Chaos: It stares us in the face each day- how will we respond? It is the laundry piles that replenish over and over. It is the meals that need to be made yesterday, today, tomorrow…. It is going back to work, so you can pay the same bills again each month. It keeping up with taking care of yourself, your hair, nails, teeth, exercise – everyday! It is the dishes that ever overflow the sink. It is the toy piles that seem to magically give birth to new toys daily. It is the same argument with the same person over and over. It is the same pain from the emotional hurt that haunts you again every night. It is the pile in the corner that never gets completely put away before it stacks high again. It is quickly organizing things into piles to make it look tidy when someone comes by… but you know and feel guilty that it is just a hidden mess. It is the joy filled day that radically changes face and turns to chaos.
“If you take a close look at your world you will find the simple chaos of everyday life that everyone faces.
Do you feel it? If we take down our “perfect” mask long enough to be real… We all feel these pressures. Everyone’s rhythm is different, but they include similar things we must do in our everyday lives.
Left to themselves, these things can cause anger, rage, frustration, loneliness, depression, lack of purpose. This is the reality of the world we live in. But we were not meant to go it alone. We were meant for grace. Grace working in and through us.
For me, it was 11 years of diapers…. everyday…. 4 kids and everything that goes with it. I never imagined that this would be my life, Bible College didn’t prepare me to be a diaper changer- All my years in college prep didn’t once encourage me in the art of changing a wiggly toddler out of a messy #2 diaper. I was never prepared for the way a kitchen could look after one small bowl of rice was handed over to a 1 year old – or how fast a room could fill up with random toys and dirt from who knows where if I chose to sit down for a minute. It was being lonely even though surrounded by little ones all day long. Whether it was a day at work or a day at home…. I still had to face the everyday rhythm of life.
But honestly, it was never the outside things that overwhelmed me…. it was my own heart. If my heart was at peace… I made it though the rhythms of life with a song… real joy even in the midst of chaos.
Paul seems to flippantly almost, but purposefully add this combination to each of the letters he wrote. I started to highlight it every place i saw it in the word. It jumped off the pages like a neon light… God planned to give me Grace and Peace EVERYDAY, for every circumstance. It was like getting saved all over again. I needed to go to God and simply just take the gift of Grace He has wrapped up for me each day.
Here is what I realized… Grace has become my testimony. God’s grace is the evidence in my everyday life that He is my Savior… even in the everyday things of life. He cares about it. My relationship with God and Christianity can be summed up to these simple things- God’s Mercy saves me FROM the punishment my sin deserves when I ask forgiveness and gives me a ticket to heaven, But it is God’s GRACE that GIVES me everyday favor- that undeserved favor gives me love for others and produces a peace that is not based on circumstances, and that peace in my heart produces joy that can overcome and supersede anything I may face. It is God’s grace, His favor that gives me purpose each day beyond the chaos.
Grace is the work of salvation, the evidence of the Holy Spirit in my life during the everyday moments.
I have a choice everyday…. I can choose to receive that grace….. I just need to go to God, admit that I need his help to do all this stuff on my plate and He freely gives me the grace I need. It is the divine favor of God to do the will of God, His way, WITH joy.
In my own heart, I don’t usually FEEL like going to God, I just want to try to get things done…. or honestly just leave it all and ignore it. But God has put me here in this family, in my church, in my community for a purpose… it goes way beyond just the normal everyday things i do- It is to see these children grow up to know God, believe God and see His love in action, it is to reach people around me with the love of God, it is to partner with Him to build His church in San Francisco, It is to love on someone unexpected today. But some days, it is all I can do to just make it through the rhythms of life. Over the years. God has taught me the value of my sacrifice of a daily quiet time with Him, a bible, and a pen- He changes my perspective each day. He takes the focus off of me and my circumstances. He gives me His love for others and passion for life.
God God sees through all my chaos, he puts purpose in my step and GRACE for me becomes my everyday testimony.
I believe that if I put God first, I mean really go to HIM at the beginning of each day in prayer, take my to-do list, my plans and ask Him…. what do I need to change or do differently, who do I need to talk to today to encourage them? He puts things in perspective. If I allow Him to adjust my schedule – He gives me wisdom and grace enough to do what I need to.
How can you find this kind of Grace and Peace?
1) Grace is understanding that we have found favor with God because of Jesus’ work on the cross and He forgives us when we ask and loves us unconditionally.
2) If we will bring our chaos to Him and ask for wisdom to know what to do… He promises to guide us, to be with us, to work in us by His Holy Spirit…. challenging us to change our attitudes to see things like He does… giving us grace to finish our daily race.
3) If we have reached out for grace from God today there will be evidence. Peace (Heart Confidence that God is for you and is working on your behalf for your good) is working in our heart instead of the stress of life rehearsing it’s lies and failure. If we have Grace working in our heart… that peace turns into joy -JOY is contagious!
4) Grace can become your testimony- This is exactly what EVERYONE is really looking for if they let you see through their mask… Grace & Peace
We have the answer!!! Grace is what God is doing in my life today as my Savior… it is the active work of the cross in my attitude that gives me peace to go do the dishes with joy :o) Everyday I go to God and ask for forgiveness of my sin and everyday I receive his free gift of grace for my life!
In the middle of my chaos, Grace is at work in me and I am sooo grateful for it.
My blogger friend Jennifer Benito asked me to guest blog for her on the topic of Grace. It was my pleasure to write for Jennifer on this topic, you should read her blog http://lovedbygrace.com You can find this blog post there too.