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?

2020 Hope Whispers

The future is uncertain, but God’s faithful love will always be certain.

When It’s Hard to Understand God’s Plan

2020 has been a tough year. When we experience losses, trauma, and sorrows, it can be so hard to understand God’s plan for us, can’t it?

This year the most read post is one from 2015:

God’s Plan Is Greater Than Ours

“No, in all these things we are more than victorious
through Him who loved us.
For I am persuaded that not even death or life,
angels or rulers, things present or things to come,
hostile powers, height or depth
or any other created thing
will have the power to separate us from the
love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”

Romans 8:37-39

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“All my life through
the new sights of nature
made me rejoice
like a child.”
Marie Curie

Thank you to my brother John
for these stunning photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂
Chipmunk
Botta’s Pocket Gopher
Black-crowned Night Heron
American Avocet
Redhead Male
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Acorn Woodpecker
Osprey With a Meal of Koi

Love That Never Hurts, Betrays, or Abandons Us

“The world today is hungry
Not only for bread
But hungry for love;
Hungry to be wanted,
Hungry to be loved.”
~ Mother Teresa ~

Is your heart aching when you think of Valentine’s Day? Did you lose loved ones recently? Or do you feel unwanted and unloved?

There are many legends surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day, but many of us see it as a day set aside to show others we care and to remind them they are loved and appreciated.

It’s always a comfort to be remembered, but many will experience that ache of loved ones lost either by death or some other way, even after many years. Others feel all alone in the world and unloved with not even a memory of ever being loved.

Perhaps some of you carry a distorted view of what love is because of abuse or neglect, whether in the past or the present. I know I did. Often it takes time to heal and trust even God because of suffering devastating betrayal from someone we trusted. Because of someone who was supposed to value, nurture, and protect us instead of hurt us.

People can hurt, betray, or abandon us. But Jesus’ love is like a bottomless ocean. It will never, ever empty. It will always and forever remain faithful. It will always nurture, not hurt.

Jesus willingly took on the heavy burden of sin. Our sin and the sin of those who have hurt us. All our sins are washed away and all our hurts can be healed and redeemed through Jesus and the blood He shed for us. He willingly died in our place because He loves us so deeply. He suffered excruciating, unbearable pain as whips slashed His flesh and nails pierced his hands and feet. Unspeakable anguish as the Father withdrew His presence. He was forsaken by God so we would never have to be forsaken. Incomprehensible, immeasurable, immutable love. So beyond our understanding that it can never be understood by our human minds. So infinite it can never be measured. So firmly established that it will never change.

“Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
John 15:13

heartoflove

What Is Love?

by Helen Steiner Rice

What is love? No words can define it—
It’s something so great
only God could design it.
For love means much more
than small words can express,
For what we call love is very much less
Than the beauty and depth
and the true riches of
God’s gift to mankind—
His compassionate love.

God Loves and Understands

by Helen Steiner Rice

It’s amazing and incredible,
But it’s as true as it can be,
God loves and understands us all
And that means you and me–
His grace is all sufficient
For both the young and old,
For the lonely and the timid,
For the brash and for the bold–
His love knows no exceptions,
So never feel excluded,
No matter what your past has been,
Trust God to understand,
And no matter what your problem is
Just place it in His Hand–
For in all of our unloveliness
This great God loves us still,
He loved us since the world began,
And what’s more, He always will!

No Greater Love
by Colton Dixon

“What kind of love would stand in the flames
And choose to remain there beside me?
What kind of love would go to the grave
Give up everything just to find me?
Of all the treasure that this world would offer me
You’re the only thing I need…

Your love is never changing
Your love will always be my home
And though this world will fail me
Your love will never let me go
No greater love
No greater love
No greater love
Than Yours…”

“May your roots go down deep
into the soil of God’s marvelous love;
and may you be able to feel and understand,
as all God’s children should,
how long, how wide, how deep,
and how high His love really is.”
Ephesians 3:17b-18 TLB