Grace in Every day Places and Spaces

Write 31… it’s that time of year again!!

I have been quiet here. My life has been spent like this…

Studying. When I haven’t been sleeping, eating, working, spending time with family, or at church, I have been studying. A lot.

Today was supposed to be the day.

I started the morning with my normal routine. I read a devotional on grace from a devotional my friend had given me. The author talked about grace not being all about comfort. Sometimes, God’s grace is what pulls us from one situation to another. Grace doesn’t always feel like grace. It’s not the fuzzy blanket and warm cup of tea on a cold day kind of comfort. The author cited the book of Judges where God set judges to save them, but they still wouldn’t change their ways. They couldn’t see grace in their everyday spaces and places.

Today, I pondered those words and reflected on something I had told my friend a few years ago. I don’t think God wants us comfortable.

Hear me out on this. When we are comfortable, we can easily become complacent. Growth doesn’t happen in the land of complacency.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

This verse has taken on new meaning for me. When my heart is focused on Christ and I delight in worshipping and being with Him everyday, then His desires for me become my desires for me.

Some days, it takes effort to recognize grace in everyday places and spaces. Like today. I conquered one test, but when I went to finish the last two, the testing center was experiencing technical difficulties, and I was told I would have to reschedule. I walked away disappointed. I confess…I cried out in tears once in the privacy of my car. I had been ready. I had prayed on the drive there.

Even if life doesn’t turn out like I want, I know His hand is there. Grace in everyday places and spaces.

I will get the test rescheduled.

All will be well. There are lessons in seasons of unexpected waiting.

That’s His grace in everyday places and spaces.

Join me for 31 days of everyday grace. #write31days #grace

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Bobbing in the Deep Blue

The peacefulness of a leisurely ride around the lake is my idea of a perfect lake day.

I have children and a grown-up child at heart husband, though. Their idea of a lake day involves tubing and skiing.

My husband tried to teach me how to ski once. That old wooden ski popped up and whacked me on the head. Even though his parents have since purchased newer skis, my desire to learn to ski drowned in the bottom of the lake years ago.

Tubing is not my friend, either. Something about being dumped off a tube and left bobbing in the deep blue as I wait for the boat to rescue me leaves me feeling so vulnerable and out of control.

Those are two things that I do not like. Vulnerability and lack of control.

Surely, I am not the only one out there who hates that feeling…

And yet, this is exactly the place God has allowed me to swim in this current season. The waters have been rocky at times. When you stand before uncertain times as I have been and yet can be calm and trust God to guide you through, then that my friend is peace.

Jesus said in John 14:27 (NLT)… “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

In Exodus 14:14…the Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.

And another great reminder….Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

Some seasons in life are just simply hard. They test our faith and endurance. In the end, they are great opportunities to grow in our faith and trust that God is truly in control.

My pastor had a great word of encouragement to continue to trust and persevere in our faith walk….blessings come with investment.

So, keep on walking and swimming in your faith.

And in my laking case? I did end up tubing with a friend asking our husbands to please take us at a slow pace. We trusted them and guess what? They were true to their promise.

I will likely never find myself on skis like my daughter, but I will keep plunging along in faith despite the uncertainty of the future.

Sometimes, a little vulnerability and uncertainty while you bob in the deep blue is exactly what we need in order to find ourselves exactly where God can allow our faith to grow.

Have you ever found yourself bobbing in the deep blue waters of uncertainty?

Opportunities

I needed to laugh.

Tonight, after a day of tears and self reflection, I told my son I needed a funny movie. As he scrolled through options on Netflix, I suggested Evan Almighty. J remembered watching it a few years ago at a family movie night at church shortly after he joined our family from the blessings of adoption.

Evan Almighty is a modern day tale of the Biblical account of Noah’s Ark in the book of Genesis.

Hearing my son cackle to the funny parts of the movie was enough alone to bring a smile to my face.

Then, it happened…that serious moment of wisdom you need to hear and hold onto. God can and will use anything and everything to grab our attention if we are open and attentive.

When Morgan Freeman speaks, there is something dignified about the deepness of his voice especially when he is playing the role of God.

Watch this short clip from the movie…Opportunities from God

When we pray for patience, God doesn’t give us patience, He gives us opportunities for patience. You can fill in the blank with another word…hope, peace, forgiveness…

I have been praying for my leadership to be Christlike. Being a leader can feel very, very lonely. In the midst of these challenging moments, I realize God has been providing opportunities for me to be a stronger leader.

Sigh…no one ever said striving to walk the Christian life would be easy.

What are you praying for today? Be open for the opportunities God provides as answers to your prayers. Opportunities create growth in our walk with Christ and build our Christian character.

I would love to hear about the opportunities God has provided you with to grow in your Christian walk.

Keep your eyes on the path ahead.

Farther Along

I know I have been a bit quiet on here lately. My current season of life is a bit intense. I am working towards my dream of long term care administration. Long term care is not for the faint of heart.

I had a family member of a resident ask me this week if I love my job. We talked about the joys of long term care. She shared with me how hard she thought it would be. I shared with her how I feel like it is my calling.

So, here I am farther along in that dream than I was just a few years ago, even months ago. As I listened to a sermon on the way into work, something the pastor said really resonated with me. When God is calling us to something, He doesn’t reveal all His promises before we jump in and say yes, Lord. He wants our obedience, our trust, and our willingness to take the risk before we see the promise of the finish line.

I said yes a few years ago and left a comfortable job close to home in order to follow the direction I felt Him calling me. It has been a journey of growth and discovery ever since. I am learning about myself and learning to trust God without knowing all the answers. There is a peace that comes with this level of trust.

I believe that when we trust God with our hopes, our dreams, and our fears, and we step out in faith, He is more than faithful. This is one of my favorite passages from Isaiah.

But forget all that–it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT

Each day in the journey of trust brings us farther along.

This has become a favorite song of mine in this season. Farther Along by Josh Garrels Anyone that knows me well knows a quirky thing about me is that I have favorite songs in seasons and listen to them over and over. This is my current play over and over song. I need to be reminded that I am farther along than I was yesterday.

Farther along…every day we are farther along in our journey of faith and life.

Take time to reflect and enjoy the journey.

Greater Than Ourselves

Sometimes, you just know everything is going to be okay.

Your college age daughter may dump her clothes by the door, but she is home for the holidays. A clean house is not important.

You willingly spend almost six hours in the car to attend the funeral of your friend’s dad because you know she needs you and there is no other place you want to be at that moment but there supporting her.

God keeps reminding me of the joy in the everyday stuff of life. Life is not easy. It’s messy. It’s sad. It’s just plain tough at times. 

Working with elders has taught me an important life lesson at a young age. The things that matter in life are the meaningful relationships we create along our journey. Every day, we have the opportunity to touch lives through our words, actions, and love. 

As I sat in the funeral today, I felt part of something greater than myself. I witnessed the impact one man had on multiple lives. For many reasons, I am thankful God has blessed me with the joy of this friendship and the opportunity to know this family. Only God could have allowed our paths to intersect.

In the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 instructs us to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Sometimes, we get so caught up in trying to figure out God’s will for our lives. I think it is spelled out pretty clearly in those verses.

Rejoice…pray…give thanks…in all circumstances, not some but all.

What if we truly lived by those words? We aren’t perfect people, but we can love other imperfect people. 

My friend is teaching me this very thing…love others well. Her dad’s life and love for others over his years was so evident today.

As I reflect on our drive home, these thoughts come to mind.

1. Life is hard but filled with meaningful life lessons if we are open to the everyday moments.

2. People need us. We need people. Everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. Be kind. Listen more than talking.

3. Rejoice…look for the everyday blessings. They are there.

4. Pray about everything.

5. Thank God. He is working even when we can’t see it.

6. When we trust God with our lives, He will bless us.

I felt it today…the love of others, the love of God. 

Life is greater than ourselves.

Journey with Courage

I love as I begin to type in the word “courage” in my title, my phone suggests the word coffee. Yes, these past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind, and coffee definitely has fueled me on my journey!!


Perhaps a little too much lately. My posting has been more sporadic since the Write 31 day challenge ended in October. Life has a way of shifting priorities. 
Ever been there before?

I remember a pastor stating very clearly that sometimes the very thing standing in the way of God’s will in our lives is ourselves.

Living by faith is a daily, moment by moment journey. It is not easy. I know this in my heart, but when life gets crazy then sometimes I just want to say…I can’t do this anymore… it’s just too hard.

I have felt a bit on auto pilot recently. I have the “To Do” lists. I knock the items off one by one. I press on. I am tired. I want to embrace the joy of the season, and I do in captured moments, but they don’t seem to sustain me. 

Enter Joseph. The Christmas story often focuses on Mary and of course, Jesus, as it should, but do we spend enough time thinking about Joseph? The pastor today dedicated his message on Joseph. We talked about the extreme faith, trust, and obedience Joseph demonstrated. He trusted God’s Word. He honored and loved Mary. He protected her and this baby, Jesus.

Joseph journeyed with courage. He was willing to go on an unknown journey to trust the provision of God and His direction.

Which brings me back to my present state of mind and where I am.

Do I have the courage to follow the call of God in my life? 

Do you?

With our finances? With our jobs? With our health? With our families? With those dreams so dear and precious to us that we dare not share out loud?

Are we willing to trust God on the journey He is calling us to take?

Life offers too much to live on autopilot.

When we step in obedience and stay alert listening to His direction, He is faithful and will be with us each step of the way.

May we have courage in our journey as Joseph did so many years ago. 

Embrace the Journey

Is it okay to make a decision without knowing the answer?
If you had asked me that question a year or so ago, my answer would be different than it is today.

List maker. Planner. Goal setter.

That’s me. 

You can check off and highlight items on a list. 

What happens, though, when we come to a crossroads in our lives and we need to make a decision? Do we make the “safe” decision with a clear path and answer? Or do we dare make a decision that once we check off the “safe” things, we are left with more questions than answers?

What do I mean by this? 
I mean those times when you feel God tug on your heart towards the other direction…the one that doesn’t feel safe and that doesn’t have the clear end to your destination. 

I am on such a journey. A step of faith…one I don’t completely understand or even like at times because it’s hard, really hard. I know the desires and dreams in my heart. They are written down. Remember, I said I was a list maker? Even my dreams are recorded in a notebook. Especially my dreams. They are tucked away in the sacred pages where I record the whispers of my heart.

As I wrestle with the path I am on and where it will lead, I am humbly reminded I do not need to know the end result. I need to be faithful in my response. This is what God asks. It is a lesson in releasing fear and choosing to trade anxiety for trust. 

I don’t believe in coincidence so I wasn’t surprised when my writing friend sent me the link for a blog post. The blog post entitled “How I Made a Hard Decision,” spoke to my heart. It reminded me that God-led decisions require us to relinquish control. Knowing the destination is less important than the journey to find our way there.

I also found myself meandering through the bookstore last night on a rainy night with coffee in hand and a son enthralled with the Star Wars section. Again, not a coincidence. My eyes wandered to this little book which I have already started reading and reflecting over.

What decision stands before you?

A journey starts with one small, brave step in obedience. The journey is always about the journey.

God will lead you to the destination, but I think He has so much in mind for the journey.

God already knows where you are headed.

Write down your dreams.

Embrace the journey.