When To Consult Your GPS

“What you do now is take a left down there at the blinking light.  Go about a mile and some change (what does that even mean?) and then take a right.  Keep on till you see the purple polka-dotted windmill, then bear left at the fork in the river. As soon as you see the unicorn, it’ll point you in the right direction.”

Have you ever received directions like this?

Being lost is frustrating enough.  Asking for directions and then receiving ones that don’t seem quite right, doesn’t help.

Every so often, I find that my map’s directions aren’t clear enough.  Maybe the terrain isn’t exactly as the map described it to be. It could be that I simply missed the street sign that I was supposed to be looking for. Possibly, new roads have been created since the map was published.

Whatever the case, every once in a while, I find myself lost.

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Stopping to ask for directions is usually very helpful. And, although most of the people trying to help me along are well intentioned, being human and all, they’re bound to muck it up.

And when that happens? I pull out that map and get to readjusting my course.

Or, I ask Siri.

“Recalculating route,” is what her voice will tell me she’s doing.

That’s a good word, right there.

When I get off the beaten path, and I feel in my very soul that it’s a path that’s not really meant for me, I need to get some better directions.

Some Divine Direction.

So, I go to my Spiritual GPS.

The One Map that is always exactly right.

Every. Single. Time.

GPS might stand for “Global Positioning System” in this earthly world, but where This Map is concerned, GPS stands for something altogether different.

G – God-given

P – Prayerfully provided

S – Strategy

And the Lord knows that I need it! After all, it was He who created me in all of my Directionally Challenged wonderfulness. It was He who provided me with a stubborn streak dogged determination.  Put those two things together when you are traveling along and it equals needs God’s guidance!

Lots.

Oh, yes indeedy.

I’ve become wise to the fact that when I get to feeling lost, I need to quickly consult my Spiritual GPS.

And, when I do?

That unicorn can eat my dust!

No Longer Damaged Goods

They invited me to meet with them after Bible study ended. This group of women,  each one deeply respected and admired for their ability to lead women, were issuing me an invitation to join their team.  Me!

But then, they leveled me with this statement: “We have faith in your ability to lead this ministry.”

And, as I looked around at each pair of wise, mature, and gracious eyes, I realized there was one huge problem.

I didn’t.

My guilt and shame over my past made me feel out of my depth for anything other than participation. I was sure that they needed someone further along in this journey of faith, more mature in their understanding of God’s Word, or at the very least, not scared witless.

So I thought.

In chapter 5 of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray, he speaks to the “God who heals damaged people”.

Do you consider yourself damaged goods?

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I surely did.

Now, I’m in awe of The God that takes every damaged bit of me and turns me into a “trophy of grace”*.

Jesus wants to make me a trophy of His grace.

He wants to make YOU a trophy of His grace!

He already sees you that way.

If that doesn’t make you want to leap up and fist pump the air with joy and thanksgiving, I’m not sure what could!

Each time I read these Words, waves and waves of grace wash over my dinged and damaged heart:

Romans5_8_MissindeedyLast night, while my thoughts turned dark and shameful, He died for me.

Last month, when I thought ugly thoughts and used harsh words, He died for me.

Last year, as I struggled to stay out of the pit, failing again and again, He died for me.

He died that I might stand on knock-kneed wobbly legs and lead a group of women into a deeper love for His Truth. For four years! He took so very many moments that I thought made me damaged goods and turned them into something useful.  He filled in my dings with His Grace and Truth and Love.

Because, He is Grace and Truth and Love.

Even now, I long to get it right, but so often get it wrong.

But, His love never fails.

It never gives up.

Those skeletons in my closet? He knew.

That shameful behavior?

He knows.

And He’s still right here, loving me anyway.

That is grace.

He is grace!

Admitting that I desperately need that, need Him, in my life?

Well, that takes me from damaged goods to trophy of grace, in one fell swoop!

Yes indeedy.

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Today’s post is a contribution to the blog hop over at Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study of Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray. Click the button below to join the conversation.

OBSBlogHop*The phrase “trophy of grace” was created by Derwin L. Gray, author of Limitless Life.

One Messy Morning

Syrup.

It was my undoing the other morning.

For what felt like the first time the entire school year, we were all dressed and ready to head out the door on time.

“Can I have a waffle before I go, mama?  I’m still hungry” requested my littlest, soon to graduate from Kindergarten. Lord, hold me!

We had time. I quickly popped in one of those fluffy little toaster waffles and got to work filling a small dipping bowl with syrup.  Surely, that would contain the mess.

“I can’t find my library books mom!”, shouted the older one from the landing.

Off I went to help round-up books.

That he miraculously remembered, five frustrating minutes later, were never actually brought into the house.

“Oh yeah! We didn’t go to library last week. Huh. I guess I don’t have to worry about it after all.”

Great.

“Mama! I got syrup on my shirt!”

Deep breath…

“And in my hair! YOU forgot to put my hair up first, mama!”

Any hopes I had of getting out the door on time, and unfrazzled, were now officially dashed.

Attempting to be helpful, that sweet little girl “set” her syrup dipping bowl, her ceramic syrup dipping bowl, into the sink.

Where it proceeded to shatter into about twenty-three pieces.

I lost just the tiniest bit of patience.

And exploded.

“You children must take responsibility for these things!”, I all but shrieked.

Just great.

I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s experienced a morning, or ten, like this?

It all made for a very heavy heart as the kids scooted out of the car in the carpool line.  My hurried “Bye! I love yo-” as the door slammed shut only served to make the heaviness settle deeper.

But then…

Then, I got home and opened up Limitless Life by Derwin L. Gray and fixed my eyes on this:

“God supernaturally fulfills His purposes through humanity’s messy, self-determined actions.”

One sentence!

I only had to read one sentence to be reminded that I am already one of God’s treasured Masterpieces.

God knew.

He knew I needed that exact sentence at that exact moment to usher hope right back into my day.

Oh, yes indeedy!

He knew that every self-determined word out of my mouth that messy morning would be able to be turned around, for His glory.

And that brought me immense comfort.

As my children got off the bus that afternoon, I hugged them tightly.

“I’m sorry about this morning, guys. Mama makes mistakes.  God showed me today that He knew that was going to happen and that it’s okay.  He still loves me. And I love you. TONS!”

Both kids looked at me like I had sprouted a flower out of my ear.

That’s okay.

They hugged me back and started chattering away about their day.

I realized, again, that although I may not be able to see how that messy morning fits into the masterpiece God is creating with my life, He surely is.

And that’s a great comfort to me.

Because, I’ve no doubt that I have other messy mornings, and afternoons, and evenings, in my future.

But…

we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…”  Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

Messy mornings, and all!

We’re talking about how God makes a masterpiece out of our messes over at the P31 Ministries Online Bible Study Blog Hop today.  If you’d like to get more encouragement, click the button below.

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Rip It Off

“Only God knows how many dreams have been killed at the altar of fear.”

-Derwin Gray, Limitless Life

Fear is no respecter of circumstance.  It just isn’t. It will have its way no matter how well prepared one thinks they are.

Like, when I wax my upper lip.  (Yep. I’m going there. Just for a minute.)  I can ice that area.  I can repeat my mantra, “I’ve birthed two babies. I can DO THIS!”.  I can do everything I can do to prepare myself for that rip.

Until it comes time to do it.

And then, it sometimes takes a knock at the front door by the UPS man to get me to just do it, for crying out loud!

There are other things in my life that I let fear keep me from doing.

The author of Limitless Life, Derwin Gray, goes on from the quote I used up there to say, “It must break His [God’s] heart to see dreams He has placed in so many people’s hearts go unrealized because we have more faith in fear than in Him.” 

Ouch.

That quote couldn’t cut deeper into the heart of the fear issue in my life, if it had been written only for me.

But it wasn’t written just for me. This book is a powerful tool written for any of us that are looking for ways to live life unbound by the labels that have no place in our lives, anymore. And maybe, they never had any place in our lives, at all!

This book is helping me to see that I still, after all my blustering on about following dreams and being redeemed, I still haven’t ripped that “Afraid” label fully off!

It’s like that tender little bit of upper lip that’s right under my nose. I’ve already gone and done the whole blasted thing, except that one last area.  But, I can’t make myself rip that last bit off.

And, why not?

Fear.

It is time to rip off that last bit of the old label of “Afraid” and be willing to let God replace it with ones that He deems worthy.

Because He has redeemed me!

He has declared me worthy of a new label!

And I am, finally, fully aware that I need new labels stitched into my heart.

True labels.

I’ve written before about the power that I think words have to help someone sort out the messes in life.  I’ve also talked a lot about the importance of following the dreams that seem to have been planted within our hearts.

And I’ve slacked off of doing either one of those, lately.

Seeing those dreams start to push through the hard crusty fear that took up residence for too long in my heart is a gift. I want to claim the labels of “Worthy” and “Able”. I want to let them propel me toward more of living the life that God has given me to live.

For me, that means that I want to keep writing my story.

For some of us Writerly types, courage comes not in the knowledge that our words will end up out in public, but in the knowing that we finally got them out.  Somewhere. Out of the shrunken heart-shaped prison that held them there. Enslaved.

But I am free.

It’s high time I let my words prove it!

P31_LL_Missindeedy

Yes, indeedy.  I do believe I will.

How about you?  Do you need to move from Afraid to Courageous?  If you’d like some more inspiration to do just that, consider joining in with the newly begun Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Study of Limitless Life, by Derwin Gray.  Click the button below to see what others thought about the labels we wear and the community we share!

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