Shaken… And Stirred

My life is shaken,  stirred,  heated, and pressed down.  BUT WE STILL STAND.  In the last three months; the following has occurred: 

1. My knee was clinically found to be too atrophied for a total knee replacement; resulting in an endless cycle of physical therapy to strengthen my leg but pain after the attempt,  leaving me to pained to strengthen it.  

2. An undeserved, shocking and supernatural healing… Without surgery.  I had been a spoiled rotten brat that week,  whining and complaining; and simply over it.  That Sunday at church,  they asked if anyone needed prayer for their hip or back.  I hadn’t even told my husband that my hips were off by 2 inches. I received prayer,  and my hips had no pain,  neither did my back.  A couple friends of ours asked to pray for my knee.  I shrugged and said OK,  even though I was skeptical and butter in my heart.  I thought,  “It’s not going to do any good,  but go ahead.” I was instantly convicted of my lack of faith.  I asked God to forgive me,  and I said,  “Jesus,  I want to believe; help now my unbelief!” I felt pain as they prayed,  I felt my knee cap return to its proper place,  and I felt warmth in my quad muscle.     I walked out of church without crutches.  When I walked into Physical Therapy on Monday,  my leg strength was 3 times stronger than it had been on Friday.  I can’t explain it,  other than Jesus was merciful.  

  I don’t know why I was healed,  and why others have not been healed.  I do know that it’s a question I will wrestle with throughout the rest of my life.  

I know that my knee being healed doesn’t guarantee a life filled with perfectly beautiful scenarios.  This leads me to the next numbers.  

3. We received 20 hours notice to evict from our rental house.  

4. After more than a month,  we are still waiting for the rental that our hearts are set on to be available for us… Just a few more moving pieces. 

5. One of our sons hit a tree while sledding and blacked out,  fully unconscious. His concussion was severe.  A combination of prayer,  chiropractic care and rest had resulted in yet another recovery.  

6. We were given a second car at a very good price. 

7. Said car broke down and awaits repairs.  

Do you see the pattern? Good,  bad,  good…. 

That is how I once viewed it.  

I am no longer emotionally controlled by the situations in life! 

Jesus promised us that “In this life you will have trouble,  but take heart,  I have overcome the world!” Jn. 16:33 biblegateway.com

We will have trouble. 

Any time that healing occurs,  

Or Beauty is discovered;

That is PROOF 

That God is Here. 

Be still 

and Know 

That 

He Is God.

 

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Winter twilight (redux)

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I needed to simply rest today and just get lost in this shot.   My hope is that it will also provide you with a moment’s rest!  Enjoy this snowy shot of our “Big Red” lighthouse at twilight!
     With love,
   Gracie K.

#PureMichigan

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

Artistry Untouched

           I was scrolling through my previous photographs,
                     and found this gem. I had to share it.  🙂

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artistry untouched

                          This was taken in Holland, Michigan at
                                Holland State Park. No filter, no editing;
                                        Just #PureMichigan

Vagabonds of Christmas

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Wood Tent (c)Gracie K Harold 2015

 Vagabonds aren’t always confident about where they belong.

This year, my family and I are homeless.

I feel displaced, and a bit unsettled; but not necessarily restless.

We are staying in a borrowed back room with family;

and I can’t help but be overwhelmed at how much more I understand the depth of sacrifice

that Mary and Joseph and Jesus made.

Despite their kinsman living in Bethlehem, they were not offered a guest room; but

instead were bedded down in a rustic place a bit outside of the “acceptable community” in

order to possibly avoid the stigma of appearances.

After all, Mary was about to deliver a baby; before she married Joseph.

Their families chose their religious appearances over intimacy with their Savior.

How often have I been guilty of the same?

For the last few years, we have given our kids 3 gifts…because a friend from church explained their family’s tradition of the same; “Since the wise men brought three gifts to Jesus for his birthday, so our kids can receive what Jesus received.”

We thought it was a good, spiritual idea.

This morning, though, I remembered a few things.

1st, the wise men arrived when Jesus was a couple years old. Ergo, He didn’t receive three gifts upon his birth.

2nd, shepherds came in from the elements to celebrate the birth of Jesus…in the place where the religious were afraid to go.

Therefore, to allow our children a fully Biblical Christmas experience, being homeless is the closest that they have ever come to living as Christ lived.  Technically, they received more than Christ did since He had to wait a couple years before the wise men arrived with his gifts.

My point is that if you feel displaced by the church, if you feel like a vagabond of Christmas, if you feel like the religious reality of today holds no place for you, if you feel isolated, and cast aside, and like you just can’t feel at home anywhere; you have experienced the true intimacy of Christ. He has lived it, too.  He is right with you in this and you are NOT alone.

You may have three gifts, or 1 gift, or no gifts at all.

You may have a home, or be homeless.

You may be alone physically,

BUT YOU ARE NEVER ALONE SPIRITUALLY.

IMMANUEL MEANS “GOD WITH US”. 

May our eyes be forever opened, may our hearts be changed to receive the first gift of Christ’s birth; HIM.  May He always be enough.

Snow Scenes

Merry Christmas to you and yours

from me and  ours!

Stay safe, dear readers;

and may this holiday find you

overwhelmed

by the

tender loving goodness of God;

who would leave perfection

to show us that

we are NEVER alone.

Love,

Gracie K.

Reverence and Realism

A pair of ripped jeans walks into church and says,  “Why can’t you be more like a bar? I want to be accepted as I am… frayed edges,  exposure and all.”  So the church acquiesces and adds cafe tables,  couches,  and friendliness.  A pair of fleece pajama pants walks into the church that looks like a bar and asks,  “Why can’t you look more like a lounge? I want to be comfortable and cozy,  I want to feel loved.” So the church acquiesces again,  adding lounge recliners, hot chocolate and a fireplace.  

   I have been the ripped jeans and the fleece pajama pants.  I have craved acceptance,  warm reassurances and familiarity.  I have desired church that reminds me of how loved I am without always reminding me of how un-deserving of that love I am. 

    Yet,  even in my craving for comfort, I have duped myself.  At physical therapy this week,  I sat in front of a full length mirror to do my exercises.  We don’t own a full length mirror in our house so it was a new experience for me.  A while ago,  James and I had photos taken of ourselves in a photobooth at a wedding reception. I was shocked at how big my hips looked… so I rationalized that my dress was draped awkwardly, giving the illusion of big hips.  Fast forward to my physical therapy appointment when I sat in front of a mirror, monitoring my posture,  and realized that my hips are that big. 

Reality could no longer be denied because it was un-avoidably in front of me. 

    Reverence works the same way.  When I have a healthy respect for the power,  might,  and perfection of God; I am humbled and grateful because of the outrageous and unreasonable goodness that I have received.  I am aware that things have gotten huge when I wanted them to stay trim. 

      Maybe I have been self-focused,  and I have neglected time in worship of God.  Maybe this has resulted in angry outbursts when my plans don’t go as I had planned. (Maybe I wouldn’t be so angry if I would focus on thanking  God for and trusting HIS plans instead of pushing my agenda)

The point is that I have been guilty of being comfortable and flippant with God while refusing to be reverent with God.  Instead of being aware of and in awe of His Holiness and majesty; I have instead focused on my feelings,  my emotions and my frustrations.  

Don’t misunderstand me, honesty and intimacy go hand in hand… but so do intimacy and respect. 

My prayer this week is that I will have a heart that worships God in awe of his majesty… in total reverence and respect,  whether my jeans are ripped or not.