Applause echoed through the room. There were even a few whistles and cheers. Though, honestly, the songs were mostly childish and simple and the playing was okay in some cases and actually terrible in others. Despite this, the appreciation was genuine.
Have you been to an elementary school concert? Though the kids work really hard, most of them anyway, they just haven’t been playing long enough to be really good. And they aren’t ready for masterpieces.
But have you heard their parents?
Full of excitement and bursting with pride at their child’s accomplishments. Or their efforts. Having the courage to stand up in front of a crowd and perform on an instrument they may or may not feel comfortable playing.
Isn’t it interesting that we actually love even a poor performance when it is done by someone we love and yet we are so hard on ourselves when we are anything short of perfect?
At least I can be that way.
Trying hard to meet some standards that frankly, are ones that I’ve created. Feeling like I need to measure up, to somehow be good enough to be accepted. To be loved.
That is what grace is for.
God loves us even more than the proud parents at a concert. And He knew that we wouldn’t measure up and therefore sent Jesus to die the death we deserved. Washing away all the unworthiness. The sin. Making us whiter than snow. Without us having to do a single thing to earn it.
A Caffeine Conundrum
by Angela Ruth Strong
Series: The CafFUNated Mysteries #1
Published by Mountain Brook Ink
Publication Date September 1, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Ohio Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Solving a murder mystery is harder when you don't trust your partner...or their taste in beverages.
Sassy city girl Tandy Brandt moves to the small town of Grace Springs to start a coffee shop, never imagining she'll be competing with local beauty queen Marissa Alexander and her dream of running a tea house. Unfortunately, the current store owner dies before selling the location to either of them, and they both become murder suspects.
The unlikely pair team up in an attempt to discover the real killer, though with the secrets in Tandy's past and Marissa's infamous clumsiness, they could be their own worst enemies. Despite their differences, they follow clues to question a sweet, apple pie baking antique store owner, a GQ Santa in the retirement center, and a hipster millionaire with no social skills. Will they be able to figure out whodunit and prove their innocence before one of them goes to jail...or worse?
I would like to thank for giving me this copy of the book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Marissa had spent her entire life trying to measure up. She never felt that she was good enough and felt like she had to earn love and grace herself. Granted, she had a family who made her feel that way. There were expectations she needed to live up to. Accomplishments she needed to reach.
Tandy simply felt like she didn’t need grace. She had been trampled on, misunderstood, treated unfairly. She had a bit of a chip on her shoulder and a bit of an air of superiority. But deep down inside, she was hurting and wanted things to change.
I love the way that author Angela Ruth Strong deals with heavy heart issues like this in a genuine yet hilarious way. A Caffeine Conundrum had me laughing all the way through it. At Marissa’s bumbling. At Tandy’s snarkiness. At the other folks in the small town. And it had me reflecting as well, remembering that Jesus’ grace is all I need. I don’t need to measure up to anyone else’s expectations as long as I am pleasing Him.
One of the fun events that ran through the book was awkward mistletoe moments as Marissa’s friend tried to help her reconcile with Conner and as they kept finding themselves in doorways adorned with the little plant. What I deemed “Mistletoe Manipulations”. Hmm. That sounds like a great book title!