Thursday, July 30, 2015

Try to Focus - FMF

I have been known to overthink things from time to time. That includes me writing. We do need to be careful with our words and weigh our words. Polishing it up is a good idea most of the time as well. That said, I love to do a free write from time to time. Joining in with Five Minute Friday is so much fun for me. No pressure! Simply a word prompt on twitter (#fmfparty) on Thursday night and then write. No overthinking or editing. There is a linkup on Friday at where we can read other's five minute free write. This week's prompt is: TRY


I tried hard not to gag as I took a drink out of my water without looking first. I was too absorbed in the world around me to take the time to look down. Unfortunately, reality quickly bumped into me. LITERALLY!

There was a fly jostling around against my lip. Oh so gross! *Shivers* I wasn’t near a sink and for some reason tried to hold the water in instead of just drinking what was in my mouth. The fly was still floating lifelessly in the glass. I made a mad dash for the sink desperately trying not to trip over the cat standing between me and relief.

Hurdler’s had nothing on me as I sailed over Tootsie and spewed water all over the kitchen sink. Spitting and rinsing my mouth out repeatedly. Yuck!

Now I’m sure some of you are saying, “Come on, it’s just a fly” and I get that. Heck I’ve swallowed too many bugs to count due to my tendency to open my mouth a “bit” more often than most. More than anything it was the startle factor for me. I was off in “la-la land” and just about let something slip right in and contaminate me.

Father, please help me pay more attention to what I’m taking in. I want to keep my eyes focused on You and try to be more aware of what I allow into my life.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On a Wing and a Prayer - She Speaks

Boldness hasn’t always been one of my strong suits. Embarking on this recent adventure and investment in my future wasn’t without some reservations.

A lot of my trepidation about this trip was centered on the travel to be honest. I’m sure there are so many world travelers out there that would have a good laugh at me the first day I flew into the vast giant that is the Minneapolis Airport. Yikes!

I embrace who I am, don’t get me wrong. I’m the “Hicks from the Sticks” and I love it. I’m sure my “country thang” was showing a bit as it dripped out of me and all over everyone else around me.

I like to talk. I admit it freely. I’m social and think everyone I meet is a potential new friend. It felt very lonely in that airport though. All around me were people that looked more like robots. I don’t mean this as any form of judgement at all but everyone was so involved in their electronic devices you couldn’t even get anyone to look up and engage.

God, in His all-knowing faithfulness, ushered me on with confidence however. Not only was I not alone in that massive place that felt completely foreign to me but He would go before me and make a way.  He did just that!  

A fellow She Speaks conference goer right there in the midst. Even getting on the same plane with me. God is so gracious. She had an infectious smile and a very welcoming heart. She had traveled before and I felt like I could just let her lead. It was great. Thank you God for sending her my way!

As we arrived at the conference hotel I was surprised by the level of exhaustion I was feeling from a traveling day. I mean seriously, how a person can feel so tired from just sitting all day. It baffles me!

I have observed over the years that different people handle exhaustion differently. My mom can be completely sleep deprived and still function at almost a top notch level. My husband is the same way. I, on the other hand, am a whole different beast.

I wish I could say I just smile and push right through but that’s not reality.  My brain feels like sludge and my good humor gets locked away somewhere I can’t seem to find it until after I’ve gotten some sleep. Knowing this about myself, I slipped off to my hotel room to get some much needed rest before the conference would begin the next day.

You know the preconceived notions about things you’ve never been a part of in your life? The assumptions you make about something can be shattered in a moment. That’s what happened to me at She Speaks.

I expected a business type conference. Logistics. Each to their own. Lots of head knowledge but that it would simply end there. Nope! Not even close.

There was an immense amount of practical information available at each turn but the core message throughout the weekend was that it’s ALL about God. Everything needs to points back to Him.

               It wasn’t about MY calling but WHO was doing the calling.

There was an unexpected spiritual breakthrough waiting there for me. Such a sweet gift from my Father. Deliverance I couldn’t have possibly anticipated but will forever be grateful for.

There were sweet sisters in Christ that God placed expertly in my path that were just as much a part of my experience as anything planned at the conference. Each of them ministered to my soul and dug deep with me on some issues as if we’d known each other forever. Only God can make those kind of heart connections possible.

The time flew by and as I sit here in the airport eagerly awaiting to be reunited with my family I can’t help but be a little sad to see it all end. But, wait, I believe this is just the beginning!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lens Of Truth

My vision is okay. The eye doctor hasn’t prescribed any kind of vision aids for me at this point.

I see clearly.

Well, maybe in the natural anyway.

I find my vision can be out of whack when it comes to my spiritual eyes sometimes.

The other day I was out checking tanks for the sheep to make sure there weren’t any problems with the wells. You have to stay on top of water for livestock at all times but it’s very crucial during the hot summer months.

There are quite a few miles to cover and it’s a lot of quiet time. So I spend a lot that time just talking to the Lord. I would say I’ve done more praying and learning from God out in the middle of a pasture than anywhere else on earth.

On this particular day I had my sunglasses on as it was quite bright out. I like these particular ones as they aren’t very dark and don’t change my vision much. Or so I thought!

I was thanking the Lord for my family and praising Him for all the moisture we’d been receiving. As I drove into a pasture that has a different kind of grass it looked quite brown.

I couldn’t figure out why all of a sudden it was looking so brown. This much grass drying out this fast runs the danger of wildfires in our country. My prayers turned from thanking the Lord to asking for protection against these wildfires that seemed imminent.

Not sure what prompted me to take my sunglasses off right then – probably an itch. Possibly orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. When I did though my vision changed completely. The grass was green and lush again.

I really doubt the grass changed that quickly, but the lens I was seeing it through did.

God spoke ever so gently and clearly to my heart.

Our perspective can be skewed by the lens of our past experiences.
I’ve seen a lot of drought in my life. In the natural as well as the spiritual. My mind has been prepared to see the worst so when the lens I was looking through changed the truth my mind was all too quick to agree with it.

How many times have you been in a circumstance where past experiences cloud your vision for what’s truly happening?

Are you quick to recall times of drought in your own life and then see the negative in the new situation?

When we look through a lens of hurt, fear, and negativity that will be the vision we see.

God has given us the lens of truth. We just need to put on the glasses of His word.

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17 (NLT)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Piecing Together the Puzzle

Have you ever taken a “selfie”? If you have teenagers in your life at all I’m sure you’ve at least seen them. Most of the time they show only what the person taking them wants you to see. A glimpse into their life. Or so it would seem.

What’s missing from that selfie though? The BIG picture!  

Our lives are like a giant puzzle. You do your best to put the pieces in place and in the right order. But it’s so hard to know the corner pieces from the middle pieces when you can’t even see the whole board!

The only one who can see all the pieces at once and the order they need to go in is GOD! 

He sees the big picture and wants to help us put the pieces in place, gently. Unfortunately, for years I tried to pound the pieces into place even if I knew they didn’t fit right. It was my way or the highway.

It wasn’t until I took a long look in the mirror of my heart that I realized my life was completely out of whack. I knew a lot about God and was in a relationship with Him but I wanted to be in control. He was welcome to ride along as a passenger. The sad part is He could always see the best route I should take to get me to the best place. But, I was too busy ramming and jamming my pieces into place to notice the wrong turns I’d taken.

Several years ago I finally started to notice how hard I was working to make things fit together that I knew God intended to put in place for me. I was at a women’s conference and felt the Holy Spirit gently nudge me towards the truth.

The truth is that life can be hard! In John 16:33 Jesus promises us there will be trouble in this life. Good news though, Jesus has overcome the world!

When we let the Lord take the lead in our lives it brings peace amidst the struggles. It’s hard to really explain it even. The bible refers to it as a peace that surpasses understanding. So true!  

I wish this meant that I never rammed and jammed a few puzzle pieces again but unfortunately old habits die hard. I’ve learned that it’s a daily dying to myself. Handing over one piece at a time.

It’s amazing how patient God is! Some puzzle pieces were harder for me to let go of. Some had left some pretty big wounds and somehow had become part of how I identified myself.

Looking back it’s kind of strange but I wasn’t sure who I would be any more if I let God in to take the hurt. Isn’t that who I was now? 

He could have pushed His way in but that’s not His style! He just loved me while I loosened my grip.

I could see the mess I had made of things doing it my way. Now that I was ready to hand it back to God I really wanted him to fix all the scuff marks on my life’s puzzle. As quickly as possible too!

You know what? The scuff marks make my story unique. God can turn my scars into something that brings Him glory. So now I look at those scuff marks and thank God that he is more than capable of still making a masterpiece out of this puzzle of my life.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Anchor to the Truth

I’ve always strived to be enough.

Smart enough.
Tough enough.
Independent enough.
Thin enough.
Pretty enough.
Good enough.

Maybe, just maybe, if I’m “enough” of all these things I will feel like I can relax. I won’t have to work so hard to be loved and accepted.

The definition of “enough” in the dictionary is: Adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to satisfy desire.

God has been reassuring me that I really am enough. I don’t have work so hard to be all those things. He loves me just how He created me.

I’m anchoring my thoughts on God’s truth not my perceived truth. He says in 2 Corinthians 3:5 “Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.”

I don’t have to work at being competent or enough in my own power. It comes from God.

I’ve read scriptures over the years that tell me God loves me right where I am but I just kept spinning my wheels of striving. Just try harder, right?

I knew full well that I “fell short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23) but kept missing the next verse. Yet God freely and graciously declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. Romans 3:24 NLT

This past week though I was in the middle of a workout and trying so hard to “give enough” of myself to the workout. Not enough of myself to God mind you but to the workout. I’m all for giving your all. The thing is I wasn’t doing it to honor God with my body. I was striving to be enough of me again.

I heard God say very loudly in my spirit, “Laura, you’re enough.” Seriously people I was undone right there.

Somehow that sealed the deal. I felt weaker and yet more content in that moment than I believe I ever have before.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Let’s anchor our souls to the truth that God says we really are enough because of the power of Christ!