more actual grace


before you read this post — if you have not read the one dated march 5, you will want to do that first. this is an amazing display of the care and glory of almighty God…


PART ONE is an email from debby castellow, the artist who drew the picture of emily rose… only she had no idea who emily was!


March 5, 2009

Dear Jeff,

We’ve really got to quit meeting like this! Just joking….I assure you you will be amazed at what I have to say! Last year this time after the prayer vigil you read a prayer I wrote during the vigil, to the Lord…This year it was my crayon drawing…to the Lord…You see I love those prayer vigils…I love spending time with God…I love Jesus and learn to love Him more everyday…Without Him I am nothing….seriously.

It has taken me some time this morning to quit crying after reading your blog. As usual God has touched my heart in a really profound way through all of this. To know that God works His love and grace through my feeble attempts at giving Him my heart is just very humbling …

When I write, when I draw, when I am creative I am very open to God’s leading. About 3 weeks before the prayer vigil I kept thinking God was urging me to paint a large canvas with the most beautiful purple I could mix….I saw in my mind, this beautiful, blond girl standing facing this brilliant yellow-white light (in my mind she was facing Jesus on the Throne of Grace…) She was wearing purple with blue undertones…When I got to the station at the prayer vigil, I knew it was the time to put it to paper…I knew in my heart that this was the place to draw the image I had seen…When I paint or draw or write it’s like God takes the brush or pen and I am just along for the experience…I can lose all track of time and what’s going on during those moments…it’s just full of peace and total enjoyment….refreshing. At any rate as I was drawing with the crayon I was not happy with her hands because they were empty and I felt prompted to place a red rose in her right hand (signifying “I love You”) and the goblet in her left (signifying “serving the lord” and communion with Him). Her purple and blue dress signify her being a part of God’s Kingdom and the blue undertones represent being a part of the Family of God, chosen by Him. Now I can totally say I had no idea why I was prompted to share this drawing, I just knew it was what I could give to Him in the way of worship at that moment at that station. As a matter of fact I blushed after I pinned it to the curtain, wondering if anyone might find it much too intimate to display for everyone to see…I commented on Sunday after worship though to my husband that I was so glad that I could finally worship God with a people that understood intimacy with God…I could truly worship and not be shamed…Jeff your message Sunday actually was very freeing to my heart! The kissing thing… Ha! Thanks for being bold in what you preach.

I would be more than happy to meet the family with you and talk more about this drawing. In the meantime, please let them know that, that moment for them was directly from the Lord to their hearts at just the right time and in just the right way. And for that I am very happy and encouraged and honored to have been a vessel for Him to use!

In His love, Debby


PART TWO is a follow-up from emily’s stepdad, mark mcelvey, dared march 9, 2009

In other words, she didn’t know us. She didn’t know about Emily. She didn’t have anyone else in mind. It was a drawing, an offering that God directly inspired her to do. She talked with us after the service Sunday, and she told us that she doesn’t do anything in purple, as a rule. She said that she thought maybe she’d draw one of her granddaughters, but their hair is much shorter, and the hair in the picture kept getting longer and longer.She doesn’t draw people, she mostly does landscapes.In other words, it was nothing she would choose to draw. Nothing in her life directly influenced that work.It came straight through her heart and hands from God to us. To all of us who miss Emily.

After reading that, if there is any room for doubt left in your hearts and minds about who God is, how He takes care of us all, and where Emily is now, then I don’t know what anyone can say to change your mind.

Psalm 71:20-21
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.

Isaiah 25:8 
He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces;

Lamentations 3:31-33 
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.

Matthew 5:4
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Romans 8:39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:52-57

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

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1 Response to more actual grace

  1. unionville1 says:

    amazing!

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