144 Ways to Fight for Grace ~ Guest post by Jill Buteyn

A couple of weeks ago, we posed a question: How do you fight for grace in the midst of hard? You graciously, generously responded with your stories and ideas; some were oversized and spectacular, some were soft and quiet and gentle. These are the compiled ideas—the ways YOU fight for grace while you are going through suffering. They are beautiful and encouraging, and I know they’ll bless everyone in this community as much as they have me. Thank you for contributing!

  1. Stop and deeply watch my children. There is always joy there.
  2. Play the piano, organ, or musical instrument of choice.
  3. Sleep. It resets the mind and heart. Fresh eyes lead to a new (and often more optimistic/less anxious) view.
  4. Run. Pound out emotions on the pavement, listen to praise music and talk to God.
  5. Give grace and receive grace from those around us.
  6. Look back and see the ways God has shown love and grace in tangible ways and then cling to the promise that he who began a good work in (me) will be faithful to completion to the day of Jesus Christ! Ph. 1:6.
  7. Laugh with girlfriends.
  8. Read the Mundane Faithfulness blog. J
  9. God uses people to say what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.
  10. Read scripture.
  11. Call out who He is, His attributes and how He sees me: You are a good God, Holy, Righteous, in control. Nothing in all of creation is hidden from Your sight. You know me. You care about me. You are with me. I can trust you. Your righteous right Hand upholds me.
  12. If unable to sleep, put in earbuds, turn out the lights and listen to the Bible app read (usually Psalms.)
  13. I set my mind to seek Him with all of my heart and know He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
  14. Find the joy in what is around me.
  15. Seek to bless others.
  16. Read or quote scriptures out loud and don't stop until I'm refreshed.
  17. Get alone with God and approach the throne of Grace—determined and desperate to receive grace that covers my weaknesses and infuses me with inner strength to go on.
  18. Ask God to give perspective and clarity and then TRUST HIM. Ask him to help with unbelief.
  19. Think about what Joseph said: what his family intended for evil, God intended for good.
  20. Thankfulness points us to God’s grace.
  21. Realizing despite me rejecting him in pain and anger, He never ever lets go. Not one single time.
  22. Get out and help others.
  23. Remember that what is happening is temporary. In the end, God wins!
  24. Beg for grace, sometimes even before getting dressed in the morning. He answers in amazing ways.
  25. Phone or text a friend and ask them to pray.
  26. Think of the gifts the Father has provided over the years, even in the midst of storms.
  27. Ask him to replace fear with love and angst with gratefulness. Then rest and watch for HOW he brings that prayer into answer. How he changes hearts and minds.
  28. Read a light-hearted book of fiction.
  29. Memorize a name of Christ for each letter of the alphabet. When anxious, repeat the list over and over again.
  30. Turn up the praise and worship music or hymns loud. Sing and dance.
  31. Read the newspaper and empathize with those who are so much worse off than I am. Sometimes reading or hearing or seeing what everyone is going through gives me a different perspective and I know grace was there all along.
  32. Go outside. Look at the beauty and creation all around and know God is always with us. He's got it covered.
  33. Plan a semi-monthly “thanksgiving"—thanking God for the work that He has already accomplished.
  34. Shower to clear the mind and to wash off the day.
  35. Reach out to prayer partners.
  36. Confess the truth—out loud if possible—of scriptures that declare who God is and who I am.
  37. Keep a gratitude journal (One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp). Learn the habit of giving thanks in EVERTHING. Even thanking God for the hard as it keeps us dependent on him.
  38. Pray, pray, pray.
  39. When I feel like I'm at "the end of my rope" I imagine God giving me more rope. I also ask aloud for more rope and thank him that he will always give me more.
  40. When I've forgotten to lean on God during my times of weakness, I remind myself that God will give me all the strength I need to make it through every moment.
  41. Distraction. Find something else to focus on.
  42. Saying the Serenity Prayer brings peace and reminds me that there are things not within my power to change. But NOTHING is impossible for the Lord.
  43. Remember to find humor in life and laugh.
  44. List blessings.
  45. Memorize scripture so that it comes to mind the moment I need to preach gospel and truth to myself.
  46. Remind myself of the promises in God's word and that these remain true even when they don't feel true.
  47. Read scripture, books, and magazines—anything that gives the mind a break from everyday things we face.
  48. Go to a favorite place. Sunroom. Garden. Deck. Anything outside and closer to God’s creation.
  49. Journal all the tough things and answers to prayer. Then re-read the journal. I’m amazed by the verses or prayers I wrote a month or months ago that I need as reminders in the hard or mundane days.
  50. Hike.
  51. Talk out loud to God.
  52. When the struggle is too hard for words, lean on the Spirit to turn groans into prayers. (Romans 8:26-27)
  53. Be prepared. Memorizing scripture that reinforces the character of God is a high priority so that when I hurt badly, I can remember the truth that He is good. That He describes Himself with words like merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth.
  54. Stop. Look to see if what I am struggling with is old. I go over what He has taught me and trace my fingers over His movement in my heart. I continue honoring Him by doing that which he invites me to renew. I listen. He has my best interest. I trust Him completely.
  55. Fight for grace—not mine—His.
  56. Claim a verse to always go to and share it with others when they are suffering.
  57. Listen to music and journal.
  58. During testing, I find that there is always a seed of temptation to doubt the love, mercy and grace of God. I call special friends and say, "Give me a bath of truth to clear away the lies." We do this for each other and are always amazed at how wonderfully we feel "cleansed" of the vicious lies through the truth and are able to arise again to walk in that freedom.
  59. Write out prayers.
  60. Carry a palm size wooden cross. When life seems hard I hold the cross in the palm of my hand. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I just say "Jesus" repeatedly.
  61. When I feel stressed or crushed in on all sides I go to the beach. The soothing sound of the waves and just the vastness of the ocean reminds me how BIG my Father is and that He is Creator God. Nothing is too big for Him to handle.
  62. Pray for others. There are so many people who I know that are suffering due to many different ailments. I find that if I think of them and pray for them, my sufferings tend to go away.
  63. Look back on journals from years past and remind myself of God’s goodness and love for me.
  64. Write down the lies or false doubts & put a Scripture with each one to show God is in control. Sometimes I just write Jesus next to them. This turns my focus to God & takes it off my problem, my worry, my suffering & puts it directly on God.
  65. Go to girlfriends. When you can’t fight yourself, find a hand-holder-upper.
  66. Write.
  67. Put prayers in places I can find them—desk drawer at the office, hanging with my clothes, cell phone—so I come across them throughout my day.
  68. Seek truth in music and scripture.
  69. Go on a walk.
  70. Sometimes as I watch the people I care about most suffer and go through great trials, I no longer know what words to pray. At those times I find a place to be alone and I actually wail and moan loudly to God. It helps me feel like I am completely emptying myself and acknowledging that it is all in his hands. The challenge is finding a place to do this in private.
  71. Ask God to remind me of his promises.
  72. My sermon to myself when I feel down: Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Think of at least 5 things that God has blessed you with TODAY. Repeat them out loud and ask for grace.
  73. Remember to “offer it up” to God.
  74. Cry it out if you have to. There's something so healing in tears.
  75. God pours out His Spirit on me when I listen to His Word in song. Praise music changes my mind so I'm able to open His Word and reach out to others again.
  76. Read and reread verses and chapters that have become promises of God's faithfulness.
  77. Look through old family photos.
  78. Stop and face what fears I have in my heart. I ask myself "in 100 years will this really make any difference?" That question has been a huge help to me in many discouragements. I will be with my Savior long before that. My flesh will be gone and I will see all things from his point of view.
  79. Cry out to God that He will lift my heart. There is a power in the name of Jesus Christ.
  80. Reach out to God and also to another trusted friend or family member. I've learned I must share myself, the highs and the lows, the ups and the downs. Reaching out is one of the hardest things to do, but it is in relationship with others that we are comforted. I share what I need specifically. (I need to vent, I need prayer or advice, I need you to call me tomorrow). By sharing what I need upfront, it eliminates the dance of indirect conversation.
  81. Take care of myself. I am better able to meet each day's challenges and extend big love and patience and grace to the whole family if I go to bed early (and resist the temptation to stay up late to have more time to myself), if I wake up early enough to grab a few minutes of peace and prayer, if I have a cup of coffee, and if I eat regular meals during the day.
  82. First, pray HARD. Then go to his word and cling to it.
  83. Ask God to show me who I can encourage and how. Then use my gifts to encourage others.
  84. Go back to all the times He has delivered me, raised me up, reversed the doctors and surgeons diagnosis... over and over God's will and plan has 'trumped' anything that doctors have said.
  85. Turn on a favorite Christian radio or Pandora station.
  86. Stop. Look around. See what gifts surround me that I have overlooked all day.
  87. Go for a walk to a special place and meet God there.
  88. Make a gratitude list of at least 50 things. 100 if I'm in really bad shape. (Kids can do this too.)
  89. Call someone and ask how they are.
  90. Sit with the feelings, talk to God, cry, and then do the next right thing.
  91. Find something to do for someone else so I don't stay focused on what is going on with me but remember to look outside myself.
  92. The shower is a great place to cry and pour my heart out to God.
  93. Read books that inspire me to rest in His Grace.
  94. Make my bed when I get out of it so that I don't crawl back in.
  95. I have a quote posted by my computer that says: "I am God's child. I am infinitely valued and loved by God. He will use me to change the world." Some days it may "just" be praying for others and counting my blessings, but that's ok. My prayers can help change the world.
  96. A long hot shower with NO interruptions. Slip into my comfy bed. I lay still, listening and praying to hear God speak to my heart.
  97. I repeat to myself what I know is true: God is good. He loves me. He promises to never leave me. He has good plans for me. He promises that he is working all things together for good. He is sovereign. One day He will wipe every tear away.
  98. Find someone else I can minister to so I don't sit around feeling sorry for myself.
  99. When I am struggling the most, words fail me when I try to pray. The best solutions I have found are praying scripture, asking God to remind me of a song or give me a verse.
  100. Lie down and hold my sleeping child close. My heart overflows. And then I remember that He loves me far more than even this.
  101. Journal raw emotions, holding nothing back.
  102. Take up a new activity.
  103. Do the heavy lifting of grieving. No one can do the grief work for you.
  104. Say "Jesus take the wheel!"
  105. I remind myself that if God can create the earth and bring Jesus back from the dead then he can handle whatever is happening in my life. I can let go and trust him to take care of it.
  106. I go to my bathroom. That is where grace met me and God told me "I am not a liar. When I promise something, I fulfill that promise". I put Numbers 23:19 on my bathroom mirror and when I would read the verse out loud the devil had to flee.
  107. Write down 3 things before I go to bed each night that I'm thankful for from the day.
  108. Focus on His internal & eternal power living in me... no matter what the diagnosis, how constant the pain, or whatever 'fiery dart's' the enemy is hurling at the moment.
  109. I need quiet spots so that might mean putting in a movie for the kids and taking a favorite book, journal, and cuppa something comforting outside on the deck and marveling at the beauty around me instead of letting my mind focus on the chaos that threatens my peace. God is always near and desires to demonstrate His beauty to me in abundant ways if I'm open to it.
  110. Recalling his amazing grace and boundless love for me always dilutes the power of the enemy to bring me down.
  111. I find victory in remembering the verse "the joy of the Lord is my strength." If I choose to be joyful God does the rest.
  112. Some things in life aren't in our control, so sometimes we have to go with the flow and work on our attitude.
  113. Stick my nose in the Psalms.
  114. My heavenly father always he sees me through... out if the darkness and back into the light of trusting this good work he began in me that he will complete. He is always faithful even when I can't or am not.
  115. Asking myself, "What is the lie you're believing here?" helps. Then I can pray about the untruth I'm believing.
  116. I have always found that in my lowest times God has always given me a "song for the night" that meets me right where I am at and pulls me through.
  117. Yell out to God. The Spirit hears and can interpret those rants to the Father.
  118. Get off the asphalt. Go and find a mountain to hike, a waterfall to listen to, a lake to just sit beside and soak in the sights and sounds. The further you get in nature, the clearer and easier it will be to hear His voice.
  119. I close my eyes. Hold my hand up to my face. Then I breathe really deeply. When I feel my breath I think/say “God, you are in me. You surround me. There is no place where I'm out of your reach. You are in control and I trust you.” Somehow that little exercise calms my heart and points me back to truth.
  120. Believing that God has the final say, not my doctors.
  121. Say out loud: “Jesus I trust you.” It reminds me to put my trust in him, that's he's right there with me. Then I can do anything, even the most difficult things.
  122. Just ask....HE answers prayers. God is bigger than any problem I have, and with HIS help we can conquer it together!
  123. I love the phrase, "We don’t have to work to get in God’s grace but God works to get his grace in us". Such comfort. When His Grace is in me it allows me to love others. True freedom. But when I fail (which is more often than not) grace covers me.
  124. No matter what, begin with quiet time and fill my soul with Him! Surrender the day at the beginning so I can climb the mountain.
  125. Stay present. 99% of the time what is bugging me isn’t a here and now worry. It is pure speculation about how difficult something may be or what may happen later in the day. Staying present where God can send grace means staying in the moment . . . getting out of bed, smelling a delicious cup of coffee, watching the trees sway . . . completely present to the moment. And then I can feel His grace envelope me.
  126. Sing “Jesus keep me near the cross” over and over.
  127. I remember that nothing comes into my life without first passing through God's fingers. He has to give the hard things permission to enter my life and when He does, He's already provided the grace to meet me there. Sometimes the suffering He sends is disguised as a beautiful lesson on drawing closer to Him.
  128. Do something tangible and proactive such as helping with a meal for homeless veterans or trying to intentionally "pay-it-forward" to others. There is ALWAYS someone who has a greater need (usually a LOT greater) than I do... it just takes finding that person and trying to come up with the solution.
  129. Pull out a prayer. I write them on note cards and there are different ones for different situations. The book Fervent (based on the movie War Room) walks you through it beautifully, but basically it calls on God to fight the battle for us.
  130. Do a small act—really notice someone and give them a genuine smile or let someone go ahead of you in a line. Something simple can bring grace into an otherwise depressing day.
  131. I try to keep my eyes on eternity. I think about my home in Heaven, reminding myself that this world isn't my real home.
  132. After running through "what if" moments, I decided to stop thinking about them and to live well in between. I can visit the "what if" land, but I do not want to live there. So I decided to find the positive in the waiting.
  133. Have Bible verses throughout the house.
  134. Remember that He is God and I am not. He only brings what is for my good and His glory.
  135. Stop what I'm doing and write what I'm grateful for. Usually I focus on the things I'm struggling with... if I'm struggling with relationships I write about how thankful I am to have that person in my life. It helps me put things in perspective and realize how blessed I am and takes the focus off of ME.
  136. I cry out to the Lord and seek to remember that when I am weak then He is strong.
  137. Go outside to the most peaceful spot I am near, feel the warmth of the sunshine and think of Psalm 23.
  138. I made a "peace packet" which is really just a bunch of index cards held together by a ring clasp. On each card I've written a favorite Bible verse or encouraging quote that reminds me to just be still and feel God's peace as I read them. Whenever I'm feeling down, it's so easy to grab my "peace packet" and flip through the pages for a pick-me-up. It comes with me wherever I go.
  139. Pray, pray, and pray some more. I ask a circle of prayer warriors for prayer.
  140. Listening to worship music over and over (and having a good cry in the midst) acts as a way of preaching the Gospel to myself. It reminds me that others might be in similar hard places and need the grace from me that God is giving me in that moment of worship.
  141. My goal in life is to please God. I please God by being like Jesus. God knows I'm not perfect but he expects me to try. I remind myself of these 3 things a million times a day when I'm hurting. My job is obedience and God's job is results. He will take care of me and I only have to seek him—not a solution or quick fix—just him, through prayer and scripture.
  142. God's word is the only thing that actually quenches me. I resist it. I say I'm strong and I carry on with "life" and a million other distractions. But at the end of the day, it's His word that comforts.
  143. I try to remember how much I am blessed with and think of those who may need service, encouragement, a card in the mail, or just a friend to talk to. All of my own troubles seem to disappear.
  144. Call a friend that I know will point me to Jesus when I'm too weak to see His goodness on my own.