Archive for the ‘Grace’ Category

Word of the Year 2014

pray

Every year, my pastor challenges our church to pick a focus for development for the year.   A word.   Last year, 2013, my word was GRACE.  I practiced it, meditated on it, prayed about it, even tattooed it on my wrist.  I feel like I understand so much better what it looks like to default to grace–to believe the best in others first.

So, this year, 2014, my word is PRAY.  I have, for the past year or so, stewed over the dissatisfaction I feel regarding the lack of depth in my prayer life.  I know that there is POWER in prayer and I know that I am not tapping into it to the extent I could be.

With 2 teenagers, a new promotion at work, and moving soon into an empty nest season with my husband of almost 25 years, I am weak on my own.  Impotent.  Insufficient.  I NEED the power of God.  I pray in silent whispers. I pray in battle cries.

Grace–Permanently

GraceTat

And here’s something else new for February!  Look familiar?  A month ago, I posted a pic of the word that is my focus for 2013.   Grace.    I wrote it down, stared at it…and wanted to make it a permanent part of my life–a part of who I am and what I’m known for.  So I had it scratched into my skin with ink.  It hurt a little, but I’m really happy with it, and it’s original, it’s mine, no one else has anything just like it. It’s permanent.

I’ve always been a conservative person—not to the extreme like I’ve seen on some reality tv, but conservative–believing strongly in right and wrong and absolute truth.  This conservative nature can lead to a judgmental attitude.   I don’t want to be known for that attitude.  I want to be known as someone who loves and accepts people exactly where they are.

Perfectly legit concept, right? So why a tattoo? It’s a lil bit of irony I suppose.  There was a specific time that I did not show grace to someone really important to me. So, its sort of my way of making amends.  Admitting I was wrong.

When my firstborn was 18 (just last year), he decided to get a tattoo.  Actually, he probably decided before he turned 18, but couldn’t get it ’til then and until he moved out of the house.  He went big and a little eccentric–a phrase written in elvish across his chest.  Elvish–like from Lord of the Rings.  I would be lying if I said I loved it or even agreed it was the right move at his age…but that’s not the point.   I know he felt judged, he felt my disapproval.    He is such a great kid and I know that he cares and, like most kids, strongly desires the approval and acceptance of his parents.    What he got instead, was disappointment and disapproval…judgment.  I was wrong.

So….GRACE.  Believe the best in others.  Accept and love without question. Do not place your beliefs and expectations onto someone else to see if they “measure up”.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought… Rom 12:3

Grace Really is Amazing

Grace–a freely offered gift.

Right now, grace is still an afterthought, or at least a 2nd thought. My first thoughts are automatic, pathways created in my brain by years of habit and consistency. Making snap judgments about situations or people based on what I see with just my eyes.

Man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart. I Sam 16:7

For grace to be possible, I give up my right to be right. To believe the best in others. To remember that I never have all the information. And that, above all, love and acceptance is far more powerful than judgement and condemnation.

Lord, let me be known by the grace I give.

Extending Grace

You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions…You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions.  Mark 7:8-9

In these verses, Jesus is condemning the Pharisees for being more worried rules and traditions than the heart of Jesus. Well…me too, sometimes…”Christians” have rules, standards, and morals that we adhere to–and rightly so I imagine.  Purity is important. Reputation is important. But GRACE…GRACE, I would argue, is more important.

Grace.  Undeserved favor.  As in, I don’t deserve forgiveness, but because of grace, it’s mine if I choose.

Grace.  Fully accepting other people just as they are. No judgement or condemnation. No deciding that what someone else chooses is “unacceptable” or wrong.

Grace.  Loving others (the command of God spoken of in Mark 7:9) instead of worrying about right or wrong.

Grace.  Believing that every person deserves love and acceptance(whether or not they are currently behaving in a lovable way)

Grace.   My goal for 2013.  To extend grace. Every day. It’s mucho difficult for a legalistic, conservative, uptight person like myself.  Only by His grace, I will show grace to others.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:12

Grace

Grace

Letting others be exactly who they are right now with no judgment.