Tag Archives: Grace

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

R-E-S-P-E-C-T – part 6

(Part 6 – Grace & Respect Walk Hand in Hand)

Let’s make sure that the words we speak to our children include words
of grace and respect.

Chuck Swindoll

     If you’re a regular Listening on the Journey… reader, you know the last few blog posts have focused on the matter of respect. This topic has triggered many subsequent thoughts for me. In the last post, I communicated the notion that respect is linked to love.

     Today, I’d like to introduce another thought: Grace walks hand in hand with respect.

     One reader commented that respect is learned from childhood, and I couldn’t agree more. Children who are treated with respect and who watch respect modeled in the home will be more likely to grow into respectful adults.

     Nothing breaks my heart more than when I hear reports of child abuse.

     Like most conduct, abusive behavior toward children lies on a continuum of ultra-permissiveness to cruel violence. Most of us have at times fallen somewhere on the continuum.

     I’m a grandmother now, but I remember my parenting years well. Sometimes—usually, because I was too tired to expend the energy required—I was guilty of not administering loving, fair, consistent discipline.

     At other times—usually because I was too frazzled to discipline my own frustration—I raised my voice unnecessarily, made a comment I’d regret later or was overly harsh in response to my child’s age-appropriate behavior.

     Devaluing children has been common throughout the ages. I love the way Jesus acknowledged little ones:

     People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” (Luke 18:15-17 MSG)

     As I was getting ready to write today’s post, I decided to Google “grace and respect” to see if anyone else had linked these two attributes. My search unearthed the wonderful quote I used to introduce this post from Chuck Swindoll, one of my favorite contemporary Bible teachers.

     Showing grace and respect to children is a great starting point. Grace-filled words and respectful actions— whether to our own sons and daughters, precious grandkids like Emmi and Reeve in the photo below, or the disruptive little one in the restaurant or on an airplane—reflect the heart of Jesus.

     Today’s post concludes the R-E-S-P-E-C-T series. Next time, I’ll begin a series I’ve entitled, Grace Speaks… I hope you’ll join me.

     Until then, blessings on your journey. May your days be filled with grace and respect…

Sue Reeve

 

 

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