Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

A Year of Stubbing My Toe on Grace January 1, 2013

Filed under: Revelation — Stephanie Rische @ 3:35 pm
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I realize that a new year is little more than an arbitrary flip of the calendar, a changing of digits we have to recalibrate to each January. But even if it’s just a psychological prop, I still get a bit of a rush as one year comes to a close and a new one gleams, fresh and untarnished, on the horizon.


On this last day of 2012, I find it hard to believe I’m wrapping up my year of reading the Bible chronologically and posting my musings about it. I’d like to thank you, my readers, for putting up with my ramblings, for encouraging me with your comments, for calling out places where you felt I missed the mark. I appreciate each of you more than I can say.


As a way to recap this past year of “Stubbing My Toe on Grace,” I thought I’d share with you the most priceless gift I received this Christmas. My husband, artist that he is, made a beautiful handcrafted book for me with the top 10 posts from the past year. (Obviously, I cried.)

December 2012 009

Here they are, in chronological order:

10. The Burden of Love

9. Grandma’s Prayer

8. God’s Tear Jar

7. On His Hand

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6. Once Upon a Time, I Wore a Pretty White Dress

5. On Priests and Awkward Moments

4. A Letter to My 25-Year-Old Self

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3. Like Amish Peanut Butter

2. Dumpster Diving

1. What My Two Favorite Toddlers Taught Me about Faith

 December 2012 013

On this day that marks both endings and beginnings, it seems fitting that today’s reading includes these words from Christ:


Look, I am making everything new! . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End.

—Revelation 21:5-6


As we look back on the year just behind us, we have the assurance that God was the God of everything that transpired in the past 365 days. And on the precipice of a new year, we have the assurance that he is the also the God over all the unknowns that await us in the year ahead.


Whatever your year has held—and whatever life has in store for you in the year to come—may you rest in the arms of the One who is both the Beginning and the End.

December 2012 004


God’s Parenting Philosophy December 18, 2012

Filed under: Ephesians — Stephanie Rische @ 5:08 pm
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mommy war

It’s not that I’ve been entirely oblivious to the so-called Mommy Wars in recent years, but as someone with no kids of my own, I never realized just how many smaller skirmishes exist within the larger battle.


I was blown away recently when a friend was filling me in on some of the various (and often heated) parenting philosophies out there—attachment parenting, continuum parenting, distraction parenting. I may be naive, but I guess I figured that when my mom threw me on her hip while she was making dinner, she did it without knowing there was a label for it. And when she pulled me away from the light socket and handed me a toy instead, she did it out of practicality, not because it was all the rage in the latest parenting book.


My friend told me she and her husband had decided to subscribe to distraction parenting—the concept of replacing a child’s negative or dangerous behavior with something positive. I’d never thought about it in such explicit terms, but I suppose it makes sense—not only for toddlers, but for grown-ups, too. I know from experience that if I’m trying to weed out a bad habit, I can’t simply stop doing it. I need to replace it with something better, or else I’ll go right back to filling that hole with the same old pattern (or a worse one).


When I started reading the book of Ephesians, I was surprised to note that maybe God is into distraction parenting himself (although I somehow doubt he’d get into a Mommy War over it). He doesn’t just tell us to stop doing something bad; he encourages us to replace that sin with something positive instead.

  • If we are ingrained in the habit of lying, we’re not just to stop; we’re to start speaking the truth to each other (Ephesians 4:25).
  • If we have a problem with stealing, we’re to replace that with the habit of generous giving (Ephesians 4:28).
  • If we have a tendency to let abusive words slip off our tongues, we need to replace them with good words, helpful words, encouraging words (Ephesians 4:29).
  • If we are enslaved by our anger, we need to change course, treating people with tenderness and forgiveness instead (Ephesians 4:31-32).


As I look ahead to a new year, maybe I need to give some thought not only to what needs to get weeded out of my life, but also what needs to fill that spot instead.


In other words: What good distractions do I need in my life right now?


I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan