CCC 1996: ...Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.
There have been many times in my life where I will get anxious about something that might happen, and then try to calm myself down by saying that God doesn't give us anything we can not handle. We've all heard that saying, right? But what if my husband leaves or one of my children gets really sick? I don't think I can handle that. So does that mean that God wouldn't allow that to happen to me?
What it means is that when we are called to suffer, we will receive the grace we need to get through it. The saying should read "God will never give us anything we can't handle without His grace".
And the funny thing about grace is that we don't get the graces until we need them. So we can look at a terrible situation like the kidnapped girls in Ohio, and wonder how those girls were able to make it through ten years of living like that. We can think that we would never be able to survive it with any dignity or faith, but that's because we don't have the graces to have gone through that.
When I was younger, I wanted to be a mother more than anything. Then when I got to high school and college, I did a lot of babysitting and worked in a daycare. I would sometimes come home after a long day and think, geesh, this motherhood thing looks really hard. Maybe I'm not cut out for it after all. Once I became a mother (as we all know) I realized it's completely different to raise your own children than to babysit someone else's. It's much better! And when I look at the supermoms who have 12 children and seem to do it all with ease, and think "I could never do that so well!" it's because I don't have the graces necessary for having 12 children yet. I don't need those graces. She does.
This realization about getting God's help once we need it (and not before we need it) was so eye-opening to me. I think I could have saved myself a lot of worry in my younger years. Looking back, it is so simple to see how God has always provided for us, and looking ahead I can trust that He will always do the same.