<![CDATA[Grace-filled Girl - Blog]]>Sun, 14 Jan 2018 18:43:19 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[Simply Simplify]]>Fri, 12 Jan 2018 16:09:03 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/simply-simplifyPicture
Clear away the clutter.
Reading my title makes me shudder.
For the thing I know to do
I can’t bring myself to do.
Make space for more
     Think-freedom,
          Clean-freedom,
               Responsibility-freedom.
                    Time-freedom.
A goal worth achieving
Takes muscles yet to be revealed.
That which I want to do
Gives struggle.
Reduced to my knees
To ask for help.
 
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This was an interesting process.

I am always surprised with what I end up with as I write my 5 minute post. Channeling my inner e e cummings it seems. At least I didn’t regress to Yoda-izing my phrases. Sheesh!

Thanks for reading this post to the end. You can find some really wonderful thoughts on our word prompt for this week, ‘Simplify’, at Five Minute Friday, a writer’s community where we write our thoughts about one word for five minutes and let the whole world see the result. 

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<![CDATA[For the Joy]]>Fri, 05 Jan 2018 22:21:49 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/for-the-joyPicture
I have to admit it, I get up in the morning faster when I have a goal to accomplish.
Or a tasty breakfast to consume.
Or special people to spend time with.
The proper motivation will create within me the desire to see the promised end result, regardless of the necessary preparation. It’s the goal that makes all the hard work worth it in the end.

This year I’m joining the One Word train and will focus much of my writing on my word for 2018 – Joy. At first I thought it would be easy-peasy, fluffy sweet sentiments on something that makes me smile all the time. I was surprised to find that many times when joy was mentioned in the Bible it was in accordance with suffering.

Say WHAT?!

I’ve been dwelling on one verse in particular, in Hebrews 12:2 “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (NASB)

Well SURE, Jesus could do that because He is God. Right?
But if Jesus is my example I must follow in His footsteps. I know that I am not greater than my Teacher. My calling is not to die for the sins of the world, but to live for Him who did. The resulting joy is being in His presence now and forever.

For the joy that I have now, I relinquish my agenda and follow His. This means not doing things according to the popular trend or in line with the trendy analytics. I most likely will function counter-to-the-culture. Raised eyebrows looking my way.

Shake it off, baby. Shake it off.

For the joy that is to come, I sacrifice my sense of what joy MUST look like. Sunshine and roses? Fireside coziness? Roller coaster high?

No, I don’t think so.
Joy is wrapped up in the package of the One who gave completely of Himself, obediently. To the point of death on the cross for my sin SO THAT I could be seated with Him in the heavenly places. His pain for my gain. Joy is Jesus.

Joy is running the race to the finish line and being handed the victor’s crown by The Victor – and laying it at His feet. I don’t want the award for the race, I want to see Jesus face to face.
That is Joy. 
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This post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday - a writing community spurred on by one word writing prompts and a love to elaborate on them. Also, we like each other. Check it out!

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<![CDATA[Paradoxically Speaking...]]>Fri, 08 Dec 2017 16:23:04 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/paradoxically-speakingPicture
A paradox is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Or something like that.
It makes my brain hurt until I open my dictionary and unravel each word.

Paradox - a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth.

Mystery - anything that is kept secret or remains unexplained or unknown.

Enigma - a puzzling or inexplicable occurrence.

God came down to earth in the likeness of human flesh to save us from our sin.
Absurd!
Preposterous!

WHY?

I cannot understand.

But this I know:
Only a perfect love would sacrifice dignity, power, and glory for anyone, much less an enemy. Like me. Sinful me.

Only a wise God could see that a solution to sin’s corruption would only be found in His perfection.

**** STOP ****
Only a faithful God would write Himself in history from the beginning and never exit until the fullness of His Story has come to pass.

Only a gracious and merciful Creator would freely offer salvation through His own Son to ANYone who would believe and receive it. 

You don't have to understand.
Just raise your hands and receive. 

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This ponderous post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday. The mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write for five minutes on the prompt of the week. Check it out!

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<![CDATA[Be Near Me, Lord Jesus]]>Sat, 02 Dec 2017 18:22:19 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/be-near-me-lord-jesusPicture
I recently went on a 3,000 mile trip over the Thanksgiving holiday from Southeastern Pennsylvania to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. The object of the journey? To visit with our 4 sons and their wives and families and spend Thanksgiving with my hubby’s side of the family. Although our backsides were a little worse for wear, it was a pleasant trip and worth the effort. This was the first time in 5 years that nearly everyone from David’s extended family, over 40 of us, were gathered together in one place.

But the highlight of the trip for me were the good-byes I got from my 7 year old granddaughter and her 4 year old brother. Saying “bye” to someone you hardly know can be awkward and has been difficult at times. But this time I was surprised with a couple of exuberant, whole-hearted hugs from Cadence and Titus. I was quite taken unawares.  It warmed my heart better than any hot cocoa or cappuccino ever could. Somehow we had broken the invisible barrier of familiar strangers to genuine relationships that share common experiences.

You see, my husband, daughter and I spent the day with Cadence, Titus, and little brother Malachi, a few days earlier. Both parents had previous obligations so we were blessed with an entire day of just hanging out together.

My husband and I were able to show them our love by being with them, listening to them, cuddling while reading a story, giggling about goofy antics by Grandpa or the kiddos. We had become for them more than a face and voice on a computer screen during a Skype session – our presence had transformed into something 3 dimensional, tangible, real.

Because we came near.

This time of year we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. God made man. The Divine wrapped in human flesh. God with us – God near us.

I pray this Christmas season that you would embrace Christ - He is near. He is the breath of a prayer away. Allow Him to show you His great love for you by drawing close to Him.

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This post is brought to you by Five Minute Friday. The object is to write for five minutes on the prompt of the week. Check it out!

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<![CDATA[Happy Thanksgiving 2017]]>Sat, 18 Nov 2017 21:55:23 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/happy-thanksgiving-2017
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<![CDATA[What to Do With the Invitation Nobody Wants?]]>Fri, 13 Oct 2017 16:48:40 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/what-to-do-with-the-invitation-nobody-wantsPicture
With every invitation there is a sense of mystery and anticipation. Maybe even dread, if you are an introvert. But one invitation that has been handed to me and anyone who follows Jesus gives pause to the receiving. It is His invitation to join in the fellowship of His suffering.

Oh no, Lord, anything but that! Please……..

But He gently persists in His request to join Him in that exclusive companionship. Ever courteous, always the gentleman, drawing me forward in the hard places that require me to leave something of myself behind. Yet, I resist out of fear of the unknown, of anticipated pain (physical and emotional), of loss. I can only see the negatives from this whole process. Is it really necessary, Lord? Must I follow you there?

He leans close and reminds me that is was for joy’s sake He went to the cross for me so that I could have the blessing of His presence in this earthly life as well as the next. True love requires sacrifice; suffering. To leave a part of yourself behind for the sake of the ones you truly love. The union that results is joyous!

True Christianity is the sharing by example the life of Christ through our own, in all aspects.

He holds your invitation in His nail-scarred hand. Will you receive it?

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This was written in response to the prompt to write for five minutes on one word for that day, in this case ‘invite’. If you’re interested in finding out how you can join this community of writers/encouragers, check out Five Minute Friday. 

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<![CDATA[Every Cup Tells a Story]]>Fri, 06 Oct 2017 15:54:41 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/every-cup-tells-a-storyPicture
Hot tea is my go-to beverage morning, noon, and night. Recollections of visiting my British grandmother’s home evokes happy memories of sitting at her kitchen table waiting for the kettle to whistle and drinking fresh-brewed tea as hot as I could take it.

Conversation would rise just like the steam in each cuppa’. Bits of news. Quick little catch-ups. Happy silence with a few sips here and there.

I had to chuckle as I was filling the canister with tea bags this morning. I wasn’t going to write anything today. But God got my attention with a phrase printed on the flap of the tea box. Every cup tells a story.

Really?

As I thought about it, I could see that it’s true. Each time I put the kettle on I am at a different part of my day. The first cup is my wake-up buddy. The second cup is a warm encouragement to begin the tasks for the day. Subsequent cups fuel me and give me pause as each one is consumed.

I’m not sharing my story with another person, per se, but the experience brings me in touch with soothing memories and a reminder that I do have a Companion who is with me at all times.
 
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Five Minute Friday is a community of writers who encourage each other as they free write for five minutes and share their results.

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<![CDATA[{Five Minute Friday Link-up :: Accept ::}]]>Mon, 25 Sep 2017 06:02:51 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/five-minute-friday-link-up-acceptPicture
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it……..”
 
Famous opening lines to Mission Impossible run through my mind as I recall the beginning of the newest phase in my husband’s and my ministry. Our move away from our grown children and grandchildren and parents in the Midwest came as an unexpected turn in our 30+ year sojourn with the Lord. I got the head’s up before my hubby did, though, in a most peculiar way.
 
We had a house guest staying with us who was a friend of one of our sons. She would have episodes where dizziness and fainting would come upon her and she knew she needed to lie down and concentrate so that she wouldn’t fade out. She asked me to talk to her until the episode passed. Just talk. Well, I’m used to asking leading questions and keeping quiet during the answers, which wasn’t a help to this young lady. So, I began a running monologue of my life and our ministry.
 
It’s odd when you have to keep talking about yourself. It begins to sound like you’re thinking out loud. She got a complete history lesson on how I met my husband, where we’ve lived, how the modular house that we were living in at the time was built, and so on. Then she asked me a question, “So, is this your forever home?” You see, we had moved 10 times before we moved into that house. But we always told the Lord that we would go where ever He called us as long as he made it clear to us. The young lady’s eyes grew big and she needed to know if God would call us to move from this home, our forever home, would we actually go? I had to think before I answered her. I need to be honest with myself and with God.
Would I move if God called us? I knew what I had to say.
“Yes, If the Lord called us to another place, we would move.”
The room was still, except for the sense I had that someone had leaned over my right shoulder and asked, “Really?’
Though I already knew what I would find, I turned to see who said that. No one was there.
But, I understood that God had heard everything I had said.
 
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My time is up, but the story has just begun. This odyssey of transition began in May of 2012. Although it would take up much space to write out the entire scenario, this improbable move away from our family and home towns to a “foreign land” on the East Coast (c’mon, you know that ANYTHING different than how you grew up is foreign) was designated by God, alone. And, I will testify that He has proven Himself to us at every turn reminding us that we are indeed following His call.
 
When I ‘heard’ that voice ask me ‘Really?’ I knew that God was speaking to me. He was tapping me on the shoulder and testing my sincerity to the promise David and I had said we would keep.
 
Our move almost 5 years ago has been the most difficult, emotionally draining, and ultimately rewarding relocation we have ever made. In accepting our mission we have agreed to receive whatever responsibilities have been designated by our Good God. If you have sensed that God is tapping you on the shoulder for a mission improbable, know that you don’t go it alone. He has promised to be Emmanuel – God with us.
 
1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” 

Five Minute Friday Link-up  is an encouraging group of writers who write for five minutes on the word of the week and share it in the link-up.

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<![CDATA[{Five Minute Friday Link-up :: Support ::}]]>Sat, 16 Sep 2017 01:07:13 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/five-minute-friday-link-up-supportPicture


​Aaron and Hur holding up Moses’ arms during the battle.
The flying buttresses on Notre Dame Cathedral.
A skeleton.
Spiritual, physical, emotional provision.
All of these are a type of support. Some seen, some unseen.
Without proper support buildings would tumble and humans would crumble under pressure.
It’s necessary in a time of crisis.
Human beings would be blobs on the sidewalk without proper infrastructure.
Its presence lets us know we are not alone.
 
In 2 Chronicles 16:9 we read, "For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His….” (NASB) In this verse I find that the Lord of all the universe is eagerly searching for people who love Him wholeheartedly SO THAT He may give strong support. Truly amazing! He checks our insides in order to give aide to our outsides. Okay, a bit corny, but this is the way I think.
 
What I could do if I had a billion dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to God strongly supporting me. But it only happens because my heart is completely His. No keeping back anything for myself. No games of hide and seek. Lay my heart bare before the Lover of my Soul and I will dwell under the shadow of the Almighty God.
Then I will know what support looks like.
Then I will understand how He has been using the moments in my life to draw me to Himself.

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This post was written as a response to the word of the week at the Five Minute Friday Link-up.

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<![CDATA[{Five Minute Friday :: Work ::}]]>Fri, 08 Sep 2017 17:14:55 GMThttp://gracefilledgirl.com/blog/five-minute-friday-workPicture





It wasn’t until I realized that The Lord gave Adam a job to do BEFORE the Fall that I understood that work was part of the perfect Creation. Work was a gift to Adam to use his gifts and abilities in partnership with God for the benefit of his environment and himself. Work gives a sense of purpose and direction. It is a venue for creativity in problem solving and artistic expression. It connects us to The Creator, who worked for six days to make a world in which we live and breathe and work. The seventh day was to rest from labor SO THAT we would celebrate the God who made it all possible.

Now we deal with thorn infested tasks and thistle-producing jobs that hinder the joy and satisfaction we could derive from our work. The problem is not that we must work, but that we must confront the sin that degrades it. May our response not resemble the preacher in Ecclesiastes who bemoans every reality of life with the axiom, “Vanity, all is vanity.”

Rather, let’s be convinced of the Truth and hope found in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (NASB)

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Five Minute Friday Link-up is an encouraging group of writers who write for five minutes on the word of the week and share it in the link-up. 

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