Let All That You Do Be Done In Love

Let All That You Do

“Let all that you do be done in love” – 1 Corinthians 16:14 ESV

I often need to be reminded of this verse.  If I’m being honest, sometimes I don’t feel like responding in love.  Especially to my family…and when I’m tired…and it’s raining…and I’m hungry…and I’ve already answered the same question a few times.  Sigh.  We’ve all been there right?  When the day seems never ending and it’s almost comical how many things have gone wrong.  It’s on days like that when I need to remember this verse and choose to respond in love.  If I’m going to respond in any way I might as well take a second to breathe and give a kinder response than I feel like giving.  Talking ugly doesn’t change the circumstances but it could crush my daughter’s spirits, make me feel crummier, or damage a relationship I’ve spent so long building.  I’ll never regret being kind but I always regret when I don’t.

I ran across this verse today, on a day that’s going particularly well actually, and I made the image above to help me remember to be kinder and show love on days that are bit harder to get through.

What ways do you do things in love?  Maybe it’s not just about how you respond to difficult circumstances.  Maybe it’s about going out of your way to show love to someone who could use it.  A friendly note or an email just because.  A frozen meal to a grieving family.  A bouquet of flowers and a pizza to a family that just moved in down the street.  A thank you card to someone who was there for you when you needed it.  There are endless ways to show love to others.  Let’s try and let all that we do be done in love.

Nature Has a Way

Nature has a way

Nature has a way of removing the complexities of life.  That’s so true, isn’t it?

This merry-go-round of life has been whirling ferociously lately and taking a moment to sit in the sun has helped tremendously.  It’s amazing what a little grass between your toes can do!

I hope you have a wonderful relaxing Mother’s Day whether you’re a mom, daughter, or son.  Happy Mother’s Day!

30 Days of Giving Challenge

Do you have a giving heart or would you like to cultivate one?  Then join me in the 30 Day Giving Challenge!

30 Days of Giving Challenge

I’ve participated in this challenge for the past four years and each year it blesses me in unspeakable ways!

Here’s the deal:

The challenge is to give something to someone everyday in November.  The gifts can be anything given to anyone…money, food, old clothes, crafts, your time, or even kind words.  I would love to have my readers join me in this challenge.  The way I see it, even if I don’t give something every single day it will probably would still be more than I normally would have given any other month…and that’s worth it, right?

You can follow my giving progress here on Embracing Grace but I’m interested in ways that you’re giving.  Feel free to comment on this post with posts you’ve written on your own blog about the challenge, links to tweets, or Facebook messages showing your giving.  If you’re sharing on social media feel free to use the hashtag #30Days2Give so myself and others can follow you, share your posts, and gather new ideas for ways to give.

Here are some of the gift ideas I’ve came up with so far:

  • donate can goods to a local food pantry
  • donate new toys in your gift drawer or closet to Toys for Tots
  • make and deliver a meal to a grieving family or a family with a sick loved one
  • donate a couple of hours of free babysitting for new parents
  • rake up the leaves in an elderly friend’s house
  • clean out your closets to donate to GoodWill or the Salvation Army
  • give few more dollars in the plate at church
  • prepare a gift for those new to the neighborhood
  • send a letter and a box of non-perishable goodies to a soldier
  • have the kids make and mail cards to missionaries
  • put together a shoe box (or a couple) for Operation Christmas Child
Plus, check out my Gift Ideas & Gift Wrapping Pinterest board for cute and clever gift ideas and ways to wrap them.

So what do you say, are you up for the challenge?  I do hope you’ll join me!!

Turning My Temper into Beauty

I am feeling discouraged today.


It is easy for me to heap guilt and shame onto my own head.

I have tried and tried and tried yet again to keep my temper. Sometimes I succeed for the first ten transgressions, at other times it only takes one, yet at some point I always fail.

I yell, I spit ugly words through clenched teeth, I point an unyielding finger as I hiss.

Yelled at by Mommy

Why is this so difficult? I would gladly lay down my life for these babes of mine, yet I seem unable to lay down my pride and my temper for even one day.

It seems that I am not the only one. Several of my favorite bloggers have recently written about their own struggles in this.

I wish so much that I could say this ugliness is not really me, that I didn’t mean any of it.

…for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. ~ Luke 6.45

Yet that is what I chose in that moment. I chose anger.

No matter the jarring, a jar of fresh water can’t spill filthy water.  When you’re upset, you upset what’s really in you.

Angry Girl

I feel fairly certain that I will never win “this full out war against my own angry, shouty spirit”.

And I am learning that this is okay. That God will make it okay.

I am learning that the things I struggle with the most in my daily life are the very things that God wants me to hand over to Him.

The issues over which I fight and despair are what I CANNOT handle on my own. These sins are the ones that drive me into the arms of God, that make me fall to my knees begging Him to heal my heart.

And this is good.

It is good for me to understand that I am weak and He is strong. It is good for me to truly comprehend my heart that cannot heal itself. It is good for me to realize my complete and total dependence on Him. If I could heal my own heart, my pride would know no end. I would push God to the side and declare Him unneeded.

It is also good for my not-perfect children to see their not-perfect mommy fall on her knees in repentance, asking God to help her love better. It is good for my sinful children to see their sinful mommy admit her pride and anger and ask for their forgiveness.


Asking Forgiveness

How else will they learn what to do when their own hearts erupt with sin disease of their own?

I am grateful, so very grateful, for the grace that turns my ugliness into beauty, the grace that helps both me and my children to love God and each other in a more perfect way.

Every Knee Shall Bow

He left His throne in paradise to meet man’s greatest need,
Yet the Savior was rejected and led to Calvary,
With their eyes they saw, with their ears they heard,
But their hearts could not believe,
That a simple man, a carpenter, could be the King of kings.
By a sinful race full of unbelief He was nailed upon a tree,
Yet the day will come when the clouds will part,
And every doubt will flee.

Still today the world rejects Him and mocks His precious name,
But the day is quickly coming when evil will not reign,
All our tears will be forgotten,
All our wrong at last made right,
When He comes to call His chosen ones to everlasting light.

The trump will sound, the dead be raised,
The truth will be made known
Every eye will see, every ear will hear,
When we kneel before His throne.

And every eye shall see Him in His awesome majesty,
Every nation shall worship at His feet,
And every tongue at last confess Him,
When He comes to claim His own,
And every knee shall bow before His throne.

Bridget Shevvy

Fully Invested in Friendship



As soon as I knew I would be writing here at Embracing Grace, I knew I wanted to write this post.

Well… I don’t know that I WANTED to – but I knew that I needed to.

You see, I strongly believe in the power of friendship; in being fully invested. I believe in the sisterhood of compassion… in a community of like-minded people living real life, honestly and side by side. I remember reading a quote from LeAnn Rimes recently where she said, “Honesty is a key to living an authentic life… I found that a lot of people walk through life rather than truly living – I’ve been there.”  Ah yes… I have been there too!

For years now, I have determined to truly live..  I have a sneaking suspicion that some friends are becoming  uncomfortable with me, as I become more and more comfortable in my own skin!  I have been on a journey to live out loud – to be real… to be consistent in who I am – wherever I am.  Some people embrace that, and some people hold you at arms length – unsure of how to react.  But this should not detour us from living who we are; from stepping into all that we feel called to be!  I believe with all of my heart that we are called to Be Love and that God, in all His awesomeness, gave us family and friends so that we could learn how to be that.  Family was His idea… and friends… well – the Apostle John would tell you He had a few of those as well… or – at least one, right? (John – the one whom Jesus loved… yeah – John was pretty secure in their friendship!)

I live in a small town.  The same small town I was born and raised in. I have been blessed with friendships over the years that have stood the test of time (and the tests of the enemy!).  Some have been but for a season and we either grew apart, parted ways, or simply got busy with new hobbies and new people.  However, it’s those forever friends that test you the most… that see you at your best and at your worst… and that often require the most Grace from you!


To be completely honest, I was hoping to be writing this piece under different circumstances.  I had hoped that before I sat down to write, I’d have the chance to sit down to chat with one of my forever friends.  Life is busy and wounds are healing and sometimes… well, sometimes we have to extend grace and just be OK with not having all the answers… with not knowing all the why’s or understanding the what-really-happened’s.  Sometimes we don’t get the happy ending, all tied up in ribbons and bows!

Oh – we WANT that! Of course we do! We WANT the happily ever after and the movie script ending… we want our friendships to run deep and stay trouble-free at the same time…. we want our kids to live on easy street – always making perfect choices, never having to deal with pain… but this is not reality now, is it?

No – this is not what grows us up, makes us stronger, and tests our faith.  Jesus said Himself that in this world we would have trouble… but He overcame the world!  Here’s the thing: we can too… when we remember to Be Love and to put our Grace On!

I have lived my life with this precious friend… we have raised children and taken vacations, we have changed churches and addresses and hair styles (and hair colors)… we have laughed until we cried and cried until there were no words… together.

While our relationship has a tendency to ebb and flow… routines change, and priorities shift, hobbies grab hold, and circles enlarge.  However – whether we talked weekly or monthly, I always felt secure in the fact that if she needed me – she’d know I would be there… and vice versa.   We had fallen into an unhealthy flow over the years, where there would be several months of silence, never knowing why. Grace always covered and Love drew us back… and we would pick up where we left off.

However, something happened… an event that we didn’t plan for and couldn’t see coming.  It knocked me off balance and broke my heart… my world was spinning and there were some days that I struggled to just keep breathing.  Assumptions were made (on both of our parts); grace was lacking, walls went up.  For both of us I think we felt justified in building protection and needing space – and oh how I wish I would have reached out right then and there – with grace in one hand, and boldness in the other. But instead… I smoldered.

I could not believe what was happening – both in my life and in our friendship.  I can only speak for myself in how I felt – but I went from being a Mama Bear to extending grace in admitting I would probably have reacted the same way in the beginning.  But then time passed and it was no longer the ‘beginning’ and I began to feel abandoned… all alone, carrying a burden too heavy… and I wondered where was the grace? Where was the grace that I needed… that others needed… that we all needed?  I began to entertain whispers of the enemy, justifying my hurts.  I was wounded… but I am sure she was too and if I am in this thing long term – which I am – then I needed to find enough grace for me – that would overflow and cover her.

The only place that I know of that is abundant in Grace is at the foot of the Cross.  As I bowed down under the flow, He did an amazing thing.  He did what Ann with no ‘e’ says in her book, ‘one thousand gifts’ – He took a Hard Eucharisteo and showed me some Ugly Beautiful.  He showed me a lesson that I wouldn’t have learned had I not walked through this situation with my friend.  He actually made me thankful!

A year… it was nearly a year to the day that we didn’t talk.

Remember, we live in the same small town.  We go to the same large church.  We have kids the same age and our husbands are friends.  It was one long awkward, sad, messy year.

I’d love to tell you that I found it in my heart to bridge the gap and reach out… I did not. I was stubborn and only ever so slowly allowing Grace to work it’s healing in me.  No – ironically it was yet another event that brought us both to our knees, in prayer, in agreement, together! One heart, one purpose… and God is just oh so smart!

I’d love to say it is all magically better…  It is not.

It is better… we talk. We love each other… I know that she knows that if she needs me – I am there.

And even this week when we were unable to carve out time to sit and really talk about deeper things, and get to the heart of the matter… I am leaning in to God and embracing His grace…, extending it to her when I can. I am having to be OK with not knowing the whys… she doesn’t even know the whys.

But what I DO know is that I believe in the power of friendship and I believe in investing fully…  I don’t take for granted the history that I have with this friend and I intend to build upon it!

We are all in process and it does us well to remember that!  When we are fully invested in the relationships in our lives – we know that there are ups and downs, good times and trying times… but in ALL times – thank God – there is Grace!

What about you, friend?  Are you walking through a rough time with a friend? Do you need grace for yourself; for your friend?

How do you invest in the friendships that God has given you and what do you do when you can sense distance creeping in, and wounds festering deep?

May I invite you to join me – under the flow of grace, at the foot of the Cross!

I’d be honored to pray with you.

Speak Life. Be Love. Shine On.


An Embrace of Grace


I love a good hug.  My husband is a big guy and he has strong arms that hold tightly and I find safety in his embrace.  But unfortunately, life and work and busy happen creating empty space instead of an embrace between us some days.  When the hugs don’t or can’t come, I am left needy and missing a touch.  He, too, often feels the emptiness of the physical affection necessary to cover all the insecurities wrapped around his head and heart from the day.  We try to be there for each other.

Instead we each fail to meet each other’s needs.  Daily.

But the One who is always present fills the empty in the absence and wraps with arms big and wide.

When my world spins all around, I am often desperate to grab onto something to make it stop.  That is when the God of Grace grabs hold of me.

His grace embrace catches my sinful thoughts that want to run wild. They cover and protect me from my familiar enemies, such as fear or pride, which seek to pierce my heart and fill me with insecurities.

Daily embraces of His grace are the touches my soul requires as the cracks in my brokenness are filled in and made complete by God alone.

Sometimes my husband has to stop me in my tracks and grab hold of me to stop the spin.   It is the same with the Lord.  It is in His arms only that my thoughts are taken captive and made obedient unto Christ.  Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

It is His command.  . . His plea. . .   His beckoning to us.

The God of all grace is always waiting with arms outstretched to restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us once again to Himself. (1 Peter  5:10).  Oh, how we all need those grace embraces many times throughout the day!

As much as I love being held in my husband’s arms, my internal desire is to fall into the deep embrace of my Father in heaven.   He is the One who calms my secret fears.  He is the One who wipes the tears that no one else sees.   He is the One whose Truth deflects those flaming arrows of the enemy that fly at my heart each day.   He is the One who will catch all of us up in His grace embrace.

So settle deeply into an embrace of His heart.  You will find it is an amazing place to find rest!