A Generous Grace

ideas on practical spirituality and loving each other

Tag: peace

Freebie Friday: FREE Printable Chalkboard Art–God, Give Us Discomfort, Anger, and Foolishness

This week, I’m moving back from Africa to the U.S. Rather than writing you a half-baked post, I opted for chalkboard art–an artistic version of this challenging Franciscan benediction:

Free printable chalkboard art God discomfort anger foolishness Franciscan blessing

 

God, give us discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that instead we may live deep within our hearts.

Grant us anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may wish for justice, freedom, and peace.

Bless us with enough foolishness to believe we can make a difference in the world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

May God encourage you wherever you’re at, changing your little corner of the world for His renown.

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I’d rather be whining: Complaining vs. Healthy, Honest Expression

I toppled into it this morning without a clue. Actually, it was before that: The electricity had snapped off sometime in the middle of the night, my husband and I groaning as the fan’s blades slowed and quieted, leaving a stuffy heat beneath our mosquito net that I knew would make it challenging for him to sleep well.

In the morning, I cooked pancakes and eggs by candlelight; by 9 AM the lack of electricity to the water pump at the bottom of our hill meant we were without water in the kitchen sink, too—after nearly a week of alternating lack of power and water. Grr. The kids had forgotten to plug in the “school” laptop last night, so mine was the option for homeschool, i.e. getting my own work done in the afternoon did not seem in the cards. I scrambled through phone calls before my phone battery died. The power company wasn’t picking up.

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12 Ways to Pray for Your Child’s Teachers (FREE printables!)

12 ways to pray text

In celebration of the new school year–and since many of you are new to this blog in the last year–I’m reposting these specific prayers for these individuals who powerfully influence our kids, families, and communities day after day. 
Download this list free here as a pdf–great for Bible studies, personal use, or this format for church bulletin inserts. I’m hoping it’s a great way to kick off loving on the teachers in our lives and cheering them on throughout the year. Please share if you find this useful!   -Janel

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Friday quotables #4/Freebie Fridays: FREE printable chalkboard art!

 

Philippians 4 6-7 chalkboard-page-001

I wish that writing about my anxiety actually meant I didn’t wrestle with it anymore… I find the need to meditate on the words you, too seemed to resonate with in The Scribbled Heart: Fear-parenting vs. Faith-parenting.

So today’s quotable is from The Message–with a free chalkboard printable of these sweet words about worry: Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns…It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. (Philippians 4:6-7)

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Friday quotables #3/Freebie Fridays: FREE printable chalkboard art!

Elisabeth Elliot circumstances quote-page-001

Today’s quotable is from Elisabeth Elliot–with a free chalkboard printable of this anchoring truth:

The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances.

-Elisabeth Elliot

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Turn here: Roadsigns for a Grateful Happiness

A friend of mine who eventually lost his wife, and the mother of his four children, to Lou Gehrig’s disease once recalled to me a profound moment with God. While he still cared for her as her body spiraled downward, he had lain on his bed, overcome by loss.

But God seemed to be pointing him toward thanks. Not able to immediately turn to full-on gratitude, my friend simply started small. He thanked God for the ability to breathe; for the bed he wept on; for the air conditioning. From there, his gratitude snowballed, steering him into praise.

My friend’s attitude has revolutionized my approach to my bad days; to my pain.

 

thank you neon sign

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6 ways to pray for your kids (and yourself) when you actually want to tear your hair out (with FREE printable!)

6 ways to pray

  1. Be the Prince of Peace in my home. Be my Wonderful Counselor; be the Mighty God who controls my home. Let me love and parent as you do, Everlasting Father (Isaiah 9:6). Let my peace come from you rather than my circumstances.
  2. “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3)
  3. Lord, be the One who controls me—not my emotions. Help me keep in step with your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Let me hear you.
  4. Let my anger be a constructive, precise tool of Your Kingdom—not a destructive tool of my own kingdom.
  5. Change my kids’ hearts and my own, not just our behavior. You’re the only One who can truly change us from the inside out (see Matthew 23:25; Psalm 51:10, Jeremiah 24:7). Make our hearts soft! Bring us true, life-giving sorrow that brings us to live differently (2 Corinthians 7:10).
  6. You are mighty to save me not simply out of this situation, but through it. You give us everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2). Help us honor you here!

PRINT IT FREE HERE!

how to pray for your kids and yourself when you feel like tearing your hair out-page-001

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If it makes you happy: Why happiness doesn’t equal good lovin’

If it makes you happy

Maybe it was the most obvious with the guy who showed up at my gate a couple of years back. When I (um, naively) requested our guard open the gate for him, the guard respectfully bowed his head, an unspoken “no.” Maybe I should have been tipped off by the sweat beading on our visitor’s forehead, or the darting of his eyes as he presented me with the medical bill for his daughter, being treated for typhoid.

I remember praying fitfully while I listened to him, for wisdom from the God who actually knew this guy’s story. From what I know about African ways with money, Super White Woman! swooping in to save the day seemed to disintegrate what his community did actually have to offer. I declined his offer for cash. He turned away, angry and possibly hopeless (I thought) that he was no closer to a solution for his daughter.

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9 ways you might be cannibalizing your personal conflicts, Part I

cannibalizing conflicts

I’m grateful to Peacemakers and their superb conflict coaching trainings for many of these invaluable insights.

Conflict is everywhere. And as my desires and, well, sin runs into other people’s, in conflict spoken or unspoken–I’m realizing something. Godly responses to conflict are pretty much all counter-natural–or more specifically, super-natural.

They beg an overhaul of what I typically want to do: You know, stuff like hand someone the silent treatment they have so justly deserved. Eloquently let my children (and possibly the neighbors) know exactly HOW they have trodden on my kingdom. Burn a bridge that isn’t that important to me anyway, I’ve decided.

Conflicts are full of such…loss. But would you believe me if I told you they’re an opportunity?

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