His Grip is Firm: Even When We Fall

My gloved hands and winter coat gave me protection from the cold morning air as I, along and several other teenage girls disembarked the bus. We talked as we walked to our place of work even though the sun was not quite up and we were not fully awake. As we walked down the hilly narrow street I was glad it hadn’t snowed, though I’m sure someone would have started a fun snowball fight.

Didn’t See it Coming

One minute I was on my feet, walking and talking the next moment my backside and the road were engaged in close fellowship as I had landed in a sitting position. As I tried to take in what had happen the girl in front half turned to look at me, as she did her feet went from under her and she landed facedown sprawled out on her belly.

Neither of us had noticed the patch of black ice, too busy talking I guess. The sight of me sitting in the middle of the street and my work colleague flat on her belly just tickled my sense of humor and I began to laugh. Her moisten eyes soon turned to eyes of laughter. Except for some sore places neither of us were badly hurt, we were more shocked that we had fallen. Thankfully the other girls helped us up and supported us while we regained our footing.

Round the Clock Support

One minute we are living life going about our usual routines then Wham! out of nowhere we are hit with something we didn’t see coming. It may knock us off our feet for awhile leaving us in stunned silence as we try to process the issue, or it may leave us crying face down.

Friends are needed in times when we have been knocked down, it’s good to have their support but their support can only go so far. They are not with us constantly but there is one who is and his name is Jesus, He has promised never to leave us, that means He is with us 24/7 holding and supporting us as we lean on Him day and night.

He stretches out His arms and with His hand He has a good grasp on us even during the times when we feel like we cannot hold on. He’s got you dear Sister-in-Christ and that’s a fact, you are His and He is not letting go. Let Him hold you, pick you up and steady you once again.

“Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord grasps his hand in support and upholds him.” Psalm 37:24 AMPC

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Have you been held, supported and lifted up during a difficult period in your life? Would love to hear your story of God’s goodness. Share in the comment box and feel free to share this post with a friend, they too may need to know He’s got them.

 

 

Give From the Inside Out

Generosity comes in all sizes from a large financial gift to an unexpected smile from a stranger. Throughout scripture we read account after account of people giving both out of their abundance and their need.

Red tartan had made a comeback once again and I was glad I had kept my jacket. There was a slight chill in the air making it a perfect day to wear it. Updated jeans and top and who would know the jacket was from the eighties…no shoulder pads for this girl!

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38NIV

I stopped at the Welcome Center in the church foyer to say hi to a dear friend, she too was sporting red tartan only hers was on her purse. I told you it was fashionable.

We talked for awhile, red tartan being part of the conversation, she asked me if I liked her purse?

I did.

As we talked she emptied the contents onto the Welcome Center table. I thought it a little strange but kept on with our conversation thinking she must be looking for something hidden deep in the recesses of her purse.

All of the contents lay on the table and I mean ALL. my friend picked up her purse looked me straight in the eye and told me she would like me to have her red tartan bag. There wasn’t any hesitation on her part, no waiting to get home and change purses before offering. It was straight up lets do it now.

I hesitated to accept.

What was she going to do with the contents from her purse? How was she going to get them home? Here they lay spread out on the table. She on the other hand did not see it as an issue. I wasn’t looking for a purse, though, you know we can always use another one. I accepted because she wanted to bless me and I was not going to deny her the privilege of being a blessing.

This lady, my friend Joelda ,has blessed many people over the years. Sometimes it has been with a particular gift, other times a word of encouragement or a scripture verse. She is the lady you go to if needing to be covered in prayer. The wisdom the Lord has given her is beyond her years, she would be first to say that she is not that wise but really she is. She is humble, she always gives God the glory for what He has done in and through her life.

Giving Joelda Style

Being generous has nothing to do with our bank account or our possessions, it is an attitude of the heart. I think we all could learn from Joelda:

Give without hesitation

Give from the inside out.

Always be thankful for what we have no matter how much or little it is.

Own our possessions but don’t let them own us.

Be generous and bless someone today whether it is with a material or financial gift, a word of encouragement or scripture verse. Be available to cover someone in prayer and always give God all the praise.

My dear friend is leaving Arkansas to live in New Mexico, she will be greatly missed not only by me but by all her have known her. Albuquerque is getting a gem, she has certainly been a treasure to us in Central Arkansas.

To the saints in New Mexico concerning Joelda; “I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me.” Romans 16:2NIV

Do you know someone like Joelda, someone who gives from the inside out? Would love to hear about your friend, leave a comment on this site or on my Facebook page Grace Lace and Polkadots.

Until Next Week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

More Than a Diaper Changer

Getting along with people can be a challenge, whether it is in the workplace or in a social setting. It causes unspoken tension which can lead to verbal explosion. The good news is, you get to walk away from the person and go home, shut your door and leave the world outside.

But what if….

…the tension is in the home?

I have been reading about Leah, Rachel and Jacob. Talk about family dynamics! This family had issues to put it mildly.

Leah according to Genesis 29:17A NIV had weak eyes, or as the NLT version puts it “There was no sparkle in Leah’s eyes.” I wonder if she not only had poor physical vision but also a poor self imagine?. Jacob however was not attracted to her, he had eyes for her younger sister Rachel who had a beautiful figure and a lovely face (Genesis 29:17B NLT).

Long story short Jacob worked for their father, Laban, for seven years as payment to marry Rachel. On the wedding night he was tricked and ended up marrying Leah. When he realized what had happened he and Laban exchanged a few words. Laban explained the custom was for the older daughter to marry first. I can’t help but wonder why no one in the seven years Jacob was there didn’t mention this custom to him.

At the end of Leah’s bridal week, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob in exchange for another seven years work. Think about that; Leah gets married to a man who had no intention of marrying her, then one week later she has to share him with the woman he does love, who just happens to be her sister.

Leah give birth to two sons and each time she hoped her husband would now love her (Genesis 29:30 & 31). On the third son she hoped he would feel affection for her (Genesis 29:34), sounds like a downgrade to me. After the fourth child, Judah, she stopped having children, at least for awhile.

In the mean time Rachel was not getting pregnant and became jealous of her sister, so she gave her maid Bilhah to her husband for the sole purpose of producing children. Bilhah and Jacob had two children together and Rachel was delighted. After the second son Rachel declares, “I have struggled hard with my sister, and I am winning!” Talk about sibling rivalry!

Leah then gives her maid Zilpah to Jacob, they have two children together. The sibling rivalry continues, in Genesis 30:15 we read, But Leah angrily replied, “Wasn’t it enough that you stole mu husband? Now will you steal my son’s mandrakes, too?”

Don’t know about you, but I kind of think it was Leah who stole Rachel’s husband. I’m telling you TV soap operas have nothing on this family.

Leah gives birth to another two sons, Genesis 30:20b “God has given me a good reward. Now my husband will treat me with respect, for I have given him six sons.” She has gone from wanting to be loved, to a show of affection, to settling for respect. After six sons Leah gives birth to the only girl in the family; Dinah. Who by the way was raped by a prince who then fell in love with her, but Dinah’s two full brothers, Simeon and Levi revenge slaughtered every male in the town, read for yourself in Genesis 34.

Rachel gives birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin but she had a hard delivery with Benjamin and dies just after she named him. Joseph goes on to save Egypt during a seven year famine but that’s another story.

I find the old testament fascinating it is filled with flawed people, yet the Lord chose to use them. Matthew 1 records the genealogy of Jesus and guess who is there? Jacob and his son Judah (vs 2), the same Jacob who married two sisters Leah and Rachel.

Leah and Rachel’s lives revolved around having babies. They did not perform heroic exploits or ruled as judge over a nation but without Leah, Judah would not have been born, remember he is mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Without Rachel, Joseph would not have been born and so would not have been able to save not only Egypt but his whole family from starvation, so persevering the family line.

We may long to do great exploits, to be remembered for a special accomplishment and for some that may happen. But the greatest accomplishment as mothers/grandmothers whether we are the biological parent or not is to teach our children about Jesus and to cover them in prayer. Our children are the workers and leaders of tomorrow, only the Lord knows their future and how that will affect generations to come. You are more than a diaper changer!

Family life can be rough on times and raising children is not for the faint of heart, but you can do it. The Lord does not require us to be perfect parents, rather parents who ask Him for wisdom.

To all my friends in the UK, Happy Mother’s Day for March 26th.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Do you have a piece of advice to share on parenting or something the Lord has shown you from studying Leah and Rachel? Feel free to share in the comment box.

 

 

Help Me Lord!

March 11th we moved our clocks forward by one hour. I know March 12th is the official date but who stays up until 2am just to change the time? I don’t and I’m guessing you don’t either. Though as a night nurse I have changed a clock or two at 2am over the years.

Before my UK readers go into a panic, daylight savings time for you is March 26th (I hear sighs of relief).

I enjoy the warmer weather and lighter nights of spring. I like seeing the trees in bud, and I get excited to see green stems pushing their way up through the dirt on their journey to become beautiful flowers. Spring just oozes with new life, don’t you agree?

Though the new life of spring is all around us, we can still be living in our own never ending winter, convinced that spring for us just isn’t going to happen.

The ever present negative thoughts. The muffled tears in the middle of the night. Dread of the future because there is no future. No signs of life, no sign of spring, just more freezing cold winter.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps 34:18

I was there myself a few years back and I longed for my winter to pass, but I couldn’t see how it could. I was stuck emotionally, feeling rejected and living the blame game. Sadness was my companion and my spirit felt crushed.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Ps 34:4

My prayers were not eloquent or even spiritual sounding. The were simple cries from the heart. “Help me Lord!” “Do something, don’t leave me here.” They were honest, raw and to the point. He heard my cry and He delivered me from the hold the enemy had on my thought life.

Romans 12:2 Paul talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind. My mind had been set free but it needed to be renewed. Years of listening and repeating the lies of the enemy needed to be replace by God’s truth. Slowly, one day at a time. One God truth at a time winter passed and spring arrived. I became like the green shoots free from the weight of the dirt that held me down.

If you are going through your own winter, I pray my openness has shown you there is hope in the Lord. Talk to him, be honest with him and yourself. Receive his deliverance and renew your mind with His truth.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Ooze with new life dear friend, His plans for you is good.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

If this post has helped you, encouraged you or inspired you feel free to share with a friend.

Comments are always welcome, look forward to talking with you.

 

 

Out of the Mouth of Babes

“10 back 3 in. Crowded today girl!!!” That was the text I received from my friend Tammy. She was right church was busier than usual, and as I was slightly running behind my normal schedule I appreciated her saving me a seat even if it was not our usual 7 rows back, end seats…anybody else sit about the same place every week?

Holding the hands of both my grandsons I quickly made my way to the church side entrance. You would think that I would have parked my car on the Children’s Church side of the building. Not me. I’m a creature of habit and so parked on the office side entrance. This meant I would have to cross through the foyer to get to the children’s area, not my brightest idea.

As we walked among the crowd my four year grandson declared, “Look at all the customers Nana.”

In many way he was right. We all come at first just to look, to browse, to see what is on offer. All hoping to find that something special that will add purpose to our lives.

Some find their special something on the first visit while others return many times before they find theirs. Each realizing special is not a something but a person. Jesus. He is the special in our lives.

Unlike going to the store with credit card at the ready, we cannot buy Jesus. He is not for sale! No amount of tithing or giving will pay our way into His presence. We cannot earn our way in through regular attendance, or working our fingers to the bone as volunteers. He is not for sale and cannot be earned.

This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22 NIV

The only way into God’s presence is through Jesus, He has already paid the price for our salvation when He bled and died on the cross for us. Just as when we first believed and accepted His gift of salvation so we need to continue in His gift of grace. We could not save ourselves before we asked Jesus to be lord of our lives, so why do we sometimes think we can fix ourselves without Him after salvation?

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the spirit of son-ship. And by him we cry, “Abba Father.”  Romans 8:15 NIV

So, dear Sister-in-Christ lets stop struggling to free ourselves from what only God can free us. Rest in His salvation, know He has us and is for us. The battle has been won. Truth is waiting for us to receive just as we did when we first believed.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Join the conversation and leave a comment, look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to share this post and hit the like button if it has encouraged you.

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Fear: Hello Peace

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I posed a question to my readers, prompted to ask after watching a Jeff Goins webinar, however I deviated slightly from Jeff’s instructions in that I posted my question on my Grace Lace and Polkadots Facebook page instead of sending an email to five people and I enlarged the question ever so slightly.

My question: Describe me or my writing using three words or phrases?

I was a little concerned about posing the question, you just never know what kind of response you will get. It’s a mean world out there and I half prepared myself for not so polite feedback. I needn’t have been concerned, each person who responded either through the comment box or personal message system were uplifting and encouraging.

One of the comments however hit me with powerful conviction. HESITANT was not a word I would have used to describe myself, yet I knew immediately it was true.

Definition of hesitant: slow to act or proceed (as from fear, indecision or unwillingness) taken from Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Fear, indecision and unwillingness, yep! I recognize those old friends.

What if it doesn’t work out? What if it does? Is this thing too big for me? Is it above my intelligence/skill set?

Did I make the right choice? Should I go ahead or wait a bit longer?

Not really sure if I want to do it? It looks like the right thing to do but is it really for me?

Reasonable questions, but not when they come from fear, confusion and disobedience to a directive from the Lord.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

How many God given dreams have been put on the back burner due to being hesitant to obey. I say it’s time to put away hesitancy and start trusting our Heavenly Father. He knows best and He will direct our paths, He has not given us a spirit of fear but of peace, love and a sound mind.

Fear, indecision and unwillingness are old friends that I do not wish to be reunited with. Peace, Love and a Sound Mind are my forever friends.

When the Lord puts His dreams in your heart and my heart, let us not be afraid to follow though one step at a time, one day at a time.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance

Feel free to share this post and encourage a friend.

All it Took was a Text Message

Feeling overwhelmed? I was recently. Everything in life was fine, then wham! Out of the blue my emotions went from happy to verbal outrage all in the time it takes to read a text.

I had been looking forward to celebrating my friend’s birthday for several weeks. Along with several other people in the writing group we had planned to honor her during our group meeting, which was the actual day of her birthday and it was St. Valentines Day, what better day to express love to a friend and fellow writer.

My friend is a cat lover and a collector of heart shaped objects. After a fruitless search through the selection of greeting cards at a local store I decided on making my own, not that I’m wonderful in the hand-made card department but at least it would be made with love.

The weekend before the Tuesday we were to meet I set about making the card. Having once been interested in scrapbooking I still had the tools and pretty paper in my home. The card looked pretty when finished with a Hallmark heart shaped gift tag taking center stage. I wrote words from my heart to hers, hopefully conveying the respect and admirations I held for her. There was no way I was going to miss this celebration.

Or so I thought!

I heard my phone ding as I drove to church Monday evening where I was studying Lysa TerKeurst book Uninvited with some other women. The phone would have to wait until I got to the parking lot. Once parked I picked up my phone and there was a message from my daughter asking if I could look after my nineteen month old grand-daughter  on Tuesday. ALL DAY! Apparently she had a temperature in daycare so could not return for twenty four hours.

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I stared at the text while my mouth screamed NOooooooo! Wednesday, Thursday or Friday yes, but Tuesday, celebration of my friend Tuesday. Why couldn’t she have her one off temp another day? Of course I was going to help my full time working daughter out and take care of my sweet grand-daughter, family comes before birthday celebrations, right?

Knowing the right thing to do did not help with the feeling that the rug had just been pulled out from under me. One minute I was invited, the next I became uninvited through circumstances. I was in a huff, not with my daughter or grand-daughter but with life itself.

Two hours! Why couldn’t I be guaranteed just two hours once a month to do something for myself. I know you know what I’m talking about.  As mothers and grand-mothers we get pulled in every direction always putting family first. My mind continued to race even as we sang the worship song. Somewhere during the song I sensed a quietening of my emotions as I focused my thoughts towards the Lord.

As the teaching video played and Lysa talked about the goodness of God my raging emotions continued to calm. Was I suddenly happy about the situation? No, but I was experiencing peace as He was quieted me with His love and He continued to do so right through Tuesday. My grand-daughter and I had a wonderful day together.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

I will probably have to wait until I get to heaven to know why of all the days in the month my grand-daughter had to have a temperature on the Monday before celebration Tuesday. This however I do know, when my flesh is throwing a wobbly over anything no matter how big or small the deal, if I take it to the Lord and place it at His feet fixing my thoughts on Him and His truth. His love will quiet me.

Let His love quiet you today as you focus your thoughts on Him.

Until next week

Helena

Looking to Jesus. Living in His Radiance.

Feel free to share this post with a friend or two, we all have those moments when our plans get squashed and our emotions throw us off course.