Portraits of Grace – Chastity Whittemore

      I came to know the Lord as a teenager, and have been pastor’s wife over twenty years; currently serving in Watertown, SD as a missionary/church planter. God has placed a love in my heart for the bus ministry. I am thankful to have some precious “sheep” that I have the privilege of investing in their life in our ladies ministry, and enjoy playing the piano for our church services. I also work in our church radio ministry, KPGT, and you can listen on thetruthfm.org. In addition to being busy with the ministry, I am also a cosmetologist and own a small salon.

      “Quit” is not in my vocabulary; I’m too stubborn for that. Have you ever went through a trial, and heard people say, “Don’t quit?” I wonder if they see me standing on the edge, about to jump, and in some feeble attempt of not knowing what to say, they yell,

“Don’t Quit! Don’t give up!”

      Why do people quit? Probably the number one reason is being hurt. If you are in any type of ministry, sadly, the first thing you learn is people hurt people. While it may be unintentional sometimes, it happens. Often, it is temporary, and we do a quick “I’m sorry,” and normal life resumes. But, sometimes the hurt is so deep, the questions of “why” flood our hearts and minds, and we begin to question the motives of every person around us. Our eyes jerk quickly back and forth in every direction as we try to anticipate the enemies next move. Then suddenly from a corner you thought was safe, POUNCE, the enemy strikes again! I consider it to a form of PTSD. Small things trigger that automatic response and we are so frantically into “protective mode” that we miss what the Lord has for us at that moment.

      Our circumstances didn’t take God by surprise! Our frustration, fear and failure of handling the situation only sends us into a spiral because we tried to handle it. I find myself praying, “Lord, give me grace to deal with the one who hurt me next time I see them in the grocery store. Lord, help me not to ‘go off’ on them.” I should be praying, “Lord, they hurt me. That wound is real, open and tender. Help me to love them like you love them.” I can’t say I am there, but I want to be. Through it all, I know all is well in my Lord’s hands, and I don’t feel the need to retaliate and handle matters myself. God’s grace did that work of forgiveness in our lives. We’ve hurt God, disappointed Him, and brought shame to His name. Yet, every time we come to Him broken, embarrassed, humbled, and even reluctantly, God gives grace and remembers our offense no more. God, help us to follow His example and “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) God has a place for you to be in life, and that place is not reached by quitting.

      Next time you are at the grocery store, confronted with the ones who hurt you, and even if the look in their eyes tells you they would do it again, smile and keep going on to aisle number five. (I hear there is a sale on chocolate there!) And, there is nothing sweeter than resting in the promises that God will keep you and give you grace to help you through the next trial.

Chastity Whittemore ~ Watertown, SD