New: Babies, Moments, Mercies…

My first Five-minute Friday post! The weekly gathering of so many women accepting the challenge to write a five minute blogpost on the given word of the week. How fun! 

Word prompt: new

Go!

Tears flowed, I pushed and in an instant she was in my arms. Emotions rushed, and more tears flowed for another reason. I will never remember a feeling so well. Tiny hands, tiny feet, new skin laid on mine. My heart beat so fast, I shook hard with wonder. There was new life laid here before me. I had no words, only eyes wide open to take in this moment and squeeze every drop out of it, to keep it safe and secure in my memory.

This was new. This is how new must be treasured.

How often have I had eyes half open to new, when new, as she was new, is everywhere. This day, this moment is new because His mercies are laid before me new.

Heart beat hard in wonder, eyes be filled with awe at the present, because as her life there was new, His mercies now are new for my unworthy moments to each be made worthy.   

Stop.

Go to http://katemotaung.com/ for more Five-Minute Friday posts. :)

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Pursue Love

“Pursue Love…” – 1 Cor. 14:1

People are valuable. I am learning so slowly – Love. It is not something that comes by itself. Love does not come naturally. Love is a pursuit. Pursue Love. If I am going to Love my God, if I am going to Love my husband, my daughter, my family, Love those who I am one with in this, the body of Christ, Love a world of people who are starved close to death for want of the Savior… If I am going to Love them, how am I pursuing this Love? How, in fact, do you pursue Love? You pursue God because He is Love. You abide in Him, in His Spirit, and the Love-fruit of the Spirit will be borne in you. You depend on God. You ask diligently for His Love to live in you. And a few months ago I would have stopped there because I’ve tried before to put Love on my tree by acting Loving, but was Love really there in that or was I going after a reputation? I had ceased trying to put Love on my tree, and began a striving to rest in the One who is Love. Love cannot exist in truth without resting in the One Source of Love. Resting, depending on Him is essential. But this is what He is slowly working on my heart to grasp. Dependence and discipline are not enemies. They go hand and hand. I am commanded to abide, depend and rest and I am commanded to “Put on love…” (Col 3:14) The Holy Spirit does not do Love for me. He gives grace that enables the fruit of Love to be put on my life. I am the one commanded to put on Love. I am the one commanded to pursue Love, though I can do it only in His energy, only because He gives me that desire. When Paul spoke of the way he pursued his service for God he explained his dependence and striving effort saying, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” I believe Love is to be pursued this same way. If I depend on Him, I will toil forward in all of Christ’s energy to pursue Love. I will depend on His Love to shine through me and toil with every ounce of grace I’ve been given to put it on, not for the way I look, but for the sake of the Love He’s shown me. I’ve been greatly pursued. As I realize that fact, what can I do, what would I want to do, but give Him thanks with a life that greatly pursues, too?         

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Blessings: Showers, Sinks, Washers and a Husband Who Can Fix Them

Last Wednesday was one of those days when God used what looked like a disastrous situation to bless us so much. We had been living in the house for two weeks and an odor had started coming from the bathroom and as my Nano said – it’s not what you think it is. He suited up and proceeded with the excitement of someone who was about to embark on a wonderful adventure to crawl into that little nasty hole, literally covered in spider eggs, to explore the tiny crawl space under the house. Crawling on elbows and toes he inspected the pipes under the house to find multiple places where pipes were completely rusted through and water had been gushing under the house along with some other issues that I don’t completely understand. He came back out of that hole to give us the news that the kitchen sink, the shower and the washing machine were not in working order and the heads up that there was a possibility that our living situation could change soon. Long story short, after only a couple of days without a shower, or running water in the kitchen God perfectly and abundantly provided the means for getting the house in working order again. Nano was able to fix all of the utilities with the same excitement as He began with even though he had to push dead animals out of his way and dig a hole while lying on his belly – situations that he used to give us a good laugh. And all the while, inside the house above him, I was facing my own not nearly as difficult situations with so much discontentment. God used his attitude to work on my heart. Feeling so blessed to have working utilities and a husband who had such a sweet spirit about the whole thing. My Nano is a blessing. My God is gracious and good.            

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Thoughts on Grace

I focus on my performance and how great the temptation can be to keep from serving much because I’m such a mess and what good can I do God? How easy it is eyes on me to come before Him in shame feeling like I’m worthless to Him to advance His kingdom, that my efforts wont amount to much, to fear that if I do serve Him I won’t do it out of pure Love. But eyes on His work and His gospel my life is shameless and He gives grace to come bold before Him. I am treasured. He has graciously purposed even me for this one magnificent purpose of giving Him glory. Eyes on Him I see He is perfectly able to use even me, though sin still is present. Because Romans 5:20 is still so true. “Where sin increased grace abounded all the more.” A truth I have often overlooked for fear of using it as an excuse, but it is an essential truth to hold onto in a life that abides in Him. It is so true that all out disgust at my sin and effort to put it away is necessary to strive after holiness, but it is only in the truth that “where sin abounds grace abounds” that God has provided the means and the motivation to deal with my sin and strive forward in my walk with God. (paraphrased, Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace) It is this grace alone that pushes us on, His grace wherein I can be grateful that I can claim His victory even in my sin, and have a reason, a longing to return praise in my daily life with my worship and my actions. His great grace alone is able to move us to press on and serve depending on the One who enables the thought and supplies all energy for any good that comes from us. And in doing my good I have more reason to rejoice in grace because all of my good is marked by my sinful flesh and it is true that sin exists in even the good I do. Every deed I do good or bad needs the cleansing blood of the Savior. All the more reason to rejoice that grace abounds for my sin. Not an excuse to sin more but the one enduring motivation to put away my sin and love and serve the One who gave me grace for such a purpose.

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Love covers sin.

I criticize. My heart is not abiding, mind not set on Him and its the first thing I do when I meet someone. And I stand a mess looking for another mess to feel better than. But the commandment bids me love them as I Love myself, that second commandment that’s like the first. And how is it like the first, like Love for God? It’s in Loving Him, in abiding only, that we have confidence, not shame. (1 Jn. 2:28) Confidence in the righteous record that we as believers have been given, knowing that because of the Son’s work we’re 100% accepted. And grateful Love lives there, because eyes on the cross we realize how little we deserve this and look around to find the ground that we all stand on is level. We all needed grace just as much. If we did not do as bad as another we both still failed the test of eternity. What matter then if we failed less than another? (paraphrased, Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace) And standing where we can see that, we are upward focused on God and God is Love. (1 Jn 4:8) And as we abide in Him, He abides in us. The God who is Love abides in us. (1 Jn. 4:12) Love lives in us and Love covers sin. (1 Pt. 4:8) From the believer with eyes on the cross, Love flows, not just in talk, but in deed and truth. (1 Jn. 3:18) And when we Love in truth we recognize the sin of another only as we would recognize it in ourselves. (“Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mk. 12:31) Love covers sin. It does not make light of it, in word, or thought, for any other reason than Love. Love calls us to approach sin with help and warning and to see sin only with grief and grace.           

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Useful Mess

Those people I most want to impress I always cower from despite my greatest efforts. A blessing from a God who knows my insides, my downfalls. Who knows that if I did impress I would fall to my face in pride. My flesh longs to impress the ones who walk with the Spirit, as if I actually could impress God’s Spirit when He already sees the way I compare, the way I measure my progress, and deny all the worth He’s given me for the fruitless attempts I make at finding pleasure in being better. Fleshly attempts at satisfaction that always leave me in a rut, and I stand there in front of the people I admire most as shy and empty as I can be. And He reminds me of my brokenness and humbles me to bring me to Him. And I come again empty handed and here I am worthless and given all worth in the arms of a God who gave me that worth while I was yet sinning, while I was still making my mess. He loves me and that is all, all that matters, and He uses each person I try to impress to make me see my mess, and remind me that He loved me in the midst of it. It is in acknowledging my mess that His strength is made perfect and there His grace abounds. But so often I try to let no one see my mess. Its always my mess though that He uses to draw my eyes off myself onto the One who matters, so that I can see past my work, past my progress to the One who has done all that work and made all the progress because I never could. I’m not a mess, not really. I am found in Him and perfect, and I will strive to abide in Him, but so often I deny that and live in my mess. I’m still flesh, I still make messes, so let me live my life acknowledging my mess. When my bed is unmade, let people see, so they know I am just like them. When my heart is unmade, unled by the Spirit, let the mess show and be useful. Let the mess be a blessing to another heart and let it bring my own heart to my knees before the One who has already bore all the weight of it on the tree.

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Emily Freeman on Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life. So excited to find out about the resources she offers. Emily is what she calls, a recovering good girl out to embrace life as a grace dweller. She talks about her struggles with insecurity and journey to rediscover God’s grace. I can relate to her in so many ways. Enjoy…

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Oxygen – gifted life

I am a mother, and only a mother fully knows all the joy, hardship, love, weight and terror that that word can carry. A word that means so many things. A mother is a giver of life. She gives the gift of herself away in so many pieces, in so many ways. Mother is the oxygen to a soul that needs her every minute. As if an oxygen tank that was rolled beside a person had a mind of its own, because thats what mothers do. They stay alongside this little person nearly all day and sometimes do little else besides just be the source for them, and sometimes in the monotony of it all, in the loss of getting to just be you, to breathe in oxygen on your own, its so easy to forget how important you are. Its so easy to forget what a grand role you play in life. Even though, the person may never look to the oxygen tank for what they are, the oxygen tank must remember their worth and know that as their sacrifice is in accordance with God’s will (1 Peter 4) they are living the gospel, even though it may not seem like it. Even though despite all the love you give your children, even though you gift your life to them, they continue to kick and fight, mother must remember that she is their source and is living out the good news, because though it cannot compare, and is only such a very small parallel, she is living out her life for her children, as Jesus lived out His life for her and she is bearing them testimony to that simply by her life. In the sacrifice of every minute she is identifying with Jesus in His life, and He is beautiying her through it all to make her a more presentable bride for Himself, with each diaper change, each kick in the rocking chair, He is sanctifying her every part, lovingly setting her apart to be His. With each sacrificing moment I give as a mother, He gives a much greater sacrifice. He gave His life in every part, every way I have not sacrificed despite all mother means. He suffered all for me. Mother is a constant reminder of what He did and in a very small way a constant opportunity to identify with Christ and live His Gospel in this sacred calling of motherhood.

“For this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” – 2 Cor. 4:17

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

Losing my step

Night was long, baby slept, baby woke, repeat, repeat, repeat. Forget the alarm clock then, but baby woke way too early. Lazy start to today. Restart button. Diaper changed, baby fed, husband kissed, somewhat quiet time, breakfast served, husband fed, meals planned, diaper changed, errands run, groceries bought, feeling accomplished, but the bed is still not made. Laundry washed, lunch cooked, husband, baby fed. Diaper changed, baby rocked, baby napping. Dishes rinsed, toys picked up, apartment straightened, two sentences of my book written and baby woke too early. Clothes to dry, next on to do list? Those decorating- on-a- budget projects that started months ago are still sitting.

But baby is upset, and hasn’t had much attention from me today, and there inside that little girls body is a soul that will last forever that I’m responsible for, a responsibility that trumps everything else on my to do list. But she’s fussy and if I play with her now will that just enforce bad habits? But if I leave her to cry will she feel abandoned? Will she think I don’t love her? Will that affect her in the long run? Well, I really have no idea, but I know I’m responsible for loving her so I sit and play with baby, bed still unmade, projects still waiting and try to figure out why I can’t get the hang of this mommy dance that still seems so new sometimes. This dance that I repeat again and again and again, but that tries to throw in a new step every day. Will I ever know what the answer is for how to respond to her in these every day situations? Will I ever get this dance down? But maybe getting the dance down isn’t the point…

Maybe the point is finding grace in every step, learning to give my every step to Him. Maybe it’s realizing that He’s already danced the dance of life perfectly and that He did it for me. If I seek Him, He will be faithful to guide me and sometimes I won’t seek Him and I will lose my step. But sometimes its in those moments when I lose my step that I see the Gospel more clearly. I can try my best to dance, to dance in Him, but even when I mess up, I can still enjoy the dance and come bold to the One who danced it perfectly, because that’s the Gospel. I never have to live guilty. Not because He’s accepted my imperfect dance, but because He’s accepted the Son’s perfect dance as mine. I don’t have to bear all the responsibility for the weight of raising this soul. He’s in my yoke with me and as I rely on Him, He will push the yoke for me. And with Him here, I can enjoy this dance and even when my sight comes off of Him and I lose my step, I can dance on boldly before Him pouring out my every need, trusting that He’ll work out my failures for good… even when the bed is still unmade.

My prayer is that you find God's grace pouring through your insecure moments. In this audio series, you'll receive a few quiet minutes of encouragement each month free in your email inbox. I hope it helps you find sweet gifts inside the feelings.

How to Plan Neglect: Saying No to Good Things So We Can Say Yes to the Best

How to Plan Neglect: Saying No to Good Things So We Can Say Yes to the Best