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.

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Unmasked

I’ve now added a new accessory to my wardrobe. Face coverings. Masks. And I have this one thing to say about them. I hate masks. I hate wearing them. I hate seeing others wear them. We’re told they’re optional in certain places and mandatory in others. Some choose to wear them. Others don’t. What I’ve learned is not to judge.

These face coverings do just that. They cover our faces. They mask the beauty of God’s creation. How can you tell if someone is smiling at you? How can you understand someone’s words when their words sound garbled? How can you breathe in fresh air when your face is covered?

The mask makes my face hot. It makes my face sweat. It causes my glasses to fog up. Not a pretty sight. Not a pretty feeling.

It’s difficult to recognize someone if the majority of their face is covered. Eyes are a distinguishing feature on a person’s face, but they don’t look very distinguishing when that’s all that’s visible. I want to see the shape of someone’s nose. and their smile. I want to see that double chin or the dimple in their cheek. I want to easily recognize my friends and see the true reflection of who they physically are.

But I get it. We’re all trying to stay safe. We’re doing the best we can with the information we’ve been given. Who knew the world would come to this.


As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17


The thing is. We’re all wearing masks. Oh. They’re not a recent purchase or addition to our wardrobe. We’ve been wearing them for many, many years. We’re trying to cover up sins and weaknesses and flaws. We’re trying to make sure no one sees those parts of us that aren’t pretty. We’re hiding behind masks of our own making.

And it’s killing us.

Sometimes we hide behind a smile. Or a laugh. A snide remark. A criticism. A cruel joke. We don’t want others to see the real us. So we pretend to be someone we aren’t.

So. Wearing a mask is nothing new for any of us. What say we take those masks off and be real. Let’s be vulnerable and show our weaknesses. Let’s ask for help when we need it.  Let’s ask someone to pray for us when we’re hurting. Let’s be brave enough to be honest. Let’s say no when we shouldn’t say yes. And let’s say yes when it is the right time. 

True humility and vulnerability comes with a price. When we allow our hurts to show, we let others see that we’re human. We’re the same as anyone else. Peeling off those masks can be painful. And so real. But bottling up feelings and old hurts can be more painful than ripping them off.

So in our attempts to be safe. To be socially distant. Let’s take this time to be real. and vulnerable. We all know we’re in a strange day. We’re all in this together. So let’s be in this together.

Holy Surrender

Dear God. Your ways are higher than mine. Your plans are perfect. You don’t make mistakes. You follow through. You don’t do things half way. You plan big and you work big. Even the tiniest of things are noticed by you. After all, you know the number of hairs on my head. You know the number of days that I’ll live. 

But there are things about you that I don’t understand. If I’m being honest. And that’s what you ask of me. Honesty. 

You aren’t lazy, God. By no means would I call you lazy. After all, you created the heavens and the earth. You created animals and sea life. You planted the trees. Fruits. Vegetables. Flowers. You hung the stars, the moon and the sun. You parted large bodies of waters. You created day and night. And the four seasons. All in seven days.

You created man and woman. You gave us a mind to think and reason. You gave us a heart to love and be loved. You gave us emotions to feel and embrace. You gave us five senses to experience the most of life. Taste. Touch. Hearing. Seeing. Smelling. It’s a blessing to be able to experience the natural pleasures of life. Things we take for granted.

You’re everywhere. At all times. You see everything. You hear everything. You know everything. You know everybody. You are busy. But you’re not a busybody.

So there. All of that. You are not lazy. You are undeniably creative. Your imagination goes beyond my wildest imagination. 


We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Hebrews 12:2


But here’s the thing. Your timing. Sometimes you’re slow to act. When I need something, I think I need it now. And you see my need. Your vision has never blurred. Your hearing has never dulled, so I know you hear me. What I don’t understand is why you don’t answer right when I ask. Oh. I get it. You have patience. You see the big picture, when all I see is right now. You have my days planned. You have my life planned. Don’t I get a say in anything? Is it your way or the highway? 

Oh. That’s how you roll. I knew that. But that’s hard. It’s hard to surrender what I want for your perfect will. But if your will is perfect, then why would I doubt you? Why would surrender even be questioned? Why does my will seem so important compared to perfection? Who do I think I am? 

I’m humbled that you love me. That you even know my name. That you call me out of my wandering. My stumbling ways. You call imperfect me to live in your perfect plan.

So I surrender. I give up myself. My wants. My plans. I choose to follow your perfect unknown path. I choose to trust you fully. From this day forward. Death will not part us. It will bring us face to face.

Your holy presence. It’s what I long for. To see your face. To bow in fear and awe at your holy majesty.