By Grace Alone

By Grace Alone

The title of this post is based off the first lyric of a song I have loved for the past few months.

By grace alone,
somehow I stand,
where even angels fear to tread …

Invited by redeeming love,
Before the throne of God above …

Last night was by far the hardest night I have ever spiritually faced. I had come back into my bedroom to prepare for bed after having a conversation with my brother, and I could not have felt any further from the Lord.

What I had talked about with my brother left me feeling completely drained, because of where I had unintentionally veered the conversation. The more I said, the less I felt there is purpose in my life … and the more I believed there never would be.

He pulls me close,
with nail-scarred hands …
into His everlasting arms.

Many of the things I have desired and still desire in this life seem to take long periods of time to come to fruition. I ache from waiting, and struggle to see the beautiful, long thought-out reasons the Lord causes me to wait for things, to be still before Him and know that He is God.

I am constantly at a crossroad. Both ways lead to what I desire, but one is an agreeable distance, and the other seems to go on for miles. In fact, the latter seems to have no end, not one that is in sight, anyway. That’s the path the Lord calls me down, to trust in Him and the waiting.

Related Post: Cultivating A Joyful Life | Happy In The Waiting

Going my way – down the shorter path – will get me what I want right now, no strings attached. Or … so I think. I can’t fathom unforeseen details, situations and circumstances that only He knows.

So why can’t I trust Him?

When condemnation grips my heart,
and Satan tempts me to despair …
I hear the Voice that scatters fear …
the great I AM, the Lord, is here.

I hung back from writing this post this afternoon. I sat down at my desk to write, and couldn’t get what happened last night out of my head. I knew that to follow His leading, I had to be sharing this post today.

After that conversation with my brother, and I was alone in my room, something had changed. Everything in my room looked the same … because it was me that had changed. My eyes threatened tears, but none came.

I was deeply upset by the state of my life, mainly how I look at my future, which I often feel is nonexistent. The things I desire to be and have right now, are not present in my life, and I often convince myself they never will be.

I was so far in my thinking from the plans the Lord has that I had led myself to the edge of everything I know to be true.

I felt absolutely empty. The cup King David describes in Psalm 23 as running over … mine contained not even a single drop.

And it scared me.

There is a verse in Hebrews that has stuck with me for a very long time. The ending says this:

“…He [Jesus] was heard because of His reverence toward God [His godly fear, His piety, in that He shrank from the horrors of separation from the bright presence of the Father.” – Hebrews 5:7

During the times that I feel alone, because I have stepped so far away from my Lord and Savior, I feel empty and horrified. Being separated from that light … I am convinced that I have never felt anything more draining.

But it didn’t last long.

Oh, praise the One …
Who fights for me …
and shields my soul eternally.

He understands my shortcomings and everything that affects me. He knows absolutely everything there is to know about me – including the highest and lowest points in my entire life. He is fully equipped to lead me through the darkest valleys and across the mountain peaks of my existence … and through all the chaos, every tear I have ever said and every raw emotion that has seared through my conscience … He has been there through it all.

My life is full of many things … but I never desire disbelief to be one of them.

His extraordinary patience, love, and mercy is the reason I am not burdened by last night. He is the sole reason why my faith didn’t crash into the depths of hell at midnight on a sad Tuesday. When I found myself crying before falling asleep as I brought everything before Him, it was because of a release. He picked up the heavy weight that was on my shoulders and took them upon His own.

He is with us. And when we desire His love more than anything else, He always will be. If it takes me my entire life to realize that His plans for me are only good, I will still chase after Him with all that I am … for He is worthy of all my praise and so much more. By His grace alone is why I still stand.

I am honestly not sure how to end this post, as I am in tears yet again. ❤ But I would love to know in the comments below:

What times has the Lord brought you through?

— Maggie

She’ll Be Here So Soon! | Little Life Updates

She’ll Be Here So Soon! | Little Life Updates

Hi guys, and happy Tuesday to you! ❤ How’s your week going so far? 🙂 I hope you’re well. I wanted to do a quick post on this lovely afternoon to let you know what’s been going on with me and my family over the weekend. ❤ Hope you enjoy!

As you might know, my mom is pregnant with my last little sibling (once the baby is born, I’ll be the oldest of five kids!), and my mom will actually be full-term tomorrow. It is quite possible that the baby will be born in the next week or so – tonight is even a possibility, haha!

We have been getting things ready here at the house (as I talked about in this post), and the anticipation has slowly gotten stronger. We all can’t wait to meet her, and I am truly looking forward to how Elizabeth (she’s 1 1/2) will respond to there being a baby in the house! I’m sure she’ll love her, but Elizabeth’s responses to things are always so sweet and usually surprising.

Late on Sunday afternoon, my mom was quite certain she was going into labor. The contractions were very close together, so she and my dad went to the hospital while Joshua and I stayed at the house with Samuel and Elizabeth. They were there from five to around midnight, and as the contractions had stopped and labor wasn’t progressing, they came home.

It was a whirlwind of an evening to say the least, haha! It was stressful at times, but as a whole, everything went well with them, and with us as the house, as well.

We have no idea when she will have the baby, but it will definitely be soon. I can almost sense that it’s coming, which may mean that it could be in the next few days, which would be awesome! I know how hard the last trimester is because I know how my mom felt when she was in the last month or two of pregnancy with Samuel and Elizabeth, so I’d love for the baby to go ahead and be born so that we can meet her and my mom will feel better. ❤

It would bless me so much if you could keep me and my family (especially my mom and the baby!) in your thoughts and prayers! I’ll let you guys know as soon as I can when she has been born:)

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a blessed rest of your day. xx

— Maggie

What I’m Reading This Week | January 15th, 2018

What I’m Reading This Week | January 15th, 2018

Hey there, guys! I’m praying that your week has gotten off to a great start. 🙂 ❤ As some of you may have seen in another post, my main personal goal for this year is to simply read more. While I would love to apply this to my part in the blog community, as well (I could always read more blog posts, haha), this semi-resolution is a reminder for myself to read great literature. Whether that’s a work of fiction, a Shakespearean play, or a biography, I’m up to reading whatever I find at the library that interests me, granted that I make time out of my day for it.

In this post series, which may become a bi-weekly or monthly post that I share, I will be going over, put simply, what I have been recently reading! I have taken some lovely pictures of the books I’ve been enjoying, and I wanted to share them with you guys.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of these books yourself! ❤ Now, let’s check them out. 🙂

What I’m Reading This Week

Just Finished: Toss The Bouquet

This is a lovely wedding short story collection I found while browsing my favorite library at the beginning of this month. It was by absolute chance that I came across it, as I was pushing Elizabeth around in the stroller so that my mom could browse freely without Elizabeth crying. The title happened to catch my eye as I breezed past it in my task of keeping the stroller moving constantly, haha, so I turned back around and grabbed it, reading the summary as I went.

I don’t like to describe books in full detail, because my joy as a reader has been dampened many times by a too-thorough review or back cover, lol. However, I will say that if you would enjoy reading about weddings, this is the short story collection for you! The first story has great characters, the second one has a great plot, and the third has great characters and a great plot. I highly recommend it!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Reading Now: The Virginian by Owen Wister

GUYS. I accidentally found this book while browsing a library I don’t usually go to, and on a whim, without even knowing what it was about except that it looks like a western, I decided to give it a chance. I doubt I have ever been more delighted in a book before!

There have certainly been great novels I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the past, but since I knew not a thing of its plot or characters going into it, everything is a lovely surprise in The Virginian, and man, the humor of the author/narrator is extraordinary. It is so many genres wrapped into one novel, but the running theme is still certainly western.

This book is to me, as one of my favorite librarians calls it, a “lost classic” – why I’ve never heard of this novel, which was written in 1903, is beyond me. It is too good to be lost among other great books!

Current rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Honorable Mention: Under God
by Michael Tait and Toby Mac

Haha, I call this an ‘honorable mention’ because I’ve read the first multiple chapters, but have yet to really get into it. I have a funny relationship with learning about history, because while I love discovering new information and insight into the ways of the past, I have a harder time getting into the wording and focus than other areas of literature. Still, this one is worth mentioning, and I will make my way through it if it takes me a month, because the focus of this American history book is on how our country was formed on godly principles. It’s unlike any other book I’ve read, and I LOVE it. If this sounds interesting to you, it’s written really well. I’m definitely enjoying it!

Current Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Bookshelf Read Of The Month:
Poirot and Me by David Suchet

One of the side goals I have for this year is to read at least one book that I own once a month. This would help me to make my way through new reads or re-reads I’ve been putting off for the longest time, and would also encourage me to donate books I don’t enjoy anymore, haha! While I wouldn’t consider myself a book collector, there are definitely titles I’ve kept on my shelf longer than others would deem necessary. Still, with this encouragement, I hope to have read every book that I own, because it’s rather pointless to have so many books in my room still unread. xD

As you saw in the picture, Poirot and Me is the book I’ve chosen for January. If I really don’t like it, I’ll pick another book to read, but I’ll give it another shot.

Thank you so much for reading! I enjoyed compiling these books, as reading has become a hobby of mine again over the past month, which is so wonderful. 🙂 If you’ve decided to read more this year, as well, you’ll have to let me know what you’ve been reading in the comments below!

Happy blogging – and reading!

— Maggie