Coffee Talks

Saturday morning coffee with a friend whom I haven’t seen in a while… exactly what I needed.

I met this friend in the midst of a challenging work environment where we both worked closely together to make the best out of a difficult situation. To reflect where we are both now and the journey we have taken to reach this point was encouraging. It was so encouraging to share with one another our growth and to have a shared frame of reference from where we began.

I love how God intertwines our stories with the stories of others. Relationships matter. Sometimes, they have the most unlikely of beginnings. Sometimes, they form in the most difficult moments. God knows who we need when we need them. So many of my friendships have been connections where I can truly reflect and know God placed that person in my life for a reason.

Conversation over coffee is sometimes exactly what you need.

This verse has been comforting to me this week…The righteous person will have many troubles, but the Lord will rescue him from each one. Psalm 34:19

Rescue doesn’t mean life isn’t hard, but it means God is with us and will help see us through. I believe the gift of friendship is one of the ways God rescues us.

My conversation with my friend this morning reminded me the many ways God has rescued me and carried me over the past few years.

Sometimes a cup of coffee with a friend helps put everything back in perspective.

When is the last time you set up a coffee or dinner date with a friend? Maybe it’s time.😊

***two unlikely friends***

Advertisements

Grace Every Place

As the #write31days challenge comes to an end, I have enjoyed actively seeking, discovering, and sharing moments of grace in my life with you.

I love pouring over the Psalms. It is in those words in the quiet morning moments before I start my busy day or in a few stolen moments of stillness at work or the final thoughts to still my ever racing mind before I drift off to sleep that I discover His promises of comfort, hope, peace, stillness, and grace.

I want to close this 31 day journey of Grace with a message from the Psalms…

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. Psalm 34:19

That my friend is God’s grace. When we choose to live the life to follow Christ and stand by and live by what we believe in Him, we will still continue to face trouble. That’s just life. God, though, is faithful and true. 

Stay connected to Him through prayer. His grace finds us. 

Resting in His Grace

I needed to read these words. I needed to be reminded that God’s way is perfect. When my plans unravel, His purpose prevails.

Today, I simply need to rest in His grace and quit trying to figure out things that are honestly beyond my control.

It is another reminder to be still and trust.


I believe in plans. I love lists. I have goals, hopes, and dreams. God knows my heart. I need to be watchful, listening to His voice, and trust His plan for my life.

An Altered Course

Sometimes, things unravel.

Sometimes, when everything seems to be falling in place, something suddenly alters from what you thought was the perfect laid out course.

And, just like that, your “perfect” course is no more. 

Yesterday, I received news that alters my course and leaves my well developed plan now feeling uncertain. The news wasn’t earth shattering. In fact, there was an element of joy in news. It just wasn’t my personal joy to celebrate, but then again, it’s not about me.

I trust God in this. I trust I am still on the course He desires for me. I’m just not going to be traveling the course in the way I thought, but I know I need to stay the course.


I have to cling to what I know. That’s the thing about God’s Word. When circumstances alter, His Word remains constant. His grace is still there. 
Yesterday, I read this: “Here is the great irony about opportunities. They usually come disguised as insurmountable problems.” Mark Batterson, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.

Today, the truth in that statement feels just a little bit more real…a little more personal.

And what is the message to me in this? 

Maybe grace is disguised in these difficult moments. Maybe, hopefully, I will look back and see how this time only served to grow me and stretch me more.

It’s not about me. 

His plan will prevail. 

Can I trust what’s next without knowing?

Can you trust your plans to God?

Grace in Mistakes

I hate making mistakes. Who doesn’t?

Mistakes, though, can be the catalyst for change, growth, and success in our lives.

Here are some great quotes on mistakes…

  • Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. Albert Einstein
  • Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? L.M. Montgomery
  • Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. Mahatma Ghandhi
  • We learn from failure, not success! Bram Stoker
  • The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. Elbert Hubbard

That last quote really resonates with me. I had a boss once tell me to stop second guessing myself and to make a decision and be okay with it. Why was I second guessing myself? The fear of making a mistake.

Being afraid to make a mistake can be so paralyzing for our potential growth.

As much as we all hate to make mistakes, if we change our perspective on mistakes, they can become amazing growth opportunities. Here are a few things I am learning about my own growth.

  1. Own your mistakes but don’t let them paralyze you.
  2. Talk through them with a trusted friend or mentor.
  3. Step back from the personal element of it and think how you might respond or handle it differently next time.
  4. Develop a plan to help you so you don’t make the same mistake again.
  5. Extend grace to yourself… success is progress, not perfection.

When you are blessed with the gift of a great leader, friend, mentor who sees your potential and desires to help you grow and succeed, accept the gift of their grace in your life.

The most important thing? Pray. Share your fears with God. Confess your shortcomings. Ask and seek His wisdom and guidance in your decision making and leadership. 

His grace finds us wherever we are including in our mistakes.

Breathing through the Clutter

Clutter. 

This past Sunday, I came home from church and looked around at the current situation of my downstairs. From the busyness of our lives, everything had become cluttered. Nothing was in its place.

My life had been feeling a bit cluttered, too. I was spiraling from feeling as though things were out of place.

With the “voluntold” help of my husband and son, we spent hours decluttering and organizing our downstairs that day. An unwanted chair that had become my son’s dumping station for school stuff was taken to Goodwill. An old couch was placed on a Facebook garage sale group and sold. We picked up, we pitched, we organized. 

The minimalist look of my front room, my reorganized laundry area, and my scaled down living room have left me with breathing space.

I needed to declutter.

I needed some whitespace.

Life gets like this. 

Sometimes, we need to declutter the distractions around us and quiet the noise. We need to evaluate all the things that compete for our time and decide what really matters to us.

Sometimes, we have to say no to something so that we can say yes to something else. Sometimes we need to strip down our lives to the essential things that matter most.

We have to fight through the noise of the clutter so we can catch our breath.

This morning, I sit in my living room. The hum of a light is my only noise. I savor these moments before I must begin the day. 

A life uncluttered, focused on those things most dear to my heart, Christ as the foundation…that is the life I seek.

What “clutter” in your life might you be able to declutter so that you can see more clearly and catch your breath?

Exposed

I am on vacation. So, why, oh why does my body insist on me being awake at 6:30? 🤔 And to add to this, there is a time change so it was really just 5:30 when I popped out of bed, mind already racing with thoughts.

We are staying in a restored farmhouse tucked away in the woods. Our friends whose son is also from the same orphanage as our son are here with us. It is a great time of fellowship with family and friends.

I find that I best disconnect from my day to day life in places like this. I need to be in the nature, away from the noises of the world. 

This morning, sleep is eluding me so I have escaped to the basement. Here, it is quiet…just me and my thoughts.

Down here, I look up at the ceiling. Everything is exposed. Nothing is hidden.

Have you ever felt like this? My friend and I have talked about feeling as though our lives are being peeled away layer by layer much like an onion. As I pray to grow closer to God, things about myself, areas in my life, suddenly feel very exposed.

The definition of expose is to make something visible. When things and areas in our lives become exposed even if just to our own awareness, it can leave us feeling vulnerable. Typically, I think most people would agree, this doesn’t feel good. When we feel emotions of guilt, shame, anxiety, weakness…it doesn’t feel very comforting. 

I came across this passage in the Psalms…

Search me, O God, and know my heart;

test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Point out anything in me that offends you,

and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24

The psalmist was inviting God to search his thoughts, to expose anything of offense. Why would he ask this knowing God already knows? I believe when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, when we willingly invite God to examine our hearts and lives, I believe He will expose areas in our lives that may feel much like layers of an onion being peeled back.

I look up at the open ceiling again. I can see the light bulb. I see wires, a nail, a cobweb. Nothing is hidden from my sight. 

Are we willing to be this transparent with God? With others whom we trust who can help us grow? 

Feeling exposed isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is what we do with these feelings that makes all the difference in our lives. When we understand how our behaviors and feelings impact our motivations and actions, then we can understand and begin to make changes.

For example, being told I second guess myself by someone initially upset me, but as I prayed and reflected over it, I have been able to see and understand the reasons I have second guessed myself and to now change my thinking.

Being brave enough to confront our areas of exposure in our lives can open doors to some exciting opportunities for personal, professional, emotional, and spiritual growth. Keeping a prayer journal, having a prayer partner, and spending time with God in spaces where you can disconnect from the flow of life even if just for a few minutes, will help funnel exposure into growth.

Are you willing to invite God to search your heart and thoughts? You don’t have to walk this journey alone.