I am standing at my back patio. It’s a windy night. The strong, cool breeze pushes against me as I breathe it in. The night is bright, a full moon is directly above me as scattered clouds hasten across the sky.

For months I have been in a funk.

Engulfed in a myriad of fear and doubt, insecurities and uncertainties.

I’ve been bogged down by the noise and every time I have desired to rise, life manages to sucker punch me. Oh nothing out of the ordinary is occurring in our lives…from the outside in we are happy and healthy and fine.

Yet, in the past few weeks I have been made aware of the fact that I have been wasting away. This crankiness, sour disposition and even bitterness has crept into my soul and has even plagued my relationships, my desires and mostly my faith.

What’s going on? Nothing.

Yet, you know how people say that attitude is everything…well, maybe they are onto something.

As I stand out in the cool night I realize all of this life…it’s a gift.

A gift.

And as of late, I have squandered it.

I have cried and complained that these callings, ministries, relationships, desires, gifts are all too hard.

Too Hard!!

My gifts are too hard. Wow. I write that and I automatically think…what a cry baby. Gifts aren’t hard, they are gifts. They are special, unique, thoughtful and desirable.

Marriage is not hard, it’s a gift.
Parenting is not hard, it’s a gift.
Homeschooling is not hard, it’s a gift.
Surrendering my life is not hard, it’s a gift.
Writing is not hard, it’s a gift.

Somehow I have missed that. Instead of seeing all of these callings as gifts, I have seen them as obligations, nuisances, difficult work.

Of course, there is work to be done. Of course, the work load at times may be difficult and stressful and hard, but attitude is everything, right?

What would happen if I began my day seeing the day as the day the Lord has made, as the gift that it is? What would happen if I began my day by embracing the gift I have been given of caring for my children, instead of resenting the fact that they are awake so early? What would happen if I began my In day embracing the gift that is my husband and wrap my arms around him, praying over him and sending him off with the picture of a wife that is full of joy instead of one that is asleep or too busy to notice he is gone?

I have been treating my life as an obligation instead of the gift that it is. I’ve allowed busyness, noise, distractions, calling, to do’s, worldly mess to cloud every foundation of truth.

You miss out on God’s grace when you squander God’s gifts.

Grace is effortless, seamless. It is full of beauty and truth. It is the greatest gift of this life. We don’t deserve it and we can’t lose it, yet many of us on a day to day basis we set it aside, we don’t think about grace or even recognize the worth of such a gift.

In every aspect of our life there is grace. It is pure and perfect. We find it in the small, everyday beauties of this life. Without grace we walk through life hopeless and insecure. When we see the effortless power of grace in our lives, in our work, in the hard, that is us, opening a gift of greatest value.

In my strength life is hard. Ministry, calling, marriage, parenting, relationships, service…I can do none of it well. In my strength I burn out, become overwhelmed, oversensitive, overwrought. I am burdened and bitter. Life becomes an obligation and love is lost.

Gifts and grace must be sought after. I have to view my life differently, through tinted glasses that clear the crazy and shine upon the beautiful.

Hearing the sound of an app that reads a bible passage and devotional to my husband as he showers every morning is beautiful grace.
A gift.
Having a tiny 5 year old come in and kiss my cheek lightly and say, “good morning mommy.  Beautiful grace.
A gift.
Having a little girl get excited about a new silver cup that keeps her drink “freezing cold!” Grace.
A gift.
A sweet conversation with my mother that bolsters my faith and balances my crazy. Beautiful grace.
A gift.
Shaking my head at the Christmas trees and décor that has yet to be put away! Even so…a gift.

And so we begin another season and I will stop complaining and embrace the gifts God has given me. I don’t desire to live out of obligation, but to live because I love the gift of this life, full of beauty, strong truths and grace overflowing. May we all be strengthened by God’s overwhelming gift of grace daily.

You are His Beloved,

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