Reflection on God’s Grace
Posted on November 16, 2020 | Posted by Mary Stoneback
Reflections on Grace In My Life, by Ascension Online Contributor, Jan McMillan
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.”
Grace is the love and mercy given to us by God because God wants us to have it; not because of anything we have done to earn it. Grace is freely given by God. I am 84 years old – a good vantage point to look back and reflect on God’s grace in my life. God’s grace has been with me from a very early age. When I was six months old my father died, leaving my mother with a two year old and an infant. She made the very painful decision to send me to live with my aunt, my father’s sister and her husband. They became my parents for the next seven years. They loved me and introduced me to the Christian concepts of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus as loving, forgiving, supportive friends who remain steadfast even if I don’t. I loved them. They were my mama and paw-paw and I was safe in their care.
“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.”
The next chapter in my life was not easy and in truth, was scary. My aunt had promised my mother that she would give me up if my mother ever wanted me back. Following through with this promise, I returned to live with my birth mother at the age of seven. Moving from Oklahoma to Colorado, I was reunited with my sister. As a seven year old, I was grateful to have a sister to play with. At that time, I did not understand how permanent this new living arrangement would be and I did not have the opportunity or support to grieve the loss of the mother and father who had raised me. Not long after I arrived at my new home, my stepfather began to sexually molest me and the abuse continued for ten years. As horrific as this experience was for me, I also recognize how blessed I was to have been raised to know God’s love and grace as a child. Because of the good people they were I received a firm foundation that helped me through the abuse.
“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; Tis grace that brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.”
The theme of my life has been the love of my family – especially my children who have loved me unconditionally despite the pain some of my choices have caused them. I escaped into relationships that I consider unhealthy for my children. First, a 16 year marriage to the children’s father, an alcoholic, who had little time for his kids. For years, money and time fed the addiction, until again, by the grace of God, and through the help of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), he quit drinking. In his sobriety, he was a wonderful grandfather to our ten grand-children. The second relationship lasted eight years and was the time in my life when I was “coming out”. It was a challenging time but after the initial shock, my children understood and stood by me as their lesbian mom. For 38 years, I have been in a loving committed relationship and as my eldest granddaughter says, “I’ve never known Gram and N’Annie when they weren’t together.” We were married in 2013, after marriage became legal in all 50 states. We have experienced many losses together; the death of my son, Scott when he was 28; the loss of two grandsons and our mothers. I’ve had a lifetime of God’s grace. His grace followed me since I was an infant, through a lifetime of pain but overwhelmingly a lifetime of joy.
“Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail and mortal life shall cease, I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.”
~Jan McMillan, ALC Online Contributor