Grace and Glitter

This is a newspaper column I wrote in 2011. When I read it today it reminded me of grace and glitter, so I’m sharing it with you.

Two four-year-old girls come to church early with their grandparents each Sunday. One grandmother works in the kitchen preparing coffee so it’s ready for everyone else when they arrive, the other is on the worship team and sets up the computer so we can have the words overhead during the service. The girls love to play together, as this is the only chance to see each other during the week.

This week, however, they decided that playing was not enough. They wanted to decorate. Imagine their grandmothers’ surprise when they discovered that Ally and Bella had found a large container of glitter and proceeded to sprinkle the carpets in the nursery, the hallways, and the clasglittersrooms. Almost every room in the church was flooded with sparkles! Even after two vacuums did everything they could to get rid of the beauty, there are still glittering pieces clinging to the carpet. Personally, I think it just looks like we had a really big party and a lot of fun.

I also think it’s a perfect introduction to the month of November which is the beginning of my favorite season of the year. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are just around the corner with all the wonder those holidays bring. Glitter everywhere simply yells “Celebrate!”

Our celebration began early. This week our furnace quit. Well, actually, the problem was it would not quit. The only way we could get it to stop pouring out super hot air was to turn off the breaker for the furnace. We called Jay Hester of Hester’s Heating and ask him to come and fix our thermostat. He looked at it and announced that the only solution was a complete new furnace. We’ve known for several years that this was coming, as the unit was installed in 1977 when the house was built. Jay’s estimate was half of the one we got several years ago, but the problem was, he needed the money up front. We have never had much available cash, and this week was no exception.

A month ago, David and I went on a prayer retreat where God impressed on us that we should be living by grace, not just faith. Living by faith is living by what you believe about God. Living by grace is living by what God provides for you and saying “It is enough,” instead of complaining if you think there should be more. Everything we have is a gift from God. He has poured out so much—family, friends, a home, a wonderful place to live in a beautiful part of the world. November is a month to count blessings and we have so much for which to be thankful. We decided to live being thankful and saying that whatever we received from God was enough. We would no longer complain, thinking we want or need more.

After talking to Jay, we pulled everything out of our accounts, including the savings to visit our kids in New York over Christmas and the money set aside for property taxes, and we came up with exactly the amount we needed. It left only $9.13 in our checking account, but instead of complaining, we decided to thank God for His gift of being able to pay cash for the unit. And we now have a wonderful new furnace and heat pump that work great!

But that isn’t the end of the story. By the end of the week, God had also given us plane tickets to spend Christmas with our daughter and her family—the first time in their sixteen year marriage that we’ve been to their home for the holidays—and most of the money back in our checking accounts! We have experienced once again, that when you trust God, He is gracious and we are thankful. His provisions most often come in ways we would not normally expect.

In a time of economic uncertainty, when all around us we experience situations where we wish we could do or have more, we are choosing to say, “Thank you for what we have and it is enough.” We don’t know what will happen this year, but we do know our attitudes have changed. Gratitude and thankfulness are moving to the top of our response list as we learn to celebrate the gracious gifts of God. Maybe I’ll even break out the glitter!

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