19…27…41 – who knows how many Raisinets I’d popped. More stress, more Raisinets. On the twelve hour drive from my home in Florida to that of my parents in Mississippi, I made my routine stop at the Walmart on Moffett Road in Alabama. I got two things – gas and Raisinets.
The recent words from a friend echoed in my ears as I drove. “It seems like in every family, there is one member who bears the burden of taking care of their parents. And it looks like you’re it.”
All things considered, it made the most sense that I was “it.” The logic, however, didn’t alleviate the pressure to try and formulate a plan for assistance and care. Add the distance involved and it was a recipe for stress.
Yet, I am not willing for the stress of undue pressure to strain my closest relationships. Recently while listening to an interview on healthy marriages I heard this profound statement, “Grace will empower you to do what you need to do.”
In other words, God has predisposed a measure of grace to each situation in which He leads me to fulfill my duty. Duty often connotes a negative response, yet “duty” in its simplest definition means “conduct due.” Yes, there are challenges at every level of responsibility to which I must rise if I am to conduct myself in grace.
However, God is faithful to fit me for each specific act of service done in His name. Submitted service in His name is an aspect of our worship before Him.
Perhaps the greatest challenge we face is our willing submission. To submit is to surrender. We surrender the cost to our flesh. We surrender the discomfort to our ego. We surrender our personal agenda to minister as unto the Lord to the needs of others.
Our struggle in our surrender is that we mistakenly think we should first feel inspired to serve before we submit to service. Oswald Chambers writes, “God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome.”
With each mile of my solitary drive to serve my parents, I submitted a little flesh here, a bit of personal agenda there. I surrendered my time and my effort as well as the cost involved. I offered it all up to God as worship unto Him.
Often we think of worship as a place where our flesh is delighted. But more often than not, it is a place where our flesh is disciplined.
I have found that through the discipline, there is hidden treasure – the delight of discovered Grace. In our submission and surrender, the weakest parts of our humanity becomes the platform in which God’s strength is displayed.
As it struck me that I was “stress-popping” one Raisinet after another into my mouth, I put the bag away and began to cast my care…my stress…upon the Lord. I prayed a passage I had recently memorized, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). As I offer the “conduct due,” and walk out my reasonable service, my heart and my flesh bears witness that God’s grace is sufficient.
On my trips through three states to visit my parents, my habit is to stop at the Moffett Road Walmart in Semmes, Alabama. I buy gas and Raisinets.
Grace is a given.
© Melanie Dorsey 2012