Living In His Grace

I thought this challenge would be different…

When the MOHL girls came up with the challenge idea, I anticipated a year of “doing” more - living more. My idea of “living it” was witnessing, and serving, and being, and doing and I expected to hear marvelous stories from the girls and those joining in the challenge of experiences they would have of God using them in amazing situations. {Looking back now I think my “Martha” tendencies were peeking out again!}

 All that happened, but… God changed me on the inside more than anything tangible I could have done on my own to show off at the end of the year. :)

What He was trying to teach me this year wasn’t in the doing more, it was in the resting more. Which completely sounds the opposite of “living it” doesn’t it?

This year turned out to be about so much more than I expected. It was healing.
It was more of Him and getting to know Him all over again. In having a relationship with the Lover of my soul. :)

It was being still.
It was knowing that it’s more than enough.
And it was in the call to love in the simple things.

It was seeing myself through His eyes… not through my own, and certainly not through the world’s eyes. Accepting me, for me and knowing He is continuing to make me more like Himself everyday, and will not fail in that. He is faithful in all things.

It was grace living, not works living.

Living in His grace day by day allows each of us to truly live for Him as we desire to do. Grace is the beginning and the ending to everything Christ has done for us and we cannot follow in His steps without first acknowledging how much His grace empowers us to love and live each day.

It isn’t “Live It”, but living in it. 
…Living in Him.  

Living in His merciful, boundless grace.

ButGod, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

~ Ephesians 2:8-9 ~

May the Lord bless each of you and keep you as we enter a new year… who knows what God will have for us to learn and experience in 2014!

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(Never) A Day Without

…Do you ever forget that though? I know I certainly do! It’s so easy to go about my day-to-day activities and forget how much He loves me. I go about my normal routines, chat with my friends, work alongside my family, and try not to get into too much trouble. ;) When something unexpected happens…anything from a water leak to a forgotten post to write…I handle it on my own, because after all, I can do this!

If I’m worried, I’ll pray… but with a desire more for the struggles to be over than in seeking His counsel or His will to be done in my life.

If I’m overwhelmed with the busyness of my to-do list… I don’t stop to reflect on His peace.

 It’s well past lunch time and then I remember… have I had my devotions today? Has my attitude been loving and kind and how I know Christ would want me to act? Have I been focusing on Him, or only on myself? Why is it that He’s so mindful of me…yet I’m not mindful of Him?

As this topic came up, I pondered it a great deal. What would I write about? What thing would I choose to go without for a day - internet, facebook, movies, fiction books? All good choices, but nothing seemed important enough of a challenge for me personally. The more I thought about going without, the more I realized how much I really am blessed with.

Really think for a moment; do you go without food, or shelter, or clothing? Mostly, no. There are, of course, times we can’t get the cute new pair of shoes we want, or can’t go out for pizza this week, but at the end of the day we’re provided for. More than that, as God’s children, we have the Holy Spirit within us, God’s grace every day, and the Lord’s hand on our lives every moment. Now that’s something to be thankful for!

For each new day we never have to face it alone, because God is with us.

And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” - Matthew 28:20 NIV

“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  - Hebrews 13:5 ESV

God always provides for our daily needs, whatever they may be - food and shelter, grace, and peace. He’s promised, and He never breaks His word.

And that’s why I keep singing.

Because, you see, I never have to go one single day without Him. 

And neither will you if you’re His child.

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Grace, When I Forget

When I forget to live it,  
there is always God’s grace.

Grace, when I’m too hard on myself.

Grace, when I’m not hard enough…

Everyday I see it; everyday I need it.

This summer I’ve been reading Andy Stanley’s “The Grace of God” and truly it’s been one of the most beautiful books on the subject I think I’ve had the pleasure of reading yet in my life. He shared that God’s amazing grace is woven throughout every page of His precious Word…did you know that?

From beginning to end every story in God’s Word is covered with His grace again and again. Take a moment and think about it. Take your favorite Bible story: David with Bathsheba, Jonah running from God’s call, Martha and her mixed up priorities; each one found forgiveness and grace when they forgot to live and walk they way we’re called to.

 But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” {Romans 5:20, ESV}
This year was meant to be so much more than how I’ve seen it played out. I haven’t stuck to my goals as much as I wanted to. And I still see in myself so many attitudes and actions that need fixing. That’s why God inserts a “but” in Scripture… because if He hadn’t interceded for us, we’d be in a sorry state indeed.

 When I fail Him once again, when I forget what living it looks like, or when all I can see are my faults…His grace is always there. He’s always ready to set me back on the straight path again with love and forgiveness. With God there’s always hope for the sinner.

The death He payed for our sins long ago on the cross also payed for the mistakes we now make, and the ones we’ll make in the future. We’re not perfect, and He doesn’t expect us to be. Yet He still chooses to use us, and our mistakes, for His glorious purposes.

 
 If this year you’ve felt discouraged by how little you’ve “lived it”, take heart, dear girl! The God who forgave Jonah, David, Martha, and Peter is ready to forgive you, and ready to make you like new again. His mercies and grace are new each day, and He’s working on making you like new in each day too. Have a little patience with yourself and keep working and living it!

But if you forget, His grace will be there for you again tomorrow.
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A Change, To Live

“Ye shall walk in all the ways 
which the Lord your God hath commanded you, 
that ye may live, and that it may be well with you…”
~ Deuteronomy 5:33 ~
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Finding the Significance in the Ordinary

Everyone has a story.

Each person is uniquely created by God. You and I have our own talents and personalities, our family’s are uniquely fitted to us, and the way our lives play out will not be the same, though we may have similarities between us.

I’ve always enjoyed history; learning about far-off places and people from another time…the fashions, the stories, the era, the society, the politics. Most especially the character of each individual and how their unique story attributes to their growth. Abraham Lincoln and Corrie Ten Boom, Betsy Ross, Laura Ingall’s Wilder, and Helen Keller; heroes of our country or of faith, all instill in me a desire for a greater purpose with my life.

But my life in comparison to their seemingly extraordinary lifestyles…?

Me/Rachel: stay-at-home daughter of 27, living at home, blogger, homemaker-in-training. A great reader (wasn’t that obvious?), and proficient baker. 

Wow. That was exciting wasn’t it? ;)

One thing I’ve learned is, 
it takes a closer examining of our lives 
to see God’s extraordinary plans for us.

On the outside, my days seem filled with the ordinary. A stay-at-home daughter, I unload and load the dishes into the dishwasher each day, meals need to be fixed for a hungry family, and there’s always laundry to be done, it seems. Then it’s off to “work” - blog posts, encouraging as many sisters in the Lord as He brings my way that day, reading to further my character, Bible study to further my relationship with my Saviour; in between are the chats with family and friends as we each go about our day. Usually there is also time for Pinteresting and crafting in the evenings before I head off to bed. :)

Mixed in with all that “ordinary”, 
I find my purpose. My calling.

It is here He wants me to be, at least for the time being. My task is to be usable and available for His master plan, whether that be talking with a weary, teary-eyed sister in Christ, or listening to her jubilant raptures of the exciting things He’s doing in her life.

Other day’s it’s serving my family and tidying up after messes I didn’t make, or baking up a special treat to bless and bring them some joy. Or maybe just a hug to remind them I love them. :)

David was just a shepherd boy, the youngest in a long line of older brothers. Yet, didn’t God help him slay the giant with only a stone, defeat mighty armies, and hide from a vengeful king? Wasn’t it this same Mighty God who told the prophet Samuel, “This is the guy I’m going to make king over all of Israel someday”?

Over and over the history of the Bible teaches me that God has an extraordinary destiny for each of us. But it may just start off with the humble beginning’s of a willing and obedient heart.

If you have a desire to be used by God in the ordinary of your day-to-day life, pray and ask Him to help you be willing, and to be obedient and faithful in the little things He’s calling you to right now.


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Spread Some Kindness!

 The next two weeks we’re doing something fun here on the blog! We’ll be spreading cheer by doing random acts of kindness all over the country right where we live.

 Kindness is a fruit of the spirit, and as Christians we are called to show love, mercy, generosity, gentleness, and to lift the burdens of those around us. By caring and giving we can make an impact on the lives of people anywhere we are!

Get Started!

 You can do a lot of just a little, you can do something really big or simply share that beautiful smile all day long. Have fun and see where God may be calling you to share some love and joy this week.

Need Idea’s?

  •  Practice kindness everyday…here’s some thoughts. All it takes is a smile and a kind word and a thoughtful heart.
  •  26 Acts of Kindness: some very good idea’s and I love the printout she made up that went with her “gift” to pass it on!
  • Leave especially nice comments on some of your favorite blogs to encourage and thank them.
  • RACK on your own family! Tidy the house for mom, leave a little note for your sis, phone grandma and tell her how much she means to you.

    These are only idea’s…get creative and see how God can use you in little ways in your area to be a light for Him! We’ll be sharing our stories in the next two weeks so come back to see how we shared some kindness.

     If you participate with us these next two weeks, then we’d love to hear your story and idea’s you had to spread kindness in your neck of the woods in a guest post!

     ~*~

    Here is a free image we made for you to printout, if you’d like to use it with a small gift or to write a note of encouragement on the back!

    “It’s not having much that makes you rich — it’s the giving much that makes you rich.” ~ Ann Voskamp
    ***

    We’re so excited & hope you’ll join us!
    ~The MOHL Ladies~

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    Daring Faith

         Have you met my friend Rachelle? From the day we met her joining our little band of MOHL-er’s she’s been inspiring me to be daring…just like her little blog declares. :) Or perhaps you’ve met Sarah? She too is daring as she plunges into the world of authorship, and occasionally likes to dream up big schemes like meeting up half way across the country so we can see each other. I have been blessed and surrounded by many daring girls through this blog and in my friendships. But me, daring? Never.


    “We are a quiet set of people, 
    more disposed to staying at home.”
    ~ Jane Austen’s Emma
         I always have considered myself a mousy sort of person. Ever since I was young I’ve been content to be at home…never had any daring dreams of seeing the world, or of doing or being anything greater than what I am. I actually like myself that way too, for the most part. :)
         What in my life has been daring for God, I’ve been wondering. Just as in everything else this year, I see His hand in the little things and those everyday choices…
    * Daring to trust in the Mighty One’s provision for my daily needs.

    * Daring to live fully right where I am, today.

    * Daring to rest in His presence, when the world says “Go” and handle it myself.
    * Daring to dream dreams that are bigger than myself (and again trusting that God will fulfil them).
    * Daring to pray with a heart that does not doubt the God of the Impossible. :)

         My summer has been a lot about daring faith. When there are obstacles in your life, whatever they may be, you have a choice to trust and have faith in God, or you can choose to allow doubt to seep it’s way in. Sadly, I’ve been doing more of the latter until about a week ago. Finally I’d had enough. I asked my friends to pray for me and my family; I got down on my knees in prayer seeking God’s help; and I let go of my expectations and my wants with a confidence that the Lord would see me through without my finagling. And you know what happened? I had peace! And I - or rather the Holy Spirit - has finally been able to send that dark cloud of doubt away.

    Daring faith begins with daring prayer. 
    Daring living, begins with daring faith.
         Faith is the foundation of our Christianity. Without that we are incapable of living it in anything (Hebrews 11:6). If you want to be daring in life, begin with having a daring faith, my sisters, and take God at His word {because His Word is truth!}. It will take you places you never thought you could go before…

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    ~ The Blessings Jar ~


    In my room sits a little jar.

    In this jar there are little blessings.

    Take them out one by one and you can see the seemingly insignificant ways God has blessed me this year.

    “Long talks with daddy.”

    “A mother’s sweet love and care.”

    “Thankful for Your love, Lord. You always have Your eye on me - I am not forgotten. *El Roi - the God who Sees*.”

    “Long chats with friends.”

    “Snow-covered mornings reminding me of God’s forgiveness.”

    Countless times a day God says, “I love you.” But I don’t hear Him.
    I’m too busy.
    I have my own agenda.

    Taking a moment to write down these little everyday blessings has been a reminder of His love and care over me. It’s the one goal I made for my live-it year.

    I’m not always faithful in writing these jar-blessings, but seeing my little jar sitting in my room has been a beautiful, tangible way to remember that God is at work in my life. My blessings are my stones of remembrance (Joshua 4:1-24). Because you know…sometimes I forget how good He is!

    This year and this challenge were not what I expected. It never is, is it. God has His own plans and His own ways and I don’t always understand them. But one thing He’s taught me is to look for the blessings when life gets hardest. By choosing to see the little everyday joys it’s a little bit harder to grow discouraged, isn’t it? Again, if I’m being real and honest, this isn’t accomplished easily, but it’s well worth the effort.

    And that’s one more thing I’m so thankful for, because when I fail and make mistakes, and my Martha-can-do-attitude abandons me in fear and all I can see is how I don’t measure up, it’s nice to see He doesn’t fail me. His mercies are always new every morning.

    So each day I have something to look forward to. :)


    To God be the glory, 
    Great things He hath done”

    ~*~

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    "The Love He Has For You"

     
     
    “The Love He Has For You”
    by: Point of Grace
    When you’re torn between today and tomorrow
    And holding out for something you cannot see
    There’s a strength you can find
    Knowing in God’s own time
    You’ll discover what He meant to be
    ‘Cause love like the Father intended
    Is more that just a state of the heart
    So don’t give up hope on the holding on
    ‘Cause no matter who you are.
    There’s a love He has for you
    There’s a heart He’s been saving
    There’s a joy beyond all measure
    That only comes from waiting
    There’s a love He has for you
    It’s more than the hope you’re holding to
    And you will find the only love that’s true
    Is the love He has for you.

    I hope that maybe you were encouraged a little bit by this song to not lose hope and faith in the God of the universe and His perfect plan, ways and timing when it comes to dating/courtship, marriage and meeting your future husband. Do not settle for anything less than His best for you.

    I hope y’all have a blessed week.
    Patiently waiting,
    Libby

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    I Will SING!

    “Come, let us sing unto the Lord:
    Let us make a joyful noise 
    to the rock of our salvation.

    O sing unto the Lord a new song: 
    sing unto the Lord, all the earth.
    Let the heavens rejoice,
    and the earth be glad…

    The Lord reigneth; 
    let the earth rejoice!”
    {Selected passages from Psalms 95-97}
    ~*~

    I’ve been singing since I was a little girl…

    My parents instilled in me a love of singing and of music and I grew up singing as I worked on my chores or craft projects, riding in the car…you name it.

    However, the “doom and gloom” of growing up, or hardship and suffering in the midst of trials, has somewhat dimmed my joy of singing out loud in the last few years. I realized that by letting my heart and my thoughts ponder on my predicaments frequently, instead of rejoicing in my great God, that I don’t sing like I used to. I allowed my trials to discourage me so much that I lost my “joy of the Lord” for a time, and in losing that I didn’t feel like singing - maybe I didn’t feel I had a reason to sing anymore (ever felt that way before?).

    “The heavens declare the glory of God” - if the earth and the heavens are doing their job in praising the Lord then so shall I! Who wants to sit and mope when there is so much “scope for the imagination” (to quote the Anne girl)?

    There’s music in the sighing of a reed;
    There’s music in the gushing of a rill;
    There’s music in all things, if men had ears:
    Their earth is but an echo of the spheres.

    ~Lord Byron

    What kind of testimony am I being to the lost if I hang my head and grumble and complain? No matter what happens, God still reigns, His proof is in the times and seasons and His care in each little rosebud and daffodil. I want to sing, rejoice, and revel in the glory that God has created for us to enjoy! I want to shout out loud in praise that God reigns in my life! And, I want others to know why I have this reason to sing.

    So I say to you, NEVER stop singing. Never cease to praise the Lord, singing it out loud, no matter what you are going through. The Lord is with you and there is no need to worry or fear or fret - keep singing till the day is done.

    ~*~

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