day by day, finding grace

Day by day and with each passing moment, strength I find ... 
And that strength, that grace, I find--sometimes it comes in unexpected or common places. Today, I'd just like to share a few recent remnants of grace. Little scraps that are patchwork pieces of recent days. I hope it gives you hope, hope you find grace through the words, hope it helps you reflect on the 1000 gifts God has given you recently too. 

Grace is infused strength. Enough to get out of bed, an answer to prayer. Enough love and energy to do the next thing. It is the ability to pack a lunch. And sometimes the wherewithal to say, "Go ahead an order hot lunch today, guys." It is the timing of the stop lights that allows you to drop off children at school on time, to say, "I love you" as they hop out of the car with their teeth actually brushed and their hair combed. It is the ability to resist the urge to swing through Starbucks. And sometimes it is the medium roast with cream and raw sugar from B&N-Starbucks at Furman and a walk around the lake with a friend, or just my own kiddos.

Grace is providence. It is coming upon an aunt whose car was out of gas while she was taking her nieces to their schools because their mother was watching someone else's baby and their step-dad didn't feel like it. It is the ability to recognize the face of the oldest niece as one of the girls that had come to my small group in our church's Inner-City Ministry. It is finding two schools in West Greenville, safely, dropping the younger kids off, and rehearsing the Gospel with the seventh grader one more time. Sometimes grace is thinking I know where her school is, only to confuse it with another one. It is humbly admitting my mistake and taking advantage of the extra few minutes to talk, to encourage her that she may be the one God would like to use to share with her friends the hope of eternity with Him. It is the school personnel kindly understanding their predicament. It is knowing God had me come across their path at just the right time and the opportunity to share a story of my days in the public school system when I shared Hope with a young man who had never before heard that Jesus loved him enough to pay for his sin. Grace is getting to repeat Truth one more time.

Grace is favor. It is that picture my ten-year-old tosses in the front seat with his backpack, the one that says, "I hope I've been a good son" and "I love you." The eight-year-old's MOTHERS DAY acrostic where E stands for "Evil? No, no, no. Only good" and the A is for "Ana-biotics [antibiotics] and medicine feeder" (because he is my one that needs allergy meds regularly and the two little ones were recently on an antibiotic for an ear infection). It's the "I love you, too, Mommy" of the three-year-old. And it's the beautiful smile on the pathetic sick baby girl's face, the murmured "Ma-ma-ma"s. It is the devotion of a husband who makes real on his forsaking-all-others vow and loves you no matter what.

Grace is joy. The laughter of a three-year-old dripping strawberry juice all down his chin and shirt, sucking up the sweetness, giggling happy. It is the restoration of a strained relationship. It is the communication from a distant land, that email from a friend who has safely arrived to her destination for Arabic language school and is just so thrilled to be there, to see her Father orchestrating so many details to give her joy and to open windows of opportunities for her to share that joy with others who have never heard of its possibility.

Grace is the right word at the right time. "Good morning, Mommy!" "I love you." "Thank you." It is a message of gratitude or encouragement: a Mother's Day text from a kind friend, a phone conversation with my own mom, a facebook message reviewing my short story post and encouraging me to keep writing. It is The Word, and a few quiet moments to let the psalm sink in. And this one.

Grace is GOD. Who keeps me going. Whose breath sustains my very existence. Whose joy is my strength. Whose lovingkindness is my life. Who sees before and orchestrates each moment. Whose Word gives direction and peace, correction and hope. Whose favor is undeserved and too little recognized but so, so much appreciated.

and peace multiplied,
with love,


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