River of Grace

I was ‘spring cleaning’, preparing for the weekend celebration of the Easter holiday.   I stepped onto our front porch to shake dust from a small area rug. I took a deep breath and held it long enough to avoid the dust cloud I knew would appear…it’s been a while since I have cleaned!

Inhaling deeply, I was caught off guard by the aroma of purple grape Kool-aid. I was surprised by the sweet fragrance of the Mountain Laurel trees lining our neighbor’s driveway. I could see they were in full bloom, their beautiful hues of purple clusters standing out against a backdrop of green.


It was as if Heaven itself was blowing a fragrant invitation to stop, look and listen, smack dab in the middle of my cleaning day. I sat in the white wicker rocker and remembered a quote I love…

“Hope is found in the space in between the inhale and the exhale.”

I noticed the nature around me, cardinals flashing their red glory as they darted from branches of trees to the bird feeder, squirrels daring to step several feet from the safety of the trees and tempting the prowess of our lurking cat, and the Esperanza plants bearing their yellow blooms. It seemed nature was celebrating spring and I got to be a surprise guest at its party.

Yes. Nature is celebrating and I am celebrating too. Not only the upcoming holiday, but more. I am celebrating repentance and grace in a new space opening in my heart. A space that belongs in the hands of Love instead of shame.

The exposure of my shame was brought through a storm of mercy that came into my life in January. By grace, my faith held fast the first few weeks of the trial; however, as the storm lingered, I began to sink. I do not like to linger in storms for loooooooooong periods of time. I lean more toward believing the lie that I can change things myself more quickly and I am responsible to do so. I mean really,

“SOMEONE has to do SOMETHING to fix what is broken.”

Believing in my own strength, I can tuck dependence neatly into the grave of my self-sufficiency, exhausting myself and others by demanding solutions be found to solve the problem.   And when it doesn’t happen, contempt serves to cover the shame I feel in not being strong enough to stop the pain.

The lie took root in the soil of my heart as a little girl. I was ‘parentified’ as a young girl, given adult responsibilities at a very young age, especially after my mother’s death. I learned to be strong and sufficient to ‘just do what needed to be done to get through it’…at a cost to my vulnerable heart not learning to trust in the strength of someone bigger than me. In reality, I just needed to be held and allowed to feel and cry the tears of my broken heart.

Yes. I have much to celebrate in the resurrection life of my Savior inside my heart. I celebrate in repentance and confession, I ask for forgiveness and embrace the rebirthing of a little girl inside me, the one that lived vulnerably with a heart wide open, flowers in her hair, a dress of green and a handbag that held unknown treasures.

After tears of sorrow and joy while rocking on my porch and after reconnecting to the little girl I was, space opened to receive more of the true treasure of His life within me.

I inhaled more deeply the fragrance of the air; I felt new passion rising with a strong desire to…



I’m ready to jump in

And follow wherever

Love leads me…

Are you?




Ellen Oelsen lives in the Texas Hill Country with her husband of 24 years. She is a mother of 4 children and loves their 2 dogs and 1 cat. Her hobbies include cooking, nature, reading, plays, and two stepping. She delights in offering hospitality of the heart and creating spaces of care, rest, play and reflection to inspire hope. She is beginning to expose the writer within her.