Thursday, October 31, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 31)

Day 31

Eh, ho...it's the final day!  31 days of writing about grace...some days were made up on other days, especially towards the end, but I made it. 

A month of learning and writing more about grace has truly changed me.  I think before this 31 days series I only thought about grace in a small way.  I had a closed mind about all that grace encompassed.  Now after studying scripture, listening to songs, and reading other people's thoughts about grace, I feel like the lid was blown right off my small box. 

I see grace in a whole new way.  It's more than just a tiny gift that is given, it's huge, and it's mutli-definitional {yes, I just made that up}, but seriously, grace is so much more than our tiny minds see it as. 

Grace is something freely given to us by God, something we do not deserve, so anything God gives us is an act of grace.  {Mind blown}

I am not going to sit here and say that my life looks totally different, that I have had some radical change in my life because of this series, but I will say my life is changing, my mind and heart are expanding from learning more about grace, and I am trying so hard to approach people and situations differently because of what I have learned and experienced during this month.

This month was providential for me.  God taught me a ton about grace and clinging to him.  Stuff I might not have had the chance to learn about if it wasn't for this series. 

Thanks for sticking with me for 31 days, hopefully you have been encouraged to dance and live in God's grace all the more.       



Living In Grace {Day 30}

Day 30
“Grace isn't a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. 
It's a way to live.”  "The law tells me how crooked I am. 
Grace comes along and straightens me out.” 
Dwight Lyman Moody

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 29}

Day 29

When bad days happen you need grace, and a lot of it.  My bad days often revolve around something happening with my kids or my parenting skills, or lack thereof.  Yesterday felt like a major parenting fail.  This day was going down in the books as an epic fail.

Usually when my kids act up, get in trouble, and or just are plain bad, I take it personally.  I feel like it reflects on my parenting.  After the dust settles of me losing my temper for the millionth time I reflect back on the latest situation and see where I could improve, where I needed to walk away, or take a deep breath.  By the time I commit to changing my behavior something happens and I am back to the crazy mom-yelling, swatting, and losing all my marbles.

Yesterday was no exception.  We trying to potty train Lucy, and it's no easy feat.  She is not like her sister, at all.  I think she could care less if she pees and is wet, it's no big deal to her.  It becomes very frustrating, she is stubborn, I am stubborn, and we both have a battle of the wills daily.  Lucy also is having a hard time sleeping.  She is my sleeper, she loves sleep.  So this no sleeping thing during the day and at night, it's rough.  It makes me not a nice mommy.

So yesterday when Lucy kept getting up during nap time, even when I parked myself outside her door, and put her back in bed at least 30 times in a 2 hour period, I felt like a bad mom.  I kept thinking what am I doing wrong?  Why won't she cooperate?  All I want is for her to take a nap!  I yelled, I whispered, I cried, I even tried laying down with her, but nothing worked.  And finally I gave in, and nap time came to an end.  Lucy even lost the chance to the go to the Halloween parade with the rest of us last night.  It was awful.

I felt like the worst mom ever.  I hate when things don't go planned.  I hate that I can't control how my kids will react or behave.  I can set boundaries and consequences, but it's up to them to do the rest.

I think this is a lot like how God is with us.  He has given us free will, and he sits back and watches us abuse that freedom daily.  I don't think we intend to abuse it, but we usually do, and we usually abuse it a lot.

In both of these instances we need God's grace.  I needed his grace yesterday to know that tomorrow is a new day, I can start over again, and try better.  Even though I have probably lost my cool like 50 times already today, each new minute is a new start.  I pray that I am not messing my kids up, and that some day they will be productive citizens of this country.

Parenting is really hard, it's the one thing I doubt about myself on a daily basis.  There are so many fine lines in parenting, and so many if's, what's, could's, and umph's.  But on the other hand parenting has brought me some of the biggest blessings and biggest accolades that I could ever receive.  I love watching my girls play together, I love listening to them talk to each other, I love all the home made cards and necklaces I get on a daily basis.  I also love that I have a small part in shaping Molly and Lucy to be who God created them to be.  And that is a big job that requires a lot of grace.

Here's to living in grace while in the trenches of parenthood.             



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 28}

Day 28
"Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
    I will surely defend my ways to his face."

I saw this verse about a month ago, and it has stuck with me ever since.  I feel like one person from the Bible I can semi relate to is Job.  He had everything, and then he had nothing, nothing but God.  Some days you are on top of the world and the next you are down in the lowest ditch ever dug.  

Not that my life is that dramatic, but I often feel like "man, oh man, today is awesome, the kids are acting like angels, Eric is happy, life is great."  Then something happens and I am declared the worst mom and wife ever. 

I encourage you to read through Job, although you might not be encouraged, it has a great message and shows a lot about God's grace.  I feel like in life I often ask God why, or I may say seriously, God?!  I get overwhelmed, I get depressed, I get to the point where staying in bed sounds better than facing the wolrd, or my family.  

Although God may slay me, I still have hope, I still know he loves me and cares for me.  I still live in his unending grace on a daily basis.      

 

Living In Grace {Day 27}

Day 27

I was browsing Pinterest looking for quotes about grace, I came across this one:

"Shame says that because I am flawed, I am unacceptable.  Grace says that though I am flawed, I am cherished." 

I tried to do a search to see who originally said this, or who to give credit to for this quote, but I came up empty handed.  Regardless, this quote is awesome. 

I think often times we shame ourselves far more than the world does, we are our toughest critics.  We believe the lies we tell ourselves, or better yet, the lies that Satan whispers in our ears.  You aren't good enough, look at them they have it all together, why don't you?  Her husband seems really happy, what is she doing that you aren't?  Now those kids, they listen and obey, unlike your kids who are rotten. 

Ever heard those lies before?  Maybe it's not about marriage and kids, but about your job, your bank account, your house, your car, your {fill in the blank}.

Shame shows up in the most harmless places yet leaves a lasting hurtful mark.  Sometimes people use shame as a motivator.  I have found myself doing that to my kids.  I don't start off on the shameful path, yet my sinful words end up there and I find myself shaming or guilting my kids into things.       

God is so amazing, he doesn't use shame or guilt with us.  There's conviction, but that is not shameful, that is an act of obedience.  We should want to repent because we know on the other side of that act there is wonderful, glorious grace we can dance and live in. 

God loves us so much that he would rather take us at our worst than when we are at our best and think we can do it alone.  God loves you so much he wants to bandage and heal your flaws, your scars, your hurts.  He cares for us so much that he sent his son to die a horrible, brutal death just to save you.  Jesus came to save all of us, not just the good ones, all of us.  There is nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you. 

The world may say you are flawed or messed up, but God says you are his, his perfect creation.  Live in that truth today. 

Living In Grace {Day 26}

Day 26






This is one of my favorite songs to listen to, especially when the days are long and it feels easier to quit than go on. 


Living In Grace {Day 25}

Living In Grace

When I was researching grace earlier in the month, I came across this article.  It is really good, and it is really long.  If you can get past some of the theological rhetoric (if that doesn't appeal to you) and can really grasp what the author is writing, it is full of great wisdom about grace. 

"Let me be clear. When you come to Christ, you do not come to give, you come to receive. You do not come to try your best, you come to trust. You do not come just to be saved, but to be rescued. You do not come to be made better (although that does happen), you come to be made alive!" 


"You do not come to Christ to make a promise; you come to depend on His promise. It is the faithfulness of God and not your own that gives the gift of grace."

Those are just little snippets of what the rest of the article is like.  It truly is a great perspective on grace and the author {J. Hampton Keathley, III} did a fantastic job diving into the topic of grace.  I encourage you all to click the link and spend some time learning more about grace.   

Friday, October 25, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 24}

Day 24




Lament {verb}- to express sorrow, regret, or unhappiness about something
to mourn aloud
to regret strongly 

I lament a lot, a lot.  In human terms I would probably be classified as a whiner or a complainer.  Thankfully the Bible has a term for people like me, lamenter.  I still whine and complain, I just do it spiritually.  

Right now in this season of life I lament a lot.  I often find myself lamenting when I am on my bedroom floor reduced to a pile of tears, or out for a run.  Following God can be really hard, it can be challenging, confusing, and down right frustrating.  Even though you know it's all for good, for a greater purpose, a greater reason, it's still hard.  It's hard when a lot of people look at you like you are crazy, and they almost feel bad for you.  It's hard to explain to people "yes, we did have a job, no we don't have a job now, yes, yes it is very difficult now."  

Here's the good news, actually the great news, God loves our laments.  He already knows our hearts, he already knows we are frustrated, but he wants us to tell him about it.  Part of experiencing God is having a relationship with him, and a large part of that relationship is communication.  God loves it when we talk to him, pray to him, share with him, and just plain old communicate with him.  

Through lamenting to God I can supernaturally feel his grace in me.  In situations I shouldn't feel calm or peaceful, I do.  During times of utter frustration and head banging against the wall, I can laugh and find joy.  Please hear me, during my lamenting, I also praise God for allowing me to walk through this dreary winter season I am in now.  Because after the winter always comes the spring and the summer seasons, and I know my seasons are going to be down right gorgeous and redemptive.  

Whatever season you are in now I encourage you to lament to God.  It may not produce instant relief or instant results, but that's not the purpose.  God loves hearing what is on your mind, and he loves even more allowing you to bask in the beautiful, glorious grace that lamenting produces.    



          

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 23}

Day 23








Living In Grace {Day 22}

Day 22



“Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I'd have come running with a bucket.” ~Nancy Spiegelberg

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 21}

Day 21





There are times in your life when you may have to shoulder more responsibility than you care to.  Sometimes you get stuck doing something that isn't part of your "job."  Say your husband normally takes out the trash, but keeps forgetting, or just doesn't do it.  You may find yourself lugging those smelly, gross trash cans down the driveway thinking, "this isn't my job."  Or "really, you have one simple task to do, and you can't even do that."

In those times your spouse needs grace.

Maybe a co-worker who normally does a certain task stops doing that task, or they get busy doing something else and you are left to do that task, it's not fair is it?  You know it's not your "job" to do, but it needs done.  So you might as well do it, because who else in your office is going to step up?

Give your co-worker grace.

These times in your life that require more effort, more responsibility, more care often stink and suck the life out of us.  Personally speaking there are seasons in my marriage that I feel like I do more "work" than Eric does, and I am sure there are seasons he feels like he is doing more "work" than me.

That's the beauty of living in grace.  When you truly trust and rely on God to help you through, he does.  Whether he provides you with extra physical strength, a calming attitude, or an understanding heart, his grace is sufficient for you, you just need to ask for it.

There will be times when you are plain taken advantage of because you are a hard worker, you do pitch in and get the job done, people count on you to do it all because you have come through in the past.  Those times give the other person grace, and give yourself grace.  We often feel taken advantage of because we will go above and beyond, and yet the person on the other end does not reciprocate.  Grace...it's terribly hard, and often isn't a quick fix, but ask for grace.

Whether you find yourself in the season of being a worker bee thinking "this isn't part of my job description" or you are in a season of heavily relying on others to help you out, remember to ask God for his unending, all filling grace, and then live in it.       

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 20}

Day 20

Today I am thankful that God's grace is made perfect in my weakness.  For some reason since leaving our ministry Sunday nights have been really hard for me.  Six months ago a Sunday night would consist of relaxing and talking about what God did at church, and preparing for the week ahead. 

Now Sunday night consists of none of that.  Sure I have the prep for the week, but it's not the same.  I feel like I prep for another week of mundane life, I prep for trying to put on a happy face for my girls even though our situation is not ideal.  I prep to not get my hopes up and to keep trusting God no matter what.  

So on Sunday nights I look to God's grace to cover me and my weaknesses, I try to lavish in his unending grace to cover me all week.  Living in grace means I know God will strengthen me from Sunday night through the next Sunday night.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Living In Grace {Day 19}

Day 19

“If God wants you to do something, 
he'll make it possible for you to do it, 
but the grace he provides comes only 
with the task and cannot be stockpiled beforehand.  
We are dependent on him from hour to hour, 
and the greater our awareness of this fact, 
the less likely we are to faint or fail in a crisis.”
Louis Cassels