Monday, December 28, 2015

God is Not Bound by One Word

It’s only a few days until the end of the year, and I don’t have my One Word for 2016 yet. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve kind of asked God about it, but I’m not quite ready to move on from this year’s word—Renew.

Renew felt hopeful…full of possibilities. All year, it’s been my focus and I’ve been looking for ways in which God has brought about renewal in my life. Renew is a positive, uplifting word. Last year, God gave me Let Go for the year, so you can see why Renew was a breath of fresh air.

I’ve been wrestling with keeping Renew for another year or moving on. But I wonder if that’s like trying to put parameters around God’s work.

For the past four years, I’ve had a one word focus, and I’ve trusted God to identify that focus for me. So, clinging to Renew might not be the best idea. Maybe He has a better word in mind for me for the upcoming year, and if I don’t move forward, I’ll miss what He has planned.

And then I realized…it doesn’t matter. God will continue to bring about renewal, just as He always has. I just need to keep looking for it.

A One Word focus is for my benefit, not God’s. He is not bound by one word, or even two. He doesn’t need something to keep Him focused, but He knows I do.

I need the reminder that God is at work, no matter what I can see and not see.

God builds on what He teaches us, and there is always more to learn.

I am still learning to trust Him (One Word 2012), praise Him (2013), to let go of my will for His (2014), and to wait while He renews.

God is always at work. Always teaching. Refining me. Bringing me closer to Him.

I must continue to learn from Him. Listen for Him. And seek Him. Every. Single. Day.

I don’t know what my focus will be for next year, but I know there will be more lessons to learn.

…and that’s a good thing.

What’s been your One Word for 2015? Are you ready to move on to a new word for 2016?

If you’re new to this One Word movement, you can find more information here: #OneWord365.

In Christ,
Laura

Photo credit: FreeImages.com

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reflecting on God’s Presence


I’m joining the Five Minute Friday community with Kate Motaung…5 minutes, no rewriting, and a one word prompt…

Reflect

This time of year invites us to reflect back over the past months before starting fresh with a new year.

I’ll be honest…some years I don’t want to look back or remember what the year held. I’d rather it slip out the door quietly while I look forward.

This could be one of those years. It. Was. Hard.

But, I find myself remembering anyway. The good times and the bad. And looking for God in both.

He was there in all of it. And that’s what I want to reflect on.

God’s presence in the time of trouble.

God’s comfort in the midst of turmoil.

God’s protection when I couldn’t see it.

Remembering He was there then reminds me that He is here now. And He will be here tomorrow. And next week. And next year.

Even when I can’t see His hand, He is at work.

Even when I can’t feel His presence, He is with me.

Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

Are you looking back over the year before the next one begins? Where can you see God was at work…even if you couldn’t see it at the time?

In Christ,
Laura  

Photo credit: FreeImages.com


Monday, December 7, 2015

Grace Alone


For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Grace. We can't earn it.

We can't bargain for it.

We can ask for grace, but the moment we think we deserve it, it is no longer grace. If we think grace is owed to us, then we've tried to earn it.

Grace is getting what we don't deserveGod's favor and kindness freely bestowed on us.

Mercy is not getting what we deserve—eternal death.


It is hard to fathom why God loves us with grace and mercy...but He does.


Please join me at LifeNotes to continue reading...Grace Alone

In Christ,
Laura 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why I Won’t Be Sending Christmas Cards This Year

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of speaking at a women’s event. The theme for the evening was Joy in the Journey, and I asked the women this question:

What perfect plans do we need to let go of this year in order to feel the joy of Jesus’ birth?

December can be a whirlwind of activity…decorating, shopping, visiting, and traveling, while still maintaining home, work, and normal daily activities.

No wonder we get tired and stretched thin.

After the event, I asked myself the same question. What do I need to let go of?

The thing is, I feel like I’ve let go of a lot over this past year. With ongoing health issues in my family, the stress has taken its toll on me. I let go of perfection a long time ago. Things I used to keep up with don’t get done as often, and I’ve stopped feeling guilty about it.

I’ve let myself off the hook, and I spend more time just being with those who need me. (And not trying to multi-task at the same time.)

So, what else can I let go of? Where can I peel a layer (even if it’s a very thin layer) of stress off of my shoulders?

Christmas cards.

Maybe that sounds silly, but it’s the task that keeps coming to mind. Each year, I make a list of whom to send a card too. I always plan to write personal notes, but that usually doesn’t happen. They just end up getting mailed at the last minute because I thought I’d have time…and then I didn’t.

So, this year, instead of going through the charade and stressing over it for the next two weeks, that’s my decision. If you don’t receive a Christmas card from my family…please don’t take it personally. 

Instead, I’m going to think about the Advent season we’re in and what it means. And I’m going to continue to spend my non-multi-tasking time with those who need me.

And…I’ll ask you—what do you need to let go of in this Advent season?

In Christ,
Laura 

Photo credit: FreeImages.com