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Jan 25 2013

Blessing Journal Fridays Week Two…finding His Grace in the messiness of our days

My Day One Blessing Journal Entry ~Mary Joy

Welcome to Week two of our Blessing Journal Challenge!

This article will be divided into three parts:

1– A devotion/sharing from how God has been working in my life this week.

2– Five Days of suggestions for Journal entries for Adults

3– Five Days of suggestions for Journal entries for Children

I hope this helps and encourages you in your journaling.

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Devotion/Sharing

As I look back on this week, I am humbled and awed at how God was present with me each step of the way…even when I didn’t realize it until afterward.

It has been a rough week for me…my life can be very messy…as most of life can be at times.

I found myself getting overwhelmed, feeling lonely, and discouraged mixed in with moments of excitement, joy, and feeling so loved.  It was a week of roller coaster emotions and experiences.  Someone in our house has been sick for the past two weeks and then a week before that the stomach flu hit our house.  We had made it more than six months with no illness and then got hit hard this past month.  This week, it was my turn.

The nights and days of taking care of littles who were sick, sleepless nights attempting to sleep on the couch with one of them on the loveseat a.cross from me and the other right around the corner in his room so that I could keep an eye on them…had caught up with me. I was exhausted, feeling physically out of sorts, battling burning pain in my upper back, and just feeling overwhelmed…which all resulted in me losing my losing my cool and coming unglued with the boys.  No matter what I did, we encountered issue after issue…schooling issues…parenting issues…whining issues…runny noses…fevers…and I didn’t see how I could hang on one more day.

Did God really think I could do this life without my husband at my side?

Was He serious???

How could I possibly survive this let alone wade through the challenges of parenting, homeschooling, finding an ounce of structure during days of illness, or find an ounce of strength or energy for that matter??!!!

I was lonely…discouraged…frustrated…overwhelmed.  I needed help!

I got on Facebook and poured out my heart.  A dear friend saw my post and wrote me a private message.  She spent time encouraging me, listening to me, empathizing…and then got practical and said, “Mary let’s figure out a plan to get you through this.”

Do you know that is exactly what my husband would have done had he been here with me? ((tears))

Once again God answered my prayers.  I knew He was here but I needed a flesh and blood person to talk things out with…I had cried out for just this and once again God answered with a friend who I have known since college.  We talked it out, came up with a workable plan and she committed to pray for me this week and check in with me periodically to see how I am doing.

He hears and answers our cries!

With all of the illness and bad weather around our place, we haven’t been able to get to church for the past two Sundays and this Sunday isn’t looking good at the moment if I can’t get my fever down. I treasure my Sunday mornings with my church family.  My Will had an office/studio here at our house.  He was home with us almost every day.  Our days were filled with amazing conversation, mutual help and encouragement, walking our journeys together.  I miss that a lot and I have been praying for more opportunities to build relationships with other Christian women and have encouraging conversation at times other than just Sunday morning that works with our schedule. (Evenings are tough for me due to pain and exhaustion being worse at that time of day.)

Monday night I got another message on Facebook from another friend.  This one lives just a few miles from me.  She invited me to join her Tuesday Morning Women’s Bible Study group who are starting a Beth Moore Deuteronomy Study this coming week.  They provide babysitting and don’t have a problem with Josh coming along for that since he is homeschooled. Wow!

Once again God was right on time!

Later that night I came across this verse from Isaiah…

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Wow! It was as if He was speaking directly to my cries to Him that night.  I knew right then it would be my verse for Day One of my Blessing Journal.

Throughout the week, God found ways to directly answer prayers through providing for our physical needs…providing for companionship and conversation and support through friends…providing strength to get through each day and night…providing wisdom and confirmation through friends sharing their own experiences with me…His wisdom even speaking to me in a Christian novel I was reading this week.

But above all, I began to use the time I struggled to sleep at night calling out to Him and then finally shutting my mouth and opening my ears and heart to hear His voice…His wisdom…His forgiveness…His encouragement…His presence.

The reason I committed to myself to create a Blessing Journal this year was to help me to stay focused on the blessings in my life and getting the focus off of myself more and more and listen to His leading to bless others…help others…encourage others.

But I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t have some accountability with it, the Blessing Journal would be another project that got a great start and then set aside…and this time it could mean that the fog of depression that I struggle to overcome on a daily basis would have a better chance of surrounding me.

Focusing on my blessings helps me more than I can describe.  It shines a light on how God is actively working in my life every single day…even on especially on the days when I am struggling the most.

I hope me sharing my journey with my Blessing Journal on Blessing Journal Fridays gives you some hope and encouragement that in the midst of whatever you are facing…whatever challenges…pain…heartache…depression…trials…success…the daily messiness of life…God’s Grace is right there with you.

Each week starts off with delving into God’s Word for a reason.  If we take the verse or passage from Day One with us as we work our way through the messiness of life the rest of the week, we just might be amazed at how real His Words become…how relevant and powerful.

So how did your first week go?  Did you get a rocky start?  Forget to start? No problem!

The beauty of this Blessing Journal journey is that there is no such thing as being behind!  Each day you start where you are.  No need to catch up!  No feeling guilty to worry about what someone might “think of you” for missing a few days or a week.  Just get back up.  Dust yourself off and continue on.

So on that note…let’s get started with Week Two.

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Blessing Journal Entries for Adults

Day One  Spend some time in God’s Word and find a verse or a passage that speaks to your heart about how His GRACE is real and there for you every single day.  Write it down as a journal entry or in a creative, artsy craftsy way.  Whatever works for you.  Each of us is different.  How you do it isn’t as important as that you take the time to write it down to remember.  If you are in a Blessing Journal Group take a moment to share your verse with the rest of the group to encourage them too.  If you are not in a group, find someone to share it with who might find some encouragement from it too.  You can even share it on the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Page if you want to!  We would love to hear about it!

Day Two  Write down the definition of Grace.  Take a moment to look back over your day and see how God blessed you with His Grace during a challenging time during this day or the last few days.  Write a few sentences telling about what happened so that you will remember how He was with you.

Day Three  Write a prayer of thanks to God for His gift of Grace.  Don’t make it complicated…make it real.  Remember prayer is conversation with God.  It isn’t about fancy language.  Thank Him for three things from that day or three things you learned or three times you felt him with you.

Day Four  Ask God to show you a relationship or situation in which you may not have treated someone with the same gift of Grace that He offers you.  Then take a few moments and ask Him to forgive you and help you to remember He loves you with grace no matter what you do and we need to do the same with the people in our lives and soak in His amazing gift of forgiveness.  Write a journal entry about this experience of feeling the forgiving grace of God.

Day Five  Think about a relationship in your life in which you struggle to handle with His Grace.  Do you tend to be short with people (your husband, other adults or your children if you have any) when you are tired or frustrated?  Is it hard for you to extend the same forgiveness that God extends to you when someone does something that upsets you or pushes your buttons?  Make a point to find an opportunity to offer them forgiveness or gentle response to them instead of how you might usually respond to them today.  Journal about it after you have done it.  How do you feel while doing it?  How do you feel afterward?

If you do not have children or if they are not participating in this please skip down to the bottom of this article now.

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Blessing Journal Entries for Children

Day One  Spend some time reading your Bible to find verses about God’s Grace.  Find one about how His GRACE is real and there for you every single day.  Write it down as a journal entry or in a creative, artsy craftsy way.  Whatever works for you.  Each of us is different.  How you do it isn’t as important as that you take the time to write it down to remember.  Share it with your family.

Day Two  Write down the definition of Grace. Have your parent(s) help you if you need it.  Take a moment to look back over your day and see how God blessed you and blessed you even when you may not have deserved it today or in the last few days.  Write a few sentences telling about what happened so that you will remember how He was with you.

Day Three  Write a prayer of thanks to God for His gift of Grace.  Don’t make it complicated…make it real.  Remember prayer is conversation with God.  It isn’t about fancy language.  Thank Him for three things from that day or three things you learned or three times you felt him with you.

Day Four  Ask God to show you a relationship or situation in which you may not have treated someone with the same loving response God gives you when you do something wrong. Then take a few moments and ask Him to forgive you and help you to remember He loves you with grace no matter what you do and we need to do the same with the people in our lives and soak in His amazing gift of forgiveness.  Write a journal entry about this experience of feeling the forgiving grace of God.

Day Five  Think about a relationship in your life in which you struggle to handle with His Grace.  Do you tend to be short with people (your parents, other adults, your friends or brothers and sisters) when you are tired or frustrated?  Is it hard for you to extend the same forgiveness that God extends to you when someone does something that hurts your feelings or makes you angry?  Make a point of responding to them with kindness when you want to snap back at them or to forgive them when it is hard to do. Journal about it after you have done it.  How do you feel while doing it?  How do you feel afterward?

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If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in a comment here or send me a message on Facebook at Unwrapping His Grace. 

I hope you find these entry guides helpful.  If they don’t work for you write about what the Lord is putting on your heart that day.  Just remember, the idea is to stay focused on how He is real and present in the middle of the messiness of our lives and let that bring us hope!

Have a great week!

I would love to hear how things went for you this past week if you would like to share with me in the comments here!  Each of your comments makes my day!

Don’t miss a single post! Take a moment to sign up for the free updates through your E-Reader or in your email.  And be sure to join the Unwrapping His Grace Facebook Community where you will find daily updates, Scripture, encouragement and opportunities to share prayer requests or follow us on Twitter!

Dancing at the foot of the Cross,

Mary Joy

Be sure to come back for Encouragement in His Word on Sunday and Marriage Mondays for more encouragement along our journeys. God bless you!

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/2013/01/25/blessing-journal-fridays-wk-2-finding-his-grace-in-the-messiness-of-days/

  • rachellenichols

    Thank you for your transparency. I really enjoy reading and hearing how God is such a present help in your family’s life. It is a blessing to me. Isaiah 41:10 is one of my favorite verses. I remember when He showed me that verse when He told me to resign from my job with no new job lined up. He told me that He would help me and hold me up. Needed this reminder tonight as I struggle with trusting Him day to day when I don’t understand what He’s doing. Thanks again, and I journal all the time and will try the exercises you have mentioned. Blessings and hugs to you.
    -Rachelle

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Rachelle,

      Thank you for commenting and sharing your heart story with me! I am so blessed by it. I know that it can be very hard to not worry or stress over when we don’t know what God is doing next in our lives or how things will work out. I struggle with that one too at times. Anxiety is something that is a very real struggle for me. This verse is such a wonderful way to get back in focus. I am SO glad that it helped you when you needed it. Letting God have the steering wheel and ride with Him without being able to see the map of where He is taking us can be very hard sometimes. I will be praying for you. I know it had to be extremely hard for you to do what you did to follow His leading in your job situation. I pray He continues to bless you and show you His provision and that you grow closer to Him in the process. Looking back once we come out of trying times the picture is so much more clear…it is the daily trusting, hourly trusting that can be so hard at times. You are in my prayers. I hope the exercises help you to focus on and see anew how His is actively working in your life.

      Blessing to you!!!

      Mary Joy

  • Helen Tisdale

    Mary Joy! This post was such a joy for me to read first thing this morning! Journaling is such a wonderful part of my life! Your experience & ideas are so great! I think I’ve told you how I struggle with maneuvering on the computer. Thinking I need to file this information you are giving in one place! It is just precious! Thankyou. I am so behind on my email readings because of that bug hitting me over a week ago. But thanks be to God, I am gaining my strength back!

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Helen,

      You are such a blessing! I am so glad that you are enjoying this series and finding it helpful in your journaling. I am trying to make things easier for people to keep up with this series without having to find them. Just go to the “Blog Series” Tab at the top of the website right under our quilts picture. You will find a link to all of the posts in this series there for you to retrieve whenever you need them. I hope that helps. And I pray you feel better soon. I know how it can steal your strength!

      God bless you!

      Dancing at the foot of the Cross,

      Mary Joy

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      I am so glad that you were blessed, Helen! God is working in me during this series as I lead it. I am blessed to share the process with all of you and pray it encourages you. In order to keep things simple for everyone following our Blog Series, like Blessing Journal Fridays, we set up a “Blog Series” Page here on the website. Just click on the Blog Series Page Tab at the top of the website under the quilt picture and it will bring you to a list of the series we have that folks are interested in following. This one is on it. Just click on the link there and it will take you to all of the articles written in this series. I hope that helps simplify things for you.

      God bless you!

      Mary Joy

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  • mariagaglio

    mary joy thank you for sharing r struggles with us and giving me the strength to get through my own.i look forward to reading your journal entries how God is working in your life. i too have had a rough week but God does always get us through it! God is so good! i pray you are doing to have a blessed day and thank you for blessing my morning with your wisdom and strenght.

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      Maria, I am so sorry that I missed responding to your beautiful comment. I hope you will forgive me. You are so right! God is with us to get us through every moment of the rough times. I pray you feel Him carrying you through each day. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your week’s journey with me. God bless you. You have blessed me so much with your comment.

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy