Friday, April 18, 2014

In the Grip of Grace

As soon as I read my husband's post last week, I knew in my heart what I would be writing today.  My husband never ceases to amaze me, and I love him more and more each day.  Everything he wrote and says comes from the heart of a man who lives out his beliefs daily.  Jeff walks in tremendous grace, taking on roles that would overcome a lesser man...and yet he does it as if is his sole ministry is to care for me and the kids.  He inspires me.  I am a better person because of all the days I have had the privilege of being under his example.

Last week, Jeff wrote about a "Great Grace" being upon one's life, mainly at especially difficult times being faced.  It is grace upon grace- a divine rendering of strength from the Lord when all else seems to wane.  Hand in hand Jeff and I have walked a heart-wrenching road together, and yet never for one moment have we been overtaken.  But rather, we have not only grown closer to one another but also so much closer to the Lord.  It is a beautiful thing.

But today I want to tell you what happens even beyond that.  Beyond grace, beyond prayer, beyond everything we do and experience in our darkest moments there is that second when you just exhale and let go- and that is when you are in what can only be described as "the Grip of Grace".  It is a measure of peace that literally grabs hold of you, and carries you to the end.  You do not have to fear or wonder if you are able to hold on any longer; if you are able to go one more step; if you can face the road ahead...because when you are no longer able to manage those things any more, and your hand falls limp, and your eyes fall into the heavy sleep of the exhausted, you are then gripped with a grace so gentle and so strong that it literally beckons the weary to rest and never worry about holding on a moment longer because His hand will grip with a heavenly grasp that can never be pulled loose.  It sustains, comforts, leads, guides, rests, and carries you without so much as ever faltering.  And so you rest.  You rest in heavenly comfort.  You reside in the shadow of the Almighty.  And He never lets go.

Friends, this is my last post to you all.  I have been honest with you and am continuing that honesty to the end.  It's time.  Time for me to rest and be with my family.  Time for my family and me to rest in the grip of His grace, knowing that He will walk the way with us in His perfect will.  I leave you with the best possible leave I know of- and that is with the reminder that every word I have ever written is true.  Jesus is alive.  He is good.  He is faithful.  And those who put their trust in Him do so without vain- because we will meet Him again.  And until then, He walks and He talks with His faithful, gripping us with a hand so steady as to take us through whatever trials life may bring.

I never expected that my writing would reach so many.  Nor that so many of you would continually tell me what my words have meant to you.  Oh how I will miss writing to you!  Not a single week has gone by in the last year and a half that I haven't taken to my computer and wrote what I felt the Lord laid on my heart.  The fun, the deep, the joys, the pains, the easy, the challenging- I've loved it all.  Before I ever published this blog, it began as my personal account of a 40-day fast that I did...and it only seems fitting that today, exactly 4 years to the day that I finished that fast, I am now composing my last entry.  To you who have walked this road with me and my family, I say THANK YOU.  Thank you for the support, the prayers, and the love.  I have loved every moment I have spent with you, and I know I will frequently read through the pages of this blog as a testament and a reminder to the faithfulness of my God.  My heart and my lips will never cease to give thanks the One who holds my soul, and I leave my family and my very self in His care.

Again, I say thank you.  And I dedicate this blog and all its contends to my husband- the father of my children, the man I respect and admire more than he knows, the best friend I have ever had, the one who changes my life, the one who has taught me how to follow Jesus, the love of my life, my soul mate, and the only one who knows everything I want to say to him.  I love you Jeff, now and always.

I leave you with my favorite Bible verses, and the words to my favorite hymn.  It's time to see what God wants to do with my life.  And whatever He asks of me, I will do with all my heart and soul- because I just don't know how to do anything less.

Well then...Let's Roll.


"One thing I know: I once was blind but now I see!"  John 9:25

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him."  Job 13:15


I Have Decided

I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus,
I have decided to follow Jesus--
no turning back, no turning back.
The world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me,
the world behind me, the cross before me--
no turning back, no turning back.
Though none go with me, still I will follow,
though none go with me, still I will follow,
though none go with me, still I will follow,
no turning back, no turning back.
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?--
no turning back, no turning back.


Amen.



4 comments:

  1. Well done Ashley! God Bless your journey forward.

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  2. Hi Ashley! We will be praying for you and your family for the special Divine peace and His strength and healing! God bless you guys :)

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  3. I hope you know that you have made a difference. Your time here has touched so many lives, and your words have echoed across the internet into our hearts. The ripples you set in motion will travel without end. Thank you, Ashley. Thank you for living your life out loud. Thank you for showing us how faith is lived under pressure, that real faith endures. We see so few living examples of that these days. You have inspired me to quit whining, pull on my big girl panties, and start living a life of surrender. Thank you for being a living epistle, Jesus with "skin on". God bless you and your precious family for many years to come.

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  4. I feel sad reading this entry :( will miss your posts. Hoping you make a recovery from your illness and(regardless) that you continue living a bless life (although in reality
    I know that this is never in doubt)

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