Monday, January 30, 2017

What You Do Is Important


I struggle sometimes with feeling as if I'm not doing anything important—or that what I do doesn't matter.

When reading these verses from Isaiah, "But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose," I think: Me too! That's how I feel!

I wonder what my work amounts to and question my purpose. I see the accomplishments of other women, and it leads to feelings of discouragement...even wanting to give up.

I'm super excited to be a new contributor at Christian Devotions with my first devotion published today! I hope you'll join me there to continue reading: What You Do Is Important!

In Christ,
Laura

Linking up with: #DreamTogether, Moments of Hope, Faith 'n Friends, Faith Filled FridaySpiritual Sundays

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hope When You Can’t Fix It


Some situations feel like a never-ending circle. I go around and around never getting anywhere. But still, I feel like there must be something I can do. So, I keep trying. And I keep getting nowhere.

One situation has been going on for years. I’ve been praying. I’ve been searching Scripture. I’ve been having frank conversations with God, asking Him to show me what to do. I’ve wondered if I’m praying for the wrong outcome. And some days, I don’t even know what to pray for. I simply think Please help us Jesus over and over.

As a mom, I want to be able to fix this. I want to make it all better so we can all move forward. But, despite all of my research, trying different resources, and putting everything I have into it, it appears that I can’t. I’m left feeling frustrated and discouraged.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Many trials and sorrows. Isn’t that the truth? Some go on for so long I start to wonder if there is any hope for change.

Some days I might be tempted to answer no. I can only do so much and if nothing I’ve done has worked by now, change looks like a slim chance.

The good news is—I can only do so much, but God can do So. Much. More.

I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I know that He can. And He will. It may not look the way I expect, but that doesn’t mean He’s not at work.

Jesus overcame the world, so how could He not be able to handle this? Our situation feels huge to me. Overwhelming and heartbreaking at times. He knows that and He’s not insensitive to my feelings. Maybe that’s why Jesus reminds us that we can have peace through Him.

Though He warned us life would be far from easy, He promised us peace. Not because of anything we can do, but through Him. {Tweet this}

Through Jesus, there is peace. We can take heart, be courageous, confident, undaunted, and filled with joy because Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33 AMP)

If my hope rests on what I can do, I will be sorely disappointed. When my hope rests in Him, I feel comfort and peace. {Tweet this}

Waiting on what God will do is not easy. But neither is waiting to see if I can come up with any workable solutions.

But, where waiting on myself makes me worried, afraid, and filled with anxiety, waiting on God allows me to breathe. {Tweet this}

It’s a choice, and I choose to wait on God and let my hope rest in Him.

What do you choose?
Hold on to the
One Whose
Promises will never be
Empty.
In Christ,
Laura


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Identity: Child of God


God has been reminding me throughout the week to look for my identity in Him. I don’t think I’d forgotten, but good or bad, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on around me. And the enemy will use anything—Any. Little. Thing.—to distract, discourage, or cloud my vision.

So, at the end of a frustrating day, He reminded me that it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks or says. The actions of others are not a reflection on me.

The following morning, I thought about how my identity in Him is unique. One of a kind.

And then after a really good day, I was reminded again that who I am is not dependent on what happens to me or around me.

Who I am is found in Whose I am.

Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his.

My past, present, and future outlook help shape me and make me who I am, but it does not name me. It makes an impact and challenges me, but it does not define me.

My identity, and yours too, is Child of God.

Chosen. Beloved. And Redeemed.

It doesn’t matter what someone else thinks or says about us. It only matters what God says.

We are not defined by our own success or failure, nor by someone else’s.

Our identities are not determined by our age or personal stories.

God knows who we are because He created each of us—individually, in His image. He knows the plans He has for us, and they are not dependent on how well we can emulate someone else.

In fact, when we strive out of competition to be just like another, we step away from the plans He has for us. {Tweet this}

God didn’t design us to be copycats. He gave each of us different personalities, interests, and strengths and weaknesses. He knows where we’ve been and where we’re going. He knows what we’re capable of doing and where we fall short.

When we compare ourselves to someone else, we lose sight of how special God made us. We focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have. We worry that we can’t be like her or accomplish what she can. But God never asked us to be just like someone else.

He just asks that we be ourselves and rely on Him for everything else. {Tweet this}

Afterward:

I’m currently reading The Story of With by Allen Arnold. After I wrote the rough draft of this post yesterday morning, I sat down to read in the afternoon. Little did I know the chapter I was about to begin was about identity, reinforcing the very thoughts I’d written about earlier in the day. It was one of those moments that makes your mouth hang open as you realize this was no coincidence.

When God wants to make a point, He will get our attention. Like He did for me this past week.

Throughout the good, the bad, and the ordinary, our identities are found in Him. They cannot be earned or taken away. {Tweet this}

Past actions, regrets, and old wounds are all part of our personal stories, but they don’t define us because God can redeem anything and everything.

Accomplishments and celebrations also make up our stories, but again, we are not defined by them. When the excitement wears off, our identities are solid in the One who created us, not dependent on the next goal we strive for.

I don’t know what you might be struggling with today, but would you take a moment to spend with our Creator? Maybe it’s a quick prayer. Or a simple question: What do You want me to hear from You today? Try personalizing Psalm 100:3 (or another verse that speaks to you).

I acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made me, and I am His.

When you think of your own identity, what comes to mind? Do you find yourself striving to be like someone else? Or trying to earn your identity through what you do? What would life look like if you rested in Him and who He created you to be?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: FreeImages.com]


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Thank You Persevere


Have you ever come to December ready to kick your One Word for the year to the door?

That's where I was as 2016 came to an end. So long Persevere! That was my word—Persevere. You can probably guess...it wasn't an easy year.

But, as I packed Persevere's bags, I realized something...
the end of a One Word year doesn't mean I'll never deal with that word again. After all, I lived with it for a year. We got to know each other. {Tweet this}

Persevere was the word God whispered to me right before 2016 began. The word I argued with Him over. And the word that reminded me time and time again to keep going.

Persevere is a part of me now, just like my words from past years—Trust, Praise, Let Go, and Renew. They stretched me and helped to define each year.

Instead of goodbye, I feel I should say thank you…
Persevere, I know we didn't always get along, but you were always there for me. You encouraged me when I didn't want to listen. You stood by me during my tears and frustration. And, you gave me a nudge every time I wanted to quit.
I never thought I'd feel nostalgic, but I do. My new word—Called—has moved in, but I'll never forget our time together. In fact, please come back to visit...I still need you! ~Laura
We’re a week into 2017. Do you choose one word each year? Have you ever felt nostalgic transitioning from one word to another?

**If you're looking for a way to study or journal about your One Word, I've created a free printable for you. You can find it on my Resources page, or click here: One Word Journal Worksheet.**

In Christ,
Laura 
  
[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Linking up with: Moments of Hope, #DreamTogether#glimpsesofhisbeauty, #SmallWonder, #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, Thought Provoking Thursday, #GraceMoments, #FreshMarketFriday, Grace & Truth, Faith 'n Friends

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

My One Word 2017

Early in December I started praying, asking God what my One Word for 2017 would be. I listened and watched for anything He might show me.

Joy was a common theme. It seemed like I was seeing it everywhere. So, I wondered...maybe it's Joy.

Although, it's possible I was just desperate for an uplifting word. After all, my word for 2016 was Persevere. And let me tell you...It. Was. Hard.

Joy sounded positive and happy. I was ready for joy. But, it didn't feel quite right. I felt like I was jumping on to the Joy bandwagon. So, I waited...and kept asking.

Then, several days before Christmas I turned to the book of Exodus to read again about Moses and the burning bush.
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” Exodus 3:2-4 NIV
I've read these verses so many times, and yet I was drawn to them. (I love how God will get my attention when He wants to.)

I was reminded that God calls me by name, just like He did Moses. And just like He calls you. {Tweet this}

I was so captured by this fact, I posted this in a Facebook group.
"Went from Kelly's book (Fear Fighting) to Exodus to reread of the burning bush and holy ground this morning...and God caught my attention with this...God called to Moses BY NAME. Just like Moses, God knows and acknowledges each of us BY NAME. We're not just another one of His children, He knows each of us individually BY NAME. I wonder if we forget that sometimes.”
I continued to think about it for days and pondered the ways in which God calls us.

We are called by name for His purpose.

We are called to be who He designed us to be, not a copycat of someone else.

We are called to persevere.

We are called to joy.


My One Word for 2017? 

Called.

It feels right to me. It may not be easy, but maybe that's the point. If it were easy, it wouldn't be much of a focus. {Tweet this}

Maybe it's just me, but Called feels uplifting (just what I was hoping for!), and I'm looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me. 

Do you choose One Word to focus on each year? If so, what is your word for 2017, and how do you feel about it?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Unsplash.com]

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Beginnings


There’s something about a new year that makes us think about new beginnings. A fresh start. A do-over from the previous year.

This year, things will be different.

The problem is, a new year-new beginning only comes once a year. When the expectations on January 1 fall short by January 31, there are 11 more months until the next new year. According to the calendar.

Fortunately for us, God is not concerned with what our calendars say. {Tweet this} He offers new beginnings all year long. In fact, He’s working on something for you right now.

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Perhaps you can already see it, or have a feeling of something on the horizon. But maybe, it seems like nothing will change. That’s when we have to disregard what we feel and rely on what we know.

God has wonderful plans for you—plans for your good, not for disaster—plans to give you hope and a future.
(Jeremiah 29:11)

I'm hanging out at God-sized Dreams today. Please join me there to continue reading my article...New Beginnings.

And Happy New Year!

In Christ,
Laura

Linking up with: Moments of Hope, Purposeful Faith