Guilt-Free 2018

There’s a message cluttering the path of women everywhere. Like a rocky mountain trail in the dead of winter, we step the best we can–over, around, past it. But there are always more rocks under our feet. We step and step and step wearing out our hiking boots, and eventually we all stumble over it.

I can’t do this.

Maybe someone else can, but not me.

I’m not a successful person, and I don’t know how to be.

I’m not a good mom.

I’m not a good wife.

I’m not a good friend.

Why did I ever think I could go after my dream?

Each phrase we hear is slightly different, but the message is always the same. It’s a rock poking into our feet, tripping us up, causing us to turn an ankle, waiting for us to fall. The unspoken, negative words against who we are & what we’re accomplishing in life. We stumble as we look at all the other women out there:

*Pursuing a career & achieving success

*Serving in a thriving ministry & realizing their calling

*Committed to a loving marriage & raising a God-centered family

*Living a fulfilling life & enjoying healthy relationships with close friends

There are many other things we can look at, besides our God-given purpose, and slowly we allow those things to sink deep down into our hearts and minds. <Just scroll through social media to find them.> Do we realize how we’re allowing these images of others to steal, kill and destroy so many areas in our own lives?

*our contentment

*our joy

*our purpose

So we reach for…

#AlltheThings.png

All the comparison, envy, striving, etc. can easily lead to feeding on this lie. It’s beautiful, it’s popular and all the pretty people have it. Packaged in kraft paper wrapping and covered in glitter cellophane, in bistro letters the label reads: #ALLTHETHINGS. We think it’s real. We post it all on Instagram and tweet it on Twitter, but when we open it to eat of its contents, there’s nothing but the stale, week-old, moldy bread of GUILT inside. 

Now what do we do? We get angry because that’s not what we ordered from life. It’s not what we paid for. It’s not what we waited in line to receive. We look over to see a strong, content, understated woman sitting at a table of this restaurant with a plateful of fresh baked bread big enough to share. Real butter coats the crispy crust and drips over the sides of the loaf onto the bistro plate, and all at once our heart realizes. This.

This is what we wanted all along. The Bread of Life.

And Jesus said to them,.png

When we take in the words of Jesus–our Bread of Life–and feed on His Word, we are sure to be filled. There is no guilt when we are feeding on this goodness. The Bible says we will never hunger and never thirst. No more hunger for the next thing around the corner. No more thirsting after the success of others. No more worrying about whether we’re making the right choices. No beating ourselves up about where we are in life.

We feed on the bread of life and now we find we have it all. Our lives no longer feel hungry. We throw away the life of guilt and find in Christ we are…

*Filled.

*Whole.

*Complete.

I hope today you receive this message as a love letter from Christ. His messages are rich, full and fulfilling. I pray we each make the decision to throw away the world’s rotten, conflicting messages of comparison and guilt & choose to be filled with the Word of life.

Guilt-Free in 2018.

Grace to you,

Nicki

 

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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?