Grace Wins.

f19226e2c4829a4efb3c45eb7f62c5a6Church people know it well, but do we use it well? If you’ve spent any length of time in a church, you’ve probably heard of grace. God’s grace. Grace for our sins. Grace to overcome even the most difficult struggles. Grace. Grace. Grace. It really does get tossed around a lot. It seems to me that the topic has come up often lately (more so than usual). On two separate occasions pastors I sit under have taught on grace- one from a salvation perspective and one from the life perspective. Are we living our lives like grace really matters? Are we thinking of grace as our “cover all” for sin or are we living it out? In response to the recent topic of grace, I’m challenged to think of it differently.

Grace allows me to be who God made me to be. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made…and so are you! Grace allows me to see and understand that God isn’t looking for perfect people. Therefore, I no longer need to hold myself to such a steep standard of perfection when I know that I’m held together by grace. Grace gives life and freedom to step out into God’s promises for our life through faith. Because of grace, I’m able to stop looking at what the world expects me to be and start looking at what God gifted me to be. Galatians 1:15 says, “Before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.” I am called. You are called. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to the picture the world paints of perfection and start discovering who it really is God made us to be. We are called, chosen, highly favored and loved by a God that doesn’t make mistakes.

Grace meets all of our needs. And we humans have many needs! Salvation is found in the grace of our Father who freely gave up His son to die for us. Grace bridges the gap between sin and salvation. Grace gives me strength when I am weak. It is the power of the Holy Spirit at work in me to enable me to go through things that seem impossible. Jesus reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you. For my power is made perfect in weakness.” Because of the grace we have in Christ, there is a way to the Father. There is hope and peace and the promise of eternity in Heaven.

Grace empowers me to do what God called me to do. I don’t think we can sit back and try to grapple with this grace or watch God empower others when we know that our lives are changed by grace. Salvation gives us the eyes to see our purpose and the promise of God’s plan for our life. Grace empowers us to act on it. When the world throws darts, grace helps me to forgive and in turn show grace those who’ve wronged me. Grace allows me to write and speak with God’s words instead of my own. Grace doesn’t give up on me when I’m too scared to make the call or write the letter or step through the door of opportunity seeing only with eyes of faith. Instead, grace says, “You can do it, Kindall. God made this way straight for you. Be brave. Be bold. Go for it.” Because of this grace I’ve received through faith in Christ, I’m qualified to do what otherwise would be impossible. There’s big possibilities on the horizon when we look at our life through eyes of grace. That’s just how our Father sees us.

Grace causes lives, hearts, circumstances, and futures to change. Nothing can stay the same when grace enters the picture. Nothing. God’s grace moves us from insecurity and timidity to confidence and certainty about who we are in Him. He takes us from darkness to light. From death to life. Grace opens the untapped wells of promise and potential for our lives. When we change our perspective of grace, our life will change and because of this….grace will always, always win.

Windows Closed, Heart Open

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I love this place. Home, that is. I’m not here nearly as much as I’d like to be sometimes, but it makes coming back that much sweeter. I always look forward to Wednesday afternoons. The one day of the week that I’ve purposely scheduled “white space” to be home and just enjoy it. There’s no piano lessons to teach, no meetings to attend, no stuff to do for ministry or others. Not that any of that is bad…..I just enjoy being able to simply live (if only for 3 hours one day a week) without an agenda. I don’t even turn the TV on! Most Wednesdays, I open the windows wide and let the sunshine in. Sometimes I cook. Sometimes I try my hand at a little DIY decorating. Today however, I kept the windows closed, locked the door, and just sat in the quiet while the outside world whizzed by. I do realize that this time would be even more of a rarity if I were married with kids. So I think I’ll enjoy it now while I can! What a simple yet profound visual this was of how my relationship with God looks sometimes. I can’t hear Him if I’m not listening. My eyes aren’t set on Him if I’m so busy checking off “to-do lists”, rehashing in my mind why my 6th graders can’t behave, and thinking of all that needs to be done but might not get done because there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

For me, turning “the world” off has been a challenge. I’m so connected (whether I want to be or not) to what’s going on at school, in the classroom, or at church with ministry, or on my phone within the social media realm that I just can’t seem to get away from it all sometimes. My focus shifts from wanting to hear God’s voice and what really matters to doing everything I can to keep my head above these deep waters I go through every day. I needed to keep the windows closed today so that my heart can rest and listen and share these big dreams with a God who’s bigger than it all.

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

And while locked inside of this safe place I’m reminded that He hides us in the palm of His hand. He comforts us when we’re feeling inadequately equipped to meet the demands of our jobs and the stresses of life. He wraps our hearts and minds with peace and gives us all we need to take the next step. He is God, our God and He is good. Today, I’m learning that it is OK to take a step back, close the windows to the outside world and open wide the windows of my heart.

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Lord Jesus, my comforter and defender, I’m thankful You’re walking with me. I know that sometimes I simply have to be intentional about spending time with You. The demands of life are overwhelming, but in You I find peace. Help me remember to make time to listen and watch for You every day. Let me be still and know that You are God. Amen.