Finding Grace.

 

 

It was late one fall morning—my husband had taken the kids to school and I was here with one baby in the bassinet and the other baby sitting in her crib playing with toys so that mommy could make the bed. The phone rang and I grabbed it off my dresser.

“Dad called on the way to school. He said bring a box to work.”

Bring a box to work. As in, pack up your things—you’re not working today.

I can’t remember if I stood there and listened or sat down to hear him out. All I know is that by the end of the conversation, it was clear. My husband doesn’t have a job…again. We’d been through this before—before our first anniversary. And here we were again, going around the same mountain again, back at square one. Except we’d learned a few things this time.

When I set that phone back in place, I set myself in gear for the day.

“This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank you, God, that this is not the end. This is only the beginning.” My hands set to making the sheets of my bed as I declared God’s promises over my husband and our home. “Thank you, God, that You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. This is not going to be a bad week. This is going to be the best week ever.” Smoothing out the comforter, I repeated it to myself. “Best. Week. Ever. Thank you Lord, In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

God gave me the grace I needed that day–He still does. There’s something about God’s grace that makes every situation shine a little brighter even on the edges of a dark cloud. There’s light around the edges. There’s a good situation fixing to turn up. There’s going to be a better day. The grace of God.

Grace—(n.) 1.a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; b: a virtue coming from God (Merriam-Webster.com)

The first mention of God’s grace in the Bible is in Genesis 6:8. God has just looked at His creation, and “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.” (vs. 5, AMP).

Only. Evil. Continually.

God’s heart was grieved. He made these people—man and woman. He created them for fellowship. He created them for relationship. But here they all were—running around acting in ways God never intended, turning their backs on God, living in sin and shame and constant evil. Didn’t they even care? Like a son who has turned his life over to drug or alcohol abuse, like a daughter who hooked up with a guy that doesn’t honor women. You know what I’m saying?

No. Just no.

This is not what parenthood is supposed to look like. This is not what I created you for, child.

God was so disheartened by their sin that He was ready to wipe it all out—wipe everything off the face of the earth—and just. Start. Over.

Have you ever been there?
God was there.

Living in the face of continual evil.
There.

Like a slap in the face of God.
There.

“So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, but the beasts and the creeping things, and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.” (Gen. 6:7, AMP)

Then verse 8 says:
“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (vs. 8, NKJV)

Noah found grace.

He experienced God’s favor.

That is my prayer. Will you speak this prayer with me?
God I want to find grace in Your eyes. Your loving favor is so precious to me. May I always honor Your Word and Your plan for my life. I pray that my thoughts, my actions, my heart would line up with what You created me for. Thank You for Your grace at work in me. I declare the grace and favor of the living God over my husband, over each one of my children and over my own life. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN.
Where do you find your life in this story? Is there an area you need God’s grace in your life at this moment? Are you experiencing the grace of God today?

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The Days In Between

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Well, it’s official.  The “In Between” days have begun.  After the main event, before we rush back to the normal schedule of school and such—this is the best time for me.  When the parties are over, the presents are put away, and a load of laundry is in the washer, I love to sit in the twinkle-lit living room with my fuzzy-sock feet propped up on the ottoman and a cup of coffee nearby.

Taking a few extra moments to sip and savor, knowing that I have nowhere to be and nothing pressing to attend to—these are the moments.  Getting to read a little extra in my Bible, picking up a devotional, turning on praise music—Love it!

For me, the days in between also allow time to knock a few things off of my “to do” list.  Over my teaching break this year, I will be entering grades for the last grading period, decluttering the house a bit, reading my Middle School and High School kids’ NaNoWriMo entries, and (I’m super excited about this one) **creating the wedding invitation design for my nephew and his bride-to-be**!!  This is a first, and I can’t wait to see how it will turn out.  (Yes, there will be pictures.)

 

Something else I love is catching up on my reading.  Teaching doesn’t allow for a lot of free time, so I really enjoy binge-reading through my “to-read list” on break.  This year, I picked a few excellent reads from the Christian writers I have met in 2016:

A Goose Creek Christmas (novella) by Virginia Smith

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Precious in His Sight by Karen Pashley

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A (Sorta) Southern Serenade by Krista Phillips

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(I also recommend the cute, Christmas novella I read earlier this year,

The Funky Chicken by my friend, Melinda Eye Cooper.)*The links in this post are all non-affiliated

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What about you?  What are you doing on the “Days In Between”?  What are your favorite reads in 2016?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reading books 2016 christmas free novel novella good read reads mom homeschool wife mother teacher teaching schoolyear kids parenting ACFW writer writing KY Kentucky

 

5 Words to Save Your Love Story

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Don’t you just love a good love story?  I love to read, I love to write, and when there is a new Hallmark movie advertised on television, my husband goes ahead and clicks record on the DVR.  “Which movie is that?” he will invariably ask, “Is it the one where the big shot professional type hits a rough break and has to go home to the small town and get back to his roots?  I bet he’s going to meet somebody and fall in love.”

We all know what’s actually going to happen in most books and films.  Why do we keep going back to the same storyline?  Maybe it’s because, whether the story takes place in a coffee shop, bakery, farm, restaurant kitchen, florist shop, or a house that was left in a will, they all have one thing in common.  These stories weave a thread of hope.  Yes, things could have gone a little better.  But, on the other hand there’s a better day.

I think real life is the same way, don’t you?  When we first get started out on our own, we often picture that life going a certain way, however that is rarely how things turn out.  The life you have may not be what you pictured, your character may take a little rough patch, but there is a formula that produces a good end.

Proverbs 18:21(NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

(Biblegateway.com)

This Scripture is so powerful.  It has been said that women speak an average of 20,000 words per day.  (I don’t even want to get into characters per text message!)  Of all of the words that come out of our mouth every single day, how many do you think would speak life?  What about the rest?

Our attitude is so important in all of life–especially in marriage.  The person we love is not always going to do the right thing, say the right thing, or treat us like a princess.  I doubt there are very many good books, however, that allow the female protagonist to scream, hit, throw the china and crystal across the kitchen into pieces, or tear the male protagonist down with ugly words or actions.  That’s not good literature.  That’s not good cinema.  That’s not good life.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to visit the end of a tale of a storybook heroine turned evil.  Talk about unhappily ever after!  So, if anyone else has hit that place in your marriage–not the ecstatic beginning, (certainly not a bitter end!) but just a middle with a rough patch in it–I have 5 words that you can use to turn your story around…

God, please bless my husband!

Praying for his blessing instead of pointing fingers is the game changer to…  End.  All.  Game changers.  Here is a place that you can take your creativity and put it to work.  Find all the Scriptures in the Bible of what you want your marriage to look like and who you want to be as a couple, and Speak Life.

Here are a few to get you started:

Numbers 6:24-26, Psalm 23. Psalm 91, Isaiah 58:11, Isaiah 60:1-2 & 19, Isaiah 61:1-3

Speaking in line with God’s word is also a powerful tool to use in your marriage.  Here’s my list of confessions to go along with the first chapter or two of Tony Evans’ book Kingdom Man.

Just doing this one thing has been SO pivotal in my life and marriage.  I wish that I had been more diligent to be a prayer warrior for my man right from the start!  The most amazing thing is that it doesn’t take a lot of energy or the perfect prayer.  Just a few minutes while you are fixing his coffee or while you’re in the shower is an awesome way to honor your man and let God take hold of his day!  Now it’s your turn.  What are your favorite Scriptures to pray over your husband?  Let everyone know in the comments below!

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