Gracie’s Lessons (Part 2 of 2)

Last week, I introduced y’all to my friend Ms. Kelsey Shetler. This week brings, as Mr. Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.” Seeing young people like Ms. Kelsey make a positive difference in this world and honoring God encourages me. To see the results of the love and devotion poured into them by parents and grandparents is a special blessing. I pray more people like this young lady rise to become our nation’s future leaders. God’s blessings. –J.D.

Now here’s Part Two.

I chose the name Gracie because I liked the way it sounded. But after God used her to show me the truth about His faithfulness, I dug deeper into its meaning. Gracie is a derivative of the word “grace”. What is grace? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” Through grace, God manifests His power. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul wrote “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

I don’t have to be ashamed of my weakness for I can boast in the Lord. His grace is the reason I’ve come as far as I have. God’s grace is the reason I will keep becoming who He wants me to be. I can’t do it on my own. All I have to do is to let Him work in and through me. He’ll meet me wherever I am and carry me forward. When we fall short of where He has called us to be, He forgives our sin. With forgiveness, He gives us another opportunity to continue in our walk with Him. While learning the lessons of grace God was teaching me, I discovered many scripture verses I hold dear in my life. These include:

  • “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
  • “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
  • “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Nothing is an accident. God took over two years to show me this truth. He patiently waits as long as it takes for us to open our hearts to Him, to receive what He has to teach us. God never gives up on you. As I applied these lessons in my life, I saw Gracie as a blessing rather than a burden and disappointment. Each time I saw her in the pasture, it was a reminder of God’s grace and mercy in my life. But it didn’t stop there. Just as God has extended His grace and mercy to me, He was also leading me to extend that grace toward others.

People have failed and disappointed me many times in this life. God never has. I have also learned that the world will always fall short of my expectations. As I grew in Christ, I began extending grace to others with the same hope and expectation God had shown me. God taught me to extend to others the same expectations I had for Gracie, not giving up on her. God was teaching me not to give up on others in my life either. Instead, I learned to pray for them, in hopes they become all He has called them to be.

Grace gives us the strength we need to continue growing in Christ. Share on X

It’s been said many times that God will not move you out of a certain situation until you have learned the lesson from it. I believe that to be true. One day, I realized something had changed. I had stopped focusing on what a failure Gracie was and began looking at the bigger blessing that having her open had produced in my life. Each time I looked out in the pasture and saw Gracie, I thanked God for not giving up on me. I would ask Him to help me not give up on others, rejoicing in the fact He was still doing a work in both them and me. Every time I’d see that “open” cow, I’d thank God for His faithfulness.

So often, we humans have in our own minds what is best, but what we think is best is not always what God wants to give us. If we let Him take control, we get His best, which is way more than anything we could have dreamed. I had learned the lessons of faithfulness and grace, receiving a larger blessing from Gracie than having her get bred right away could have produced. In learning God’s lessons, I found great inner peace. When I stroll across the ranch, watch the sun setting across the pond, visit the cows, scratch Betty’s ears, or play with Zayd, I connect with God. I find Him in all of His creations; and when I seek to be with Him, I find wonderful peace in Christ.

The next month, Gracie didn’t have a heat. I sent off a blood pregnancy test and got it back a few days later; she was pregnant! I can’t tell you how excited I was! That’s when God’s next lesson arrived. Never give up! Whether you call it tenacity, long-suffering, perseverance, or patience, learning to wait on God’s timing brings reward. You may not know when the reward or change will come, but if you keep pressing on you will reach the goal, be it in His will and His time.

Patience is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. I came to understand how the spiritual fruit God produces in my life must mature before I can yield a harvest for Him. God used Gracie to teach me another important lesson. I was awestruck when I realized how God had brought His promises to life in me. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Galatians 6:9, NKJV)

Patience teaches us that God’s best comes in His time, and is worth the wait. Share on X

God used that special, beautiful cow to help me grow closer to Him and stronger in my faith. I am moved to tears when I think of how He cares so much, and how He so wants to show us His great love. The length He went to reach me tells me I won’t give up on you. Don’t give up on others. And don’t give up on yourself. In the past five years, Gracie has delivered multiple strong, healthy calves. I think of her often and thank God for how He used her to teach me such important lessons. For the rest of my days, I will echo the words of the Apostle Paul; “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14, NIV)

I pray each of you embrace the lessons God wants to teach you, in whatever form those might come in. Let us live out the word of 2 Peter 3:18; “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen”

42 thoughts on “Gracie’s Lessons (Part 2 of 2)”

  1. Kelsey, you started the morning off right — a heart of praise that’s downright contagious! I join you in celebrating God’s goodness, grace, mercy, and the way He is active in the details of our lives. Thank you and God bless!

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Cathy! Ms. Kelsey is a source of inspiration and hope for many in our community. I’ve loved seeing this young lady blossom and grow in Christ over the past few years.

  2. Wonderful lessons for all in this short article. It continues to amaze me, how many lessons from God we can find just by observing the people and things God has put around us.

    1. Appreciate the comments Mr. Monty. If we take time to look for God, He’s all around us my friend. I’m so glad to be a fellow sojourner with you and your dear wife. 🙂

  3. ” I pray more people like this young lady rise to become our nation’s future leaders. God’s blessings. ” I wholeheartedly echo your prayer, J.D. What a beautiful picture of God’s love and patience toward us. I relate strongly to it. All I ever wanted was to be a mom and when I was getting older and it didn’t look like it was ever going to happen, once I surrendered that desire – He gave it to me – three times! Never give up – on yourself or others because God never does. A powerful message.

  4. Kelsey, thank you for sharing how God moved with grace in your life through these examples that were all around you. He has much to show us if, like you, we will open our eyes, minds and hearts to see the lessons and gifts He has in store.
    Blessings to you and J.D.!

  5. I’m so glad Kelsey listened to her heart instead of the ranchers and kept Gracie. Sometimes God’s ways don’t make sense in the moment. But when we follow Him we’re never sorry.

    1. I am too Ms. Debbie. I’ve loved watching Miss Kelsey grow in her faith; into a strong, God-dependent, young woman who isn’t afraid to share her faith with the world. Sort of reminds me of a dear writing friend I know near Raleigh, NC. 🙂

  6. Loved the “rest of the story.” Gracie is an example of God’s grace to all of us. He never gives up on us, His timing is always best, and He works all things for our good and His glory. Because when we fall short, Grace stands tall. Every time. Thank you, Kelsey and J.D.

  7. “Through grace, God manifests his power.” This jumped if thre passage for me today. Grace that “free and unmerited favor of God” makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jeannie Waters

    Isn’t it amazing how God teaches us when we wait and listen. These statements spoke to me: “All I have to do is to let Him work in and through me. He’ll meet me wherever I am and carry me forward.” Thank you for sharing the results of God’s work in your life with us.

    1. It sure is Ms. Jeannie. I can look back upon my life and see instances where I just “plunged in” and moved before God wanted me to. The results are exactly what many could have predicted. In learning to trust, lean, and wait, God has restored so many of the blessings He had planned me earlier in my life; had I only waited on His timing. Well said ma’am.

  9. I love this story about Gracie and God’s perfect timing. He speaks our personal language, the way that we’ll receive and process the lesson. In your case it was an open cow. In my case it is often repetition of the message from all angles so I can’t escape. Thanks for teaching me about cattle and about God’s instruction.

    1. It’s sure good to know I’m not alone in how God has to reach me through multiple avenues before I get the message sometimes. Thank you so much for adding to our conversation ma’am. So glad you enjoyed. God’s blessings.

  10. Joanna Eccles

    I needed this exact reminder: “So often, we humans have in our own minds what is best, but what we think is best is not always what God wants to give us.” Because God knows everything, He sees what I don’t and His best far exceeds my little dreams.

  11. Kelsey and J.D., Thank you for sharing this beautiful message on grace and patience. I’ve looked forward all week to learning what happened to Gracie and I was not disappointed. I received a wonderful blessing from your post. Thank you.

    1. We are so pleased that you enjoyed Ms. Katherine. Sometimes it seems the hardest thing to do is be patient and wait on God. He has always proven that His best was better than we could even imagine. God’s blessings dear friend.

  12. Ah, the rest of the story. Thank you for sharing Gracie’s story. Its lessons like these that stay with you because you lived the journey. Gracie is now one of your memorial stones.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Jeanne. As I sat and listened to Ms. Kelsey replay her story about Gracie, I could see the passion, compassion, worry, elation, and heartfelt appreciation for all God taught her with Gracie’s help.

  13. The rest of the story is full of strong encouragement. Growing in God’s goodness and grace is so important. I’m glad to hear that Gracie had several calves over the years–such a happy ending! May our lives yield joy and peace as we grow in patience.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. Sometimes our lives seems one endless struggle, from one disaster to the next. Yet, if we look at things from a godly perspective, we’ll realize that it’s actually lived from glory to glory. God’s blessings my Texas friend.

  14. What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing how God has used your Gracie to teach and show you grace. And His love for you and others. I am learning that waiting on God’s plan and ways maybe hard, but definitely worth it. Amen..

  15. I’m so thankful that where sin abounds grace does much more abound. Without His grace we would all be lost. Thank you for sharing another life lesson from your ranch.

    1. Absolutely my pleasure Ms. Barbara. Ms. Kelsey’s story was a refreshing drink for my soul; restoring my hope for America’s tomorrows. I pray our nation raises up more young people like this.

  16. Oh, growing in grace can be challenging, but I pray that I am obedient to Him. Praise you, Father, for using J.D. tender heart and inspiring words to teach others about your love and grace for others.

  17. Thanks. Loved it, show’s great things come from God. Your writings are such a blessing. This is my weekly boost.

    1. Thank you Ms. LuAnn. I’m pleased you enjoyed ma’am. I sometimes wonder how many lessons I’ve missed in my life because I’ve let “busyness of this life” get in my way.

  18. To me, the greatest lesson from Gracie is the gift of God’s perfect timing. I did not become a mother until age 35, then having my second child at 37. Would I have chosen to wait so long, had I been making my life’s plan? No. But, God had a different and better plan, different and better timing. And, I am grateful He did. Thank you for sharing Gracie’s story.

    1. Miss Kelsey and I are so glad you enjoyed Ms. Gena. Sometimes it’s difficult to wait, but if we want God’s best (like your dear children), we must be willing to wait for it. Wonderful lessons indeed from that silly old cow. 🙂

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