one girl's journey to let go of the rulebook and embrace her already abundant life

Grace is an Island (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

digital art by nienor

island in a storm by nienor

I am pulled by the tides. Battered by the waves. Tossed about by circumstance. Worn down by the struggle.

Like Paul I cry out, “I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (Romans 7:19-20, The Message)

I forget all that I have learned about floating. And I surrender to the flailing. The attempted saving of myself from what feels like drowning in a sea of stress. Never considering to check if my feet could touch the bottom of what might simply turn out to be only a momentary pool of pressure.

Gasping for breath. Thrashing my body from side to side. Reaching for an anchor. Settling instead for sugar.

And what I already knew about myself and my drug of choice was proven true again. It only takes a little to make me want a lot.

I allowed it for a day or two. It’s Christmas, I reasoned. Nothing more than I can handle, I pretended.

Knowing with each and every bite that I had awakened my addict persona. And that she would not go down easily.

So I braced for the storm. For the onslaught of shame and guilt. To be knocked back and forth against the stones of “shouldn’t have” and “how could you” and “you’ll never change.”

I set my jaw, tensed my muscles, and lowered my head for the coming punch.

But the punch did not come. The winds did not howl. The sea did not swallow me.

Because Grace came instead.

And where I expected to be pushed face-first into the sand, Grace lifted me.

Where my lungs had filled with salt-water, Grace replaced it with the Breath of Life.

Where Shame wanted to scream obscenities at my mistakes, Grace simply said, “Let’s start again.”

With a gentle hand, Grace set me on an island. A solid rock in the middle of the sea.

Here the tides only ebb and flow at the shore. The waves do not overtake me.

Here the breezes sing this song.

Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin.

p.s. I did not intentionally plan for my last post of 2014 to be focused on my Word of the Year: Grace. But it’s a fitting finale, indeed. I have found nothing anything close to comparable to selecting One Word each year to keep me focused. Partner it with a scripture, and the power multiplies. I’ll be announcing my 2015 Word soon, but I am spending these days praying that YOU would meet with The Spirit to come to agreement on One Word for the new year. And that you would have the courage to embrace it, then allow Him to unfold it in you over the coming days.


The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!

30 Responses to “Grace is an Island (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)”

  1. Mary Geisen says:

    These words are just what I needed to hear today. God blesses us each with powerful words that He uses to strengthen us and to guide us when life is too much. Grace was that word for you and it has also been an integral word for me in my journey as a child of God. Thank you for your prayers as I listen to God to confirm my one word for 2015. Happy New Year blessings and thank you for the link up which I am joining for the first time.
    Mary Geisen recently posted…Delight or DespairMy Profile

  2. What a way with words you have- just beautiful. Thank you for transparently sharing your struggles and pointing to His saturating grace. Stopping by from the Three Word Wednesday linkup.:)
    Katie Reid (@ImprintsKatie) recently posted…You Read To Me & I’ll Read To YouMy Profile

    • Beth says:

      So glad you came by, Katie. I am learning that if my life is to point to a Redeemer, I must be willing to share what He has redeemed me from. I look forward to connecting with you more at TWW.

  3. Yes! Grace indeed – for your sugar and my caffeine 😉
    Praying for One Word as well. Thanks for hosting this gathering, Beth.

  4. I’m stunned at the beauty of ending your year here – in grace. The grace you’ve been learning to know more this year. The grace that came, in the end, instead of shame. It fills me with wonder and gratitude and awe. You know I don’t throw this out casually, but there is nothing more to say, but – God is good, friend. All the time.

    I can hardly wait to see you in five months…

    Amber @ Beautiful Rubbish recently posted…On earthy hope, cocoons and the edges of wildnessMy Profile

  5. Sharon says:

    Beth, I identify with that crazy thrashing. Anxiety does that to me. So often, though, I also forget to maybe just try floating.

    I’m grateful that God ended your year with a special touch of His grace. I just posted about my 2014 year of joy. And, when I reflect back, that is what He has given me. I have a word that will take me into 2015, which I’ll be revealing next week. One thing I do know is that God will surprise me with nuances of its meaning in ways that will touch me deeply. Can’t wait to hear yours.

    Happiest New Year, and may God truly bless you and yours with the truth of His grace, the peace of His joy – and the fullness of all that He is!


    • Beth says:

      How wonderful to hear that God used JOY to speak to you in special ways this past year. Joy and Grace together are powerful antidotes to the anxiety that threatens to overwhelm us. (P.S. Float was my word in 2012 and it has never left me. I am sure Grace will stay, too.)

  6. Joanne Viola says:

    “Because grace came instead.” It’s amazing to realize all that His grace brings to our lives. I also do One Word & find myself learning lessons all throughout the year which weave that word into the fabric of my soul. I look forward to reading about your word for 2015 for no matter the word, it will surely be a journey with Him! Blessings!
    Joanne Viola recently posted…Goodbye, One Word 2014My Profile

  7. Dana Butler says:

    Hey sister, so much about this post resonates with me. Thanks for keepin’ it so real, for letting His grace and His glory be showcased in your weak places. He loves us so well, doesn’t He? Gosh… I so adore Him… Anyway, just thank you…
    Dana Butler recently posted…One Thing I Know for Sure {on living soft under pressure}My Profile

    • Beth says:

      I surprise myself sometimes with how much “realness” I let come out, Dana. It’s only because it is always received with such grace from friends like you. And because, yes, He does love us so well.

  8. Jennifer Mayeu says:

    I am so thankful for God’s grace and the new beginnings He supplies every single day. Thank you for your words. I’m praying for my One Word for 2015, and looking forward to His revealing. Blessings Beth!

  9. Jodi says:

    What beautiful words. It sounds like your word of Grace has truly taken root in your heart this year. I look forward to hearing about your choice for next year.
    Jodi recently posted…My One Word for 2015: PersistMy Profile

    • Beth says:

      Oh, yes, Jodi. Grace has dug in deep over the year, and I’m excited to see the fruit it produces in the days again. Looking forward to following you as you Persist in 2015.

  10. Lisa notes says:

    “Because Grace came instead.”

    Ah, this Breath of Life. I feel it brushing in and out of me, too. Let’s start again. So thankful for fresh starts with the Lord. Thanks for hosting us these past few weeks.

    I have my One Word for 2015 ready, but still marinating in specific verses about it. Such a richness in spending a year with God through one word….
    Lisa notes recently posted…14 Favorite Posts from 2014My Profile

    • Beth says:

      The practice of One Word has been life-changing for me, too, Lisa. Can’t wait to read more about what you and God will be working on in 2015.

  11. Barbara says:

    Beautiful words, Beth! Grace was a beautiful word to begin – and end – your year! Can’t wait to see what your new year’s word will be! I will be following…not sure that I’ll try the “Word of the Year” link-up; but will be following!

  12. Beth S. says:

    I believe but help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24) because there is still a part of me that thinks He will one day give up on me. But I know the truth and the truth will set me free (John 8:32). So grateful for His grace.
    Having a melancholy start to my morning but God is good!
    Much love to you.
    Beth S. recently posted…A Christmas WishMy Profile

  13. But Grace came instead. So grateful for those times in my own life.
    Kristin Hill Taylor recently posted…The 2014 Book ListMy Profile

  14. Oh Beth. Every day is a holy do over. New mercy. Grace. I’m glad the Lord spoke this to you. Happy New Year!
    Michelle Anderson recently posted…December 29My Profile

  15. Joe Pote says:

    “Grace that is greater than all my sin.”

    Yes! Grace, indeed.

    I love that old song…and I love this post.

    Thank you, Beth!
    Joe Pote recently posted…The One RingMy Profile


  1. One Thing I Know for Sure {on living soft under pressure} | Dana L. Butler - […] Linking my heart tonight with those in Kelli’s community, hosted at Beth’s place this month. ‘Cause I just pretty much …

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