Over the last few weeks, a number of occurrences led me to contemplate different periods of my life.

The first was an attended funeral, reminding me of the mother I lost as a little girl of 9 years of age. I only have vague recollections of this part of my life – I am left totally blank for the majority, but I have the memories of others who were present at the time and who have shared several stories from an observer’s perspective.

One such story is of a time just before my mother died. A lady (who is now my lovely step-mother) was helping out at the school I was attending and stopped by my class. She found me alone in the classroom (I suppose it was a recess of some sort) sitting on the floor crying. As she came over to me I said, “Do you know my Mum is really sick?” I have no idea of the conversation that followed but the picture of a young girl (an only child) facing life without her mother shows just how desperately I needed the grace of God in my life. Looking back I see just how faithful He is!

Isaiah 46:3-4  “3 Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been upheld by Me from birth, who have been carried from the womb; 4 Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.”

When I read this verse, the Holy Spirit showed me how this was true for my life. Even before I knew Him, He was there. From the moment I was born, God’s hand was supporting, protecting, comforting; even during my wayward years He was bearing, that the consequences of my actions would not be unto death, but rather would lead me back to Him and be a testimony of His grace.

Next, I was led to consider my early years of adulthood, when a dear friend spent the morning visiting with me. The old photo albums came out, and as she flicked through them, I must say, I was ashamed. This was a period of my life, which was totally dictated by self. During my early years I had been taught of the Lord and knew in my soul the truth of His existence. I had prayed a number of times as a very young girl (especially following my mother’s death) and He had answered me in powerful ways; thus the reality of the Lord could not be denied. But during my early teens, right through until after my marriage, I lead a rebellious life driven by my need to feel accepted and loved. These things I did not seek from the Lord, but from the world.

As I looked at the photos, all I saw was a life of sin and self. I thank God that He sustained me in my early years, when I lived life close to the edge. I stayed mainly in the bottom of a bottle of alcohol and often did foolish, dangerous things which many young girls do not live through – or sometimes wish they didn’t live though. I am so greatful to have had no lasting repercussions from these choices and see this again, as the grace of God in my life.

A final piece that I wish to share is the wonderful power of God to restore.

2 Corinthians 5:18  “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,”

Not long after the birth of my first son, I began a decent into depression. I walked away from the reasonably new relationship I had with God and began answering the lusts of the flesh. I drank heavily and a dark cloud grew over my life. At a similar time, my husband also, descended into alcoholism. These events ultimately led to the utter destruction of our marriage.

During our two years of separation, I lived a life devoid of God; however, the reality of Him never left my heart. I was doing life on my own and while on the surface my life was quite acceptable according the “the world’s” standards, I knew I was failing miserably. I was not the mother to my son that I desired to me, nor was I a woman who could stand before God with a clean conscience. After a night of excessive drinking, I knew that it was time to let God intervene. The following morning, I got on my knees (this is always the hardest part) and gave up. “I’m sorry, take over” I said “I can’t do it.” Thank God that He has already done it, and from that day on, my slate had been wiped clean and the reconciliation could begin.

As I began to walk with God, listening, obeying and being reconciled to Him, He began to restore my life. At the same time, He drew my husband out of the hold of alcoholism and began softening his heart. During the years apart, I never would have imagined that our marriage could have been salvaged, let alone restored and made to flourish, but our God is a God who reconciles! It is well within His nature to grant grace to myself and my husband as we showed grace to each other. It is only by the power of God that this could have happened. The fruits of God’s grace and His blessings to us are two more precious children, and a love that surpasses circumstances and self (most of the time 😛 ). Hallelujah!

Looking back at these patches in my life, these pieces of past, it was wonderful to see the amazing handiwork of God. The finished project it yet to be revealed, but I know that the light of Jesus Christ will shine through it all, both the dark patches and the bright. It will be a work bringing glory to God, through Him and for Him, Creator of all.

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