Undeserved Favor

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. ~Ephesians 3:16b-19

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. ~Ephesians 2:8-10

I've seen firsthand the effects of showing God's kind of love to other people. Unconditional love (which can only come from God), has the power to change people, to build them up, strengthen their faith, and encourage their hearts.

But recently I've also been challenged to show grace to others. Grace is unmerited favor - mercy and kindness that goes beyond what I think a person deserves. Grace and love are close to synonymous, but not quite. I believe grace has more to do with showing another person kindness, care, love, mercy, forgiveness - no matter if you think they deserve it or not. In a way it goes beyond love by actively seeking the best for that other person.

When I usually think of showing other people grace, I think of being able to forgive someone who has wronged or hurt me. But grace goes beyond that. It also is simply showing people how much God loves and cares for them - no matter who they are or what road their path is on.  It's reminding and revealing to people how much God was willing to sacrifice because he desires a relationship with them.

I want to be that kind of person - who shows God's grace to all around me. And the only way that will happen is if I first know and experience His grace in my own life.

Who do you need to show grace to?



Tonight I had one of those rare moments at the piano.

I was playing the Chopin Nocturne that I'm working on (Op. 62. No. 1 if you're interested in listening to it), and decided to approach it a bit differently. Instead of focusing on all the things I was doing wrong at the piano (and working on correcting them), I stopped and really listened. Really payed attention to the incredible, gorgeous sounds the piano can create.

Slowly, I savored each melody note, each beautiful harmony and sighing suspension. I stopped on a few chords and closed my eyes, just listening to the resonance of the piano. Each note blossomed into an even deeper beauty after the initial hammer strike of the string. Like the waves of the ocean, the sound of that one note rolled away and then flooded back again, each time dying a little more, and a little more....

When I was done, I felt like for perhaps the first time I really enjoyed the sound I was playing as I was playing it. 

I don't think I have ever given myself permission to enjoy the sound of my instrument while I am playing a Classical piece on it. Sure, I can enjoy a recording of it afterward, when I don't have the arduous task of managing the multiple muscles and memories and brain functions that it takes to play the piano. But to do all that and listen with attentiveness? That's a hard one. Typically, I either focus solely on voicing one or more parts, or just take sound for granted.

All this got me thinking - if I can play a piano for two thirds of my lifetime (so far) and never really listen to the gorgeous, lush sounds I can make on it... what other things am I taking for granted? 

 What things are you taking for granted? Where do you need to stop... and listen?



We've received little snow this winter, making the world for the most part bleak and dreary. But on one of those rare occasions where it snowed, I was inspired to write this story. I cannot for the life of me come up with a title that does not give anything away - so perhaps if you are so inspired after reading it you can help me come up with one.

* * *

Solemn and hushed under a full moon, the forest lay. Its dark trunks stood in perfect rows, stretching further than the eye could see. Yet in the very center, one tree was missing.

A girl stood in the gap, straight as the trees around her. Her feet were firmly planted in the sparse sprinkling of snow on the ground. The full moon pulled her shadow out behind her, painting it dark and straight as the forbidding trees. Her flaming hair flowed loose down her shoulders, barely lighter than her bright red cloak beneath. In all the cold, bleak woods she was the only thing alive.

The air crystallized around the girl with every breath she took, and her hands were blue beneath her cloak. Her cheeks stung with numbness and her pale eyes threatened to melt from the frigid wind, but she dared not move. He had promised.

The night progressed slowly and fleeting clouds shadowed the stars overhead. Snow drifted down, settling like fairy dust on her hair and cloak. The flakes clumped together thicker and heavier, but still she would not move. She could not. He had promised to come.

The full moon touched the earth at the horizon, sending its last rays of pale silver over the world. Already the eastern sky was lightening and the birds were beginning to awaken. Yet still she remained, upright and immovable. He had promised to come rescue her.

The sun arose in its splendor, warming the earth from its chill. Fresh and pure after its nighttime sleep, the earth awoke. People began to stir to life for another day.

Yet deep in the forest, a red maple stood frozen over in the midst of black columns. Its bright leaves still clung to its branches even through the weight of deathly snow. He had promised… 
©Melody 2012


Five Minutes on Trust

I've been meaning to write about my piano recital for some time now (since it happened almost three weeks ago), and have either been too busy or not motivated or just haven't been able to pull my thoughts together.(College will do that to you, unfortunately.) But when I saw this linkup, I knew I had to join. Especially when I saw the word for this Friday.


This word has been my theme, my song this year, and already it has carried me through quite a number of situations. I'm sure you will grow tired of hearing about it - but God is really speaking to me through this word.


When I stepped out onto the stage for my recital, I didn't just step out onto a wooden floor. I stepped out onto trust.

Trust made me put one foot in front of another, bow next to the piano, and sit down and begin to play. Trust calmed my heart, guided my fingers, focused my mind. Trust - not only in my Lord, but also in the fact that I had prepared well. I knew I had done all I could to bring myself to this point - so I gave up worrying and focused on executing.

And when you're trusting in the right thing, the results are amazing. God blessed, molded, and encouraged me through that recital - from the very beginnings of preparation down to the last detail of the day. It was simply amazing - a tribute to the God who can bring me through anything.

I just have to keep trusting.


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