My path crossed several hurting people this past week. In listening to them, my heart strained to find a way to bring comfort. Sometimes there are no words. Sometimes the words that come seem trite or inadequate for the moment. Sometimes just being present with them in their pain is the best we can offer.

Living on this side of the cross places us in a unique position. We look back at grace pouring out to cover us as well as look ahead to the grace yet to be revealed in glory. We live our lives each day straddled between the grace that is and the grace that is to come.

Grace that is comforts us in our hardships and pain. It equips us to persevere. It trains us in godliness. It allows thankfulness to thrive and paves the way for joy.

Grace that is to come offers hope and inspires us to remember this is not the final chapter of the story God is scripting for us. Heaven is not an abstract thought. It is the home to which we journey. Every unexpected place He guides us through brings a greater dependence on Him, and a richer experience of His lavish grace.

We celebrate His grace this season by remembering that grace once came to us in the form of a baby. The amazing thing about grace is its ability to surprise and present itself in unexpected places. May your steps today bring you to new places of discovering His grace.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14.


The days are full, especially this time of year. I find myself pulling back a little bit and looking for things to cut out. Not because I do not enjoy the extra places to go, things to do, people to see. I really look forward to those things each year. But this year, I am craving more simplicity in our home and in my life.

My mantra these weeks leading up to Christmas is Simply Jesus. I have deleted many things in order to experience less of the busyness and more of the stillness. I am not sending out Christmas cards (but I love receiving yours!) The only decoration in our home is our tree. By doing less, my heart grows fuller as it finds more rest and peace in His presence.

Simple. Simplify. Simply Jesus. I pray that the following verses encourage you as you carve out space for more simplicity in your life.

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing. Zephaniah 3:17

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ Isaiah 30:15

A nasty cold is travelling through our family again. I really despise winter for all the sickness it brings. And all the difficult behavior it triggers. And how it shows my need for grace to cover my own difficult behavior. It is easy to rationalize erupting at a child because I don’t feel good either. But a response driven by my own lack of self control needs repentance because sin is sin, whether it is committed in sickness or in health {smile}. I am thankful for children who are quick to forgive and so accepting of me as their mom.

In the midst of the tissues and Tylenol, I quiet my soul with coffee and His Words. I am thankful they never lose their power to restore. I am reminded that no matter how challenging today was, tomorrow is a new day. As a line goes from my favorite movie, Anne of Green Gables, “tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it.”

But we are not held under the pressure of attaining perfection. Where is the grace in that? Grace is magnified when we look for it. And we go looking for it when we have blown it. Grace shows itself strongest when our efforts are weakest.

“…it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace…” Hebrews 13:9.

The art of Thanksgiving is thanksliving. Author unknown.

I love this quote, even if it is a little cheesy! I have been silent on my blog the past few weeks in order to focus on my family and fully embrace this special season. I have missed writing and am happy to be back. Please indulge me in one last post and picture that captures the splendor of fall.

Each year, the weeks that surround Thanksgiving grow more meaningful to me. My heart is challenged to rise above the thoughts of self that consume and draw out the rich blessings Christ has given. Each time the word Thanksgiving comes to mind, I am stirred to find another reason to give thanks.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that deals with the heart more than anything else. It evokes gratitude, which opens the heart to grace. Grace enables us to accept all that God bestows. The joys as well as the hardships. Grace reminds us that all His gifts are lavished in love. They are sent with a purpose greater than we can know.

I have to admit this year all the early displays of Christmas decorations threatened to upstage Thanksgiving in my heart. More than once I had to fight the urge to give in and begin decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving had occurred. Of course, there is certainly nothing wrong in doing that! But my mind would have been preoccupied with Christmas and Thanksgiving would have been brushed aside. I did not want to rush this season because my heart needs the practice of pausing to express my gratitude.

As pumpkins are replaced with poinsettias, the spirit of Thanksgiving does not have to end. In Christ alone are we able to express our thankfulness both for Him and to Him. This is the greatest gift of all.

A very nasty cold has worked its way from one child to the next. They are feeling better but now I feel crummy. And it is Monday. And I have PMS really bad. I just want to run away and be by myself for a few hours. But the day is full and the little ones have needs. So I’ll run away some other time {smile}.

I am searching for the grace I love to ponder and write about. My needs feel larger than His grace can satisfy today. I admit I am looking to my chocolate for some measure of comfort. A box of Hershey’s truffles is sitting here next to me, open and nearly empty. Is there any way I can justify eating over half a pound since yesterday?

Writing about grace enables me to experience more of its fullness in my own life. I worry that my words somehow indicate that I have such a firm grasp on grace that I never struggle. It is through writing that I wrestle with my fears and inadequacies and come to a peace greater than what I face at the moment. This is how I grow in my dependence upon grace. This is what compels me to keep writing about it, even when I feel it is in short supply.

Father, be my strength today. Break through the fog that clouds my brain. Speak your truth to me. Send your grace raining down.

Overwhelmingly scattered. Does that describe you today? I live right smack in the middle of those two words each day. Life with four little ones bleeds into a bit of the crazy. Add to that special needs, educational needs and behavioral challenges and it all begins to feel nearly impossible.

Where can we escape when the pace of life is pushing us past frantic?  Christ beckons us come to Him, where peace and tranquility await. My heart knows this, but I have a confession to make. Too often, He feels like just one more person I need to find energy for.

But then I realize that my tendency is to think of Him as I do my children: someone who needs from me constantly. While He does love our worship and adoration, and is so worthy of it, He also desires to pour out His Spirit into the parched places of our soul. This season in my life is a unique season that calls upon near constant giving to my family. For this season, what if He desires me to receive from Him more than I bring Him? Is that okay?

It is very okay with Him. So why is it difficult to bend at His feet, to kneel in a position of dependence and neediness? It is my pride. My twisted thinking that says, I can do it on my own.

Oh, for the grace of humility. This embodies the courage to need and not be ashamed of it.

But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrutable His ways! Romans 11:33

I am stuck on the phrase how inscrutable are His ways. My dictionary defines inscrutable as both not easily understood and incapable of being seen through physically. I love that last line.

My focus is almost always on the physical. I crave the comfort drawn from seeing the tangible hand of God at work. It helps my faith when His ways are noticeable. When He heals a sickness or offers a benign test result, we exult in His goodness. When He gives a gift, long- awaited for, we marvel at His timing and faithfulness.

But what of the times when things go opposite of our fervent prayers and hopes? Is He still good? What of the times when He is silent while our hearts bleed before Him?

When His ways are incapable of being seen through physically, we can know His ways are orchestrating a great work spiritually. Something eternal is being wrought on our behalf and we will not hold disappointment on the day when understanding dawns.

So we draw our strength and hope from Him, through grace. We remember that the largest display of grace came about through the greatest display of sorrow and sacrifice. Because by its very nature, grace has overcome, we enter into this victory as well.

May He strengthen our trust in Him today.

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