Surrender Your Way to Victory

Have you ever felt like you’re running in circles chasing after a goal or dream? You know the feeling, right? It’s like a hamster on wheel grabbing that next spoke and pushing harder and harder all the while not getting anywhere!

The vicious cycle of striving!

Earlier this month I was out running dogs and praying. I have 7 Border Collies so I spend a lot of time outside exercising them. They don’t talk much so I love to talk to God while they’re playing and running off some extra energy.

I’ve learned over the years there isn’t any point in trying to hide my feelings from God so there I was in the middle of the pasture, pouring my heart out to Him. My emotions were strung out and a mess from way too much striving over the last few months.

The last several months felt like one giant roller coaster and I was more than ready to be done with it all together!

Surrendering your way to victory

So as my dogs tried to sniff every acre of our horse pasture I sat there in a puddle of tears telling God how tired of the hamster wheel I was! I kept telling God I would do the work and trust Him with the outcome. Yeah, I was getting good at saying it on repeat but there was a huge disconnect with it getting to my heart.

Not sure how or why I got to the next statement but it will stick out for me forever I pray. It wasn’t anything fancy but for some reason it finally connected with my heart. I said through tears, “Lord, I surrender. All my plans, all my goals, even my will, I surrender to You. Whatever You want me to do I’m in!”

Now I know I’ve prayed similar words before but I’ve struggled over the years to utter the word “surrender” when it comes to my plans, goals and my own will. Thinking somehow that would remove my free will and ability to go after what I want out of life.

Oh don’t you love the way God works though! I barely got the words out of my mouth and God gave me a revelation. We are already victorious, we don’t have to keep striving for it!! I know, I know, you probably already know this. Shoot I’d heard it the whole time growing up as well.

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. Romans 8:37 (NLT)

Surrender your way to victory

But until that moment I was seeing victory as “winning” at whatever I was striving at right then. I mean doesn’t it make sense? Victory = winning right?

But right in that moment God gave a little snapshot visual of a racehorse standing in the winners circle. I’d been on the track running in circles scratching and clawing trying to gain entry into that coveted circle. Right then God made it very clear that I was already IN the winners circle. Victory was already mine because of Christ.

Then because God is SO good He kept giving me more snippets throughout the next week to fully seal this into my heart.

A quote from Monique McLean’s “21 Days of Prayer for Your Business” needs to be tattooed across my forehead as a reminder. “He drops things right in front of us when we stop striving and start surrendering.” Boom, mic drop!!

Surrender your way to victory

Yep, that’s exactly how I’ve felt all week. I’m still working but my heart feels freer. For the first time in a long time I truly feel like the outcome isn’t what determines the success.

Then I just happened to run across an email with a blog post yesterday at the perfect time too. Okay, God I see You working in this!!

Holley Gerth shared an amazing post about how “success isn’t about the outcome but the obedience.” In it she shares Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.” (NLT)

I love to look at different translations so I went through several and love how the New King James Versions says it. “Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” Then as I was digging through a reference guide I discovered the Hebrew word for “commit” is “roll onto”.

How cool is that? Roll onto the Lord your works and your thoughts will be established. Head and heart finally connected!

Here you go Lord, I surrender, I’m rolling my concerns over to You and trusting You to work this out in my head and heart. No matter the outcome victory is already mine. You bought and paid for it Lord and I receive it. Thank you for helping me to operate from that place of victory instead of striving to gain it. I love You more than any goal or plan. To You be all the glory!! In Jesus name, amen.

A day in the life a writer

As the sun peeks over the horizon the ideas brewing in my mind all night flow onto paper with complete ease! There’s barely time to keep up as the words simply spill out and mesh together.

Okay, now that we’ve walked down fantasy lane how about we get real with each other.

My writing almost NEVER works like what we just talked about. Seriously next to never!!

More often than not my day starts out with grand intentions that last all of about 10 minutes. Sometimes less! You see I wear many hats. Writer is just one of many!

So as I put one fire out and head to the next I scribble notes on whatever I can find. Most of the time that includes blank envelopes, the notes app on my phone and even in the dust of the dashboard of the pickup. Hey, a girls gotta get those ideas out quick before they vacate my mind, possibly for good!

Speaking of writing ideas, my best ideas often come in the shower! Do you know how hard it is to take notes in the shower? Anyone else ever have this issue? I’ve learned to keep a notebook handy for right afterwards but would love to hear if anyone else has something that works for them.

Okay, so now I have all sorts of ideas flowing so it must be time to write, right?

I sit down at my computer and this blank white screen stares back at me. But wait, I have ideas, why aren’t they coming out when I need them? For me it’s often to many ideas and trying to narrow them down to something at a given time.

I’ve got the ideas narrowed down and start hen pecking a few words out to silence the flashing cursor of judgement! Wait, the words are starting to come easier now. I’m not sure they make sense but they’re coming easier at least.

Oh the joy, things are starting to work again. The keyboard can barely keep up with how fast I’m trying to type the words.

And then it happens! The front door creaks open and I can hear my beloved holler across the house, “Woman, I need your help, quick!” Curses, it all comes to a screeching halt.

Ranch life never goes by a schedule, EVER! So I stop what I’m doing and head out the door to help hubby move a tractor, doctor a calf and unload feed. Might as well go ahead and get supper in the crockpot while I’m stopped too, right?

It’ll come back easy right? I mean it’s already started and everything was flowing so beautifully. Shoot I’ll just pick this up and finish it with grace and ease! Alright, I’m going to have to go with grace as it sure isn’t coming with ease again. Ugh!!

Maybe some music will get it all going again. Yeah, that’ll help and while I’m waiting for that to kick in I might as well switch the laundry quick right?

Here we go, let’s try again. What, my word count is at 200? Did the computer devour everything I wrote before my blessed husband walked in the house? It had to have as I know it was there. Well, I thought it was anyway.

Graphics, yeah, graphics. I’ll work on those for awhile and that’ll pull this whole thing together. Oh look a cute kitten video! Eek, shut it down quick.

I imagine what it must be like to be a writer in some solitary log cabin in the woods. How amazing would that be?!?!

But you know that’s not me. I squeeze in writing late at night after everyone else is asleep. Many of my first drafts are done on my notes app with talk to text on my phone as we haul hay. Way to often it takes me several days to get a blog post fully ready as I do it in 5 minute chunks of time.

There’s nothing perfect about my writing style but I love to write so I’ve learned to make it work. Not sure it works for my readers but hey let’s focus on that grace again, okay?

So off to bed I go with my trusty notepad beside my bed for those ideas that come at the most opportune times! Ready to start the whole joyous process all over again.

 

I Believe Lord Help Me with My Unbelief

Have you ever heard the saying “when faith walks in fear walks out”? I’m not sure it’s even a real saying or just one in our neck of the woods.

Let’s be honest though, I’m pretty sure fear is just hiding around the corner most of the time even if it did walk out of the room!

I believe Lord help me with my unbelief

I love the story in Mark 9 where the father brings his son who can’t speak and is tormented by an evil spirit to the disciples. They tried to cast it out but couldn’t. That’s a whole different lesson I’m not planning on going into here.

What keeps drawing me back to this lesson repeatedly lately is how the father responds to Jesus.

He tells Jesus all about how this evil spirit tried to kill his son repeatedly through the years. He sees what is happening daily. Can you even imagine how hard that was as a parent? How helpless you’d feel? It breaks my heart for him.

But then his comment to Jesus had me scratching my head many times. “Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.

“What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9: 22-24 (NLT))

Does that last statement from the father hit anyone else upside the head?

It’s way too easy to believe once we believe in Jesus we’ll never have any fears, doubts or unbelief. Now I’m not saying we just simply accept unbelief as part of our everyday lives. But I think it’s important to recognize it can happen.

Way to often in Christian circles it’s treated as shameful to feel any doubts or show any worry. Now hear me on this, I don’t want us to camp out in fear, worry and unbelief. Not at all!

But when we recognize they will come knocking at our door and remove the shame for feeling them it also makes it much easier to run to Jesus. We aren’t hiding out in shame hoping he doesn’t catch us in our unbelief. You know He knows already anyway, right?

Recently my hubby and I received word of some very unsettling news. The kind that causes you to scramble and try to figure out what to do next in a very short amount of time.

To be perfectly honest I was feeling pretty angry with God. Then pretty upset with myself for feeling this way with God. That quickly turned into guilt for feeling so upset over a situation when I know so many others are dealing with things FAR worse than this could ever be.

I honestly didn’t have a clue of how to fight back at the moment. I was having serious doubts on if I was even hearing God correctly anymore. I’d prayed and trusted God to resolve this issue and at the time of this writing it’s a LONG ways from resolved.

But God in all His goodness gave me these scriptures at just the right moment.

I didn’t have to try and hide my unbelief, fears, doubts and worry. I just needed to take them to Him.

So I wrote these words on my heart and every scrap of paper I could find around my house for the next week. Lord, I believe, help me with my unbelief!

We need truth spoken over us friend. The truth is life can be tough! The even bigger truth is that God is still in control!

Let’s choose to keep grabbing faith’s hand and reminding ourselves anything is possible if a person believes.

Lord I need You so desperately! I do believe, please help me with my unbelief. Thank you that I can trust with the good, the bad and the ugly. I’m so grateful You love me right where I am and meet me there. Help me to continue to speak life over this situation. I bring what faith I have to You and ask that You will fill in the gaps for me. I love you more than anything Father and surrender all of this to You. In Jesus name, amen.

How to Brand Ourselves with Freedom

Have you heard about “branding”? In our part of the world branding is slightly different than in the blogging world.

We brand calves and cows as a mark of identification of who owns them. It prevents theft and it lets people know who these cattle belong to. So when I got into blogging and heard that we should “brand” ourselves I have to be honest I probably took it a little different than other people.

I know what it means. I’ve done enough studying and learned it’s a way we can set ourselves apart by being consistent so people know who we are. You know the funny thing is that’s actually very similar to the branding that we do with our cattle.

We want to put a mark on ourselves so that people know without a doubt who we are, what we like, basically something that says “this is us”! But to take it a step even further I want people to be able to know whose I am. I want people to have no doubt in their mind that I love Jesus. I want people to come in contact with me and say, “Oh my gosh I want whatever she has because the joy in her is palpable.”

So yeah branding is is a way of setting ourselves apart.

I have to be honest, I’m not the best at staying with the same fonts or the same themes. I try to do the right things but if you know my personality at all you’ll know that actually my branding is to be a little all over the place.

There might be a slight case of bunny chaser in me. I just can’t help it it’s my personality. I try to chase that rabbit back but don’t always get there. Despite all my bunny trail wanderings, I pray my heart will come across clear. I hope it’s perfectly clear my number one goal in life is to share the gospel and the good news of the saving power of Jesus.

I am not an emotional person by nature but the thought of people perishing without a relationship with Jesus breaks my heart. Everything else we do in this life, the words we write, the books we sell, the jobs we do, even all the good deeds in the world, pale in comparison in the light of eternity.

So in an effort to help with the branding process I should tell you a bit more about me. I love blue so you’re going to see a lot of blue. I love nature so you’re probably going to see a lot of nature. I love my family so they’re probably going to sneak in here from time to time too. I like all things ranching so it’s going to be a part of my writing as well. I love humor, I just can’t help myself.

But what I know is no matter what I do, no matter what I say there will be one truth for me and that is I love Jesus!!

So I hope you continue on with me as we chase a few rabbits down bunny trails. Ride along with me as I throw too much blue up on this blog. Be patient with me as from time to time I might gush about my family a little too much. In the end though, it wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t some randomness on here. Because that’s a part of who I am!

I’ve tried to fit the mold of what I’m supposed to be for so long and I don’t know if it’s age or what but I am sick of fitting into other people’s molds for me! I am who I am and I don’t want to be anything else anymore. You know what friend, I really would love to invite you into this freedom.

There something to be said for branding ourselves by who’s we are and not what we do.

When you stop and think that the King of the universe chose you you can’t help but get excited! He could have done this without us and yet He wanted us that much.

I love the song “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong where it says, “He didn’t want heaven without us so Jesus You brought heaven down.” Come on! How can you not just melt into a puddle when you hear that? We should all be in so much awe on a regular basis that the only mold we want to fit into is the one He has for us.

Whew, I don’t know about you but that takes a lot of pressure off! So I’d love to hear in the comments what ways you are going to step into freedom this week. Alright freedom bell ringers, let’s get after it this week and be who God created us to be unique and individual! Go for it you mold breaker – I’m cheering you on!

 

How do Rattlesnakes and Marriage go Together?

It was a magnificent, warm summer day filled with laughter and stories of grand adventures. I didn’t have a care in the world as the day ahead was beckoning me into all it’s alluring glory.

We trotted along on our horses off to “pull bulls” as we call it in my line of work. (For those unfamiliar with our lingo, we were sorting the bulls out of the cows and taking them to their own holding pasture as their job was done for the year.)

The rustling of the summer leaves could barely be heard over of our horses breathing not to mention all of our carrying on!

Right then the laughter was broken as I let out a gasp when my horse jumped straight in the air like he’d been shot! I may or may not have come out of my seat just a little!

Thankfully my horse was paying better attention than me as right below where we had been headed was a coiled up mass of angry rattlesnake. Yikes, so grateful to have good horses!!

Without a word, my then boyfriend of only a few months, calmly stepped off his horse. He quickly slid his honda on his rope down to the end and in one quick swing hit and killed that rattlesnake. Did you hear me on that? One swing!! Hit it smack on top of the head with only one swing. Seriously, he went from boyfriend to superhero in one fell swoop!

Then he topped it all off as he swaggered (that part may just be in mind) on over to the snake, cut the rattles off and handed them to me as gift.

Now maybe some of you who haven’t grown up the same was I have don’t quite understand this gesture. It’s hard to explain but let me tell you as he handed them to me I knew right then and there I was going to marry that man!!

Those of you have followed me on this blog know my past wasn’t always easy. Even then I was still living in an immensely volatile household.

So this whole idea of someone looking out for me was a breath of fresh air in my life.

I was only 16 at the time and people ask me all the time how could I possibly know at such a young age this was the man I was going to marry. I was mocked and scoffed at when I shared it with others. It didn’t deter me though. I’d finally found someone who got me and there was no way I was letting go!

Looking back it’s easier to understand where all these people were coming from with their doubts. Yet to this day I’ve never wavered on that moment. I knew it then and I still know it now!

marriage

Mike and I just celebrated 25 years of marriage. Were they all easy? Heck no! We both brought so much baggage into the our life together and like a couple of onions God has been peeling layers off of us over the years.

We both know marriage isn’t easy. To put it bluntly marriage isn’t for weenies!

 We simply need to decide to invest in and be willing to grow together.

On the day of my wedding, just shy of 19 years old, my dad wrote me the following note. I have it carefully tucked away in a scrapbook. When I’m struggling on a bad day or just need a reminder I pull it out and read his wise words again.

To Laura on your wedding,

As you know, there are two methods of roping. One is to dally, the other is to tie on hard and fast.

With a dally, you can easily slip some slack if needed, or turn loose altogether if you really get into a storm. When tied on hard and fast you are committed, and must put a lot of faith in your horse.

In the early days of the cattle industry, cowboys developed a saying for their most trusted horses, “He’ll do to tie on hard and fast with”.

As time went on, the saying was expanded over the range cow country to include cowboys you could really depend on.

Over the years, I have dealt with thousands of men in my work, many of whom one wanted only to have a dally that could be slipped quickly if necessary. These experiences have made me somewhat a judge of character in men, and I just want to affirm what you already know.

Mike will do to tie on hard and fast with!

Love, Dad

dadnote

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~

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~