Grace Place Insights
Are Getting Squished!
SEASONS | By Kara
I woke up
with this on my mind, along with the corresponding song by The Byrds…which
is now stuck in my head.
is a time for everything,
and a season for
every activity under the heavens:
a time to
be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
On more than
one occasion, I have wondered why I went through applying to nursing
school, starting, dropping, reapplying, completing the first year,
starting second year, then having to drop again. I have come to the
conclusion that I have no idea why. For whatever reason, there was a
season in my life for nursing school, but now that season is over. Maybe
not forever, but for now.
knows me knows that the ending of that season broke my heart. I loved what
I was learning, I loved taking care of people, and (most of the time) I
loved the challenge of learning new concepts and skills. One day, in the
middle of a pity party, I remembered something. The whole reason I wanted
to become a nurse was because I wanted to help people.
I got to do
and in my job, I had the privilege of helping many people. I got to be
involved in treatments and procedures that would help them. I was there to
listen when they were upset or scared and just needed to talk. I held
their hand while they cried. I did everything I could to help them feel
cared for, and not like they were just another body in a bed.
finishing nursing school wasn’t a failure or the death of a dream. It was
the completion of a season. As much as I love spring, it’s a season. It
will pass, and the next season will begin. But every season has something
to enjoy: beautiful flowers, abundant sunshine, gorgeous foliage, or
sparkling snowflakes. They’re all wonderful, but they are all different.
They all have a time to begin and a time to end.
There was a
time for nursing school, and that time has ended. Oddly enough, I’m okay
with that now. Yes, I feel sad sometimes. But to quote my favorite author,
“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
(c) Copyright 2012 by Kara Stephens. All
AN OFFERING | By Kara
She has come before her God
with an offering. Her steps leading to this place have been hesitant.
Timidly, she approached the throne. In her closed hands she holds her
offering--the shattered pieces of her heart.
Now she stands meekly
before Him. She feels the cool stone floor under her feet, the rough
fabric of her clothes against her skin, and His eyes searching to meet
hers. But she can't meet His gaze.
She hears the rustle of His
sleeve as He reaches out for her, and she is terrified. She wants so
desperately to accept His love, yet her fear is fighting to hold her back
from that which she needs--from Him.
After several moments of
uncertainty, she lifts her eyes from her dirty feet and ragged clothes.
Slowly, ever so slowly, she meets his gaze. She is surprised to see His
hand still outstretched, not the least bit offended by her hesitancy.
She looks into His eyes for
what seems like an eternity. In those eyes she sees a love that is far
deeper and greater than she has ever known.
She sees the knowledge of
her pain, as though He feels it with her.
She sees tears. Tears of
pain over her heartache. Tears of joy that she has even come this far.
Glistening tears of hope, that she will finally release all the fear and
pain and grasp the hand, still held out to her.
In the depths of His eyes,
she sees complete understanding of her every thought and feeling. She
cannot find a trace of condemnation, though she knows she's been wrong
about so many things.
With the cold, wet tendrils
of fear still clinging to her legs, she begins to lift a trembling
hand--unsure, unsteady, and so very afraid.
Her hand continues its slow
journey, until it is placed within His.
With unimaginable strength
and gentleness, He closes His hand around hers. There's no turning back
now, but that's okay; the fear is losing its grip.
A vague flicker of hope
flashes across the dim horizon of her weary mind. She clings to it with
all her strength.
Now He is pulling her
Disbelief pounds in her
chest. Panic! "It's too good to be true!" The fear screams in her
ears. "No one can love you this much!"
Suddenly, tears are pouring
from her eyes. Her gaze remains locked on His. With the last ounce of her
strength she focuses on what she sees there. The love. The unfailing
promise. The quiet confidence. The radiant hope.
He is speaking now. "I
have loved you since before there was time," He says.
"I will never leave you."
How she longs to believe!
"You can't trust Him!"
the fear cries. "You know you can't trust
Slowly, she turns her hand
palm up in His and opens it, revealing the jagged pieces of her heart.
The air throbs
with her question, "Can I trust You with this?"
She sees the answer in His
eyes--in the essence of Who He is.
With a sob, she rushes into
His open arms.
The last whispers of fear
slip away as she is engulfed by waves of love; by His strength and power;
His understanding and acceptance.
Losing herself in Him, she
knows only one thing: she is finally safe.
She rests in His embrace,
knowing that the pieces of her heart are safe in His hands.
(c) Copyright 2008 by Kara Stephens. All
MUSIC COMPANION FOR "AN
Listen to THE JAR
| Words & Music by Leah Lanier
From the CD
MORE THAN LIFE
Artist, Leah Lanier
My Jalapenos Are Getting Squished!
| By Kara Stephens
Life has a way of throwing
rocks in my garden.
Sometimes they're small;
they may cause my footing to be a little unsteady, or I may stub my toe on
them. But every once in a while, a chunk dislodges from Mt. Everest, hurls
itself into my peaceful little garden, and I find myself face to face with
a boulder. Not just a little stone or pebble, but something that is
taller, wider, and heavier than I can possibly handle. I can't see around
it. It blocks out the sun. And, it's squishing my prize jalapenos! Now
that’s going too far!
Small stones are pretty
easy to manage. Sometimes I don't even see or feel them, and they don't
hurt much if I step on them. I can easily pick them up and throw them over
Boulders are another
story. They're highly visible, and they can cause some serious pain.
What is a gardener to do
when facing a jalapeno-squishing boulder?
I could grab that
tablecloth; the one I never really liked anyway, and throw it over the
I could plant flowers (or
jalapeno plants) around the bottom, and turn it into some sort of modern
I could call in the
National Guard and have them bring in a helicopter to somehow lift the
terrestrial monstrosity out of my garden...but the wind might blow the
jalapenos right off their plants (scratch that!).
What in the world is a
gardener to do? Why not call on the Original Gardener. Something tells me
He would know just what to do.
He could remove the
boulder, and make the garden as though that giant rock was never there.
He could grind it up, and
let it become part of the soil to nourish those lovely little jalapeno
He could even leave the
boulder exactly where it is and turn it into something beautiful, maybe a
fountain with a reflecting pool.
I don't think He'd go for
the tablecloth idea! He doesn’t seem to be into covering things up!
And you know what? He
could even take care of those pesky little stones.
No matter the size, shape,
or location of the boulders that get dropped, thrown, or catapulted into
my garden, all I have to do is consult the Master Gardener. He'll know
exactly what to do with each one.
While I'm at it, I think
I'll ask for some tips on growing jalapenos...
(c) Copyright 2008 by Kara Stephens. All
RE-FORGED | By Kara Stephens
I was the blade that saw many battles, won
victories, and slain dragons.
I was the blade that fought for truth, and
Until I became the blade that was broken.
One day the Master came along and ordered a
I was excited, and I was terrified; re-forging
is not for the faint of heart.
I was put in the fire until my strength gave
way, and I became soft.
The broken pieces were fit together, but the
re-forging had only just begun.
Next came the pounding...
The relentless, agonizing, ear-splitting
pounding that nearly drowned out my cries for relief.
I was reheated and pounded, reheated and
pounded, until it was finally finished.
Work so expertly done that the jagged lines
could barely be seen.
But I know.
I know what can happen on the field of battle.
I know what can happen in the hands of the
Master sword smith.
I am the blade that saw many battles.
I am the blade that was broken.
I am the blade that slays dragons.
(c) Copyright 2008 by Kara Stephens. All
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