Sometimes life just kicks us in the pants. And when it's not going as planned, these waves of uncertainty can been overwhelming. Ebony and I have a frank chat about the power of Grace in these times, in all times, and how to access peace within it.
Join us as we chart our journey through the stormy seas of strife, holding onto the lifebuoy of grace and peace we discover in the teachings of Philippians 4. As we reflect on our own experiences with conflict, hurt, disappointment, and confusion, we share our insights on maintaining serenity even when the storm rages on.
We're taught to lean into a peace that surpasses understanding, , and that's easy to quote and we delve into how to live in it when you're conflicted and confused and upset.
Ever wondered - How do you search for it? How do you identify it? How do you fall into it? When you get a little bit of it, how do you keep it? And is the presence of peace the absence of all the other stuff, or can they coexist?
We discuss the transformative power of prayer, not to change our circumstances, but to find peace within them. Discover how recognizing God's grace in our life can be an anchor during trying times. So, hoist your sails and embark on this voyage with us, exploring the steps to maintaining peace no matter the storm.
Become your own witness - you already have evidence. Don't look for the Everest, find the extraordinary in the ordinary.
Ask for it.
Ask for it with gratitude.
Be prepared to accept the blessing you can't understand.
Want to know more, listen in!
We'd love to meet you in person! Come Join Us in Heaven's Net. A 3-day retreat March 13 - 15, 2024 - find out more by clicking HERE.
Welcome to Grace Among Us, the podcast where we unearth the many faces and places of grace and share stories of the power of grace in our human lives. Our desire is that this will inspire you to see grace in your own life and share it with others. Hey.Ebony Gilbert:
Hey Carri.Carri Richard:
Hey Ebony. Good afternoon.Ebony Gilbert:
Same to you. My name is Ebony Gilbert. Here to talk about Grace today with Carri Richard. Hey, Carri, you want to introduce yourself or you want to jump in?Carri Richard:
I help people make space and enjoy the ride. I love, love, love talking about all the different faces of grace, many there are many - with my dear friend Ebony Gilbert.Ebony Gilbert:
(some buffer space here to align captions..) Yeah, today, yeah, today feels a little bit more challenging then other days to talk about grace when there's so much going on in the world, our worlds, our individual worlds, our collective world with Israel and what's happening with the Palestinian people, and the ways you show support when you don't really, when you feel conflicted on both sides. And then, on a more personal level, we have some really dear people in our life who are experiencing some what feels to be undeserved challenges, and we've all been there where you're like how does this happen? Didn't see this coming. How do I step in out of this? How did I get into it? So I'm thinking today, Carri, about peace. How do you access this peace that you have to find a way to live in, dwell in, get to when you don't really understand, you don't understand the parts you do understand, you don't agree, it feels unwarranted, it's not merciful, it doesn't feel just, but we're taught to lean into a peace that surpasses understanding, goes beyond understanding, and that's easy to quote. Yeah, I don't think it's as easy to live in when you're conflicted and confused and upset, and upset about some things. And I want to ask you what's been your experience with this peace that we have to find and get to? How do you search for it? How do you identify it? How do you fall into it? When you get a little bit of it, how do you keep it? And is the presence of peace the absence of all the other stuff, or can they coexist? (Carri - Wow! Pick one. Oh my gosh.Carri Richard:
Woo, that was so good. I was going to - before you even ask the questions, I was going to say Ebony, that is some juicy, there is a lot there. Yeah, that peace that surpasses all understanding and I love that you said "it's easy to quote. You're absolutely right. It feels good to quote, like, oh my gosh, that's available to me? T he peace, that surpasses all understanding and often, if I'm in the midst or I'm hurt or hurting, or afraid or disconnected, it's like, "yeah, that's great. How the heck do I get that, that peace, that peace that .. Sometimes I can equate it with, that feeling of safety, and especially when my world feels like it's falling apart, or there's tragedy going on, it's a reflection of a lot of what's going on on the planet right now.Ebony Gilbert:
We're part of a bigger system.Carri Richard:
Yes, yes, co-regulation. You asked the question. So how do you get there? How do you get there when you're in the midst?Ebony Gilbert:
I want to read something to you before you answer that. So this peace that surpasses all understanding comes from the Bible. It's Philippians, chapter 4, starts in verse 6, but I want to read you what it says in the two different versions, the contemporary English version. And then I'm going to read in the good news translation the contemporary English version is and the verse before this says stop worrying about stuff.Carri Richard:
Be anxious for nothing, stop worrying. But then it goes on to give you a little more instruction on how you do that. So the contemporary English version is "then you belong to Christ Jesus. God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand, and this peace will control the way you think and feel." So, in that version, God's going to bless you with it, no one's going to understand it, and that will guide your perspective, your thoughts and feelings going forth. And then there's the good news translation, which is "and God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding". So it's not like you're waiting to understand it, it's beyond our capacity. God's peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus". So it's talking about the closeness there has to be, the close to the safety of that closeness that gets you there. Now, having said that, how do you find it?Carri Richard:
Oh my gosh, now it's even oh, okay, and we're done. No, I'm done, I'm just. I'm just kidding. But you, you talked about the connection. So for me, when I am in fear, or I'm afraid to lose something, or I'm afraid I'm not going to get something, or I'm hurt by someone, something, some situation. When I'm in that place, I am not connected. So the first thing I need to do is I need to pause. I gotta have the faith to stop, take a deep breath, say a prayer. Lord, I don't know what to do with this Lord. I'm hurting. Lord, I can't see a solution Like. I have to stop. And what I've found is some other things that are helpful. For me is to remember that I have a very short view, I have a very small view or a limited view, and when I'm in that place of being in reaction to what's going on, I have an even smaller view and I have to remember that God's got a much bigger view and is working for my good, even if I don't believe it. I don't even have to believe it in that moment. I just you know, I just have to be open to it.Ebony Gilbert:
I love that. I love that you mentioned the connection in prayer, because the prior verse, verse 6 in Philippians, chapter 4, which I did not read first intentionally before you can get to that peace, that's beyond human comprehension. There's a verse before that that says and this is in the good news translation don't worry about anything, but all your prayers ask God for what you need. So if you need help with your unbelief, that's the time to ask. If you need that peace and you can't find it, that's the time to ask. But always ask him for what you need and ask him with a thankful heart, absolutely. That's the supplication part. It's you know go ahead.Carri Richard:
When I ask for something thankful, like when I hear that asked with a thankful heart, it's with with the faith that it's coming. You know, the beginning of my journey, the journey that's got me here, was probably 17, 18 years ago and I've touched on it in other podcasts. You know, my life kind of like fell apart and a friend gave me something I wrote down and it was like I choose joy. I may not see it, but God provides it, so I choose it, and that changed everything for me. It didn't change it overnight, I guarantee, you know, but every time I was in that place of like oh my God, I don't know what to do, I can't do, I can't do this Like I, you know, I would pull that note out of my pocket and it's like I choose it. I can't see it, I don't feel it, and it's the same thing we're talking about right now. It's like God provides that peace, but I gotta be willing to ask for it.Ebony Gilbert:
Try to be willing. I've talked about this before and thank you for saying it took some years, over a decade. This was the continuous. It wasn't like you get a whole truckload of peace and it just falls at your door. You know the pile adds on each time. There's a little bit more to get a little bit more. I talked about this before, probably not from this perspective, I remember the day I got peace.Carri Richard:
I can tell you the specific day.Ebony Gilbert:
I was with you and we were at a mountain retreat and I asked for forever healing prayers and I didn't believe it. I wanted it, but I was thankful that I had this opportunity to have friends with me who would agree with me and pray for this and who believed probably some more so than I did. I was grateful for that moment. We prayed with gratitude and thankfulness and with sincere petition and being humble. I went home and I didn't sleep well that night because I was overwhelmed by the day. But from that day forward I have slept every night, barring, major whatever. But I have not had a sleepless night, due to a lack of peace. Now let me say this my situation did not change. That day I came home to the same problems. Matter of fact, there was no solution on the horizon for a good another two months. I didn't get an answer or a phone call the next day about oh,. At the time I was in the throes of stomach cancer, there was no real solution. There was no help recovery plan. Nothing happened immediately in my tangible environment to spark this. It was absolutely a blessing, it was a gift. It was handed to me. We asked for it and I got it. And I received it and said I'm not letting go. Now, that doesn't mean I haven't had moments that weren't peaceful, it doesn't mean I haven't had problems or other issues, but I can tell you that something about that day and the way we prayed and the way we believed was a miracle for me, and I have navigated life completely different since then. It changed my perspective. It changed how I see things, how I think about things, and I remember it. Now I have to get refills and go back up to the Phillips station and get more peace here and there, all that kind of stuff. But you know I have to recharge and plug into the outlet every now and then I get that union and that connection back. But that day and it started with prayer changed my life, my peace life, and that is grace. I don't understand it. I still don't understand it. I can't really explain it to you. I don't know if there was some difference.Carri Richard:
Here's the great thing. Nor do you have to, and I have friends who say, " and I can't, I can't, I can't.Ebony Gilbert:
It was the least likely place with the least likely people Tell you more about that later. Yeah, I remember the day and to your point about it taking 17 years or so, this didn't happen on that day. Let's be real, this was. I'm at the end of my rope.Carri Richard:
And I don't know what else to do Now. It probably could have happened earlier, but I wasn't in a place to pray from that place before that day. It's almost like saying well, I graduated on blah, blah, blah day. No, you took you 12 years to get through school, to graduate. You know? Yeah, go ahead.Carri Richard:
Yeah, no, it's such a so, what a beautiful example, and you're, it's that OK. So I this is, I'm trying to get the words around it, You're? You're absolutely right. It didn't happen like when I got that note and it was like I choose joy, like I didn't. I didn't feel that joy for quite some time. However, I see God in my rear view mirror and I can tell you that that was a major turning point in my life, and so it's. How do you continue to walk the path? And sometimes, for me, by you know, by God's grace, I have some evidence, just like the story you just told and your experience that you just told. I have some evidence. So if I'm in the midst of one thing, I can also pause and step back and go "OK, how has God blessed me before? Because what I, what I've learned about God, is like God is the Constant. (Ebony - He'll do it again). Exactly Us humans. We do one thing one way one day, and then we do one thing one way the other day. Right, it's different, Like we'd, where, I' ll speak for myself. I am not great with being constant. I change my mind, although I don't understand all of how God works, I don't think he changes it up. No, yeah, so that is that helps me to be like you know what it's worked before and I don't know when I'm not. It's not my timeline, but if I keep putting feet on my faith.Ebony Gilbert:
Because he's faithful. The chief example of what faithfulness looks like. Right, yes, he's going to keep his word. And if He did it for me that time, so you become your own witness? Oh, beautifully said, you're absolutely. Carrie is her star witness.Carri Richard:
I'd like to call Carrie Richard to.Ebony Gilbert:
I'm going to testify on my own behalf. I can see it in your life, yeah, but I know what He did for me.Carri Richard:
Exactly, exactly and to the same point. If you, if you are listening to this and you do not have a lot of evidence, please talk to somebody who does. We're here, we're happy to provide evidence.Ebony Gilbert:
I used to be jealous when old people would say things like oh, I've seen them do it or he did a miracle, and I thought, how do I have to be before? (Carri - "Where's mine? Like, is this an AARP thing? Like what you mean to tell me? I got to wait till I'm 65 to feel God's presence. You know, seriously, just being totally transparent, used to get really frustrated Like when's it my turn? And to your point about seeing him in the rear view mirror. There were plenty examples. Yeah, you know, I was waiting on Mount Everest, but if you've ever done any amount of hiking, you can hike up a good hill and feel the burn the next day. It doesn't lessen your height, because it wasn't Everest. I was waiting for this Everest blessing or this Everest miracle, or this Everest peace, and I got it that day. But there was so many other things. So to your point, if you're out there and you're thinking I haven't had my Everest, I haven't had my moment, (Carri - my burning bush), my burning bush, that hasn't happened yet Somebody has. And you can trust that God doesn't have this favorites game he plays with people. Ask for it. So verse six ask for it. Ask for it with gratitude, with a thankful heart and verse seven be prepared to accept the blessing that you can't comprehend.Carri Richard:
That's the other, that's the big one. That's the big one because you know, again, this is personal opinion when I ask it's done, it's done and I got to catch up to it, I get it, either You'll reject it if you're not careful, exactly. I have to be open to it because it doesn't come Again. Here we are back to I don't understand. I don't have all the information, I'll never have all the information. So if I want it, I'm no, I don't, I don't. And if I'm looking for it in a specific packaging I'm screwed, because again, this hindsight, it comes. It doesn't come the way that I even think it would come, so I stop thinking.Ebony Gilbert:
You save yourself some worry.Carri Richard:
Yeah, yeah.Ebony Gilbert:
That's in that, verse 6, too. Stop worrying.Carri Richard:
Yeah, do not be anxious.Ebony Gilbert:
Stop worrying. You know, I heard something a few years ago. This is one of the first Bible verses I memorized in Sunday school and I used to feel like gosh, I worry a lot. Like, am I just constantly over here sinning? And then I heard something. (Carri - I'm worrying about worrying). I'm worried about worrying, and I heard something a couple of years ago that kind of gave me a little bit of freedom. It talks specifically about that verse which says be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your request known to God. I heard something and it reframed that for me. It said hey, this guy's not saying that you're not going to worry. He knows how we're wired, he knows who we are. He's saying when you come to me, when you come to me to ask me for these things, you can't be worried about whether or not I can do it. Yeah, you can't come doubting and questioning whether or not you're going to get the blessing you're asking for. Come believing, stop worrying about all that stuff in the world, and show up at my doorstep and say, "hey, God, I need you, big guy, and these are the things I need. And now I'm going to take peace and I'm going to take a little bit of sanctuary in the fact that you're going to bless me with what I need, even if I don't understand it, and I probably won't. So I thank you for it right now. Right now. I'm thanking you now for what you're already doing that I might not actually see in the physical until whenever.Carri Richard:
But I'm going to sleep in it, Literally. I'm going to have some peace and sleep in it.Carri Richard:
Right now.Carri Richard:
That encourages my soul.Carri Richard:
Me too. Me too, I like images and I have this image of, like you know, god standing there and I am like I am running around in circles in worry, like looking everywhere, but. God for the answer, looking within myself, somebody else. If they'd just change, if this would just be different, if these people wouldn't like believe what they believe, then this would all not be happening. Blah, blah, blah, blah, right, and it's like. Then, all of a sudden, I finally stop and like tug on His robe or God's robe, whatever you guys create your own image, but it's like I have to stop and then I have to ask for help.Ebony Gilbert:
Yeah, and say that lady in the Bible is like I want to touch to him of his garment. Yeah, he already knew it was wrong before she even opened her mouth, just from the touch.Carri Richard:
If I could just get close enough to have that union, that connection, you know, that reach are just to touch.Carri Richard:
Yeah, and I don't have to be anything but what I am and who I am in this moment. I don't have to get ready for it, I don't have to be extra for it. I just got to slow down enough to ask and be thankful.Ebony Gilbert:
So we thank God for the peace. Yes, that is beyond human comprehension, that surpasses all understanding, and we're going to continuously go to him in prayer with gratitude, already expecting and believing it. And you get to define what this peace looks like for you. For me is sleeping at night. For me it's laugh. I'll go even more granular for me is laughing at silly stuff, because there was a point in my time where I couldn't be silly because I was so riddled with worry and anxiety.Carri Richard:
If I could take a minute to laugh at a commercial, I'm like, oh that's. That's a little bit of what peace looks like for me, I love that. Not So uptight, you know. So I thank Him for the peace, I thank Him for you and for everyone listening, and I am always more than happy to share my Everest moment. But I thank him for the hills and the mountains along the way as well.Carri Richard:
And the little bumps along the road.Ebony Gilbert:
The speed bumps.Carri Richard:
The rug in my hallway that I trip over every time I walk past it.Carri Richard:
It's perfecting my balance. I'm going to send you some tape. I love that. I just, I just want to celebrate and give glory for you know, the peace Sleeping at night for sure and also just that space in me that can walk outside and look at the leaves and the wind blowing in the leaves and just have pure joy, get ambushed by joy. I can't make it happen, but, man, sometimes it just shows up, just like in this moment, getting to talk to you. All that came about, I just, my heart is full.Ebony Gilbert:
A s is mine. It's such a beautiful time of year, get outside, get outside. There's a tree in my front yard that's red right now. How the heck did that happen? I don't understand it. The good Lord ran it this time, but it's just a little reminder. In the morning when I opened the blinds, hey, that guy turned.Carri Richard:
He turned anything else in my life Absolutely beautiful with the season is right.Ebony Gilbert:
All right, Carri. All right, you got something else. You want to close this out? You're good to go.Carri Richard:
No, that was just. That was so good, I'm all done.Ebony Gilbert:
Thank you, friend, thank you to grace out, grace up.Speaker 1:
Thank you so much for joining us. If you enjoyed this episode, please let us know. We love to hear from you and share it with a friend. Also, please be sure to subscribe so you're notified when a new episode is posted. We hope you're leaving with another pointer to grace, a new perspective that will light it up in your own life. Until next time, be well, be bold, be kind to yourself and be on the lookout.