Why God’s Grace Changes Everything 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. The law tells me how crooked I am. Grace comes along and straightens me out.” -Dwight Lyman Moody

There I was sitting along the curb adjacent to the supermarket shaking. I am sure I made quite a pitiful site – disheveled hair, mascara running, flip flops partly coming off. As I waited for the tow truck to move my car from the scence of the accident, two young women asked if I wanted them to buy me something to drink – lemonade, juice, or soda?

I thanked them profusely, and as my mind settled hours later, I began to liken the experience to God’s grace for us – unexpected, kind, loving, affirming, and showing up when we lest expect it.
He meets us right where we are, whether on a parking lot or on our bathroom floor. Ever fatihful, He guides us through each trial.

These past few years, I find my prayers are soaked with tears. I am believing for what I cannot see, and battling voices who would have me surrender to defeat. Each time I want nothing more than to wallow in sorrow, God sends a prophetic word, a sign I have asked for lately, or someone with a kind word. Grace in action, friends.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain… ” Hebrews 6:19 

Do you feel undeserving of the Father’s love today? Have you done something you say disqualifies you from being a candidate for redemption? I assure you, God is there, and He has been all along, waiting to hear your voice.

Your words need not be flowery or refined, just come as you are in this moment – broken, weary, confused, doubtful or frustrated. He knew these feelings would attempt to decimate your spirits before you were born. And He waits. God so longs to demonstrate the depth of His grace in our lives.

Relax. There is nothing you or I can do to earn it. Our assignment is simply accepting it and telling others they too can receive this tremendous gift. God’s Grace – infinite, expansive and rooted in radical love which defies all human understanding. I pray, friends, that like me, you will accept it. God is here, amid all the noise and messiness of our lives, waiting to comfort and restore your peace. 

Monday Motivation Moment: Nothing Moves Until You Do 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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The key to transforming all those what ifs floating around in your mind is both simple, and for many of us, difficult – taking action. Technology makes it easy to collect all this knowledge and sit on it. How many e-books, webinars, videos and online seminars have you attended? If you’re like me, a ton!

But at some point, y’all, if we want change, as desperately as we say, movement is essential. Without it, absolutely nothing gets done. Even faith is interconnected  with steps we take toward transforming our circumstances. 

Almost four years ago, I sat across from a woman I admire greatly, as I lamented  my current situation, sighs and all, she locked eyes with me and asked a question which transformed it all – “Do you have a plan? Because ‘being sick of it’ won’t change a thing.” I heard her, definitively, in that moment. As I walked back to the office in silence, I held on to an unshakable joy.

Over dinner my husband and I mapped out a clear plan. Within hours I transcended this block of seeming impossibility by taking action.

And you can, too. I believe in your potential. Refuse to leave this world adrift in a sea of what ifs, content to wonder, satisfied with being just close enough to your dreams, but not quite living them. You’re too brilliant to bury yourself at 25, 30 or 40 in mediocrity.

Four Steps to Help You Transform Frustration Into Movement:

Clarity: Develop a clear understanding exactly what you want to change. Is it a job, improved relationships, more skills in one area? Great! Understanding this fully is essential to your plan.

Focus: Now that you are clear, develo a laser focus on what you want to change. Eliminate distractions as much as possible. Give up that hour of TV to spend time in deep thought. This is where I pray and meditate, and ask God for direction.

Map It Out: Sit down with your journal, iPad or Kindle and break it down –
Goal (s) (changes you want to see)

Strategies (action steps needed to make the change possible) – Give yourself a time table to work with – 30 days, 60 days or 90 days.

Do Your Thang!: Every step is getting you closer to your goal so take consistent action towards your larger goal or goals daily.

P.S.

I just downloaded this amazing book by Mark Batterson, If: Trading Your If Only Regrets for God’s What If Possibilities, thanks to a recommendation from my Instagram friend, writer / clarity coach Tiffany Huff!

And it’s full of gems. One of my favorite quotes so far:

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness—you are more blessed than the millions who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation—you are better off than five hundred million people in the world.

If you can attend a church meeting, or not attend one, without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death—you are more blessed than three billion people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep—you are richer thhan 75 percent of this world.

If you have money in the bank or in your wallet, or spare change in a dish someplace—you rank among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy. If you can read this book—you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all. So count your blessings and remind everyone else how blessed we all are!

Listening for God’s Voice in Hard Times 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Artwork by Alyson Nailah Designs

Recently, fellow Our Words Collaborative writer, Ari Heick, wrote about the word God gave her for 2016, “relentless,” and how she is coming to understand this in a more expansive way: “God will answer my prayers and will fight all my battles for me. I need only to be still. I need only to be relentless in my pursuit of Him. I can let go of everything else without any guilt or shame. I am who God created me to be and there is no condemnation in that. I will release my worries to God. I will stop striving. I will stop trying to fix things or control things…”

Her devotional resonated deeply, and also reminded me of God’s word for us this year – breakthrough. He revealed it on a crisp autumn day. Mom and I drove with Nai to The Healing Rooms in Chevy Chase, MD. We were seeking prayer and healing for her. You see, the words do not always flow easily for our little one. She struggles to express herself verbally and for the past few years, as we cheer her on in speech and occupational therapy, we pray for deliverence, the complete unlocking of her voice.

This journey teaches us daily to embrace compassion, and see not with earthly eyes but spiritual ones, pressing through with unshakable faith. Often, friends, the experiences you and I label “mundane” such as conversations and self expression are miracles for others.

And so, on this brisk Saturday, a beautiful young African woman with skin the color of mahogany, ran up to us after our prayer, as Nai bounced around on the church playground, and insisted with quiet conviction, “God has a word for you all – it is breakthrough.” While the volunteers were praying for us, she said, “I prayed, too.” God had told her a breakthrough was coming not only for our precious Nai, but the entire family. Immediately, I ran and told Mom, my voice overcome with ecstatic delight, and soon after I texted my husband and two sisters, ending each sentence with exclamation points and joyful emojis.

For months I held on to this word, and then life, in all of its unjust fury, nearly trampled us. Frequent setbacks in various areas threaten to obscure our vision, but still, we press on and believe. Not long ago, I discovered a beautiful song by gospel singer and pastor Travis Greene, “The Hill.” Towards the end as he recounts several astounding testimonies, he says something which I now hold close to my heart: “Trust God too much to give up.”

Whatever word or purpose God has given you, friends, do not release it, pull it closer to you and declare this promise over every area of your life. Mom often reminds me, particularly during periods of frustration or despair, God must do a work in us and this takes time. Perhaps instead of a large breakthrough, in His infinite grace, God creates a series of breakthroughs, growing us spiritually, situation by situation, moment by moment.

One day while reading the book of Luke (18: 1-8), I discovered a persistent woman and in her tenaciousness and grit, I see myself. Maybe you find yourself in her as well? She is the widow who presses the judge relentlessly for a solution:

“Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Mancomes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Do not lose heart, no matter how large the mountain looms, or what the doctor gloomily reports. Above all, beloveds, believe God, for He alone is faithful and will deliver each of us from many obstacles, transforming them into opportunities for His presence to become magnified.

Prayer: 

Dear Lord,

Help me to shut out every voice and listen only for yours. Allow my days to be guided by your wisdom and direction, not consumed by worry and fear. Let me hear your words in nature, through people I meet, and allow me to see others as you see them – liberated and whole.

Open my heart to your grace, and forgive me for succumbing to weariness. I speak Jeremiah 29:11 over every challenge I encounter: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In Jesus mighty name, I pray, Amen.

Previously published at Our Words Collaborative where I am a monthly contributor, along with a tribe of other writers.