Monday morning, and I’m nursing a latte. Making the goodness last more than just a handful of minutes. Florescent lights buzz overhead and the aroma of my orange clove candle perfumes the wide open expanse of my work area.
A friend’s daily morning email exclaims her determination that she will start the week off with an attitude adjustment, and choose not to be in a bad mood. And I applaud her.
This past weekend was the last of our crazy busy month of October……….and I feel physically drained. I’m looking forward with great anticipation of a few weeks silence before Christmas begins to take hold of my life.
Another friend says she can see can see the breaking of day, and together we rejoice that there is hope there.
….and so I write them out – the gifts, the graces – because seeing them in ink makes them more tangible.
0041 Choosing to forgive.
0042 Meeting my first niece.
0043 Baby girl smiles & kisses.
0044 Hugging my grandpa.
0045 Sister “in-law” hugs.
0047 Nephews playing with uncles.
0048 Unexpected encouragement from an unexpected source.
0049 Seeing the dreams of God become my dreams.
Rest. Peace. Relaxation. These do not come easily for me.
I have to strive to attain them. With a brain that would rather go 127 mph than shut down and experience silence, I’m learning slowly ways to let go.
When morning light is inching it’s way through burgundy drapes that aren’t quite closed all the way, or the laying down of my head with melodies of rain and rivers singing me to sleep, I try to be consistent in laying these burdens my shoulders feel the need to carry & place them in the hands of the One who cares so much His hands knit me together with delicate precision.
This past month and a half has been a lesson in rest. A lesson in breathing deep and letting it go slowly. This month of October has pushed the boundaries of rest to places where finding it has been difficult.
We took this past Sunday as a day of Sabbath. True Sabbath. We rested without worry of the dishes piled up in the kitchen or the laundry tucked in the dryer. I tasted the sweet refrain of manna and allowed True Words to drown me.
If you participated and/or donated in our Water Drive last Christmas, I want to say thank you, and show you what you did:
Our little community helped a community in northern Ethiopia.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. For these precious ones in Ethiopia, thank you.
I tried to tweet this out several times, and from my phone, twitter.com, & tweet deck to no avail. Apparently Twitter doesn’t want us to celebrate this awesomeness.
**teaser: I’m hoping to do a similar project this Christmas. I’m working up the courage to ask the, hopefully, appropriate people.**
My heart is tender this morning. A rough night of sleep (or lack there of) coupled with the hard hallelujah of a friend no longer in pain and a few other held-tight-against-my-heart situations, leaves me not wanting to face the world.
Coming off a hard week last week where choosing joy and finding God’s gifts in my life seemed more difficult than wringing water from a stone.
Today (Sunday) is a new day and the beginning of a new week. I write upon this tender heart of mine, the truth that His mercies are new every morning. I remember to celebrate the breath that He, moment-by-moment, fills my lungs with, because today…and tomorrow…and the next…are a gift.
removing the veil from my eyes and looking for His graces & gifts…..
0031 The morning drive cool enough to drive with the window down.
0032 Getting a free upgrade on coffee size.
0033 My beloved swinging by my work because he wanted a kiss.
0034 A vanilla latte.
0035 Snuggling with my husband before he has to leave for work.
0036 Blessing a friend with a small token of love.
0037 An unexpected instant message that sends the broadest smile across my face.
0038 Knowing that in God’s plan hope never dies & never gives up.
0039 That, while marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.
0040 Irish voices singing hymns & upward exaltations.
The first is The Man Without a Face. He plays a man – Justin McLeod – whose face is disfigured after an accident in which a young boy was killed. Accusations of pedophilia and a conviction of involuntary man-slaughter exile him in the community in which he lives.
He begins tutoring a young boy – Chuck – who wants to leave home and attend military school. Chuck looks beyond the scars and the accusations. He sees someone who needs a second chance. He sees him as someone who can give him a chance at a new life.
The second is The Passion of The Christ. For obvious reasons this is an epic telling of the death of Christ. He took of the “rose colored” glasses that have so many times washed over the tellings of Christ’s sacrifice. He offers blood and lots of it (because there was lots of it.). But what sticks with me about this movie is, Mel stepped into it.
During the scene of nailing Jesus hands to the cross beam, Mel took the hammer and drove the nails himself. Gibson said “It was me that put him on the cross. It was my sins that put him there.”
Despite all of Mel Gibson’s failings, he recognizes that he’s a sinner. He knows that he needs a savior, he needs a second chance. And isn’t that the first step in being able to accept grace?
Realizing that you need it.
As I clicked the link in Twitter yesterday, I knew what to expect. And before I read the first word my eyes were brimming with tears that could not be contained the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Blogger Duane Scott calls these moments the hard hallelujah. The moments where joy of wholeness and healing drips with the pain of loved ones gone to be with their creator. We rejoice because soon our beloved friend Gitz will soon be healed, but pain tears our hearts over the loss of such a dear friend
Last year I wrote a post about Gitz. I wanted to share that with you during this time of hard hallelujah. Gitz is a fighter, a perseverer. She made an intentional decision to choose joy, and lived every day breathing it.
From her condo in Iowa, she has impacted and touched the lives over literally hundreds of people across the globe. She’s gone places her body could never go through the power of social media. I know I can say for everyone whom she’s touched, we love you Gitz.
When I first checked out Git’z blog, I didn’t stick around. For some reason even though I was heart broken for this lovely lady, I just didn’t click. However, that slowly changed. Something inside did click one day and the next thing I knew I was adding her to my daily reads.
Here was a kind hearted, compassionate woman who was enduring more than most do in their lifetime. One of the things that stands out to me most about Sara is the amount of grace she has. While her disease reigns her life she doesn’t allow it to rule it. What I mean is she doesn’t play the victim. She’s open with her readers about her daily life and the struggles she endures but she doesn’t point a waggering finger at God and blame Him.
I’m not saying she’s never questioned God, because even the best of us would. But she lives like the Apostle Paul. She trusts that God can heal her but for His greater purpose has allowed her this “thorn in the side”. And if that reason is only to show some people across the globe the grace that she can have and the endurance that He gives her than his purpose is being fulfilled.
One day Gitzy will be healed and will be whole. She will be able to walk, run, and dance free of the pain that has taken up residence in her body; and I guarantee you she will not dance alone. Her family and friends (readers) that live across the world will dance with her.
Over the months that I’ve daily read her blog I’ve grown to love her. God has made her dear in my heart.
What Gitz has impressed upon me is to endure in the most difficult of times and to live my live full of grace. Like her I have a choice to allow my circumstances rule my life or to trust in God.
Is everyone never beyond the depths and reaches of God’s grace?
I’ve struggled with this question since I learned who this week’s POTSC Never Beyond Poster is. When I read the email my whole body wretched. In my mind, I’d found someone who I felt was beyond God’s grace. Beyond mine.
I’m not sure why it affected me so much. I’ve never been personally affected by it, but seeing the letters KKK in black and white screaming the need for grace and forgiveness sent me into a loop. As I mentioned, my whole body wretched. My heart screamed never.
I wondered how could I give forgiveness to people who in the name of Christianity abuse, kill, terrorize, and birth fear.
Then I read this quote by Phillip Yancy from his book What’s So Amazing About Grace:
After I read these words I stopped and reread them.
Grace is a stronger than vengeance. Stronger than racism. Stronger than hate.
I find it atrocious that men and women
hate persecute a fellow creation of God based solely on the color of their skin, the race into which they were born, or the religion they choose to follow.
But God’s grace & God’s forgiveness is stronger than this hatred and persecution. God’s grace reaches down, sees behind the cowardly masks and beholds broken, hurting people.
While I may struggle to find an ounce of forgiveness, God holds out His hand that is overflowing.
I don’t always wear grace.
Often I wear judgement. It’s a comfortable shawl on my shoulders. I clothe myself in a sheath of self righteousness and righteous indignation.
A look. A sneer. I could give the most Pharisaical a run for their money. I wear a badge of grace, but in my heart I pass deadly judgement.
I’ve learned through these eight months of grace meditation just how depraved I am. How judgment rises some days with every breath. How sin lurks in the crevices on my being.
And I wonder how God could love me. Jesus’ greatest enemies were self righteous. Men who’s legalistic lives, regulated their tithe down to the tenth of their spices. Who couldn’t see the joy in a man healed but were more concerned with their fabricated letter of the law, rather than the intended spirit of the law.
While my judgements may not necessarily be in the legalistic Christian vein, seeing their attitudes endeavors me to shout from my tippy toes: “this is me. i’m a pharisee. i don’t live the life of grace i claim to!“
But also shame and guilt beckon me to dark shadows, because dark shadows are comfortable when you realize your sin.
I, obviously, don’t want to live this way, where my righteous indignation makes self righteous judgements about how you should live, act, dress, etc.
This choice to live like Christ is one that is easier said than done.
So, this morning I ask God to clothe me in His grace. That prayerfully it will seep into my fibers and become like breathing.
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.