from 8am parishioner Sandra Kramer

grace (noun) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

When our Vicar said I could write here, I had two thoughts: 1.) “Hooray,” and; 2.) “I am not worthy.”  Apparently, God thinks otherwise.
I am Jimby’s daughter.  We came to St. Martin in-the-Fields 45 years ago when I was seven.  I lived elsewhere for 25 years; but the Valley was always home.  I’ve worried about my mom for two decades, but she deflected assistance unless it was wrapped in Christmas paper.  Regardless, I talked to her at least once a week and waited.  As Mom aged, my more frequent visits became wellness checks.
Meanwhile, over the past two years, situations changed my relationship with God completely.  I owe my physical life to Him and His grace.  When I finally put myself in His hands, I suddenly saw His hand was in everything.  I could claim no responsibility for my job, my health, my house, or my new car.  Everything that I had messed up previously by trying to do it my way is managed perfectly by God.  I surrendered.
In March, Mom called me to say she was “having trouble with an ankle.”  Two days later, ankle trouble was “hospitalized overnight” trouble.  “Sam, I can’t do this,” she said.  Translated from the language of stubborn, old ladies, “can’t do this” means “Emergency!”  I made no “decision” about coming home.  All of the blessings of the previous months materialized into a southward pointing compass and God’s unmistakable command: “Go.”
The certainty I felt on the highway has been elusive ever since.  Nothing but the location of this house feels familiar.  My roadmap for life is gone.  The comforts of regular income, routines, and people are gone.  My once strong, decisive mother has been replaced by a fragile woman who lets me open her jam jars.  I have no idea what I’m doing.
The only things I can absolutely rely upon are love and a willingness to trust God even when I’m terrified.  I am faced daily with the memories of my selfish youth, tasked with this scary, uncharted territory of caring for a parent, and have no ability to predict or plan my future.  But, God has granted me fearsome blessing, indeed.
Do-over (noun) a … second chance.
I have today.