grace changes everything

what made me pause in the grocery aisle

what made me pause in the grocery aisle

Not too long ago I was struck with a deep thought, halfway between the stationery and the pop at my local grocery store.

Navigating the obstacle course that is the center aisle, I realized I was watching wobbly cart wheels, wan produce, cardboard displays – looking anywhere except the faces of the people I passed.

And the thought struck me . . . Why don’t I really look at people? Why do I go my merry way, skipping around live souls God created? How can I so easily walk past someone without truly seeing her?

I guess it’s just easier that way, easier not to get involved.

I mean, what if they don’t smile back? What if he thinks I’m staring? What if I see something I don’t know how to deal with – like supreme sorrow or listless eyes? What if she actually <gasp> started talking to me?

Or perhaps I’m too wrapped up in myself. Yes, it’s far from pristine, but after all it’s what I think of most of the time – my small, little life.

Or maybe, just maybe, I have nothing to offer them today: no smile, no nod, no hope. Only eyes as empty as theirs might be.

So, I hide behind shyness, glancing at pretty baubles and cardboard – ANYWHERE but at the faces.

Look sign

Later I read the story of the rich young ruler confronting Jesus, and I’m struck by the little “stage direction” before Jesus’ final line in this scene:

And Jesus, looking at him, loved him.  (Mark 10:21)

 Here’s Jesus confronted by a man hoping to gain the “Good Teacher’s” approval. Stopped in His tracks by a man eager to brag of the ways he’s been good and done good all his life. Jesus doesn’t laugh at him or nod disappointedly or tell him, “Seriously? You think you’ve kept every commandment perfectly since the day you were born? Oh brother!”

Jesus instead gives the Pause and the Look. He stops and truly SEES the poor, searching, young man. And when Jesus truly sees this man, He loves him.

I want to be so overwhelmed by this same love and grace toward me that I become proficient at the Pause and the Look.

My prayer? That even in a supercenter aisle, Jesus’ love will stop me in my tracks, discard silly only-me thoughts, and overflow onto others so I truly see them, and maybe, just maybe, they catch a glimpse of great grace.

Janna, Grace Embracer

P.S. Have you ever felt like you’re not truly seen?

sign photo: creative commons, courtesy of timlewisnm
child photo: public domain, courtesy of lisa runnels

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
can you hate religion but love jesus?

can you hate religion but love jesus?

I stumbled across an amazing testimony this week by a man who got fed up with a religious system that had little to do with God’s heart. Hmm, can you relate too?

See if this strikes a chord, this heart poem from a man who grew up in Christianity but never saw true grace until he realized religion and Jesus aren’t at all the same.

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 0 comments
why i like to call Him “Poppa”

why i like to call Him “Poppa”

I used to hear preachers claim,

The most important thing about you is what you believe about God.

My mental response was always, “Of course it is! I believe in God.”

But the view from here was of a supreme, all-knowing Being who looked down with a stern, wizened gaze. Never smiling much or laughing – at least not in my direction. Some days I knew He must sigh at my failure. Other times I was convinced He was shaking His head in disappointment.

So, every now and then I’d picture a loving father who cherishes and smiles on me in delight, but it was quickly overshadowed by my fear of disappointing Him.

Maybe my warped view of God stemmed Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in Discovering My True Identity, grace changes everything, 1 comment
stuck like a terrier with his leash in the seat crack

stuck like a terrier with his leash in the seat crack

When I take my Maltese-Yorkie, Buster, on a car ride he adores sticking his head out the window, and I have to confess I’m a sucker for the happy doggy grin he wears when the wind’s in his face.

He gets especially excited when he sees a dog on the sidewalk or a swift bicycler and gets so worked up he’ll jump back and forth over the back seat repeatedly. (Yes, I have a very high-energy dog. You don’t know the half of it.)

Without fail his leash gets stuck between the seats, and he’ll start to whine and scramble frantically with his paws even though the more he frets the tighter his leash sticks. I can’t untangle him until we park, and by that time he’s moping because he has to sit still until I jerk his leash from the seat crack.

I know how Buster feels–stuck in bondage to something I can’t control and can’t escape. Continue reading →

Posted by Janna Wright in grace changes everything, 2 comments
wanted: a soaked soul

wanted: a soaked soul

Can I let you in on a little secret? I have a black thumb. No, make that two black thumbs.

As much as I love to cook with fresh ingredients and would adore using fresh produce from my own garden, I’ve come to grips with the truth (only three wilted tomato plants, four dead herb seedlings, a couple of droopy cuttings, a bug-infested apple tree, and one stagnant avocado pit later). The sad truth: I cannot grow things. 

I tried this summer, really I did. For the third year, I potted a tomato plant. (Other Coloradans keep telling me how they don’t know what to do with all the tomatoes their voluptuous bushes yield. Yeah, secretly I kinda wanna smack ‘em.)

This year the plant was called Health Kick. You’d think a plant with health in the name would be, well, healthy, and produce beautifully, right? Continue reading →

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