“Fourteen-Eleven”

IMAG1781

I hesitate to write this post.

Why? Because it’s a little embarrassing.

I have been given a lot. That is an understatement. In the way of earthly goods, I live in a really nice house, I have a closet full of clothes, I have plenty of food… I could go on and on. I also have a family that for some bazaar reason is crazy about me. But those are small in comparison to the fact that God has placed me in a home that loves and follows after Him. I was born into a home that already believed that the Bible is the True Word of God, and that Jesus is the Messiah. I can’t describe just how overwhelming it is. God has literately poured out blessing upon blessing on me.

So often I think and ask “Why God? Why would You give me so much when others have so little?”

And then He says, “You have been given much so you can give much. You are to be my hands and feet, giving all for My sake if I ask it of you. You are to love the unlovable, touch the untouchables, reach the unreachables. The poor, the desolate, the unpopular, the ugly and unwanted. That is your mission, Grace. Your life is to be spent reaching those for My glory. Those whom the world esteems the lowest are highest in My Kingdom – treat them as royalty.”

That’s my mission. That’s my calling in life.

But no, I don’t always live with that attitude. There are plenty of days I sit on the throne of my life and selfishly run it.

Like last Thursday…

Early that afternoon there was a battle raging in my soul; I won’t go into all the details now for time sake. But I was angry with myself and throwing a royal pity-party. Honestly, it was the display of selfishness you’d expect to see from a 4-year-old, not an almost 20-year-old. But God in His grace did not leave me there. After many selfish tears and thoughts rooted in pride, He opened my eyes to my selfishness and areas of my life I was clinging onto.

Selfishness.

I repented. I surrendered.

There was much joy in that.

Lord, try me again. Try me again. I’m ready. I’m surrendered.

He did.

(Oh praise Him for that! When you ask Him for trials or testing to grow you, be sure that He will.)

And even though I’d asked Him, I wasn’t prepared for the area of my heart He’d touch next.

That evening, I ran an errand to Joann’s craft and fabric store with my Mom and sister. I wandered my way into the clearance fabrics, and after a while I noticed a man passed by.

“How are you doing, this evening?” An employee asked.

“I’m alive, and that’s saying a lot,” replied the middle-aged black man.

His clothes were worn, but not tattered. A construction-worker vest peaked out beneath his dark coat. Our eyes met. I smiled. “Hi.” “Hello.”

He hesitated for a few seconds and then walked up to me. “I’m being bashful… I’m sorry. I need to ask you something. Ok, I’m just going to say it. I need “fourteen-eleven”… My brain locked up for a second as he continued talking about things. What in the world is a “fourteen-eleven?” He mentioned something about his job, something about his house, and needing just “fourteen-eleven” more for a place he and his wife could stay the night.

It hit me. Oh, it’s $14.11. He’s asking for fourteen dollars and 11 cents.

I panicked. No one had ever approached me asking for money before. The thought crossed my mind “what if he’s just making it up?” It was awkward. It was inconvenient. I didn’t really know what to do.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t really have cash on me.” I replied knowing full well that I had some.

“Oh that’s ok, I’m sorry to bother you. I know God will provide someway.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said again sympathetically, almost tagging on a “I’ll pray for you.”

Are you not disgusted?! That I would pretend to hurt and sympathize with him, all the while knowing I had what he needed? It makes my stomach turn.

There I stood in the fabric isle transfixed, replaying the whole scene over in my mind again. What have I done? Out of my selfishness I lied. I’ve been selfish with what God has freely given me. What would Jesus have done?

What if that were Jesus?

I felt sick. What if it had been Jesus? I would have gladly given what was asked and more. But what does His Word say? Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto Me. (Matt 25)

I pulled out my wallet to see how much cash I had in it.

Fourteen dollars. No way.

I grabbed it and some change and started searching for him. I ran around the store, I checked outside. I looked around the store again, combing every isle. I check outside again. He was gone, no where to be found. The golden opportunity to show be the hands and feet of Christ was gone. I missed it because I was to consumed with myself and my wants. I did not have an outward focus.

How different it could have been if I had let the Lord truly sit on the throne that day… “Here Lord, my life–take it, spend it, use it!!! Make a fool out of it for Your sake if You wish. Only let it be Yours today.” If I had been living with the behavior of heaven–where those whom the world despises and call out as inconvenient are held high, and precious. Oh how different would my response have been!

Twice that day God showed me areas of my life that were tangled in selfishness. Twice I was so consumed with myself that I didn’t see what God was doing around me. Even as I type there are things He’s wanting me to pry my grubby little fingers off of. It’s going to be uncomfortable, it’s going to be inconvenient. But so was the Cross, and that’s what we’re called to do.

 Luke 9:23 – And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Deny ourselves and carry a cross? Yes… And follow Him. And when you follow Him, you too will wind up at Calvary.
I’m not really sure how to end this post… These are things that I’m still learning and haven’t mastered yet. But slowly I’m learning to answer “Yes Lord, I’m willing” when He asks something of me. I have far to grow, and know I will be challenged from the moment I rise tomorrow morning.
So while this might be the end of this post, it’s the beginning of asking for the eyes and heart of Christ. It’s the start of asking Him to so fill me, that He lives and works through me.
Oh friend, won’t you join me?
-Grace Elizabeth

Fed and forgiven

This is just a raw journal entry from today. Because not everyday is perfect.

Tuesday
Jan 14th, 2014

How can I be so foolish as to not fill my life with the Words of God? How can I afford not to be memorizing and meditating on God’s Word daily?

There is no victory to the unfed, malnourished warrior.

These past few days as I have been struggling, I have asked God why it is so hard to follow Him. Why when He proclaimed “my yoke is easy and my burden is light?”

God as a loving Father sets a plate of rich food before us– His Word, His very presence. But instead of being still, of feeding on the food He has provided, I foolishly hop up and run out into the battle very near starvation. And I wonder why I fail.

It’s be strong in the Lord and int the power of His might.

Not mine.

And yet I push and push in my own strength until I collapse, too weak to move on.

I begin to wonder where He’s been. I am frustrated with myself for failing again. And in one black moment I believe that victory in the Christian life doesn’t exists.

He approaches me so tenderly. Tears fill His eyes as He sees His beloved weak and beaten in a state of delirium.

And He draws me back to His side.

He forgives me.
He loves me.
He feeds me.

And today I choose to thank God for what I most detest in life–failure. Because failing always ends up bringing me back to Jesus’ side.

Oh Abba, how prone to wander, prone to fail I am. Teach me to feed on Your Word and dwell in Your presence! I praise You for being so faithful to me and always–ALWAYS drawing me back to Yourself. Your mercies are renewed EVERY morning. Great is Your faithfulness. Selah.

Simply joys~

I sport a baggy, comfy sweater with my hair piled into a messy knot on the top of my head as I sit down. The house is dark and quiet–quiet at last. Although there is a beauty to be found in the noise of a house full of people, I treasure the quiet too. Perhaps it’s this time of year, the weather, or the black coffee… but there is an overflow of memories, praises and lessons from this fall so far and I’m thankful.

Yes, thankful for things like…

-The opportunity to learn and start on my Doula certification.

-Iceskating with sweet cousin and little sister… I might as well have been flying and dancing in the air.

Iceskating!

 A Grandmother willing to give up her week to help us paint

DSC_0310

The countless inside jokes, times of laughter and fun that happen every single day around here… Siblings are the best.

The fragrance of fall: chai, candles, the fireplace, that cold fall scent in the wind…

-Opportuinities for this little Texas girl to wear sweaters.

-Many little hands learning the skill of basket-weaving. Stories. Laughter. Wednesdays.

DSC_0395

-Heart-felt prayers with dear friends in the parking-lot. Marveling at my God’s power as He had worked mightily in the lives of the ones I prayed with. Mightily indeed.

-Rotten milk and finding the lesson in it.

-Deep discussions and driving lessons with my Dad.

-Indian/Mediterranean treats.

-Friends in Christ whom when you ask “how are you doing?” it is always meant and answered at a spiritual level. And conversations that could go on forever about the Lord.

-Morning devotions with family.

-Forgiveness, grace, and lessons… oh so many lessons. Oh so much more to learn.

-Learning to choose joy. Like earlier this week as we were getting ready for some last minute, out-of-state guests I was frazzled. And I showed it. Little sis wanted to know what was wrong–why I wasn’t being “me.” I tried justifying my attitude, but then the Holy Spirit pricked my heart. My attitude wasn’t helping anything and it wasn’t honoring my King. Even though it was the last thing I wanted to do, I smiled. “Abba, help me choose joy.” And I began to sing to the Lord. As my praises wafted through the house my heart was transformed from one of complaining to one of praise. I want to be a woman of joy, a woman of praise–not ungrateful or complaining!

-Encouragement in the form of conversations, e-mails, verses and comments.

-Oh and Jesus. My precious Yeshua. Learning afresh of His love for me–letting the beauty of 1 John 4 sit in. Longing to know Him and His love for me even more. There is Joy in His presence.

These things are just a few–only a drop in a bucket. And so I slip into bed whispering thanks and asking Him once again to draw me nearer.

-Grace

To do him good…

DSC_0711

It was after church services a few weeks ago and I found myself holding a precious little treasure in my arms. This treasure was about 4 months old and he owned a pair of blue eyes that I’m sure could steal anyone’s heart. In my conversation with one of the moms, I mentioned just how much I desired to be a mother of my own precious little treasures one day.

She began to reply, and I was sure she was going to give me the “contentment speech.” You know, “be happy and serve God where He has placed you and in His time He will bring along ‘Mr. Right’.” Thing is, I am truly happy with my life; I feel full. I only want the next phase when God says it’s time. Overall, I am content. But she surprised me–she didn’t discredit that desire, instead she encouraged me. She told me that those were God given desires and she truly believed He would fulfill them. It was neat to hear that. It was so different for that desire to be affirmed.

Like any girl, I’ve carried big dreams about my knight in shining armor. I’ve known some girls to write very extensive lists on what they want their husbands to be. Oh sure, it’d be nice if he could sing and play instruments well, if he were a good writer, spoke several languages, was romantic, and was really athletic–the list could go on and on. But what my heart has craved and my prayers have echoed is that he would be a passionate lover of God; that he would have a dynamic relationship with the Lord.

For if a man loves God–truly loves and follows after Him and has a humble and teachable spirit, then everything else will fall into place. No, he won’t be perfect, he will fail just as much as I do. We won’t be perfect, but we will grow and learn together. That’s part of the beauty of it.

Occasionally I put myself in the place of the kind of man I would like to marry and make a list of the kind of woman he would want to marry and then I work on those things. Do you desire a man of prayer? Become a woman of prayer. Do you desire a man that meditates on God’s Word? Start meditating! What about a man that is involved in ministry? Become a woman that serves and ministers to those around her. (I’m writing as a girl to girls, but it works the same way reversed).

We can daydream, we can wish about our Knight in Shining Armor. But would we be the kind of woman he is looking for?

And this doesn’t only apply to our “spiritual side.” Wouldn’t the man of your dreams appreciate an organized house and a well-cooked meal?

It really boils down to this: become the kind of person you’d like to marry.

No, we won’t be perfect–we’ll fail. I can promise you that. But this season of singleness is so precious. We are given such a precious gift from God. We have time to prepare, time to develop our walk with the Lord, time to reach out to others… If you’d like somewhere to get started, Proverbs 31:10-31 has some great pointers. *smile

Verses 10-12 says:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Will we do our husbands good all the days of our lives? Even before we know his name? Are we preparing for him, being faithful to him, and building a foundation of trust now?

That’s where I’m at right now. That’s a little of what I’ve been learning this year–to become the woman my Knight would be seeking for. Time is so short, and I’ve already wasted so much of it. And truly, if we are living fully for Jesus now, obeying Him, seeking His face, loving Him and allowing Him to change us, then we will become the person our spouse needs. As we focus on Christ and lose ourselves in Him, I believe everything else will fall into place.

Today I purpose to do my husband good as I follow after Christ.

 

(I appoligize for any ads on my blog. I am working on getting rid of them)

You Don’t Have to be Afraid~

One day, my little sister Christiana, came into my room and climbed up on my bed with me while I was playing guitar. She started confiding in me all the fears of her six-year-old, and as I comforted her this song flowed out. It’s really more of a lullaby than a song; Christiana asks me to sing it to her often.

Thanks to my cousins, Joanna and Rebecca for recording it!

You don’t have to be afraid,
Jesus is right there beside you–

Watching, holding, helping you,
He will strengthen and shield you.

You don’t have to be afraid,
Jesus is right there beside you.

He promised that He would never leave us,
He promised that He was be here for us.

You don’t have to be afraid,
Jesus is right there beside you.

Ah, my sweet little Christiana is just growing up too fast–how did she get to be so big? She’s by far the sweetest little girl in the whole world–not to mention that she has the most adorable nose ever!

Like me, she loves the story of Esther, and asks me to read it to her again and again. Christiana has the sweetest voice and laugh ever, and is extremely witty. Not to mention a talented artist whose art always seems to find its way to my desk. She adds so much joy to my life…I thank the Lord so much for this precious gift and wonder what in the world I do without her.

She makes my everyday somewhat magical.

Precious notes…
…moments spent talking of the Lord…
…countless “I love you’s”, hugs and kisses everyday…
…fun games…
…inside jokes…
…cuddling…
…picking flowers…
…dancing around the house…
…secret handshakes and confidential conversations…

I love you, Christiana. Don’t grow up too fast.

 

 In Christ,

Grace

~Gal. 2:20

A funny moment…

I don’t have a lot of time today, but I just wanted to share a funny moment in my life…

You see, I have an affection for rolling down hills. The grass is soft, you get dizzy, what’s not to like? One day a year or so ago I was rolling down the beloved slope at the pond close to our house. At the bottom of this slope is the pond…I’m pretty much an expert when it comes to rolling down hills and have always stopped in time. That is until this time…

So there I was, happliy rolling down the hill…I stopped and checked to see how much farther I could go. I could get at least two more rolls out of this. And then before I knew it, *splash!* Grace rolls right into the pond!

That was the most shocking feeling I’ve felt in my whole life. It was epic.

  That’s me, wet and muddy, describing how it happened…took me forever to wash the mud out of that shirt. : )

Sometimes I think I can feel God laughing right along with me; this was one of those times. Mmm…Christians ought to be the happiest people on the planet. After all, it’s our God that created laughter and joy!

I hope you have a Wonderful Wednesday! May the joy of the Lord fill your heart. And should you roll down any hills, be careful!

In Christ,

Grace

P.S. I hope this made you smile.

A New Year’s prayer

Ah, it is 11:49 PM, almost the New Year…what a year this has been. The Lord has brought me so far. So far. And as I look at the new year ahead, I see that I have so far to go. So far.

This song describes what I want for the New Year; this is one of the things that if I could write poetry, I would have written this.

A Passion For Thee

Set my heart, O dear Father,
On Thee, and Thee only,
Give me a thirst for Thy presence divine.
Lord, keep my focus on loving Thee wholly,
Purge me from earth; Turn my heart after Thine.

A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

Father fill with Thy Spirit, and fit me for service,
Let love for Christ every motive inspire,
Teach me to follow in selfless submission,
Be Thou my joy and my soul’s one desire.

A passion for Thee;
O Lord, set a fire in my soul, and a thirst for my God.
Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart.
Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.

This song is definitely my prayer for this coming year–I want my heart to burn with an all-consuming passion to know and love God. I want to serve Him with a motive of love, and not of pride. I want Jesus to be my true joy and my soul’s one desire.

O Lord, I thank you so much for this year; it’s been wonderful. In fact, it’s been the best year of my life. After last year I didn’t think life could get any better…but oh! Every year walking by Your side gets sweeter still.
 Abba, don’t let me stray, please draw me closer to You. This year You have taught me much…You have taught me how to die daily, how to be a leader, how show others Your love, and how in Your presence is fullness of joy…You have held my hand, guided me, and carried me…You have been so patient with me gently teaching me truths over and over again untill I realize that You’re trying to teach me.
It gives me so much joy to know that You continue to hold my hand and guide me in this new year. May I grow to love you more. Oh make me a vessel of Your glory! May people see You and not me.

Well I’ve had a wonderful evening, and a wonderful year; but I’m ready–bring on the new year!

Hello twenty-twelve!

11:56 PM

Lord, may You be glorified in every aspect of my life this coming year.

-Grace
Psalm 16:11, Galatians 2:20

And my sisters and I start the countdown….

Randomness~

Alright, so my cousins tagged me on their blogs to do this, so here is some random information I’m sure you were all dying to know about me. : )

 7 RANDOM THINGS ABOUT YOURSELF 

1. Because of my inability to swallow pills, my family takes much pleasure in getting a handful of pills and then calling my name. I rush off to see what they want me for, and upon my arrival, they say “watch this Grace!” And proceed to swallow all their pills. It’s rather hilarious when you think about it…

2. I love to sing. Pretty sure I was born singing. : )

3. My younger siblings often call me “mom” accidentally–I’ll take that as a compliment.

4. I’ve never been bored in my life.

5. I love my family. That cannot be understated. My family is awesome.

6. When I get into it I really enjoy house cleaning.

7. Children often wrap thier arms around my legs and call themselves “Grace-leeches.” I absolutely adore little Grace-leeches. : )

Favorites:: 

Name your favorite color(s): Purple, blue, green, yellow, gold, pink, red, orange, silver, brown…you get the picture

Name your favorite song: When God is Near by the Wilds (but it’s so hard to pick a favorite!)

Name your favorite dessert: Pretty much any form of ice-cream, shakes, or smoothies…lemon bars and cookies are good too.

What is annoys to you: If I’m in the right mood, nothing. If I’m not in the right mood, almost anything.

When you are upset you: That varies…sometimes I clean, sometimes I pray and cry, sometimes I isolate myself, sometimes I talk to a parent…it really depends on what it upsetting me.

Your favorite animal: I don’t really have a favorite. I simply love seeing the creativity of my Creator in His creation. He astounds me.

Your biggest fear: That as I get older I will backslide and become a mediocre Christian. This is the last thing I want…I pray that as I grow older I will become even more in love and passionate about my Savior.

My best feature: The love of Christ radiating through me would probably be the best feature. It’s what can take a plain or even ugly girl radiate with beauty. But alas, I do not always allow His love to shine through me. Oh that people would see Him and not me.

Everyday Attitude: Effervescent.

What is perfection: Everything I am not, and everything that God is; which is why I’m trusting Him 100% for my salvation. (but a perfect day would consist of sunny weather and a picnic at the park, or a rainy day with hot tea, big blanket, and good book.

Guilty Pleasure: I suppose this is something that I enjoy and then later feel guilty for? Sleeping in?


I TAG: 
I guess anyone who wants to do this.