The Story of the Three Graces
(I first posted this ten years ago. It seems even more meaningful today. Praying your faith, hope and charity are kindled brighter in your heart with the reading).
When Hope Grace was born, great expectations were cast forth, hearts leaping in expectation. Much was expected of Hope.
Her sister Faith Grace took to teaching her the facts of their Father and his Kingdom, and her other sister Charity Grace taught her about love.
You could find them in the cottage’s orchard: Hope looking to the goodness of God, grew strong, standing on the shoulders of her sister Faith, hands reaching to grasp hold of her other sister, Charity dangling upside down in the fruit tree.
These 3 Graces, Faith, Hope and Charity were born powerful, beautiful, full of potential, and were never seen one without the other. They set about their Father’s business, ministering to their people. Their community welcomed them, knew them well, some more intimately than others.
Together, they cared for people who faced big and little challenges. No person was too insignificant, no problem too little for their ministering hands and feet. One reason was because of their Father who provided unlimited resources. The people knew their Father, the King, through the Graces.
But as the days grew in number, and as Faith, Hope and Charity went out into the world, the world snapped and snarled at them, wearing away at them, trying to diminish them, to topple them.
Hope wobbled, on the shoulders of Faith, threatening to let go of Charity.
Year after Year, the community who had relied on the 3 Graces, started taking them for granted, stopped visiting with them, refused welcome in their homes. Some no longer believed in the Father because they couldn’t see Him.
Where Faith had strengthened them with the promises of their Father through hard times, people now wanted evidence. They no longer wanted to believe without seeing first. The words of the Father held nothing for them, and so Faith faded.
As their belief in the Faith waned, so, too, did their Hope wane.
Hope’s belief in the provision and protection of her Father during life’s challenges was discredited by some people who said things like, “I hope the water comes for the green beans, the potatoes and the wheat, but I don’t believe it” they’d say in a hope-isn’t-really-real way, scoffing.
Some would say, “I’d like to hope his fever will break and all will be well – but, well, that isn’t how I believe.”
Sometimes, they would slander Hope saying, “Hope? If you believe in fairies – but that isn’t real life – they have no Father that can help me.”
And, in many hearts, Hope was cast out.
Without Faith and Hope, the spontaneous goodness of Charity’s unconditional love and kindness was no longer trusted – and they stopped inviting her into their homes, tried to put a price on her, to sell her.
Though many cast aside Faith, Hope and Charity – the 3 Graces did not leave them or abandon them.
They continually returned, calling to the people in the streets, knocking on doors, whispering on the night winds.
Faith would call out, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7).
For you see, Faith, Hope and Charity are “not frail and perishable” but live “perennially” (O.E.D., 1 Peter 1:3). Rejection is just a starting place.
Charity’s heart so loved the world, that she could not give up pursuing The Father’s people.
Ever steadfast and determined, many invited them back into the cottage of their hearts, sat with them to know them. Faith taught truth about the Father and what He wanted to do in their lives. Hope focused their minds and hearts on the goodness of God, and Charity showed God’s abundant love and the need to share that love with others.
When the rains didn’t come, or sickness fell, or financial famine came, Faith said, “The Father will take care of you. He said so” reminding them with His words:
”The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it” (Psalm 65: 9b).
And Hope showed them how to trust, to wait with hearts leaping in expectation:
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing (bubbling over) with hope” (Romans 15: 13)
Charity loved them with the Father’s love, showing them how to love during challenges:
“Love[Charity] never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up” (1 Cor. 13:7)
If you look closely into the garden of a neighbor’s cottage, you might just see the 3 Graces: Hope standing on the shoulders of Faith, hands reaching up to grasp Charity’s bounty and pass it down.
Maybe you have discredited Hope, Faith and Charity. Said you don’t believe them about their Father. Maybe you need a heart-to-heart with the 3 Graces. Invite them into the cottage of your heart to live perennially.
Maybe they are already in the cottage garden of your heart, Hope standing on the shoulders of walking Faith. Hope encouraging your Faith to keep on walking, keep on standing, to not give up, Faith keeping hope grounded in truth, while hope reachings toward a comforting, God filled with His kind of loving Charity.
My heart leaps in expectation
of His Great love
Beau…ti…ful!!! Such a precious story. Thank you so much for sharing it. Bless you!
I love it! Reminds me so much of the allegory of Much Afraid in Hinds Feet to the High Places.
Have a blessed day!
we are neighbors today…I want the 3 graces to continue to grow within my heart…
lovely…great personification of the three…i like them not giving up, going out into the streets and knocking on doors…seems appropriate…
Wonderful story. Thanks so much. It really boosted me in my day. 🙂
I echo Beth’s comment that this reminded me of Hinds Feet too! Beautiful. It helps me to grasp Faith, Hope, and Charity when they are personified in this way. Lovely post!
So much of late 19th century and early turn of the 20th century children’s book were allegorical like that – and I miss those kinds of wholesome stories on goodness prevailing over evil. Hinds Feet reminds me of those stories. As I was grappling with doing a post on Hope, I did a study on Hope which led me to Faith – and then I thought, “How am I going to explain this?” Creating them as three different people seemed the best way to make them tangible and enabled me to see the difference better. For a few weeks, all I had was “Hope stands on the shoulders of Faith” – and yesterday, God gave them life:)
I love how you have written this story! It captures your attention and makes a huge impact.
I second that!
I love this!
oh. my. goodness. im speechless, MaryLeigh! im sitting here, having come to drink my morning coffee in the quiet while the girls eat breakfast and begin their schoolwork, and im a mess–tears pouring, cleansing. God knows what we need, doesn’t He?
yesterday i was so frustrated, confused and angry. i felt trapped. so many things were going wrong. my phone was dead and i felt isolated on a day when i REALLY needed to hear my husband’s voice and let him calm me down. but my phone would not charge–AGAIN. in a moment of sheer frustrated energy and anger, i almost threw my phone against the wall and smashed it–the only thing holding me back was the thought of my husband who works so hard, having to replace it–so i just threw it to the floor in disgust–i felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me, telling me that i was out of control. i was so tense all day with anxiety that my neck and chest was in some severe pain last night. i let it all out to my husband when he got home–i told him that i didnt know HOW i was still making it, that it was only by the grace of God, that my mind was swimming so, i couldn’t make it stop and with all the days running together this way, i didn’t know how much more i could take.
he comforted me in so many ways last night–the way husbands can–only he, being apart of me–because ive joined myself to him, and he is my covering–can lift me up and make me feel secure. God ordained it this way and im beginning to lean into it and embrace it. but i know that my Father is teaching me through this that this is how He wants me to see and trust Him!
but your story this morning–again, im speechless–i cannot describe to you how it touched places in me that were hard and dark–not wanting anything to touch it, lest it should have to soften and break and possibly fall apart. ive been trying to survive these weeks, these months, these years of illness, and im exhausted. i want to hope again. i want to have faith. i want Hope to stand on the shoulders of faith and reach up for her sister, Charity, hanging from the orchard tree limbs. i want that in my heart and life. i will let my husband read this tonight. he needs it as well. his stress level with my illness has been very high.
i am sorry for writing a novel in your comments section–again–but your writing opens me up like a floodgate. i think maybe you have inspired a post about this from me. i think maybe i will use some of these words ive written for inspiration if thats ok with you ;). and if you read my latest post from Multitude Monday–you will see why this is such a good thing. i worry about splashing my life across the internet world for anyone to read here–im afraid people will think it irreverent. but i want to be me, real, and since i cannot attend church right now because of my illness, this is my only outlet for spiritual encouragement.
thank you for the friend that you are! i have missed you lately!
I love this post! It is so well written. I love the word picture you created.
I Stumbled it.
Oh! I guess you figured out where my main character’s name came from. I remembered it from your blog and loved it. I can’t give it to child, but I can give it to a character.
This is so well written! Early this morning (around 3:30 am – I had insomnia last night) I finished reading Three Cups of Tea. Your story meshes well with that book – in helping others in need during all times.
So beautiful. I pray that Faith, Hope and Love will both stand strong in my heart and life.
First Maryleigh, I’m sorry I haven’t been here for so long. From the beginning of the month, from the last post Sara wrote in August, and the subsequent posts by her friends, I could read the handwriting on the wall. I’ve been thinking only of her, and reading only her blog. I’m sorry. I was gone for good reason and I’m now just starting to get back to reading the blogs I heart – and I heart YOURS! And today I get this beautiful parable about faith hope and love, and how they stand united, and sometimes fall alone. And ho we need them. I know that today I’m looking into the garden of my heart and I’m seeing this – “Hope standing on the shoulders of Faith, hands reaching up to grasp Charity.” God bless and keep you and all of yours. Maryleigh.
so unique and beautiful. thank you for this. e.
Stopping by from the blog hop and now following your blog thru RSS Reader. If I missed GFC let me know but I checked twice and could not see it. But, let me know if I missed it and I will come back. I would love for you to follow me also thru RSS Reader when you get the chance. I will be hosting my first giveaway starting either tomorrow or Sunday and would love for you to come and enter. It will be for an Eclipse Spa package which includes a scrub, lotion and roll on perfume of your choice. Thanks so much for your help and please follow thru RSS Reader when you come over. Have a great weekend.
I’m stopping by from follow me Friday and I must say this is a very inspirational blog post. The wondrous things you find when blog hopping…love it! I will visit again.
Sonya M. Jones
Love, love, LOVE! Just a beautifully written post that I needed. Keep sharing friend.
Just blog hopping and so glad I landed this beautiful post! Wow!!
I always know when I come here that I am going to smile or learn or grow and feel good or all three. This was a powerful post and I am smiling, have learned, grown, and feel good! Thank you!!
I love this! Thank you for sharing.
Very well written and very challenging with truth of the world today. Thanks for sharing in such a vivid and inspiring way. God bless, Bobbi
Faith, hope and Charity, the 3 graces. Great story Blue cotton Memory. I’m glad I’ve come over to visit. Thank you too, for joining my bloghop yesterday and I look forward to your visiting again next week. I also look forward to your next post.
Faith, Hope and Charity certainly are a wonderful group. I’m so glad they are all available to us. Charity certainly reminds us that the other two are so important in our lives. Thank you for sharing this story in such an interesting way.
Beautifully written. I like the idea of Faith, Hope, and Love linking arms to change their community. A corporate work of grace indeed.
Ahh..beautiful and true. Thank you!
Three graces… lovely, lovely, lovely. =)
*Love*. I was thinking of HInd’s Feet too, and I love how you hearken back that sweet style of writing. Such a gentle–yet bold–way of shining light on truth. Love this, Maryleigh.
Absolutely beautiful. What an incredible piece of writing.
Funny, but I was just going to write exactly what Jessica of @FoundtheMarbles wrote! This IS absolutely beautiful!! Awe inspiring and inspiring! What an awesome piece you have written. I’m so glad I stopped over this morning.
This is beautiful! Love the graces. Love God. Love how you can weave it all together. Blessings sweet friend.
I love this. I too am reminded of the analogy of Much Afraid in Hinds Feet on High Places.
Thank you for sharing and blessings for you in the new year.
You are something. God in you … Beautiful.
Another fantastic story.
I just love this!! Thank you for sharing it! You have a real way with words and this is a precious story!
That was beautiful! Such a personified way of looking at our faith and making it so incredibly personal through your words! Blessings!
Pingback:Still a Stick that Won’t Be Broken | Blue Cotton Memory
This is a lovely story!
Powerful imagery and I missed it the first time around so I am glad you shared it today!
Reminds me of Hinds Feet in High Places. I am so very grateful for the tender ways our Lord keeps us walking on His paths.
Tender is such a good word to describe how He leads us – that word just says so very much! I hadn’t read Hinds Feet in High Places when I’d written it – afterwards, though, through your previous comment, I read it to my boys!
Maryleigh, great job on your allegory! I don’t guess I’ve heard faith, hope and charity referred to as the three graces before – what an apt description!
I don’t know if you can help me, but I’ve tried both last week and this week to link up and I keep getting this error: Server Error in ‘/’ Application.
Hi Jerralea, I’m so glad you enjoyed the allegory. I checked with my linky service and he replied with the following: “There is something on her blog blocking external retrieval of images… could be a widget, some security settings, many things… I was able to use FROM FILE and easily saved one of her page images, and entered that…” – I had similar problems here last week – and when I tested my own blog post, I had to choose my photo FROM FILE. It was frustrating – to be sure.
Maryleigh, your words brought a beautiful visual for faith, hope, and love. I so appreciated the reminder to keep faith, nurture hope, and allow love to pour through me to the world around me.
I just want to sit with that stunning portrait for awhile. All quiet and reflective. Something there is speaking to me …
I did not read this before but you are so right that it fits for this day, this world. I am grateful to our God Who loves us so that He will gift us with the best. The best being faith, hope and charity, love beyond what we can think or ask. I am blessed.