One Word and The New Year


Usually by now I have two articles written and shared with you—the first one about my One Word for last year, and the second about my One Word for this year. I have neither written.

My word for 2018 was Enough. When the year began I thought I had an idea of what it meant, but as the year went on, I realized it meant so much more. I think I’m still processing it all because it feels like more than I can put into words to share. At times that frustrates me, but then I think parts are meant to stay between me and God. {Tweet this}

This year I have two words. (Neither of which I’m ready to share right now. Sorry friends.) One day I would feel one and the next day the other would jump off the page. Each day went back and forth. I couldn’t decide and I didn’t feel God making one more obvious than the other. And then I realized maybe He wants me to have both—one to keep me grounded in Him, and the other to help me step out in faith.

Two words meant to work together. That felt right to me.

There was no more back and forth, just two words worked into one phrase to guide me through the year.

Do you have a word for 2019? Have you ever felt like it was something between you and God and not meant to be shared? (If you have, I think that’s okay. It’s kind of neat to have a secret with God.)

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, #GracefullTuesday, Trekking Thru, #TellHisStory, #RechargeWednesday, #porchstories, Sitting Among Friends, Moments of Hope, #HeartEncouragement, #DestinationInspiration, #TuneInThursday, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith ‘n Friends, #FaithonFire, Grace & Truth, #BVNetworkParty

Grief at the Holidays


It's been a long time since I was dealing with fresh grief at the holidays. But here I am again.

I knew this Christmas would be difficult after losing my mom a few months ago. I thought I was ready, but are we ever really ready for the way the memories wash over us? The way they surprise us even when we're expecting them? {Tweet this}

I was feeling energetic when I made the spontaneous decision to put up our Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. I already had garland hung around the house and was looking forward to the tree lights lighting up the room.

By the time we finished I was no longer energetic. I was exhausted, mostly from the emotions and tears. I know it's important to let myself cry when I need to, but I don't want to get stuck there.

So, through the hurricane of emotions there are a few things I'm reminding myself of. Perhaps they might be helpful for you too.

- Let yourself remember.

- Let yourself feel and cry when you need to.

Take it all to God. Ask for His comfort, guidance, and peace.

Everyone's grief looks different. It hits at different moments, with different memories, and for different lengths of time. No one's grief is right or wrong and shouldn't be compared to someone else's. {Tweet this}

- Try not to get stuck in the past and look toward the future, even if you can't see what that looks like.

I know the good memories are a blessing, even if they bring tears. And I'm realizing that the more difficult memories have a purpose too. They help me heal and they help me process life, allowing me to see where I've been and where I am now.

And maybe that's something God wants to show me.

Friends, as you may have noticed, I haven't been posting here regularly and it's made me realize admit that I need some time. So, I've decided to take some time off from blogging and plan to return after the New Year around mid-January. I will also be spending less time on social media through the holidays.

Wishing you a blessed Christmas,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, #GracefullTuesday, Trekking Thru, #TellHisStory, #RechargeWednesday, #porchstories, Let’s Have Coffee, Moments of Hope, #HeartEncouragement, #DestinationInspiration, #TuneInThursday, #FreshMarketFriday, Faith ‘n Friends, #FaithonFire, Grace & Truth, #BVNetworkParty

When You’re Not As Okay As You Say You Are


I keep saying I’m okay, but honestly, I’m starting to question that.

I wrote this to a friend a few weeks ago in an email. I thought I was okay. It was my standard answer when someone asked how I was doing. But privately, I was starting to wonder.

I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was forgetting things that I wouldn’t normally forget. I was irritable, on edge, and about to cry at any moment. But…I thought I was doing okay. Until I wasn’t.

Maybe you know the feeling when so much is piled up and if one more thing gets added to the pile—just one. more. little. thing.—you will break.

I had reached my breaking point. I finally realized it and admitted it. And it felt good. It didn’t ease the pain of losing a loved one or make current situations simple, but the I’m-okay-mask didn’t feel quite so suffocating. {Tweet this}

I felt like I had to share this revelation and maybe some hope for someone else coming to the same conclusion about herself.

I posted this to a few of my Facebook friends…

Your breaking point just might be the moment you realize and admit that you’re actually not as okay as you keep telling people you are. But God is bigger than our breaking points!!

What breaks us does not break God. He’s bigger than the weight we’re carrying and the masks we’re trying to wear. {Tweet this}

What can we do when we realize we’re not as okay as we keep saying we are?

Please join me at Candidly Christian where I'm sharing 5 steps to take when you find you're at your breaking point...When You're Not As Okay As You Say You Are.

Have you experienced a time when you thought you were okay until you realized you weren’t? How did you feel after that realization?

In Christ,
Laura

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, #GracefullTuesday, Trekking Thru, #RechargeWednesday, #TellHisStory, #porchstories, Let's Have Coffee, Moments of Hope, #DestinationInspiration, #HeartEncouragement, #TuneInThursday, Faith 'n Friends, #FreshMarketFriday, #FaithonFire, Grace & Truth, #BVNetworkParty

Surrendered Hearts {Book Review}

I first met Lori Schumaker online in 2016 when we were both asked to contribute to a new Christian website called Blessed Transgressions. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person, I enjoyed getting to know her through her blog, where I found encouragement and hope that transferred into my own life.

I knew Lori had an adoption story and I had read portions she shared with her readers. But when I read that she was looking for help in launching her new book Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust, I was happy to sign up. I knew I wanted to read more about her story.

I am not an adoptive parent, nor has my family been blessed by adoption. However, I know how hard it can be to trust God with everything you have, including your child. I’ve felt the emotions of not being able to see how a situation can possibly work out, and of struggling to let go of what I want for what He wants. I imagine you know the feeling too.

Different stories. Different situations. Different outcomes. Different seasons of life.

Same wonderful loving God who loves His children more than we can comprehend. {Tweet this}

What I found as I read Surrendered Hearts is that Lori’s transparent story of love, trust, and patience isn’t just for adoptive families…it’s for everyone. Her story kept me engaged, and the Biblical truths she shared spoke to my heart.

A few of my favorite quotes from Surrendered Hearts:

“Control and trust do not exist simultaneously. Life is a series of taking control of the situations we can and letting go of what we cannot.”

“Peace would follow when I walked God’s journey instead of my own.”

“Sometimes we get to see the why behind the wait. But other times we don’t. We must surrender any right to know the why and choose to unconditionally accept life as it is. We must believe that even in situations that feel desperately unfair, God is making all things right.”

And…


A lifetime of knowing. Decades of praying. Years of paperwork, research, and planning. Lots of tears. And the growing of faith in the waiting.
One look into a pair of sparkling brown eyes, and Lori and Bryan Schumaker fell head-over-heels in love with a beautiful young girl in Bulgaria. Certain this was the child God intended for them, they stepped confidently into the adoption process they'd been preparing for. They thought they knew what to expect, and they did—but there was so much more.
The application process moved smoothly ahead, and they began making plans for their daughter--only to be informed she'd been adopted by a family in Italy. Heartbroken, they struggled to move on, until, through a series of incredible events, they learned their daughter still languished in her Bulgarian orphanage. Turning heaven and earth, the Schumakers started over. Mix-ups, red tape, inexplicable delays, and a difficult judge threatened the adoption, but they were determined to bring their child home.
In a true story of learning that trust means surrendering your version of how the story should unfold, Lori and Bryan finally let go—of their dream, of their daughter, of their fears and frustrations. And in that relinquishment, God began to move.
For more information and to order Surrendered Hearts, please visit Lori at LoriSchumaker.com.

What are you currently reading?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Lori Schumaker]