They name their fifth child—yes, that would be me—Lois Ann. Lois, it means “battle maiden”. Ann, it means “full of grace”. A Warrior of Grace: a name I carry with me for the next 21 years, 6 months and 7 days, when, in an act of feminism, I drop Ann at the wedding altar, and retain my surname along with my husband’s. Walking out the church doors that cold winter night, I leave grace behind.
For the next several years, I search. What am I to do? What is my purpose? Who exactly am I, anyway? Pursuing the other half of myself—the original version of me who God created in my mother’s well-broken-in womb. I was her fifth, after all—there was plenty of room to stretch out and move and breathe…pure grace.
Grace: the unmerited favor of God; the unforced rhythm of life that we get to live when we keep company with Jesus.
So here I am, a half century later, and I am finding my way back to grace, back to living freely and lightly with Jesus. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Yet it does happen every time we return to the altar, that place of covenant communion with God, and take up grace where it awaits.
A Warrior of Grace, amazing you. God’s amazing grace.
I’ve heard it said that hard questions can drive us hard to distractions. Yet, if I’m really honest, some of my greatest distractions in life have become my greatest teachers. God’s grace really does work every detail of our lives of love for God into something good.
I want to extend this same grace to others—to love them right where they are, trusting God to work out the details as they search out the answers to the hard questions of life. The path they are taking may look like a distraction to me, but just maybe it is their “road less traveled” that provides the teachable moment that makes all the difference.
This season of breakthrough is a season of grace—the greater grace of greater love when one willingly lays down his life (his opinions, his reputation, and yes, even his personal rights) for another.
Yet, you must first have a life before you can lay it down; you must first have an ego—a sense of personal identity—before you can let go of it. God never meant for you to be a carbon copy of someone else, but to be the original, one-of-a-kind, best version of you that He spoke into being out of a heart of love.
So, being true to yourself and to God’s original plan for your life opens the way for the God-designed freedom to choose to lay down your life—or not. When you make the choice to lay down your life for another, you will experience breakthrough into the realm of the greater grace of greater love.
You will find that the greater grace of greater love becomes your greatest weapon against the greatest evil that comes to steal, kill and destroy your dreams, your relationships, your life.
No check in the mail. The stack of unpaid bills glares mockingly. Breathe and remember: Generosity of Spirit.
All that you need—more than you need, really—comes in a moment of grace. So just continue to give out of the abundance of grace given you—a never-ending flow from the One who overflows.
Simplicity of heart and a generous spirit—a garland of grace and a crown of beauty.
The Father has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ … according to His good pleasure. (Ephesians 1)
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Expansive posturing is a term used by those who study body language. It is based on the idea that your body shapes your mind; your mind shapes your behavior; and your behavior shapes your outcomes. When we adopt expansive (open) postures, we feel safe, powerful and confident.
Every one of us has been created to reach beyond our own grasp. When we extend ourselves beyond our own limits, we move from self-confidence to God-confidence. We can feel safe, powerful and confident that God is in control, even when it feels like things are very much out of control.
“She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” (Prov. 31:20)
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart…”. (Ecc. 3:11)
Your life was designed and created by a thought within the beautiful mind of God. That means your destiny and purpose was formed in eternity. The challenge for us is to live out that eternal destiny here on earth, and we can only do that with the help of the Spirit of God.
So why not give the Holy Spirit permission to move outside the box of your finite thinking into the dimension of the infinite? When eternity invades your heart, you will be transported deeper into the realm of the supernatural where all things are possible.
© Jan Vančura | Dreamstime Stock Photos