Freshman Reminders

Before I started school as a freshman in college this semester, I wrote out a list of some things I wanted to keep in the forefront of my mind. I’d love to hear your thoughts/things you would add to the list!

  1. Go into the semester with a “senior” mindset instead of a “freshman” one. Have the perspective, wisdom, and courage that you did when you thought you had nothing to lose. Learn, live, and meet others with enthusiasm!
  2. We are here to please God and not men. Love others, but keep your identity in the right place.
  3. We are here to learn and everyone had to learn at some point. Even the smartest person should still be learning!
  4. Live in the light of Eternity. This world is not home..keep the main thing the main thing.
  5. Remember, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when it’s asked of you!
  6. God is SO faithful! Abundantly MORE than we could ever ask, hope, or think He could be. Rest in that.
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Freshman Thoughts

Life is so full right now-full of countless new experiences, lessons, friendships, and new thoughts to be had in this new season. Some days I feel like I could burst with all the ‘newness’! There are definitely plenty of new challenges to face as well. They can feel big and frightening, and fight for my perspective in the midst of the joys. But when I quiet myself before Him, I’m ready to face whatever comes. When the sun comes up again on a new day I put on the strength that He gives.

I’m also thankful that I’m not alone in this season! I’m surrounded with dear friends to face the challenges and share the new joys with. When we get together we each have so much to say because we are all learning and experiencing so much. Our times are filled with laughter and talk of dreams about the future. What a gift!

So while I’m a little overwhelmed at times, I’m so thankful. I’m thankful for my Heavenly Father, family, and friends to walk with me on the beautiful journey.

In Him,

Laura

Willow’s Growth

I was looking through an old journal last night and found a treasure!

For several years now I have been writing about a character named Willow. In my stories she is portrayed as a tree, but the analogy is that of a young girl facing challenges in her daily life. It was so special to come across this entry again as I find myself in the same circumstances. Hope you enjoy!

“Willow had seen many seasons, and had for the most part eagerly embraced them. She hid under her branches and held tightly when the rain and floods came… and at last, the cold winter winds seemed to visit her less and less. Willow felt as if her whole being was beginning to thaw.

Beauty everywhere was in bloom and coming back to life. Yet somehow, Willow felt afraid. She almost wished that winter wouldn’t end. For in winter, all she need do was stand. She had stood and took the harsh winter cold, and waited patiently as her roots soaked up the rain. But now, willow felt fear. Now, it was time to grow again. She wasn’t sure how to grow taller and bear new and beautiful leaves. Willow did not know what would make her stronger and help her become all that she had hoped to be.

But as the warmth of the sun shone on her, a joyful thought came with it! The sun was shining warm and bright as it had before, but she had never felt it this way. The way it moved across her with the passing day, the way it hit her that day was like never before. Willow had grown. It was then that she realized that she had grown and would grow, for it was what she was made to do. And with her roots in the ground and her face towards the sun, she would continue on.”

Weathering The Storm

This post was written by a guest blogger and sweet friend of mine! I think it’s a great encouragement and challenge to us we abide in Christ and journey with Him through our days. Hope you enjoy! Thanks again for sharing, friend 🙂

The other day as I sat down with my cat and picked up my book that I’ve been trying to finish for so long. The words on the pages leapt out at me, as I realized what the author was saying. And, it really hit home for me. Yes, I know!  It’s a lot of reading, but keep going…it’s totally worth it! 🙂

“Actually the tree that day had not been cut down but struck by lightning which had ripped off one leg of its Y shape and sliced a huge area out of the trunk of the sycamore. This had happened in early winter and I had thought the tree could not survive such an amputation, so I was greatly surprised now in early spring to see it covered with its beautiful green foliage as of yore. It was alive and lovely as ever, despite its massive “surgery.”

I wandered on to the edge of the wood, from which I looked over our little hamlet of Boreland, thinking of other trees which had suffered in winter gales. The first was in my first church at dear little Moorton – to be accurate a very large white lilac tree which we were sorry to lose for it was our only white one – and there it lay, broken completely, its roots sticking up in the air. I kept meaning to clear it away, but never got round to it, and was glad I didn’t for it taught me a lesson. When spring came, the fallen bush was covered, as always in beautiful blooms, even though lying apparently dead. How had this come about? I looked more closely, poked about in the ground, cleared away some earth, and found one solitary root still going into the ground, and drawing up from the earth enough sap and nurture to supply the whole plant. It was beautiful as ever, even though now recumbent.

The other tree was even more amazing. It was the main branch of an old gnarled plum tree at Aldermouth, a tree which annually had a huge crop of the most delicious Victoria plums, and the branch lay on the ground seemingly broken right off.  But yet when spring came, the branch blossomed…and I looked at it in wonder. How could this be? I examined it carefully and found just one bit of bark still attached to the parent tree, and through that tiny channel, food and water was flowing, and in due course there was a magnificent crop of plums.

The lilac and the plum, and now the sycamore, were still doing their job…and looking beautiful and fruitful in the process. How could they do it? I was reminded of Jesus’ words: “Abide I me and I in you. So shall you bring forth much fruit, for without me you can do nothing.” The damaged trees were still abiding in the roots.

There are times in life like that, don’t you think? We are jogging along happily when suddenly a gale gets up, often without warning, and hits us. It may be a gale of illness whisking us to hospital for surgery. It may be a gale of bad news, perhaps a youngster we love kicking over the traces, going the wrong way, getting into trouble, causing us terrible worry. It may be a storm of sorrow, perhaps the loss of a parent or life’s partner or someone very dear to us, perhaps a life-long friend. The wind can get up very quickly and flatten us, and it is not always predicted by the Met Office! But if we can learn the lesson of the trees and stay attached to Christ, we can weather the storm; we can still be beautiful for God and others like the sycamore or lilac, and still be fruitful, like the plum, still, come what may…abiding.”

Dog Collar Diary by Alexander Cameron

Come what may, you can still be beautiful and fruitful for God during your highs and lows through Christ our Savior. He is our Redeemer and stronghold, remaining steady through this hard journey called life. So when a storm comes your way, do not be discouraged. Stay rooted in Him, because He loves you and will carry you through these times.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

 

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

 

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

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!

 

 

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