When the word people know you by, the one that you have named and counted, becomes a constant reminder of the continual lessons you are learning it takes on a new meaning. Sometimes it may just take space it shouldn’t because you allow it to filter literally everything. And for most things it is ok, except for, well… those times that it isn’t.
Grace is my byword.
And while it is probably the message the Lord has engraved upon my heart to share, I am still pondering all the different ways He has painted it into my story.
What is grace? Undeserved Favor…mercy, blessing, loving-kindness… And this week as I pondered through a message on keeping God, remembering Him, holding Him close and letting the world go. I am thinking, too, about how I hold this message of favor and kindness and blessing and mercy He has woven in my heart.
Psalm 103 talks about remembering what God does for us. It is a holding and a keeping truth that brings God close and lets us resonate in His promise.
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is deepest within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all of His benefits-
Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one] of all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;
Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and your desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, and soaring].
Memories are redundant, cycling through like a kaleidoscope of color swirling in the playback my mind filters. And those filters we place on the memories are kinda funny… they are sometimes selective, sometimes protective, sometimes reflective. But truth is…we don’t always remember everything exactly like it happened, or at least in looking back the wisdom we carry seems to reset how we see it.
The standing outside of the forest sort-of-perspective, seeing the tree in its proper place kind-of-looking at the situation,it gets rid of the blurry mess that makes discerning true near to impossible.
It makes it easier to reflect back, without changing our story. But it doesn’t change the record of our living or how we lived it.
Because the emotion that transpired in those moments has a way of surfacing. Maybe it doesn’t sweep us away like it did then, but feelings don’t really change. The saying that time makes things easier to bear seems inadequate to me. Time doesn’t change the power of what we have known, the pain we have felt, or the joy we have experienced. It seems, instead to come less and less, staying for shorter periods rather than intensity.
Only God can make it possible to go back and revisit the hard and the beautiful moments with wonder and with awe.
Those #gracemoments are more than remembering and reliving and recapturing the time that passed through them. Time is more than the bending of space or the exchanging of particles. It is more than relative thinking, even Einstein knew that. He knew that the bending was about perspective, he knew that his definitive answers about the physical and the immaterial all invited more questions… and ironically, it is just that very thing that I think grace invokes us to pursue.
Is it fair to question grace? Is it necessary to probe beyond our quick and simple answers?
How do we keep God if we are not constantly remembering Him… looking with wonder and awe that the messy causes us to look into deeply?
Remembering with wonder blends grace and mercy with holding God close in the #gracemoments. It marks time in a way that records grace, filters with humility, and paints mercy’s message in wide lines.
My father turned 70 this past weekend and I wonder when did he turn white and age before my eyes? Because just yesterday he was my superman hero who could do literally everything well with dark hair and always a mustache on his lip.
It was 21 years ago this month that our daughter’s diagnosis rocked our world and changed the dreams we had, and we’re revisiting the difficult journey of giving it all up to God, again, because His plan is always better than ours and her story brought us to Calvary’s Road time and time again.
My son will be 18 next month and graduating school in only 3 short months, he’s ready to fly and my momma heart can’t hardly stand the letting go of this boy-child, but I have to get out of His way so that he can fly because His journey is His to travel.
Our youngest has completed 3/4 of her freshman year of high school and her bold beautiful heart challenges me every single day, because she is so fiercely full of curious wonder that all I can do is pray, pray, and pray some more and watch as her journey keeps me humble and grateful and longing to hold the sands of time just a little more closely.
May He always be glorified in their lives… Amen.
Whatever we do in thought word or deed, do it all for the glory of God. – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Time moves by, bending us and shifting us in a way that should bring our eyes to see that the mess is literally the beautiful vision of the Master’s hand working out all those things for our good and for His glory and somewhere in it all is the brushstroke of grace.
And the memories overtake us when we least expect them. Sometimes I don’t want to go there… because the journey to get where we are was hard. But then we have friends who stop us right in the middle of our babbling and our planning to remind us that it is exactly because of that hard road we are where we are.
Stop and to look at the masterpiece that your journey actually is. Those brushstrokes, the ones that look like a mistake and you want to paint over them, they are simply some of the most beautiful pieces of you.
And because of grace we get to see why that matters.
Last week as my friend spoke grace into my ear she reminded me of that journey with the girl who made me a mom. She reminded me that we bled hope all over the place for her. We planted the living breathing Word of God right down deep into her soul. She challenged me to write the story. She admonished me to remember the miracle moments and the ways His mercy met us and swept us up in the sea of His amazing grace.
She called me out and bartered hope for what it really was.
You see she saw the brushstrokes that I saw as marred and unlovely for what they were…#gracemoments full of #faithmoments that resembled a life lived purposely for God.
Grace is nothing if it doesn’t include God. I mean, really… deeply… truly…the grace of God comes tied to the message that eternity is etched on every message. A Holy Writ so full of love that each cataclysmic storm which scars our journey is always full of redemptive purpose…always leading us to the abundant overflowing hope that Romans 15 talks about.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:13
Our backstory is the ticket to our community, it validates our testimony because when we share them we start to see that grace is the heartbeat of the Father for each of us who need to know that our messes are only a glimpse of the final rendering of the masterpiece He is painting with our days.
You are the masterpiece that carries His message. Salvation. Mercy. Grace. Love.
Lord, I hope for your salvation and carry out your commands. – Psalm 119:66
He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? -Micah 6:8
The cycles of our life are replete with the essence of His grace sprinkled over every layer. Sometimes we don’t see what we are supposed to see without looking back. We need to remember those moments where healing broke through, forgiveness restored, redemption lifted , mercy covered, kindness defined, and His goodness caused supernatural strength to fly.
And it is time for you to cycle grace so that you remember well.
My daddy…he is still my hero. He’s still my favorite source of affirmation. When he tells me ‘well done’, it fills a place only a father’s appreciation can fill.
My sweet girl, the strong warrior woman with a soul built up by God’s Word… His Word is still alive and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword in her bringing healing and life.
That boy that is getting wings to fly…he is strong in justice, faith and truth. He has a sense of right and wrong, maybe distorted a little by grace, refined by the a vision to do big things for an even bigger God.
My artist girl, the one who smashes every boundary I draw about myself for safety with a fierce love and faithfulness, her loyalty astounds me and her wisdom belies her time circling the sun.
I am still wrestling with the challenge to write that story, the one that tells of our wilderness walking and the red sea road He made for us, but we are working on it.
These are the moments of grace I am counting, gently lulled by the memories of God in the bending of time and painting grace in me.
We all need to tell our stories, friends… we all need to bend space to make time and place for one another’s journey.
As I think of this with you, I am recalling those words in Psalm 103 again. They used to be the prayer I spoke over my kids every single morning before we broke our fast. Every single morning I planted His Word first and we all said, Amen. So.be.it.
I am praying these words for you today. I am praying for forgiveness, redemption, healing, beauty, dignity, loving-kindness, mercy, and strength to soar through the brushstrokes that have made up the story of you. Because grace is the perspective that makes us all see things differently… as our vision is bent by the concave prism of His favor and loving-kindness.
What are the #gracemoments of your story?
IT’S YOUR TURN TO BE A GRACE COUNTER! SHARE YOUR GRACE MOMENT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW AND THEN COUNT GRACE WITH A FRIEND WITH COMMENT ON A BLOG OR TWO.
If you are a blogger, link up here with a post about finding grace moments in your life or one of your favorite inspiring and encouraging posts from this week. Share your thoughts in the comment section telling me about the #Grace Moments you experienced this week. *(only 1 post per link please)*
Take time to visit your neighbor next to you, and if you want visit a few more friends on the journey. We all need a little encouragement and affirmation as we travel together.
If you don’t have a blog, you can connect with me via my Journeys in Grace FB page by sharing a photo or a comment. Or you can join the party by sharing your images on Instagram with #Gracemoments hashtag.
Each week I will try visit as many of your amazing posts as I can.This is a safe place to sit and dwell in grace together, friends. I can’t wait to pour a cup of friendship with you and take in the grace moments you have to share. Don’t forget to leave a comment below, I love to hear from you.