Sunday, September 30, 2012

A lesson in Grace

John 10:10

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

 The past week was a very emotional week for me.  I loss my favorite "Tia".  I wrote about her once before, in a blog titled: Prayer Impact.( ) She was a beautiful, sweet, and faithful woman.  She always prayed for me, and my siblings.  Her prayers came to life in me as she prayed the armor of God over me so many times.  I don't believe she had any idea what an impact those prayers were in my lifeNow I suffer from a joyful heartache at the loss of my sweet Tia Angie.

As the week progressed, I feel as though God has laid on my heart that I need to extend more grace.  I need to extend grace to family or friends that in one way or another have hurt my feelings or disappointed me.  I need to learn to forgive and then give grace knowing that my forgiveness will not change anything for the people who will continue to live their lives never knowing of my silent disapproval.  It is then that the John 10:10 came to mind.

You see, the thief comes to steal my freedom and joy.  He comes to kill my relationships and the love in my heart.  The thief comes to destroy all that is good in my life.  The thief uses any means by which to accomplish the destruction of my hope, my joy, my love, and all things I hold dear.  There is a real truth here, the truth is found in Jesus and His example.  Jesus gives us grace, and so in turn we should also extend grace. I have just considered that while I am free from my sins, through Christ Jesus, I am still held captive by the sins I have not forgiven.  I have decided that I no longer want to be controlled by the anger, disappointment, or hurt feelings that are associated with not forgiving.  I want to experience freedom in grace that I give to others, the way Christ gave for me.

God always has a way of sealing my thoughts.  He often validates my prayers and thoughts through others.  Today as I sat in Sunday school, we talked about slavery.  We were covering the verses from 1 Peter Chapter 2: 18-25.  The verse that struck me most is 19: "A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased."  My take on this is that the only way to stand the pain of an unfair situation is to offer grace and forgiveness.  We forgive not because of  fairness or justice, but to free ourselves from the control of the oppressor. Today's Sunday school lesson, helped to solidify and confirm just what I was thinking and what I need to do.  I need to live extending grace to others, with as much grace as I have been given.

I think I will start by praying and saying out loud that I want to forgive and that I want to extend grace to others.  Then I will try something radical and give myself grace!  I think I am often robbed of my freedom, by a thief named Miranda.  There is no one harder on me than me.  I can kick myself around over things that I should just let go.  Grace means that a mistake can be forgiven, it is still a mistake, but there can be love and forgiveness anyway.  I challenge each of you to try this with me.  Let's make this week, a week of grace, a week of forgiveness for ourselves and for others.  I think if we find ourselves wrapped in God's grace and extending grace to others, then in turn we will feel more free and more joy.  The thief CANNOT steal, kill, and destroy while the Holy Spirit stands in me.  I plan on living life in abundance with the Holy Spirit.

In honor of my Tia Angie:

Ephesians 6:10-13a
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against the flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world ad against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground."    

Will you stand your ground this week?  Will you keep the thief from stealing, killing and destroying your joy?  Will you extend grace?  I am certainly going to try!  This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Friday, September 7, 2012


I have to tell this story.  It is just too funny not to tell.  My sweet husband and I were invited to dinner with some friends of ours.  We had a lovely time.  We were one of three couples, all of us had kids and the kids played while the adults visited.  The next day, I ran into the friend who invited us over and she thanked me for coming and said the FUNNIEST thing to me.  Her comment has made me laugh so much, but also has me thinking.  She said, she loved having us over with the other couple, because the husband of the other couple is not saved.  She wanted us to be there to show how normal Christians really are.  ( Not verbatim)

Ok, so if you are me, this is what goes off in my head:  You invited us over, because we are your most flawed friends!  Begin enormous laugh here........still laughing..........oh my mercy..... still laughing!  While I obviously find this incredibly funny, I also think I am flattered by the idea that we were selected.  I can't help but ponder the ideas of those who are not Christian.

I think the stereotype that Christians are perfect has new humor to me.  As a Christian, I know something that non-Christians don't know.  That simply put is that I NEED A SAVIOR.  I need someone to redeem me, because on my own, I am a huge mess.

For example, left to my own devices, I would be a wild cusser.  That is right.  I would talk what my mom would call, " a wild blue streak."  I would be like a trucker.  Just ask my hubby about the time he left me at the church on our wedding day, I know a few bad words.  I would also probably dress like a fat woman at HEB in the summer.  I would let it all hang out.  I wouldn't care, because lets face it, it is HOT in Texas.  

As it is, as a Christian, I taught my 5 year old to say crap.  I have hurt peoples feelings.  I have been dishonest.  I have lied.  I have saught revenge.  I have torn the tag off the mattress of all sorts of things that God considers sin.  I am no poster child for good.  The only difference is that I can admit I am wrong, I can admit that I NEED a savior.

So I guess the real question is, are you flawed enough to be a Christian?  Do you have the flaws that require needing to surrender your life over to God?  I am happy to say that I AM FLAWED ENOUGH!  I have everything it takes to deserve Jesus.  What is that exactly?  Nothing.  I have absolutely nothing good to offer Jesus.  I am broken, and hopelessly flawed.  I admit it. I have a secret stash of chocolate in my underwear drawer!  Those M&M's are a symbol of my secret indulgence in all things that are not good for me.

The amazing thing about God, is that as HE loves me regardless of me.  He loves me despite my flaws.  His word says that He sent his Son for those just like me, the lost.  Before, I knew I needed a savior, I was lost.  I had no idea the directions to heaven, to happiness, to peace, and most importantly to love.  When I realized that I was FLAWED ENOUGH, He welcomed me in, and filled me with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self control.  (The fruit of the spirit Galation 5:22-23)  While they are not perfect in me, they are in HIM, and that is enough for me.

I hope that this little story encourages you to be flawed enough to step into the Christian family and find your place in HIS plan!

This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Finding Good

Well, I am 35 years old, and I believe I have just learned one of the most profound lessons of my life.  I HAVE FOUND GOOD.  I will let you in on a secret, finding good is directly related to obedience to God's will.  God has poured out opportunities in my life and I have found two things that I am good at, and that bring me indescribable joy. ( That is aside from being a wife and mother.)

I have worked at jobs that I have been good at but were not my true passion.  I have prayed for my life to matter.  I have prayed that God would use me to glorify Him.  I have prayed He would grow my faith.  I have prayed He would give me a servants heart.  I have asked God to show me where He wants me in his plan.  However, in MY answer to these requests, I imagined, becoming a speaker for Women of Faith.  I always seem to make myself bigger than Him in my imagined responses to my requests.  Then I catch myself and pray, Lord, please help me not to seek fame or credit, but to make my life honor you.

I blogged once about feeling passionless, in No Pinterest.  I have often felt passionless.  I am not a crafter, I don't have a hobby if you will.  It was like a crisis of identity if you asked me what I like to do.  I find it easy to list the things that I don't like doing, but I could take three days to find the things that I love to do.  My attitude about many things I do is lack luster, and I have a hard time claiming to be good at anything.  I have come to realization that the reason, I feel I have no passion is because up until recently, I was not considering what God wants me to do. What are the gifts He has given me, and am I using them?  Some where between what God puts on my heart and what I do there is a disconnect.  It may be called fear, it may be called insecurity, but it has kept me from following through.  Maybe I have heard God whisper to me before, but I have not actually been brave enough to stop and listen, and accept God's calling in my heart.

"Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4

I have been delighting in the Lord.  I have been seeking him.  For a change I decided to listen and follow the tugging on my heart.  I mentioned in my last blog that I am now working with Kindergarten kids part time.  I have to say, I had my reservations.  How was I going to wake up so early?  Was I going to like being in a room full of kids. I've never done anything like this, will I even be good at it?  However, I was certain that God was being clear on this matter, this is what He wanted for me.  I have followed him faithfully, into the scary unknown.  I have been tired, but I have also felt indescribable joy from being with these kids.  I love listening to their silly stories.  I love listening to their prayer requests, and hearing them pray.  I even love the ones that test me!  Kids are the best teachers in life.  They love without bounds, they say what is on their minds, they ask for help when the need it.  They are truly brilliant, created by God to show us adults what we have forgotten.

The Lord has also clearly put me in another situation, also mentioned in a previous blog. I have been attending the Beauty for Ashes bible study/support group.  It is a ministry for abused women.  I took the class with my mother-in-law to see if we would like to be co-teachers/leaders/facilitators.  I was completely blessed by God during this class.  I was blessed to meet some amazing women.  I was blessed by the lessons, the truth of God's word, and how He views abuse.  He desires total healing for all His precious and loved children.  I have a new passion after seeing the freedom found through Jesus that the women experience as a result of speaking God's truth and removing the lies of the world.  It is something that can not be described.  When you see a woman, who has suffered her whole life, let go and accept that she is LOVED by the almighty, it is more than words can describe.  It is not only the presence of Almighty God, it is the complete and total vision of the cross.  After attending the Graduation class,  I feel as though God may be calling me to continue in this ministry.  I don't know when or where I will find the time, BUT if this is God's will, I intend to follow him in faithful obedience.  Just read the passage of scripture the class is based on below:

Isaiah 61:3
to comfort all who mourn,3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Who doesn't want to encourage and share the freedom found in hearing the truth about how God loves you and made you?  Who doesn't want to trade in their ashes for beauty?

 There it is, I have followed God and I have found joy.  I have found good.  It is one of the few times in my life when I have thrown caution to the wind.  I have had no idea what I am doing!  I have stepped out of all my familiar surroundings.  I have left the comfort of "my box."  I have taken a risk, and handed over the control to God.  The craziest thing has happened, I have been equipped by God in ways I could never do myself.  Therefore, being in His will is where I am made good at something!  My conclusion, if you want to find out what you are good at, where your passion is, and what you have true joy in, find out what God is calling you to, and don't be afraid to step out and step in to HIS plan.

2Corinthians 3:5-6
We don’t have the right to claim that we have done anything on our own. God gives us what it takes to do all that we do. He makes us worthy to be the servants of his new agreement that comes from the Holy Spirit and not from a written Law. After all, the Law brings death, but the Spirit brings life.

This week I suggest letting God give you what it takes to find GOOD. This is my mindset, now let me hear yours!