A Grace Note: Imperfect but Seen 


Dear Reader, 

Awhile a back now I mentioned how I deeply desired to be more real in this space. By more real, I mean showing the world that I’m a real person behind all these devotional and grace notes and that every word here comes from a real and imperfect person. So here’s a real moment for you all this evening. Tonight I threw my hair into braids so I could get to work on some fresh baked pumpkin bundt cake for our church potluck tomorrow. These braids remind me of a much younger me, an eighth grade girl lost in insecurity who wasn’t cool but knew she couldn’t be like everybody else. That insecure girl, curious about the realness of the God she loved, hurried her way through high school hiding behind piano sheet music and spending quiet evenings in a George Webb diner with her newly found Love. Years later she would go on to find that though she could remember every face from those high school years, there were a handful of people who couldn’t remember hers. That’s right. I’ve run into a handful of people over the last few years, girls I sat in class with, girls I traded notes with, who simply don’t remember me being there. I felt hurt the first time around, confused the second, and dumbfounded the third time. But here’s the thing. I was quiet and all those years I felt I wasn’t good enough to really be known. And even into adulthood I’ve felt the same way. “How will the world remember me” turned into “Will the world remember me?”. Jesus says He will never forget me, that my name is written on the palms of His hands. Maybe this world isn’t about making waves, but is instead about riding them out. Maybe this life is about learning to walk upon them, looking solely to Jesus…who will always know our names. That quiet, awkward, self-conscious girl has followed me into adulthood, but now she knows her own name to be this: Beloved. I am beloved by Jesus, by my husband, by my sweet family, by my small but dear circle of friends. Do I have the crowds behind me? No. Will the world remember my name? Probably not. But my tiny world is still rocked by the presence of the people Jesus has placed into it, and I know that in some small way, I get to rock their world too. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

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Grace Under Pressure: The Force of Pressure Unseen 


Dear Reader, 

I was in the shower this morning when I noticed my anniversary ring, the one my husband gave me last year during our trip to the Black Hills, felt different on my finger. I thought maybe it had twisted funny. I’ve worn it everyday for over a year, and though it’s been exposed to the heat of the shower daily, it has never been subjected to any known type of pressure or force. Which is why I found myself in shock when I realized it had somehow become bent so badly that I could barely pry it off of my finger. I tried to bend it back by running it under steaming hot water, thinking maybe the steam from the shower had caused it to bend in the first place, but it wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t get it to regain its former shape. All these weeks I’ve been searching for words to write. I’ve been feeling like the well had run dry and for some reason, God had stopped speaking to me through this way that He seemingly always has. But this ring this morning caused me to realize that the silence I have been experiencing is not unexplainable. There have been pressures unseen bearing down on my soul that I simply had not noticed. They hid themselves behind my earthly worrying and exhaustion and when God caused me to open my eyes to them, I was made aware that once again nothing is without purpose. I was made aware that if I feel God has become silent in my life it is not because He has chosen not to speak, but it is instead because the enemy has found a way to cause me not to listen through the force of pressures unseen which cause what I see to become warped and different from what God intends. Those pressures make me feel like the pieces of this life God has given me won’t fit back together. What unseen spiritual pressures are taking hold of your life? God says that nothing which comes into the Light stays hidden. Perhaps the only way to know what is hiding and holding our souls back from deeper relationship with God is to simply ask God to illuminate what we can’t see. I let the pressures of isolation and anxiety and worry overshadow the power of Hope and Grace and Purpose. God has Good things for you. Allow Him to light up your dark spaces where the hard things hide.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

Hurricane Irma: A Grace Note 


Dear Reader, 

I just honestly haven’t been able to find the right words to say. I know people in Texas, in Florida, and in Georgia who are living through these hurricanes and I fear for them. I find myself scared and feel almost numb in the safety of my midwestern home. But God, He is a God who calms the storms. Sometimes our storms are internal, other times they are literal. But in either case we have a God who is stronger than either of those. We have a God who conquers hurricane strength wind and rising flood waters. We have a God who Loves like a hurricane….He loves us with that same force. Be safe, friends, if you are in the path of these heartbreaking storms. And be strong and courageous, because the Lord your God goes with you wherever you go. You do not face these storms empty handed. You can face them with all the strength of Christ who says to the winds and the waves and also to our very hearts, “Be still, and know that I am God.” A Good God. A Loving God. That’s who He is, no matter what storm rages on. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: 40 Days of Conversations with the King 


Dear Reader, 

Sometimes I feel as if my prayers have no direction. I throw my hands up and I spill out my heart, my frustrations, and my fears. I know God hears me. I have seen Him move my mountains. I have felt Him crumble my fears. What He wants with us is honest dialogue, an ongoing conversation with Him in which we give Him our all. This means all of our fears, all of our insecurities, all of our worries. He doesn’t require fancy or memorized prayers of length. He simply wants you, the way you are, to come before Him and talk with Him awhile. Over the next 40 days, in my personal life, I’m choosing one topic in my life to pray daily over, and by that I mean have honest conversations with God over. I plan on writing down my topic and pinning it up on the wall so I can see it each day and enter into the Grace of conversation with my Father God over it. I believe that private conversations with the King of Kings are life changing. I also believe and know that there is power when God’s people come together to lift each other’s burdens up to the throne room of Heaven. I just wanted to encourage you to join me if you feel like there has been something in your life you need to talk to your Father God about. Grace has a name, and it’s name is Jesus. Jesus came that we would once again enter into communion with our Father, and I believe we are able to do this with honest and open prayer. Jesus has turned His Father’s face towards us. He is listening, and He cares about you. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: What Will You Do With Your Freedom? 


Dear Reader, 

When I think of America, I think of this little cheese shop we visit every year in Wisconsin called Union Star. It sits next to the highway among fields and fields of corn. It’s quiet there. No crowds, or angry customers. Just a few passers by who stop in the heat of the day. But sometimes when I think of America, I become aware of how others see it. I am burdened by its brokenness and I am broken by its burdens. Not every leader seems to hear every voice. Every law and every bill seems to leave someone out. We fight every day for freedom, but we become more aware with the passing of time that freedom is never free, and it is never without cost. And then I think of Heaven, that place I think we are all homesick for in our hearts even if we don’t realize it. I think of how scripture tells us that we hold citizenship there. And I know that the kingdom of Heaven holds the most free people. I know that it is ruled by the love of our Father. If we are looking for perfect freedom, we won’t find it on this earth. Perfect freedom only exists in the arms of our Savior. It’s a freedom that breaks every chain and heals every heart and unites all people. I pray that as citizens of that perfect place, that we would always carry in our hearts what it means to be free from even the freedoms of this world. I pray that even in this free country we live in, we would choose to continue to carry the cross. I pray that our freedoms here wouldn’t separate us from the rest of the world, but that they would cause us to be brave in loving the people of the world more deeply. I pray that our freedoms wouldn’t isolate us, but instead would propel us into active service, mission, and love. With great freedom comes great opportunity….and responsibility. What will you do with your freedom? 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Always Free, Always Brave 


Dear Reader, 

There are many in the world today who don’t have freedom, but are incredibly brave. And there are people in the world who are incredibly free, but lack bravery. The beauty of Jesus is that it doesn’t matter if you are brave or free or both. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom”. No matter what country you live in, in Jesus we get to experience both, because only He can make us both brave and free. He breaks every chain. He gives life where death once reigned. He wins every victory and gives us the strength to win every battle. His grace frees us from every evil thing that once held us in bondage. As Christians we will always be free in Him. May we also always be brave in Him. May we who call ourselves His people and who live in the nation of the free, always be willing to fight for the physical freedom of others in this world because we know the One who fought to the death for the Spiritual freedom of the whole world. In His freedom we find grace, and truth, and life, and the fire to continue the fight for the physical and spiritual freedom of the people on this earth. Jesus reigns. May that be our victory. He who sets the captives free has come that we may have life in His name and that we would proclaim it as loud as we can. So what say you, free people? Will you who are free continue to be brave in Him? Will you use your American freedom to honor the name of Jesus who broke your every chain? Being an American does not make you “more Christian”. But it does mean you have been given great responsibility, to be brave in Christ as well as Free in this physical life. May we always understand the magnitude of our physical freedom in this country and may we be propelled by the incredible depth of our spiritual freedom to preach and to teach and to feed the hungry and to free the oppressed and to advocate for those who have no voice, in Jesus name and to His Glory. You were born free for a reason. Give your physical freedom to Jesus and watch how our incredible God moves in this world. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: You are Free From the Bondage of Judgement


Dear Reader, 

I had a thought today that really changed something deep in my heart. I know we all must feel judged at some point. I think for women we feel it more frequently, and our culture has almost intertwined second guessing ourselves into our DNA. I feel it at the most random times: during Target runs, at the hair salon, before company comes, after company leaves, and even among certain circles of my relatives and friends. I was talking to God about this a few hours ago as I was on my way to the grocery store, and He simply said, “Stop feeling judged”. The only one who can judge us is Him, and He has chosen to see us through eyes of Grace, so even then the God of Heaven has freed us from the only judgment that has any bearing on our souls. Today, I walked into the store and I felt Him whisper it over and over again. “Stop feeling judged”. Chances are no one is actually judging us on the things that matter. And even if they are, we can know for certain that their judgement has no hold on us. We are free from the bondage of unkind words, unrealistic expectations, and the ugliness of sin. Jesus is greater, and because of that, so are we. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: Grace in Weakness 


Dear Reader, 

I planted this Hydrangea bush in our shade garden last spring. Last year it only yielded a single stalk with one beautiful blossoming flower on the end of it. Its beauty too great and too heavy for the stalk to hold, it bent low to the ground in seemingly close connection with the soil from which it sprung. But this year, the single stalk has become a hardy bush, with not one, but five beautiful flowers lifting their heads high because of the strength of the stalks below them. This bush may be the only beautiful thing in my yard this year as our busy season of life has kept us from tending to the gardens we had hoped would spring to life. It has grown entirely of its own power without help from me. It has thrived there in the shade. There are so many lessons to take away from the life cycle of this gorgeous plant. But I think the one I find most speaks to me is the one which utters truth in the fact that last year, it bloomed even though it didn’t have the strength to hold itself high, and this year, like a comeback kid, it has multiplied and radiates strength and beauty. Whatever season God has you in, it is possible for you to bloom and to grow. If we possess the strength to grow and blossom even when we are weak, how much more will God allow us to thrive when we are finally secure. Every life is a testimony to His Grace. Every story contains His fingerprints. Today I sit in awe of my Creator. I sit in wonder of all of the personal ways He has assured me that He is near. God is Good all the time. So today friends, I pray that you will grow even when you feel you can’t. I hope that you will see beauty in God’s telling of your story even when the chapter feels dark or meaningless. And I rejoice that our God is one of truth, and that His truth will always yield the beauty it deserves. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

A Grace Note: A Timely Gift 


Dear Reader, 

My mama bought me this planner this week and every time I look at it I want to cry. Our nursery theme is powder blue with songbirds, and I felt like God was in this gift, prompting me to see Him in the baby steps we are making in our adoption process. Our home study is complete, and now we wait. Guess what month this planner starts in. It starts next month, July 2017 and goes through December of 2018. I’m hopeful for what may happen in the months to come, but even more so I’m trusting that God will use our time of waiting to His glory and for His Kingdom. This is such a timely gift, and I hope that it’s pages will document well the Grace that God shows us over the next year and a half (the span of its calendar pages). I hope that whatever it is you are waiting for, that you are searching for God in the steps along the way. Sometimes moments of Grace are so subtle that we miss them until the whole picture comes into view, but I’m here to tell you that when I take the time to notice them as they are happening my heart is filled with inexplicable Joy in my Father God who loves me and loves you come what may. Today, there will be moments of Grace. I encourage you to document those moments, to store them up in your heart, to see the glory of God in every tiny moment. He is there, and He is overwhelmingly Good to us. 

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer 

P.S. this planner is made by Punctuate and can be found at Barnes and Noble. Not an advertisement, just a fact worth sharing. 

A Grace Note: The Unexpected Appearance of Grace 


Dear Reader, 

Grace isn’t finally getting what you’ve always wanted. It isn’t finally seeing your dreams come true. It isn’t getting to live the life you’ve always imagined. Most days, Grace looks like closed doors. Grace looks like we’re running the wrong way. Grace looks like nothing is happening when really God is orchestrating every little thing in beautiful harmony with our broken hearts and our mercy washed souls. Sometimes we’re like this little toad who got picked up on a tennis racket one day and was gently placed out of harm’s way beneath some shady trees in the safety of the woods. Grace means that God is good even when life is not. It means that we’re safe in Him, even when everything around us seems dangerous. It means that our hearts won’t shatter forever, because Jesus binds them together with stuff not found in this world. Grace means strength even in weakness, provision even in poverty, love even in a world of hate, and life even in the midst of perishing dreams. The old has passed the new has come. Jesus makes this life, the very one you’re living right where you are, so incredibly worth while. Your plans don’t need to work out perfectly in order to experience Grace. In fact…it’s better if they don’t! Because the Grace of Jesus is that He knows what’s coming, and we don’t, but He promises to go with us and be the Beauty in all of the waiting and the wondering and the hoping and the trusting. After all, isn’t Heaven our biggest dream? And yet none of us know the extravagant beauty that awaits us there or the Grace that will mark our way as we journey there. He is making all things new. As my husband and I just recently completed our home study for our adoption agency, I know that God is bringing beauty from ashes. I know that all those nights I cried because I was afraid of where my future was heading, God was just carrying me like we carried this little toad to a place of Grace, down a different road, but one where we would rest in His arms and trust Him always, whether I get to become a mama or not. Infertility took a lot from me, but God gave me more. More faith. More trust. More hope. More Grace.

In Him, 

A Fellow Grace Wanderer