My heart is tender this morning. A rough night of sleep (or lack there of) coupled with the hard hallelujah of a friend no longer in pain and a few other held-tight-against-my-heart situations, leaves me not wanting to face the world.
Coming off a hard week last week where choosing joy and finding God’s gifts in my life seemed more difficult than wringing water from a stone.
Today (Sunday) is a new day and the beginning of a new week. I write upon this tender heart of mine, the truth that His mercies are new every morning. I remember to celebrate the breath that He, moment-by-moment, fills my lungs with, because today…and tomorrow…and the next…are a gift.
removing the veil from my eyes and looking for His graces & gifts…..
0031 The morning drive cool enough to drive with the window down.
0032 Getting a free upgrade on coffee size.
0033 My beloved swinging by my work because he wanted a kiss.
0034 A vanilla latte.
0035 Snuggling with my husband before he has to leave for work.
0036 Blessing a friend with a small token of love.
0037 An unexpected instant message that sends the broadest smile across my face.
0038 Knowing that in God’s plan hope never dies & never gives up.
0039 That, while marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, it’s without a doubt one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.
0040 Irish voices singing hymns & upward exaltations.
The first is The Man Without a Face. He plays a man – Justin McLeod – whose face is disfigured after an accident in which a young boy was killed. Accusations of pedophilia and a conviction of involuntary man-slaughter exile him in the community in which he lives.
He begins tutoring a young boy – Chuck – who wants to leave home and attend military school. Chuck looks beyond the scars and the accusations. He sees someone who needs a second chance. He sees him as someone who can give him a chance at a new life.
The second is The Passion of The Christ. For obvious reasons this is an epic telling of the death of Christ. He took of the “rose colored” glasses that have so many times washed over the tellings of Christ’s sacrifice. He offers blood and lots of it (because there was lots of it.). But what sticks with me about this movie is, Mel stepped into it.
During the scene of nailing Jesus hands to the cross beam, Mel took the hammer and drove the nails himself. Gibson said “It was me that put him on the cross. It was my sins that put him there.”
Despite all of Mel Gibson’s failings, he recognizes that he’s a sinner. He knows that he needs a savior, he needs a second chance. And isn’t that the first step in being able to accept grace?
Realizing that you need it.
As I clicked the link in Twitter yesterday, I knew what to expect. And before I read the first word my eyes were brimming with tears that could not be contained the rest of the afternoon and evening.
Blogger Duane Scott calls these moments the hard hallelujah. The moments where joy of wholeness and healing drips with the pain of loved ones gone to be with their creator. We rejoice because soon our beloved friend Gitz will soon be healed, but pain tears our hearts over the loss of such a dear friend
Last year I wrote a post about Gitz. I wanted to share that with you during this time of hard hallelujah. Gitz is a fighter, a perseverer. She made an intentional decision to choose joy, and lived every day breathing it.
From her condo in Iowa, she has impacted and touched the lives over literally hundreds of people across the globe. She’s gone places her body could never go through the power of social media. I know I can say for everyone whom she’s touched, we love you Gitz.
When I first checked out Git’z blog, I didn’t stick around. For some reason even though I was heart broken for this lovely lady, I just didn’t click. However, that slowly changed. Something inside did click one day and the next thing I knew I was adding her to my daily reads.
Here was a kind hearted, compassionate woman who was enduring more than most do in their lifetime. One of the things that stands out to me most about Sara is the amount of grace she has. While her disease reigns her life she doesn’t allow it to rule it. What I mean is she doesn’t play the victim. She’s open with her readers about her daily life and the struggles she endures but she doesn’t point a waggering finger at God and blame Him.
I’m not saying she’s never questioned God, because even the best of us would. But she lives like the Apostle Paul. She trusts that God can heal her but for His greater purpose has allowed her this “thorn in the side”. And if that reason is only to show some people across the globe the grace that she can have and the endurance that He gives her than his purpose is being fulfilled.
One day Gitzy will be healed and will be whole. She will be able to walk, run, and dance free of the pain that has taken up residence in her body; and I guarantee you she will not dance alone. Her family and friends (readers) that live across the world will dance with her.
Over the months that I’ve daily read her blog I’ve grown to love her. God has made her dear in my heart.
What Gitz has impressed upon me is to endure in the most difficult of times and to live my live full of grace. Like her I have a choice to allow my circumstances rule my life or to trust in God.
Is everyone never beyond the depths and reaches of God’s grace?
I’ve struggled with this question since I learned who this week’s POTSC Never Beyond Poster is. When I read the email my whole body wretched. In my mind, I’d found someone who I felt was beyond God’s grace. Beyond mine.
I’m not sure why it affected me so much. I’ve never been personally affected by it, but seeing the letters KKK in black and white screaming the need for grace and forgiveness sent me into a loop. As I mentioned, my whole body wretched. My heart screamed never.
I wondered how could I give forgiveness to people who in the name of Christianity abuse, kill, terrorize, and birth fear.
Then I read this quote by Phillip Yancy from his book What’s So Amazing About Grace:
After I read these words I stopped and reread them.
Grace is a stronger than vengeance. Stronger than racism. Stronger than hate.
I find it atrocious that men and women
hate persecute a fellow creation of God based solely on the color of their skin, the race into which they were born, or the religion they choose to follow.
But God’s grace & God’s forgiveness is stronger than this hatred and persecution. God’s grace reaches down, sees behind the cowardly masks and beholds broken, hurting people.
While I may struggle to find an ounce of forgiveness, God holds out His hand that is overflowing.
I don’t always wear grace.
Often I wear judgement. It’s a comfortable shawl on my shoulders. I clothe myself in a sheath of self righteousness and righteous indignation.
A look. A sneer. I could give the most Pharisaical a run for their money. I wear a badge of grace, but in my heart I pass deadly judgement.
I’ve learned through these eight months of grace meditation just how depraved I am. How judgment rises some days with every breath. How sin lurks in the crevices on my being.
And I wonder how God could love me. Jesus’ greatest enemies were self righteous. Men who’s legalistic lives, regulated their tithe down to the tenth of their spices. Who couldn’t see the joy in a man healed but were more concerned with their fabricated letter of the law, rather than the intended spirit of the law.
While my judgements may not necessarily be in the legalistic Christian vein, seeing their attitudes endeavors me to shout from my tippy toes: “this is me. i’m a pharisee. i don’t live the life of grace i claim to!“
But also shame and guilt beckon me to dark shadows, because dark shadows are comfortable when you realize your sin.
I, obviously, don’t want to live this way, where my righteous indignation makes self righteous judgements about how you should live, act, dress, etc.
This choice to live like Christ is one that is easier said than done.
So, this morning I ask God to clothe me in His grace. That prayerfully it will seep into my fibers and become like breathing.
As an introvert I crave silence. I crave those alone moments on my couch.
Life often gets noisy. My skin crawls and I as if with all the noise I could implode.
Today I’m posting at Elora’s site, Love Wins.
I share more about this claustrophobic pressure and the grace God gave.
I feel the dew as hope seems to slip through tightly clenched fingers. I stand on this cliff once again with wavering faith. Struggling to believe that God’s welfare for me will occur.
And with tight eyes, I try to shut out the disbelief. When impatience and the weary of waiting rests upon my shoulders I stand here. I feel doubt slipping in where hope slips out.
I seem to lack the faith that God will accomplish that which He see’s fit for me. I believe lies that He will never act. That in this place of desertness I’ll remain.
My hope seems feeble and I peer over this sharp drop and see it failing.
I find my self envious of others green pastures and the goodness and welfare they have received there. And as I toss in my bed, I pull back the strings of my bow and shoot arrows into my heart, reminding myself that love is not jealous. Love is not jealous. Love is not jealous.
In these quiet moments where my mind tends to exhaust itself with thinking, I try to seek out the source of my hope. The one who takes fear and disbelief. Who replenishes my hope like oil in a widow’s jar.
And I breathe truth. Truth which takes disbelief and tosses it over this cliff on which I stand.(Photo Source)
I will sing for joy at the mercy of my Lord. The one who opened Heaven’s gates to a sinner like me. In the dark I will shout the amazement that bursts out of my heart regarding the grace of my Jesus. In the quiet moments I will whisper of His goodness to every generation, remembering His graces in my life…
0021 Coffee pressed.
0022 Saturday afternoon naps on the couch.
0023 Conversations with my best friend.
0024 A couple hours of quietness, when life was pressing in.
0025 Lengthy kisses from my beloved.
0026 Yellow daisies in a green vase.
0027 Being appreciated.
0028 Reminders that not only does LOVE cover sin, but it also casts out fear.
0029 The feel of onion skin pages between my fingers.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.