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

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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

 

A quick thought for your Friday!

Something I have been thinking about recently is just because a few people think badly of you or speak badly of you doesn’t necessarily mean you have done something wrong. Or if you did do something wrong, that doesn’t mean it is all your fault or that you should take all the blame. Everyone has a different perspective and lens which they see life through. So let the LORD be the one who defines your identity and refines your character.  As far as you can, be at peace with those around you, but remember you can’t please everyone. The Lord will work on them and you in His own way and on His own time.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

 

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