passagethroughgrace

a journey to discover grace in everyday life

A Fragile Life July 10, 2013

Filed under: faith — Mary Geisen @ 3:57 AM
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My sons lost their father- I lost a friend. My sons learned the lessons of a fragile life at the ages of 18 and 21- much too young to lose their dad, much too young to fully comprehend the “why” behind God’s plan. I started reflecting recently on the fragility of life when a friend from my summer camp days passed away suddenly. This is also the time of year when loss weighs heavily for my sons and I because the anniversary looms. Losing a friend in the last week brought many questions to the surface and caused me to lean into God and what He wanted to teach me through this reflection.

As I headed to pay my respects to the family and friends of my former camp coworker, the sky burst open with flooding rains and in that moment I knew that God was present and was reassuring me that He too felt the sorrow of a life taken too young. But it didn’t stop at sorrow- a reminder poured forth that a life well-lived is not measured by the number of years someone lives on Earth but on how well the life is lived.

My sons’ dad modeled a life well-lived. He immersed himself in living with a servant’s heart- volunteering in all areas of his church. My friend also lived a life for others. As an educator his time was consumed with touching the lives of hundreds of kids on a daily basis. God calls us to live a life for Him. He knows that life is fragile because He created it. He wants us to thank Him everyday, worship Him in praise and thanksgiving and serve others like there’s no tomorrow.

Some of us will be given the gift of extended time to teach others and to follow God in all we do. Our story will have many chapters. My parents are an example of this life-long legacy. Their story has been blessed with multiple chapters because God has chosen this for them. I continue to learn from my parents everyday. God knows what He’s doing. Their story is not finished yet. Others exemplify a fragile life because their story is a shortened version with just a few chapters. God’s plan has been carefully scripted. He knew us before we were born and He has already planned the beginning, middle and end of our stories. God does not reveal the ending to our story. There have been many times that I have peeked at the end of a book I am reading to get a glimpse into how the story will turn out. With God there is no peeking allowed! Our fragile life needs to be a strong and courageous life for God no matter what ending is written. Each day that we are given allows us to add to our story and make a difference. Everyday should be spent honoring God in our words, actions and interactions with others. Life is fragile but with God it is healthy and meaningful. Each chapter is our opportunity to become more like God in all we do and to create a life that is better. We want our life to become the book that no one wants to stop reading because it is so in sync with God and all that He is calling us to do.

As the anniversary of a fragile life looms for you each year, let’s pray that we are not mourning over the passing of a life but rejoice in a life well-lived.

10 Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!

11 You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

12 To the end that my tongue and my heart and everything glorious within me may sing praise to You and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever. (Psalm 30:10-12) AMP

 

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Reflection vs. Reality June 28, 2013

Filed under: faith,spirituality — Mary Geisen @ 2:09 PM
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Take a look, take a close look at this picture-what do you see? Trees, water’s edge, clouds, lush greens and blues? How does this picture speak to you? What story does it tell? The snapshot stirred a yearning in me to understand and know God more completely. Questions formed in my mind about the accuracy of what we see in a picture. Is it always what it appears to be or is the reflection portraying the reality in the picture? God is real, He is truth, He is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. God can be found in everything around us. The people who intersect our days, the people whom we love, the people who are but a quick blur but somehow their contact reflected God’s presence in that quick moment.

God’s presence is far-reaching, widespread, immense and infinite. It completes our day and calms our nights. The fingertips of God caress us like a gentle breeze that floats in through the windows of our soul. It stirs us as the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide laps the sandy beach. God is everywhere but are we looking for Him with focused eyes as a camera lens zooms in for the perfect shot? In our mind’s eye, do we have a perfectly focused snapshot of God in our lives or are we seeing only reflections?

I am currently learning about Gideon, a judge chosen by God to lead his people, but a rather weak leader who spent too much time questioning God and all that He asked him to do. Consequently, the Midianites continued to gain the upperhand because Gideon did know that God was who He said He was in his mind but the reality of this belief was not set in his heart. Priscilla Shirer, the author of the study on Gideon, says “when life’s shadows distort reality, those distortions can easily become our truth, ripping away from God’s truth and thwarting our purpose … His perspective might sound unbelievable and even look completely incorrect based on the way we are acting and feeling but trusting God and walking in His pronouncement of potential is the foundation of spiritual victory.”
Those words slayed me and cut into the core of my being. God wants to teach us and being open to reality and listening even during the ordinary routines of life are necessary so we don’t miss the lesson.

Our reality many times is not God’s reality. We are spending too much time looking at the reflection of life and questioning God rather than the reality of what God has planned for us. Just as in this picture, there are two views, we can choose to be like Gideon or choose to trust and know in our heart who God is and that He will do what He says He will do. His promises are true!

Lord-

I am listening! Open my heart to your words and your ways. Teach me the truth of who you are on a daily basis in the snapshots of people, objects, and life that fill my day. Focus my heart on you and center my life on the true picture of your promises. Build my faith in you that I may carryout the ultimate plan you have for me. In the precious name of Jesus. AMEN!

 

ASAP June 18, 2013

Filed under: faith,prayer,spirituality — Mary Geisen @ 3:11 PM
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How many times have we heard or actually used the expression ASAP? We might have said it to our children, to our spouse or it might have been directed toward us at work verbally or in a memo. In our “hurry up” world, ASAP means “as soon as possible”. Our lives are filled with ASAP moments as we flit from one activity to another or one responsibility to another taking little time to reflect on whether we have actually accomplished the task to the best of our ability.

What if we were able to change the meaning of ASAP to provide us with more time instead of less? What if ASAP became a mantra that we looked forward to daily and what if it empowered us to change our lives? A church in a small, farming town in North Carolina has proclaimed to all passerbys a new meaning for ASAP- Always Stop and Pray! As we passed this church on our travels down the road, I did a double take to see if I had read it correctly. Could it be that our “hurry up” days could be replaced by the grace of God by turning to Him in prayer? Could we pause the fast forward button in our lives by focusing on God rather than the tasks that need to be completed each day? Could our lives become a video with a connected story line that flowed smoothly as our lives unfolded before us?

As I ponder these questions, the image of the church sign shines brightly in my mind as a reminder of where our focus should lie each day. In the few days since I passed the sign, ASAP- Always Stop and Pray has made an impact on me and has changed my “hurry up” world ever so slightly. The anxious moments of feeling overwhelmed by busyness have been replaced by a calm because of pausing the fast forward button to turn to God in prayer.

I challenge each of you to change your ASAP moments into God-breathed ASAP moments. Embrace the difference it will make in your life!

Here are some verses to reflect on to center your focus today:

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Philippians 4:6 NIV)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:11, 12 NIV)

Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:8 NIV)

Come and hear, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:16-20 NIV)

What verses do you read when trying to stay focused on God in your daily life?

 

 
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