A Grace Note: Only Jesus Can Make You Whole Again 


Dear Reader, 

I tried to take on something new last week and it just isn’t working out. This has been the story of my life now for about three years, but it is especially true this year. God keeps humbling me…and humbling me…and humbling me more. I prayed for Him to do big things. I prayed for Him to move mountains. I’m realizing now that in order for God to do these big things…I very often must get out of His way. He tells me to rest, and I run. He tells me to go, and I stay put. He tells me to let Him take the wheel, and I grip it tighter. Faith, if it means nothing else, is the ability to let go of what you know and trust instead in what God knows. This world has its rule book, it will tell you what accomplishment and success are supposed to look like. But God has a different vantage point. To be small, is to be beautiful. To be humble, is to be great. To feel weak, is to know His strength. And to feel heartbroken, is to know His mending. You probably haven’t won an Oscar. Maybe you don’t have a PhD. Maybe you don’t even have a career at the moment…like me. The point is that God doesn’t weigh our worth in the way that the world seemingly does. He sees you…not your job, your social standing, your influence, or your successes. He sees your heart in its purest form. You weren’t created to conform to the world or to cultural expectations…you were created to live. There is beauty in simplicity. There is Joy in the quiet of life. If you feel quiet and small in the wake of the world, know that He sees you. Know that you are loved. Know that no social ladder will ever separate you from Him. Know that no amount of income can determine your greatest worth. What can wash away my sin? What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. To all of you stay-at-home mom’s, to all of you “I just want to be a mom”s, to all of you still searching to find your calling, and to all of you that simply feel like your life is marching to a different rhythm than the world…know that God sees the greatness of who you are in His Son. Take heart, you are so loved. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Advertisements

Faith, Joy, and Fear: How God Calls Us to Trust Him 

My devotional Faith, Joy, and Fear: How God Calls Us to Trust Him was posted over at Imperishable Beauty this morning. In it I discuss how we, like the women at the empty tomb of Jesus, have faith enough to go even though we don’t know all the details and how faith, joy, and fear are all important in stepping out in trust to what God is calling us to do in our lives. What is God calling you to? Adoption? Ministry? A new job? A new perspective? If you’re interested in reading just click on the link to head on over: Imperishable Beauty: Faith, Joy, and Fear

A Grace Note: Grace in Conviction 


Dear Reader, 

Conviction often comes when we least expect it. It comes when we think we’ve got it all together, when we think we’ve overcome a former uglier version of ourselves. It usually comes when we feel that we have got it all under control, when we truly believe that we are kinder more beautiful and more grace giving people. I had an opportunity to give advice this week, except it wasn’t advice my friend was searching for and my words came out laced with a desperation and harsh edge that I thought had disappeared with my youth. And yet there it was. There those words lay. And the most disheartening thing about it is that I didn’t realize what I had done until I received back a harsh reply. Conviction set in. And so did my inability to soak in that I somehow had not rid myself of the wild responses of my younger days and had instead hid them away in some dark and forgotten corner. And I’ve felt raw about it all week. I’ve felt like the reality set in that even though we search desperately to be more graceful and to treat the world with more grace, we are always in desperate need of receiving God’s grace ourselves. Conviction leads to Grace, and Grace leads to growth in Him. It’s the only way to move forward. We must realize our weakness and embrace God’s mercy. All those broken and insecure parts we’re hiding? They must be laid bare before Him in order to be washed clean. Humility comes crashing down hard on us. It’s Grace that lets us Rise again. It’s Grace that makes us valuable even though our flaws made us worthless. God sees your rough and ragged edges…and He smooths them out. But to smooth down stone is a rough and crushing process. Conviction hurts. But God’s Grace restores. Maybe you said the wrong words this week. Maybe a weakness you thought you conquered reappeared. Maybe you discovered a selfish pride had been lurking in the corners of your heart. Maybe you held onto that pride. I did. And I wrestled with it. But we can’t stay down forever. We have to take the hand of Jesus and get back up. Conviction is not meant to destroy us…it’s meant to remake us.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Engraved By Grace 


Dear Reader, 

God does not forget us and He doesn’t forget what we’ve asked of Him. He does not forget that we love Him. He does not forget that we are His.

 “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hands” Isaiah 49:15b-16

This verse is not even a New Testament verse…it’s an Old Testament one, meaning that God makes us this promise even before Christ spread His arms wide and physically allowed our names to pierce His hands. It’s like Christ reserved that place on His hands for us the whole time. He always loved us. Always. From the beginning of time until now He has loved you. I have felt in the last few years that maybe God would forget my prayers. Maybe He had other things He wanted for my life and so the words I brought before Him were just forgotten. But today I am sure that He never forgets, He never dismisses what you bring before Him. Your name is right there….engraved into His hands. The same hands that created the world and that opened wide on the cross contain and hold you. It’s your name that He sees there. And your name is not a nagging reminder, it’s not on a “to-do” or “to-answer” list. Your name is written there as Beloved. As His child. As one He never wishes to be separated from.

 “I am my Beloved’s and He is mine, His banner over me is Love”

Love flows right from His heart and through those veins and right out from those hands engraved with You. Forgotten? Never. Remembered? Always. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Confidence 


Dear Reader, 

Confidence is not part of my vocabulary. I say the wrong things, I respond the wrong way, I’m not as good as other people, I’m not qualified, I’m not like them. Many days it seems as if doubt is at the top of my vocab list. Doubt in myself and in my abilities. And that’s the whole problem right there. Even in doubt, there is pride. Because we want to do everything on our own, even fail. If we want confidence to enter into our lives, to become part of who we are, then we must determine in our hearts who it is that can give us that. Confidence is not about believing in ourselves, it’s about believing in who Jesus is. We will never feel like we are enough, doubt is strung right into our DNA. It has been that way since the day we fell in the Garden. We doubted then if we were who God said we were, we doubted that what we were created to be was enough. We sought to be something bigger, something more grand. And we missed the point. We tripped. We stumbled over our own confused desires. It turns out that ever since that day all we have ever wanted to do is go back. You hear it said over and over again “the good old days”. We want to return to simplicity. We just want to love and be loved. Friends, God in His perfection, His ability to love, His ability to show mercy, His power, His Grace, His sacrifice, will always be greater than what we are. But He doesn’t let that separate Himself from us, even in our rebellious ways. Instead He stepped down and became like us….so that He could die for us. If you’re struggling with self confidence today, look up. The reason we struggle is because we are looking in the wrong places. The only confidence we have in this entire universe is in Christ. He makes us beautiful. He makes our lives worth something. He builds our future. He instills in us Hope. Don’t throw that away. Don’t make God less than who He is. Confidence in Him is how we are able to run this race. After all, confidence in Him is no less than Faith in who He is. It is powerful, and in Him so are you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: The Spilling Out of Grace


Dear Reader, 

What if we refused to harden our hearts. What if instead we yielded to God and let Him melt our hearts with His love. Maybe then our hearts would run with liquid freedom, like streams and brooks which water the earth, spilling out and over and running through. I’ve become very aware of that tightening in my chest when I disagree, when I’m nervous, when I’m feeling afraid. It’s a feeling I’ve begun to identify as pride. And it doesn’t always stem from a conscious decision to be prideful. Instead it comes from some place I can identify as self preservation…a form of hardening my heart in order to save it…in order to protect it. Jesus is melting this part of me. And I have begun to wonder why it is that we don’t want our hearts to have full freedom, because if they did they might melt this whole world for Christ. His love has that effect. Protecting our hearts means handing them to the only one who can save them, the only one in the whole universe willing to exchange our weakness for His strength. He stretches our hearts so they can hold more, so they can love more, so they can be held more. Our hearts are meant to overflow, to run with liquid freedom, a freedom we can’t contain but instead spill forth. Maybe you’re feeling this freedom today or maybe you’re feeling that tightening feeling of pride in your chest like I have on so many days. To feel that is to be human, our normal reaction to the world. But to feel your heart spilling out of your chest…that is to belong to Christ, to be made whole even though parts of you are flowing away, to experience the kind of love Christ has beating in His own heart. I pray we be filled with more of that. Less pride and more freedom. May our hearts keep on melting, keep on thawing out from their most frozen places. We are the Redeemed, and our hearts are the flowing ones. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: When Your Heart Begins to Melt 


Dear Reader, 

Everything is melting here. The peaceful sound of trickling streams of water has returned and it is almost as if I can feel the earth heave with a sigh of relief. The winter isn’t over, I know the snow will come. But for now, a most welcome break has arrived and every ounce of my being feels suddenly rested and at peace. My heart has been thawing out too. I’ve only just begun to notice. But I am not who I was 5 years ago. I am not who I was even last year. Each year it seems that God stretches me, asking me to open my arms wider, extend my hand further, lean into Him deeper. And I can feel it, I can feel my heart melting. I can feel it warming up from cold and selfish pride into something more giving, and loving, and understanding. I cry more. Not just tears of sadness but also tears of Joy. I am feeling a departure from my former people pleasing self into someone more real. I am not perfect. I would not even say I am becoming someone who is more “good”. Just that maybe I’m becoming someone more capable of love, more capable of extending and accepting grace in a world that is far from perfect and in situations that seem far from good. I will go where He will lead me, even if it hurts. Because God only melts our hearts to save them, to reach them, to hold them. “If today you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”. I’m starting to understanding this more clearly. I’m starting to lean in to Him more deeply. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Rushing Waters


Dear Reader, 

I took this photo about three years ago now. My husband and I have made it a habit to take almost all of our big trips in the winter season. This one was to see Niagara Falls from both the Canadian and U.S. Side. I remember being completely humbled by the strength of the water and the sheer force with which it fell. The snow still lay as an icy back drop and steam was rising high and creating an endless string of rainbows above the pools which lay churning below the rushing falls. And I was reading this tiny section of Revelation this morning, the part where it describes the voice of Jesus as the sound of rushing waters and where Jesus says “do not be afraid” and this photo reminded me of that. I so desire to hear His voice everyday of my life, but I admit there are days when I am afraid to hear His answer, I am afraid of the impact He will have on my life, I am afraid of my own weakness. The sound of rushing waters has always been a sound I have chased after. It’s a sound of nature mixed with power, creation endowed with strength by its Creator. Water etches and carves and washes clean. The very same way the voice of Christ does. Today, if you stand before deep waters and you desperately need to hear His voice, know that while we are weak and He is so strong, He never wants us to be afraid of Him. His strength is meant to be our peace. His heart is meant to transform ours. He stands, the almighty Savior of the world and the Holy Son of God the Father in all His power, and He bends and He reaches and He steps down and laid down His life all to reach us. His power isn’t meant to separate us from Him. It’s meant to bring us back to Him. It’s meant to carry us Home. Friends, do not fear what He has to say to you. He is Love and Grace just as much as He is Strength and Power.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Loved and Chosen 


Dear Reader, 

I haven’t felt lovely these last three weeks. Recovering from two rounds of kidney stone surgery and stents is far from pretty. I’ve felt needy and run down. And life has just been generally rough over here for over a year now. Infertility treatments are no joke. And yet, this guy. He’s always there. He’s always assuring me that I’m beautiful to him. He said to me the other night as I was literally crying about Beyonce (I mean what? Who am I? I blame lack of sleep) that he hasn’t changed his mind about me. His feelings for me haven’t changed. He just loves me. That’s it. No questions asked. I keep thinking he might change his mind one day, that one day I might be too much for him. But he remains steady and loving and forgiving and firm in his commitment to me. And I can’t believe it. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me. His love reminds me of how I feel about God’s love…and that is incredible. I don’t deserve it and yet I’m loved…God and my husband, they chose me. I will never get over that. I will never fully grasp it. But these two, they humble every ounce of my being. I am so blessed to be called theirs. I am so grateful that they see beauty where I can’t, that they forgive me when I can’t, that they love me even when I don’t. My valentine will always be this man who stands next to me, this man of God I am so humbled to be joined with. He is by far my better half. He has all of my heart and he always will. A man that can love me like God can is worth every ounce of this heart of mine. My life is forever made up of him and my Savior. Life isn’t pretty here, but it is so good. And I’m thankful for every minute of it we get to spend together. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Heart Exchange 


Dear Reader, 

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Can I confess something to you this evening before Valentine’s Day? I haven’t been very good at guarding my heart. I haven’t shielded it from stress or from worry. I’ve let every emotion come pounding hard through it’s chambers. And it shows. My words have come tumbling out in a jumbled and jagged fashion and those I love can sense that I’ve forgotten that human hearts are fragile, and that’s why we need to let Jesus enter into them. When what we allow to enter into our hearts is Christ, then the strength and the love and the resiliency of Christ is what will flow out from them. Let worry into your heart, and that’s what flows from it. Let stress in, and that’s what we become. But Jesus beckons us close and He says “here, let me exchange hearts with you, let me give you strength for your weakness and hope for your despair and contentment for your longings”. Tomorrow is about celebrating who we love, but maybe tonight can be about how we love and why we love and about the tender and fragile hearts that still beat in this world who are still waiting to make that beautiful exchange with Christ. We must let love into our hearts so that love is what comes out of it and so that love is what spreads. Jesus gives us new hearts for our broken ones. Jesus wants to give the whole world new hearts for broken ones. So tomorrow, just remember that the tender hearts of the world still need protecting, these fleshy mortal ones we keep, from a world that’s looking for a heart exchange and for a world that’s looking to see how your own heart exchange changed you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer