Gifts of Grace

Posted by Susan On February 24, 2020 ADD COMMENTS

“You guys sure did a great job raising your kids,” an old friend commented when we were visiting the church our son and his family actively participate in. Without a doubt, I was filled with inexpressible gratitude to see the godly man our now middle-aged son had become; nonetheless, surprisingly, those words immediately ignited a rushing laundry list of my maternal failures and the confusing irony over how it is that God commissions us to accomplish the most difficult and challenging responsibility we will ever know– parenting– at a time in our lives when we ourselves are so young, inexperienced, and still in the process of maturing ourselves. How could I possibly take any credit for the evidence of God’s grace in my son? 

“Ron, you know that it was God’s grace,” I responded, and as a fellow parent of grown children, he nodded knowingly. 

When we were young parents, clearly, God’s grace was there to override our mistakes and to provide the wisdom we so desperately needed when we didn’t have it in ourselves, time and time again. But from the vantage point I have now– in this senior chapter of my life– I’m also truly amazed and grateful to look back over my shoulder and also see all the evidences of God’s gifts of grace that equipped us in so many ways we didn’t recognize, at the time, that we needed. 

To understand what I mean, let me remind you of a scene in C.S.Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe where Father Christmas suddenly arrives on the scene and presents each of the children– Peter, Susan, and Lucy– with gifts that would equip them in the battles they would have to face ahead.  “These are your presents, and they are tools, not toys,” he said. “The time to use them is perhaps near at hand. Bear them well.” Peter’s gift was a sword and shield; Susan’s was a bow and arrows; and Lucy’s was a vial of healing cordial. 

Likewise, we have been given gifts of grace from God for the battles we most assuredly wage– within and without– while we are in this present world, and certainly as we raise godly children. We ought to take them very seriously. We need to “bear them well.” Ephesians 6:10—18 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…” The armor of God– His belt of truth, breastplate of His righteousness, feet covered with the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Word of God– are His gifts of divine grace that equip us for every task He has called us to. 

Glancing backwards, I am so grateful for the clear evidences of God’s gifts of grace in our lives. When we were raising our young children, we were part of a church– Covenant Love Community in upstate New York –that was characterized by the songs we sang there, scriptures set to music predominantly composed by the pastor at that time, Ted Sandquist. Those songs were gifts of God’s grace to us, driving the Word of God deep into our children’s hearts during their formative years. Dan and I still often listen to these songs on our way to church and back every week. One of them, Psalm 101, says: 

“I want to know Your perfect way, 

Oh when will You come to me?

For in Your eyes I come to see; 

And from Your face comes light of day.

I will live with a pure heart in my home;

I will not leave wickedness before my eyes;

For I hate the unfaithful things I do

And I want no part of selfish pride.

I will sing of true love and loyalty,

Meditate upon justice and righteousness.

Let the wicked ways of my soul be gone;

No alliance will I make with them.” 

Can you even imagine the affect of singing this psalm, of reminding ourselves and our children that the truth and reality of our faith is evident first in our homes? 

Can you imagine having the Word of God so dominant in our lives that when we become tempted– in the relaxation of our homes– to gossip about someone, or to watch something that is impure, or to speak harshly with each other,  that the words of this psalm begin to play in our minds, calling us up into the purity He commands of us? 1 Corinthians 10:13 assures us that, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” That ‘way of escape’ is found in His gifts of grace. 

The power of the Word of God, driven deep into the hearts of our children as they grow, cannot be fathomed. These gifts of grace are His divine provision for us. 

A short while ago, our son sent us a recording of him and our then- 8- year- old granddaughter singing together one of the old psalms we’d learned and sung at Covenant Love Community so many years ago. The truth of the Word of God was being passed down to the next generation by way of a song– this gift of God’s grace– and was equipping our young granddaughter for the battles she will likewise face in the world. It was one of those rare moments when I felt washed over by a tsunami of gratitude. Thanks be to God for His gifts of grace! May we bear them well.

(* Song “I Want to Know Your Perfect Way” by Ted Sandquist, Psalms of Life/Global Worship Initiatives,, St. Louis, Missouri)




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