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GRACE, FORGIVENESS, AND ENCOURAGEMENT

I never know when I set down at the computer what I am going to write about. Even if I have an idea in my mind, it will sometimes change as the post evolves. But I have had this subject on my mind for a few weeks, so I guess I will forge ahead.

I hated church as a child. There, I said it. We attended church every time the doors were opened, but I HATED it. I would fidget, squirm, look out the windows, and pass notes to my friends. I did everything but listen. None of that mattered, though, because every Sunday, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, we headed out the door. I attended a small church, there were probably only around 50 or so on a Sunday morning, and about half of those attended the night services. My grandmother only lived a little ways from the church, so we would go to her house after church for lunch. That part I did like!

I don’t know if it was just our church or our preacher, but it sure seemed like all I heard when I was growing up was about Hell, fire, and brimstone, not even a drop of water to quench your thirst. I know as an adult that all that is true, and I can understand the “scare you straight” approach to preaching. But I hated it! I can remember thinking, “how can God be so wonderful if He is making it so hard to be with Him”? All I could envision was a camel trying to go through the actual eye of a needle. That is impossible!!! How was I ever going to be able to make it to Heaven if that stupid camel had to go through the needle?

Matthew 19:24

24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

When we moved to Grundy, my children were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2. I had not been attending church, and it was eating at me. I guess some of the teachings I had heard as a child took root. Thanks, Mom! I was brand new to the area, and I had no idea what church to attend. I got out the phone book and looked up churches. I found one that was just a couple miles away, so I drove by to see for sure where it was and what time the services were. I got the babies up and dressed that Sunday, and we headed off. I hate going to new places. I hate feeling uncomfortable and unsure. So, this was a huge step for me. Everybody was welcoming, and I actually saw a friend, so I felt more at ease.

Then came the preaching. Boy, was I in for a shock! There was no fire and brimstone. No eye of the needle, no vengeful God. Instead, there was Grace and Forgiveness. Instead, there was welcome and understanding. I left church feeling like I might actually have a chance instead of feeling like I was the only sinner in the place and everyone was looking at me. I felt like everyone in the building was a sinner, and the Lord welcomed all of us to Him. I couldn’t believe how wonderful and encouraging the church could be.

2 Peter 1:2

Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Titus 2:11

11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.

Do we encourage others to come to the Lord? I was never vocal about my faith; I don’t like it when I feel someone is trying to ram something down my throat. I always subscribed to the philosophy that I want others to see Jesus shine through me. I know of several women I admire who fit that statement, so that is my goal. But I recently read about a gentleman who is now a preacher who was never invited to church until he was in his late 20s. He never knew about Christ or His teachings. How horrible would it have been if one person had not taken the time to invite him to church?

Think of your family and friends; think of the person at the grocery checkout; think of all the people you come in contact with who might not know about Jesus. It would be a shame if no one had EVER invited them to church.

So, today, think about inviting one person to come to church with you or to listen to an online sermon. Remember, fire and brimstone are real, but so are Grace and Forgiveness.

To God Goes The Glory!

Have a blessed day!

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115 Comments

  1. Your positive outlook and style tips are amazing! Appreciate and am grateful to having followed you! How do you do it all? I can’t seem to put together outfits, but learning quality over quantity and am determined to quit wearing out of date stuff, bye bye bag lady look!
    Appreciate the daily inspirations!

  2. I love David Yurman but in order to be thrifty ordering the pearl cable bracelet for a gift. One for me and one for my bestie! Ordering the personalized totes as another gift! You can’t beat the price! 🎄🛍❤

  3. It’s rare to find someone who is upfront and honest about their faith! Thank you! I truly love being in apart of a church family and I’m so blessed to be growing in a great one!

  4. I too remember only hearing about hell, fire and brimstone as a child and never about the love, grace and mercy He shows us as well. So thankful I attend church now where both are taught.

  5. You are so right ! To save one person and bring them to faith in Jesus means everything. You are shining your light like God wants us to.
    Have a wonderful day!

  6. My husband grew up catholic and I was southern baptist. To different perspectives. I went to classes at his church to learn our differences in religion. It always is intriguing to me how each religion has differing views but if you truly listen to Gods words not the church it always points back to love grace and forgiveness. Gods request for obedience is only for us to live our fullest lives with love for eternity:) Church gives us the opportunity for community.

  7. Oh my goodness, what a great reminder as we come up on the holiest of holy seasons that it is about the invite❤️

  8. Thank you for sharing the grace and love that we find in Christ. with Christmas coming soon, I walk around our home where I am starting to put our Christmas decorations. I take time to pray for someone we know and hope I will have the opportunity to share Christ’s love.

  9. I really appreciate your thoughtful messages on Sunday. Thank you
    I thank God for my grandmother who was faithful in making sure her grand babies new Jesus. Even though I went through those rebellious teen years. When tragedy struck New where to go!

  10. I grew up catholic so I know about being scared straight. Those nuns use to tell us we were going to predatory to suffer for our sins. But in my early 20’s I got saved and spirit filled in another church. I know now that you don’t have to suffer. You ask God for forgiveness. Jesus already paid the price for our sins.

  11. You must have attended the same church of my family until I was 14. We started at a new church and started hearing that God is love! Surprise! Like you, I know the truth of fire and brimstone, but what a blessing to really get the meaning of John 3:16!

  12. Thank you for sharing! For many years, I also thought I was a lost cause. I finally learned that salvation in the Lord is only possible through what He did. It’s not about my works. Although, the Holy Spirit gives us the desire to serve in obedience. So thankful for my Jesus❤️

  13. Once again, you have written about my experience and feelings! I also grew up attending church every time the door was open. Also, coming away feeling beaten and bruised by the negativity.

    My husband and I left that denomination for several years. Upon moving to another city we found ourselves being drawn back to our former roots and have been extremely happy in our fellowship in the same kind of church. Worship centered on positivity vs negativity.

    In fact, each time I can sing a song or say a verse by memory I am so grateful that my family made worship a priority.

    God bless, take care, have a wonderful Thanksgiving 😊

  14. Tania, I love your Sunday posts. I had a similar experience growing up so this one really resonated with me. I am so happy to have found the same grace and forgiveness that you found. Have a wonderful day and thank you!

  15. Thank you for sharing your story on this beautiful Sunday morning. I simply love how you wear your outfits. I wish I could look as good as you, but you do inspire me to wear stylish clothes and look good at the same time.

  16. What a beautiful testimony, Tania! Thank you for being real w us & sharing your struggles & your faith! We’ve all been there. Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. Thank you , Tania for sharing your story. I find it interesting that my church experience as a child was very opposite of yours. I had a very positive one. However, I dropped it altogether once I was in college. Went back for a few years when my daughter was young and have not settled in to another church since. But I’m getting there. With the help of your daily devotionals and other readings I’m more positive in my faith. Thank you, again. You’ve made a positive difference for me. Enjoy Thanksgiving and God bless you!

  18. Yes, exactly, Tania! We stopped going to the church here because every sermon was all about guilt, sin, how awful we all are, and we’re all going to be lacking and horrible. It was depressing and the same messaage; even on Christmas and Easter!
    Now I have friends who attend a happy, hopeful, loving church. It is amazing the difference in the people who attend there as opposed to those from the ‘sinners only’ church. More loving, welcoming, and kind they are.

  19. Beautiful! Thank you. Truth, when you find the right church, it’ just feels right and the words feel comforting.

  20. Love your Sunday posts Tania. Yes, without Christ we cannot be reconciled to a righteous God. It’s a hard message without the help of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your courage each Sunday!

  21. This is beautiful,thank you!
    I look forward to all of your posts but especially your Sunday post.
    Yes indeed, To God Goes the Glory!
    Today in our Catholic Church we celebrate the end of the liturgical year and the Feast of Christ the King!

    Sunday blessings.

  22. Thank you for those thoughts. Even today I think those that attend are missing the joy of having a relationship with God. Church should be about love and sharing of this with our church family.

  23. Tania,
    I love your post. Nothing better than a church treats you like family. I was raised in the church. Until I was in middle all my memories of things were with families from the church. Thank you for your daily email. I love it. I also follow you on Instagram and love all the things you put there to.
    Have a blessed day,
    Dawn

  24. I love your devotionals they are always right on the mark for me. God bless you and I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving week.

  25. Dear Tania,
    I too grew up being taught “hell fire and brimstone” was what we had to expect from our God. As a young teen I started reading the Bible regularly and began to learn of a loving Heavenly Father. I wondered how could the two be the same? Living life and realizing I would never be sinless, I came to understand Grace!!
    When my memories haunt me, I turn to Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. I am His and He is mine.
    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy seeing it each day.
    Have a very blessed holiday season!
    Connie

  26. Thank you for the reminder that we should never miss an opportunity to invite someone to church! I have two friends in mind that I am going to be inviting to church and a women’s ministry event. I would hate to think of eternity without them! Blessings to you and your family this week of giving thanks for all we have!!!
    Jenniffer

  27. Love this topic. Grace and forgiveness are things that we all need to strive for. Also, thank you so much for the GIFT CARD PRIZE! It was such a surprise to receive your email informing me that I won your weekly giveaway. It is so generous. Guess I can finally get those adorable sneakers I’ve had my eye on!

  28. Thank you Tanya ! A beautiful post I needed to hear today . Touched my heart in soo many ways . I had very similar experiences growing up ! It was refreshing to remember them . I need to move on finding a church that is welcoming not from the past . Thank you for motivating this idea !

  29. Tania, I just Love how you keep it real and speak how a lot of us feel! As a child we were made to go to church ,I too did not attend for many yrs but it sure weighed on my heart.
    Fast forward I been back in church for going on 30 yrs. Couldn’t imagine my life not living for Christ.
    Thank you for your honesty, now I need to start inviting people more to church!!

  30. Tania, like you I didn’t go back to chuch until I had my first child and also was able to find a church that spoke of a loving but firm God. I am so grateful for my relationship with Him. Life’s a journey, we grow along the way with Him leading and guiding us.

  31. Tania, thank you for sharing your faith and your clothing tips. You have a way of making both seem very approachable.

  32. Beautiful message, Thanks for sharing, I’m planning to add this to my children’s church lesson today, which is about the 10 lepers that were healed and only one returned to say Thank You.

  33. I am so grateful for you, Tanya, and all those who are not afraid or ashamed to speak Jesus’ name in praise on social media. I also had a hard time finding a church that was not extreme in preaching all about hell fire and damnation or either only about the earthly things you would gain from following Christ. It is so important that we study the entirety of God’s word. I believe he gave it all to us for a reason. And as someone else pointed out. to show love to others rather than speaking against them. Thank you and bless you, Tanya!

  34. Awesome. I just went through a divorce. Do I go back to the church we went to or find a new church. I am like you I do not like to go somewhere new.

  35. our experiences in church are very similar. I wasn’t allowed to wear pants. wear makeup, go to the movies, ect…. we did eventually leave that church, and yes there is definitely a hell, but im so thankful for His grace and mercy every day

  36. Tania,
    Thank you for your transparency. I grew up very similarly to you but it was my Dad and Grandpa who were the preachers! It was much later in life that I heard about love, grace and mercy, and they changed my life. Thank you for the challenge. Keep up the encouragement!

  37. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. The topics of heaven and hell have been in the forefront lately with our changing world. Grace and encouragement is what I needed to her today — Thank You!!

  38. I grew up in a similar small church too. We were there every time the doors were open but I LOVED it! I have also moved somewhere new (as a little bit of an older person now). I’m trying to find somewhere to fit in. Thank you!

  39. Tania,
    I’m pretty new to your blog and I now look forward to reading what you have to say every day about fashion, religion and just life in general.
    What keeps me interested is how down to earth you talk and how you hit home on so many levels.
    You’re so easy to relate with unlike other bloggers I’ve veered away from because they’re not truly authentic and it just comes through.
    So, thank you for the work that you put into your blogs.
    They’re always a joy to read.

  40. Thank you I’ve been broken today. But this came at the right time for me. I’m weary but I won’t be weary long

  41. Tania, thank you for being brave, stepping out of your comfort zone! Thank you for listening to your Mama’s voice, heeding God’s call & taking your babies to church & thank you for posting this! Have a blessed day, my new friend!

    1. I didn’t take my children to church regularly when they were growing up. My parents took us every time the doors were open. Thank you for sharing. Brings back good memories for me.

  42. Beautifully written, Tania. I believe our actions speak louder than words and often we can run people away from Christ rather than into His arms. None of us are perfect – but we are forgiven if we seek Him. God Bless! xoxo

  43. Thank you for this Tania, my personal childhood memories are the exact opposite. My mother took us to a wonderful church. I got married at 21 and neither of us were attending church. Four years later we wanted to find a church home. My husband liked the third church we attended but it was nothing but about Satan and sin. I felt awful that our children were being scared to death. After 17 years of marriage I had to make a life changing decision. I never wanted to be divorced but I did it anyway. I felt so horrible and felt like I was going to Hell. That year was 1999 I went to counseling abd swore I would never get married again!
    Now my children are grown and told me they were glad I got divorced. I’m remarried and we attend church and I have learned I’m not going to Hell! Thanks for your story. ❤️

    1. Thank you for sharing Gigi. It is hard to tell of your struggles, even though everyone has them. I am so glad you have found someone special and have learned to accept God’s forgives and grace.

  44. My childhood experience was similar! I can totally relate to the fear & intimidation. I was left scared & empty. But as an adult sought out love, compassion & fellowship with much better results. My goal was to not terrorize the children & it worked! They all enjoyed church, youth activities & now have memberships in churches of their choices!
    Enjoy your blog everyday! You are fabulous! Keep up the great work!

  45. What you describe was so like how I was raised. Although our church was loving and caring, it was also very strict, as in no pants, no makeup, no cutting hair. By hey have changed a lot since those days. But I felt the same you did, I didn’t hate church but I felt like I couldn’t live up to the standards. Now I go to a church that preaches grace and security and it is balm to my soul. Thanks for sharing your experience! ?

  46. I felt the exact way about church growing up.. So thankful I now know about grace & forgiveness PTL!! Thanks for sharing I enjoyed it so much .

  47. I just got back to church in the past couple of years, after a very long alienation for a variety of reasons. When i moved from TN to CT I knew I had to branch out to find friends and keep active. I was so lucky that my son and his family had been attending a church in their town so, of course, that’s where I started my search. It was a different denomination from what I had last attended several years ago but that made no matter. This church and its members have changed my life (I know that sounds cheesy but it’s so) and I couldn’t be happier and more content and I’ve never felt more supported . The best part is that in the summer they have an 8:00 a.m. service at a local beach. Now this is what I call CHURCH. It is so peaceful there at that time of day and the only “adornment” is a plain wooden cross that is stuck in the sand. We have great music from a key board, guitar and whatever else shows up on a given Sunday and a mini choir of 4 or 5 people. We all bring our blankets or chairs, dress VERY casually and wear our sunscreen and/or hats. I don’t know about other women, but I don’t wear a speck of make up. Woo Hoo. I look out over the Long Island Sound that is like glass and think that this must be what that the crowds following Jesus must have seen as they looked out over the Sea of Galilee. Fabulous. Of course when it rains we move back inside but so far that has only happened once since the middle of June. I’ll be sad to move back inside permanently after Labor Day.

  48. Same here…3x/week whether I needed it or not. Ha! Did your preacher “hack” while preaching? If ours didn’t, it wasn’t a good message. I am thankful for my Christian heritage; however, it was soooo legalistic…Christian School, only dresses, pantyhose, KJV, and rules, rules, and more rules.
    Over the past 25 years of marriage, my husband and I have found a much different way of worship! Thank the Lord for different churches to meet all needs. The hard job is finding the best fit for your family. Y’all get out and look though. If the first one sucks (yes, I said sucks), try a another! And another and another, if that what it takes. The internet is an amazing way to listen to messages and “weed out the duds”. God will never give up on you…don’t easily give up on Him.
    Love you, Tania. I read your blog daily and often wish I knew you in real life. We’d have a hoot. – Have a fabulous Sunday! ~Aly~

    1. This made me smile all the way through:) On days that I don’t feel well, or if I accidentally over sleep, I too head to the internet for my “church.” I will start with Beth Moore (she is always my go-to) and then branch out from there.

  49. This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing how you feel. Finding a new church is hard. We attended a church for almost 30 years before we moved to Roanoke. First we visited the closest church – twice – and no one spoke to us. Then, I looked up a church in the phone book and we went there for 8 years before moving to a neighboring county. Once again, we visited two churches. We liked them both, but we chose the once that is 5 minutes from our house. The minister is an amazing preacher. We heard another great sermon this morning.
    Enjoy your day.

  50. Hello Tania,
    Nice message – we don’t go to church that often but my daughter and I did have a super special experience once when we visited the Vatican in Rome – it was quite amazing. We had visited the Coliseum the day before and somehow were not feeling that fab and then visited the Vatican. Amazingly leaving there with totally lifted spirits…we couldn’t explain it but I guess some things don’t need explaining right.
    These days Sundays tend to be the day when I think most about my Dad who passed away in 2014 – I still miss him soooo much.
    Have a lovely Sunday!
    Yvonne xx

  51. Such a wonderful testimony from the heart. God Bless you! Love reading your post on FB & love your outfits! Totally my style!

  52. This is a wonderful message for us all. My parents planted the seed when I was young, and it has given me joy, strength, grace and love ever since. I pray that others will see Christ in me. I love the Lord Jesus Christ and if you do not know him, I pray you will ask him in your life.

  53. Inviting and welcoming others….you never know how a little kindness can impact others. I thought I was strong in my faith when I moved to my present community. But the church I went to made it clear newcomers were welcome only to the extent they had money or power. I’m outgoing, love people and enjoy change and variety. But no matter what I tried, including acceptance and patience (as best I was able to practice) I and other newbies were ignored. And yes, I tried other churches here with similar results. After 14 years in my community, I stopped attending church and miss it terribly. However, the pain of attending outweighs the benefits.

    I now attend church in another community and am planning to relocate. It is wrong of me to have stopped attending and church is about God not whether we are welcomed by others. However for me that sense of community is critical. Just one welcoming person would have made all the difference.

    Love your Sunday posts. They remain my favorites. Thanks for all the time and work you put into your blog. I appreciate it.

    1. It is amazing to me how people who call them selves Christians, can be anything but Christian. I am glad you continued to look search for the church who would make you welcome. That might have been the Lord’s plan for you all along.

  54. I didn’t have a lot of church in my young years. I’ve now been in my home church for over 20 years. God, and my church family, have carried me through a cancer scare, the loss of my husband and so much more. I am blessed.

    1. I am so glad that you have had a church family to lean on. Sometimes people have no idea how much they can mean to you.

  55. The Lord shines through you every time you write a new post for the day. Tania, you are so real and kind with all you do in your community and you always respond to those of us who reply to you. There shines the love of the Lord.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I try to answer as much as I can. I was running a little late tonight, I have been on babysitting duty today. Believe me, there is no time for looking at the blog when little Miss Hurricane Emersyn comes to visit. Lol!

  56. Well said! God’s desire is for us to know Him, how much we are loved and that our true identity is only found through His Son. I love your blog. Have a blessed day.

  57. I enjoy your posts so much. Genuine, real and yes, your faith shines through in your blogs, and your attitude.

  58. Excellent message. Thank God for our Mom’s who planted those early seeds in us! Mine did, too. Her Mom instilled that love in her. Mom is now in the hands of Jesus but many times I think of how that foundation changed my life, bringing me to where I am today. Definitely going to thank them for that one day.

    Have a great Sunday.

  59. Thank you for your honesty. I also have my mother to thank for my faith in God. I fussed all the way there. I don’t know later in my life how I would have got through without that faith. You speak from your heart. We love you for that.

  60. Very well written Tania. I grew up in church all my life. However, it has taken a couple storms in my life to draw me closer to God and I actually thank him for those storms. Enjoy your Sunday. ~Lisa~