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By the grace of God I didn’t act on my thoughts or feelings that day. 

My husband texted me that he was at my office and asked if I could take an early lunch. I couldn’t. 

I began to think of how he could go get us lunch, bring it back and by then I’d be able to leave. The phones were ringing and the thought lingered. 

Isn’t that what thoughts, that turn into expectations, do. They stick around and suddenly we’re feeling discontent and maybe even agitated that what we’re thinking they’re not doing.

Ordering lunch for curbside pick up was a last minute decision. I texted Paul what I did and he graciously picked it up and returned. Under the shade of trees we parked near the back of my office complex and ate lunch together. 

Sitting in the card with the windows down and the sunroof open. By the Grace of God I can become a better version of me.

With the windows down and sunroof open, we held hands listening to a podcast and talking a little here and there. It was a gift to spend time together. A relaxing break in the middle of a busy work day.

The breezes gently blew among the trees and bright blue skies. Towards the end of our time together the muscles jumped in Paul’s left arm. “Did you just fall asleep?,” I asked.

“Maybe,” he replied with a side grin. 

I asked him why he was so tired. 

2020 Mississippi State Fair - By the grace of God I can become a better version of me.

He told me how after we got home from taking our daughter and her friend to the Mississippi State Fair, the evening before, that he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing a work project. With only a couple hours of sleep he was up early to go teach college.

I wasn’t the only one struggling. 

I may have been the only one vocalizing my discomfort though.

And to think I almost got aggravated with him. Okay, I did and he didn’t know it. How does that even happen? Maybe the question is, how often does this happen in all of our lives?

Well, I can tell you how. When we get a sudden expectation, that we haven’t communicated, and we think it’s something the other person should just know. By the grace of God I didn’t act on my thoughts and feelings that day. 

Are you ever glad you didn’t say what you thought of saying?

Yes, I slip and say what I shouldn’t. Thankfully this time, I avoided it altogether. It can happen faster then the guy being shot out of a human cannon ball at the state fair. Precious moments can be lost. Good intentions can be misunderstood.

Human Cannon Ball - By The Grace of God I can become a better version of me.

It’s never really about the other person. It’s up to me to change the way I’m thinking. To go the extra mile, never assuming someone else should. Often we don’t know the scenario our spouse, child, friend or boss are walking in. How I walk into that space can change everything for the good or the bad.

How you and I show up everyday, in ordinary life, makes a huge impact on us and those we encounter.

What we do and how we act will be marked by something.

You’ll find no condemnation here my friend. I’m as imperfect as they come and it’s becoming more apparent every day how I can mess things up in an instant if I’m not careful. We all need so much grace and love.

I’m trying to slow down in my responses and become a little more aware of my actions instead of immediately judging someone else’s. I’m asking God to help me get better at what doesn’t come naturally.

“When we get into peoples stories there are no strangers.” – William Paul Young, Shawn Bolz Podcast, Exploring Series

We begin relating, as we hear the story line, instead of condemning.

“Stories enter through the heart.” – William Paul Young

Our perception and the truth are often going in opposite directions. I had no idea how exhausted my husband was, nor the sacrifice he made to go to the Fair the night before. Truth washed over me as I listened. To Paul it was no big deal.

The irony is not lost on me that I was feeling irritable the evening of the Fair and didn’t make a great date at all. This is how real life happens y’all. Just being honest.

Communication, patience, love, and putting others above ourselves is key. Yet, it’s a key, we often find hard to pick up and utilize well.

"I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless." Galatians 2:21

“I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die” (Galatians 2:21).

Recognizing where we’re getting it all wrong, and making better choices to get it right is because of God’s grace, not a way to earn it. I’m so thankful for the sacrifice God made on our behalf that we may know His grace.

I need God’s grace every single moment of every day.

I need His grace to NOT act on my self-centered thoughts, or on unvoiced expectations.

I need God’s grace to become a better version of myself.

I want to be known for showing God’s love, especially to those closest to me – who can sometimes get the raw end of the deal. 

I couldn’t decide which coffee to order, so I googled Macchiato Coffee. Here’s what said, “an espresso coffee drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed. In Italian, macchiato means “stained” or “spotted’ so the literal translation of caffe macchiato is “stained” or “marked coffee.”

I didn’t think much about it until later in the day. What will my life be marked or stained by? 

If my life is going to be marked or stained by anything, let it be stained by a generous spirit who is assuming the best about people. 

Let my life be marked by God’s love, not my fickle feelings.

“What is important is faith expressing itself in love. […] For you have been called to live in freedom–not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

This is my prayer and maybe it’s yours too. We’re all a work in progress and some of us more than others. 

And, oh by the way, in case you can sometimes mutilate the pronunciation of words like I can (even when you know the right way to say it and it still comes out wrong), Macchiato is pronounced maa·kee·aa·tow

That’s a whole other story. I’m just thankful for cool friends that have my back, and great coffee shops to chat in. 

May all of our lives be marked by God’s love, grace, generosity and great coffee. In this journey with you.

With much love and grace,

Joelle Povolni

I’m so thankful you’re here at Faith Caffeine. If you are wondering if you fit in around here, this is for you: You Are Welcome Here!

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