Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: mercy (page 1 of 2)

The Mercy Equals All Grace Equation

The Mercy and Grace Equation for our daily promise!

I’ve been studying a lot in 1 Peter lately and I keep coming back to the very first chapter, it’s so loaded with promise and it feels like the beginning of a manual for what’s about to be the give and take of a heightened relationship with the Father.

So I need to share it with you.

It reads like the very best soul-food one could ever need, with the promise of unlimited supply, and this makes my dysthymic brain relieved!!!

What could be better than being promised that no matter what your brain would like to convince you of, He has always had mercy, hope, rest, and grace ready for you. We simply have to receive it.

1 Peter 1:3 starts:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His {abundant mercy} has begotten us again to a {living hope} through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation revealed in the end….”

and down to verse 13…

“… therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and {rest your hope fully upon the grace} that is to be brought to you through the revelation of Christ!….”

His mercy abundantly given to us, transforms our hope, then lets that hope fully rest in the assurance of His grace at the ready for all time!

People.

Let that get you through today.

His mercy spawns hope, and that hope can be our rest, and resting there ensures unlimited grace.

His mercy spawns hope, and that hope can be our rest, and resting there ensures unlimited grace. Click To Tweet

Boom.
Mic drop.

So how do we receive it?

First, chose to let go of what you think it is you need from Him.

We lay aside what we think we need, and instead ask Him to fill every inch of us with what He knows we need.

Next, we trust that He will work in us, whether our circumstances look like He is or not. It’s that trust that invites us to rest in the hope offered. It’s how we anchor our faith to something solid yet supernatural. We cling with our whole being to the promise.

Finally, we start to move forward into expecting. If He says He has abundant mercy, then look for it! If He’s promising we have grace being readied for it, let’s open up clenched and anxious hands and anticipate His glorious grace! If He says we can rest weary souls there, for goodness sake let’s drop it all right there, and feel our need lifted and replaced with His gracious provision.

I first posted the short version of this to Facebook, but can I be honest? I want to make sure all my subscribers get this soul-boost today too.

So here we are. And man, I needed this for my weary battered wobbly soul even now.

Let’s let this fuel us, heart and soul, for the rest of the day.

His giving of mercy now, results in His supply of grace for all time. Click To Tweet

His giving of mercy now, results in His supply of grace for all time.

His holy equation of tender love.

Mercy plus Hope times Rest equals all Grace for all time.

He has amazing things for us. Let’s receive.


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Anywhere But Here

It’s an anywhere but here in my head kind of day.

It’s the part of dysthymia that really drives me crazy.

Almost literally.

Almost.

I sit here knowing without a doubt where I would like to be, or what I’d like to be doing or finishing in that moment, but my agitated brain threatens to ruin it.

And there’s no override.

I had a day to do whatever I wanted. For eight hours the world was my oyster. I had been looking forward to it for the last week.

I had several things I could choose to enjoy or accomplish. But now the day was here.

And that darned mental agitation had come rolling in.

And although a small part of me wanted to recall what I’d enjoy doing most with the free time I had, my brain was loudly opposing the thoughts, making me regret even waking up.

Already I could sense it. Isolated noises extra loud to my brain, the dog drinking out of the water bowl nearly making me bolt and whisk her bowl into oblivion. Asking my husband to repeat what he’d just said three different times, my brain tuning out without warning.

And like a heavy shroud trying to suffocate you, agitation and anxiety simmer underneath your moods, flaring up only long enough to make you second guess everything you’ve ever thought.

What I wanted to do was go down to my favorite coffee-house, plug in my laptop, plug into a lovely pastry and chocolate chai tea, and write and muse and people watch.

Sounds lovely, I know.

That was the first plan.

But I knew the minute I attempted it, it would fall apart. I know the signs well, and know it’s irreversible once it’s set in. I would fidget, I would lose focus, my brain would rage and wander, I’d feel like everyone could tell. I would want to be gone already, I’d feel anger and frustration, and I’d be worse than if I never got there and just gave up… so you can see why so many with any kind of mood disorder or depression just give up, that’s the agitated and chaotic and screaming state of your moods.

You can be exactly where you want to be, it can be the best set up in the world, but if your brain is wreaking havoc with your moods, it’s exactly the last place you want to be.

For example, I know now, looking back decades before my diagnosis, that it was my early onset dysthymia that nearly sabotaged our honeymoon. We were so young. We were trying so hard to not be afraid of the future. Clinging to God hard. We were ecstatic even just to have a honeymoon at all.

And on day two of what should have been a really beautiful day in Niagara, I couldn’t figure out what the heaviness across my chest was, why everything my sweet husband said grated like chalk on a chalkboard, and why just being asked, “well then, what would YOU like to do?” sent me into scary meltdown mode.

My heart said, “what’s wrong with you? He wants to stop in old shops, restaurants, wants to hold your hand… why does this sound impossible?

And my head said it was too many choices to process, too many decisions it couldn’t filter, too many things to keep track of.

And I nearly made us go home. I broke up inside.

Poor Richard never knew what hit him. I cringe when I think of it.

And I especially didn’t know. I was miserable. Panicked. Confused.

The next day was an upswing, things returned to semi-normal, and I spent all day asking myself what had gotten into me. The trip was fine, but inside my heart I was appalled at behavior I seemed to have zero control over and had no reason for!

I’m just so thankful it didn’t last the whole week or longer, like it often can. But many a day trip or date night wound up like that.
Until I got my diagnosis.

These days, I know better how to adjust. So does my husband.

When that anywhere-but-here feeling hits, changing locations won’t help, I’ll still want to be anywhere but there. Giving myself time before I try what I initially wanted won’t help, I just give myself more time to be agitated.

What is a dysthymic gal to do?

I sink.

Oh, don’t take this the wrong way though.

I sink into Him.

When these difficult and non-negotiable symptoms rear their heads, instead of struggling, I remain still and sink into His presence.

Like when you find yourself in quicksand, the last thing you want to do is keep fighting and wriggling, you have to remain still. And if you’re going to sink, you sink into His side, you hide there, and He carries you. Fully immersed. Sunk into His goodness and mercy.

When my brain and moods and emotions are all in this impossible tangle, it’s kind of like how Paul writes in Romans 7, “I don’t understand what I do! For what I want to do, I don’t do, and what I hate, I keep doing…” and on and on.

This is not the state of the heart He desires for us. This is not how He wants us to live, exhausted and conflicted and restless, without hope. He wants something better.

In those moments, all I know is that I want that ‘something better’.

So I allow myself to sink into Him.

And every time we do, He says over us, ” Cease striving and know that I am your God.”

“My presence goes with you, child, and I give rest to you.”

“Fix your mind on Me, and I’ll keep you in perfect peace.”

“Come to Me for rest for your souls. Take My yoke that’s easy and light. I’ll carry your burdens.”

“I am your Shepherd, in Me you’ll lack nothing. I’ll give you green pastures to lay in, restoring streams to rest beside, refreshing you. I’ll guide you, protect you, keep you safe, comfort you. My goodness and mercy will follow you all you days.”

Yes, if it’s anywhere but here, I want my anywhere to be Him.

It’s not hard, it’s not complicated, it requires no ripples of new choices to overwhelm. There is nothing about Him that frustrates, that agitates, that is lacking in any way.

He is Perfect Peace.

I love the verse in Isaiah 26:3 that boldly says to all;
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

I just have to acknowledge that I need Him.

I keep my rattled mind there, fixed there, anchored says one version, (which I love) and perfect peace is made available.

I don’t know about you but that’s exactly where I want to be.

He’s where I want my anywhere to be. Everytime.

I don’t know if you have a condition of chronic depression lurking about. I don’t know if you have difficult life choices. I don’t know if you battle anxiety, shattered dreams maybe, a broken heart, or regrets that haunt, an illness that’s scary.

But better than holing up in the dark under the blankets somewhere, better than drowning it out with bad habits or addictions, better than calling it quits, He waits for us to sink down into His presence of love and peace and mercy and strength.

And I don’t know about you,
but I want my ‘anywhere but here’
to be Him.

The Offering

The house is quiet for a moment.

Lights on the tree and candles only, and someone singing O Holy Night somewhere in the background.

I mean to take a moment to just be. To heave a sigh and acknowledge the shopping is done, the baking nearly so, the preparations conquered. I mean to sit and soak in my success.

Until a breath and a voice and a Spirit lean in close and ask me a question that takes my breath away. And takes my thoughts from off of me, and places them at the foot of a manger scene.

“What will your offering be?”

On the eve of all things Christmas, and redemption, and heavenly intervention, the Father asks us this simple question. Look into the infant face of love and eternity, and place before Him your offering.

It echoes around the room and settles beside me on the couch, weighted and holy.

“What will your offering be? What will you place at the feet of the child King?”

What indeed?

My own spirit takes inventory. I cannot offer the Immanuel babe who once oversaw the galaxies my pithy holiday accomplishments and goodwill aimed at myself.

Well, I can, but that wouldn’t be the point. What do you place as an offering to the newborn King who is I Am? What do you offer to the holy babe swaddled in his young mother’s arms who will one day bridge the gap between this life and eternity? Between us and hope? Between us and forgiveness the likes we had never before seen?

What do you give to the One who gives it all.

Suddenly, I know. And that same Spirit moves in response. And I cannot keep the tears back, and like the shepherds and the wise men alike, I take a moment to fall to my knees before Him.

What do you offer to the One who gives it all?

You offer Him everything.

Everything.

Lord and Saviour, I bring my offering before you. I lay it all down. Everything. I give it all to you. Let this be my offering, a way to give You the rightful place in every corner of my existence. Not just in a nativity scene, but in every breath I use up, in every thought from the brain You created, and in everything I say and do and search for.

I offer it all to You. Whether it’s pretty, or whether it’s a mess. 

All the same, I offer it to You.

My family is Yours.

My home is Yours.

My depression is Yours.

My blog is Yours.

My adventures are Yours.

My failures are Yours.

My accomplishments are Yours.

My thoughts and choices are Yours.

My will is Yours.

My future is Yours.

My heart is Yours.

That is my Christmas offering. That is what I lay before the newborn King, and at the manger is real freedom, because when I offer those things to Him, they are transformed, molded, and used to His glory.

And like the heavenly realms and angels who declared, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests”, I use my offerings to declare those same glories.

Lord, you shower us with Your favor when we pledge our everything to you. And it turn, we will never cease to celebrate how Your Glory came down, and dwelt with us, then, and now.

That’s my prayer.

That’s my offering.

Because that’s my God.

So while Mary sings softly in his ear, while cattle and mules and sheep shuffle and sigh and sleep, while Joseph keeps vigil over his new holy family, and while the star to end all stars beckons us like a beacon of hope, take a moment to stop.

Stop and decide what your offering to Him will be.

We’re all invited to witness the birth of true Love.

And to bring our offering.

 

 

A Walking Opportunity

I’ve been thinking about opportunity.

That sometimes we’ve defined what a great opportunity looks like, wrongly. And with our typical take on what it looks like, we miss out on something super amazing. For more than just ourselves.

And I guess that’s the rub.

Our radar has been honed to home in on the things and encounters that will benefit us in big ways. To receive. Always to receive.

That position at work that’s suddenly open. That incredible sale no one noticed yet and wow did you score. That chance meeting that widened your networking scope. That magazine that stumbled onto your crazy good writing skills. That sudden windfall that let you donate to charity and upgrade your vacation home.

But what if we took all the things this week that bottomed out, all the things that felt miserable, all the things we battled more than usual, and let them turn us into an opportunity?

Did you know all those hard things were a gift?

They turn us into walking opportunities. We have a perspective not available to everyone else. We can relate unlike anyone else. We can give from a very real place because of the very real struggles we’re so familiar with. You could be someone else’s next big opportunity.

You know that look of defeat all too well, even though no one else has picked up on it. And you step forward and you extend compassion that comes from tasting that same defeat. An offer to pray for them, and be a support. The opportunity? To be proof that nothing has to keep them down for long.

That flicker of sheer panic is so familiar to you, and your co-worker doesn’t know you spotted it as the boss left the room. But you realise you have advice, you have encouragement, when you thought before you were nothing alike. Your opportunity? To be an ally. To be a guide. Be proof that one day they’ll look back and see there was hope.

Just the other day you were the mom pulling her hair out. And when she passes you in the grocery store looking angry and cranky, you suddenly spot the overwhelming emotions of one who has too many kids and not enough energy. A good woman at the end of her tether. And instead of rude looks back and snide remarks, you extend a smile, you tell her how beautiful the little ones strangling each other in the cart are, and you give her back some dignity when she thought hers had fled the scene for good.

Your circumstances are so much more than that awful thing you have to live with. They shape us into walking opportunities for grace, for love, for mercy, and compassion. Something our world needs a decent injection of if we’re ever going to make it.

There you are.

Walking this earth.

With all this stuff you wish you never had.

But with so much insight no one else might ever have to share.

Enough to dramatically change someone’s day.

In small ways with big impact.

You might just be the best opportunity in someone’s day today. A walking opportunity.

Ever notice it’s hard to walk with your eyes closed? Obviously.

So our challenge: To keep our eyes open. And change our definition of a great opportunity.

 

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