Reading GRACE to You ~ a Confession, a Dedication and an Introduction
Lucinda Secrest McDowell
Everyone loves a gift!
And God has given us so many, including His GRACE – the gift we don’t deserve and can never earn. He declares we are already loved, already accepted, already created in His image.
The question becomes, will we truly receive the gift? Will the reality of it actually change the way we think and notice and reach out?
Yesterday I opened a gift which has been a lifetime in coming — the hot-off-the-press first copy of my new book “Ordinary Graces – Word Gifts for Any Season.” Hubby grabbed the video and caught my EXCITEMENT in seeing the finished product here
Q ~ Tell us about your new book.
“Ordinary Graces” offers 120 daily devotions that are simultaneously short yet deep. Each of the four sections – Grace, Strength, Gratitude and Life – reveal a variety of biblical words through story, study and practical help that prompt the reader to find courage, deepen faith, reach out to others and celebrate with gratitude. Readers will especially enjoy the flexibility of choosing any word in any season, covered on two pages.
Q ~ Who did you write this book for?
“Ordinary Graces” is written for women and men of all ages who are eager to know God better and to understand all He gives for navigating life today. Busy people who can mine the depths of just one word a day filled with grace and wisdom. Those who enjoy nuggets of truth from a variety of sources, as I include many quotes from writers through the ages. It’s also for that person who wants to touch base with God each day, but is not sure where to begin.
Q ~ What is the overall theme?
“From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1.16 Last year’s devotional with Abingdon Press was “Dwelling Places” where I featured words that draw us closer into the presence of God – words that evoke peace and serenity, refuge and hope. In “Ordinary Graces” I introduce words that convey the many gifts God bestows on us – grace gifts that will help strengthen our souls and provide courage to live adventurously. Gifts just waiting to be received, unwrapped and incorporated into our hearts, souls and compassionate actions. What wonderful words are included here – beloved, treasure, worthy, rescue, endurance, kindness, story, promises, real, footsteps, overflow, wise and encourage.
Do you have a few more minutes? Then, may I please READ TO YOU, beginning with a confession that started it all, a dedication to my readers, and the first page all about ordinary graces?
Meanwhile, many THANKS to these outstanding authors who agreed to read “Ordinary Graces” this summer and share with you what they thought of the book. I am humbled…
“Lucinda’s gift is that she plays richly the full octave of life — she can reach toward the sanctified high notes, and half a sentence later, draw us into the depths of the blessedly human heart and soul. It’s her fluid interplay of light and shadow, high and low that makes her a maestro. She lays bare hurt and heartache, struggles and strain — striking a deep common chord, a sense of simpatico — and then, before we finish the next in-breath, she fills us with reason for hope, for healing, she fills us with sustenance. Ordinary Graces and the extraordinary Lucinda Secrest McDowell belong tucked close to the heart. She opens Scripture, draws me in to its sumptuous folds, like no one I know. She is pure love — and her words, and her heart, come filled with a tenderness you never want to let go.” – Barbara Mahany, author of Motherprayer and Slowing Time
“Both eloquent and profound, Ordinary Graces will infuse your heart with wonder through a fresh take on ancient words. Lucinda excavates and lays bare the hidden riches of a single word, proving that the riches are stored in the secret places (Isaiah 45:3), not to be skimmed off the top by the casual observer, but mined from the deep.” – Jennifer Kennedy Dean, Executive Director of The Praying Life Foundation, author of Live a Praying Life ®
“Ordinary Graces is filled with sweet surprises. Lucinda Secrest McDowell presents her readers with one powerful word gift a day. She skillfully defines it within a biblical context, and then challenges us to take an action step. This devotional will transform the way you live each day. I highly recommend it!” – Carol Kent, speaker and author He Holds My Hand
“When I buy a devotional, I want to know that I’m getting profound insights that are theologically grounded, yet relatable to my everyday, ordinary life. That’s exactly what Lucinda Secret McDowell offers in Ordinary Graces. I wanted to underline something in every paragraph, and I found myself reflecting on her words when I went about my day as a mom and a wife. This beautiful devotional will minister to your heart and lead you straight to the source of all grace: Jesus.” – Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare and Love Idol
“Little did Lucinda Secrest McDowell know that my ‘life verse’ is John 1:16: ‘For of His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.’ In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda has conveyed the strategic importance of looking for and finding God’s grace in our everyday lives. His grace does transform our lives. Gently. Tenderly. Wonderfully. The words she has chosen are exquisitely real and important to my life—and yours. Indulge in the grace-filled truth she is sharing. Take it for yourself.” – Ruth Graham,author In Every Pew Sits a Broken Heart
“Whether read one day at a time or in a season of refreshing, Ordinary Graces by Lucinda Secrest McDowell offers focused reflection on key, attitude-altering words. McDowell’s interweaving of quotes from other thoughtful considerers adds even more depth to the beautifully expressed ponderings.” – Cynthia Ruchti, author Mornings With Jesus and As My Parents Age
“In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda skillfully guides us through a daily word that will help us begin to comprehend the unfathomable grace of God. Practical and powerful, this book will be a recurring reminder to readers of all ages of just how much God favors us and wants us to excel through His love.” – Deborah Smith Pegues, bestselling author of 30 Days to Taming Your Tongue
“Ordinary Graces is an excellent short daily devotional, including Scripture and practical ways to put the presence of God in the forefront of our day. Each day features a word we use in our everyday lives which Lucinda Secrest McDowell knows how to capture in an excellent illustration. She writes beautifully and succinctly of the things we need to hear, usually with some humor and sharing a fascinating story. At the end of each day’s devotion, she writes a short intimate message from God to us, always aligned with the truths of Scripture. I highly recommend this book for anyone seeking to grow in knowing God.” – Valerie Elliot Shepard, author Devotedly, Jim (letters of Jim & Elisabeth Elliot)
“What a delight to slow down for a few minutes of quiet with this beautifully written devotional, Ordinary Graces. In a world of hurry, Lucinda’s words remind us there is grace and strength available if we will just stop to receive. Each day’s reading will speak to you from Scripture and change your life for the better.” – Arlene Pellicane, author of Calm, Cool, and Connected
“In the beginning was the Word … and there were words … and they all had meaning and they were good for the spirit of man. And then Lucinda Secrest McDowell came along and took ordinary words and ushered in ordinary graces. These are the words you’d expect in a book such as this, words like gift and life. But there are also words one doesn’t expect, words like broken and anger. And perhaps my favorite word of all, sleep. In Ordinary Graces, Lucinda gives us a glimpse of the ordinary to the extraordinary, highlights of her heart, and moments within the heart of God. Close enough to hear His heartbeat.” – Eva Marie Everson, CBA Bestselling Author, President, Word Weavers International
“Ordinary Graces is the sort of book I can return to again and again for wise and gracious words that encourage, challenge, inspire, and comfort. A feast for the soul.” – Sharon Garlough Brown, author Sensible Shoes novel series
“Author Lucinda Secrest McDowell has given us an extraordinary book with her newest release, Ordinary Graces, Word Gifts for Any Season. Although this wonderful resource is one you’ll always want close at hand, it’s also one that you’ll find yourself sharing with those you meet who need encouragement and hope. McDowell is an author you’ll turn to again and again when you’re looking to connect with our Heavenly Father in a deeper, more intimate way. Truly a book that is a gift to us all.” – Edie Melson, Award Winning Author, Blogger, and Speaker
“Lucinda always brings me to a place closer to God, deeper in the Word, happier in relationships and more joyful in life with Ordinary Graces.” – Pam Farrel, author of 45 books including Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti and 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman
“We all want to do something great for God. Ordinary Graces reminds us that we can miss the extraordinary hand of God in the everyday practices of life. Through Scripture, thoughtful illustrations, and compelling questions, Lucinda Secrest McDowell reminds us to discover grace in the abundant life we already have.” – Melissa Spoelstra, author Total Family Makeover
“With warmth and wit Lucinda McDowell befriends us readers and shows us how to notice God’s graces and promises in the everyday circumstances all around us in Ordinary Graces. You will find scholarly insight and encouragement from each devotional reading from this masterful writer.” – Janet Holm McHenry, author of 20 books including the best-selling PrayerWalk
“Lucinda Secrest McDowell follows her award-winning, impactful devotional, Dwelling Places with the next installment, Ordinary Graces. Full of moving quotes and interesting stories, the new devotional has pithy images that stay with you, like “Kevan wasn’t your typical twenty-something taking a backpacking trip to Europe. He was actually in the backpack.” Her words often challenge you to cling to God — “I shall trust in the slow work of God”– and to live out your faith. If you like devotionals, start with Dwelling Places, and make your way to Ordinary Graces.” – Tessa Afshar, author Bread of Angels
“Proverbs speaks of the goodness of a word shared in due season. Ordinary Graces exemplifies this truth with beautiful words of hope and life for whatever season you face. Each devotion left me feeling inspired and encouraged. A truly worthwhile read.” – Jen Weaver, author A Wife’s Secret to Happiness
Writing is a joy but it is also hard work. There are two pages in the back of “Ordinary Graces” to express all my “Gratitudes” to those who helped.
And to YOU, my readers, THANK YOU for continuing to read this blog, my books and to listen when I speak. I am humbled. I am grateful.
For you are a true GRACE GIFT to me…
under the mercy, Cindy
©2017 Lucinda Secrest McDowell – adapted from Ordinary Graces (Abingdon Press)
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