Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

When We’re Waiting in the Top Envelope

Apr
21

Photo: Engin Akyurt

In my living room, next to my favorite bookcase, two envelopes hang on the wall. Nearby is a small stack of notecards. We put our prayers in the top envelope – the little leaf reminds us of hope for the future – and when God answers, we move them to the bottom envelope, our hope having bloomed into joy.

My little prayer corner.

I set this up after reading that Anne Lamott has a box where she keeps her prayers – God’s inbox. I thought this was genius but that we needed an outbox, too, a way to keep track of all the times God has answered – because, if you’re like me, you know how it goes. We pray (and pray and pray) and when God answers, we are grateful. But then, as the storms of life move in and the wind begins to toss us around again, all those filled needs and reassurances fade into the chaos and uncertainty around us. We forget (at least, I forget) how God has shown up for us in the past. How over and over again, when it looks like all is lost, He has come through.

I wonder if Jesus’ friends forgot too, right around this time a couple thousand years ago. The whole world must have looked pretty black this weekend. A Friday that looked anything but good, followed by a Saturday in what must have been utter darkness and despair. For a moment – an agonizing few days – it appeared that the corrupt power systems of this world had won. Goodness and love had taken its last breath and was buried.

Planted.

Just like our envelope prayers. When it has been a lifetime of leaves with what seems like only occasional flowers, too few and far between, and now the whole tree itself looks dead and dry, it can seem impossible that Sunday will ever come. That a dead tree could ever bloom again. That a Man could rise from the dead, resurrecting our hope and faith with Him. The waiting is the excruciating part, when we’re not sure He will come through this time, even if He has countless times before. But may we remember, even in the waiting, even in the not-sure and the not-yet, He is still good.

If you are waiting in the top envelope, hold on. Sunday and flowers are coming. You are not forgotten. You never, ever were, and you can never, ever be. The God of the universe, Maker of oceans and stars, is already whispering to your flowers to go on, unfold. Just wait till you see them. Just you wait.

 

-c

The Answer to Fear

Nov
28

photo: Nina Uhlikova

This post originally appeared on My Collision with Christ as a guest post, as part of a 7-week series on fear. You can find that series by clicking here

Here are a bunch of things I’m afraid of right this minute:

  • That I can’t write a real thing that will help real humans because I’m not a real writer
  • That I’m too big of a sinner to ever be qualified enough to tell anybody else what to do with their Christian life
  • That I won’t ever figure out my real calling, or worse, I don’t have one
  • That I won’t ever get to be a mama, a huge dream of mine since childhood
  • That a lot of people secretly don’t like me and just pretend they do
  • That I’m not thin or pretty enough
  • That I misheard God and I’m missing His will for my life
  • That heaven will be boring
  • That I’m always doing the wrong things
  • That my mouth is too sassy to be a good, sweet Christian girl
  • That I’m just too much and not enough at the same time
  • That I’m too big of a mess for God to fix

Just in case you were thinking, friend, that I am writing this from the other side, having come through the fire and now I am healed of all fear and totally free of all of this, and now I can instruct you on the way out and fix your mess in three easy steps and four payments of $19.99, I’m not and I can’t. (I just don’t have that Billy Mays swagger, may he rest in peace.) But I can sit here in the middle of the mess with you and maybe we can figure it out together. Maybe the answer is somewhere in admitting I don’t have the answer – and none of us really does – but Jesus. Let’s run toward Him together.

I grew up without my dad. I’ve never met him, heard his voice, or been the recipient of one of his hugs. He has never sent me a birthday card, called me on the phone, helped me loft my bed in college, or taught me how to change a flat tire. Instead, before I was born, he decided I wasn’t worth sticking around for, so he walked out on my mom and me before I drew even a single breath. As a result, I have always been afraid that maybe I am more leaveable than lovable. That maybe anyone who I let love me would eventually figure out that I’m not worth it and skip out, too. (more…)

Should Christians Vote?

Nov
06

photo: Element5 Digital

In this tense election season, I have heard a lot of thoughts from fellow believers regarding not only how we should vote and who we should vote for, but also whether or not we should vote at all.

Yes, initially, I was super duper mad at these people who suggested to me that Christians should not vote. Are you kidding me?! There are people out there whose lives and livelihoods honestly depend on our choice of lawmakers a lot more than ours do. There are vulnerable people who need help and protections from the government in order to survive. Yes, the church and caring individuals can and should also take care of these folks. But if we do not participate in electing the people who decide these things, some will undoubtedly be left out in the cold. Aside from that, if we bow out of the system altogether, how can we ever hope to make it even a little bit better?  (more…)

All the Shoes

Sep
26

photo: Tatiana Diakova

I know I haven’t written in a while.

It’s because the events of the past several weeks have been something I haven’t been able to put into words. But I want to try, because there sure is a story in there that God wants to tell.

Let’s start here, because it’s my favorite part: about a month ago, Christopher proposed to me in Amsterdam and we are now ENGAGED!!! Y’ALL. I KNOW. Cue ALL THE HAPPY TEARS! The girl who was always waiting and has always felt unloveable is now the girl who is finally chosen. I still haven’t fully processed it. My heart doesn’t even know what to do with this information. I’m all discombobulated and thrown off, in the very BEST WAY. No words do justice to the amount of care and sweetness and thought and love he put into it, but I’ll still tell you the very best story from my life so far as best I can: (more…)