Portraits of Grace – Bettina Shue

I was needing one more devotional for the month, so I am going to close out the month by sharing God’s “Portrait of Grace” in my life. We have a lot of new ones who have joined us this past month and there may be many others who have not heard this story of grace yet.

I grew up in Alaska as a missionary/pastor’s daughter. I went off to Bible College at Bob Jones University at the age of 17. The 2nd semester of my sophomore year I was experiencing some back discomfort. I had gone to a chiropractor before at home, so when my parent’s came to visit that spring, they took me. Come to find out, that back discomfort was coming from having a massive ovarian tumor. It was so large that it was pushing all of my organs out of the way and was pressing up against my aorta. The doctors felt like it was something that needed to be dealt with right away, so surgery was set up … for Friday, the 13th! All went well during the surgery. They were able to completely remove the tumor. The doctor    predicted it to be the size of a 6 month fetus. I do not remember them saying for sure after the surgery, but I do know that I immediately lost 20 pounds!

This really was a turning point in my spiritual life. It was definitely a time of growing and trusting God. It was then that I started a spiritual journal with scripture that God gave me and other thoughts that strengthened and encouraged me at that time. With each entry I made, I would date it. The following year, I was going back through my journal and I noticed the date that I found out that I had that massive tumor. It was March 6. My mind then began to calculate 365 days later … again on March 6 … what took place. It was exactly one year to the date later that I met my husband! It was like God was reassuring me that even though I had gone through a sad time, He had not forgotten me and had blessed me with a happy time on that 1 year anniversary.

When the doctors did the surgery, they told me that I may have a problem getting pregnant because of scar tissue that I had from an appendectomy at age 13. After I married, we did not try to start a family right away. But, when we did, I visited the doctor to test to see if there would be a problem. There was a slight problem, which actually turned into a   major problem because my tube got infected and ruptured after the test.

It was very disappointing to be told that I would never physically be capable of conceiving a child naturally. But, God gave us grace and unbelievable peace that if He wanted us to have a child, He would provide. He did! Just barely a year later (I should go back and check those dates), we were put in contact with a young woman who was considering putting her  baby up for adoption upon birth.

To make a long story short, God blessed us with that baby girl! We got to see her and hold her in our arms for the very first time when she was 10 days old. She stole our hearts and the hearts of our family! I do not have the space to share all the details and miracles that God performed for this blessing to happen to us, but be assured that God’s grace is as mighty as God Himself! So, my friend, rest in His grace!

We have not seen our daughter’s birth mom since then. But, for Mother’s Day this year (24 years later), I wanted to express my gratitude to her for sharing her beautiful daughter with us. So with my friend Debbi’s help, we have written a poem entitled A Tale of Two Mothers.

Portraits of Grace – Skyla Gwyn

II Corinthians 12:9a “And  he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

“Grace in Infertility”

 My name is Skyla Kristine Gwyn. I am 29 years old. I gave my life to the Lord as a young teen and surrendered my life to His service. He blessed me with a wonderful husband 10 years ago.  God in his time has also blessed our home with children, but I will save those details for later.

The apostle Paul spoke of God’s grace being perfected in our weakness and infirmities. I’m certain the details of Paul’s life did not go the way he had planned yet he pinned the words to II Corinthians 12:9 and Romans 8:28.

From the time Luke and I married we asked God for children. I imagined little versions of us running through our home. But months of waiting quickly turned to years. In my weakness, I grieved every pregnancy announcement and baby shower invite. The doctors never had any answers for why it wasn’t happening. It was truly out of our hands and in God’s. I struggled to understand what God had planned for us. Many sleepless nights of crying and praying seemed to lead to no answer, but God was there the whole time with His sufficient grace, helping me through my time of weakness.

After five years God led us into foster care. We had 11 different children pass through our home, one of which was a 4-week old baby boy who we loved for a year before he returned home to his biological family. More heartbreak, bitterness knocking on my heart, God once again stepped in with sufficient grace. We decided to give foster care one last try. The call came and three siblings ages 1, 3, and 5 were dropped off at our door. We were told we would have them two weeks at the most, but God and His sufficient grace had other plans for us and them!!! Two years later we stood before a judge and became a family officially! All of a sudden it became clear that all the struggles we had gone through was God’s way of showing His grace to these three little souls. If we had not struggled with infertility, we never would have entered into foster care, If we had not dealt with the losses of other children who had better family situations to go home to, we would have never met our three children. God knew what He was doing the whole time. He gave us grace through every step,  knowing that He was working it all for our good.

Just when I think God has shown all the Grace he has for me, he pours more and more on our lives. This past  December I took a trip to urgent care for suspected flu that I will never forget. God’s grace was so real again, as the nurse said, “ Ma’am both pregnancy tests were positive!” In a few more weeks we will meet our sweet baby boy. TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!  This is the portrait of God’s grace in my personal life. He has a beautiful one to paint in yours too!