I’ll Tell You What’s So Amazing

What’s So Amazing About Graceyou ask? Sweet Moses! Got a year?

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There are some questions we humans don’t even realize we have percolating in our hearts. That is, until we are confronted with the monotony of day-to-day living and we begin to wonder what else there is out there.

Right?

Have you hit that wall yet?

Because, I remember that wall.

It hurt.

At the time I slammed into it, I wasn’t interested in answering The Big Questions. I was, however, interested in scaling those walls. For some reason, I never chose the easy way. Skinned knees and a bruised heart were what met my attempts to climb it.

And author Philip Yancey is genius at distilling answers to life’s biggest questions down to the studs. What’s important?

Love. Love is always the most important.

And once Love found me, I became consumed by the Grace that came with it; both taken in and given out. Considering myself a sinner, and chief among them, I couldn’t get enough of God’s undeserved but freely given grace.

Yancey was the author who famously penned,

“God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are.”

Indeed!

If you haven’t heard that yet, I’ll give you a minute. Because, truth.

Nothing, and I mean not a thing this side of heaven, will be able to keep you from God’s love and grace, once you want it. It’s like discovering a devil dog dispensary. Once you know it’s there, you can’t help but go back again and again.

And, in this very year, where election politics and race politics and gender politics are tearing at peace like a dog after a bone, I find so much of what Yancey wrote in this book to be a comfort. And a reminder.

“Politics draws lines between people; in contrast, Jesus’ love cuts across those lines and dispenses grace.”

I want to keep cutting across lines, like Jesus did. And I want others to keep cutting across lines toward me, too. Despite writing this book fourteen years ago, the problems Yancey calls attention to – the human problems we all experience – remain the same.

“Religious faith—for all its problems, despite its maddening tendency to replicate ungrace—lives on because we sense the numinous beauty of a gift undeserved that comes at unexpected moments from Outside.”

Lots of us feel “outside” an issue, these days. Grace reaches the hand across and says, “Love,” instead. I’ll tell you what’s so amazing about grace, it’s the outstretched hand.

I like that very much.

I need that even more.

And I always will.

Yes indeedy.

Well well well, this is the last book. I missed yesterday as our sweetgirl came down with a nasty case of Strep. But, I appreciate the grace to finish. If you missed any of the other books I named in this Best Books Ever series that I wrote for the Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below and check them out. And thank you for hanging out with me (almost) each day in October. 

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Let Me Tell You

“Who are you voting for, mama?” This is a question that the Sweetkids like to ask every November. In this house, we care about politics. And, although I’m not going to tell you who, let me tell you why.

Because, I am firm believer in the process.

Because, I believe that all people in this country are entitled to a say.

Because, I’m an eternal optimist.

Because, “I Voted” stickers!

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The only way to triumph over the injustices you see happening in the world is to do something about it. For some of us, one of the most powerful things we can do about it, is to vote about it.

So, in this house, we do.

Ahab loves to engage in political discussery. (The word shall stand!) His passion for political issues trickled right on down to me. Passion was never more prominently displayed than when Ahab had A Word about an issue.

The man had, and has, ‘a word’ often.

About many an issue.

Recently, he sent me one of those “forward” emails about where the words “right” and “left” came from. A friend had forwarded it to him. He found it worthy of passing on to me. (And that is how those abominable forward emails persist.)

Ecclesiastes 10:2 was provided as food for thought, in this one.

A wise man’s heart inclines him to the right,
    but a fool’s heart to the left.

I reminded Ahab, in a non-fireworks kind of way, I assure you, that anytime one of those “forward” emails are sent, I trash them.

“WHY?!? Why would you do that without even looking at them,” he asked.

Let me tell you why.

Because, although he and I will discuss an initial idea into the ground, most people read one of those blasted things and make all sorts of assumptions. Without any further verification or research.

Yes, the verse says that Right does good and Left goes wrong. Yes, it’s Biblical. Yes, I believe the Bible is True.

That’s where my agreement with the original writer of the email ends.

Immediately after reading it, I went on a search to find out what the original Biblical text meant by the words ‘left’ and ‘right’ (because, although Solomon was wise, he didn’t invent the political two-party system). I found something interesting. The original intent of the word “right”, in the context of this passage of scripture has to do with dexterity. Dexterity!

To be clear, what Matthew Henry noted in his commentary (and I love me some Matthew Henry! If it was good enough for Charles Spurgeon, it’s good enough for me.) was the mindfulness with which a wise person goes about the task at hand. Back in King Solomon’s time (the writer of Ecclesiastes), most folks used their right hand to accomplish an end with mastery and skill. Lefties, I’m sorry. This implies that the left-handed were wayward in their abilities.

Forgive them Father, they did not know.

I’m married to a lefty. He is brilliant. #notbiased Handedness doesn’t decide who is wise.

How in the sam hill does any of this connect with voting?

I’m not blindly following along with what’s emailed handed to me. I’m not listening to the attack ads, reading the propaganda, jumping on a bandwagon. The Creator endowed me with a mind.

I choose to use it, as I explore what it means to love God and people with every bit of it.

So, let me tell you why you should vote.

Taking the time to delve into the issues, that will indeed affect us all at some point, is wise.

Casting your ballot, whether to the right or the left, or somewhere in the green, honors the God who gives authority to governments.

Showing up to vote, models an interest in your community and the laws and leaders that affect them.

You, my friend, were created with a mind. Use it.

Go Vote!

Grace Blazes a Trail

I think God likes fireworks.

My marriage can be considered exhibit A.

He knew that putting my Explosive with his Implosive would make for lots of Lively. But, I’ve figured out that what that also means, is that things need to get worked out in a timely manner, or there are going to be some major fireworks up in this house. Or car. Or, wherever it is that we happen to be having a “growth opportunity”, as Lysa TerKeurst calls them.

The noise can be deafening.

But, God also provides the venue for fireworks with my Sweetgirl and Sweetboy. They each have personality traits that work in direct conflict with my bliss. All the live long day, some days. What feels like flat-out warfare on my parenting soul, sometimes comes in the form of my children saying “red” just because I said “blue”.

BOOM!

But wait, there’s more! God also provided me with The Nana and Ahab. I can’t even tell you. Let me try. The Nana thinks she knows what’s best for me. (In her defense, she is often right.) Until I get there, though, I will fight tooth and nail to get my point across. (I also have to remind her, repeatedly, that I’m an adult.) (This doesn’t seem to matter.) (I’m beginning to think it never will with parents.) Ahab and I get into some political discussions that will clear a room. Clear. A. Room! There is a clash of worldview and those opinions blow sky-high.

KABOOM!

And it doesn’t even have to be the fourth of July!

Inevitably, though, Grace whispers “do your best to live at peace with everyone”.

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Do your best.

Dang.

It stings when I am confronted with the fact that sometimes it’s me who lays that trail of gunpowder, or fires one across the bow, or lights that match.

That I’m most certainly not doing my best.

But grace blazes a trail of peace as it blows away contentiousness, anger, and indignation. It leaves calm in its wake, with harmony as the goal.

I could take a lesson. Or seventy-seven.

I still believe that God likes fireworks. (Who else would bring James Carville and Mary Matalin together in marriage? I ask you!) But, I also believe that Grace comes quietly and gives us a more beautiful show than any fireworks ever could.

Oh, yes indeedy.

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This post is day 28 of the Write 31 Days challenge. I think I can! I think I can! I think I can…

Chippy and Chirpy

I’m tryin’ to get on the “tweet” bandwagon.  It’s slow-going.  And to make matters worse, it’s an election cycle.  Yay.  Don’t get me wrong. Those who know me in real life, know dern well how likely I am to “share” my opinions on political matters.  I’m not one to shy away from a healthy discourse on politics.  (And, yes, I know I could have simply written IRL, but then The Nana wouldn’t know what I was talking about.  I’m moving her into the techno realm ever-so-slowly, you see.)

I am, however, one to shy away from chirpy tweets that border on the preachy.  And I know preachy, folks.  Oh yes, indeedy.  Just ask my family.  I get all “Thou shalt NOT…” from Mount Washmore on them at least once a week.  At least.

But here’s the thing I wish about Twitter.  I wish that you could somehow turn off all of the commentary that you don’t really want to have to scroll through.  My time is precious, as is my vote; but, it’s my time!  And I want to use it to go right to the conversations that I really want to take part in.  Not to have to wade through chirpy chirp chirp after chirp about how this one went all “HOLLAH” on your party and that one went all “DIS” on your party.  For Pete’s sake… Can’t a girl just get a good dip recipe and fly away?

And speaking of dips, let’s talk about a little something I like to call… torture.  You see, dips are a part of our weekly meal planning.  Really. Not even kidding. At least once a week.  But, because I’m making an effort to get back on the healthy eating train, I’m counting my chips again. Gah, that sounds so draconian.  I’m talking good ol’ points counting and such.  It’s what works for me.

Anyhoo, Sweetman can be a bit daft when it comes to “helping” me count those chips.  I ask you, are there about 24 of those little round ones (because you get WAY more than with the big blue ones)?  You tell me.

Count em’ up!

Well, let’s check out the bowl that was set down in front of me from a different angle, shall we?

Uh, Houston, we have a problem!

Sweet Mound Of Mercy, I think not!  And, of course, once set in front of me, I feel the need to finish them right off because, c’mon y’all, the kids were just put down for bed and I certainly don’t want to have to open up the crinkly chip bag to put the leftover ones back. Right?  Can I get an Amen?

Alas… I think I’ll start counting with the next Diptastic Dinner.  Yes, yes indeed.  That sounds about right to me.