It's become a bit of a tradition to choose a word for the New Year.  This word is supposed to be one specific word to focus on all year.  Honestly, I'm not big on this.  It feels a little like boxing myself in.  My mind goes one hundred miles an hour in a hundred different directions.  How on Earth do I choose just one word to represent all that I want to embody in a whole entire year?  That just seems plain impossible. Unless, of course, God writes that word on your heart countless times over the last several weeks.  It seems every time I turn around one word keeps being presented to me. GRACE Let me get a little wordy nerdy and define it for you.  According to Oxforddictionaries.com, one of the meanings of grace is "(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings."  It's synonyms are:  goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, beneficence, and indulgence. That definition, that deep truth behind the meaning of grace, has lodged itself in the forefront of my thoughts for weeks.  It has taken up such real estate in my thoughts that I wake up at night pondering God's unmerited favor and his constant bestowal of blessings in my life. I've been thinking back to trials and struggles in my life and have been sifting through the evidence of God's grace through it all.  His goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, and indulgence is overwhelming.  Just focusing on finding the obvious ways that His grace has been present in every situation has caused a perspective shift in my heart and mind. Looking for grace is simply seeing glimpses of His little gifts, evidence of His love and favor, in everything.  Keeping my eyes open for it makes me humble and grateful.  It keeps me attentive to God's goodness and blessings.  Hunting for grace in each moment allows me to see the hand of God at work when I might otherwise miss it entirely. My blog has always purposed to talk about honoring God in the craziness of our lives.  I truly believe that no matter how messy, how chaotic, how absolutely crazy our lives get; we can choose to honor God by the way that we live it.  That's why my little tag line has always been "Honoring Him in the Craziness of Life". I still firmly believe that, but I'm adding on to that thought in 2017.  I'm narrowing my focus, or maybe broadening my view, depending on your thinking. In 2017, I'm choosing to honor him by looking for evidence of His grace in every moment of this crazy life that I've been given. This verse has been etched in my heart.  I'm making it my focus verse in this new year.  John 1:16 ESV says, "For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace." GRACE UPON GRACE What a beautiful truth!  I want to be more aware of His grace.  I'm going to search for evidence of His grace upon grace in every situation, in every moment, in all of the craziness of my life in 2017. If you would like to join me, my social media posts and blog will feature the hashtags #honoringhim and #graceupongrace in 2017.  When you see evidences of grace, use these hashtags and share it with me.  I'd love to see how you experience His grace upon grace this year! Love and blessings! Bobbie
image.png Life is full of trials, stuggles, and stress.  It's so easy to get bound up in all of the things that are out of our control and to just anxiously toil and struggle our way through. This morning, while reading in Exodus, I was reminded, yet again, that isn't God's plan for His beloved children.  He has a better way for us.  He calls us to trust in His plan, to rest in His provision, and to believe that He is working on our behalf. I know not everyone is as in love with the Old Testament as I am, but, trust me people, it is so full of applicable truth and encouragement!  Stick with me for a minute and listen to this example. My reading this morning was centered around the time when the Hebrews were fleeing from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  It must have been chaotic.  The people left in a hurry without much time to prepare.  It also must have been terrifying to leave all that they had ever known for an unknown wilderness.  In the midst of all of that, their enemies, the Egyptians, were in hot pursuit of them.  Fear and doubt were running high! Have you been there?  Maybe you've not been feeling from your enemies into the wilderness, but I'd be willing to bet that you've experienced fear and doubt.  I would guess that you've felt like you were struggling looking for answers.  I'm sure you've looked into the unknown and wondered how on earth God could have led you to the place you found yourself and how in the world you could safely make it through the trials you were facing. The Hebrews sure felt that way and they let Moses know about it.  Yet, right there, in the middle of the chaos, God gave Moses a simple command for the people.  It's one that's just as applicable to us today.  He said, "Fear not.  Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today...The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent." That's about as simple as you can get, yet it's one of the most difficult things to do.  It must have been so hard to trust God and walk across that sea, but as always, God came through.  He stood between the people and their enemies.  He provided an escape.  He crushed their enemies.  He kept his promise and fought for them.  All they were required to do was to trust Him and obey His command. Lord, help us to be able to do the same.  Help us to be able to claim that promise in the middle of seasons of chaos, fear, and doubt. Calm our hearts.  Help us to cast out cares at your feet.  Remind us to not be fearful but to stand firm because we know that you fight for us.  Give us the wisdom to not anxiously toil and struggle, but to be silent and trust in you. Love and blessings, Bobbie
2015-12-11 08.41.49 Today would be my Dad's birthday.  Mine is right before his.  This is a picture of us celebrating together a few years ago.  He's been gone now for about a year and a half.  It sure doesn't seem like that long, but at the same time, it feels like forever since I've seen him.  I miss him often, but especially today. I don't understand why God allowed him to die.  I don't understand how taking him was a better plan than doing a miracle of healing.  I still struggle with that.  Honestly, there is only one way I know to deal with that kind of pain. This morning, with a heavy heart, I prayed a version of the same prayer that I pray every time I feel a little overwhelmed by the grief. "Father, God, I don't understand your ways.  I hurt and I miss my dad terribly, but I'm choosing to trust you in the midst of the hurt.  I know you are good.  I know you are love.  I know that you see the beginning and the end and that your plans are greater than my own.  I don't understand why God, but I understand who you are.  Help me to trust fully in your character and in who you are in spite of how I feel.  Fill my hurting heart with peace. Amen." That prayer gets me through the things I can't understand and the things that aren't easy.  I'm hoping it can help someone else today. Love and blessings, Bobbie    
File Apr 05, 7 16 21 AM.png Here it is.  This is what you have waited for your whole life.  Permission.  Permission to breathe. This is the first post Funk blog entry, and there is something that I've really wanted to share with you.  I think the reason that it weighs so heavy on my heart, is because it is something that I needed to be reminded of as much as I needed to write it. We don't keep the world spinning.  We don't run the show.  We are not responsible for everything nor do we need to be. Whew!  What a relief that is!  Do you feel the weight lifted?  Can you breathe a little easier? We have permission to put the brakes on when life gets a little too crazy and make a space to just breathe.  It is absolutely ok for us to take a moment to stop and settle ourselves.  Even if the world around us is running at full speed, which it always seems to do, we can break from the race and catch our breath.  Even if it feels like we are drowning under the weight of to dos and expectations.  We don't have to stay on the hamster wheel and run.  We can hop off and pause for just a moment. We have permission to breathe. In that space, that pause, you and I have permission to call out to our loving Father and to ask, to question, to struggle, to wrestle, to rest, to be weak, and to just let it all go for a moment.  In life, so often it seems like we have to be so strong, but not with our God.  He is strong for us when we are weak.  He's got our backs.  We have permission to crawl into the lap of our loving Father and lay our head on his chest and rest in his love, strength, care, and provision.  He will keep the world spinning while we just catch our breath and refocus ourselves. He's got us.  He's got this. File Apr 05, 7 19 12 AM.png When we take that moment, when we allow ourselves the chance to break the cycle of constant motion, we are often worried that we will lose out.  We might get behind.  We might miss out on something.  We may not look like we have it all together.  We worry that if we don't keep the world spinning, it might tilt right off its' axis. And sometimes, we run ourselves ragged trying to keep up. That's not God's plan for us.  He wants us to come to Him with our burdens and our loads.  When we feel like the weight of things is getting too heavy, he wants us to Him and hand it over to Him.  He doesn't want us to weary ourselves trying to bear everything alone. And when we do that, the opposite of what we worry about happening actually happens.  When we hit pause and take a moment or two to stop the striving, we don't fall behind.  We don't miss out.  Instead, we are refreshed.  We are strengthened.  We are renewed.  We pause and take that time to renew ourselves through him and then we have the ability to jump back into life ready for the marathon.  We have the energy for the long haul now instead of wearying ourselves in the sprint. File Apr 05, 7 17 14 AM.png So, sweet friend, there it is.  There is your permission.  When it all gets to be a tad too much, allow yourself the grace to just take a moment.  Pause.  Climb up in your Heavenly Father's lap and turn it over to Him.  Ask Him for what you need to keep running.  When you've received your full share, hop back in and finish strong. Love and blessings, Bobbie
File Mar 16, 9 03 31 AM Have you ever been in a funk that you just couldn't seem to get out of?  I've spent the last several weeks in a fog that just hasn't seemed to want to lift.  I've had some little health stuff going on and had to have a couple of little medical procedures done.  There are a few more little procedures on the horizon as well.  This has all left me feeling just plain worn out physically, but it has all left me feeling emotionally spent as well. Have you been there?  Maybe it wasn't a health related issue.  Maybe it was a relationship issue, a work issue, or just circumstances in your life that had you in that funk.  Whatever it is that put you there, Funkytown is really not a great place to visit and it's even worse to settle in and dwell there a while. And that's what I was doing.  I was dwelling. I was totally content to just sit in that foggy, hazy Funkytown and dwell there. Last week I started to realize just what I was doing.  I started to realize that I had set up shop in Funkytown and gotten pretty comfortable there.  (Really folks, it shouldn't have taken me so long to see the error in my ways.  A couple of weeks in, I went 8 days without putting on real clothes or leaving my house.  Which felt glorious at the time, but, looking back, might have been a tad much.  Not to mention that I binge watched a ridiculous amount of Netflix.  Which also felt glorious at the time, but wasn't even remotely productive and kept me from doing the things I should have been doing.) I knew I needed to pack it up and leave Funkytown, but it was just so comfortable there.  So, I did the only thing I knew to do to make a change.  I went back to God's word and prayer because they are the things that have always brought me stability, strength, conviction, and  encouragement. I moved off the couch and back into my regular Bible study and prayer time (which had been mostly set aside for Netflix and naps). And in his usual, glorious way, when I started moving back towards Jesus, there he was, just waiting for me.  Arms open.  Ready to draw me closer. This morning, while I was reading my Bible, I came across something beautiful. In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about someone being separated from something and diligently seeking it until it is found and restored to its' rightful place.  He tells of a shepherd who lost one sheep out of a flock of one hundred, yet the shepherd left the others and went after the lost sheep to bring it back into the fold.  Next he tells of a woman who lost a silver coin and turns her house upside down to find it and add it back into her purse.  Then he tells the story of the prodigal son who left his father and lived a wild lifestyle, only to be brought low and return to the father seeking mercy.  The father lovingly welcomes the son back and restores him to a place of honor. And God's word remind us that He does that for us. Separation.  Seeking.  Restoration.  It is kind of His thing. I know these parables speak of Jesus seeking the lost, but today when I read these they had new applications for me.  Today they reminded me that no matter how discouraged I feel, or how deep into a funk I am, I'm never far from Jesus' love.  When I feel discouraged and distant, he is right there seeking my heart and waiting for my return.  He diligently longs for me and doesn't want me to be separated from him.  Just like the wandering sheep, the lost coin, and the wayward son, when I am separated from him, he is seeking me and wants my restoration. So, today those parables have a new meaning because today the fog is rolling away a little and I'm leaving Funkytown behind.    (Not that I'm giving up naps and Netflix, people.  That would just be plain silly.  I will how ever be enjoying them in much greater moderation than I have been over the last several weeks. )  If you need me, you can find me back at the feet of Jesus. Love and blessings, Bobbie