2021 Reflections on the Grace God Still Gives Us

2021 has been a tough year, hasn’t it? Most likely, for all of us in one way or another. Physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. Losses of different kinds. Deep hurts in so many hearts. Uncertainties and fears about the future.

But God… Yes. But God is still with us and is giving us grace to survive. Even when we feel forsaken. Even when we feel weary, troubled, and sorrowful. Even when events in our lives or in the world have crushed us. He is still holding us up with His faithful love and compassion that will never, ever leave us.

This year God is teaching me on a deeper level how crucial it is to:

🦋 Remind my fainting heart to keep my eyes fixed on God’s unchangeable character. All the heartaches and changes in our world may disorient us or depress us, but God will never change and His love will never abandon us.

🌈 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 NIV

🦋 Let go of my tight-fisted grip of “needing to fix” situations out of my control. This is so hard to do, isn’t it? But God longs for us to leave these anxieties in His Almighty hands and to believe in His power to heal, redeem, and bring justice in His time and way.

🌈 “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT

🦋 Diligently seek, pay attention to, and thank God for the beauty and the blessings still surrounding me. There are so many blessings right in front of us that we take for granted each moment, right? The beauty in God’s creation, the strength we’re given with each breath and step we take (whether emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually), the kindness and love many people still do show. And on and on it goes. Even in the midst of chaos and heartaches, God still heaps on the invaluable gift of His grace so freely.

🌈 “And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace!” John 1:16 TPT

What has been the toughest trial to you personally this year? What special grace have you been given even in the midst of it, whether in the moment or in hindsight?

November Hope Whispers

The Serenity Prayer

“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Amen.”

(prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr, 1892-1971)

God’s Unfailing Love

“For even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.
The God who has compassion on you says so.”

Isaiah 54:10 MSG

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’
    but Your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.

Psalm 94:18 NLT


❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world,
that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son,
so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] 
shall not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 AMP

Hang Onto Hope

🦋 “If you feel stuck in a hopeless place today, I don’t want to rush you to joy. Maybe you need to spend a little time letting the darkness do what darkness does—nourish, strengthen, and hold. The darkness can invite us into a mystery, a place where we don’t know the answer. We know that seeds need to bury down deep in the ground, sometimes for a long, long time. Eventually, those seeds will break open and take root. But first they have to settle into the darkness. Still, that seed carries within it a narrative of hope. It just hasn’t lived into the whole story yet.” ~ Emily Freeman in The Next Right Thing

🦋 “Without dark clouds in our lives, we would never know the joy of sunshine. We can become callous and unteachable if we do not learn from pain.” ~ Billy Graham

🦋 “Hope is like the Sun. When it’s behind the clouds, it’s not gone. You just have to find it!” ~ R.J. Palacio

Nature Retreat

There is not one blade of grass,
there is no color in this world
that is not intended to make us rejoice.
~ John Calvin ~

Though my photography isn’t as professional as my brother’s is, capturing nature photos is relaxing for me. This past summer was a tough one and I didn’t have the privilege of going out to some of my favorite nature spots as often as I would have liked. As I was looking through some of my old photos, I decided to share some photos of my own this month. 🙂

“Just a reminder in case your mind is playing tricks on you today: You matter. You’re important. You’re loved. And your presence on this earth makes a difference, whether you see it or not.” ~ Anonymous

October Hope Whispers

When Loneliness Overwhelms

Jesus said:
“A time is coming and in fact has come
when you will be scattered, each to your own home.
You will leave Me all alone. 
Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with Me.
I have told you these things,
so that in Me you may have peace. 
In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:32-33 NIV

❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

Even if my father and mother abandon me,
    the Lord will hold me close.

Psalm 27:10 NLT


❤︎ ❤︎ ❤︎

“Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.”

Psalm 73:23-24 NASB

Kindness Quotes

🦋 “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.

🦋 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

🦋 “Never look down on anybody unless you’re helping him up.” – Jesse Jackson

Nature Retreat

Each species is a masterpiece,
a creation assembled

with extreme care and genius.
~ Edward O. Wilson ~

Thank you to my brother John
for some unique views
of various species.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Regal Horned Lizard
Wilson’s Snipe
Longbilled Dowitcher
Mouse eared Bat
Colorful Black Widow Spider
Oh my! His lunch is so much bigger than he is!
Osprey
Ospreys need lunch, too!