Caravan Sonnet: From Hope Valley (Week 33): The Blessing of Extending Grace

10/18/17

From Hope Valley (Week 33): The Blessing of Extending Grace

Listening to Elizabeth speak to the girls of Hope Valley in this 5th episode of season 3, I was immediately struck by the wisdom that she is sharing. Sometimes when someone is acting in a mean or rude way it is easy to want to dismiss them and to not take the risk of extending a friendship to them. But what we can miss is the story behind a person's actions and in doing so we may miss the blessing that comes from from extending grace... the blessing of learning to love another unconditionally. 

There have been people that I have known throughout my lifetime that have appeared to be "mean" or appeared to come across as harsh and bitter. Without taking the time to listen or get to know them I have been tempted to dismiss them simply based on their actions. 

I remember one time when I was in school I had a teacher who we all thought was incredibly mean and awful. At one time she had been a favorite teacher in the school and the students had talked about her with great affection. She was one of those teachers whom you longed to have because of the type of teacher you heard she was. You heard that she was hard, but fair and that she had a genuine love for the students that were in her classroom. 

When the year approached and the time came for me to have her as a teacher, I and many other students were so excited. We entered into the year confident that we would have a fabulous year. Unfortunately from the first day of school it became quickly obvious that something was terribly wrong. This teacher was not the same one that we had heard about or seen throughout all of the years. Instead it was like interacting with a shell of the person that she used to be. 

Instead of choosing laughter she was quick to snap at students. Instead of a smile on her face, she often looked angry. Instead of the joy that used to follow her, she instead looked like she wanted to be anywhere but in the classroom. Many students soon became frustrated and word started to spread that instead of being a favorite teacher, she was someone to be avoided. 

Some of the parents complained. Many of the students complained and many people started talking about the hope that she would not return the following year. Time continued and there really was not much change... until one day the teacher greeted us with a smile. Another day it happened again. Slowly over the next few months this teacher started to giggle and then laugh again. She started to have a joy that had not been present. Her eyes still looked sad, but she started to lose the look of anger and grief that had been constant.

Years later I ran into this teacher in the grocery store and told her thank you for the influence that she had on my life. She gave me a hug and started to cry and mentioned the year that I just described above. She shared that over the course of her life her greatest dream had been to be married and to be a mama. She loved teaching, but in the course of a few years suffered several miscarriages, including one before the start of the year that I had her as a teacher. She said the last miscarriage before that year was when she hit rock bottom. She felt no hope that her circumstances would change and the grief of loss was just to much and overwhelming for her. I welled up with tears as I thought back to that year and felt so badly for this woman who had endured so much. She went on to say that over the course of the year there was a group of women that started to reach out to her... lovingly listening and lovingly showing up for this woman who was hurting. 

And then she said that they were her heroes. At her darkest time they showed up. They cared. They listened. They reminded her of hope and of joy and of a future. They reminded her in practical ways that God loved her. 

I was telling some friends recently about group of people who changed my life years ago (that I mentioned in the 2nd From Hope Valley Devotional post). I told them that without them my life story would have been completely different. I relate so much to what this teacher told me... it is amazing what can happen when we extend the blessing of grace to others. 

You know loving people is complicated. It't not a tv show and it often has pitfalls and lots of difficult moments. 
It's messy. 
It's hard. 
It's long
It is not summed up in a nice and neat bow at the end of an hour. 
It is something that can inconvenience you. It can interrupt the plans you have made. It can be anything but the "beauty" it should be. 

... and it is the most important thing you can ever do...

Because there is a blessing that comes when we extend grace to those who are hurting. The blessing of realizing that we have the opportunity to change the course of someones story and life. What greater blessing could there be? So today sweet friends, let's reach out to those who are hurting and compassionately join in on their stories for the long haul knowing that we are changing the course of someones story forever. 

"The Spirit of God ... is on me... He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the brokenhearted... God sent me to announce the year of His grace... and to comfort all who mourn, to care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes, messages of joy instead of news of doom."
-Isaiah 61:1-3, the Message-

I am so excited for each of you who are attending the Hearties Family Reunion #3! I attended last year and it was a wonderful time of meeting with other Hearties (you can read about it HERE) and with meeting the cast and crew (which you can read about HERE). I hope that each of you has a wonderful adventure! 

Looking for past From Hope Valley Devotionals? You can click HERE to find a complete listing of all of the devotionals! 

I receive several emails a week asking where you can watch older episodes of "When Calls the Heart". If you have a Netflix account you can find seasons 1-3 there or you can purchase them on Amazon. You can purchase and watch all of the seasons and episodes by clicking on the links below:

*Please note that the quotes used in these weekly devotionals are the sole intellectual property of Hallmark Channel, WCTH, & Crown Media, LLC. These on-line posts are in no way supported, endorsed or affiliated with WCTH, Hallmark Channel, or Crown Media. They are simply encouragement inspired by Janette Oke and this precious show.* 

2 comments:

  1. This hit me, really hit me. I have been on both sides of this coin, as the seemingly cold person who didn't need anyone and as the person who sought to understand a boss who seemed very indifferent. Neither way was easy. Both times I was blessed to have had support. I was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer 11 years ago. I believed that God had deserted me. I had a wall up that was 16 feet high. Over time, I met wonderful people in my journey. I started to reach out to people. I started to think less of my own pain and tried to give to others who were undergoing similar struggles. Over time, I noticed that I had a wonderful oncologist, kind, caring nurses, and a whole boatload of people who reached out to support me. And the whole time, as one friend told me, "God had His hands on your shoulders." Thank you so much for this meaningful devotional. It meant the world to me.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing so vulnerably your story and about how this devotional touched your heart and your life. I am so so so very sorry to hear about your journey with advanced colon cancer. My heart truly breaks for you and this unimaginably difficult road that you have had to walk. Thank you for reading. Thank you again for taking the time to share. I wish that I could have emailed you directly back but unfortunately I didn't have any contact information. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

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