Give yourself Some Grace

I questioned myself. Why had I rescheduled my test for Friday morning? Sure, I had been ready Monday, and the IT issues were completely out of my control, but I knew I would be exhausted.

I was right. I was physically, mentally, and emotionally wiped out by Thursday night. A million worries traveled through the highway of thoughts in my brain as I tried to sleep. I settled myself with prayer praying through Philippians 4:6 and finally found peaceful sleep.

I woke up, had my coffee, reviewed my flashcards, and took a deep breath. This was it. As I prayed during my drive, I tried to recenter my focus. God was, is, has always been in control.

Well, no IT issues this time. I took advantage of every last second allotted for my test. Some questions were tough. I prayed several times throughout. When it was done, I took the papers from the proctor. They are handed to you facedown. I carried them that way and promptly stuffed them under my planner in my car.

I couldn’t bring myself to look at them.

Fear.

I wanted something tangible to bring me comfort. It was damp and raining. I drove to Starbucks and carried my overpriced comfort in a cup to my car. I drove down the street to a plaza full of restaurants, cafes, and stores and parked way out away from other cars.

I looked at those papers. What was I afraid of? Why was I being so dramatic? Fear of failing? Letting myself down? Letting others down? Financial worries of having to pay to test again?

My gaze fixed on the raindrops on my windshield.

Grace.

Sometimes, the hardest form of grace to extend is to ourselves.

So, I prayed. I prayed that I would be willing to accept whatever those papers said…pass or fail. I prayed that I would trust God no matter what. I prayed that I would believe His hand was in this.

With a deep breath, I opened the folded papers.

Passed. Passed.

The flood of tears immediately poured. Relief. Joy. Expectancy. Confirmation. Exhaustion.

But, most of all, the realization that I am growing in my trust in Him. I really was prepared for whatever those papers said.

Grace in every day places and spaces. Sometimes, it is to ourselves that we must extend grace to.

Give yourself some grace today.

#write31days #grace

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Grace Giver

I think this is all part of the test, Tammy.

These were the words spoken to me by our chaplain at work. He was referring to my struggles with the IT issues and having to reschedule a portion of my licensure exam.

The night prior, I had made the decision to extend grace towards the representatives on the other end of the phone. It certainly was not their fault I was in this situation.

After eight phone calls, I was definitely feeling frustrated, but I felt God asking me to be a grace giver. And, I knew my son was listening, too.

I am in a book study group reading Because He Loves Me:How Christ Transforms Our Daily Life by Elyse Fitzpatrick.

On the day of my test as I waited for two hours to see if I would be able to take my second round of tests, I read ahead in the book, grateful I had tossed it in my car. In chapter three, she talks about the concept of spiritual amnesia. She provides some real life everyday examples…a late repairman, a child who failed the spelling test, an overcrowded freeway… everyday encounters with life. She provides examples of grace responses and self-righteous responses.

This really stuck with me. I would say how ironic that the very place I read this would become the root cause of my extreme frustration just a short while later only I don’t believe in irony. I think God orchestrated the occasion.

I need opportunities to extend grace just as much as I need to recognize my need for grace.

So, maybe Pastor, you’re on to something…maybe there’s more to the test than what I anticipated.

And that, my friend, is a very good thing.

#write31days #grace

Grace through Frustration

Have you ever stopped to reflect the diverse array of emotions you experience in just one day?

Today I felt tired. I felt defeated. I felt fear. I felt hope. I felt appreciation. I felt gratitude. I felt frustration. I felt annoyance. I felt uncertainty. I felt reassurance. I felt confident.

I felt stillness. And, I felt wound up. In the words of my friend…just how much caffeine have you had??

Wow… that’s just one day in my life. So often, we experience one emotion followed by another…often the complete opposite. For instance, I might feel anxious over something only to then feel reassured by something else.

I read a devotional today about grace and confession. Confession of our sin and acceptance of the gift of grace from God go hand in hand. We can’t have one without the other.

When I began to recognize my anxiety for what it was and confess it to God, I began to more easily be able to receive His grace and the peace of surrendering my fear to Him. Believe me, it has been a journey.

Today, after eight phone calls, I finally spoke to a live person who was able to reschedule test. (Can you imagine what emotion I felt when she told me the computer screen she was looking at said I had been absent?!?) So, it is now rescheduled for a few days from now. I am going to study a few more days, but I am not going to stress myself out.

I was frustrated through this whole situation, but I reminded myself to stay calm while talking to the representatives. God’s grace in reminders to me that through the frustrations, glimpses of grace can be found.

My friend’s words echo in my mind… You’re so different. You are calmer now.

No, I am not perfect, but I am evidence of every day grace at work in every day places and spaces.

What is your everyday grace experience?

#write31days

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

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.