Saturday, October 31, 2015

What 31 Stories of God's Grace Have Taught Me

Well here we are friends....Day 31 of the Write 31 Days challenge. Last year was the first time that I participated in this challenge and I never imagined the ways it would bless me; new friends, an amazing community and so much more. And this year was no different. I was blessed by participating again. I met many wonderful new bloggers and continued to be blessed by blog friends who I met last year through the challenge. This community is a community that blesses me each and every day.

This year my series, of course, was 31 Stories of God's Grace. Throughout my series, I shared stories of my own life, had friends share grace stories from their own lives and even managed to write about grace and bacon (Not exactly sure how I mustered up the ability to write a somewhat cohesive post but I did) I have learned and relearned so much about grace this month.

I have been reminded that what I often think is not a very graced filled life is actually very grace-filled. I learned that when I am at my weakest, yearning daily for God to answer my deepest desires, God is there right alongside me or sends individuals to walk with me when God cannot be there--God's grace in my midst. I have learned that by sharing these stories of God's grace, we can make an often invisible God become visible to the world around us.

Again and again throughout these 31 days, I have been reminded that God's grace always prevails; God's grace is always and ever enough! In fact, the truth is that we are all sinners in need of God's grace. May we never take that grace for granted!

"For it is by grace through faith that you have been saved, it is not your own doing but a gift of God"----Ephesians 2:8 (New Revised Standard Version)

I hope that you too have been reminded of that promise throughout these 31 days; that grace is this beautiful unmerited gift that is not wrapped in an elegant bow but rather is simply set out on the table for us to receive it. I also hope and pray that these dear stories of God's grace don't leave you where they found you but bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

Thank you for journeying with me over these last 31 days. It has been such a joy to share these sweet grace-filled stories with all of you. May grace reign down on all of YOU, my dear readers and friends!

"Now God has us where God wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust in him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role! If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. God creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."--Ephesians 2:7-10 (The Message)

Grace by Phil Wickham (I never heard this song before tonight. 
It seems so fitting for the ending of my series)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

You're Just Going to Have to Give Me Grace, Friends!!

This is Day 30 of 31 in my Write 31 Days series: 31 Stories of God's Grace. I also am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "Bacon."  (Yes you read that right!) Write for five minutes; unedited.

Friends, I am sorry but you are just going to have to extend grace to me tonight. Throughout the 31 days of October, I have left my Fridays open so that my series and the FMF prompt would work together. But tonight I am at a loss,friends...tonight's prompt of all things is BACON!

Now I'm not someone who hates bacon. In fact, I rather enjoy bacon, but I am not sure how I can tie together grace and BACON! I could write about how we say grace before we eat a meal...before we eat some bacon. "Come Lord Jesus be our guest, let this "bacon" to us be blessed." I could write about how bacon is a gift of grace when we are trying to eat healthy. Sometimes you just have to sidestep and indulge in something unhealthy.

But that seems a little far fetched, so tonight, I am asking you, my readers and friends to extend that grace that I have been talking about all this month. A grace that is always given to us by God and is always and ever enough! Have my 31 Stories of God's grace blessed you and changed you? Will they help you more freely offer grace to others...like me tonight? I hope and pray that is so.

So I am going to continue this post by sharing some of my thoughts about BACON. I am a girl whose mother often made breakfast for dinner which we later dubbed "brinner." A yummy brinner would include some yummy scrambled eggs, a piece of toast, and some super crispy bacon.

I also love BLT's! They are one of my favorite things in the summer months. There is something so incredibly tasty as I bite into that sandwich with its juicy tomatoes dribbling down my chin and  crispy bacon that crunches as I bite into that sandwich. (I seriously am licking my lips and craving a dedicant BLT now!)

So, may you enjoy some bacon this week (and the next time you eat some bacon, remember this Five Minute Friday prompt in the midst of my 31 Days series and how we need to extend grace to one another!)

The Unlikely Suspects

Mary was chosen to give birth to the Christ child.
Sarah gave birth to a son at a very old age.
Noah was chosen to build the ark.
David was chosen to fight Goliath.

These are only a few of the stories that I think of when I reflect on God's grace in the Bible. There are so many more stories that embody what it means to be blessed by God's grace. And, like these characters in the Bible, God chooses us too. God often chooses the most unlikely of people to receive God's grace.

I never imagined that I would be the one to attend seminary. But God saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. And placed professors, advisors and friends who continually graced me with God's grace.

I wouldn't have worked at SuperAwesomeBibleCamp for seven summers if God hadn't shown grace to the camp director who hired me.

God's grace again and again has a way of showing up in the most unlikeliest of people and in the most unlikeliest of places. As a single 37 year old, I cannot even begin to imagine the emotions Mary felt when she was told she would give birth to the Christ child. Yet she fulfilled God's call for her life. And I will bet the minute she held her infant Son in her arms, she was overcome with great emotion and love; trusting in the gift of God's grace for her family and especially for her newborn Son.

David was in not so many words the runt of the litter. Yet God chose him. David fought Goliath and even won! Another example of the mighty power of God's grace in our lives. God's grace doesn't ever leave us where it found us! It is a gift that is always placed on the table for us to receive.

Through these Bible stories and through the stories in our own lives, I believe that we can begin to see a glimpse of God's grace even in the midst of our own darkness.  We began to show the visibility of a sometimes invisible God. I am reminded of these words from Paul Tripp that I shared in a blog post in September titled The Visibility of God's Grace. Tripp writes: "I think my job is to make the grace of an invisible God, visible, wherever I am!"

Because I have received this gift in my own life and seen the power of this grace in my own life, I will continue to show it others so that together we may see the visibility of God's grace in our own lives and on our own journeys of faith.


LAST CHANCE FRIENDS!! (Giveaway deadline is October 30th) DaySpring is celebrating all the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2000 writers this month. To enter to win a chance for a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, click here! Good luck and thanks so much for reading.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Grace and Morning Calamities

According to Miriam-Wesbter's dictionary, grace is defined as "unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; a virture coming from God; or a state of sanctification."

This morning I am especially thankful for God's grace! Last night, when I was walking home from work, I noticed that my driver's side tire looked rather low. This morning I had an appointment to be at one of our local television stations to film some "Lutheran Moments." (We all take turns doing these) Before heading there, I stopped at a near-by auto body shop so they could fill my low tire. They filled them and then came out to tell me that my tire was ready to blow and needed to be repaired. They averaged out the tire pressure on all the tires so I could at least get around town for the day.

On my way back, one of the main roads was being shut down because some house movers were moving a house. The guy stopped me and I rolled down my window to see what he wanted. He told me that the road was shut down because they were moving a house. I pulled off into the nearest business parking lot and waited for them to move the house. But, my driver's side window wouldn't roll back up. It was stuck in the down position. And, of course, there are snow flurries today too!!! So I dropped my car off at the auto body shop to have my window and my tire fixed.

Isn't that the way it works, friends? It always seems to happen in pairs. This morning I am thankful that God's grace allowed me to get around town and not miss out on my appointments. I am thankful that my car is safe even though the window may be stuck in the down position. I am thankful that I was able to get a few errands done before I arrived at the television station.

But I will admit that at first, I was looking awfully hard for God's grace this morning in the midst of these calamities. Yet God always shows up...even in the midst of the chaos.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Not So Graced-Filled Life


"How long, Oh Lord, will you forget me forever? Oh how these words penetrate my heart. I so deeply yearn to be a wife and a mom, but at long last, I am still a single woman. I love my job and my life, yet there is something that I so deeply wish for. It is an area of my life where I always find myself looking for God's grace because this is not at all how I pictured my life.

I scroll through my Facebook feed and read the news of a new birth, a new home, a new engagement, a new marriage.... I will admit that I am extremely happy for these friends and family. Yet my heart hurts so deeply. It is brokenhearted! And there is not enough chocolate to cover the pain of this ache in my heart. I want to hold my own child in my arms. I want to spend my Friday night cuddled up to someone special. But what if that is not the story God has for my life? 

And if that is not the story God has for my life, I have to remember to receive God's grace with open hands. That is not an easy pill to swallow. Yet in all truth, I know that God is finding ways to show God's grace to me. God has a way of showing up in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected people.

Just the other day,  I returned home from a weekend at a youth gathering. In my mailbox, there was bills and other junk mail, but there was also a package wrapped in brown paper packaging that caught my eye. I set the mail down and put away my clothes etc. After opening all of my mail, I finally opened my package. It was a gift from my friend Susan that she got while she was attending Allume. The gift was a book titled "Beautiful Uncertainty: Singleness, Surrender, and Stepping Out on Faith" by Mandy Hale. The book actually is an advanced reader copy. I thought I was going to have to wait for the book to come out, but Susan thought of me and sent this book and sweet note in the inside cover.  Her words "I pray it speaks to your soul" are another gift of God's grace in my life!

There are days in this single life of mine that my life is not so grace-filled at all! I question where God's grace is in the midst of yearning and questioning if God will EVER answer the deepest desires of my heart or if I will have to surrender knowing that this is not the story God has in store for my life. I honestly don't think God would give me these deep desires for so long if they weren't going to be eventually answered in my life. 

The single life can be so lonely. The single life can be so full of waiting and wondering. The single life can be so full of uncertainty. Yet the single life, especially when it feels like it is not so grace-filled, is more grace-filled than I can ever imagine! God has a way of showing me God's grace through one of the hardest seasons of my life. And knowing that, I trust and wait for the gift of grace in the midst of this season of singleness in my life. Yet there are days that is so much easier said than done. No amount of chocolate or peppermint ice cream will make up for God's grace which is always and ever enough! 


Readers, don't forget to register to win a $500 DaySpring shopping Spree. 
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Today I am linking up with some of my favorites: Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, and Holley and Coffee for Your Heart.

 

 

Where is God's Grace?

As I have been sharing the stories of God's grace, many of my blog friends and readers have pointed out to me how God's grace is evident throughout my life and my stories. That may be true. But I want to be 100% honest with you friends. Sometimes I don't always see the evidence of God's grace in my life or in the world. There are many times when I question where God's grace is! I look and look and still cannot always find God's grace.

When the church isn't welcoming to all God's people, I find myself asking "Where is God's grace?"

When another horrific event happens in the news, I again keep asking "Where is God's grace?"

When my friends are battling the darkness of depression and cannot find the light, I continually ask "God, where is your grace?"

When relationships are already broken, I ask again and again "Where is God's grace?"

When I struggled in seminary, I asked "Where is God's grace?"

When my parents divorced, I also asked "Where is God's grace?"

I have a feeling that you do not always see God's grace either. I'll bet each and every one of us has played a game of hide and seek trying to find God's grace in our midst. But the truth is that God's grace is often right in front of our noses and eyes. God's grace is available to all God's people but we can't always see it or find it. Yet God's grace is never beyond any of our reach.

"There is no life so deeply and tragically sinful that it's beyond the reach of God's amazing rescuing grace"--Paul Tripp


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Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Little "Amazing Grace"

One of my favorite hymns is the hymn "Amazing Grace." There is just something so incredibly beautiful and holy about the words to that song. I remember it being played at my Grandpa Sam's funeral. My mom /aunt's cousin had promised Grandpa they would sing it at his funeral, but this cousin couldn't be there so he recorded it and had it sent to us to be played. It was so cool!

I am wiped out today....spent Thurs-yesterday afternoon at a youth gathering. It was fun, but it was tiiiirrriiing! So I am keeping it super short today so I can get in a nap! This isn't the traditional hymn, but it is still one of my faves by my fave Christian band...Jars of Clay! Enjoy my friends!!




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Saturday, October 24, 2015

Extending Grace in Unusual Ways

I am so excited to introduce you to another blog friend; my friend Colleen Mitchell. Colleen is another gift in my life. Colleen and I have Voxed about many of things in our lives. Colleen and her family remind me of what it means to be a servant of Christ. She has a gift with words that always touch my soul. I hope her words today bless you too.

I have spent a lot of time, okay, I have procrastinated a bit, trying to decide what I wanted to share here since Tara invited me to be part of her 31 Days series. As a missionary in Costa Rica, I feel very privileged to always live aware of God’s grace and how it carries us through our days. God’s presence is so tangible to me in so many ways that sometimes it can be hard to articulate it.

In the past few days though, I have been blessed over and over by one of my favorite sounds—the beeping that indicates that a Voxer message is coming through on my phone. (If you don’t know about Voxer, you MUST check it out in the app store and let me know when you have downloaded it.) Hearing that sound brings me joy because I know that it likely means there is a word of encouragement, a prayer, or a just a good talk waiting for me on the other end.

You see, I like to joke that in addition to my missionary life, I have a side ministry—I exercise the ministry of Voxer. In all truth, one of my greatest struggles in our missionary life is loneliness for real community. When that loneliness is really plaguing my heart, it can result in me having a difficult time being fully present to our ministry in Costa Rica. Not because I don’t love it, but because when you are too focused on your own empty places, it can be hard to pour into others.

I long begged God for the grace of real community—friends who would surround me in my faraway home and remind me that I am not alone. I never imagined an app would be the answer. It may be an unusual way to extend and receive grace, but for me, the friends who have reached for me from faraway places and poured into my life through voice and text messages, pictures and prayers are pure grace. They give me the strength and focus I need to keep doing God’s work on a daily basis.

On the flip side, Voxer allows me to be an encourager and cheerleader for women I love and want to support even though I may never get to be part of their real lives in person. There is deep grace in being about to care about what matters to someone you care about. I am renewed by being able to see outside my own life and encourage someone else in her calling. Extending grace allows me to see the rich grace in action in my own life even more.
Perhaps a walkie-talkie app seems a strange way to extend and receive grace. For me, that is all the more proof that it is, in fact, pure grace, God’s hand transforming something seemingly ordinary into something holy and sacred. I get a little glimpse of what heavenly communion looks like through an app called Voxer and the women who reach for me through it. What more do I need to know that God is active and present to me in tender, loving ways? What more do I need to know that His grace is real and gives us all that we need to continue to love him and serve him well?

What unusual way do you extend and receive grace in your life? How does it remind you that you are seen and loved by God?

Colleen Mitchell is a wife, mother to five sons, missionary and writer living in the high mountains of Costa Rica. She serves alongside her family bringing faith, hope and love to communities around the world, and she works out what it means to live the Gospel as an adventure at http://www.blessedarethefeet.com

Friday, October 23, 2015

Joy Comes With The Morning

This is Day 23 of 31 in my Write 31 Days series: 31 Stories of God's Grace. I also am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "Joy." Write for five minutes; unedited.

"Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!" --Psalm 30:5

This has become a  favorite verse in my life. It really began to appear in my life after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. My friend Renee, her husband Ben and Ben's cousin Jon were in Haiti when the earthquake struck. I was in Gettysburg PA as a small group leader for the Diaconal Ministry formation event. Eventually we received the news of Ben's death. My small group was to lead  worship that night we found out Ben had lost his life in the earthquake. As people entered into worship, we had Ben's version of  Psalm 30 playing through the loudspeakers.

Ever since this song has become one of my favorites. It also is such a beautiful joy filled promise! Even in our darkest times, God finds a way to eventually show us light; to show us God's grace at all times and in all places. God's grace shines the light even in the most gut wrenching places. We just can't always see it or find it.

Our lives are full of brokenness, sadness, celebrations, and joy. It is during those times when it feels like it is going to be night forever when God especially offers God's grace. God knows when the morning and that joy will return.

For me, the joy has come in seeing my mom live a joy- filled faith-filled life. The joy has come in seeing a new relationship form where it once was broken. That joy has come in seeing friends finally get pregnant again after trying for so very long. I have seen that joy come in God's grace being offered again and again and again!

If you are feeling like it is a long dark dank night, please know and trust in the promises of Psalm 30. That night soon will come to a close and you will be awakened to God's grace as the sun begins to rise and a beautiful sunrise is spread out for your eyes to see.

"Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning!"--Psalm 30:5

Mourning into Dancing--Ben Larson

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Sometimes Grace is Pain


These words are eloquently beautiful and remind me of the power of God's grace in my own life especially as a daughter of someone who has lived daily with a mental illness. Without our journey, I wouldn't be who God has called me to be. I also wouldn't have been blessed in telling our story to others. Or in the words of Brene Brown, "Loving ourselves through the process of owning our own story is the bravest thing we'll ever do!" (Funny thing since "brave" is my One word 365 for 2015. And another blog friend recently commented to me that she feels that my brave is in telling my/our story)

Our story begins shortly after my sister was born. Mom had a nervous breakdown. Both my sister and I spent lots of time with our grandparents as Mom was treated for her illness. Dad was busy working and earning money to pay for the doctor's bills.

Growing up, it seemed like Mom was in the hospital at least once a year. And so as we grew up, I quickly grew up faster than I should have. When I was almost five and my sister was two, we moved back to North Dakota so my Dad could help his family farm. As I got older, while Dad was farming and when Mom was sick, I had to take care of my sister and I. I grew up really fast! Mom's illness turned our world upside down. Yet when she was well, Mom was the best mom in the world!!! (If you don't believe me, read this post I wrote for my friend Erin's blog)

My sophomore year of high school, my parents divorced. It took a lot of courage for our dad to utter the words "It's not that I don't love your mom anymore. It is that I cannot handle this illness." Looking back now, I see those words as words of grace as they seemed to soften the blow even if just a little. But I will also say that those words of grace tasted awfully bitter rather than sweet that day.

My senior year of college, Mom's lithium level got to high which caused her kidneys to shut down. It was a very scary time. Mom spent several weeks in the ICU of a local hospital. We weren't sure if Mom was going to make it, but she recovered. However that incident aged Mom a lot. She moved into a nursing home and has been living in a nursing home ever since. In fact, my sister and I became her legal guardians when I was attending seminary.

It would be so easy for me to be bitter about Mom's illness. And there was a time I questioned God daily about it. But over the years, I have learned so much from my mom's illness and our journey with a mental illness. I have learned to live each day to the fullest and not take a single day for granted.  I have learned what it means to love and be loved. I have learned that we have a God that, like Jacob did, we can wrestle with throughout the courses of our lives. (If you want to read more about our journey, check out my 2014 Write 31 Days series: Being a Daughter: 31 Days of Mental Illness)

But, most of all, I have learned the power and gift of God's grace in my life and in our life. Mom is one of the most caring, faith-filled women that I know. Her actions continually remind me of the gift of God's grace in my life. We could have lost Mom my senior year of college, but we didn't. We could have kept our story of mental illness locked inside our hearts. But instead by unlocking our story from our hearts, we have been blessed by others and been blessed in return. Most of all, what I have learned is that there is power and grace in telling our stories.



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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Katy Perry and Grace

During these 31 days of October, I have found myself reading quite a few blog posts when I have had time. The other day, I came across a post where someone shared about Katy Perry and her song "By the Grace of God." (I seriously cannot remember where I read this post. Guess that is what I get for reading a lot of posts in one day!) Then my dear friend TM shared about her journey with depression in this post: A Different Experience of Grace. Both of these posts have me reflecting even more on God's sufficient grace. I never thought I would be posting about Katy Perry and grace...but here I am! Guess there is a first time for everything!

I didn't recall hearing Katy Perry's song about grace, so I pulled up YouTube and searched for it. As I listened, I realized that I had heard this song before. But I never realized how powerful the lyrics to this song were until the other day when I was listening to it. Apparently the words to this song are autobiographical which makes them even more haunting. These words also exude a rawness to them;
a rawness to life!

The chorus is as follows: "By the grace of God (there was no other way); I picked myself back up (I knew I had to stay); I put one foot in front of the other and I looked in the mirror and decided to stay; Wasn't gonna let love take me out that way." (For the full lyrics go here)

I have been rereading these words over and over today. I think of our congregation and parents who recently had to lay their daughter to rest. I think of my college friend Chewy who ended his own life. I think of my dear friends who daily battle through the deep darkness of depression. I think of all the wrong choices I have made...as well as the wrong choices others have made too. I think of how God's grace can taste awfully bitter rather than sweet. I think of how there are times when we all have had to search for God's sufficient grace in our own lives.

My friends, I want to get real. There are times when I have indeed questioned where is Gods' grace in my own life. There are days I go searching for God's grace because I need to offer it to someone else and cannot seem to find it at all. There are moments when I want to readily give God's grace away to God's people.

In all of this doubt, in all of this questioning, in all of this searching for God's grace, I am reminded again and again and again that God's daily grace is sufficient. I just have to remember to be obedient to his Word and trust that God's grace is always and ever enough because God loves us that much! "For God so loved the world that God gave God's only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life."

I don't know about you, but this obedient heart, sure finds hope in the promise that God loves us so much that God's grace is always set out on the table for us to receive and give freely to God's people. May we always trust in the mercy and grace of this obedient heart of God who loves us so very dearly!

Click Here to Head to My 31 Days Landing Page

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Breaking Promises

When we make a promise with someone, we do everything in our power to keep that promise, don't we? And if we or the other individual break the promise, it is hard to forgive the other person. Right? Have you ever thought about the different promises we make throughout our lives? Marriage, Baptism, Finishing school, etc? But the reality is that often in our society, we break promises! People get divorced etc.

At the last congregation I served, one of the biggest blessings I got to see was in our Confirmation program. In their 8th grade year, they came with a parent. Parent and child were learners together. We had divorced families that would come together for that one hour a week. They would put aside their differences to bless the child. It was an incredible thing to watch. But I know this not the norm.

In fact, more children than not are in split households. I am one of those children. My parents divorced my sophomore year of high school; my sister's 7th grade year. It was not easy for either of us, but it was particularly hard for my sister who was in Jr. High at the time. I can remember that day as vividly as it was yesterday. I know it took a lot of guts for our dad to say the words he did to us. That night, tears streaming down his face, he said "I am divorcing your mom. It is not that I don't love your Mom anymore. It is that I cannot handle this illness anymore." It was hard to hear those words, but I also know how much truth there was in those words as well. They were words of God's grace given to us that day and that day those words of God's grace tasted more bitter than sweet.

After the divorce, it was sometimes hard to find God's grace in the midst of it. It was one of those times I questioned God "Why our family?" Yet looking back now, I see God's grace scattered throughout that season of our lives. God's grace came in our church family who often provided for Mom when she couldn't always provide for herself. God's grace came in our family who continually surrounded us in their love. God's grace came in a little house for Mom so she could still live in our hometown. God's grace came in spending time with Mom every Wednesday, every other weekend, and one entire month in the summer.

There was a time immediately after the divorce when Mom went back to Nebraska to live with her parents. At the time, I think she felt that was the best move for her, but in the end, she moved back. It was too far away from her girls (my sister and I). Having her in our community was a huge blessing too. When I was busy with school stuff and Dad was farming, my sister often would go hang out at Mom's house because she did not want to be home alone. As I look back, I know that was God's grace for my sister.

God's grace continually surrounded all of us during this time. I remember a time when Mom was living in the house by herself and she didn't have us for the weekend. She went to bed and apparently forgot to lock the door which in a small town isn't a huge deal. Yet while she was sleeping, a drunk man walked right into the house. Luckily she wasn't hurt or anything, but I know she had the living daylights scared out of her. I would have had them scared out of me too!!! Indeed God's grace was sufficient and kept Mom safe that night.

God calls us to keep the promises we make. Yet the reality is that we are going to break promises in our lives. But the truth is, that even when we break those promises whether it be through divorce or whatever, God's daily grace is sufficient for us all. God's power is made perfect through our weaknesses.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Shining the Light from Within

"Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."--Hebrews 4:16

Sometimes life just seems so incredibly unfair. A mother having to bury her own child. A young wife and mother losing her battle with cancer only six weeks after being diagnosed. A friend continually battling each and every day in the depths and darkness of depression. I just want to cry out to God and ask him again "Why?" (This is not the first time I have asked God why and had to search for God's grace in my life!) And it is especially during these days and times that I wonder where in the world God's grace is. Are you looking for it too friends? 

I know it is there, but it is so very hard to find during these times. It is as if the gift of grace sitting on the table has been obstructed by everything else in its path. It is like feeling our way through a dark room. We have to wind our way through darkness and the obstructions until we reach the table where God's grace is laid out for us to receive. God's grace is always and ever enough! But there are days that I forget that promise for sure. And there are days that the sweetness of God's sufficient grace feels awfully bitter!

But the the truth is, like a beautiful stained glass window or even a clay jar, God's grace shines through the cracks. God's grace lights the way in the midst of the darkness. God's grace opens our eyes to see and our ears to hear the magnificence of God's grace even in the most difficult of times. God's grace carries us especially when we feel like that grace isn't anywhere in sight. 


I am reminded of this beautiful quote by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross: "People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out. But when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." Or this verse from 2 Corinthians 4, verse 8-9 (NIV): "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed."

God's grace allows that light to shine from within each of us when we offer grace to one another. God's grace allows that light to shine from within when we hold each other up in prayer. God's grace allows that light to shine from within when we journey with one another. God's grace is a gift given freely to God's people to sustain us on the hard days and the not so hard days. It is especially there for the days when we don't experience the grace but rather taste the bitterness in our mouths.

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."--2 Cor 12:9

Amazing Grace by BYU Noteworthy Acapella Cover
This video gave me goosebumps! Enjoy!


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Sunday, October 18, 2015

Some Sunday Grace

I am a huge fan of the Christian band Jars of Clay.

On Wednesday I was preparing for my 7th Grade Confirmation class. In the lesson, we were talking about Martin Luther and the Reformation. This curriculum uses a song, movie clip, etc each week. The song for that day's lesson was the song "Grace" by Jars of Clay. As we listened to the song, I thought what a perfect song/video for my Sunday post this week.

The chorus to the song goes like this: "I feel your grace come running over every road, I love the way you're calling overflow, I feel your grace come running over every road, You break the floodgates down and carry all."

May you let these words spill over you today and every day knowing that God's grace is sufficient for us all!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Sweetest Thing (A Guest Post)

Happy Saturday friends! I am beside giddy to introduce you to my friend Karrilee. Have you ever met someone and felt like they were a kindred spirit? I have felt that since we connected through the Five Minute Friday Community, Write 31 Days, etc. I feel like Karrilee is my soul sister in so many ways so I was beyond delighted when she said YES when I asked her if she would write a guest post for my space. I cannot wait for the day that we get to meet InRL. Her words are pure gift and I pray they bless you today my dear readers and friends! 

Grace… it truly is Amazing!

I actually wrote about it twice already this week over on my own blog as part of my 31 Days series… but one never really tires of talking about grace!

As I prayed about what to share, Tara mentioned the ‘live’ date for this guest post and, well –there was my answer!

October 17th…

Maybe your calendar, too, informs you that Saturday, October 17th is “The Sweetest Day” this year.

To be honest, I’m not even really sure what that means, but I know when we were picking our wedding date some twenty three years ago, getting married on “The Sweetest Day” seemed just about perfect, because –of course!

Grace was definitely present on that Sweetest day. (Happy Anniversary, My Honey!)

But I look back over my life and I can see how Grace has been present on all of my ‘sweetest days’.  Grace was there at my traumatic birth and many, many days in the hospital following my early arrival.  Grace was there when I got to go home, despite all the declarations of my final hours… Grace was there for birthdays and new puppy’s and first crushes.  Grace was there with new neighbors and best friends… on vacations and summer breaks and Christmases galore!  Grace has showed up for every major celebration and highlight in my life.  Yes, Grace was there even before I knew Him or knew that He was there!

And then, Grace poured out on the day of my Salvation, at my baptism, on my wedding day, for the birth of our Girlie, and so many other sweetest days since then!

But Grace shows up in the not so great days too!

Grace covers on our dark days –in our hard seasons, when sweet is nowhere to be seen and all we taste is bitter!

If you have been around my little corner of the interwebs much lately, you will know that I have fallen completely in love with this new CD… as in, I can’t quit playing it on repeat! It is gorgeous, and powerful and full of –you guessed it—Grace!  I promise you that I didn’t plan this, but this is how God flows… as I typed out Bitter, I could hear this song. I hope you will take a moment to listen to it, and to hear it too!


~ Bitter/Sweet by Amanda Cook, Brave New World

Grace, right? That is grace because He really does make all things new!
He really does turn the bitter into sweet and winter into spring!

Grace –Jesus really, who IS Grace—
He’s with us on ALL of our days
--the heavy and the light,
--the dim and the bright…
Grace is beside us
and within us
on the days filled with cold, or with heat…
with bitter or with sweet.

In fact, it’s been on some of my darkest days that Grace has flooded in to light the way!  It’s been the times when darkness clouded my vision and my hope was shaky at best, and I was weighed down with doubt that I have felt a stirring down deep and caught a glimpse of Grace that lifted my vision higher. Grace reminded me of better days and a bigger vision. Grace reminds me of promises and prayers that have yet to be answered and fulfilled!

Grace walks beside us… urges us on… and carries us when we have lost our strength. When all we have in our hands or hearts is bitterness, His sweetness overcomes and overwhelms and oh how He invites us to the table of Grace and how He beckons us to taste and see that He is good!

I recently heard someone describe Grace like this:

“Grace enables you to be so in love with Jesus that you walk and look and love like Him!”

Now that kind of Grace – God’s Amazing Grace –

could take ANY bitter day, and make it sweet!

May His Grace find you, and fill you, and pour out wherever you go!

May He take every bitter thing, and make it sweet!


Happy Sweetest Day, my friends!
Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.
~Karrilee~


Karrilee is a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. She is a writer, reader, pray-er, photographer, artist, beach lover, laugh seeker...serving God to the best of her ability. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband where they are new empty nesters to their only girlie. They are also co-leaders of Dad's House, a new church plant in their hometown. She is passionate about diving in deeper with the Lord and inviting others to discover His love for them. Her life message is...Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On. Karrilee loves to share her heart and what the Lord is speaking to her over at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace.

You can connect with Karrilee on her blog, Abiding Love, Abounding Grace.  She is also all over Bossy Social Media (and clearly has a love/addicted relationship with it!) You can find her on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram as well!

Friday, October 16, 2015

My Favorite Color, Greenville, and God's Grace!

This is Day 16 of 31 in my Write 31 Days series: 31 Stories of God's Grace. I also am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "Green." Write for five minutes; unedited.

One doesn't need to look far to see that "green" is my absolute favorite color. I mean look at my blog....it's a little overloaded with the color green! :) And my friend Gretchen used to tease me when we would go shopping together. She would spot a green item of clothing and wait to see how long it would take for me to find it. And I also just happen to be wrapped up on this cool Fall night in my favorite green quilt given to me by the dear quilters of Dilworth Lutheran Church when I left there two years ago.


But green also brings some other recognitions in my life too. Green is the color for mental health awareness. And as many of you know, I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness. Green also reminds me of a ribbon that is in a scrapbook I have from my college days. It was my friend Chewy's favorite color, but it also reminds me of how Chewy left this earth. Chewy committed suicide. Yet despite all of these colors of green in my life, I am reminded of God's grace and how it rains down and is always and ever enough!

Tonight I also got to jump on a Periscope with all of the #fmfparty ladies who happen to be in GREENville, South Carolina for Allume. I so deeply wanted to be there myself, but flying out of Minot, ND is not cheap at all. When I looked at tickets, they were over $800. YIKES! But these ladies made me smile tonight as we interacted on Periscope together. I felt like I was there with them all. After they signed off and I hopped back onto Twitter for the #fmfparty, I found myself reflecting on these dear friendships. These friendships only could be orchestrated by a God whose grace is daily sufficient for each and every one of us. I cannot even begin to thank God for his grace and the gift of these friendships in my life.

I feel like I am one lucky gal who has been the recipient of God's grace over and over and over again! And it has been God's grace that has helped me grow into the woman of faith that I am today!


Readers, don't forget to register to win a $500 DaySpring shopping Spree. Click here for a chance to win.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

"Grace Like Rain"

The scent of fresh rain is one of my favorite scents in the world. Yes, it can get old easily if the rain doesn't stop for days. But at the sight of a much needed rain fall, I always feel such a sense of peace and calmness in my life. (Don't get me wrong...too much rain can be disastrous!) Yet much, like the waters of my Baptism, the rain washes away all the dirt and makes things clean again. In addition, growing up with my Dad, Uncle, and Grandparents who farm, I also know the vitality of rain to the harvest season.

Do you ever think of grace like that rain that washes down and makes all things new? This morning, I was listening to my Pandora station when the song "Grace like Rain" by Chris Tomlin came on. It is one of those songs that I love because it is the words to the hymn "Amazing Grace" (one of my favorite hymns) intermingled with words from the new songwriter. The additional lyrics really caught my attention this morning: "Hallelujah, grace like rain falls down on me; Hallelujah, all my stains are washed away, washed away"

And that is the thing, friends, God's grace does rain down on us. God's grace rained down on me during my seminary journey. God's grace rained down on me when I went to work at Super Awesome Bible Camp. God's grace rained down and continues to rain down on my family as we journey the path of mental illness. God's grace rained down on us during our parent's divorce. In fact, the more I think about, the more and more I see the fingerprints of God's grace in my life.  The truth is that God's grace continually rains down on us through life's joys and sorrows. And God's grace continues to rain down on you too friends!!

Yes, sometimes the soil is so dry, parched, and desperately in need of rain and we keep asking for that rain to come so we lift up our prayers asking for God to provide. And eventually God does provide and the rain does come. The same goes for the grace of God. God knows when we need it and God will provide it for us. It is just often God's timing is so much different than ours. (Do you ever wonder if God is in a completely different time zone than you are?)

Yet God always comes and rains down on each and every one of God's people!




Friends and Readers, I am so excited for YOU! DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2000 writers this October. To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, click on this link . Good luck and thanks so much for reading.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

More Guts to Stick With It

In the Fall of 2002, I began my seminary journey. From the moment I had stepped onto Wartburg's campus during a seminary tour that prior October, I knew that God was calling me there. In fact, I uttered the words "God wants me here!" I left that October day knowing that I would return the next fall to begin classes.

I spent the year at home living with my dad and saving up money for seminary. Then August arrived. I packed up my car and headed for Dubuque, Iowa. After a few days of driving, I finally arrived in Dubuque and began the seminary journey.

I knew that I did not want to be an ordained pastor, but was not exactly sure what God was calling me to do and be. The first days of seminary I found myself holding back and taking in every class. I eventually also heard the call to Diaconal Ministry; "word and service" ministry.

One day, I decided to speak up and was immediately shot down by another classmate. (This person later apologized and became one of my best friends at seminary). From that day on, I was very quiet and just sat and listened through my classes.

Seminary was not an easy journey at all for me. I struggled immensely with my classes. There were days I truly questioned if I had heard God right. I took systematic theology not once, not twice, but three times. God's grace finally arrived to me in the form of a seminary professor who realized that I was an auditory learner. After failing Systematic theology twice, he took a new approach with me. We decided to do the class as an independent study. We would record our conversations, then I would go back and listen to the lecture, and return with my new questions. It was because of this ingenious idea and God's grace that I finally passed that class.

I could have easily given up, but I didn't. I stuck with it. In fact, God's grace came to me in the form of my seminary advisor as well. In my endorsement interview, the committee asked me why I struggled so much with the classes at seminary. I was honest and did my best to answer them. Then my seminary advisor piped up and said "It would have been so easy for Tara to walk out the door, shut the door, and never look back. It takes more guts to stick with it." Oh how true those words are!

And as I look back, I see the hand of God's grace all over my seminary experience. I see God's grace in my classmates and friends who walked that journey with me. I see God's grace in my seminary professor who helped me pass Systematic Theology. I see God's grace in my seminary advisor who supported me and reminded me again and again that it takes more guts to stick with it. I see God's grace in my seminary graduation.

My seminary journey definitely was filled with God's grace and did not leave it where it found me. It is a daily reminder to me of the visibility of an often invisible God. Throughout seminary, God often seemed invisible, but the truth is God was there the whole time and continually blessed me with God's grace which I am so very thankful for in my life.

"I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection"-Anonymous


I am linking up with Holly at Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup crew; Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story; and Holley Gerth and Coffee for your Heart:

 

 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Aging with Grace

The wrinkles on her face tell the story of being a hard-working farm wife. The slower steps tell the story of a farmer who has spent his whole life working hard and is now experiencing the affects of hard work in his life. Their hair is filtered with white and grey that tells the story of their age. These two dear souls are my grandma and grandpa.

I spent some time with them and my aunt a few weeks ago. They were visiting and attending a big annual event here in town. Grandma walked around with a cane while Grandpa sat in a wheelchair. As we took time enjoying the music and visiting the vendors, it reminded me of how important grace is in our lives especially as we age. It is important for us to age gracefully or rather to age with grace.

I was rather disappointed as my aunt, grandparents, and I were walking around the venue. Some people were not very gracious of wheelchairs. They saw us as a hindrance and did not offer grace to us which made my aunt and I very frustrated and sad. Despite some people not offering us grace, there were some who very readily gave God's grace to us. They would help move chairs out of the way. They would ask others to move out of the way so we could pass by them.

Throughout my life, my grandparents have taught me what grace looks like. Last week, my other aunt posted a picture of my Grandpa and their new puppy. That picture brings me so much joy because it embodies so much of my Grandpa's personality. But also as I look at that picture, I see God's grace as it has covered my family throughout their lives. God gave grace to our family as we planted and harvested our fields. God gave grace (and continues to give grace) to my grandparents throughout their 60 plus years of marriage.

As I age, I want to age gracefully or rather age with grace too. I want the lines under my eyes to show the imprint of the tears I have cried. I want the wrinkles to remind me of the life I have lived. And as the white and grey hairs appear on my head, I don't even want to care. I simply want to show God's grace as we each age gracefully trusting that we are always "fearfully and wonderfully made."

Like my grandparents, I want to age with grace too!


Monday, October 12, 2015

The Worst Interview in the World

Growing up in small town North Dakota, there weren't many options for a job when I was in high school. I worked at the local theater taking tickets, selling concessions and making popcorn. Before I graduated high school, I was looking for a new summer job. One day my Uncle and Grandma suggested that I work at our church's Bible camp, so I decided to apply for a job as a Bible camp counselor.

The camp director received my resume and set up an interview with me. I drove to Bismarck ND where we met at Perkins for my interview. It was the worst interview in the world! I looked at my shoes and at the top of the table the whole time he was interviewing me. I don't think I ever looked him straight in the face. I left feeling defeated. Yet despite it being the worst interview in the world, the camp director decided to hire me anyways.

I graduated high school on a Sunday and was off to camp last than 36 hours after graduating. I spent that summer growing as a woman of faith. Little did I know that working at camp would change me in the most positive ways. It was the first place that I openly shared our family's journey with a mental illness. It was the place that blessed me and would be the place where I eventually would hear the call to seminary.

I worked there all summer. Then the next summer, after my Freshmen year of college, I returned to work another summer as a camp counselor. Halfway through the summer, the camp director and the program director invited each of us to a mid-summer evaluation. During my evaluation, the camp director looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I didn't think you were going to make it. I hired you thinking I would take you as long as you would make it. And now I cannot get rid of you. You are like a mother hen with all of her little chicks."

As I heard him say those words to me, a smile spread across my face. God's hand of grace had indeed intervened as God tapped the camp director's shoulder and in not so many words, called him to hire me despite all of his hesitation. It was God's hand of grace that called me to work at camp and eventually led me to seminary. It was in this holy place on the prairies of North Dakota, right off Lake Sakakawea where I received the gift of God's grace.



Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Grace Song

Listen to this story of God's grace through the lyrics to Laura Story's song "Grace".

This is the chorus to Laura's songs: "I ask you: 'How many times will you pick me up, When I keep on letting you down? And each time I will fall short of your glory, How far will forgiveness abound?" And you answer: 'My child, I love you. And as long as you're seeking My face, You'll walk in the power of my daily sufficient grace."

Amen!




Saturday, October 10, 2015

Carried This Far by Grace (A Guest Post)

Hi Friends! I am so excited to introduce you to my blog friend Melissa who blogs at The World According To Plaidfuzz. Melissa and I, like many of my blog friends, met through the Write 31 days challenge a year. Melissa has always been an encourager and always supported me in my writing. I feel like we have known each other much longer than we have. Melissa lives in Iowa with her husband and daughter. She also has two stepsons. 

January 28, 2015 started like any other day. I went to work and made it through the day. I met a friend at Starbucks for a quick cup of coffee before I headed home. We complained about our husbands, asked how each other’s kids were doing, and savored some adult conversation. On my way home I called my husband to let him know I was on my way. He proudly informed me that he was cooking me a gourmet dinner from a recipe he had found on Pinterest. I was only a few blocks from home when the phone went dead.

In the next twenty minutes our entire lives would be turned upside down. A pan on the stove had caught fire. Panicked, my husband threw water on it. A tower of flame shot up the wall and set off the sprinkler system. What wasn’t destroyed by fire and smoke, was irreparably damaged by the thousands of gallons of water that poured out of the sprinklers and into our home. By the time the dust settled, we had lost almost everything.

For the next month we lived in a hotel while we waited for our apartment to be repaired. I spent the bulk of that month on the phone for nearly 8 hours a day, arguing with the insurance company, meeting contractors, and trying to expedite the repair process. Our move in date was pushed back 3 times. Once we moved back into our apartment we discovered that they had taken the insurance money and run. Mold was creeping up the walls, cupboards were sagging from the walls. The management gave us 24 hours to sign a 12-month lease, or give a 30-day notice to vacate. We gave our notice, not knowing where we would go.

I immediately posted a status on Facebook, letting people know we needed to find a place to live, quickly.  Within 5 minutes one of my salon clients, who had moved away, messaged me letting me know she had never sold her house and that her tenants were moving out. It seemed perfect, it was in our price range, it would be available at the end of the month, and she would allow us to have our dogs there.

But, in the fashion we had grown accustomed to, things didn’t go that smoothly. The tenants wouldn’t give a firm date on when they were moving out - if they were moving out at all. We spent the entire month on pins and needles, not knowing if we would have a place to go. While we were packing up our apartment I fractured my foot (less than a week after spraining my hand. I’m a hairstylist, I need those things!). Literally as we loaded the last piece of furniture into the Uhaul we got the phone call - they were out! We could not only move into the house, it was 3 days early!

We drove right over to the new house, ready to start a new chapter. Once we opened the front door we quickly realized that new chapter would have to wait. The previous tenants had trashed the house. There was garbage all over, inside and out, huge stains in the carpet, filth on every surface. I walked around laughing most of the day - I thought I might finally be cracking up.

Where was God’s grace in our situation? Why wouldn’t he let us catch a break? I remember, while we were living in the motel, a friend said to me that she could see God’s providence in our situation, even though it seemed bleak. While our insurance company eventually turned into a nightmare, they were a Godsend during the first 24 hours. They set us up with a place to stay, and hired people to take care of the apartment so I didn’t have to set foot back in it until it was renovated. While some of our closest family and friends were nowhere to be found during this time in our lives, we received an overwhelming outpouring of support from my blogging friends, and my Young Living acquaintances. Most of these people had never even met me, but day after day we would receive gift cards and packages in the mail. The gifts we received from these virtual strangers not only fed us the entire time we were in the motel, they allowed us to immediately replace things like shoes and toothbrushes without wiping out what little savings we had. I still tear up when I think about their generosity and how much it meant to my family.

Even though getting into our house wasn’t a smooth process, we went from a second-floor apartment, to having a house with twice the space, a fenced in yard for our dogs, and we were even able to pick out our own paint colors since the whole house had to be renovated. If you doubt that God has a sense of humor, consider that our one-car family now has two oversized garages plus a car port. God provided this house MINUTES after we found out we needed it.

Through this whole chapter of our lives I have learned to look at the big picture. Not to doubt that God is piecing things together with my best interests at heart (Romans 8:28), but to stay under the trials and endure - consider it joy (James 1:2-4). Comfort leads to apathy. This year my faith has been tested, my marriage has been tested, and sometimes I even felt like my sanity was up for grabs, but I grew. Corrie Ten Boom said, “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.”

Since the fire we have dealt with job loss, the death of family members, car problems and health issues. “This isn’t your year,” people have said to me over and over again. But it has been our year. Though I wouldn’t have orchestrated a fire to force us to take a leap of faith and move, but that one domino knocked over so many more - some extremely painful, but most extreme blessings. 

God’s grace isn’t always obvious. Sometimes it seems like He has turned his back on us. (Believe me, I read through the book of Job more than once when I was in that hotel). But when Christ is all you have, Christ is all you need. His grace is so much more than I could come up with, or even comprehend. And now I am able to say, I am so thankful for that fire, because without it, we wouldn’t have been carried this far by grace.


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Trusting in God's Grace

This is Day 9 of 31 in my Write 31 Days series: 31 Stories of God's Grace. I also am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung on her blog Heading Home. Today's prompt is "Trust." Write for five minutes; unedited.

Did you know that God's grace is sufficient for you?

Because, my friends, God's grace is indeed sufficient for you.

But, if you are anything like me, it probably has taken you a long time to trust in that promise.

When I went to seminary, I never realized how hard it was going to be (Watch for a post coming up about God's grace in the midst of hearing the call to seminary!) But at seminary, God reminded me again and again of how I needed to put all of my trust in God because God's grace was sufficient. God's grace came in my seminary advisor. God's grace came in a seminary professor. God's grace came in new friends.

In addition, as my family has struggled living our story of mental illness, there have been many days when I have not trusted in the power and gift of God's grace. Yet I have learned that God's grace is sufficient for us all. God's grace is sufficient for my mom who daily lives with a mental illness. God's grace is sufficient for me as a daughter who sometimes gets frustrated with her mom. God's grace is sufficient for all of us.

Indeed there are days when it is going to be hard for us to trust in the gift of God's grace. Yet we just need to remember to trust in God.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him."--Romans 15:13 (I would add the word grace to this verse as well...May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace and grace as you trust in him)

The Most Gracious Athletes I've Ever Met!

Have you ever met people who simply exude grace to you? I can name a few people off the top of my head...my parents, my sister, my friends. But today I want to introduce you to some very special individuals who have taught me about grace and what graciousness truly looks like.

When I was at seminary, I had to do fieldwork to receive my degree. I sent letters home to some organizations in North Dakota explaining what I was looking for and if they would have any opportunities. I sent to the Ronald McDonald House, Special Olympics ND and so many other organizations. Special Olympics ND contacted me to let me know they had a position open for me.

So I moved back to North Dakota and lived with my aunt and uncle for the summer. During my time at Special Olympics, I got to interact with many Special Olympics athletes. And to this day, my friends, I am so very thankful for that experience that summer because these men and women taught me about the goodness of God's grace.

I remember selling souvenirs at the State Summer Games when several athletes came to buy a new t-shirt, sweatshirt, etc. They would always ask me my name and I would tell them. Then in return, I would ask them their names and what events they were competing in that day. It never failed that someone needed a larger size and inevitably we were out. But they never got mad. They would ask my opinion and we would find them another new item of clothing to add to their collection.

But, my favorite example of these athletes was watching them compete. Yes, some of them had their competitive side. But for the most part, they simply cheered each other on. They would stand on the podium with smiles spread across their faces; whether they were standing in the 1st place spot or in the 8th place spot. They would be handed their ribbon or have their bronze, silver, or gold medal hung on their neck. After the medal ceremony, these athletes would run around showing anyone and everyone their new prize.

I remember standing there thinking...these athletes are so gracious to each other. They are gracious about winning...and they are gracious about losing. In fact, they are the most gracious athletes I have ever met. (I think our professional teams and athletes could learn quite a bit from them!) And I think we too could learn a thing or two from them as they continue to teach us the goodness of God's amazing grace.


To learn more about Special Olympics ND, click Here!