I got the call while I was in the checkout line, unloading my groceries. It had been four weeks since my mama had her stroke.
“Ellen, it’s Bebe. I just need to let you know that Mom is so tired, so very tired. I don’t think you need to travel up here tonight, but she is just so very tired…”
Tears immediately flooded my eyes and began rolling down my checks. In the next few seconds, I was sobbing while I tried to talk to my sister-in-law.
“Tell her…” I gasped, tears streaming.
“That…” Sobbing, gasping.
“I love her.” Hysterical crying, gasping for air…
She’s fought hard…
That it’s ok…
I know she’s tired.”
The cashier overheard my side of the conversation, and saw tears streaming down my face, snot dripping out of my nose, and drool trickling down the corner of my mouth. She quietly pulled four or five paper towels from her roll and handed them to me. I wiped away all the wetness (except for the tears that would not stop) and tried paying for my groceries. My debit card didn’t work. I was numb and stood there staring at the cashier. That sweet girl grabbed the card from my hand, and swiped it as a credit card. She never said a word. I thanked her with my eyes, and rolled the grocery cart through the doors. The alarm sounded! Weeping, I looked back with a question on my tear splotched face. She waved me through. She never spoke – just saw my heartache, my pain, and silently took care of me. She was the hands and feet of Jesus for me in that moment.
I wailed and screamed and wept on the drive home.
“God, please, I’m not ready to lose my mama! Please, not yet. It hurts! I’m not ready. Please, Lord, not yet!”
The next morning, I called to check on Mama. My brother said “Oh, she’s doing a lot better!” But I heard the sadness in his voice…
I drove the four hours to Jackson. When I walked in to her hospital room, Mama looked scared, tired and drawn. She was subdued. Did she know she had almost died?
Over the next several days, Mama slept a lot. When she was awake, she wanted to hold on to my hand – very unusual for my independent, strong Mama. While I sat there holding her hand, I read scriptures to her. The truth of God’s word comforted me as much as it calmed Mama.
Late one afternoon, I finally had to make the decision to return home. I leaned over Mama, gave her a big hug and kiss, and told her I loved her. I turned, before she could see my tears, and practically ran down the hall. Then I heard it:
“No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!” With that one long word, my mama begged me not to go. Her one word plea ripped the heart right out of my chest.
During the four hour drive home, I tried to sort out all the things rolling around in my mind. I was overwhelmed with, and drowning in my circumstances. I was worried about my mom. I didn’t want her to hurt or be afraid. I didn’t want to lose her. Over the past few weeks I had heard this often from my friends: “God’s grace will get you through!” Really?? How??
I knew the textbook definition of grace: God’s unmerited favor, a gift He gives that is undeserved. But how could that free gift of His get me through THIS? Where was this grace everyone talks about?
Over the next few days, I searched His Word and found this scripture:
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (italics mine): But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I dug further, and found a sermon by John MacArthur with this description: Grace is God’s supernatural provision for our every need, when we need it. (“The Sufficiency of God’s Grace” sermon 6/24/90).
I needed that supernatural power and provision of God. And in my weakness – in my inability to emotionally handle this crisis – He met me. When I came to the end of my own ability, God met me with an abundance of grace. And it was sufficient.
- When I got the phone call in the grocery store, His grace was sufficient.
- When I heard Mama begging me not to go, His grace was sufficient.
- While I was holding my Mama’s hand, expecting her to die, His grace was sufficient.
My head knowledge, my book knowledge, had turned into heart knowledge as I experienced God’s supernatural grace in my life. His perfect power took over when my weakness overwhelmed me.
Are you drowning in your circumstances, or flooded with His grace?
Thank You, Lord God, for Your amazing grace!
Photos by John Chauvin