Purposeful Faith

Tag - #grace

A Moment We All Need to Give Ourselves

A Moment We All Need

Occasionally you meet a person you know is an instant friend. Location doesn’t matter, distance doesn’t care and methods of communication aren’t valid – what you know is that this one counts for something. This is how I feel about Rachel Macy Stafford. She shines all things pure and beautiful and it is my delight to know and love her.

R.Stafford headshot

In other exciting news, Rachel’s latest book, HANDS FREE LIFE, has permanently marked my heart with awe-inspiring and heartfelt life change. I feel my life going from bouncy ball crazy, to focused and intentional. I feel my attention moving from scattered to attentive. I feel my heart charging from empty to full again.  I feel grace speaking, rather than condemnation. This book has reserved a permanent spot on my bookshelf of “keepers;” I will be referencing her words for my whole life, I know that. Thank you Rachel, just thank you. I feel your love in this book.

Welcome to Purposeful Faith as a guest contributor for a day.

Post by: Rachel Macy Stafford

Understandably, many people want to talk to me about distraction. More specifically, they want to tell me about the distraction incidents they witness in their neighborhoods, at restaurants, parks, and sporting events. They want to tell me about the texting drivers sitting next to them at stoplights. Many well-intentioned people want to tell me how sad it makes them feel to see distracted people oblivious to their loved ones.

I must admit, these comments make me uncomfortable.

My mission for sharing my Hands Free journey is not to bash the distracted people of the world. My mission for sharing this journey is to bring awareness … namely, self-awareness … the kind of self-awareness I was lacking a few years ago.

Because you see, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about where I came from.

I was that distracted person oblivious to her loved ones.

I was that distracted person texting at stoplights.

I was that distracted person who made excuses as to why I was too busy to spend quality time with my family.

I was that distracted person who couldn’t see my beautiful life slipping right through my busy little fingers.

But I can assure you the judgment was harsh. The judgment was cruel. It was downright unbearable at times. But this condemnation didn’t come from an outside observer, well-meaning friend, or loving companion. Oh no, this ridicule came directly from me.

If you have read my “About Hands Free” page then you know that taking an honest look at the way I was living (or more accurately, not living) was a necessary step in my Hands Free life transformation. In fact, meaningful efforts to let go of distraction would have never happened (or lasted) without honestly evaluating the cost of my distraction.

But despite the fact that assessing my behavior was a vital step in changing my distracted ways, living in regret was not. I’ve come to realize that continually berating myself over what I missed is a waste of precious time. Self-forgiveness and healing have been just as much a part of this journey as my difficult truths.

But every now and then I get waves of remembrance—a taste of “life overwhelmed”, just enough to sting me, just enough to bring tears to my eyes.

It happened the other day. I’d stayed up too late working the night before. I had several deadlines to meet, and I was not as close as I hoped on any of them. I needed to get the kids to a swim meet. We were late. I was tired. The word “Mama” began every single sentence that came from my children’s lips whether I was actually needed or not.

And there I stood in front of the pantry, unable to remember what I came there to get. Part of me wanted to shut the door to that little space, huddle under the boxes of Fiber One cereal, and cry.

That’s when I heard it.

That voice.

It didn’t use the exact phrase that originated in the years of my highly distracted life, but it came painfully close.

“You are a bad mom” was the token phrase my inner bully liked to hiss during my highly distracted years whenever I felt like I was falling short in the parenting department. I’d almost forgotten I used to say such hurtful things to myself.

But then again, I don’t think I will ever completely forget.

I gave up on whatever it was that I intended to get from the pantry and told my children I needed a moment. I went to my bedroom and turned on my fan for soothing white noise and began reminding myself.

I reminded myself that The One who loves me, The One who took my hand and placed me on this transformative journey, still loves me even when I fail miserably.

I reminded myself that I am not perfect and that even the “best” parents have their moments of self-doubt and frustration.

I reminded myself of how I reacted when a tornado came scarily close to our house. It was the day I realized the fierce love I have for my family outweighs my shortcomings, failures, and imperfections.

I would run through fire to spare them.

I would beg kidnappers to take me in order to free them.

I would offer my plasma, my organs, and every single one of my limbs to save them.

I would sacrifice my life without hesitation, without question, if it meant allowing my loved ones to live.

Even in my most distracted, overtired, stressed-out state, my fierce love for my family is always ready, willing, and able.

Once I was finished reminding myself of these important things, I said a prayer of thanks and released a heavy sigh. I centered my disheveled, puffy-eyed self directly in front of the bathroom mirror and said one word.


As in: Give yourself some, Rachel.

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A few minutes later, my children and I were on our way to the swim meet. I turned on one of our favorite songs, which beautifully articulates the value of human scars and imperfections. I felt a slight smile come to my lips as I listened to my children belt out the chorus from the backseat:

“These bruises,
Makes for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
t’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses—we all got bruises.”


I suddenly feel better.
I just needed a moment.|
Don’t we all?

I think we all do—at some point in our day … our week …  our life—need a moment.

And so when I hear someone describing the unbecoming behavior of a distracted person, I cannot join in the condemnation. I once was that person and remain a work-in-progress.  And that is okay. That is human.

The other day, someone I love and respect as a parent and human being said something powerful to me. My mother said, “Rachel, even at your most distracted, you were always a good parent.”

With those words, the divine light of forgiveness shined like a beacon for my misdirected soul.

Even on days when I can’t tear myself away from my distractions …

Even on days when I overreact over something trivial …

Even on days that I obsess over bulges and wrinkles and things that don’t matter one bit in the end …

Even on days when I want to lock myself in the pantry and weep …

Even on days when I am at my worst,
I remain that person who would sacrifice her life
to spare her loved ones from pain and tragedy.

Perhaps you know someone who would make the same sacrifice. I bet you do.

So when you see that less-than-perfect woman or man staring back at you in the mirror … or the one at the restaurant who can’t quite seem to put down the phone and see the gifts in front of him or her … I ask that you extend grace, rather than judgment.

We are not the sum of our distractions.

Sometimes we just need a moment.

And every moment is a chance to start anew.

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R.Stafford headshot

Rachel Macy Stafford is the founder of www.handsfreemama.com where she provides simple ways to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters most in life. She is the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA. Her highly anticipated book, HANDS FREE LIFE, releases in one week! It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Through truthful story-telling and life-giving Habit Builders, Rachel shows us how to live better and love more despite the daily distractions and pressures that try to pull us away.


Those who pre-order Unsaved Preview DocumentHANDS FREE LIFE from now
until September 7 receive the FREE e-book of HANDS FREE MAMA

Click here to learn more about the book and pre-order bonus.

Bloggers, share this offer with your readers and with @handsfreemama!



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The Thing You Know, But Do Not Believe

Do Not Believe

There is one small shiny nugget that will make all the difference in your faith walk if you truly dig down and find it.

Not in a cliched,
I have known this forever,
of course it’s truth,
I say I believe it…kind of way.

But in a real, 
I seizing it,
I am rushing to it,
I will never depart from it
or let go of it –
kind of way.

Moving this foundational truth from background noise to real and present truth, changes it all. Moving it from head to heart will transform your faith.

You’ll more easily move from claimed by the past to claimed by God.
From owned by people’s words to owned by the owner of it all.
From feeling guilty forever to feeling exalted forever.

The small nugget is: knowing, not just thinking, God loves you.

So many times, I have lost my way without this deep-down heart-felt belief (usually when trials hit me 100-mi/min). Yet, when every morsel of my being, and every part in my heart feels unsure, unsteady and unable, I am starting to tap into God’s unbelievable strength. It stands waiting to become my fall back position, resuscitating my life – if only I give it that chance.

Is God’s real and valid love your fall back position? 

Does it catch you from landing in pits of fear, anxiety and depression?

Does it fly you high to new levels of peace and security? 

As we fall into this iron clad truth, the lies explode, and combust.

Lies can’t exist amidst the full power of peace.

Knowing this, I want to seek God’s love like a gold rush. I want to go after it. It is that valuable. I need it. I almost can’t live without it; I certainly can’t live joyfully.

May we rush after God’s love as much as we rush after plans to fix and change the things that ail us. Perhaps, then we will find the greater gift.

As we park ourselves in God’s heart of love – as we sit down in it –
we rest under the safe-covering of his hand.

When the burdens of life smother, sit down in his love.
When the feelings of I can’t come at you a mile a minute, sit down in his love.
When the weight of finances crush like a 100-pound gorilla, sit down in his love.

Love that says:

I engraved your name on my hand. Is. 49:16
I know how many hairs are on your head. Mt. 10:30
I love you in an everlasting way. Jer. 31:3
You sinned, I eagerly died for you. Ro. 5:8
I sent my own kid to rescue you. 1 Jo. 4:10
You may fall, but you can’t fall from me. Ro. 8:39

His love is best summarized as this: freeing handcuffs that lock you as forever his, not because of what you did, but because of what he did.

His love can’t be undone. Not when you remember back, not when you feel like you left God, not when you said that thing, not when you did that thing, not when you accept him at the last minute, not when you feel shame, not when regrets hit you, not when problems surface.

It always is. It always is – for you.

God wants you to have it.
Nothing can thwart it.
It belongs to you.

Life can’t hold you back from it.
Trials can’t keep you from it.
God defines it.
Yet, He waits for you to receive it.

Keep in God’s love.

Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Jude 1:21

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Grace Changes Hearts

Grace Changes Hearts

I did everything all wrong.

And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.

Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.


This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.

To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.

I can only imaging God’s delight
as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?

Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24

I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.

I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.

Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.

Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?

I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.

When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion. 

How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?

So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.

And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.

Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.

When we:

die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid…
we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.

Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10

Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

Grace changes hearts – including ours.

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Forgiving a Frenemy

Forgiving a frenemy

When I saw “that lady” my skin cringed a little.

She’s the one who offended me.
The one who deserves my annoyance.
The lady I really didn’t want to see.

It’s nearly impossible to wrap your arms around the word “love,” when you have your arms crossed with hate.

She didn’t hit me like a monster truck might, with an intentional crash, but still she her hit-and-run approach was something I took note of. Intentional or not, she caused damage. 

And, I wasn’t going to let her get away without paying damages.

How do you let go when another doesn’t realize the damage they have done?

Don’t they deserve to know how they’ve injured you?

I wanted the reparations that should be mine. My heart was demanding it, although know one would ever know about that little secret.

I knew my insides were ugly, but I couldn’t seem to get my insides – out –  out into the hands of God.

She was seen with a halo, while I felt like a zero.

Sometimes, though, God works circumstances for our good, because he loves us and he knows our heart intends to be called according to his purposes (kind of Ro. 8:28).

Even when we don’t know how to work or are too busy working on the wrong think or are thinking in the wrong way or are messing up, God often still works things out when we turn to him and let him work out the knots of our tangled up his purpose.

When we come back to God, he backs near to our heart again.
When we see an opportunity to love, and put it above ourselves, the love of God shows up.

A friend approached me and basically said, “You know, you have something, a little piece of information, a little inside scoop that could help that woman (aka: frenemy) out. Why don’t you go over and share it with her.”

What? Me?
With her? The blessing-taker, the joy-kill, the bane of my burdens?
Heck no.

How can I give to the one who is loaded to the brim with liquid gold while I am drinking out of the plastic cup of nothingness? How can I give when she practically made my drink to taste so bad.

I don’t know about that.

My feet moved, but my heart stayed still. They moved me right in front of her. My mind said, “You can’t,” but my Spirit said, “You can.”

So, I did.

I poured out the information that she had been on the hunt for. I told her I would be her helper. I instructed her on the in’s I could have kept in, but instead I helped her out.

And, what I noticed, is that fears and pain and anger went out too.
They left.
They scurried away.

Giving took the eyes off of my pain and placed them onto my gift. A gift much like the one offered for me, a sinner who didn’t deserve love.

An undeserved gift, especially the act of forgiveness,

brings Jesus right to the center of relationship.

My arms came undone and fell open to receive and pour out love.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Mt. 5:44)

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Prov. 25:21)

God knows something we don’t (ok, a lot actually) and it is this: When we give to someone, we start to love them. We start to feel for them. We start to see that their issues are more about them, than they are about us. We start to see that they need us – and that we need them.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25

As we reach out, we start to see all that is reaching into us through the act of love. We start to see it is not all about us and our rights, but it is simply about giving our rights to another, just as Christ did for us.

He is the justice-keeper, we are are the love extenders.

I learned, the joy is never found in the harboring of rights,

but it is always found in the helping of the hurt.

Forgiveness is the heart and soul of Christianity.

It is the feet – to love,
and the heart – to relationship.

As you let your feet move,
your feelings eventually follow.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mt. 6:14

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Linking with Holley Gerth.

Seeing the Power of Christ

Power of Christ

What I don’t see anymore is the weight of not being enough…
of not matching up,
of striving to win affection,
so I feel valuable enough
and caring enough to get into heaven.

All that has faded as God’s life-giving truth has surfaced…

I no longer see my Savior as a taskmaster
who lays down the law requirements of love.

Or as an authoritarian father ready to slap my hand if I do bad.

Or as the One who keeps me from feeling good about myself.

I no longer walk as a scared little girl who knows it’s nearly impossible to win his affection or who feels, even if she won it in a second, it could be gone the next minute.

The weight of the world is no longer on my shoulders. It doesn’t strain my black and blur my vision to barely make out the way to heaven, now it now sees the super-highway straight in.

The world and all it’s trappings, the rules and all it’s details, others and all their expectations, a heart for perfection and all it’s burdens…all of those things are now distanced. They fade behind the horizon of Jesus Christ’s all-consuming grace.

He has all of those things wrapped up in love and covered by his blood-soaked grace he won thousands of years ago on that cross in Calvary.


– lifts the fear of what you are not, so God’s love can shape all that you are.
– permanently places unsteady feet on the steady ground of acceptance.
– uncovers the heart of Jesus from the Word of God.
– wins the worst souls a spot in the best place – eternity.
– is never deserved but freely given through the blood of Christ.
– is the impetus that launches a heart to act in pure, holy and unselfish obedience.
– is the only thing that given to your failings, to make them whole.

Grace is like giving a the best gift to your worst enemy.  It transforms them into your best friend. It brings the unity, it unites your spirits, it brings healing. It’s beautiful.

God’s grace can’t stop. It’s like a faucet that can’t be turned off. It’s ready to fill us up to overflowing. It’s ready to pour out into the hearts of friends, family as friends as we take a fresh drink. It will nourish us more than we ever thought.

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed. Ja. 4:6

Are you in humility turning to your Father non-stop to get grace
or are you assuming that you have all you need?

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. Heb. 4:16

The more grace you find for the big things, for the little things, for the I-messed-up moments, for the arguments, for the accidental hiccups and for every little detail of your life, the more you can pour out onto a world in desperate need of a little love.

Grace makes us different. We are no longer acceptance suckers, we become whole. The world takes notice.

God stands ready to extend grace to all, but first all have to want it.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Titus 2:11

Let’s make God’s grace known.

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Tearing Down Your Tower of Self

Tower of Self

Sometimes I scare myself.

I see that ugly side of me, the side I normally try to hide from the camera.

The Kelly who wants to be someone.
The Kelly who wants adoration, affirmation and appreciation.
The Kelly who needs to be seen and loved.

It normally appears in a crutched moment of inadequacy where I require dose of feel-better medicine to get me feeling good about myself again.

In these moments, I start believing:

Greatness and prominence trump Christ’s gift of significance.
That no one notices humility, but they notice desirability.
That recognition is fuel and that submission is old school.

I am learning I have to keep an eye on the thermometer of my heart, because when the its-about-me heat starts to rise, my heart grows cold, love freezes over and I lose track of the one I love most.

Me. Myself. I.
How am I seen? What will I do?
What will I build? Am I as good?

Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4

To make a name.

Is that what I want?

Because, I full well know, it is only about one name: The name above all names, the alpha and omega, the lion and the lamb, the great I AM, the hope of glory, the Savior of the world, the beginning and the end. It all starts and ends with him.  

At days end, my name will be worth nothing and his will be worth everything.

At days end, accomplishments will fade and all that will remain is love.

At days end, stages vanish.  The great stage of godliness, purity and humility will be all that endures.

Anything done in my name will be a signature destined for a shredder upon my final days, but anything done in his name will last forever.

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1

Without Jesus, my best words are babble. If it’s not spoken in the dialect of love, it’s spoken in the dialect of stupidity.

It’s like speaking worthless syllables of a tribal language to a two-year old – they are destined to be edited, obliterated or forgotten. They just speak confusion.

Therefore its name was called Babel (close to Hebew word confusing), because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. Gen. 11:9

Am I babbling in futility or am I loving in humility?
Am I striving by my efforts or am I receiving love through his?

Everyone loses when agendas move away from the foundation of Jesus. Love is averted. Unity is destroyed. Life-change is missed. People get hurt.

Heaven is missed.

I don’t wan’t to miss that glimpse, not even one slice of heaven – of goodness. I want the whole pie! I want to be so doused in the sweetness of heaven that I have no teeth left and I don’t even care.

If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Cor. 3:14-15

May our eyes soak in the height of the mercy showered on us. May we embrace a vagabond hearts to become traveling temples of God. May we not see any service as meaningless, but ask Christ if he agrees with this mentality when we begin to.

With Jesus, no person is too low, no place off-limits, no heights untouchable, but if it is not done with him, it is done for self.

Jesus, let every ounce of us be poured out for every ounce of your blood – your love.

A job well done. May the person end up loving you more.
An amazing ministry time. No pride, just deep praise for the great God at work.
An awesome business opportunity. May more know Christ.
A financial outpouring of blessings. A means to bring an end to someone’s captivity.
An outstanding compliment. A way to point to the glory that is God.

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 1 Cor. 13:3

If we can’t do it in love, we may as well be doing nothing.
Lord, let our love mean something!

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Find God’s Grace in the Midst of Disgrace

Find God's Grace

Ever felt like you were so close to God, only to somehow fall off-course?
To somehow lose your in-step walk with the one who gives all peace, joy and love?

It’s easy to wonder how you got to this place. How you somehow diverted your path from his.

These thoughts plague me. I wonder, how can I avoid this next time, because
a judgement,
a critique,
a frustration,
an irritation,
an aggravation,
a circumstance,
a catastrophe,
my selfishness,
so often land me in a land miles away from my greatest love.

Like lost child, I lose my maker. ​It’s not that I don’t want to be with him, but something pulls me off-course: another grabs my attention, an emotion makes me run the other way or a circumstance takes hold. Before I know it, there I stand there – a missing child in a massive world trying to make my way back to my maker.

My once in-step, turned-in, reliant heart on Christ
becomes an out-of-step, out-of-focus, reliant heart on my problems.  

I can see what’s around me, but I can’t see him.
I can see people, problems and the past, but I have blocked out his light.
I can see my feelings light as day, but I still feel buried deep in a distant hole.
Unchecked emotions have covered my heart.

And, one thing I am sure of is this: one covered with the unchecked emotions of shame, guilt and regret, can’t be shining the light of Christ’s resurrection, power and love.

One loaded under the weight of unrepented issues, can’t be radiating love and light through the earth.

So, I wonder, which do I have –
a heart covered by the weight of guilt
or a heart uncovered by the flashlight of Christ’s grace?

What God uncovers he uses for his glory. And what is hidden – is just that – hidden.

Hidden things stay covered.
Stay distanced.
Stay embarrassed.

Yet, God calls us “the salt of the earth.” Mt. 5:13

How can people taste salt if they can’t see it?

Instead of being salt-hiders,
we have another option, we can be salt-makers with God.

Do you see it?

Salt is produced by enduring pain, hardships and trials with Christ. As we move into deep intimacy with God, we move into knowledge of how to season other’s hearts. We start to flavor the world with the great testimony of his revealed power in our lives.

Salt is a God’s cleansing agent, and we are it’s salespeople. Let’s represent his holiness well.

“For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6

Let’s shine bright to display his light!

We have a light that cannot be contained.

A city set on a hill.
It goes far and wide.
As a beacon of love.
That no one can miss.
That makes opponents flee.
That keeps your heart in safe places.
That endures until we come into his glorious light.

Don’t forget: You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14

It’s a beacon of love, a calling to all to come and know him. 

Shine! Don’t remove your hand from his, don’t be pulled away from your Father, don’t get lost in the masses, don’t fall down in a pit, just keep revealing your heart to the light-shiner to let your life be transformed with the power of his always-exposed love.

He will never let you down, he will always chase after you the second you are lost. He loves you so much. He has chose you as his own. He is ready to shine so much goodness out of you, if only you will run your problems straight to his great flashlight of grace.

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How To Deal When Life Gets Tough

when life gets tough

When Life gets tough

Where can I go when I am tired? Worn? Weary?

Because sometimes in life:
A minute overwhelms.
A day get’s to be too much.
My schedule feels too full.
People get a little forceful.
Bad things happen.
Circumstances throw me off guard.

Just the other day, a troubled heart started to sink me with anxiety. I turned on the TV to find a moment of peace, a second of calm and to possibly hear from God.

Yet, within 2 minutes, my so-called “peace” was interrupted.

My son called out,
“Mommy, be with me. Just be with me. Sit next to me. I need you.”

A monster loomed.

And, although I first approached him with a stern face because my rest was interrupted, God set me face-to-face with something far greater – my son’s reaction.

You see, when the bad things loomed, my son, knew something very powerful:

He knew my presence was greater than the monster.
He knew that nothing could hurt him when I was near.
He new that safety was all about my closeness.

Am I this way with God?

Do I understand the power of calling on Him for covering, closeness and connection?

Do I realize that I can call on him at all times, for all things, in all ways, on all days
and fully know that he will be there?

Do I realize that just his presence is greater than my biggest problem?

When monsters come, do I come against them – with the power of God?

Because he is always ready to sit next to me.
He is always ready to hold me in my struggles.
He is always ready to run to my rescue.
His presence always confirms my safety.

How blessed is the one whom You choose and bring near to You To dwell in Your courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Your holy temple. Ps. 65:4

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Mt. 11:28

God stands ready to impart so much to me as I incline into him: nearness, a knowledge that he is near, rest, blessings, satisfaction, goodness, holiness.

What does it really look like to incline?

I think of “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” John. John also deeply loved Jesus.

There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. Jo. 13:23

Did you catch that? John was reclining or laying right on Jesus’ chest. What an act of love, humility and surrender. John leaned in…He drew near and drew strength.

When we lean, when we fall, and when we rest our faces on the power of Jesus, we love and we are loved.

Falling in means we know we won’t fall down.

No matter what we are secure in Christ.

Come near to God and he will come near to you. Ja. 4:18

God leans into us. Let’s lean in. Let’s lean in when life gets tough, circumstances happen and people hurt. Let’s lean in hard, fast and with an extravagant pursuit of his love.

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When Excuses Rule

When Excuses Rule

Being a good mom is hard work.
It means being patient, kind and loving.
It means not pulling my hair out when I can’t get one second alone.
It means not having a second to do one little task without being tackled.
It means answering the same question, in the same way, for the 100th time.

Motherhood takes will power to be good.

Many times, I just don’t have it. But, I pretend I do. So, I load myself up with a lot of excuses to make my insides not feel like my outsides.

I try to tell myself – any mom, would get annoyed!

“Moms look at their cell phones all the time.”
“It’s natural to want to hide when things get tough.”
“If they would act right, I would too.”
“At least I am better than the worst time.”
“I did that because they have to learn how to act right.”

Excuses are funny.

Aren’t excuses really just little sweet lies covered with a smile?
They’re chocolate on the outside, yet have arsenic on the inside.

Crutches that keep us in sin?
We walk with them, but we stumble over ourself again and again never really getting anywhere.

Hinderances to our recovery?
We try to look fully recovered, but we don’t let God heal.

I am tired of barriers. Barriers just block us out for God’s great promised land of joy waiting for us. Every time. They. Block. Us. Out.

With this, on this very good day, this very good day that cost one so much. I plead with God to help me take down all the boundaries that keep me from him.

I am humbled at the thought of him.

One who walked the road to Calvary with no excuses.
One who could have said, “Why should I die for those sinners, I am so much better than that.”
Or “I’m not doing a thing for them, for who have mocked me, tormented me and beat me.”

But, he didn’t utter excuses at the cross.

Instead he carried our load, he carried our cross, he endured the shame and the pain and didn’t run the other way. He took it all so that we could take our place next to him in heaven. 

He is entirely good. No pretenses. No facades. No excuses. Simply good.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

I praise God that he is good. Because in him, I am good too. I am released from all excuses and free to accept his free grace. My inadequacies are covered.

No excuse is every required, because whatever it is I am trying to excuse is already covered. In this, I am free to bring everything to him without shame, without regret and with a humble heart. In his hands, he will change my ways and help me to be more than myself.

The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made. (Ps. 145:9)

Free grace is continually poured out due to his goodness. Abundant love is always being extended due to his sacrifice. My life will never be the same; he marked all days as “good enough”. My days are forever changed.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. (Ps. 136:1)

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Today I join #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

Mercy for a Broken Spirit

I gossip.
I lie.
I am prideful.

When I see the face of my sins, it nearly breaks my spirit. It burdens.

But, broken pieces draw us to the original crafter –
the one who puts all things back together again.

And in his light I can see:

I did everything wrong, but Christ did everything right.
I did nothing of worth, but he is entirely worthy.
I dropped the ball, but he holds it – the entire earth is in his hands.
I am destined to death, but he took death on the cross so I wouldn’t have to.

I come to him a broken daughter
and he leaves me as a beautiful bride.

Mercy. Mercy after mercy, time after time, minute after minute, offense after offense the Lord never stops extending, keeps offering and keeps keeping on – after a broken heart that continually draws wayward from him.

What I don’t deserve, he gives. What I am not, he is.

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (La. 3:23)

He never stops giving. 24-hours later, new mercies arrive.
His ways are greater than our days.

His mercy makes us worthy and his grace keeps us blessed.

Mercy definition (Google):
compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.

Grace definition (Google):  
the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

Mercy brings us into the goodness of God; grace is the extension of it.
Mercy saves us from punish; grace brings us into joy.
Mercy takes what was ours (punishment); grace gives us what isn’t.

What we don’t deserve we get. What we deserve was taken from us. In this, all offenses are seen through a new light, the light of Jesus sitting in glory on high.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday and Five Minute Friday.

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