This is Brave.

It’s fall finally, and the leaves are falling. As I walked Quill this morning, the reds, oranges, and yellows lay scattered in a disorganized leaf array making me grateful I have no trees in my yard.

I walked this morning to clear my head. It is my Saturday morning ritual, and one Quill has come to know and expect.

Anxiety is a real thing. If you have ever suffered an anxiety attack, then you know the strength it takes to pull yourself out of one. You must find coping skills.

Walking is my therapy. Music. Quiet time with God in solitude to calm the voices in my mind. These walks are my peace. They recharge me.

This morning, I stopped at a bench. My favorite walking path, an old railroad track transformed to a walking path nestled between trees. Quill calmed, sat obediently beside me as I journalled on my phone note pad app. Then, we walked some more.

I know many people who function with anxiety. They are successful people-professionals, teachers, administrators, mothers, fathers, students. They are thriving, sometimes surviving, but they are brave people. Pulling yourself, pushing yourself, and refusing to give in to anxiety is an act of bravery.

The word fear is in the Bible so many times. God knew we would face fear and anxiety.

As I walked today, I reflected on the leaves. The disorganized chaos they create as they fall. Life with anxiety can feel like that, but I must keep walking and keep pressing on.

My thought for the day-be nice to people. Extend grace everyday in every place. We never know the journey a person may be taking.

Here are some of my favorite verses to help me walk through the anxiety and press on. I hope they bring you hope and peace.

#write31days #grace

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Grace like Rain

There’s a song that comforts my weary soul today.

Grace like Rain

I had a moment today where I felt His grace like rain washing over me. Grace was poured out upon me like rain as forgiveness was extended. It had been a challenging situation, the type that wakes me at night. It had been the focus of much prayer last week. And, there, in that moment, His grace like rain was so evident.

So how fitting that Pastor would preach on suffering this week. Not usually a popular subject but one that is real and applicable to life. Of course, I would rather be comfortable, but trials bring me to my knees dependent on His grace. Suffering doesn’t have to be this huge intense trial. Sometimes, the day to day stuff that really bogs us down can be great reminders to trust Him with every detail of our lives. Let His light of grace shine through and His grace fall like rain.

Grace in Broken Places

Scroll through Facebook or Instagram and if you allow yourself, it is easy to fall into the trap (and lies) that everyone else has his or her life together and well, you’re just a hot mess.

I’ve been in this place. I think we all have in one way or another. My life hasn’t exactly followed the trajectory of events I had planned.

I had a rough day recently. Work issues. Family issues. Feeling as though I am getting sick. Those feeling of anxiety, worry, inadequacy, insecurities all wanted to creep in causing my sleep to be restless.

I read a post this morning reminding me to start my day by offering it to God. Read here

It was the reminder I needed to stop and remember who is always in control. Grace is found in those broken places and spaces in our lives. We aren’t called to fix everything when everything feels out of control.

When I think back on my life to those times of struggle and then reflect where I am now, I can see the growth and lessons I learned. Whether it was through life as young parents, illness, financial issues, our son’s adoption, or countless other moments of feeling uncertain, afraid, or broken over the years, God’s grace has seen me through.

Keep trusting. Keep listening. His grace fills all your broken places.

#write31days #grace

Grace in the Storm

As a friend shared his son’s struggles with my husband and myself, he made a comment that has been marinating in my mind. He said that he has never really struggled with much in his life so he couldn’t really reference those struggles to any of his experiences. Then, he looked at us and said, “You guys have struggled so much, but you have always trusted God.”

Have we? Have I?

It has stopped me a bit in my thought pattern in my current situations.

That same Sunday, our pastor reminded us that our situation does not have authority over us. As children of God, we have the power of His love, mercy, and grace through any storm.

As I reflect back over the past twenty years of my life, there have been multiple storms. Some were so intense that I questioned whether I would make it through. Although my fears attempted to scream louder than my faith at times, my friend is right about one thing-I trusted God.

Each struggle has been just that- a struggle. Every struggle has also been an opportunity to cross that threshold between faith and fear and step out into the journey of trusting Him without seeing the end of the path. Oh, that’s hard, but there’s a whole lotta grace along the journey.

Struggles have purpose, and God’s grace is sufficient for us.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Whatever you may be struggling with today, remember to keep His promises close to your heart. His grace is all you need.

#write31days #grace

Seeping Words

The best thing I heard in worship this morning was this…Let the Word of God seep into your soul as a bag of tea seeps in a cup of hot water.

I love a warm cup of tea at night to calm me before bed. (And yes, I love this mug as well…I am a work in progress). The water starts clear and then slowly absorbs the tea as it travels through the tiny holes. The longer it seeps, the stronger the tea.

I want the Word of God to be like that in my life. The longer I meditate on His Words and allow them to seep into my soul, the stronger my understanding of His love, mercy, and grace will become. I desire for my thrist for His Words to become greater so that nothing else will satisfy that thrist.

#write31days #grace

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

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