Tag Archives: Grace

Grace: Mom Grace…

2016_MomGrace

That kid…she’s pretty cool…most days (we all have our moments, right?!)

She calls me mom.
We call her Olivia, Livi, Liv, Livi Grace, and “The Giggler.”

She’s almost always smiling.
Everyone comments about her giggle (hence the nickname “The Giggler”)

She loves school.
She loves to read.
She loves that she can tie her shoes.
She loves her teacher.
She loves getting on purple (the best behavior color).
She LOVES art.

She loves to color, draw, paint, craft, use scissors, make messes, and not clean up!

She loves her brothers (aka “Stinky” and “Smelly”) sometimes.
She loves her friends.
She loves soccer.

She has her own “style.”
She loves bags, paper, pens, stickers (she gets that from me!).

That kid is full of energy, joy, and fun. She makes me laugh daily. And best of all, she calls me mom.

But some days, I let myself go there…you know the place…that ugly place where I feel sorry for her that she *has* to call me mom. That place where I think she got “the short end of the stick,” “the raw end of the deal,” etc.

Why do I do that?
Why do we, as moms, do that?
Why do we beat ourselves up when we don’t feel we are up to par?

That picture up there…that was from last week. The kids had silly hat day and together, Olivia and I came up with a crown, covered in shiny owls, shamrocks, gold washi tape, and more. She loved it! She called herself the “Cloverleaf Queen.” And of course, we captured the moment with a photo. I was the best mom ever!

For weeks now, all I have heard her talk about is Letterland day. She had this grand plan to be “Golden Girl.” She was excited, I was excited…but being me, human that is, I completely forgot about Letterland day. I even had a reminder from a friend just a few days ago, and still, this morning my little sunshine, my “Golden Girl,” headed off to school in her normal “style” without a pretty “G” or anything fancy and “golden” going on.

It was a mom fail.
Fail #2,345,678 or something like that.
The two boys ahead of her racked in most of those mom fails.

Being blessing #3 has it’s ups and downs. The fact that she is THE GIRL, gets her bonus points…especially after two boys. I never cared much for pink and purple until I was sooooooo tired of blue and red. That girl…yep, her room is PINK AND PURPLE (and I love it)!

And being THE GIRL who also loves art and crafty stuff gets her more bonus points with me because I love those things too! We work on our planners together. We color together. She crafts while I draw or read. It’s a wonderful life. Ahh, bliss!

Then there’s the part where I’m so over the whole mom thing, like PTO/PTA, classroom helper, snack provider, etc. See the boys got the best of it. Actually blessing #1 got the most because way back then, I was even on the PTA with a title and all (don’t remember my title now…I’ve blocked those memories…or they were just that long ago, LOL!). Blessing #2 got a few classroom party visits from mom, a couple of birthday lunches here and there, and the occasional cool points for dress up days. Blessing #3…well, I thought that because she’s THE GIRL and the fact there’s no babies on her heels, I’d be the coolest mom with her…you know, the one that’s always around, always helping, always seen, always available, always perfect?!

Well, guess what…that perfect mom DOES NOT EXIST!

You can argue with me on that, but I am 99.9% sure that mom is nowhere to be found. If you are her, then come give me lessons! Otherwise, stand back, smile, and give me grace! I’ll do the same for you!

Grace is a hot topic in this house lately. See I’m teaching a Bible study on Grace…but you know what? I think it’s really the other way around. It’s teaching me…God’s teaching me. God knows I’m stubborn…so stubborn. And He has to drill things home for me to get them. He knows I’m much more likely to teach others than to teach myself but by teaching others, He teaches me way more than I ever imagined I needed to know. So, He’s teaching me grace.

And today, I’m giving myself “Mom Grace.”

My girl was not “Golden Girl.”
I slept in (and enjoyed it).
It didn’t even cross my mind.
She will survive.
I’ll tell her, “You’ll always be my golden girl.”

And I’ll tell her, “I’m sorry.”
I’ll tell her, “I love you!”
I’ll ask her to extend grace.

And when I see other mom fails, I’ll remember this day…and I’ll extend “Mom Grace” to them!

Take it easy on you…this whole being a mom thing is tough. Don’t compare because there’s not a single other mother out there doing a better job than you! Just ask your kiddos! (but catch them on a good day and preferably not during puberty or the teenage years…because their brains don’t function properly at that point and you most likely will not get the right answer. Catch them before they’re a tween or after they’ve got their own kids!).

Grace, people. Grace! Today, extend mom grace!

 

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Word of the Year…

2016_Faith

Word of the year…

Perhaps the word of the year has become the new hype instead of resolutions we often fail at. I hear a lot of people these days choosing a word and focusing on that word throughout the year. Focus and Intentional seem to be what I’ve heard the most lately.

I’d never really chosen a word of the year…until last year. Even then, I didn’t choose the word; it chose me.

Hope.

I’m a part of a beautiful group of ladies along with a dear friend, Suzie Eller. In this group, we were asked to share a word. Honestly, at the time I didn’t even put much thought to it. I just knew the word I was supposed to use was hope. I shared a little story about what hope meant to me at the time and this picture…

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I wouldn’t know at that point just how much the word hope would come to mean. By February of last year, I had lost all hope…Not hope in a God that loved me or would save me, but in a life on this earth filled with peace. I was ready to be with God. I had been for a while. On the night of February 20th, after an evening of laughs with our closest friends, I attempted to take my own life (check posts from February and March 2015 to go back and read about that time). When my attempt failed, admittedly, I was quite disappointed.

Rather than losing hope, I was suddenly forced to find hope. I was still here. I was alive. I didn’t really feel alive, but by definition, I was alive. That wasn’t a part of my plan but that’s where I was.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I had to find something to help me get through each day. This required effort. It hasn’t been easy by any means.

Hope.

It began with just having enough hope to open my eyes in the morning, eventually leading to hoping I could wake up and get out of bed. Slowly other things came…

Hoping I could look at my kids again.
Hoping I could put together a rational thought.
Hoping I could make it through an hour without wanting to die.
Hoping I could make it through a day, a week.

Little by little over the next year, those thoughts of hope have grown. I won’t say my thoughts have completely changed from the plan to end my life. I still struggle to find hope and peace with life here on this earth but I think one thing I learned was I was searching for something that can’t be found.

I will never be the person I was before that night. It didn’t change my thoughts but it did change me.

It’s strange how the darkest, scariest, loneliest, and most painful place can somehow become the greatest. My memories from that time are some of the worst and best of my life. I was searching for peace that can only come through knowing to Whom and where I belong. I now know the answer to both of those. Knowing that is peace.

Peace.

I still struggle to find hope and peace with life here on this earth but I think one thing I learned was I was searching for something that can’t be found.  While in this life, I won’t find peace from suffering, I have found the peace I was meant to find. This journey has not been without reward.

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

With that said, peace was added to my word list. By the end of 2015, one more word had been added.

Joy.

Through the darkness of my depression and somehow stumbling back into His light, I learned what true joy is.

True joy.

It’s not happiness.

Happiness is eating a Big Mac without worrying that it will add pounds or a stomach ache.
Happiness is pouring water over your head on a hot summer day.
Happiness is having a few hours to myself when the kids are in school.

Happiness is based on circumstances and things.

Joy goes much deeper into the core of who we are. You have to search for it (again requiring an active part from us) and when you find it, there’s no denying it. You know you’ve found it. Joy is possible in both the best of circumstances and the worst.

As odd as it may sound, I found joy through my suicide attempt and because I have joy, true joy, I can share the good and the bad with you. I learned so much in the past year and in a lifetime of hurt and pain and honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because it has taught me what hope means, how to have joy through anything life throws at me, and that peace is attainable when you search for the right kind.

So, that sums up last year. Hope, peace, and joy will always have a special place in my heart. I will embrace them and the joy I found through the lowest point of my life. And, I look forward to learning new things about them in the days, months, and years to come.

I can’t wait to see what words 2016 brings. For now, I already have two words.

Faith.

Faith is the word that I’ve chosen, but really, like hope, I think it actually chose me. I plan to focus a lot of faith, growing in faith, trusting the faithfulness of God and those He has placed by my side, and sharing the gift of faith. I’m sure there will be many posts on faith. Along with faith, is grace, extending grace because we all need it. Many stood by me last year in my darkest moment and showed me how to truly love someone. Part of that love was by extending grace. I want to offer the same to others.

Right now…

My faith is stronger than ever before.
My faith is in Him.

Lessons learned last year…

Find hope.
When all hope seems lost, His love still remains.
Joy is possible…in all circumstances.
Peace is found in knowing to Whom and where you belong.

And…

“Faith isn’t faith until Jesus is all you are holding on to!”

I don’t know where I heard the above quote but it has stuck with me. On the night of February 20th, 2015, nothing else mattered. Not my husband. Not my children. Not my friends. Nothing. I simply wanted to go and be with God. And that next night, as I sat alone in my bare, cold hospital room, striped of everything shy of the air in my lungs, He was all I needed and He was there.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Have you considered choosing a word for 2016? If you have, what’s your word? I’d love to hear from you all on your thoughts and stories!

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Amazing…

Amazing

This morning, I share with you a tender moment in my day.

A sweet friend and book lover recommended a book to me just a few short days ago.  I downloaded it and thought little more about it until this morning when I found myself wide awake, much too early.

As I held my phone in my hand, staring at the words written by Holley Gerth in her book, You’re Already Amazing, Satan was already at work.  It took nothing more than the title for Him to creep into my mind with his lies.

“Amazing?  What a joke!  You’re not amazing.  You nowhere near amazing.  You’ll never be amazing.”

Wanting to at least make it past the title, I trudged onward.  Just a few pages in, Holley shares a story in which she had a date with a friend.  This is the point in the book where I had to stop.  I couldn’t go any further.  I had to soak in this.  It was in this very moment, I needed to breath.  I needed to sit here a while and just breath in these words, grasping to believe it as truth, desperately trying to drown out Satan’s lies.

“It’s time you knew you’re amazing.  I mean it’s time you really knew…

You’re not only amazing.
You’re enough.
You’re beautiful.
You’re wanted.
You’re chosen.
You’re called.
You’ve got what it takes…not just to survive but to change the world.”

And as I settled on those words, like a wildfire burning out of control, Satan’s lies engulfed my mind.

“Amazing?  That’s a joke.  You’re nowhere near amazing.
You could never/will never be enough.
You fat, ugly and disgusting.
You’re unwanted.  Even your own parents didn’t want you.  Why would anyone else.
You can’t be chosen because you’re not good enough.
You can’t be called because you’re not smart enough.  Why would God want to use you?
You don’t have what it takes.  You won’t survive this, much less be able to have any kind of impact on the world.”

And that is where I often find myself, lost in this battle between truth and lies.  In an attempt to quiet the lies, I turned to God’s word.  I know this is what I am suppose to do but many times, I think I can fight on my own.  Most of those times, I lose.  So this morning, perhaps out of fear, sadness or desperation, I find myself clinging, with every bit of strength I have, to these words.

You’re enough.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”  Romans 8:1

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:14

You’re beautiful.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecclesiates 3:11

“And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign LORD.”  Ezekial 16:14

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

You’re wanted.

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39

“Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.”  Psalm 27:10

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

You’re chosen.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  1 Peter 2:9

“So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;”  Colossians 3:12

You’re called.

“But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

You’ve got what it takes…not just to survive but to change the world.

“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

So this morning, I share this with you, not because I want to expose these tender moments of mine, but because I imagine I am not alone in my battle between the truth God wants us to hear and the lies Satan continues to throw our way.  I share this because I am weak but with God, I am strong.  I share this because in some way, I believe sharing my hope, will somehow give you a glimpse of hope.

I share this with you because you’re already amazing and you need to hear that until you are able to believe it!

If you haven’t read You’re Already Amazing by the wonderfully talented Holley Gerth, I encourage you to read it.  Right now it’s available on Amazon for Kindle at just $2.99 – it’s worth so much more!  And while you’re at it, tuck God’s truth in your heart right along with Holley’s words!
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31 Days of Grace | Day 31 – Daughters by Grace

DaughtersbyGrace

When I debated over my topic of choice for the 31 Days of October, 2013, I struggled to settle on the perfect topic.  I was reluctant to make a choice.  Honestly, I simply felt inadequate to do any topic justice.

That’s where grace found me.

You see, there is nothing I can write here that will ever be perfect.  There is nothing I can say that will make the world a better place.  There is nothing I can do to right all the wrongs.

With grace, we have a second chance.

Because of grace, we find hope.

When I began this soul searching, relationship building walk a few short years ago, I had no idea where it would take me.  In that small span of time, I have traveled leaps and bounds.  God has shown me amazing things – things he’s doing in my life and the lives of those around me, different ways to view things and people, how he can and is using me and my life and that he does have a plan for me.

I am here, by grace.

I am just a girl, imperfect in every way but beautiful, loved, forgiven by Him.

I am His daughter by grace.

The women’s ministry from our church chose this name, “Daughters by Grace“.  At the time, I didn’t quite understand why we even needed a name.  Maybe I still don’t but the truth is, I needed that name.  I needed to hear that it was possible for me to be someone’s daughter, loved unconditionally, without having to give anything away or do anything to earn it.

After the name was chosen, a verse was chosen to be our go to verse.

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and forever!  Amen.  2 Peter 3:18

That verse was chosen to represent the goal of our women’s ministry – to grow – to grow in His grace, in His knowledge and to give Him all the glory.  As He freely, without merit, gives us grace, we gain the ability to grow, to grow as Christians, to grow closer in our relationship with Him, to grow in our knowledge of who He is and what His plans are for our lives.  Looking back now, I realize He has been growing me, drawing me closer to Him, pouring His grace into my life. To Him be all the glory!

Little did I know, this grace theme would repeat several more times in big ways.

At our women’s retreat this past fall, the theme of the retreat was grace.  This wasn’t our own doing – we used a kit provided by another organization that puts out annual retreat kits.  That was their topic but it was most definitely confirmation to me that God wanted to teach me about grace.

There have been songs – I’ve shared some with you this month.  The words have comforted and cradled my heart and taught me more about grace.  They’ve reminded me again and again that there is nothing I can do to earn His grace but He chooses to shower me in His grace because I am His.  Just because I am His.

I admit this has not been an easy journey and as I write this today, on the last day (October 31, 2013) of this journey, I feel no more adequate than the day I first set foot on this path.  I have struggled to write each day – sometimes failing to write at all and then catching up in a spare moment to put out several days at once.  And honestly, some days were just too hard so I put thoughts aside and took an easy road with my post.

In the end, I find myself here…needing grace.

Needing anything is not something I care to have attached to me.  This is a valuable lesson I learned yesterday.  I realized for me to be needy – scares me.  As much as I may truly need people, I am afraid to let them in.  As a little girl, I felt like I was in a world alone.  When I needed someone, they failed me.  When I needed protection, I continued to be hurt.  When I needed a hero, no one rushed in to save me.  When I needed to sleep, I was overwhelmed by nightmares.  When I needed love, I found all the wrong people.  When I needed to be freed from the pain I was feeling, I turned to self-harm.  When I needed anything or anyone, it only hurt more.

But that’s exactly what I need…grace.

So to walk this journey of grace and to hear over and over there is nothing I have done that is so bad or so wrong that mercy, love or forgiveness can’t make it better.  To hear that grace meets us right where we are – in all the imperfect places.  To learn that His love is unconditional, that I am growing in His grace and knowledge.  To know I don’t have to do this alone anymore – to be truthful, it’s heavy.  In some ways, I do find comfort in knowing that but at the same time, I realize I still have so far to go.  I am still at a point where I am not quite sure how to accept that but I know it’s possible.

I am His daughter by grace.

With grace, I have hope.

In His grace, I will continue to walk this road, learning, living and giving Him the glory.

Thank you for accompanying me on this journey. May you walk this road knowing you too, are His daughter by grace!

 

31 Days of Grace | Day 30 – Sisters with Grace

GraceBridge

We aren’t all blessed with the perfect family, in fact, most of us would probably say our families are far from perfect.  While we can’t choose our family, we are given choices on who we choose to surround ourselves.

As an adult, this choice has often been a difficult one.  My family was quite/very extremely dysfunctional.  Out of my closest relatives, only my mom is still living and she and I have had our fair share of struggles and periods that required some distancing.

One of the biggest blessings we can have in life is a sister to share the joys and laughs as well as the tears and sorrows.  Having always been an only child, this was a place I often found myself filled with jealousy.  I wanted this dream relationship with a sister where we reminisced about sunny days by the pool, our first loves, silly things our parents use to say, etc.  That kind of relationship simply wasn’t in the cards with me, but I have learned there are people in my life who I can share this kind of bond with.  God has placed certain people in my life at just the right moments and while those relationships may only last for a season, they have left a mark on my life.

It takes a lot for me to let down my guard enough to make close friends.  When I do manage to get to that point, I am all in.  Even though I probably still tend to be a little reserved with my feelings, I am their biggest fan.  They have won a special place in my heart.  I can tell you there are very few people who have made it to that point.

In Suzanne Eller’s book, The Unburdened Heart, she mentions we need to be wise in who and when we choose to listen to others.  There is wisdom in listening to those who have prayed with you, who do have your best interests at heart, who are courageous enough to have the harder conversations and who love you right where you are.

When you find someone like this, even though you may have difficulty trusting others or issues that seem to get in the way, count this as a blessing, a gift from God.  A friend who is praying for you, looking out for you, wants to see you succeed and loves you is most likely someone that also understands God’s grace.  If you don’t have this relationship, I pray it finds you and you are blessed by it.

 

31 Days of Grace | Day 29 – Verses on Grace

Grace

Some of my favorite verses about grace.  Feel free to share others in the comment section below :)

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

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.  Romans 11:6

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9

For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:14

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus  2 Timothy 2:1

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.  2 Timothy 4:22

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  James 4:6

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.  1 Corinthians 15:10

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John 1:14

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  John 1:16

And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus  Romans 3:24