Women who said 'I can make a difference':

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Be Strong in Grace

Years ago, as I prepared to leave for college, my brother (who had felt called to the ministry only a few months prior) gave me a Bible inscribed with the following:

‘To my loving sister Leisa, from your brother. May you use this Bible diligently in your study of the Word. Whenever you get down, go to the Word. College is tough, and it presents many trials and temptations. Stay close to Jesus, and there is no way you can go wrong. May God bless you and use you to glorify His Name! I love you very much, and always will.’ “Thou therefore…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1.

Be strong in grace. What a great encouragement and motivation. Of all the virtues upon which one might wish to focus, I have always sought to have more grace. Not the kind that makes you soft and willowy like a ballerina, but grace that means a loving spirit at all times, having compassion towards others, exhibiting a giving heart, becoming someone who forgives easily, and forgets offensives readily. I have wanted to possess a deeper and abiding love for Jesus, and I’ve prayed for the courage to let others know about His grace and salvation. I have wanted the kind of grace that seeks to know Him more. I have missed the mark more times than I care to remember, but a desire to be diligent to grow in grace has stayed in the forefront of my mind my entire life.

It is no coincidence Graces Inc. became a reality. I prayed for more grace in my life, and God led me to three amazing women who were all searching to live a grace-filled life as well. We decided to take on the challenge together, and that encouragement from my brother became one we extended to each other through scripture, prayer, and accountability. We studied the Word, had marathon prayer meetings, and began to learn what grace in Christ Jesus is truly all about. We found out that grace comes in many forms. And after a decade, it meant preparing ourselves for something beyond our current lives, like the formation of Graces Inc. and S.P.A. Ministries, something none of us could have ever imagined.

Working diligently to become strong in the kind of grace Jesus taught has been one of the most thrilling, fulfilling, and yet challenging things we have all ever done. But the outcome and rewards of living a life of grace and humble service is the greatest gift of all. Jesus came to give us grace – unearned love and forgiveness – and by this grace we are all set free from the burden of sin and the trials and tribulations of everyday living. GRACE. It is nothing short of amazing.

- Leisa Barger, Co-Founder, Graces Inc.

 


Prayer Power

Some people ask, “If God is really in control, what is the point of prayer?” Think about the good relationships in your life. How did they evolve? Typically, a relationship deepened as a result of spending time together, talking and sharing personal intimate thoughts and challenges.

In my quest to gain a better understanding of God’s will for my life, I have discovered a three-fold solution:

1) spend time reading Scripture
2) spend more time in prayer
3) learn to wait on His direction before acting on my own.

For a recovering control freak, #3 is a tall order. Instant gratification is not always in God’s plan. I’ve also learned that while praying for the outcomes I want is always my preference, trusting God to orchestrate the details and seeking His will over mine will yield optimal results every time.

Sometimes, I get exactly what I want…and other times, I receive the opposite. But always, I receive answers that I now know are in His perfect will for me and my long term spiritual growth.

Praying indicates that you want to deepen your relationship with God. When you pray, be assured of several things: God always listens, always cares, always loves you and will always provide an answer – even when you don’t quite understand His timing or logic.

- Eugenia Robbins, Co-Founder, Graces Inc.



God’s Masterpiece

My brother has been in the Air Force for more than 20 years and stationed in many places throughout the world.  I have been fortunate enough to visit many of these countries with him:  France, England, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg and Italy.  One of the things I am most fascinated with in these great places is the beautiful museums.  I have seen the David in Milan, Michael Angelo’s Sistine Chapel in Rome and the Mona Lisa in Paris.  But of all the artwork, I am most in awe of the mosaics.   A mosaic is made up of small pieces of broken glass or tile. These pieces are otherwise useless to anyone but the master who creatively places each piece one by one to make a spectacular work.  If you study a mosaic, you will notice that most artists use a lot of black pieces to accentuate the brilliance of the colored pieces.  The more black pieces that are used, the more brilliant the colors appear.  Interestingly, if you stand back away from the individual pieces, you don’t notice the dark ones; you only notice the radiance of the finished product – a beautiful masterpiece.

I am a mosaic, millions of broken pieces with many vibrant colors and some black.  Those black pieces are the dark times in my life, but how brilliantly they accentuate my gifts, talents, strengths and many blessings!

I know that God has been and is shaping and molding me to serve Him in a unique way.  I can now share great compassion as I have known pain.  I can speak to God’s grace and mercy first hand because I believed at one time that I was unforgivable.  And, I seek God’s glory with a passion because I have known the darkness of sin and being separated from Him.  His masterpiece (me) is not done yet, but it is still a great artistic work in progress.

- Kathy Hansen, Co-Founder, Graces Inc.



The Gift of Friendship

My sisters in Christ, the Graces, are the best friends anyone could ever have. They love me without judgment, with all my flaws and faults, as a sister. They are available for conversation, as a counselor, as an encourager, as a prayer partner or just to love me.

We have cried together, laughed together, prayed together, and supported each other, and at the same time, held each other accountable in our walk with Christ. I have never known or been a part of another group of women that has had such an impact on my life personally, and spiritually.

Before the Graces had their first meeting, I wanted to be in a Bible study to grow and be in God’s Word. Out of this Bible study came the growth and love of four professional women God has used to make a difference in each other's lives. Because of this bond, I have grown in my walk with Christ, been accountable as a professional, as a Christian, as a mother, as a wife and as a friend. I expect these women to make sure that I’m the example God has called me to be. Through all the adversities I’ve faced in my life, the Graces have prayed me through each trial.

I thank God for them each day. We pray God uses us to make a difference in others lives as well.

- Fran Piegari, Co-Founder, Graces Inc.