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A Journey of Grace

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6



Last week I did a live video saying why I use the theme Journey of Grace. Unfortunately, I felt the need to delete that video after sharing too many specifics about my location. So, I’ve decided to write it here because I don’t think many people had a chance to see the video before I took it down.


I grew up in a Christian home and I don’t remember there ever being a time when I did not know God loved me. At the age of ten, I gave my heart to Jesus and I felt his presence with me always. I was, and still am, a night owl. Going to sleep has not been easy for me and there were many nights I laid in bed knowing everyone else was asleep and feeling alone and, of course, that was the time I would think of things to worry about. My greatest comfort was praying and feeling that God’s presence was right there with me, surrounding me with love and peace.


As I grew up and experienced life (sometimes a little too much of it) I came to know God’s forgiveness and grace when I went to him with regret. In my young adult life, I made some choices that were not good, that I knew were against God’s will for me. And, even in the good choices, I did not always make the best decisions. I have been amazed at the grace I have known and have often said that if God were to change my name, it would be to Grace – because he has, and continues, giving me so much of it.


When I was 40, I answered the call that I had felt for so long. It was a call to ministry to serve God in a new way. I graduated from seminary with a Masters of Divinity in 1996 and in that event, I felt God’s grace poured out on me. I was, and am, humbled that he would want to use me as a minister – me – a woman (which was not something I had known); me – a sinner. In 2008 I graduated again, this time with a Doctorate of Ministry. My thesis was titled: Journey of Grace – authentic preaching in a digital age. I used stories about the lives of biblical characters, like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel and how their lives were a journey that wasn’t always perfectly on the path God intended yet God always went with them and used them for his purpose. Theirs was a journey of grace. My own journey is similar as I have been on and off the path God planned for me, but looking back I see how he was always there, guiding me and giving me grace.


My hope is that in talking about my journey, you would reflect on your own life and see how yours, too, is a journey of grace. God goes with us, loving, forgiving, shaping and calling us to serve in many different ways. We read throughout the Old Testament (in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Jeremiah, etc) where God reminds the people of his covenant: You shall be my people and I will be your God. That covenant is a promise that still holds true for us today.

We are God’s people and he is our gracious, loving God. His grace was poured out for us through his son, Jesus Christ. My life continues to be a journey of grace. Have you seen how yours is too?


Grace and Peace

Sharlyn



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© 2020 by Dr. Sharlyn DeHaven Gates