Category Archives: Growing and Resting in the Grace of God

Stuffing is for Turkeys and Taxidermy

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Stuffing is for Turkeys and Taxidermy

She leads a launch team that I’m part of and on that day, she delivered some unwelcome news; many people in the group would not receive a physical advance copy of the book.

I made the cut, so I was reading the complaints and expressions of disappointment with little empathy.

I sent a text to the leader, hoping to offer a word of encouragement, assuming the comments were discouraging her yet impressed by the way she was extending grace to the “complainers”.

“You are such a great team leader. You are managing these poor, bitter people well.”

In hindsight, I see my self-righteousness (hypocritical as it was) in that second sentence. She replied within minutes, so kind, but her statement set me back on my heels.

“It’s okay to experience and express disappointment.”

I recalled that I had surveyed that list of paper copies and was very relieved to find my name. On the other hand, there was another list, for one of my favorite authors, and I didn’t “make the cut”. I internally decided I didn’t have time to promote a book that I wouldn’t get to read before launch.

Honestly, I had to acknowledge I was nursing a splinter of bitterness, disappointed that I wasn’t chosen. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought about my reaction and her statement frequently.

I’ve discovered something to be true in my judgement of others. Every single time, the thing I’m most critical of in others is my struggle as well. Perhaps that is why the Bible says in Matthew 7:3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” In my experience, their splinter is from the same “wood” as my log.

In this exchange my friend short-circuited my judgement with a simple, yet profound statement of grace – permission to express disappointment. It was one I hadn’t even allowed myself.

Expression of emotions is healthy. In fact, the best way to diffuse a powerful emotion is to express it. In my culture (family, work, church) there is a lot of freedom to express positive emotion, but we often haven’t known what to do with negative ones.

Just this morning, I read from Philippians 4 where we are admonished and encouraged to focus our minds on true things (among others) so that we can walk with God in peace. Does that seem like a contradiction to expressing negative feelings? Stay with me for another minute or two, friend.

In this case, I was disappointed that I would not receive a physical copy of Stasi Eldredge’s new book. She’s my all-time favorite non-fiction author and her book Captivating changed my life more than any book other than the Bible. My disappointment was a reasonable and healthy emotional response.

After admitting and expressing my disappointment, I moved on to embrace the truth:

  • I have the resources to buy the book, or my library will have the book and I can request it online for delivery to my door (we live in amazing times, ya’ll!).
  • Serving on launch teams gives me opportunities to interact with amazing authors and book lovers while we share new books with our communities.

And just like that…I’m flooded with gratitude and yes, peace. Peace comes with the right perspective, but we only get there by appropriately expressing honest emotions. I’m so thankful for the patient and smart people around me, who continue to extend grace as I learn and grow in the marvelous grace of God.

By his grace alone,

lorraine

Dance With Me?

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Dance With Me?

For months, I’ve taken a sabbatical from writing. Words, impactful words anyway, come from the vulnerable places of the heart. The deepest places in my heart are exposed by the truth of Scripture and that’s where the words flow. It’s been a dry season, but I’ve never doubted God’s faithfulness.

Thankfully, words have begun to come again. If someone reads them and finds encouragement it is only because the God of the valley of dry bones has breathed life into them. Perhaps this piece was not meant for me alone, but if it was, He is still a very kind Father.

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.”
Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

Recently, my husband held me close as we glided around a dance floor at a wedding reception. Neither of us is a great dancer, but I know this much well: only one of us can lead. I rested my head on his shoulder, closed my eyes and simply moved with his body. He led us around the dance floor, gently and tenderly holding me. I never looked up, preferring to rest in his arms and trust his lead. It was easy and comforting and I felt so very loved by this man who has been dancing with me for over forty-six years.

A few days later I was reading the passage above from Matthew and I remembered that dance. Jesus whispered “Just lean into me; allow me to lead. I will show you the unforced way of grace living.” He is so gracious, friends, this Jesus who has also been dancing with me for the same forty-six plus years.

There is no heavy yoke, pulling me in a direction when I walk with Him. He promised “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Rest. Our bodies need it and our souls crave it. I hope you got to take a great vacation this summer, but by the time the suitcases were unpacked, the laundry was finished and fridge was restocked you may have already grown weary.

Perhaps you crave rest as you look forward to this next season.

Dance with Him. His steps are sure. Trust his lead, my friend. He will take you to a place of true rest.

Trusting His lead,

lorraine