Words At A Halt, So I’ll Just Hug


In my life I have one particular small group of girlfriends that I like to think of as my “prayer-go-to-gals.”  They are the first ones I think of when I am in need of a prayer, which by the the way is often.  Whether it’s a joy to celebrate or a struggle of uncertainty, they have my back.  I know without a doubt they will pray.  Whether they do it during their daily devotions or at that very moment real quick-like, I can count on them.  As I hope they know they can with me.

http://www.chaosandlove.com

In this group, I was the first to lose both my parents, not exactly something I wanted to be first place in but hey, someone has to be first!  These ladies rallied behind me, allowed me to write long posts and fervently prayed.  Now as one of the other ladies is in the midst of going through the first days of losing her mother I find myself empathizing.

The thing is although I’ve walked through familiar territory I can’t find the words.  The words that let her know I understand.  The feelings inside me aren’t of me missing my parents necessarily it’s more of wanting to “care for” and almost protect my friend.  No two people are alike and her situation is different but there are similarities.  Mostly just the act of having a parent die.  I’ve seen a glimpse of the road that lies ahead.

I want my friend to know that even though I may not say many words I am praying.  I also have ears open to listen or eyes to read texts and my mouth will be shut.  And if she needs a bag of chips, a jar of salsa, a pepsi, and/or a snickers bar I’m her gal!  I’m only a text away and I deliver!

If you find yourself in the midst of not knowing what to say to someone, just hug.  As you hug, say a quick prayer.  That’s what I did last night.  God bless you my friend.

Julie

There Was One, Then Two, Now What


Having two blogs is somewhat of a struggle these days.  I’ve tried to ignore it and hope no one noticed the lack of writing on one or the other.  The guilt is setting in a decision is upon the horizon I do believe.

There Was One, Then Two, Now What

See, I created Pushing Forward with Grace for a writing experiment and it became a spiritual and journal type of thing for me.  I love writing over here as it gives me a place to express myself and inspire others.   This helps with not driving my husband too batty with all my dramatic talking too! 🙂   I need an outlet for processing you know!

In Between the Sunsets of Life was created to share our farm experiences, kitchen fun, and a family type blog.  I basically moved my faith journey and inspirational posts to PFWG blog when it was created.

I have contemplated combining them but can not get myself to commit.  I even have a new name for the combined blog but feel like I am letting go of something substantial if I make a change.  My concern is that those that enjoy my farm side blog will not choose to continue to follow and vice versa for those here at Grace.  If only there was a way to know how to find a balance and know the right choice!

I am somewhat embarrassed at myself  for  struggling with such a non-important issue.  I mean really, it’s not like I do not have more important things to take care of!  But these blogs are a creation of me.  I took a risk when I clicked publish on that first post in 2012 and then again in 2014 and I’m a better person because I did it (twice)!   I have grown as an individual, became a better writer, and am not as scared to share my true thoughts on subjects now.  My dream is to only inspire and help others.  If my tribulation or joys bring inspiration or help, then the time I have put into these blogs is well worth it.

My life is becoming a tad hectic once again so it is time to step back and get organized.  I need to declutter or “rest” as God spoke to me from the bible study this morning. (I love how He does that!)  Too many activities, new part-time job, and being the mom and wife I want to be is becoming stressful.  Time to regroup!

So the question is, do I combine the two, create a new blog, or continue to feel guilty for not writing as much on one or the other?  Do I eliminate one all together?  Please say a little prayer of guidance on this subject for me today if you don’t mind.  You can also offer your advice, I’m willing to listen/read it!

Thanks so much!

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Wandering Are We?


Azalea

 

I found another little gift while sifting through old emails.  I had sent my baptismal birthday date to myself when I researched it a couple of years ago.  I knew it was in June and the year but wasn’t real sure of the actual date.

June 26, 1994. I can recall the church, the waters, and who joined us in this important event.  I was 23 years old and had two small children.  I had been attending a church of different denomination as now and was led there by friends/neighbors. I am grateful for them and the journey since then.

For a moment I am going to jump to the present, 21 years later.  As I sat in Sunday school recently I had an aha moment you might say.  I looked at my husband and he smiled, knowing something was really going on in this brain of mine!  A teeny tiny bit of me is embarrassed to write about it but I feel I must!

The aha moment was:

In my baptism I was given the ability to hear the Word of God.

Yep, that’s it.  All these years and on this day in 2015 it just ignites something within me! Go figure! So I want to dedicate this post to igniting it in others!

Back in 1994, I was a believing Christian and I was on the right path.  I just wasn’t in full understanding of what was given to me with the gift of baptism.  I wasn’t as dedicated I guess, perhaps lack of support, or possibly my young age might have had something to do with it.

As I have said before, I can recall in my childhood feeling like something was missing.  Something that would help in my life, that substance that would give strength, and not be so lonely. My desire to know the Lord (I feel) began long before my baptism and yet I didn’t excel when accepting the gift God has offered for all.  I wonder why that is?  I’m sure sin had something to do with it.  The distractions of this world, the things I thought were important, looking back not so important now.

Today I am still far from placing God where he should be on a daily basis but I am making a strong effort to do just that in my life.  Even the difficult days are not as hard because I’ve grown my knowledge of the Word in the past couple years, attend church worship, fellowship with others of faith, and pray often.  It’s not easy, life still has those distractions and those selfish moments.  Building around me a life where I am reminded of God’s glory helps. I want to let others in on that, how it really does make a difference!

I know that my faith isn’t to be about feelings.  I know I am to fear, love, and trust God above all things. I am to encourage others and help them, I am to continue to learn myself as well.  I am to live by the Law and the Gospel. Not one or the other but both.

Today’s post is one to encourage those of you that might be wandering.  It’s not about me tooting my own accomplishments or telling my story to hear about myself.  It’s about letting others know that no matter where you are in you life there is still opportunity for you.  There is still the gift to be accepted, you can’t earn it, you can’t buy it, you can’t ask for it.  It’s ours, it’s yours.

Whether you find yourself wandering away from the faith you were raised in, wandering away from the action of daily devotion, wandering to surround yourself with things that aren’t quite right in the eyes of God, or wandering away from the church you once felt support. Or wandering to find that “missing piece” in your life.  Whatever the reason or excuse you have know that you can find what you need in Christ.  I hope you will this opportunity to start again or anew.  To find the way to the place of strength, guidance, friendship, support, encouragement, and so much more.

This begins with accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior.

Let’s pray.

God Almighty,

We thank you for the times You have given us strength and we didn’t realize it came from You.  We thank you for the opportunities of joy and love that only came from You.  We praise you and look to the day we can join you fully.

At this time Lord we ask that you send the Spirit to guide those that aren’t quite sure, that are feeling in a rut in their spiritual life, or wandering away from Your gracious love.  May they be surrounded by others that will reach out and help them find their way to You.  That we may all open our hearts and minds to allow You to guide us.  Where ever we are wandering may be move towards only You.

Thank you for all that You have so freely given.  In Jesus name, Amen

 

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Thoughts Upon the Mind, Prayers Made


There’s someone that was ever present on my mind the other day. It was not just a quick moment of them crossing my mind but throughout that day she kept coming to mind.

It is not someone that I see often or even do things with, but someone I admire from afar. This lady has strength and she brings a quiet strength to the present.

I decided to let her know I had been thinking of you and praying throughout the day for her. Even though I had no idea what I was praying for I did it. I sent her a message and she replied. She was grateful for the prayers and she shared with me what she had endured that very day.

I could have easily ignored the feelings that kept popping up throughout my day.  I could have brushed them off or was too busy to pray. I am glad I did not, for she needed prayers.

I am sharing this with you because I know the power of prayer does a lot.  I know that even when things are good people still need prayers.  I know that if someone told me I came to mind and they prayed for me it would mean more than any material gift they could have brought me.

So my friends, if someone crosses your mind, just throw up a small (or large) prayer for them.  You may never know what difference your prayer made, but let us not miss our opportunity to provide for others.

Today, I pray for you.

Gracious Father,

I come to you today a humble individual that feels so fortunate to know the truth. I am blessed by the gift you provided for all of us. Today I lift to you, for whatever reason they are needing it, my readers. The ones that find inspiration, strength, help, and laughter right here. I pray they feel your grace and will for their lives. May they open their hearts and minds to you and allow the Spirit to take them to their destination. May they be protected from evil and guarded always. We praise you and thank you.

In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

John 1427

Praying for My Children – Simple or Complex


I pray for my children (and their families) on a daily basis. Sometimes more than once in a day. Normally it is a simple prayer, kinda generic on occasion, but I still say it.  If they have something happening in their lives I will be more forthcoming to the Lord, but most of the time it is just simple.

I list my children’s names and I say  ” may they come closer to you verses farther away.”

Simple because I know that if they are close to God, their lives will be better for it.

Although I still believe God knows what lies on my heart for my children and that the simple prayer I state will work I have something new to use.   I want to share it with you just as it was shared with me at a recent women’s meeting I attended.  The speaker stated that she uses this particular section of the bible to pray for her family.  I love it.  It’s beautiful.

Ephesians 3 16 21

I hope you share it too.  With a friend, a stranger, on your social media page, or just with your family.  It’s a lovely way to lift up others in prayer.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Daily Embrace


It’s like the big comfy chair you can fall into after a long day or the worn out softened by so much wear sweatshirt.  The first drink of your favorite warm beverage or nibble of your tastiest chocolate morsel.

That’s what the daily embrace of our Savior’s love is like.

It’s the feeling of calm in the storm of difficult moments and the embrace of another just holding you for there’s no words to be said.  The hand that holds our shaking one and the whisper of sweet nothings on a darkened mood.

That’s what the daily embrace of our Savior’s love is like.

The giggles of youngsters and sweet singing of toddlers of God’s glory or children’s moments that get sidetracked.  The times when you hear babies crying in worship or the littlest ones jabbering during the sermon.

That’s what the daily embrace of our Savior’s love is like.

In the midst of a bible study when you recall the story before it’s spoken just by hearing the book and chapter.  The open heart of another in group sharing the deepest things with those present and trusting us with all they have.  Prayers at the end heads bowed and hearts lifting in unison.

That’s what the daily embrace of our Savior’s love is like.

The steps to the alter, bowing to the One True God, partaking of his body and blood.  Feeling the love, grace, and mercy of what He has given so freely and rejoicing while stepping away for the forgiveness is mine.

That’s what the daily embrace of our Savior’s love is like.

So many more moments I could go on, but for now I will close.  Close your eyes,  and accept the embrace of the gift of our Savior on this day.

Grace is  a gift,

Julie

 

Crankiness of a Christian


This past week I have not been a very kind person in my household.  I have been crabby, irritable, quick-tempered, and just plain ol’ not fun to be around!  When something would occur that I didn’t plan or hope for or was asked to participate in I was quick to say things that were nothing remotely close to nice.

I could blame it on the lack of sleep I have gotten due to daylight savings, or the dog barking at coyotes, or phone calls when I had just fallen asleep.  But none of these are really good excuses.  They may be factors but they are not good enough reasons for me to treat the ones I love the most like crap. My husband should have put me in timeout away from people!

On Tuesday I prayed during my devotion time what I thought was pretty hard asking God to help me rid of this crankiness and change my attitude. He began working in me I could tell because throughout that day I found pleasure, joy, and peace. But as evening came closer the crankiness resurfaced.  Snipping at my spouse, no patience with the six-year-old, etc.   I needed something to smack me upside the head!

Then on Wednesday I awoke and felt better rested.  I had gained the sleep I needed and would be able to walk 3 times I hoped.  (That really does help my mentality folks!)

As you know from my Weight-less Wednesday’s posts, I jump on the scale on that day!  Yes I had a weight-loss but I was disappointed it was less than a pound. After a bit of sulking I told myself it was still a loss and that I couldn’t do my regular walking routine the past week.  I think some of the disappointment was I had really stuck to watching my calorie intake and the result wasn’t much.  Then I told myself that it was probably a little water weight gain cause of the two turkey hot dogs and tater tots I ate for supper the night before! 😉 Yes I really do say these things in my head.

Luckily I felt myself relax even more as I drove my daughter to school and it felt great to be able to walk for 20 minutes!  My mind was good and I was on a change for the better!  I came home to do my daily devotion time and found the scripture so very inviting.  The Portals of Prayer that went with it was just the medicine I needed!

Matthew 11: 25-30 

Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest

25 At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.7 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

By the time I finished my prayer time I found myself feeling throughout my entire body very good.  As a sinful being it is hard to remember to stop, think, and separate myself when I’m not so lovely.  My place to find rest is in the Lord.  Perhaps I should teach my spouse and daughter to just say “Matthew 11:25-30” when I am not being kind.  That will be a good reminder for me don’t you think?

I asked for forgiveness and did receive it.  You have this gift as well from the Lord that offered so much to all of us.  If you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior I invite you to.  Your life will become more than you imagined it could be.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

pushingforwardwith grace flower

Night Prayer


Dear Lord,

As I prepare to find my way to my pillow for rest, I thank you for the provisions of today you offered me and my family.

The opportunities you blessed me with and the strength to move forward I owe all to you. No other could give me that.

As I lay down to sleep I pray for a peaceful rest, not only for myself but others as well. May we all allow you to encompass our hearts and minds to lead us to calmness.

I lift to you so many that lay on my heart. Only you know what is best for them and me. May we all allow you to set forth your work in us through the Holy Spirit.

I need forgiveness my Lord, for the things I know and do not know I do in sin. I lay them at your feet. Only through your Son may I be forgiven. Thanks be to you for that gift.

Oh Holy One I praise you through song and word and know I am lucky for you love me deeply.

In Jesus Name,
Amen

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Just a Prayer Today


Today I am only writing a simple prayer.  For one and all.  It’s a day of rest and solitude I feel.  It’s needed.

Heavenly Father,

I come to you in awe of the things you have laid before me and others.  These things bring so much strength and opportunity to our lives.  I praise you and worship for I know all comes from You and no other will ever be as great as You.  May we take what you offer and use it to our best ability to be a reflection of your love, mercy, and grace.

Lord at this time I lift to you the ones that are struggling, hurting, grieving a loved one, addicted, unsure of life, and feeling alone.  The homeless, the sad, the stricken, the weak, the little ones that have no say, and the ones that have evil win out.  May they feel your embrace and allow You to take over.  That You are able to use the Holy Spirit to help them and that they continue even when it’s hard.

Rejoicing with those that are new parents, new life created, and those full of joys.  The ones that live life and are content with what they have and offer to others what they can not afford.  May they be led by You each and every day and continue your work.

When all are weak, You are strong.  May we remember and rejoice in those words.  Please take the things that are in our lives that are taking us away from Your presence.  May we stick with you in good and bad and call on you daily in prayer.

Please forgive the sins we have committed although we are not worthy of forgiveness.   The ones we recall and the ones we do not know we have already committed.

Thanks be to you O Lord, for you are good.  Thank you for the life we have, the opportunities given through you, and the grace to share with others.

In Jesus Name I Pray,

Amen.

 

 

 

Grace is  a gift,

Julie

 

Prayer Partners


The feeling of knowing someone is regularly praying for me brings me much peace.  I have several friends that if I ask them to pray for me they will.  But there’s something reassuring about knowing that one individual person in this big ol’ world is specifically taking time to pray for me and my family.

At the end of each year, my Lutheran Women’s Mission League has a drawing.  Each lady is given a another member’s name to pray for each year. You can remember them in other ways as well, with cards and gifts on special days in their lives. But the one I like best is the one where no matter what, someone has my back via praying.

It brings me a sense of not only peace but protection.  I also have someone to pray for each year from this group.  Praying specifically for another one of these ladies brings me a sense of responsiblity and a feeling of being needed.  The other person doesn’t know I am praying for them, only that someone is.

Come December the names will become known and new ones will be given.  With the new year here, I have begun  prayers for this woman of faith.  If you do not have a prayer partner, I highly recommend it.  To find someone to deligently pray for you and vice versa.  It will bring you both an accountability and inspiration.

Grace is a gift,

Julie