“Tread Softly”

Old thoughts, new appreciation. 🙂  It’s encouraging to come across raw emotions and truths such as these sometimes. Looking back on my journey, things that seemed so big at the time never left His hands. And my old thoughts might even be helpful again as I am always learning… Hope they encourage you too!

Laura Clayton 2016

Tread softly young woman, lest you tread on fragile hearts.

If those hearts are tread upon, precious dreams may also be torn apart.

Tread softly young woman, there’s much to be learned, yet there is no class,

Yes, please remember it’s as if you tread on glass.

The older you grow, many people you will meet,

But step carefully, lest you leave a trail of scarred bare feet.

It’s true, you may be their first love, and they yours,

But, choose for yourself a very straight course.

Always look Up and press in,

And remember if you fall there’s a new place to begin.

In the arms of the Father, all wrongs are made right,

For every broken heart, there’s a promise of new light.

Tread softly young woman, the weight of hearts is not yours to bear, \

But rather a privilege for you to share.

 

 

Mistakes

Life is not about NOT making mistakes.”                                            

I love growing up with older brothers. They say things sometimes that are so simple, yet very profound. In between shooting me with rubber bands, throwing me over their shoulder, asking me girl questions, endless teasing, and making me laugh ‘till my sides hurt, they say things that quite honestly shake me up. When chocolate doesn’t fix the issue, and duct tape isn’t strong enough to mend the tare, guys can say some pretty cool things. The truth is, they have shown me that God fearing men speak truth into chaos even when it’s difficult. Those men are game changers. One of the things that my brother said to me recently hit me like that.

He said life is not about avoiding mistakes. Otherwise, we wouldn’t need Jesus. As funny as it might sound, it felt like a heavy brick was unloaded from the backpack of “good behavior” I carry around. Wait. Did he just tell me I was free to make mistakes? Yeah, I think he did. Did he just tell me I had a license to go wild and crazy? If you knew my brother the answer would be an immediate, NO.  I think what He was trying to point out to me first of all, is that my right standing before God and His love for me is not a product of my good decisions and behavior. It is because of Christ alone that I stand justified before God.  Second, I think his comment exposed a skewed emphasis and priority. If I am striving to chase after Jesus, and looking to Him to be my Lord, my Love, and my Righteousness, there isn’t a huge chance that I will jump off the deep end right away. When my eyes are fixed on Jesus, my will begins to align with His. And making decisions becomes about what will help me honor the Lord. Not about what will keep me from making a mistake, failing, or loosing approval. Lastly, one of the most comforting things to me is that even if I do sin or make a bad decision, it will be okay. To be broken and make mistakes is to be human. And nothing is wasted with God. He redeems. Just like a loving Father, He picks me up when I fall and doesn’t keep a record of my wrongs.

Thank the Lord for His truth and promises! Thank the Lord for giving me the siblings He did. The amazing thing is many ways they have been able to encourage me have been because of mistakes. They make mistakes too. They learn from them, repent, grow, and God works through them in some pretty mighty ways!

I think I’m beginning to be more and more thankful for the “tares” duct tape can’t fix in my life.

Enjoy your journey…even the mistakes.

Laura

 

“I have made mistakes, I continue to make them
The promises I’ve made, I continue to break them
And all the doubts I’ve faced, I continue to face them
But nothing is a waste if you learn from it

And the sun, it does not cause us to grow
It is the rain that will strengthen your soul
And it will make you whole”

“I have made mistakes”-The Oh Hellos

Courage

It takes courage to grow up. It takes courage to be a woman.
Sometimes the thought of both realities that I am experiencing shakes me to the core. Because I’ve never known myself to have a lot of courage. It scares me to think of leaving old things behind and starting new ones I know nothing of. Learning to make wise decisions and developing the character to become who I want to be is overwhelming!
One thing I do know that delights my soul is that my Redeemer defined it. He thought of courage and character, and wisdom, and absolutely fulfilled it because it is part of Him. Because of Jesus, I’m now His daughter, and HE teaches me how to be all those things in Him. By His grace and for His glory I will grow to be like the woman I picture becoming. And more importantly, like the woman HE has designed for me to be. He has placed inside me the spirit of an overcomer. And because He’s faithful, He has never abandoned me, and I don’t imagine He ever will.
Thanks be to God!
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;
-2 Corinthians 2
-Phillippians 1:6
-Hebrews 10:23

The Remedy For “Self-consciousness”

Alright, I’ll be honest. I struggle with self-consciousness. I wonder and care too much what others think of me. Sometimes I wonder if I can lose or gain their love and approval because of something I do (or don’t do). I often seem to fear man more than God.  This can be defined as “an acute sense of self-awareness. It is a preoccupation with oneself, as opposed to the philosophical state of self-awareness”.

Thanks, Wikipedia! Ever since I was little my precious mom has encouraged me to be “others-conscious” instead of self-conscious. Making this a habit is so simple yet challenging. Nevertheless, it trains us to see others as more valuable than ourselves-which is good! Sounds like something we’ve heard before!  “It’s not about thinking less of yourself, it’s just about thinking of yourself less.” This has been and will be a lifelong mission of mine.

Recently, a friend charged me with this verse:

“Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.”

Psalm 34:5

Think of that! Imagine never being ashamed-never being self-conscious. I had never thought of this verse like that before.  Chapter 34 begins like this:

“I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.”

This passage tells us a couple of things:

  • Godly confidence and character starts with praising God and being thankful
  • Our confidence and boast must be in the Lord. It is a humble confidence knowing He is greater than we are.
  • Seek the LORD. Talk with Him about your joys and your fears.

Overcoming our struggles and sin starts with making a decision (sometimes moment by moment) to put God in His rightful place and to know our rightful place. Then, verse 5 says those who looked to Him are radiant. When we are abiding in the Lord, our desire for mans or even self approval decreases. We no longer radiate self, but radiate Christ. And because of that, we need never be ashamed!

 

“Heart Inside a Box”

I wrote this nearly two years ago!  Today I found myself thinking about life and love similarly, so I went looking for this post and decided to share. Hope it encourages you to love even if you’re afraid.

-Laura Beth

“Sometimes it seems it would be easier to lock your heart inside a box. There it would never be broken, never hurt, and never lost. It would be safe. As the years passed by its rate would never change, on and on it would pound to the same familiar rhythm. Inside a box, it would never have to risk skipping a beat, or not  being able to slow its pace once it had quickened. It would be comfortable, never knowing risk.

Yet, would it ever truly be alive? Should it be given the chance to feel even if it means to ache? The heart may experience deep sorrow, devastating loss, and even begin to feel as if it has been shattered into a thousand pieces. But, mingled with grief and sorrow, deep trust, joy, and love can also be found. The heart is fragile and breakable, but if laid at the feet of the Savior it is redeemable and healable. Could it be that the strange reality is it is better to feel everything than to feel nothing at all?

To those whose hearts are locked away, please unlock the box. The heart is made to be alive not merely to be left ‘safe’ inside a box. Though it may be uncomfortable at times, and life may leave scars, I believe to feel is to risk, and to risk is to truly live. Is your heart inside a box?”

“The Goal of Perfection”

I pictured walking with Jesus last night. I imagined Him holding my hand, and I wondered of His face. I thought through my frustrations with the day and with myself. I thought, ‘Oh, if I was just with Jesus I could ask Him to “fix me”, make me  better-more pleasing to Him.’

Then I caught myself, really He caught me. Perfection, if taken too far, can be an attempt to be my own God-to be self sufficient. Jesus took on perfection and won because I couldn’t. When I constantly try to “fix myself” and do better on my own it potentially exposes some negative things about what I’m letting myself believe:

-I believe I have to earn (or even can earn) God’s approval, acceptance, and Love. Ephesians 2 addresses it this way,

 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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.”

-I doubt His promises.

HE will complete the good work He began for His purpose. He gives the desire and the power to serve Him and live by the Spirit (Philippians 2:13). I must believe that He’s trustworthy and a GOOD Father like He says He is and shows Himself to be! (Psalm 145:8-9, 1 John 1:5, Psalm 138:8, Psalm 100:5, **Psalm 37:23-24).

-I believe self improvement and Perfection is the goal.

Oh, how I am so easily distracted! Jesus lived and died the Perfect life for me (and you) so that I in my own strength don’t have to be perfect to know Him. *That’s the goal-knowing Jesus.* It’s much easier to walk close to someone and begin to pick up their habits and traits if you spend time just knowing them. When I make perfection my goal, it becomes what controls and defines me, not Christ. (Psalm 73:28, Psalm 16).

Someone said to me recently, “when you try to be perfect all the time, you can’t  be free to be yourself or let others see who you really are.” Because, I’m. Not. Perfect. It’s just a facade. Now, that’s not to say I shouldn’t strive for excellence in all I do. But, excellence is doing something to the best of my ability; not focusing on if it was the very best and perfect way out there. To be human is to be broken and make mistakes too, and I’m learning that’s okay.

I find myself when I lose myself in Christ. When I find Him, He teaches me who I am.

I hope these thoughts encourage you as you focus on knowing Jesus the One who is Perfect, instead of  perfection. Enjoy your journey!

Laura Beth

Victorious Spirit

“To Whom It May Concern” (Letter 2)

grizzlybear_trails

Below is a poem very similar to the first one I posted, only it was written this summer…under completely different circumstances. In writing this (and really all summer long) the Lord was (and still is) teaching me the treasure of His presence and relationship in the midst of hardship and loneliness. For that I am so very thankful. It is my prayer that you are inspired as well.

“I saw footprints blaze a trail through the morning dew,

Once again, darling, I started looking, hoping for you,

Only, this path was different from the last,

It was lonely, long, and unlike the hopeful past,

The prints continued but seemed sluggish and wide spaced,

One set in front of the next, yet they lacked fast pace,

As the others had been bathed in light,

It felt as though these were flooded in night,

I thought all at once I might burst; simply run,

But then I looked up and there shone the SON,

Ever steady and true,

It pleaded with me to hope anew,

Overwhelmed by its brilliance and heat,

It seemed to whisper to me, “Don’t worry whose feet,

Though the path seem long and unpleasant at times,

Remember, the Poet uses even long rhymes.”

I smiled at the SON again, delighting in its heat,

Now I know its preparing me for when paths meet…”

“To Whom It May Concern”

Below is a poem I wrote the summer of 2013. I was hopeful about the possibility of having someone who would invest in me and I in them, but at the same time I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. Through this poem I attempted to capture my conflicting feelings and what Jesus was telling me through it all. Hope it is an encouragement!

sk-801

“I see footprints through the morning dew…

And I must say, darling, it reminds me of you.

A new beginning with only one path,

Earth and sky using sunlight for a bath.

As I breathe in the fresh morning air,

I dream of the love we’ll someday share.

The birds merrily sing songs that declare

The beauty that will be – yet warn me to prepare.

Yes, prepare for the day and diligently keep my heart.

Not to be carried away or even given freely on my part.

But, I am to joyfully greet each day with a song.

To heed the sky’s reminder that it is to Him I belong.

And as the grass will again become wet with dew,

So my face will be with tears when I see footprints leading to you.

So I ask you to seek His face and His commands,

And someday my dear, we’ll walk hand in hand.”