It is such a treat to introduce another featured writer to you. Michele Morin and I have “known” each other for at least three years. We share the fact that we are “boy moms” and have become friends across the inter webs.

Michele is not only a beautiful writer, but her wisdom laced with grace has blessed me over and over. If you don’t already know Michele or even if you do, hop over HERE to learn all about her.

Here is Michele’s offering today:

When C.S. Lewis wrote Surprised by Joy, he was clear that it was a “spiritual autobiography” designed to track his pilgrimage from atheist to deist and, finally, at long last to “the most dejected, reluctant convert in all of England.” In Christian circles, we’re fond of talking about finding God, until we realize that He has been there all along—and like C.S. Lewis, we are surprised by the joy of a love that came to us before we ever reciprocated, an unconditional love.

Growing up in a home in which mental illness and addiction seemed to be setting the agenda, it was a surprise (and a joy!) to discover that God was actually mightily involved in every detail of my life. In the midst of the chaos, He was NOT standing idly by, but was deeply involved in bringing me to Himself. He was longing to be gracious and to show me compassion!  He had His own agenda in mind for me that He would be faithful to fulfill

In my small hometown in Northern Maine, God bent over backwards to connect me with godly mentors and opportunities to test His faithfulness. When I bought a one-way ticket to California for my first semester of college, I pictured myself taking flight and pulling up my roots in Maine. I had learned a love for teaching the Bible, so I majored in Christian Education, transferred to a small college in northeast Georgia, crammed a bachelor’s degree into three years, and began wondering where in the world my next adventure would take me.

God is full of surprises! I landed right back here in Maine serving with a children’s ministry. This was a season of ups and downs, more education, and growth in a career that I came to enjoy, but the deepest and best gleanings from those years between college and marriage were the lessons in trust that came from belief in a sovereign God who has my best interest at heart.

Fast forward 29 years, and my husband and I live on a country hill where we are in the process of raising four young men. God reserves the right to work in different ways in every life, but for me, the parenting years have been the most formative and have yielded the most growth in grace. Building relationships with my kids has been the sandpaper that God has used to wear off my many rough edges—and He’s not done yet!

One surprise and source of joy during this season of the empty-ing nest has been more time to read, study, and write. I think it’s true that most of us end up writing and teaching the same series of lessons, over and over again until we learn the truth ourselves, so my “thinking out loud” continues to revolve around these themes:

  • Slow Down–I’ve observed (and complained) that it is the nature of God to do many things very slowly. He takes all the long leisure of eternity to accomplish His purposes, so who am I to act as if time were something to be hoarded? 
  • Live a Cultivated Life—Tending a big garden means showing up to do the repetitive tasks of planting, weeding, and watering. This is the necessary pre-requisite to harvest. Grace comes to us as we faithfully do the next thing God has assigned. 
  • Be Surprised—A teacher and reader of the Word of God, I am continually surprised by the text. Instead of imposing my own ideas on a passage, I am learning to let the Bible speak for itself and to let the Truth transform my heart. 
  • Live in Hope—In Romans 5:5, the Apostle Paul speaks of a “hope that does not disappoint.” It’s tricky, however, to live in hope without allowing it to morph into presumption or entitlement, especially when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would. Hope and gratitude together train my eyes to look for the gifts God bestows every day.
  • Practice “Life Together”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer acknowledged the challenges of church life, but wrote deeply wise words about the necessity of the body of Christ in the development and maturity of a believer:

“The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him.  He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself . . .”

As believers, we speak God’s Truth to each other, but we also rub each other the wrong way and sparks fly. If it were not for our family and friends, we would never discover some of the deepest cracks in our character–or learn how deeply we need a Savior. 

Join our featured writer @MicheleDMorin as she shares about hope, grace, and gratitude. #TellHisStory #linkup Click To Tweet

I invite you to test God’s faithfulness for yourself. 
Enter into the hope that He offers. 
Turn toward Him and meet His level gaze with your own look of trust. 
Let yourself be surprised by the joy that comes with knowing a God who has been waiting all along for you to receive His gift of mercy and love.

Gracious God,

Thank you for this community and for the words of friends who inspire, teach, and lead us closer to you. May you bless everyone who visits here and show them a little more of you through these words. Amen.

#TellHisStory Link Up
 
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