Raining Grace

 Today, be aware.

God's Life floods your heart.

It's always Raining Grace.

 "Do the thing and you will have the power" (Ralph Waldo Emerson). It's a quote I try to live by. I believe we all have incredible resources. The Master of the universe has decided to take up residence within us. If that weren't enough, In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). We are swimming in grace! As a longtime spiritual director and a chaplain for all faiths, I’ve witnessed firsthand the workings of grace. It rains abundantly. (Sometimes I wear a waterproof parka and can’t feel a drop. But divine grace awaits my awakening to it.) 

Hopefully, some of these reflections will encourage you to access more and more the grace God offers. If you'd like entries sent to your inbox, click here. May something you read help you remember what you've always known and live the truth within you.








Bloopers, Embarrassments, and Benefits
Spiritual Growth Hack

I'd just received a contract to publish my early reader, The Night of Mysterious Blessings. I was emailing Deb Haggerty, the Publisher and Editor in Chief of Elk Lake Publishing, the dream company soon to make my book available. Deb was warm and welcoming—still, I sat, phrasing and rephrasing, feeling like a nervous child wanting to please my first-grade teacher—no, actually, I felt as if I were emailing—God.

I'd taken far too much time to craft a simple communication, ensuring every word counted. At some point, I'd written the sentence, "I'll work hard to assure you that you made the right choice." I saw the dreaded, often-unnecessary word that. I changed the wording. "I'll work hard to assure you know you made the right choice." SEND. 

The words I'd typed burned a hole in the brain. "Assure you know"? Ensure. Ensure. ENSURE! My thoughts sounded like a commercial for a nutritional drink. The context made the error ironic—someday, funny. But not that day. I assured myself, "Deb probably won't notice!" "SHE'S AN EDITOR!" my inner critic yelled, ensuring I wouldn't easily forget my mistake.

What could I learn from what had happened? As my 1st-grade teacher said, I should "check my work." Or was the moral of the story haste makes waste—early to bed, early to rise—I'd been burning the midnight oil. Those weren't new insights! I wasn't certain of the lesson, but by God's grace, I put the mistake behind me and felt peace.

For years, I taught the spirituality of St. Ignatius, so in the evenings, I always try to find time to do an "Examen," asking myself what thoughts and feelings motivated my actions and reactions that day. During the Examen, God's wisdom shines light on my spiritual progress or lack thereof. When growth is needed, I end the process envisioning doing better in future situations similar to the one I’m considering.

I went outside to commune with the sky, the trees, and the God who made them. A Scripture verse came to mind: "For they loved human praise more than the praise of God." When was the last time I'd had a moment's panic, worried about what God thought of me? Through whose eyes was I looking at myself after I made my error? Not the eyes of infinite, absolute Love, eyes which always brought acceptance of my humanity. I write stories for God and his children—when ego inches in, so does stress. Wasn't it God who entrusted me with writing The Night of Mysterious Blessings in the first place?

My perspective expanded exponentially. "God, I'll work hard to ensure you know you made the right choice—and—I'll check my work."

Today, be aware.

God's Life floods your heart.

It's always Raining Grace.








Faith Casts Out Fear

A True Story

 (All names have been changed to preserve confidentiality.)

My husband and I, lay chaplain volunteers, entered Carolyn’s room with care, not wanting to awaken her if she were napping. We’ve grown to love all the “regulars” we visit, yet we can’t help but have favorites now and then, and Carolyn was a favorite.

We’d just come in from a surprisingly cold Texas day, and Carolyn reached out to warm my hands, rubbing them and pulling them under her soft San Antonio blanket. Carolyn was in her late 80s and always reminded me of my mom in Ohio.
At the end of a delightful visit, we assured Carolyn we’d be back the next week. “I’m going home!” she said joyfully, without hesitation. We shared her excitement and were enveloped in her sweet good-bye hugs.
The following week, we missed seeing Carolyn’s name on the door. We visited with the new resident, Beth, who, as a new arrival, needed ears to listen, hearts to understand, and people of faith to support her. 
After our visit, we checked with the nurse in the hallway, asking if Carolyn had left for San Antonio happily. “No,” she said with a curious look. “Carolyn went Home-home.”
It wasn’t the first time our faith had soared and deepened through our ministry. People in our world often need to turn to their faith to cast out fear. Time and time again, we’ve seen that it will - that it does. 
Today, be aware.
God’s Life floods your heart.
It’s always Raining Grace. 

  Tapping into God's Creativity

The Power of the Spiritual Exercises


I came home from church that Sunday not in my Sunday best. Oh, my clothes were okay, but my adolescent heart was in tatters. I’d been praying for a family member for months, seemingly to no avail. The Gospel reading that day had been about Jesus calming the sea, but I had missed the boat. Christ’s power with the wind didn’t calm the storms in my soul.

A friend had recently told me that the ancient practice of visualizing Scripture stories had given her a thirst for the Bible she had never known before. Could my imagination help me take a story I’d heard umpteen times and get something new from it, or renew something old and somehow lost within me? My doubting mind and mood said, definitely not! But I was desperate.

First, I reread that Sunday’s Gospel. As expected, it did nothing for me. Then, as my friend had instructed, I asked the Holy Spirit to direct my prayer. I confessed my inability to feel prayerful and my need for help. Still doubtful, I closed my eyes. Help came.

I began to use the “senses of my imagination,” to imagine as vividly as possible what I might have heard, seen, smelled, tasted, and felt if I had been with Jesus in the boat that day. I experienced the assault of the wet wind, the rocking of the boat, the smell of the salty, fishy air around me. The boat was swaying so violently that with each tilt it picked up buckets of water.

The anger I’d been feeling all week turned into its original, root emotion—fear! Are we in this world alone? At the mercy of chaotic forces around us? Is God paying attention to our plight?

I turned to see Jesus, who sat in the back of the boat—sleeping! “Wake up!” I pleaded.

Jesus stood, lifted His arms, and brought utter calm to the waves. He stilled the wind. It was as if time stopped. The world had been unplugged. I had never heard a silence so complete in my life. The stillness was somehow alive, filled with God's presence.

Then Jesus stood near me, looked into my eyes for an eternal moment, and asked, "Why are you so afraid? Do you yet have no faith?"

I was suddenly awakened, keenly aware. God had not changed.

The God who had been with me through thick and thin,

and thinner still,

was there.

As always.

In ALL ways,


I had nothing to fear from the storms in my life. I knew the power of God once again, on a deeper level, and I saw the power of Spirit-led imaginative prayer. God would build on that experiential knowledge of the power of the imagination years later when I found myself happily immersed in the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola. It was in the 1500’s that St. Ignatius developed the Spiritual Exercises, steeped in imaginative prayer, for the “Friends of Jesus,” later called the “Jesuits.”.

In the almost thirty years of ministry since, I’ve led retreats, done spiritual direction, and helped children, youth, and adults grow closer to God using the prayer that helped me renew my own friendship and my faith in Christ. I've found nothing more potent in creating Face to face intimacy with God than the prayer practice of imaginative Scriptural prayer. 

There are those that mistrust the imagination. Yet, led by Holy Spirit, it’s one of God's greatest gifts to us. In an article in Christianity Today, Gregory Boyd, pastor and author, said the imagination is the main place we encounter God. Imaginative prayer, Boyd asserts, is rooted in Biblical tradition. Surely it is inspired imagination that wrote the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake." Scripture is filled with images for us to turn over in our mind's eye.

The famous Scottish preacher Alexander Whyte (1837-1921) called the imagination "nothing less than the noblest intellectual attribute of the human mind." And Baptist Minister Alex Aronis endorses imaginative Scriptural prayer in his book, Developing Intimacy With God: An Eight-Week Prayer Guide Based on Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises

When we walk with Christ on his earthly journey, as recorded in God's Word, we experience firsthand the ever-present love of Christ. And, in turn, fall more deeply in love with Him.

If you’re interested in stepping into Scripture through imaginative prayer, simply choose a favorite story (or one that has grown old for you). Read the passage over several times, beginning to form images even while you read. When you finish reading, close your eyes, and relax your mind. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you create the scene vividly on the stage of your imagination and to be with you as you enter into it. You can choose to be yourself, a person in the scene, or a fly on the wall. The key is to BE THERE, hearing the sounds, seeing the sights, feeling the touch of the wind. As you experience more and more of the story, allow your Holy Spirit-led imagination to take over. Speak with Christ from your heart. When you have finished your prayer, you may want to journal about any insights you have gained or speak to a wise and trusted friend about the experience.

There are some wonderful resources for Scriptural guided imagery online. The Upper Room's Devozine provides a great resource for teens who a searching for a deeper relationship with Christ: https://devozine.upperroom.org/spiritual-practices/imagine-using-guided-imagery-scripture/ Another great site is: https://www.soulshepherding.org/ignatian-meditation-guides/ 

As with all prayer forms, don't try to go it alone. Ask for the grace to experience Christ’s presence in and through your prayer. Ask with a sincere longing, and you will receive. If the longing is absent, pray for that! Allow yourself to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2).

Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace.

            Great Expectations

            He's Carved Your Name in His Palm  

          “Are we almost there?” whined four-year-old Brian an hour into our twelve-hour drive. Our summer adventure had been carefully planned and enthusiastically explained. We were a family with great expectations.

          “Brian, honey, maybe you could entertain your brother,” I said, looking back at one-year-old Jeremy, whose face was contorted. He was ready to burst again into tears of boredom. The silence in the car had been only a brief intermission—a gift of Jeremy’s ten-minute nap.

          Brian reached up and shielded his ears as Jeremy shrieked.

          The trailer we had borrowed swayed from side to side in the strong wind, and the bike rack on top of our station wagon caught the wind and produced a mournful howl. The crying baby, whining child, and howling bike rack made quite a trio, serenading my husband Mike and me as we drove down the lonesome highway.

          Our nights were slightly more challenging than our days. At 2:00 a.m. on the first night, I stood outside our thin-walled trailer to check the noise level of Jeremy’s shrill cries. Just as I’d feared, our son was letting everyone in the park know he was not a happy camper. He wanted his own bed at home. He wasn’t alone.

          Eventually, we arrived at the heavily-billed Atlantic. We enjoyed the waves and the beach of the Atlantic until Jeremy created a game. He thought being pulled back onto our blanket and having his mouth emptied of sand was fun. He kept me guessing by crawling in different directions, changing his speed, and filling his mouth to various degrees.

          To top it all off, there was the ring, or the lack of one. On the fifth night of the trip, I sat beside a crackling campfire, staring at the empty prongs that should have held my diamond. I owned no other real jewelry. I treasured my engagement ring and wedding band so much that they were enough. 

          I scoured the campsite that evening and in the morning light. During the days of travel home, I searched our trailer thoroughly. I’d memorized the nicks in the sink, the snags in the carpet, and the indentations the furniture made in the carpet’s worn nap. I had splinters from sweeping my hands along the bottoms of drawers. The diamond was nowhere to be found.

          I asked for the grace of a new perspective on our trip, and as we pulled the camper into our driveway, I knew my prayer had been answered. I was grateful that I had a home to return to and happy to help my husband carry our sleepy little boys into their awaiting beds. Adorable Jeremy patted me gently on the back before I laid him down, and Brian curled up immediately under his covers. Mike and I whispered and giggled as we tucked the boys in; we were exhausted but giddy to be home. We fell into our own bed, cuddled up, and counted our blessings. Life was about finding meaning and being thankful—despite what happens.

          The next morning I swept the trailer carpet one last time so we could return the camper. I couldn’t believe I’d missed the bookmark wedged between the rug and the tiny couch; I’d thoroughly combed that territory. As I scooped up the card, I read its words: “See, I will not forget you. I have carved your name in the palm of my hand.” The verse was from the book of Isaiah.

          I glanced back at the floor where I’d retrieved the bookmark. Glistening in the light that streamed from the tiny skylight above me lay my diamond—a stone symbolizing not only the love between my husband and me, but the Love that guards us on life’s winding, difficult, yet joyous journey.

          Surely there aren’t always happy endings. We can’t demand them as proof that we are safe in His hands. Only faith can promise that. But there are those little reassurances. We must carve them into our hearts for safekeeping. We may need to draw on them for the real challenges of life. Our God is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. God is good. All the time.


Today, be aware.

 God’s Life floods your heart.

 It’s always Raining Grace.



Being Fully Alive in the Present Moment

During my teaching days, I looked forward to the occasional teacher-appreciation party, which involved FREE FOOD, comradery, and great door prizes.

“Door prizes” got their name because

a.) they get people in the door

b.) you get a chance to win just by entering the door

c.) they keep people from going out the door too early

d.) all of the above 

(I don’t know the answer. I just made up the quiz.) The point is: to receive one of the door prizes, you had to be present to win.

God’s a lot like the parents who threw our after-school parties. He seems to appreciate our company. He loves to give us presents in the present moment, and you must be in the moment to receive them. You must embrace the grace of now. It’s the only way to be fully alive.

I need to confess at this point that I'm a fully alive wannabe. They say the best coaches are those who had to work to develop their skills. I've had to work on being present. Anyway, I'd rather be a wannabe than a know it all.

Being present for the moments of your life isn't a hedonistic goal. Yes, it’s the only way to get maximum pleasure from living, and, as Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Still, I think God wants us to be present in the present because that’s where God is. God is the God who called Himself “I am.” He didn't say, “I was.” He didn’t say, “I will be.”

Theologically speaking, God is outside of time and has access to every moment. But He created us as time-bound creatures and meets us in the now.

When we're in awe of God over His glorious sunsets, we're in the now. When we seek forgiveness for our past, and God assures us we are loved, we can only feel that love if we're with God in the now. When God calms our worries over tomorrow with His assurance that He's always with us, we can only feel His presence in the moment, in the now.

It’s our relationship with God that allows us to remain primarily in the now. If we trust God, we won't spend time visualizing a future without Him. And if we allow God to complete us, as He longs to do, we don’t need the future to make us whole or happy or good enough. We can stop waiting to live. We are who we are—a child of the Master of the universe. What self-concept can be greater? More all-encompassing? More freeing?

If we find our identity in God, we don’t need the past to define us. In God, we become new. The hang-ups of our past self are just that, part of our past self.

God gives us the dignity of being co-creators with Him, moment by moment. He makes all things new, including us. With and in each unique moment, we can live our lives with power and with hearts wide open.

Not only does God live in our now, He makes our now livable. Frequently, my now-moments are merely doing the dishes. I don’t know about you, but my sudsy sink is not all that fascinating. Yet if my now-moment is filled with God’s presence—which it is—my now is peace-filled, joy-filled, contented, no matter what I am doing.

Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk of the 17th-century, was the chief cook of his order and was always in the kitchen. That was great for him because he made it his project to “practice the presence.” At any given moment, he would remind himself that God was there. He got incredibly good at the practice and enjoyed great intimacy with God. His letters are collected in a profound little book, The Practice of the Presence of God.

We can develop our awareness of God. At one stage in a child’s development, if a parent covers up a favorite ball with a blanket, the child will cry. The ball is all gone. But the child learns that just because something is invisible doesn’t mean it’s not there. The child knows the size and shape of the ball. And at another stage of development will reach out and pull that blanket off the ball. We can learn the size and shape of God, so to speak. If we look for God, if God is our favorite thing, we’ll begin to find our invisible God under the blanket of His creation. We’ll find Him in a baby’s laugh, a sunset, even in an ordinary moment like this one.

 We are layered in God, almost like a nesting doll. We are the temple of God's Spirit, His dwelling place. At the same time, in Him we live, and move, and have our being. This moment, we are saturated in the Divine Presence, and it’s forever raining grace.

Have you heard the story of the twins in the womb? One says to the other, “I’ve been thinking lately … “

“What. What have you been thinking?”

“Oh, forget it. You’ll laugh.”

“No. I won’t. What is it?”

“I’ve been thinking … that there is a Mom.”

“A Mom. You’ve got to be kidding. Do you see a Mom?”

“I can’t prove a thing. But I believe there is a Mom. And someday we’ll see our Mom, face to face.”

Now, that’s a wise twin!

Perhaps a few of these thoughts can help you “practice the presence” during your day, simply reminding yourself God is within you, and you have your being within God. But don’t get attached to any thought or image. Let go and feel, experience, God's presence. Feel the glory of holding and being held by perfect Love.

You don't need the past to define you or the future to fulfill you. Let go and enjoy the present. Right now. This moment—God is with you. You are on holy ground. Stay awhile. Embrace the grace of now.


Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace. 


 Authenticity Begins Where Ego Ends

Most of us struggle to be authentic. If we don’t win the battle to be our self, our self will never have a chance to be. No one else can take over the privilege and challenge of our self-expression.

I believe the glorious freedom of authenticity lies in realizing our lives are not about us. In the scheme of things, we’re not all that important. If we are not the central focus of our lives, the burden of proof—of proving we are worthy—falls off our shoulders. We are liberated.

In my youth, I was a people pleaser. The source of the problem was not self-adulation, but a sense of not being good enough to live up to self-imposed ego demands. If others were pleased with me, I felt worthy. Like the chameleon, the people-pleaser needs to adapt to the environment, to the surrounding people. They please others at the expense of maintaining the unique identity that is their gift.

For an artist, people pleasing is deadly. When I was a pleaser, I couldn’t freely write, pour out my heart, find my voice, and let it be heard. To do any of those things was to risk rejection, to have people not pleased with or about me at all. Writing this blog entry and then posting it would have been impossible.

But I can have the pluck to be me and write freely if I realize I’m just not all that important. Let’s face it, in 60 years I’ll be dead. (I chose that number because old habits die hard. I knew you’d think I was relatively young—which seems to please a lot of people.)

If the point is not to prove myself as a writer, if the point is you, my audience, and what I can contribute to your thought life, or your life in general, if you are my focus, then I’m liberated. The point is, I am not the point, the be-all, the end-all of writing, or of living. My life is not about me.

As ego diminishes, courage increases. As concern for others becomes larger, my need to be larger than life (larger than I am) becomes smaller.

This insight is nothing new. Long before the internet made it possible to be humiliated instantaneously on the world stage, to be undone in the time it takes to press “tweet,” this idea was floated. Some 2,000 years ago, it was written, “Love casts out fear.” When I reach out to others in love, whether it be on a keyboard or around someone’s dining room table, I am without fear.

Well, maybe not without it. Perhaps just less dominated by it. I’m human, and it’s human to want to be loved. The prayer of St. Francis says it well: “Let me not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love.”

In the final analysis, we’re all “perfectly imperfect.” We do our best. And we’re dependent on the grace of God, which, thank God, rains abundantly.

Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace. 

 When We Don't Make the Grade

It was my last class of the week—my first week as a teacher.

“Ms. Metzger, you made a mistake when you totaled my score on the quiz. I earned an 87, not a 92,” the student said.

“Wow! How honest you are. I’ll fix it.”  

The student’s eyes widened. “You’re not supposed to fix it! Most teachers reward honesty by not changing the grade.”

I smiled. “Then I won’t change a thing.”

When life tests you and you score poorly, it’s safe to come to God and admit you only deserve a C. God is gracious. He doesn’t record your mark in some giant gradebook in the sky, fixed for all eternity.  One of the most essential aspects of prayer is to be yourself, to be real, to be honest. Intimacy is always based on transparency. If you want a deeper relationship, bare your heart and soul to God. (Nothing you say will be news to Him anyway.) 

Perhaps authenticity is most critical when you've goofed up. Owning up to your failure gives God opportunity to work miracles. He patiently labors to transform you. He provides the strength, wisdom, and courage to begin again. God loves you in spite of you and rewards your humility and trust with grace abundant. God promises to distance you from your mistakes “as far as the East is from the West” (Psalm 103:12).

I find looking at my moral mistakes difficult. I want to avoid the uncomfortable. Today, we say that shame is unhealthy, and it is. But that doesn’t mean that mental health lies in hiding our guilt or justifying our less than noble actions.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, formulated a daily practice called the Examen. It’s an examination of consciousness, not merely an examination of conscience. You ask yourself: How did I do today? Where did I find God? Where did I miss His presence and His promptings? What were my motives? What fears drove me? It’s a practice that demands candor and courage and leads to spiritual and emotional growth.

In dealing with everyday negative emotions, 12 Step programs recommend that you “Name it. Claim it. And Dump it.” (“I feel nervous. This fear belongs to me. I don’t need to keep carrying this burden.”) This simple little process can prevent burying feelings. When you bury your feelings “alive,” they tend to dig their way to the surface, where they can trip you up on your journey time and again.

The same process of naming, claiming, and dumping is healthy when dealing with everyday negative actions. Naming and claiming them before a Power greater than yourself gives you a power greater than your own to move on. You are granted a clean start. God makes all things new. 

Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace.






Romans 12:2




Twilight Zone (Or Lost)

I was five years old, squirming in my chair. My haircut successfully completed, I was waiting for my mom’s hair to be finished.

“Honey, do you want to walk home all by yourself?” Today Mom’s hairdresser would call Child Services, but we lived in a small town, it was a different time, and Mom’s offer seemed perfectly reasonable.

“302 Main Street,” I recited in my mind. There were no turns involved, and I headed out. I walked. Walked. Walked. I took a deep breath and walked. Walked. Walked.

The numbers were getting closer and closer to 302, but nothing looked familiar. Finally, there was the number “302,” a filling station! I stood before the building, tears streaming down my face. I had no possible explanation of where I was or what was happening. I was starring in the scariest episode of The Twilight Zone possible.

Someone was looking out for me that day. A nice woman at the filling station noticed my tears and drove me home. I had walked far enough in the wrong direction to end up at 302 West Main Street, not 302 East Main. Thankfully, the woman didn’t merely redirect me. She got in her car and took me home. She waited for me to go inside, where my mom was in a panic because I wasn’t there.

Do you remember the feeling of being lost? The confusion. The fear. Eventually, the panic.

When we are lost, emotionally or spiritually, all we need to do is reach out to God. The woman at the filling station that day was my God with skin on, revealing God’s character and care.

God sees our tears even before we shed them. He walks with us. Won’t leave our sides. If we wander off, He watches us, roots for us, moves heaven and earth to get us back on track. He places people in our paths that can show us the way.

The trick to the trek, to getting home safely, is to reach out to others and find God within. Self-sufficiency is an illusion. Without God, we separate ourselves from the fabric of our own being,"for in Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28 NIV). If we stay centered in God, we are our truest selves, and we save ourselves the agony of being lost.


Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace.


Divine Encounter

I Struggled to Give My Son a Faith I Didn't Have 

I flew out of bed at the sound of Brian’s chilling screams. My five-year-old sometimes had bad dreams, but this was different. The air in his room seemed charged with danger and dread.

“It’s okay, honey.” I sat on Brian’s bed and patted his hands. “I’m right here. It’s just a nightmare.” I tried to assure both of us. 

Brian’s body remained rigid with terror. I flicked on the overhead light, kissed his cheek,  and carried him to the rocker. Brian was inconsolable.

It occurred to me that I should pray. In fact, I should pray out loud. But what if I prayed, and God did nothing? Brian was just learning about God. I needed to protect his young faith against the slings and arrows of outrageous life. Sometimes God’s “mysterious ways” made me doubt his providence altogether. “It’s okay, honey. Really. Shhhh,” I hushed in motherly tones. But Brian’s fear was building, not abating.

“Sweetheart,” I said in desperation, “let’s talk to God about this.”

“Dear God,” I began.

Between the words “Dear” and "God," Brian’s little body went limp with peace. My prayer wasn’t compelling, memorable, or well-spoken—a lackluster string of words—but it didn’t matter. The moment, the meeting, belonged to my son and God. My prayer trailed off with a final “Amen.”

As I rocked my peaceful child, I realized I’d had a wake-up call. Not Brian’s terrified screams in the middle of the night, but a wake-up call concerning my lack of faith. After all, I’d been afraid to pray out loud with my son. I’d had so little trust that God would come through. Also, it seemed I was interpreting the struggles in my life as some sign of abandonment. When God’s answers weren’t what I’d hoped for, I felt He hadn’t answered at all.

Brian stretched, repositioned himself in my arms, and laid his head back on my shoulder. The warmth of his body comforted me.

I knew I had so much spiritual growing to do. I remembered the man in Scripture who asked Jesus to heal his son, telling Jesus, “I do believe. Help my unbelief“ (Mark 9:24 KJV). I could identify! If doubts are part of being human, if they are natural, I needed the supernatural. I needed God’s grace. I knew faith was a gift God longed to give.

Brian interrupted my thoughts, sitting upright in my lap. His eyes wide with wonder, his little voice solemn with awe, Brian whispered, “Mommy, how did He get here so quick?”  


Today, be aware.

God’s Life floods your heart.

It’s always Raining Grace.


Tune in to the Drama Within

Many of us have more or less sworn off "drama." We realize some people manufacture torment in their lives and relationships because it gives them something to do, enemies to fight, problems to gnaw on. We know there’s no need for such creative pursuits. There's genuine drama in living. We inhabit a world where life and death decisions are sometimes demanded, where people fall in love, become gravely ill, choose between good and evil. It’s not an uneventful, boring life! So we can say "no" to unnecessary theatrics and live in (relative) peace. And we’d be wise to limit our contact with drama-kings and queens lest we become an actor on their stage.

But to secure real peace, we need to tune in to our interior drama, the conversations, confrontations, and battles within us. We may need to participate in this drama until things quiet down inside, in our minds. Exterior peace means little if, interiorly, turbulence reigns. 

We earthlings grew up in an imperfect world. Our siblings and classmates weren’t saints, and our parents weren’t perfect. The voices of those early influencers still pipe up in our minds unless and until we’ve done some inner work. According to psychologist Donald Weaver, Ph.D., "We are each a committee of persons.” In our thoughts or self-talk, unrealistic demands from childhood are often still echoed by certain committee members. Many people have a relentless critic's voice within, broadcasting their shortcomings.

More significant than the danger of feeling oppressed, stressed, and depressed is the danger of thinking the voice of the demanding bully is the voice of God. A careful reading of the whole of Scripture tells us that God is compassionate, not a judgmental tyrant. God is love (1 John 4:8 NIV). Spending time with God confirms that message in our minds and, more importantly, in our hearts. Surely God will challenge certain behaviors, but the voice that says, "You'll never measure up!" is not His. Ask for God’s grace to discern what is of God. (Grace rains abundantly.) The inner voices need to be heard and some dissolved.

I had a reasonably good childhood, but (I tell myself) I’m sensitive. I made normal family dysfunction go a long way. At one point in my life, I discerned that I needed to be an involved, intervening parent to my somewhat trampled inner child, to stick up for the downtrodden within. I'd been more compassionate to other people in my life, a much more vocal advocate for them than I'd ever been for myself.

If you adopt the role of self-advocate and listen to your inner dialogue, you'll become an encourager, a comforter. You'll perform better when you're not abused. Decide to give the heckled and harried inner person a break. Actively stick up for your harassed committee member(s). Make sure a new, kinder voice rings through and rings true in your thoughts. A time will come when just awareness of what is going on inside your skin will be enough. You will find the bully or bullies are full of hot air, and even a look their way is enough to deflate them.

The more time you spend with God, the Source of all compassion, the easier it will be to be loving with yourself. The human predicament being what it is, sometimes the “least of your brothers,” the one you need to have mercy on, is yourself.

When you have compassion for yourself, there is more serenity inside, a peace of the Holy Spirit that is greater than the peace this world can give. It’s time to bloom in the sunshine of self love.


 Today, be aware.

 God’s Life floods your heart.

 It’s always Raining Grace.


 © 2021 Sally Metzger

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