I ran across this lady’s blog several months ago. I don’t even remember how I found it, but she was doing a series on Job and it was such a blessing to me. Even more so as I read through her different blog posts and learned more of her story. She lives in Canada, but it was kind of amazing to find out how much we have in common. I reached out to her to see if she would mind sharing a post here and she graciously agreed. God’s glory shines very evidently in her life. Thank you, Jennifer, for being a vessel that God can use to pour His extravagant grace into and for letting it flow so others can see Him!
For the last several months, I’ve been thinking about the blind man from John 9.
“Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.”
We like to quote “I was blind, now I see”. It makes a great line in a song, or a message. But do we really understand the implications behind it? What it’s like to be blind? I know that I don’t. I don’t even have second hand knowledge of it. And as difficult as it would be now, it would have been devastating in Bible times. He would have been an outcast. A beggar. Unable to have a productive or fulfilling life.
And people assumed that it was his fault.
On top of all that, he had to answer the question, was this your fault or your parents? Because surely someone has sinned. But no. God had a plan all along. And it was to bring Himself glory. And not just a little glory. A lot. The Bible says that no one had ever been healed of blindness before this man. This was a completely unheard of miracle. I’m sure it was talked about and passed around and marvelled at. And every time the story was uttered, so was the name of Jesus.
Just think of that.
What if every time someone uttered our story, our pain, they immediately associated Jesus with it? What if our reaction to pain was so hope-filled, so pure and so righteous, that people automatically knew that we must have a relationship with Jesus?
My story, your story too, I think, has so much pain. But it has even more grace. Extravagant grace. All of our stories have purpose if we can talk about the pain, but more about Jesus.
I was saved when I was just a little girl – so much grace. I had grand plans of being a missionary, and I did that by helping to start my church’s orphanage in the Philippines for two years. That’s also where I met my husband, where I had the first of three miscarriages, where I was hospitalized for typhoid fever, and where I had my first real adult encounters with the extravagant grace of God.
We moved back to Canada before my son was born, the first of my three beautiful children here on earth. My husband went to work for my dad, we served in the church I had been a part of since I was 7, and had 8 years of quiet growth. Then we re-entered the ministry, working at our church’s camp with Michael as the director and an associate pastor.
Just living there was a grace. 100 acres of beauty and fun. It was hard work, but we loved it. I was settled and secure and sure we would be there a long time.
After five years, I got a call at midnight that changed my life. My pastor husband was having an affair. By the end of the week, we were moved, living in a different city, going to a different church, I was no longer homeschooling and my kids were in a Christian school.
I could tell you all about the trial, all about the pain, but I’d rather tell you about Jesus. How His extravagant grace poured over me at the instant of that midnight call. How Jesus has restored our marriage. How extravagant grace poured over me so much that I was able to let it flow out to others in forgiveness. Because I know that all of this grace that is my current life is not the result of my sinful heart. Oh no, never could be. Only Jesus can work miracles like this.
Today my husband works for an amazing man in our church and I work on staff at our amazing church. Our kids are thriving, our family is whole, although not perfect. But that’s just more chance to see God at work.
Every chance I get, I’ll tell how great our God is, the miracles that Jesus performs, how extravagant is grace.
Jennifer Holmes is a writer who loves to give women Biblical hope in their hard times. You can find her hanging out on her blog once a week and more often on Facebook and Instagram. The rest of the time she’s teaching music at the school of Heritage Baptist Church where she serves with her husband Michael and three children.
Facebook and Instagram @jensnewsong