Yowling and oozing

Sometimes I look back at what I’ve written and I think, “geez, did you have to be that honest? Nobody wants to hear all that!”  I mean, I sit down at the keyboard and the truth just comes out of me.  I would really like to sugar-coat it a bit.  Really.  But, I used up all my lies by the time I was 18 and I really don’t have any more to tell.  (That’s a story for another day.)

My personality is such that I like to make people laugh…at least when I am in person.  I am somewhat quick-witted (some would say razor-tongued) and the middle child in me likes to be the center of attention.  I like to lighten the mood, set things off-balance, diffuse tension. I am loud.  And a bit obnoxious.

I really wish I could write a funny blog.

But something happens to me when I write.  Especially when I start in God’s Word before I write.  I am compelled to honesty.  Gut-wrenching honesty.  Perhaps  the Word of God, which is living and active and full of grace and truth, compels me toward self-examination and truth.

I was reading my Bible study this morning.  It’s Beth Moore’s Children of the Day, a study of Thessalonians.  She says, “Our freedom comes with the head-on collision between the truth of Christ and God’s truth about us.  There beauty meets ugly, and authenticity is born, yowling like an injured cat freed from a mousetrap” (41).

Guys, I feel like I’ve been ‘yowling like an injured cat freed from a mousetrap’!  I have been reading God’s grace-filled truth,  comparing it with God’s truth about me and trying to absorb both truths for myself…so that I can heal and be authentic with those around me who matter most.

How do you like authentic?

It’s all I’ve got, folks.  At least in my written form.

My in-person form feels more comfortable laughing, but I am finding that the more I share in writing, the less my quick wit stings, and the more it soothes.  Letting the pains from my life ooze out on the page, makes them less likely to spurt out under the guise of humor.

So, let the yowling and oozing continue.  At least for now.  Perhaps someday my blog will make you laugh.  You never know what is going to happen in the next chapter.

Giving Thanks

I Chronicles 16:34

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

I interrupt these solemn posts to bring to you a thankfulness break.  (I can only take so much self-revelation!) 

Here are some things I am thankful for this morning:

  • I had an excellent sleep last night.  Knocked out!
  • We had a young couple for dinner last night.  They were delightful — full of energy and a desire to serve the Lord.  (And the dinner was pretty amazing if I do say so myself — roasted pork, curried lentils, spinach and baby kale salad and strawberry shortcake!)
  • I thank God for excellent food!
  • And Tazo Awake tea!!
  • And the deer who graze outside my window almost every morning and evening!
  • I thank God for my new women’s Bible study that meets in one hour!
  • and for putting me in a women’s Bible study!
  • I thank God that I was able to get a membership at a gym with two salt water pools!
  • and that one of the pools is 93 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • and that in a warm salt-water pool I feel no pain!
  • and that the gym is giving me a free fitness assessment with a trainer this afternoon!
  • I thank God for this gym membership!
  • I thank God that it’s fall!
  • and that I get to wear jeans and sweaters in fall!
  • I love jeans and sweaters!
  • I love fall!
  • I thank God for this blog: it is a vehicle for me to explore my thoughts, feelings, faith, and life.  It brings structure to my day.  It connects me to others.  It is a blessing.
  • I thank God for you for engaging with me through my blog — for reading it, for liking it, for posting comments, for sending me affirming messages, for letting me know that it is a blessing to you, too.
  • I thank God for holding us in the palm of His hand — for watching us as we struggle through life, make mistakes,  connect with each other, laugh, cry, and even shake our fists at Him.
  • I thank God that He continues to draw us closer to Him, raising His palm up to His eyes so that we can see into them, and wonder at the vast mercy and grace He has for us.
  • I thank God that His love for us endures forever.

Psalm 118: 21

I will give you thanks, for you answered me; you have become my salvation.

Repentance and Rest

Isaiah 30:15

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.

Every morning I am amazed.  I crawl out of bed and struggle through my morning routine: feed the dog, make a smoothie, brew some tea, take my meds, check my email, and read my Bible study. Then, I sit down in front of my laptop and think, well, what am I going to write today?  And I amazed that every day something happens!

I never know what is going to be the spark.  Sometimes it is a specific part of my Bible reading.  Sometimes it is an event that is happening or has happened. Sometimes I start typing and have no idea where it is going.

This morning I had an idea to explore more about why I jump so quickly to survival mode — combat gear on, kicking butts and taking names.  But then I sat down at my laptop, and saw a Facebook post from a pastor friend.  Isaiah 30:15 “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”  I made a quick comment on his post and was going to let it go at that, but then I was transported back in time.

In 1996 I was at home with three small children.  They were aged 3, under 2, and newborn.  If ever there was a time that the combat gear was on, that was it.  I was determined to be the perfect mother.  I was doing everything right.  I was consulting all the right books, attending a mother’s Bible study, nursing my baby, reading books to my kids, cooking everything from scratch, clipping coupons, … and I was sinking.  Fast.  This survivor found it very difficult to survive.

So, I reached out for help.  A friend was a counselor and he agreed to talk to me. I believe I entered his office spurting out the injustices of my life and how difficult it was and why wasn’t anyone helping me and surely this was someone else’s fault!  He listened to me for a while and probably made some suggestions.  I am imagining I shot them all down.  I vented in that office just a few times.  I can only imagine what it looked like.  I envision the counselor/friend covered in word vomit as I spewed forth all kinds of ugliness.

I remember three things from those sessions together.

  • He drew a picture of stick-figure me standing on a cliff overhanging rocks of fear and said that faith was being willing to swing over to other side, knowing that God would sustain me and not let me crash on the rocks.
  • He had me read out loud Deuteronomy 10:16 “Circumcise your heart, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” Ouch.
  • Then he had me read and memorize Isaiah 30:15, “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”

Man, he saw right through all of my spewing and cut to the heart of the matter, didn’t he?

was afraid.  Very afraid.  I wanted to do this thing right.  I wanted to be everything my kids needed.  What if I did something wrong?

I was so stiff-necked/stubborn.  That gear was strapped on.  I was on a mission, doggone it, so get out of my way.

I did need to repent and rest in the palm of His hand.  If I could just trust God, He would be my strength.

Well….I wish I could say that I heard him in 1996 and immediately changed my ways, submitted to God, and we all lived happily ever after.

But, you already know the rest of the story.  You know that the combat gear has been on for quite some time.  You know that I am just beginning to figure out how the stuff comes off.  I have just barely set down my battering ram.

In about 1999/2000 I remember driving the kids to school, praying with them, helping them put on the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, sandals of the gospel of peace, belt of truth, … and I was putting those things on me, too.  Every morning.  But I skipped a step.  I forgot to take off the combat gear of survival and self-sufficiency.  It’s really difficult to wear two uniforms at once.  Very difficult to serve two masters.  I think that’s in the Bible.  Just sayin’.

I’ll be over here, repenting and resting.

Life in the desert, full disclosure

I’ve gotta go a little further with the desert analogy, so that I don’t misrepresent the character of God.  Even if that means that I reveal more of the character of me.  This may get a little ugly.

We went to the seminary ten years ago, at a time when many of the costs of seminary were ‘covered’.  We did not have to go into great debt for my husband to get his Master’s of Divinity.  In fact, we did not incur any student debt while we were there — for four years.  Let me go a little further to say that before we left for seminary, we sold our house in Michigan, which enabled us to pay all our bills and go to seminary debt-free, with money in the bank.  Not a lot of money, but enough to ensure that I could spend the summer getting acclimated with our children instead of going straight to work.  God, the one I chose later not to talk to for a while, had arranged for us to follow his call without experiencing financial hardship.  Most pastors have not had this experience.

When we got to the seminary, I started looking for work, and I applied for a Missouri teaching certificate.  In order to get this, I had to first renew my Michigan teaching certificate, which I hadn’t really used in over ten years.  I had to contact former employers who verified my employment, pay some money, and wait to see what happened.  Although I had had a ‘provisional’ certificate in Michigan, and not really enough experience to validate the granting of a ‘professional’ certificate, some glitch in the system (or, more likely, some act of God) produced a ‘professional’ certificate within a matter of a couple of months.  This ‘professional’ certificate, when submitted to the state of Missouri, let me bypass the regular Missouri system of test-taking to obtain a ‘professional’ certificate. Within six months of arriving in Missouri, I was licensed and ready to teach.  All of the Missouri teachers are shaking their heads right now and thinking to themselves, “How did this happen?”  Not only that, within four years of teaching in Missouri, I was granted a ninety-nine year certificate.  Yeah, God, the one who was holding me in the palm of His hand, while I envisioned myself in a desert singularly fighting battles, made sure that I had the credentials I needed to do what he had planned next.

What was next was six months of boot camp in the inner city schools of St. Louis that changed the trajectory of my career and reshaped my ways of thinking about instruction. In this place, God gave me lesson after lesson in how the relationship is more important than the teaching.  The students were more important than the content. The hearts more meaningful than the grades.  And, I thought that was all about the students.

Then He lifted, almost literally lifted, me out of that bootcamp and plunked me down in a school full of seasoned professionals so that those lessons I learned in the city could be reinforced and practiced and shared.  With students and with teachers.

And I didn’t fully acknowledge his hand holding me.

Right now I am speechless.

Now, I will admit that although my professional life was pretty spectacular and definitely ordered by God, my personal life was a bit chaotic.  And that chaos was the cause of me shaking my fist at God and saying, “Fine then, I guess I better strap on the battle gear and take care of this myself.”

And He had to be just looking down at me, in the palm of his hand, lovingly shaking his head, and saying, “Ok.  Do what you must, but I really am right here, carrying you.”

All my fighting did, I can see now, was wear me out, and probably make some of the situations even more complicated than they were to begin with.

Sigh.

So, here I am, acknowledging that I am in the palm of His hand.  Watching the deer out my window as I write this.  Trying to be still.  Trying to trust that God, who has always taken care of me in the past, always carried me, always provided for me and my family, will surely continue to do much more than I can ask or imagine.  That is His character.  I think you got a glimpse at mine, too.  Sorry about that.

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able [and willing, and likely] to do immeasurably more

than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,

to Him be the glory…

Coming out of the desert

For a period of time, I was in a spiritual desert.  I was, I am embarrassed to say, not on ‘speaking terms’ with God.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a life-long Christian, a church worker, a wife of a pastor, and I was, in my personal life, giving God the silent treatment.

I won’t tell you how long this went on for, but let’s just say a long time.  I knew it would end.  Eventually.  I didn’t even really hate being in the desert, I just accepted it as a matter of course.  While I was walking around in the dryness, I didn’t mind praying publicly for others, or even asking others for prayer, but I wasn’t interested in talking to God personally for myself.  It was like we had a business relationship, but not a friendship.  I would work for Him, but I wasn’t really going to give Him the satisfaction of talking to Him like a daughter.

Have I mentioned before that I have a stubborn streak?

I am not really sure what started this silent treatment, but it began at the Seminary.  (I have said many times that if you want to see your faith tested, or if you don’t believe in spiritual warfare, go to the seminary.) It was, for me, a time of survival.  My husband was studying like mad, trying to learn ancient languages in his 40s. Our kids were going through many changes as pre-adolescents and adolescents.  I was working full-time for the first time as a mom.  Money was tight.  Time was tighter.

As I look back, it’s like I can envision myself jumping out of bed each morning, strapping on my combat gear, and battling through whatever the day brought me.

Like any good soldier, in order to survive, I had to make sacrifices.  Relationships were sacrificed.  I didn’t take time to build friendships.  I shortchanged my children, leaving mere scraps for my husband. And God?  He wasn’t going anywhere.  I was busy.  I had surviving to do.

And to be honest, I am not sure which came first — the desert or the surviving.  Yes, I am.  My choice, conscious or unconscious, to survive, led me into the desert where I wandered, jaw fixed and fists clenched, for way too long.  My eyes were darting around, daring circumstances to ‘come at me’.

It would have been a lot easier on me and everyone in my family to realize that I was actually not in a desert, but in the palm of HIs hand.  You know, then I could have rested, even in the busy-ness.  I could have trusted instead of trampling.  I could have surrendered the fight because He had assured the victory.

But that’s not how it happened.  I strapped on my gear and went into the desert.  I know I was there because recently I have begun to experience a few oasis moments. I have begun to rest by the water and have my soul restored.

But lest you think that I willingly came out of the desert on my own, I am going to have to admit that I was pulled out of combat because of physical and spiritual fatigue.  And sometimes, I think I should actually still be there, you know, surviving.

But, my Commanding Officer has ordered me to rest and be still.  And, I know I need it.  I’ve been listening to Him a lot more lately.  I’m even considering having Him over for coffee.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

…he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters

he restores my soul…

Psalm 23: 2

One thing leads to another

Last Friday morning, at about this time, we were preparing to take our oldest daughter to the airport.  The nest was just about empty.  I had no plans on the horizon…no idea how I was going to spend this past week.  I envisioned a lot of reading, TV watching, and walking.

And that has all happened, but I did not expect a simple chain of events.  And that chain has made the difference in my week.

At the end of the football game last Saturday, my husband introduced me to the wife of a friend that he has grown close to over the last year.  It was a quick interchange, but she took my number and said she would call to arrange a ‘play date’.  People do that all the time, you know.  I do it myself.  I tell people I am going to have them to dinner, or meet them for coffee, and I really mean to.  But then I get busy, you know, reading books and watching TV and going on walks.  I don’t follow through.

But she did.

She actually called on Monday and we made plans for Tuesday.  Somewhere during our chatting and shopping and eating on Tuesday, she asked if I’d like to go to a Bible study on Wednesday.  Seeing as I had no plans whatsoever, I agreed.  I haven’t been in a women’s Bible study in a few years.  I’ve been pretty busy doing stuff, you know…packing and moving and teaching and grading and parenting.  And, I hadn’t made it a priority.

The Bible study met in a local church — one that I had worshipped in several times as a college student and again a few times as an adult.  It was familiar. Around the table were sixteen women.  As we went around the table and introduced ourselves, I couldn’t help but wonder, “how am I going to be impacted by each of these women?”  This is how it starts, isn’t it?  We all have stories, “Well, I met Win way back in 1994.  I was at church, holding a baby, walking in the lobby because he was fussy. We’ve been friends ever since.”

Right now I know nothing about them, other than where they sat at the table, a little two or three sentence bio that each shared, and what they look like. But I know we are all walking through 1 and 2 Thessalonians together.  I know we all have committed to daily Bible study and prayer.  And I know that the “Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.”

Last Friday, I was driving my daughter to the airport.  This Friday, I did my homework for my Bible study and thought about sixteen women that I didn’t know a week ago.  I didn’t know them because I hadn’t yet gone to the Bible study, or gone out for a play date, or met a new friend, or gone to a football game.

One thing leads to another.  I wonder what is next.

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him,

who have been called according to his purpose.

Grace to you and peace

“Grace to you and peace.”

That is what Paul, Silas, and Timothy said to the church at Thessalonia.

Just breathe that in for minute, as though it is meant for you.  “Grace to you and peace.”

Ahhhhhh.

Grace, undeserved favor.  Have you experienced any of that in your life?  I sure have.  I’ve raved ad nauseum about how blessed I am at this moment to have six months, or more, of rest.  To be living by the Huron River, with deer grazing in my back yard.  To have the time to read and write and recover.  But I have a longer list of undeserved favor: twenty-four years of marriage, four (plus one) healthy kids and a grandkid on the way, friends by the dozen, loving family, plenty of everything we need and want,…

Do you have a list?  Do you have so many blessings that it sometimes overwhelms you?  That’s grace.  Undeserved favor.

And peace.  Tranquility, absence of strife, contentment.  Why, if I am flooded with grace, do I not always embrace peace?  Why do I choose to mull over every little detail, stressing myself out over every little misstep I have made, every little unknown in my life.  Sure, I’ve got healthy kids, but what if they aren’t taking care of themselves? Yes, I have this time to take a break and rest, but shouldn’t I really be looking for a job. Come on, who really takes six months to just rest?

Grace is a gift.  Peace, perhaps, is the acknowledgment of that gift.  You have given me twenty-four years of marriage?  Ahhhhh.  Thank you.  Let me just absorb that for a minute.  I have supportive friends across the country? Wow.  Thank you.  Let me rest in that.  I get to spend the next six months resting, writing, recovering?  Really?  Are you serious? I embrace it.  Thank you.  I am content in this moment

So, grace be multiplied to you. His undeserved favor, his outpouring of unconditional love that knows what you need before you ask, overwhelm you.  And peace, that knowledge that He is indeed holding you in the palm of his hand, carrying you through whatever it is at the moment, and knowing what is next for you and for me, surround you.

Grace to you and peace.

Philipians 4:7

And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Mann tracht und Gott lacht.

I woke up exceptionally early this morning, and wasn’t ready to crawl out of bed right away, so I grabbed the book on my nightstand and began to read.  I typically read fiction, even though there is a stack of non-fiction waiting for me.  I prefer an escape into story to any type of reality, but especially to self-help books.  I really don’t want to read about how to manage my finances, what career is best for me in the second half of my life, or how to control my autoimmune disease. 

I want to get lost.  For a little while.  

So, this morning I grabbed Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs which I had started last night.  It’s the story of a once-famous photographer who has to re-locate in her 60s in order to gain control of her waning finances in the wake of divorce and decreased popularity.  She is struggling to re-enliven her career and find meaning for her life.  The scene I read this morning ended with her sharing with a new friend a statement that her father often said, “Mann tracht, und Gott lacht.”  Translation, man plans and God laughs.  

I laughed out loud.  God spoke to me through Anna Quindlen’s fiction.  You may think I have lost my mind by now.  And that may be true.  But, if I remember correctly, I finished yesterday’s post with the Scripture, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose prevails.” I plan, God laughs.  I plan, God directs.  He wants me to get it through my thick skull. He is God and I am not. 

I had lunch with a new friend yesterday.  Among the many things we discussed, we touched on how to find purpose and meaning at this season of our lives — you know, middle age.  How should we use our time?  What should we commit to? 

Later, on a walk with my husband, it came up again.  When I say yes to something, I say no to something else.  If I say yes to a full-time teaching position, I say no to most everything else.  If I say yes to working days, I say no to lunch dates.  If I say yes to a PhD program, I say no to reading much fiction.  

I am figuring and planning; God is laughing.  He knows the plans he has for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  Plans for good and not for evil.  (Jeremiah 29:11) His laughter is the gentle laughter of a parent saying, “Calm down, little one, I’ve got it under control. I know what you need before you ask.” 

For now, I believe, He has called me to rest and be still.  He will reveal what is next when it is time for what is next. 

In the mean time, I will be reading fiction and being pleasantly surprised when He uses even that to remind me that He’s got me in the palm of His hand. 

Isaiah 46:4

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.

I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Sneak Peek at the possibilities

Yesterday when I clicked ‘publish’ on this blog, I got a notification that I had just published my 50th post. Whoa.  I did something for fifty days in a row.  More or less.  I think I missed a couple of days in all this transition, but nevertheless, I have posted 50 times!  

And guess, what?  I like it!  Blogging has been, during this transition, a connection to those outside of my little house by the river, a way to ensure that I process my daily Bible reading, a log of my life, and a replacement for therapy.  Some of you have said that you enjoy it, too.  So, thanks for going on this journey with me. I hope it will continue for however long it is supposed to.  

I wish I knew how to translate this into a career, but each day I wake up and think I won’t have anything else to say.  That day is coming!  Also, it’s kind of precious to me that we have embarked on this journey for the pure sake of the journey.  I’d hate to commercialize it.  I keep hearing Holden Caulfield in my head.  

So, in the next little bit, I am going to share with you some of the ideas I have for what is next.  I am enjoying, as I often say, being a kept woman. However, we are young, we have bills to pay and a retirement to plan for.  I do plan to re-enter the work force.  I just don’t know what it will look like.  So, let’s start with a brainstorm of possibilities.  

  • Apply for the PhD program in English and Education at the University of Michigan…I am fascinated by how the language of our homes impacts our access to education.  U of M has an excellent program that would support my interest.  Pros: Extremely close to home, super interesting, paid position Cons: Wolverines, highly selective program (I may not get in), not sure I’ve got the physical/mental steam to do a PhD, demanding schedule, less flexibility
  • Apply to teach English Composition at Washtenaw Community College as an adjunct…the reason I got my Master’s degree was so that I could teach college composition.  I did that at Jackson Community College before we moved and at St. Charles Community College after we moved.  I also taught college composition at Lutheran North.  Pros: Extremely close to home, working in my expertise, paid position, discount on health club membership (!), high likelihood that I would be hired Cons: The stack
  • Apply for a totally different position — not related to English or writing at all — just a way to meet people and get fodder for my writing. I imagine a coffee house (though it’s difficult for me to be on my feet all day), or a bookstore, or a library…Pros: low stress, no stack, meet people outside our circle, can walk away at any time Cons: lower pay, not using my expertise, potentially more physically demanding
  • Apply for an airport job.  This sounds crazy, but I was talking with an old friend who works there and my brain screamed — “free flights!!” Our kids are in four different states and we are about to have a grandbaby.  I don’t know what in the world I would do at an airport, but “free flights!!” Pros: free flights! paid position Cons: twenty minute drive to work, stress, physically demanding?
  • Then there are all the free-lance things I could do: writing, tutoring, editing, consulting, etc.  Pros: totally my schedule Cons: totally my schedule, running my own business, keeping records, yuck.

It’s September 9, 2014.  The earliest I plan to work is January 9, 2014.  I have four months left to be still. I am almost expecting that God will place the perfect opportunity in front of me, that I will know it is from Him, and I will say out loud, “You had this planned the whole time!”  But the doer inside of me is nagging me to complete the application to the PhD program that I started last year at this time. The doer keeps going to online job postings.  

Sigh. 

Today, I am going to be still. And pray. And enjoy this grace period. January will be here soon enough. 

Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Becoming Bi-lingual

I started re-reading the Gospel of John last Sunday.  I had read most of it last year with my small group in our home on Monday nights.  I have found, though, that each time I read a passage of Scripture, I see something new, something different.  One of my Bible teachers over the years made me memorize Hebrews 4:12, “The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any double edge sword.”  I believe it.  

So, I have been fumbling through John, again, with the disciples, shaking my head and thinking out loud, “what is he talking about!”  But today, the living and active word clarified itself for me.  In Chapter 8, Jesus is having a discussion with the Jews who believed in Him.  They are having trouble understanding Him. (I know, right!) He’s telling them they are slaves and that they need to be ‘set free’.  They don’t get it, they were never slaves!  Then he explains that they don’t understand because they have a different father — Satan, the father of lies.  (Oh, no he didn’t!) He says that Satan’s native language is lying!!  And remember, Jesus is full of grace and truth — his native language is the truth of God, full of grace! 

We don’t understand Jesus because we are learning His language. Because I was born in sin, my native language is sin. Since my baptism as an infant, I have been trying to acquire the language of Christ, sometimes more fervently than others, but let’s be honest, I really like to speak my native language the most. 

I saw this in my international students in St. Louis.  They had come to the United States to study in English to prepare for American universities.  We had a rule that while they were at school, they could speak ‘English only’.  However, it was very common to see Chinese students walking down the hall together, obviously speaking Mandarin.  It was more comfortable, more accessible, more familiar.  It felt like home. Speaking in English, for them, was often hard work.  It was foreign, new, and hard to understand.   I can’t count how many times I told students from China, Korea, or Vietnam, “the more you use it, the easier it will get.”

Sometimes I am such a slow learner, I amaze myself. 

I am just like my students.  I like to speak my native language.  It just rolls off the tongue.  Sure, a few people get hurt by the sharpness of my words, but man they feel good to say.  And, really, they aren’t lies.  I told you, I tell the truth…at least my version of the truth.  And, to be honest, reading the Bible is difficult.  I often don’t understand what Jesus is trying to say.  He speaks in parables and metaphors. I know, I know, I’m an English teacher, I should love that stuff.  But, I don’t get it all the time.  

“The more you use it, the easier it will get.” Sigh. 

Last Sunday I heard the challenge to spend more time in God’s truth, to become more familiar with his grace.  I am going to stick with it.  “The more I use it, the easier it will get.”  I really do want to be fluent in truth and grace.