gravel road girl

Archive for the category “Grace”

Soul Cleansing


I just got home from a weekend away, and it was lovely–mostly. We were in Branson, Missouri. We got one of those “deals.” Never do that. Just don’t.

But we did go on a gorgeous hike after eating donuts for lunch. We found a great bbq place and enjoyed The Baldknobbers–a famous Branson show. Buuuut, yeah, Branson is not my spirit animal home.

Anyway, I’m not here to reminisce about the Las Vegas of the Midwest–and I mean that in the nicest Midwest way. But I realized that as refreshing as it may be for my body to get away and step out of life’s routine, it’s often hard on the soul.

I LOVE routine. I set my coffee maker before bed so I can come down, fill my cup, and settle into ‘my chair’ without having to hardly open my eyes in the morning. My Bible and journal are there along with my foot-warmer, Marmalade-the-giant-cat. My cup is half-empty before I pick up my journal and pencil in the date. And I usually need a refill by the time I open my Bible. I’m very slow at waking up.

So when I’m out of my routine, I struggle to be in the Word, to find time to pray, to meditate. I usually manage some shortened version of my normal routine often read on my Bible app. If I failed to grab my journal, then I’m lost for writing down my thoughts. And, if sleep was evasive (read: not in my own bed with my own pillow), then time in the Word may not happen at all. Just being honest here. But I also know that by the time Monday rolls around, I’m going to need a good soul-cleaning.

This morning as I sat down to write and read, I thought, “I needed a good brushing and flossing of my soul.”  That was my brain picture.

           Brain picture: my need to create a mental picture of what God is teaching me.

My daily cleansing had been interrupted, and I was feeling the distracted effects. My morning moments of gratitude and reminders of God’s faithfulness had given way to irritation, discontentment, and envy. And there were the nitty-gritty pieces of accusation and self-condemnation that quickly became imbedded in my spirit. My soul ached and my mind grumbled.

But the Word always refreshes, always cleanses. My heart and mind settled into the promises of Lamentations 3:21-25

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

Simply to meditate on God’s lovingkindess–a term that encompasses His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and faithfulness–is overwhelming and humbling and most certainly soul-cleansing. Contemplating the depth of His love for me turns my mind from thinking about myself and toward praise and gratitude for who He is and His complete faithfulness in all things.

It’s so important to speak the truth about WHO God is and HOW that impacts who we are as believers.

  • His forgiveness is complete; I am not condemned.
  • His love is boundless; I can not earn it.
  • His mercy is new every morning; I am filled with gratitude.
  • His grace is bountiful; I am humbled by His goodness.
  • His compassion is without boundaries; I am compelled to love recklessly.
  • His faithfulness is enough; I am able to rest in Him.

This was the brushing, the cleansing, that I needed.  A refocusing and refreshing of my heart. A flossing out of the untruths that wedged into my thoughts.

What cleansing does your soul need? What refreshing words of truth has He spoken to you lately?


Waiting for spring


“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”    ~Anne Bradstreet

I’ve thought this true so many times. I think that’s why I love Iowa and partly why I love winter. Because. . .

it’s not that I ALWAYS love winter. In those long, gray days of

February or March,

I know soon–very soon–a warm wind will blow,

a daffodil will poke its green finger out and

push away

the icy wet of winter.


The tug ‘o war between warm sunshine and

frigid blasts will,


end in a victory of

puddles and tulips and dandelions.

But victory is always sweeter when the battle is

hard fought and,


the outcome is doubtful and

 tests your metal.


And sometimes that testing is all about


“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.”  ~Elisabeth Elliot

Even as we wait for the warmth of spring to

overwhelm winter’s cold, 

God asked me to wait


this year. 

To wait with purpose and understanding

is a doable feat,

not easy, but doable.

To wait with questions and doubts and 

unanswered prayers is,

most certainly,

“always winter but never Christmas.”

There is no doubt that God calls us to

wait. . . 

“Wait on the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage. Yes,


on the Lord.”  Psalm 27:14

What do you do when your heart has no courage?

It’s still and icy

like a January garden.

16527_10200198558358437_1429993100_n                photo Tricia Stevens

My courage, my strength were there

because I believed my 

God was there.

But sometimes that belief was

fine and fragile and nearly


I ached for the warm winds of 

healing and purpose amid the frustration and fear.


He sent wisdom in the words

of friends;

He sent compassion in the hands

of helpers.

He did not send healing–

in my time.

He did not send purpose or answers–

to my heart.

But in my waiting He sent


“I am sure God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait.” ~C.S. Lewis

386134_2551689243311_224484761_nphoto Tricia Stevens

Like a thawing wind,

the depth of His grace gave me purpose.

If nothing else,

grace is always enough

to give purpose

to give strength

to give courage

to allow us to wait. . .

for spring.

“My grace is sufficient for you; for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9


Post Navigation


the networking e-zine for children's writers & illustrators


God is kind in ways that will not fit my mind

Susanna Leonard Hill

Children's Author


Authors & Illustrators Wild About Kidlit!

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Blog & site of children's book author Tara Lazar

A Journey with Music


The King's Daughter

A Peek into the Life of a Wife, a Mother, and a Daughter of the King News

The latest news on and the WordPress community.

%d bloggers like this: