passagethroughgrace

a journey to discover grace in everyday life

Booming clangs, lightning strikes or whispers April 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 4:09 PM
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You know that surreal moment when you are talking and you can hear your voice coming out but the words are not your words but God’s… Have you ever had any of those moments? Have you prayed for God to give you the words to get through a difficult conversation? Or asked for God’s words to infuse with yours to make them one? Or asked for grace-filled words as you speak? I have made this request many times as I am faced with a conversation that I feel could “head south” at any moment. In those moments when you are faced with a tough situation or person and you are rendered speechless- turn to God. The results will be amazing and you will no longer fear the conversation.

Life chugs along quickly and people are woven into the fabric of your life. Many times the fabric is made of beautiful designs and patterns and the workmanship is seamless. Other times, there are distinct pieces of fabric that are worn and the threads are loose and pulling apart. If you are anything like me when it comes to sewing, your fabric will continue to show wear and tear and will not be repaired due to lack of skills as a a seamstress. God is the Master Tailor of Life and by allowing Him into your heart, you allow Him to repair any damage to your fabric.

When faced with having a difficult conversation with a spouse, your children, a co-worker, a son’s girlfriend or a parent, take a quick second and lift your heart to God- “It’s all yours God!” Center yourself, take a deep breath and let God, the Master Tailor, do the job that He does best. The moment feels surreal because you know you are talking but God has provided you the grace-filled words to speak. Your momma’s heart releases anxiety or your daughter’s heart breathes more freely as your parents listen and accept the truth-filled words of God and it spills out as it is caught in the hearts of those you are having the conversation with.

Blessed are the times that your friends, co-workers, children or parents speak God’s words to you as a reminder that His presence is always near. The blessings of a friend who prayed for me to have a great day or remind me to look up, breathe, and breathe again come at just the right time. A co-worker who shares a positive, silly story at that moment when you are feeling very frustrated, a parent whose main desire is to love you and pray specifically for your challenges and an adult child who has the insight to be able to advise you in a situation are the voices of God. We need to listen for them and recognize them as God’s truth.

The prophet Elijah heard the voice of God but it was not a “thunder and lightning” moment. Below is a description of how it sounded for Elijah:

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:11-13 NIV)

Listen for the whispers in your life. Pray specifically for God to send you the words you need so you are speaking truth and grace to all those around you. Thank God daily for His blessings and for providing you with all you need.

 

Draw Near – You’re Closer Than You Think March 31, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 3:55 AM
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God calls us to draw near and let His presence infuse our bodies and soul.  Taking time to allow Him to be the center of our devotional time allows for opportunities to get to know Him more intimately. He craves our time and loves when we make Him the center of our attention.

As Holy week is coming to a close and we look forward to the joyful shouts of “He is risen!”, we need to backtrack and spend time understanding why He chose to die for us and save us from ourselves. Why did Jesus make the ultimate sacrifice for each of us – sinners that we are and continue to be?  Why didn’t He just put an end to the madness and make all things new?

The lesson I am learning about Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice is His amazing love for us. It is His strong desire to bring us even closer to Him. By dying on the cross, Jesus chose to make an investment in us. Jesus died for us to teach us how to draw near to Him and to seek His presence as the first and foremost focus of our lives. Immersing ourselves in the Word and listening to all He is teaching us allows us to more successfully follow His path for our lives.  Days that become train wrecks are days when I have not centered myself and trusted that God is in charge. God provides the path for our life and commands us to come and approach Him with everything.

“Drawing near is not moving from one place to another.

It is a directing of the heart into the presence of God

who is as distant as the holy of holies in heaven and yet as near as the door of faith.”

Love to the Uttermost: Holy Week with John Piper

God sent Jesus for us – no strings attached except to love and trust in Him. He did this for our joy and His glory. Let me say that again – for our joy and His glory. Jesus wanted to please us and invest in us through the final act of dying on the cross. Our response should be to open our hearts each day to the presence of God. That simple act honors God and blesses us because our eyes are on the one, true God who loves us more than words can describe.

As we shout in praise to our risen Savior on Easter, remember that the one simple act of spending time with Him will provide us with all we need. He is never far and you are closer than you think.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

May God bless us each day!  May we honor Him by drawing close to Him and craving His presence as the center of our lives. AMEN!

 

Home March 30, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mary Geisen @ 1:46 AM
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My church recently presented a series titled “Follow the Leader”. Simple words, ideas and visuals were portrayed each week to bring a deeper understanding as to what it means to follow OUR LEADER – GOD! One week the focus was on listening. Do we listen, truly listen or are we just hearing? Listening = Doing and when you hear from the leader it is different and it is difficult. Words from the leader require action! Do not fall into the trap of feeling stress which translates into fear and ultimately results in not trusting God. I have been asked over and over to be strong and courageous and if I continue to listen, this requires me to do something about the fears that I need to overcome.

This was never more evident than when my job became an overwhelming challenge this Fall and was transformed into a new beginning. God called me clearly and without hesitation to become a new creation. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV). I now needed to follow the leader even in my fear and let Him lead me home.

When you hear the voice of God, whether it is a faint whisper, a loud boom or a gentle urging to move forward, He asks you to grab His hand and follow and you do it! God filled me with an inner strength I didn’t know existed and held tightly to my hand and did not let go through all the uncertainty and transition. He led me home to a new job, new colleagues, new challenges and a new start.

How do you know you’re home? Listen to God speaking, follow Him with faith and let go of your fears to allow the works of God to settle into your soul. Allow God to grab your hand and lead you home!

I arrived home the minute I walked into the building and began my new job. I was welcomed by all, I was extended grace by my new co- workers and I felt the weight I had been carrying was lifted. Every step I took was God-driven and every new challenge was and is covered by God’s grace. You see – you know you’re home because God provides all you need for the challenges and anxiety that accompanies it. He makes these promises and He is never going to let you down. Our amazing God takes an obstacle that seems insurmountable and says “Hold onto me and we will ride through this storm together.”

Take some time to read and reflect on the words of Phillip Phillips song “Home”. Listen for the voice of God who will reassure you and who will always lead you home. Hold on…

Home

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

 

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.

 

 
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