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Grace Speaks…

Probing, “Does this really matter?”

     My husband and I were on the brink of an argument the other day. He’d heard a request I’d made one way, and I was convinced I’d communicated it another way—which, naturally, in my opinion, was the RIGHT way! (You can imagine a smiley-face emoji inserted here!)

     Just as I was preparing my defense against Ron’s perception, I heard it—the voice of grace, asking, “Really, Sue, in light of eternity, does it matter?” I knew the correct answer. No, of course it doesn’t! I’m grateful I listened and was able to capture and set aside argumentative words that day. Otherwise, resentful feelings that could have easily become harsh, hurtful and long-lasting may have been the outcome. I know that from experience!

     I’m not sure when I started listening to the voice of grace ask me the ‘in-light-of-eternity’ question, or more importantly, when I realized that in light of eternity, most potential gripes and grievances truly do not matter.

     I’m one of those people who has a passionate opinion about almost everything! I possess a very strong sense of fairness and justice. And, on top of that, somewhere during childhood, I determined it was vitally important to be RIGHT.

     Here’s what grace has taught me.

          It’s all right to be passionate and have opinions, but wisdom will help me manage my
          passions and opinions, choosing with whom and when I share them.

          Fairness and justice are important, but I can decide which battles are worth fighting,
          and if I feel the need to fight a battle, I can prayerfully decide on a strategic plan for
          maximum effectiveness.

          Finally, grace has taught me I don’t NEED to be RIGHT!

     Grace not only challenges me to consider what doesn’t matter in light of eternity. Grace also reminds me that much does matter:

     a kind gesture; a helping hand; an encouraging word; generosity;

          forgiveness; gratitude; willingness to listen; temperate correction;

               gentle truth; inconvenient or undeserved acts of kindness;

                    persistence; non-malicious laughter; validation;

                         and always, always unselfish love.

I want to learn to listen more carefully, obey more readily and turn my behavior around more quickly when the voice of Grace asks, “In light of eternity does this really matter?”

     How about you?

Grace to you…

Sue Reeve

Grace Speaks… Whispering, “I know it’s hard…”

     A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended a 100th Anniversary service at the church where we met over 40 years ago.

     When I decided to attend this church way back when, my reasoning was admittedly unhealthy. Someone told me it was a “big” and “unfriendly” church. Sounded good to me at the time.

     My heart was battered and broken when I walked through the doors that first Sunday. I wanted to disappear. In those days, I thought more about ending my life than fitting in or making friends.

     The tall, lanky, gray-haired, bespectacled pastor’s sermons seemed always to land on the same theme: Grace. Week upon week truth seeped from the mouth of a venerable man of God who grasped the power of grace into this younger woman’s shattered soul.

     When Ron and I re-visited our former place of worship, I felt no desire to disappear. My heart is in a much better place today.

     Instead, I admired the updated auditorium. I enjoyed the sermon. The current pastor, probably about the same age as my daughter, preached with challenge and conviction.

     In reality, that congregation had been filled with a lot of nice, friendly folk. Many still attend, and it was a true joy to receive warm hugs and rekindle some dear acquaintances.

     Waves of memories swept over me during our visit. I recalled the location where I was sitting one Sunday morning when the whisper of grace assured me God loved me deeply, and I was going to make it through my season of dark despair.

     If your heart is in a dark place right now, my prayer for you is that you too will hear the whisper of Grace assuring, “I know it’s hard. I’m here to help.”

May your days be filled with much grace…

Sue Reeve

One Ordinary Tuesday…

…I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.”My times are in your hands… (Psalm 31:14 & 15a NIV)

Today’s post is re-printed from September 12, 2016. There are days I never want to forget. September 11, 2001 is one. Today I’d like to reflect and remember a solemn day, one that changed our nation forever.

     Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Floods of memories sweep over me each September 11th. Events of that day are etched deeply in my memory.

     There seemed to be nothing extraordinary about that morning. One Tuesday each month I’d fly to Seattle for a two-day business trip. This was one of those Tuesdays.

          Another ordinary day.

               Another ordinary business trip!

                     Or, perhaps not…

     As fellow travelers and I stepped onto the ramp to board our plane, we watched the television, tuned in to CNN, as the second tower of the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground. What in the world is going on? We wondered.

     That ordinary Tuesday became a 21st Century day, which, like the day Pearl Harbor was bombed, would live in infamy.

     We sat on the plane for over an hour. Flight attendants served beverages. Smart phones with internet access weren’t common then, and I listened as passengers sitting nearby speculated about the delay and what had happened almost 3,000 miles away.

     Finally, the captain made the announcement. Our flight to Seattle was cancelled.

     Immediately, I called my supervisor and told her I wouldn’t make it to the meeting. She told me the meeting was cancelled, and I didn’t need to return to the office. She explained there was talk what happened in New York City was a terrorist attack. Loyal employee that I was, I assured my boss I’d go back to the office where plenty of work awaited.

     Preparing to enter the freeway in route to work, I listened to the radio. It was then I learned all flights in the United States were grounded. Planes had flown not only into the two World Trade Center towers but also into the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.

     There was now no doubt, the news anchor reported. These were acts of terror.

     And, there was now no doubt in my mind. I wasn’t returning to work. During this day, filled with greater concerns about national security than I’d experienced in my lifetime, I needed to be home close to my family.

     All the way home, I prayed. Even more than I needed my family that Tuesday morning, I needed my God. No matter what may happen in our nation, I knew faith would be my anchor.

     It’s amazing how an ordinary day is redefined so quickly!

     I’m grateful most days are ordinary. I like the comfort and predictability of ordinary. But, if too many of my days are merely ordinary, I can become lulled into complacency. I can lose sight of what really, truly matters.

     I can stop appreciating what makes ordinary possible.

     September 11th clarified for me some extraordinary truths I’m prone to overlook when ordinary becomes overly comfortable.

          Freedom is fragile.

               Faith is foundational.

                    Family is precious.

                         Friends and community are priceless.

C:\Users\Owner\Desktop\Sue Reeve\Ipod Photos\Africa 05\j0485.JPG

There’s nothing ordinary about a South African sunset!

Prayer: This morning, Lord, I thank you for ordinary days. Thank you for the gifts you give so generously. Forgive me for so often taking for granted:

          Freedom

               Faith

                    Family

                         Friends and community.

Remind me each day to value my freedom; share my faith; cherish my family; and treat friends and the community in which you’ve placed me with respect and generosity.

Amen

My prayer for every reader is that you might catch a glimpse of an extraordinary God in each ordinary day…

Sue Reeve