In December I wrote a daily advent devotional all the way up to day 22. I actually have day 25 sitting in my drafts sections, however I didn’t publish it here on my blog. The plan is to create a lovely devotional book for you all to read and share with your loved ones every Christmas season, so the final days will be added to the daily advent devotional book.
To be honest I was sad and disappointed that I didn’t finish the daily devotional on my blog. It’s not that I didn’t have anything to write about, it was just difficult to write about what was on my heart. Plus I was in the middle of some major decisions. You know how we have those decisions that don’t necessarily lead you to anything life giving? Kind of like how Jesus boldly endured the cross which at the time didn’t seem like a very life giving choice but it led to so much more. I was basically in the middle of one of those decisions. I’m not saying that I was enduring anything remotely close to what Jesus had to endure, but I was facing a decision where it seemed like there wasn’t anything good to look forward to.
SO, I was sad and upset with myself for not finishing, but grace was what brought me through that moment. Grace is my word of the year for 2017 and I sort of clung to that word when I wanted to write my advent devotional, but didn’t.
Grace is what I am clinging to basically every single day. It helps me to be more self-disciplined, and yet more relaxed. It helps me to look at the decisions that seem to be life draining and makes them a little bit more bearable.
Grace helps me to look at all that is going on in this world, and even the painful moments of my own life and in my own relationships, and it allows me to find the things I can be grateful for in the daily madness of life.
Grace is the salt of this earth, and it is a light in this dark world.
Wow, I thought love was the greatest commandment, and that love alone endures forever. Yes, love is powerful, true, and relevant. But what’s true love?
I believe love springs up from the soil of grace.
When there are wounds that won’t heal we clean them with the salt of grace.
When the world seems dark, critical, judgmental, and we can’t seem to find the difference between the sheep and the wolf, grace is the light that leads us to our Savior.
If there is one thing I have learned in this life it’s that the hard days will come. The decisions where we are stuck between a “rock and a hard place” will always be in our path. Decisions like do we pay our rent or do we buy groceries. The kind that none of us like to make, they will always come. This world and this life is definitely not flawless, so we can count on inevitable life lessons like lack, temptation, and death to haunt us every day.
But in every day there is always something to celebrate, it’s all grace.
Last year The Lord brought healing to my body and I was extremely grateful, and yet confused because it was not a year that I would ever say was one that was fun or even happy. It was a difficult year. Death had come in the more tragic and unexpected way. But even in the difficult year there was grace in the form of healing. As this year started off God continues to show me grace in the form of healing.
If there is anything that will hold us back from God’s grace it is our sense of entitlement. It is approaching God with a “give unto me” attitude instead of humbling asking out of the pure desires of our heart. In James 4:2-3 it says that when we ask we do not receive because we come to Him with the wrong motives. This is not an easy scripture to embrace, for sure. We can often wonder what it looks like to come to God with a heart that has the right motives, but I think that lesson can only be taught through life if we are willing to learn. This lesson is taught when we cling to grace instead of always being entitled and justified.
for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, – Ephesians 2:8-9
Four things I have learned about grace for today:
- The healing I have experienced in every area of my life is truly a symbol of God’s grace. Even though none of it came easy and was often the result of enduring dying to myself or experiencing death in some other area of my life.
- This year the reminder is that we have nothing to boast, all we have and accomplish is because of His grace. We can’t put God into a box and assume that our accomplishments are all the things God wants for everyone else to accomplish. Sometimes grace for today is about learning how to live a life of achievement right where you are. Overcoming the hardships of life for me was not easy, and it was messy at times. It will be like that for everyone, and no two journeys will ever be the same.
- There is grace all round us, including the air we breath. Even in our loneliness there is an invitation to dive deeper into our relationship with God. Even in our offenses there is an invitation to be the light and salt of the world. In our unpopularity we are given the opportunity not to conform and to simply be ourselves.
- It’s impossible to trust an ungracious person. This is why I want to learn grace. I trust God more when I know His grace in my life. I want to be a trustworthy person, and I know that I will need to cling to becoming a gracious person rather than falling back to judgmental and critical ways, which can be so easy to do when I am not being a gracious person.
Grace is teaching me what to pray for, and to pray from a heart that has the right motives. It truly helps us to pray for our enemies when there is grace in our heart. We will fight for love when there is grace in our hearts. We will know what love is when when we know God’s grace, and we have received His free gift that we don’t deserve. Grace is an amazing teacher, and I believe that is why God showed us more grace through His son Jesus, simply so we could learn and know His heart!
What is your word of the year and what have you learned so far? leave your answer in the comments below!
Our faith begins with what we know and believe about God. Our faith will carry us how far we are willing to let it take us. Faith is a choice and we need to begin by choosing to believe in Jesus and His power to move mountains, heal the sick, and save us from all our sins through His sacrifice on the cross.