Portraits of Grace – Erica Madden

Living Grace

I would like to preface this devotional with a little about myself. I have been saved for 12 years. I am married to my best friend and soulmate. I am a stay-at-home mom to our 3 daughters and our Boxer fur baby named Nova, the first lady of Eldorado Baptist Church in Troy, NC, a piano teacher, and a lover of the Lord. I am not worthy of all the many blessings He’s sent my way.

He’s God, and He’s good!

I could begin to tell you about the grace that was extended to me as a 15-year-old girl when Jesus passed by my way on April 20, 2007 and saved my hell-deserving soul. About the grace that brought me up out of the horrible pit of miry clay I was in and placed my feet upon the Solid Rock and established my goings. How He put a new song of praise in my heart and made me a new creature altogether…but time would never allow me to tell you the whole story.

I could begin to tell you about the grace it took as a young teenager, saved out of the bus ministry, trying to live a godly life in a not-so-godly home, dreaming of having my own family one day, and how He so graciously gave me the desires of mine heart and allowed me to marry a preacher! And I could tell you about the grace He poured out when my dear pastor was taken to glory just 2 weeks before He was to marry us.

I could tell you about the grace He gave when I birthed all three of my children by c-section (not an easy or peaceful task!) I could tell you how His grace and mercy filled that hospital room for 8 days while I cuddled and rocked my newborn as she struggled to breathe due to RSV.

I could tell you all these different stories and situations where God has expressed His grace, but I could never begin to tell you the whole of how God has been gracious! 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee…” That word “is” puts this verse in present tense. It doesn’t say “was” or “will be.” It “IS” sufficient! That means that every single moment that I live, His grace IS sufficient for me! Whatever problem or situation I encounter, His grace IS sufficient for me! It is living grace! It is an active and functioning grace that meets me right where I am, day in and day out.

As a wife to a pastor, I need grace! As a mother to two toddlers and an infant, you better believe I need grace! As a  daughter, a sister, and aunt, a friend, and most of all, a child of God, I need grace! What a glorious feeling it is to know that whatever I may face, there is new grace there waiting for me. As one of my favorite songs puts it: “Grace not yet  discovered, Grace not yet uncovered…And He’ll give new grace I’ve not needed before.”

What about you, friend? Have you tasted of the Lord’s grace lately? Remember, His grace IS sufficient for every need!

Portraits of Grace – Joan Barnett


I know that I said that I was going to be having other ladies to write the devotionals for this month, but I needed to fill a day. So, I chose to write this devotional today in honor of my mother, Joan (pronounced Jō-ӑnn, not Jōn) Barnett. What better day than on Mother’s Day!

This month’s theme is grace. If we were to get our Greek and our Hebrew dictionaries out and really studied this word, we would find that it means deliverance … and particularly in relation to salvation. But, in our daily lives, grace is also seen … wearing shoes.

“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” I Thessalonians 5:24

My mother was born and raised in the corn fields of southeastern Iowa. She is the 4th child out of 8. She met my father, who was born and raised in the mountains of western North Carolina, while attending Bob Jones University. They got  married on June 6, 1964, so will be celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary next month!

My parents left immediately after their wedding for British Columbia headed to Alaska for a summer of youth ministry. Their summer was filled with youth ministry in several different villages and towns. During that time, God confirmed their definite calling to Alaska for full time service. So soon after returning to the states, they began their preparations to return to Alaska.

August 1965 found them setting up house in a little fishing village called King Cove, located in the eastern part of the  Aleutian Islands. Even though I was not born then, nor remember my earliest years, my first memories were of my parents serving God. In that service to God over the years, countless times I have seen them extend grace to those around them.

You see grace is not just for special occasions. No, my friend! Grace is for every day! I am grateful for God’s grace that was lived in our home. I saw it in my parent’s ministry in the church. I saw it in their love and connection with youth as “Auntie Joan” and “Uncle Earl” and even “Mom” and “Dad” to many others. I saw it as they ministered to young struggling couples … we had more than one young family come to live with us before. I saw it through their very generous hospitality with inviting complete strangers into our home after church for meals or taking them clam digging or sightseeing.

What I have seen and experienced through my parent’s lives is grace that not only talks, but it walks. It has worn shoes and it has left footprints of grace on the hearts of all of their children and I even see it in our daughter! As I get older, I catch myself more and more in moments that bring this thought … “I am becoming like my mother!” This is a good thing because that simply means that God’s grace is now wearing shoes in my life … leaving footprints on the hearts of others.

Grace does wear shoes, my friend! Can you see its footprints in your daily life? If not, ask God to show you His GRACE IN SHOES!

[Note: My parents returned to the village of King Cove in June 2012 and are leaving footprints of grace on the next generations of those that they were “Auntie Joan” and “Uncle Earl” to 54 years ago!]

Portraits of Grace – Rebekah Bursell Chacon

“God’s Sustaining Grace”

    My name is Rebekah Bursell Chacon. I am a missionary kid from Alaska who now serves as a missionary, alongside my Peruvian husband, in Peru. You can visit our FB page The Chacon Family and see what we are about and doing. I am a  mama to two active little boys and am expecting a third bundle of joy in October. It is for that reason I am writing this devotional.

     Missionary life, like any life, has its exciting moments. One of our exciting moments was when we hit 100% support and bought tickets to Peru! The goal we had been sharing for 3 years had finally become a reality! Soon after we moved to the city where we were going to live and work. My husband began working on building our home. The dream was alive! 

     Often however, those wonderful dreams cause us to forget the difficult reality that we live in a sin-cursed world and things will not always be shiny and sparkly. Sometimes the dust and daily grind and overflowing sink and endless laundry cloud out those dreams. Sometimes being a stay-at-home-mom becomes frustrating because “all” you do is stay at home. Sometimes the dream loses its sparkle. But God’s grace is greater. 

     The most difficult time for me began with the most exciting possibility. I had been feeling lousy for a week or so: little energy, easily frustrated, upset tummy. I finally decided to take a pregnancy test. It was positive!! God has blessed us with another baby! Just like my other pregnancies, I feel tired. Unlike my other pregnancies, almost everything I eat gives me indigestion. 

     Trying to keep up with housework and two little energetic boys has become a very challenging task. The housework     became overwhelming. Keeping the boys from fussing was harder with less energy. The heat makes me tired. The rainy days make me sleepy. The shiny sparkly dream is gone, and a tired, sleepless reality has taken its place. But in that tired reality God has been able to show me things about myself and, more importantly, about Himself.

     First I need to stop trying to do it all myself. Confidence is great when it is rooted in Christ. I need to admit my inability to do it all. I need to cast my cares on Him each moment. I need to depend on His strength, instead of making it through each hour while thinking, “It’s almost bedtime.”

     Second I need to refocus. Phil 4:8 needs to become a reality. I do not always think on things that are true, honest, pure, and lovely. God showed me that His Word needs to take over my mind. My untrue thoughts suck away any extra energy I have. 

     I often catch myself thinking about how unfair things are for ME. But a Godly woman does not focus on herself, she serves selflessly. Recently I’ve been reading to my boys about how Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He their Creator, knelt and washed their feet. I, a simple fellow-human, can do no less. 

     The Lord has also brought to mind many times that this world is not my home. If things never change and the shiny dream fades away forever, it will actually be okay because He’s got something SO much better ahead for me. If I get so focused on making this my best life, I’m not living with eternity in mind. Col. 3:2 tells us to set our affection on things above, not on this earth. He wants my affections. He wants to be my passion. He wants to be the most important. 

     I thank Him for this difficult time. It’s not over, but His grace is sufficient, and His plan is perfect. He’s working on me and molding me and for that I am so grateful.