Every Day Graces: OPEN Your Eyes!

“Where in the world did I put my glasses?” my Mother would ask at least one hundred times a day. To remedy this, Daddy and I tried buying several pairs for her, one for every room.  But… if you’ve ever experimented with that, you know, pair by pair, they still mysteriously vanish.

Forever impatient with her, let’s just say “payback has returned one hundred fold”…John and I now need “readers” (sigh).  We compete to find a pair wherever we land in our home.  Our own boys have the gall to roll their eyes when we begin hunting  for glasses.  Has anyone solved this mystery?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast week I shared a pearl from Angela Thomas’ Bible study, Brave—Honest Questions Women Ask.  It’s a beautiful phrase I wasn’t familiar with:  “soul refreshers”. (Click here if you missed it)

This week I’d like to share another beautiful, comforting pearl which really opened my eyes.  (Pun intended.)  Angela challenges us to watch for every day graces.  Every day graces are people God places in your path, usually unexpectedly.

A recent example happened when John and I were walking Gracie, our more-than-enthusiastic terrier,  along  Blankenbaker Lane.  An extremely sweet gal came out of her home just to meet Gracie.  Hey, every dog lover loves another dog lover!

Gracie

(Notice how well-trained she is to stay OFF the furniture….)

One thing led to another in our conversation with this lovely lady.  We discovered we had mutual friends and she knew some of John’s siblings.  Somehow the conversation centered on churches and we told her about a new church John’s brother and  sister-in-law have helped start.   Don’t you know, our new friend’s attending there now?  How fun is that? (Checkout Throne of  Grace Community Church on Facebook.)  Now THAT’s an “every day grace”!

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  (NIV)

Angela adds, “I believe God gives smaller, everyday graces that minister to us.  Heal us.  Encourage us.”

An everyday grace can also be a phone call, an email, or a note from someone saying something so special you know it’s Heaven-sent.  Sometimes this happens with a total stranger.

I remember being in Georgia on a family vacation one summer.  The boys had taken a boat out on the lake while I stayed back at the pool.  I went into the restroom and there was this beautiful lady there, cleaning away.  She said, “Hey Baby…” in just the sweetest, warmest, southern-of-all southern tones.  Made me want to crawl right up into her lap.

When I left, she said, “God Bless you now…”  I nearly burst into tears!  Timing was uncanny:  only-God-uncanny.  Our trip came right after a lovely woman, “Miss Margaret,” who was like a guardian angel to our family, had had a stroke and could no longer babysit the boys or just come and bless our home, one of her many gifts.  I literally felt like this total stranger, who seemed to be able to see into my soul, was an angel dropped into the restroom by God to bless me abundantly. (You can tell I’m still not over it!) Another “every day grace.”

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A fascinating book I read recently comes to mind with this whole concept of everyday graces.  Praying for Strangers—an Adventure of the Human Spirit  by River Jordan is powerfully transforming.

Praying for Strangers

River shares her experiences of praying for strangers whom she encounters every day.  Some seem unbelievable, and yet clearly God was orchestrating them, one by one.

River begins by explaining:  “I tell her (the person she’s just run into) about my resolution, explaining that today she is my stranger, that I’ll be thinking about her and saying special prayers for her all day.  Then  the oddest thing happens.  She looks at me with what I must call wonder.  She grabs me and hugs my neck. ‘Do you know what I was just saying to God this morning? Do you?  I was just praying this morning and praying for other people, but I stopped and asked the Lord, God, is there anybody in this whole wide world who is praying for me?’”

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 Later in the book River says, “I’ve been thanked more already in this year of my life than all my years put together, for something so intangible and invisible as prayer.”  Did you see that?  “Intangible and invisible”—Oh, if you’ll just watch, more often than not, you will get to SEE visible results. 

River also includes a great quote by E. M. Bounds:  “Walking with God down the avenue of prayer we acquire something of His likeness; and unconsciously we become witnesses to others of His beauty and His grace.”

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River shares loads of benefits from this act of praying for strangers:  “…the light in someone’s soul can suddenly shine a little brighter. …I realize that’s the key…How often are we really touched by the sincerity of the questions, of someone asking and really wanting to know exactly how we are?”

Another man who made an impact on her is named Edward.  After she tells Edward of her resolution, he says, “You have no idea how much I needed to hear that.”  River then replies, “Listen,” I tell him.  “You have no idea what doing this has meant to me. This year I have two sons deployed.  One  in Iraq, one in Afghanistan.  I think this resolution has somehow been saving my life.”  He smiles as I continue.  “Every day it forces me to walk thru’ the world WITH MY EYES OPEN, to SEE other people’s needs, and not just concentrate on my own fears. “

Remember what Ann Voskamp said in her book One Thousand Gifts?  “The remedy is in the retina.”

Let’s OPEN OUR EYES!  Our next “every day grace” is just an encounter away. 

 As everyone’s favorite Winnie the Pooh offers, “You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you.  You have to go to them sometimes.”

Winnie The Pooh

Today I’m off to have lunch with a friend at California Pizza Kitchen.  It’s located in a mall. Malls usually contain lots of people… Lookout Louisville!  Let’s open our eyes!

 ‘Til  next time!

(Today’s post is dedicated to my two most evangelistic-without-trying- friends:  Nancy Aguiar and Becky Pippert.  Nancy knows no strangers.  She’s taught countless women all about the Bible for years.  She’s my “Bible Answer Woman”.  She’s the quintessential “listener” you can lean on.  Carry on, Nan!

Becky is best known for having written the classic, Out of the Saltshaker and into the World—Evangelism as a Way of Life.  God orchestrated our encounter in Naples, Florida many years ago.  Perfect scenario of an “every day grace.”  She and Dick lived in Louisville for a while, but have now “gone global.”  They’ve been ministering in Europe and all over the world for several years.  I am blessed to call her friend, mentor,  and devoted prayer warrior. Hurry back to the States, Becky!  We miss you and Dick! May God Bless you and your moving ministry abundantly.)

Out of the Saltshaker

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11 Comments

Filed under Book Reviews, Life Lessons

11 responses to “Every Day Graces: OPEN Your Eyes!

  1. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for a lot more of your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  2. Sweet, amazing
    Elizabeth….I am praying for YOU right those moment…blessing you for your faithfulness to grow, to listen, to learn, to share, and to love. You are a giver of many ‘graces’, dear one!!! I love you!! Naomi Please keep me on your blog…and in your heart forever!! Naomi

  3. Pingback: Magnificent Manifesto in Minneapolis: Liz Curtis Higgs and Ann Voskamp GUARD THE GOSPEL with GUSTO!!! | Worship with Words

  4. This is amazing, dear, dear Elizabeth!! Thank you for being ‘you’, and sharing ‘you’ with ‘us’ to God’s glory!! Naomi Rhode

  5. Kim Rose

    As always, your message is simply wonderful! So thankful for God’s grace!! You have motivated and inspired me. 🙂

  6. Olivia Beneke

    Thank you Elizabeth for your lovely message. Isn’t GOD the ALMIGHTY ONE who directs our paths to open our eyes and see HIS GLORY even in the most unexpected happenings of each day!

    • Olivia! So delightful to hear from you. Please forgive my tardy response…haven’t been “opening my eyes” lately! ha Gracie & I looked for you yesterday afternoon when we were on our walk. We have loved our chats with you. Blessings to you on this Good Friday. Hugs

  7. Many blessings packed here this week, Elizabeth. Thank you and thank God for sharing your lovely gift of words.

  8. Nancy Tinnell

    You gave us a lot in this one! Thank you for all the reminders of God’s grace and love. Blessings on your day, Elizabeth.

  9. Marte Hoagland

    The story of you two meeting this wonderful lady during an “ordinary” walk with Gracie is such evidence of God’s sovereignty and loving care. So glad you shared this. Love you!

  10. Susan Eisenmann

    Great message, Elizabeth. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you for your words.