We All Need a Little Grace!

grace

 The sound of something spilling all over the floor brought me running into the kitchen.

There was Elijah, my almost 5 year old, with a look of fear on his face. He had made a huge mess and spilled his juice all over the chair and the floor.

Maybe it is because I have been sick the past few days and unable to keep up with my everyday responsibilities let alone parent well….

Maybe it was the look on his face, I don’t know….but I didn’t respond the way that I normally would.

I didn’t get angry or yell at him. I have little patience for stupid mistakes. (I am serious…patience is NOT a virtue that I was blessed with and it becomes more and more clear as I struggle to parent a 3 yr old and almost 5 yr old well!)

Normally I would let something like this really upset me….I wouldn’t see it as an accident, but a careless mistake.

But this night was different.

This night I just grabbed a rag and started to clean up the mess and told Elijah it was just an accident (which it was)….

I told him that he needed to be more careful about where he left his cup on the table so it didn’t happen again – but I was calm and kind.

Grace.

We all need it don’t we?

I am not above stupid mistakes, heck I make them all the time! And I expect grace from others don’t I?!

Why am I not as willing to extend it then?

Just that afternoon I had left work for an extended time to take a nap because I was feeling so terrible. I need grace too, just like everyone else.

God really used this little incident to speak to my weary heart.

I don’t want my kids to always be afraid that I am going to get angry when they do something wrong.

I want them to learn how to give and receive grace. (<=== Click to Tweet)

I want them to know that their mistakes don’t define them, but God’s grace for their lives does.

As we enter the final days of Holy Week, I am more and more grateful for the amazing gift of grace that was shown to me.

God sacrificed His ONLY Son, to be a Savior of all mankind. Even when He knew we would be sinful, even when He knew we would curse Him, would fall away and turn from His love….He loved us THAT much that in spite of who He knew we would be, He still made a way so that we could spend eternity with Him.

Wow – that kind of grace is overwhelming isn’t it?!

Grace.

We all need it.

I am grateful that I had an opportunity to practice grace in a real way with my kids. I won’t always do it well…in fact now that I have written this post I will probably fail in a BIG way in the coming days. (I’m just saying….I am the chief of hypocrites)

But I hope that I can be more quick to remember to extend grace instead of react negatively.

Because we all need a little grace!

Joining the lovely Holley Gerth today in her weekly 2014 Encouragement Challenge.

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150

Photo Credit: Share the Word

Clothed in Love Krafty Kash Fun! {And a Giveaway}

kraftykash Delonna fundraiser

Wow what an amazing few days it has been…I have seen community in action and have been blown away by your love and support of my dear friend Delonna.

As many of you know last Thursday was Clothed in Love’s 1 year Anniversary. And for 24 hours there was this amazing Matching Funds Donation Day. And we were all blown away at how many people responded and gave.

Delonna is SO close to having her goal completely funded…all thanks to so many of you!

I know of one woman who gave all she could, feeling like it wasn’t much…..she probably didn’t have that amount to give in the first place but she gave anyway. I am praying that God returns her gifts back to her 100 fold.

You are all a light.

You showed great love in supporting another’s God-sized Dream.

Delonna’s heart is to love on orphans, to show them that they are wanted and special. By giving to Delonna’s Pure Charity account you are also spreading love to these beautiful children!

Thank you. Really those words seem so small, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Several weeks ago I came across a beautiful Krafty Kash necklace on Facebook and immediately I thought of Delonna.

Kashoan of Krafty Kash makes these fun necklaces using old pages from dictionaries. She is a sweetheart and when I emailed her about possibly doing a fundraiser for the last remaining amount that Delonna needed to raise she jumped on board immediately.

They have created 3 beautiful necklaces with words that reflect Delonna’s ministry and hope for all orphans.

Love, Light and Heart.

You can see the actual necklaces in the photo above!

Each necklace is $24 + $2.50 S/H. For each necklace sold Delonna will get $12 to be put in her Pure Charity account!

I have one of these necklaces that says “Home” from a different fundraiser and they are really nice, unique pieces. Maybe a fun Mother’s Day gift idea?!

If you are interested in helping you can purchase one of these necklaces here.

In order to get the word out about these necklaces I am giving one away to one of you who helps me spread the word.

You can get an entry for each of the following below (please comment for each thing you do and make sure that you leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!)

1) Share this giveaway on Facebook and come back and leave a comment saying you have shared it.

2) Click on the the Click to Tweet below and come back an leave a comment that you tweeted! (Clothed in Love and Krafty Kash joining forces to raise funds to love on orphans) <=== Click to Tweet)

3) Purchase a necklace and come back and tell me and you will be entered to win a 2nd one for a friend!

Giveaway will end on Monday April 21st!

Thank you again for your support, prayers and encouragement of Delonna. She sends her love from South Africa right now!!

Where Two or More are Gathered…..

Holding HandsMatthew 18:20 “20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Right now Isaac, our oldest, is over at the High School taking his ACT test.  I was up early to make him some breakfast and when the younger kids came down stairs I told them that we needed to remember Isaac and be praying for him because he had a big test today.

Isaac (for right now) says he is interested in Pharmacy. He thinks that he will attend SDSU and they have a program there that allows for early entry into the pre-pharm program as a freshman if you get a 27 or higher on the ACT. You are also eligible for more scholarships if that happens….needless to say he has a pretty high expectation of what he wants as a minimum score on the test today.

I remember taking my ACT test and not getting the score I had hoped for….it wasn’t terrible, but I was sure I was smarter than the test said I was. ;) So as a mom now I have anxiety over this for him too!

I put out a call for prayer to some of those most amazing prayer warriors I know. It is good to have a circle of friends that will lift up even the smallest prayer requests!

Then as I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast Elijah (almost 5) came up to me and said that we should pray for Isaac!

So we sat down in the middle of the kitchen together and held hands.

I said “Did you know that the Bible says that where 2 or more are gathered together in God’s name, that God is there with them?”

“God is here right now Elijah, with us, hearing our prayers for Isaac!”

His eyes got big and he smiled….and then we prayed a prayer over his big brother.

It was 8:03am….right as Isaac was getting ready to start his younger brother was praying over him. I can’t tell you how much I love that!

I don’t know how he will do…or if he will get the score he wants.

I do know that our kids hear us. It is important to talk about God and prayer even in the most general of conversations. And when our kids come to us and want to engage us in prayer…stop everything and do it!

My heart is full this morning.

Regardless of how it turns out – Isaac left knowing that there were women across the country praying for him, that his siblings were praying for him…. and THAT is better than any positive test result.

Thank you for praying for my children – for covering them with blessings. I am so grateful to have a community here that loves me and my family so well!!

Photo Credit: fromcolettewithlove

Matching Gifts of Love

DeLonna

This is me and my beautiful friend Delonna. I have introduced her here before…but today is an extra special day so I wanted to tell you about something amazing that you can be a part of!

Delonna is a God-sized dreamer and fellow GSD website contributor. She has only been in my life a little over a year, but I feel like she has been a friend forever.

She has the BIGGEST heart for orphans. A year ago she started an organization called Clothed in Love. Her heart’s desire is to sponsor 40 children with profits from her non-profit.

Isn’t that amazing?!

Right now, after only a year, she has sponsored 15 children! I am so so proud of her!

Delonna is also a woman with a servant’s heart and is currently on a plane, right now, headed to South Africa for a mission trip!! :)

Then in July she is headed back to Africa as a part of the Baby Watoto Global Team. She is going to visit an orphanage where she sponsors some children and will get to love on them in person!!

Trips like these cost money and today, on the 1 year anniversary of the start of Clothed in Love, we have an opportunity to help her meet the remainder of her goal.

An anonymous donor has contacted her and offered to match up to $1000 of the funds raised for the 24 hours of April 10th!

You can read more about it here on her Pure Charity webpage.

If you can give $10 today…it will become $20.

If you can give $50, it will become $100!

Ok I don’t need to give you more examples, you get the math!!

I am just so excited about this for Delonna!

I feel called to not only support a dear friend, but to show love to orphans even when I can’t actually go to Africa myself.

Today is the day friends.

I am asking you to pray and consider how you might be able to help make this trip financially possibly for Delonna.

Go here to make a tax-deductible donation and support a wonderful cause…and make your dollar go farther with this amazing, one day only, match! 

Seeking to be the Light

candle flame

Sometimes the darkness in this world can be overwhelming.

I don’t even watch the news much anymore because I rarely find anything encouraging. Maybe that is hiding my head in the sand a bit…or maybe it is protecting my heart.

I easily gravitate towards the negative.

It isn’t something that I like about myself, but it is a part of who I am.

I have to fight it. To not get caught up in the “drama” and go down that dark path.

Recently I, and many of my dreamer sisters, were told “no” to an opportunity that seemed like such an amazing God-sized dream.

I will be honest with you and tell you that I really thought this time might be “it”. My spirit was crushed a little when the “no” came….the lies that I wasn’t good enough started creeping in again.

And I felt without words.

Have you ever been there? Chasing after what you thought was your God-sized dream only to discover it wasn’t in the cards for you. At least not now, not this time.

So I had to ask myself if this one thing was going to define me?

As writers, dreamers, want-to-be-speakers….we are bound to hear “no” from time to time. In fact we may actually hear “no” more than we hear “yes”!

But that doesn’t mean that our words aren’t important!

In fact it is the very reason that we must keep moving forward, keep offering hope to others!

As followers of Christ we are called to be a Light here.

Matthew 5: 14-16:  14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

I love these verses in Matthew. Such a reminder that I need to be letting my light shine everywhere I go.

Why?

So that men and women everywhere may see creation at its fullest, may see my devotion to God and turn and praise God because of it.

We are called to be a light, ultimately, so that God can receive praise and glory!

This world isn’t about  me (I know big shocker right?!) ;)

I am here to be a light in the darkness. (<==== Click to Tweet)

I can use this space for my glory…or for His.

I hope that I am always choosing the latter. That the words that spill on to these pages are ones of hope and encouragement and ultimately point you to Jesus.

So while the “no” stings, it doesn’t need to define me. My life has been a series of “no’s” that have eventually opened doors to some amazing “yes” opportunities!

I am called to be a light here, in all seasons.  The good and the difficult because none of this life would be possible without Him.

I can’t ever forget that!

It is always an honor to link up with my fellow God-sized Dreamers. Want to join in on the fun? Jump over here to read more!

GSD Link Up Picture

Photo Credit: Identity Photogr@phy

You Are Not A Failure

Sailboat 1

When I was 16 I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist when I “grew up”. One of my dad’s best friend’s was a PT and he allowed me to go to the clinic after school and shadow there to see what it might be like.

Before I even started college I had hours of volunteer time built up. I loved it. I felt like it was the perfect job for me and set my mind to achieving my goals.

As a Junior I was pre-accepted to the private college of my choice, located in my hometown, with scholarships. It was the college that my parents had both graduated from….everything was falling into place, perfectly

I had no doubt that this was God’s plan for my life.

My first semester of college was tough, but I worked hard and did well. Then in my 2nd semester as a Freshman I took Organic Chemistry. It was HARD and didn’t come easy. I studied and studied for my first quiz….I think I got 20 out of 25 wrong.

A complete and miserable failure.

I am sharing the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams today – join me there won’t you?!

Original Photo Credit: Derek Keats

The Copper Anchor – April Impact Opportunity and a Giveaway!!

Lisa Print modified 1

Sometimes following our dreams can be risky.

The world may tell us that we are crazy or that our dreams are out of reach….

But if you are following God’s plans for you, Oh, the places you’ll go!

My dear friend, and amazing blog designer, Lisa Larson is following a BIG dream with her husband and kids. She recently shared that they are pursuing adoption.

A big, and at times scary, dream…but one they feel God calling them to.

I have had the opportunity to get to know Lisa over the past year and LOVE her heart for others. Yesterday she opened her new Etsy shop.  They hope to sell these beautiful digital prints, like the one above, so that they can raise funds to help with their adoption costs.

Lisa has so much talent in design – I mean have you seen the beautiful details on my blog? She used those God-given gifts to create some amazing prints. I had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted to order!

I picked out 4 that I will print and use in our toy room!

I would love to help Lisa and Jerad meet their fundraising goal so it seemed perfect timing to feature their shop as my April Impact Opportunity!!

Lisa hasn’t asked me to post this….I just really believe in her and their desire to add another child to their family through adoption.

Would you consider making a purchase to help too?  Right now the digital prints are only $5 and $10!! Once you purchase the digital download you will have access to the print to copy, share, print etc.

A friend on FB suggested that they could even be made into a canvas print! With all the deals I find for canvas prints, I loved this idea!

Following big dreams aren’t easy, and sometimes they take some hard work and a lot of faith….but the journey can be amazing can’t it?!

Thank you for helping to support Lisa and her family! And even if you can’t purchase a print right now I know they would love all the prayers they can get!

For fun I decided that I am going to give away one of these print downloads!! You can get one entry by heading over to Lisa’s shop and coming back and leaving a comment with your favorite print. You can get additional entries for sharing this post on FB and Twitter and if you purchase a print of your own that will give you another entry! Please just leave a comment for each entry separately and also make sure to leave your email address so that once I have a winner picked I can have Lisa send you your pick of prints direct!

Giveaway will remain open until Monday April 7th!

Linking up with my fellow dream chasing sisters today over at God-sized Dreams.

GSD Link Up Picture

Even the Little Things

Prayer

Yesterday was a rough day.

It started out with me waking up at 4:30 in the morning with a terrible headache.

I get a bad headache a couple of times a month usually, and they usually last a couple of days. Typically I can take 1 excedrine, or use a little peppermint oil and it goes away. I have tried all sorts of things for headaches over the years and found many options ineffective.

So when I woke yesterday I took 1 pill and went back to bed for an hour and thought when I got up it would be gone.

But it wasn’t and it was really bad. Another pill, some oil, some Ibuprophen…massaging my temples. Nothing was working.

I reached out to a group of friends that was going to be meeting over the lunch hour to pray for our God-sized Dream team. Each Tuesday several women gather over Google Hangout and pray for the team. It is such a gift to have people praying for you and there is power when they are gathered.

I asked for prayer for my headache. And then forgot that I had even made the prayer request.

Over lunch I noticed that the headache just stopped. I figured that the meds must have finally kicked in. But it was gone and honestly it didn’t return for the rest of the day.  This isn’t typical for me.  When I get a bad headache like this it will come back, it will last into the evening, it will be there in the morning when I wake up. For at least 2 days, sometimes 3.

Last night I got a boxer from my friend Christine and in it she reminded me that they prayed for my headache….at approximately 1:45 EST. I was having lunch at that exact time (CST)….

During the exact moments that my dear sisters were lifting me up in prayer I was finally feeling relief.

When Christine left that message I just had chills.

He hears our prayers. No they aren’t always answered in the time frame that we would hope…or even with the answer we are looking for. But sometimes we see an immediate answer….and yesterday was one of those times.

I am just so grateful.

Grateful that I have faithful friends that are willing to stand in the gap for me and lift me up in prayer.

Grateful that God loves me enough to hear and respond to even the little things like a bad headache.

I am not sure where you find yourself this morning….struggling with a bad headache, or maybe something even bigger.

I want you to hear just this one thing today – God hears your prayers, even the little things. He hears them. It is worth our time to keep lifting them up. And when we see answers – share it with others!

Give God the credit for how He loves us!

Last night I jumped on our FB group page to thank the women who prayed for being faithful. We need to be faithful in the praying, but also faithful in the praising of God when we see the answers come!

God, thank you. Thank you for hearing, for healing and for loving me so much. Even in the little things. I am awake this morning pain free and praising You and grateful for my faithful sisters who stand in the gap for me.

Do you have a prayer need that I can be praying about today? Please leave them in the comments and I will be lifting you up in prayer today!!

Joining my dear friend Holley in her #2014EncouragementChallenge. Sharing words of encouragement and hope each week! We’d love for you to join in on the fun!!

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Photo Credit: Zach Alexander

God’s Amazing World – Giveaway!

Book 1

I love books. And I especially love children’s books that are fun to look at and teach a good message.  I was given the opportunity to review “God’s Amazing World!” by Eileen Spinelli and Ideals Books.

My children look at the world differently that I do at times.

They can see the beauty that I take for granted, they find wonder in the bugs that are crawling in the grass and the birds that are in the air.  When I think of all the things that God created I am amazed. How often do I miss it though?!

But God, He thought of everything!

And what a story to share with your children. The way in which God created us, this world and everything in it. When we give our children God’s words, His stories, they keep them in their heart and remember them.

Just the other day I was talking to my 4 year old about Dominic having to work late and feeling bad that he was alone and Elijah said “He isn’t alone silly, he is never alone because he has God in his heart.” I had said that very thing to him weeks before when he said he was feeling lonely.

Our children are listening and remember what we say.  What a better way to give them truth than in a book about God’s Amazing World?!

Book 2

I love that because Gabriel is old enough to read on his own he can help read to his brother and sister. While they were listening, the minute I wanted to take a picture they wouldn’t sit on the couch, of course! ;)

Book 3

In God’s Amazing World! “Gracie and her cousin Bo explore the seven days of Creation, all without leaving the backyard!”

The pictures are beautiful and as they discover each new day and what God created special for that day, kids are not only learning about the Creation story, but also about seeing God’s hand in everything around them. Even in their own backyard!

Book 4

This book is a new favorite and we have read it over and over again!  I am very excited because Flyby Promotions has given me an extra copy to give away to one of my readers!! If you have children you will want to enter this!! Just leave a comment below and tell me what is your favorite children’s book?!  A winner will be chosen on Monday March 31st! #ShareAMoment

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

“You Love Me Anyway”

3 Crosses

We are in the season of Lent…anticipating the Easter celebration that will come in a few weeks, the culmination of the Christ story, the fulfillment of God’s promises.

But are we living out that gift of life that was given to us on a daily basis?

We are studying Revelation in church right now and it is very interesting and scary stuff. Scary for those that will be left behind. We see in greater detail God’s wrath on a fallen world.

But still there is hope in the story.

God, in His loving mercy, sent His only Son as a way out. Payment for our sins. God wants all to know Him and accept this gift of grace.

But do we live in that grace?

I have been a believer for a long time. I have also had a very skewed view of what that means. I am a failure at being a good Christian most days.  I am not kind and loving with my family at times, I can talk about faith but don’t always live it out well, I am a hypocrite, 100%.

So who am I to stand here, writing about the grace and mercy of God?!

Those are lies that the enemy whispers to me often. Do you hear them as well?

Our pastor shared something at the end of his sermon on Sunday that really struck a chord in me and I just felt like I needed to share it here today. Maybe you find yourself in this very place as well….

As Christians we often hold ourselves to a kind of “to-do” list to keep us saved. Get up early for prayer time or Bible study, pray pray pray, go to church…etc.

All of these things are great. They keep us in communication with God, help build that personal relationship with Him that He so desires.

But it doesn’t keep us saved.

Christ’s shedding of blood on the cross is what was the ultimate payment, the covering we all need to remain in the presence of God for eternity.

I accepted this gift, and committed to walking in relationship with God but what happens on those days that I really need to sleep in and skip my quiet time? What about those times that I forget to pray for my husband and children? Or those times that I am selfish and ungrateful?

How could God possibly love a sinner like me?

And THAT is the point friends….

He doesn’t love us any less when we aren’t playing the Christian “part” to perfection!

God loved me so much (knowing EVERY sin that I would commit) that before I was even born He sacrificed His ONLY Son to die a painful and unimaginable death on a cross, so that the shedding of blood would be an eternal covering for me, if I would just accept the gift.

How powerful is that?!

It isn’t what I do, or blog about, or how often I get up and do a BIble study….He doesn’t love me for those reasons….and He doesn’t love me less in those times that I fail.

God loves unconditionally.

I can’t even fully grasp what that means because as a human, and a failure, I don’t know how to love unconditionally…I put conditions on my love all the time – even if I am not trying to do so….I think a hint of it is always there.

But God, in His great grace, pours out His love on us no matter what!

We should be walking in freedom friends!

Accepting this gift for what it is. A love offering from a God that cares more for us than we can even imagine. I am not going to loose His love when I fail…no, I already have His heart 100%. And so do you.

So start living in that redemption. It is your free gift to accept. And stop believing the lies that because you fail, that you have lost God’s favor. Your failures are the exact reason we have the cross.

A beautiful song the represents this is “You Love Me Anyway” by Sidewalk Prophets. Let the words fill your soul with hope today and walk in freedom because He loves you!

I am joining Holley for her #2014EncouragementChallenge. If you need some encouragement jump on over here and join the fun!

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Photo Credit: www.ForestWander.com

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