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

Storytelling….

I love to tell the WHOLE story!  Much to the chagrin of the folks who love me and know me best, sometimes they get more information than they bargained for.  It’s just how my brain works.  It’s also how my heart works!  I want to talk about my day from beginning to end, and I will admit, sometimes in the midst of my telling, I remember that the beloved family member I’m talking to asked me a question and I still haven’t answered it. Then I have to stop and ask, “What was it that you asked me?”  At other times, (okay…MOST of the time!)  I know I’m giving a lot of detailed information, but I really feel that’s it’s all relevant to the question asked.  Again, my sweet family’s opinion may differ from mine.  But that’s okay!  However……Please tell me friends that I’m not alone here!  I find it very difficult to respond with a one sentence answer….I love the story!

In Psalm 107:1-3, King David writes, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.”

Yes!  These are my people!!  I realize this verse is basically talking about how people should share their testimony of how God encountered their lives and made a difference in their lives.  But seriously…sometimes I’m desperate to tell the story of how I found a parking place in a crowded Trader Joe’s parking lot; or how the drive on 5 freeways (to get just about anywhere!) was redeemed when the crazy driver didn’t crash into me like I thought they would. And dagnabit…sometimes I want to share the story of how I feel redeemed as a homemaker at the end of the day and regale my darling husband with my tales of finished laundry (yep…folded and put away!), a sparkling bleach cleaned kitchen sink, dusting & vacuuming the whole house, AND have a meal in the oven made from scratch!  Can I get an amen!!??!!

I’ve been doing a bible study with a few mom’s at the high school where my daughter attends.  These are precious women to me and I love sharing Monday mornings with them.  This semester, we’ve been going through the book of Acts.  We read through each chapter and answer just a few simple questions…but they really make you think.  We pick out one or two verses from that chapter and then observe how we see God’s truths in that verse, and then we think about how to apply what we’ve gleaned from that verse into our lives and then follow it up with prayer.  I’m discovering that part of the reason I’m loving reading the book of Acts this time is because it’s a DETAILED STORY!  I’m truly interested and captivated by the minutia of how Paul traveled, which path he took, why he took it, how he got to the next location, etc.  I’m fascinated as well because God decided that these details were worthy enough to be put into scripture for me (and YOU!) to read today!

In Acts 10:9-23, we read about a vision the Lord gave Peter.  It was a very specific and very deliberate word from God, telling Peter how he needed to be ready to accept anyone and anything who had been declared clean by God.  That it was not up to Peter to judge.  This was in preparation of being called to the home of a Gentile of the day(Cornelius), who requested Peter to come to his home and share the Gospel with him.  The Holy Spirit could have just as easily whispered to Peter’s heart, “When Cornelius’ servant comes to you and requests your presence, just go.”  Or the Holy Spirit could have waited until the request was made and said to Peter, “Yes…go here.”  But no! The Lord told Peter a story.

In Acts 11:1-18, Peter has now gone to the home of Cornelius (which by the way…when Peter met Cornelius, he told Peter a very long story of how an angel had appeared to him and told him to send for Peter).  Before the reconciliation through Jesus, it was not lawful for Jews and Gentiles to have community.  The Jews in Jerusalem (ch.11, vs. 1-3) criticized Peter for meeting with a Gentile in his home, for many Jews still didn’t believe that the Gospel was for the Gentiles as well.  So what do we see now in Acts 11:4, “Starting from the beginning, Peter told them the whole story:”

I totally love this!  And Peter did….he told the WHOLE story of his vision that the Lord gave him. And no one interrupted him.  No one bothered him.  No one told him to stop and “get to the point.”

The whole story IS the point!

In a nutshell, the Bible could just say: God made everything. Earth was perfect. Humans messed it up. Jesus came to earth to live, die, and rise again. Jesus’ resurrection made salvation possible. We are saved from eternal death. The end.

How boring would that “story” have been if that had been it!  I am beyond tickled that God wanted to tell us His beautiful story.

It is a story of creativity, grace, tragedy, unspeakable horror, indescribable miracles, mercy, reconciliation, and full restoration!  Because of God’s immense love for us, He wants us to know how very much we are wanted…how very much He wants to know us…how very much He wants a relationship with us.

And you know what ~ God wants you to tell YOUR STORY!

He has created  you to be unique and no one can tell your story except for you.  No one else can display the graces that God has bestowed on your life, like you can. No one can share with others how the great love of the Father has changed your life, like you will be able to.

Blessings to you as you embrace the story of your life.  

2 Corinthians 13:11, “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.”

Strength and courage of the Lord be yours as you boldly share the story of your life!!

Blessings,

René

2 Corinthians 13 verse 11