God's Grace...

January 14, 2013

For Christmas this year I got the devotional “1,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Her simple accounts of seeing God’s grace in the daily things, the mundane things, inspired me to keep an account of all that I am thankful for, all the ways that I experience God’s grace on a daily basis.

God’s graces are found everywhere, when I just take a moment to see them:

A sunrise on a cold winter morning, breaking through the trees. Leafless branches that crack and shimmer with the lightest dusting of snow. Colors that invade the sky: red, yellow, orange. Bringing light again to earth. Reminding me of the grace God extends to the dark, cold places of my soul. Thank you, Lord.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Harsh words spoken. Tears held back. I leave in anger. Unwilling to mend. But grace brings me back. Hearts are broken and soft words spoken: “I’m sorry for what I said.” My husband’s forgiveness mirroring the grace I find daily in God: “It’s okay, honey. I understand.” Thank you, Lord.

"The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, Slow to anger and great in mercy." Psalm 145:8

A warm winter afternoon. We trudge through the snow and climb to the top. We stop for just a moment before my son pulls me into the sled. We race down the hill, making sure not to drag our feet. A cold breeze blows across my face. I close my eyes and smile with delight while my son’s giggles can be heard in my ear. We come to a slow stop and I breathe deep of the fresh winter air, reminded of God's amazing creation. And again I think: Thank you, Lord.

"You are glorious and more majestic
  than the everlasting mountains." Psalm 76:4

Driving through town. So many errands, so little time. "There's a homeless person, mommy," a little voice says from the back. I know. I had already seen him and dismissed the idea of stopping. It's only one time, Lord, I'm late! I think. But my child won't relent: "See him, mommy? Just on the corner?" "Yes, I do, sweetie," I reply. I take a turn around the block, search out our secret stash of blessings for the homeless and whisper a prayer. We come to a stop at the corner. I roll my window down: "How are you today sir?" I ask. "I'm okay," he says. I hand him our small gift and our hands brush; I glance up and our eyes lock for just a moment. I offer an encouraging smile. "God bless you, ma'am." "God bless you too," I say, and pull away, experiencing afresh God's mercy in the midst of grace. Thank you, Lord.

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

The world is full of joy and pain.
Peace and turmoil.
Do I choose to see God through everything in my life? 

It’s a common struggle spoken among us friends. But we have come back to one main truth: God, so often, shows most brightly in the midst of my pain, in the middle of my mess, in the muck of my humanity. His love, his power, his grace, shines in my hardest moments, my most difficult places. 

And this is reason to remember. 

This is the reason I will not retreat, I will not turn back or hold close only those who are close to me. I will continue to reach out, continue to love out, continue to give out and pour out. May we all come to the end, completely spent of every simple gift we've been given. May we take nothing with us, hold nothing back.

For all that he has done.
For all that he will do.
May it all be for his Glory.

"Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
 He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!" Psalm 103:1-5

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