Two for the Price of One

Two quotes struck me as so profound today that I couldn’t choose between them…therefore, both follow:

Benjamin Franklin

“How many observe Christ’s birthday! How few, His precepts!”
― Benjamin Franklin

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (mu...

 

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

―     Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

 

 

 

 

All is Grace.

Thankful Thursday – Freedom to Express my Faith

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My faith plays a significant role in my day-to-day thoughts and actions. It’s who I am. Having the freedom to outwardly express my faith, in essence being free to be me, is a freedom I cherish, allowing me to live by faith rather than fear.

I’m so thankful I am able to:

1.     Attend the church of my choice and that I don’t have to follow a religion that has been chosen for me, or follow a set of religious  guidelines set out for me. I can go where and when I choose, allowing me to worship my God rather than live in fear of persecution.

2.    Pray, whether sitting at my desk at work, riding in my car, on a park bench in a public park, or on public transportation .

3.    Wear jewelry as an outward sign of my faith, as well as a visible reminder to myself to whom I belong and serve.

Blue Crystal Cross Necklace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.    Write spiritual pieces, whether on this blog, or a faith-based work of fiction, which my work-in-progress is, The Inheritance. I’m in the final stages of editing and am looking forward to sharing it through publication.

5.    Speak of my faith to others without fear, state expressions of faith, and to observe Christian holidays that are important to my spiritual life. (ie: Christmas as Christ’s birth and Easter as the death and resurrection of Christ–the true foundation of my life.)

6.    Display actions that show my faith, whether it be kneeling in reverence to God and in prayer, making the sign of the cross, raising my hands in worship and folding my hands in prayer, or even a loving hug or touch.

I don’t make a practice of screaming my faith for the world to hear, but I am free to express it and live it quietly and gently. And that freedom is priceless.

All is Grace.

Forgiveness and Consequences

forgiveness

forgiveness (Photo credit: cheerfulmonk)

When her child is hurting, why does a mom take it upon herself to want to strip away the pain, rescuing her child, his immediate happiness trumping an opportunity to pray he use that moment of adversity and trial to grow closer to God.

At least that’s what this mom tends to do.

When my child, even my adult child, chooses to live life separate and apart from his mom, breaking my heart wide open, exposing the rawness, the very nerve endings throbbing red with pain as when a hammer hits a thumb, why does it cause this mom to feel overwhelming guilt for something I may not have done? 

Or perhaps even worse, something I may have done very wrong.

Why must I reduce it to be the result of something I did or didn’t do, rather than a sign of his growing independence as he grows a family of his own? 

It was once told to me that the best gift we can give our children is to teach them how to live without us.  So why must I look at it as a weakness on my part rather than a strength?

Could it be the fact that I still hold myself guilty for something that happened long ago? And why is it so much easier to  grant others forgiveness and grace that we oftentimes cannot extend to ourselves?

Could it be one can’t actually forgive oneself, but only simply give it to God, to be rid of it once and for all? Could something I’ve been making so hard really be that simple? 

Christ has forgiven me for something that happened over a decade ago as many times as I have sought His forgiveness. And that has been a million times. Or so it seems.  

How many times must I ask His forgiveness before it becomes a lack of faith on my part? An unbelief that He forgave me the very first time I fell on my knees, tear-stained, heart broken, still breaking, asking Him to forgive my selfishness and waywardness.  

What if He’s teaching me lessons in forgiveness, trust and consequences?

What if He is teaching me that when my child does something that may cause me heart-wrenching, raw pain, such as turning a back, spouting hurtful words, that that is how my own behavior, as His child,  pains Him?

Asking For Forgiveness

Asking For Forgiveness (Photo credit: hang_in_there)

A pain that is wild beyond description or comprehension.What if He is teaching me the depth of His love and forgiveness? That just because there is forgiveness, does not mean there are no consequences.

Teaching me that even though He has truly forgiven me, unpleasant and painful results from sin long ago can still appear in my life. Like a volcano a decade old, the gray ashes still falling, spiraling down ever so faintly around shoulders who long ago caused the eruption. A reminder.

Teaching me that not only does forgiveness not mean there are no consequences, but that consequences may be part of the forgiveness? In order to teach me a lesson that will last, to prevent further pain. That the price we pay is something to consider a gift.

What if He is teaching me that because He has forgiven, I can rest in Him while I pay that price? That He is with me on the journey, rather than facing the bare, cold bones of that reality alone.

In my child’s worst moments, even my adult child, I would never withhold forgiveness from him, but extend even more love. More grace. More compassion. Walking with him, holding him every step of the way, no matter how rocky or how long the journey. 

What if He is teaching me the reality and depth of His love and forgiveness, knowing that what I am capable of feeling is only a fraction of His love for us. For my son.

That is something to be eternally grateful for. A lesson worth the pain to learn. To remember always.

That I can walk the road of my life,  rocky with debris from my choices and sinfulness, God’s outstretched hand helping me up each and every time I trip because I looked away from Him.  That He watches over my children, His children, better than this mom could ever imagine.

Consequences. Forgiveness. Intertwined to perfection.

Grace to You.

 

The Price of Freedom

English: A folded American flag held by a Unit...

English: A folded American flag held by a United States Marine at the funeral of Douglas A. Zembiec. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Daily life can be so fraught with activity between work and the to-do lists that many of us continually strive to complete.But on this day, Memorial Day, let’s make it a priority to take time to stop, pause, and pray. Let’s give thanks to Christ who fought and paid for our ultimate freedom, and the many men and women who have fought, and continue to fight, to give our country freedom that becomes so easy to take for granted as we blindly and methodically walk through our days.

While I am able to have a barbecue feast with my family and loved ones this day, sit on the porch in the shade of the trees, a refreshing, cool Arnold Palmer on the table beside me, I watch the stars and stripes of the American flag that waves gently in the breeze in my back yard, and remember those who aren’t able to enjoy this day with their loved ones because they are fighting for, or have given their lives for, our country.  That we may continue to enjoy the magnificent freedoms we have.

Today, may we pay our soldiers homage and say a prayer for them, that God will return them safely to their families to enjoy the freedom they fight so hard for, as well as a prayer of thanksgiving for what they do for us each and every day they fight the good fight.

Grace to you.