I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God
so that you may know that you have eternal life. [1 John 5:13]

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Easy Yoke, Light Burden and Sufficient Grace

Two days after making my last post our lives changed dramatically. On Friday, Sept. 18, my mother-in-law suffered an ischemic stroke. To say we have been on a roller-coaster ride in the past week would be an understatement! We have literally lived at the hospital, and in the past two days at the assisted living facility where she will be staying for some indeterminate length of time. We have been away from her to work, to change clothes and sleep and little more.

Last Friday morning when we got up, we had a long, long, long list of all the very important things we had been putting off and absolutely needed to get done by Sunday in anticipation of the week ahead.

Our family was anticipating with great joy and excitement and reveling in God's blessings upon our lives as we looked to the week ahead: Second wedding anniversary of our beautiful daughter and wonderful son-in-law; my birthday, our son's victorious graduation from Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center, my husband having been offered a full-time job after more than 2 years of working multiple part-time jobs simultaneously while looking for full-time employment. We had planned a marvelous, joyous, yes, perhaps even a bit rowdy, family celebration this weekend!

Since shortly before our daughter's wedding we have been through a refining process. My husband was laid off from his job. I wasn't working full time. We had planned that I would be able to pursue my writing full time. But God decided we needed further refining in order to fulfill His plans for us. That's how we have viewed it. I went back to work--we needed health insurance and a steady, assured minimum income. We offered up to God all of our desires and dreams, all of our hopes and plans, even our very survival. There were days, weeks, months where it was our absolute and complete reliance upon God alone that allowed us to make it at all.

These were not only lean years financially, they were lean in terms of our control over circumstances--very literally we hung by a thread for a long time, hoping, praying, trusting, and ultimately believing without question or hesitation that God held our very lives in the palm of His hand and that he would sustain us. We were ready to accept whatever He planned for us - even losing everything we owned. We knew that He would provide for us what we truly needed and that He would never leave us on our own. And we were okay because we had our family and our faith.

We had learned to rejoice, even in our adversity, lack of financial security, lack of certainty about what the future held. God's grace transformed our lacking by the world's standards into an attitude of abundance only possible through belief in Jesus Christ. And our faith has grown strong and deep roots. And God has refined us and reworked and reshaped and revitalized us. And we have rejoiced that He has considered us worthy of His time and effort.

His yoke became easy and His burden light. Then Audrey had a stroke.

I could write a book about just the past week. Some of it, no one would even believe. Some of it would be just too hard to relive in the writing of it. Some of it, God isn't done using to teach us about yet. But this much we know: All of it is written in God's book of plans for Audrey and for us. He is in it all and He is in control. And we rejoice in that! We are grateful for Jesus' easy yoke and light burden. We continue to rejoice in all the "worse case scenarios" that could have played out that didn't -- not just for Audrey but for us in the past two years -- no, for us in the past 50+ years we have been alive.

One week out: we are grateful beyond expression for God's grace and mercy. We rejoice that He is in control and we are thankful for the prayers and expressions of kindness from friends and strangers regarding Audrey. We don't know the prognosis for Audrey, beyond our assurance that she will one day be in heaven - and hopefully, we will be there too. Until then, we are leaning on God and relying upon His strength, trusting in His mercy, rejoicing in His grace and coveting prayers on her behalf and ours. Oh, and we're going to have that family celebration:-)

"Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you" (Philippians 3:1 NIV).

"But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed" (1 Peter 4:13 NIV).

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4 NIV)!

Blessings on your journey

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Growing, Living and Learning

September is National Coupon Month! Imagine my excitement at discovering this, considering it is also my birthday month AND in light of my newest undertaking as the Richmond Frugal Family Examiner!

In my last post I shared about how I have been striving. Having shared it, and my poem/prayer, I felt some easing of my sense of laboring so hard. God is so very good and He has introduced still more Christian women entrepreneurs and writers into my life, even in just this week and they have encouraged and uplifted me!

I have also had the joy of helping several others with issues in their "non-bloggy", non-writing lives and that is even more a blessing - to be a blessing to another. That's really what life is about.

This week I am working on submissions to several contests and the latest edition of my 2X/month God's Wonder Woman column at Take Root and Write is live. I hope you'll take a few minutes to read part 2 of The Seven Deadly Sins. God continues to reveal to me so much about Himself and His love as I research this topic.

I am learning to view my sin not as something that will prevent me from going to heaven, but rather as a means of growing in grace toward others in my life, myself, and the world at large. I've got a long way to go, but I am learning to view life through a new lens and it is pretty incredible!

Since I'm a bit ahead in posts for Richmond Frugal Family, I'm going to try to finalize two author interviews I've agreed to host here in the near future. Stay tuned! You'll want to know about these two writers!

If you are interested in viewing a list of free-lance writing jobs available around the world, click HERE to read Anne Wyman's roundup of opportunities. It's so great that she does all the research and lists everything in one place - including her advice on whether or not it is a good opportunity. Anne also publishes great tips for writers at About Freelance Writing.

What are you writing about this week?


Blessings on your journey

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My All and All

I tend to focus on and ruminate over a word or phrase that comes to mind. A particular term that continues to "visit me" is striving. I had a pretty good idea of the definition, but being a wordsmith and lover of words, I decided to look it up. Here's what I found at dictionary.com:

1.

to exert oneself vigorously; try hard.

2.

to make strenuous efforts toward any goal.

3.

to contend in opposition, battle, or any conflict; compete.

4.

to struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance.

5.

to rival; vie.


Ah, yes . . . this is exactly what I thought! It is also exactly what I have been doing lately! I've also noticed lately that many others in my life have had a week or a month, or a year or even a lifetime of striving. And what are we striving for?

I asked myself that question the other day. "What, Mary, is it that is causing you so much struggle? What are you laboring for?" I know Jesus offers us an easy burden and a light yoke. Why is it, then, that I don't lay down MY burdens and take on His?

It is exhausting, this striving. It wears us out and beats us down. It doesn't matter what good or joy there is in our lives. Striving is always in the background, like white noise, if we don't give it over to the One who has already borne our burdens and won us a victory over this world.

Striving is spinning our wheels, believing we are in control, we are in charge, we are the masters of our own destinies. Hard work is a noble thing! Don't get me wrong! I believe in hard work! I believe in 'fighting the good fight' and doing what needs to be done to advance God's kingdom on earth. That's not striving though! Striving leaves out God, because there's isn't any room, or any energy to include one more component of the struggle. Striving is like there's too much friction; going against the grain; swimming against the tide.

Hard work sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Striving can't even see a pin dot of light anywhere on the horizon. Okay, I think I've belabored my point. Over the last several days, this poem has come to me. It is a prayer, really, offering over my striving to the One who lifts us on eagle's wings. I pray the words minister to you as well.


Lord of my striving

Lord of my ease

Lord of my journeying

Lord of my rest

Lord of my labor

Lord of my respite

Lord of my past

Lord of my days

Lord of my future

Lord of my hours

Lord of my burden

Lord of my comfort

Lord of my yoke

Lord of my freedom

Lord of my striving

Lord of my ease

Keeper of my heart

Champion of my fears

You are

My all in all.

© Mary Moss-September 2009




Blessings on your journey

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Weekly Writing Wrap Up


The latest God's Wonder Woman column has been posted at Take Root and Write!

I've started a series on the seven deadly sins. I've really learned a lot as I researched and studied more about these particular sins. It's very humbling to realize the true depth and breadth of our sinfulness, especially as it relates to our need to extend grace to others.




I've also made several posts to Richmond Frugal Family at examiner.com. Looking for a great family-friendly place to eat that won't break the bank? Check out my review of Silver Diner at Innsbrook in Glen Allen, VA.


I began participating in the meme hosted weekly by Marianne Thomas, "Let's Go Krogering" over at Crayon Chronicles this week.

I also joined in the Word-Filled Wednesday meme hosted by various blogs weekly. This week it was hosted by pennyraine.com, for Amy at the 160 acre woods

What have you written this week? Leave me a message to be eligible to win a free copy of my book. (If you're a former winner, I'll send you a copy of the blank journal I designed and a pack of 20 scripture cards.)



Blessings on your journey