Life on the Edge of the Comfort Zone

Why is it always so tough to jump into the unknown fearlessly? Probably because it’s the unknown I guess.

We’ve talked about the comfort zone here on the blog in the past. This is not my first time feeling like I just want to snuggle up with my blankie and stay in my safe little circle. Seriously God, can’t you see I’m comfortable here!?!

These last several years feel like a season of stretching and growing in so many areas of my life!!

Life on the edge of the comfort zone

I mentioned to a good friend of mine the other day that I’m not even sure I know what my comfort zone is anymore because God never leaves me there long enough to get real comfortable. He keeps calling me out into deeper water and invites me to do the hard things.

I wish I could always say I jumped immediately at the invitation but the human side of me still holds back just a little. I’m getting to the point where I trust Him so much quicker and know that He’s there in the hard places.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 4:9 (ESV)

I don’t know about you but I very rarely feel strong enough. There are very few days I would say I’m courageous! And all too often dismay and fear creeps it’s nasty little head into my life.

Yet I know God has commanded, not suggested, commanded us to be strong and courageous. So when the doubts start swirling through my head on whether I’m really capable of what God’s calling me to I stop and pray. I speak truth over myself!

Life on the edge of the comfort zone

He’s not expecting us to go after these dreams He’s given us on our own. He doesn’t want us to do them on our own. We’re created to be in relationship with God and that means in every area of our lives. Not keeping parts of us walled off and separate. I truly believe He delights in our honesty with Him. So I’m not holding anything back from Him. Guess what I’m scared I’m going to fail. I’m not sure I want to put myself out there.

Then I can feel His presence envelope me and His courage invades my very being. And I choose to just do it scared!

 We can’t do it without Him and honestly I don’t want to do it without Him!

I keep wondering if I’ll ever truly feel “good enough” to write and share my thoughts on paper with others. Yet I know this is exactly what God has called me to do. So whether I feel unequipped, scared or even downright defeated some days I’ll just go back to the truth.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37 (ESV)

I love the following quote from Rick Warren: God uses people who expect Him to act, who never give up, who take risks in life, who get the dream and go after it. It’s my choice to be the kind of person God uses to accomplish His purpose.

So I say goodbye to what I thought was my new soft place and follow Him out to the edge yet again! And I wouldn’t want it any other way!!

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below.

~Laura~

When Life Feels Out of Control

I’m so excited to have Micah Maddox joining us on the blog this week. She’s sharing from her new book Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World which releases September 5th!  I invite you to check out her website for more information: micahmaddox.com

(Excerpt taken from Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World by Micah Maddox)

Kneeling on my kitchen floor surrounded by dropped cheerios from yesterdays breakfast seemed like the place I always landed. My knees pressed to the cold tile floor, hands gripping my Bible, tears dripping from my trembling chin asking God why for the four-hundredth time.

I had heard that His line was never busy and that He cared for me, but in this moment it seemed like He had forgotten me. Trying to recall the verses about God never leaving, I wanted to remember that He hears me when I

call, but no answers were coming. I must not be doing it right.

Maybe I should lay prostrate, not eat for days, or perhaps lock myself in my closet and wait for Him to show up in physical form. I was waiting for my burning bush moment, but I couldn’t even seem to get a still small voice. I closed my Bible and went on with my day, frustrated. God had forgotten me.

Anchored In

Waiting for an answer to prayer can sometimes seem like a wasted effort and a long lost dream. God’s timing rarely plays out the way we imagine it should in our minds. We begin to think if God would just answer our request then we could take a step in the right direction rather than wallowing in this paralyzed frustration.

We want to do God’s will, but we get stuck in a place of unanswered questions and burdens beyond our control. When we are in seasons of waiting to hear a response from God, we often wonder if He heard our request in the first place.

But His Word assures us that He does hear. In these silent seasons we have the choice to believe and rely on God or to give way to the doubt that the enemy so clearly sets before us.

Darkness is only a distraction. It does not mean God has departed.

Three doctors dressed in white entered the room one after the other and closed the door behind them. I can still hear the click as the knob latched into place. They each took a seat around the hospital bed and began to explain that they have not been able to pin point what exactly is destroying my husband’s body.

Then one spoke up, “If the test results continue in this direction, we will have to assume that there is a malignancy.”  I was no dummy, I knew what malignancy meant and I began to prepare myself for the worst.

Maybe I could go back to work, get a teaching job and live with my parents until I could get on my feet. I began to think of a funeral and I buried Rob every day in my mind. I made myself crazy thinking of all of the possibilities. We did not even have a diagnosis and yet in my mind I attended my husband’s funeral day after day.

Isn’t it horrible how we always think the worst even when the facts aren’t in place for the outcome we imagine?

When we go through seasons of struggle and answers don’t come, it is so easy to shake our fists at God as if we deserve an answer, a remedy, a solution. I had my moments when I looked up to the ceiling and told God, “I can’t understand. We’ve done everything you’ve asked us to do.”

We all know that feeling—like life is dark and there’s no way out. I don’t know what it is in your life, but I do know there are things that are tough and things that we cannot understand. Seasons of strife, confusion, heartache, heartbreak—we all have them.

Sometimes people will say it’s what we do in those dark times that determines the outcome, but I think sometimes it’s what we don’t do that truly determines the end result. What I mean is this. If I am constantly pushing through, constantly striving more, constantly trying harder to make it, survive, scheme, and get on with the next thing in my life, I am completely missing what God is doing amidst the dark times in my life.

What if we stopped to consider the purpose of the darkness?

You can read more by purchasing Micah’s book @ micahmaddox.com

Micah Maddox is a women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, writer, blogger, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. As a pastor’s wife and mother of three, she contributes her time to MOPS and her local church – including serving as a women’s ministry leader. Learn more about Micah and her new book at micahmaddox.com.

 

How to Find Healing in the Journey

I’m pretty open with you here on the blog. Often as I’ve bared my soul and pushed the publish button, the butterflies in my stomach turned to some kind of winged monster that tried to carry me off.

Being vulnerable isn’t something that comes easy to me and I have a feeling I’m not the only one. Yet one of the things I really learned through this process of writing is that when we put ourselves out there it opens the door for other people to be honest with themselves.

Honesty is the start to healing.

This last year has been a little tough. I’m so grateful for the writing process as it’s helped me work through so many things with God. There are many times when it’s strictly between God, myself and my journal. Other times God makes it clear it’s something I’m to share with you.

healing in the journey

A year ago this month, August 2017, my health took a drastic turn south. I was running on a cup that had long since gone dry and was choking on the dust left behind.

God has so miraculously designed our bodies to work the way He intended for them to work. But so often we just grab the wheel and run it the way we want. Unfortunately, I ran mine right into the ground.

Health issues can often be a snowball effect.

What started out as endocrine/hormonal issues led to depression which led to weight gain which exasperated all the other issues. So I did what any rational person would do, right? I worked harder! (I really wish I could add a rolling eyes emoticon here!)

My body was trying desperately to tell me to slow down. Yet I fought it every step of the way! I figured if I could just work harder, try more and not let my body get the “upper hand” it all had to get better, right?

I put SO much pressure on myself not having a clue that what I was doing was adding to the problem!

Johnny Diaz - Just Breathe

Then to add insult to injury I went to several doctors and was told this was simply part of getting older and I better just get used to it. Not gonna lie, that sucked!!!

There’s a cool thing about our bodies though. God created them perfectly.

He has made each one of us to reflect His wonderful handiwork.

I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well. Psalm 139:14 (HCSB)

So when things are out of whack do we turn to Him for answers? I sure didn’t. I simply ran that much harder. There I was working out 2-3 hours a day on top of our daily ranch work, writing, household chores, youth ministry and life in general.

My body rebelled hardcore!

I tried the doctor’s suggestions to support my tanked adrenals and endometriosis. They helped temporarily but there were to many side effects so I had to cycle them and the crash in between was miserable.

It’s not fun to admit that it took so long but I finally fell on my face and said God I have no idea what to do, please help!

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. James 4:10

We’re so blessed to serve a loving and patient God.

It’s not the first time He’s patiently waited for me to come to my senses and run to Him. I’m not sure if it’ll be the last but I pray it’s quicker each time now!

In typical God fashion, He had the best plan for me all along. When I finally submitted my will and listened to God I got to participate in my own miracle!

My body needed rest.

My emotions needed rest.

My spirit needed rest.

They all needed rest and support – not the punishment I was doling out!

God provided the steps I needed to take towards wellness. I simply needed to be willing to not run ahead or lag behind.

What started as a journey to help my body get the support it needed has impacted every area of my life. I’m excited to see where God leads and share with you as I follow Him!

healing in the journey

I’ve added a new page to share a little with you about what I’m doing to support my health. I don’t plan on changing the direction of the blog. But I can’t help but share a little about how God has blessed me so much through this journey! Check it out here.

Thank you for allowing me to bare my soul to you. It’s not always easy to share the less than stellar parts of your own life. I’ve lived a life of delayed obedience way to often in the past so when God says go, I’ll do it.

Even if it means doing it scared!

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below.

~Laura~

 

How to be More Generous

When you hear the word generosity where does your mind go?

Giving your money? Maybe material goods?

Generosity is so much more than just giving our money. God has given us a perfect example of how to give of ourselves.

Yes we can give, and should, of our finances. But what about being more generous with our time? How about generously giving mercy to others? How about we just give what God calls us to and trust Him with the outcome!

Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” Luke 6:38 (NLT)

When God called me into youth ministry my first thought was, “Lord, I’m not qualified!” My second thought was, “To be honest God, I don’t really don’t have the time.” I told Him I didn’t have the time but this is the same God that made the sun stand still. He is capable of giving me time. I just didn’t want to give it.

As we all know time is a very valuable commodity!

In typical God fashion when I finally submitted and gave my time and my limited abilities God multiplied everyone of them.

So I have to ask, when asked to “share” do you tighten your fist and say NO like a child who doesn’t want to share their favorite toy? I get it, it can be hard when we’ve worked so hard for something we think is ours and we’ve earned it. But let’s be honest is it really ours?

But we have to unclench our fists so that we can allow God to do the work he intended with our generosity.

How to be More Generous

Do you know the funny thing about a tight, clenched fist? It’s not open to receive either. What we think we’re holding onto desperately is keeping us from the gifts that God wants to give us. It’s time to roll your fingers back even if it takes a little bit of effort. Go ahead – try it. Is it hard? Are you finding it difficult to say, “Here it is God, whatever you want me to give I will?”

We’re fooling ourselves if we believe we were created for an easy life. But there’s no need for despair because we were also created for a life of abundance. I know that seems to contradict itself but it doesn’t when you think stop and think about it.

What the world thinks of as abundant and easy isn’t the same as what God’s word promises us.

A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10 (HCSB)

We want to hold on to what we think is ours when in all reality what God has for us is so much better. Yet it doesn’t always make it easy to make the right choice.

So often we just think about the cost to ourselves because it’s human nature. Unfortunately we are a selfish being without Christ. So when those times come up and we’re struggling to let go of something go ahead and tell Jesus it’s hard.

We can't out give God!

I am so ready for all of us to stop pretending we’re perfect and everything come easy. He doesn’t want us to hide it from Him! He’s not waiting for us to be perfect. He simply wants us to come to Him. Even in our struggles – especially in our struggles!

Outside of Christ it is impossible to truly give in love. Thankfully, Jesus tells us when we freely give it will be freely given to us.

I’d love to hear from you! Are there certain areas of your life where generosity comes easier? Anything that is super hard to let go of for you? Let’s bring it out into the light and let God work it out within us.

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

 

Even if…will you still trust God?

Have you ever prayed for something and things didn’t turn out how you wanted? Did you question God’s ability afterwards?

Even if...will you still trust in God?

It’s okay to admit when we have our doubts. God’s shoulders are big enough to handle it. He already knows anyway so let’s stop hiding.

I’ve been through situations where I have prayed for deliverance and didn’t see an immediate response. In the middle of the storm it’s pretty hard to hold onto the kind of faith of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had.

Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you refuse to serve my gods or to worship the gold statue I have set up?  I will give you one more chance to bow down and worship the statue I have made when you hear the sound of the musical instruments. But if you refuse, you will be thrown immediately into the blazing furnace. And then what god will be able to rescue you from my power?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” Daniel 3:14-18 (NLT)

I know it’s much easier to say “even if” once the storm is past. Yet there is peace that comes when we can say Lord I know you CAN do this, I know you WILL do this, but EVEN IF you don’t, I will still put my trust in You.

Throughout many of the storms I’ve had in my life I can’t say I’ve always run to God first thing. How I wish the first words out of my mouth would have been “even if…” but God is faithful and never left me.

Looking back, I know God had His hand on me throughout all the storms in my life. So now because of that refinement in the middle of the storms I can truly say Lord I know you can, I know you will, but even if you don’t You alone are the one I will worship and praise.

I have been praying for the salvation of a loved one for so many years I can hardly count now. To be honest there are days it’s hard to continue on with it but this is where our faith meets the rubber of the road.

Are we going to continue to put your faith in God?

Now I’m not saying it’s bad to question things and I sure don’t want to hide my doubts from God because we all know the enemy loves to make us feel ashamed of our feelings. He hopes we hide from God. Let’s not do that, let’s take them to Him.

When I was struggling with the news that I would not have children because of so much scar tissue it was pretty hard to say, “Even if you don’t I will still praise you God.”

There was a sweet release and a peace that washed over me when I finally said, “Lord I know this is possible through You but Lord even if it doesn’t I will still trust you alone.”

We need to know God’s hand is with us in the valley. He never abandons us. We unfortunately forget to reach out and grab God’s hand. Instead we try to do it all on our own.

Are you trying to do it all in your own ability? Let go and let God.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew full well what they were headed for and they knew it wasn’t possible to get through it on their own. Their only hope was God’s saving grace. Guess what? Our only hope in this life is God’s saving grace as well.

So today, will you make the choice to trust God EVEN IF…?

I’d love to know what your EVEN IF situation is right now. Let me know in the comments and I’d be honored to stand alongside you in prayer.

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

How to Escape the Fear of Failure

Have you ever put off starting something because you were waiting for the perfect time? Are you spending too much time in the learning phase before actually diving into the whole process?

If any of you raised your hands, trust me you’re in good company.

I’ve talked with so many people who struggle with this very thing. We put God’s callings for us, our dreams and our goals on hold hoping somehow the perfect conditions will just magically happen.

I’ve missed many opportunities due to my desire for perfection. Even when it comes to writing, I often delay sharing a new blog post because I don’t feel like it’s perfect.

So many opportunities to share the good news of the gospel with others missed because I didn’t feel like the setting was perfect for it. What is that anyway!?! Missed chances!

Mark Twain wrote, “Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection.”

When we wait for those “so called perfect conditions” we’re robbing ourselves of all the improvement we could be making on the journey.

Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit. Psalm 119:96

Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t give our best effort at everything we do. I believe we need to give 100% of what we have at the time. Life is a journey and the growth along the way will change what we have to offer.

What someone may consider failure may be the best someone has to offer at that point in their life. God and that person are the only ones who know for sure. That goes for us too as long as we’re honest with ourselves. Give what you have in the moment.

So many times fear creeps it’s ugly head into our life and tries to keep us from moving forward. The nagging fear of failure can keep us from trying. Somehow we believe if we don’t try we can’t fail and not failing is the better option.

But is it really?

When we don’t try we’re cheating ourselves of the chance to know.

Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s wisdom. I believe it’s God’s grace that is helping me not fear failure as much anymore!

So there’s no need to wait for perfection. We can trust God to work out the details as we trust Him with each step.

I don’t know about you but I’m beginning to believe perfection is boring anyway. Life is meant to be lived full on with complete abandon in the pursuit of Jesus. Why would we let something like fear or delayed perfection get in the way of that?

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 4:9 

So I’m resolving to live a life of courage, trusting that wherever Jesus leads me, He will be there. Will you join me? We can live our lives fearless. Unafraid of the sting of failure or waiting on perfection because we know Jesus can’t fail and we’re following His lead.

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who’s planning your future? – Five Minute Friday

Well hello friends! Sorry I’ve been so absent lately. Spring in the ranching world is busy, busy, busy!! I’m excited to be back and thought the best way to jump back in was to write, not over-analyze. That’s where Five Minute Friday comes in for this post. It’s such a  fun way to simply write without over thinking or editing.

Come on over to Five Minute Friday to check out what others have to say about the word prompt this week: FUTURE.

Setting my timer…now!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What about 5 years down the road? Got the next years plans all laid out? Or do you have any idea what you’re doing tomorrow?

I like to plan and live by a schedule. It’s my happy place. Now I’m not talking super rigid but at least an idea of what my future holds. Yet I live in a world where I’ve had to come to terms with most of the time not having a clue of what tomorrow will bring.

Don’t get me wrong I still make lists and have my planner (a beautiful blue one that makes me swoon) but I’m learning to be more flexible with my future plans.

My husband on the other hand is NOT a planner of any kind. He completely flies by the seat of his pants. I’ll ask him if we can put a specific day on the calendar to work a certain bunch of cows. His response is always, “lets just wait and see”.

Aargh!! I can’t even begin to tell you how tough that always is to hear. Especially when you’re the one who has to cook for the crew. Yet I know God put us together for a reason.

He helps me learn to swing at what’s thrown at me and I’ve helped him look to the future a little more. Even if it’s just a week ahead for now!

So in all this looking to the future let’s not miss the Lord’s guiding hand in our lives.

So are you a planner or more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person? I’d love to hear your thoughts on plans, schedules and looking to the future!

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

Can You Hear Gods Voice Above The Noise?

Can you hear God’s voice? Do you hear Him when he calls to you?

I’m in the middle of lambing right now and it’s such a great reminder on how we have to listen to be able to distinguish God’s voice above the noise.

When it’s a ewe and her lambs and nothing else is around it’s really easy for the lambs to distinguish her call. And it’s best for the first 24 hours or so if they do have some distance from other sheep so they can learn to identify their mothers unique “voice”.

As I move them out into the pair pasture or even into a lot with a few more sheep it’s even more vital they can distinguish their own mother from the crowd. If they get separated they often run around panicked looking for their mom and their mom is calling trying to find them in the chaos. It’s when they slow down, perk up their ears and truly listen they can locate her voice above the others.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27 (ESV)

How often do we run around like chickens with our heads cut off desperately seeking the “right way” to do this whole Christianity thing? In reality, God is always calling to us we just need to slow down and listen with our hearts.

When a lamb panics they often run all over bawling wildly for mom and of course she comes running. Yet in his panic he can’t slow down long enough to see and hear what’s right in front of him. Many times they will run right past their own mother or continue to bawl right in front of her not hearing her cry back to them.

Not until their mom reaches out and touches them will many stop and realize she’s been there the whole time.

I know I can’t be the only one to ever react this same way can I? I’m spending so much time running around trying to figure out a situation on my own while all along God has been right there calling to me.

God has given us full access to Him through Jesus. We have his will for our lives spelled out in His word, the Bible.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 (NLT)

Let’s all quiet our minds and hearts and listen for God’s voice as we move forward. Even when life is chaotic all around us we can still stop and listen as God speaks to us.

I’m praying this makes sense as I am literally using talk to text into my phone as I move ewe and lamb pairs. I love what I do and love the way God uses my everyday life to teach me lessons! So sometimes you do what you need to do to get the lesson recorded.

Praying your week is blessed and you can feel God’s presence fully envelop you.

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

How to Choose the Right Tools for the Job

“Come on, I’m desperate!” the cowboy pleaded!

I knew he was in bad shape and I did feel bad for him but there was no way I was giving him my horse!

It was a beautiful sunrise as we all unloaded our horses out of the trailer.  The quiet stillness of daybreak was soothing to my soul. I was exactly where I belonged in life and soaked up the blessings all around me.

Choosing the right tools

We were helping a friend move cows and calves back home from summer pasture. It was about a 20 mile journey. We all knew how long it would be before we agreed to go. Not to mention all the hills, draws and creeks we would have to cross before it was over.

When you’re moving cows with calves at side you need to let them take their time so you don’t run the weight off them. Yet you still have to keep urging them on, especially as the miles add up.

The hills were starting to wear the calves out by about mile 10. So it was taking quite a bit of convincing to keep them going. By about mile 15 an older cowboy, who had chosen to ride a 2 year old colt, was “out of horse”. This was way too long of a day for a young horse to try to tackle.

As we fought our way up and out of another draw the young horse just quit. He’d had enough and couldn’t go any farther. All the urging on in the world wasn’t changing his mind.

Right horse After quite a bit of effort, the cowboy climbed down and led the horse forward. The young horse reluctantly trudged along now that the extra weight was gone.

You’ve probably heard the saying “choose the right tool for the job”. I can tell you, a 2 year old colt for a 20 mile ride wasn’t the right tool for the job. He was young, immature and hadn’t had enough miles with a rider on his back to handle what that ride threw at him.

How many times do we do the same thing in our own lives? When a circumstance comes up our reaction is to try to tackle it in the natural. But we’re not fighting against flesh-and-blood. So choosing a natural reaction to our situations is choosing the wrong tool for the job.

God gave us the tools we need to stand firm in faith in Ephesians 6. We have to choose to pick them up and use them though.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Ephesians 6:11-13

Belt of truth

We can stand firm knowing the truthfulness of God’s Word.  It gives us confidence to stand up to the devil. We have truth on our side we don’t have to settle for believing the lies of the enemy. When the devil comes after us we can speak truth over the situation.

Breastplate of righteousness

The devil is going to come after us with everything he has, it’s just a fact. But we’re equipped and protected with the righteousness Christ has given us. So when the enemy slings lies at us we can stand up to his accusations. Jesus gave us the grace to overcome!

Your feet fitted with the gospel of peace.

The gospel gives us stability and protection as we do battle. We’re equipped to share the good news with others. When we’re serving in the Kingdom of God our focus is Kingdom work and not self serving.

Take up the shield of faith

Our faith is vital to take our stand against the enemy! With it we can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. So as the fiery darts are being flung our way, our faith keeps our eyes on Jesus. Without Him the battle is lost.

Helmet of salvation

Our salvation is what gives us hope. I love the visual of putting our helmet of salvation on. It covers our mind which can lead us astray so easily. Yet the hope we experience because of it helps keep our mind focused on our eternal hope.

Sword of the Spirit

The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. This is our only offensive weapon and it’s meant for hand to hand combat. This is why it’s so important to memorize scripture. When the devil is on the prowl we can go after him with the truth of God’s word.

We’re going to encounter difficult situations. It’s part of life. It’s important to know the right tools to use for those situations. The mighty tools God gives us help us to defeat the enemy!

Are there any pieces of God’s armor you struggle to put on? Let’s talk about it!

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~

Can You Feel God’s Love in the Hard Places?

But He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in my weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9a

Have you ever felt like you’ve had the wind sucked right out of your lungs? Or that you’re suffocating under the weight of your heart breaking?

It all happened so fast I didn’t have time to think or prepare in any way.

Jag was a working dog. He was a handful as we started training. He was full of tension and didn’t always deal with it in the most appropriate ways. I struggled to figure out ways to help him.

But, his heart was so big and he had so much try I just couldn’t give up trying myself.

I discovered through Jag it can include animals as well. We had been through the fire together and the bond formed through it was amazing!

A wonderful bond develops when a person weather’s a storm with someone else. I discovered through Jag it can include animals as well. We had been through the fire together and the bond formed through it was amazing!

Border Collies are a stoic breed by nature. So looking back it doesn’t surprise me that he never let on he was in trouble. We were moving sheep for several hours and I noticed he started to favor a hind leg. Yet he still didn’t want to quit. When he was still favoring it the next day I raced him over to the vet.

It’s amazing how fast things can go downhill. I wasn’t prepared. My heart wasn’t ready for what happened next. I’m not sure it ever is. We discovered he had a tumor strangling the main blood vessel into his heart. He was bleeding out internally and despite my vets best efforts we were unable to save him.

So many people tried to tell me he was “just a dog”. I suppose if you’ve never felt the loyalty of countless hours spent together it would seem that way.

So many people tried to tell me he was “just a dog”.

I suppose if you’ve never felt the loyalty of countless hours spent together it would seem that way. My heart felt like it had been ripped out and stomped all over. I had been cheated and on top of the hurt, anger soon followed suit.

Yet in the middle of it all, God met me. As I was crying out to God in anguish I could almost audibly hear a scripture reference whispered to me. I raced to look it up and sobbed tears of release as words I’d read many times took on new meaning.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Only God! He’s there for us even when it feels like our world is falling apart. He loves us in the hard places when we have doubts. He holds us up when we’re struggling to move forward.

There were still valleys of heartache to travel but I was grateful to feel God’s presence with me in those valleys. He wants to strengthen and hold us up in this life. Let’s allow Him in to do just that!

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10

It has been several years since Jag went on ahead and every now and then I still shed a few tears. More often than not though I smile over the memories and am reminded of how faithful our God is in the hard places!

I want to share a poem with you I have always loved. It sums up the love and loyalty God gifted a dog with so beautifully.

Loyalty

God summoned a beast from the field and He said, “Behold people created in my image, therefore, adore them. You shall protect them in the wilderness, shepherd their flocks, watch over their children, accompany them wherever they may go – even into civilization. You shall be a companion, an ally, a slave.

“To do these things,” God said, “I endow you with instincts uncommon to other beasts:  faithfulness, devotion and understanding surpassing that of people. Lest it impair your courage, you shall never foresee your death.

Lest it impair your loyalty, you shall be blind to the faults of people. Lest it impair your understanding, you are denied the power of words. Let no fault of language leave an accord beyond that of people with any other beast – or even people with other people. Speak to your people only with your mind and through your honest eyes.

“Walk by their sides; sleep in their doorways; forage for them; ward off their enemies; carry their burdens; share their afflictions; love them and comfort them. And in return for this, people will fulfill your needs and wants which shall be only food, shelter and affection.

“So be silent, and be a friend to people. Guide them along the way to this land that I have promised them. This shall be your destiny and your immortality.” So spoke the Lord.

And the dog heard and was content.

Author unknown

I’m sharing this post with several other blogger’s at these Faith Linkups. I encourage you to check them out. If this post resonates with you and feel it would help others please feel free to share. Easy to share buttons below. ~Laura~