A Family Shaped By Grace

Have you ever spent a holiday with your family and wondered why it felt like such a chore? Do you find yourself walking on eggshells around certain family members because you aren’t sure how they might respond to you? Are there some people in your family that you avoid because being around them is too challenging?

If so, know that there is a better way, and it’s all about grace!

A Family Shaped by Grace is a new book coming out on June 6th that I have had the privilege of reading before it’s release. Gary Morland, the author, had a crumbling family. Finally, he got to the point where he wanted to do something different. His way wasn’t working. He started attending Bible study and met a man named Harold. This man would slowly, patiently love on Gary and teach him a better way to relate to and bless his family. This book is about the things he learned. They have helped him have a family shaped by grace instead of duty, anger, fear, or disappointment.

AFSG

What I love about this book is the practical ways Gary gives you to gently change how you view your family and how you relate to them. If you are at all invested in a family (which is everyone) or working with families in a professional way (teachers, pastors, counselors, social workers, etc.), this book is for you!

P.S.-Right now, the book is 40% off if you pre-order on Amazon or Barnes and Noble! Purchase your copy now if you want to get along with the people in your life who matter most!

Blind Steps of Faith

I struggle with wanting to know the will of God and the purpose driving the storms, struggles, and trials we go through. I have had great teaching regarding these issues, but sometimes my heart still doesn’t get it. The deep desires that reside there don’t understand why they aren’t being met, why they have been ignored, pushed aside. They feel abandoned, left to die a painful death. However, this is not true.

My desires are seen by a loving, faithful, ever-present God and Savior. I never have to fear that my God-given desires (i.e. to be in community with others, to be a mother, to have a happy, healthy marriage) are being ignored or pushed aside. God cares deeply, and I need to allow my heart to rest in that.

Now, this truth doesn’t answer all the questions I have in the middle of a storm. It’s difficult to go through hurt and pain, hurricanes of suffering and seemingly never-ending waits without answers or some small understanding of what is being accomplished. It is natural to look up to heaven and wonder, ask, plead for answers, but we can’t demand them. We were never promised answers. In fact, there are painful experiences and tumultuous storms for which the reasons will never be clear this side of heaven. We act as though we deserve an answer. WE deserve to know what God is up to, why He is putting us through this. But we can’t demand that kind of explanation from such a Huge, Other, Big, Powerful God. However, we are promised presence. And God’s presence always exudes love, grace, and truth.

My pastor at Community Bible Church is incredible. God has truly gifted him with a passion and ability to speak and teach. A month ago, he preached a sermon called ‘Love in the Storm.’ I encourage you to listen to it. It was from Mark 4:35-41.

35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat.(Z) There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”(AA)

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

As I have been listening to this message again today, I ran into a quote that I know I need to keep hearing.

“Look, you got a choice. You’re going to go through the storm. Yes? You’ve got a choice. You can row and fight and bail and scream and yell and holler and accuse, often to no avail. Or you can just say, ‘You know what, this isn’t about the storm, it’s about Jesus.’ It’s about crawling up next to Him and saying, ‘I trust You.’ “

Storms are that simple. They are about you and Jesus. Will we trust Him? Even when it hurts? When it doesn’t make sense? When it is scary?

I want to…so badly. He is trust-worthy!

So as I walk through these months and continue to try to get pregnant, I will trust Jesus. Do I understand? No. But I do trust Him.

 

God didn't bring you...

Hold tight to the truth that God cares deeply about you, even in the midst of a storm!

Love,

Elise

 

Through a Child’s Eyes

On Wednesday, I took on the third word in Philippians 4:8 that Paul encourages us to think about, just.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I decided to think about how all people are created in God’s likeness and how no one I come into contact with on a regular basis is ‘out to get me.’ I struggle with feeling things a bit too much and tend to take statements and complaints personally, so I decided that I would reverse my thinking for a day (to hopefully begin a full reverse to my usual line of thinking).

Today, it is time to mediate on something pure. The first thing I thought about regarding this word was the innocence you see in children. For the most part, the way they view the world is pure, unjaded, and uninfluenced. That’s why they say the craziest things, sometimes embarrass their parents because they blurt out who knows what, and why Jesus encourages us to have a faith like that.

I remember my days as a child playing outside for long hours, imagining hidden worlds and alter egos. I remember the pure joy of riding a bike with no hands, dancing with abandon, and giggling with friends.  As I’ve grown up, I’ve lost a little bit of that, but I don’t want to.

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Luke 18:15-17)

So, today I will be thinking about the pure joy of baby laughter, little girl twirling, and the excitement of seeing things for the first time.

picture found at sherrisreadingjubilee.blogspot.com

 sherrisreadingjubilee.blogspot.com

Much Love,

Elise

Monday Musings…Who I am in Christ!

On February 1st, I left for a Ladies’ Retreat with my church Community Bible Church.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect or what the weekend might hold for all of the ladies attending.  But I was excited!

The weekend turned out to be amazing! It was an awesome time of fellowship, reminders, and freedom speeches.

One of the things I took a little time to address over the weekend is how I have been letting the Evil One whisper lies to me and define who I am. Well, I decided that he doesn’t have that authority, and that I’m tired of listening to his deception.
So, I am on a quest with Jesus to change my self-talk. To root out the lies that I have chosen to believe and replace them with the Truth, what God sees when He looks at me, His daughter.

Here is a short list a came up with:
I am – Chosen (Col. 3)
I am – Beloved (Col. 3)
I am – Forgiven (Col. 3)
I am – Filled with the Holy Spirit’s Power (Eph. 3:20)
I am – in Relationship and Community (John 16:4b-14)
I am – Seen by the King (Gen. 21: 8-20)
I am – On the Winning Team (John 16:33)
I am – a Princess, Loved Lavishly (1 John 3:1)
I am – a Gorgeous Bride worth the hefty price (Eph. 5:25-33)
I am – Overflowing with Joy (2 Cor. 7:4)
I am – Free (Gal. 5:1)

the way you see us

I loved the mantra of the weekend, “We are more sinful and flawed than we ever dared believe, but more loved and welcomed than we ever dared hope.”

It was a sweet reminder that even though we don’t always see ourselves with clarity when it comes to our sinfulness, we also don’t see ourselves with clarity when it comes to how God sees us, loved and welcomed like His Only Son!

We, in Christ, have been set free! This was another beautiful set of phrases borrowed from a blog that I heard at the retreat:
Because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak.
Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose.
Because Jesus was Someone, you’re free to be no one.
Because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary.
Because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.

If you are in Christ, you are free today! Live like it!