Category Archives: Grace

what to do . . . today

to-do-list

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.  Philippians 2:12–13

Thinking about what to do today and came across some good directions of where to start.   It doesn’t really matter what I put on my check list for the day, whatever I do I need to be about my daily work – my ministry.  And what exactly is that?  My ministry is my work . . . whether I’m a teacher, videographer, law enforcement officer, stay-at-home mom, landscape worker, veterinarian, lawyer, clerk at a store, CEO of a company, plumber, minister, administrative assistant or . . . and that list goes on and on.  I am called to work at it, believing in His promise that in this day God will be at work in me to will and work for His good pleasure

So whatever I find written on my “to-do” list today . . .

  • groceries
  • plants for planter
  • mail
  • pick up birthday cards

. . . I know that with every moment God is graciously with me. I am filled with confidence, hope, and energy for the day because He doesn’t just “show up” – He is there as the decisive worker in my day.  

Whatever I am to do today, I don’t do it on my own.  I have the grace of the living Christ — always there to work for me at every moment today that I enter.   

 


living in the dusk

Dusk-A330

Ephesians 5:6-14

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.  But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper,
    and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and watch a sunset.  Watching as the bright of day closes and darkness is waiting on the peripheral . . . waiting to snuff out the light.  Dusk, that moment in time of partial darkness between day and night. 

It’s a moment in time I want to briefly stop and appreciate His handiwork in the sky, but dusk is not a place I want to live in, but it seems to be a place I can wander in.  It’s not that place of Light, and it’s not that place of Dark.  

Dusk, where the shadows provide
                places to hide.
to escape.
                to avoid.
to divide.
                to decay.

Dusk is that place where the empty words of my enemy wants to woo me back into Darkness.

Words that want to come back to haunt me.

You are not loved.  You are not valued.
You are not worthy.  You are not pleasing.
You can’t do anything right.   Guilty.
 

Those are empty words, fruitless works of darkness.  E.M.P.T.Y.

I have to take those things of the darkness and expose them to the Light.  His Light.  Jesus changes who I am.

My life in the Light is full.

My life in the darkness is empty.

Living in the dusk is simply waiting for the darkness to come.  It will steal the Light away.

Are you living in dusk?

 

 


I need You

photolibrary_rm_photo_of_baby_sleeping_close_up

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.
John 16:24

There is something about a sleeping baby that fills my heart with such joy.  As I watch our little one sleeping so peacefully, I am reminded the joy, the happiness, the delight in my heart isn’t just a happy emotion.  That kind of joy, that happiness is fleeting. It lasts only for that speck of time.  Rocking her to sleep, relishing that moment of joy, I find myself humming “Lord, I Need You” to the sleepy little one snuggled in my arms.  Every single need of this precious little one is dependent on someone else to supply.  Her honest needings remind me of how much I need to lean into Him, how much I need to depend on my Father  . . . not just when I “need” Him, but every moment of every hour of every day.

I need Him in my joys and in my time of need.  I need Him when I’m strong and when I feel weak.  I need Him moment by moment. He is my one defense, He is my righteousness. 

Your awareness of your constant need for Me is your greatest strength. Your neediness, properly handled, is a link to My Presence. However, there are pitfalls that you must be on guard against: self-pity, self-preoccupation, giving up. Your inadequacy presents you with a continual choice—deep dependence on Me, or despair. The emptiness you feel within will be filled either with problems or with My Presence. Make Me central in your consciousness by praying continually: simple, short prayers flowing out of the present moment. Use My Name liberally, to remind you of My Presence. Keep on asking and you will receive, so that your gladness may be full and complete. (from Jesus Calling)


(click to play “Lord, I need You” – Matt Maher)

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
 
Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
 
You’re my one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

in her Momma’s arms

sleeping AB

I sit quietly in awe. Quietly watching this precious little one nestled snugly in her momma’s arms.  Their breathing is in harmonic motion, in and out . . . in and out . . .a quiet, a peaceful rhythm.

Her momma gently whispers words of love over her as she has her tucked safely close. In her mother’s arms she is safe, protected, nurtured.  Momma’s arms hold her close to her beating heart, that heart that was the familiar sound this little one heard day in and day out while her mother carried her for nine months.   And now out in this world, this world that is so filled with chaos, her momma continues to hold her close, to cover her with mother wings.  A stronghold of love.

I sit watching, pondering in awe. Pondering meditatively.

As I see my very own little girl embrace her own little girl, my heart is full.  My heart is full of love for this new little one who has been  remarkably and wonderfully made.  My heart is full of love for the one who was remarkably and wonderfully knitted together inside my own body.

But most of all, my heart is full of reminders of the One who covers me in His arms, who holds me close in the midst of the chaos.

I am reminded of the times my life has been crumbling to pieces around me, troubles were crashing into me right and left, life seem to be imploding.  I was alone, or at least that is what the enemy wanted me to believe.

Clinging to Psalm 46, He pulls me in to cover me with His Love, to be my stronghold against all that is clamoring to tear me apart.  He is always there to whisper His words of Love into my heart.  Pulling me close, the chaos turns into peace.

I can hear His heartbeat because He created me to be His.

God is my refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore I will not fear,
Though the earth should give way,
And though the mountains fall into the heart
of the sea.
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
Psalm 46:1-3

So as things of this world are vying to pull me away, to create disharmony, when I have to hold it together, even when I don’t feel like it . . . it is here, here with my God, my Creator, that I find solace, my stronghold.  It is here, I can let it go.  I cling to His arms and hear His tender heart calling me close.  It’s here in the magnificent, or the insignificant, in the joyous moments, or the disappointing times, the uplifting, or the casting down, the contentment, or the perplexities and uncertainties that I rest secure. Resting secure in the harmonic motion of His peace and His grace.

Rest in His arms, just like that precious little one in her Momma’s arms.  Rest no matter what the world throws your way. Find His peace in the chaos.


how to let go of regret [reblog]

The Kids

I love how God sends me words of encouragement exactly when He knows I need it!  Today is the birthday of one of my three and as any Mama would do, I was mulling over some things in my heart and head today, reflecting on some precious memories and the word REGRET was trying its level best to take over.  So when I was reading through some emails and posts . . . the word REGRET jumped right off the screen.
Call it coincidence . . . I don’t!

So thankful to Robin Dance for sharing some links today . . .

How to Let Go of Regret [reblogged from Life on the Wild Side ~ Shelly Wildman]

I see you, mama. The one with Regret written all over your face and on your sagging shoulders and in your sad eyes. The one whose hopes and dreams consist of words you wish you had said, deeds you wish you had done, or those you wish you could undo.

“If only” has become your mantra.

I see you and I know you because I am you.

Seems, sometimes, like Regret is a mother’s best friend.

We walk with it, chew on it, and let it weigh us down. None of us are immune.

I’ve certainly had my share of regrets over the years—things I wish I had done; things I wish I had said. More often, though, things I wish I had not said. The words, they do poison.

In the past few weeks I have spoken to two friends—both amazing mothers—who are filled with regret over children who are not currently living in the way these parents have raised them. One child has rejected the faith with which they were raised; the other is on the brink of making some important decisions about how to live.

In both conversations, I noticed that both of my friends expressed serious regret about their parenting.

Maybe you’ve felt this, too.

Here’s the thing, mamas: we are not made to regret. And I think our regrets come from our forgetfulness about three important things.

  1. We forget that we are ultimately not in control.

In other words, we give ourselves way too much blame (or credit!) for the way our kids turn out. As much as we’d like to make the way easy for our kids, we have to remember that some kids very simply will not learn from our mistakes. They may not even learn from their own. We can give our children the tools (whether that be an education, a faith heritage, a stable family—whatever it is) that can make paving the way a bit easier, but it’s up to them to use them.

Don’t blame yourself if your child rejects the tools you have given him or her. Just be faithful every day.

  1. We forget that we are forgiven, just as much as our children are.

Forgiveness is a powerful arsenal in our parenting strategy, and we must remember to also practice it on ourselves.

I recently read the most beautiful definition of grace: “Grace says, ‘There you are, I’ve been waiting for you and you’re welcome here. All of you. You are beloved.’”

Mama, you are beloved—all of you—whether or not you’ve messed up. Or your kid has. Or your husband has. It doesn’t matter. Grace is here, waiting for you.

Mama, forgive yourself because God already has. Don’t let the regret that you’re feeling limit you from the power of forgiveness and grace in your life, which will move you ahead to do the next right thing.

  1. We forget that the story isn’t finished yet.

I’ve known parents of some seriously messed up kids. Some have let regrets stop them from doing what they should be doing—whether that is acting with tough love or gently loving them back home. But some parents I’ve known have simply said, “My son’s (or daughter’s) story is not yet finished. God has not given up on this child, and neither will I.” They have prayed continuously for their child. They have opened the door to their home. They have shown, in very practical terms, what the love of Jesus means.

Mama, your story is not yet finished—thank goodness for that, right?!—and neither is your child’s. Our stories continue to grow and to change and to mold us into the people we are today, and that’s true for our kids as well. If you have regrets, remember that your child’s story is still being written and that the way he or she is living today is not the end of the story.

Even more important, remember that God has not walked away from your child, He still loves them, and He will never give up fighting for them.

So mama? For the sake of your family (and your sanity) will you give up your regrets? Don’t dwell on those things that are over and done. Realize that, ultimately, you are not in control. Move ahead with grace and forgiveness.

And thank God that the story is not finished yet.

Thanking God for allowing me the precious opportunity and blessing of being a mama . . . and yes, thanking Him that He is not finished with our story yet!


Hope for the filthy rags

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Even at my very best, I have nothing to offer but filthy rags.

But I have the Hope that will not disappoint!

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus
Christ. 
We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 
 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope.

This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Romans 5: 1-5


come as you are

As this new song by David Crowder reminds me  . . .  my hands are dirty.  I am not fit to sit at the Table.

Yet, He calls me and you to His Table.  It doesn’t matter how broken we are, or how far and how long we have wandered from Him, or how much hurt and shame we carry around.  It does not matter – our Abba Father calls us to come as we are.  He invites us to sit at His Table.

Come as you are.  Sit at His table and lay down your burdens, your broken heart, your shame, your wanderings, all your hurts that you’ve papered over through the years.  He will wash you clean and He will heal all the hurts.

 Come As You Are ~ by David Crowder
from Neon Steeple

Come out of sadness
From wherever you’ve been
Come broken-hearted
Let rescue begin
Come find your mercy
Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

There’s hope for the hopeless
And all those who’ve strayed
Come sit at the table
Come taste the grace
There’s rest for the weary
Rest that endures
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t cure

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Fall in his arms
Come as you are
There’s joy for the morning
Oh sinner be still
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow
That heaven can’t heal

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are
Come as you are
Come as you are

 


waterfalls

waterfall in yellowstone

Deep calls to deep in the roar of Your waterfalls;
all Your breakers and Your billows have swept over me.
Psalm 42:7

When it seems that one trouble comes after another . . .
one disappointment comes on the heels of another . . .
one day of silence follows another . . .

Like the deep roar of the waterfalls, He calls to me . . . reminding me His Mercy covers me.

His Love washes over me . . . reminding me He is always faithful covering me in His Grace.

He calls to me, as I call out to Him in the depth of my soul . . . this is where He meets me.

Linking up at:
finding spiritual whitespace

BonnieGray_WhitespaceBadge_250-e1401615477198


an extra cup of Grace

cup-of-coffee

A good cup of hot, fresh coffee to start the day.  That is, after asking for an extra cup of Grace.

An extra cup of Grace because I know I’m going to need it again and again today.  His Grace.

Grace because somebody . . . something . . .  some situation . . . is going to make the journey difficult today.

Grace because I want to be strong . . . but I know I am weak.

I’m asking for an extra cup of His Grace . . . it is guaranteed to last longer than the caffeine in that second cup of coffee.

 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
2 Corinthians 12:9

 


the light and dark side

brennan manning shadow side.001

 

To live by grace means to acknowledge my whole life story, the light side and the dark.

In admitting my shadow side . . . I learn who I am . . .

and what God’s grace means.

Brennan Manning


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