Wednesday – April 9, 2014; Ephesians 2:1-10
1 You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3 All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.
As followers of Christ most of us would agree with Paul when he writes “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” As we believe that we have been given the gifts of salvation, forgiveness and new life through the sacrifice of Christ…the ultimate sign of God’s gracious love for us.
However, as single parents, we can get caught up with all the responsibilities of raising our children, keeping a home and a job, as well as making sure all the bills are paid. There is always somewhere to go, work to be done, and situations to be handled, even the good times can be exhausting as we can run from sports to birthday parties, movies, or just a full afternoon of play at the local park; whatever the reason our busy-ness can overwhelm our faith, and we can wind up feeling as if this grace is not always for us…as in the midst of our busy lives we may not feel as if we have been very blessed…only stressed and tired.
Then, we can look at the lives of others, and see happy marriages, nice homes, well behaved kids, and financial security that all seem out of our reach…and we can wind up wondering where are OUR blessings?
However, when we find ourselves feeling this way it is good to remember the old saying that we should not judge our insides by someone else’s outsides…meaning that while the lives of others may look great from the outside, we cannot know what is happening on the inside, where truth is that they may not be quite so fortunate as they appear to be.
The truth is that most of our lives are filled with both joys and struggles, triumphs and failures, and that even those with the best looking lives on the outside can be dealing with their own troubles on the inside. No one has a perfect life, and we all have our faults and failings, but we are not hopeless; and this is the good news: that we are immersed in God’s grace, which surrounds us like the air we breathe…and this grace is our true blessing, as it is a gift of God’s great love for us…love that can fill us with hope, even during our busiest and most stressful of days! It is this hope that can give us relief from our worries, and free us to enjoy the great gifts that God has given us in our lives, those things that really matter: our children, friends, family and the love we share together.
These are the true blessings of God’s grace, and they are given to us in the midst of our sometimes imperfect lives, filled with the busy-ness of raising our children…and these are blessings to be celebrated, that restore our faith, and give us hope and strength when life becomes too ‘lifey’ and our going becomes difficult!
As we journey through this dark season of Lent together we are following Jesus on his journey to the cross, a journey that began in the manger on Christmas; in very many ways it was a typically human journey which was filled with joy, pain and struggle a journey that has some similarities to our own daily lives with our children. We take our Lenten journey with faith, as we know where it will end, in the brightness of Easter, which reminds us that we all live in the light of the resurrection, in the brilliance of God’s grace, freely given to us as a gift.
In the same way, as followers of Christ, we are called to take our journey as single parents in faith as well…trusting that we are walking in the light of God’s grace, which can see us through any trouble, help us to deal with any challenge, and free us to celebrate the great blessings we have in our lives…gifts given to all of God’s children…including us!
Let us Pray
God, thank you for immersing us in your grace, please give us the faith to accept that your love is given to all of your children…including ourselves. Let us share the blessings of your love with each other on a daily basis, as we raise our children in faith…facing life’s joys and challenges together in the light of your gracious salvation.