Monday, February 12, 2018

Hope Changes Everything


A couple of weeks ago, before our recent snowfall, I looked out the window into our backyard. The grass was brown and the trees were bare. The bird feeder was empty and uninviting. (We fill it when the ground is covered with snow.)

It was a depressing scene, and yet I saw hope. In a few months the trees will have buds and the grass will turn green again. The birds will return to their nests and baby birds will learn to fly.

I know there is hope in the dead of winter because spring will come again. Every year. Without fail, the cold days will become warm again.

The weather seasons will change, but sometimes the seasons of life feel long and drawn out.

I can't imagine what it's like to go through life without knowing Jesus.

With Jesus, I know I'm not alone and that no matter how long winter seems to last, I know it will not go on forever. {Tweet this}

Without winter, there would be no spring.

Without death, there would be no resurrection.

Without the valley, I wouldn't see the mountain.

Without the hard days, I wouldn't enjoy the good days.

Without chaos, I wouldn't appreciate the quiet days.

Without Jesus, there would be no light to break through the darkness.

I don’t know what season of life you’re walking through, but I encourage you to not give up.

The calendar pages turn and the new life of spring will be here before we know it.

God is most certainly at work, whether we can see it or not. Life seasons change, often much slower or quicker than we would like. But in every season there is hope.

Because of Jesus, there is always hope. And hope changes everything. {Tweet this}

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]


Monday, February 5, 2018

An Imperfect Woman {Book Review}

When God chooses a theme for your year He covers all the bases.

Shortly before 2018 began, God guided me to the word Enough. Around the same time came the opportunity to join the launch team for Kim Hyland's new book An Imperfect Woman: Letting Go of the Need to Have It All Together.

Enough and imperfect.

Yep, that's me, and most of the time I'm okay with that. 

Or at least, I'm getting there.

Other times, I fall back into old habits of thinking "if I try harder, do more research, push for what I think should happen..." then surely I can fix the situation. I don't need to tell you how well that works, right?

As soon as I received my copy of An Imperfect Woman, I dove in with my journal at the ready. Not far in, I read this:
“Eve just believed the lie that she needed more than God. He wasn’t enough. In her disbelief, she turned her head and heart to her own resources, ambitions, and abilities.”  – Kim Hyland, An Imperfect Woman (pg. 38)
Ouch. I'm not alone.

The enemy lied to Eve. The temptation to want more was there and she fell victim to it.

How often do we fall for the same temptation for more, even if we don't know what "more" is or what it looks like? {Tweet this}

The enemy is a liar. He tells us we're not enough. He wants us to think God is not enough. But God is always more than enough. Always.

Kim explores this topic throughout her book, sharing her story openly and honestly. She doesn't pretend to have it all figured out, but shares what she's learned over the years and how she got there. An Imperfect Woman is grounded in Scripture and offers the reader a lot to think about.

From the back of the book:
The desire to be perfect is actually a God-given urge. After all, we were made for Eden. But there is a difference between perfection and perfectionism, which is our attempt to achieve perfection on our own, by our own strength, and for our own purposes—the original temptation in the Garden. In this freeing book, Hyland offers a stirring manifesto for acknowledging our limitations and embracing the perfection of God through his grace. – An Imperfect Woman, Kim Hyland
An Imperfect Woman is available now! You can learn more about Kim Hyland and An Imperfect Woman at www.animperfectwoman.com

Also, starting Monday, Feb. 12, Kim will be leading a 4-week online An Imperfect Woman Book Study. (If you order today, you might get your book in time for day 1!)

(Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The views expressed in my review are all my own.)

In Christ,
Laura

Monday, January 29, 2018

Surrender


My One Word for this year is Enough, and it feels like surrender to me.

There are certain things I want control over, but I'm surrendering—letting go of the thought that I have any control at all. It's not easy.

I have to surrender thinking I can fix a situation and trust that God will show me if there's something I can do. It means being still and waiting.

Every day, I'm surrendering my worry to God, knowing that He has not forgotten us or walked away. That knowledge has to be enough to keep me moving forward.

My days are not how I thought they would be, but I know God is in control. I'm focused on Him and I'm watching for His work, down to the smallest of ways.

Waving the white flag of surrender is hard. It feels like losing, but I know it's not. When we surrender to God, the gain is always greater than the loss. Even when we can't see it yet. {Tweet this}

I'm joining the Five Minute Friday community with the word prompt: Surrender.

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Thursday, January 25, 2018

3 Ways to Look for a Different Perspective in the Midst of Difficulty


Last year, for me, feels marked by a medical timeline. There was the jumping through hoops to get insurance pre-authorization, the planning and making reservations to be out of town for a length of time, and the monitoring of the medical bills—what insurance would and would not cover.

Throughout the months, I reminded myself to trust God every step of the way, and watched as He worked out the timing and details. But, when the final bills came in the mail, I felt myself start to panic. The amount we were responsible for was higher than what I had anticipated.

I had already set up a payment plan and I knew it would all work out, but seeing that final dollar amount caused my stomach to tense and my heart to pound.

What my head told me—that everything would be alright—was betrayed by the panic mode my body went into on its own.

As I sat at the kitchen table with bills and insurance paperwork spread out in front of me, I decided I had to look at it differently. I knew the total we would have to pay, but I wanted to know what our insurance company had already paid.

The two totals were not even close.

In that instant, the panic I felt subsided, and all I could do was thank God for His provision. {Tweet this}

The same dollar amount that looked so high now appeared to be so low—all because of a different perspective.

Sometimes, a different point of view makes all the difference in our attitudes, our outlook, and our response to God. {Tweet this}

I'm so excited to be sharing my first article today as a member of the Candidly Christian writing team! (I was a guest at Candidly Christian last year.) 

Please join me there to continue reading 3 Ways to Look for a Different Perspective in the Midst of Difficulty.

Has there been a time when a different perspective brought you peace, instead of worry and anxiety?