Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our day at the Rodeo!

We went to the San Antonio Rodeo! What an amazing day. Sorry for the photos, its hard to take pics and hold a baby... haha. I should just learn to turn my lens to automatic when I cant do it manually. I always forget! They did a really good job with this, I was really impressed. They had tons of music and exhibits for the kids. And there was even a baby changing station. I had never seen that before. We forgot sunscreen. NEVER doing that again. It was such a last minute trip but we had such a great day. And there was even an art exhibit and I was so inspired by all the southwest art! Good job San Antonio! We love it here!




This is my little cowgirl learning to lasso! She actually took this 3 dollars to the man and said "One lasso please."


We got suckered into 30 dollar cheeseburgers because of this huge burger. We couldn't resist it and had no idea they were that much.




 Grace has been wanting to ride a horse for so long...in fact we went to the rodeo JUST so she could ride the pony. I don't think my husband or I have ever had a happier moment with her. Its these precious moments that I will never forget and they just make my relationship with her so much deeper. Watching her figure out her passions and just letting her be a kid. My heart was so full.








My husband convinced her to say "howdy partner" and she tilted her hat...



Such a great day. I don't think my husband or I stopped smiling the whole weekend because of how happy Grace was. Does anybody in Texas know of anything that involves kids and horses? Grace is just so in love with them.



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Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Revelation about Motherhood.

Sometimes when I write, I try too hard. I go over it, reword etc...but it NEVER comes out the way it actually sounded in my head when I was planning to write. So, I had such a MAJOR revelation this weekend that I am just going to write. As if it were just you and me, sitting here, talking. I struggle with this blog sometimes because its hard for me to write sometimes. There is so much more to the story most of the time and once I write it, I cant take it back. Bear with me on this one.

I have been struggling with some things lately and if you follow me at all, you know it all relates to failure and guilt over that failure. Not measuring up. All feelings that don't come from God. Most of my self proclaimed "failures" lately lie within motherhood. Sometimes I feel I am not enough for Grace. She is getting so big and she is so smart sometimes I just don't know what to do. I struggle with play for some reason. We bought some preschool materials and it was fun for Grace, she LOVES to learn and needs it so bad but I couldn't get into it. I have been keeping this inside for many months now and it has been building up and coming out in the form of self hatred and guilt and worry and everything bad.


Now here is the weird part. I LOVE being a mother. If I could have 10 more children I would. But...I struggle with THIS stage. I adore being pregnant. I love staying up all night rocking my babies. I love changing diapers and packing diaper bags! I love breastfeeding. I love everything about the baby stage. I think because it is easy for me. It comes naturally. I don't ever complain about a crying baby. I love to hold mine and nurture them and comfort them. I am a nurturer. I am a comforter. I am as a wife, and a mother.

It's THIS stage. The stage of pretend play and reading big girl stories and putting on plays...sometimes I dont know how.I always struggled in reading as a child. I am not a reader as an adult either.I hated school I couldn't wait to get out. Although as an adult, I love to learn.

The other day I just started a simple conversation with my husband which turned out to be such a moment of freedom I couldn't wait to tell you! We started out talking about Grace and I during the day and how I struggled to find the joy in teaching her some days. She has been suffering in following directions lately and I just didn't know what to do. We talked about maybe finding a place to send her. Maybe preschool. But we just cant afford it right now. And then He suggested that maybe its not teaching her that is my problem...maybe its the WAY I was doing it.

FREEDOM.

He reminded me that Grace and I have been doing alot of art together lately. And that maybe I should use THAT to teach her. Maybe instead of a "workbook" we can learn about adding and subtracting with shapes that we paint. Or drawing lines, counting etc...He reminded me that teaching her doesn't mean I need to wear a bun in my hair and shake a ruler at her.

I can just be myself. I can be the woman and mother God created me to be.

At this point, I was just sobbing tears of pain, release and freedom. He just kept reminding me of what a good mother I am and how this very struggle inside my soul is what makes me a good mom. A mother who cares and deeply wants to meet all my childrens needs.

I took some time to pray about it. And BAM!

Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully (Romans 12:4-8).

God did not create all of us to be able to do everything. What a relief that is to me especially. My husband is actually such a kid. He LOVES to play. And everyday when Grace hears the keys turn in the door she runs to it, opens it with the most excitement I have ever seen and says "daddy do you want to play catch with me?" We used to be super anxious about this. I used to try and tell her to give daddy a minute etc...I tried to protect my husband from this! But then one day he just started smiling and saying yes. Even before his boots came off. I think he knew. I could play catch with Grace all day but it still isn't the "rough and tumble" way she and my husband play. She loves how he isn't afraid to pelt her with a ball and how much she giggles and loves being silly with him. The two of them laugh for hours some days just throwing blankets at each other or smacking balloons at each other. Tonight, after our trip to the rodeo, she was riding on my husbands back like she was a bull rider. And he loves it, and has fun.

Where I am weak, my husband is strong. What a beautiful testament to Gods perfect work in marriage.

We talked about things I could do with Grace to encourage some of the things she needs to be doing. She loves working outside with her garden tools so we are going to build a garden. I will be able to teach her so many things through this and its something I also enjoy. I also love to cook and she loves to help! We love to paint and color.

What a freeing moment for me to surrender to the fact that I am strong in some areas of motherhood and not in others. What a freeing moment to realize that all I am is a prayer away from Gods wisdom and strength in the areas where I need both. We decided to just keep going the way we are, being who we are and doing what we can with what we have. Its time for me to start releasing the burdens of perfection. I am constantly being reminded of what beautiful, well behaved, kind, loving children we have and THAT is what is most important to God. Not what preschool she does or does not go to or what curriculum she follows...All I have to do is pray. Pray that He uses the gifts He has given me to be everything I need to be for my family.

Its just that simple. I am not perfect. I am not good at everything. But I CAN do ALL things through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

 I hope if you are still reading this and you feel that you are lacking in some aspect of your life weather it be in motherhood, or being a wife...you would know that your not alone. You don't have to feel ashamed that you are not that great of a cook or you don't like to draw or color with your children. What does matter is that you desire to be better at these things for the benefit of your family and the ability to serve God. You are never going to be a perfect wife or a perfect mother. If you are a blogger, you don't have to feel like you need to keep up with all the mom blogs and showcase everything that goes on in your day. You don't need to feel guilty that you didn't do an art project today or you didn't play outside. I used to be very intimidated by some blogs I saw. You know the ones with all the projects and photos of the projects and tutorials on how to do the projects! I have learned to just take inspiration from these amazing women and use them as inspiration. Because where I excel, maybe they fall short. I make a million amazing healthy smoothies that my whole family enjoys. It is a strength. My children eat very healthy. Maybe I should showcase my smoothies?

At the end of the day, both of my girls will be able to reflect back on our life and say, "mom, you were a great wife." and that will be good enough for me. If all they learn from me besides some artistic attempt at math, which I am horrible at, is to have a heart to love and serve God, then my job is done. If they look back and see that I loved them and took care of them and my priorities were right, then that will be good enough for me. When I stand before God one day and we account for my life, I want Him to say " Well done my child, you did the creative best you could with everything I gave you."And that has to be enough, for me, here.

If you are in need of resources to get you started on introducing your children to God AND advancing them academically, I found this woman! She has inspired me! Her website is great. Grace and I will be starting with the 7 days of creation projects! (we WILL be posting photos, watch out!)
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Friday, February 17, 2012

The seasons in my life.






Who is this baby and when did she get so big?

Life is moving so fast right now. Growing babies, my husbands career, my new adventures in art and business...the list goes on.

My husband and I have been talking about the different seasons in our life lately...and I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying. Especially for military families, it seems as if there are years of "transition" and years of "stabilization". Some duty stations are full of deployments and field ops where my husband is gone for months and even years. And some he just works a typical 9-5. And then you have the ones which is like both. He is currently in college trying to finish a degree, also working full time. It is what I will just call a "home deployment" haha.

Some seasons of my life were very slow. But as I look back on them, it is where I learned the most. God would speak to me and I would write it down. I have drawers and files full of envelopes, magazine articles etc with scripture on it and notes. Scraps of paper inside my center console in my car with scribbles of thoughts God placed in my heart while I was at a stop light. I had no idea what God was speaking to me then, but it all makes sense now.

For me, the way my life has always worked, is a whole bunch of trials and craziness all taking place to prepare me for the next task He gives me. This is why I have become accustom to valuing my trials. They just mean so much now. Every event has led up to this point. I used to be OBSESSED with James. In fact my daughter Lucy (above), her middle name is James.If you dont know James and you are looking for some comfort in your trials, read about him. Lucy was born into this world with just her mama. My husband was at war and it was just me and her. I can remember the two of us sitting in our hospital room together for 2 days just in awe of what we had just gone through. I couldn't believe that I had just had a baby and was taking care of my 3 year old Grace at the same time. I couldn't believe the strength God forced me to draw from Him to be able to go to the grocery store with my new baby and toddler at 3 days in. It was the most exhilarating experience of my life and I am so grateful that I was shown the true power of our Lord in that moment of my life. I am so grateful He never let me fall.

It is the seasons of trials for me that I look back on and draw from when I am faced with lifes stuff these days. When I have moments of self doubt or insignificance or I just feel lost. I just go back to the times when I felt Jesus literally holding my hand, holding my heart. Protecting me, guiding me...showing me the way.

This morning I woke up feeling so grateful for my babies. So grateful for poopy diapers and all nighters. So grateful for the horrible stages of teething and discovering how to stand up and take steps. Some days I just cry so much joy for being gifted the task of motherhood. I don't know if I would be who I am today if I wasn't able to take care of these babies. If I wasn't given the amazing opportunity to be my husbands helper. As I take steps in a new direction this year, I hope to always treasure each moment of motherhood, good or challenging because this season will be over so quick. My little Lucy is already standing up and trying to walk. I just cant believe it. I never want to forget these moments. I never want to forget how some weeks we had 2 nights of frozen pizza (sorry Scott for last night) haha...I never want to forget how we had to coordinate park trips so that my husband could have the computer to go to school and study in quiet. How while I was sitting at the park at 6 o'clock at night so grateful I have a husband who desires to take on the challenges the Lord gives him, even if they all don't go smooth or make sense at the time. Even when he doesn't feel like it, he does it.

These are the things I am grateful for. All things, easy or challenging, that make up a life. Our life.  



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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Put on your armor!

Have you ever had one of those days when all you do is cry? It starts out with one thing someone says or does and then BAM! Things just spiral out of control and you cant seem to catch your breath or understand how any of it started to begin with? Or you wake up and your just in a funk. Your routine is off and you feel off. Or maybe you missed your time with God.

Today was a day like that.


The most important part of today for me was to remember to put on my armor.


Ephesians 6:10-18

New International Version (NIV)
The Armor of God
  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.


In my life, my struggle lies in my thought life. And if I don't keep myself armed with Gods promises I just fall. Satan works in some great ways when it comes to thoughts. He will plant them and watch them grow if we don't catch them. He will attack your mind regarding your spouse, your children, your health, your intentions...he will keep his schemes going until you are so broken and tired that you cant fight anymore. Because I did not grow up understanding this, I didn't know how to fight. But it took until about 2 years ago for me to understand how to fight him. I have too many friends in my life who struggle with their thought life too. And maybe you are too. And if you do, I invite you to examine the way you feel about yourself and then read what God says about you. If you have a struggling marriage, just know that God is a God of RESTORATION. If you are sick, just know that God is a God of HEALING. And if you are broke today, just know He has something planned for you that you couldn't have even imagined. In every single area of your life God wants to take over, reach into your heart and rescue you from whatever hold Satan has on you. He wants to take over. And just know that in this fight, the battle I speak of has already been won. It started at the cross. Jesus paid your way so that you would be free from whatever is going on in your life. Look to the cross today when you are in battle and speak Gods Words in your life. His promises. They have so much power Satan wont have any choice but to leave.

Who I Am In Christ

I am accepted:

John 1:12 I am God's child.
John 15:15 I am Jesus’ chosen friend.
Romans 5:1 I have been made holy and accepted by God (justified).
1 Corinthians 6:17 I am united with the Lord and one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 I am a member of Christ's body, part of His family.
Ephesians 1:1 I am a saint, a holy one.
Ephesians 1:5 I have been adopted as God’s child.
Ephesians 2:18 I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit.
Colossians 1:13-14 I have been bought back (redeemed) and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:10 I am complete in Christ.

I am secure:

Romans 8:1-2 I am free forever from punishment (condemnation).
Romans 8:28 I am assured that all things work together for my good.
Romans 8:31 I am free from any condemning charges against me.
Romans 8:35 I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:3 I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 I am sure the good work God has started in me will be finished.
Philippians 3:20 I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.
Hebrews 4:16 I can find grace and mercy in time of need.
1 John 5:18 I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

I am significant:

Matthew 5:13-14 I am salt and light for everyone around me.
John 15:1-5 I am a part of the true vine, joined to Christ and able to produce much fruit.
John 15:16 I have been hand picked by Jesus to bear fruit.
Acts 1:8 I am a personal witness of Christ’s.
1 Corinthians 3:16 I am God's temple where the Holy Spirit lives.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 I am at peace with God, and He has given me the work of making peace between Himself and other people. I am a minister of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 6:1 I am God’s co-worker.
Ephesians 2:6 I am seated with Christ in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God's workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Beefstew over taters?

 Yesterday was Valentines Day so I wanted to make something special, but the girls and I didn't make it to the grocery store. I am not very good at just "whipping things up" or using what I have but I was desperate so here is what I came up with.

Stew meat
carrots
onion
olive oil
beef stock
rice flour (you could use wheat or whatever you have)
salt/pepper/garlic seasoning
red potatoes
parsley
butter

I took the stew meat and browned it up in the pot with some olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic salt. Then I added the carrots and onions and softened them a little...then I added some beef stock. Just enough to cover everything and get all the yummies off the bottom of the pan. I don't exactly know what I was going for but I wanted it to be a little thicker so I just added some rice flour. Maybe a tablespoon or two? Then I put the lid on and let it simmer on low for about an hour. It looked like beef stew.




Then I got out my favorite piece of kitchen equipment ( a steamer bag from walmart) and threw some red potatoes in it, nuked it for 8 minutes.






Then I smashed those potatoes and added some butter and parsley.





Then I just put those taters in a bowl and spooned some of the meat stewish mixture I made and there ya go! Wow, it was so warm and comforting and yummy! Talk about inexpensive too. Stew meat is cheap and very lean. It was a great "manly" meat and potatoes kinda meal on the cheap. Try it!



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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To my love...




Scott,

When I look back at us so many years ago...I never thought we would be who we are today. If I would have known what a great man you would have turned out to be, I would have been grateful so much sooner. We don't have a lot of money, in fact most days we have none. We don't take vacations or go out for fancy dinners...but we have a life. A beautiful life.. I am so grateful for our seasons of challenges and growth.

I am honored to stand by your side while you are at war. I will go with you to the end of the earth and never question any choice you make, I know who is leading us.  And I am blessed by your forgiveness and love every single day of our life. Every morning that we wake up, I cant help but thank God for blessing me with such an amazing job, taking care of you everyday. I am so happy that I was the one He chose for you.

You have taught me about being patient in love, because you were first patient with me. You have shown me how love is not self seeking, by being so selfless yourself. You have shown me that love always protects, always trusts,always hopes and always perseveres by waking up every morning and moving forward with me, even when its hard. No matter what we have been through, you are always still there. Loving me. You are always showing me glimpses of what God meant real love to be. 

I am also so grateful for the children we have made and the way you nurture their souls everyday. I love to watch you snuggle them and comfort them when they need it. They will grow up to be amazing girls who know what it means to love, because you loved them first.




I love you!

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

A new pic...of us!

It is very rare that we have an opportunity to be in a photo together...so we had my mom take one and it just so happened that he was in his uniform :) So here we are! Enjoy your weekend!


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Friday, February 10, 2012

A bedroom makeover

Before




After




























My mom came into town last week and we decided to do a makeover on the girls room. This is the first time my girls have been in the same room so we wanted to make it special! Our challenge was that we needed something that would join the two girls together and also wouldn't be permanent because we are renting this house. So after a day at Ikea and a few hours on the wall pops website, we came up with this! Good Morning America ran a one day special where everything on the wall pops website was half off...those things are expensive! I would have rather done it myself but again, we are renters here. So here it is...I hope you enjoy it as much as the girls do! It was a blast!
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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Goodbyes













Goodbyes. I hate them. I have not been good at them since I was a child. And I don't mean just a little sad and some tears I mean I feel like my world gets rocked when I have to say goodbye. It doesn't matter if it was a place or a person...a time or season in my life, pregnancy, a death, or just a vacation ending. I don't handle it well. It gets better the more the years pass I think because my relationship with God gets stronger. He always seems to fill voids where I have them and comfort me. I just get very used to things and people and am very comforted by routine. I have caught myself questioning God some days as to why He would choose someone soooo super sensitive to be a military wife, and constantly move and be away from family. Why He would allow me to go through this all the time. But after getting to know Him more the past few years I have learned two things. One, never question Him. You can look for insight and wisdom in situations but never question His big plan. It was always supposed to be the way it is. And two, everything that He puts in front of you, He helps you through. And it all works together for your good. Every time I leave a duty station, or my family comes and goes, I draw nearer to Him. On a level I don't think I would be able to if I was in the same town, in the same house, near the same family and friends. Today was hard though because it was the first time I saw tears from my Grace, as her grandma left. She played tough and said nothing was wrong but she had tears. And THAT makes me sad. Now its not only me, but my babies who will be in this life we live. I have a lot of years of moving and tearing them away from their friends...a lifetime of new houses and saying goodbyes. A life of saying goodbye to daddy when deploys again. I hope my children never hurt like I have.But if they do, it will be an opportunity to teach them to draw near to our Father as well. So maybe now its time to concentrate on the Hellos in life and embrace the changes God gives my family. And maybe I am truly the blessed one because my relationships are never taken for granted. Thanks mom for a great trip full of lots of projects and some great chicken Marsala! We will never forget the special moments we have! We love you!
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Thursday, February 2, 2012

If I could go back...

Sometimes, I wish I could go back to the little girl in me and tell her some things.
If I could, I would tell her that she was beautiful, smart and talented and her life would count for something.

But even if she wasn't beautiful or smart or talented, she wouldn't have any less value. I would tell her that sometimes she would have money, and sometimes she wouldn't.

Sometimes she would look pretty  and sometimes she would look very tired.

Sometimes she would be overweight and sometimes she would be thin.

Sometimes she would be helping people, and sometimes she would need help.

I would tell her that the world would do its best to make her believe that she only mattered if she was helping people, had money, looked pretty and was thin but if she believed that, she would live a very hard life and never really learn who God created her to be,or never even know Him at all.

And that would be the biggest sadness she would ever feel.

 I would tell her that there is not one person on this planet who could ever fill her up.

Not even her children or her husband.

Not a job or a cause. ..

And I would make sure and tell her that she should never put that responsibility on those people.

I would tell her that she would have a wonderful husband who has a job that would take her to many wonderful people and places, and then take her away from them.

I would tell her to never try to fill herself up with those people or places either, because they too are fleeting.

 I would tell her to wake up every morning and count her blessings before she even took her needs to the Lord.

 After all, He already knows all her needs.

I would tell her that she is to do the most creative and best she can with the life that was given to her.

I would tell her that that life that she leads was designed just for her and everything in it has its purpose.

Even the hard stuff.

And I would make sure to tell her that nothing she did or anything she was would make her any more or any less to God.

I would tell her about Jesus and how He found His sense of worth...

not by what others thought of Him, good or bad, but by the Truth expressed by His Heavenly Father.

I would tell her that even He was rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him.
( 1Peter 2:4)

Jesus was rejected by men, those He had created for Himself, those He loved and for whom He laid down His life.

 But that is not what determined His value.
 He was chosen by God, that is what made Him precious, that is what determined His worth.

 I would tell her that when God sent His only son to this earth to bear her sin on the cross, he put a price tag on her. He declared the value of her soul to be greater than the value of the whole world.

I would tell her that according to God's Word, the Truth is that she was created in the very image of God, and that He loves her and that she is precious to Him. But she should never try to love herself as much as God loves her because it is impossible.

I would tell her that she would fail herself everyday but that God still loves her the same and she could never fail Him.
 I would tell her that He forgives her for all her shortcomings and He forgets about them quick.

And she should too.

 Because there is nothing she can do about the past but live in Gods Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace.

And she should never put her value on the mistakes she will make.

I would tell her she would need to lose her life to find it. 

I would tell her she would need to learn to not try to love herself more but accept God's unfailing, perfect love, which is greater than any love she could feel for her own self.

And if I could go back and tell her these things, 

I would go back and tell you too.  


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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Will God continue to forgive you if you commit the same sin over and over agian?

Today was one of those days where I struggled with accepting forgiveness and understanding Grace. Today was a day I struggled with self worth. Today I let Satan steal my joy. I could not come up with the words myself...so I went to one of my favorite websites, and here ya go. Receive God's love tonight, and always.

http://www.gotquestions.org/forgive-same-sin.html

Question: "Will God continue to forgive you if you commit the same sin over and over again?"

Answer:
To best answer this question, we’re going to look at two powerful passages of Scripture. The first is found in the book of Psalms: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). One of the most effective tricks Satan plays on Christians is to convince us that our sins aren't really forgiven, despite the promise of God's Word. If we've truly received Jesus as Savior by faith, and still have that uneasy feeling wondering whether or not there is true forgiveness, that may be coming from demonic influences. Demons hate it when people are delivered from their grasp, and they try to plant seeds of doubt in our minds about the reality of our salvation. In his vast arsenal of tricks, one of Satan’s biggest tools is to constantly remind us of our past transgressions, and he uses those to prove that God couldn't possibly forgive or restore us. The devil's attacks make it a real challenge for us to simply rest in the promises of God and trust His love.

But this psalm also tells us that God not only forgives our sins, but removes them completely from His presence. This is a profound thing! Without question, this is a very difficult concept for humans to grasp, which is why it's so easy for us to worry and wonder about forgiveness instead of just accepting it. The key lies in simply giving up our doubts and our feelings of guilt and resting in His promises of forgiveness.

Another passage is
1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What an incredible promise! God forgives His children when they sin if only they come to Him and in an attitude of repentance and ask to be forgiven. God’s grace is so great that it can cleanse the sinner from his sin so that he becomes a child of God, and, correspondingly, it is so great that even when we stumble, we can be forgiven still.

In
Matthew 18:21-22, we read, "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” Peter was probably thinking that he was being generous. Rather than repay a person who had committed a sin against him with equal retribution, Peter suggested giving the brother some leeway, say, up to seven times. But the eighth time, forgiveness and grace would run out. But Christ challenged the rules of Peter’s suggested economy of grace by saying that forgiveness is infinite for those who are truly seeking it. This is only possible because of the infinite grace of God which is made possible through the shed blood of Christ on the cross. Because of Christ’s forgiving power, we can always be made clean after we sin if we humbly seek it.

At the same time, it must be noted that it is not biblical for a person to sin habitually and continually as a lifestyle and still be a believer (
1 John 3:8-9). This is why Paul admonishes us to “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). As Christians, we do stumble, but we do not live a lifestyle of continual, unrepentant sin. All of us have weaknesses and can fall into sin, even if we don’t want to. Even the apostle Paul did what he didn’t want to do because of the sin at work in his body (Romans 7:15). Like Paul, the response of the believer is to hate the sin, repent of it and ask for divine grace to overcome it (Romans 7:24-25). Although we need not fall because of God’s sufficient grace, sometimes we do because we rely upon our insufficient strength. When our faith grows weak and like Peter, we deny our Lord in word or in life, even then there is still a chance to repent and be forgiven of our sin.

Another one of Satan’s tricks is to get us into thinking that there is no hope, that there is no possibility that we can be forgiven, healed, and restored. He will try to get us to feel consumed and trapped by guilt so that we do not feel worthy of God’s forgiveness any longer. But since when were we ever worthy of God’s grace? God loved us, forgave us and chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world (
Ephesians 1:4-6), not because of anything we did, but “in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). We must always keep in mind that there is no place we can go that God’s grace cannot reach, and there is no depth to which we can sink that God is no longer able to pull us out. His grace is greater than all of our sin. Whether we are just starting to wander off course or we are already sinking and drowning in our sin, grace can be received.

Grace is a gift from God (
Ephesians 2:8). When we sin, the Spirit will convict us of sin such that a godly sorrow will result (2 Corinthians 7:10-11). He will not condemn our souls as if there is no hope, for there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The Spirit’s conviction within us is a movement of love and grace. Grace is not an excuse to sin (Romans 6:1-2), and it dare not be abused, meaning that sin must be called sin, and it cannot be treated as if it is harmless or inoffensive. Unrepentant believers need to be lovingly confronted and guided to freedom, and unbelievers need to be told that they need to repent. Yet let us also emphasize the remedy, for we have been given grace upon grace (John 1:16). It is how we live, how we are saved, how we are sanctified, and how we will be kept and glorified. Let us receive grace when we sin by repenting and confessing our sin to God. Why live a soiled life when Christ offers to make us clean and whole and right in the eyes of God?

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