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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Sunshine Blogger Award

This is way overdue but please forgive me…I have been doing a lot of this lately.

No, it’s not relaxing. It is studying. A lot!! When I am not working, spending time with family, or sleeping, it has been study time.

I need to take a way overdue moment to say thank you!!

I really appreciated the blog award.

Check out my nominator’s blog…click here!!

Thank you, Barb!! I am sorry for my late delayed thank you!!

Now, to study some more!!

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?

Weekend Rain

I had good intentions for Saturday. I would awake early, exercise, clean, do other important things…but I slept on.

The pitter patter of rain with occasional rumblings of thunder. It’s a good day to sleep. Or read. Or do anything but what I should do.

Life has been completely spinning. This month, I spent 3 intensive weeks at a training. In between all that, we moved our daughter back to college. Work is busy with a lot going on. My house is screaming clean me!!

Yet, right now, the need to be still outweighs all else.

Still my mind. Still my body. Still my soul.

Listen to the rhythm of the rain.

Breathe in and trust everything will be okay in its own time.

As farmers appreciate the rain as soul food for their crops, I appreciate the rain as the permission this morning to be still.

Sometimes, you just need to listen to the rain.

Comfortable with Uncomfortable

I remember sharing a thought with a friend once…I don’t think God wants us comfortable.

In the valley of comfortable is the land of complacency, stagnation, and indifference. I have been there more than a few times.

In Joshua chapter 7, after experiencing a great victory, the people face a defeat. Joshua laments, Alas, Lord God, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all-to deliver us into the land of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan! For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name?

How does God answer him? Get up!!

How easy do we forget our victories when we are faced with challenges, defeats, and mountains??

I am not comfortable now. I am being stretched and challenged. More than once recently, I have felt God telling me to get up when I felt knocked down.

This morning, I can smile. I have had some challenging days, but I have sensed the Hand of God all over my life. Little things have caused me to step back and smile. Progress not perfection. Seeing my son interact in such caring ways with residents. Positive interactions with the staff and residents. Allowing myself to take feedback, reflect, and be willing to grow from it instead of internalizing and being defensive.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle, it can be hard to find the light in the desert.

The light is there. When we keep our eyes and thoughts fixed on God, it keeps our focus on where it should be. My friend, I don’t know what your life looks like, but if you are feeling uncomfortable…trust God to use your situation to stretch you and grow you closer to Him.

My Moments

It’s been a little while since I’ve been here. Life has been swirling around me a hundred miles an hour.

Today, I wanted to sleep in. My internal clock woke me hours before my alarm sounded. Except for the sound of my husband snoring beside me, it is still and quiet.

My dog nudges my arm. He misses me, too.

I could go back to sleep but a long list of things to do looms before me. I will face them. Like all things, this season shall pass.

For now, I will keep plugging away at the moments that fade into hours, into days, into weeks.

I hold onto moments. Sometimes, in those moments of frustration, exhaustion, or completely feeling overwhelmed, reflecting on moments is all I need to refresh my soul.

My moments are nature, family, friends, my dogs. What are yours?

God bless and I pray you may experience some moments of stillness, solitude, and beauty today.

Beauty in the Challenges

Beauty exists in challenging situations.

Why do I say this??

I certainly did not see the beauty in the moment. We were lost. It was dark. The roads were curvy. We were almost out of gas. Our cell phone and internet reception was extremely sketchy. We hit very treacherous high water and could not see the lines in the roads.

We followed the GPS to the last 5 minutes of our road trip only to find our road closed due to high water. Nothing existed in the sleepy town except for a church and a bar.

The beauty? When we are in situations where we feel completely helpless, those moments are great reminders to trust Him. God provides what we need when we need it.

We had just enough cell phone reception to call the cabin owner for alternative directions. A man walked out of the bar and told us to follow him to the closest town. The gas station was open. The road to the cabin from this route was dry. Our son helped us navigate the new directions and reminded us to work together.

This morning after a night of great sleep, I am thankful for safety. I am grateful for sun peeking through the trees. Although so much is going on in my world that feels overwhelming and uncertain, I know Who is guiding my path.

Don’t take a moment for granted.

Granted by Josh Groban