My husband gave me a soft nubby-textured shawl for my birthday. But it wasn’t just any shawl. It was a Giving Shawl.
I recently spotted it in a local gift shop but didn’t pay too much attention to its name. So when I released the soft ribbon surrounding the shawl to find a label with the words Giving Shawl sewn onto the pocket, I was torn.
I loved everything about it but felt an odd sort of guilt for wanting to keep it. After all, the shawl was created to be given away.
In the same pocket was a cloth bookmark with these words:
“We all need a little comfort now and then…A reminder to help us know that we are not alone in the world…That there is someone in our corner, ready with a hug, no matter what. Always know you are being thought of, cheered on, And loved for exactly who you are⏤Someone who is beautifully and wonderfully made.”
It was the last line that left a lump in my throat.
You see, this year I’ve gained more than two books on the Amazon shelf. I’ve also gained weight and a lot of it. I shun the camera and scold Brian for posting my picture (unless it’s pre-2016) on his Facebook page. The mirror is my foe, not my friend. I avoid seeing people who knew me before the shift in weight, imagining the words they must be thinking when they see me.
Maybe I was, in fact, the intended recipient after all.
The Giving Shawl lay bare my desire to offer grace to others but receive it at sloth-like speed for myself.
Growing up, weight was a dirty word on my dad’s side of the family. The recordings to stay a particular size for everyone’s benefit have played in the background of my mind for most of my life. So while this post isn’t written from a place of victory (yet!) it is written from a place of desire. A desire not only for myself but also for my granddaughters because the way we view ourselves affects those in our sphere of influence whether we realize it or not. Just as I prayed the destructive cycle of divorce would end with my boys, I now see the need to pray with the same fervency that a Christ-centered cycle of healthy self-acceptance begins with me.
So, as I drape this Giving Shawl around my shoulders, I will remember:
The only weight that defines my worth is the weight of my sin Jesus bore on the cross.
My heavenly Father, husband, family, and friends love me unconditionally.
Just as I pray to see others as Christ sees them, I can embrace this desire for myself as well.
Acknowledging the need to take better care of myself physically is a gift from the Lord.
Even so, if the scale never budges, I will still be the apple of my Father’s eye. (Psalm 17:8)
When three people tell you within a two month period that you’re being too hard on yourself, God may be up to something.
Perfectionism has been my enemy for as long as I can remember. You wouldn’t recognize this tendency if you visited my home or caught sight of my unruly brows but it’s there nonetheless. It established patterns of procrastination behind my back, paralyzing me to move forward in certain areas of my life.
Can you relate?
Perhaps it’s because I’m still a WIP (work in progress) that I gravitate towards godly women with a wise perspective, like Ginger Harrington. I had the opportunity to meet Ginger at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference in May and now she’s also a fellow #write31days participant. When I read her post Soul Search: Why Are You So Hard On Yourself? from Monday, I had to share it here, with you. Prepare to be blessed!
Ginger Harrington’s 31 Day series
Ginger’s theme for October is Soul Strength and you’ll not want to miss a post via Ginger’s Corner.
Staying in Step With The Spirit: When we choose to see ourselves as God sees us, we are strengthened by truth — and truth never fails to draw us closer to God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the “wide fields of grace” You provide for us to run free and forgiven in Your presence. Help us to stand firm in the truth that when You see us, You see Jesus—the only Perfect one.
For it is God’s loving soul search that sets us free to run forgiven in wide fields of grace. -Ginger Harrington
trunk of the Chaste tree hugged our white picket fence but its branches
shot out in all directions, covering everything in its path. While
preparing to sell the house last September, Brian cut the tree to ground
level so the yard would appear neater for prospective buyers.
weekend, while taking a tour of the yard, I spotted a pink patch of
clematis sittin’ pretty as you please alongside the same picket fence. I
planted them years ago but forgot about them. I’d never seen a bloom,
thanks to the gnarly branches of the tree. However, once the debris was
cleared, I could finally see the beauty that awaited. The timing of this
discovery was no “coincidence.”
see, since childhood, the relationship with my mom has often been
covered in debris, scattered from a decision made long ago that neither
of us initiated. Its roots spread into deep, dark, hidden places
resulting in hurt, bitterness, and simple misunderstandings.
recent years, each of us has grown in our faith, and through this
growth, He has exposed those dark places to the light of His truth,
lovingly reminding me of my own failings as a parent (humble pie is
bittersweet) and how my mom did the best she could do with the
circumstances facing her at the time.
relationship has never been stronger or more vibrant than it is today
for it remains covered—no longer by debris from the past but by grace
and mercy—beauty in its truest form.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus
I distinctly remember singing along with Babbie Mason’s After All as a relatively new Christ follower back in the early 90’s, lyrics barely audible for the tears. By the time I reached the final verse, my heart cry was Lord, please don’t ever let me forget my past.
It’s not that I wanted to focus on my past but I didn’t want to forget it either, for it was there I came to know Christ, smack dab in the pit of my own making, i.e., rock bottom. Because I know my propensity for pride and self-reliance when
circumstances improve, my heart cry remains the same today after all
these years—especially after all these years.
I don’t want to forget. Therefore, I choose to remember:
The ugliness of my sin – and God’s breathtaking blanket of grace that covered it all.
The depth of my shame – and God’s startling and awe-inspiring unconditional love.
The bondage of my sin – and God’s freedom, loosening me from its grip for an eternity.
The stumbling of my flesh – and now, because of Christ, I’m able to stay in step with the Holy Spirit.
May I never forget.
After All, by Babbie Mason
I heard You calling
I felt You knocking
But I drew further from You
I knew better
Still my heart grew colder
And I just kept on going my own way
But after all that was said
And done with me
After all my pride
And my fall
I was so amazed
To still find You there
After all I’ve done
You still love me
Your eyes said welcome
Your arms were open
How could I ever doubt
Your love was real
You never mentioned
All my past rejections
Words can’t express the way
That makes me feel
To freely forgive
It’s so hard to do
But You completely forgave me
And I will spend
My whole life with You
Forever and always.
Thank You Jesus, for loving me…after all.
What’s a particular song God has used to remind you of His grace and mercy towards you?
Kyle Estepp delivered this morning’s message, based on Galatians 4:21-31. As with all the Snippets, I try to jot down everything
verbatim, but it’s not always possible.To listen to the sermon in its
entirety, I invite you to visit Summit’s site.
Any addition to the gospel is no gospel at all. It’s legalism.
Our sonship is no longer based on perfection, but that of Christ’s.
If we are depending on moral excellence to rescue us, we are in as much spiritual slavery as Hagar was in physical slavery.
Paul quotes Isaiah 54:1
“Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.”
God chooses to save the world through the barren woman—for this is how the grace of God works. His grace isn’t just for the fertile Hagar’s, but also for the barren Sarah’s.
By what means of rescue are we depending on?
What does our life declare?
Reference: Tim Keller’s, Relating to the Law: Four Kinds of People
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