Sit and Stare: A Grace Story

Hi friends! Today, Jamie Sumner from The Mom Gene  has contributed the first guest Grace Story on Grace for the Wasted Space! I’m so excited to have a piece of her story here because she writes about something that we can all relate to: Perspective. She tells of hope found in the middle of a hard season that may not ever change this side of heaven. However, the thing she focuses on is prayer despite the circumstances that she wishes were a little bit different. And that is where the truth is not only found but where it resonates with each of our hearts. The waiting and hoping doesn’t necessarily change things, but the praying, well, it always does. Even if the only thing that it changes is the person praying. Welcome Jamie by leaving her an encouraging comment and then go check her out at her beautiful blog: The Mom Gene.


Sit and Stare


13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one.

Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob. Paul lists them all and their faithful deeds like an exemplary contact list before he gets to this aside. Whenever I read this passage, I feel it in my chest, that balloon expansion as each one performs the necessary act of faith and then receives the reward. Abel offers the best sacrifice. Noah builds the boat and sees the rainbow. Sarah waits decades and has a baby. But Cain murders Abel and Noah must start from scratch on the new boggy earth and Sarah dies before she sees substantial proof of the patriarchal branch leading to the future Israelite nation. They listen to God and receive a blessing, but it is the smaller blessing. A slice of the pie.

I could read up to verse thirteen and stop there. Put a period to the happy ending. There’s so much good there. But if I’m begrudgingly honest, the rest is the best. It’s the whole pie. It’s the land we were built for where these tiny stories fit together to make a better scene. I prayed over my infertility and was blessed with Charlie and Jonas and Cora, but we also got cerebral palsy and a wheelchair and twins who must push behind rather than run beside their big brother. Big blessings with bigger wishes yet unmet.

The alien heart in me aches for the place where the three will run together. I want to see it with my own eyes. I want to hug them all while they stand on their own, heights not marked by braces or standers or stools. But I will try to be satisfied today knowing we will.

The thing that keeps me praying in this world is that there is another one. If this was all there is I think I might not be able to see my way past all the unfulfilled desires and the unfairness.

I might only see the wheelchair and not the boy. I might only feel the fear for my children’s future in what looks like a scarier and darker world than the fluffy one from which I hatched. But that’s not the full picture. It’s like the impressionists with their dots. You stand with your nose too close and it looks a jumbled mess. You take a few steps back and it’s a lady, a boat, a lake, a masterpiece.

I’m really trying to let these verses elicit hope rather than frustration. It does not always work. But it’s never going to work if I don’t practice. You don’t speed-walk through the museum. You sit and stare and let all that wide thinking and talent settle over you. You read every signpost steering you on to the next. You assess each piece from every angle, because each approach is different. And then you go back and visit again on another day in another mood and see even more and leave hoping that some of it rubbed off on you.

JamieSumnerBioPic

Website: http://mom-gene.com
Facebook: The Mom Gene
Instagram: themomgene

Choosing to Really See (An Empower Up Project Story)

11754793_10153484857306678_8865123936306281253_o

I was blessed to write a piece for The Empower Up Project yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, this amazing community/website “was created to provide ALL women with a platform where we can help each other grow, succeed and collaborate.” It was founded by the awesome Kim Albano, a leadership and development consultant doing the work of lifting women up and helping them go after their dreams. I am honored to play a little part in her vision of empowerment with a grace story that I wrote in view of my sister’s joy-filled perspective on life despite her daily struggle with the effects of breast cancer.

For those of you who are new to Grace for the Wasted Space and don’t know my sister’s story, check it out here. For those of you who need some light shed on your dark path right now, come on over to The Empower Up Project and see what I learned while watching my sister go through the greatest battle of her short life. Maybe you know someone that needs a little hope in this season. Maybe you need some?

I’ll leave you with this heartfelt quote from my piece and hope it resonates with you:

“We don’t have to say much to understand each other’s hearts. The seagulls squawking over a child’s sandy snack in the distance say what we’re both thinking: There’s just not enough to go around, is there? Or so it would seem. There are too many unfulfilled needs to be met. Too many broken hearts to be mended. Too many desperately lost to be saved. “

Finding Hope in the Mundane

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace. “

Helen Howarth Lemmel

light

I love this hymn. It’s probably my favorite one. It addresses the questions and uncertainties of this life with an answer of hope.

The Answer is Hope.

This Wednesday, this mid-week slump of a day, has me all caught up in the mundane. I need some renewed hope. How about you? So, here’s my rendition of this timeless hymn. I pray it brings you newness of spirit, soul, and body.


I slightly see you Jesus. But I choose to turn, to redirect the position of my body so that I am facing in a different direction, to change my course if it is not in line with Your perfect will.

I really see you Jesus. I desire to look, to use my sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, to gaze upon Your beauty more than I stare at my ugly circumstances. 

I only see you Jesus. The darkness of this temporary place can’t overwhelm my soul. It has to fade away, disappear, vanish without a trace of existence in your presence.

I live to see you Jesus. Your love shines on every part of my life causing me to run wild and free because of your beaming favor that welcomes me into fields of grace.


Whatever you’re facing today, just look to the Jesus. the source of all HOPE, the answer to every problem. He will meet you where you are. And always guide you home.

A Word that Is NOT a Part of my Vocabulary

TAlk to yourself the way you would talk to your bffLoser. The word makes me cringe. And not because it denotes the idea of losing something, whether it be the big game or at life in general. No, I hate the word because it attacks my identity. It cuts to the quick of who I am.

Merriam-Webster says that a loser is, “A person who is incompetent or unable to succeed; something doomed to fail or disappoint.” WOW. That’s just sad. Even the dictionary attaches an I.D. tag to this hopeless word.

You can’t separate the word LOSER from a person. And once it’s assigned, that person is doomed to see herself that way as well. Instead of ascribing the act of losing to an event or occurrence, we put the heavy weight of this title on a human being. 

A person who identifies with the LOSER title doesn’t see herself with the ability to overcome the odds. She doesn’t take on tasks that seem daunting because she fears the possibility of failure.

A person who has come to accept herself as a LOSER doesn’t like the idea of trying new things. She plays it safe in all areas of her life because the idea of leaving her comfort zone presents the opportunity to mess up.

But, these LOSER characteristics are first put on us by other people. Because we failed a grade. Or maybe we got up on stage to deliver a speech and we mumbled and stuttered all the way through it. Because our marriage didn’t last. Or we can’t seem to get past this addiction.

Someone else told us this is who we are and we believed them. This is why I hate this word with every fiber of my being. LOSER denotes an unwillingness to try to be anything else. A person who identifies with this hurtful word has no hope. And the Bible says that, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Proverbs 13:12)

So, I refuse to say it in my house. I refuse to allow my children to say it to eachother or themselves. If I hear it come out of their mouths, a big ol’ mama bear roars that THIS IS NEVER WHO THEY ARE. No matter how many times they fail.

Losing at something is just a lesson in overcoming. It’s an opportunity to do better the next time. It is never supposed to be a name that you get comfortable with. You’re a winner. We all are. 

Ya know why? God made us in His image. That means you were born to win. Quit calling yourself a LOSER, k? Or I just might have to come over there and roar loudly in your direction! 😉

What about you? What’s a word that you absolutely hate? Comment below and let me know.

 

Some of us blogging buddies are committed to writing more weekly on our blogs! We have a variety of topics we’ll be writing about! To check out these awesome chicks and where their writing is taking them, click on their blog links below!

Aimme at mamacentric.com
Abbie at grumblinggrace.com
Emily at emilyfisk.com
Gloryanna at onlyaseason.com 

My New Mantra

4546068810_e2d786cbde

We all need something to hold onto when the storm clouds roll in. Let’s be real: Life can be tough. But it doesn’t have to be unbearable. Too many of us are walking around dripping wet in yesterday’s rain.

In an effort to maintain a positive outlook on life, I’ve come up with a new take on an old saying. It’s becoming my mantra because it helps me regain focus during the storms that threaten my sunny days. Here it is:

When it rains, it pours….so I’ll just open my umbrella.

Sure, I could nix the umbrella and dance in the rain like many naïve well-wishers have advised. I’ve actually tried that but I’m always left with a wet head and freezing toes. A girl could catch a cold!

And I don’t want any evidence of the rain on me. Dancing wild under the torrents only leaves me with clothes that stick to my skin and weigh me down. Then, after painstakingly removing the wet layers, I have to wash and dry them so they don’t stink like mildew. That just seems like unnecessary work to me.

Shoot, I’d probably never even wear that outfit ever again. It would just remind me of the day I was miserably caught out in the rain. And who wants to be reminded of the downpour?

The thing about an umbrella is, you can be out in the elements without getting completely drenched. It gives you a firm grip on the soggy situation. It provides you with a covering yet still grants you the freedom you long for as you navigate how to get from Point A to Point B in the inclement weather. The key is simple: You just gotta keep holding on to that umbrella.

I love what the Bible has to say on the subject of unexpected rainstorms:

“…his glorious presence, his immense, protective presence” is a “…shelter from the driving rain.” – Isaiah 4:6 (msg)

 The presence of God is what we need. The days when we can’t see beyond the tip of our nose because of the driving rain in front of our face are the days when we must cling to the protection that He offers us in His presence.

Having an umbrella when the sky drops out is the only thing that will keep us from being washed away in the flood that uncertainty, bad news, fearful situations, and unwanted interruptions inevitably bring. It is true that sometimes the rain seems like it will never stop. One storm after another can threaten anyone’s idea of happiness. But I’m not going to settle for conditional happiness. I want the lasting joy that comes from spending time in God’s presence. Without this joy, we are stuck out in the hazardous conditions just waiting for lightning to strike.

We don’t have to live that way. I won’t live that way. I am not going to stand by and wait for the grey skies to appear over my head. I will hang onto every single promise that God has given me and spend as much time with Him as I can. I’m going to smile as I remember how He’s covered me in the past.

I’m going to open my umbrella.

photo credit: via photopin (license)

Finish Your Race

12400997_10153960702925449_4469602949524931303_n

This past Saturday I ran the Go Girl Half Marathon.

It was the second race that I finished all by myself. And it felt good.

I signed up for it before my life took a tailspin out of control .

And then I didn’t want to do it because I was having a hard time getting up.

My training was hit or miss because of emotional stress.

My consistency was lacking because of my heartache.

But I showed up. (At 5:30am nonetheless.)

In the cold and windy darkness of the early morning.

I pushed past the pain of sore knees and tired soles.

Because I decided that I couldn’t do it for myself.

Not anymore. At first it was a personal achievement. A goal of pride.

But when my life got hard, it became a lesson in grace.

I was doing it for HIM. Because my focus was on what He did for me.

The very next day was EASTER Sunday.

The day we focus on the fact that Jesus showed up when He could’ve stayed away.

What if He had not run His race? What if He had left us hopeless and void of light?

What if Jesus never got up out of the ground?

Thank God that I don’t have to imagine such a thought.

Thank God I have His overcoming example to follow.

Thank God He enabled me to get up. To finish my race. 

12472839_10153906090756013_392403299988212044_n

Sunday Rest #7

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said.  As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”- John 20:19-22 

Happy Easter!

photo credit: An Hour Is Coming via photopin (license)

Lift Up Your Head

23724628885_48d653d19b

What are you looking at? Are your eyes focused on the ground beneath your feet? Is your view darkened by your own grey shadow? Have you closed your eyes to preserve them only to lose sight of where you’re going?

Friend, look up. The sky above beckons you to feel the warmth of the sun. The crystal blue is brighter when you’re seeing it for the first time after experiencing the pain of it’s absence. The birds of the air flitter by in hopes that you will notice their morning song.

Don’t let the comfort of your limited view keep you from the spacious life waiting for you.

“We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”
Romans 5:2 (MSG) 
photo credit: Ruta 40 Rio Quimivil via photopin (license)

How the Sunrise Spoke to Me

It’s Wednesday and I’m wishing it were the weekend already. I guess that’s why they call it “Hump Day.” Cause you’re over the hump of the dreaded first half of the week and only have a few more days left til you can get some rest.

kWjpETn

For me, I’ve been in this place of being so tired lately that not much productivity is happening on my end. I am fighting some sort of sinus infection and have had crazy pain in my neck for a whole week now. Plus I’m dealing with some personal issues that make it hard to get out of bed sometimes.

But during this difficult week, God has shown me His mercy in beautiful ways. Every morning I’ve had the privilege of getting up earlier than I usually do and this is what I see on my AM route:

12698680_10153788748896013_4389231710717467705_o

I don’t think you can get a clearer picture of God’s tangible mercy than an array of pink and purple hues shining through a blanket of clouds. What an image to be planted in my mind at the beginning of my day! I get to carry this visual display of beauty with me all day long.

What about you? Are you looking for God to show up in REAL ways this week? Or are you just passing the time and ignoring the visible signs of His goodness all around? (Believe me, I’ve been guilty of this in the past!)

I gotta say, though, this sunrise was a wake up call for me to really notice the handiwork of God as I go about my day. I’m tired but God refuels me with this radiant picture of His loving-kindness. I’m aching but God soothes my wounds with this impression of His merciful touch upon my heart.

I GET to wake up today. I GET to see the glory of God all around me. I GET to walk through any situation with the memory of His faithfulness singing in my head.

Today, I GET to arise and shine, for the glory of the Lord is shining upon me. (Isaiah 60:1)

And so do you.

 

 

Trust the Wind

1546896731_9281dd7895


 

Gale-force gusts on my face.

I push through the pounding air.

Tempest blasts at my back.

I struggle with the next step.

A typhoon of contradiction all around me.

But this is how I get anywhere. 


 

Energize me, breezy Friend.

Blow away the dust in my tired eyes.

Carry me over the mountain in my way.

Your airy kindness lifts me up

and puts me right where I belong.


 

So I will trust the Wind.