The Spiritual, Relational, and Lifestyle manifestations of God’s GRACE in my life have come about because I’m learning to RESPOND to His Presence in me. I lived most of my life trying to fulfill an endless list of REQUIREMENTS before I could consider myself worthy of His GRACE. It was seldom (never?) enough
Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sitting at our kitchen table writing while watching my daughter and my WW* put together the 1000 piece Thomas KinKade jigsaw puzzle I gave her this morning.
It’s her favorite pastime. These days, she usually does jigsaw puzzles on her iPad, so this is a throwback day in more ways than one.
I was planning to post a T.B.T. tomorrow, but because of the 3 1/2 year old post I want to share, I thought Valentine’s Day would be appropriate.
I shared with a friend on FaceBook this morning – “My wife has been married to 3 or 4 different men, but – they were all me!” I’ve come to regret the way “those men” treated her in the past. Fortunately, they don’t hang around with us very much any more. We’re learning to not answer the door when they come-a-knockin’. More and more, I’m realizing my responsibility to protect her from “those guys!” It’s made our marriage and her life easier.
This link will take you on a 10 day road trip we took back in August of ‘13. The day we left Texas for home in California became one of the major turning points of this journey of Life and Love. Most of Life’s turning points are BabySteps rather than giant leaps, but read this one with an open heart. I pray it makes this Valent-Day just a wee bit sweeter for you and yours!
The GRACE-ful Flow of Forgiveness
I can Forgive Others Because
I am Forgiven – By Him!
Garbage disposals only work because water flows in and through.
If there is no flow the pipes gets clogged.
Allow His GRACE to flow through you!
Into the lives of Others!
God’s been writing this Love Letter to me for almost 10 years. It’s changed how I view Him. I’ve shared parts of it on this blog. This video portrays my journey.
This is not ‘my’ video, but I LuvIt!
I took my youngest (by a minute) G.son to school this morning. I haven’t counted but there are probably 20 or more traffic lights between here and there and back. About two thirds of the way to school I realized I had stopped at only one red light!! We continued on to school, I dropped him off and on the way back it continued – Green light after Green light after Green light! “WOW!! What a wonderful day this is going to be!”
- Then, it happened! I did it! It was my fault! I wasn’t paying attention (too busy congratulating myself, I think) to where I was and I made a wrong right turn. About two blocks down that road, I realized where I was and at the first opportunity made a U-turn.
I’ve been in Recovery a bit more than 8 years. This path I’m on is MUCH smoother now than before. There are days I hit “Green light after Green light after Green light.” It’s real tempting on those days to not pay close enough attention to where I’m going. Some days, before I know it, I’ve made a wrong turn. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the consequences that await me at the end of that side track. I’m now much quicker to realize I’m headed the wrong way and I make that U-turn at the first chance I get.
This morning, when I realized where I was and what I’d done, all I did was say: “Oh, Ratz!” I didn’t reach into my “backpack” and grab my favorite tool to beat myself up. (like I used to) In the past, I would become so wrapped up in condemning myself for my mistake, I could be MILES down the road, and it would be a LONG way back. Sometimes, I’d get lost down that side track and wonder if I’d EVER make it back.
My WW and I love taking Road Trips. When I’m driving, she usually pays pretty close attention to what’s going on around us. I’ve told her “If U see something U think I need to be aware of, feel free to speak up.” It’s always better for her to speak and tell me something I already know than to keep silent and then we’re both sorry later. I needed her in the car with me this morning.
I need somebody walking with me as I travel this road of life.
I need someone who can speak up when it’s needed.
There have been times she’ll speak up and my thought (or words) will be: “Honey, sometimes I wonder how I managed to drive that huge bucket truck for ATT all over three counties for 40 years without your help!” She often replies (nicely): “I wonder the same thing sometimes!”
I have learned to give her the freedom to speak up when it’s needed. It’s become a two-way street. There are things, there are times that I need to speak into her life as well. (though it’s hardly ever about her driving)
Do you have someone in your life with the freedom to speak up when it’s needed?
It’s a lot more important than U might realize.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise.
Proverbs 12:15 (NKJV)
“There is a war between guilt and GRACE!”
The other day, as I walked into our bedroom, I noticed these words written on the notepad next to the dual recliner where my WW sits. They come from the song by Matthew West, “GRACE WINS“
Lately, I’ve been pondering the effects of GRACE in my life. I’m beginning to realize that I have greatly undervalued what GRACE DID, what GRACE does, what God wants GRACE to do in, for and through me.
Matthew West continues his song with these words; “GRACE WINS!! Every Time!! For the woman at the well, GRACE WINS!! For the beggar on the street, GRACE WINS!! For the prodigal son, GRACE WINS!!“
This morning’s “Daily Verse” from “YouVersion” was Psalms 139:23,24
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” NLT
This morning, I’m saddened to think how many times I’ve prayed that from a place of guilt and shame, standing (or kneeling, as the case may be) before God but seeing him as my Judge. It makes me want to run away. Sometimes I do.
This is not the prayer of a guilty man waiting to hear sentence passed for his guilt and shame. It’s the Q posed by the prodigal son to his Faithful Father at the breakfast table the morning after the party as they enjoy steaks leftover from the fattened calf and eggs the servants gathered that morning from the free-range hens in the yard. (Luke 15:11-32)
It’s the Q from the heart of a recovering, wandering son who has once again been embraced by “Abba-Daddy”
Let me see if I can put this in my own words as I picture myself sitting at that table:
“Dad, I came back yesterday because I knew you are a man of compassion. All my life I’ve seen how you treat your servants. You’ve always treated the men and women who work for you better than most of my friends were treated by their fathers.
Last month, I remembered that about you. Someday, maybe I’ll tell you where I was and what I was doing when I remembered, but I think I’d rather just forget about it. But let me simply say that I woke up in the blackest, darkest hole of my life.
Then I remembered!
Dad, I came back to be your servant. I came back to sweep the dung out of your stables. I came back to clean the hen house on my hands and knees. I came back to…
NEVER in my wildest thoughts did I think I would come back and be your son!! I fully expected to grovel. I fully expected to spend the rest of my days trying to pay penance for the way I hurt you. But you… You!!! Dad, You put the family robe around my shoulders. You embraced me!! You put your ring on my finger. You brought out the finest wine, and Oh! Wow!! This steak…!!!
Dad, (by the way, it feels strange to call you ‘Dad’)… Let me take this moment to ask you, from the depth my heart, with all the gratitude I can manage; “Teach me. This morning, Dad, search my heart; test me and show me my hurtful ways. Daddy, I want to spend the rest my life letting you teach me how to be your son.”
THAT is the war between guilt and GRACE. The battle in my life between guilt and GRACE is fought at the gateway to the homestead. Because of my guilt, I hesitate to respond when He calls. The Father beckons me forward. I hesitate. The Father says: “Come, my son, all is ready. For you. I’ve been waiting. For you. Too often, I’ve turned away. In shame. “I’ve been watching every day. For you. But… I’ve done all can can do. For you. Unless you come home. The Choice is yours. I chose you, but I cannot make that choice FOR you.”
BECAUSE OF MY GRACE, THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN FOR YOU, MY SON! COME HOME!!