Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Thank You For Coming (Gracias Por Venir)

Happy Birthday Jesus!

It's astounding to me every time I say that...to think that you, God, have a "Birthday."


Not a day to mark how old you are, as most of us do when it's our birthday.

Not a day to mark growth, progress in life, or changing seasons.
Not a day to mark past accomplishments and to plan for what's next.

But a day to mark the fact that God came to earth - that you humbled yourself, took on humanity and were born as a baby.


Today we celebrate that there was an actual day in history when you were born. Born in a stable, no less. Born with angelic fanfare, but only simple shepherds to welcome you as king. Born through pain and tears, followed by rejoicing.


Yes, it astounds me every time. And in this moment all that I want to say is - thank you for coming!


Thank you for coming, Jesus!


Thank you for coming.


Where would we be if you hadn't come?

How empty and hopeless life would be, if you hadn't come.
How lonely and sad we would be, if you hadn't come.

But you did come. And now we have every reason to rejoice! To celebrate! To not only praise you, but to enjoy you - here with us right now. You came so you could save us, so you could always be with us, and so one day we could be with you forever.


I'm grateful for these things every day, but especially today...your birthday. The King of kings and Lord of lords, the Good Shepherd, the Light of the world, the Great I AM, the creator of everything and every day - thank you for coming.


Merry Christmas!




Gracias Por Venir

¡Feliz Cumpleaños Jesús!

Me sorprende cada vez que digo eso ... pensar que tú, Dios, tienes un "Cumpleaños."

No es un día para marcar la edad que tienes, como la mayoría de nosotros lo hacemos cuando es nuestro cumpleaños.
No es un día para marcar el crecimiento, el progreso en la vida o las estaciones cambiantes.
No es un día para marcar logros pasados ​​y para planificar lo que sigue.

Pero sí es un día para marcar el hecho de que Dios vino a la tierra, que te humillaste, asumiste la humanidad y naciste como un bebé.

Hoy celebramos que hubo un día real en la historia cuando naciste. Nacido en un establo, nada menos. Nacido con fanfarria angelical, pero sólo sencillos pastores para darte la bienvenida como rey. Nacido en medio del dolor y las lágrimas, seguidos de alegría.

Sí, me sorprende cada vez. Y en este momento todo lo que quiero decir es: ¡gracias por venir!

¡Gracias por venir, Jesús!

Gracias por venir.

¿Dónde estaríamos si no hubieras venido?
Qué vacía y desesperada sería la vida si no hubieras venido.
Qué solitarios y tristes seríamos si no hubieras venido.

Pero sí viniste. ¡Y ahora tenemos todas las razones para alegrarnos! ¡Celebrar! No sólo para alabarte, sino para disfrutarte, aquí con nosotros ahora mismo. Viniste para poder salvarnos, para poder estar siempre con nosotros, y para que algún día podamos estar contigo para siempre.

Estoy agradecida por estas cosas todos los días, pero especialmente hoy ... en tu cumpleaños. El Rey de reyes y Señor de señores, el Buen Pastor, la Luz del mundo, el Gran YO SOY, el creador de todo y todos los días, gracias por venir.

¡Feliz Navidad! 

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Tell Me A Story

A few days ago, I almost missed my flight out of Orlando. 

But that’s just one sentence. That’s not the story of what happened. The story would take a few minutes to share, and believe me, it’s a crazy story. Thankfully, it has a happy ending – I did make it on the plane, though miraculously, in answer to people’s prayers. 

So now you know that I almost missed the flight, but I did in fact make it. But you still don’t know the story. 

I think you'd agree that we all love stories. As children, we drank in stories. As teens, we were constantly telling stories. As adults, we still need stories (books, movies, etc.). I honestly can’t imagine what life would be like without stories. Can you? 

On that flight (the one I almost didn’t make it on), I sat next to a Navy veteran…but he didn’t say a word for the first twenty minutes of the flight. Then I turned to him and I jokingly said, “Thanks for saving this seat for me.” The next thing I knew, he was showing me photos on his phone of an aircraft carrier, of his old Navy buddies at their last reunion, of the old ships he used to be on, and even his classic car. During the rest of the flight, he shared some of his stories with me. And I felt grateful to be able to hear them. 

But what do stories require? 

Time. Attention. Listening. Imagination. Empathy. 

To really enjoy and benefit from a story, we need these things. And in today’s world, these things are often in short supply in our lives…at least that’s how it feels. 

When I was a child, we had a record (yes, a record) with children’s Bible stories on it. There was a group of children and a woman called “Aunt Bee.” At the beginning of each story, the kids would say. "Tell us a story, Aunt Bee!" And she would reply, "All right children, I will tell you a story." I find it significant that those opening lines still replay in my mind all these years later. 

“Tell me a story!” “All right, I will tell you a story.” 

But why tell a story? 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—those he redeemed from the hand of the foe.” (Psalm 107:1-2 NIV)

What is the Bible? It is the story of God creating, loving, saving, and restoring His creation. 

What are testimonies? They are stories of things God has done, ways we have experienced Him in our lives. 

God-stories are something we need to share, and something we need to receive. 

I’d like to tell more stories of what God has done in my life. I’d like to hear more stories of how God has worked in other people’s lives. Both of these encourage me, strengthen my faith, help me see things more clearly, and ultimately help me go deeper in intimacy with Jesus. 

And both of these require time, attention, listening, imagination, and empathy – from me and from you. 

Do you ever feel like you have stories to tell of God’s faithfulness, if only people wanted to listen? Sometimes the people you least expect to listen, are the ones who need your story the most. 

Do you wish you could take more time to hear other people’s stories? Sometimes people who don't know God need someone who will listen to their story, before they’re ready to hear the greatest story, of Jesus’ love for them.

In our fast-paced world, we can tend to focus on facts, data, and the bottom line. But those things aren’t meaningful unless they’re placed in the context of a story.

If you ask me, I’ll tell you the story about almost missing the plane. =) But more importantly, I'd like to be more intentional about telling my God-stories and about inviting other people to share their stories with me. Because God is good. And we are part of His story, that I imagine will continue to be told throughout eternity. 

So, will you tell me a story? 

What is something God has done in your life in 2019? 

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story….” (Psalm 107:1-2 NIV)


P.S. I'll be sharing some of my God-stories from 2019 on my Facebook page this month, if you'd like to hear them. And you can share your stories there as well. =)

www.facebook.com/gracepossible4you/


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving Thanks (Dando Gracias)

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." -1 Thess. 5:16-18

It's that time of year again...one of my favorite holidays is here! I love the Thanksgiving holiday. It has always been special to me. It's a time when we intentionally slow down and gather together to remind ourselves and to share with each other what we are thankful for.

We really are so blessed! Yet in the midst of the challenges, stress, or craziness of life, it's easy to forget how much we have to be thankful for. Paul's words to the Thessalonian Christians remind us that it is in fact God's will for us to give Him thanks in ALL circumstances. That's not always easy...but having a specific day set aside to practice thanksgiving is a good way to help us.

I think the reason we can give thanks in ALL circumstances is because of who God is, all He has done for us, and all He has promised us. Without those three things, it would be impossible to be thankful in ALL things. But with this wealth of goodness we've been given, we always have reasons to give thanks.

So for me today, in the midst of frustrating circumstances, uncertainties, and physical weakness...
*I give thanks to God that He is with me, He loves me, and He delights in me.
*I'm thankful to God for the amazing people in my life.
*I thank God that He never fails to provide for me and take care of me.
*I give thanks for God's Word, which gives life, wisdom, and peace in every circumstance.
*I'm thankful for the little things we so easily take for granted - a pillow for my head, food to eat, clean clothes, and technology that allows me to keep in touch with friends around the world and to share this blog post.

This list could be much longer...I have so much I am grateful for today. I'm thankful for you, my friends who read this blog. I'm thankful for the ways God is working in your life. I'm thankful that one day we will share eternity together with Jesus - in perfect circumstances! =)

I hope you are encouraged this Thanksgiving by remembering who your God is, all He's done for you, and all He has promised you. Regardless of your circumstances, you are blessed!

I'd love to hear about something you're thankful for today. If you want to, you can share with us in the comments.

Happy Thanksgiving dear friends!


Dando Gracias

“Estad siempre gozosos. Orad sin cesar. Dad gracias en todo, porque esta es la voluntad de Dios para con vosotros en Cristo Jesús.” -1 Tes. 5:16-18

Es esa época del año otra vez ... ¡uno de mis festivos favoritos está aquí! Me encanta el día de Acción de Gracias. Siempre ha sido especial para mí. Es un momento en el que intencionalmente reducimos la velocidad y nos reunimos para recordarnos y compartir entre nosotros porqué estamos agradecidos.

Realmente somos ¡tan bendecidos! Sin embargo, en medio de los desafíos, el estrés o la locura de la vida, es fácil olvidar por cuánto debemos estar agradecidos. Las palabras de Pablo a los cristianos de Tesalónica nos recuerdan que, de hecho, es la voluntad de Dios que le demos gracias en TODAS las circunstancias. Eso no siempre es fácil ... pero tener un día específico reservado para practicar el día de acción de gracias es una buena manera de ayudarnos.

Creo que la razón por la que podemos dar gracias en TODAS las circunstancias es por quién es Dios, todo lo que ha hecho por nosotros y todo lo que nos ha prometido. Sin esas tres cosas, sería imposible estar agradecidos en TODAS las cosas. Pero con esta riqueza de bondad que se nos ha dado, siempre tenemos razones para agradecer.

Así que yo hoy, en medio de circunstancias frustrantes, incertidumbres y debilidad física ...
* Doy gracias a Dios porque está conmigo, me ama y se deleita en mí.
* Estoy agradecida con Dios por las personas maravillosas en mi vida.
* Doy gracias a Dios porque nunca deja de proveerme y cuidarme.
* Doy gracias por la Palabra de Dios, que da vida, sabiduría y paz en todas las circunstancias.
* Estoy agradecida por las pequeñas cosas que damos por sentado tan fácilmente: una almohada para mi cabeza, alimentos para comer, ropa limpia y tecnología que me permite mantenerme en contacto con amigos de todo el mundo y compartir esta publicación.

Esta lista podría ser mucho más larga ... Tengo tanto porqué estar agradecida hoy. Estoy agradecida por ustedes, mis amigos que leen este blog. Estoy agradecida por las formas en que Dios está trabajando en sus vidas. Estoy agradecida de que algún día compartiremos la eternidad junto con Jesús, ¡en circunstancias perfectas! =)

Espero que este Día de Acción de Gracias te animes al recordar quién es tu Dios, todo lo que ha hecho por ti y todo lo que te ha prometido. ¡Independientemente de tus circunstancias, eres bendecido!

Me encantaría saber algo por lo que estás agradecido hoy. Si lo deseas, puedes compartir con nosotros en los comentarios.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Preaching To Myself... (Predicándome a Mí Misma...)

Several years ago I wrote the words below. At that time, I thought I had learned this lesson. I thought I was pretty good at following God wherever He would lead me without fear… (funny, right?).  

Many years, a few traumatic experiences, and several faith-testing lessons later – I feel the need to preach this message to myself once again. So I’m sharing it here, to remind myself, and to encourage you, if you’re feeling in need of this truth today as well. 

Grace and peace,
-Joanna


Safest Place

I was eleven when my mom decided God wanted us to move to Colombia, South America, as missionaries. Some people thought she was crazy. A widow taking four kids to a drug-lord and guerrilla-infested country… What was she thinking?

I’ll never forget what she said to us: “The safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.” Wherever God wanted us to be was the safest place for us to be, even if it was Colombia.

Proverbs 10:29 says, “The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous.” That doesn’t mean if we follow God we’ll never experience any harm or problems. It means that when we walk in God’s way, we know that whatever happens is part of His plan for us. He will take care of us. He will be our Refuge. 

What does it mean to be in the center of God’s will? It means we obey what God has taught us in His Word, the Bible. It means we take all our decisions and choices to God in prayer. We wait for Him to show us what He wants us to do. Then we follow where He leads us. 

God already knows everything about my life, and yours. He knows what we need and what is best for us. When we choose God’s way instead of our own, we can have confidence that we’re living the best life possible. 

Whether it’s going to a foreign country, changing jobs, or walking next-door to help a neighbor – the safest and best place to be is where God wants you to be. 

No matter what happens, don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from following the God you do know. He loves you, and He is with you.

What is God asking you to do that seems scary to you? Remember, He is your Refuge, and His will for you is the safest place to be. 


Predicándome a Mí Misma...

Hace varios años escribí las palabras a continuación. En ese momento, pensé que había aprendido esta lección. Pensé que era bastante buena siguiendo a Dios sin miedo a donde fuera que Él me guiara.. (divertido, ¿verdad?).

Después de muchos años, algunas experiencias traumáticas y varias lecciones de prueba de fe, siento la necesidad de predicarme este mensaje una vez más. Así que lo comparto aquí, para recordarme y alentarte, si sientes que tú también necesitas esta verdad.

Gracia y paz
-Joanna


El Lugar Más Seguro

Cuando yo tenía once años mi mamá decidió que Dios quería que nos mudáramos como misioneros a Colombia, América del Sur. Algunos pensaron que estaba loca. Una viuda llevando cuatro hijos a un país narcotraficante e infestado de guerrilla… ¿Qué estaba pensando? 

Nunca olvidaré lo que nos dijo: "El lugar más seguro para estar es en el centro de la voluntad de Dios". Donde Dios quería que estuviéramos era el lugar más seguro para nosotros, incluso si era Colombia.

Proverbios 10:29 dice: “El camino de Jehová es fortaleza al perfecto”. Eso no significa que si seguimos a Dios nunca experimentaremos ningún daño o problema. Significa que cuando caminamos en el camino de Dios, sabemos que pase lo que pase es parte de Su plan para nosotros. El cuidará de nosotros. Él será nuestro Refugio.

¿Qué significa estar en el centro de la voluntad de Dios? Significa que obedecemos lo que Dios nos ha enseñado en Su Palabra, la Biblia. Significa que llevamos todas nuestras decisiones y opciones a Dios en oración. Esperamos que Él nos muestre lo que quiere que hagamos. Luego le seguimos a donde nos dirija.

Dios ya sabe todo sobre mi vida y la tuya. Él sabe lo que necesitamos y lo que es mejor para nosotros. Cuando elegimos el camino de Dios en lugar del nuestro, podemos tener confianza de que estamos viviendo la mejor vida posible.

Sea ir a un país extranjero, cambiar de trabajo o ir a la puerta de al lado para ayudar a un vecino, el mejor y más seguro lugar para estar es donde Dios quiere que estés.

Pase lo que pase, no dejes que el miedo a lo desconocido te impida seguir al Dios que conoces. Él te ama y está contigo.

¿Qué te está pidiendo Dios que hagas que te parezca aterrador? Recuerda, Él es tu Refugio, y Su voluntad para ti es el lugar más seguro para estar.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Tenderized (Ablandada)

My mom is a great cook. One of my favorite things she makes is chicken fried steak. When I used to help her cook, usually my job was to prepare the meat. I would lay the pieces of steak on a cutting board, and then I'd take the steak hammer and "pound, pound, pound...whack, whack, whack." Then I'd flip the piece of meat over and "pound, pound, pound...wham, wham, wham."

It's a noisy process, and it takes energy and arm muscle to keep pounding over and over again. But the result was that the meat would be tenderized. Eventually my mom would say, "That's enough." Then she would take the meat, cover it in flour, and fry it. Frankly, I think I had the harder job. =) But once the meal was ready, the hard work was worth it as we ate the tender steak.

If you've ever cooked a meal like this, I'm sure you'd agree that the difficult process is worth the delicious result.

Sometimes in life it's hard to see or remember that the difficult process will be worth the result.

For many months it felt like God had me in a process of what I'd call "tender-izing." Sometimes I felt like that piece of steak - with those little knobs on the steak hammer pounding here, there, and everywhere.

It hurts. It's hard. And when it finally feels like there might be a break, it's often just a pause before the pounding starts again on the other side.

Maybe you've felt like this too. Maybe you've wondered why things have been so hard for so long. Maybe you've questioned God's love for you. Maybe you've tried to run away from the "tender-izing."

If so, I want to encourage you and myself today. Our heavenly Father holds every tear we cry, He hears every prayer we speak or even think, and He gives us every breath we breathe.

God still loves us.
He still wants our best.
He is still in control of everything.
He still works all things for good.
There is a worthwhile result.

In the midst of the difficult process, I realized that the "tender-izing" actually had made my heart more tender.

In those moments when the pain would wash over me and tears flowed, I didn't think only of myself. I thought about others who were hurting. My heart filled with compassion for them. I prayed for them. I sent an encouraging message or let them know I was thinking of them. Somehow in the difficult process, in the midst of my own pain, God gave me more of His tender mercy for others.

And even when I cried out and told God how much it hurt, I knew that He understood. I knew that in the fellowship of Jesus' suffering, He was drawing me nearer to His heart. And I want to be close to Him. My heart longs to hear His voice, receive His comfort, experience His healing touch, and grow in intimacy with Him.

Maybe you prayed for a tender heart without knowing it might require a "tender-izing" process. No, the process isn't fun. It hurts. It's hard. But the result of a tender heart toward our Savior and others is beautifully worth it.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." -2 Corinthians 1:3-4


Ablandada

Mi mamá es una gran cocinera. Una de mis comidas favoritas que hace es el filete de pollo frito. Cuando solía ayudarla a cocinar, generalmente mi trabajo consistía en preparar la carne. Colocaba los trozos de bistec en una tabla de cortar, y luego tomaba el martillo y "golpe, golpe, golpe ... golpe, golpe, golpe." Luego volteaba el trozo de carne y "tortazo, tortazo, tortazo... wham, wham, wham."

Es un proceso ruidoso, y se necesita energía y músculo del brazo para seguir golpeando una y otra vez. Pero el resultado era que la carne se ablandaba. Finalmente, mi madre decía: "Eso es suficiente." Luego tomaba la carne, la cubría con harina y la freía. Francamente, creo que tenía el trabajo más difícil. =) Pero una vez que la comida estaba lista, el trabajo duro había valido la pena ya que comíamos el filete blando.

Si alguna vez has cocinado una comida como ésta, estoy segura de que estarás de acuerdo en que el proceso difícil vale la pena por el delicioso resultado.

Hay veces en la vida en que es difícil ver o recordar que el duro proceso valdrá el resultado.

Durante varios meses sentí que Dios me tenía en un proceso de lo que yo llamaría "ablandamiento." A veces me sentía como ese trozo de carne, con esas pequeñas perillas en el martillo golpeando la carne aquí, allá y en todas partes.

Duele. Es difícil. Y cuando finalmente se siente que puede haber un descanso, a menudo es solo una pausa antes de que los golpes comiencen nuevamente en el otro lado.

Quizás tú también te hayas sentido así. Tal vez te hayas preguntado por qué las cosas han sido tan difíciles durante tanto tiempo. Tal vez has cuestionado el amor de Dios por ti. Tal vez has tratado de huir del "ablandamiento."

Si es así, quiero animarte a ti y a mí misma hoy. Nuestro Padre celestial enjuga cada lágrima que lloramos, escucha cada oración que decimos o incluso pensamos, y nos da cada aliento que respiramos.

Dios aún nos ama.
Él todavía quiere lo mejor para nosotros.
Todavía está en control de todo.
Aún obra todas las cosas para bien.
Hay un resultado que vale la pena.

En medio del difícil proceso, me di cuenta de que el "ablandamiento" realmente había hecho que mi corazón se volviera más tierno.

En esos momentos en que el dolor me inundaba y las lágrimas fluían, no pensé solo en mí. Pensé en otros que estaban sufriendo. Mi corazón se llenó de compasión por ellos. Oré por ellos. Envié un mensaje alentador o les hice saber que estaba pensando en ellos. De alguna manera, en el difícil proceso, en medio de mi propio dolor, Dios me dio más de su tierna misericordia por otros.

E incluso cuando clamé diciéndole a Dios cuánto dolía, supe que Él entendía. Sabía que en la comunión del sufrimiento de Jesús, me estaba acercando a Su corazón. Y quiero estar cerca de Él. Mi corazón anhela escuchar Su voz, recibir Su consuelo, experimentar Su toque sanador y crecer en intimidad con Él.

Tal vez oraste por un corazón tierno sin saber que podría requerir un proceso de "ablandamiento." No, el proceso no es divertido. Duele. Es difícil. Pero el resultado de un corazón tierno hacia nuestro Salvador y otros vale la pena.

“Bendito sea el Dios y Padre de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, Padre de misericordias y Dios de toda consolación, el cual nos consuela en todas nuestras tribulaciones, para que podamos también nosotros consolar a los que están en cualquier tribulación, por medio de la consolación con que nosotros somos consolados por Dios.” -2 Co. 1:3-4

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Remembering The View (Recordando la Vision)

Hello friends! I am so very sorry that it’s been months since I’ve blogged here. This year has been full of surprises…some really difficult and challenging, and others amazingly wonderful! It’s been quite a journey. I’m hoping I can start blogging regularly again, and I thank you for your patience and prayers.  

After traveling thousands of miles this year, I’m currently in FL. Even though I’m at “home,” most days I still feel like I’m not exactly sure where I am or where I’m going. I know my heavenly Father knows both of those things, and He is faithful. So I’m trying to live one day at a time and trust Him for each next step. I keep asking Him for a clear vision for the future – some picture or view of where it is He’s leading me. 

Today I was looking back through pictures of my time in Europe. Oh how I miss those views! The mountains are breathtaking in many places I visited. I’m thankful I have the photos to look at and to remind me of the incredible experience of seeing those places with my own eyes. There’s something special about standing in the midst of such beauty and soaking in the view.

On the border of Austria and Slovenia

So much of our lives it seems our view is only of what is right in front of us – traffic, laundry, grocery store aisles, office cubicle…. Our daily view may seem uninspiring, discouraging, painful, or overwhelming. It helps me to look back at photos of majestic mountains. But even that doesn’t solve my difficulties today.  

While thinking about this, I read this passage in Romans:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” –Romans 5:1-2a (NIV)

Because of Jesus we have so much! We have peace with God. We have been justified – declared righteous, holy, and pure! And we now stand in God’s grace. We stand in the presence of God, in the courts of heaven, surrounded by beauty far beyond what we can imagine! That is our place. And that is our view. 

We now stand before our awesome, perfect, loving God as – beloved, perfect, alive, free, beautiful! Oh how I want to see myself this way. And how I want to see my life from this view. 

When my daily view begins to take too much of my attention, I know God wants me to remember this heavenly view. God has given us His Word to teach and remind us who He is, who He says we are, where we stand, and where we are going. This view is what helps us live out each day here on earth. 

Whether I’m in Austria or FL, the truth is that I am standing in God’s grace – His divine favor. I am loved, I am blessed, I am complete – in Jesus my Savior.  

Time for me to go soak in that view…. 


*Do you have a photo of yourself in a beautiful place with an amazing view? Try placing the photo where you’ll see it everyday, and let it remind you of standing in your place of grace with that heavenly view. =) 


Recordando la Visión

¡Hola amigos! Lamento mucho que hayan pasado meses desde que blogueé aquí. Este año ha estado lleno de sorpresas ... ¡algunas realmente difíciles y desafiantes, y otras increíblemente maravillosas! Ha sido todo un viaje. Espero poder comenzar a bloguear regularmente de nuevo, y les agradezco su paciencia y oraciones.

Después de viajar miles de millas este año, en este momento estoy en Florida. Aunque estoy en "casa", la mayoría de los días todavía siento que no estoy exactamente segura de dónde estoy o hacia dónde voy. Sé que mi Padre celestial sabe ambas cosas y que Él es fiel. Así que estoy tratando de vivir un día a la vez y confiar en Él para cada paso siguiente. Le sigo pidiendo una visión clara para el futuro: alguna imagen o visión de hacia dónde me está llevando.

Hoy estuve mirando hacia atrás a través de fotos de mi tiempo en Europa. ¡Oh, cómo extraño esos panoramas! Las montañas son asombrosas en muchos lugares que visité. Estoy agradecida por tener esas fotos para mirar y recordar la increíble experiencia de ver esos lugares con mis propios ojos. Hay algo especial en pararse en medio de tanta belleza y sumergirse en el panorama.

Gran parte de nuestras vidas parece que nuestra mirada está puesta solamente en lo que está justo frente a nosotros: tráfico, lavandería, pasillos de tiendas de comestibles, cubículos de oficinas ... Nuestra visión diaria puede parecer poco inspiradora, desalentadora, dolorosa o abrumadora. Me ayuda mirar fotos de majestuosas montañas. Pero incluso eso no resuelve mis dificultades hoy.

“Justificados, pues, por la fe, tenemos paz para con Dios por medio de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, en quien tenemos entrada por la fe a esta gracia en la cual estamos firmes…” –Romanos 5:1-2ª

¡Gracias a Jesús tenemos tanto! Tenemos paz para con Dios ¡Hemos sido justificados, declarados justos, santos y puros! Y ahora estamos bajo la gracia de Dios. ¡Estamos en la presencia de Dios, en los atrios del cielo, rodeados de belleza mucho más allá de lo que podemos imaginar! Ese es nuestro lugar. Y esa es nuestra visión.

¡Ahora estamos ante nuestro maravilloso, perfecto y amoroso Dios como -amados, perfectos, vivos, libres, hermosos! Oh, cómo quiero verme de esta manera. Y cómo quiero ver mi vida desde este punto de vista.

Cuando mi visión diaria comienza a llamar mucho mi atención, sé que Dios quiere que recuerde esta visión celestial. Dios nos ha dado Su Palabra para enseñarnos y recordarnos quién Él es, quién dice que somos, dónde estamos y hacia dónde vamos. Esta visión es lo que nos ayuda a vivir cada día aquí en la tierra.

Ya sea que esté yo en Florida o en Austria, la verdad es que estoy parada en la gracia de Dios - Su divino favor. Soy amada, soy bendecida, estoy completa - en Jesús mi Salvador.

Es hora de que me sumerja en esa visión...


* ¿Tienes una foto de ti mismo en un lugar hermoso con una vista increíble? Intenta colocar la foto donde la veas todos los días y deja que te recuerde que estás en tu lugar de gracia con esa visión celestial. =)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Journey

Hello friends! I hope that 2019 has been going well for you. It's been a bit of a roller-coaster for me, so I apologize that I haven't kept up with blogging. Here's today's post, about this journey of life...enjoy! 


I've traveled a lot in the last six months... 

I've flown east to west, south to north, and back again. 

I've driven down old familiar roads that brought back memories, both happy and sad.

I've braved new roads and seen new views that filled me with wonder.

I've missed turns, had to reroute, and gotten lost...a lot. 

I've explored new places and experienced both delights and challenges. 

I've reconnected with old friends and had great times! 

I've made many new friends and been so blessed by them.

I've made plans, and changed them, and changed them again. 

I've woken up a few times not knowing which house, city, or state I was in. 

I've cried sad tears and happy tears in the same day.

I've complained to God about various things on this unusual path. 

And I've watched God do miracles for me again and again.

One day I was driving in a familiar place, but down a new road. Instead of the highway, I was on a little back road. As I wound through hills and valleys, I was captivated by the beauty around me, with the sun shining on me through the peaks. I wanted to stop and drink in the moment. It felt like I'd discovered a treasure...one that really wasn't far away, hidden just a step beyond the ordinary pathway. 

But I had a schedule to keep. No time to stop. I knew I probably wouldn't get to drive that little road again. So I tried to fix the moment and the beauty in my mind. As I did, the Lord began to speak to my heart. 

This life is a journey...
Sometimes we walk the same familiar roads, either happily or wearily. 
Sometimes God puts us on a new path, and we have to learn new things and trust Him to lead us each step.
Sometimes we get lost, and have to turn around, and reroute, and remember that God's grace covers us every moment. 
Sometimes our plans get changed, again, and again...until we don't know what to do next.
Sometimes we lose sight of the view around us and can only see the ground in front of us. 
Sometimes God leads us to hidden treasures that renew our perspective and refresh our souls. 
Sometimes we appreciate more fully the beauty of where we are now because of the barrenness of where we have been. 

As I drove that little back road, I thought about this journey of life...that's so hard, and amazing, and painful, and bewildering, and beautiful. 

And I wondered, "How do we do it well?"

Then I heard God say, "Don't be afraid." 

Don't be afraid? Is it that simple? Yes. And no. It is simple and profound truth. It's not easy to do. 

"Don't be afraid." 

Don't fear the unknowns. Don't fear the challenges. Don't fear the pain. Don't fear the changes. Don't fear the failures. Don't fear the losses. Don't fear the gains. 

Yes, there will be all those things...especially the gains. Because our God is with us on the journey. He is giving to us every step. He is using every detail to form the bigger picture. He is sovereign over all. He is good. He is faithful. He is keeping and will keep His promises, as He works out His eternal plans and purposes for each of us. 

This life is a journey. But it's not about getting from "here" to "there." If we seek an easy journey, we'll miss out on what really matters. 

The journey is about the process, and the people, and the beauty, and the miracles, and the transformation...and the glory of God. 

Each new day we have the opportunity - in the power of the Holy Spirit - to reject the fears and to embrace the journey with Jesus. 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10