"We have found the opportunity through Inspiration Ministries to express not just our feelings but also the words that the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts to share with others. I see I.M. as a channel of communication between the church...read more
August, Issue 4
Let us have con fidence, then, and app roach God'Let us have con fidence, then, and app roach God's throne, where there is grace. There we w ill receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it. Hebrews 4:16Download
Letter from the Editor
Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. John 1:16 Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another. John 1:16
These past few months have been full of incredible mountaintop experiences – Andy and I bought our first (personal) house in May; He was released from probation 5 YEARS early in June; and we are literally days away from moving men into our transitional house. But mixed with those mountaintops, we’ve dealt with our fair share of heartbreaking valleys – Andy being dismissed from not one, but TWO, organizations because of his current consequences from past actions. And to boot, both dismissals had individual ramifications in other areas of our life that were frustrating and discouraging to say the least. And the word that came to mind at first was disappointment. Here, we’d had some “big wins” and then the proverbial shoe dropped, and we felt let down. But after some much-needed conversations with our good friends, we get to the real “first word,” and that, ladies, is GRACE.
It’s hard, in the midst of trying circumstances and disappointments, to feel like you should be extending grace to anyone – because no grace is being extended to you. Oh, how misguided that thought is; a thought straight from the pits of hell and the deceiver himself. Because we have been extended the greatest gift of grace in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ! “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). That is the very definition of “grace” – unmerited favor. Meaning, we get something we don’t deserve, something we haven’t earned, something we haven’t worked for, something we can’t achieve. Yet it is something given to us freely. The following three verses really exemplify this idea, and really hit me right in the gut: “Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!” (Ephesians 1:6). “But by the free gift of God’s grace all are put right with him through Christ Jesus, who sets them free” (Romans 3:24). “For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Grace, like mercy, love, and forgiveness, are first given to us through Jesus to be given to others, regardless of them returning such things to us. We love because Christ first loved us. We forgive others because we have been forgiven. We show mercy to others because God’s mercies are NEW every morning!
You may be wondering how grace fits into our experiences the past few months. Let me explain. These mountaintops we’ve had, have only been by the grace of God. Purchasing a house, early termination, the transitional house – these are all blessings from our Heavenly Father that He has graciously given us! It is His way of showing His favor towards us. It would be easy for us to say things like “we’ve worked so hard to get this house” or “Andy has done so well for himself that the judge let him off” or “Inspiration Ministries has grown so much and we’ve had such great response from donors that we were able to purchase a house for transition.” And those may very well be true statements. But to take the glory away from God for giving us the ability to do and to have those things would only be to our detriment. Because as easily and earnestly as He gives those things, so can He take them away! Not in a punishment sort of way, but to give us the opportunity to examine our lives and our hearts and to realize where these good things – these blessings – truly come from!
Now, grace in mountaintop experiences might be easy to understand, but grace in valleys? That seems like an oxymoron. However, God gives us grace so that we understand the importance of extending grace to others. We do have the ability and the responsibility to extend grace because it has been extended to us in ways and for reasons that we cannot fathom while here on Earth. So when we feel like we’ve been let down or we’ve been hurt or disappointment sets in, we are able to take a moment, feel those feelings (because God doesn’t want us to not feel – He created us as emotional beings), and then breath out a breathe of grace. Even when we don’t understand why things happen the way they do, or why people react the way they do. Grace. Grace. Grace.
Trust me, I know that this is WAAAY easier said than done. This whole letter has been written to myself first! But it’s something worth working on, so that eventually, our first reaction isn’t ridicule, but grace! Hallelujah!
I want to take a moment to draw attention to the article following this. It was authored by my husband, Andy Foster, and included in our very first newsletter in February 2012. I included it for two reasons: 1. Andy’s testimony is the epitome of grace, redemption, and transformation. 2. It exemplifies God’s desire and willingness to use us where we are. Inspiration Ministries wasn’t birthed from a vision given to Andy while he was in prison so that it could begin when he was released, but so that it could begin right then and there, with those men – men (and now you women) that we may never personally see face to face until the Good Lord calls us Home. My prayer is that Andy’s testimony will speak to you ladies in a way that confirms in your own spirit the work the Holy Spirit is doing in and through you while you are still incarcerated, a work that will continue upon release and throughout the rest of your life.
Also, there is a VERY IMPORTANT tidbit of information at the end of this newsletter about the Freedom Fest, and it includes participation from you wonderful ladies! Because without you, there is no Inspiration for Her. We are in this together, Sisters. We care for you and love you. Until next time, stay Inspired.
Inspired by His grace,