Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fear and Me

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A thyroid ultrasound is a weird experience.  It’s a lot like a baby ultrasound except it’s on your neck and they’re looking for cancer instead of a baby.

Today, laying on that table, I was afraid.

I’ve had a long string of afraid-days this week.  On Monday I had my 3-weekly treatment reassessment.  On Tuesday my cardiology follow-up.  On Wednesday my first PT and electro-stimulation appointment.  Today thyroid ultrasound.

Here’s my honest problem:  The reason why I am so afraid of the unknown is because I default to worst-case.  Every time.  I have worst-case expectations.

My rationale is that  if I expect the worst I won’t be disappointed.  It’s genius!  Anyone with me on this?!  It’s a really good plan if you never want to be disappointed.  It’s a really bad plan if you ever want to have joy and peace.

I know, I know.  But I cannot simply dismiss all fears and pretend everything is ok.  Whether we like it or not, I am tight-rope walker learning to find balance on the high-rope of life.  I cannot pretend that everything is okay because I’m mid-air, afraid, and I don’t have a safety net.

I have felt for a long time that I need to persist in seeking health answers.  Some of my dear friends and mentors said I wasn’t having faith.  But it was not a question of faith for me.  I felt that God had given me that feeling to persist.  I definitely have been praying for healing and I believe He is able to do it in an instant.  But I know that He is a God of relationship in journey.  He is using my life to lead me closer to Him.  He is also using my life to touch people with His Love.

I do trust Him.  I trust that He has a plan that is good and beautiful.  I trust that I will be closer to Him each day because of this journey of life.  But I don’t trust that I will like His plan.  I fear that the things I want are not the things He has for me.

Ultimately I know He is trustworthy and good.  It just takes a lot of energy for me to love the steps of the journey.

Afterall, His goal isn’t necessarily for me to live a long life and watch my kids grow up.  And so, even though I continue to ask for healing and long-life, I know that my days on this planet are not the “be all and end all.”  And trusting His unique plan for my life is my greatest struggle.

I am not ashamed of my fear.  It is definitely something that could become a big sin issue but, these days, I have come to a place of honesty with God about it.  Here’s the peace I have amidst my fears:  My Father God is compassionate and understanding about my fear.  So much so that, in His Word, He doesn’t dismiss fear or belittle it.  He lovingly addresses it and gives a beautiful answer:

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7)

I am not able or willing to ignore the fears that grip my heart.  But each day I will not let them be my god.  I will not bow to them.  I pray with my Father God.  I stutter and whine.  I grieve and complain. I cry.  I feel Him hold me. The Holy Spirit indwelling helps me to breathe and walk forward into the afraid-days.

Over time, I aspire to be transformed into the woman God describes in Proverbs 31.  She is my hero.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs with no fear of the future. (Proverbs 31:25)

Choosing to try to clothe myself in the strength and dignity God has made for me to wear.  Choosing to try to laugh with joy each day.  Choosing to try to pray about my fears and not bow to the fears of the future.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  (Psalm 139:16)

How are you? What is God doing in your life these days?
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 119:25-48; Acts 20:1-38
The words that stood out to me today are: “I weep with sorrow; encourage me by your word. Keep me from lying to myself; give me the privilege of knowing your instructions. (Psalm 119: 28-19) //  God’s Word and Instructions are Truth and Encouragement.  My perspective is flawed.  My perceptions are biased an incomplete.  God’s promises will lift me from the lies I could believe.  Studying the Bible is my anchor and foundation.  As I wrestle with fears… praying and reading His Word will bring me freedom and strength.  Thank you God!

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Unrestrained, Wild, Beautiful

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We live in a developed suburban area with high-traffic four-lane streets.  There are green belt areas but this is not an outskirt area.  We are quite close to a major freeway.  This is not the country.  This is the city.

I saw a coyote in our neighborhood.  A coyote.  Standing on the sidewalk of the four-lane street.  Standing there like it was no big deal.  A coyote. In the city.

He’s my first coyote.  I have mixed feelings.  Giddy that I saw a real live american coyote.  A little afraid that a coyote is hanging out in the neighborhood where my kids play and where we walk.  We walk around here knowing there’s always the risk of road rage, random violence, and muggings.  But never have I thought there was the risk of being hunted by a coyote.

Well apparently there is no risk of being hunted by a coyote.  Turns out they are really afraid of people.  Or so my friends told me via facebook.  Well, friends, if they’re so afraid of people what was this one doing hanging out on a major road and in a city area that is full of PEOPLE?!  This coyote has spunk.

So you think I’m dramatic and have over-reacted?  Keep in mind, I’m from a country where almost everything can kill you and that our native k-9s actually have hunted children.  My fear is not unreasonable but it is out-of-place.  Right fear, wrong continent.

We had our dinner outside.  Our almost-two-year-old threw his chicken on the ground.  This is what he likes to do to express that he’s done.  You have to be very quick to stop the food flinging.  Somehow that kid is able to pitch each item singly from a plate of food in the blink of an eye.  As the sun faded, I made sure every little scrap of food was picked up.  Sorry ants.  But I will not risk becoming a coyote snack stop.

I don’t care that everyone says coyotes aren’t dangerous.  I don’t want him hanging around here.  I want him to be… where he should be… in the wild.  He shouldn’t have to live here.  He belongs somewhere… beautiful.

I’m thinking about the coyotes of my heart.  Wild things that shouldn’t be living in confined spaces.  There are parts of my heart that are being restricted.  Adventurous.  Thrilling.  Unrestrained.  Free.  I belong somewhere… beautiful.

Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.  Psalm 37:3-4

In the everyday journey of life, I am choosing for my heart to be settled and content.  I am choosing to be grounded and stable and committed to this season of motherhood.  I am choosing to be restrained and controlled in following my medical treatment and diet.  I am choosing to be gazelle-intense in keeping our Dave Ramsey budget.  I actually am enjoying this everyday life.  It is not too hard to choose these things.  There are rewards and joys.

But there are other things that stir deep in my heart and dreams.  I’m worried about those things being like a coyote in the city.  Restrained and misplaced instead of being free and wild.

As youth pastors, we took the youth group on annual mission trips, annual retreats and camps, and all kinds of experiences at weekly youth group meetings.  It was the perfect intersection of creativity and structure for me.  I miss those days.  Dreaming and praying of how to capture the spirit of those adventures and intertwine them with this daily life of motherhood.  I’m looking for the places I can graft in an intersection of creativity to my life of structure.

Poor coyote.  I’m so sorry you’re stuck in the city.  Digging in trash cans and running on pavement is not the beautiful life you are meant for.  I’m glad you’ve adapted.  I’m glad you’re carving out a life for yourself.  But I don’t want to be like you.  I’m sorry I can’t rescue you.  I’m grateful I can rescue me.  I’m so grateful God knows what I need and is my life guide and provider.

How are you? How do you intertwine the restrained and the unrestrained into your life?  What is God speaking to you about these days?
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 114; Acts 15:1-41
The words that stood out to me today: “If you do this, you will do well.” (Acts 15:29) //  There are things that we “do” as Christians that give us the foundation to “do well” in our journeys.  These “spiritual disciplines” are the pathway to knowing God in deeper ways.  I am so grateful we are not left on our own to “find God.”  Thankful for His Word.  By the way, so grateful for Paul’s letters to correct the direction the apostles laid out in Acts 15.  Good intentions and seemingly good rules, without the Spirit of God’s power, do not produce good fruit!

Journal: Gratefulness Reflection

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Eight nights and nine days.  Sadly, not the length of a glorious vacation.  My husband has been on a gig on the other side of the country.  This is the first time I’ve been on my own with the kids since my treatment began.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be strong enough or well enough to cope.

“You used to have lots of bad days with a few good days.  But lately you are having lots of good days with a few bad days.”  My dear friend’s perspective of me is a much-needed guide and support.  I am so grateful for her.  God-sent in perfect timing.

I probably should have been keeping a journal.  The Lyme has made my memory thin and patchy.  I remember that I have had days and nights of terrible pain.  And I know that I have good days and bad days.  But I don’t know what the journey looks like.

One of my doctors said the illness has given me a gift: I can’t afford to take anything for granted.  The simplest things are no longer simple.  And because of that I should find gratefulness when I get to partake in the things that most humans take for granted.

And so today, while the kids are having their “rest time,” I am reflecting.  I am grateful for this week.

1. Served on my friend’s birthing team.  I had energy.  I had strength.  I had clarity of mind.  Those are not always available to me.  I am grateful for my day at the hospital that had nothing to do with my illness or treatment!  I am overwhelmingly grateful for the dear friends who watched my kids for 10 hours.

2. Drove a friend to the airport.  I am grateful that I had the energy and focus to do it.  A few weeks ago I couldn’t drive that distance because of pain and numbness. I am also grateful that a dear friend watched the kids while I did the airport transport.

3. Had an interpersonal conflict to work through.  I am grateful for the community I am in.  It is not easy but it is good.  My mind did not totally keep up with the pace of the conflict resolution process but I had energy.  The conflict helped me to see that my pastoral role in our church body is not just historical.  It is still important and I need to be more engaged and active to invest.

4. Sermon prepped (before things changed).  Sermon prep is both a beautiful and beastly process for me.  This prep time has been a good use of my mind and I can see that my mind is healing.  The theological and philosophical part of my mind had thinned away.  I’m feeling it growing again.

5. Worship practice.  Thanks to a sweet friend I didn’t have to juggle the kids at worship practice.  I got to “enjoy” the naked feeling of being on vocal team without the keyboard.  It was stretching and good.  The team this week was interactive and collaborative.  It was a joy.  I am grateful to have the energy to be back on worship team.

6. The kids got colds.  Fighting the cold myself.  I am grateful for the immune system strength to fight a simple cold.  For years, I now realize, my body wasn’t able to fight colds.  This is a major milestone in my opinion.

7. Praying about a women’s retreat worship opportunity.  Praying for the right team to come together so I can accept the opportunity.  So grateful I have the energy to even consider saying yes.  I really have come so far in this healing journey!

8. Received an insurance denial letter.  I am grateful to have access to medical care.  I am grateful to have found a doc who is willing to treat me.  This controversial disease is ruining so many lives.  The stories in my support group are horrible.  Most people are very ill and some are even bed-ridden.  Many are in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  I am grateful to have the coverage I have.  A friend suggested I can fight this denial.  I’m not sure I have the energy and brain power to do that.  Praying now for wisdom and energy if I should fight.

9. Chatted and laughed and enjoying being with girlfriends.  We had three girlfriend nights this week.  I am so grateful for dear friends who will come and be with me.  I am grateful for stupid movies to watch.  I am grateful for the diversity of each of us.  I am grateful for women of sisterhood.

10. Went to church, parks, malls, the library and a concert.  I am amazed.  Something I think most people take for granted is the ability to go places.  For months I didn’t feel I had the energy to leave the couch let alone load the kids into the car and go somewhere.  This week I went to so many places.  I even grocery shopped with both kids several times.  This is major.  It actually makes me teary-eyed.  I am so grateful for so many low-pain days.

And so, I have lived through nine days and eight nights as a single-parent.  I forgot to take my meds some days.  I ate “dirty” most days and ate really bad on two days.  (Special thanks to my girlfriends who provided cheese on a gf pizza and a no-bake cookie with butter and sugar.)  But the kids and I have survived.

Seven hours till my husband’s plane touches down.  I am grateful he is coming home. Thank you God.  For everything.

The Candy Lady

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At the library today, our almost-two-year-old discovered the power of his voice.  Part growl, part banshee scream.  It filled the entire library causing all heads to immediately whip towards us.

The cause of the commotion? The book he was holding needed to be returned.  He, apparently, wasn’t done.

An eclectically dressed woman with silver heidi-braids glided across the room.  She spoke soft Russian to the screamer and pulled a dum-dum lollipop from her bag.  “Shhhh tsk-tsk,” she calmed him with her whispers and he accepted the round object by its stick.

Ohhhhh.  Sweet lady.  Don’t you know?  It’s not appropriate to give small children candy.

Firstly, my kids are (mostly) candy-free.  (“Mostly” because they seem to get fed candy when I’m not watching.  Yes secret candy-feeders, you know who you are. I still love you.)  Secondly, strangers and candy are a notorious combination.  Thirdly, it was almost 5pm and that’s a dinner spoiler.  Fourthly, he could choke on the chunks.  Fifthly, well, I won’t go on…. but clearly I am not happy that my kid was handed candy.

A few minutes later he handed the candy to me still wrapped.  I threw it into my bag and we continued with our library routine.

Fast forward 15 minutes.  We’ve read books, we’ve chosen books, we’ve chosen dvds, and we’ve even had our first experience with the special library computers for kids.  After a 5 minute warning and a 1 minute reminder, it was time to say good-bye to the computers and check our items out.

Cue: Guttural red-faced screamer.

Once again, everything with ears whipped around and glared at us.  One woman shook her head and muttered something.  I’d like to think she was praying for me and not whispering curses of judgement. Clearly I was in huge need of help.

He thrashed in my arms as I tried to strap him into the stroller.  How is this man-child already stronger than me? His screaming got louder and louder.  In the library.

After trying every trick I could think of… I remembered… the DUM-DUM!  I grabbed it from my bag, tore the wrapper off and rubbed it on his angry lips.

Immediate silence.  Instant body relaxation. “Mmmmmmm!” He grabbed the lollipop and the storm was calmed.

Dear beautiful Candy Lady, are you an angel? Today your inappropriate dum-dum was a gift I didn’t know I needed.

The librarian is a fellow-Aussie-expat and is always so lovely to chat with.  Today she laughed with me about the Candy Lady.  She had watched the whole thing unfold.  “I bet you didn’t think you’d actually be glad to give that candy to your kid!” She teased.

Truth. I didn’t realize the offensive sugar gift would end up being a treasure in my day.

Oh dear. How often do I judge, or shrug off, or throw out the gifts God brings me?

Tonight I’m thinking about the “dum-dums” in my life.  Circumstances, experiences, opportunities, closed-doors, people.  I need to be more open to the possibility that they are all gifts I will draw from in the days, months or years ahead.

How are you? Had any Candy Lady experiences lately?
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings Psalm 108; Acts 12:1-25
The words that stood out to me today: My heart is confident in you, O God (Psalm 108:1) // I’m wearing a heart monitor for three weeks to try to work out a murmur issue.  I am praying, Father may my heart be confident in you.

Change Of Plans

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Today I had a big decision to make.  It had many layers to consider.  It led me to question my own heart.

I am scheduled to preach at our church next week.  A couple of months ago I was give my assigned passages: Psalm 109-115 and Acts 13-16.  When I read through, there were lots of little things that stood out but nothing major I felt to focus on.  So I’ve been reading them almost daily every day the past couple of months and praying for God to show me what He wants for our church family.  It wasn’t easy or fun.  But the journey has been deep and good.  And I feel God has spoken and I am excited!

I landed on Acts 15 with a little side journey through Psalm 111.  I felt drawn to talk about the “things we do” as Christians and why, in a Faith that clearly says we are not saved my our own efforts, God asks us to do things.  It’s a fine balance that humans really struggle with.  Different people lean towards different ends of the spectrum in accordance to their personalities, histories and journeys.  But both ends do exist:  In our Faith we do nothing, and we also do a lot.  God breathed vision in my heart about the why of what we do.  I am excited to share.

My personal circumstances have been beautiful metaphors for the topic.  It seems so timely.  I am actually happy to be currently wearing a heart monitor.  It’s a great metaphor that I’m excited to share.  I’m actually okay with being suddenly without work… even though that work was crucial for paying for my medical treatments.  It’s a perfect illustration for the main sermon point I feel God led me to.  I’m okay with the many other weird things going on in my life these days because I’m seeing the point of the sermon being worked out in my own life.  And that’s the only way I like to preach… from the depth of the journey God has led me through.  If I haven’t lived it, I don’t like to teach it!

I am genuinely excited to share next week.

Our Pastor called this morning to say that an incredible mentor pastor from our local area has offered to come and share with our church family.  This mentor pastor has been pivotal in my personal journey.  I LOVE his wisdom and insight and passion for Jesus.  The date he is available for our church?  Next Sunday.  Our awesome pastor gave me full power of choice.  He asked me to pray and hear from God who should preach next week.

I prayed.  I heard “rest.”  I asked, “Rest and not preach?  Or rest in the process of preaching?”

My heart went through the pros and cons.  Then I called my amazing husband.

My husband is incredible. Honestly, he is the most amazing human I’ve ever met.  Strong, influential, powerful, wise, intelligent, sincere, deep, stable, gentle, kind, patient and loving.  Oh so loving.

In his Bible reading and prayer today he felt God talking to him about being refreshed.  One of the passages he read this morning was Psalm 107.

He also turns deserts into pools of water, the dry land into springs of water. Psalm 107: 35

He said his heart resonates with the word, “rest.”  We have been feeling so stretched lately.  And he knows how intense I need to be the week before teaching.  It just so happens that he has a few days off in the week ahead.  The first time off he’s had in a long time.  We could actually have some quality time together.  That sounds like pools of water in our desert season!

But, he said, Psalm 107 also says: “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!”  He is a huge fan of me using my gifts.  He loves when I preach.  He supports me either way.

And so I share my fear with him:  I don’t want to cop-out.  I don’t want to be unfaithful.  I don’t want to walk away from an opportunity God has invited me to be part of.  I want to be faithful.

His response is still hovering in my heart: “You are not in any way unfaithful.”

God spoke through my husband today.  (Again.)  A word of love and identity.  I message of truth and life.  And peace has become my clothes today.

I desire to be good.  I desire to be lovely.  I crave to be a true daughter of God.  I just want to give all that I am for His use.  Today I feel God answer and affirm these desires of my heart.  He sees me.  He knows me.  I am loved by Yahweh.

_ _ _ _ _ _

I am not preaching next week.  My pastor graciously accepted my answer.  He really had given me full opportunity to choose either way.

I’m looking back now at the journey of the past couple of months and it is not for naught.

I’m not sure I’ll ever share this sermon that’s grown in my heart.  I’m a firm believer in hearing from God for each message.  In my 10+ years of preaching I’ve only repeated a handful of messages.

I always go through deep personal transformation through the sermon preparation process.  It used to be non-stop when I was preaching weekly at a youth pastor.  Now the journey seems to be longer and deeper as I only preach every now and again.

There is a feeling of joy in the intimacy of this message that may stay unspoken.

Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. (Luke 2:19)

Today I am grateful for the journey of preparation.  I’m grateful for the trust of our Pastor.  I’m grateful for the affirmation from my husband.  And I’m grateful for the days of rest and refreshment ahead.

Looking forward to today and every day.  May I ever be available and faithful to be used or not used by God as He sees fit.

In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing. (2 Tim 2:20-21)

Selah.

How is your journey?  What is God speaking to you these days?
Want to read though the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 107; Acts 11:19-30
The passage that stood out to me was: He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! (Psalm 107: 29-30)  // What a blessing is the stillness God brings to me life.

The Gift Of An Open Life

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Yesterday I was part of the birth-support team for one of my dear friends and mentors.  This is the third of her deliveries I have been involved with.  Being part of her team is a gift I can never repay.  It’s an incredible experience that, these days, is often only available for daddies and sometimes other close family members.

I am not part of her family.  I am not a surrogate sister.  I really have no right to be in that room.

Here’s how it came about:
– For most of my life I’ve dreaded the actual “having” of birthing babies.
– Five years ago, my husband and I felt God show us it was time to start our own family, I actively pursued getting free from the fear of childbirth.
– My friend was pregnant and offered to let me walk side-by-side through her pregnancy and delivery.  I got to be part of doc appointments, ultrasounds, and regular chats where I could ask any (and many stupid) questions.
– Then came delivery day!  Incredible experience!  So many of my questions were answered just be seeing it all first hand.
– For the months after I was able to watch her care for her baby.  Each moment was a first for me.  I had never been around babies before.

Some months later I was thanking her, once again, and she invited me to part of the journey with their next baby, whenever that would be.  She was already pregnant but didn’t know it.

At that baby’s birth, I was seven months pregnant.  Being part of a birth team whilst being pregnant takes the experience to a new level!

I asked her to be part of my birthing team.  I also asked several other women if they would like to be there.  It’s not that I “wanted” a bunch of random women in the room.  It’s that I so highly prized my experience that I wanted to offer the same thing to other women.

Hear me now: I was NOT thrilled at the idea of laboring in front of people.  Who knows what I would be like?!  Jekyll or Hyde?!   I was NOT excited about opening myself to the potential judgement and criticism that comes when you allow people to be part of the most vulnerable times of your life.  But how could I not pass on the gift she had given me?!  Honestly, it was an honor to do so.

Fast-forward a few months: Our baby had a health issue and I had to have an early c-section. Only two people allowed in the OR.  I had to cancel my birth team.

Fast-forward two and a half years:  Our second baby was late and never came on his own.  Against my desire, I ended up having another c-section.  Birth team cancelled again.

Fast-forward a couple of years to yesterday: I’m back in the delivery room supporting my friend through the birth of her fourth baby.

I’m in that room despite my inexperience.  I had two non-labor c-sections.  I literally have no idea what she’s going through.

I’m in that room despite my inability to reciprocate.  She’ll never be part of my birth-team.  I am destined for only c-sections.

But I’m in that room with a purpose.  She wants me to be me.  Funny, helpful, loving me.  She has given me a place by her side.

What a gift:  To be part of “regular” births when I haven’t had any of my own.  To be valued for who I am, not what I’ve been through.  To be invited into the most vulnerable day of her life.

There is no way to measure how great her influence has been in my life.

I hope her example will inspire other women to open their lives to others.  Woman, share your ups and downs!  Invite other women to be part of your pregnancies and deliveries and early baby days.  Invite them to be part of your work.  Invite them to be part of your play.  Invite them into your grief and sadness.  Invite them into your successes and celebrations.

The way to gain sisterhood in your life is to become a sister to others despite the risk of it all failing terribly.  Isn’t it?!

I know, real friendship is hard to find.  I know, woman can be nasty.  I know, we’ve all been hurt.  I know, we all don’t want to try again.

But don’t give up on sisterhood.  Keep pursuing friendship.  Keep showing up and opening your heart.  Real, good, beautiful community is worth all it costs to get.

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Philippians 2:1-2
Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as… models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. Titus 2:3-4

My community is not perfect.  In fact, I often want to run away.  There is conflict.  There are very hard times.  But I am determined to try to daily choose to  invest and seek love and give my all.  The heart of the Acts church is alive in all of us through His Spirit.  It’s so worth the effort.

How are you?  Have you committed to a church family?  Have you found ways to get involved and sow seeds towards friendship and sisterhood?  It’s hard work. Don’t give up.
Want to read through the Bible with me?  Today’s readings are: Psalm 106; Acts 11:1-18
The part that stood out to me today is:  “The Holy Spirit told me to go…” Acts 11:12 // Love being part of a kingdom and plan that is so big and spans the generations.

Grace Given

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A friend talked to me today to repair a hole in our relationship that I had unwittingly caused.

In that conversation I saw her extend a level of grace that is rare.  I can’t stop thinking about it. She chose to give grace despite being in pain.

Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]. (1 Peter 4:8 Amp)

She chose to disregard the offense.  She chose to forgive.  She chose to cover my error.  She chose to make up for my shortfall.

Beautiful.  I am totally in awe.

I’ve known her for a long time.  I knew her when she was a girl.  I’ve had the privilege of watching her grow up.  I was her pastor and leader.

For years I extended grace to her because, after all, she was just a child.  I find grace is easy to give to someone who is “lesser” than you.  Grace with reason.

But no longer am I an adult and she a child.  We are both women.  We are peers. We are equal in the Body.  Unique and different but equal.

Today she extended grace to me that I have never extended to her.  Grace without reason.

Powerful.  Beautiful.  Transformative.

I love the redemption power God gives us through the Holy Spirit.  Thank you beautiful friend.  I so value your wisdom, love and sisterhood.