And The Greatest Of These…Is Love

Confession:

I don’t know about you, but my heart is not only broken but also very upset to see the hate, destruction, and division our country is facing…all of this along with a health pandemic.

This is very saddening to many who like me are idealists and constantly crave a state of utopia-a fairytale dream to some.

I’m the typical flower child-peacemaker at heart who tries to see the positive or wholesome side of everything I view or hear.

But as I’m becoming more aware of the physical, emotional, and civic upheaval our country is going through, I can feel my IDEALIST bubble ready to pop.

The reality is…there are civil groups and protestors out there that are not only expressing their disapproval of injustice but are using this platform to sound off their anger, fear, and unhappiness… with destruction, hate, and division. The truth is, that blaming others for our troubles is not only deceptive but it can lead to not accepting the part we play and learn from our mistakes .

The Good News:

There are more American citizens who are respectful, loving, tolerant, and peace loving than what the news mediums portray. I choose to listen to and read positive content which has been proven to be healthy for the mind, the body, and the spirit.

I have also chosen to manifest Love towards others, because I’ve embraced GOD’S GRACE into my heart. He’s my power source, my instigator of unity. Love, instead of hate, will always be the result of manifesting Grace to our neighbor.

1 John 4:20-21 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

How can God’s Grace show up during these challenging times when we are tempted to judge and find disgust with the doings of others? How can we fly above the hate and social disrespect of our times?

The answer is, we are to love the unlovable. It’s pretty easy to love those who speak well of us, those who love us, and those who respect us. Loving those who don’t deserve it can be hard. Only God’s Grace (unmerited favor) understood can help us love when it’s tough.

But what better example of the Grace of God bestowed on us by Jesus- He still offered mercy to the unlovable and hateful of His time, that after being excessively beaten, ridiculed, spit on, and ultimately crucified on the cross of Calvary, He still said, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what there are doing.” -Luke 23:34

Choosing the way of LOVE during these challenging times is not always easy, especially when the temptation to judge, criticize, and misunderstand other’s motives is so relevant. Let’s be the bigger person by being an example of God’s Grace within a crooked and perverse generation. Yes, we can still support just causes, voice our concerns, and communicate our Godly perspectives but never from a Pharisaic or legalistic point of view. Grace in the form of Mercy is the way.

So, how can we shower Mercy to those that don’t deserve it? We’ve all been bestowed with Grace from above by the Creator of LOVE. In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it says, “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love; but the greatest of these is LOVE.” From God’s perspective, “Love covers a multitude of sins”. That’s what He did for us, so let’s shower it to others.

– LET’S CHOOSE THE WAY OF LOVE-

Embracing The Father’s Love❤️

Father’s Day was a little over a week ago, and the idea of honoring the man whose blood made it possible to be alive today can be an achy one for many-especially women. 

It’s been known that the way we view a biological dad could be the way we perceive our Heavenly Father. If our dads were stern, perfectionists, unavailable, vengeful, unforgiving, etc., that could be the way we view our Heavenly Father. Likewise, if our dad was tender, forgiving, merciful, engaged, and so on, that’s the view we can also have of our Heavenly Father.

During the early years of my faith walk, I enjoyed a honeymoon phase with the Lord Jesus and His Gospel of Grace. I heard the message of forgiveness, responded, and was hooked on the Love He bestowed on us on the cross of Calvary-not wanting anyone to be lost but come to know His saving Grace.

During the many years that I listened to messages, teachings, or sermons of God’s Word, I never fully understood the importance of embracing or receiving God’s gift of Grace. What then is Grace or Unmerited Favor? Grace, which is defined as a gift we don’t deserve, can only be bestowed by God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. My understanding was, that to receive God’s blessings and favor in my life, I had to do and live the Christian life perfectly. Many of us have related to this view of doing (following rules) instead of being (just as I am) from the expectations of our parents-especially dads.

Where’s the connection and the disconnection of receiving God’s gift of Grace-that is, a life of rest? See the following narrative that Pastor Joseph Prince gives us using the Apostle Paul’s own words…

“Paul warned the Galatians against turning back to the law-rules after beginning in Grace. He said, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace [unmerited favor] of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6–7). Paul takes this very seriously. He calls any gospel apart from The Gospel of Grace (God’s unmerited favor) a perversion. Attempting to be justified by the works of the Ten Commandments is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ.”

Going back to the correlation between an earthy father’s love and our Heavenly Father’s “Perfect” Love is the need for a woman to feel unconditionally accepted and cherished by both. But what happens when the earthly father’s representation of grace is not a healthy one, nor his encouraging and validating presence is not present in a young girl’s life? There is a void that takes place that only our Father Who Is In Heaven can ultimately provide. 

Ladies, when we truly come to understand and embrace the Heavenly Father’s unconditional love for us and have it make a way into our hearts, we will no longer want to go out and look for validation elsewhere-not even in romantic love. There is something powerfully life-changing about God’s Grace. Trusting in the Father’s Love brings total self-acceptance, transformation, and rest. The Heavenly Father’s unconditional acceptance and GRACE is the only thing that can deliver, heal, and restore the life of any precious woman who’s reading this post. Please share with us below if you’ve been transformed by the Father’s “Perfect” Love.

He has done it for me, and is still restoring me as I embrace His Perfect Love!!

This verse is written on an image of my beautiful orchid who became a painting. Orchids are His way of saying to us that we don’t need much to look beautiful-just His Touch. 🙂

My Covid-19 Halt: An Opportunity For Personal Reinvention

My Covid-19 Halt:                                                                                     An Opportunity For Personal Reinvention

Yay, I’m back and this time for good…

Have you been hungrier than usual lately? Angrier than usual, lonelier than usual, or more tired than usual? You’re not alone! Since Covid-19 kicked in, I’ve personally felt tempted to embrace these feelings more than I would ever desire to share on this platform.

Today, I came across a familiar word called “halt” as it’s used in the world of substance abuse recovery (something that touched my family very closely). On SAMHSA.gov, it says the following, “Since we are likely to pay attention to our physical responses, it might help to remember the anagram-HALT to help recognize that you need to stop whenever you are: Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired.” These essential needs have upped to exaggerated levels during the Covid-19 Pandemic crises.

During these challenging times, we have to pay even closer attention to these essential human responses; we have to be more intentional, and this is where self-care comes in. And along with self-care, comes personal transformation. So, in a lighter note, I’ll share some of the personal reinventing that I’m experiencing during these isolated times.

STAYING HOME-A BLESSING IN DISGUISE!

As a Language Arts teacher by profession, I was transitioned to teach my students from home during this pandemic scare. Though difficult during the first couple of weeks, it became like a comforting ritual with lots of time to myself. As I navigated my new normal, I saw myself experimenting in the kitchen, contemplating home decorating projects and remodeling, adding a scented, tropical garden to my balcony, and much more. And this is where my reinventing began-during a national crisis…this bitter-sweet challenge has position me for a summer off full of joy and possibilities. Isolation has been beneficial since I’ve been able to organize my priorities of what I truly want, need, what’s important, and who’s important-it’s a win, win, situation.

CREATIVITY BLOOMING!

But the most important thing I wanted to share on this post, is my new awareness of God’s Grace in my life. This is the thrust of this blog and the purpose behind its content. Anything else I add is the icing on the cake. During this pandemic- with its social isolation, has made me more aware of His presence and my own presence, which we have a tendency to lose in the midst of busyness.

Finally, us women of faith can suffer from being too judgmental of ourselves and too OC about our decisions, feelings, etc. Our Lord wants us free, receiving freely His Grace in our times of need (during this pandemic and beyond). That means, forgiveness for ourselves and patience with our humanity, always remembering that His Spirit is always available to give us help and wisdom when we don’t have it in our own strength. This pandemic has been a humbling experience, confirming that we are NOT in control.  In the coming weeks, my goal will be to challenge you and me to live in the freedom of a Grace-filled heart, nurture creativity, and practice authenticity-Jesus paid the price for such a life!

MY TROPICAL BALCONY ADDITION

I want to leave you with a quote which I thought is very appropriate during these days of isolation…  “A season of loneliness and isolation is when the caterpillar gets its wings. Remember that the next time you feel alone.”-Mandy Hale

Within My Plans To Blog Away My Heart, I Came Across This Beauty…

Hey guys! Being a school teacher, we’re daily consumed by the busyness, the deadlines, and the continuous giving of ourselves, so my yearning this summer break was to simply chill and publish my blog regularly. Of course, uninterrupted by morning alarms, constant distractions, and time consuming schedules. Well, guess what? My dream of lightheartedness, simple pleasures, writing, and a schedule free summer came to a halt, when I encountered this female puppy we now call Bella. She came uninvited, undesired, and unexpected, but I couldn’t resist this tiny Chiweenie with greenish, hazel eyes. You guessed it! I kept her, but within a week I was already having second thoughts about keeping her. This beautiful puppy was going to disturb my planned, fun-filled summer, full of self care, creative cooking, visits to my local island destination-Key Biscayne. She would disrupt my blogging space, which is about simplifying our lives and living a Grace-filled, spiritual walk. How can I write, be carefree, and enjoy the simple life, when I’d be continuously tending to a very lively 3 month old Chiweenie puppy? This is when God’s Grace shows up in our time of need. His Spirit picks up where I left off, by giving me the grace to patiently and joyfully tend to her, but most importantly, be a lovely addition instead of a hindrance to my “Simply Balanced” lifestyle blog project. My key verse today says, “Philippians 4:13 ESV-I can do ALL things through Him who strengthens me.”❤️

I Embraced Grace For My Struggling, Good Girl Heart…

My stumble with Grace happened a short time ago, after years of working hard to win the favor of my Heavenly Father. I learned that Grace is: the “freely” given, “unmerited” Favor and Love Of God, and the influence of the Spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them. (Dictionary.com) And all this time, I thought I had to check off all the boxes of rules and expectations that God had of me, with the goal of being loved and accepted just as I was-unconditionally. The good girl syndrome had not worked thus far. Wow, I was so relieved! Then, what Is Grace? Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. God’s Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Us good girls, can suffer from being too judgmental of ourselves and too obsessive-compulsive about our decisions, feelings, etc.. Our Lord wants us free and confident of receiving His Grace in our times of need. That means, forgiveness for ourselves and patience with our humanity, always trusting that His Spirit is always available to give us His help, favor, and wisdom when we don’t have it in our own power. This is so liberating! I have to thank Pastor JosephPrince.com, for eloquently presenting God’s unmerited Favor in such a “simply balanced” way.  I hope these truths hit home! Bye for now!

Welcome to my blog-Simply Balanced!

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Hi there!  My name is Giselle, and I want to personally welcome you to my blog. My purpose for this blog is to inspire the woman of faith to live a simpler, healthier, and more authentic lifestyle. I’ve been in this journey myself, so I have a great passion to share with you what is being revealed to me. I wish I could tell you its been an easy process-it hasn’t. Its been a process of learning God’s truths for myself, unapologizing self-care, self-discovery, quiet time with God, and most importantly, tapping into my own Spirit-led heart and trusting it. My desire is to help you embrace “your own” personal balance as you tap into God’s Amazing Grace.♡

In this blog you’ll find the inspiration, the healthy habits, and the lifestyle choices that best supports THE REAL YOU. I’ll also encourage you to practice simple, practical, minimalistic, and organic choices towards a joy-filled life. Here you”ll always find sensible tips, practical resources, and inspiration for your body, mind, and spirit, but more importantly, the GRACE to live life with ease.  

I will also be sharing my journey in finding my own personal balance. I know some of you ladies will be able to identify with my appropriation of God’s Grace.  My greatest struggle was not owning nor enjoying the freedom of knowing God’s gift of Grace towards us his children-His “unmerited” favor. It’s when I started taking the focus of what I did, instead of what HE did, that I began understanding God’s gift of love, joy, and peace-His Amazing Grace.  

As I begin to share regularly, I will appreciate comments, ideas, and insights, and your own personal experience with God’s Grace.  Here you’ll learn how to EAT well, PRAY authentically, and LOVE openly. Thank you for stopping by. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions. 🙂

This is why I’m Here…1 Peter 4:10 says,

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful
 stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”