Grace Came Down In A Barn

I wrote the title after the The Barn event and before Thanksgiving, knowing I wanted to write about the experience, but also knowing that I wasn’t quite ready yet.  Thoughts were marinating in the recesses of my mind, traveling on a journey filled with so many emotions.  I wanted to absorb, think, process.  Then write.  Honestly, I’m still not sure I can put into words exactly what I’m trying to say. If you were there, then you know.


If you were there, you understand how words can’t really describe what happened. You understand that much of what was said could only come from grace.  His grace bestowed upon us.  His grace allowing Emily’s heart to speak to us. His grace opening our hearts to the poetry of our art. Thank you Emily, for helping me to see that I am a poem created by God to be used in his image. I don’t know what that means yet, for this stage of my journey, but I know it matters.

It matters that I was there.  It matters that I was in the presence of people that God chose ahead of time to put in my path.  God does not work in coincidence.  He goes ahead of us on the journey preparing the way. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) He knew in 2008, that I would be in the barn in 2013 and he knew it would matter.

In 2008 I stumbled across the Proverbs 31 devotional blog on, Encouragement for Today, purely by an accidental click of the mouse.  This lead to reading them on other occasions, which introduced me to The Nester, Myquillyn Smith, when she guest posted, which in turn introduced me to Chatting At The Sky and Emily Freeman. And then, in 2013 I discovered Emily’s book a million little ways and  I came to The Barn.

Where I met Emily Freeman, Myquillyn Smith and Renee Swope (from Proverbs 31) and a few other wonderful people.  When I entered the door of the barn, grace was extended by a hug from Emily and a gracious welcome. Hearing her speak was a delightful experience.  After the event, meeting Myquillyn, accompanied by a hug, was a blessing.   She and Emily have both inspired me so many times through their blogs and I found them both to be sincere and real. During the event, I was seated at the same table as Renee, who has also inspired me with her writing .  It was during a conversation with Renee that she said something that stuck with me.  She was sharing a situation in which God told her “don’t resist or resent”.  I knew God intended for me to hear those words. He knew in 2008 where I would be in 2013 and what my situation would be.  He knew I would need to hear those words.  It never ceases to amaze me how God puts people in our path at just the right moment.

Resisting and Resenting had both been paramount in my life for the past 12-18 months.  I had not really admitted that to myself, but just those simple words from Renee opened my eyes.  My husband and I moved home in June of 2012 to be closer to my parents who needed help due to health issues – mainly my mother.  Her illness has been very difficult and heartbreaking.  I have resented that she and we have had to go through this.  I don’t ‘understand why.  I can’t figure out how it fits into the future we thought we were going to have.

The barn reminded me that I don’t have to figure it out. I know that God’s grace is enough. God also knew in 2008 that I would need to read Emily’s book and hear her speak about how “God is the artist and he has made us.  We are his poem and we will make art.”  Whatever our circumstances, if we submit to his will, I know that he will allow us to make art. It may not look like the art I thought we were supposed to make, but if it is his art working through us, it will be even more beautiful than I imagined.

How do I know this? GRACE CAME DOWN IN A BARN.


Making art in Grace,


A Handful of Change


Yesterday I had a day out with my sister.  We took some items to the booth space I share with my father at an Antique Mall (more about that later), we shopped and then we went to my favorite local Italian restaurant for lunch.  It was great as usual.  We were stuffed.

As I was getting in my car a man approached me and wanted to know if I would do him a big favor.  He seemed harmless, so I asked what he needed.  He said he had just applied for a job at the restaurant and he wanted to know if I could spare a couple of dollars so he could get something to eat.  I rarely ever carry cash.  I explained to him that I didn’t have cash that I’d had to use my card to pay for lunch.

As he was turning to walk away, I remembered that we usually dump change in the console between our seats, so I looked and sure enough there was some change.  I called him back and said I have change I can give you.  I started counting out the quarters.  When I got to a dollar and fifty cents, I realized there was no need to count out the change, just give it to him.  So I picked up a couple of handfuls and gave it to him and told him good luck with the job hunt.

He walked away and I looked to see if there was more change, there was, so I rolled down the window and told him I’d found more change if he wanted it.  Again, I told him good luck with the job and said “God Bless you”.  He in turned said “God Bless You”.  Then he asked my name and told me his name was William and reached out to shake my hand.  He then said, “don’t ever lose that beautiful smile”.  He was very respectful and seemed genuinely appreciative of what little bit of help I had given him.

It was a small thing to do really, but it had a profound effect on me because it reminded me not to take so much for granted. And it reminded me that sometimes God presents us with opportunities to serve and we just pass them by.  We don’t pay attention.  I could have looked the other way when I saw him coming, I could have ignored him, or I could have just let him walk away when I remembered that I had change.  Sure, he could have been scamming me, but I am choosing to believe that he wasn’t.

It was worth the little bit of change I gave him to take the chance.  I’d rather think that I helped someone in need, instead of worrying about the fact that someone may have cheated me.  I don’t miss the change, but I would have missed the opportunity to feel good down in my soul where it counts.  And I would have missed the opportunity to pray for William.  Because once he walked away, I felt that I should pray for him and when he comes to mind I will say other prayers for him.  By name.

More importantly, I would have missed the opportunity to be obedient.  The opportunity to “do unto the least of these”.  That’s really what it is all about, isn’t it? Doing unto others as Jesus would do.  Showing compassion, reaching out, being a blessing and in turn being blessed.

Opportunities abound in the world around us, both large and small.  We just need to recognize them and be willing to be the hands and feet.  “Little is much when God is in it”.  No matter how small something seems to us, it may be big to the person who is in need. A couple of dollars seems like chump change when it’s scattered in my car, but to a man who is hungry it is the burger from the restaurant down the street that slows the growl and gives him energy to try again.



Blessings in Grace,