When There's Not Grace for Yourself {a lenten gathering}

This week I’ve struggled with this grace for myself. To be honest, I’ve always struggled with grace. It’s too easy. Too free. It doesn’t ask enough.

I know my failures, I know my weaknesses, I know all the ways I don’t measure up.

I am a worker and struggle so when I receive without giving. Things like love and grace…these intangible gifts that change lives—I hold them at a distance. It’s too easy. There must be catch. I haven’t endured them. I struggle to fully trust them.

I don’t give grace to myself. My husband pointed this out to me today and I’m not sure how to respond. How do you appropriate grace to yourself in an experiential, everyday way? How do you allow grace to change, not just your eternal standing, but your mind and your heart?

I feel a hypocrite here. How can I hold such an affection for redemption and find its story so beautiful, but hold the truth at a distance when it meets me on the road?

I struggle with this grace enough for me. I still wrestle deep with my doing being my being.

Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith—?

Galatians 3:3b-5

Jesus holds grace for me even in this failing.

“Remember to believe God’s truth even when it doesn’t feel true. Remember that your life is hidden with Christ in God, you no longer have to manufacture your own safe places.

And when we forget to remember? We don’t have to travel over mountains and rough terrain to get back to God.

Simply receive and believe that the truth is still true, and purpose to stay safely inside him.”

- Emily Freeman, Grace for the Good Girl (221)

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I thought it would be hard to believe in, but it’s not hard at all
To believe I’ve sinned
And fallen short
Of the glory of God

He’s not asking me to change in my joy for martyrdom
He’s asking to take my place
To stand in the gap that I have formed
With His real amazing grace

And it’s not just a sign or a sacrament
It’s not just a metaphor for love
The blood is real and it’s not just a symbol of our faith

- Sara Groves, Awakening

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During each Wednesday in Lent, I’ll be sharing a bit of my journey to the cross. I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections, struggles, hope, and perspective of this Lenten season.

My hope is this Lenten gathering becomes a place where we not only meet each other and become more united as this One Body of Christ, but that each of our unique perspectives, voice, and journey will enlarge our vision of Christ.

I hope you’ll join in the community of faith as we journey together in purpose, worship, and humility as we come to the crux of our faith—Christ crucified  and Him risen.


‘); // ]]>

If you’d like to join in this Lenten gathering, perhaps you’d like to share and spread the word with a button?

 

A Lenten Gather
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Broken, Beautiful Sisterhood {sisters in bloom}

Today I’m over at Sisters in Bloom sharing something I feel compelled to do even though it will be hard, force me to deny myself, and be braver than I am.

It has to deal with women and hurts, friendships and unity—it’s really about Christ.

I’m sure if we went around the proverbial room, we’d hear stories of pain, betrayal, graceless, and shame that would cause us to shake our heads and bring tears to our eyes.

But the shame in the stories stems in their origin—the church.

These hurts are in the church, and is that how we are to be?

Is this the unity and love Christ spoke of? 

I see this. I’ve heard the stories. I have my own story.

But my heart fills with, “What if—?”

What if we stepped outside our reach and found something beautiful?

A Beautiful Sisterhood

Head on over to Sisters in Bloom to read my “What if—?” and, if you feel compelled, make a pledge to your sisters.

Then, come back here the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month for conversations on women and friendships in the church.

Tomorrow I’ll share a bit of my story and I’d love if you shared yours.

Join me?


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The Everyday {a DaySpring giveaway}

Sometimes the everyday gets to me. Between the early mornings, fighting the tyranny of the urgent, homeschooling, remembering to speak words of life, telling the boys “Not so loud” for the 100th time, forgetting what’s for dinner, and resting in Him, the everyday can be a bit overwhelming.

There always seems to be more to do, something forgotten, or I’m sidetracked by some video or link on the computer. {just now it was Demi Lovato and Selena Gomez videos……thanks to my husband. true story.}

The day flies by and I come to the end wondering what I accomplished. The kids are in bed, the house is mostly clean–though I forgot to switch the laundry (again), and I’m pretty sure there’s a writing assignment waiting to be written.

I struggle with the monotony, but then when things begin to pulse and flow I struggle to keep up. The everyday hits me from both ends and I feel like I can’t quite make it. Like I’m always playing catch-up or lazying around.

I haven’t yet reached the maturity where I take the days in great stride, wipe the mess under the table and be done with it. It looms over me.

I’m still waiting for the magical time when our home is organized, peaceful, simplified. When we have a vision we’re marching fully in and the routine comes without complaint or tantrum. When we have this great rhythm that sings the song of our family’s heart.

Those days…do they come?

While I strive to leave the excess behind, there are moments in each day where

I am surprised by the everyday joy.

A burst of laughter.

The sight of two brothers piling beds full of pillows and stuffed animals to fly their rocket ship off to space.

Little dinosaurs crawling everywhere.

A kiss.

Dinner around the table, full of silly, sideways glances…even if one boy refuses to eat.

Tapping out words like keys on a piano.

The fullness of passion and purpose.

Awakening, once again, that even when I breathe heavy keeping all the anxiety in He’s waiting for me to just ask, so he may give to make me full.

There is joy in the everyday, even when I don’t see it. Joy has to find me. I’m a blind wanderer. I see a hazy gray when teh world is full of light and beauty.

These pockets of peace and nests of happiness trip me over throughout the day, forcing me to stop and see. To remember to live, be thankful, and see the blessing. 

DaySpring Giveaway

If you’re looking for little ways to remind yourself DaySpring has a lot of great products, their new line Everyday Joy is just one of them. You can enter to win a $20 credit to DaySpring.

Right now, the Everyday Joy set is on sale for $19.99. It includes a coffee cup, journal, stack of paper, and a gift bag.

Leave a comment sharing one of your joys from today (or this week).

The giveaway is open from Monday, February 27th to Saturday, March 3rd.


Disclosure: DaySpring has given me this set from their Everyday Joy line to review, but the love for my polka dot coffee cup is all mine. 

 

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The Hope of Sin {a Lenten gathering}

Is it odd to say I find a certain measure of hope in sin? 

Not that when I’m in the midst of sinning or feel the weight of my wayfaring choices I go, “Yes! This brings me so much hope!”

It’s the aftermath. When the high of sin wears down and I realize I’m just bumbling my way through life, picking here and there longing for a bit of fulfillment…it’s there I find hope in sin.

Sin’s pleasures are for a moment and sometimes that moment feels really good.

You know, when you finally get that last word in and you’re riding your horse so high you don’t see the pit in front of you.

Or when you’re up until early dawn getting the details just right on that project because you want people to know you can do it and do it right…all by yourself.

Or perhaps it’s when the emptiness is gnawing on your insides and you just have to fill it with another platter of food, then you’re full and content.

Temporary. Sin’s promise is temporary.

There’s a song I often listen to with a lyric that has caught my attention with its quiet truth,

Addiction’s empty promises,

this broken world cannot satisfy.

- Abiding City, Sandra McCracken

But, oh, how we run to those empty promises! We cling to them as if they held the keys of life.

Sin brings us to the edge of who we are and who we can be apart from Christ. It brings us to the end. and when we get there its a choice:

Do I go once again to the roulette table? Do I watch my life circle ’round and around again waiting to see if just maybe this time it will all work out and I’ll win?

Do I fool myself that my addiction will bring closure and fulfillment?

Or, dare I hope in another, though intangible, way?

There is hope in sin when we realize there is no fulfillment, no closure, no belonging, no completeness in what this world has to offer—though we may have tried our hardest to make it fit. 

We gorge ourselves to be filled and in the end we’re sicker than we were before. Like little lost lambs, we come again and again expecting something to be different.

Sin becomes hope when we come to the end of ourselves and say,

“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. Heal me, Lord Jesus.”

And he says,

Come and be filled, then

 …go, and from now on sin no more.

 

What empty promises are you clinging to? Might you give them up for real hope? 

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During each Wednesday in Lent, I’ll be sharing a bit of my journey to the cross. I’d love to hear your thoughts, reflections, struggles, hope, and perspective of this Lenten season.

My hope is this Lenten gathering becomes a place where we not only meet each other and become more united as this One Body of Christ, but that each of our unique perspectives, voice, and journey will enlarge our vision of Christ.

I hope you’ll join in the community of faith as we journey together in purpose, worship, and humility as we come to the crux of our faith—Christ crucified  and Him risen.


‘); // ]]>

If you’d like to join in this Lenten gathering, perhaps you’d like to share and spread the word with a button?

A Lenten Gather
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Contemplating the Cross {a lenten gathering}

It’s only February, but already it feels as if the year is half gone. The Lenten season begins this week and sometimes I wonder, why Lent? 

Why focus on the death and misery of the Cross?

Why spend an elongated time confronting our sin?

What is even the point?

Jesus.

It’s time set apart for repentance, where we own our sin and take it to the cross seeking to be freed in the hope of resurrection.

As Noel Piper puts it, “It is a time for turning away from anything that has kept us from God and for turning or returning to him. It is a time to pray that God will renew our love for him and our dependence on him” (Treasuring God in our Traditions, p. 93).

It is a time we humble ourselves to see Jesus for who He really is…in all His majesty, glory, and infinite love and grace.

{a Lenten gathering}

During this season of Lent, when we’re all a little more aware of our own sojourning, I’m having a little gathering.

Each Wednesday of Lent, I’ll host a little link-up where you can share your thoughts, reflections, struggles, hope, and perspective of this Lenten season.

My hope is this Lenten gathering becomes a place where we not only meet each other and become more united as this One Body of Christ, but that each of our unique perspectives, voice, and journey will enlarge our vision of Christ.

I hope you’ll join in the community of faith as we journey together in purpose, worship, and humility as we come to the crux of our faith—Christ crucified  and Him risen.

If you’d like to join in this Lenten gathering, perhaps you’d like to share and spread the word with a button?

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Resources for Lent

Contemplating the Cross: A 40-Day Pilgrimage of Prayer – You can find the devotionals for free on the author’s site. Tricia also has a section with different ideas on observing Lent. (This is the devotional I’ll be reading again.)

CRI/Voice Institute: The Season of Lent - Gives a brief history of lent, practices, and lenten readings.

The Passion of Jesus Christ – Another good devotional for Lent. John Piper shares 50 reasons why Jesus came to die.

Celebrating Holy Week Different ideas to help celebrate a more meaningful and purposeful Holy Week.

Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper

Intentionally Celebrating Lent & Easter as a Family from Passionate Homemaking

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