God, grow me…

I should have anticipated this might be a hard week. I should have expected it would not be easy. As I struggled and wrestled through some difficult issues last weekend, I found myself at the one place I know can make all the difference…on my knees.

I prayed through these situations last Saturday in the quiet of my home. I felt uncertainty. I felt like a failure. The tears flowed freely as I prayed, “God grow me.”

I kept praying through the weekend and as the week started. I prayed. I’m​ not going to sugar coat this…it wasn’t easy. The anxiety was at an all time high. I woke up in the middle of the night with anxiety. I have learned, though, what to do when the anxiety strikes. I pray through Philippians 4:6-7. It helps the breathing to calm so I can I sleep and so the dark clouds of doubt do not overshadow peace.

As I worked through the issues, God was there. In the midst of my anxiety, He was there. Anxiety tries to tell you the worse thing possible. It tries to blind you from all the positive things around you. I know. I have lived in the land of anxiety.

This time, I decided I would not stay in that land. I would pray through the anxiety. I would take ownership. I would share my reflections, my ah-ha moment with someone. I did. God extended His grace. God answered my prayers​ and continues to answer my prayers…God, grow me.

What does it mean to be a better person? People say this a lot…but what does it mean? To be a Godly leader, a good mom and wife, and a loyal friend…so much truth is found in Proverbs. 
For me, this concept of being a “better person” is grounded in “God, grow me.” It is being open to His teaching, His loving discipline, and His revelation of areas in my life where I need developed and refined.

I told my amazing leader that growth is painful. She provided a much different perspective for me in her response…”Growth is exciting.”

She’s right, so right. 

Tonight, something I saw something on Facebook related to my issues from this past week triggered an anxiety attack. I wasn’t staying there. I prayed. My friend prayed for me. I went for a walk. I filled my soul with life breathing words of truth through the music flowing from my headphones to my ears to my heart.

Yes, God’s grace is so sweet. Dear friend, don’t give up. Stay the course. Stay very, very close to Him. And don’t be afraid of growth…it is so exciting. It may seem slow. It may be subtle. If God is in the midst of it, it is worth celebrating!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 NIV
Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you. Psalm 37:5 NLT
You see, when God gives a grace gift and issues a call to a people, He does not change His mind and take it back. Romans 11:29

The Circle Principle 

The speaker at the Weekend to Remember marriage retreat held up a rope and then tossed it on the floor and stepped inside of it. He cautioned us all…”you might be tempted this weekend to think about all the things that need changed about your spouse, but I want you to focus on the person inside the circle: you.”

Very, very good words. I took them to heart. I applied them, and I looked inward at my own heart, my own attitude, my own actions, my own shortcomings. It truly was powerful. 

Then, we came home and stepped back into reality. We went to work. I was determined to let the life changing experience of the weekend to infuse itself into my everyday life. 

As I walked through the day, I prayed over moments of frustration and anxiety although it was a fight to not slip back into old thought patterns of anxiety. I repeated words of Scripture of His promises to carry me through.

Later, as the work day ended, I learned of a situation involving people. I listened. My mind jumped to my own judgements. And just like that, I was reminded of the circle principle. It applies to more than just my relationship with my husband.

What if we focused less on our judgement of others and more on our response to them? We can’t change people. We can’t always change situations. What we can do is change our response. We can respond in love, in kindness, in compassion. We can turn those initial judgements into powerful prayers. 

We can focus on changing the person inside the circle and extend grace to those outside the circle.

31 Days of Gratitude: Grace

The past couple days have been filled with challenges and anxiety. God has been speaking to me and revealing some areas where I need to release to Him and trust.

Anxiety is very real, but it is based on fear and not faith. The reality is that the majority of our fears never ever happen. We spend so much time on terrifying what ifs.

Instead, what if we surrendered those fears and anxieties to God? What if we trusted Him with the most challenging, scary situations in our lives? What if we opened our eyes to the lessons in the challenges? Maybe even see some joy in the challenges?

What if we accepted His grace?

Grace is the free and undeserving favor He pours out onto us to intercede in our challenges, our struggles, our anguish, and heart cries.

God has been showing up time after time extending His grace in this situation I have been struggling with. His grace has nothing to do with my performance. Nothing. 

The painful lessons of growth that He is teaching me…fear, anxiety, performance, perfection are not of Him, nor what He desires for me.

Instead, I need to listen. To watch Him work. To have faith He’s got this. To wait on Him. To trust.

Embrace His grace.

Are you going through a challenging situation? Does life feel impossible? Are you focused on your mistakes, that you have messed up once again? Are you trying to fix something or someone but you just can’t seem to make it work? Are you trying to figure it all out?

You know what???

You don’t have to fix anything or figure it out.

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 NKJV

Like a free fall…let go and trust Him to extend grace and catch you. He shall bring it to pass.

His Grace Covers me….even at Costco

Yesterday was one of those days. When you spend your day working with people, some days are guaranteed to be well, more emotional than others. Yesterday was one of those heart-wrenching emotional days at work. And, it was a looong day. So, by the time I arrived at Costco, I was spent emotionally, physically, and mentally, and I still had a 40 minute drive home. Thankfully, it was a Monday, and Costco was not very busy. (This meant fewer samples when I was starving and hadn’t eaten dinner, but plus side, fewer people, shorter lines).

I picked up all my items as well as several items for my work. The friendly cashier reassured me that she could ring everything up and then subtotal the two orders to allow me to pay with two different payment sources. Fine, that would work. I paid for my personal order. Then, I pulled out the prepaid debit card to pay for the order for my work. Oops…I hadn’t realized I needed to activate the card. The cashier told me no worries, go ahead. So, I activated it. She then very kindly reminded me that I needed a pin number. I apologized again…because now I needed to call the number on the prepaid debit card to set up a pin number. While I was doing this, she patiently and kindly offered to move the lady’s items who was in line behind me to the next aisle so she would not have to wait. She explained to the lady that I was having card issues. (Actually, it was my lack of preparation considering I had not pre-activated my card, but I appreciated her choice of words). Finally, I had a pin and paid for the items. The cashier was so kind, so patient with. Sure, it probably helped that it was Monday, and lines were non-existent, but perhaps she could read how tired I was, on the brink of tears-just ready to be home with my family and eat dinner that was waiting in my slow cooker. This cashier could have provided a totally different experience for me if she had been impatient or short with me.

I thanked her, and as I walked away, I thanked God for allowing me to experience grace at Costco. After a long, emotional day at work, I needed this grace, and He knew exactly what I needed when I needed it. God’s like that. He takes care of us and always provides a lesson…He never lets go of us.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”          2 Corinthians 12:9

In our weakest moments, He is our strength. He will carry us through. His grace is enough. Even at Costco.

His grace