Invoice or Love Letter

Wow, it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve updated this blog. I apologize. We’ve been moving–yes, again. Only a short distance this time–down the street. (Long, boring story that has nothing to do with today’s post. 😉 ) But with moving comes packing, fence and deck painting, unpacking, cleaning, and more cleaning. Did I mention cleaning? 😉 And amidst it all, I’ve had my share of crabby days … this morning being one of them … when the garage door repairman tracked black oil across our tan carpet. Oy! Now if ever I needed to pause and pray that my head didn’t instantly explode (creating yet another mess to clean), that was it.

Funny God arranged for this post today, well before my need arose. 😉

Invoice or Love Letter by Cheri Swalwell

“Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word tells me that I am a letter being read by everyone. I pray that I won’t be junk mail today. I pray that I won’t be like a bill making people feel like they owe me. I pray that I will be a love letter, a thank you note, and an invitation to celebrate life.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” (

Wow – After the day I had earlier this week, the prayer above really convicts me. I could blame it on the Heatwave, excessive stress, change in routine, any number of things. Honestly, though, it all boils down to me making the choice to let my emotions have the best of me. I wasn’t only miserable myself, but I managed to spread my bad mood to those I love the most too.

MH900178785I think God showed me that prayer on purpose today. You see, I realized yesterday, even as I was saying the words in a not-so-nice tone, how I sounded and how unfair I was being. So, last night, I first asked forgiveness from my Heavenly Father for being such a poor example to those He entrusted to me as well as those unfortunate souls who happened to cross my path. Then I apologized to my kids themselves for being “the wicked witch of the mid-West.”

This morning, I was determined to have a different sort of day. I asked questions instead of accused, found things to compliment my kids about instead of criticizing, and even though it’s my job to keep my children focused on “completing tasks to their best ability,” I chose the better way to go about that goal.

When I opened the cupboard to grab a container and everything fell out on top of me, my response was much different this morning than it would have been yesterday. Did I let my kids off the hook for their laziness? No, but I was very clear in my expectations, delivered with love this time. Does that mean that they were thrilled to hear the message today because it was told in a different tone of voice? No, but that isn’t the point.

I am realizing, and the prayer above just reemphasizes, that it is my responsibility to show this world an accurate example of Christ’s love. I am God’s letter. If I am going to proclaim that I am a Christ follower, then I need to show Christ in my life always, not just when my hair looks good, the scale shows numbers I like, and the temperature is in the low 80s with a breeze. I will even take my convictions one step further. I think it’s more important to show Christ when in the middle of a Heatwave, my stress level is through the roof, or Murphy’s Law has decided to set up camp in my front yard.

People who are looking to see if Christ is the answer to their life are going to look, probably doubly hard, at how a Christ follower handles life on a day-by-day basis, during good and bad days. And, even though I won’t get it right all the time, I pray that I’m learning from my mistakes (like yesterday) and will do better the next time. After all, I don’t want to be accused of false advertising.


Cheri_portrait-2Cheri Swalwell is a wife, mother, and avid reader, but first and foremost she is a Christ follower. She has a degree in Psychology and has been blessed to be a guest on a variety of blogs including, Circle of Friends, and She is a regular contributor to book fun magazine. If you want to hear more about the heart she has for marriage, parenting, and relationships from a Christian perspective, feel free to visit her blog: or “like” her on Facebook: She loves to interact with her readers, so feel free to connect with her at

Let’s talk about this. If you’re like me, you often fail to pray when you need it most. Most often because I get so wrapped up in the moment–in myself–God’s kingdom is far from my mind. But like Cheri said, it can be during our most difficult times that others will see Christ shine through–if we would but let Him. What are some ways we can align our hearts and actions more with Christ? And what gets in our way?

Share your thoughts and stories in the comments before or on Facebook at Living by Grace.


  1. Thank you so much, Jennifer, for having me as a guest. Congratulations on your move…praying the stains came out of the carpet without too much trouble.


    Cheri Swalwell

  2. Great thought. I’ve struggled with this lately. Especially being complimentary to my kids instead of critical. Thanks for sharing…

    1. Thanks for commenting, Jeni. It’s a great reminder for myself too that I have a choice which way I will respond to my kids on a consistent basis.

    2. I can struggle with that on occasion, too, and often need to pray, “Lord, help me express love and acceptance, not displeasure or rejection.” I think I need to be ultra careful because my daughter tends to be sensitive to tone of voice and facial expressions.

  3. Thanks for sharing this reminder of how we represent God’s love for us every day…not just on the good days…but, everyday!

    1. So true…sometimes I feel like I’m watched more closely on the days that are the most challenging. Thanks for commenting Audrey. So glad I don’t have to rely on my own reactions, that I have a bigger Source to help me respond in the most loving way possible.

    1. We’ve never gone through home building and hopefully never will. 🙂 Luckily this move was less stressful than it could have been, thanks to some amazing friends. And this should be our last move ever–well, except if we transition to a nursing home in our elder years. We moved from a two-story to a one so as to not have to deal with stairs, etc. So, it’s a good transition, even if it took a bit of cleaning and packing in the meantime.

  4. I opened and saved this post to read later, and I read it on the perfect day. What a blessing, Jennifer and Cheri. Thank you SO much! (I’ve shared this post on Facebook.)

    1. Catrina, you are the one who’s a blessing. 🙂 (And not only because you shared Cheri’s post.) I think this is one I need to re-read daily! Thanks for stopping by, leaving a word of encouragement, and sharing the link. I hope you have a blessed weekend!

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