Out to Sea

blog photos Oct 2013

I guess you could say I’ve been in La-La Land lately.  However, my vision is not blurred, but rather clear.  In fact, more crystal than ever!  God has reached down and peeled the blinders back, allowing me to recognize His beauty and purpose in everything.

Two small arms around my neck first thing in the morning.  One walk-in closet that miraculously fits clothes for 5 bodies!  It’s like the miracle of loaves and fishes, but it’s space that is multiplied beyond what seems right!

A small window, overlooking a field glistening with morning dew.  Leaves fluttering down to the green below, perfect for tossing up and capturing mid-air around smiling faces.  Our hammock in the distance, calling out memories of an epic summer.  These memories travel through the breeze and reach me at the kitchen sink, causing a smile.

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The kids’ school being only 1/2 mile down the road, because if my sputtering vehicle decides to quit on me today, we can walk.  The white 1970 Chevy we call “Old Faithful,” bought brand new by my grandpa.  Sometimes I like to just sit in it because the smell makes it feel like my grandparents are still with us.

A box of puff pastry that I forgot I’d put in the freezer for ham & cheese dinner, now thawing out just in time.  A lunch hour spent walking slow with an aging parent, and the reminder that we all need to slow down to take it all in.  These moments I will cherish forever in my heart.

Our 9 year old boy, finally embracing responsibility.  These baby steps are celebrated, because progress is good!  A certain little mini-me, who has been helping herself to my slightly more expensive shampoo, conditioner and now, face wash (organic and anti-aging).  All because she wants to be “just like Mommy.”  My oldest, who is beginning to find his “funny” side.  Being the subject of these experiments in pranking keeps me young!

The unwavering love of a husband who builds me up every single day.  An out of the blue coffee date here, the kindness of a stranger there…all gifts of grace from a good and loving father.  “Why me?” I ask myself.  How on earth do I get to be the recipient of all these wonderful gifts?  I don’t deserve any of it.  I decide, grace is a word worth exploring.

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Grace, in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, has many descriptions.  Approval.  Favor.  Mercy.  Pardon.  A virtue coming from God.  However, this one is my favorite:  Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.  Unmerited divine assistance…that says it all.  While we were wasting our lives in sin, God demonstrated His powerful love for us in a tangible display- His son died for us (Romans 5:8).  The ultimate gift.  A life taken in our place.  This humbles me, brings me to my knees, causes chills, and tears of gratitude.

In light of this one moment in history…every other moment in life pales in comparison.  But, should we see it as just one moment, long ago?  Should we accept this gift, and then be on our way, seldom looking back?  Perhaps we shall consider it an embarkation of a continuous hand of grace reaching down every single day, serving up savory bites equal in grandeur?    What if we choose to see every moment in our life as a thoughtfully considered sacrifice of love?

Even the hard moments?  Yes!  You can perceive even the unfathomable moments in your life as Joseph did: intended for harm by Satan, but used for good by God to accomplish greater blessings (Genesis 50:20).  Because of Joseph’s time spent in slavery, many people were spared from death by famine.  Sanctification.  Purpose.

Eighteen months spent getting well acquainted with a disease that causes severe vertigo…a blessing. It taught me discipline (something I was praying for),  startled me closer to God, allowed me to see my husband in a whole new light (what a stud), and forever implanted the promise of 1 Peter 5:10 on my soul.  “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Two dear women, cut from the same cloth as me, inflicted with breast cancer within a couple years of each other. Time stands still in the waiting room.  The future is evaluated, what’s truly important is brought to the forefront.   Joyous tears as we hug and celebrate that it’s gone, with only a 2 percent chance of returning.  Praise Him!  A blessing.

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Having to let go of our home of 9 years.  For, all the needed repairs are suffocating us and all that mold underneath is enhancing this disease.  Must get out.  A year of red tape, back and forth, demands from the buyer and the inspectors and the bank.  Large amounts of patience were required of us through this process…a gift in building character, indeed.  Also, realizing that it isn’t a set of sticks that makes a home.  A home is built on a foundation of love, no matter where it is or what it looks like.  Blessed by this lesson.

Moving into a 700 sq. ft. cottage on the back end of my mom’s 2.5 acres.  “A time to heal,” she says.  “A place where you can stay as long as you need, until you find the place you’re looking for.”  Squeezing 5 people into this 1 bedroom, 1 tiny living room, 1 bathroom (no bathtub), 1 closet dwelling has been, astonishingly, a special gift from above!  We’ve almost been here a year, and what a joyful year it has been!  A gift in learning to be content with very little, and very little seeming like so much, still.

From the day he proclaimed, “It is finished,” Jesus has been lavishing us with gifts of love and grace day and night.  We must choose to notice these gifts. But don’t stop there…go beyond noticing them.  Thank Him, then reflect his gifts of grace!  The Greek word for grace is charis. It is described as a divine influence on the heart, and it’s reflection in the life.  Am I reflecting this divine influence of grace in my life?

Oh, Lord that is my prayer…that I would be acting as a mirror, turning the light of your grace right back onto others around me.  May I never selfishly soak it all up for myself, causing a puffed up appearance.  Instead, help me release it like a flood, swiftly gathering those in my path, that they might be swept up in the light of your grace too.

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