A Grace Note: The World Needs Someone Like You 


Dear Reader, 

Have you ever felt like the most uneducated person in the room? I had one of those moments today while trying to relay health information between two of my doctors. I was feeling small in that moment. But here’s something I’m feeling God press into my heart: Sure, my doctors know more about physical issues than I do, but just because I feel small in one area of life doesn’t mean I’m small in every area of it. Maybe your life savings is small, but your love for people is huge. Maybe you didn’t get too far in your education but your knowledge of how to spread kindness and how to encourage is vast. Maybe you’re not the most popular in your corner of the world, but you have the most humility and the hugest desire for peace. Maybe you’re in a job you aren’t qualified for but you have the most drive and motivation. Just because you don’t know everything in the world doesn’t mean that you aren’t of great worth to it. You don’t have to know everything to be someone that the world needs. You just have to know who you are, and more importantly who Christ has called you to be. You can’t be everyone’s everything, but you can be the wonderful thing God made you to be. What is it that you know so much about? What is it that God has created in you that can so powerfully and positively impact the world? Is it your Love?Kindness? Courage? Passion? Humility? Is it your ability to encourage or to go the extra mile? Maybe it’s that fire in your soul to embrace the people of this world? Or maybe it’s that song or that story or that dream that God keeps running through your head on repeat. Your part is just as important as the part the person next to you plays. Don’t feel small in comparison to this world, feel humble yet confident in the work God has given you to do and in the person He has called you to be. I’m learning that it’s alright that I didn’t know all the answers today, after all, God didn’t make me a doctor. He created me with different strengths. Embrace what you know to be true of yourself, and embrace what God has made evident in the strengths of others. We all have a part to play here. We are all His hands and feet. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Advertisements

A Grace Note: Love Deeper Than the Sea


Dear Reader, 

I just wanted to share a thought I had with you all today. You are loved by God no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, or how you hurt. Let that change how you love other people. We love because He first loved us. Jesus was FOR the people of the entire world. Not just for our tiny corner of it. He loved those the world forgot. He loved the weak, the broken, the sick, the outcast. But He also loved His enemies…remember when He placed back on the ear of a man who came to arrest Him at the Garden of Gethsemane after one of His disciples had cut it off? He loved and He loved and He kept right on loving, and providing, and healing, opening up His arms right up until He spread His arms wide on that cross and even beyond that…He keeps on doing all of those things right now. His heart has not changed. His love for the people of the world has not changed. He will always love the weak, sick, hungry, poor, lost, wandering, abandoned, and humble. And He will continue to provide refuge for them. That’s what Heaven is after all, our refuge. Our new homeland. I’m just praying today that all of those who carry the cross of Christ in their lives also continue to carry His heart. The One who loves us deeper than the sea intends for us to love those who live across that sea, and also those who live across that party line. The Love of Jesus is meant for you, for me, and for them. Love like He loves, without abandon. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Healing Faith 


Dear Reader, 

I was supposed to be leading children’s church today. And two weeks ago I was supposed to be playing worship music with my husband. I was supposed to be helping with women’s ministry and with the student ministry. I was also supposed to be working full time. I had huge ambitions for 2017. Every spare moment was going to be filled with some type of responsibility. But God had other plans. He is actively at work in my life right now, humbling me at every turn. I’ve been sick with different ailments for over a month and now I am suffering from kidney stones. I’ve had to set almost every single one of those planned “responsibilities” down for various reasons, and once again I’m being shown that while I make plans it is always the Lord God’s plans which prevail. Control? I’m certain that at this point in my life I have none. But there is beauty in surrender. I thought my word for 2017 would be hope, or joy, or grace. But it turns out my word is Healing. I am striving now to believe that God can heal both physically and spiritually. I am striving to believe with all my heart that in the very presence of Jesus my Savior there is healing, and that faith in Him is what makes us well. I have to believe in His healing. It is only then that I am able to Rise and Go. We can plan all the hustle and bustle we want, we can make our lives filled with noise, but at the end of the day it’s God who determines our steps and it’s Jesus who gives us the power to walk them. Healing is not just Hope, it’s a physical action of God. Today I choose to believe in its full power, to hold on to it, and to rest in my faith that it is real and true. God is not a figment of our imagination, friends. And His healing is no joke. There is power in the name of Jesus, and healing wherever He goes. May He dwell with us and in us, and may His healing follow. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Healed In His Presence 


Dear Reader, 

A friend reminded me of this passage today from Isaiah: “By His wounds we are healed”. I have always thought of this passage in terms of spiritual healing but it has taken on new meaning in light of my current ailment. Jesus was physically wounded to heal us. And that healing that He was wounded for was meant to come both spiritually and physically to us. Someday we will rise like Christ. Someday our bodies will be healed from the ailments of sin just like our souls are. I’ve recently become more anxious for the body of Christ (His church) to physically become like the healing body of Christ! I am reminded of how Jesus physically healed the sick, the lame, and the broken. How He raised bodies from the dead. How He healed even one of His enemies as He placed back their ear at Gethsemane. Jesus is Healer and in His presence we are healed. If you are suffering in the physical sense today know that the Grace of Jesus is meant to heal not just our hearts and souls but also the broken bodies we walk this earth with. Jesus is always covering you in His healing grace. Hold tight friend, your loving Savior fights for you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Faith the Size of a Kidney Stone


Dear Reader, 

I’m taking a day to break from posting my usual photos of God’s creation in order to give you a more real life photo of what this week has looked like for me! I’ve been doing all this writing and talking about how powerful faith the size of a mustard seed can be. God in His wisdom must have thought I needed to experience how powerful small things can be firsthand, as I’ve been suffering from a kidney stone. And I’m seeing the comparisons here, between tiny yet mighty mustard seed faith and tiny yet mighty stones. The crippling power of a tiny kidney stone is actually huge…it brings you to your knees (except maybe not because getting into that position would be too painful!) But maybe our mustard seed faith has crippling power too…power to bring down towering mountains, like kidney stones are said to have the power to bring down even the mightiest of men. I’m just a tiny, 5’4 woman over here. This literal physical battle feels like too much for me, and I’m fighting back fear that a stone the same size could bring down a man three times my size! And yet when I think about how it’s true that such a tiny stone has the same effect on both of us, I’m made aware of the fact that mustard seed faith likewise has the same effect on whoever possesses it, whether large or small. Even in this I want to document God’s Grace…but also His healing power. Would you pray for me? I’m hoping for a painless miracle as I’m told the worst is still yet to come. Thanks, friends.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: When Fear met Grace


Dear Reader, 

Sometimes Grace falls subtle and soft on our lives and sometimes it comes suddenly and roaring forth. The snow has returned to Wisconsin today after a week or so of temperatures warm enough to melt the ice away and allow us to air out our homes through open windows. This morning as I was driving my husband to work I uttered a quick prayer as I usually do before we go out on the road for protection. I usually drive scared, but I’ve never once been in an accident. This morning after making it through the slick and winding back country roads we were merging onto the highway when I lost control. The car slid out back and forth into the lanes of traffic and just as a semi came plowing by, control of the wheel was regained and I slid back to my lane before any damage was done. It happened so fast. My heart was racing and I kept thinking, that could have been it. Right there. I prayed for protection this morning and God answered, as I’m sure He does everyday but I just don’t realize it. God’s Grace over our humble and fragile lives becomes gloriously evident when He saves us from our lack of control. If you want to feel steady and sturdy in this life then you have to place your fragile hand into His and trust Him. He is our safety, our future, our strength. This one was definitely a prayer for the prayer journal. It’s been documented and I’m hoping to remember this moment when fear met Grace and when God answered a prayer I wasn’t even sure was needed when I uttered it. Prayer is powerful, and our God’s attention on our life is so incredibly life changing.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer

On Dry Land: When God Uses the Holy Water of Life

 

Exodus 14:21-22 “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided , and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.”

Moses has been on my heart these days. Such a random filling of my thoughts but seemingly significant. I am so connected to my God through the idea of His washing waters. I keep finding myself being drawn in by the idea of rushing rivers, babbling brooks, vast oceans, quiet lakes, and possibly most intimately by the running of water in my kitchen sink as I scrub the dishes clean and am reminded of how God gently washes away my own dirt. I see Him in the waves and in the ripples and in the filling up. I hear Him in the rushing thunderous sounds of the river in the trickling down of the brooks. My grandmother asked me a few weeks ago if my church uses Holy Water. I answered no, as my church is protestant, but I’m beginning to think now that the answer I gave her was not correct.

I am reminded of my baptism. I am reminded of how the washing waters of God met the simple waters of earth and how the two combined and signified new life stepping forth, signified a dying with Christ and a rising with Him. I think how God speaks to me as I stand at my kitchen sink, as I am humbled by the work of the day yet strengthened by the waters He sends to wash me clean. I see how the rivers and streams and lakes which surround my house yield to His power, how each one is given a different amount of strength and how each one serves a different purpose. My eyes are opened to the significance in the glasses of water each of my fellow women in my life group drink each Monday evening as we gather together to commune and to pray. Does my church use Holy Water? Yes, I am certain we do. It doesn’t sit in a special gold bowl blessed by priests and inviting us in, but it does cover us. It has washed us. It is etching our hearts out by its continual entering into our lives.

And now weeks later God has placed on my heart stories of Moses, stories of a man who picked up a staff and with the power of God parted the waters of a sea and led all of God’s people across dry land. It was a demonstration of God’s power. It was a connection between the Water and the Word. It was a display when the Waters came tumbling back down of how God washes our hearts clean of what is evil and places us on the shores of what is Good, of how God powerfully gifts to us our Freedom.

John 4:13-14 “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

The Water of life sometimes comes in storms, or in hurricanes, or in peaceful rivers, or in quiet trickling brooks, or in the everyday rushing of faucets. It comes in the ordinary and in the hard and in the extraordinary. We come to these moments of Washing, and if we are honest there are days we think that we will drown. But that is not God’s intent. The Water of Life, the Washing Waters of God, are Life giving…not life breaking.

Matthew 14:27-31 “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

God uses the water to wash, to clean, to restore, to save. And He uses His power to allow you to walk on it, or to part it so you can walk on dry land, or to reach underneath it and pull you up from it. But what I am most recognizing these days is that no matter how God’s Water of Life is at work, it is working towards something Good.

You weren’t meant to drown, my friend. You were meant to cross from death to Life on dry ground. You were meant to be Washed in His Washing Waters only to be clothed in His Grace. You were meant to step out from your boat of safety only to walk out on the Water in a miraculous way. Grace in the Washing Waters only marks the beginning of your journey with God, ending up on the dry land of Heaven is your destiny.

Revelation 22:1-5 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of the lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”

Whether God is allowing you to walk through huge trials at the moment, or through a period of rest and restoration, He is still calling you to come out to Him. He is still asking you to step out of the boat like Peter and have faith that you can walk upon the waves. He wants to wash you in His Grace so that you can stand before the oceans of this life and experience the power of your eternal life as you see Him part the waves and make a path for you to cross. The life of those who follow Christ is never easy, instead it is gloriously refining. Take heart in your battles today, have faith that you will be lifted up above the waves and that His water is for saving. You will not drown. You will rise.

 

 

 

 

Imperishable Beauty Contributor 

Dear Reader, 

I have recently embarked on a new journey as a contributing writer for a Christian Women’s organization called Imperishable Beauty! My first article was published on their website today and I thought you might be interested in checking it out. If you are facing a seemingly unmovable mountain in your life then I’m praying today’s devotional speaks to you. Just head on over by clicking this link: Imperishable Beauty: How to Move Mountains and be sure to check in often as the site will be featuring the writing and stories of so many strong and inspirational women. God is moving mountains, my friends. I am so humbled to be able to witness that firsthand! 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: How to Rise in Grace 


Dear Reader, 

Yesterday, I stood beneath the towering pines. I admit that their majestic beauty has given way to a sort of fear inside of me. Ever since this last summer branches have been tumbling down from their heights, and I’ve been unable to discern whether it is because of natural causes or because something is making them less sturdy than they used to be. Trees seemed so solid to me before, so indestructible. And yet with the force of summer storms and the weight of winter snow I’ve seen a few of them fall, as easily as a leaf falls from the branches in autumn. And I realized that their strength is nothing compared to the strength of our God, and that even trees are humbled by His power. I have yet to feel the strength in my life that these trees once held in my eyes. I have yet to feel so sturdy. God keeps humbling me, yet sometimes I mistake the humbling for breaking. The truth is that there is a time to bow low before the King of Heaven, a time to surrender our own strength, and to be covered in a restorative strength only He can give. We have to first bow low before we can then Rise up. Jesus showed us this first hand. The deeper we bow, the higher we Rise. Jesus stepped down from Heaven, was wrapped in humility, bowed down to serve and wash, and laid low in a grave. Only after that did we see Him gloriously Rise in the full power of God. And we are called to be like Him. We are called to find God’s strength in our weakness. Only God decides when the time is right for us to Rise up in Him, and until then we Joyfully bow low in Hope, and Love, and Grace. Humility is not a punishment, it is how we are transformed to be more like Christ. Simple and small lives, bowing and sitting at the feet of Jesus, most often yield the most powerful stories of Rising up in Christ. God has called me to embrace my humility, and perhaps He is calling you to this too. God’s timing has always been perfect. We know this to be true. And because of it we can wait patiently like seeds planted in the ground, knowing full well that we won’t stay this small forever, knowing full well that God will call us to Rise and Bow like these tall majestic pines I stand under. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Washing Waters 


Dear Reader, 

It’s all rain and slush and puddles over here today. And this morning the drive back from dropping my husband off at work was filled with scenes of fog wrapped farm fields and sheets of mist covered ponds. There was beauty in the way it veiled the ordinary scenery and as I drove on by the midnight colored Sugar River all I could think was that I needed to see it all, I needed to be caught up in that moment, I needed to run through those fields and touch that water. I was thinking of what God would say to me in front of the church of believers, what He would reveal about me if I wasn’t covered in all of His Grace. The truth is that He would say I am a wanderer through and through. I can’t sit still. I can’t bide my time. I never stay in one place too long. I am always searching. And even today, I found myself wanting to wander down hiking trails I had never been on before, on my own, but when I stepped out my back door I found the ground too slippery with slush and melting ice and had to settle for wandering in my own small backyard. Yes I am a wanderer, but I’m also very often afraid. Afraid of the future, afraid of failing, afraid of not failing, afraid of wandering too far. I stood out in the mist this afternoon and watched as the water rippled across the puddle that is overtaking the land beneath the pines. And I remembered the phrase “washing waters” which enters into my mind from time to time and whispers so strongly of salvation and restoration and baptism. And I thought, these days are my daily washing waters. Each day I desperately need God to calm my wandering heart, I desperately need His Spirit to wash over me, I desperately need to be cleansed of all of my selfish pride. I keep trying to go it alone, but then God sends the rain and bids me to settle down into His peace. If you are feeling lost, if you are wandering, if everything you are touching lately is falling apart, know that God has got your beautiful soul covered, allow yourself to be washed in His Grace. We are the fallen living in a fallen world, but we are also the Hand Washed chosen children of the King.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer