Write 31 Days Withdrawal

Withdrawal=”the act of taking back or away something that has been granted or possessed” or “the discontinuance of administration or use of a drug.”

Have you ever experienced withdrawal from something? Perhaps it was giving up soda or sweets or something. Maybe you know someone or have watched someone withdraw from drugs. The only experience I have of watching someone withdraw and detox from an abused substance is on MTV with Dr. Drew. Yet from what I have seen, withdrawal is not an easy thing. In fact, it can get pretty ugly!

I don’t know about you, my Write 31 Days friends, but this past week, I have found myself wanting to read your blogs and write more posts myself. But what I have found is that it is pretty quiet over in our neck of the woods. It seems like many of our wells have run dry. I think I am going through Write 31 days withdrawal! Anyone else with me?

Throughout the month of October, every day we must post. If the words are there, great. But if the words are not there, we must keep on trucking through. In addition, many of us interacted on the Survivors Facebook page and read five other posts which we promised to comment on, share, etc.

Yet now here we are, ten days into November and I keep finding myself wanting to go back to October. I want to gather with my friends and read their stories. I want to know that I am not on this writing journey alone. I want to be reminded again and again that my words are enough! The truth is that I know these things are true, but it seems harder to find them and believe them this month. It is as if my ability to write has been snuffed out in an instance.

In addition, my words are not the only thing I am missing. I am missing the community and the people I have met. I came across this quote this morning on Google: “The most addictive drug is a person. The detox takes the longest. And sometimes the withdrawals never stop.” Hmmm!

I am sure that in time the words will slowly begin to flow more freely again! I am sure that I will find other outlets and projects to share my words. I am sure that soon I will feel like I am no longer going through Write 31 Days withdrawal. And I know that even though, we are resting from our words, we all will return to share them again.

Like the breath in our lungs that gives us life, words also give us writers life as well! Without our words, we cannot go through this life NOT sharing our words. “Write until it becomes as natural as breathing. Write until not writing makes you anxious”

I am linking up with these lovely faith-filled women today:


 
 

A Little “Amazing Grace”

One of my favorite hymns is the hymn “Amazing Grace.” There is just something so incredibly beautiful and holy about the words to that song. I remember it being played at my Grandpa Sam’s funeral. My mom /aunt’s cousin had promised Grandpa they would sing it at his funeral, but this cousin couldn’t be there so he recorded it and had it sent to us to be played. It was so cool!

I am wiped out today….spent Thurs-yesterday afternoon at a youth gathering. It was fun, but it was tiiiirrriiing! So I am keeping it super short today so I can get in a nap! This isn’t the traditional hymn, but it is still one of my faves by my fave Christian band…Jars of Clay! Enjoy my friends!!

Readers, don’t forget to register to win a $500 DaySpring shopping Spree. 
Click here for a chance to win.

Shining the Light from Within

“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.”–Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes life just seems so incredibly unfair. A mother having to bury her own child. A young wife and mother losing her battle with cancer only six weeks after being diagnosed. A friend continually battling each and every day in the depths and darkness of depression. I just want to cry out to God and ask him again “Why?” (This is not the first time I have asked God why and had to search for God’s grace in my life!) And it is especially during these days and times that I wonder where in the world God’s grace is. Are you looking for it too friends? 
I know it is there, but it is so very hard to find during these times. It is as if the gift of grace sitting on the table has been obstructed by everything else in its path. It is like feeling our way through a dark room. We have to wind our way through darkness and the obstructions until we reach the table where God’s grace is laid out for us to receive. God’s grace is always and ever enough! But there are days that I forget that promise for sure. And there are days that the sweetness of God’s sufficient grace feels awfully bitter!
But the the truth is, like a beautiful stained glass window or even a clay jar, God’s grace shines through the cracks. God’s grace lights the way in the midst of the darkness. God’s grace opens our eyes to see and our ears to hear the magnificence of God’s grace even in the most difficult of times. God’s grace carries us especially when we feel like that grace isn’t anywhere in sight. 

I am reminded of this beautiful quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: “People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out. But when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Or this verse from 2 Corinthians 4, verse 8-9 (NIV): “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed.”

God’s grace allows that light to shine from within each of us when we offer grace to one another. God’s grace allows that light to shine from within when we hold each other up in prayer. God’s grace allows that light to shine from within when we journey with one another. God’s grace is a gift given freely to God’s people to sustain us on the hard days and the not so hard days. It is especially there for the days when we don’t experience the grace but rather taste the bitterness in our mouths.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”–2 Cor 12:9
Amazing Grace by BYU Noteworthy Acapella Cover
This video gave me goosebumps! Enjoy!
Readers, don’t forget to register to win a $500 DaySpring shopping Spree. Click here for a chance to win.

The Visibility of God’s Grace

“I think my job is to make the grace of an invisible God, visible, wherever I am”–Paul Tripp

Oh friends, these words are speaking straight to my heart today. More and more hard news. More and more of wondering where God is in this world. More and more of wondering when God’s peace will prevail. But what I do know is that God’s grace always prevails.

It can be so hard for us to see God’s grace in a world that is bombarded by hard news, war, hatred, violence and so much more. Yet the good news is that God’s grace has a way of showing up in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected love. I am reminded of the words to the well-known hymn “Amazing Grace”: “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear; The hour I first believed.; Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.” (Amazing Grace Lyrics)

Yes, it is this grace that will lead us home. Yet I know that it is often so very hard for us to trust in that promise. We want God to give us a GPS to direct us along life’s journey. We want our answers to be as instant as an instant message from a friend. But God does give us a GPS, just not the kind of GPS we want and are looking for in our lives. God’s GPS is God’s grace positioning system! Can you think of all the times and places when God’s GPS has shown up in your lives?

“For it is by grace through faith that you have been saved, it is not your own doing but a gift of God”—-Ephesians 2:8 (New Revised Standard Version)

It took me a long time to realize that grace is this free unmerited gift that God gives to each and every one of us. Yet grace isn’t wrapped in a pretty bow. Grace is an amazing gift that comes with no pretty strings, ribbons or bows attached to it. It is simply set out onto the table for us to receive. But are we willing to receive it?

I have come to accept and receive this unmerited gift with open arms because it has blessed me in more ways than I can ever count or imagine. Grace is what has helped me live as a daughter of a woman who daily struggles with a mental illness. Grace is what helped me graduate seminary when I thought that was an impossible task. Grace is what has continually shown me again and again the power of God’s love for all of God’s people.

And because I have received this gift and seen the power of grace in my own life, I want to continually show it to others. Because in showing God’s grace, we see, not only glimpses but full images of a visible God that often feels invisible in this world. But it is in these moments and gifts of grace that God’s invisibility becomes visible to all of God’s people.

“Now God has us where God wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust in him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role! If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.”–Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message)

An upbeat video for your Tuesday afternoon!
“This is Amazing Grace”-Phil Wickham

(And on that note, I am excited to share with you my Write 31 Days topic. I will be sharing 31 Stories of God’s Grace.” After reading that quote by Paul Tripp today, God confirmed that this is exactly what God is calling me to share about. My hope and prayer is that these 31 stories of God’s grace will make us see a sometimes invisible God as a visible God. Join me throughout the month of October for these dear stories of God’s grace!)

I am linking up with these faith-filled women this week: 

 











An Open Letter To Grace

Dear grace….

Where do I even begin, you are such a beautiful gift in my life. As a lifelong Lutheran, you have always been engrained in my very fiber and being. Martin Luther talked a lot about YOU! And this Bible verse from the book of Ephesians is a daily reminder of the gift you are “For it is by grace through faith that you have been saved, it is not your own doing but a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)

Yes, my friend grace, you are indeed a gift. But what is it about you…that makes me so very thankful for your presence. You always find a way into my head and into my heart.

In the midst of mom’s illness, when I snap back quicker than I should, you tap me silently on the shoulder and tell me that next time I won’t react as quickly. When I beat myself up because the desires of my heart haven’t been met yet, you again look me in the eyes and show me that God does hear them. God will answer them in his time and not my own.

And then I open up the newspaper or turn on the radio and hear the horrific stories of violence and sinfulness…but even in those moments, I hear you whispering. “They are sinners in need of God’s grace.” “You are a sinner in need of God’s grace too!” We all are going to screw up and fall short of the glory of God. Yet you (grace) are sufficient. You will get us through those times. How many times do we sin and think that we are not worthy to be forgiven….yet you continually grasp us…a simple reminder of the power of God and God’s grace in our lives.

In the words of the well-known hymn “Amazing grace,” ‘you (grace) have’ taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved. How precious did YOU appear the hour I first believed.’ And you also (grace) have ‘ ‘brought me safe thus far and will lead me home.’

Oh grace! You fall like fresh dew and cover me; cover us in your promises…your promises that daily cover each of us. And as your promises cover us like a well-worn blanket; torn, battered, and beaten, you still provide us with comfort and embrace us in your loving arms. You call us to action; a reason to love and serve God more fully.

Grace is knowing that sometimes we are going to spill milk on the kitchen floor and going to have to clean it up. Grace is knowing that sometimes you are going to make the wrong choices, but there will always be that second chance. Grace is knowing, even in the midst of grief, that you are sufficient when nothing else seems like it is.  Grace is sharing my words even when I am trembling as I hit the publish button. Grace is knowing that you are always within my grasp; that you are always within each of our grasps.

And ultimately, my friend grace, you always change me; always change each of us! In the words of Anne Lamott, “I do not understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us (me) where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”

I am linking up with Holly for Testimony Tuesday, Kelly for the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer for Tell His Story and Holley for Coffee for your Heart:

 

Hope and Restoration

“Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!”

Palm Sunday begins the journey through Holy week and to Jesus’ death and Resurrection. As we celebrate on Easter Sunday, we are reminded that Jesus came into the world for us. Jesus came to restore our relationship with God. And in return we are called to be forgiving and to be forgiven. One thing I love about the 40 days of Lent and Holy week is the reminder of this awesome hope…a hope that comes in the midst of death and the Resurrection.

And in that hope, we are reminded of life…that life does come out of death. What a beautiful reminder for us all. This week I have spent a lot of time around new life. On Friday, a dear friend and I met up for lunch where I got to meet her new son who is almost a month old. We sat and visited for quite awhile. And as we visited, the little guy snuggled down on my chest and just slept. I think I held him for like an 30 minutes or more. I was hoping he would open his eyes for me but he never did. Apparently he was content just the way he was. Today, I sat and held a church member’s new little baby who is about two months old. Again he snuggled right down into my chest and listened to my heart beat. I literally could have sat their all day with him snuggling in. I returned home to open up FB and read that my dear friends J and C’s daughter decided to make her entrance into the world today too. There is something absolutely spectacular about new life. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have to be asked twice to hold an infant?

(It also happened to be First Communion Sunday at DLC this morning for our 5th graders and their homes. In coming to the table, we are reminded again of what Jesus did for us. Jesus died on the cross for us; to restore our relationship with God and each other. At the table, God also reminds us of God’s grace and hope; reminding us that we are forgiven and that we too should be forgiving as well. Yet another reminder of God’s grace, mercy, love and hope…)

And in the midst of this new life, I am reminded of this amazing grace…this amazing hope that God offers to all of us; a hope that is always there. Yes, I still deeply yearn to be a momma and to have someone call me “mommy”. However hope outweighs that yearning. (I’ll be honest there are days when that hope is clouded by the deep yearning but most days, God reminds me of this hope; a hope that I cling to in the midst of this thing I want so deeply!)Because God in sending God’s Son into the world reminds us of this amazing love, grace, and mercy that only God can offer.

“This is how much God loved the world; He have his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him,anyone can have a whole and lasting life(John 3:16-17;The Message).”