choosing mercy, extending grace

Perfect flowers for Easter.

“For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Galatians 6:8)

Living in this fallen world, with people broken just as we are? It is difficult. There are days when you wake up feeling more tired than when you went to bed. There are days when you are ready to quit, too exhausted before you have even started the day. There are days when it takes all you have to get out the door and face the world. There are days when you end up being hurt in ways you did not know you could be.

What I want to tell you is, that it is okay to feel that way sometimes.

Us sin-marred people, we tend to get life and circumstances all messy and mixed-up. Us brokenhearted people, we tend to hurt others with these fractured pieces of our hearts. Us confused and lost people, we tend to focus on that dull ache of our own soul and forget others, not seeing the whole picture.

“For their heart was not steadfast with Him, nor were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and did not destroy them. Yes, many a time He turned His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath; for He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again.” (Psalm 78:37-39)

But we are not here alone. In Psalm 78, we are reminded how the people of Israel rebelled and sinned against the Lord, how they rejected Him and worshipped idols — over and over again. He brought them out of Egypt; He provided a way to the Promised Land and protected them. And yet, the people still sinned and did not believe in His wondrous works.

God was not indifferent towards this. No, He was angry; in fact, He was furious. But what is more important for us to see, for us to remember. Is that God, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquities. He knew what they were made of, remembered those confused hearts of the sin-stained people. So He was merciful and turned His anger away time and time again.

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:9-10)

So it’s okay to ache when words pierce our souls. It’s okay to cry when we feel overwhelmed, lost, and confused. It’s okay to bury ourself under blankets, to hide from the world when we feel like everything hurts.

It is okay – as long as that is not where we stay. As long as we turn to the One who made us, who sent His only Son to die on the cross and forgive us. Because the only way to make it in the darkness of this world, is to hold to hope. Not just for us but for others, too. We shelter that hope, choosing mercy and extending grace — trusting that the One who made us, can make something good out of these circumstances, too.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1)

That waiting season, holding on to hope and choosing grace — is where we grow. We bear fruit with patience, trusting that God is completing the work He has started in us. They are called growing pains for a reason: because it is painful to dig your roots deep into that hard ground.

When we confidently and patiently wait on Him to fight for us, to make a straight way for us, to help us and to carry us. He will come through. He remains faithful when we are faithless; and He will do what He has promised. The situations we are in, the people that surround us, might hurt us. But in due season, we will reap if we do not lose heart.

So this week, what does choosing mercy and extending grace mean to you?

Linking up: Coffee and Conversation, Works for Me Wednesday, Wednesday’s Prayer Girls, Tell His Story, A Little R & R, WholeHearted Wednesday, Women With Intention, Word Filled Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Everyday Jesus, Growing in Grace, Shine Blog Hop, Grace at Home, Faith and Fellowship, Grace & Truth, Fellowship Friday, Good Morning Mondays, Monday’s Musings

  • Judith Kowles

    Yes, holding onto grace!! I liked that. Thanks so much for sharing this!!

    • Ronja

      Something quite challenging and yet, so very rewarding. Thank you for your sweet words and your visit, Judith! God bless you!

  • Judith Kowles

    Yes, holding onto grace!! I liked that. Thanks so much for sharing this!!

    • Ronja

      Something quite challenging and yet, so very rewarding. Thank you for your sweet words and your visit, Judith! God bless you!

  • Grace Esedeke

    Yes....... I am holding on. Thanks for sharing

    • Ronja

      Thank you for stopping by, Grace! God bless you in holding on to hope, to His mercy and grace!

  • Grace Esedeke

    Yes....... I am holding on. Thanks for sharing

    • Ronja

      Thank you for stopping by, Grace! God bless you in holding on to hope, to His mercy and grace!

  • Andrea

    Reblogged this on Inspirational and Encouraging Blogs.

    • Ronja

      Thank you, Andrea! Blessings!

  • Andrea

    Reblogged this on Inspirational and Encouraging Blogs.

    • Ronja

      Thank you, Andrea! Blessings!

  • Kristi

    Yours is a gentle, hope-filled reminder that the Lord is faithful to wait and forgive. His mercy is golden. What does choosing grace & mercy mean to me? That I've set aside "me", and believe that Jesus is enough. (Because some days works try to wriggle in and jump on that throne.) Go Jesus.

    • Ronja

      I'm right there with you Kristi, trying to put the "me" aside and let Him take over my life, my heart. What a beautiful desire that is. Thank you so much for your words that hold so much grace and encouragement for me today, Kristi. Blessings!

  • Kristi

    Yours is a gentle, hope-filled reminder that the Lord is faithful to wait and forgive. His mercy is golden. What does choosing grace & mercy mean to me? That I've set aside "me", and believe that Jesus is enough. (Because some days works try to wriggle in and jump on that throne.) Go Jesus.

    • Ronja

      I'm right there with you Kristi, trying to put the "me" aside and let Him take over my life, my heart. What a beautiful desire that is. Thank you so much for your words that hold so much grace and encouragement for me today, Kristi. Blessings!

  • Lisa notes...

    I'm so glad we're the children of a Father with compassion! His grace is what keeps me holding on.

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by here, Lisa! God bless you!

  • Lisa notes...

    I'm so glad we're the children of a Father with compassion! His grace is what keeps me holding on.

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by here, Lisa! God bless you!

  • Karen Del Tatto

    I found such encouragement within this blog post. The following especially resonated with me: "That waiting season, holding on to hope and choosing grace — is where we grow. We bear fruit with patience, trusting that God is completing the work He has started in us. They are called growing pains for a reason: because it is painful to dig your roots deep into that hard ground. When we confidently and patiently wait on Him to fight for us, to make a straight way for us, to help us and to carry us. He will come through. He remains faithful when we are faithless; and He will do what He has promised. The situations we are in, the people that surround us, might hurt us. But in due season, we will reap if we do not lose heart." I am in the middle of a study of Galations now, and we just finished the fruits of the Spirit. It really struck me when you said that we bear fruit with patience. I never thought of it that way, but we do! Your final paragraph really puts all of our trials in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ronja

      I have been thinking about the fruits of the Spirit a lot lately -- as I think that will be what I'm going to study next in the Bible. Reading that verse about bearing fruit with patience somehow just clicked in my head with the fruits of the Spirit, and I am so glad you're there with me, too. I have to say, I love it when these small revelations happen during my daily Bible reading! There is just so much meaning in how the whole of the Bible comes together. Thank you so much for these sweet words and your visit, Karen! What a blessing it is to have you here. God bless you!

  • Karen Del Tatto

    I found such encouragement within this blog post. The following especially resonated with me: "That waiting season, holding on to hope and choosing grace — is where we grow. We bear fruit with patience, trusting that God is completing the work He has started in us. They are called growing pains for a reason: because it is painful to dig your roots deep into that hard ground. When we confidently and patiently wait on Him to fight for us, to make a straight way for us, to help us and to carry us. He will come through. He remains faithful when we are faithless; and He will do what He has promised. The situations we are in, the people that surround us, might hurt us. But in due season, we will reap if we do not lose heart." I am in the middle of a study of Galations now, and we just finished the fruits of the Spirit. It really struck me when you said that we bear fruit with patience. I never thought of it that way, but we do! Your final paragraph really puts all of our trials in perspective. Thanks for sharing!

    • Ronja

      I have been thinking about the fruits of the Spirit a lot lately -- as I think that will be what I'm going to study next in the Bible. Reading that verse about bearing fruit with patience somehow just clicked in my head with the fruits of the Spirit, and I am so glad you're there with me, too. I have to say, I love it when these small revelations happen during my daily Bible reading! There is just so much meaning in how the whole of the Bible comes together. Thank you so much for these sweet words and your visit, Karen! What a blessing it is to have you here. God bless you!

  • Tara

    Ronja, this is beautiful. You are right..it is ok. And we need that permission to cry, to curl up under those blankets but to not stay there, to come out and trust in God who overcame death and the grave. "Great is thy faithfulness" Visiting from the Woman 2 Woman Linkup

    • Ronja

      Tara, thank you so much! I think it's important to remember that when we choose to extend grace, we need to extend it to ourselves. So it's okay to have to cry when we are hurt or feel overwhelmed. But we also need to hold on to hope, waiting on the One who knows our heart better we do ourselves. He will help us, and He will give us the strength to endure. Thank you so much for your visit, Tara! Blessings!

  • Tara

    Ronja, this is beautiful. You are right..it is ok. And we need that permission to cry, to curl up under those blankets but to not stay there, to come out and trust in God who overcame death and the grave. "Great is thy faithfulness" Visiting from the Woman 2 Woman Linkup

    • Ronja

      Tara, thank you so much! I think it's important to remember that when we choose to extend grace, we need to extend it to ourselves. So it's okay to have to cry when we are hurt or feel overwhelmed. But we also need to hold on to hope, waiting on the One who knows our heart better we do ourselves. He will help us, and He will give us the strength to endure. Thank you so much for your visit, Tara! Blessings!

  • Chrissy

    Wow, this really encouraged me. My favorite part was "That waiting season, holding on to hope and choosing grace — is where we grow" Such a timely word. Thanks for writing this!

    • Ronja

      I'm so glad to hear that, Chrissy! Praise the Lord! Thank you for your visit and your kind encouragement, Chrissy. Blessings!

  • Chrissy

    Wow, this really encouraged me. My favorite part was "That waiting season, holding on to hope and choosing grace — is where we grow" Such a timely word. Thanks for writing this!

    • Ronja

      I'm so glad to hear that, Chrissy! Praise the Lord! Thank you for your visit and your kind encouragement, Chrissy. Blessings!

  • lperkowski

    Beautifully written! The last year of my life has been so tough, but during this time of change, disappointment, and pain, I turned my eyes up. I asked God to help me through it all...and He did! Now here I stand, in complete awe of His faithfulness. Keep encouraging others, Ronja!

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much, Laura! That is such a wonderful place to be in, to be able to look back and see how God helped us through. He is so good to us! God bless you!

  • lperkowski

    Beautifully written! The last year of my life has been so tough, but during this time of change, disappointment, and pain, I turned my eyes up. I asked God to help me through it all...and He did! Now here I stand, in complete awe of His faithfulness. Keep encouraging others, Ronja!

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much, Laura! That is such a wonderful place to be in, to be able to look back and see how God helped us through. He is so good to us! God bless you!

  • Amy M

    Amen! Jesus is all-sufficient and goodness knows I need His mercy. And I've been learning that it is by His strength that we can learn to extend forgiveness to others in our lives. Beautiful stuff.

    • Ronja

      I am right there with you, Amy, needing His mercy every single day. But what a beautiful learning process He's been taking you through! In His strength, knowing that His grace is sufficient for every day, we can do so much -- starting from extending grace and forgiveness. Thank you so much for your visit, Amy! God bless you!

  • Amy M

    Amen! Jesus is all-sufficient and goodness knows I need His mercy. And I've been learning that it is by His strength that we can learn to extend forgiveness to others in our lives. Beautiful stuff.

    • Ronja

      I am right there with you, Amy, needing His mercy every single day. But what a beautiful learning process He's been taking you through! In His strength, knowing that His grace is sufficient for every day, we can do so much -- starting from extending grace and forgiveness. Thank you so much for your visit, Amy! God bless you!

  • Sharita

    Oh Ronja-- one-hundred times YES!! As a minister (and heck, just as a Christian) there are so many days that my heart feels like it is breaking into a million piece. It's like "Seriously, Lord?!? Take me HOME." But in my study bible footnotes in Hebrews, it said that "Perseverance is a character trait in Christians." So let's persevere, my friend. :-)

    • Ronja

      Just being around people, I feel like my heart is breaking so many times -- so I can only imagine how much more you have to go through as a minister, Sharita! And I think my reaction is often just the same as yours, asking the Lord to take me home, haha! But He enables us to choose mercy and grace, to trust that He is just and the justifier for us. And yes, I think perseverance is one of the key words (or key traits), here. :) Praying for you this week, Sharita! Blessings!

  • Sharita

    Oh Ronja-- one-hundred times YES!! As a minister (and heck, just as a Christian) there are so many days that my heart feels like it is breaking into a million piece. It's like "Seriously, Lord?!? Take me HOME." But in my study bible footnotes in Hebrews, it said that "Perseverance is a character trait in Christians." So let's persevere, my friend. :-)

    • Ronja

      Just being around people, I feel like my heart is breaking so many times -- so I can only imagine how much more you have to go through as a minister, Sharita! And I think my reaction is often just the same as yours, asking the Lord to take me home, haha! But He enables us to choose mercy and grace, to trust that He is just and the justifier for us. And yes, I think perseverance is one of the key words (or key traits), here. :) Praying for you this week, Sharita! Blessings!

  • Michele Morin

    "Choosing mercy -- extending grace." This sounds so volitional and vulnerable. There are no guarantees that things will go the way I expect. I'm reminded that God made the first move; therefore, anything I do is a response to His love for me. Blessings to you! This is a thought provoking post!

    • Ronja

      Michele, you are so right. Choosing mercy and extending grace, holding on to hope -- it's difficult because we make ourselves vulnerable to this hard, fallen world and its broken people. We can't control how things will turn out, or if we'll ever make a difference. But God is right there with us, enabling us when we respond to His love for us and for others. I might not see at all what is going on but God knows our hearts, and I just need to trust Him. He gives us the good and perfect gifts, after all. Thank you so much for your wisdom here and that beautiful heart full of grace! God bless you!

  • Michele Morin

    "Choosing mercy -- extending grace." This sounds so volitional and vulnerable. There are no guarantees that things will go the way I expect. I'm reminded that God made the first move; therefore, anything I do is a response to His love for me. Blessings to you! This is a thought provoking post!

    • Ronja

      Michele, you are so right. Choosing mercy and extending grace, holding on to hope -- it's difficult because we make ourselves vulnerable to this hard, fallen world and its broken people. We can't control how things will turn out, or if we'll ever make a difference. But God is right there with us, enabling us when we respond to His love for us and for others. I might not see at all what is going on but God knows our hearts, and I just need to trust Him. He gives us the good and perfect gifts, after all. Thank you so much for your wisdom here and that beautiful heart full of grace! God bless you!

  • The Peaceful Haven

    What a beautiful post! Thank you...

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much for this encouragement! Blessings to you!

  • The Peaceful Haven

    What a beautiful post! Thank you...

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much for this encouragement! Blessings to you!

  • Hope N. Griffin

    Visiting from Equipping Godly Women #FellowshipFriday. We can only extend grace when we rest in the grace given us.

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by, Hope! Blessings to you!

  • Hope N. Griffin

    Visiting from Equipping Godly Women #FellowshipFriday. We can only extend grace when we rest in the grace given us.

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by, Hope! Blessings to you!

  • Nathana Clay

    Beautifully written! I needed this today. It was very timely. We have been facing some circumstances that we have allowed to steal our joy. We are working on that. The conclusion I came to the other day was that I needed to surrender the bitterness in my heart so that grace and mercy could work. Thank you for this beautiful piece of encouragement.

    • Ronja

      I'm so glad to hear that God is using this to encourage your heart, Nathana! Praise the Lord! I'm so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time right now but I'm glad that you have been given such wise insights. And you are so right, bitterness is such a dangerous things because, in my opinion, it kind of blocks the works of mercy and grace. I'm so glad that the Lord has brought your heart into a place where you see it! Thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement, Nathana! What a blessing it is to have you stop by here! God bless you!

  • Nathana Clay

    Beautifully written! I needed this today. It was very timely. We have been facing some circumstances that we have allowed to steal our joy. We are working on that. The conclusion I came to the other day was that I needed to surrender the bitterness in my heart so that grace and mercy could work. Thank you for this beautiful piece of encouragement.

    • Ronja

      I'm so glad to hear that God is using this to encourage your heart, Nathana! Praise the Lord! I'm so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time right now but I'm glad that you have been given such wise insights. And you are so right, bitterness is such a dangerous things because, in my opinion, it kind of blocks the works of mercy and grace. I'm so glad that the Lord has brought your heart into a place where you see it! Thank you so much for this beautiful encouragement, Nathana! What a blessing it is to have you stop by here! God bless you!

  • Love this comment the most "It is okay – as long as that is not where we stay." So So true! I am so glad I found your blog from the Grace and Truth Link Up :) Blessings!

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much, Johanna! God bless you!

  • Love this comment the most "It is okay – as long as that is not where we stay." So So true! I am so glad I found your blog from the Grace and Truth Link Up :) Blessings!

    • Ronja

      Thank you so much, Johanna! God bless you!

  • Hi Ronja! You and I wrote about much the same thing...being restless in the hard times. To ache in the waiting seasons...it's so hard! But I like how you give us all permission to hang out there, but not stay for long. God shows that he can recover from fury to forgive us. I guess I can recover from my own self-involvement and be born new because of the challenges. Nice to meet you today! From Faith and Fellowship Bloghop, Ceil

    • Ronja

      Ceil, I love how you put it -- that we can be made new because of the challenges. That is so true because it is in the hard times that we grow, and He is transforming us from glory to glory. What a blessing it is to have you stop by here, Ceil! Thank you so much for your wisdom and encouragement here. Blessings!

  • Hi Ronja! You and I wrote about much the same thing...being restless in the hard times. To ache in the waiting seasons...it's so hard! But I like how you give us all permission to hang out there, but not stay for long. God shows that he can recover from fury to forgive us. I guess I can recover from my own self-involvement and be born new because of the challenges. Nice to meet you today! From Faith and Fellowship Bloghop, Ceil

    • Ronja

      Ceil, I love how you put it -- that we can be made new because of the challenges. That is so true because it is in the hard times that we grow, and He is transforming us from glory to glory. What a blessing it is to have you stop by here, Ceil! Thank you so much for your wisdom and encouragement here. Blessings!

  • tiffanyatouchofgrace

    Yes! Extending grace for not only ourselves but others is so important!

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by here, Tiffany! Blessings to you!

  • tiffanyatouchofgrace

    Yes! Extending grace for not only ourselves but others is so important!

    • Ronja

      Amen! Thank you for stopping by here, Tiffany! Blessings to you!

  • Sharon

    What a beautifully written post. I was so greatly encouraged by your words, so comforted. Yes, sometimes I think we need to extend grace toward ourselves. For there are, indeed, days when life gets the best of us. We hurt, we cry, we get mad or sad, we struggle to get up and get going. But, in it all, there is God. With us, beside us, inside us - helping us to negotiate the journey of faith. I am so grateful for His presence. And sometimes, I really do think He says to me, "It's OK, My child. I also felt what you feel. Remember this - In this world you will have troubles and suffering and hardship. But take heart, for I have overcome the world!" GOD BLESS!

    • Ronja

      Sharon, yes. So many times, yes. I need grace just as much as anyone else -- which is why I think we need to extend grace to ourselves. But it's so important to see that even in there, God is with us. He has walked that road before us, knowing how we feel and just how much we hurt. He is with us and for us in every situation, and He is greater than any situation or circumstance or hurt. Thank you so much for your visit, Sharon! God bless!

  • Sharon

    What a beautifully written post. I was so greatly encouraged by your words, so comforted. Yes, sometimes I think we need to extend grace toward ourselves. For there are, indeed, days when life gets the best of us. We hurt, we cry, we get mad or sad, we struggle to get up and get going. But, in it all, there is God. With us, beside us, inside us - helping us to negotiate the journey of faith. I am so grateful for His presence. And sometimes, I really do think He says to me, "It's OK, My child. I also felt what you feel. Remember this - In this world you will have troubles and suffering and hardship. But take heart, for I have overcome the world!" GOD BLESS!

    • Ronja

      Sharon, yes. So many times, yes. I need grace just as much as anyone else -- which is why I think we need to extend grace to ourselves. But it's so important to see that even in there, God is with us. He has walked that road before us, knowing how we feel and just how much we hurt. He is with us and for us in every situation, and He is greater than any situation or circumstance or hurt. Thank you so much for your visit, Sharon! God bless!

  • Laurie Collett

    Your beautiful words brought me to tears as I thank Him for His mercy, love and grace despite our sin-marred state. Thank you for this precious reminder. Linked up with you at Monday's Musings -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit! God bless, Laurie

    • Ronja

      Thank you, Laurie, for sharing this with me! I'm so glad that the Lord used this post to touch and encourage your heart. I'll be heading over to your place now! :) God bless you!

  • Laurie Collett

    Your beautiful words brought me to tears as I thank Him for His mercy, love and grace despite our sin-marred state. Thank you for this precious reminder. Linked up with you at Monday's Musings -- hope you'll stop by Saved by Grace for a visit! God bless, Laurie

    • Ronja

      Thank you, Laurie, for sharing this with me! I'm so glad that the Lord used this post to touch and encourage your heart. I'll be heading over to your place now! :) God bless you!

  • tmpresser

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    • Ronja

      Thank you! God bless you! :)

  • tmpresser

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    • Ronja

      Thank you! God bless you! :)