One of my big struggles is recognizing my worth. My worth in my husband’s eyes and in God’s. This stems from a difficult childhood. Those skeletons that rattle their words of “if you weren’t worth it in their eyes what makes you think you’re worth it now?”
It is a very hard thing to get over.
My favorite passage in the Bible is Psalm 139 for this reason. It is truth I must hold onto. But it’s easy to believe what the enemy wants me to hear.
Yesterday I was on my way home from work. Traffic was heavy due to two car accidents on the opposite side of the freeway. As I practiced patience and my best effort at keeping the 3 second rule between me and the car in front of me, God’s voice thundered through the car. A song I’ve listened to countless times hit me, and within seconds my eyes filled with tears and I spent the rest of my drive meditating on these words:
As I thought on this phrase all I could think was, if God knows each star by its name and placed it in its precise location by that name….how much MORE does He do that for me?
He created me. He knit me inside my mother’s womb – with a propensity for running into doors, introverted, ten fingers & ten toes, and occasionally naturally curly/wavy hair.
He calls me by name. A name known before He whispered the stars to their places.
“i think it’s too easy to rush through life packing and moving and working and sleeping and forget about the importance of breathing in His grace. it’s all around us, you know.” – Elora
I’m not sure why it took me so long to think of this. I’ve been trying to inundate myself in grace and its concepts. Pulling it over my face like a veil and wrapping it around my body and heart like a a shawl. Living and breathing it.
If I want to steep myself in grace, it makes sense that I keep record of them. My only regret is I didn’t start the beginning of the year.
0001 His head on my arm in the mornings before he has to leave for work.
0002 The continuous desire and need to read through the Bible.
0003 Chatting with friends online who “get” us.
0004 His thinking I’m beautiful when I’m not feeling it.
0005 Feeling rain on my hand as I drive with my arm out the window.
0006 Anticipation of what God is doing.
0007 Husband’s calm to my storms. His balance to my imbalance.
0008 Reveling in the power of thunder and finding hope in it.
0009 Getting lost in a story, whether a book or movie.
0010 God whisper to you elements of grace in the most unexpected places.
My children are perfect. Seriously. They always behave themselves. They clean their rooms and listen the first time. They never talk back and don’t scream at deafening decibels when we’re in public. They are respectful to everyone and never, ever throw tantrums.
My children are perfect because I don’t have any, and I’ve contrived in my mind what my children (should we be blessed) will act like.
The truth is, it’s very unlikely that our children will act like this all the time.
My friend Jessica Bowman recently published an eBook: Parenting Wild Things – Embracing the Rumpus. In it she gives Biblical principles, common sense, practical advice in not only rearing our children but ways to keep our insanity level low.
She reminds us that our children are not the criminals we tend to make them, but inquisitive, new to this planet beings who are learning how to live and act in this new environment. And treating our children the way that we, as adults, would like to be treated.
This is one my favorite lines:
“If we strive to train up our children in respect and love, they will learn to model that behavior back to us and towards others. There is no better teacher than example. So, go: treat your children the way you want them to treat you, and reap the rewards of a God honoring relationship in the process.”
We don’t have children, yet, but I guarantee Jessica’s book will be a companion should God bless us.
Several years ago I fell head over heels for a guy. When said guy informed me he didn’t share my same sentiments I did what any “good” Christian 20 year old young woman does when her heart’s been broken into a million pieces. I threw a tantrum. I became angry. I blamed God. I told God I wanted nothing to do with Him.
It took a about a month for me to get my act together and repent. I remember it was a Good Friday service and my heart felt so heavy and so bitter. I knew I was wrong. Through tears and probably mangled words I confessed to our college group leader’s wife. It took a while for me to get back to the place I was before I’d cursed at God.
I share this because I was reminded of it yesterday when I nearly stomped my feet and shouted, “NO! NO! NO! This isn’t how it’s supposed to be!!” Yes, even at 36 I can throw some pretty righteous tantrums.
But I want to stop for a moment and explain something. As my heart raced and I ground my feet into the floor to prevent stomping from occurring, I had to stop and breathe. The very thing I was freaking out about God saying no to, is something that I actually, firmly believe He may be saying yes to. This is not a contrived feeling in my heart based on my selfish desires, but something that has been gone over (and continues to) with much prayer.
And when I slowed my breathing, and took my fears out of the voices and anger racing through my head, I heard this: “Yes may be the answer, but what are you going to do if I say no? I need you to be okay with it if I say no.”
This doesn’t magically make my heart okay. It helps, but it doesn’t mean that I am all better. That is a process in trusting and having faith no matter what the answer ends up being.
I believe that there are times God leads us through tests simply to see how we’ll react and to do as He did yesterday and remind me that no still is on the table and if He says no I need to be okay with it.
I don’t want a repeat of 15 years ago. I never want to be in that state of heart again. I need to consistently remind myself that just as there is a possibility of yes, there is just as much possibility of no. I need to remind myself to trust that whatever ends up being the end result His best for me has always and will always be His motivator.
Yesterday was an incredibly challenging and taxing day, today will be more of the same.
So, today, I want to hear from you.
We all have experienced grace in one form or another. We live it. We breathe it. We wear it like skin.
Aside from grace of salvation, share your most memorable or favorite or cherished story of grace. It can be your own story or that of someone near and dear to you.
Paul writes in Romans that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice – and I can’t think of a greater thing to rejoice over than grace received and given.
Reading through the Bible I’m learning a lot. This would seem fairly obvious but I’m also realizing that I have to be intentional about having an open heart and not simply reading it to be able to say I read the entire Bible. It’s easy just to read it as I would any other book and not allow it to penetrate my soul.
I recently finished reading the Books of the Law: Genesis – Deuteronomy. With the exception of the first 11 chapters of 1 Chronicles Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy were the most challenging. God repeating to Moses and the people His laws. His sacrificial requirements.
I was thinking about the sacrifices last night. Here’s the notes I jotted down:
◙ The Israelites were required to offer sacrifices every day. One in the morning and one in the evening. In addition, there were sin offerings, peace offerings, offerings if you were a woman after every cycle, offerings after you gave birth, and the list goes on. Sacrifices were just that a sacrifice. God required the best. He wouldn’t settle for second best.
◙ The aroma of the sacrifices would have permeated the Israelite camp. If you’ve ever driven by or walked by a steak house or walked out of your house while someone is grilling burgers you know that the air around is heavy laden with with the scent of cooking meat. With at least two sacrifices daily, the aroma would have clung to their cloths, their tents, everything. They would have constantly been reminded of the offerings they made to God.
◙ The sacrifices were not consumed. The offerings were the sustenance for the priests and Levites.
◙ To not offer sacrifices was not only robbing God, but also the men were leading them spiritually.
Here is what this means for me (and you):
God wants our best. We are unable to live perfect, sinless lives but we are required to live holy lives. Living our lives for Him and not our own selfish desires.
As I daily offer my sacrifice to God the aroma of that will permeate every aspect of my life. I’ll make wiser choices. I’ll choose truth over lies, and holiness over sin.
I think the fact that the sacrifices were not consumed is what hit me the most. God did not simply rain down fire to consume the flour or ram or wine. They were offered God accepted and blessed the people. God will not consume me when I give my daily sacrifice. He will accept and bless and enable me to offer myself to Him the next day and the day after that.
When I choose not to live my life for God I’m robbing Him and I’m robbing myself. I’m robbing Him of glory and worthy praise, and I’m robbing myself of His blessings.
Yesterday jealousy crept into my heart like a ghost. Haunting areas of my life and rattling bones of skeletons I thought were safely tucked away.
In situations I thought were under control and my patience firmly rooted, I witnessed them plucked from loose soil and whipped around by chain dragging ghosts. And observed flesh pulled back on my own self revealing festers that never quite healed fully, as envy oozed over what others have and God’s providential timing hasn’t placed into my life .
In all of this I’m learning that my story isn’t your story and your story isn’t mine. And that with jealousy I’m saying I want your story; I don’t want my own unique one.
Jealousy longs to take your chapters and fit them into my book, but I’ll quickly see that no amount of trimming and gluing and refitting, your pages don’t and won’t align with the pages that God is writing out in my life.
Jealousy and envy tend to thrive in seasons of wait. While we’re waiting for doors to open and questions to be answered we easily see everyone else’s doors open and questions answered. We believe that their doors and questions had immediate responses (which often is not the case) while ours seem to take forever.
Patience is difficult but always worth the wait. I want my story to be mine. Uniquely written for me. I don’t want jealousy to ghost write for me.
It’s been [nearly] a year since my last birthday.
A year of God slowly sanctifying this soul and the words that God gave me that speak of my hearts ache for sinlessness.
And I learned how just close knit this
community family we have is.
I’ve experienced that the road isn’t always smooth and sometimes it comes crashing into you and occasionally wraps itself tightly into knots, yet in the rough terrain the scenery and the journey are beautiful.
I began taking steps to live life to the fullest before cresting the “hill”; and in that met fabulous virtual friends who became phenomenal real life friends.
And I’ve fallen more madly in love with him.
My prayer every year is that I would simply become more like Him.
Thirty-six – let’s do this!!
“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” – Emily Dickinson
This year of Grace looks nothing like I thought it would. I thought I’d be shoulder deep in God teaching me to have grace, to extend compassion. And He has, but what amazes me is that in these last six months, is He has shown me more His grace for me.
It is something that continues to blow me away.
In His showing and overwhelming me with His grace for me, I’m learning how to show grace to others. It’s still not easy. Honestly, it may never be. I believe that if it were easy He’d have nothing left to teach me, and there is a chance I’d take grace for granted.
As I look back over these six months I see the threads of grace that bind each moment together.
I’m realizing that this grace learning won’t be finished when the clock strikes 2012. He is just barely scratching the surface of how deep grace goes.
(to see all my OneWord Grace posts you can click here)
Yesterday wasn’t a good day.
A series of errors on my part that shaped my mood and my entire day. The kind of day that makes me think I my phone case should consist of a couple layers of bubble wrap.
Yes. That happened.
Even though my day was bad and my attitude was worse, Shawn and I (especially me) saw grace throughout that whole day.
His grace toward me in a situation in which I tell him to yell at me because I deserved it. Grace from God in the absence of a large financial transaction we were expecting to make. Grace in simple things like buying two bags of cookies for cheesecake crust instead of just one, and needing the second bag after you realize you forgot to put sugar in your cheesecake and the crust plops into the batter you’re attempting to pour back into the mixing bowl.
Grace comes in many different shapes.
Like remembering to remove the sharp cutting strip off the plastic wrap box, in which your dogs will find when raiding the bag of recycling you left on the floor.
Shawn’s encouragement to me throughout the day yesterday was, everything worked out.
I laid in bed last night – and even this morning – thinking about what the day was like, and how God wove grace throughout every circumstance. I know things could have been a lot worse.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.