passagethroughgrace

a journey to discover grace in everyday life

Take Courage February 17, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 4:57 PM
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Be strong, take courage
Don’t live in fear
Your God’s not distant
Your words he’ll hear

(From original song by Crossroads Church, Cincinnati)

In a world of uncertainty, change and challenges, we move through each day either with courage or fear that can overwhelm us. Our families, friends, and coworkers either walk along side and support or act uncaring possibly due to the unknown in their own lives and not knowing how to move forward themselves. Each day as we begin, we consciously choose and lay the groundwork for how our day will unfold. Will you be strong and take courage or will you live in fear?

All of this hit home with me in October when an unexpected curve ball was thrown directly at me and believe me I was not ready to catch it.  The job I held for 3 1/2 years got pulled out from underneath me and another job was waiting! The amazing part is that the unexpected became an adventure and the challenge was to “be strong”.

I’m not one to be totally accepting of new situations whether it is for the best or not. Have you heard the expression “we’ll take you kicking and screaming?” That was my initial reaction and it wasn’t pretty. Running through my head was “This is not fair! Why me? I don’t want to change jobs!” Along with those thoughts were my feelings of inadequacy – “I’m not good at what I’m doing. No one believes in me. I never have done a good job!”

A louder voice – louder than all my self-doubts, fears and inadequacies which were screaming at me – kept me grounded and showed up as a gentle whisper that prevailed and overtook the screaming. This voice said “You were made for more! I have another plan for you! I am right here by your side. Hold on because I will carry you through this mess!”  This was the joy of the Lord as he whispered through my fear – “Got you covered, girl!”

It only takes a whisper to stop us dead in our tracks but are we listening – truly listening? I chose to listen in that moment because I truly was at a loss for how I would endure and recover from this challenge. In that instant of accepting God’s grace, I was blessed with His peace and knew that nothing was bigger than God. He would carry me through the changes in my life. Stop, listen and accept the grace of God each day. He is patiently waiting for us! May God guide your footsteps each day and may you take time to listen to the gentle whisper that floats your way.

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”  Psalm 31:24 (ESV)

 

Rescued by Grace January 27, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 5:31 PM
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As I learn about grace and the unconditional properties that come with it, I have found that it appears in many different forms. God extends grace to all of us daily but we must be intentional in looking for grace and accepting it each day.

Recently grace filled my heart fully even though I was unaware of it at the time.  It crept into my heart secretly and completed me in ways that only a favorite food can do when the taste lingers on your tongue well after the bite is gone.  Grace came in the form of my dad- a gentle, practical man who has always watched my back and who at the age of 91 continues to do so because he understands the power of grace. My dad wants to protect me from myself and decisions I have made to allow me to be successful even when he is no longer with me. My dad selflessly extended grace to insure that my future is full of promise and hope. My lesson in all of this is to pay the gift of grace forward to all those I am able to share it with.

dad

This amazing man taught me my first lessons about grace and continues to do the same today.  I was not able to identify it as grace but as I have grown in my relationship with God, I have learned about unconditional love which shows up as grace time after time. We are given “a free and ready favor” called grace by God our Father.  Our knowing and willingness to accept the gift of grace puts us in line with what God extends to us unconditionally and asks us to do something with each day. Grace is meant to be shared and freely passed onto others.  Let grace fill your hearts and when it is full, willingly sacrifice your gift of grace so that someone else may know unconditional love.  This is the lesson that my dad shares by his example each and every day.

Today I praise and thank the Lord for the gift of grace in the example of my dad! I thank the Lord for the lessons he teaches me and for the life of grace he has lived and continues to live. May I learn to live a life full of grace as my daddy has and as My Father God has called me to.  AMEN!

 

The Old and the New January 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 4:17 PM

Caring for aging parents is a constant tug of war of emotions as well as mental and physical strain.  The endurance needed to stay balanced and not be pulled face down to the ground time after time seems insurmountable. The unexpected phone calls that pierce through the stillness of my house at odd times of the day literally make my heart stop.  The question that immediately forms in my mind is whether it is mom or dad calling and are they okay. The adrenaline rush shocks my system into immediate awareness.  The feelings are a surprise each time and they never feel old or expected in the midst of my day.

The last several years have been filled with moments like these.  I would like to think that I have learned to adjust and accept each heart-stopping moment, but I continue to develop gradually throughout this process. These experiences have been an integral part of my journey to grace.  The blessing is how God has shown up each time to remind me to turn to Him and move through this struggle in a way that honors my parents and God.

As I received one of these phone calls several weeks ago and I heard my 91 year old dad’s voice saying “we kind of have an emergency here”, the rush of emotions was so overwhelming that my first reaction was to sit down and weep. Knowing that this was not an option, I listened to what my dad was saying and started to problem solve how to best help in this situation. It is in these split second moments that God literally lifts me up off the proverbial floor of “I can’t possibly do this” to moving forward into action.

Even in these heightened moments of fear, I am reminded to slow down. It sounds contradictory when in reality you need to make split second decisions but the urgency should be replaced by making time for God. “Be still and know I am God” Psalm 46:10.  Turn to the Great Provider and let Him steer your actions.

Two things occurred right as I was grabbing my purse and car keys that centered me and encouraged me that “God’s got this”.  First my son asked if he could pray for me which absolutely slowed down my rapid heart beat and then he suggested I listen to a CD that he had just given me while I was driving to my mom and dad’s place.  Both calmed my fears enough for me to focus, drive rationally and successfully assist my mom and dad.

The lesson of God’s grace is in the journey of continually turning to Him throughout all the challenges and blessings that come your way.  The lesson unfolds as we slow down and remember that urgency should bring about a stillness to allow God’s voice to penetrate through the fear or uncertainty. Ann Voskamp says this best in her “One Thousand Gifts” devotional: “Life is so urgent it necessitates living slow… Is this the secret that all life experts know? That in Christ, the most urgent means slow. That in Christ, the most urgent necessitates a slow and steady reverence. That in Christ, time is not running out. In Christ, we fill – gaining time.” When we put our problems in God’s hands, he puts His peace in our hearts. May God always be our focus and fill our hearts and minds at all times.

Psalm 46 1-3 God is a safe place to hide,
ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans,
the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

 

Why am I writing? January 1, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 6:37 PM

As I woke up several mornings ago and looked out my window at the snow covered yard and trees, I felt an urgency to write. I frequently write in a journal but on this morning it had a different feel to it. God clearly spoke to me about sharing who I am through writing and almost dared me not to follow through with His request. So today I will follow up on yesterday’s blog to share more of the “why” behind my writing.

I was reading some encouragement from Max Lucado in The Lucado Inspirational Reader and stumbled on some words meant just for me and my journey of faith and grace. He says ” … But don’t just portray the past, depict the present. Describe his touch. Display the difference he has made in your life. This task has its challenges too. Whereas painting the ‘before’ can be painful, painting the ‘present’ can be unclear. He’s not finished with you yet.” I am called to share who I am through the past but also through the present story which God is still in the process of unveiling.

My hope for this blog is that it touches at least one other person and teaches me more about grace and the power of God. When I read other blogs, I am impacted by the simple reality of the writer’s life and the parallels to my own journey. God is calling me to put my thoughts out there for others to read. As overwhelming and daunting as this task may seem, God does not call us to glide easily through life without challenges. He wants us to grab hold of His hand and hold on for the ride.

So today Lord I thank you for the task of writing a blog and all it will teach me and others. I ask you to guide my words and infuse them with your own words. I pray that I am able to sustain this blog and make a difference in at least on life and maybe that will be my own. In your name Jesus, I pray! Amen.

 

The Beginnings of Grace December 31, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 5:18 PM
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Today is a new beginning – the same as a new day dawns with the first fingers of light spreading across the blanket of darkness. God wakes us out of our sleep-induced haze and lays new challenges at our feet even before they hit the cold floor. Today the challenge is beginning my story of grace and how God reminds me in the ordinary routines and chores of each day that He is always present.

I begin my story timidly and cautiously since all of this is so new to me. I begin with my heart full of God’s gentle nudging – pointing me in the right direction. I begin a story that is always new and unraveling daily before my eyes. I begin because the strong arms of God’s grace and love sustain and strengthen me which then empowers me to share these words.

My story is not unusual or earth shattering but to me it has resulted in a paradigm shift of my heart and soul. The words come from the deepest part of my being and spread their wings on this page because God persistently presses this desire in my heart. As this new beginning unfolds and matures, my story of grace will unfold.

God’s love and power is shown through these verses and is a reminder to all of us to honor Him in all we do.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. (Romans 8:26-28 MSG)

 

 
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