Friends! In need of a gift idea? Or any of you early birds already Christmas shopping? (Do not tell me if you are. A grocery bagger at Kroger this week reported there are only eleven Fridays ‘til Christmas arrives the following Monday…I will not fret. I will not fret. I will not fret. Savor the season. Savor the season. Savor the season. Tra-la-la-la-la) All good..
This new book we’re about to discuss would make a wonderful birthday gift or Christmas gift. It’s also for guys and gals, of all ages.
I’ve been blessed to be on the Launch Team of this new devotional, getting a sneak peek. It releases next Tuesday, 10/17. While you may already have other devotionals, I maintain “variety is the spice of life”, and like shoes, one can never have too many. Yes!
I’ve devoured nearly all of the one hundred and twenty entries. I’ll be sharing a couple of my favorites with you in just a minute. Honestly, they’re all my favorite, but I’ll just show you a few.
The book? Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell. (I call her Cindy.)
A true wordsmith, Cindy flat amazes me for many reasons. First of which is how she comes up with so many wonderful words, and secondly, how she ties each word in with a Scripture, a pertinent story and a closing prayer. She also quotes other excellent authors. You will highlight until you need another highlighter!
She tells us, “‘Ordinary graces’ are surprising gifts that come to me while simply living my story. They are gifts I discover in ordinary places, like the people who touch my soul because of their courage, kindness or self-sacrifice. I even find them in the challenges that simultaneously turn my world upside down and change me from the inside out. If I’m in a hurry, I will miss them. If I am distracted, I will ignore them. But for anyone who is attentive and seeking, these ordinary graces abound.” This book will help us readers do exactly that.
The book’s theme centers on John 1:16, “From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”
Cindy’s devotional that came out last year, Dwelling Places, uses words to draw us closer into the presence of God—words that focus on peace, serenity, refuge, and hope. I couldn’t begin to pick a favorite, so I’ll just say you “need” both of them!
This new devotional, Ordinary Graces, introduces us to grace gifts from God to strengthen our soul and offer courage to live adventurously. Each entry is only two pages long, making for a quick, daily read.
The book is divided into four sections: Grace, Strength, Gratitude and Life. Each section has thirty entries. Pick a word and dive in. Or, follow the numbers.
Cindy’s easy-to-read writing style is open, honest, relatable, funny, and sometimes causes you to pause and say, “Wow, the Lord is so gracious.” The entries are reminders to us to focus on Him and recognize snippets of grace throughout our day.
Cindy dedicates her words to us readers. Savor this a minute:
In the Grace section, my favorite words and devotions are:
Also in this section, Cindy gives us a quote by Charles Spurgeon, “The clock is to go all day, but there is a time for winding it up. Regular communion with God winds us up for the rest of the day.”
A timely Scripture from the “Say No” entry is Titus 2:11-12 which says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (NIV)
Cindy then poses a thought provoking question: “What do you need to give up in order to receive a gift?” She shares about a season where she had to say “no” repeatedly because of being under a book deadline. While difficult initially, it ultimately helped her remain settled in her soul.
In the Strength section, my favorite words and devotions are:
In the “Pilgrimage” entry, Cindy gives us a quote from Macrina Wiederkehr in Behold Your Life that blew me away:
“A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose.
Every step along the way has meaning.
The pilgrim knows that life-giving challenges will emerge.
A pilgrimage is not a vacation;
…It is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place.
New insights are given.
Deeper understanding is attained.
New and old places in the heart are visited.
Blessings are received
…and healing takes place.
On return from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes.
Nothing will ever be quite the same again.”
In the Gratitude section, my favorite words and devotions are:
Additionally, in the “Burden” entry, Cindy shows us Psalm 68:19, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior who DAILY bears our burdens.” These frequent reminders from the Word of God are also a gift and a grace.
In the Life section, my favorite words and devotions are:
The word “Descendants” piqued my curiosity now with our new granddaughter in our life. Cindy says, “I prayed a dedication over each of my children—that they would know God and that He would always guide and protect them throughout life.” Early each morning she prays for her four children and now two sons-in-love and grandchildren. I love this and am endeavoring to do this for all of our family.
Let’s close now with Cindy’s beautiful closing prayer in “Descendants”:
Friends, run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and grab Ordinary Graces—Word Gifts for Every Season. You and your friends will be beyond blessed!
‘Til next time!