Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Framed by Grace

Have you ever gone to a museum?  I mean, to really go and appreciate the art and the artist? This past summer, we had the amazing privilege of visiting several museums, galleries, and palaces on a trip to Italy and Spain.  It was truly the trip of a lifetime for two reasons ~ our entire family of 5 traveled together and my husband’s fabulous company that he works for basically paid for our time there!

At each point of sightseeing, we took in each scene with great delight and considered the awe of the history that we were witnessing.  I actually think that I paid more attention to the places we went to, because I wanted to make sure that we were taking into consideration the huge blessing of the fact that it was all being paid for by someone else.

To see works of art in Spain: the Picasso museum in Barcelona, along with the art park showcasing the works by Gaudi, and of course the 100+ years of on-going construction of the Sagrada de Familia there….breathtaking!  The King’s Palace in Madrid; the 900 B.C. monastery in Toledo; and the architectural details of just about every building in Valencia!  WOW!  Every day was an artistic adventure!  Being able to be with my daughters and see Michelangelo’s David, in person, stationed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio (the government palace & residence of the Medici’s in Florence, Italy) was absolutely breathtaking.

All of these memories come to mind easily, because I have all 1200 pictures I took on that trip as a rotating screen saver on my computer.  All the fun we had as a family, all the places we saw, all the beauty of the artwork ~ I’m reminded of it every day.  And it just dawned on my today, how that trip was completely framed in grace.  Our family was given something we didn’t do anything to deserve.

Grace ~ the undeserved gift of salvation that we are offered by God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die and rise again in order to bring us to a reconciled relationship with our Creator!

While I was praying about how this theme of “framed by grace” could be translated into this blog, the Lord gave me the recollections of all those amazing pieces of artwork I saw this past summer.

I remember thinking how the framing process is the last piece to the artistic puzzle.

First, the artist comes up with an idea and out of his passion, he creates a masterpiece.  It is something to be shared and displayed, not hidden away or put in a stack of papers on a desk.  Once the piece is finished, the decisions begin as to how to best frame the artwork.  What color should the mat border be?  Should there be two colors or just one?  What color frame? What type of wood?  What style of frame?  Should it have glass on top, or just the framing? What kind of materials should be used for hanging it….metal nail hook or wire?  So many decisions to make sure that the frame is worthy of the precious and priceless piece of art.

My friends, YOU ARE the artwork!  You have been specifically created by God and are precious in His sight.  The color of your hair, your eyes, your skin…your height, the freckles on your nose, and the size of your feet.  Every little detail has been carefully chosen by The Creator of the Universe. Part of the artwork of your life is also inclusive of the seasons of your life.  The Lord does not just paint one setting for you to live in…the art of your life is fluid and changing, and all a part of His plan.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NLT), You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Psalm 139 verse 13-14

And He has framed your life with His grace.  You are His child and His creation. He wants you to be surrounded with His love and with the tender relationship He desires to have with you.  He wants to show you off to the world and say, “Look here!  This one is mine!  Isn’t she beautiful!  Look at the way her eyes sparkle when she is singing songs of worship.  Look at the love she showers upon others who are seeking encouragement.  I did that for her!”

If you have followed the Lord for your whole life, or just for the past week, you already know that the life of Christian isn’t all daisies and roses.  There are trials in our life ~ but even that part of our life {the struggles} are STILL framed by God’s grace.  We are still hemmed in on all sides.

Psalm 139:5 (NLT), “You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.”

Like a garment is hemmed ~ with the express intention of keeping that piece of clothing from unraveling.  We are hemmed in by God into His frame of grace.  We may feel like our life unravels at times, but we always have a safe place within the calming strength of the Lord.

1 Peter 3:3-5 (NLT), All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”

What a remarkable truth that we carry in our hearts when we follow the Lord!  The salvation God has gifted to us, resulting in a priceless inheritance and an everlasting relationship with the Creator of the universe, is truly a precious and irreplaceable work of art that has absolutely been framed by Grace.

Go boldly forth today and every day, with joy and authority, sharing your story of how God has framed your life by His goodness and His grace.  We all have a testimony to share ~ someone needs to hear yours today!

Blessings,
René

Psalm 139 verse 5

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Stay at Home Moms, Women's Ministries

Distracted and Procrastinating!

So it’s very late on Wednesday night….and I’m determined to finish this post that I started on Monday morning….hence the title of this Blog today!  This week has been a string of choices that left me distracted and procrastinating!  There have been a few things that I did accomplish but many more that I haven’t.  “I’ll do that tomorrow.”  Sound familiar?  Do you find yourself distracted?  Do you find yourself procrastinating?  I’ve lived long enough to know that I’m not alone in this!

To be distracted means:  having the attention diverted; rendered incapable of behaving, reacting, etc., in a normal manner, as by worry, remorse, or the like; irrational; disturbed.

And the meaning of procrastination: the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention.

Um…hello….welcome to my week!

My Thanksgiving decorations that I began collecting on the dining table (on Sunday by the way)….still there.

My laundry that I started putting in the washer….still there because I haven’t collected all the baskets in the house (water shortage means…cram as much as you can and still get it clean!)

An extra table that we used for Thanksgiving dinner with the family…still up in the kitchen…collecting new items that I haven’t put away.

Okay…you get the picture.  So where do I go from here ~ sit down at 11:30pm at night and finish this blog!

So when does distraction, or procrastination, turn into disobedience?  Oh!  I got your attention, eh?  Me too!  I was reminded this week of a sweet new friend who told me earlier this year (when I wasn’t pursuing the passion of my heart in writing this blog), “Sister, you gotta get right with God.  You are living in disobedience.  You are not doing what God has told you to do, which means you are missing out on the blessings He has for you!”  Whoa!!  That got my attention.  Between her tender discipline and help from my oldest daughter to create a plan, I moved forward!

I absolutely LOVE to write!  I love to share what God has taught me with others.  I have an ongoing “blog ideas” list on my phone and I had ideas to it several times a day.  So why has this week been different?

I know exactly why….I was allowing my brain to be distracted by outside forces that were completely out of my control.  And some that were.  Long story short, I was finally able to quiet my soul today and realize that I am writing for the Lord.  I cannot write for myself.  I cannot write in hopes of success.  I cannot write hoping to receive the proverbial pats on the back.  I must write what the Lord has put on my heart.  I must write FOR Him and for HIM alone!

Psalm 119:36-38Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.  Confirm to your servant your promise, that you may be feared.”

Is this verse great or what?  Totally sums up what has slowly become my prayer this week.  Oh dear Lord ~ keep me focused on You and not on the distractions of this world.  It’s different for everyone ~ TV, Facebook, relationship issues, home life, housework, daily tasks, etc.  When I keep my focus on the Lord, He is most assuredly going to help me put into proper perspective the things on my calendar in such a way that all that I do will be a reflection of His goodness and His graciousness.

Mark 7:21-22  For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.”

I saw a posting on the infamous Facebook the other day that said, “It is in herself she will find the strength she needs.”  Please hear me when I tell you that I absolutely believe that women have been created so uniquely wonderful, and we are capable of doing A LOT of things that surprise us!  What I want you to see is in the above quote is that the strength it speaks of is from within the woman.  But when we check this quote against what God’s Word says, we can see that this will never work.  I cannot do anything by MY own strength (any doubts here…check back at that list I wrote in the beginning of this blog post.)  🙂

Left alone to our own strength, to looking at our own heart for guidance, trusting our own mind to determine our path ~ we are paving the way to a life of disenchantment and disappointment.  When that happens, the distraction and the opportunities to procrastinate seems to increase ten-fold.

Deuteronomy 10 verse 12 and 13

Psalm 96:9Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”

God’s Word is beautifully written!  He is holier than holy!  He is clothed in splendor and calls us His child!  God’s Word applies to our life today as much as it did to the original audience it was written for.  Proof that God’s Word is alive! We can look to scriptures to encourage us to focus on the Lord, and as the above verse in Deuteronomy speaks to, we will be able “to walk in all his ways.”  When we are walking in ALL of His way, we can more easily pursue a relationship with the Lord.  To daily learn how to love and serve the Lord with greater intensity, everyday.  My heart and soul must be full of HIM ~ not full of my own strength.  Because if that is all my heart is full of of ~ then I will be limiting the future plans that God has for me.  I will miss out on the blessings He has intended for me.  How sad is that!  Yet that is EXACTLY what I’m doing every time allow outside distractions to encourage the spirit of procrastination in me.

Praise the Lord that He is patient.  Praise the Lord that He does not get distracted where I’m concerned.  Praise the Lord that He does not procrastinate when it comes to making sure that I return my focus to Him.  Praise the Lord that He sees me and knows my name!

And now…I am recharged.  My focus has been reignited on the face of my Heavenly Father.  The distractions of my heart have eased as I give them up and allow God’s plan to take first place in my mind.  I’m thankful for a new day…which by the way…it technically is now because it’s 12:15am.  Time to go and rest in the peace and calmness of the Lord.  Trusting that when I wake in the morning and give the day back to the Lord, asking for His guidance to see what is important, He will answer me right away ~ because He will be waiting for me to start the day.  He will be enthusiastically anticipating the arrival of the sunrise on my day to show me how much He loves me and how great the plans are that He has for me.

God bless you with clarity and responding with first time obedience when the Lord ask you to do something.

Blessings,

René