Unforced rhythms of grace

As I drove home from a very long day at work, I listened to the end of a recorded sermon from one of my favorite pastors.

The message focused on being worried and upset. The scripture she taught from is a passage near and dear to my heart because it hits so close to home in terms of what I struggle with.

  • Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, Jesus went into a village. A woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down at the Lord’s feet and kept listening to what he was saying. But Martha was worrying about all the things she had to do, so she came to him and asked, “Lord, you do care that my sister has left me to do the work all by myself, don’t you? Then tell her to help me.” The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha! You worry and fuss about a lot of things. But there’s only one thing you need. Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her.”

Martha, Martha, Martha.

I can relate to Martha. I am the busy one. I find it hard to even sit still and watch TV with my son without doing something else with my hands… folding laundry, flipping through my phone, sorting through the mail…you get the picture. 

In turn, I find myself holding those same expectations of others. It’s like I expect people to be busy all the time. 

As I listened to the close of her message, something captured my attention deeply.

She talked about being still, in His presence, in the unforced rhythms of grace.

Unforced… obviously means to not force something

To take that one step further, it means to be free….

Rhymth…a strong repeated pattern

Grace…the undeserved favor

When I think of it all wrapped together, it comforts and amazes me. 

And to be completely honest, convicts me.

Why?

I find it so much easier to wrestle in the unrest of anxiety and fear instead of rest at the feet of Jesus. I ask Him to please take my burdens, but I so easily take them back as I play through the game of what ifs and conjure up a multitude of circumstances.

In the famous words of Dr. Phil…. how’s that working for you?

Um, well, actually not so well. 

What if instead I chose to rest at the feet of Jesus like Mary?

How different would my life feel if I trusted in the unforced rhythms of grace?

As anxiety tugs at the deepest places within me, I ask myself those very questions.

What if I trust Jesus with my worries and fears enough to let Him keep them instead of me trying to take them back to hold onto them just a little while longer?

Could I finally find the quiet I yearn for in the unforced rhythms of His grace?

I believe I could. And you can, too.

It’s a sweet surrender…a little more dying to self. If we choose to trust Him, He promises to be right there with us.

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Give Yourself Some Grace

Two things happened yesterday.

  • One, on only day nine, I missed a post for my Write 31 days. I was tired, had company, worked all day, and enjoyed my son’s last soccer game of his young junior high career.
  • Two, I received a rejection via email for something I had submitted that I really liked. I thought this piece was really great…only the receiving end did not.

Those voices started in…

I will never be good enough. I can’t even write a blog post everyday or a title worthy of having someone look at my writing…

I have two choices. I can listen to those voices-the ones telling me that I am not good enough, that I will never make it in this writing thing, that if I don’t even have the time to write a blog post, how will I ever write a book?

Or, I can listen to the voice of grace. Today is a new day. I am grateful to have this quiet time to write a blog post. My computer sits on my lap. Yes, I have a long work day ahead of me, but I have these moments now to spend time with God and write.

Grace. 

I am not perfect, but I can calm the shouts of inadequacy and instead listen to the whisper that I will keep trying, keep moving forward because I am worth it.

Where do you need to extend some grace to yourself today? Which voice will you listen to? It determines the path you will take.

31 Days of Grace…even in a Toothache

“I’m worried about you, Tammy.”

These were the words expressed by a trusted friend as I shared my heart with her regarding my anxiety struggles with time and balance.

I looked at her. I knew she was right. If I didn’t listen to the warnings to slow down and breathe, God would find a way to grab my attention and do this for me. 

It came in the form of a massive toothache yesterday morning. I don’t think there is anything worse than a toothache. The side of my face was swollen. My head ached. I couldn’t eat. It hurt too much. 

I pushed through my day because that’s what I do. I am tough. I don’t have time to slow down. There are deadlines to meet. I went to a doctor’s appointment in the morning and left with an appointment for an ultrasound. Huge sigh… definitely don’t have time for that. Then, I worked a late night.

This morning, I was up by 4:30 working. When I let my boss know that I wasn’t feeling well but would be in a little while later, she had a different thought…stay home, take care of yourself.

I don’t do well at that (taking care myself).

Well, you are going to get better at that.

So, I have been to the dentist and have been awarded the patient with the most reactive body. The infection was not deep, just barely on the first root, but it was definitely infected. I walked away with two appointments for a root canal and a prescription for an antibiotic.

I am home now after waiting forever at the pharmacy. I am nursing a raging headache but I am resting and working. It is quiet.

God knows how to get my attention. Everything will be okay.

Breathe. Life is all about perspective. When you can see and feel the grace of God in a thumping toothache He uses to slow you down, you know you are loved deeply. Sure, maybe it’s not the way I would have preferred to be slowed down, but His ways are not our ways.

I received this in a text message today from that same friend:

Tammy, I  just love it when God gives that confirmation! You are definitely on the right track! Taking care of you is most important because that is indeed what God wanted to happen in your life. The rest will all fall into place under his plan.

Breathe…God’s grace is sufficient for me.

31 Days of Grace

I absolutely love rainbows.

This particular photo was caught one morning. There was no sign of rain yet here was this huge rainbow.

I felt something as I gazed at its beauty for a few minutes longer. It was as though God was whispering a promise that He would be right there alongside me.

I walked into that day right into a very difficult situation. God knew what awaited me. He was already there. He promised to be with me.

God’s grace. I wish I could say it was an easy situation I worked through but it was not. What happened, though, was I experienced God’s grace. Through this situation, I grew tremendously in my faith and trust in God to protect, provide, and take care of me.

God’s grace…in everyday moments if we are expectant and watchful. An unexpected morning rainbow can spill out colors of His grace and promises.

31 Days of Grace

31 days of grace.jpgIt’s that time again…the Write 31 days challenge. Every October, bloggers worldwide are invited to join in a challenge to write on a theme of choice every day during the month of October. To learn more…Write 31 Days

This year, I will be taking a moment each day to write about moments of everday grace. In the world we live in with so many negative things threatening to steal our joy, it is important to step back and not miss those moments of everyday grace.

I invite you to join me on this journey of 31 days of Grace.

Happy October!!!!

 

Just Enough…

I attended a wedding last night. It seems like Friday night weddings are becoming more popular. As the pastor delivered the wedding message, this phrase really resonated with me…

May you experience just enough failure that your hands stay tightly in His and may you experience enough success to know you are following His calling for your life.

I think we underestimate the importance of failure. I think we forget the value of learning from our mistakes. 

If we are brave enough to honestly look at our lives and allow God to peel back the layers, the areas where we need to surrender and grow are exposed.

Some of my most difficult moments in life have been wrapped up in failures. Yet, some of my most rewarding moments have been unraveled through those very same failures.

Enough failure to lean closely into God and enough success to smile and know…yup, God is working through the mess in my life.

I am reading In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. He believes that our trials have a way of helping us rediscover our purpose in life.

I have seen that play out in my life time after time.

Trust God. Embrace failure. Celebrate success. Seek your purpose in Christ. And chase those things you believe He is calling you to chase. Discover all you were created to be day by day!!


Rooted Trust

What do you root your trust in?

For He shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will it cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:8

Those two words jump out at me…fear and anxiety. 
I heard a pastor reference this passage and I have been reflecting and praying over it.

It’s not about our circumstances. Life is messy. It is about our response and where we root our trust. We don’t need to fear the situations that complicate our lives (the heat) because God can and will use these situations to produce good things in our lives. We need not be anxious when life feels like it is falling apart (the drought), because God sees the whole picture and is working in our lives.

It is easy to trust when things are going well, but this verse reminds me to keep my faith rooted in God despite my circumstances.

He can create good stuff in my life.