But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
Grace! What a beautiful concept! Grace and mercy are often spoken of together and indeed, they are connected. However, mercy has more to do with God withholding what we deserve – the punishment for our sins, the full consequence of our choices, etc. Grace is God giving us what we don’t deserve – eternal salvation, love, blessings, peace, empowerment – the list could go on and on.
Grace! Every day we live by grace. Each moment is a gift. Each touch of a loved one is a cherished blessing. Yet, how often we do not notice or ignore the grace that so freely flows around us.
As I get older, I’ve become more and more convinced that we choose to be happy or miserable, positive or negative. We choose to walk in grace or wallow in our disappointments. It’s the blessing or curse of the free will we were given by God.
I know pain. I live with loss. Hurt and I go way back. These dark companions are never far away and it’s easy to focus on them. They seem to pop up unexpectedly and can quickly take over if I choose to let them.
But I choose grace! Incredible, beautiful grace. I feel it in the calmness of time with my husband (who has also learned to choose grace). I experience it in the cheery giggles of my young son (who is an entire bundle of grace – some of you know his story!). I find it in the chosen times of solitude with my Lord (who is the Source of all grace).
Dear brother or sister, today choose to see the grace all around you!
I was downhearted, I was broken inside
Praying for mercy with nowhere to hide,
There was a solace searching for me
Grace ever-flowing that set my soul free
For grace, marvelous grace
I needed grace to pardon and make me whole
Grace, marvelous grace
Flows from above with infinite love
-sung by The Martins
1 Peter 3:9-12 ESV - Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. For
“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Several years ago, I made the decision to not be on Facebook. The reasons are many! While I admit the few benefits of Facebook, I see the many dangers. My husband and I left the Facebook crowd after dealing with the damage of posts causing division, gossip, infidelity, hurt and more in many counseling sessions.
However, that doesn’t keep others from sharing Facebook posts with me. I have several friends and family members that will send me information about posts. The one theme that has upset friends and family lately is the numerous spiteful posts from Christians. These posts range from differences in political views to differences in child-rearing and everything in between.
My daughter recently shared with me that non-Christian co-workers commented on some hateful comments “Christians” posted online. She shared how embarrassing it was for her (as a Christian) to acknowledge that her co-workers comments were true.
I have witnessed derogatory remarks made by folks who claim to be Christians about people from opposing political parties. A few months ago, I was in the presence of a Christian mother who saw a news reporter on the TV screen whom she disliked and said, “He needs to be shot.” Hearing the mother’s response, the young daughter made her hand to shape like a gun and pointed it at the TV and pretended to shoot the man. The mother laughed!
I was horrified! Christ loved that reporter so much He was willing to give His life for the man. Every Christian I know would state this as part of their creed but so many do not allow that creed to guide their actions.
It saddens me that so many Christians will not follow the command in the verses above. Oh, brothers and sisters, we will give an account for every idle word spoken! (Matt. 12:36)
Let’s be known as the children of peace! Let our speech be always seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6). Whenever someone disagrees with our views, may we not respond with reviling speech – that is, we do not berate, vilify or disparage! As Christians, we MUST learn to speak the truth IN LOVE!!! (Eph. 4:15) Only then will our speech point others to Christ instead of turning them away.
You are God in heaven
And here am I on earth
So I'll let my words be few
Jesus, I am so in love with You
- Let My Words Be Few by Matt & Beth Redman
Congratulations! We survived 2020! That in and of itself is a huge feat! We had a lot to overcome and hopefully, we learned a lot about ourselves.
As I headed into this New Year, I felt myself getting anxious for all the plans. All the things. My job. My future. My relationships. My anything and everything. I felt like I needed to sketch out EVERY aspect of what I wanted this year to look like in hopes that it would be better then the last. As if I learned nothing from 2020, I figured if I found a way to plan out every aspect of my life, that should do the trick, right?
So I sat down on a Sunday afternoon and went to work. I started planning everything. And setting my goals and the reactions I would have when I reached them.
It wasn’t until I was looking at them later that I realized in every aspect my happiness was based on getting what my desired result was. If I lost 20 pounds, I would celebrate with blah; if this worked this way, I would celebrate with blah; and so on and so forth. For a second, I felt pretty accomplished.
BUT GOD. My reading that day was in Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 3:1 to be exact. To everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. And so of course, here comes my denial hardcore. But God, what about this sadness I’m feeling? What about this relationship that won’t work? What about this change? Surely that isn’t a part of the season, right? Wrong!
He says EVERYTHING. That means grief and happiness and joy and EVERYTHING in between. There is a time FOR ALL OF IT. So if everything has a time, I shouldn’t just be rejoicing and celebrating in the “when” but just as joyful and grateful for the “now”. The plans that aren’t working. The broken pieces I’m putting back together. ALL OF IT is a part of a season that is integral for my growth.
So, my New Year's intention is to celebrate the space between where I am and where I’m headed. There is beauty in the journey if we slow down enough to look for it. Here’s to dancing in the waiting!
Keep Me in the Moment
by Jeremy Camp
Singing oh, Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
'Cause I don't wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I'm chasing after
'Cause I don't wanna miss what you have for me
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
As we are in this time of uncertainty and change, it has been SO hard not to give into the feelings of anxiety and fear. Everything is different right now and no one has all the answers, which makes it even more frightening.
The normal things that we did on a daily basis have become a source of anxiety and stress. Going to the grocery store requires a face mask, gloves and hand sanitizer. The things that 3 months ago we wouldn’t have given a second thought about have become huge things now.
This is a season of mourning for everyone. Every single person has lost something in this time whether it’s a graduation party, time with friends, or jobs. Some of us have lost family members or friends due to CoVid- 19. Whatever you have lost in this time, I am sorry. I know how difficult this is for all of us. We are in this together. 💓
Through this time, it has been difficult to trust and take one day at a time. If I’m honest, I’ve been really struggling. I’m struggling with anxiety, loneliness, frustration, and really just asking WHY God? And I don’t have all those answers. But I do know these things:
When you have to go without, you truly realize how much you have. So I challenge you in this scary, unknown time to ask God what He wants you to take away from this. Take a minute and think of all the things you’ve been able to do because of this season and thank God for those moments. In the rush to return to normal, what is it that we are really rushing back to?
- Navi Pauley
Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand
- lyrics by Alison Krauss
My name is Lynn Pauley. I'm just a normal woman, with normal struggles. Any success I've found comes from following the Scriptures. I'll update this blog as time and inspiration permit.