Saturday, August 29, 2015

You Can Never Go Back - "the GRACE project"

August 29th...I see the 29 on the calendar and one thought instantly comes to mind - a month has passed since Grace's death. In some ways it feels like yesterday and at other moments it seems like she has been gone for a long time. Grief is quite the journey and time has a way of healing, but like I said in a recent post, "Life will never be the same."

I've lost other loved ones, tomorrow actually marks 7 years since we lost a baby in miscarriage, but I've been guilty of letting some things stay the same. When death happens, our thoughts change and our priorities get realigned, but then life goes on and I, maybe you too, forget about the brevity of life and importance of being intentional. Shortly after Grace passed, I whispered a prayer to God asking Him to help me remember - to remember that there are no guarantees and our days are numbered, and to do - to love deeply, to forgive fully and live rightly. 

Though I'm the one who others think remembers everything, there are things I forget and I hate to admit it, but it's often important things like God's Truth and promises. So in an attempt to remember I believe God put something on my heart - "the GRACE project". I first shared about this HERE, but plan to share something on the 29th of every month to help me remember that life really is all about GRACE - God's gift to us that equips us to do what He's called us to. Our Grace once said, "If you have a pulse, you have a purpose" and friend since you're reading this today, that's you! As you and I live out our purpose, I pray we'll remember we can never go back.

Over the last 30 days I've heard a few people say, and even thought myself, "if I could just go back and see Grace one more time and talk with her or give her hug." We'd all love to do this, but the truth, the hard truth, is we can't. But friend, there is something we can do - we can still love the people we have in our lives, we can speak encouraging words, we can ask for forgiveness, we can offer a hug. Is there something you need to talk about with a loved one, neighbor or co-worker? Do it today, say the words. Is there a wrong you've committed and need to say you're sorry? Do it now. When's the last time you hugged your spouse, child or friend and simply said, "I love you?" Today would be a good day to do it again. Remember we can't go back. Something to think about - "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)

As I think about the fact that we can't go back I also think about time. How are you at using your time wisely? Sometimes I struggle and I waste it. I know I need to do better at avoiding distractions and focusing on the task at hand. How about you? And I need to remember that sometimes the task God wants me to complete really isn't a task at all...it's a person - building relationships takes time, but it's an investment that is worthwhile. As a Mom with little kids, I've often heard the phrase - "Enjoy these days they'll be gone before you know it." With our oldest entering 7th grade and our baby nearing school age, I'm beginning to experience what those people meant and though there are moments now during the driving someone here and picking up another kid there stage of life, I can't go back. And in 15 years, when we're empty nesters we won't be able to return to the chaos, and fun, we're enjoying now. Friend, I say all that to remind myself, and encourage you, to be intentional with our time. Let's use it wisely - for others' good and God's glory! So when's the last time you stepped away from your to-do list and played a game with your child? Or how about set down your phone and enjoyed a heart to heart with a friend? Or maybe even stepped away from your computer to help your husband? Do it today. Something else to think about - "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." (1 Corinthians 10:23-24) 

Finally, the last thing on my heart today connected with this "You can never go back" reality is the Gospel. Friend, depending where you are at there's two parts to this point. For those of you who have a relationship with Christ think about this quote - "The one thing you won't need to do in heaven is share your faith." Once we get to our forever home we will be with Jesus and everyone there will know Him, so if we want to witness we need to do it now!! Has God's grace changed your life? Tell someone about that today! Has God's grace pulled you out of the pit? Share your story and help God do the same for someone else! Friends, we can't go back. "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1 Peter 3:15)

For those of you who feel like I'm speaking a foreign language let me explain a bit...for years I grew up thinking - I was baptized as a baby, believe in God and try to be good so I'll go to heaven. Though that thinking is common, it's not right. The Bible tells us that God sent His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Again I knew this as a child and young adult, but it was head knowledge, which will not save me. Nearly 16 years ago, God did a heart transformation and I began a personal relationship with my Lord and Savior. Friend when the end comes (and it will) we don't have time to make that decision, we have to do it now because we can't go back. So if this leaves you with questions, please seek out a believing friend or send me a message. A story from Luke 16 supports this thinking - here we read about a rich man and Lazarus. The rich man had no need for God during his earthly life, or at least that's what he thought, so when the end came he found himself in Hades, also known as hell. He can see Lazarus with Abraham from a distance and begs for him to have pity, but Abraham responds, "And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us." (vs 26) Friend when the end comes there's no going back. Have you accepted Christ as your Savior? Have you repented of your sins and confessed Jesus as Lord? Do it today! "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9

Friend, thank you for joining me today, I pray "the GRACE project" impacts each of us to live out of God's grace and share it with others! 

2 comments:

  1. Jill, God showed me in a very intimate way how powerful it is to speak the Name of Jesus out loud. Since you started this project, there's barely been a day go by when I haven't spoken the Name of Jesus to strangers. Sometimes they were unbelievers and I have faith that God is using that interaction as part of their salvation story. Other times they've been believers and God has used it to speak life to both that person and me. Thank you for the Grace Project! I'm so inspired how the legacy of one girl whose heart was on fire for Jesus can continue to change this world for an eternity! I love you Jill!

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  2. Grace would be so honored to know that because of the gift of her life, many will hear about the grace of God through you. Such a beautiful way for you to honor her life, Jill.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

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