Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Grace Is Sufficient

Hello bloggers. Welcome to the White Roses in Bloom. My name is Laurean Brooks. I would like to introduce myself with an intensely personal story.

When the plant where I had been employed for two decades closed its door, I opted to further my education. At forty-something, it was not easy to keep pace with the feisty, computer-savvy, youngsters in my classes. I worked that much harder to stay ahead. But I glitched so many programs, crashed so many computers, that at least three instructors swooned every time I swept into the classroom. Amazingly, even though the instructors were noticeably graying by the time I graduated, I did so with honors.

The next two years brought four jobs and the same number layoffs. It was the same story each time. I can still hear the attorneys' dismissal speeches. Always the same. "I am so sorry. You are a hard worker. But...I just don't have the overhead...blah, blah, blah... I will have to let you go."

Though my journey to writing began in fifth grade, I didn't begin to write seriously until the winter of 2002. After two essays were accepted by our local magazine, I was addicted. In the following year, I wrote twenty essays, adding them to a collection of family stories. Then as a New Year's resolution, on January 1, 2004, I began to write "Journey To Forgiveness." My critique partner and I met weekly for the next five months. I had completed seven chapters by May. In the fall I was forced back into the job world, and wondered how I could ever find the energy to finish my manuscript.

The sun rose to cast it golden rays across my bed the morning of October 21, 2004. But I dreaded the day. It would be like every other day of late. Hopelessness engulfed me as I reflected on my past. A nasty divorce, bad choices, a dead-end, low-paying job. Regrets for what I deemed a wasted life. Lying in bed, I asked God if there was any hope for me--if He could take this imperfect pot and make it into a vessel to be used for His purposes.

I dozed again...Clutching a quilt, I stood on the bank of a raging river before a huge boulder positioned in the river. Jesus sat atop the boulder, gazing intently upstream. Very calm, a smile on his face. I reached out to offfer Him the quilt, pleading, "Please take this from me." Multi-colored squares were stitched together, some soiled, others torn, only a few unflawed. I knew the quilt represented my mistakes and shattered dreams. He took it from me and placed it on the rock. Then He extended his hand to pull me up onto boulder where I sat beside him, our shoulders touching. Knees hugged to our chests, Jesus and I sat in contemplation. I was mesmerized by the swift current, in awe of the peace on Jesus' face and the knowledge that we were safe from the swift current.

Without a word, Jesus unfolded the tattered quilt. Would He perform a miracle? Make it perfect? No. Instead He gently placed it across my shoulders. What was He saying? That I would have to bear my burdens alone? That He had washed His hands of me? I hung my head in shame.

Suddenly I felt the quilt move. I lifted my head and looked at Jesus. With a warm smile and compassion in His eyes, He tugged on the quilt until one end rested on His shoulders. We sat side by side sharing the ragged covering. I broke into a smile when I realized what Jesus' gesture meant.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness." II Corinthians:12:9.
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:2

Jesus loved me regardless of my mistakes and flaws. And He loves you, too. He may not remove the thorn in your flesh--regret, sorrow, a feeling of shame. But He stands closer than a brother to share your load, and to turn your weaknessess into strengths to be used for God's glory.

No matter where you have been or what you have done, Jesus waits with open arms. He will forgive you and make your life new. I am living proof.

Journey To Forgiveness is about love, forgiveness and hope for a future.

4 comments:

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a beautiful, beautiful story Laurean!

Reminds me a lot of the 'vision' I had while clutched in the grips of depression....a woman stood alone at the edge of the falls, it would be so easy to slip in....

This vision has been shared and touched others - as will yours.

Thank you for sharing.
PamT

Sharon Donovan said...

Laurie. Your beautiful story has given me chills. God truly comes to us in our hour of need. It may not always be in a vision, but if we use the senses he gave us, we will feel His presence. Did you ever notice when we are down and out the most, a friend will call or drop by to cheer us up? Who do you think the messenger is? Thank you for sharing your story-- and thank you for the gift of your friendship.
Sharon

Inspire Author said...

Laurie,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It reminds me we are never alone. We have God to guide us, love us, and simply be with us.

Wendy

Laurean Brooks said...

Pam, Sharon, Wendy, thank you for the wonderful things you've said about this post. I had second thoughts about posting it. It's so personal and too revealing. I'm such a jovial, cheerful person that no one would think that I ever suffered through depression. Goes to show, you can't tell by looking at people.

But God is so gracious. The 23rd Psalm says, "Though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death... "Through" is the operative word. We don't have to stop there. And we are not alone. "For Thou art with me; Thy rod and staff, they comfort me."