Archive for December, 2011

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.


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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

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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.

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