To the God who Gives Story

Sometimes, regardless of how wonderful my life really is, I struggle so to find the motivation to try to dwell as anything other than overwhelmed, confused, lost as to how to do life. But even then, You give story. You create life in me that is used to point to true glory, and I am made a useful piece of Your big story. Because You form the world’s story with the pen of Your grace, a story that had no right to be. Your fingers trace each piece to create the people who never would’ve known life and the beauty You create, without the grace you give. Your grace gives us being and privilege to experience the power of a God who upholds the galaxies with the word of His power. And You give each one out of the billions their own unique story, their own unique way to experience You. Your grace gives orchestration to the stories within the stories within this story of the world. You have planned each note we play and oversee the beauty of it all to display Your glory perfectly and all in grace, grace that makes art, and allows me to be part of it all. Gracefully, lovingly, You’ve weaved us into Your plan to make us a part of Your glory. And here in a confused moment of my story, where You are making yourself the hope and stay to a soul that has none of its own inspiration to hope, I stand blessed, blessed to be here and live this word of the story that is at the mercy of the pen of Your grace. Because even if everything else confuses me, I can hold to the knowledge that this moment I’m living has a purpose in the story to point in some way to You.

I’m linking up to Kate and the Five-Minute Friday community. Please enjoy some sweet inspiration about the word give. :)

http://katemotaung.com/2014/11/27/five-minute-friday-give/ 

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.

Step into the Canvas

Taking much longer than five minutes just to think of how to start this post. Notice is the word of the day at Five Minute Friday. And I am somewhat at a loss to write anything about this as my own because I’ve been so inspired by fellow bloggers today to think on the things God has left in my life to notice. I will simply be sharing thoughts that originated with others today. So, the things God has given today to be noticed: 

To notice the way He’s placed glimpses of His beauty in every part of my day, like all the birds swirling outside my kitchen window today. 

To notice the people He uses to touch my soul, to etch His story of grace into my life and leave me never the same. 

To notice the opportunities He gives to paint the world with the Love that lives in me. He uses the little things.

To notice the ways He’s left for me to live His beauty in my every day, to leave pieces of His beauty in the world around me.

To notice the way He pours grace into my daily life, painting portraits of His Love with every day of my story.

To notice the one Gospel gift He wants most for me to notice, that its grandeur goes so much farther than the day of my salvation, that each moment is an opportunity to step into the canvas of His graceful masterpiece to experience the depths of that gracious Gospel story.    

And quoting one I’ve been so inspired by today, to notice "how He manages it all, with grace and steadiness.“ To notice who He really is, in spite of all I am. 

(I was quoting Katie Reid who’s sweet blog you can read here: http://www.echoesofmyheart.com/tww-blog/the-notice-five-minute-friday-prompt

One more quote to close out. I Love Emily Freeman’s book concept and I’ve never even read it. Art references in this post are inspired by her, and this final thought is hers: To notice ”the art in a quiet word, a hot dinner, a made bed, a grace-filled glance, and a million other ways of experiencing God in the world through the simple human acts of listening, waiting, creating, and showing up.“

(Give her book a look. It’s on my wishlist! Read about it here: http://www.chattingatthesky.com/a-million-little-ways/)

So here’s to noticing, to noticing the grace-handiwork of the God who made me, to seeing Him in the handiwork He graces to be made through me. To stepping full into His canvas of grace. 

And, please, consider yourself invited to speak with some sisters and be refreshed at the Five-Minute Friday community…

http://katemotaung.com/2014/11/20/five-minute-friday-notice/

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.

Stillness in Chaos

Joining with the group to give my Five-minute Friday write on the word still. 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Stillness. When life is busy. Stillness. When life is full of baby cuddles, kissing boo-boos, fixing lunches, chicken pot pie on the carpet, laundry piles, baby dolls, temper tantrums, Dr. Seuss books, doctor’s appointments, tears, kisses, love, laughter and new life that plants smiles and excitement that won’t go away, and I can’t be still, not now. 

But I hear it again, my need to be still, to still my soul even when I must keep going. Stillness can not always come with silence, not to a mother, not to many who face endless demands. Because I so often wait for the silence to be still and just know He is God over this day and moment and all it holds. But He bids not to wait, to find soul-stillness even in the middle of the sleepy, teary girly falling with the chicken on the carpet.

Because the sin that arises in my heart in that moment can only be used against me if I hold onto it, which I will always do, unless I find stillness in the chaos to know He is and give it to Him. 

And when she was tiny I lost it because I just didn’t think I could do stillness without silence and aloneness, and I waited and waited and I was drained for time with the Savior, and as much as I could try, I was drained for the energy to be a mommy who saw her little one with true joy that can only come from the Spirit. 

And I want so much to learn stillness in chaos. To enjoy my girly with the joy that only comes from stillness. And I’m enjoying her more every day. And I’m so grateful to hold a newborn of my own again soon. Because I want the chance again to go through that stage of life, holding a newborn of my own, with a soul that is still in the chaos of it all. I’m sure I’ll have many bad moments again, with soul and joy not still to know, but I want so badly this chance to look into the face of my own tiny baby again, from eyes that are first set on the Spirit that gives true joy in such a marvelous time of life.   

   

Please visit the Five-minute Friday community at http://katemotaung.com/2014/11/13/five-minute-friday-still/

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.

To Turn the Pages

Five Minute Friday

To turn its pages, to read its words, to know they contain pure truth that can change me, draw me close to the One who exists outside of limitations, of time, or gravity, of space, and failures, who exists outside of all this I am limited by and gives meaning to my being. He goes beyond it all and I am His. And this, my connection to the thoughts of His heart, His words to reach my soul, and yet I do what I do? I see the indifference in my heart that is spoken foul in His Word, and do anything to avoid admitting fault. I make compromise between my ideas and the authority of the Word He so carefully gifted. And in doing so, I’ve thrown His precious gift on the floor to stomp it under foot because I’ve not just made compromise with the authority of these pages, I’ve said no to their power, no to the power of the Word, the One who’s cross I stand at the foot of, where my being lives in the flow of grace.       

This is my Word: Pepper Choplin

Paraphrasing Isaiah 55:10-12

As the snow falls from heaven,
As it comes in swirling showers from the sky, So is my Word.
As the rains bring the water to the earth that is thirsty and dry,
So is my Word.
And the Word of my mouth, it shall not return empty:
It will bless the earth wherever it is heard.
This is my Word.
As the rain brings renewal
And the tender buds begin to come alive,
So is my Word.
Giving seed to the sower,
And the bread to the hungry ‘til
they thrive, So is my Word.
And the Word of my mouth, it shall not
return empty;
It will bless the earth wherever it is heard.
This is my Word.
O Lord, when I am weary,
When I fell the days I’m living are in vain,
My God, help me be faithful to the Word You have given to proclaim.
Proclaim the Word, and you will go out in joy,
And be led forth in peace,
And the hills will break before you into song.
So be faithful, brave and true,
For I will go before you,
And when your earthly journey here is done.
I’ll say well done, well done!
As the snow falls from heaven,
And the rain comes in showers from the sky,
This is my Word.

 

http://katemotaung.com/2014/11/06/five-minute-friday-turn/ 

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.

Uncertainty and the Call of Grace

Five-Minutes:

Go…

Leaving with uncertainty, uncertainty that can hurt. Simply not having something real and true to hold onto can leave so much room for fear. And I give into fear and am reminded that I am a mess who renounced the secure hope He offers for my feeble fears, turned my back on Him to entertain my worries. And He reminds me that I stand before Him again though all unworthy, I’m made worthy. He already bore the temptation of fears just like this, and performed the righteousness that I needed to go on my record for this time. He’s already destroyed the dominion of these fears, and simply because of knowing this, His grace and mercy in this, how is it possible for me to choose fear if I abide in the knowledge that a God of such Love has called me to live in such great grace. 

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. – Hebrews 2:17-18

How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. – Romans 6:2-4

Please read more of these precious blogs at the Five-minute Friday community:

http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/30/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-31-leave/ 

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.

My girlie – Not too excited about halloween… She’s still a cutie though. :)

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.

The Dare to Expose and Embrace the Sinner (even when it hurts)

Five-Minute Friday…

I’ve come across it so many times this week… concerning my walk with God… concerning my parenting…

“Before we can embrace grace, we have to embrace sin.Not celebrate it or wallow in it, just own up to it – so we can accept the forgiveness we desperately need.” – Liz Curtis Higgs

Embrace sin… such a shocking statement, and maybe embrace isn’t exactly the word, yet it gives a good feel for what He seems to be daring me to do when I come across these verses and quotes again and again. 

“Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Rm. 5:20-21

Law = increased sin. 

Increased sin = abounding grace. 

And, of course, my sin is not something to celebrate or even to dwell in pity over. It’s something to rebuke, to put off, to turn from in pursuit of God. But, I think He’s telling me that there’s more to it than that. Perhaps I should look the other way in a sense. Because where sin increased, grace abounded. He’s daring me to learn how to embrace the fact that I’m a sinner in need of Him without lessening the battle against the sin.

And not just in my walk with Him. I have to embrace the sinner in all…

“Parents sometimes give children a keepable standard… This non-biblical counsel drives children away from the cross. It doesn’t take grace from God to [keep this standard]… When you fail to hold out God’s standard, you rob your children of the mercy of the gospel.” – Tedd Tripp

And how often I give my girl a keepable standard.

Living in grace involves embracing not only the sinner in me, but embracing the sinner in those around me. I have to be willing to hold truth high enough that it exposes the people around me, especially my daughter as a sinner in need of God’s grace, even when it hurts. I’m taking the dare to learn how to live that out.

Please visit Kate and the rest of the #FMFparty at http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/23/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-24-dare/  

 

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.

As Long As He Lives

Been thinking a lot about the five-minute Friday post this week. Here it is. :)

Word prompt: long

As long as my flesh lived I was bound, bound to that which stirred up my passion. I grew the fruit of death. I was slave to law, slave to death. All my love was given to the evil one, and I was unlikeable in every part of my being, disapproved in every way. As long as my flesh lived…

But the Son, the Son took this torn and soiled flesh that I bore and cloaked Himself in it to enter the Father’s presence. The destiny I had been doomed with became the Son’s. Instead of walking into the presence of the One I’ve always wanted the Love of, in complete shame, being disapproved in every nook and cranny of my being, not having anything likable in my own self, my flesh was humbly taken by the Son and my wicked passions earned the shame He bore instead. There before the Father, his head hung low, because cloaked in my flesh, it was as good as fact that the Son had given His Love away to the evil one.

You walked into His presence with everything unlikeable in me and endured the death in your body of my own flesh. You faced death and I was rid of everything unlikeable, but without anything likable. No longer unworthy, I was still not worthy. But then You arose, and in Your new life, You brought with You what would also be mine – the life You had earned with every second of Your life on earth. You earned all worth before the Father and brought from the grave that worth for me. You cover me with Your life and the Father sees me likable in every way. I will dance before you and boldly let you see my every part because you find favor in it all. As long as the Son lives, new life is mine. I praise You for I am made worthy, because You are worthy.

As long as He lives…   

Please visit the five-minute Friday page!

http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/16/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-17-long/ 

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: baby fussies and a sister who makes them look beautiful

I’ve had this post on my mind for over two weeks now.  It was a Monday. I was trying to get lunch cooked. Amayah was fussy, more fussy than usual. It seems like Mondays just happen that way for whatever reason. Like I often do I was blaming myself. Amayah seemed to be fussier at home around me than she was around anyone else. I felt like I was failing at motherhood. My sweet sister-in-law took Amayah to play in the yard so I could cook in peace. I cried over whatever it was I was cooking. I plated the food and Elisa, Amayah and I all sat down to lunch and Elisa poured sweet words into my soul that tore away the tough outer layer of Amayah’s tears to show me the beautiful story her fuss told. She told me how she still today pours out her troubles to her mother because she knows of all people her mother will care. She reminded me how soldiers, tough men in their last dying moments have cried for their mothers. She told me that Amayah was pouring out her complaints to me more than anyone because there was a bond between her and I that she didn’t have with anyone else, that perhaps she fussed around me more because she felt that close to me. She made her fusses look like a cry of love, a cry of, Mama, I know you care and I need to pour out my troubles to you. And we put the dishes in the sink and I changed her diaper and she cried and I strained to see beyond the surface and it did look beautiful and I gave thanks for the bond we share, though it may come even in fuss.

And tonight I laid her down for the night and she cried and threw her arms around my neck, and though, I wanted to let her know it was time for her to go to bed, I stayed there for a couple minutes to feel her cheek against mine and wipe her tears, because those tears held beauty. I’m thankful for my precious blessing that day, God using Elisa to bear the words that spoke the wonder into my ugly, and exposed the beauty in my girl’s fuss. 

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.

Care

Five Minute Friday post on Care :) 

Go!

She cares for her daughter. She brings her life in pain, holds her through the night, cleans the mess again. She gives her sleep, her time, her life, to see all her needs met.

She cares for her granddaughter. She spends the day on that swing. She give her the bottle, burps her again and watches her fall asleep.

She is cared for. She finds body feeble. Hands, legs that once gave all to care for the baby, now must learn a new life. They will rest and depend on the care from that baby, and be cared for, as it has been all along, by the One who carried her through each part.

The story will go on and may hold a timeless truth. Maybe that place where life starts to close holds the key to living alive. Because maybe the rest and dependence on the care of Another was the most important thing all along.

Stop. To be honest I had to get some writing inspiration from my hubby on this one. I enjoyed the write!

I’m linking up with the five-minute Friday host here. 

http://katemotaung.com/2014/10/09/five-minute-friday-and-a-giveaway-day-10-care/

Please give her a visit!

Five Minute Friday

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.