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~

Do you see love as a fairytale?

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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~

 

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”

Five Minute Friday – Park

Five Minute Friday is so much fun for me. No pressure! Simply a word prompt on twitter (#fmfparty) on Thursday night and then write. No over thinking or editing. There is a linkup on Friday at http://katemotaung.com where we can read other’s five minute free write. This week’s prompt is: Park

Ready, set, go….

I want to park my brain on the truth of how much God loves me. Just sit and simmer in it for awhile. Continue reading “Five Minute Friday – Park”