Finding Grace #60

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant gracethis week?

This week flew by! It was fun seeing Lydia’s excitement over her “helpfulness” award. Work went well, though I felt I was constantly a day behind. I got my oil changed at the new Subaru facility. It was like a resort, with coffee, sparkling water, and a host of yummy snacks. I enjoyed the relative peace and quiet, along with the nice environment! 

Just as spring is getting under way and everything is turning green, we had a few inches of snowfall. Thankfully, I covered my tulips so they wouldn’t suffer too much. I figured the rest of my plants were hearty enough to sustain the cold. Sure enough, it’s back to being green and sunny today! I might even need to mow soon.

Lydia and I enjoyed having the neighbor boys over last night. They played while their parents enjoyed an evening out. Lydia slept so well that she didn’t get up until 10:30 this morning! I was able to enjoy my coffee and some quiet time reading. Then, this afternoon, Lydia’s been at their house playing outside!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Calling Out the Good

Yesterday afternoon, Lydia and her classmates put on a spring program showcasing some of what they have learned this year. They sang several songs, recited a Bible verse, and acted out the story of David and Goliath. It was really cute!

At the end, the teachers handed out “character awards” to each student. Some of the traits recognized included exhibiting joy, kindfulness, cheerfulness, responsibility, originality, and a positive attitude.

Lydia was one of the last to be called forward, and I didn’t know what to expect for her. Though, I was pleasantly surprised when she received an award for HELPFULNESS.

I thought to myself, “Of course! She is so much like her dad.” Dave was known for his servant heart; he was always eager to help others. I love seeing that in Lydia!

After the show, we briefly discussed being helpful as we ate refreshments. When we were done, Lydia jumped up to help me clear the table. Then, we ran to get gas and groceries before heading home.

Later, Lydia eagerly helped me carry in the groceries and put them away (as best she could). “Here, Mom, I can help you!” Then, we made dinner together.

Lydia set the table and emptied the clean dishes from the dishwasher. “Is there anything else I can do for you, Mom?” I then had to come up with activities to keep her busy while I finished cooking. This involved cleaning her room and picking up her toys.

Just before we ate, Lydia helped stir and dish up some of the food. “Hey Mom, these are like chores! And, I can earn money to give Jesus for missions!” Lydia was quite proud of her revelation. I was quite proud of her giving heart.

In case you are wondering, Yesterday’s excitement and helpfulness are not quite the norm for us. Many days, having a good attitude and doing chores looks very different!

Still, I was amazed at how much a simple award, or any acknowledgement calling out the good, could inspire Lydia to action. All on her own, she felt called to another level of helpfulness. The impact grew as the night went on.

As I was considering all of this, I thought about the times I have experienced something similar. When someone takes the time to say thanks or recognize a good quality, I too, step it up and do more.

We often focus on our individual effort to make a difference around us. “What can I do to help??” But I believe we can have even greater impact by cheering each other on as we go! Together everyone achieves more, right?!

God has given each of His children special gifts. Those gifts are not meant to be kept for ourselves, but to build each other up and show His love to the world. Of course, we don’t serve to get something in return. But, we are happiest when we are helping others.

Indeed, there are times when we all feel down. That’s fairly normal. In those moments, we may feel disconnected from our purpose, our passion, or even our people. Each problem may need a special solution. (I recommend prayer first!)

In many cases, asking for help and reaching out to help others can change our perspective. Part of the key is remembering we are not alone. We are all connected and need a sense of belonging. As Lydia says, “It’s great to be a team because we can help each other!”

In this dark and chaotic world, we should call out the good when we see it. A little appreciation brings a boost of confidence and sense of connection. Even just one word of encouragement can prompt someone else to take action and make a positive difference!

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Heavenly Father, You are good! Thanks for letting us join You in Your work. May we see the good around us and call it out. May we help others in their time of need and show people Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions: When was the last time someone called out the good in you? What was your response?

Tasks: Read Ecclesiastes 4:10 and Galatians 6:9. Choose at least one person to encourage!

Finding Grace #59

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant grace—this week?

This week was wonderful! We celebrated Easter and I met a new eye doctor.  We enjoyed our normal activities, too. Lydia learned about Jonah and the whale/fish at school. To illustrate the point, Lydia’s entire class was able to go inside a HUGE blow-up whale. It definitely made for a memorable story!

With the beautiful weather, we spent several afternoons outside with the neighbors. I tackled cleaning the garage, putting out my wind chimes, and putting out patio furniture for the season. A morning rain shower on Tuesday made the grass brighten almost instantly. I also noticed more flowers starting to grow!

At church this week, I met a really cool couple from Chicago. It was great getting to know them better and see what God has done in their lives. We talked about how sometimes people think we are really strong after going through difficult times… But we all agreed that it’s because we’ve relied on God’s strength to bring us through!

I also enjoyed getting together with another friend while our girls were in preschool! She and her younger boys came over to play and catch up. With the beautiful weather, we walked to the neighborhood park.

In fact, I am so thankful for all the connections I had with people this week. I felt useful at work, which is always a great feeling. I was able to pray with another friend and encourage her! I talked with other friends about future plans and events. All in all, I am thankful God knows just what I need!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

On Vision and Clarity

During a routine eye exam this week, I learned a ‘new word’: phoropter. Also called a refractor, it’s the device used to determine one’s prescription. The patient looks through the phoropter lenses while the eye doctor changes the dials, asking, “One or two, three or four?”

I was scheduled to see a new eye doctor, though he was running late. (I was glad to have extra time to read!) When the doctor arrived, I noticed he was paralyzed and sat in a wheelchair. I’m sure he required a little more time to get around. He quickly wheeled into the room, introduced himself, and started my eye exam.

When asked how my eyes and vision were, I explained my seasonal allergies have been ramping up this week. My eyes were a little dry that day, making my contacts uncomfortable and my vision blurry.

I could read all the letters through the phoropter, but it was a little more challenging than usual. Besides the blurriness, there was also a glare from the computer. I had trouble focusing because everything seemed foggy. I was frustrated. Finally, I told the eye doctor, “It’s almost as if these lenses need to be cleaned.”

To my surprise, he immediately wheeled out of the room and came back with cleaning supplies. He couldn’t take the entire contraption apart, but he did wipe off the external lenses. I was touched by his compassion and effort so I could see clearly. I’ve worn glasses and contacts for years, but I’ve never had an eye doctor who listened to my concerns like that!

While he cleaned, we talked about the device, its name, and how it works. Somehow, that led to us talking about our kids, his car accident over a decade ago, cancer, and Dave’s death. We talked about ‘seeing the good’ and having a positive attitude. I was impressed at his ability to keep moving forward, despite his paralysis. What fortitude!

In the end, the doctor said my eyes were healthy. Thankfully, my vision hadn’t changed much, yet he saw a lot of debris on my contacts. I was shocked because I just changed the lenses a few days ago. No wonder my vision was blurry! He made some recommendations like wearing my glasses as needed and using a special cleaning solution.

I went to get my vision checked, and left with a different perspective!

That got me thinking…

While I usually only need to visit the eye doctor yearly, I need to meet with Jesus every day. I wouldn’t forget my glasses or contacts… In the same way, regular contact with Jesus gives me focus. He helps me make sense of my circumstances and surroundings!

God has a special plan and unique vision for each of His children. Yet fear can cloud that vision and limit us from becoming all He intended. Fear blurs the path, causing confusion and uncertainty. Over time, we may even get used to seeing poorly!

But when we call on Jesus, He helps us see through the eyes of faith. We don’t have to wander around blindly; we can move forward with confidence and clarity. As we fix our eyes on Him, doubt and darkness flee. Our vision becomes clear again.

In the light of Jesus, we see God’s love and grace in living color. We then see ourselves and others through His perspective. With compassion, we can overlook weaknesses and find the good in each person.

Yes, Jesus brings healing, renews our vision, and restores our purpose. Praise God!

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Jesus, You are good! Thank You for loving me so much. Be my vision and be my strength. Give me clarity as You guide me on the right path. In Your Name, Amen

Question: Do you wear contacts or glasses to correct your vision? Does anything about this post stand out to you?

Tasks: Read these two Bible passages of Jesus healing the blind: Matthew 20:29-34 and Mark 8:22-26. Write down any observations.

Finding Grace #58

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant grace—this week?

This week was busy, yet felt more relaxed than usual. That’s probably because I was able to catch up on a few things around the house. I had a lot to do, but accomplished a lot too. We also spent a fair amount of time outside which always feels like a staycation!

Lydia and I enjoyed getting a head-start on Easter activities! She had a party at school, and we went to a Good Friday service yesterday. It is always humbling to see all that Jesus went through during his crucifixion. Thank You, Jesus. Today, Lydia and I decorated eggs and talked about the new life we have in Christ.

This year, I have really enjoyed watching the changing of seasons. In addition to seeing and hearing more birds, this week I noticed the first signs of green grass. I noticed a few trees blooming. A few tulips and irises are starting to grow too. 

A big highlight this week was that Lydia lost her second tooth! We went out for pizza last night and it came out during dinner. I knew it would likely come out that evening, but it still surprised us. Lydia looks so cute without her two bottom teeth. It is fun watching her undergo big-kid things!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

Easter Excitement!

I don’t know about you, but Lydia has been looking forward to Easter for weeks! She’s been learning about Easter at church and school. While she doesn’t understand all the details, Lydia has made some good observations.

A few days ago, I read a kids magazine to her before bed. The magazine, from Compassion International, explained that some kids in other countries don’t have access to clean water, shoes/clothes, or food. The article was thorough, yet simple enough for Lydia to grasp.

“Lydia, what if some kids walked through dirt or garbage, but couldn’t wash their hands or feet?” I explained, “That could bring germs inside their house and they could get sick.”

Ironically, the next magazine article was about humility and being a servant. We read in John 13 about the Last Supper, where Jesus washed His disciples’ feet. He chose to serve.

We talked about pride versus humility. To hit home the point, I asked Lydia if she’d ever wash one of her friend’s feet. Her response? “That would be kind of gross…but I could do it.” I got a good laugh out of that, but was glad for her honesty!

We’ve also had some points of clarification, such as when I said Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. “Mom, I know what ‘trade’ means like if I have a toy that my friend wants, I give it to them and they give me something they have. But, what does buh-trade mean?”

I love hearing Lydia’s thoughts and seeing her excitement. She may not have all the answers, but she does have the faith of a child. She knows Jesus loves her!

Lydia also seems to understand the real meaning of Easter. “Jesus dies on the cross for our sins. And, Easter eggs remind us that we were lost and Jesus found us—kind of like how you hide the eggs and then I find them.”

Then Lydia added, “By the way, Mom, are you going to hide the Easter eggs when I go to bed or in the morning before I wake up?” She’s sure excited!

At Easter, we celebrate the love Jesus showed us on the Cross. With compassion, He laid down His life for ours because we each owed a debt we could not pay. His sacrifice was the only way to restore our relationship with God. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (see John 14:6). Jesus paid it all!

With His blood, Jesus washed away our sins. Jesus’ grace covers our faults and failures…past, present, and future. Praise God, His mercies are new every morning!

Because of Jesus’ death, we have forgiveness and freedom. Jesus is our righteousness and our defense. And because of His resurrection, we also have new life!

We have purpose, protection, and provision! We no longer have to live in fear; we can come straight into God’s presence. We are healed in Jesus’ Name!

God’s grace and salvation are for everyone. Have you received them?

If you belong to Jesus, the same power that raised Him from the dead lives in you and me (Romans 8:11)! Because of Jesus, we have Victory! Hallelujah!

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Precious Jesus, thank You for the Cross! You alone are worthy of all praise. Victory belongs to You! Thank You for loving me so much, Lord. May my life bring You glory. In Your Name, Amen.

Question: What does Easter mean to you? Have you accepted Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross?

Tasks: Read through Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection story. Praise Jesus for His sacrifice!

Finding Grace #57

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant grace—this week?

This week was good overall! We enjoyed a birthday pool party for a little family friend on Monday. She was born about six weeks before Dave died, so she is quite special to us. We’ve enjoyed seeing her learn and grow over the years. It was fun catching up with her parents and older siblings as well.

We’ve had a beautiful week weather-wise! It was bright and sunny most days, and I happily wore shorts on a few occasions. On Thursday afternoon, I sat outside with a couple neighbors while our kids played together. A few other neighbor kids joined us for riding bikes and scooters, chalk on the sidewalk, snacks, running around, and other shenanigans. An exciting early start to summer!

One highlight of my week was enjoying the serenade of a little finch 3+ days in a row. At first, I thought he was a purple finch. However, later I decided he might be a house finch. Either way, he was red/brown and quite cute. He sang his heart out, without a care in the world! As I listened, I remembered God sees and cares for every detail of our lives.

Lastly, Lydia lost her first tooth! She diligently wiggled it all week and last night, just before bed, it came out. She was very proud of herself. We plan to get some frozen yogurt as a special treat to celebrate this milestone!

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!

On the Right Track

Right now I have a strong sense of peace. I have many activities and projects waiting for me… But I am enjoying the quiet. I can easily become overwhelmed by all I have to do…

But when I choose to stop and just enjoy the Lord’s presence, all the chaos subsides. None of that seems important as I rest in Him. I’m thankful for the peace He brings!

This week, I am celebrating small answers to prayer. Despite all of my own effort—working hard to get results—God kindly reminded me that He is faithful. I don’t have to worry or stress because He will never let me down.

In fact, God gave me peace through a simple conversation. Someone confirmed that I was on the right track, just by listening to my concerns and giving me some feedback. The words I heard matched what was already on my heart through prayer.

As soon as that happened, I felt the Lord’s assurance that He has it all under control. He is the one who brings my breakthrough(s)! I can trust Him for His timing.

When He wants me to do something differently, He will make it clear. He always comes through for me! In the meanwhile, I don’t need to try to do it all on my own or figure it out.

There is great freedom in understanding God’s grace. I know He loves me know matter what. His love is not based on what I do, but who I am. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone—there is no one like me! He has made me unique and loves me just for being me.

Currently, there is a small stack of dishes in the sink and I just remembered there is still laundry in the dryer, waiting for another round. I need to go through the mail and clear off the dining room table. But all of those tasks will get done soon enough.

With Jesus, there is no rush. He refreshes me with His love and grace. Somehow, I always have the right amount of time to finish what needs to be done.

In the quiet, I have been thinking of all the ways God loves me. In addition to His protection and provision, I can see how He has helped me in the past. Whether it was related to family, friends, college, jobs, or making decisions, He always worked things out in His time. He has never left me on my own.

Over the years, I’ve had to learn to conserve my energy for certain tasks and let others go (or come back to them later). Grief is like that. Parenthood is like that! Instead of being frustrated with uncompleted tasks, I am learning the ebb and flow of resting in the Lord.

Instead of worrying about unanswered or unsolved problems, I can trust Jesus. When the Lord moves, I move. When He rests, I rest, too. When He says to make plans, I plan. When He says to wait, I wait. He always leads me to Victory!

Yes, staying in-step with Jesus is what matters most. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. His timing is perfect. He always comes through…He is faithful!

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Jesus, thanks for being my Shepherd. Thanks for leading me with grace. Refresh me with Your presence. Help me draw near to You. In Your Name, Amen.

Questions: Do you find it easy or difficult to stay in-step with Jesus? What does that look like for you? Are there any changes you need to make?

Tasks: Memorize Psalm 23.

Finding Grace #56

I love the concept of giving God a shout out for what He has done.

We don’t do that nearly enough!

You may have seen the acronym GRACE as “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.” Grace is also God’s unmerited favor, or God doing for us what we cannot. I find grace overflowing in God’s love, joy, peace, blessings, mercy, power, provision, protection, and wisdom. Thank You, Jesus!

Where did I find God’s love and favorHis abundant grace—this week?

For the most part, this week was fun and relaxing! My sister came to visit for most of the week, so we enjoyed many special activities. While my sister was here, we pre-registered Lydia for school in the fall; saw Beauty and the Beast with friends; had another friend over for dinner; got massages; and did a little shopping. Lydia also got to spend quality time with my sister when I was at work!

As I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I am especially grateful for God’s grace and forgiveness in restoring relationships (with Him and other people). I’m also thankful for my gracious friend. When it comes to friendships, we have Jesus as the best example of how to love and be kind. Praise God!

We’ve had gorgeous weather this week! I’m glad I saw a few robins! Growing up, we always had a nest of little blue robin eggs in our tree house each spring. So, to me, robins are a tell-tale sign… When I see them, I know spring is here!

Today has been an relaxed day of spring cleaning. I caught up on some reading; Skyped with family; paid some bills; washed the car; did some laundry; and a few other chores. Now, Lydia is outside playing with neighbor friends and I’m on my way outside too! 🙂

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These are only a few examples, but God’s grace never runs out!

There’s grace in every situation—we just need to look for it. God promises if we seek Him, we will find Him (see Jeremiah 29:13)!