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Grace-filled Margins

She reached her little, brown arm over and pulled me close. “One more minute.” We were on bonus minute 3 of pre-naptime snuggles.

I closed my eyes and pressed my face against her cheek. Breathed deeply hoping to catch one more whiff of the long past newborn scent. I felt her tight curls against my forehead. “Yes, Esther, one more minute.”

Every moment with her is grace. Every moment is grace. I forget.

Food doesn’t feel like grace when I have to cook it. Clothes don’t feel like grace when I have to fold them. Children don’t feel like grace when I’m changing diapers.

But situations don’t change truth. Every piece of each day I call life is grace. Straight from Him.

I haven’t blogged in awhile. There are seasons when He’s speaking to me, but I don’t have the energy to formulate it into words.

Jeremy and I have talked about margins lately. Where are mine?

When life gets too busy grace seems too small. When I take the cross for granted I make grace too small.

Slow. Margins. Gospel. Grace.

He’s freed me not to miss it!

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16)

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The long hike down Jockey’s Ridge last week (Notice Esther)!

 

 

 

 

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A Fair Trade…

What are we willing to trade?

-Am I willing to trade a clean house for more messy fun?
-Am I willing to trade gourmet meals for flour covered, little hands?
-Am I willing to trade “me time” for extra snuggles at night?
-Am I willing to trade my plans for His?

Some days…yes. But there’s more…

He traded His life for mine. He carried the cross when I should have. He was crucified when my sin was the one that required payment.

What was He willing to trade for me? Everything.

And I call what I do sacrificing. Pat myself on the back. Judge you for your indulgences.

Yes, we make sacrifices on a daily basis. Yes, trades are a part of parenting. But dare I pity myself. Dare I look more at myself than at Him.

No parent is the benchmark for another. No parent is the measuring stick for their kids.

Only He is.

He made the ultimate sacrifice. He gave up the most. And only He can guide us and strengthen us through the trades we make each day.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

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“Be strong and brave”…Today

The microwave clock blinks blue-4:41. It’s too early. I’m fighting the sleep and exhaustion from 2 unexpected visits to babies’ rooms. But I must write this to you. Now. For some reason.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Ya’ll, He’s so close. Always there. Wherever we go. Even when we don’t want to.

I’ve been here and here. It’s been ugly. He’s been faithful.

Yesterday I held her as we rocked. And I whispered outloud, “Let’s stay  here, Esther. Let’s let the world move on by us.” Holding her is grace. It reminds me of His constant presence.

I don’t have many answers. Usually, I’m the first to say, “This just sucks.” But I know one thing, God keeps His promises.

He never leaves us.

He’s only loving us.

There is a world of perfection waiting for us.

Serving Him only makes sense.

How could I doubt the love of a Father Who gave His Son for us?

How could I doubt Cross love?

“Be strong and brave.” Today. Just this moment. He is close.

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Upside Down

I read this in the Jesus Storybook Bible curriculum last night while studying to teach the story of Leah and Rachel.  The section below is SO good.  Hope you’re encouraged no matter how upside down your day may seem or how weak you may feel!

“So here we have the birth of the royal line through
the rejected wife. In this way Genesis continues the
pattern of inversion. In this generation, it is the son
not loved (Jacob) and the wife not loved (Leah) who
bear the messianic seed into the world. The gospel
turns things upside down. The weak are really
the strong. The repentant are the righteous.
The people who think they are righteous are rejected.
The cross is a victory.”