Do you see love as a fairytale?

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the the full disclosure here.

How do you view love? Do you imagine a prince riding up on a white horse and saving you? It’s such a pretty picture but it’s also a fairytale.

Now I’m not against a good fairytale but it’s so important to distinguish between reality and fantasy.

It seems to me we are doing a great disservice in making marriage seem like one big fairytale. Somehow believing every day will be sunshine and roses. Have we become so enthralled in creating the perfect wedding we forget the marriage is where our focus needs to be?

So many of our youth are growing up thinking love is just a feeling. That it comes and goes as easily as changing a hairstyle. Our throw-away society has trickled down into our marriages and families.

Love is a choice. Love is an action.

Love with actions

Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:18 (NLT)

Even in those moments where we’re not “feeling” it doesn’t mean love isn’t there. It means we have to hang on to what is true and not just an emotion.

How is it possible for our weak human flesh to ever love the way God intended? It’s only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

love because he loved us

We love each other because He loved us first. 1 John 4:19

We need to grab hold of how deeply God loves us first so we can then turn around and love deeply as well. I find the best way to do this is to thank God daily for how much He loves me. It’s amazing what an attitude of gratitude will do to shift our thinking.

Matthew Henry’s commentary says it like this – “The divine love stamped love upon our souls; may the Lord still and further direct our hearts into the love of God!”

What is love?

Love is patient and kind.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking, easier said than done. I agree! Patience doesn’t come naturally for me and as such kindness can go out the window with it. But, God clearly says this is exactly what love is. So when I’m feeling my fuse getting short I whisper a quick prayer to God. It’s rarely fancy – just an honest plea to help me show patience and kindness even if I’m not feeling it.

Love isn’t rude, arrogant or insists on it’s own way.

Do you have the need to always be right in a disagreement? Some things are worth standing up for, no doubt. My grandma told me early in my marriage, “If it won’t matter in 5 years, let it go. If it will hash it out.” But we can do it without being rude or arrogant. I believe when we always keep love in the front seat of our marriages we can look at both sides through the lens of love.

Love is not irritable or resentful.

How many of us would raise our hands if asked if we’ve ever held a grudge against someone we love? Right there with you. In the past I struggled so much with this and could be very resentful over every offense. So hard on a marriage! It’s so important to ask God for help in releasing past offenses and letting go of irritability and resentment.

Love rejoices with truth!

Love takes no pleasure in hurting others. So often when we’re hurt by those we love, even if inadvertently, our natural reaction is to hurt back. It’s only fair right? Wounding those we love as a way of revenge only perpetuates the cycle. At some point we must choose to stop it. Love delights in the well being of others!

 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

Our marriages are worth fighting for. Our families are worth fighting for. Love is worth fighting for!

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~

 

God’s Word Gives Us Hope in the Good and the Bad

Have you ever struggled with spending time in God’s word? Your heart wants to but your head is fighting you with your ever growing to do list. Let me reassure you – you aren’t the only one.

I believe one reason so many of us struggle with spending time in God’s word is because we try to make sense of it through our own reasoning. Somehow leaving God out of the equation.What are we really trying to accomplish with that though?

The Bible is a great history book but it’s SO much more. God’s word is living and active.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 (NIV)

Do you want to simply know about God or do you want to know God? His word shows us the heart of God. When we spend time letting Him lead us through the truths in the Bible we can fully pursue God.

Wait quietly before God

It can be far too easy to let our time in God’s word slip away with the busyness of our lives. Really, I get it. Yet it’s so important to understand how important it truly is so we can guard our time in God’s word well.

God’s word is sufficient for all our needs. Everything we could ever need for our lives can be found in His word.

God’s word is truth. There aren’t any errors in the His word and it can be trusted.

God’s word is full of His promises. We need to know these promises so we can claim them!

God’s word equips us to serve Him. It gives us all the guidance we will ever need to do His work.

So you see, it’s vital we protect our Bible study time. We are created with a God sized vacuum in us and nothing else will fill it.

Free, Online Bible Study

As a way to compliment your time in God’s word I’d love to tell you about a free, online Bible study my friend Sarah Koontz created. I was blessed to get to read through it early and am excited about how much value Sarah is offering her reader’s.

“The powerful promises of Psalm 119 teach us how to commune with God in the good times and the bad, revealing the critical role God’s word is to play in our day-to-day lives.” Sarah Koontz

Free Online Bible Study

Sarah has kept each devotional the perfect length for our busy lives while still being in depth enough for transformation.

EVERYONE WHO PRE-REGISTERS WILL BE ENTERED INTO A DRAWING FOR A BEAUTIFUL STUDY BIBLE (RETAIL VALUE $35), SO DON’T DELAY!

The study begins February 15th so get signed up right away. While you’re at it invite some friends as well.

I’d love to hear if you’ll be joining in on this study of Psalm 119. Let me know either in the comments or send me an email.

I’m praying we’ll each hunger and thirst for God’s word above everything else this week. Blessings friend!

 

Are You Ready to Persevere this Year?

I love words!

Words in general but mainly God’s word. That wasn’t always the case though. There were many years of running from God’s word as well as utter confusion over it.

As my faith grew I decided to pray for a hunger and thirst for God’s word. I asked for my heart and mind to receive clarity and take it all in. As usual, God is faithful and I love to dig into His word now.

At different times I will read “wide” and devour a lot of words at one time. Other times I really dig “deep” and meditate on a verse or even one word.

The word I keep coming back to as for this new year is “persevere”. God is calling me to follow through on what I’ve started. I’ve let fear and perfectionism stifle me for way too long. I want to follow through on the dreams God has planted in my heart.

Are You Ready to Persevere this Year? Continue on your course even in the face of difficulty!

Of course I want to steadfastly persist in my God given purpose. Don’t you? It doesn’t mean it’s easy and we will face obstacles and difficulties.

As I studied the word persevere I discovered one of the definitions of it in Greek is endurance.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. Romans 3-4 (NLT)

Problems help us develop endurance. Endurance helps us develop character!

The work God has set before each of us calls for endurance. We can’t operate in our own power to will this endurance into being. We can try but it’s exhausting! I speak from experience.

This kind of endurance only comes through connecting with the power Jesus has promised us.

So how do we do this in a practical way?

We know struggles and setbacks will come. We know how easy it is to get discouraged and lose hope when they do. So how do we fight off the discouragement?

There’s no need to overthink it or write out our pro’s and con’s list. (Anyone else like a good list! Yes, that’s me raising my hand right here.) Just make the choice to grab hold of scriptures to remind us God is with us.

Are you ready to persevere this year? Don't give up. God is faithful and at the right time you will reap a harvest.

We have the choice to run to Him in prayer instead of trying to tackle it in our power. “Lord, I can’t do this without you. I’ve tried. Give me your strength to make the next right choice. Help me to trust You as I persevere in what you’ve called me to do. In the name of Jesus, amen.”

What we do in the here and now matters!

We need to persevere in living our lives in a way that glorifies God. Please hear me on this, I’m not saying striving to be good enough. It’s not possible. I’m saying our lives are often our best sermon so live it in a way that others will want to know where your hope comes from!

Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.1 Timothy 4:14-16 (NLT)

I’m praying with you friend. Through Christ we can continue to move forward this year in the call He’s put on each of our lives.

Where is God calling you to persevere this year? Share in the comments so we can hold each other up.

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~

Are You Trusting God with Your plans?

How’s your new year going so far? Are you excited over the new adventures to come? Or is there a sense of dread over all the unknown?

Are you trusting God with your plans?

I spent quite a bit of time over the month of December reflecting on the past year and preparing my heart and mind for this one. I invited God into the planning process and am asking Him to continue to guide me.

How often do we set big goals in the new year only to be overwhelmed 2 – 3 weeks later? Then condemnation tries to sneak in and throw shame all over us. So we give up all together. I’ve been there and unfortunately more than once!

I love to set goals, dream big dreams and plan everything out. Preferably in pen with lots of added color for effect! Then I hope no one bumps into my perfectly orchestrated schedule for myself.

Not just once in the planning but also in the rearranging of all my plans.

How I long to be flexible enough to write my plans in pencil and trust the Lord when things need to be rearranged or even left behind all together. His kingdom come – His will be done!

Trust the Lord

Can we unclench our death grip on our plans this year? Let’s go ahead and dream big dreams, set goals and plan for what God is calling us towards.

But, hold all of them with a loose grip. Be ready to bend in new directions when God places new situations or people in our path.

I’ve been guilty of being so caught up in my schedule I missed appointments God had designed specifically for me. I don’t want to be ruled by my schedule. I want it to help guide me, not be an anchor that holds me back.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6 

When we seek the Lord’s plans for us and stay in touch with Him we can let go of the panic. We get the choice to simply trust.

When I say simply trust I believe the choice is simple but I also know it doesn’t make it easy.

There are seasons for everything and a time for everything under Heaven. (EC 3:1) There is so much freedom in enjoying the season we’re in right now. Being fully present instead of always dreaming and planning for the days ahead.

How about this year we take a step towards recognizing the divine appointments God has scheduled for us? Let’s open our eyes, ears and hearts for what God puts in our daily planner. Then trust Him enough to be present in those moments.

What is one way you can make more room for God’s appointments for you this week? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear.

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 Fight the Storm of Fear

“Hurry, load ‘em up!” I hollered over the wind as my young niece and nephew brought their horses to the trailer.

The temperature had dropped as the wind seemed to come up instantaneously. Everyone at the rodeo was desperately trying to get horses and kids rounded up and to safety.

I was just out of high school and was going to the town an hour north of us each week for the women’s and kids’ rodeo. It was a fun evening to look forward to each week. It also gave me an excuse to have my niece and nephew come stay with me for the weekends. It was also a way of getting them out of the situation they were in even if was just temporary.

I had always been a completely fearless person. Often not even exercising enough self caution to prevent way to many injuries to count. Then that storm rolled in and changed everything.

“Grab your ropes and get in the pickup,” I said hurriedly, “I think we can get ahead of this storm and outrun it.”

The sirens were going off in town and I knew there must have been a tornado warning issued. It was so dark the only way to see any of the sky was as the lightning sparked and illuminated it all. As far as I could tell there was nothing on the horizon so plenty of time to get out of there before it got worse.

My niece was concerned but had spent her whole young life with me and snuggled up beside me trusting my decision. It was short lived!

As we rounded the corner out of town the rain started coming down in sheets followed by hail pelting us in full force. Visibility was almost nonexistent at that point.

My poor niece was terrified. I was fighting my own fear welling up in me to calm her down. I was just trying to stay on the road as we inched along.

It came up so fast I didn’t have any time to react. I never saw it coming just the wind hitting us with such ferocity that fear completely overtook me.

The next thing I knew we were being picked up off the road and moved like a little matchbox car to the opposite ditch.

Something died inside of me that night. That fearless girl who believed she was completely invincible realized her own mortality. Fear had set in and the devil was trying to destroy me in new ways since his old ones had failed.

If there was so much as a cloud in the sky while I was outside, my heart would race uncontrollably. I would make every excuse in the world to those around me on why we needed to immediately go in the house. As rancher’s we work outside for a living and this presented a huge problem over the years.

It was especially bad if we were in a vehicle and crippling if I was the one driving.

It may sound like a logical fear but unfortunately it was a foothold for satan to gain ground in other areas of my life. New fears started growing and morphed into daily worries. I became the epitome of a worry wart.

One day, many years later, I was driving home by myself pulling a camper when a storm rolled in fast. My heart felt like it was going to explode it was racing so fast. Rationale was fleeing. Then I remembered a verse I’d chosen to repeat while I was in labor with my first son.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

I started repeating it to myself as a way to calm my heart. Also to help turn my focus back on Jesus who had always wanted to heal me of this fear.

The fear started to subside. I was fighting back finally and the devil knew he was in trouble. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I was taking ground back that had been stolen all those years earlier.

You know what, the storm didn’t subside. The wind blew hard and it rained and hailed on me for a good part of the way home. It was dark and scary on the outside but my heart had found firm footing inside and there was no way I was going back!

I love what Kelly Balarie reminds us in her book Fear Fighting – “What didn’t kill you yesterday has no real power to kill you today.”

Unfortunately, I had let fear rob me of the power Jesus had made available to me all those years. So, I exhaled all the fear and inhaled life back into those dry bones.

Does that mean fear never tries to rear it’s ugly head in my life? Of course not, but now I know that where the Spirit is – there is freedom!

~I would love it if you’d visit Fear Fighting Writers Contest and vote for me if this post has encouraged you. Go to the bottom of the page and enter 32 in the comments. Thank you!

If you want to learn more about Kelly Balarie you can visit www.purposefulfaith.com or to order the book go to www.fearfightingbook.com.

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~

Perspectives shift in the light of Jesus

When I was young I used to ride a giant of a horse. My dad would saddle him for me and I would shimmy up his leg until I could reach the stirrup. From there I would continue the climb to the top of that mountain I called “Butch”.

Then Butch, my sister and I would head out across the deepest ravine on God’s green earth. It was every bit as wide as it was long. Rough around the edges and full of crevices throughout it. I was sure there were snakes all through the bottom so my sister and I would race as fast as we could through it.

My youngest son with his horse, Spades.

It rocked my world when my dad told me that the horse I had rode when I was 4, 5 and 6 and was sure was over 17 hands tall was a mere 14 hands. What!?! No way.

And that huge ravine, which was deeper than most oceans, you could easily drive a pickup across.

The funny thing is…those mountains that seemed so big when I was little weren’t nearly so big as I grew up.

My perspective changed.

How often are we so focused on the mountain we see in our life we don’t really see the truth of it’s size? We focus on our problem so much that it grows and grows, completely out of proportion to what it is in reality.

We chip away at the situation in our strength somehow believing it will make the mountain smaller. When it reality, God is already SO much bigger than any mountain we see in front of us.  

I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)

Now I’m not downplaying the size of many of the problems in our lives. They can be very real and loom large.

But, when we keep our focus on Jesus our perspective changes. You see, our God is still on the throne and no problem or situation escapes Him. We can trust Him to help us speak life into our situations.

Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:14 (NLT)

As our spiritual maturity grows our perspective changes.

Just as when I was little and Butch looked like the biggest mountain I could climb so were my problems when I didn’t have the maturity to focus on God.

As I grow in my walk and get closer to Jesus the problems are still there. I wish I could tell you they weren’t but they are. But now it’s different because I don’t focus on my problems. I look up at the One who puts all things in perspective. He wants to help us realize that nothing we face in life is bigger than the God we serve.

It’s all part of the process of the growing and we should expect our perspective to change as the world grows dimmer because our focus is on the light and hope of the world.

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~

Fear Fighting: Do you Live Fear or Faith?

Please help me welcome Kelly Balarie to the blog this week. 

Just yesterday, my friend told me her daughter has lice. 

I hugged that girl yesterday!

Would lice go from her hair to mine? Would I be cleaning the entire house, washing every sheet and stuffed animal, and pulling a thin comb through every inch of hair on my family’s heads from now until eternity? I can’t handle this thought. Next time, fist bumps will trump hugs.

Fear is the plumbing of discontentment.
It is the spillage of hesitation and loneliness.
It is the brakes to love.
It is the bulldozer to close relationships.
It is the boundary holding you back from God’s unlimited plan for you.

Fear is the rain cloud that always follows, the homicide to all God has, the breeding ground to insecurities, the shortness of breath that wakes you up at night, the cemetery of faith, and the artery blockage to the Spirit’s leading.  Continue reading “Fear Fighting: Do you Live Fear or Faith?”

Christmas is the Story of Jesus’ Love

I shared my Christmas story of Jesus’ love for each of us over at Crystal Stine’s this week and would like to share it with you as well. Please check out Crystal’s page for many more Christmas stories from talented authors this month.

Do you like to celebrate? How about decorating?

Oh my goodness how I love to celebrate and decorate! I’m quite drawn to shiny objects. My kids always joke if I was a fish I’d be the first one caught since I’d be so drawn to the shiny lure.

So you can see why Christmas is right up my alley.

My family has always gone all out for Christmas. I know what you’re thinking. We must have had tons of gifts, thousands of decorations and went to loads of parties. But, not really.

We always had some gifts, decorated a little and got together with friends and family but we had SO much more.  Continue reading “Christmas is the Story of Jesus’ Love”

Joy is Found in God’s Love

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the the full disclosure here.

I typed the word joy into my Bible app’s search. There was an overwhelming number of scriptures involving joy. I loved it! What I found interesting was where most of them were concentrated, the Psalms.

I’ve always been fascinated by David. I think because I feel a bit of a connection with him. He was a shepherd who as a child wasn’t even brought in out of the field for Samuel to meet. He was set aside by his family, whether by accident or intention.

David wasn’t simply sitting there feeling sorry for himself. He was doing the work set before him, being faithful in the seemingly small things. He had a warrior spirit!

Then Samuel shows up and anoints him and the Spirit of the Lord came on him from that day on. The boy set aside by humanity was set apart by divinity.  Continue reading “Joy is Found in God’s Love”

How to find peace this Christmas

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)

I’m betting peace isn’t a word a lot of us would use for this time of year. The chaos of all the gatherings, parties, shopping and endless to do lists can feel downright overwhelming.

It doesn’t mean we can check out of all the events and things we need to get done. But…it does mean we can invite peace to reside in us as we go through each day.

Yeah, I get it, this is SO much easier said than done. All too often we’re given some feel good, simplistic answer that in no way feels like it’ll work in our situation. Seriously, the chaos in our lives can feel completely overwhelming on a normal day. Add in all the extra’s of the Christmas season and peace can seem like a distant fairy tale.  Continue reading “How to find peace this Christmas”