Wednesday, September 2, 2015

God's Grace and The Cell Phone & Updates on Ryker & Terri Presser

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God..."
Ephesians 2:8
(KJV)


Do you understand what grace is?

I don't really think I do.

By all means, I should know...
as well, or even more-so, than most.
Through the eternal mercy of a loving Heavenly Father,
I was raised in a Christian family, 
by two precious, blood-washed, Godly parents,
around a family altar.

Furthermore, the very first song I ever remember singing was "Amazing Grace." 
I was three years old, but I remember it like it was last week.

Back then, we didn't have to wear seat belts, 
so my favorite way to ride was with my little elbows propped up on the back of the front seat,
between Mom and Dad.

I remember how safe I felt, as we drove along, and Mom and Dad sang "Amazing Grace".
It wasn't long until I began to chime in with my two-cents' worth.
How I did it, I don't know,
but according to Mom and Dad, my little voice was belting out perfectly-on-pitch tenor.

I don't know how perfectly-on-pitch it has been, but I've been singing ever since.
Singing those old-time hymns will always be one of my favorite things to do.

So, since I was raised in a God-honoring, God-worshiping home,
and since we went to church three times a week for most of my growing-up years,
wouldn't you think I would know the meaning of grace?

I think it is somewhat absurd that I don't know.
How many times have I sang about it, heard it preached, read about it in God's Word,
and had it pounded into my head over the past 48 years?
I must be a really slow learner, because somehow the light bulb is just NOW starting to come on.

I've been seeking after God with all my heart.
I can honestly say that there has never been another time in my life
in which I have been more serious or diligent in my pursuit of Him.
This journey has led me down some pretty rough roads,
but how else could one ever hope to find Him?

Jesus' life was beyond difficult while on earth,
and if we would follow Him,
we are going to have to imitate His steps of denying ourselves and taking up our cross.

In my quest to know Him, I have often talked to Him about grace
and how I don't really understand it and how it is hard for me to wrap my mind around 
the fact that it could ever possibly apply to me.

I just don't feel worthy.
Does anyone?

It is easy for me to tell others of God's grace.
It comes so naturally for me to speak words of comfort to those who need it.
I speak with conviction, because I believe with all my heart that it is real,
and that it is available to all who come to Him.

So, why the disbelief when it comes to my own need for grace?

As I continue to seek God to reveal Himself to me and to show me what grace is all about,
He is blessing me with some pretty amazing demonstrations,
and with each one of these, the light bulb is growing just a bit more luminous.

Yesterday, Kevin, Zach, and I had some errands to run.
I went out of the house first, and I remember placing my water mug on top of the car,
then reaching in and tossing my purse and a handful of individually-wrapped prunes
(yes, I said prunes!...don't ask!),
on the seat of the car.
I walked to open the gate at the end of our driveway,
walked back, picked up my water mug and placed it in the console drink holder between the two front seats, got in the driver's seat, and proceeded to back the car out of the driveway.

I waited for Kevin and Zach, and soon they had joined me,
we had bowed our heads and prayed our routine before-we-leave-home prayer,
and were on our way down the street.

We had driven, oh, say maybe a mile and a half, when we heard a series of thumps.
They seemed to come from the top of the car,
then make a procession down the back of the car towards the trunk.

"What was that?" we asked each other in unison.

None of us could explain it.
I thought maybe something had fallen from a tree above the car,
but when I looked back in the mirror towards the road behind us,
I didn't see anything.

There was a car following closely behind us, 
and I figured if it had been anything too major,
they surely would have waved us down to get our attention.

So, on, we traveled.
We drove, oh, I would say another 3-4 miles, 
when it occurred to me that Kevin's mom had called and left a message earlier,
and none of us had taken the time to call her back.
I mentioned it to Kevin, and he reached towards his pocket for his cell phone.

I heard him take in a deep breath....one of alarm.

All at once, it hit us all.
Right at the same instant.

Kevin groaned.

"Oh, no!"

The cell phone was not in his pocket.
He grabbed my purse.
The cell phone was not in my purse.
He looked around the car, then picked up the trac phone that I carry in my purse
and called his cell phone number.
Nothing.
No ring.
The phone was obviously not in the car.

All of us remembered that as I had walked out the door ahead of Kevin and Zach, 
I had told Kevin I would pick up his phone off the counter and bring it out for him.

"Do you think you put it on top of the car?"
Kevin gently asked.

"I don't think so", I answered.

Panic washed over me as I realized Kevin's phone and our car are exactly the same color.
Solid BLACK.
Black as night.
A sickening realization dawned on me that had I put the cell phone on top of the car,
then reached for my water mug, 
I more than likely wouldn't even have noticed the phone still sitting there.

I started to cry.

Now, before you judge me and my weak emotional state,
let me explain something.

Kevin's phone is not really Kevin's phone.
It was provided to him by his employer so they would be able to get a hold of him at all times.
This is not a cheap phone, trust me.
It is far beyond anything we would ever purchase on our own for ourselves.
They spare no expense and provide the best.
I can't say enough good about the company Kevin works for.

There were so many things going through my mind, in that instant...
things like how gracious they have been to us,
how they have allowed us unlimited usage of the phone even for personal use,
how they entrusted it to Kevin,
how he needs it in order for them to reach him....
all of that was weighing on me.

But, do you want to hear the thing that was upsetting me the most?

The thought that trumped all others was how much this would embarrass Kevin.
It wasn't even his fault.
I kept thinking how he would have to call his boss and explain my stupidity.
How bad it would make him feel.
How they might even make us pay for the replacement.

So, what did I do?

I began to call on the dear Lord.
In earnest.
I mean, I was doing some serious praying,
as we turned that car around and began back-tracking down the road to the spot where we had heard the series of thumps.

Kevin and Zach decided they would get out and walk and look around,
while I drove back home to see if I had even indeed brought the phone.

I seriously worry about my memory sometimes.
I could not even recall whether or not I had, for sure, picked up the phone, 
and I sure didn't remember placing it on top of the car.

So, I dropped them off and drove home, 
crying and praying pleading with God all the way.

"Lord, I know you knew ahead of time that this would happen.
You knew ahead of time that I would be praying this prayer.
God, PLEASE, rebuke the devourer for me.
I know I don't deserve this.
But, please God, please."

I went on reminding God how we are faithful to pay our tithes and offerings, 
and how He promised me in Malachi 3:11 that if we did this that He would,
"rebuke the devourer for our sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground..."

I have claimed that verse more times than I can even remember,
and I have witnessed GOD coming on the scene and doing just that time after time.

I should write a book.
Maybe, one day, I will, by God's grace.

Anyhow, I pulled into the driveway, put the car in park,
opened the car door, and God spoke.

"Use your trac phone to call the cell phone once more."

I grabbed it off the seat beside me and dialed Kevin's number.

I waited.

It felt like eternity.

Then, softly, ever so faintly, I heard something....
that familiar ring.
Where was it????

I stepped out of the car, thinking I must have somehow managed to drop it in the ditch
beside our driveway or on the driveway itself.

Then I noticed it seemed to be coming, not from the ground, but from some place higher.
I followed the sound of the ring.
My heart was pounding.
And, as I reached the spot, I figured out the meaning of grace.

My friends, what I am going to tell you next may not mean much to you.
But, I tell you this.
I have never, in my 48 years of life, felt more grace-washed...
than I did in that moment.

The God of the universe had directed that falling phone,
and, by some Divine miracle, He had directed it to fall,
not off the side of the car to crash headlong smashing to bits on the road beside us, 
(as would have made the most sense),
but straight down the edge of the top of the car,
to fall hard onto the trunk and land underneath the spoiler,
and then to wedge itself in between the top and bottom of it!

I stood there, at the end of our driveway, 
on the edge of our road,
and something happened to me that rarely ever occurs.

I was absolutely speechless.

I couldn't even say thank you.

I CRIED.
Hard.

I felt so many mixed emotions, I could hardly sort them out.
GOD saw me.
He watched me put that phone on the top of the car, right beside my water mug.
Then, He saw me pick up the water mug, 
get into the car, and drive off, with the phone still riding on top.
He saw it shake loose and begin to fall.

And God chose to redeem my mistake.

He chose to bestow grace.

Grace...
the free and unmerited favor of God, 
as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Free.
Unmerited.

I finally found my voice and began to praise Him from the depths of my soul.
I hurriedly drove back to where Kevin and Zach were still searching...
wishing I had a way to let them know the good news before I got there.

I spotted them afar off and got to them as quick as our 30 mile per hour, small town speed limit would allow, and I pulled the car off the road.

"Just look at what God did!" were the first words out of my mouth.

We all stood there staring at that spoiler.
In total amazement.
Overwhelming gratitude filling our souls.

We got back on our way, and Kevin called his Mom.
The phone worked fine.
No breakage.
No damage at all.
Not even a scratch.
We decided to eat lunch at a Mexican restaurant, 
and when we got out, Kevin discovered something else.

He placed the phone under the spoiler.
Then he slid it straight through to the other side.
No problem.
Then he tried doing the same thing way over on the edge closest to the side.
That was the only spot that created a wedge and would have prevented the phone from falling all the way through to the road behind us.
That is the spot God chose to have that phone land.

Because God's grace is abundant.

Through our meal, I couldn't keep from crying.
Not sad tears, but tears of joy.
Tears of thankfulness.
Tears of worship.

"I wish I could go somewhere and just fall on my knees!"
I told Kevin and Zach.

It was amazing.
It was grace.

As we talked, Zach revealed something else to me.

In his intense search for the phone, he hadn't been watching the road
and had nearly been hit by a car, as Kevin watched from a few feet away!

Oh, dear Lord!
Mercy extended....to undeserving me.
Yes, me.

Thank the dear Lord for His mercy to all of us...
I just have no words, my friends,
to thank Him enough.

I made the mistake.
It was not intentional.
I didn't even realize what I had done.
When I did, I regretted it from the depths of my soul.
I deserved to find a shattered-to-bits phone.
I deserved retribution...for my carelessness...my negligence....my silly, silly oversight.

Oh, my! 
I did not deserve mercy...compassion...grace.
Free and unmerited favor is the last thing God should have bestowed.

As I pondered this later, He spoke again.
"Child, do you see how grace works?
You have sinned.
You have done wrong.
Not only accidentally, but intentionally.
You have fallen short of My glory.
The punishment for sin is death...
eternal separation from Me.
Yet, I chose to have mercy.
I chose to send My Son to die, in your place, 
to make an atonement for the sins you have committed.
I chose to extend grace to you, My dear child.
Even you."

It makes me cry....again...even now....hours later,
to know that God took care of that phone.
Just for me.
And it makes me love Him ever so much more each day
to know that He loves me enough to cover all of my sins.

Do I deserve it?
Not even a chance.
Does He extend grace anyway?
You better believe it.

God sees us, my friend.
He cares about every, single detail of our lives,
and He loves us with more love than His heart can hold.
That's why He pours it out upon us every day.
He gives us the total opposite of what we deserve.

And that is what grace is all about.

********************************************************
Great news!

The last time I heard from Shyla, little Ryker was doing much better,
and he was going home!!


Praise God forevermore!

******************************************************************
And the last email I got from Terri Presser, she was still waiting to have her surgery. 


So, please keep praying, dear friends!

33 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. And, may He bless you, too, sweet Denise!

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  2. Hallelujah! God is so good to us! Bless His holy name.

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    1. YES, there are no words to express all of my gratitude. Praying for you, Bronda. God bless you. :)

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  3. Hi Cheryl, I enjoyed reading your long post. You write well and I do hope your write that book someday. My goodness, you have given us a great deal to ponder. Grace...such a beautiful word. Quite an amazing story. God answered a very special prayer for me this summer and has brought great healing in a relationship. Praise Him! Have a good weekend.

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    1. Hello, Linda! So very thankful to have you stop by and take the time to read what God placed upon my heart. :) I am so thankful He restored the relationship for you! He is a faithful, loving Father, Who absolutely cares about the things we go through. May He bless you abundantly. :) Come back anytime.

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  4. Wow...incredible story. Praise the Lord! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. And, thank you for reading, sweet friend. God bless you abundantly for stopping by! :)

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  5. I enjoyed reading your story, Cheryl. God is certainly good and gracious, isn't He?
    I remember some years ago speaking to our Pastor about a situation one of my daughter's was facing, and his words were, "God's grace is sufficient and He will pour the measure of grace upon her that she wilh need to go through that situation."
    I have always remembered those words of encouragement, and remember that God will give us the grace we need in the amount that we need when it is needed.
    Praise the Lord!

    So nice tho visit with you~ Debbie

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    1. Oh, it was SO nice to have you stop by, Debbie! What a blessing to know that you were here and that you left sweet encouragement behind. So thankful for you, dear friend. I loved the thoughts you shared. :)

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  6. Cheryl, I appreciate so much your transparency in this post. I think sometimes the lessons that are the hardest for us to learn and take the longest to learn are the very ones that God uses to teach us in profound ways so that our joy abounds much like yours did when you saw where the Lord had lovingly placed the phone and we will never forget from that day forward with full understanding the very lesson it took us so long to get.

    Thank you so much for faithfully keeping us updated on those whose needs you have shared about.

    Your humble Christ-like testimony is an example for us all.

    Much love and blessings,
    Karen

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    1. Thank you ever so much, dear friend! Your words are such a dear blessing and encouragement to my heart! Thanking the Lord so very much to have you in my life on this blogging journey!

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  7. Oh what an incredible story Cheryl! I believe the Lord truly protected your phone! While I was walking with Annie (my dog) the other day, I found a phone on the road that had been run over, and I have still not found the owner because it was smashed beyond recognition. When I saw it lying on the ground, I thought... someone's life is in a turmoil right now because of the loss of this phone. I have listed an ad in the paper and hope that the owner will call to find it, although it is certainly useless now. So claim this as an amazing incredible miracle, because the Lord protected your phone in such a way to comfort you and let you know He cares about the littlest smallest details of our lives! So thankful to hear such a great report this morning. And I will certainly be continuing in prayer for little Ryker, and for Terri... such a terrible thing for her with so many responsibilities. May the Lord continue to bless your heart in all you do for Him!

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    1. Oh, dear friend! I DO! It truly is an amazing miracle. Only God could have done this, and I cannot thank Him enough for redeeming my careless mistake. He is SO faithful!!! So grateful for you and your precious words of encouragement. Sending you much love across the miles! :)

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  8. Cheryl, I did the same thing with my wallet once. Left it on the top of my car at the gas pump, only to realize much later that it was gone. Fortunately, it was found by an honest young man who contacted me and returned it to me. And, I have also lost my cell phone. I had it with me when I attended my niece's high school graduation a year ago. On the way home, I realized that I didn't have it with me. Frantic searching did not reveal it. My son suggested calling it. Well, God be praised, a man answered the phone. And after some pleading, he agreed to pull off the freeway, when he was well on his way home, at almost 10 PM. I met him at a McDonald's, and though he refused to accept any payment, I think I startled him with my grateful hug!! I wonder if sometimes God gives us these small *moments of grace* just to remind us that He does indeed care about the small stuff, too!

    Thanks for the updates. Good news abounds...

    GOD BLESS!

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    1. Oh, my!! What a terrible ordeal you went through! SO thankful God helped you to get your phone back! Oh, He is such a faithful God. :) Much love to you, sweet friend. Thank you for sharing your testimony here...such a dear encouragement!

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  9. Hi Cheryl, I love those moments when there is only one way, and one way only, something could have happened, or been prevented from happening... God! He saved us, or saved something of ours, etc. We have had a few of those moments. I think grace is unfathomable because it is so undeserved and so rich and so overwhelming. Great post, great reminder
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. YES, I love those moments, too, Tracy! So thankful for your sweet visit and words of encouragement!! Much love and many blessings to you. :)

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  10. No such thing as coincidence, Cheryl! The fact that the very first thing you do, in all things, is to call out to our Father. Before you drive and in the face of adversity you call on Him... no wonder He holds you and your loved ones so warmly. Beautiful story, sister and a great lesson and reminder for me of my greatest and only Priority. Praying for you and your people.

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    1. Thank you so much, Floyd. Your prayers and encouragement are truly gifts that I appreciate so much. God bless you and yours, also. I am praying for you, too. :)

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  11. I love this! I have a story I'd like to share with you one day about a time when I could feel God's grace surrounding my whole family. It was when my son first began driving. I will call you sometime and tell you about it. God works within every detail of our lives no matter how simple or complex.
    Love you!

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    1. Oh, I would LOVE to hear it, sweet friend. :) I love hearing grace stories!!! Yes, Lord willing, we will talk soon...sorry things have been so busy with us lately, and we haven't been able to talk. You are always in my heart, and I pray for you often, and Jonathan and Glenn, too. :) Love you, Chris.

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  12. God is so good. I think I found your page to help me see that I need to trust in Him more and have faith that He is in control and working on my behalf even though things seem so bleak right now. Thank you.

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    1. Oh, dear Kelly! I am SO sorry to know that you are going through such a hard time. I will add you to my prayer list and be lifting you to the Father. He loves you SO much! And He is absolutely moved with compassion by your burdens. If there is anything I can do for you, please contact me. I am so grateful God led you here, and may He just bless you abundantly and meet your every need. :)

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  13. Oh what a sweet story. God has blessed me by rescuing me several times as well and it's always such a wonderful and exciting blessing. Most aren't quite as goose-bump worthy as your incredibly great story was, but a couple of times through the decades they were. And through it all, we are left with the sweet sense of awe that almighty God cares so much for us - even our (what must be to Him) puny little toys, that He gives us sweet hugs and makes it all right. And then, during those seasons of the valley of the shadow of death, when things aren't "all right" in our eyes, we so KNOW how much He loves us, that we can endure those times too, remembering moments like these and other hugs - and knowing that even in the dark days, He's hugging us there too! Thank you for the double blessing of sharing this awesome story and reminding me of both the goose-bump happy occasions and the shadow seasons when God was (and is) so wonderfully with us. Blessings!!!!

    Kaye

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    1. Oh, thank you, dear Kaye, for reminding ME, too...I never thought of it as hugs, but that is such a sweet way to look at it. God is so faithful, isn't He? I am so thankful for your visit and encouragement! God bless you abundantly! :)

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  14. What an amazing story about your husband's phone!! Absolutely amazing God that we serve. I am praying for Terri Presser.

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend. :) I appreciate your visit and encouragement so much!

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  15. God's grace is truly amazing Cheryl. And it is sometimes in what we call "the little things" He makes it known to us. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.
    God bless you.
    God perfect all that concerns Ryker and Terri in Jesus name. Amen!

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    1. Yes, His grace is amazing!!! How precious it is to my soul! Thank you for stopping by here and leaving such sweet encouragement behind. God bless you, my friend. :)

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  16. Trying to do a little catch up with you! I just loved this story!! God cares about the little things!

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    1. Yes! He absolutely does!! So grateful you stopped by, Jo! God bless you. :)

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    2. Yes! He absolutely does!! So grateful you stopped by, Jo! God bless you. :)

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