Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Lesson 4: Grace - what it is and how badly I need it!

I've been thinking a lot about grace lately. defines it in several ways...

Grace: 1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion or action
  1. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment
  2. favour or goodwill
  3. a manifestation of favour especially by a superior, synonym: forgiveness
  4. mercy; clemency; pardon

I have to admit when I was a kid I honestly thought that when we sang about God's grace I was thinking about how God must have done ballet or walked with books on his head like a girl at a finishing school. How that related to me, I wasn't so sure.

I like to think I'm a little wiser and knowledgeable than I was when I was 6 (again, not always so sure of that either). I understand that God's grace is more like the 3rd, 4th, and 5th definitions.

Now my struggle is not in receiving grace when I've been bad. I've done some pretty bad things, and I know I'm forgiven. I have felt that feeling of God taking that sin and taking it as far as the “east is from the west.” That burden being lifted is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world and I'm so glad he grants that clemency to everyone. I want everyone to know what that is like!

My struggle is the fact that I need his grace everyday, all the time, constantly, like forever and ever... know what i'm sayin'?

I read too much and have so many ideas to reconcile. The one idea that I've been thinking a lot about lately is the idea that my security must come from God and not from man. It would seem that all that I've been learning and reading about God lately seem to point to that idea. So I've made that my prayer, that I would find my purpose, identity, strength and security in Jesus and not in this world or people. 
AND THIS is where I need grace. Hoooo boy do I need grace and grace and more grace!

Every moment, of every day.

I know in my head that I am secure in Jesus.

Try telling my heart that.

My heart wants to be fully alive in Jesus, but she is so easily swayed by any little thing. Something makes her happy, she's ready to jump ship and follow. She gets sad and she wonders where God is. In fact, sometimes it's easier to feel secure in Jesus when I'm sad because he's there to comfort. When I'm happy he wonders why I'm so easily satisfied by things other than him.

I'm not saying that God doesn't want me to be happy. On the contrary, to know God is to know joy! It's my heart departing from God that is my issue.

And so I need grace. And this is why it's a struggle. Boy is it hard, but it's also the best. When I feel sad or hurt I know I can go to Jesus and he'll wipe my tears and hold me close and heal those hurts. When I'm happy I'm learning to go to God with that too and he'll hold it and be happy with me and I can ask for his grace when I lean on other things instead of him. I'm not talking about works or anything I can do because I know I will constantly fail. One of the hardest things is remember that and accepting his grace each time after time after time after time.

The joys of being human, am I right?  

I'm still working through things, but may I suggest reading Jon Acuff's lastest on SCL 

This guys kinda got me started this morning...enjoy!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Godly Women not "Bella's" be Crazy

You may have guessed that I changed one of the words in title from it's usual "B" word.
I'll admit that even as a female I've used that phrase in describing my own gender. Sometimes it just seemed like the only explanation for what is a unique female phenomena. As a daughter of the King who is constantly being changed from "glory to glory" I had to wonder if there wasn't more for me and sisters, or were we doomed to think "crazy" was normal?

Well, I've been reading a blog series that has really helped make it clear for me.
See it here.

So here's what I'm learning.
(I'm still processing so read this with grace)

All daughters of Eve, (in other words, all women) are fallen. We're all failures, we've all sinned, we have and will continue to make mistakes. We are, however, created bearing the image of God.  We can and often are highly emotional. These are given by God to us so that we can show his glory. So is it normal to ecstatically happy one moment and fly off the handle the next?

I'd say no! Not if we have been redeemed. God has given us commands such as "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." and "guard your heart,"

I know, easier said than done. (thank goodness for grace) 

I want to go backward a little, okay, all the way back to the fall of Adam and Eve. Eve's curse, I think, is significant. 

To the woman he said,
   “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
   with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
   and he will rule over you.”
Genesis 3:16

I already said that I believe that our wide range of emotions are God given to show his glory, but imagine them in light of this curse. Eve's desire will be for her husband, for a fallen man who will fail her. He's gonna fail her over and over again. How can she not go a little crazy? No one would blame her. 

The beautiful thing is, is that Jesus came to save her. Jesus died to break that curse! (*sigh* it's like a fairytale, curse breaking, damsel saving) So now, if we accept that Jesus did that for us we can put our hope and desire in him. He won't fail us! Instead of our identity being Mrs. 'so and so', mother of 'son', daughter of 'man' we can find our identity and validation in Jesus. 

Under Jesus, I believe that I can experience new emotions such as
-holy anger at injustices in this world
-the sadness that comes from a heart filled with compassion for those in need
-a happiness that only can come from the joy of the Lord
-and many more. 

These emotions come from a security in my identity in Christ. Never doubting who we are in Christ means being able to sing "It is well with my soul" and have it be true at all times. With Jesus I now have the strength to take every thought captive and to guard my heart against things that would cause it to be tainted by evil. I can repent and start new every time an emotion and subsequent thought that would be sinful comes in. I'm still so in need of God's grace and we always will be if we're going to fight being "crazy." I can't believe how quickly a feeling can creep in and make my whole being feel terrible, a flash of anger, a slash of hurt. I'm not perfect and won't be until I'm called to heaven in the mean time I will trust God and pray for redemption for my emotions.  I hope we, women will be challenged to think better of God and his ability to transform every aspect of our lives including the parts we thought were "normal"

Lesson 3

Friday, 19 August 2011

Lesson 2 - Paper is Better Than Plastic

I've recently taken up a new hobby. It's so much fun. I write letters to people and they write back. I'm talking for reals paper notes, put into an envelope, stamped and sent through the increasingly unreliable Canada Post.

You may ask why I write letters that take two weeks to get to their destination when email is so much quicker. I have several good reasons that I would like to outline here.

Reason Number ONE: EVERYONE loves to get mail. I'm not talking junk mail or flyers (although I do enjoy a good flyer myself.) When your grandma sends you a card with 5 bucks in it for your birthday you can't tell me that you don't get a little excited. To see your name handwritten on that envelope you know its something more than just another bill or credit card application. It's one of life's little thrills!

Reason Numero dos: How many emails have you saved for years for the sentiment that they keep? How many cards/letters did your grandparents save? Maybe in the future our children will save love IM's in their hope hard drives. I personally love the thought of saving a letter and digging it out to reread the words and re-feel the emotions that they stir. I have so many lovely letters and cards of encouragement that I've received over the years. One day I'll add the love letters of a great romance to that sacred pile.

Le Reason troisieme: To write a letter is a sacrificial act. You must change the way you think because the way we dash off emails these days will not suffice for a well written letter. You must write legibly so your reader can read it and, of course, with typing these days the art of cursive writing has really gone the way of the dinosaur. And finally you must spend actual money to buy a stamp. Not an easy feat in this day where speed and efficiency are valued higher than personal contact.

And lastly...

Are you ready for this?




.........Anticipation........ It's so exciting! Remember that feeling I mentioned earlier of when you receive a letter in the mail? How about sending one and knowing that the person on the other end will be just as excited to receive yours! Then you get to wait on tenterhooks till you get a letter back. Thrilling!

So, am I leading a mass boycott on email and suggesting that everyone flood their local post office with letters on a daily basis? No, I'm merely suggesting that a handwritten note dropped in the mail now and then could really uplift someone and maybe be a good exercise for you too. You'll have beautiful love notes to share with your children and grandchildren in the future. You might encourage some wonderful correspondence.

If you want a pen pal, email me and we'll hook it up! I'm an excellent pen pal. I love to receive love notes and letters via mail so share the love!

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, 13 August 2011


I had the pleasure of being unemployed for about three and a half weeks this summer. It wasn't lazy unemployment. I moved from Toronto back to my hometown of Winnipeg. I reviewed Fringe Festival shows for Ignite 107 which was a blast! Then I took a couple of days vacation before embarking on the dreaded job hunt. I printed 50 resumes with the intent of pounding the pavement for as long as it took to find a job that would be the right fit for me and my school schedule. As providence would have it I got a job at the first place I applied on the spot! Wahoo, no more traipsing about the city. (and a lot of high quality scrap paper.)

And so I've recently begun working as a server at Canadian Chain Restaurant (name changed to protect blogger). CCR is your standard corporate restaurant with a nice long menu to memorize, drink specials every day and a ton of staff. Also there is a nice looooong training period. At the risk of sounding super arrogant (which I'm not, I swear) I'm a pretty good server and a quick learner. I did NOT want to go through all the crazy stupid training stuff they were going to make me go through. I just wanted to get out onto the floor with a bunch of tables and start rollin' in the cash.

Maybe it's because I've been praying for patience a lot lately because my first couple of shifts certainly seemed like tests. Not only had I been off my feet in a real way for almost a month so my dogs were barkin' but I also had to put up with know-it-all 19 year-olds training me. I know, I'm a martyr.

Shift three comes along and lo and behold they are letting me have TWO whole tables to myself to serve and take care of for the night. Easy peasy. I get their drinks and take their orders and promptly punch them in...COMPLETELY INCORRECTLY! Miss High And Mighty (me) screws up within seconds of getting a little responsibility. I'm grateful they didn't know my attitude because my manager was gracious and so was the table.

I learned an important lesson that day. I learned that training has a purpose and to try and jump ahead or think that you know better gets you into trouble. A scuba diver with no training quickly becomes a scuba sinker. If you don't train and are not in shape to climb a mountain you could die on the way up and never get the beautiful view from the top.

SO Lesson #1: Don't skip over the lessons you learn in your life because you are going to need that knowledge later.  

Friday, 12 August 2011

Heeeere Blogggy bloggy bloggy!

So I've been challenged by a friend of mine to get back to writing. I know I had a few readers in the past (thanks Mom) and maybe I'll hook them again. I don't really have an agenda for writing this blog other than to challenge myself and maybe share some wisdom that God has revealed in my life. I used to tweet in the format of "Lessons" and I still find myself forming little lessons in my head. Sometimes they are just silly things like “walking barefoot through the grass is nice, until you step on a bee.” Sometimes I find myself thinking up really profound lessons/metaphors for life that I stumble through each day. So welcome to my new blog Stumbling Through Life's Lessons (STLL...almost STILL but I couldn't think of an I.)

Why have a format? 
1. Because I like rules and structure.
2. My brain is already thinking like that the ideas have been coming a lot lately. 
3. It's my blog and I'll do what I want!

I welcome comments and feed back (even technical feedback! Please tell me if my tone is condescending or that my use of alliteration blew your mind.) If you have a life lesson you want to share I'll take guest bloggers too.

I hope you can learn from some of my lessons and mistakes. Besides, aren't we all just students in the world's biggest classroom...of Life. (hehehe that was super cheesy...your welcome!)

happy reading,