Grace in Place of Grace Already Given

“Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.” John 1:6

I spent this past Thanksgiving day alone. I hadn’t intended to, but the friend I was supposed meet up with that day had come down with chills. She wasn’t the only one feeling out of sorts. I didn’t feel myself either. I had started having some mental health issues—you know just really feeling the need for space and excessive amounts of sleep. I was moody and lethargic and so I canceled on her.

Sitting alone in my empty apartment, staring at my bare Christmas tree and my bored kitten really got me thinking about how much I want a family of my own. I thought about about a husband lying on the vacant left side of my queen sized bed, and him holding me through depressive episodes and cheering me up with kind words. I thought about little chubby toes and feet running around my home, and a tree full with trimmings that we all put up together. What an image.

It would all start with a husband. And so I remembered my sweet friend Johanna who is always so diligent to pray, to linger with God and make her request made known to Him ( Philippians 4:6). She had prayed a 54 day novena (a series of intentional prayers) before meeting her current boyfriend. Should I start doing something like that?

It worked for her and many other Christian women I’ve either known or heard of who are happily married. So I started praying to the Lord that He would bring my husband and included details about his character and specifications with regard to time. The whole time I was praying, something didn’t sit right in my chest, but I didn’t understand why so I kept praying because it’s biblical to bring our requests to the Lord. Then something happened.

About three days ago I got home from work, lie down on my sofa for relief from the day’s labor and started praying. Nothing specific this time. I just wanted to be in the presence of the Lord. Suddenly this vision started playing out in my mind: It was me. I was laying down on my back and my heart was gaping open. It was deep and wide like a valley, and there was pain, hurt, and trauma. The Lord was pouring into the valley of my heart and He spoke to me and said “I’m doing something deeper than bringing you a husband.”

The Grace Already Given

Wow. An answer from on high. The Lord has looked on my pain with compassion and wants to heal me. The thing is, he has already done so much with regard to healing and accomodating my mental illness since I moved from San Antonio to Denver in hopes for healing and support. I applied for Social Security Disability back in 2020 and got approved the first time (nearly unheard of). My benefit this year is now over $1,000 per month. I was also selected for a housing voucher here in Denver, so I only contribute 1/3 of my income to rent and the state pays the rest. Because of this assistance I only have to work 16 hours per week and can spend the rest of my time baking, preparing for blog posts and spending time with God ( things that make me feel myself.)

It doesn’t end there. The single bedroom apartment that I live in is about 700 sq ft with hardwood floors. It has litterally exceeded my expectations. I also get counseling for free through Saint Raphael Counseling (part of Catholic Charities) because I am low income. I have everything I need and more, including a solid support system, but Lord wants to do more before brining me a husband.

He wants to give grace in place of grace already given. As though He has not already done enough. He has already poured his love and mercy into my heart through provision and friendships. He wants to go deeper. He wants to heal me until I am strong and stable like an Oak Tree.

As I Wait

I took what God said as a “Not yet” instead of a “No”, so I’ll still be waiting to meet my husband. Coincidentally, it is also December which is advent season so we are also awaiting the Christ child. What waiting does in our hearts is so important. Whether it is something big or small. Whether its Jesus or something earlthy. Waiting transfroms our hearts.

So what are you waiting for in this season? Can you trust that what God is doing in your heart as you wait to make the waiting that much richer?

“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” –Isaiah 40:31

P.s. I thought I’d drop a photo of sweet Olive. She may get bored but she’s a beauty.

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