RSS Feed

Category Archives: Peace

Processing Freedom and Grace

I don’t write this post for any sympathy or empathetic comments. I write it because I know I’m not alone and maybe you and I can process together??

 

It’s been one of those kind of weeks. The kind where you’re just left depleted and you feel there’s nothing left to give. Your very soul is raw and sore . . . the kind of sore you’d imagine from a deep surgical incision. You’ve received somewhat alarming news, your toddler just doesn’t *get* how to pee in the potty and you’ve cleaned carpets and sofas and several pairs of underwear a day. You get your feelings deeply hurt in a creep-up-on-you sort of way and you feel like the doormat whose “Welcome” was stomped on the way through the door. Your life feels like it’s been hijacked and how do you get off this plane ride and regain control? Where do your boundaries lie, and more importantly, where do your *loyalties* lie and how much do you push yourself to keep on giving, or how do you find the strength to just say, “no” ?

 

Familiar words seep through and begin to fill:

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Oh. Oh yeah. Just pray. So I do.

 

I sit Dove-turned-Pixie on the bathroom counter and cut little toenails straight across. I knock glass and it falls, straight into the sink, shattering open. It’s my favorite perfume and it all washes right down the same drain where I spit my toothpaste. I want to cry. Perfume’s expensive and this one in particular was a Christmas present and I can’t believe it was me and not two-year-old Pixie who breaks the bottle.

 

The irony is not lost on me. The perfume’s name is Amazing Grace.  I walk into the bathroom a few minutes later and I can smell its sweetness, resting in the air. But not because I released it slowly, spritzing it on my neck and wrists. It was violated. Violently spilled down porcelain and now it’s gone.

 

And I realize, I’ve been literally shattering myself down the drain, trying to be that Grace. I try hard to be the bottle itself. I try to give it all away til there’s nothing left in me to give and I feel emptied way too fast. I know this is not a rare feeling. I think it’s one of Woman’s most beautiful strengths and one of her strongest vices – trying to be all and fill all and love all.

No one else has depleted me. I’ve depleted myself. There’s only One who has already violently poured down Grace – and rather than wasted disaster, it was perfect rescue. The rest of us, we’re finite, and grace has to first be poured on us before we can share it with anyone else. I can only bestow little grace-spritzes from the Source. It seems obvious, but how hard I, Woman, fight it:

 

I am not the Source.

I am not the Source.

I am not the Source.

 

 

I sniff the remaining scent of Amazing Grace and I shed a few tears. Not because of the lost perfume (well, okay, yes, mostly because of the perfume), but because He gently shows me that Freedom does not come from complete self-sacrifice or giving your life away to every person’s needs. There *is* joy and freedom in those things, if we’re doing those things for all the right reasons, but otherwise we’re imprisoning ourselves to everyone’s whims.

 

No, freedom comes from allowing Him to be the Grace toward all we love. And if we’re lucky, we get to spritz some grace too.

Stable-Peeking

Just for a few seconds.

Sit down.

Just breathe.

Yes,

In

and

out.

Close those eyes,

smell the straw,

hear the soft bleating of the sheep,

the shushing of Mary,

the wonder in the eyes of Joseph.

The sandals of the shepherds racing toward the stable.

Ah, yes.

All the presents

and the baking

and the cleaning

and the shopping

pales

under the radiance of that New Star

and His beaming face.

God made Babe.

Jesus,

with tiny footprints,

 curling fingers,

and that smell of heaven

still fresh on his head.

Still our hearts,

Lord Jesus.

The Now Beauty

Earlier this week, I write of letting go and cradling close.

 

The next day, I take a pen in my hand and write out my plans for our future. A list of ideas, of pros and cons. The list is made, I lay down the pen and nod my head in satisfaction. I text my husband and let him know I have things on my mind.

 

I immediately regret it. I feel like a hypocrite.

 

I am hypocrite. My husband hears me talk repeatedly this week of being broken. Of God breaking me. I wrote of it. And already I am back to my not-so-old ways.

 

It’s really not funny . . . but is sort of is. I can’t help but smile ironically at my human ways. That I could so quickly forget that I laid my will to rest.

 

But I leave the list on the dining room table, proud to show it to the man who lives life with me, thinking he might like my thoughts anyway. I go back later to wipe off bread crumbs and gather crayons and little-girl-drawings. It’s then that I laugh . . . sheepish.

 

 

The Abundant-Life-Giver sends a gentle message so obvious, that I simply have to stop and fully take it in. I bought that pen on a whim just last week. I had picked up birthday cards on the way to a party and grabbed a pen in the checkout, just to have something to write with in the car. I had never even read its words.

 

He keeps me on path. And I see, ah yes. The daily dying. The daily letting go. The daily opening of my clenched hands that He may fill them with whatever He so desires. That I may abundantly live in the present. It is not a simple, one-time sort of thing.

 

When we don’t receive what we pray for or desire, it doesn’t mean that God isn’t acting on our behalf. Rather, he’s weaving his story. Paul tells us to ‘continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving’ (Colossians 4:2). Thanksgiving helps us to be grace-centered, seeing all of life as a gift. It looks at how God’s past blessings impact our lives. Watchfulness alerts us to the unfolding drama in the present. It looks for God’s present working as it unfolds into future grace.”

~Taken from A Praying Life, by Paul Miller. “Future Grace” is John Piper’s language.

 

I am learning to be watchful. To look for what He is doing in the seeming everyday moments.

 

 

I look for Him in the beauty of now.

 

 

This Present Grace.

 

 

Eyes Shining

Another snow day here in the southern state of Georgia. The second of its kind in two weeks! Being a girl with a mix of Floridian, Georgian and Tennessean blood, I am thoroughly enjoying all of the breathtaking amounts of snow we’ve been getting here lately!

 

Our small corner of the world is overlayed with a veil of white, and all the week’s worth of unearthed  what-ifs – past, present and future – are hushed.

 

Like the comfort of a warm blanket and a cozy fire on a day splashed all white, the knowledge that His goodness covers all, brings peace to the past, and quiet-calm for the future.

 

No more words.

 

Like a little girl – hands clasped, eyes shining – I can only take in the beauty of all He has done and all He is making us….

 

Just thanks:

#132 hot water on sore muscles

#133 the grace-filled end of babyhood

#134 coupon-savings . . . however small

#135 dinner candles lit for hot dogs and mac n’ cheese =D

#136 little, baby-friends

#137 words of encouragement via a text

#138 the daily gathering of a budding artist’s watercolors and crayon drawings

#139 a call to nestle

#140 watching grown brothers enjoy one another’s company

#141 a spontaneous date and a babysitter’s willingness at the last-minute

#142 that I get to be his wife

#143 A stone church echoing, There is a Fountain Filled with Blood

#144 friends – back together after a holiday hiatus

#145 that I see him coming alive

#146 hot cocoa together

#147 9 inches of  snowflake upon snowflake!

Joining the Gratitude Community….

Beckoning

He calls me and beckons me to come.

 

Come nestle under His wings.

 

For He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Psalm 91:4a

 

Like a young toddler wrestles sleep, I struggle against His rest.

 

My husband would rather I let the dishes crust, let the laundry wrinkle, and let the crumbs sit awhile, if it would simply mean that I would have more of me to give him. And I wonder if in all my meager attempts to live for Jesus – to seek Him and find Him and do for Him – if He would rather that I simply rest in Him.

 

 

I wonder if in all my supposed doing for Him, if I’m actually running from Him.

 

How do you simply BE with Him in the midst of all the tedium and glory of every day life? I certainly don’t know, but I long to find out.

 

Maybe the rest is found in the stopping the perpetual-raising-two-kids-craziness . . . just to sing.

 

Maybe it’s in the continual everyday reminders of what is truly important….

 

Because it’s really easy for this heart of mine to get so caught up in the commotion of this life. The attempts to raise two kids, the striving to be a loving wife, the hoping and dreaming and wrestling the what-ifs.

 

I just want to rest in Him. I just want to see His fingerprints on my life. I just want to tangibly feel His loving arms around me.

 

Because He is our Beloved.

 

Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art;

I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.

Thou has bid me gaze upon thee,

as thy beauty fills my soul,

for by thy transforming power, thou hast made me whole.

 

O how great thy lovingkindness, vaster, broader than the sea!

O how marvelous thy goodness lavished all on me!

Yes, I rest in thee, Beloved, know what wealth of grace is thine,

know thy certainty of promise and have made it mine.

 

Simply trusting thee, Lord Jesus, I behold thee as thou art,

and thy love, so pure, so changeless, satisfies my heart;

satisfies its deepest longings, meets, supplies its ev’ry need,

compasseth me round with blessings:

thine is love indeed.

 

Ever lift thy face upon me as I work and wait for thee;

resting ‘neath they smile, Lord Jesus earth’s dark shadows flee.

Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,

keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with thy grace.

 

Jesus, I am resting, resting in the joy of what thou art;

I am finding out the greatness of thy loving heart.

~Jean Sophia Pigott

For me, for you

In an attempt to still my heart. . . .

Maybe yours needs stilled too?

Hush

Plop on comfy, red, oversized chair in corner of living room. Mug of second cup of coffee (I am being sooooo bad this holiday weekend!). Girls down for naps, although I hear my oldest, the one I’ll call Firefly, I hear her voice giving the walls a voice. “ABC’s” and her little talkings to herself as she imagines much these days. I think the wee one is dreaming now after a long wrestling against sleep.

 

The tree is up. Not quite finished yet, but it’s standing straight with garlands and ornaments gracing its boughs. The star is glittering at the top . . . a little wobbly and lop-sided, but holding on so far. Other than the almost-finished tree, I am surrounded by Christmas chaos.  There are boxes and tissue paper and those little packing peanuts and stockings and pine needles everywhere as Firefly was so intensely excited and “helped” unpack the cold, attic boxes (Oh, but I’m so glad she did!). In the midst of all the excitement of beautifying and decorating, the rest of the house has been completely neglected. How does it fall apart so fast?! There is laundry piled high, I’m not sure that I made my bed, and I can feel the suffocating threat of the stress of Christmas rising up my torso, approaching my throat. What am I doing, sitting here in this big, comfy corner while the chaos is encroaching on every other nook and cranny of my house and heart?

 

I am taking a breath. I am refocusing.

 

Because in a grace-filled moment, I realized that if I don’t stop now, the sales, gift wrapping, parties, cooking, sweets, dazzling lights, and frenzied mall traffic will drown out the stillness and peace of all we’re attempting to celebrate.

 

Peace.

 

Joy.

 

Cleansing.

 

Life.

 

A child king.

 

Don’t leave us to our distracted, frenetic selves this Christmas season.

 

Come, oh come, our Emmanuel. Fill us full.