Surviving Disappointment

disappointment

Just in the past few weeks, an epidemic of disappointment has spread around me. In my life and in the lives of those I love, it has threatened to steal joy, extinguish dreams, and plant seeds of self-doubt. It seems the perfect time to consider weapons at our disposal to survive the inevitable force of disappointment. Continue reading

[Grace Is…] Series: Readers’ Edition

GraceIs

We open up each month with our [Grace Is…] series, and chat about ways we see grace in our everyday lives. What an awesome reminder it is to reflect back on these moments of gifted peace and love. This month, I thought it would be fun to share a few comments that some of you have shared about grace. You’ve inspired me and continue to encourage me to look for grace all around me. Continue reading

The Story-Arc of Holy Week

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Depending on your faith journey and where you choose to worship, you may or may not observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. I’ve grown up in churches that offer worship services for both days along the journey to Easter. Maundy Thursday observes the night Jesus sits with his disciples in the upper room for their last supper together. He washes their feet in an act of service and gives the new commandment to love one another as he loved us. Good Friday marks the day Jesus’ crucifixion. Each of these days has been incredibly (and increasingly) poignant to me in a way I’m just now realizing. Continue reading

New Feature: The Grace Report

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Just a quick,”Hey, there, how are ya?” for this Friday morning. Wanted to let all of you lovely people know about a brand new feature launching over on my Facebook page today: THE GRACE REPORT.

Grace is the cornerstone of my faith and the message my writing aims to convey. It’s finding undeserved redemption, forgiveness, hope in all the corners of life’s most messy places. Every Friday, I’ll be hosting THE GRACE REPORT on Facebook, inviting you to share how you’ve experienced grace this week. Where have you found joy among this week’s messes? Whether simple or extravagant, God’s grace can be found all around us if we just keep an eye out. I can’t wait to read how you’re week has been!

Hop on over, “Like” my page if you haven’t already (what are you waiting for?) and join in the discussion. See you there, friend.


 

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TODAY’S TWEETABLE:

Come share how you’ve experienced grace among
life’s messes with #TheGraceReport – Tweet This!

Litter & Faith: A Christmas Lesson

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Wham!

Today, I got knocked up side the head with the hard reality of being a flawed follower of Christ. All thanks to a homeless man. It still hurts, but the bruise is around my tender soul instead of my hard head.

And, I’m so thankful.

I stopped for lunch at a local bistro. Sitting against the alley wall of the next building was a homeless man. Our eyes met. Embarrassment, expectancy, and roughened pride made a strange concoction in his dark eyes. He asked for change. I had none. He asked for a cup of coffee instead. Yes, of course. Minutes later while waiting for my turkey panini, I walked the hot cup out to him and we exchanged Merry Christmases.

I said a prayer for the man as I ate my lunch. I hoped the coffee, such a simple gesture, would nourish him somehow. Although not terribly sacrificial, I helped how I could in the moment.

Leaving the place a bit later, my eyes fell in the direction of where the man was. Gone. I looked down the alley, hoping for sight of him. Nothing. Then I saw it. The empty coffee cup left littered on the ground where he had sat.

Enjoyed for what was needed in the moment, then discarded haphazardly.

My first reaction was one of frustration. How could he just leave the trash behind? A dumpster sat mere feet from him. How ungrateful.

Minutes later, I pulled into my parking spot at work and sat stunned by a striking parallel. I am that man. Instead of a cup of coffee, my gift was salvation. Instead of myself — a privileged, educated, employed woman — Jesus is the giver. How often I take only a fleeting moment to partake of the promises of Christ before tossing it aside to litter the peripheral of my life.

How many empty cups of peace, joy, forgiveness, comfort, and hope lay cast away by my hand?

I’m still a bit breathless with shame. Do you know the feeling? That adrenaline-induced panicky feeling when you’re caught doing something you shouldn’t. You know better, Teresa.

It’s Christmas week. As I regain my breath, I am grateful for this timely reminder. I pray to be more mindful of the gift of Jesus. I want to treasure him. I want to wear his grace proudly and let it shine in a way that makes admirers ask, “Oh, where’d you get that? It’s beautiful.” It’s no secret. No coupon required. No exclusive prices – freely given through grace.

Merry Christmas, friend. I pray you remember the priceless value of God’s gift to you this Christmas and always.

Do you have questions about Jesus and the grace I’m talking about? I’d be so excited and glad to talk to you about it. Just leave me a comment.

Peace.

Yearning for Christmas

I posted this photo and caption on Instagram last night after decorating our Christmas tree earlier than ever this year. I’ve noticed a lot of others commenting that they felt pulled to decorate early, too. What is making us yearn for Christmas this year? Whatever it is, I’m so grateful. I’ll look forward to visiting with you after Thanksgiving. Blessings, friends!

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The Not-So-Secret Recipe

 

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Preparing to marry my groom over thirteen years ago and start a household of my own, I approached my mom and excitedly asked her if I could finally have her famous pumpkin pie recipe. Through giggles, she leaned close and whispered, “Just follow the recipe on the back of a can of Libby’s Pumpkin Puree.” Imagine my surprise!

All those years, all those holidays. Family, friends, and co-workers clamored for one of her pies. What was her trick? Secret ingredient? All that time, no secret at all.

As the holidays approach, like every other year, I think back to this silly moment shared with my mom and my heart smiles.

But you know what dawns on me today? If we’re not careful, our faith is much like this recipe my mom held. She chose not to share, but it was available and accessible to all. Please don’t get me wrong — I am in no way comparing my mom’s fun “secret keeping” to choosing not to share her faith. She’s a great example of living out her faith every day through service and kindness to others.

But am I keeping secret the best recipe for grace, salvation, never-ending love? Imagine a similar conversation to the one I had as a bride with my mom:

Friend who doesn’t know Jesus: “Your life is so good, so happy. Can I have the recipe?”

Me: (Giggle) “Just open the pages of your Bible. It’s all right there.”

Wow. Right?

Chances are, someone won’t likely come up to you so readily and offer you the chance to share the recipe for eternal life in Christ. Am I allowing people to witness my life but not have access to the ingredients I know make up the best, most satisfying dish out there? Salvation.

I pray that God shows me each and every opportunity to pass along the not-so-secret recipe he’s shown me. And that I do so before someone has to ask for it.

Maybe through my writing (I pray). Maybe through my friendships (I pray). Maybe through my smiles to strangers (I pray).

But what more can I do? What can you do? May these holidays be full of recipe sharing of all kinds!