Goodness Gracious

I don’t like to wait. I don’t like to be inconvenienced. I don’t like to be forgotten. I don’t like being lied to. I don’t like being cheated. I guess that I’m saying I’m selfish. I don’t want to be selfish,  but I like things my way. 

So, when I was standing in line at the grocery checkout, I had to decide. Would I show my annoyance or would I show grace. After all.  The person in front of me was trying to use a special coupon that the cashier couldn’t scan. Someone with more authority had to scan it, and they were struggling with getting the job done. I was silently sharing in that struggle.  And all I wanted to do was sigh loudly and glare. But I didn’t. I avoided eye contact and sighed inwardly. I berated myself for having such a poor attitude.

 So when the cashier thanked me for waiting, what was I supposed to say? No problem? But I was feeling like it was a problem.  And why? Where was I going that I was in such a hurry? My mask was hot, which makes me grumpy. I was hungry, and that makes me grumpy. What is my problem?

You each have the ability to let the words restore, inspire, soothe and build bridges instead of wound, separate or belittle. Let us pause before we speak, listen before we judge and stay curious, even when it hurts.

Darling Media

I admit it. I’m struggling. Just when I think I’m doing ok with all that has happened this year, something new comes along and sweeps me off my feet. And not in a good way.


The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalms 103:8


In case you aren’t aware, there was recently a presidential election. There was a winner and there was a loser. Some say there was a definite winner and let’s move on. Others are challenging the results due to voter fraud and demand legal action. Someone has to be the winner and someone has to be the loser. In a race of two, that’s how the ball rolls. At this point, it seems both parties are losers.

Oh. I wasn’t a political candidate. I never will be. I’m not an athlete. I never will be. I’m not big on open competition. It just isn’t in my blood. But I do love to win. I admit it. I will be a fair weather fan if my favorite sports team is losing their game. If they can’t show up to play, I can’t show up to cheer them on. Call me a bad person. I’m not. But I don’t like it when things don’t go my way. Just being honest.

I’ve found that both the winner and the loser have a role to play once the results have been determined. The winner needs to win graciously. And the loser needs to lose graciously. Neither role is easy. One wants to gloat. Maybe it’s payback. Or pride. Or greed. Or finally my day has come. The other wants revenge. Or a second chance. An opportunity to prove the other wrong. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe they’re just a sore loser.

The telling is in how the winner and loser respond to the results. How does the winner win graciously? And how does the loser lose graciously?

It’s easy to spot idolatry in another. It’s very hard to be humble enough to see your own.

Mary DeMuth

I find I’m aging. I can tell it in the way my skin wrinkles. I can see it in the lines and creases in places that once were smooth. I know that if I can see it, others can too. But that’s the way life is. I can ignore it, but it won’t go away. I can pretend I look as youthful as I did 50 years ago. But it just isn’t the case.

I find grace is needed when it comes to aging. An acceptance of the way things were and the way things are and the way things will be. It’s not that things are ok. It’s just how it is. But I also find that there’s still time to make a difference. Gracefully, of course.

I find that when someone disagrees with me, I must be graceful in how I respond. Can I see their point of view, or is it my way or the highway? Can I accept their position in a kind, agreeable way? Can I respond in gentleness and fairness? Can I willingly hear what they’re saying and not judge?

Grace is a lesson to be learned. I find it’s a trial and error process. Oh. Being ungracious can be intentional. But so can being gracious.

We sat at lunch watching the young waiter. He didn’t seem to understand the idea of multitasking. He was able to complete only one task at a time. And it slowed down the entire lunch for the multiple tables he was serving. I heard him apologize more than once.

He seemed to be a nice young man. He was trying to do a good job. He was pleasant and kind. He was attentive when you had his attention. The trouble was that his attention was divided. I knew my patience had already been tested at the grocery store, so I decided I needed to take a deep breath and hold my tongue. Was it really that hard to do?

I don’t know what he is dealing with in his life. Maybe he’s trying to balance his school and work schedule. Perhaps he was struggling with wearing a mask all day while doing his job. Perhaps he has an upcoming midterm that he isn’t quite ready for. Or maybe he was assigned too many tables and just couldn’t manage his time well. There could be a multitude of reasons why he was struggling. Why not just give him a break?

I pray for God to envelop me with peace. I ask for his grace to overwhelm me as I consider the forgiveness I have received.  Now I must offer that same grace to the person who may challenge me. Or to the neighbor who stands opposed to my beliefs.

What are my intentions? What do I want to accomplish in the exchange? Am I willing to sever a friendship or a family relationship for many years to come just because I think I’m right? Is holding a grudge more important than gentle concern and kind humility? Is saying those harsh calculated words more important than my relationship with God? Am I willing to say those derogatory words in front of God? Because if I say them, then I’ve said them in front of God. 

Let’s be humble and kind, even when we don’t want to be. There are no regrets in that.

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Who are you wearing

It’s awards season.  The nominees have been announced.  They’ll get all fancied up.  For the event.  They’ll spend hours primping and priming and tucking and sleeking.  Hair is done.  Makeup is done.  Nails are done.  Nothing is left undone.  They must look their best.  The world will be watching.  Mostly from afar.

They’ve fasted.  They’ve dieted.  They’ve cleansed.  They’re as thin as they’re going to be.  For that night.

They’ve been offered the best of the best among the dresses.  The jewelry.  The shoes.  They must choose the attire they think will outshine everyone else.  For everyone else will be looking.  They will all be looking.  Hoping to win the best dressed award.  Which really isn’t an award.  It’s an opinion.  But opinions do matter.  Especially on this night.

I’ve watched the red carpet events for years.  Oh.  Not the actual awards shows.  But the shows as the gowns are being paraded down the red carpet.  The women pose.  First to the front with hand on hip.  Then flip out the leg if the slit is high enough.  And it is usually high enough.  Turn around to show off the back of the dress.  If the dress has a back.  Smile your brightest whitest smile.

They’re all waiting for the question.  The one question.  It’s a big question.  It’s asked at every event.  Supposedly made famous by Joan Rivers.  Who are you wearing?  That’s the question.  Oh.  It’s important.  It’s very important to give the designer’s name.  The name of the person who created the dress.  You see.  If someone rich and famous wears that designer’s clothes, then it’s assumed the rest of us will want to wear them.  Or knockoffs.  Whatever fits the budget.  Oh.  It’s a serious thing.  It’s a money maker.

But woe is the designer whose dress makes the worst dressed list.  As one show says.  One day you’re in.  The next day you’re out.  All because of other people’s opinions.

One particular event.  Every woman wore black.  They were making a statement.  They were taking names.  They were sharing a message.  With the color of their dress.  That event wasn’t so much about who they were wearing.  But it was about the color they were wearing.  Or weren’t wearing.  Fighting for a cause of their choice.  Daring others to join in or be called out.


And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8


The way I see it.  I have a choice every day.  Every single day.  Which designer will I wear?  There are two designers to choose from.  Some may think two isn’t much of a selection.  Frankly.  One is all we need.  But we have a choice.  There’s an obvious difference in their designs.  In their taste level.  In their purpose.  And the choice makes a huge difference.  In everything.  One designer is the master creator.  The other is the master deceiver.

The master creator clothes us with truth.  Honor.  Respect.  Purity.  Love.  Grace.  And the price for all this. You ask.  There is no cost.  For us.  He paid a great price.  He gave his only son so we could be clothed in forgiveness.

The deceiver.  He clothes his followers with arrogance.  Deceit.  Murder.  Evil.  Wickedness.  Conflict.  Lies.
Oh.  The deceiver had his chance to work with the master designer.  But he wanted the top position.  It didn’t end well for him.  So he’s trying to trick anyone and everyone to wear his designs.  But don’t be fooled.  His designs come at a great price.
Just so you know.  Everyone is watching.  They’re listening.  They’re looking to see which designer you’ve chosen.  Is it easy to tell at first glance?  Do others ask for the name of your designer, because they like what they see?  Or are your knockoffs easy to spot?
So I dare to ask.  Who are you wearing?