When You Want Your Heart to Stay Aware ~ Our Final Weekend Walk

We have made it!  

We’ve made it to the end of our fourth and final week in our summer series. I am so thankful for each of you that has been here with us, so many women from all around the world, taking time this summer to soak in His amazing Gift of Grace.

I am forever wishing that I could sit across from you and hear what God’s been doing in your life.  There’s a coffee shop near downtown Denver that’s one of my favorites, it’s in this great brick building that sits right on the river and overlooks the city.  There’s couches to sit on right outside… wouldn’t it be great if we could all plant ourselves there for a while and share what God has been stirring in us?

But since we can’t, let me just take a moment to say to you wherever you are today, thank you.  Thank you for being here with us, for making space in your busy world to spend time looking more deeply into this topic of GRACE.  I realize there are tons of studies, blogs, and places to study God’s Word, so please hear me when I say that I am so grateful that you’ve spent part of your summer here with me.

How’s the rest of your summer looking?

The remainder of this month is packed for us, two weddings, out of town guests, commitments for church on Sunday, and prepping for vacation.  Yesterday I was on the run with VBS, shuffling kids to the neighbors while I took one to a doctor appointment, running errands, grabbing fast-food dinners and picking up groceries.

Last night as kids got jammies on, groceries got put away, and teeth got brushed, I finally made my way into my youngest’s room and sat at the edge of his bed.  I bent over to hug him, (him and some extra legos under his pillow), and I sat back up and looked at his sweet eyes and felt like I was really seeing him for the first time that day.  Although we’d been together all day, in our attempt to get it all done, I hadn’t stopped to really see him.  I sat there and said,  “I missed you today,” and then just stayed and listened as he recapped all that had filled his summer day.

As we wrap up our series on The Gift of Grace, and take our final Weekend Walk, I want us to go away with this one simple thought:

Even on days when life gets busy and you can barely remember what you did, always remember His grace.

Always remember His grace.

Some days, this is easy, right?  There are days when you are so aware of God’s presence, days when you sense Him everywhere you go.  Every verse you read seems to speak directly to you and your situation, and you feel like life is just about you breathing in His grace.

Then there are days you find yourself flying with your hair on fire in twelve different directions.  Life is full of every single thing and the only thing trending is your to-do lists and deadlines.  

Can I just say this…neither day is wrong.  There are days I have the luxury of a slow and simple pace, easy decisions and intentional talks.  But there are some days when it is ON, and I have got to go and move and get it done.

But I don’t want to miss His grace.  I don’t want to get to the end of my day and realize that even though we’d spent the whole day together, I never really saw Him or was aware of His presence.  

ws_Good_Morning_Sun_1280x1024img_2385-copy me

So as we wrap up our series, this has become my prayer, a prayer of openness and holy desperation.  This is too important to miss…oh Lord, let me get this:  

Whatever my day looks like, Lord, let me be aware of Your presence and Your grace.  Every single moment of my day.  Whether I’m kneeling or whether I’m driving.  In the grocery line or in my kitchen.  At my computer or at my favorite coffee shop.  Lord, cause my heart to be so aware…of Your presence and Your grace.

Grace.

It’s so amazing, isn’t it?

And so this summer, as you do life on whatever kind of day finds you, continue to walk in Him.  Walk…around your home, around your parks and neighborhoods.  And BREATHE IT IN.

Be AWAKENED to His grace.

Open yourself up to RECEIVE it personally.

EXTEND His grace freely to those around you.

And GUARD it with all that you are, knowing that of all the gifts you’ve been given in this life, His great grace is the most precious one you will ever receive.

And as Paul closes out Ephesians, and we close out our study, I pray you will know this grace to the depths of your soul…and in Paul’s words, I offer up this same doxology for you…

Peace my sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.

Grace Guarded, Week 4 ~ When We Decide to Take a Stand

So, recently a friend of mine was at home with her children playing in the front yard, when an unexpected visitor arrived.

A salesman pulled into the driveway wanting to sell her family some meat.  He began talking with her kids, and then approached her front door, where she immediately greeted him with a “No, thank you” to what he was offering.  He was unfazed by her words, not taking no for an answer.  He just continued to talk over her, unconcerned with what she was saying.  Her tone became focused and forceful as he kept standing there, letting him know in no uncertain terms that she was NOT going to buy what he was selling.  When he finally realized he wasn’t making any progress, his attitude turned, he became upset and headed back to his truck.  But instead of driving away, he sat in his truck and continued talking with her children.  The kids immediately left the lawn and poured into the house, realizing something was completely off, this whole scene wasn’t right and they needed to get to where their mama was.

Here’s what I see about this.  One, my friend was immediately present and speaking with intentionality on behalf of herself and her children.  Two, this guy didn’t care.  And three, because of that she stood up with authority and intentionality, ready to defend all she had, all that was precious to her.  

Because when you realize that what you have is precious, you’ll do whatever it takes to protect it.

Ladies, in these past three weeks, I’ve become so aware of the precious gift of His grace, haven’t you?   

His grace is so amazing and grand and poured out.  It has caused me to live more alive and in the moment, realizing He is always present with me.  That His grace is always available.  That I am free to receive it, to fall into it, and take in His forgiveness and sufficiency. 

As I’ve realized my own desperate need for His grace, it has softened the way I see those around me, opening me up to extend more grace to them.  This grace is changing me from the inside out as I begin to live and breathe and move in ways I never have before.  

It’s incredible, isn’t it?

And so as we open ourselves up for this last week of study, I am compelled by this one thought: 

A gift this generous requires that I guard it with all that I am.

As Paul begins to pen the last half of Ephesians 6, he got this.  Paul has just spent the last five and a half chapters laying it out there, writing and explaining all that is good, and right, and generous about our God.  Paul, as he’s imprisoned, took great pains in describing the depth of His love and all that’s ours for the taking.  

So as he enters into verse 10, Paul’s basically saying this:

“You have been given everything…God’s grace has been completely poured out to you.  Understand this!  GUARD IT!  Protect it!  Stand your ground against anyone and everything that comes against it, because it will.  And don’t just stand because you’re obligated, but because you understand that the stakes of this life are eternal and they demand you to be fully engaged, committed, and ready to go.” 

My friend got this in spades in that one moment.  When that unwelcomed guest arrived on her front porch, no one had to prompt her to take a stand.  She wasn’t sitting on the couch waiting for the next commercial before getting up to see what was happening.  Nobody was coaching her to be protective of her kids.  

No, the mama bear instinctively raged.  The boundaries of her property and her children had been jacked with and she stood up and stood strong.

Ephesians 6 is exactly that: standing up and guarding all that has been so graciously and sacrificially poured out to you, and doing so with every fiber of your being.  Not because you have to, but because you recognize that what you’ve been given is costly and precious and great, and His grace is no longer a trite word or song, but it is everything deep and wide, and has actually saved your very soul.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”

Girls, we have got to stand.

If this doesn’t matter, nothing else does.  We have got to guard this gift of salvation, this gift of grace with all that we are because it is everything.

This Week {Week 4} ~ Grace Guarded

woman-warrior2

This week we have to answer one question:  Do I really believe that this whole message of grace matters to my every day life?  And if it does, then it’s time to draw a line in the sand and stand up.  We’ve got to shore up the areas of our life that are filled with lies, recognize where we need His strengthening and begin to say YES to the Truth of God’s Word.

1.  Read.  Read Ephesians 6:10-24, looking specifically at vs.10-20.  It’s a blueprint of standing strong against our very real enemy who is looking to steal, kill and destroy everything.  This is not a game to him, it is very real and he is looking for any avenue possible to work his way into your life to take you out of the game.

2.  Identify areas that may be exposed.  Take an honest look at your life right now and ask what are the areas where the enemy has an “in”?  Consider these areas:

    • Your thought life
    • Areas that crowd out God’s voice or authority
    • Situations that bring on worry or anxiety
    • The words you use, towards yourself
    • The words spoken to others
    • What you look at online
    • Your finances

The enemy is looking for a way in, guaranteed.  Walk in wisdom, sweet friend.  Identify that open door, then close it and stand in the power and strength of your God.

3.  Recommit yourself to being in God’s Word.  Notice in verse 17, the one offensive (as opposed to defensive) piece of armor in this whole list is the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Girls, we live in a world that is fill with blogs, tweets, posts, pins, headlines and feeds.  We take in so much information every moment of our day.  But we have got to guard against developing a theology based on the voices of social media rather than our own personal study of God’s word.  God’s Word alone is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  Let the rhythm of your life be kept by God alone, not anyone else.

Oh ladies, in this last week of our study, let this settle into you.  

Decide.

Decide to receive this grace for yourself.

Open your life and allow God to do a work in you, transforming you from the inside out. Decide this week to stop putting bandaids on everything and instead open yourself with outstretched arms and say Yes to whatever it is that He might be speaking to your heart.  

Take a stand.  Because the enemy is not going to care if you just keep mulling and considering the idea of taking a stand.  He’ll just keep talking over you to work his way in.  Decide.  Decide in no uncertain terms that you are no longer buying what he’s selling.

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, and stand firm against all the lies, all the patterns, and all the ways you’ve tried to make it all just work out.

Believe that this grace is worth fighting for. 

____________________

See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk”, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

 

Weekend Walk ~ Walking Through Your Tough Places

Thursday I had the amazing privilege of meeting up with some phenomenal women.  

I am on the city team for an upcoming event here in July, an event that will bring in Living Proof Live with Beth Moore, as well as thousands of women.  I adore Beth Moore (could totally be a groupie if pressed), and have seen God do amazing things in my life through her studies.  I’m honored to even be in the same room as these women and have no doubt that God is going to move powerfully through this event next month.

Thursday was our day to head over to the Denver Coliseum and pray.  When we arrived our plan was very simple: walk and pray.  Our intent was to walk the circumference of the Coliseum, to go inside and walk the hallways, walk the floor, walk through each row, by each seat…and pray.

As women began to arrive, many of us didn’t know each other, some arrived with friends, some alone.  We stood together for a few moments, gathered there with some uncertainty, maybe some awkwardness, about what we would do or what might happen.  We began with a quiet prayer and then…then we began to walk.

We walked first around the outside of the building, praying.  Prayers were quiet at first, kept to ourselves.  But with every step taken, we gained poise and purpose as women began to speak, prayers offered aloud, offered for those that would come to this place.  Our prayers began to strengthen, in clarity and in volume.  Each step brought a bolstered determination to ask God to meet us there, to fill that arena with His powerful presence.

Our prayers turned to the women who would come, those that desperately needed to know the love of Jesus.  We walked onto the floor of the Coliseum and began to pour out our hearts before the Lord for those that would be there…women who needed freedom, mothers who needed hope, daughters who needed redemption.  We placed our hands on seat backs and arm rests, asking for God’s Spirit to rest on the woman in that chair.  We prayed for families and generations to be impacted, even those yet to be born, that lives would be eternally changed because God had met them so powerfully in that place.

At the end, we all gathered back together on the floor of the arena and offered one last prayer and song of praise in the mighty name of Jesus.  And as we left, all awkwardness had been replaced with a confidence and a knowing that God had been with us and that He was on the move in a mighty way.

From awkward to confident.  All because we walked.

What if we did that this week?

We are in our third week of our study on The Gift of Grace, looking specifically this week into what it means to Extend His Grace.  If you missed that post, here it is.

We are wrapping each week with an intentional walk, a time of sacred space with the Lord, allowing us to slow down and breathe in His grace.  I’ve heard from women who have walked through their neighborhoods, through great parks and others who have ventured out onto mountain trails.  Beautiful places.  This week, though, I’m asking you to change it up.  Completely.

This week I’m asking you to walk your tough places.

leaves-on-the-sidewalk-1440x900

This week I’m going to challenge you to take this lesson in Extending Grace to the very place where it’s the most difficult.  

Maybe it’s your home.  Or your job.  Maybe it’s your parent’s house.  Or that family reunion you’re heading to.  

Why in the world?  Because if we really want to do this whole thing of extending grace to those around us, it can’t come from us just trying harder to be nice.  It has to be more than just putting on a smile and keeping our emotions in tact.  The truest way to extend grace begins when our hearts are completely saturated by His Spirit through intentional prayer, asking for and seeking His grace on behalf of those around us.  Those who are the most difficult, in the most difficult places. 

Where is that for you?  Some of you live in homes that are filled with pain and searing words.  Some of you have children that are living in darkness.  Your marriage may be in shambles.  Your work environment may be horribly oppressive and demeaning.  Maybe it’s your in-laws home, or your sister’s place.  Maybe you’re a mama in the middle of doing your absolute best to raise these little ones up to be warriors. 

I’m challenging you to walk that tough place:

Walk the circumference – walk the exterior of your home, your workplace, wherever, and circle it in prayers of intentionality, asking for God to surround it with His presence and power.  Open the gates and surround your property.  If you live in an apartment complex, walk around it.  If it’s not your home, you may have to get creative (not illegal, just creative).  Go out and water the flowers at your in-laws, or ask to see their new siding.  Take the garbage out at work, or tell your co-workers you’re taking your lunch outside.  Circle your tough place in prayer.

Walk the floors – go inside and walk every open space.  Walk the hallways and speak out prayers of intercession on behalf of those who also occupy that space.  Walk into bedrooms and pray for God’s presence to be strong and known.  Pray over the spaces of your home, bedsides, kitchen tables, family rooms.  Walk by offices, work spaces, cafeterias.  

As you begin, you may feel unsure, awkward.  But step out anyway. 

As our group circled the Coliseum I remembered the story of Joshua and his friends as they circled the walls of Jericho, walking and praying as God had instructed them.  They had to feel really foolish at first, don’t you think?  Just a walk?  They had to wonder why they couldn’t just have a consuming battle plan or a miraculous supply of flaming arrows.  Instead, God asked them to walk.  Walk and believe that their enemy would be defeated and the walls would come tumbling down.

Maybe it will feel strange to walk around your tough place.  Maybe the neighbors will think you are crazy.  Maybe your co-workers will cast judgment.  Walk anyway.

Walk and pray specifically.  Pray for specific requests, approaching the throne of God with boldness.  Pray specific prayers so you can then watch for specific answers.  Sometimes when our prayers are so vague, we have no way of knowing if God indeed answers them.

Pray specific scriptures over your family and friends.  Take our verses from last week, Ephesians 3:14-21.  Pour over this passage and put in your child’s name, your husband’s or your family member.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve knelt in prayer with this passage on behalf of my family and friends.

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen ________ with power through His Spirit in their inner being, so that Christ may dwell in (his/her) heart through faith. And I pray that _______, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that ________ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Take verses from our time in Ephesians, or find your own that may be better suited to your situation.  Try this great website, www.openbible.info, an incredible resource for researching what the Bible says about specific issues, including fear, confidence and grace.

Take time this weekend to walk through your tough places.  Then watch and see what walls come down as His grace pours out.  

_________________

If you missed this week’s post on Grace Extended, you can find it here

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

 

    

Grace Extended, Week 3 ~ Letting It Spill Out

Grace like rain, poured out and overflowing into our lives.  There’s so much, isn’t there?  So much available and given, spilling out on us all.  

the_girl_in_the_rain_by_best10photos

purple-rain-boots

rain

Sunday morning I had the privilege of speaking with two ladies who are doing the study together, sharing how they’d sat for close to four hours one afternoon, talking about this grace that’s so poured out.  As I listened to their joy I wished so much that we could all just hang out and share about how we have seen and experienced this shower of grace.

So much grace… awakening us to God’s love, poured out so that we can receive it on a personal level.

But this week as we reach the midway point in our study, it’s all about to get very real.  Ephesians 1-3 gave us great details of grace and how ridiculously blessed we are.  But as we walk into the second half of the book, the overriding message is this:  So live it out.  Paul takes a turn and essentially says, “This grace is pretty awesome, but it can’t be just a great ideology.  This has got to be straight up lived out, with real-live-actual-people.”

It’s one thing to wake up to God’s grace.  It’s incredible to discover God’s gifts of personal salvation, and forgiveness, and acceptance.  These are essential truths for our lives and are absolutely critical in establishing our foundation.  But our personal story of grace cannot be the last word on the subject.

This grace must spill out of our lives and land on those around us. 

Grace Extended, to all those wonderful, easy people…and to those that…well, to those that aren’t. 

I think this one’s tough.  I think this whole thing of giving grace away is so challenging, because frankly, it involves other people.  

I can’t tell you how many times over the past few weeks that I’ve been in the middle of this study and one of my kids has provided a “special opportunity” for me to respond with a wholelottaemotion, and I’ve had to physically stop all motion, breathe deeply and ask myself, “Am I gonna extend grace?”    

Grace is great in theory.  But nobody around me is going to care one drop about how much grace I’ve studied or researched or taught.  

They’re only going to care about how much I show. 

At the end of the day nobody’s going to care if I know a bunch of great stuff about Paul or Ephesians, they’ll just want to know if I was willing to kneel right there with them in the middle of their pain and extend His kindness and love. 

Oh, I do not want to miss this one.  

And I so desperately need God’s transforming work in me, around me, and on me EVERY SINGLE DAY…anyone?

This Week {Week 3} ~ Grace Extended

208b1c6ae123ed5c615024388bcaaf65

Thankfully, the second half of Ephesians is essentially a handbook on how to extend grace.  This week has so much goodness, I hope you’ll sit in these verses, take some sacred space for yourself, quiet your heart and listen to the Lord.

1.  Read Ephesians 4:1 – 6:9.  These two and a half chapters speak to themes of unity, holiness, and the use of our words.  They cover topics including marriage and raising our children, and how to do all things as unto the Lord.

2.  Pray.  I’m guessing that for most of us, it’s not difficult to show “general” grace.  Most of us are probably pretty nice to our Starbucks barista (right?), our bank teller, or our kid’s teacher.  Where this matters is with the people who we do life with every.single.day.  That woman who sits in the cubicle next to you, your neighbor, your husband, your children.  Your mom, or mother-in-law.  Pray and seek the Lord, ask Him to show you specifically how to extend grace to that one that’s…tough.  

Go one step further on this one:  ask God to change you from the inside out.  Because really, if we’re honest, we can maintain control of our emotions for a while, right?  We can try hard and work smart to stay on top of our reactions to others.  But essentially that’s just “sin management”.

Sin management is working tirelessly to respond well in the moment, to slap a bandaid on the issue, “be a good Christian” and do the right thing.  I’ve done this so many times in my life.

And it’s exhausting.

What I really need is transformation.  Transformation changes me from the inside out.  When I ask and allow God to do this level of work in me, my life is completely changed.  I begin to respond in ways I never knew were possible because it is God who is at work, not me.  He gets all the credit and all the glory.  Ask God to begin to change you from the inside out.  

3.  Extend.  Extend His grace to others.  This encouragement is found all over these three chapters…

I love how Ephesians 4 begins and ends with kindness.  Verse 2 begins with humility and gentleness and verse 32 bookends it with kindness and forgiveness.  What if our lives were wrapped in this encompassing kindness?  What if today began with humility and ended with forgiveness?  What if our words brought life and gave grace?   

Chapter 5 challenges us to make the most of every opportunity, to walk no longer in darkness but to live wide awake to His light and love.  Then gives clarity on loving and respecting our husbands…GRACE to our men.  Yes.  

Then Chapter 6 speaks to the relationship between parents and children, how grace goes both ways, and that ultimately we live and breathe for the Lord not for others.

As you read through these verses, take intentional notice of what stands out to you.  Find a notecard, write it down.  Put it where you might see, keeping His truth right before you.

Girls, this is where it matters.  Extending His grace to those people in our life that need it the most, which really, is all of them, yes?  I’m right there with you, soaking all of this up, asking God to help me get this to my core.  I want to live this life as if I actually believed God for all that He is.  I want to walk in a manner worthy of my calling.  To be a wife, a mom, a friend…a woman who is marked, inside and out, by grace

“Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted…instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy…be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:22-24, 32 NLT

_________________

See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk”, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

 

 

A Weekend Walk – Receiving His Grace

As I sit down to write, so many different ideas have come to mind, stories to tell, paths to take.  But there is this one verse that keeps rolling over and over in me, a verse so personal that speaks to His very presence in our lives.  Maybe it’s just what you need.  Maybe this week your heart needs to know this one thing:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  

The example that I see is that of a group of friends walking in and one is crying…who do I go to first?  My kids are playing outside and one of them gets hurt…where do my eyes immediately go?  My heart goes out to the one in pain, I want to go to them and help them, do whatever it takes to assure them that everything is going to be okay.  

As we enter into the weekend, my prayer is that we begin to realize that He is near.  We spoke earlier this week on what it means to receive His grace, even when…even when we aren’t enough, even when life doesn’t go to plan, when life is so much.  Even then, He is near to the brokenhearted.  He is near to you.  The Lord sees you.  He is in the middle of it all, wherever your life may be.  

Where is your life right now?  What’s the condition of your heart?

Maybe your heart is broken, because of a story that’s been shattered… maybe your own, maybe someone else’s.

Maybe there’s disappointment, because of reckless choices made, by you or someone close.  

Maybe your heart is grieving, because of the searing loss of someone or something precious.

Maybe your heart has been callous for so long, and you ache for something so different and real.

He is near to you, right where you are.  Right in the hurt, the pain, the desperately wanting something different and more.  A heart that is broken wide open and wanting nothing more than His presence.  Yes, this type of heart is actually the one He desires the most.  He wants this more, more than our vain efforts to try and fix it all, stay above the fray or do the right thing.  He wants to be with us, right where we are.

This weekend, let’s walk this out.  During this Gift of Grace series, we are taking time on the weekends to breathe in His grace through walking. If you missed last week’s overview, take a moment here.

Over the next few days, find space to take in His presence and ask for His eyes to see beyond the pain.  

Take time this weekend to see the beauty.

beautiful natural path

images 1-1210890840-simple-beauty

See the beauty through His Word ~ pause and take extra time in these places, stay in them, quiet your soul as you linger in the beauty of these verses:  

Psalm 34; Psalm 27; Psalm 51; Ephesians 3

See the beauty in His creation ~ take a walk, around the block, through that great park you’ve always wanted to stop at, through your backyard.  Notice.  Go slow and see the intricacies of the landscape and sky.  Breathe in His grace, breathe out His praise.

Allow the beauty of Truth to wash over your weary heart.  As you walk, and breathe, go a step further and speak.  Is there a word or verse the Lord has put within you?  Speak it out loud.  Speak it so that not only your heart knows it, but your ears hear it.  

This week as I walked, I meditated on the beauty of 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” As I spoke through it, I began to emphasize a different word each time.

My grace is sufficient for you

My grace is sufficient for you

My grace is sufficient for you

My grace is sufficient for you

My grace is sufficient for you

My grace is sufficient for you

for My power is perfected in weakness.

for My power is perfected in weakness.

for My power is perfected in weakness.

for My power is perfected in weakness.

for My power is perfected in weakness.

for My power is perfected in weakness.

Each new emphasis washed over me.  As I slowed down to speak and hear each word, the beauty of the verse fell fresh on me.  He spoke directly to my heart, I felt His presence and knew this beautiful and grand grace was for me, right in the middle of my weakness, in the middle of my broken heart.  

Wherever your heart is, He is near.  

My prayer is that wherever you are, wherever your life may find you, you would become more aware of His presence, and allow His grace to pour into the very marrow of your being. 

Take time this weekend to walk.  If you need a song to go with you, try this one, Holy Spirit, by Kari Jobe, an incredible song that speaks to His very real presence in our lives.

No matter where your heart is, may the beauty of His presence fill you.  Fill you with joy and grace.  His grace…that is sufficient, spilling-out-poured-over-enough.  All for you.  

Walk and breathe in His beautiful grace.

_______________

For more on the beauty of soaking into God’s word, these thoughts from an earlier post.

If you missed this week’s post on Grace Received, you can find it here

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Grace Received, Week 2 – When You Just Need to Give Yourself a Break

 

Any of you have a friend who can just see through it all?

Several months back I found myself sitting across from one of my mentors.  It had been a difficult season and I was wrapped up in concern.  I was burdened by the weight of life, feeling frustrated that I just couldn’t get a grip.  I was way behind in my responsibilities, really frustrated at my parenting and wondering how I would ever get it all done.  Disappointment, guilt and sadness were right there and I just felt overwhelmed.

My amazing friend listened so well, gave me some words of encouragement, but then she bottom-lined it for me and said these profound words,

“Girl, you need to give yourself a break.”

She pointed out that I was carrying my life in a way it was never meant to be carried, and there were some things that I just needed to flat-out drop.  The expectations I had on myself were never going to be met and rather than striving to reach that unattainable bar, I needed to instead find myself bowed at the feet of the One who said His grace was more than enough, because His power is perfected in my weaknesses.

It was exactly what my weary heart needed to hear.  Really great words, for sure.  But I then had to ask myself this:  Did I really believe it?

We are in Week 2 of our series on The Gift of Grace, and last week we looked at what might happen if we had a Grace Awakening in our lives.  We explored how different our lives would be if we walked in the fullness and reality of His amazing grace.  His powerful and life-giving grace.  Honestly, I spent the week in awe, re-awakening to the Truth of grace.  

However, it’s one thing to be in awe of His grace.  It’s a whole other thing to apply it to my life.

Because here’s the deal, and some of you will get this in spades.  I am SO hard on myself.  I get really disappointed when I don’t do or act or respond the “right” way.  I get frustrated when the sins of my past crouch and hiss and remind me of who I once was, and suggest I’ll never be more.  I lose hope when circumstances turn chaotic and I can’t see beyond the dishes, the paperwork, the people, and the regret.

As the women’s director at my church, I have the opportunity to sit across from a lot of women who are filled with pain.  Women who are filled with discouragement and don’t know how they’ll make it.  And I will counsel them and help them to remember that there is a Savior, who died to take their burdens and their sins, and lives to be their sufficiency and hope.

But when I turn the focus on me, I can get locked up by my problems, and I can forget that His grace is alsofor me.

We do that, don’t we?  We look up at the grace of God, and we see it at this amazing 30,000 foot level, covering the whole world.  God’s amazing plan of salvation, poured out and offered to the whole of humanity.  And it is…it’s that big.

But if we only see grace on the grand scale, we will miss His personal invitation to experience it with Him on the most intimate level.

This week we are only going to look at one chapter in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 3.  Paul addresses this issue of personal grace right here, and I want us to sit and camp in it and allow the truth of it to sink in.

Paul got this.  This man spent years of his life in pride and ego.  He was so full of pride and contempt that not only did he publicly blasphemed the name of Christ, he made real threats against believers, arrested and imprisoned them, and went on to rally and consent to the murder of countless numbers of men and women who followed the teachings of Jesus.  But in Ephesians 3, he encapsulates the gift of grace of God in his life, in verse 8 when he says,

“Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me.”

Given to me.  

If there was anyone who could sit in the guilt of their sin, it was Paul.  If there was anyone who could feel overwhelmed about his life choices, it was him.  If anyone had justification about feeling guilty or living in the weight of past regret, Paul could go there. (see Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9, I Cor. 15:9)

But Paul saw this gift of grace, not just as a free gift for the whole wide world, but for him as well.  He knew what it meant to personally receive grace.  

Paul understood that there was no sin, no pain, no difficulty that was bigger than His God. Paul understood that he did absolutely nothing to deserve this grace…nothing.  In fact, he had done everything NOT to deserve it.  He was, as he put it, the worst.

Ever feel like the worst?  The worst parent.  The worst friend.  The worst wife.  The worst _________.  Oh, even as I type that I can feel the tears trying to form.  I’ve felt it, I’ve said it.  

I may not have consented to someone’s murder, but my actions have slain my children’s trust.  I may not have thrown somebody in jail, but my thoughts have sentenced others to judgement.

Or I just simply haven’t done enough, I haven’t lived up to expectations or met the deadline, or done what I think is the right thing.

And in today’s culture, it’s so easy to go there.  Between our own self-critiquing and ideas of how life should be, there’s the constant onslaught of everyone else’s perceptions, Facebook’s perfect pictures, and Pinterest’s amazingness of all things fabulous.

What if we gave ourselves a break?

In the light of God’s amazing grace, what if we gave ourselves a much needed and holy break and received God’s grace?

So what does that mean?  What does it look like for me to receive God’s grace in the every day realness of life?

Receiving God’s grace means receiving His forgiveness and accepting that it does in fact cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  

Receiving God’s grace means I stop living in the condemnation of past sins and choose His freedom.  

Receiving God’s grace means getting off the comparison train and recognizing that His call on my life is specific and uniquely beautiful.  

Receiving His grace means breathing in the reality that He is always with me, especially in the very weaknesses of my life.

Woman-Kneeling-In-Praise

What if we intentionally received His grace?

This Week {Week 2} ~ Grace Received

This week I want you to camp and stay in Ephesians 3.  Specifically, verses 14-21.  This section of scripture is powerful, and it has become a go-to section for me when I am praying for myself (and others, more on that next week!)

Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer by Paul, written specifically for us, for our spiritual growth and understanding.

This week I will encourage you in three ways:  to pray specifically, to read intentionally, and to begin to receive His grace into your daily life.

1.  Pray.  Throughout this week, ask God to not only make you aware of His grace, but that you would then RECEIVE His grace.  Embrace this grand gift of grace as personally yours.  Praise Him that He is always there, that His grace and forgiveness is always available.  There is absolutely no sin or situation that is beyond His reach.  Ask Him to show you ways in which you need to give yourself a break, ways you need to forgive yourself.  Pour out your heart to Him with whatever He has been stirring in you.

2.  Read Ephesians, Chapter 3.  Over the next seven days, absorb these verses through as many avenues as possible:

  • Open up your Bible and read this incredible chapter.
  • Download the YouVersion app on your smart phone, plug in your headphones and listen to it audibly.
  • Go to www.biblegateway.com and read it online in multiple versions.
3.  Receive.  Spend extended time in verses 14-21.  This section of scripture is packed full of life-giving truth.  Here are some specific ways to soak in and receive His grace through these verses:
  • Make it personal:  Read these seven verses and insert yourself into it.  For example, in verse 18 in the NLT, make it personal by praying it this way: ...I pray that I will have the power to understand how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is in my life…  making it personal makes it real.  It’s not just for the masses, it’s for me.
  • Write it out:  As you read through verses 14-21, write the whole passage out.  As we mentioned last week, it’s significant to simply read it, but there’s something very powerful in writing it out.
  • Ask intentional questions:  As you read, there will be words that stand out.  Let’s be women who ask deliberate questions.  Ask the Lord why.  Why that word or verse?  What specifically might He want to speak into your life through those words?
  • Watch.  As you enter into this second week, watch for ways that your thinking is beginning to change.  Watch for ways you are opening your life to His grace.  Notice those times when you are awakened to His grace and how that grace is then impacting the way that you respond.  The way that you move.  The way that you live.  

His grace is indeed for the whole wide world.  But it’s also specifically for you.  Wherever your life may find you, in whatever ways you feel defeated, or hurt, or filled with condemnation.  My prayer for you this week is that you will begin to know and receive His grace.  His grace that is so big.  So enough.  And because of that, we give Him all the glory as He is works in our lives to accomplish immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine. 

_____________

See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk” together, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

A Weekend Walk ~ Awakening to His Grace

I woke up this morning with this song by Matt Redman going through my head.

It’s there in the newborn cry, There in the light of every sunrise
There in the shadows of this life, Your great grace

It’s there on the mountain top, There in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing, Your great grace
Oh such grace

From the creation to the cross, There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me, yes your grace finds me 

As you listen you realize its message is that God’s grace is absolutely EVERYWHERE.  Every single place our life takes us, His grace finds us.  Whether it’s morning or evening, at a soccer game or camping.  At a family reunion or planting tomatoes.  Yes, your grace finds me.

As we struggle with our marriage, or wonder about that next doctor appointment.  Yes, your grace finds me.

As we grieve over a loss, or make that tough decision.  Yes, your grace finds me.

Oh, such grace.

As our weekend approaches, I want us to take some time to be intentional.  I want us to take a Weekend Walk.  And here’s why.   

Ephesians can be split right down the middle.  The first half is content full of the glorious riches of His grace given to us, offering up details of how God orchestrated it for all.  These first three chapters provide example after example of His incredible love and kindness and grace, and how it’s available to us all.  Then as we cross into the second half and begin with verse 1 of Chapter 4, it says this:

“Therefore, walk in a manner worthy of your calling.”

In other words, because of everything you’ve just read in chapters 1 through 3, walk in response to this amazing Truth.  Because of all of this, walk well.

For each of these four weeks in June as we look at this message of Grace, I want us to walk well.  This can’t be just head-knowledge ladies, because everything in this life and the next is based on grace.  God’s amazing grace towards us offers us the very salvation of our souls.  It ushers in forgiveness when we are full of sin.  His grace allows us to see life with hope and healing.  

For these four weekends in June I want us to become awakened to His grace through walking.

poetwlk

beautiful-summer-2012-a-walk-to-the-beach_1920x1200_97046

images

So here’s what I’m asking…

Walk.  Take some time this weekend to take a walk.  This can look several different ways, it can be a long extended hike, or a walk around the block.  It can be a walk down your street, or a walk through a nearby park.  (If you are wheelchair bound, and that is how you “walk”, you are right there with us!)  The time and length is not the focus, the focus is this:

  1. Notice the physical act of moving and walking.  As you move and go forward, breathe deeply.  Breathe in the freshness and the freedom of physically moving.  A couple weeks ago my husband convinced me to go on a hike (I had four million other things I wanted to do), but once I got out there I noticed there was something incredibly life-giving to the act of moving and walking.
  2. Focus your thoughts on this week’s theme.  This week’s theme, His GRACE AWAKENED in our lives.  As you walk, talk to the Lord about this…
    • Praise Him – praise Him intentionally for this abundance poured out
    • Thank Him – offer heart-filled thanksgiving for His forgiveness, His kindness
    • Recognize – recognize where His grace has been awakened in you personally this week
    • Ask – ask the Lord where your heart may be unaffected or unaware of His grace
    • Open yourself to LISTEN – still your thoughts to hear from Him, what He may be speaking to your heart
  3. Breathe again.  Breathe in the beauty and the simplicity around you.  Breathe deeply as you walk, ushering in a space to clear the distractions of your mind and focus solely on our good and gracious God.

I believe that as we set aside intentional time to be with the Lord, the benefits of it will spill over into the every day dailyness of our life.  As we take this intentional time to physically walk, He will then strengthen us in our every day lives to walk well, to walk with eyes awakened to His grace.  

With so many of you here, I do not pretend to know where you may be, where your week may have taken you.  I do not intend to minimize your hurt or your struggles with a simple walk.  I know women who have had horrendous weeks filled with pain beyond compare.  But His grace finds us, there in the darkest night of the soul.  There in the sweetest songs of victory.  His grace finds us.

Take time this weekend for a walk.  Here’s this amazing song by Matt Redman.  Put on some headphones and listen as you walk.

Walk.  Breathing in His grace and breathing out His praise.  

______________

If you missed this week’s post on Grace Awakened, you can find it here

How has His grace been awakened in you this week?  We would love to hear from you, feel free to leave your comments below.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Grace Awakened ~ Welcome To Week 1

Welcome!!

I am so thankful to have you here, from wherever you are.  So many of you from all over the globe, TOGETHER, with one intent…to know and experience His grace on a deeper level this summer.  I wish so much that I could see all your sweet faces, but hear me as I say a very excited and heart-felt “Hello!!” from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to wherever you may find yourself today!  I have been praying for you for months now, praying that God would meet each of you right where you’re at, and that He would begin to prepare us all as we begin this study of GRACE.

il_340x270.584760042_fsdv

Grace.  

Amazing, glorious, and beautiful.  Overwhelming, unbelievable and scandalous.  This grace, poured out, over and over.   Given to us generously, so that our lives may be awakened to Him.

I was eight years old when His grace first awakened my life.  My mom and I had gone to an evening event at a local auditorium, and I found myself wondering how to respond after the preacher asked if anyone wanted to “receive Jesus”.  And though I was quiet, my heart was racing, knowing I needed this Savior.  I wanted Jesus.  So I prayed and I asked for all of it, all His forgiveness, all His love, and all His grace for all my days…no turning back.  I had decided to follow Jesus and it changed everything in that one moment.  I vividly remember walking back to the car with my mother that night, trying in my little girl way to describe how very close Jesus felt to me in that moment, like He was “right there”.

Salvation.  By grace alone.  

I certainly hadn’t done anything grand by that point to have earned His favor or forgiveness, I was, after all, only eight.  But I knew to my soul that I was His and He was mine.

By grace.

That child-like faith carried me for years.

But so often little girls grow up and the world grows dark and the nearness grows dim.  Life goes differently than planned, relationships crack, and reality overshadows the dreams.  Words like “grace” become common, and what once was amazing about it all somehow becomes familiar. 

Anyone?

We hear the word grace so often, in song, in conversations, in sermons ~ amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.  We hear it, we know it, we can sing it, but does it mean anything?  Honestly.  Does it?  Or is it simply a theological truth we can quote that has no real impact on our daily lives?

What if we had a grace awakening?

What if we opened ourselves up and rediscovered the fullness and reality of this amazing grace in our lives?  How would we then live?  With an awakening…of grace?

As I look at the word “awake”, it means to have an awareness, to become cognizant, vigilant and alert, and (my favorite) to wake up and not sleep.

I am forever falling asleep during late night movies at our house.  I’ll want so much to stay up and watch a good movie, we’ll put the kids to bed and my husband and I will sit down and push play.  He says it’s usually immediate (I’d give myself at least a half hour), but pretty much every single time I’ll wake up when the credits are rolling and say, “I can’t believe I fell asleep (really?), I missed it all.”

When we are asleep we miss everything.  Which is fine when we are tired, but when we are walking through life, it slowly steals our “sight”.  To be asleep to life is to walk around unaware of its meaning and significance.  We function on autopilot and shift from engaging and experiencing life to simply maintaining it.   

When we are asleep in life we become short-sighted and live only for the ease of the moment.  We grumble and cannot see the good.  We become defensive and callous towards people’s needs and circumstances.

However, Ephesians says that because of His great love for us, God made us ALIVE in Him through Christ Jesus (2:4-5).  Alive, because of Love.  Because of Grace.  

When we are alive and awake in His love and grace we see differently.  Our hearts are different and we see others through His eyes, with His kindness.  When we are awakened to His grace we are engulfed in thankfulness because we recognize that He has lavished us with this gift.  Our words are gracious.  Our hearts are expectant, knowing that He is on the move in our lives.    

His incredible grace awakens us to live fully alive in His love.

Oh, I want to live alive in His love, don’t you?  I want to walk in the clarity and reality of that Truth.  I want to wake up.  I do not want to miss this one.  I want to be present to His love as I walk in the details of my day.  As I move and work and speak to those around me, I want to live in an awareness of His grace on my life.  As tangible as He was to me that night as an eight year old girl, I want a fresh awareness today of all that He is, all that He gave, all that He offers.  To walk alive in Him.

Anyone else?

My continual prayer for us as we begin to open ourselves up anew to His grace is that “the eyes of our heart would be enlightened” (1:18) and that we would get this, to the very core of our being.  That we would no longer sleep through life, unaware and unaffected.  But that we would become fully present…fully aware…fully vigilant…fully awake.

Awake to His grace.  

This Week {Week 1} ~ Grace Awakened

This week’s verses throughout Ephesians will overflow with this message of grace.  SOAK into it.  God’s Word has the power to change your life and if I were sitting across from you I would do everything I could to convince (beg?) you to spend time reading and soaking in His truth.  

Each week I will encourage you in three ways:  to pray specifically, to read intentionally, and to walk aware of His grace.

1.  Pray.  Throughout this week, open your heart to the Lord.  Praise Him.  Thank Him for this amazing gift of grace that has been given to you.  Ask Him to give you a heightened sense of awareness of this grace.  Ask Him to show you if there are ways you’ve become unaware or unaffected by His grace and love.  Pour out your heart to Him with whatever He has been stirring in you. 

2.  Read Ephesians, Chapters 1 and 2.  Over the next seven days, absorb these verses through as many avenues as possible:  

  • Open up your Bible and read these two incredible chapters.  
  • Download the YouVersion app on your smart phone, plug in your headphones and listen to it audibly.  
  • Go to www.biblegateway.com and read it online in multiple versions.
3.  Awaken.  The last thing I want is for us to read a nice devotional, look at a few verses, yet never have it matter in the reality of life.  Each week you’ll have different opportunities to become aware of what God is stirring in you and take it to the next level, allowing His truth to change you from the inside out.  Here are some specific ways to become more aware of His grace this week:
  • Write it out:  As you read through these first two chapters in Ephesians, grab a pen and list out every~single~way God has provided or poured out His grace on you.  It’s really a lot.  I did this exercise a few weeks ago…oh.my.word I was overwhelmed by how much is packed into these scriptures, overwhelmed by His kindness and generosity towards me.  It’s significant to simply read it, but there’s something very powerful in writing it out and seeing it in your own handwriting, right there in black and white.  
  • Ask intentional questions:  As you read and write, deliberately ask how these truths affect your daily life.  Take notice of any specific words or verses that seem to leap out at you.  Ask why.  Why that word or verse?  What might God want to speak into your life through those words?
  • Breathe.  I’ve come to notice that when I pause and take a moment to intentionally awaken to His presence, I breathe deeper.  That deep breath allows me space to refocus and remember that He is with me, and that His grace and love are absolutely real in my life.  Take time this week to breathe in His grace.

Thank you for being here with us.  As we press into His grace this summer, God will move among us, of this I am certain.  May this be our prayer as we seek Him this week and seek to know this gift of grace:

“We praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that He purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom, and understanding…I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called, that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him.”  

Ephesians 1:6-8;18-19 (NLT)

____________

See you back here Friday, as we take a “Weekend Walk” together, an intentional exercise to enter His presence and experience His grace.

For additional encouragement and community throughout the week, find us on Facebook  at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve.

Invite your friends to join us, from across the street or across the world.  Let’s live and breathe His grace together!

Tell us how God is stirring in your heart…there is something powerful that happens when we hear the testimony of others.  Tell us how you are waking up to God’s grace in your life!

  

 

Our Summer Series: When You Just Need More Grace

ephesians_box-2 

If you would like to be a part of our summer series, “The Gift of Grace: Summer Simplicity from the book of Ephesians”, click on Subscribe, or “Sign Me Up!” and enter your email.  You will then receive each post directly into your inbox.

_________________

That summertime shift is here, I can feel it.

Different temperatures, different shoes, a change in plans and schedule.  Vacation time is on the calendar.  Many of my weekly commitments have taken a hiatus until Fall, my kids are around and I.love.it.  

New seasons are awesome, they feel fresh and full of possibilities.  A time to start over and try something new.  A time for hope.  And maybe just a little more grace.

Grace is SUCH a great word.  There’s so much wrapped up in it, its meaning interwoven with joy.  A word offered in thanksgiving before a meal.  Grace is filled with dignity and thoughtfulness, its kindness is unmerited, and full of favor.

And salvation to our very desperate souls.

Oh, how we need this… this gift of grace. 

As we shift into summer, we are launching our 4th Annual Summer Series, “The Gift of Grace: Summer Simplicity from the Book of Ephesians”, a series that began brewing in me after a “significant” conversation with my husband.  During these four weeks in June, we will ask these simple questions:  

Would we live differently if we recognized His glorious grace during the daily details of life? 

What if we actually believed God’s grace is big enough for every area of our lives?

Would we extend more grace if we better understood how very much we’ve been given?

The book of Ephesians gives us such a great understanding of grace, its specific and unique role, offered only through Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of God’s plan of grace to all mankind, both Jew and Gentile.  Paul penned this book, and it’s one of my absolute favorites.  

You can split this six-chapter book straight in half, the first filled with the beauty and richness of God’s love and grace.  The last challenging us to then live as if we really believe it. 

During our four weeks, we will spend time studying these scriptures, as well as making an intentional space to allow these words of Life to transform us from the inside out. 

Here’s an overview of how it will work:

On TUESDAYS: We will look at a different aspect of GRACE:

  • Grace Awakened.  How would our daily life be different if we lived in the Truth of God’s grace?  We will see words like lavished and glorious to describe this gift of grace, grace that’s been poured out because of His great love for you and me.  Grace poured out.  How can that not awaken us to live, fully alive?
  • Grace Received.  We are so hard on ourselves, aren’t we?  Through guilt, or comparisons, or our striving to be more, we are forever trying to stay ahead of the curve.  As we slow down and remember His grace, we open the door to receive His blessings of forgiveness, His acceptance and joy.  Blessings beyond all we could ask or imagine.  
  • Grace Extended.  What if we gave away more grace?  Instead of our opinion or anger or correction, what if we just offered more grace?  What knots would untangle if we lavished grace on that one that’s so difficult?  What would be mended, what would be healed, if grace was generously extended?  Because we have been given so much, how can we not then give it with abundance?
  • Grace Guarded.  We fiercely protect what is most precious to us. The more we understand grace, the more precious it will become.  This gift of grace is worthy of all that we are, as everything in this life and the next is dependent on it.  His grace is worth fighting for, in our own lives, and in the lives of those we love.

On FRIDAYS: Each Friday will offer an opportunity for a “Weekend Walk”, based on Ephesians 4:1 which challenges us to walk in a manner worthy of our calling”.  We will offer an intentional exercise that you can soak in to, a space for you to breathe, to pray, to meditate on His Word, and listen to what He may be speaking to your heart.  The last thing I want is for us to get a bunch of head knowledge that never absorbs into the realness of our every day life. This can only be done as we slow down and intentionally seek His face.

I so desperately need this refreshment of His amazing grace.  I want it to so absorb me that it literally changes me from the inside out, changing how I live, with myself and those around me.  I DO NOT want to miss this one.

So who’s in?

Join us, and let’s do this together.  

Find us here on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Then find us (“Like” us?) on our NEW FACEBOOK PAGE for daily encouragement and community.

Invite your friends, family, co-workers, fellow-Bible-study-besties, and let’s do this grace thing TOGETHER.

See you on Tuesday!

_________________

If you would like to be a part of our summer series, click on Subscribe, or “Sign Me Up!” and enter your email.  You will then receive each post directly into your inbox.

Also find us on our new Facebook page at facebook.com/womenwhobelieve for additional encouragement to live and breathe His grace.

Announcing our New Summer Series!

He’s always been able to do that.

My husband has this incredible ability to see straight into the heart of an issue.

A few months ago we were in the middle of a “significant” conversation, some might say it was intense or heated, but either way I was definitely right.  We were going back and forth on how to better handle our crazy days of life, money and time.  I was making great points, laying out great strategy and coming up with real solutions.  I was ON.  I had my final suggestion, one that I knew was the amazing answer to our messed up night.  And after I said it, my husband just looked at me and asked,

“What if we just had more grace?”

The interruption and wisdom of that statement was so striking that I couldn’t respond.  I just listened, as he spoke truth and simplicity, of having more grace. With each other.  With ourselves.

John’s first chapter says Jesus was full of grace and truth, and that He pours it out to us, grace upon grace.  He was FULL of grace, poured out over and over again.  A spilling out so that we may live filled up, in the amazing goodness of Him.

Do I really believe this?  Do I really believe that His grace is what I need…what I must seek?  Is it really enough?  Or do I look for more… more word-smith’d solutions and strategies in the middle of my significant and heated life?

What if we just had more grace?

I need more grace.  

So God provided this hunger, this conversation on a late winter’s night, to be the catalyst for our new Summer Series:  

ephesians_box-2

Beginning Tuesday, June 3rd, four simple ways to usher His grace into your summer months.  Whether you’re in the park, at your desk, on your way to see family, or across the world… grace.

A grace awakening, one that reawakens me to the amazing gift God has given to me.  A gift so abundant that it saves my life.  Grace.  Awakened.

A grace received, offered to myself, a fresh acceptance of God’s grace in my life.  A receiving of forgiveness and letting myself off the hook for the unattainable bar that I too often set for myself.  Giving myself a break.  Grace.  Received.  

A grace extended, to those around me.  Grace that spills out with so much joy that it washes over those I share life with, at home, at the coffee shop, at the office.  Grace.  Extended.

And finally, a grace guarded.  As the Truth of GRACE is imprinted upon my life, it becomes precious, a gift worth fighting for.  This grace becomes my life, my salvation, His gift to me and others, so I will stand for it with every fiber of my being.  Grace.  Guarded.

Don’t we all need this?  More and more grace?

Join us.  Open the screen door to your summer and invite others to join you in this pursuit of grace.  Invite your friends and your family, even those who are states or continents away.  

Let’s encourage, and breathe and live grace this summer.  

__________________________

Subscribe and be a part of our new Summer Series, “The Gift of Grace: Summer Simplicity from the book of Ephesians”, a four-week online study beginning Tuesday, June 3rd.  By entering your email address, each post will be delivered directly to your inbox.  Invite your friends and ask them to join you!  Here’s to a summer full of grace!