Line dancing and canceled appointments.

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Amidst moving preparations and grad school work, here’s something little for you today:)

I can’t get enough of the grace.

The grace that I’ve seen lately.

The grace that has carried me through the difficult times and blessed me in spite of myself.

The grace that abounds when I’m least deserving.

The grace that kept me from marrying the wrong guy; that kept me at a red light longer than I wanted for the sake of my life; that kept me in a place in life I didn’t love to root out sin and heal relationships.

The grace that was at work even when I didn’t see it. The grace that supplied everything I needed to no credit of my own–socially, financially, physically, emotionally.

This may sound silly, but I even see the the opportunity for line dancing every week for some good clean fun as grace, and the friend that loves to go with me (as abundant grace!). It truly was a highlight of my week and has been a blessing. 

Even the grace in a massage appointment being canceled, so (unbeknownst to me) I’d have more money to furnish my new apartment. (At the time, I had no idea my life would dramatically change in just four days.)

Yes, there was grace when housing options fell through here, where I currently live…now I know to financially better prepare me for this move to L.A.

I never used to look for sovereignty and grace in every single little detail, but now I’m starting to learn.

And, can I tell you? It is incredible.

Might I encourage you to look for the hand of God in every moment…in the delays, in the detours, in the pain, in the joy, in the confusion. In the red lights, in the extra diaper change, in the extra conversation, in the canceled appointment, in the long checkout line. 

Why? Because grace abounds. For you.

Your Father delights in granting you grace.

Because it brings you joy and Him glory.

Watch in eager expectation for all that He has for you today.

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2

What is your unexpected grace story

Thank you for reading!

 

When the darkest night was overcome.

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In the resurrection we are reminded not only of forgiveness and life abundant, but of God’s sovereign rule. Perfect control over all. Only in His infinite wisdom, grace, and sovereignty, could the most heinous act of all time be turned into the greatest act of grace of all time.

Redemption. Perfect, beautiful redemption.

The darkest night brought the most hope-filled, joyous, glorious morning.

And He is working to do the same for you.

Because He makes evil the slave of His grace.

(From my Pastor’s incredible sermon this morning.)

Happy Resurrection Day! Might this encourage you in whatever road you are walking today.

What an incredible God we serve.

Grace and blessings,

Lauren

When Failure is Grace

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(Another post written for She Reads Truth #SheSharesTruth –Psalm 38 :))

I remember it so clearly.

The day I was so broken over that sin I could hardly breathe.

With tears streaming down my face and constricted lungs, I kept reading. It was as if God dug through all that stuff, all that pride, all that disguise, all those excuses, all the “I acted this way because of that…” man-made rationale meant to make me feel better, unburied that sin and said, this, this is what you needed to see.  

And all at once I was David in Psalm 38: utterly bowed down and prostate, groaning, heart-sick, bending from the weight, sensing every ounce of that burden. My heart throbbing, achingly aware of my foolishness.

And at that moment I was open and laid bare before the One who breaks and the One who heals.

With knees and elbows digging into the carpet, I became intimately aware that He alone is the answer.

Only Him.

No one else and nothing else could forgive, could grant grace, could make good come from this, could make haste to help me. 

“But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.” (v. 15)

It  is a rare and beautiful moment to be simultaneously broken and healed; to be so sorrowful, so dependent on One to forgive and make good, yet so utterly in awe.

Because it was in seeing the massiveness of my sin, that I saw even bigger grace.

I saw Him. Grace embodied.

The grace that slayed sin at the cross.

The grace that came through death and birthed life.

For it is the irony of life that we must be brought low to stand. That we must break to heal. To understand the power of His grace, the reality of His glory, the beauty of His mercy.

And though I too cried “do not forsake me, O Lord! O my God, be not far from me, O Lord, my salvation!” (v.21-22)

One redeeming truth remained steadfast: the reality of who HE is. In. Spite. Of. Me.

And it was humbling.

A God who will not forsake the work of His hands.

Who will fulfill His purpose for me, despite my sin, because no purpose of His can be thwarted (Psalm 138:8, Job 42:2).

A God who makes evil the slave of His grace.

Because grace abounded all the more. So much more than my sin. (Romans 5:20)

You see, that is why breaking is a gift. Why desperation is a privilege. Why the reality and awareness of sin cleanses and heals. Why failure is grace.

Because without sin you don’t see it.

You don’t see the glory of the Answer.

Without sin you don’t see Him for who He is.

Without sin, you don’t see the massive grace of undeserved forgiveness.

Without sin your entire being will not cry out in desperation for Him.

Without sin you are not left clinging to the cross.

There is no testimony of His grandeur.

Why?

Because without sin, you don’t need an answer.

Because of sin, He. Is. More. Glorified. 

For in our sin, He leverages all His majesty and goodness and sovereignty and holiness and grandeur to work for our good.

And He is glorified in that.

And it is in witnessing His glory that our desperate, thirsty, longing hearts are quenched.

THAT is why failure is grace.

Because.

It is in experiencing the crushing weight of sin that we understand one very life altering, humbling, implausible thing.

We understand that He alone is the answer. 

And it is in His being the answer that He is glorified and we are satisfied.

That hope thing.

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Hope.

We all have it one way or another. The crazy kind. The very-next-moment kind. The far-down-the-road kind. The to-any-logical-thinking-person-that’ll-never-happen kind. The material kind. The soul-healing kind.

For goodness sake, I even just hope for a hot cup of coffee-goodness sometimes.

There’re big dreams out there. Believe me, mine included. (Not the coffee, but the other stuff.)

We’re built to hope. We’re built to dream. Because ultimately and innately we know there is something beyond this life. We’re made to know of Heaven and a world that will be redeemed.

And that’s hope. And that’s good.

But then sometimes, I’m always looking ahead and I get so wrapped up in all those hopes that I forget the grace.

The grace that has sustained me thus far. 

The grace that came in moments of desperation. The grace that carried me through the confusion.

The grace that turned the pain inside out, creating something so unexpectedly beautiful.

The grace that brought me to the end of myself. The grace that left me clinging to the cross.

And simply remembering that grace transforms the hope…into hope that’s more tangible, easier to cling to.

Because.

That hope is colored with vivid grace.

The hope is directly tied to the grace.

Because hope without grace isn’t hope at all.

And remembering the grace grounds the hope. 

Because when Paul begged for that thing to go away–just as I’ve done so many times, God responded with that very grace filled hope.

“My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”

That He would make good of this pain. 

Hope that he would do just that. And grace that it would be good.

Can I be honest? I didn’t fully understand that verse until recently.

But when that thing I hoped would go away didn’t go away, it was His grace that carried me, bringing blessing after unexpected blessing. And then I saw him use it, and teach me, and make something huge of the mess.

A giant, unexpected load of grace.

That’s where hope lies.

In the One who can. The One who will. In the One who has.

And then I read this gem of a verse this morning:

“In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:3

I pray.

And then I eagerly watch. 

Because he will do something. Something good. Something wonderful.

He IS doing something.

Better than anything my finite mind could ever dream.

I know. Because I’ve seen.

I’ve seen the grace.

That’s real, downright, beautiful hope.

Hope.

Anchored by grace.