The grace of thanksgiving

‘Thanksgiving is a spiritual exercise, necessary to the building of a healthy soul. It takes us out of the stuffiness of ourselves into the fresh breeze and sunlight of the will of God.’
Elisabeth Elliot
prayer
 Cause me to know the way I should walk’. Psalm 143:8. ‘It’s me again Lord and I do not know which way to walk’.  Conflicting thoughts fill my mind; faces, names, situations block my thinking.  I never imagined love could hurt so much; but then I have the intimate privilege to wait with quietness until the morning dew drops the rains of His grace on my imperfections and impatience.  I need to remind myself that ‘AT ALL TIMES’ He is the giver.  How many of us ever have the worry if we have food enough for tomorrow? We would never take a meal before saying ‘Grace’ – The Grace of Thanksgiving.  I think of one elderly gentleman in a gypsy village whose ‘Grace of Thanksgiving‘ was for a few crumbs of bread. I can still see him smile as he quietly said to me: ‘There is always enough’. In the words of Corrie Ten Boom ‘Love is larger than the walls which shut it in’.  Indeed a thought for today.

My heart is heavy as I read the recent update from Estera – Baby Alexandra’s Mum had to give all her money to transport her little darling to hospital, where she lies in the ICU; a young Christian mother, pregnant with her fourth child, no money to buy food as she sat by the cot of her little one. Did she complain?  No, she quietly watched, smiling as she touched her little treasure; her heart is broken, yet in the silence of her dark moments she is unafraid.  Thou Art My Hiding Place’.  This young Christian family needs our prayers; Baby Alexandra is deteriorating.

 Sister E (49) diagnosed with a brain tumour and now blind.  No one to care for her – only a sister who is severely troubled with Schizophrenia.
 Many of you will recall my ‘Little Ella’.  Ella is now eighteen, her condition is serious – rapid weight loss, she is now in hospital much of her young life.  Her mother Angelina’s life has been one of sorrow, caring for her sick husband who died suddenly last year; both children diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

Yes, I am disturbed, disturbed because of a love for ‘These My Little Ones’.  ‘If only I could make a difference‘ is my waking thought; they are there and I am here!   I need to remind myself that ‘AT ALL TIMES’ means simply just that!  The Giver of Life is everywhere and ‘AT ALL TIMES’.  How do I cope with so much hurt, pain?  Again in the words of Elisabeth Elliot: ‘If God gave it to me, we say ‘it’s mine, I can do what I want with it.’ No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of – if we want to find our true selves, if we want real Life if our hearts are set on glory.
We place every single breath into His hands asking and expecting to receive a full supply of His grace.

There are no strangers in ‘The House of Grace. Everyone from homeless, desperately poor, rejected are part of the family of Casa Grace.  The cuts go deep and the wounds remain in the lives of the institutionalised teenager.  Did they ask to be rejected, unloved, to live life in a wilderness of despair?
They may never achieve greatness or possess riches yet their response to the smallest expression of love portrays a true ‘Grace of Thanksgiving’.  
Three ladies from Londonderry have a special interest in Kingdom Kids. Recently I received a telephone call: ‘Shirley, would you have any use or could you use ..?’  Two days before, Dora (Therapist) sent an image of a few children, immediately my mind went into overdrive (yet again)  ‘Hamilton, look, they need jumpers …’ An amazing story of God’s timely provision.  Six boxes (beautifully packed) sent to Romania and many happy faces this week in the orphanage centre.  If we see with our eyes, hear with our ears, feel in our heart something needs to done …. how can we not?

Stefania (12) Cerebral Palsy, Spastic Paralysis (many disabilities) living life in a (borrowed) specially adopted chair specifically designed for her needs. Stefania is unable to speak, walk and totally dependent on her devoted parents.  The chair needed to be returned!  How could they ever afford to purchase one?   Email came to Mrs. Moore.  First thought – total panic.  Where or how could I or would I find this request?  Breathe deeply Shirley ……. yes, that’s better, I can think clearly.  Tiptoeing with expectancy a few inquiries were made, but one lesson I needed to learn was not to interfere but wait (even with anxious thoughts) and see God’s plan unfold.   Three days later two men who have close links with Tell Romania met in Carrickfergus. In conversation Nigel (who assists with medical supplies) remarked to David he had received a very special chair and …  yes you know what is coming.  ‘Have you been speaking with Shirley lately?’ David asked.  The chair Nigel had was the exact same as the image received from Romania. God has His Servants in the right place at the right time.  BUT it does not end there, as we serve an Amazing God.  David telephoned a few hours ago. ‘Shirley I have access to another three chairs, do you want them?’  This afternoon, 42B Bernice Road was filled with the Grace of Thanksgiving.  The FOUR chairs are now on route to Romania.  We serve a God who rules over all; it may be today, it may be tomorrow, but it will come when least expected.

The hill of difficulty is dark for many who walk the cold and unwelcoming streets of Romania.  Darkness fills their days, and the daybreak seldom turns to morning for many.  Anna is very sick and becoming weaker every day. She has two daughters, Tabita who suffers from a severe disability and Ioana who is trying to learn to sew in our Golden Needle Award class – all facing the reality of losing their very small home.  Rents are high and Tabita requires therapy and Anna medication, all incurring expense. A young single mother, raised in the communist orphanage, she and her oldest daughter lived on the streets of Romania for many years.  Three daughters were born, tragically the youngest little girl (8) died in a car accident during December. Each day is a struggle, life is without purpose, all is meaningless.  Another single mother (26) living in one room with two little boys aged seven and three.  This young mother was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2006. The children also have medical issues as the oldest boy was born with a hole in his heart; and the other little one has Chronic Rheumatism – they live on £100 per month.  And still they come.  Another single parent with four children living in one room with extremely poor conditions.  The baby (nine months) is presently in hospital for over one month now.  The doctors cannot confirm his diagnosis but believe it to be a strong virus which is not responding to treatment.  During these days the other three children are at home alone without any supervision.  The income is £90 per month for five people – they have no money for food, clothes or heating.  A very special little boy named Sergiu (13) no smile on his little face when he and his mother first knocked on the door of Casa Grace.  The father left the family and the little boy and his mother live with their grandfather who is an alcoholic.  The mother has a severe disability.  Casa Grace installed running water, a small kitchen and bathroom area to ease the burden of this disabled mum having to carry water.

David Brainerd wrote: ‘We should always look upon ourselves as God’s Servants, placed in God’s world, to do his work; and accordingly labour faithfully for him; not with a design to grow rich and great, but to glorify God, and do all the good we can’.

Each morning we commit our day into His hands and as the two who walked the Emmaus Road, may our journey be one where our hearts and minds are opened and we can see the One who walks with us.  Five families all differing in circumstance but all with one need.

The Grace of Thanksgiving’ fills my heart today as I thank the Lord for everyone who joins me on this journey.  At times I find the need, the pain overwhelming; but then I am reminded that we all have hidden strengths that grace our path sufficient unto the day. Your support brings hope in these hopeless situations; because you care, there is food, hygiene, clothing for those who do not want to face another morning.  These precious people cannot stand against the storm alone, they need you, they need me, they need Christ.

PRAYER REQUESTS

  • ADAM HAS BEEN ADMITTED TO HOSPITAL IN U.S.A. (it is not related to his surgery)
  • Please continue to pray for Ciprian, Daria and Baby Estera
  • There are no boundaries to loving enough – 33 Female/16 Male Adult Orphans need to feel loved. If they matter to God, they matter to us!
  • WORK TEAM LEAVING (06 – 20 MAY) ‘THE FARM’ PROJECT
  • ‘STILL WATERS’ PORTSTEWART. A place of quiet rest offering respite to those going through emotional brokenness.Details supplied upon request.

 

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