Journal Entry ~ 04/23/18

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35

God’s love is full of mercy and grace.  Mercy is not giving us what we deserve, and grace is giving us what we don’t deserve. 

God’s mercy flows out of the great love with which he loved us. This divine mercy is personal, intimate, and completely unexpected. God is merciful out of His abundant stores, and lovingly and consistently pours mercy over our lives. Every heartbeat, every breath, every hour you have is not only a gracious gift from God, it is also a reminder that God has mercifully kept death at bay. God’s mercy can cover even the worst of sins. God loves us unconditionally, forgives us our many trips and falls in life, and helps us back to our feet as often as necessary. God’s mercy is rich and endless. 

Now think about your most challenging relationship. How much mercy do you show?  We are called to love as He loves, so that means we are called to show an endless amount of mercy to those who fail in our own lives. We are called to show love over that sharp retort, the silent treatment, the gossiping to our friends. We fail to love as He does when we grow angry at someone, when we grow bitter or resentful, when we choose to punish or seek revenge. Mercy. So many of us get caught in the trap of “I shouldn’t have to take that” or “I have a right to be respected”.  No. We are to show mercy. We are not to give others what they deserve when they wrong us, we are to show love as God shows us love when we wrong Him. 

Mercy and grace go hand in hand. Mercy withholds judgment long enough for grace to take effect. God shows us abundant grace as He continually blesses our lives in little ways and in big ways.  Despite how we are prone to wander, He just continues to give us what we don’t deserve. 

I remember the first time I truly understood that God's work in us is process of momentary grace in our lives, and not an event. It caused me to look at myself ~ and at others ~ from a very different perspective.  I stopped looking for immediate change in myself and others, and became satisfied with the knowledge that it happens as a process...my parenting changed, my marriage changed, my relationships changed. As impatient humans, we have a tendency to expect change in a moment, but grace doesn't come in heaps, but it happens in the thousands of  little moments of our lives ~ in those moments where we live on a daily basis. The fact of the matter is that the transforming work of grace is a more of a mundane process than a few dramatic events. You and I don't live in big, dramatic moments, rather we live in the mundane little moments ~ and if God doesn't rule those moments, and doesn't work to re-create us in those moments, then we have no hope. God's grace is relentless, and He will meet us in those little moments all day long, working tirelessly if we are committed to live in the small moments of our daily lives with open eyes and humble, expectant hearts.

Grace can be a hard thing to understand, and an even harder thing to give. I heard a great quote yesterday about grace — We struggle to wrap our minds around grace because it’s made for our hearts. We need to stop trying to figure out grace with our minds - our minds will never understand it. When we let our hearts experience grace, we begin to understand His true gift of grace. When we truly experience His gift of grace, we begin to pour it out on others. 

Now think again about your most challenging relationships. Are they filled with grace?  Do you continually seek ways to bless that person, giving them what they don’t deserve?  Are you waiting patiently for God to do His work in that person, while working to be His hands and feet?

So much work to do in my life, but so thankful for His mercy and His grace. He gives me eyes to see what needs to change when I seek His truth by meditating on His Word. 

Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗

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