When my daughter was born, well actually, years and years before my daughter was born, I knew that I would name her Grace. It's a family name – both on my mother's side, as well as my father's side of the family. Me, my mother, my grandmother, and two great grandmother's were all Grace. It had traditionally been a middle name, but somewhere around high school I got it in my mind that I would use it as my daughter's first name.

Fast forward and find me in my mid thirties. I did not have the daughter whom I had christened so many years earlier. I didn't even have a husband or a decent prospect. I began to secretly fear that I had shuffled the deck one too many times and a family was no longer in the cards.

And then, in the blink of an eye (almost literally) I found the man of my dreams and we married. One year later we started our family and learned that it would be the little girl I had long dreamed of. And, of course, we named her Grace.

But it was no longer just a family name to me. It was also a daily reminder of the grace that I learned about in those interim years between when I dreamed of my daughter and when God felt the time was right to give her to me. It is a reminder that this child is born of the grace of a loving Father who pursued me relentlessly over time and space. A reminder of his grace that waited me out and found me when I was tired of running and tired of trying to forge my own path. She is a reminder of the beautiful gift of grace, acceptance, and love I found in the faith that was planted in my youth but grown and cultivated through the storms of my adulthood.

This Grace that lives in my home is a daily reminder as her name rolls off my tongue that she is a product of grace, she is full of grace, and she is the gift of grace that God used to convince me of His love.

 

 

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I’ve read a lot in the last few days about mother’s trying to protect their young ones from this new world that we live in.  One mom wrote a letter to all the teen girls posting sexy selfies that her teen son’s could see.  Such a fantastic message.  Unfortunately she was a little unforgiving in her post and she included pictures of her boys on the beach in their swim trunks.  A lot of people saw red when they read it and took umbrage with her approach.  (She has since changed the pictures based on the criticism received)

We do that, don’t we?  We look at something that is 80% good and focus on the 20% that didn’t quite hit the mark.  I agree with many of the comments and the issues that others pointed out, but I wonder why we tend to do so with such violent and cruel abandon.

The old saying was, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’  In today’s society we need to re-purpose that.  ‘If you can’t type something nice, don’t type anything at all.’  This is not to say that a constructive dialogue shouldn’t be had, but you can tell anyone almost anything with love and sensitivity.  As an example, I thought this response was very well done.

So I implore you, all of you, the entire world,  the next time you see red just take a moment.  Take a deep breath.  Realize that you do not know the intention, or the person, and give people the benefit of the doubt.

 

Five Minute Friday

She is just so small.

And she is larger than life.

I want to keep her home. She wants to walk in to kindergarten by herself the second day.

I want her to need me. She wants to be able to do things by herself.

To me she seems so small. To her she feels so big.

Arms open wide, she is ready for this. When will I be?

 

Today I pick her up and she couldn't stop talking. It hit me. Her world has been very small, and now it is very big. While that is scary for me because I know all the things that can go wrong. It's exciting for her because every day is a new adventure.

And that makes my world twice as big as it was a few days ago. I am beginning to realize that as my children grow – my world grows. There are the adventure of my own life, as well as the adventures they each will have.

“Mommy, I went down the slide today. I decided to just be brave and try, and I really liked it. So I did it again!”

“That's great, baby,” I say, “tell me more.”

No detail is too small in this big adventurous story she is starting.

(And, yes, I'm crying a river as I write today.)

 

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I think broken may be my favorite word. I couldn't really tell you why. I think it has to do with the song that talks about being sweetly broken.

I was broken – for a very long time. Used up, confused up – broken. I made the wrong choices at the wrong time and I did things that make no sense to me now. I did them with reckless confidence and arrogant surety. I was so oblivious to my personal state of being. So unaware of my lack.

I began to heal on the day that I noticed I needed to. Whenever I realized that my choices were wrong for me, and my reasoning flawed, I began to do better. That very day.

Since then I still find myself making rash and bold decisions that would have been more thoughtful with a little time, but I've not made the lurching and crashing choices that can bring down the walls of life. I've not found myself surrounded by rubble that I did not know I was making. I've not been unpleasantly surprised by myself.

I was thinking the other day of a person I know who is struggling with their own demons and I thought of this:

There is no better disciple for a broken world, than a broken man or woman who has learned to walk humbly with their God.

It was the men and women who walk in the grace of a loving God that illuminated my world. It was those who had also made haunting decisions and yet lived a life of joy that intrigued me. The broken, yet healed, of the world spread hope like nobodies business. I love them.

 

If you would like to participate in Five Minute Friday – or read other takes on: Broken, please visit www.lisajobaker.com (my links aren't working tonight:)

I don't know that I will make it every week – but, gosh, two weeks in a row. Seems like I might! Ha.

 

Belong:

Have you ever been told you don't belong? Or, maybe you have been in a situation where you just knew you didn't belong. It's rough. It hurts to be told you are not wanted. It hurts to be told you should just get out – go somewhere else. It hurts to know you should not be where you are.

God made us to long for belonging. Really, to long for relationship. I think one of the most amazing gifts we have to give to one another is the gift of acceptance and presence. To truly be present with someone is to know that you belong and to make them know that they belong. What a sweet, sweet part of life that is.

I am going to celebrate seven years of marriage on Monday and I know that I belong to this man. He belongs to me. God created us for just this relationship.

And I never fear not belonging, not anymore. That's not to say my palms don't sweat in a crowded room, or at a party of people I don't know well, but I always know, in my heart, that I belong somewhere in this world. Not only that, but through this relationship God has shown me how I belong to him. He has shown me how he forgives me, how he delights in me, how I can be maddening at times – and yet still fully and completely belong. What an amazing gift.

Happy Anniversary, Greg. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for giving me our two magnificent children. Thank you for helping God make me really see that I belong.

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