick.  We can’t always be available but God can and is.  He desires for us to approach him so that he can pour out his favor on us.  I needed God’s grace to accept that mom was no longer the mom I wanted.  His grace helped me to come to a place of acceptance.  He never holds back his grace.  It is always available to his children.

C – Ceaseless

God’s grace never runs out.  There’s never any reason to yell “who took the last grace?”  You know what I’m talking about…those cookies that are delicious and you know there’s one left.  Yet, when you go to get the last one, it’s gone!  Who took the last cookie?  You see everything in this lifetime ceases.  One day our very life will cease.  We will be no more and only memories will remain.  Sometimes we live as if we’ll never die.  But the truth is we will, and when we do we’ll stand before our maker, the Lord God.  We will have to give an account of our lives all the good, the bad, and the ugly.  But remember God’s ceaseless grace. If you have accepted Christ by his grace, then you have no worries. As you stand before the Lord God, it’s Christ’s righteousness that he sees.  His grace is ceaseless, eternal, it covers you at the end of life.

E – Encompassing

God’s grace totally surrounds us.  There are no gaps or holes in God’s grace.  It surrounds us completely to grant us favor in every area of life.  It reminds me of a hug, a good hug where you put your arms totally around someone.  In that moment you’re surrounding them with your love, encouraging them, holding them up, or being the shoulder they need to cry on.  God’s grace surrounds us that way.  It goes way beyond a hug but it is God’s hug offered freely to us.

God’s grace was great, righteous, always available, ceaseless, and encompassing to me when my stepfather passed away in June 2020.  This man had been in my life for 57 years so he was my dad.  One day he thought a wall was being built by his neighbor.  He was standing outside demanding me to see something that wasn’t there.  These hallucinations were very real to him.  It’s as if his mind broke at that moment and there wasn’t any reality left.  This began a whirlwind of a downward spiral for him.

God’s grace – that I lived on the same street as my dad and could go in the middle of the night if needed.

God’s grace – that his doctor called me back every time I called him, even though he was on vacation with his family.

God’s grace – my stepsister was able to come and stay for the last two weeks of dad’s life and help me.

God’s grace – whenever I called, my brother came and moved furniture so that dad would be safe, made hospital runs with me, and found the middle of the night no problem.

God’s grace – the doctor gave us the option of taking him home in the midst of COVID on hospice rather than a facility.

God’s grace – the hospice workers were beyond helpful and supportive to my sister and I who were weary.

God’s grace – strength to endure light sleep and light meals through the three weeks of care for dad.

God’s grace – friends who did my shopping, brought much needed Tim Horton coffee, and remembered my birthday in the midst of this.

God’s grace – even though I sleep very sound, I heard all movements in the night my dad made so I was able to get up and keep him safe.

God’s grace – my sister and I were able to hold my dad’s hand for his final breath.

God’s grace –  that there were so many people praying for us as we went through this hard time.  His grace was asked for on our behalf and he delivered it over and over again.

I received a fresh bouquet of flowers of his grace every moment during that time.

God’s grace brings the dead in sin to be alive in Christ at the moment of salvation.  As a Follower of Christ grace abounds in our life during our service and suffering.  God always gives us all we need for this life!  I have experienced this, and I know many of you have too.  Let’s choose to look for the flowers of grace at every turn!