Love Reflections

How much do I cherish and seek after love? What am I willing to lay aside in order to receive love more fully? (What would possess a person to wear shoulder cut outs in a snow storm? Am I proud of how quickly I am distracted from focusing on Love? Nope…I am shameless; and in that lies my redemption.)

I am unflinching in my confession that I have no hope of ever being kind, unselfish, or loving on my own. Instead, I admit that there is not a shred of anything good in me, except by the Love of God.

Yesterday, I was very upset with my dear husband. I felt that I deserved an apology, I felt that it was delaying beyond what I wanted; so I prayed out my feelings (and my opinion) to God. I told Him that I wanted an apology. I prayed that God would “move his heart to see his error”. (This sounds absolutely awful as I type out the reality of yesterday, but, it’s what I did.)

Anyhow, as I am praying for my husband to be convicted in his spirit for offending me, I felt like I was being asked a personal question.

“Gracie, did you apologize before I died for you?”

Gulp.

Then I remembered the following:

I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

JOHN 13:34‭-‬35 AMP
http://bible.com/1588/jhn.13.34-35.AMP

Hmmm…

How have I been loved? Oh, that’s right, Jesus didn’t just forgive me before I apologized; He took the consequence that I had chosen, before I chose it.  Additionally, He prayed on my behalf, seeking forgiveness for me, before I apologized.

“Just as I have loved you…”

Before an apology.

Before repentance.

Before I even knew that I had sinned.

Ouch.

Instead of simply praying, “Father, forgive him for he knows not what he is doing”, I was also praying;  ” Father, forgive me, for I know not what I am doing. ”

Yesterday I was reminded that I was not reflecting the Father’s love.

What does my story have to do with you?

Are you reflecting His love?

Are you, like Him, praying that the Father forgives them, for they know not what they are doing?

If not, may the Father forgive you, for you know not what you are doing.

<3,

Gracie K.

Lightbreak in the Burrow 2

Lightbreak in the Burrow

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Thankful Thursday – July 17

My next posts will chronicle in detail our recent “Vacation Gone Awry”, but today y’all can suffice it to say that we are so thankful for the following:

Ruby's Dwarf Hamster, "Cookie" (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Ruby’s Dwarf Hamster, “Cookie” (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

At last, the hamster was adopted! We left for a “weekend” getaway the next day, with James, our 5 youngest kiddos, and me…and had the adventure of a lifetime!

Funnel under hood after oil change. "Tommy Boy", anyone? (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Funnel under hood after oil change. “Tommy Boy”, anyone? (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

While en route to Chicago, a kind driver flagged us down on the freeway because our vehicle was smoking!  We had just had the oil changed and front end alignment done.  We stopped at a truck stop and found the “hidden treasure” which had been left behind.  Removing it didn’t solve the whole problem, but it did eliminate the funnel-under-the-hood-syndrome! We drove a bit further and discovered the only garage open in Michigan City, IN.  It was a Dodge dealership!  Just what we needed.

Michigan City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

Michigan City Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram

www.michigancitychryslerdodgejeep.com

Kelly, of the service department, was FABULOUS! She arranged a ride for all 7 of us to a restaurant while they checked out our vehicle.

Smile (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Smile (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

We adopted the attitude, even if most of the delicious food had milk in it.  We walked to Denny’s (R) instead!

This said it all. We heart Denny's(R)

This said it all. We heart Denny’s(R)

We returned back to the dealership to wait some more.  The kids were AMAZING! They patiently waited.

Balancing Act - Entertained  without complaints (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Balancing Act – Entertained without complaints (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

We are thankful for a new (and much awaited) pet, an honest and kindhearted staff with the utmost professionalism at Michigan City Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and the delicious food at Denny’s®.  More details on our story will post tomorrow.  What an adventure!  Thank God for kind strangers who are now friends!

Wordless Wednesday – July 16

Rugged Hope (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Rugged Hope (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Hole or Heart? (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Hole or Heart? (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Beautiful Scars (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Beautiful Scars (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay overshadows the Darkness. (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay overshadows the Darkness. (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Rest and Tranquility (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Rest and Tranquility (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay

“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow.”
― George R.R. MartinA Clash of Kings  

Lightplay 1. copyright Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay 1. (c)Gracie K. Harold 2014

 

Shapes and shadows speak to me.  My artist heart is easily drawn in by unexpected beauty.  I enjoy discovering how the light plays in the shadows.

I was delighted by the images that I captured the other day while the kids were playing.

Lightplay 2 (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay 2 (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

lightplay 3

Lightplay 3 (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

lightplay 4

Lightplay 4 (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Lightplay 5 (c) Gracie K Harold 2014

Lightplay 5 (c) Gracie K Harold 2014

I’m beginning to see the deep truth in the quote above.  If I only gaze at the darkness and shadow, I miss the point.  Life isn’t about being intimidated by the dark.  Life is about dancing and playing in the light.  Beauty is found where light overshadows the darkness.

The following song “Beautiful Things” by Gungor was played at our wedding, and it captures our story so eloquently:

My hope, desire, and prayer this week is that the LIGHT plays in real ways for you, and your eyes are opened to see the darkness being overshadowed by love.

Stunning Lightplay (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Stunning Lightplay (c) Gracie K. Harold 2014

Matthew’s Joke

stairs

Our son Matthew had a hard time accepting humor at first.  He would laugh at funny things on television or in movies; but he did not understand how to process teasing.  This brought on some very tense moments which required an extra dose of compassion and patience on our part.  We are, by nature, a family that thrives on practical jokes…and gentle teasing is one of our love languages.

By gentle teasing, I mean the following example: Rex walked into the house yesterday after playing out in the dirt.  I smiled widely, winked obviously and said, “So, mister man; were you going to wash the backyard off your legs?” He giggled, shook his head and said, “Ummmm, nope! Uh-uh. I wanted to keep it on me to remember the yard!”.  We laughed together as he walked out to clean up.

This whole interchange was a completely foreign concept to Matthew until a few months ago.  I remember one of the first “humor breakthroughs”.  I was driving alone in the car with Matthew and Marissa.  Matthew made an outrageous statement about something, and without thinking, I teasingly said, “Ohhhh, I see, Mr. Spoofer.  You are telling a Tall Tale!” as I winked at him in the rear view mirror.  *Cue tears.*  I felt awful.  He said, “My name is Matthew, not Mr. Spoofer!”.

I explained that Daddy and I called each other silly names just to show that we love each other…not mean names, but silly ones, like “Little Miss Pees a lot” or “Mr. I had Onions tonight”.  I explained that if the names change, the person still stays the same in their heart.  With a sinking feeling of dread in my gut, I asked him if he was starting to understand.  “*Sniff* I think so…since I was pretending to cry, Mom! I knew you were kidding!”

He got me.

About a week later, the five youngest kiddos were heading upstairs to bed.  It was a chilly night, so I hollered up to ask who needed an extra blanket.  3 little voices answered that they did.  I went all the way to the far corner of the basement to retrieve the warm layers.  My arms were heavy laden when I tromped back up the two flights of stairs.  I handed out two of the blankets, and went from room to room asking who requested the third one.  Total silence.  James said, “Are you sure that you counted right?”  I replied, “Three of the kids answered me.”  We heard snickering behind us, and turned to see the cherubic face of Matthew, dissolving into giggles. “Ha! I got you, MOM!  I asked for the blanket but then acted like I didn’t. I.TEASED.YOU!”

James and I shook our heads as we smiled.  “You sure did get me, buddy!  Way to go!”

That boy.  What a Spoofer!

Thankful Thursday July 3

I am thankful for

#Freedom #Soldiers @GracieKHarold 2014

#ThankfulThursdays @GracieKHarold 2014

 

 

Love, plain and simple. @GracieKHarold 2014

 

Same Purpose, Different Appearance. @GracieKHarold 2014

Same Purpose, Different Appearance. @GracieKHarold 2014

If you are feeling thankful, share it!  #ThankfulThursday

Facebook: Gracie K Harold

Twitter #ThankfulThursday @GracieKHarold

or comment below =)

An Invitation to Bask

An open invitation to see through my eyes…via iPhone. Bask in the natural, and be refreshed!

Hollow Habitat @GracieKHarold 2014

Hollow Habitat @GracieKHarold 2014

 

Tree Cover @GracieKHarold 2014

Tree Cover @GracieKHarold 2014

Bamboo Grove @GracieKHarold 2014

Bamboo Grove @GracieKHarold 2014

 

Wooded Web @GracieKHarold 2014

Wooded Web @GracieKHarold 2014

 

Dappled Lightplay  @GracieKHarold 2014

Dappled Lightplay
@GracieKHarold 2014

 

Light Radiance @GracieKHarold 2014

Light Radiance @GracieKHarold 2014

Exhaust

The following are what have resonated with me this weekend, as I’ve wrestled and questioned and grieved through some things which are still a bit too raw to share just yet; instead, I want to let the pictures and the music speak:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc4F9PcvbqQ

 

chocolate expression

chocolate expression

enough said

enough said

 

new from the old

new from the old

suBtle cross through shadows

suBtle cross through shadows

 

sometimes, we simply step in IT

sometimes, we simply step in IT

Live in the NOW.  Be here.

Live in the NOW. Be here.

If you look closely, and read between the lines; you just may see a Girl-woman who is striving to confidently “trust in her faithful Creator and continue to do good”. (I Peter 4:19)

I wish I had an image of a woman shielding her heart like it is a fragile egg.  Sometimes, the wound cuts deep; the betrayal hurts; and the gossip slays.

Look past the surface

Look past the surface

Pain happens in life, and people mess up.  That doesn’t change the fact that I am the beloved daughter of my God.  I am accepted.  I am unconditionally loved.  People’s rejection of me does not equal a change in my identity.  I am chosen by God with a very specific purpose to fulfill.

Look past the hurt

Look past the hurt

What about you?  You are not rejected by Him.

You are loved by Him.  Let Him love you.

 He said it best, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Open up again

Open up again