Hearts Full of Grace, Souls Generated by Love

Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is simply one of my favorite people. If you haven’t watched Selma, I would highly recommend it. Get yourself a box of tissues and a friend to process with. Looking back on the history of race and America is not for the faint of heart.

People can be so wicked, cruel and ignorant. Fear does crazy things to people. The tension for me is in asking the question: what would I do? Great books and movies force me to ask this question. What would I do, really? And more frequently than I care to admit, I’ve found that I might not be the right side of justice, love, or understanding. I don’t know that I would have been willing to march, speak up, go to jail, or put my family at risk. The luxury in looking backwards is that you can see the outcome and know what steps to take. The reality of living in the moment is that you have to risk a lot and overcome many fears to make the right decision.

My prayer and hope is that I would have a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. For me, one of the ways I try to do this is by increasing my time with Jesus and taking care of myself. This month, I’ve had 2 retreats.  One was a New Year retreat and the other was a Silent Retreat. Both were SO good. One started by looking backwards and bringing me to my now and the other started with my now and looking ahead at what’s to come.

The first retreat was at Awaken Community Church. It’s a covenant church in St. Paul off of West 7th. It’s a community of incredible artists and deeply thoughtful people where I feel like I am both loved and pushed to pursue Jesus out in the world. It’s been a great space for me to process, think and generally figure out what’s next for me. It’s been exactly what I’ve needed in this season.  At the retreat we were asked to study Luke 24:13-35.  It’s the story of 2 friends who are walking on the road to Emmaus. They are sad and have lost hope because of Jesus’ death. They don’t yet believe that Jesus is alive.
When I placed myself in the story, would I have been sad and hopeless on the road or would i have stayed in Jerusalem with hope for more than a few days??  As much as I would like to say that I would have hunkered down with hope in Jerusalem, I would have probably been on the road sad and hurt that the man I gave up everything to follow in was laying dead in a tomb. Have you placed yourself in a Bible story lately?

The second retreat was a Silent Retreat at The Urban Retreat Center.  If you are longing for some time away or looking for an amazing retreat (there are even date nights and small groups) I would recommend this hands down. It was SO good for me and my soul. I worked on my Rule Of Life, a practice that helps you identify and be intentional about how you live and how you balance life, spirituality, health, work, etc. It was only 2 hours, so I didn’t actually craft the whole thing, but I did have time to pray and answer some really good questions.  I looked at where I currently am, my roles and desires and what I wanted my future to contain.  The last question, the one I didn’t finish, was so profound:  “What has God placed deeply in your soul that speaks of your most sincere concern for others, yourself, and God’s kingdom?”  If you know the answer to this question for yourself, then you should make your rule of life!  And tell me about it!

So those are my thoughts on this frigid January day in Minnesota. I’m working on writing more (journaling more than blogging, but that can change depending on my day) and I also decided to start my own business. I’m super excited about it and you can read up on it or do a little stalking by going to my webpage, by clicking here.

I hope that your heart will be full of grace and your soul generated by love as you begin this new year. I pray that each of us will learn from the brave men and women in the past who pushed past the fears and unknown to change the world. I pray that we would be people who risk much and end up on the right side of justice, love and understanding.