Saturday, March 26, 2016

God’s Gift of No


Think of a child who asks her parent for something…and the answer is no. Rarely is that the end of the conversation. The child wants to know why? Why is the answer no?

I think of this because I know I’m often that child when God answers no. But why God? I don’t understand. Why can’t I have that? (Because, in my mind, it seems so perfect.) But like the parent who knows what’s best for her daughter, God knows what’s best for me.

Even as an adult, “no” isn’t what I want to hear when my sights are set on one particular thing. I justify it. I explain it. I might even whine a little. Maybe God will change His mind.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been looking at God’s answer of no a little differently. I know I’m in a season of life that won’t last forever. 

Maybe God’s no to one thing is so that I can focus on where I am right now. So I can be fully present where I’m needed today. So I don’t miss out on this season that will one day be over.

It wasn’t easy to reach this point of acceptance. Some days, I take a few steps back and ask why again. And God gently reminds me to be here today.

With acceptance comes peace. Peace with the season I’m in. That doesn’t mean the struggles aren’t real. They are, and some days are like walking into a squall. They can be brutal. But acceptance calms my desires for what isn’t mine to have right now.

Acceptance doesn’t mean I stop trying. It doesn’t mean not moving forward. 

Acceptance of the season I’m in means I can see the gift of today. 

Despite the most difficult moments, today won’t last forever. God’s gift is the peace to see that.

Maybe God’s no is really a gift of right now because tomorrow I will regret missing today. It’s too easy to be so focused on what I want that I can’t see what I have.

God’s no right now might only be for this season. Like a child hears, “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up,” I’m hearing, “Don’t be in such a hurry to rush through to the next season. There’s too much to miss today.”

I don’t know what the future holds, but God does. Whether the future is tomorrow or years from now, God knows what He has planned. I don’t want to look back at yesterday and regret what I missed because I was whining about tomorrow. 

With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow. Proverbs 3:5-6 CEV

Are you in a season where God’s no is a gift?

In Christ,
Laura 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

With the Faith of a Child

In the church where I work, spring break means it’s VBS time. (That’s Vacation Bible School, if you’re unfamiliar.) So, last week, the halls were buzzing with excited children. One morning, I decided to stop in for the opening worship.

I stood in the back with the sound guys and watched as over 100 children laughed and cheered, and sang their little hearts out.

With the faith of a child.

They danced and followed the motions to go with the words of the songs. They didn’t care if anyone was watching.

They sang and danced for Jesus without any inhibitions. They didn’t hold back and they weren’t embarrassed.

And it made me wonder…when do we lose that? Is it in grade school when we start feeling judged and worry about being made fun of? Or even before that?

As adults, aren’t we still like that? Worried about what someone else will think if we sing out loud. Looking around to see who might hear us praising Jesus at the top of our voices. And dancing? Certainly not.

I continued to take it all in as the sound guys and I sang along with the children. That’s when I noticed the teens helping the different aged groups of kids.

They were singing and motioning along with just as much energy as the kids. Teenagers. Not concerned with how they looked at that moment. Not focused on cell phones and selfies.

With the faith of a child.

There was an energy in the room that made me return the next two mornings.

I thought of David who danced for the Lord with no concern for what he looked like or what people thought. His wife, Michal, didn’t like it and told him so in no uncertain terms. (2 Samuel 6:14-22)

But David was undeterred.
David replied to Michal, “In God’s presence I’ll dance all I want! He chose me over your father and the rest of our family and made me prince over God’s people, over Israel. Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . ..” 2 Samuel 6:21-22a The Message
David danced before the Lord and didn’t care if others thought he looked foolish. He danced and praised God, and others saw his example.

Michal judged David. Others will judge us.

But David danced for an audience of One. So do we.


Maybe it takes the faith of a child…before the concern is what others think.

Or maybe it takes faith like David’s…regardless of what others think.

Joining the children for worship was the best part of my work week. It reminded me that when I serve God, and offer Him what little I have to give, it doesn’t matter what others think.

It’s what God thinks that matters.

In Christ,
Laura 


Sunday, March 13, 2016

God Works Through Our Stories


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

Share

Last weekend, I had the privilege of speaking at a women's event. During the Bible study I was presenting, I shared a story about one of my less than stellar moments.

It wasn't something I particularly wanted to share, but rather a story I knew God wanted me to share.

Because when we share our stories, we let others know it's okay to share their stories.

When we let someone see the moments we'd rather not talk about, that someone knows she's not the only one with those kinds of moments.


God works through our stories...the good ones, and the messy day, less than proud ones.

He takes the experiences we'd like to bury and gives them meaning.


He leads us to share, and when we do, He uses it for His glory.

In Christ,
Laura 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

You’re Already Amazing {LifeGrowth Guide Review}

In 2013, I had the privilege of joining Holley Gerth’sGod-Sized Dream Team. Through the experience, I not only had the opportunity to meet Holley and many other encouraging, God-sized dreaming women, but it was a time of real personal growth for me.

So, when I saw that Holley had a new book, You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide, coming out (TODAY!!), I jumped at the chance to read it before the release date and tell you about it.


In You’re Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be, Holley encourages the reader to embrace this truth—in Christ, you are already amazing. You don’t have to be more or do more. You can just be who God made you to be.

Maybe that’s what you’re not so sure about…who God has made you to be.

Holley demonstrates how to discover this with exercises to help recognize your strengths and skills, write a LIFE statement, and then how to use that LIFE statement to pursue God’s purpose for your life.
“You’re already amazing because God made you, formed you, and lives within you. You’re amazing because you belong to him, because he has a plan for your life, because with him there’s nothing you can’t do.”Holley Gerth, You’re Already Amazing, chapter 11
If you haven’t read You’re Already Amazing, please do. Holley has a way of offering encouragement as if you were chatting with a friend over coffee.

If you’ve read You’re Already Amazing and want to go deeper…the LifeGrowth Guide is for you.

If you’ve thought You’re Already Amazing would be a great book to go through with a friend or a study group…the LifeGrowth Guide is for you.


1 - Who God Created Us to Be
2 - What’s True No Matter How We Feel
3 - Our Amazing Journey with Jesus
4 - God’s Plan for Our Relationships
5 - God’s Purpose for Our Lives
6 - How We Can Thrive for a Lifetime

Included in the guide is everything needed to do the book as a group study (suggestions for facilitators and for group members, pages for journaling, and creative ideas).

Or, if you prefer to use the guide individually, it’s like having a personal life coach. Each session has a video, which are available for free at HolleyGerth.com/amazing, or you can purchase the DVD.

You’re Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide officially releases TODAY, March 1!

You can find more information here on the author’s website: Holley Gerth


In Christ,
Laura 

Linking up with Coffee for Your Heart