Tag Archives: Grace

A Prayer for the Storm…

Sue’s Note: In Monday’s post, I discussed life’s storms. Even as Jesus spoke peace into a terrifying storm his disciples experienced on the Sea of Galilee, I believe Jesus can speak peace into storms you and I face in the 21st Century.

In today’s post, I offer a heartfelt prayer for readers who are weathering a particularly difficult storm. I know most who read this blog are women, but I hope if you’re a guy and this prayer applies, please substitute ‘him’ or ‘his’ for each feminine pronoun.

Lord,

For each friend—whether I’ve met her in person or not—who’s struggling in a storm, I offer this prayer.

First, I want to thank you for people who have prayed for me when I was overwhelmed by life’s circumstances, and my soul wearied with the wrestling.

Please, Lord, speak peace into her storm. May my friend, in your time, see this season of dark desolation as a backdrop to display the jewel of your grace.

Enable my friend’s spirit to catch glimpses of your goodness as she keeps trudging forward. Give her strength to keep placing one faltering foot of faith in front of another.

Enable her knowledge and belief in you to move from her head into her heart. May she feel in the very depths of her being—that secret place only your Spirit can reach—that you not only love her as you love everyone else, but that you cherish her as a unique individual whom you fashioned in your divine image.

Lord, won’t you give my friend the gift of ideas as she sorts imaginatively through the internal clutter. Help her discern well your best plan for future steps.

So often I’ve believed I must be in control. Thank you for the way you’re showing me the freedom that comes when I’m willing to relinquish my firm grasp and allow you to control what I’m not equipped to manage. I pray you would tenderly show my friend how to loosen her grip and place into your trustworthy hands every hope, dream, disappointment and doubt.

One of my favorite photos from our trip to Israel is of fellow traveler, Sarah, praying on the Sea of Galilee. Like Sarah, II often pray with open hands—not because I am pious, but to remind me of my tendency to want to be in control rather than relinquishing my grasp into God’s trustworthy hands.

As she walks in new freedom, I ask you will replace despair with hope. Energize her as she pursues her dreams and uses her gifts. Cover her with the umbrella of your transcendent peace and patience.

Finally, Lord, I pray my personal favorite prayer for my friend and sister-of-the heart:

God, Surprise her!

In the name of the Father, Son and Spirit, I make these requests,

     Amen

Be blessed…

     

Sue Reeve

Thoughts About Acronyms…

     A few years ago, while still working for a government agency, I participated in a presentation on managing workplace stress at a conference attended by over 300 technical professionals. Our presentation was last on the schedule.

     I sat through multiple talks on topics about which I was totally ignorant, and, to be truthful, quite uninterested. As I listened, I became aware that one professional acronym after another was being used. Glancing around the large conference room, I had the feeling I was the only one who had no clue what they meant.

     Hoping it appeared I was taking notes, I began jotting down every acronym familiar to me, identifying a couple that had become helpful tools.

     An acronym is a word or phrase formed from the first letters of other words.

     Acronyms are used in:

  • Government (CIA – Central Intelligence Agency;)
  • Business (AKA – Also Known As)
  • Identifying an individual (SWF – Single White Female) or organization (AMA – American Medical Association)
  • Describing (OTC – over the counter) or informing (PST – Pacific Standard Time)
  • Expressing emotion (LOL – Laughing Out Loud)
  • Texting or Messaging, (BTW – by the way;).

     Today’s post isn’t a tutorial on acronyms, but I’d like to share three acronyms I’ve found beneficial.

     The first is commonly used in 12-step groups and helps people in recovery identify relapse warning signs. Any 12-step participant will recognize the acronym HALT, reminding him/her to ask:

  • Am I HUNGRY?
  • Am I ANGRY?
  • Am I LONELY?
  • Am I TIRED?

     A “Yes” answer is reason to stop and assess a vulnerable emotional state.

     The next acronym is one my friend, Ashley, taught me. Concerning “naughty” childhood behaviors, think of the word, HOT, asking:

  • Is the child HUNGRY?
  • Is the child OVER-STIMULATED?
  • Is the child TIRED?

     Soon after talking with Ashley, Ron and I watched our granddaughter. Emmi spent the night at our house, sleeping in a strange bed and getting up extra early. We’d taken her to McDonalds for lunch. She’d eaten mostly French fries. Then, we took her to the park where she ran around, climbed bars, went up and down slides and played hard with new friends.

     When it was time to go home and take a nap, our granddaughter ran away, balked when asked to hold our hand, pouted and then cried uncontrollably. I felt frustration mounting, afraid I’d lose patience. Then I remembered the HOT acronym. I wasn’t sure if my 4-year-old granddaughter was hungry, but there was no doubt she was over-stimulated and very tired. Extending grace, the acronym reminded me, was the best response.

     Three little questions within an easy-to-remember acronym reminded me to speak softly, gather up my granddaughter, rock and sing gently. Soon, the worn-out little girl was sound asleep. Grandma also napped, and because she’d followed one little acronym, fell asleep without regrets!

     The final acronym—THINK—has been one of the most helpful communication tools I’ve ever learned. Before speaking or pushing that “Send” button—especially during a tense situation—THINK,

  • Is what I’m about to say/write TRUE?
  • Is what I’m about to say/write HELPFUL?
  • Is what I’m about to say/write INSPIRATIONAL?
  • Is what I’m about to say/write NECESSARY?
  • Is what I’m about to say/write KIND?

How about YOU?

  • Are there acronyms that serve as helpful reminders to you? If so, we’d love to hear about them.

Now, in closing, I’d like to say, TTFN and TTYL[1]

Sue Reeve

  1. Ta-ta for Now and Talk to You Later! While Ron barbequed steaks for dinner when we were in Missouri last October, this rainbow appeared. The magnificent show of nature made a rainy vacation day feel worthwhile! I love this quote by Maya Angelou, a woman who really knew how to craft words!

Grace I Don’t Deserve

School is back in session now. While driving past Ramsey Elementary School this morning on my way to work, I thought about a blog post I wrote several months ago. Here’s a portion of that post.

     I was traveling to work one morning, lost in deep thought about my 9 a.m. appointment. I liked the lady I was scheduled to see. She was a devoted mom, actively involved in church volunteer work, and I found her quirky sense of humor refreshing. But, she was also in deep pain. She couldn’t seem to find freedom in a difficult, often toxic, relationship. “Lord, help me see what I need to know about this precious woman’s heart,” I prayed while driving to the office.

     I was only a few blocks away from the church when I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed the unmistakable flashing blue lights following me. A quick glance around at the empty street convinced me those lights were meant for me. At the next cross street, I turned, parked the car, all the while wondering whatever was wrong.

     The handsome young police officer (HYPO) exited his patrol car. The conversation that morning between the police officer and me went something like this:

HYPO: “Morning, mam. Do you have any idea why I’m stopping you?”

Me: “I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t have a clue.”

HYPO: “I didn’t think so.”

Me: Perplexed as I handed over my up-to-date driver’s license, registration and proof-of-insurance card.

HYPO: “Thanks, mam. You remember those flashing yellow lights by Ramsey School back there?”

Me (gulping): “I’m sorry, officer, but I don’t.”

HYPO: “I didn’t think so. You sailed right on past me.”

Me: “Oh, my goodness. I am SO sorry. I wasn’t paying attention. [At this point—rather wisely, I believe—I decided it wouldn’t be prudent to explain I wasn’t paying attention because I was praying for my 9:00 appointment!!]

HYPO returns to his patrol car. I assume he’s checking my record for any criminal activity.

Me: I’m feeling confident he’d find none!

HYPO, sauntering back to my vehicle: “Well, mam, I’m not going to give you a ticket today, but in the future, you need to be more careful when driving through school zones.”

Me: “Thank you so much! I know I deserve a ticket, and I assure you I will be more careful in the future.”

HYPO: “You do that, mam. Now have a good day!”

     After taking a couple minutes to catch my breath and return the documents to their rightful locations, I began thinking about my interaction with the nice young police officer. He had every legal right—plus the authority—to give me a ticket for exceeding the 25 mph speed limit through a school zone when the yellow light is flashing.

     Instead, the officer acted with grace and showed me mercy.

     I know I may be running a risk here of over-spiritualizing a ticket for driving too quickly through a school zone, but as I finished my short commute to work that morning, I couldn’t help but believe once again, grace had found me! My encounter with the HYPO was an apt illustration of God’s grace.

     There have been many times in my journey of faith when I realized God had every right to deal harshly with me, and God had the authority to do so. But, that wasn’t the heart of God.

     Instead, God acted with grace and showed me mercy.

     I still drive past that school several times each week, and I never fail to watch for flashing yellow lights. My decision isn’t because I’m afraid my luck ran out. I’m not fearful of being caught, forced to pay a big fine and run the risk of insurance premiums being raised.

     The experience of receiving the HYPO’s grace motivates me to pay attention and reduce my speed because I realize the law behind those flashing yellow lights is intended to protect little children—to ensure safety.

     Likewise, the experience of receiving God’s grace motivates me to consider more carefully my behavioral choices because I believe sincerely God’s ways are meant to protect me and those I love. God’s direction is intended for my wellbeing. There may be times when I suffer painful consequences because of my choices, but even when that happens, I believe beyond any doubt

Grace is being given a great gift I really don’t deserve.

Prayer:

Thank you, God, for the really good gift of grace you’ve shown me even when I know I’m undeserving. Help me become an ever-increasingly gracious woman. Please keep teaching me how to extend your grace to those whose lives intersect with mine. And, Lord, I ask you to show your good grace to each person reading today’s post. Amen

May you be blessed with God’s good grace!

Sue Reeve

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