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Live Fully with Love and Grace

Today’s Reflection

GRANDPA TOM married Grandma Hazel on October 26, 1929. The stock market crashed on October 29. Grandpa always said that the crash didn’t matter much to them – they had spent all their money getting married three days before. But it did mean that times were hard as they began their marriage.

They lived with Grandpa’s dad, raised chickens, and farmed as they could in the midst of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Grandpa traveled to find whatever work he could find, serving as a carpenter and laborer on construction crews. In 1939 he worked 23 weeks and made $700.

Grandpa’s life was filled with hard times: from his family’s immigration to America to his poverty in Oklahoma to the dashed dreams of his vocation because of discrimination. He lived a life of love and grace, remaining positive in the face of disappointment.

After Grandma died, he continued to live at home. In his 90s, he took in his younger sister, Eileen, when she could no longer live alone, and they shared his house until she passed away. He lived until the age of 98 and died at home.

Grandpa trusted in God’s presence in the midst of struggles. He accepted the hardships of life without sinking into despair. When a tornado blew away the chicken house, he rebuilt it. When the KKK made sure he didn’t get a teaching job, he worked the carpenter trade he had learned from his father. When Grandma died of a heart attack, he kept living: planting, harvesting, greeting at church, attending football games, telling stories, loving his family.

Grandpa lived fully, with love and grace, until he died. That is the hope I have for my life: That I will face the challenges that come my way and live fully, trusting God in love and in grace.
—Beth Richardson

– Beth A. Richardson
Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me

From page 80 of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings by Beth A. Richardson. Copyright © 2016 by Beth A. Richardson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Think about the challenges in your life. Do they look different when you remember God’s grace and love for you? Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

Psalm 95:1, NRSV

This Week: pray for Sunday school teachers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section.

Did You Know?

In need of prayer? The Upper Room Living Prayer Center is a 7-day-a-week intercessory prayer ministry staffed by trained volunteers. Call 1-800-251-2468 or visit The Living Prayer Center website.

This week we remember: Patrick of Ireland (March 17).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

Sponsored by Upper Room Ministries ®. Copyright © 2017 | PO Box 340004 | Nashville, TN 37203-0004 | USA

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{ 9 comments… add one }

  • Jill March 14, 2017, 3:52 am

    When I consider the “challenges” of my life, they are mere drops in a bucket compared with others. My storms have been few and I am grateful. His grace and love abounds, through sunshine and rain. I think about when significant storms will come and have confidence that I will lean hard into Him. I know that He will sustain me…and smile when I think I know what that will look like. Ahhhh – foolishness – when will I stop trying to box Him in, to define what I need. Oh the sparrows – He sees to them, yes – He will carry me too.
    Grateful that my parents have returned home safely from their trip. They arrived last night ahead of the snow.

  • robert moeller March 14, 2017, 5:10 am

    Thankful to hear from my son, that a weight loss plan starts today for my wife, and that hopefully, watchfully a banking problem has been solved. Grateful too that small but irksome problems finishing the condo are being solved.
    Praying for guidance and wisdom to resolve the issues that lie ahead,

    Yes, problems always are more workable when God is in the picture. I have experienced this and continue to see this. Put God first and resolution comes.

    Sometimes in life, our Sunday School teacher takes on a different appearance and may not actually teach us on Sunday. This was certainly true for me with the most important spiritual lessons of my life. I don’t remember well the lessons of my Sunday School teachers, let alone their names. I have vague memories of confirmation class, but much later in life I had a one on one 10 week series of lessons that decidedly changed my life and helped me grow in my faith. I am and will always be very thankful for them. Thank You, Lord.

    Thankful for the many and wonderful posts declaring the importance of Jesus, the Messiah. Indeed, without Jesus we are lost. With Jesus eternal life is assured. Thank You, Lord.

    Prayers for all affected by the big snow storm today and tomorrow. Be safe.

  • Rusty March 14, 2017, 5:59 am

    I needed this reading today. I’m facing craziness at work with an outside customer making absurd demands that cannot be met, yet we don’t have the ability to say no.

    Three things have come together to give me strength to trudge on in the work and put my shoulder to the grindstone. Beth Richardson’s pearl. “That is the hope I have for my life: that I will face the challenges that come my way, that I will live fully, trusting God in love and in grace.” A passage from Therese of Lisieux which I read shortly after waking up. “I no longer want to be troubled by passing things.” And the St Patrick prayer that Andrea reminded us of yesterday. “Christ be with me. Christ within me. Christ behind me. Christ before me. . . . “. (Thanks Andrea.)

    Praise you, Lord.

  • Gail Churchill March 14, 2017, 6:48 am

    Wonderful message by Richardson. What can people do to me with Jesus on my side? As Jill says, mere drops.

  • Carol March 14, 2017, 8:17 am

    The Lord God has always given me victory – in Christ. I just ask that He will use all my sufferings for good f. Reminder of Christ suffering more than we can think or imagine.

  • Barbara March 14, 2017, 9:11 am

    I have read Beth’s book and found her family’s story inspiring, I really appreciate her thoughtful writing style, her books aren’t the once and done type. Thank you.

  • Lou March 14, 2017, 9:54 am

    The challenges weigh heavy on me but yes – if I can keep the focus and know that God is in control- His will and not mine, then I feel a bit lighter. Prayers for all who face the challenges of this life- God will see us through.

  • Mary Ng Shwu Ling March 14, 2017, 10:45 am

    May God help each of us to live fully with love and grace even in difficult times!

    Blessings to all!

  • Andrea March 14, 2017, 2:58 pm

    What a powerful story. I also had grandparents who gracefully surmounted huge challenges with faith and quiet dignity. I am thankful for the role modelling they provided.

    I do not remember my Presbyterian Sunday school teachers individually, but I do remember a Sunday school book we received one year when I was in grade school. It was filled with stories of the lives of ordinary people in New Testament times. The stories and color illustrations made such an impression on me. From time to time I still think of my fascination with that book. How I would love to put my hands on a copy of it.

    God has upheld me through many challenges and I am confident God will uphold me in whatever challenges lie ahead. A might fortress is my God, a bulwark never failing!

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