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Monday grace

This week I’ve been practicing some remembering.

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The Bible study I’m doing with sweet sisters has led me to a point of recall. Events from my childhood and young adulthood have surfaced. Like every human on the planet, some of my memories were painful. But so many were amazing.

We’ve been looking for the hand of God in the places of our lives, sensing Him in the darkness, witnessing Him in the light, recognizing that He was there each and every time.

It’s a healthy exercise for my brain to remember 60 plus years past. What I perceive in the remembering is a loving, dependable Father who was redeeming the events of my life, conforming me ever so slightly into the image of His Son, causing all things to work together for my good and for His glory.

On Sunday morning, sitting next to Sweet William at church, it was not surprising that a song about the faithfulness of God resonated with the things I’d been studying, the events I’ve been summoning to the forefront of my mind.

And then, a few pews away from us, I saw an elderly woman lift her small wrinkled hand in praise, acknowledging the same faithful God. My eyes unexpectedly teared up thinking of the years she has lived. Perhaps a decade or more my senior, her experience with God exceeds mine. I wondered what she might tell me, how she saw Him active in her years, what hard places she walked with His hand leading hers, the victories they won together, how beauty arose from the ashes of her grief and tribulation.

We are different but we are the same. Both children of the living God who loves us and cares individually for us, always at work on our behalf, ever watchful of the journey we take, never leaving, never forsaking.

Later that evening, Sweet William and I accompanied a roomful of people singing hymns from days gone by. He and I had practiced the songs for weeks, their melodies etched in our minds. The words were old, familiar and true.

Voices echoed ‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus and testified of its certainty. Our God is strong. Our God is good. And our God is trustworthy.

It is well worth remembering that.

Monday grace.

 

 

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Monday grace

This prayer reverberates in my mind.

Revive us, oh Lord!

I hunger for personal revival, the presence of the holy God who stirs me as in days before. I long to hear Him speak to me, through His Word in the early hours of quiet, as I walk in the beauty of creation, as I gather with the saints to worship, in the stillness of my own heart.

As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1, 2 NKJV      

Repeatedly Scripture tells me that if I seek Him, I will find Him. He is not far away. He is as near as my breath, as close as my thoughts.  What in this life of mine distracts me from the knowledge of His presence?

He offers Himself to me in a way I am yet to comprehend. He created me for relationship so I could be called a friend of God. And like the Lover of my soul, He wants me to want Him.

Does it grieve Him when I only want His blessings and not He who blesses? Do I seek after the gifts, forgetting the Giver?

Oh Father, forgive me! Create in me a longing heart so that I want You more than anything. 

You who granted life to every living thing, be my life.  Sweet Jesus. Be. My. Life.

Then, may all other people, gifts, and trappings fall into their proper places.

Let Your abundant life, the promised life, be fully mine. 

This song, by Carmen, is what I’m singing. Will you join in?

Revive us oh Lord, revive us, oh Lord
And cleanse us from our impurities
And make us holy
Hear our cry and revive us oh Lord

 

 

 

Monday grace

I missed “Sunday grace” yesterday but isn’t grace an everyday thing?

Sunday’s Grace:  My fellow Sunday school classmates showed me an immeasurable amount of love yesterday.  Their words of affirmation and love filled me full and running over.  I think I must have been glowing the rest of the day.

Sweet William and I witnessed the renewing of wedding vows from a couple who had been married fifty years.  The looks on their faces were priceless.  As the pastor asked them to repeat vows to one another, they pledged, once again, to love each other until death shall part them.  And isn’t that what love really is?  A pledge, a commitment, a covenant?  It’s not a fluffy emotion that rises and falls like a thermometer reflecting the conditions around it.  Love is something we do, something we promise when the feelings fluctuate.

As I reached for Sweet William’s hand during the ceremony, I was thankful for his commitment to me, for my commitment to him.  Where would we be if not for that?  What would we have done if God had not given us the grace to endure the rough waters and fiery trials?

Monday’s Grace:  I got a long-awaited letter from a far-away friend.  Our ages are decades apart, but she is dear to me.  Her words made me laugh out loud.  I read them with care, taking in all the inflections she shared, smiling at the funny pictures she drew, and hearing her heart.

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I love snail mail.  I think we miss something in this quick-message life we live.  While it is a convenience to send and receive texts, emails, tweets (what is that anyway?), I enjoy going to the mailbox at the end of my drive, shuffling through the ads, bills, requests for donations, and spying a return address sticker at the left top corner of an envelope from someone I love.  It’s like candy from the postman (woman).  I open it when I have time to sit and relish every word and sentiment.

Most texts and messages seem more like something to read, respond to, and check off the list.  Not all of them, mind you.  I do get some really endearing letter-like messages from friends, and I try to treat them like a hand-written note.  Reading slowing.  Savoring the message.  Taking my time to write a response.  I would not want to lose that kind of communication.

I must admit that while my young friend hand writes her letters, I usually type mine.  It’s faster for me which may put me back in the category of quick-messaging.  I’ll have to think about that.

letter and envelope

Words.  They have impact.  They are important.  It used to be the highest compliment to say a person was true to his word.  If he said it, he meant it no matter what.

We throw our words around casually these days.  Promises are made all day long.  I see it at every TV commercial break.  During a political campaign it’s hard to believe whose words are true.

It makes me examine my own words, my easy responses, my commitments to do something or be somewhere.  I really want to be a woman of my word, someone who can be counted on to do what she says.

Seeing that Jesus was called the very WORD of God shows me that God values His own words, His own commitments.  He sent His Son to fulfill His promise, long-awaited and far away.  The Word was God’s way of communicating with a world that needed to know Who He really is.  It was His way of inviting us into a relationship with Himself.

The Word made flesh.  Dwelling among us.  God coming down to speak in a language we could understand.

That is amazing.  And that, my friends, is Monday grace for sure.