12 Sep 2013

Five Minute Friday: Mercy

Friday, time to crack open the chocolate ice cream and unscripted version of beautiful you!


{That’s my friend, Mallory. Who took our family photos I talked about last week}.

On Fridays a bunch of brave writers gather here to all spend 5 collective minutes writing on a single prompt. 

Here’s how it all got started, back story, details and all. The short version is:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat for pure unedited love of the written word. (On your blog or in the comments).
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog footer}.
3. Go leave some comment props for the five minute artist who linked up before you.

It’s a great way to catch your breath at the end of a long week.

And this week, one of my hand’s down favorite writers who can make five minutes sing, you guys, SING, is guest posting for me. I’m thrilled to have Alia sharing five minutes today on something that is super close to both our hearts.

If you want to know what we’re talking about, you’ll need to read the amazing back story here about Mercy House Kenya.

‘Cause women can change the world right from the diaper aisle. –> click to tweet this one!



It didn’t even register on my page. The gift of mercy. I filled bubbles in next to each set of questions.

When someone is in need are you often the first to offer them financial gifts? When a friend has a need I love to offer them whatever they need.

You’re supposed to score the test on a 0-4 scale of never to almost always. And my sharpened number two hovered above them.

And I thought about this because in the past, when youth groups or missions trips would do the spiritual gifts assessment, I never came out with the ones like hospitality and mercy. I never had the friendly gifts that make people feel encouraged and liked. I had the ones that challenge you and call you out and demand more. I had the ones that judge and tend towards cynicism and see all the changes that need to happen. I had the ones that carried around a soap box and built altars out of sacrifice and obedience.

I had the ones that put money towards the cause in a heartbeat but it was the cause I cared about, not the hands and mouths at the other end that would benefit. It was upholding justice and the idea of good, and not the God- filled mercy in the middle. And I do believe that it all starts with God. When we start with our love for people and work backwards we somehow get it wrong. But when we start with God we will always end up with a love for people. Always.

Because I’ve never understood mercy until recently.

Mercy seemed weak somehow. It seemed to bypass judgement and somehow pardon things I thought needed a season of harvest. Harvesting from poor choices or sin. Harvesting with consequences and lessons learned. After all, you reap what’s been thrown to the wind without caution.

And this was my bitter cup. The God who was always teaching, always uncovering our weakness and showing naked and wretched flesh. I missed it, looking right past his mercy at his might. Looking for a God to worship as holy, forgetting the God who came humbly. The God who needed a place to be born, a place to be warm and dry and safe in his young mothers arms.

But I’ve learned a new thing. He covers. He clothes and bathes and calls us with new names. Holy, perfect, blameless.

And this is mercy. That we see the naked and poor and care to cast a hem of our own graced garment to cover them. That we see the weak and nourish them until they can stand, upheld by the promised of God. That we seek out the hurt and broken, despairing and lost and we offer shelter under the shared wing of the Almighty. That when there is no room at the Inn, we build another.

This is mercy, that we bypass our own selfishness.

Mercy triumphs over judgement. That is the cross. That is the gospel. That is the work of salvation and life for everyone who ever believed.

That in this mercy, we build homes with bricks formed by the very hands of God’s people. Stacking one upon the other, a foundation where truth reigns, and mercy is poured out for everyone to taste.

That in this mercy, life is infinitely valuable, each tiny budding finger and toe a testament to His image. That in this mercy, love is paramount, and we pour out and never run dry.


PS: If you’re reading in an email, just click over and come join us.

PPS: If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your writing as a comment.

PPPS: You really need to click this and join the awesome that is Mercy House. For reals.

PPPPS: EVERYONE gets to be in the number one spot this week. Heh. See below.




{ Leave a Comment }
  1. 1

    Saw this word coming, but I kinda hoped it would be ‘prancercise’ … ;-) Thank you for pouring out your heart as a drink offering yet again, day after day, week after week. You are a blessing beyond measure.

  2. 2

    “Mercy seemed weak somehow.”

    This is how I feel! Showing mercy used to seem weak. I’m a selfish sinner, so why would I care enough to show someone love and mercy?! But I’m quickly reminded God showed me mercy. He shows it to me each and everyday.

  3. 3

    Beautiful! And lovely, raw, honest truth.

  4. 4

    This —> That we see the naked and poor and care to cast a hem of our own graced garment to cover them —> oh this was so lovely… Thank you so much Alia for this reminder… mercy – always mercy

  5. 5

    Oh, I had to grow in mercy too, Lisa-Jo! I’m a truth girl, not a mercy girl. But God can grow in us what is lacking and for that I am thankful!

  6. 6

    As a mom of two young children, I need a tremendous amount of mercy…..From God, my husband, my family, my friends, my co-workers. It has taken me a long time to realize that sometimes I just need to cut people some slack and understand that life’s issues are not as black and white as I once thought. God’s promises are new every morning. No leftovers from yesterday. New promises each day regardless of what happened the day before. I need that. I don’t deserve new promises but that is His promise. May I be known as a woman who shows mercy.

  7. 7

    I just love this part –> “That we seek out the hurt and broken, despairing and lost and we offer shelter under the shared wing of the Almighty.” It is not an easy task to do, when you do not have the heart for it…but by God’s mercy, He touches our hearts and enables us to reach out, even to complete strangers.

  8. 8

    Hi Alia! Oh, girl I love this: “Looking for a God to worship as holy, forgetting the God who came humbly. The God who needed a place to be born, a place to be warm and dry and safe in his young mothers arms.” Yes, friend, me too. I needed to hear this tonight. Thank you.

    • 9

      What a strange and marvelous way to do things, huh? A God who shows us the very weak corners of our humanity and grief and pain because he lived it himself, and one who is triumphant and holy and sovereign over it all. If there’s anyone who can teach mercy, it’s one who has every right to dictate our terms and yet chooses to over write those with grace.

  9. 10

    Lovely words. “. . .the God who came humbly.” Hmmmm! Beautiful reminder!

  10. 11

    Alia, beautiful post as always! You rock!

  11. 13

    What a blessing to have your friend share with us this week! So beautiful. She paints a picture with her words and I love when people can do that!


  12. 14

    wow. just wow! I read this part over and over again: “Mercy triumphs over judgement. That is the cross. That is the gospel. That is the work of salvation and life for everyone who ever believed.”

  13. 15

    Inspiring as always!

  14. 16

    “This is mercy, that we bypass our own selfishness.” Yes. Undoubtedly.

  15. 17

    I simply adore your Five Minute Friday! As my daughter just stepped into four months seizure free, I am overwhelmed with the brushstrokes of mercy across our lives today. And I can’t stop thinking about it. Mercy in her adoption, mercy in her life, mercy in her healing, mercy in my marriage, mercy in redeemed relationships with fathers gone… mercy in coming to really understand the Father’s love and His grace. And mercy for another day.
    Thank you sweet friend. Thank you for turning my eyes to bask in this beauty today!
    HUGS from GA.

  16. 18

    Alia, friend — so thrilled to see you here hosting at Lisa-Jo’s! Your words stirred me deeply today…thank you, friend, for putting words and flesh and bone to what can seem lofty and intangible. Yes, it starts with love for Him! I love your honesty and the way you walk out his love. Bless you.

    • 19

      Thank you Ashley. I’ve seen you popping up all over the place and have everything bookmarked to go read because I always love to sit with your words and stories. I see that mercy so clearly in you, friend. You just shine with it.

  17. 20

    “This is mercy, that we bypass our own selfishness.” I so need to hear and practice this…

  18. 21

    I, too, suffer from closet legalism. My mind knows it’s not right, but my heart lags behind because I so want to see FAIRNESS. But I’m learning that fiar isn’t always equal. You’re right. We have to love mercy and pour out love–and in the flood, there’s no room for checking to make sure life is ‘just’ and ‘fair’ and ‘equal’.

  19. 22

    “Mercy triumphs over judgement. That is the cross. That is the gospel.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. Thank you so much for this reminder! Sometimes, it’s so much easier to judge than to remember that we ourselves didn’t get what we deserved either.


  20. 24

    Love this, just reading that mercy has no reason, isn’t that true, no judgement it is against our better judgement why we have compassion, and forgiveness and love for others, why we gather money to get a van for women in other countries, by the way love! It makes no sense but it does. God in His mercy made no sense when HE came to earth for us. Love this post, love you.

  21. 25

    So, very, very inspired here. You told so skillfully, how judgement and mercy can stir up inside the same heart. I so struggle with that. The link to Mercy House was such a blessing to read and see and really experience.
    Social media is indeed being redeemed and lighting a fire by God!
    I want to be a part of it.

  22. 26


    “It is finished.”

    These are the words. These are the words that saved me. That rescued me.

    During the dog days of motherhood when the work is never done and there is no rest in sight. These are the words that save me day by day.

    “It is finished.”

    These are the words you spoke to them. The ones who whipped and nailed you to the tree that dreadful day. That dreadful day when the Son on the cross shined a great light though the sun was at its darkest that noon hour.

    “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!”, you cried out.

    They were the ones who deserved the mocking. They were the ones who deserved humiliation. They were the ones who deserved to die a dreadful death.

    Yes, how quick we are to judge them. To judge everybody else.

    But it was me, wasn’t it Lord? It really was me that did that to you. And it really was me that deserved to die up there on that tree.

    Have mercy on me Oh Lord!

    And you save me. You stretch out your arms to rescue me day after day after day.

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life….

    Even those long restless mothering days, until all my days are through….

    And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.


    • 27
      Trina Bresser Matous says:

      Rebekah, beautiful thoughts. I love your phrase, “dog days of motherhood”. Now the ending to dog days I expect as I read, but the phrase if fitting. A great reminder of what mercy is and what we are called to appreciate and do as a result. Thanks for sharing!

  23. 28
    Trina Bresser Matous says:

    I hate acknowledging that somewhere in my past I had cancer. I hate all the follow up tests. I’m easily irritated with the waiting room waiting. So I was even more irritated at the phone call saying I needed to come in for more scans; the first ones taken hadn’t been quite enough.

    There I was at the hospital one more time. Irritated at being there. Irritated with the man in the waiting room who made a comment to me that led to another comment about everyone having one of those things. I looked at the smart phone in my hand. “It’s easier than carrying a book,” I said. Another man nodded his silent agreement as he stared at his phone. The first man kept talking. He remembered when TVs came out. Certainly I wasn’t old enough to remember that, he said. He was right. Irritated at being drawn into conversation, yet remembering that all our electronic devices have eliminated conversation, I put down my phone and continued conversing until I was called.

    In the exam room I had the same technician. Why couldn’t he have done all the scans the first time so I didn’t have to be back here. Keep smiling, I thought, your irritation at this guy is not going to achieve anything, but making you look bad.

    As I lay on the table, a whisper in the back of my thoughts, a word I knew – mercy. Mercy called out to me. As I lay on the table, mercy called loud enough to be heard. How much mercy had God shown me for my own past mistakes and unknowing blunders? Could I not, now, extend mercy to the technician, the man in the waiting room, the whole situation? As I acknowledged mercy’s request and released my irritation, mercy washed over me, bringing friends: grace, peace, stillness, stress-relief. I could breathe again and rest in mercy’s peace given by God’s grace.

  24. 29

    Love this! And, I have been there on the spiritual gifts inventory. But, God’s mercy is teaching me to be merciful.

    For some reason, my linky isn’t showing up. Here’s my post:

  25. 30

    I love this!! I will be linking up from now on. Did a writing group with prompts with 3 other ladies and it was good for my soul! Wrote some of my stuff and put it on my blog bellesbazaar-heather.blogspot.com

  26. 31

    Wow, Lisa, I’ve never been #1 on 5 Minute Friday – thank you for my 15 seconds of fame :)

  27. 32

    Yes:”When we start with our love for people and work backwards we somehow get it wrong. But when we start with God we will always end up with a love for people. Always.” Such truth and love in your words :)

    • 33

      Thanks Dolly. I’ve done it backwards so often and ended up so frustrated by people. Grace and mercy flow from a heart that gets what God is all about and wants that too. I’m learning to really love people and it looks a whole lot different than before. It’s both harder and easier.

  28. 34

    Great post about mercy, something I know plenty about, having needed it so often.

  29. 35

    I tried to add my link but it isn’t showing up. :( So I will post the link to my post here: http://www.allthiscrazygrace.com/fmf/five-minute-friday-mercy/

  30. 36

    Never mind…I didn’t realize I got to go straight to the head of the class!!! I was wondering how in the world the sweet girl in front of me (#200 and something got so many comments so quickly) somedays I’m a little slow – or just in need of mercy!)

  31. 37

    This is weird. I do usually post earlier in the day, but alas…

    My link isn’t showing up. But when I tried to do it again (hey, we all make mistakes), it says it’s already part of the collection.

    Here’s my link, if no one can see it otherwise. http://wp.me/pBKyJ-qO

    • 38

      The same thing happened to me, so I tried the other linking method, and then realized that instead of adding your post to the end of the list like it usually does it puts in the number one spot. So now I have two links to the same post. So I’m sure your is there, too, near the beginning if you look. Oh well, live and learn. :)

      • 39

        Bahahaha! And here I thought I was such a loser. Instead, I’m at the head of the class. Well, not any more, but it was nice while it lasted.

  32. 40

    Lovely to see you on here, Alia Joy. Lisa Jo is right – your words always sing.

  33. 42

    Alia, your writing never ceases to amaze me. Absolutely beautiful. Love the word we’re all dwelling on this week…

  34. 44

    Lisa Jo, this was beautiful for me today. I try never to read yours until after I write because you always influence me. I am so glad that I took the time to read and really ponder your words today. I think so many of us don’t understand mercy. We want the justice for those who have hurt us, so we somehow forget that God has given them the same promises as He has given to us. Mercy is there for all. We just have to be willing to turn our hearts and lives over to Him. Sometimes the hardest thing I do is let go of my own problems. Mercy for myself is in short supply. Reading you, I felt His witness. Thank you so much for your words of inspiration and love. It is a beautiful gift.

  35. 45

    For Megan Eccles

    Hi Megan,
    An interesting approach to the prompt, intriguing too.
    First connect from FMF.
    God bless,

  36. 46

    Not sure if I linked successfully throughout the other tool.


  37. 47

    I missed the five minute friday, so I am going to post it here. Planning on doing every prompt. Five minutes a day to get my juices flowing again. Feels so great!! Thank you!

  38. 48

    Thank u for sharing!! I have kid#3 in my bed as I type this on my phone. My girl child. Sigh. Boy Child #1 is already kinda “over” me and Boy Child #2 is soon to follow suit, as he does with most things, I’m afraid. I will never get these moments back. Nor will you. Nor will any of us. Plenty of days for my man and I to share this big king sized bed. But for tonight, I happily share this king, with plenty of room for our little princess. Before boys. Before cell phones. Before bikinis. (Lordhelpme)Oh how time will fly. THANK U for beautifully reminding us of this sure truth, and for waking along tho road with us while we all live it out. Love, love, love. :)

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