Close to His Heart

While I was babysitting a few days ago, I started thinking about the little seven-month old I was holding. He can get so upset sometimes, especially when he’s tired or hungry. But when I wrap him up and hold him close to me,  he begins to settle down and even rest his head on my shoulder. With this posture he can feel the rise and fall of my chest and hear the steady rhythm of my heartbeat singing him to sleep. He is peaceful and content to rest on me.

Oh, that I would be like this with my Savior!

Seeing this little one made me think about my posture towards the Lord. I can become so upset sometimes when I’m weary, fearful, or hungry for spiritual food, but I so easily forget where my peace and contentment are found.When I’m close to my Savior’s heart, I become aware of how sovereign and constant He is. When I’m close to His heart, my perspective begins to align with His and my heart begins to beat in His rhythm instead of my own. And when I’m close to Him and chose to trust Him I can rest.

I’m so thankful for His character and for the lessons He teaches His children through everyday things.Enjoy the journey with Him!

In Him,

Laura

“You keep him in perfect peace
    whose mind is stayed on you,
    because he trusts in you”

Isaiah 26:3

“Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37

 

“You’re going to be okay.”

I few nights ago I was alone at home and found myself facing worries, doubts, burdens, and fears. In the battlefield of my mind, I started to become discouraged and lose my perspective of hope. Then as I tried to lead my thoughts out of this pattern, it seemed like the Lord just said, “No matter what happens with all of this,You’re going to be okay.” I took a deep breath and  thought for a minute. Then I unlocked my phone and went to YouTube to look for some encouraging worship music. As I did this however, a song on the recommended channel caught my eye-“You’re Gonna Be Ok” by Bethel. Seeing that and then listening to it for the first time was another sweet conformation from the Lord that He sees me and He cares about my future in Him. He is so tender and compassionate to us!

So, while we don’t know what the future holds, or the outcome of our circumstances, we do know our God. He knows and holds the future, He keeps His promises, and He loves us. He has good in store for His children in walking with Him. And in walking with Him, we learn to let Him define what is truly “good” and “OK” in our  lives.

All of this leaves me knowing, I’m going to be okay. And so are you! Okay, and in fact, joyful, hopeful, and resting in Him, no matter the circumstances.

Enjoy The Journey,

Laura

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” -Romans 15:13

Psalm 16

The Lens of Truth

Early Morning Thoughts…

I woke up this morning and the room was blurry. I deduced what the various shapes and objects were around the room because I see them so often . But this got me thinking…As I lay in bed praying and thinking about the day ahead, I started to realize that I needed my glasses if I was going to see clearly and navigate through the day.I might think I could see things enough to get by, but the truth is, with my own eyes I would fumble, trip over things, and maybe even miss important things altogether. And at the end of the day, my eyes would be tired from straining so hard to just see the outline of what was really in front of me. I certainly wouldn’t want to leave the familiar surroundings of my house and venture out either.

How much more does this thought apply to my spiritual life!? In the same way, my spiritual eyes need the lens of God’s truth. I might make it through my days, but with my own limited perspective, I will miss things, fumble through loving others and pursuing righteousness, and trip over my sin. And because I’m not seeing clearly what is in front of me, it would be far to easy to stay stuck in the comfort of familiar surroundings instead of stepping out to where He has called me. But God is gracious in the way He reveals His truth to us. Sometimes it is hard to take in, but I believe His ways are best-and what we would choose if we could only see things the way He does.

Let us enjoy the journey as we walk in the light of His truth, friends!

Psalm 119:160

“The sum of your word is truth,
    and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.”

Ephesians 6

 “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth,” 

The Weight of Encouragement

Earlier today I spent some time studying at a coffee shop. I got up from my chair at one point, and while I was putting milk in my coffee made casual conversation with the older gentleman beside me. I went back to my seat and the man came and sat down a few chairs away from me with his newspaper. Finally, when he got up to leave, he came over to me and my rather ominous looking physics book and said,

“Well, I tell you, I’m getting tired just watching you.” He laughed and putting his hand on my shoulder said, “You’ll do just fine.I know. You’re a good young lady.” Giving me an affectionate Grandfatherly pat he concluded, “It was nice to meet you!”

All I could manage to do was smile and say, “Oh thank you! It was so nice to meet you too. Have a good day!”

He had no idea how much these simple words of encouragement would mean to me. I have struggled so much the last couple of weeks with feeling inadequate and unprepared. At times, these feelings have crept their way into almost every area of my life including school. When I stop to think, I know it isn’t true, but feelings will be feelings. And in the midst of this, little reminders like “you can do this”, and “you have what it takes”, carry so much weight with them. Meeting this man made me think of my Grandpa and how he encouraged me to try hard things, and believed I could do them-affirming me with love and gentleness.

It also makes me think of what my Heavenly Father said to me just this morning from His Word:

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;” and

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

(In my own words) “I have prepared you for good works which I have ordained. You have all you need in Christ, because I have equipped you with My power and will give you grace (abundantly!) to do what I have called you to do in every area… even when that includes struggle and what feels like failure. And in the end, I will get the glory.”

Thank you God for gentle reminders that carry much weight; reminders of your promises and love for us. Friends, I hope this is an encouragement to you as well. Keep pressing in!

Enjoy the journey

 

 

 

Traveling Thoughts

Take a deep breath…In…out. Yes, it’s good to be alive.

Last month I took my first trip to Europe. When I was traveling, the world seemed so big and intimidating at first. And then I started to connect with people and places, and somehow, not knowing everything (or much of anything) became okay. I started to like the person I was there; free and growing in confidence, with the air of new places and the warmth of the sun making their mark on my face. Now, coming home, life is still so good. Yet strangely, mixed with the peacefulness and joy of home is a sense of struggle.                1)  Because I feel different because of what I’ve seen and the places I’ve been, and yet no one knows how it felt. (except for my brother who was with me and lives several states away). 2) Somehow it seems like the learning curve that comes with new places and experiences is easier to cope with than the constant demands, stress, drama, and relationships here at home. My fear is that if I fail here people will remember and judge me for it. If I mess up here, I’ll never live it down. The decisions in this season of life at home seem never to go away, and it would be easier to just run from them. But I can’t do that. Thankfully. Because these kind of decisions, the ones in the here and now, are the ones that forge a person’s character. They are the “real life” choices and actions. And that idea of perfection… yeah, it’s an illusion. I’m in the process of learning that it is okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to not know something and have to learn as long as I’m willing to. The truth is God is faithful and just as much involved in my life here as He was with me adventuring in Europe. I can be just as confident and free in Christ in “small town” Tyler TX. If not more so. I didn’t go all the way to Europe and back and travel around for 2 WEEKS to be afraid of people and their drama in Tyler!! 😉

And if I’m honest with myself, I know I am loved by many people at home whether I fail or succeed. And ultimately by my Heavenly Father. You know, really life is not all about ME anyway! Crazy right!? 😛

So, a note to self I keep as a reminder:

“Be confident, be humble. God put you there.”

Enjoy the journey,

Laura

A Love Dare

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Out of all the pins I have saved on Pinterest, this one has been the most re-pinned out of all of them. Why? Because so many people can relate to it. Let’s face it -it hurts to open up and then feel the sting of rejection. Or to build a relationship and then witness that change because of disagreements, misunderstandings, or simply the course of time. Loving anyone is a risk- to our own comfort and self-centeredness. Once you have been hurt in a relationship it seems to go against everything in you to want to invest again. And yet…somehow we crave it. We were made for relationship and community. The Lord said “let Us make man in *Our own image.*” And Jesus prayed for and urged his disciples to be in unity with one another and with the Lord, just as He had fellowship in the Trinity.

Most of us can probably relate to the words penned in this quote by C.S. Lewis. But what amazes me, is how much more our mighty God and Father relates to it. He sent His only Son Christ to earth to sacrifice everything, suffer pain, rejection, and death all for the glory of God and love for His creation. All for the sake of Love. He loved deeply, hurt badly, and in the end still said It. Is. Finished. He is our hope and example. He loves us perfectly and still pursues relationship with us even when we reject Him and place other things before Him. So, love God and love others. Do it graciously and with boldness, knowing that He has gone before you and will go with you. And find comfort that there is grace more than sufficient for our mistakes!

Enjoy your journey!

Laura

Do It Anyway (Fear)

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I think I’m learning something about myself…I’m afraid of lots of things. Okay,so maybe I’ve known that since forever, but at the same time, there have been many fears I have actually conquered.There have been many many times in my life when I have felt God calling me to step out-to trust Him and to overcome.So, if brave is not feeling afraid, I’m out.If brave means denying I have fear, well… I’m a very bad liar.But if brave is looking fear in the face and then choosing to look Up at my Savior and go ahead anyway, I can claim the identity of a brave conqueror.My kind of brave means often, I might be trembling,but I do it anyway. I’m so thankful that He calls me brave and beloved in Him.Now, if only I could learn to live that out more day by day.By the Father’s grace, redemption, and LOVE, I’m getting there.I’m growing in courage as I grow up in Him.

And I know you are too.Keep enjoying the journey!

 

 

Keep Looking Up- Psalm 13

“But I have trusted and relied on and been confident in Your lovingkindness and faithfulness;
My heart shall rejoice and delight in Your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
Because He has dealt bountifully with me.”
-Psalm 13 AMP

“One of the keys to transitioning from depression to delight is choosing to look up, not down.” Such a good word for me today. I often get so distracted and discouraged with worries of this world and caught up with my own struggles and forget to look at Him. Then when I realize what is happening, I feel painfully convicted.The more I stare  at the darkness of my surroundings, the darker my perspective becomes. But when I look at Him, trusting Him to help me shift my eyes, His radiant Love Light changes everything about me and my heart towards my circumstances.The truth is, I can trust Him and give Him praise in the midst of every circumstance because He has been faithful and He WILL be faithful according to His purposes. He is so compassionate and gracious. And I’m extremely thankful for that today.

Hope you are having a good week friends! Keep looking Up.

My Wish-Becoming rich in experiences

I’m a little unsure sometimes. I get discouraged. Spiritually, sometimes I feel like I’m battling through distractions, disappointments, and temptations to keep my eyes on God.

However, today I reflect on something I said recently. When asked what my dreams were and what I wished to accomplish, one of the things I said was that I wanted to be rich in experiences. I said that didn’t necessarily mean I had to travel far away or spend a lot of money (though traveling would be nice!). I just wanted to experience many things and be faithful with the opportunities I was given. Reflecting on that conversation with my mom brings quite a bit of encouragement today. Often, when things don’t go the way I thought they would, I blame myself. I think about what I could have done differently to make the situation turn out “right”.  Other times, I think about the situations that simply touch my life right now that are on-going and I wonder if they will ever be resolved or made right.

The truth is, these experiences can feel ( & are) heavy at times. But in the same way, they are accomplishing a purpose. And strangely, they are bringing about what I wished for-depth in life experience and character.  How could I relate to very many people if I never felt like I made any mistakes? How could I sit with those who are hurting if all I ever knew was happiness? I couldn’t. So, on those days when I feel discouraged and all I see is my shortcomings I hope I will begin to look Up. I hope I look up and rejoice because in the happy as well as the sad, I have a greater hope and joy that rests in Jesus. When I look through this lens, I begin to see that God is working in my experiences, and there is a purpose for me for such a time as this. Don’t lose heart, friends; it’s part of the journey!

In Him,

Laura

-Philippians 1

In Him-Turn my eyes

“Oh soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness to see
There’s a light for a look at the Savior
And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace”
-Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

The mind set on the world can lead to such emptiness. The perspective set on the flesh drains life, while the perspective set on the LORD is life and peace.  We can’t see the whole picture from where we are now. I am trying to remind myself that it is better to look to the Lord and His promises than to look around or back at myself for answers.

In my joy and in my mourning, in my aching, and in my healing, let me turn. Through worries, fears, and sorrows, and through all things may I turn my eyes toward my faithful Savior. In Him is life, joy, and peace. In Him is everlasting, soul-satisfying love. In Him is the courage I need to face my tomorrows. Righteousness to cover my sins and redemption to work through my failures rests in Him.

Let us turn our eyes upon Jesus. And when we feel we can’t, let us cry out to Him to help lift our spirits, and He will!

Victorious Spirit through Christ,

Laura