About: Preaching to My Own Heart

I wanted to write a short introductory post behind the “Preaching to My Own Heart” series that I will be posting to as the Lord leads. Particularly in the early months of new motherhood when I was sleep-deprived and recovering from the physical taxation that pregnancy and birth put on my body, I had a very difficult time focusing due to that blessed brain fogginess otherwise known as “Mommy-brain.” Digging into the Word was no easy task, and I often found myself neglecting my scriptural studies out of discouragement that I didn’t seem to be getting anything out of it. Looking back, I wish I had had a book of short, truth-packed devotionals that would’ve been written in a way that was conducive to helping a fuzzy-brained mom focus and meditate throughout the day. Now, it is very possible that that book is out there and that I just haven’t heard of it! But so far in my limited experience, I have noticed that short devotionals written to women are often overly centered on us as people rather than on God and His precious truth. With this in mind, God has put it on my heart to write this series.

Each entry will be focused around a specific word or  short phrase to shape that day’s meditation. Even at the height of exhaustion, I can remember one word! Then there will be a corresponding scripture and some thoughts to inform my understanding of what that word means through the lens of God’s Word. Lastly, it will end with a worship song suggestion that can be listened to throughout the day to help me continue meditating on that day’s truth. While I am doing this first and foremost for my own heart, I pray that by sharing it here in this space that it will be of encouragement to you as well. Enjoy! And may, “the Word of Christ richly dwell in you,” (Colossians 3:16).

Embracing Helplessness

I am, by nature, a “fixer.” If someone comes to me and shares about their troubles, I naturally tend towards dishing out advice in a three step plan to solve the issue. This is, usually, grounded in a love for people and a desire to help, but negatively I can base my sense of worth and identity on whether or not I have an answer or how well-received my answer is by the listening party. Recently, I have been surrounded by people I love who are enduring loss, sickness, or hurt. I have been utterly humbled as I have recognized my lack of ability to fix their “problems.” I am finding that, more often than not, I don’t know what to say or what is the right thing to do to communicate love in the midst of their suffering.  However, I am realizing that that is actually a sweet grace, a gift of God for me, to recognize that I should always be aware of my lack of ability to do or say anything of worth apart from Him! This is pushing me to pray like never before. I am learning that I have to just show up, whether that is physically in their home, or through a text or call. I am humbled to have to have to cover every word and action in prayer as I try to serve in some small way but remain constantly aware of my own insufficiency. The longing of my heart is that, in those moments, I will be the hands and feet of Jesus to them, but I am totally reliant on the Holy Spirit to succeed in fulfilling that desire.

I have been reading A Praying Life by Paul Miller, and in it he talks about the Christian’s critical need to recognize their own helplessness apart from Christ in order to have genuine, dependent prayers. It is only when we recognize our own helplessness, our own weakness, that we find the true channel to grace. He talks about having a godly distrust of ourselves, in which we recognize our tendency to try to do life on our own without God’s help. Maybe we are good at recognizing our need for God in the really “big” things, but the day to day stuff? We act like we have that under control. We got it. That is, until we don’t. It is often when fail miserably in a critical moment that we realize that we didn’t actually have things figured out all along. Nothing is teaching me about my need for real-time, every-day grace like being surrounded by the suffering. It is driving me to the foot of the cross, where I am once again reminded that I have access to the throne of grace and the greatest and first service I can do on behalf of those I love is pray. I will pray for what they are going through, and I will pray that the Spirit uses me to be an encouragement to them in whatever practical way I can. Today, and every day, the cry of my heart is,”Abba, I need you.”

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) – Hillsong

What’s in a Name?

Shakespeare famously wrote, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” Well, sorry, Shakespeare, but in AmandaLand* there is a whole lot in a name, at least when it comes to naming a blog. Naming my original blog, The Moderate Wife, took me a couple of months last year when I decided I wanted to launch an online journal and attempted to come up with something creative that captured the essence of what I was seeking to communicate. Unfortunately, almost immediately after hitting “publish” on my first couple of posts, I realized fairly quickly that I hated it. What sounded fun and catchy when I was in the planning process suddenly grated on my ears. It didn’t encapsulate the heart of what I cared about and suddenly felt very confining. That was a total inspiration-killer, and I developed horrible writer’s block. After two months of thinking, I really need to just write, the name isn’t that important, but not making any mental progress, I finally decided to just move on, scratch the old blog, and start over.

This new name, Grace ‘n’ Goodness, has me re-inspired and ready to put fingers to computer keys once again! I hope all my words are gracious, and good things are the only the ones worth writing about anyway, right? Just kidding, that’s not where I came up with that name. Really, the reason behind naming this blog Grace ‘n’ Goodness is a passion to dedicate my life, and therefore my thoughts, to the amazing grace given to me in Christ. I believe with all my heart that it is only through the grace of God that we have access to the truly good life. Philosophers and theologians of old coined the phrase, “the good, the true, and the beautiful” to describe the ultimate desire of man’s heart. As a Christian, it is my prayer that I allow the Holy Spirit to shape my tastes and enhance my joy as I encounter each of those three things through the Word, Creation, and relationships. The reaches of God’s grace extend from the quiet moments when I am before Him in prayer and worship in the early morning into the afternoon when my caffeine high has worn off and I am correcting another math work sheet or changing the fifth diaper that day. God’s goodness is revealed to me in a plethora of moments, in innumerable ways, and I hope I get to share about some of them here. Thank you for coming along on this journey with me (again)!

I will be transferring and back-dating the few posts that I did share over at The Moderate Wife over to this blog in order to preserve the future blog book that I hope to make someday when I have written enough print-worthy posts to sit as an album on my coffee table!

*Thank you for that expression, friend… You know who you are! 😉