Back around 2005-2007 I had an idea to create a Christian clothing line called “Grace Thru Faith/Christian Couture.” As my pea-brain was trying to recall why I had chosen that name, I quickly rifled through my stack of papers searching for anything that I had saved from 9-10 years ago. I came across a weary looking piece of legal sized paper with these words at the top of the page, 'Have an idea folder'. Yes! What a great idea! Wonder where that folder is today?!
Then I see that I started to write down why I had perhaps chosen this particular name with the words, “Ephesians 2:8-10—look at the footnotes.” As I am looking back at the pink hi-lighted and multiple starred footnotes in my Bible, I read about how these verses explain that our salvation is a gift from God. We are saved through faith, not by our works, only by His grace and mercy.
Pause with me for a few moments to take in just how life-changing and awesome this gift is. Grace = underserved favor. (I despise the word ‘deserve.’ More on that in a future blog perhaps?) God created us in His own image. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). And, shortly after He created humans, we messed up big time! Yes, ‘we’, not just Eve. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, in Paradise, yet, they weren’t satisfied or content. And, I am guessing that you know the rest of the story. I bring this up as a reminder that even though we royally messed up in the beginning, (and there is sooooo much more to the story after that, if you have not yet done a Bible-read-thru, I highly recommend doing that with a trusted fellow Christ-follower. This website, spreadinggoodness.org, is great for more information.) God had mercy on us and made a way for us (through Jesus dying on the cross) to repent and turn to Him and receive this priceless gift of salvation.
Our pastor, Jeff Terrell at Harvest Bible Chapel KC (HarvestKC.org), recently spoke on how we are created. Ephesians 2:10 states that, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” “Created, to bring into existence something that is not. We were dead in our trespasses spiritually from conception" (Ephesians 2:1). Our saving faith is a settled conviction that leads to a transformed life. God said it, that settles it, I will live by it! Amen to that statement!
Have you received the free gift of salvation? Would you like to? If you have already received this gift, how will you thank God for it? How will you utilize this gift?
Would you agree that there are some things in life that we choose and some things we do not? Things we would never choose, for instance Covid or Cancer or any other seemingly awful disease or situation. However, the Lord in his omniscience sometimes chooses to allow these seasons in our lives, for His purposes, ultimately.
Every response from us, however, is a choice. We can choose to accept the situation or not. We can choose to fight back, or not. We can choose to praise Him above all, or not. We can choose to heed His promptings, or not.
If you think about it, everything from the moment our feet hit the floor each morning till our head hits the pillow each evening, everything we say, think, and do are choices. We can choose to love people each day, we can choose how we respond to others, and on it goes. Every minute of our lives involves a choice in how we respond.
All this to say, we can choose to be obedient to the Lord’s calling, prompting, and commandments, or not. There have been two specific times (many more actually) but for this blog I am choosing to focus on two specific instances the Lord has called me to thus far in my life.
Another trip around the sun. A friend gifted me custom pints of ice cream and one of the labels displayed this saying: “Another year sweeter” Super cute, however I don’t know about that. 😉 As I look forward to my birthday each year, this one is hitting me a bit differently than previous years.
As I gazed over at the side table in our kitchen that holds several b-day cards received this week, some touching, some funny, all of them thoughtful, and looked at the material gifts that I had received each day this week as the Lord so graciously ordained. My thoughts turned to my dad (and the fact that he is now gone from this earth as of Jan 6th this year) and the thought that the absolute best gift I could receive (from the Lord) was seeing a bluebird on my birthday. I wept at the thought. As, I have yet to see one since dad’s death.
As I woke up this morning (quite melancholy, knowing that this day will not be unlike most others unfortunately) after a restless night of sleep and continued my day as always, feeding the pups, reading devotionals and praying, making coffee, walking the pups etc.…It does hit me that even though my dad, Lou did not recall that Oct 7th was my b-day for many years preceding his death, which was super hurtful the first year that happened, it hit me that no one loves you quite like your parents. And, when they are gone, nothing will ever be quite the same. There is a deep void in our heart and soul that realizes, no one will love you in the same way your parents did. That is my experience now (in this moment) and I realize that will not be everyone’s experience. I was blessed to have parents that loved me despite my flaws, which were truly my biggest cheerleaders in this temporary life on earth. And, when they are both gone from this earth, it changes things, and that truly did not hit me until this week leading up to my b-day.
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.