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.
He loves giving me gifts. Surprises in all different forms. This husband of mine who doesn’t care if he gets gifts himself loves lavishing on me.
He only wants the best for me. My claims that I’m fine with a Kindle are met with but you should have an iPad. My declarations that I could have spent a lot of money at a particular store that had a lot of clothes I liked are followed up with, then lets go.
He desires for me to be happy. To have the things I desire.
I forget that God desires the same for me. In these gray seasons of waiting for answered questions I’m straining to remember that He is equipping, teaching, molding
us me into the person I need to be in the future.
This long road is not an uneventful one. Lessons have been learned. Hearts have been changed. Patience is slowly learned, and when it’s waning I cry out to be taught more, with an extra helping of trust as well.
While I weary often and dig my heels in while trying to race ahead there are events I need to experience now in these gray times. He has so much for me now.
I sit and I think. I offer whispered prayers upward. I cogitate every angle. I ask for signs, believing that asking isn’t wrong and you must ask to receive.
I stare at the scale, the balance of what is and what could be. I search my heart to discover if I’m hearing His voice or my own selfish one.
It’s a difficult task, searching for the needle in the haystack of thoughts running through my mind.
In a circumstance that theoretically has no right or wrong answer, how do you make a decision?
In the waiting for an answer I find peace as my heart feels pulled in directions I’m not sure it’s supposed to go.
With daily (every breath) I lift these prayers Heavenward. I remind myself to trust. To remember that gray seasons have just as much depth and meaning as black and white ones.
Shawn and I were watching a TV show earlier this week in which a man who was in prison for killing a man was up for parole. The wife & daughter of the victim were at the hearing bent on doing anything to prevent the prisoner from getting released.
I sat watching the show unfold and began to wonder, what does grace look like in this situation? I believe in second chances. I want to live my life as a person of the second chance. But what does second chance living look like in this situation?
Could I offer grace? To a man who murdered my father, brother, mother, husband, best friend.
What about someone who merely betrayed someone close to me?
In truth I don’t know. I could say yes, but the truth would only come out if I was forced into a situation like the one in the TV show.
The fact of the matter is, is that I’m supposed to. If I’m going to live my life as a reflection of Christ I must forgive, and I must offer grace.
Jesus didn’t simply forgive those who were prideful, told small lies and stole things. He died for the soul of every murderer on death row too.
To offer grace & forgiveness does not mean that consequences shouldn’t be rendered. It simply means that we look at others as Christ looks at them. It means taking off hatred, slander, and oppression.
As the story unfolded the man who had killed was put in a position to either kill the victim’s wife and daughter or be killed himself. The man, who lived daily with his sin & sought redemption, chose the greater good and refused to kill them. He chose to protect them. The show ended with the daughter telling a police officer to give the man who killed her father a message. “I will be at his next parole hearing. I will be there to support him.”
Granted this was just a script written by writers for the enjoyment of the viewers, but there is a greater message here. The daughter could have continued to hold a grudge against him. She could have continued to live under the weight of unforgiveness. Instead, she chose grace.
I’m gonna be honest. I did NOT want to go to church yesterday morning. It’d been a beautiful, lazy anniversary weekend [the kind where I was in my PJ's all day Saturday until we got ready to go to dinner & even then I think I could have gotten away with the yoga pants & tank top] and I wanted it to carry over to Sunday morning.
I stood and sat there my mind telling me the songs were out dated, that there are newer/fresher ones. With eyes closed I did my best to focus my worship and attention on the one who deserves them. Reminding myself over and over that He is delighted, and these are not meant for human ears or human hearts.
I was tired. I wasn’t expecting.
It’s sort of funny. It’s in those moments that God shows up with a mighty force.
God gift wrapped Ezra 5 & 6 and dropped them into my lap.
Mere moments into the message I sat there, staring and thinking this is for me. This is for us. In the midst of the chaos, in the midst of the waiting. When I did not even expect to hear from Him, God met us where we are at. Every part of what was spoken, spoke to our tired hearts & soul. Promises that we are not forgotten. That He will give us counsel. That He will lead us.
The evening before was wrought with arguing over these circumstances we find ourselves in. Emotions high. Aggravations and fears that awoke on my shoulders that just wanted to stay in bed. Frustrations that were slowly worked out over bagels and whispered feelings.
It’s just like our creator and the lover of our soul to arrive and whisper to us, “I know. I’m not forgetting. I will lead you.”
I laid in bed Wednesday night my brain slowly drifting towards dream land. Literally giddy over that fact that Shawn and I would celebrate ten years of marriage the next day. I kicked my feet like a child exuberant over a trip to Disneyland.
I recalled that this was probably similar to what I felt like ten years ago in a hotel room sleeping with my two best girlfriends anticipating the next day.
And as I laid there my brain getting heavier with sleep, my thoughts cried out in thankfulness to God. I know we wouldn’t be where we are at if it weren’t for His grace.
Grace to forgive and to apologize. Grace to make allowances for each others faults, and even grace for our own faults.
We don’t have a perfect marriage, far from it; but it’s a beautiful marriage.
It is one that we daily try to plant grace, and allow it to be fruitful.
When we got married I only saw the lifetime. I never considered the years that make up the in between – the ten, the three, the 28. I only saw spending the rest of my life with him. As we look through the telescope at another ten years and onto 30 more, we will only arrive at that place with grace wrapped around our wrists leading us forward.
Ten years. One decade. 4,017 days.
Ten years that number seems impossible. Yet ten ago today became the happiest day of my life. Dressed in white with purple toes, and blue flowers in my hair – all I wanted was to be his wife. The wait, hours that dragged by as I waited for the clock to strike. Checking for perfectly red lips in the mirror and tapping nails. My feet were never cold and neither fear nor apprehension were my bedfellows. I wanted to marry this man and I was completely unashamed.
A remix of Sarah Brightman’s This Love filled the pre-summer warm air and my anticipation grew as I made my way down the aisle. I nearly forgot to look at him. I just wanted to be with him. There he stood handsome, with a heart full of love just for me.
With veil covered face I pledged my love to him through tears of joy – it was an ugly cry with puckered bottom lip. This was the husband I’d prayed for.
Ten years later I still pledge that love, and he his to me. That this man loves me – loves me more than the day we wed still brings tears to my eyes.
We began our journey with the seal of a kiss, and a declaration that he was taking me home.
It’s been a beautiful decade.
Happy anniversary my beloved.
We reach with nimble fingers. Trying to grasp that which seems fleeting. When we think we have hold, like a sieve faith slips through.
With tears we fall. A hard thump on to dusty, cracked soil.
The difficult moments of life always seem to hit at once. Gathered into a pothole on this road are loss, pain, exhaustion, confusion…and the list goes on – until we find ourselves drowning in everything. It jumps us up. Detours our otherwise peaceful life.
We are not necessarily doubting thatGod will do the best for us; we arewondering how painful the best will turnout to be. – C.S. Lews
This week. The past seven days have been hard. Have been stress-fllled.
With two car accidents in less than 36 hours. Tensions that arise in marriages because of such situations. Friends who experienced attack after attack in the span of less than 12 hours because they are pursing what God has called them to do.
We reach. Our nimble fingers sore. We fall. We cry out to Jesus. The one we always need. At times our faith seems as dry as the ground we’ve just collapsed on. We see brokenness and chips where lush green grasses once filled our hearts.
And as we lay there. Tears that stain our cheeks and our hands slowly seep into the dustiness, rehydrating our brokenness. Faith comes in, in the stillness. Between the sobs for mercy. She rests her never weary hand on our shoulder, then takes our hand.
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.