Grow in Grace - a Story of Faith
Today I'm welcoming my dear friend and mentor, Lee McCracken, to share part of her story. Read below to see a glimpse of how her faith has grown throughout her life. Then check out her book, A Prayer and a Pink Pedicure. Turn the pages and watch the interplay of joy and suffering — how choosing to live in both makes a life full and courageous.
The happy lady who smiled at everyone. The loving wife and mother who kept a tidy nest. The fun-seeking, loyal friend who always encouraged.
And yet …
The often angry and wounded woman who yelled. The busy, harried mom who barked orders. The bossy friend who thought she always knew best.
I was her. There were good days, and there were very bad days.
The garden of my life was full of blooms. It was lovely to look at, but beneath the leafy foliage, there were entangling weeds. And the root system was shallow and weak. Under intense rain and wind, the flowers were left bruised and torn.
Then I met a woman filled with light and wisdom.
She spoke quietly and with calm assurance. Her truthful words were delivered with gentleness. Spending time with her at church, sipping on every ounce of loving-kindness she offered, I felt peace in her presence. Grace poured out of my new friend.
Something inside me longed to know what she knew. Her faith had a strong foundation. My soul desired THAT God — the Master Gardener. Not just the amazing Creator and Planter of all things beautiful whom I worshipped on Sunday mornings, but also the One who grafts and prunes and weeds.
In John 15, Jesus says, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. ... I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”
I was curious about this “fruit,” and Jesus (not at all weary from waiting on me!) began sowing. He led me to Bible classes, Christian fellowship circles and coffee dates, and conversations that went deep and helped heal. He also put me in community with missionaries who drew me out of my comfort zone and showed me love in action.
God handled all the cultivating. He was, is and always will be:
- the good soil ~ Psalm 85:10-13, Mark 4:8-9
- the fertilizer ~ Deuteronomy 8:3, John 6:35
- the sunlight ~ John 8:12, Psalm 119:105
- the irrigation ~ Isaiah, 43:19, John 4:14
- the weed-killer ~ Romans 2:8, Acts 3:19
He asked me to submit to His hand. He called me to be faithful and trust. In the regenerated and sanctified garden of my life, there was greater peace than I’d ever known.
Friends, the beauty of that gracious woman, and others with whom I now grow alongside, is the indwelling of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In seasons of sowing and pruning, the Gardener is at work.
In seasons of growth, the True Vine is the path and trestle.
In time, the harvest is made plentiful.
The wife, mother and friend I am today is a new garden in progress. I abide. And I pray for ripening as He wills it. Paul writes in Galatians 5:22, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.”
Lee McCracken is in women’s ministry at Lake Forest Church in Huntersville, NC. She’s been married for 35 years to Stuart and has three children, a 25-year-old daughter and two boys in heaven. She is the author of “A Prayer and a Pink Pedicure.” She posts on Facebook and Instagram as JoyfulleeWritten.