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Happy Saturday, friends! You’ve made it to the weekend, and that is certainly something to celebrate. I hope you are able to find some sort of rest today wherever you are, and whatever you may be doing.

I wanted to share with you something I have been reading, studying, and praying over this week. I know this is a subject that can be difficult to wade through, but something that God offers so much FREEDOM and peace in. Grace + Forgiveness. I feel like so much can be said about these two things, but I wanted to share as briefly as I can something God has shown me the last few days through reading His word.

My husband, Dustin, and I decided that one of our goals for this year would be to read the Bible through in a year. Can I just say, it is so nice to have someone to do it with. The accountability helps keep me in check, and I love coming together at the end of the day to discuss different things that we caught in that days reading. Sometimes it may even merit a text. Like the time I realized Sarah was Abrahams half sister, or that it was Lots daughters who got him drunk to “lay” with him. Things got awkward REAL FAST back then, y’all!  Anyways, if you’re looking for a good plan to read through the Bible in a year, this one is definitely my favorite I have ever done. It’s only five days a week, which allows the freedom to do something different the other two days. Or if you are like me and you tend to forget a day, then it’s two days of grace. You can find the plan HERE. And in case you are worried because we are almost in February, it’s not dated.

OK, I promise I had a point with all of that. The Bible reading plan has had me reading in Genesis each day, and most recently I have been reading about Joseph. I am not sure if you have ever thought about it much, but Joseph had it hard. Betrayed by family, sold into slavery, lied about, imprisoned, and taken away from everything he knew. By human standards the man had every right to be angry with God, wave the white flag, and give up on all he knew to be true. And yet, he held onto the promise of God, and believed that God meant this all for good. When the time came that he was reunited with his brothers he offered grace. He didn’t even get angry. Joseph’s example through so much hurt was really eye opening. How many times do we even offer half as much grace to those who have wronged us? I know how hard it is for myself to live these things out. I may offer grace outwardly, but on the inside I am holding anger towards them. There is no freedom in that, believe me. I love what Joseph said to his brothers after their father died, and they were afraid Joseph would “pay them back” for all the hurt they caused him:

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

Can you say, GRACE?! They were in the middle of a seven year famine, and God worked through Joseph seven years before this famine to lead the nation in storing food and supplies to help them survive. He was a voice to the people of hope, and guidance. The many years of confusion, and chaos that literally started in a pit, was used for the good of not only his own life, but so many others. God used every broken piece to create a beautifully, flawed example of grace and forgiveness. He basically told his brothers, I forgive you, and if you hadn’t thrown me in a pit, sold me to the first person to walk by, and lied about my death, I wouldn’t have received all of these blessings. God couldn’t have used me like He did.

Mirror this to your own life. Chances are you have experienced hurt at some point. Maybe not quite like this, but hurt none the less. Can we be like this? Can we take the things that have wounded us, and crippled us, and believe that God will turn it into something that benefits His kingdom? Can we offer forgiveness to the ones who failed us in some way, and extend the very grace that was poured out for us by Christ? This has been a battle, friends. I know it isn’t easy. I think sometimes we feel that holding on to hurt “feels better”, but there is no freedom in that. Its day by day, and choosing to have a heart that is not so weighed down with unpleasant circumstances. It’s believing that the happenings of this life are never wasted. It’s counting it all joy in every part of life.

My prayer for myself while reading these verses this week, and my prayer for you, is that in every moment where some sort of pain is associated, may we be the first to offer grace and forgiveness. I am not an expert on any of this, obviously, but I always want to work on ways that I can better reflect Jesus in every part of my life. I don’t have the perfectly written step-by-step plan on how we can offer grace in the same way Joseph did. What I do know is that in every area of my life I want to start in prayer, making my requests known to God. Ask Him to work in every hard part, in every little nook where you tend to push things away. Ask Him to bring hurts to the surface that have been left unforgiven. Sometimes, you will even need to offer yourself grace. We too often rely on ourself to be our own strength. Life will be incredibly hard if we do not rely on God to carry our burdens. Ask Him for these things, friends.

“but those who hope in the LORDwill renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

If you want to read the story of Joseph and his journey you can find it in Genesis 37-50. There is so much more that I did not even mention. I am so grateful for his example to look back on, and learn from. No part of your life is wasted, friends. Do not let unpleasant circumstances keep you from extending grace, and allowing God to be glorified in EVERY part of your journey.

Much Love, Sara