Growing in Grace

Growing in grace banner

“Don’t ever say to the Lord that it’s too late–for anything,” the speaker addressed a roomful of women’s hearts eager to grow in God’s grace. “It’s never too late for our Lord. He’s the mercy giver,” (Click to Tweet) said Shirley Suedkamp, author, storyteller, humorist, and lover of the Lord Jesus.

The occasion for Shirley’s winsome sharing was our annual Women’s Retreat, the highlight of our year. This year’s theme was “Grow in Grace.” Shirley presented two examples of “Failed Women” as she called them. The morning session focused around Jesus grace given to the Woman at the Well in John 4:1-29 while the afternoon session involved Jesus’ healing of the woman with the hemorrhage and Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:21-42.

With rapt attention, the women listened and watched as Shirley retold the Scripture and re-enacted it with her own interesting twist. The crowds pressing in. The important position of Jairus, a synagogue leader who fell at the feet of Jesus to plead for his daughter’s life. Then a woman crawls through the crushing crowd, thinking “If I can only touch His garment, I will be healed.”

Graceful and delicate centerpieces

Graceful and delicate centerpieces

As Shirley verbalized the Scripture, she crawled on the makeshift stage–somewhat humorously–as if she were this hemorrhaging woman. According to Shirley, this woman was failed because her physical issue made her an outcast and sinner who could not enter the synagogue. And she was desperate. Desperate enough to crawl with her last ounce of energy to be near Jesus and embarrass herself by pushing through the crowd to reach for His prayer shawl. The contrast–synagogue leader; synagogue outcast, both needing the Master’s touch, His mercy, His grace.

When the Scripture said that power flowed out from Jesus, Shirley jumped up and did a little dance. “Because if that was me, and I had felt the power of Jesus flow through me and noticed my blood had stopped running, I would have danced,” she said. Laughter bubbled through the tables as the women enjoyed Shirley’s adaptation of the verses.

Gifts to help us grow

Gifts to help us grow

Under the Lord’s prayer shawl of healing, we will find grace and mercy in desperate times of need.

“Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
    for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
    until the disaster has passed.” Psalm 57:1 NIV

Then Shirley told a story that hit home with me. She once had sought work at a beauty school because she felt the Lord leading her there. But upon her acceptance, she looked around at the types of people with whom she would be working. Astonished, she questioned, “Lord, did you see those people?” She continued on and listed all of their faulty characteristics.

Then she heard the Lord say, “There is only One judgment seat but the mercy seat is wide and long and that’s where you belong. Love them.” (Click to Tweet)

Grace is a two-way street. We are a desperate people needing God’s grace every moment of every day. And there is a world of desperate people out there who need to be given our grace, empowered by the Holy Spirit, every moment of every day.

God’s grace settled upon me as I gazed around the room at the beautiful handcrafted banner, the delicate baby’s breath bouquets, and realized that being imperfect, a failed woman desperate to grow in God’s grace, is a good place to be.

Thought-provoking words for 3-D Lessons for Life.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” 2 Peter 3:18

A graceful hibiscus raises its face toward the heavens

A graceful hibiscus raises its face toward the heavens

From My Heart to Yours,


Linking with Sunday Stillness, Scripture and a Snapshot, Give Me Grace, The Beauty in His Grip, Tell Me a True Story, 3-D Lessons for Life, Weekend Whispers, Faith-Filled Friday


12 thoughts on “Growing in Grace

  1. I love reading about grace and the number of ways it can look. The story of the woman who just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment to be healed is a beautiful illustration in the power of grace and forgiveness. Thank you for sharing this at Weekend Whispers.

  2. All too often we are lax in extending grace to others. And sometimes, we are even worse at giving ourselves grace. Oh that we might be overcome and overwhelmed by the grand gift of God’s grace in ways that change us!!


  3. What a special time to fellowship and learn. I love gathering at women’s retreats. Grace is a two way street–I like the way you put that. We need to receive and give grace, both to ourselves and to others. Thanks for visiting today:)

  4. I have always enjoyed women’s retreats for the fellowship and special ways I have learned from God while away from the daily grind. Your retreat sounds delightful and one to recall many of special words. We need laughter and by acting out the Scripture, it drew that reaction a few times, I am sure.
    God’s reminder to “Love them” is beautiful as we, I, far too easily judge from a distance and never give the ones He has chosen for me to share Christ with a chance.

  5. What a blessing to enjoy a lovely retreat with such an illustrative speaker. Grace illustrated so beautifully by crawling on stage. The towels were so cool too. Never give UP. Thank you for sharing your awesome story with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  6. Janis, sounds, and looks, like it was a beautiful retreat. I loved all that you shared. What hit me was when you shared about Shirley crawling on her hands & knees to demonstrate the woman with the hemorrhage. It was in crawling, lowering herself before the Lord, that she found her healing. May we know when to drop to our knees before Him & humbly seek & ask Him for that which we need. Thank you for sharing the beauty & truths from this retreat! Blessings!

  7. Sounds like a lovely retreat! Thanks for sharing a highlight and lessons learned with us! Visiting from Scripture and a Snapshot.

  8. I am so glad that you wrote about the retreat! I was unable to attend this year and appreciate a little glimpse! I love the ““Don’t ever say to the Lord that it’s too late–for anything,” phrase… I have been struggling with that of late. A great reminder that HE is a great mercy giver! I like the reminder that we need to “dance”!

  9. Hi, Janis!
    I meditated on the woman with the issue of blood this morning praying for my girlfriend that stubbornly refuses a personal relationship with Jesus, but suffers with a disease that doctors cannot seem to cure and she, also, spent tons of money in hospitals. I am going to pray Psalm 57:1 for her. So glad the Lord spoke to me here.

    How are you? Sending hugs,

    • Hi Mary~
      Thank you for dropping by. It’s so good to see you. I’m blessed to hear that the Lord spoke to you here today through this post. I pray that your friend will be healed as well! The woman who spoke yesterday said, “Don’t throw in the towel!” She even puff-painted some towels for us with that saying on them. Keep praying for her!
      I’m doing well. Thank you for asking. I just need to be more consistent in writing here again. Miss this and all of my friends like you!
      Blessings on you, Mary!

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