My thoughts on American Sniper

“We are not simply to bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself…Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

 

My husband and I recently went to see American Sniper. I knew going into it that it would be a difficult movie for me to watch. I have a tendency to be very sensitive and overly emotional, so much so, that I cried twice in one day because of an OnStar commercial! But after hearing from so many others, I felt that this was an important movie to see. My husband would argue that the only reason I wanted to see it was because of Bradley Cooper, which is entirely not true — ok maybe it’s a little bit true — but not the only reason. To be honest, I needed to see a side of humanity that I often choose to ignore, not out of indifference but more likely out of fear.

To say American Sniper was difficult to watch is an understatement. There were times throughout the movie that I closed my eyes, covered my ears, prayed silently and not so silently, and cried.

It was raw.

It was ugly.

It was the reality of war and the world we live in.

I’ve tried to imagine that these atrocities only exist in the movies as the haunting images will forever be etched in my mind, but unfortunately we all know the truth. Although this was the story of one soldier, it was so much more than that. It was a reminder of the sacrifices that are made every day — that we take for granted — and the peace and freedom that is available to us because of the dedication of so many. Even though I told my husband (through tears) that I could never watch “that kind of movie” again, I’m glad that I watched this one.

There is no denying the evil that exists in this world or the truth that there are some brave men and women who are willing to risk their lives to put an end to it — Chris Kyle was one of those men. His story, their stories, should be told! It isn’t easy to hear or watch but quite often the truth just isn’t easy and as harsh as the reality of war is, it is still reality.

We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that evil doesn’t exist or shrink back from it.

It’s been here since almost the very beginning and we’ve seen it time and time again.

Just a mention of the Holocast brings to mind thoughts and images of unfathomable evil.

The inhumanity of slavery throughout history and that still exists today, even in our own backyards, is evil beyond our comprehension.

Stories of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), who abducted thousands of children to use as sex slaves and child soldiers — forcing them to torture and murder their own parents and family members — seem like some nightmarish legends too unbelievably evil to be true.

We witnessed it as we watched the first and second planes strike and the Towers fall, the Pentagon’s partial collapse as the third plane hit it’s target and as the fourth plane failed to reach it’s intended mark because of the courageous efforts of some who came face to face with evil and boldly took action.

The magnitude of that type of evil is completely overwhelming.

 


 

 

That night as we watched the credits roll on the big screen, the sold out crowd exited the theater in silence and I struggled to hold it together — when all I really wanted to do was completely fall apart.

It was heartbreaking to watch and almost too much to take in. I found myself without words but each time I tried to speak emotions took over and I just couldn’t.

Still, I’m thankful that what I saw forced me to see the brutality of war as it truly is which only served as a catalyst that transformed my prayers.

I pray for our soldiers — for protection from their enemies and that they would overcome the evil in this world. I thank God for them — the soldiers who are on the front lines, those behind the scenes, those who have returned broken in both body and mind, and for those who offered the ultimate sacrifice — their very lives.

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

I pray for their families and I think of my own family members and friends who have served and are still serving all around the world.

I wish thank you didn’t seem so inadequate. I wish my words hadn’t been so few.

We can not remain silent.

We can not fail to act.

We can not be afraid to tell the hard stories.

No matter how much evil we encounter here on this earth we’re not left without hope. Along with evil there is also good — undeniable good. And we have the promise that one day Jesus will return and evil will no longer have a place. I look forward to that day.

 

I don’t think I can honestly say that I loved this movie (I also didn’t hate it) but only because of the subject matter. I think it was very well done and so true to the realities of war and the lives that are affected by it. It opened my eyes and gave me a heart for those diligently fighting and a desire to pray more fervently for peace.

Will you pray with me?

A Life Meant To Be Lived

 

 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein

I was ten years old when I found out that I had been adopted by my dad. In that moment the enemy planted lies that I would believe for many, many years — I was an accident, a mistake, not wanted or planned.

Maybe your story began something like mine and it seemed as if your life was never meant to be but even if your conception wasn’t planned, make no mistakes about it,  you were planned! God’s word says this in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations.”

Sometimes due to circumstances or situations we are led to believe that our lives are an accident, but life is too precise, too complex to be anything other than a miracle.

That’s how it began for every one of us — the miracle of life, the miracle of birth and then miracle after miracle bringing us exactly to where we are today. Sadly, we take most miracles for granted — just think about your heart for a moment, it’s estimated that the heart beats about an average of 100,000 times a day. It does this, for most of us, effortlessly. The average person takes 17,280-23,040 breaths on an average day (without extra exertion as with exercise). Just these two bodily functions alone are regulated unconsciously, always at work, even when we’re sleeping. If your heart is beating and you are breathing, you are nothing less than a miracle! Click To Tweet

A life that wasn’t meant to be, or so it seemed

A lie planted and for years believed

But no mistake made, because He saw me

Before He formed me, He knew all about me

And loved me, in spite of choices made by me or for me

He delighted in me, He longed for me, He chose me

Not forgotten, not lost, not abandoned

Bought for a price, saved for a reason

Created with a purpose and a plan

To live out my days loved by Him, and loving Him.

A life meant to be lived.

If you’ve ever felt like you were a mistake, unwanted, unloved, unplanned, you’re not alone. That is exactly what the enemy of our soul would like us to believe. He whispers those lies and so many more —telling us we’re not pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, popular enough. After awhile we begin to see ourselves the way he describes us instead of the way our God created us. The more we believe his lies, the farther we drift from God and the plan He has for us.

We were made by God, the Creator of the Universe, and He does not make mistakes. Click To Tweet Refuse to listen to the lies of the enemy, and instead start living your life according to the plans God has for you.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

One Word

Surrendered — that’s my word for 2015.

Even after living Fearlessly in 2014, I’ve come to the realization that this year may be a bit more difficult because it requires letting go and giving up control.

And that requires FAITH.

God’s word says, if I have faith even as small as a mustard seed, I could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.

Lord knows I’ve certainly had some mountains in my life that needed to be moved!

FAITH makes it possible but without faith those mountains would surely be…

Immovable

Impassable

Insurmountable

(Did you notice that those all begin with “I”? If it begins with me it certainly requires more than faith… more like a miracle!)

“ALL WHO CALL ON GOD IN TRUE FAITH…WILL CERTAINLY BE HEARD, AND WILL RECEIVE WHAT THEY HAVE ASKED, … ALTHOUGH NOT IN THE HOUR OR IN THE MEASURE, OR THE VERY THING WHICH THEY ASK; YET THEY WILL OBTAIN SOMETHING GREATER AND MORE GLORIOUS THAN THEY HAD DARED TO ASK.” – MARTIN LUTHER

Something Greater…

When we’re willing to surrender with arms spread wide and unclenched and open hands then we’re in a position to receive those greater things.

But as it is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

We hold so tightly to the things that we can see and sometimes they’re not even good things! Can you imagine what would happen if we had FAITH (even as small as a mustard seed) that God had something greater to give us if we would just let go of all those other things?

Surrendered.

That’s my word.

Have you chosen one word for 2015 in place of a resolution? Will you share it?

#oneword365

 

New Beginnings!

Here we are…a new blog name, a new location, a new beginning!

It’s been a few months since I wrote my last blog post.

To be honest, it took me awhile to figure out how to get everything moved from my old blog and to choose the right theme for the new place! I wanted to make sure that everything looked great and that I had everything just right so I changed things around, changed themes, changed backgrounds, changed colors and then changed them again, but then I remembered something a friend had shared with me at the very beginning.

“One of the things that Michael Hyatt said in a webinar one time was “Launch, then improve.”  I have tried to take that to heart. It is easy to think things never look good enough, but if you have a message to share, you just need to share it.”

So there it is. I’m ready to launch.

I think.

I know it needs some improvement but if I have a message to share — and I believe I do — then I need to overlook the things I want to change at least for now…
I’m very excited to share with you all that I’ll be writing over at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood on December 12th! I’m so honored to have been asked to share my heart and my words. I’ll be writing some other things to share in the months to come but this post will be the first of three on the topic of abortion.

New beginnings.

I hope you’ll join me…

 

Finding purpose in this great BIG world!

 

Hello friends!


Since my last blog post was about the changing seasons of life, I thought it would be appropriate to let you in on some changes that will be taking place here at Grace Found Me.


After much consideration and prayer, I’ve decided to refresh and re-launch my blog. I’ve purchased a new domain name — Your Grace Found Me — and will be moving from Blogger to WordPress. The process is a little intimidating (at least for someone like me who is more than a little unsure of what she’s doing!) and there’s still so much to do before I launch! While over 10,000 of you have visited me here, I’m hopeful that the new blog will reach even more and that my words would be an encouragement to anyone reading them.


My deep desire is to share my story in hopes of inspiring you all to do the same. It’s in the sharing of our stories, the good, the bad and the ugly, that we find healing, a sense of community and a deeper understanding of our purpose in this great BIG world! Most importantly I want you to know that You Are Loved — regardless of how unloved you have felt, regardless of what you’ve done, where you’ve been, choices you’ve made or choices made for you…


JESUS. LOVES. YOU.



If you’ve been a follower of Grace Found Me or if you’re a first time visitor, I would love to hear your comments!

If you’ve read previous posts, what did you like most or least? Is there something you would like to see added? What are you most encouraged by or what do you struggle with most? Your feedback will be very helpful in the renovation process.


I’m very hopeful that when the new launch finally happens that you will choose to sign up to receive new posts! (There have been a few issues with the current blog, but I’m confident those will be resolved at the new site.)


And finally I just want to say how much I appreciate all the love and support over this last year and a half! I feel so incredibly blessed to have an opportunity to share the words placed on my heart and hope to be a catalyst for truth, sharing God’s grace with you all.


 



Philippians 3:13 The Message


Focused on the Goal
12-14 I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.


 
You may see a few more posts here over the next few weeks until
I get this whole thing figured out but I promise, change is coming!

Seasons of Change

 

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts.

So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

Living in the Northern part of the United States throughout my entire life, the changing of the seasons has always been something that I looked forward to with great anticipation.

Spring.
Summer.
Fall. 
Winter.
Each season offering unique beauty — ever changing scenery, beginnings and endings and beginnings again.
The budding of the trees at the first sign of Spring.
The blossoming of flowers and all things green with warm Summer breezes.
The vibrant colors of the changing Fall leaves.
The first blanket of snow as we see our breath against the cold winter air.
So many breathtakingly beautiful changes!
However, some changes are uninvited and possibly even painful — then there are times when change is welcomed but seems as if it will never come.
Last year was one of the most grueling winters I can remember — the bitterly cold temperatures combined with the record snowfall suggested an endless, boundless season of hibernation.
It was the first time that I questioned why I continued to live in this God-forsaken place (can you feel the desperation in those words?) and the first time that I began to lose hope of the new beginning that Spring had always promised.

I, like so many others, had become so very weary. Just when it seemed as if winter was about to let go of it’s icy grip, we were hit with another arctic blast! Polar Vortex — we became quite familiar with that term.

To be honest, I’m not even sure when it happened, but Spring finally arrived and along with it — Hope.
Hope of an end to what had been.
Hope for a new beginning.
 

A fresh start.

A clean slate.

Sometimes the seasons of life become almost unbearable and we’re tempted to lose hope as our circumstances seem to endlessly endure — it’s as if we come out of one storm and are immediately hit with another and during those times we’re convinced that there is no hope in sight.
If you find yourself in a difficult season I encourage you to hold on.
Keep pushing through.
Stand firm.
Stay strong. 

When you feel like you can no longer stand, fall to your knees and cry out to Jesus — the One who will either give you strength to endure whatever you’re going through or who with one breath brings winds of change and the hope of a new beginning.

 
 Give hope a chance to float up.

 

 

1 Peter 5:10(NIV)

 

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while,
will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
 

 

 

 

Daniel 2:21(NKJV)

 

And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.

 

Just give me Jesus

Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world, just give me Jesus.  
-Jeremy Camp


The hurt and pain of this world is inescapable. 
If you watch the news, even for just a few moments, you’re likely to see stories of unforeseen tragedies, natural disasters, evil manifested through rapes and murders, sex trafficking, school shootings, wars, hatred and division all over the world and right here in our own backyards. 

There are hurting and devastated families, and communities torn apart all around us but if you look closely you will also see LOVE.

A love that overcomes even the darkest moments in our lives—the all-consuming love of Jesus.

I’ve suffered great loss and devastating tragedies in my own life and if not for the love of Jesus I’m not sure I would have survived the unspeakable pain of those circumstances.
When our hearts are broken into a million pieces and we doubt if we’ll ever be whole again— when we have nothing left and we cry out to Him— Jesus picks up the broken pieces and carries us, holding us close, mending all that is broken, until we’re able to walk on our own once again.
Friends, this life is too hard to try to live without Him.
It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or what choices you’ve made— just cry out to Jesus.
He will rescue you from the deepest, darkest pit of despair.
He will comfort you, and give you peace. Jesus offers us a peace that the storms of this life cannot destroy. Jesus offers us a peace that the storms of this life cannot destroy. Click To Tweet
And when you know the love of Jesus your heart’s desire is to share what He’s done for you and what He wants to do for all who are lost and broken.

 


We Wait and Wonder

 

This life is hard.

Just in the last week there have been those close to me facing overwhelming battles; the death of a precious loved one; divorce; sickness and disease; financial struggles and job losses.

Many of us have faced some of those battles too.

During those times of testing and trials we wait and wonder.

We wait for test results and wonder if the outcome will be in our favor.

We wait for things to get easier and wonder why sometimes this life has to be so hard.

We wait for our circumstances to change and wonder if we’re strong enough to endure if they don’t.

We wait for someone to show they care about our hurts and our fears and we wonder if we’re all alone in this life.

Those hurts and fears and times of complete brokenness, when it feels like our hearts are ripped from our chests and fear and doubt invade the empty places left behind—in those desperate moments, our Savior draws ever nearer.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:18-19

 


Crushed.

Broken.
Afflicted.

 

Friend, if you find yourself in those difficult places I hope you’re encouraged by knowing that the Lord is near, you’re never alone! The Lord promises to deliver the righteous.

 

So what does it mean to be righteous?

 


For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Corinthians 5:21



 

We are incapable of making ourselves righteous which is why we are in great need of a Savior. Jesus makes us righteous through his sacrifice on the cross and when we ask him to come into our hearts and ask his forgiveness of our sins.

 

The better understanding we have of the grace he poured out for us, the more we desire to live our lives for Him.

 

This life is hard but don’t give up— give it all to the One who gave his life so that we might live.

Linking up with Holley Gerth – Coffee for Your Heart

Finding Rest in Chaos and Clutter

My thoughts were as cluttered as the countertops strewn with papers and backpacks and all the other things that were not in their rightful place.

Perhaps that’s why I chose to venture outdoors to find my whitespace– a place free from chaos, a place where I could find peace as I listened to the birds singing and the wind blowing through the trees, a place where I could just be still and give it all to Jesus.

All alone with my thoughts in this quiet, restful place I discovered this resting was not easy. I willed myself to stay –to remain still— as my heart was more and more exposed with each word from Bonnie’s pen, words that seemed as though they were written just for me.

This new world of whitespace can feel disorienting–doing things that yield no use to anyone other than being God’s cherished daughter.”

“…no use to anyone”, those words pierced my heart as I read them and thought of how diligently I had labored to do more, to be more and yet still felt as if I had no value and that there was no use, no purpose for me. The idea of accomplishing nothing and still being cherished by God seemed unimaginable. But not only did He love me even if I did nothing to earn it, He loved me in spite of all that I had done to not deserve it.


Jesus is leading us to the operating room of grace, where the past isn’t forgotten but remembered. We are free to remember. This is God’s gift to you. And me.”

  

All along I had been trying to forget the past but God didn’t want me to just forget, He wanted me to be free…


“But the truth is, I’m not free inside. What I need—and what I don’t have—is soul rest.”

 

Friends, I know that many of you are on this same journey and I want to reassure you that it’s ok because we’re not traveling alone—Jesus is at our side with every step we take and sometimes He even carries us.

 

 




 

 


My Messy, Complicated, Blessed Life

 
 

I didn’t wait for the one, I didn’t marry my high school sweetheart, we didn’t have a cute little house with a white picket fence and two children and we didn’t celebrate milestones like 25 year anniversaries. No, that wasn’t my life…



My life was messy and complicated and full of hurtful choices- some made by me and some made for me- and of course it included painful consequences.



I used to hate that this was my life– disappointed that my story didn’t include all those pretty perfect things. I used to be angry with myself, with others, and sometimes even with God for the way my life turned out.

And then

God poured His grace into my life, filling me up to overflowing until I could no longer scrutinize the life that wasn’t but could only be thankful for the life that was. Looking back over my life I could see how He had protected me so many times from others and even from myself and how He rescued, restored and redeemed me from the deepest, darkest, most painful places.

The lyrics to the song “How He Loves” frequently play over and over in my head and in my heart….


He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

And oh, how He loves us, oh,
Oh, how He loves us,
How He loves us all…

And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If his grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about the way…

He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves us,
Oh, how He loves.



Now when I think about my life and all that was and is and will be I can’t help but feel overwhelmed by how much God loves me, and how much He has blessed me – in ways I never dreamed and certainly didn’t deserve.


We have an amazing God who loves us like no other and when we fully comprehend that- all of the disappointments and hurts are eclipsed by His glory and regrets no longer have a place.



 

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. Psalm 13:5

 

 

I was hiding from the very one who not only knew my past but the only one who had the power to change it. God’s grace was there all along, available to me despite the wickedness of my choices. There was nowhere I could run, nowhere I could hide. His grace found me.