Undercurrent of Grace



The Lord continually amazes me. Lately my life has been marked with deep pain and frustration – which I’ll share more about in a future post – yet God never fails to give me strength and grace to endure. God is good even when life feels terrible!

The message theme for this past Sunday evening at Simonka Place was frustration. The Lord has impeccable timing! I love how He gently teaches me so that, sometimes sooner than later, I will write down and pass along what I’ve learned. Sharing my experiences and encouraging others makes the trying times a little less so. Yet again, the Lord inspired me with another faith-affirming new poem to share:

“Undercurrent of Grace”

When frustration and pain weigh me down,
riles me up or causes me to frown,
I turn to You, Jesus, You lift me up,
You lighten my heart and refill my cup.
Caught in the swift undertow of my fear,
I just call out Your name and You draw near.
In short-sighted times when things fall apart,
I trust that You forever hold my heart.
Through every hardship, as I humbly seek Your face,
You carry me with an undercurrent of grace.
In the darkest moments when many fail,
You call me Your champion, and help me prevail.
Swept into new depths of hope and love,
eyes off of myself and reset up above.
Strengthened to faithfully follow Your lead,
for it’s all You ask; You’re all that I need.
Sure of what I hope for, my confidence in You;
Turning all things for good is what You do!
Lord, Your perfect love rewrites my story
so it shines the light of hope, for Your glory.
I trust You, Jesus, I lean into Your embrace,
content to be carried by Your transforming grace.

©Ladeena Ashley

Sources of Inspiration

Earlier on Sunday, during the morning sermon, the idea that most resonated with me was that God calls me His champion. That when troubles come into our lives, He has confidence that we can fight the good fight of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12) and overcome by His power. As the phrase goes, if He brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it! He believes in us more than we believe in ourselves. As His beloved children, when we remain committed to His ways, we are carried by a grace that transforms our fear into faith and turns us from worriers into warriors!

Sunday school class also dovetailed neatly into this concept of overcoming. The only way to not only survive but thrive during hardships is to keep our eyes focused on Him instead of all that’s wrong in this world. That in particular, we could all watch a little less news and media in general, which seems increasingly negative and sensationalized, and spend more time reflecting on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8-9). Not that we poke our heads in the sand, but that we adjust our internal lens to view life from a godly perspective, instead of being emotionally tossed to and fro by every shocking headline or story. “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matthew 24:6) Instead of getting yanked into the undertow of fear, live your life in gentle surrender to the undercurrent of grace.

Some moments are more frustrating than others, but all the Lord asks is that we do our best to faithfully follow His lead. He will do the rest. Hold onto His promises, trust in His plan for you, then get in there and fight like the champion you are!

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2018 All Rights Reserved (Blog content and photos)

The Tapestry of Life



As we embark on the adventure of another year, it seems fitting to speak again about the future, and how we can trust the Lord to guide us. For one thing, He has an infinitely farther and better view than we could ever imagine! One of my favorite wall decorations features a poem about seeing things from God’s perspective. It speaks of a beautiful tapestry of which we on earth can only see the underside. To us, it is a mess of knotted threads and a chaotic mix of colors, but from His side, it is a beautiful, perfectly formed piece of artwork that powerfully displays His glory and love.

Along those (thread) lines, while writing the poem I shared in my last post, the phrase “heavenly lenses” stuck out to me, and another new poem followed almost immediately about our sight versus how God sees. Though on earth and in our limited human capacity, we cannot bear the fullness of God’s knowledge, it is still something we all should strive for. The more we can glimpse life through His eyes, by the transformation of our minds through prayer and His Word, the happier and more fulfilled our lives will be. More importantly, when we see more often where God is working, joining in what He is doing, our lives will make a greater impact on our world.

In this poem, the Lord brought to mind a lot of verses that speak of sight: seeing, looking and perspective in general. Quite honestly, I initially wrote it without actually cracking open my Bible as I went. It wasn’t until I was in the process of editing that I double-checked the references, finding that God had inspired me to access His Words that I have hidden in my heart (Psalm 119:11) pretty perfectly!

True Sight

We see not as the Father sees
Instead, darkly glimpsed, as through glass.
Distorted and hazy outlook
–yet to God the future is past.
His ways are higher than ours,
our perspective a prism of hues;
Imperfect perception we employ
to interpret life as we choose.
We observe the outward appearance
but the Lord peers into our heart
and by grace we return His gaze,
trusting love will never depart.
For not a sparrow escapes His view,
we’re eternally in God’s sight.
Whether in full brightness of day
or enveloped in shadows of night.
His eyes ever scan the horizon,
finding ways our lives will be blessed,
all the while knowing our mess ups
long before we’ve knelt and confessed.
Reading God’s Word removes the blinders
transforming within, by His power.
Joy revealed not in circumstance,
but by faith, not sight, every hour.
For all that’s seen is temporal
— life a fleeting mist in the air.
Yet what’s unseen and lasts forever
is the light, hope and love we share.

©Ladeena Ashley

Nearly a week ago, I was given a new perspective on life, one that I would never wish on anyone: the after-effects of a slight concussion from bumping my head. My view of the world has become just a bit skewed; I have less patience for Sudoku, books that don’t completely enthrall me, or other things that I might normally to engage myself in for long periods of time. I’ve seen a doctor, who has said the headaches will eventually dissipate, but for now I am struggling just a bit to concentrate on finishing this post.

I have faith that it will improve and I will return to my fully functioning, upbeat self, soon. Even if I don’t, my life is in God’s capable hands; because even though I don’t always understand what He’s doing, I’m trusting that there’s a gorgeous woven masterpiece, and I’m thankful to be a part of it!

Faith Notes
Here is another of my favorite songs. It fits this post and some of what I’m feeling:
Whatever You’re Doing – Sanctus Real  (Note: Link will open in new window.)

Scripture references: 1 Corinthians 3:12; Ecclesiastes 3:11, 15; Isaiah 55:9; 1 Samuel 16:7; Ephesians 2:8; Romans 8:38-39; Matthew 10:29; Psalm 139:1-18; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Corinthians 4:17-18; James 4:14

Blessings to you, this day and always!

©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content & photos)