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Lord, I need grace, but let me do what I want

Lord I need grace, but let me do what I want to do, and let me go where I want to go.

Don’t stop me, just make it work for me and I will be happy.

Anytime I get into trouble, I cry out for grace. I am one of those who need to be delivered constantly from my own making and ideas. I heard a great definition for grace. Grace is the empowering of God’s presence with the ability to meet our full potential and purpose.

Our purpose is born out of the heart of God. He already knows how I am and what trouble I will bring to myself and where I am going. He knows the things that will get in the way from achieving His purpose in me.

Projects are easy to begin all I need is a great idea and I am off running. One of my great ideas involved 40 hatboxes all in different shapes and sizes. I would cover them with vintage material, wallpaper, collages and jewels. I could see them in my mind, the boxes would be absolutely beautiful and everyone would want one. Four tables were lined up with material, paper, glue, scissors, ribbon and everything that could be put on a box.

I invited a friend over for the afternoon to make it a fun day. Even though she is very good at crafts, she wasn’t thrilled about decorating boxes, and soon I, too, was no longer excited about hatboxes . Two hours in total frustration struggling with a piece of wallpaper and glue on the same box and after six attempts I wadded up the paper, threw it in the trash.

In disgust I sat down among the hatboxes and said, “What was I thinking? I don’t do crafts, I’m a painter. What am I going to do with all these boxes? I have wasted my money. Lord, give me grace.”

The fun was over, my friend packed up and left and I sat staring at the mess. The moment didn’t seem empowering. It was one of those ideas that teach us more about ourselves and our lack than we would like to know.

Grace comes in many disguises. Sometimes it comes in a shut door, or not now, or never, or try again. Sometimes it’s the wisdom we need to know it isn’t our thing and its okay, or the patience we need to proceed in a better and different way. Grace always comes in a way that brings us to our full purpose if we will recognize it and receive it. It is such a gentle nudge we miss it at times and it will be disguised in another lesson down the way.

I look around my studio and I see what I thought were brilliant ideas, so brilliant that they are still on the shelf collecting dust. They look like shut doors. The longer I live I am learning shut doors means grace. They are God’s way of keeping me on track, keeping me from expending my energy on things that aren’t necessary.

Someone asked me the other day if I was still renting out the Retreat Center. I told them, “No, I want to paint and write; it is God’s grace that I don’t have to make beds and clean bathrooms and be ready for the next guests. The Retreat Center is now back to what it was always intended to be, a place for friends and family to come paint, write, and just enjoy.”

Some doors need to be pushed open but others seem to have gigantic locks. That is how the Retreat Center is. I did everything I could to make it what I thought it could be instead of what it was intended to be and it never seemed to go anywhere. I was pushing against its purpose. Today I am thankful that it didn’t go the way I wanted it. That’s grace!

As far as the hatboxes go, they are still up on the table and I am going another way. But if it doesn’t work I am learning how to cut my losses. It’s okay to pass them along to someone who will catch the vision.

There have been many open doors too, such as an opportunity to write a column each week. I continue to ask for grace to write.

You know you need grace when your daughter says, “Mother, you’re preaching, you’re going to shift your audience,” or your family prefixes everything with, “I’m going to say this but it is not to go in the newspaper.” Yes, grace has brought me to my purpose for today. If you are enjoying these articles as much as I am in writing them, that’s got to be grace!

Final brushstroke: Grace is always knocking and comes in many disguises. When the door opens and grace takes you over the threshold into a larger room you will need more grace.

Reader’s comments

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Dear Betty:

The Painted Jewels! It is hard sometimes to see the forest for the trees when writing, I think. Your story is incredible and utterly captivating. I loved stepping into your life and thinking through you as you experienced that. What a UNIQUE moment that was. I think your article will get rave reviews.


Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dear Betty:

Not everyone has a counterpart.  Your counterpart is from without, not within. (Unless you have multiple personalities) They allow you to reflect your thoughts, sometimes without saying a word. About the Painted Jewels, I do enjoy your writings.  You bring the stories to life. Did you take the job and if so what did you paint? I would love to see.

There are so many different individuals in the world, that if we worry about how, or what we do or say may effect them, we would never do or say anything.  All you can do is be honest and true.  The right thing will take care of its self. Love your stories!

With Aloha,

Willow, Hawaii

Dear Betty:

Enjoyed reading your article.  Thought about the observer vs. the participator.  There is a third: the processor.  The observer who participates.


Manila, Philippines

Quote for the Week

“I do not have superior intelligence or faultless looks. I do not captivate a room or run a mile under six minutes. I only succeeded because I was still working after everyone else went to sleep.” — Greg Evans, novelist.