Category: <span>thoughts by Laura Rath</span>


Not long ago, I was reminded again of the pain and heartache in the world.

It’s not that I’d forgotten exactly, but sometimes it’s there — everywhere you look. It becomes hard to miss and impossible to ignore.

That was a week I could see the struggle behind the smiles. I could read the heartache in written words. I could hear the pain in the tears.

Family members struggling.
Loved ones hurting.
Friends grieving.

Strained and broken relationships.
Physical and emotional pain.
Financial hardships.

Everyone has something to deal with, and while our struggles may be different, they are no less real. They are no less significant.

Often, one of the only things we can do for someone is to be there. To listen, without giving advice (unless asked) and to extend compassion, even when we don’t understand.

What else can we do?

3 Things We Can Do to Make a Difference in Someone’s Day

1) Smile
I wonder how often one person’s smile is the best part of someone else’s day. Something so small, and yet so big and important. So easy, but forgotten about when we get busy and rush through the day.

What if, regardless of our mood or how our day is going, we make an effort to smile more—with our families, co-workers, at the grocery store, the bank, the school—wherever we have the opportunity to make a difference? Your smile may be just what someone else needs today.

2) Reach Out
When someone is in your thoughts, let them know. God will bring someone to mind and place them in our hearts for a reason. He knows they need a kind word. They need to feel remembered. They need to know someone is thinking of, and praying for, them.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from a friend at just the right time. I want to be that friend to another. I’ll admit, I’m working on this one. I have a habit of putting off an email, thinking I’ll get to it later, and then forgetting. But I’m trying to be intentional about reaching out to others.

3) Pray
Something happens when we pray. We draw closer to the One who hears us and sees everything. He not only works in the lives of those we pray for, but He works in our lives.

Prayer changes us from the inside out, in ways we may not even be aware of. Perhaps you’ve been praying for someone, or for a situation, for so long and you’re ready to give up. I know the feeling. But, we can’t give up. Prayer matters! It makes a difference, even if we can’t see it.

We may never know if, or how, our prayers were answered for someone else’s life. But God knows, and that’s what matters.

How can you make a difference in someone’s day today?

But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control’
Galatians 5:22-23

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women


Courage feels like a big word. By definition, courage is mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. (merriam-webster.com)

Sometimes, courage is loud and obvious like when David fought Goliath. Right there in the action, everyone around saw how he defeated the giant. And those not there to see it definitely heard about it.

But courage isn’t always showy. Sometimes it’s quiet. You might see it but not be able to identify it at the time. But it’s courage nonetheless.

I think of Mary who probably heard the whispering of others as she walked by and Joseph who took Mary as his wife, even though she was already pregnant. Although the angel confirmed what the Lord wanted them to do, I imagine they still faced the town’s gossip and rumors. And they had to have had courage to face what others said without starting to doubt themselves and maybe even what they heard the angel say.

But what about us? What does it look like to be courageous?

I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know sometimes it’s hard to feel courage within ourselves. Disappointments and setbacks make us feel like courage is something for other people and that our lack of courage is too great.

But don’t be fooled. Even when we can’t see our own courage, others can see it in us.

What does courage look like in our everyday lives?

* Courage is getting back up when we feel like we keep getting knocked down.

* Courage is trying again when nothing is working out or we don’t know what to expect.

* Sometimes courage is just getting up again in the morning and facing the day. Maybe it will be just as hard as yesterday was. Maybe it won’t. But we won’t know if we don’t keep trying.

* Courage is persevering when we don’t like our circumstances. It’s looking at the hard day ahead and putting one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward. It’s saying, I don’t want to do this, but I have to, and I know I’m not alone—God is walking with me.

* Courage is knowing what we can’t do alone, we can do in God’s strength.

* Courage is crawling out of bed to face the day when we’d rather stay buried under the covers.

* Courage is making the decisions we don’t want to make and taking that next step we don’t want to take.

* Courage is sitting with someone in their difficult, heart-breaking circumstances so they won’t have to sit alone.

* Courage is continuing to dream when our dreams seem unrealistic or someone says they can’t happen. Courage is finding a way around the doubt.

* Courage is walking through the known and the unknown with eyes focused on Jesus.

* Courage doesn’t look one specific way. It’s different for every individual and every situation.

And sometimes we don’t even know what our own courage looks like until we can see it in hindsight. Then we look back and wonder how we made it through a particular season of life.

There’s no shortage of verses about courage in the Bible, but here are a few to think about.

“Having hope will give you courage. You will be protected and will rest in safety.” Job 11:18

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”
Psalms 27:14

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13

“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!”  Psalms 31:24

“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

“And because we so often need God’s strength to have courage…”

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
Philippians 4:13

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women


Some seasons in life feel like they’ll never change.

The unpleasant road we’re on has no visible end in sight. We’re worn out and tired. Tired of trying. Tired of waiting. Tired of spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. Tired of hoping for a better day.

If you’re there with me today, let me remind you that what you see surrounding you isn’t the full story. There’s more, so much more, that we can’t see, but God can.

God knows what’s right around the corner, but we won’t see it if we stop moving forward.

God knows who He’s moving into our circle of people, but we won’t get to meet them if we decide to quit.

God knows the plans He has for us, but we’ll never see them if we decide it’s not worth getting through today.

When we feel stuck in our current reality, our view of tomorrow is limited by what we can see today. We forget that the future is packed with possibilities and that God is walking before us.

If you’re feeling stuck and can’t even get a glimpse of a different tomorrow, these verses are for you.

6 Scripture Verses for When You Feel Stuck

Luke 18:27 NLT

He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”

Psalm 40:1-3 NLT

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

Psalm 121:1-2 NIV

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 94:19 CEV

And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure.

Isaiah 43:18-19 NLT

“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

What verse(s) would you add to these for when you feel stuck?

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

You know those days? Whether they come often or only once in a while, they’re there—those days that make you feel like you’re not enough.

Not strong enough. Not good enough.
Less than someone else (in any or every way).
Not enough for what life throws your way.

I know those days—they are bullies who want to knock us down, and sometimes they succeed. But we don’t have to fight back alone. There is One who will help us up again and again. Over and over, no matter how many times it takes.

The truth is, on our own, we are not enough. This world gives more than we can handle, but we are not alone. Our God is on our side—and He makes all the difference. Where we are not enough, He is more than enough. Every. Single. Day.

6 Scripture Verses for When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

2 Corinthians 12:9 MSG

My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

When we let go and let God work, He works in His strength. His power and strength are more than we can ever dream to have on our own. Sometimes the hardest part is letting ourselves feel our own weakness so that we can feel His strength.

Psalm 139:13-14 VOICE

For You shaped me, inside and out. You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath. I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe. You have approached even the smallest details with excellence; Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

God knows His creation—every single one of us. He didn’t design us to be enough on our own. He created us to need Him. To be in a relationship with Him. To trust Him and depend on Him. Knowing this, we can let go of trying to be enough on our own and be who He made us to be—with Him.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Fear and discouragement can hold us back from anything we want to do. No matter if it’s something big or just getting through the day, God is with us. That doesn’t mean it will be easy or problem free. But He reminds us that we’re not alone in our own strength.

Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint.

How often do we forget (or ignore) that going non-stop will wear us down? Trying to get through life without God’s daily help leaves us depleted. But with God, His source of strength and energy gives us the ability to persevere.

Psalm 94:18-19 CEV

When I felt my feet slipping, you came with your love and kept me steady. And when I was burdened with worries, you comforted me and made me feel secure.

There is nothing we can’t take to God. He knows our worries and frustrations. He knows when we’re barely hanging on. When we keep it to ourselves, we try to deal with it all on our own, but when we turn to Him with all that’s weighing us down, He offers us peace that only He can give.

Romans 12:2 NLT

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

This world wants to build us up to depend on ourselves and to go it alone. The enemy encourages this. In fact, he loves this. Any time the enemy can get us self-focused instead of God-focused is a win for him because that’s when we feel like we should be enough. It has us comparing ourselves to others and thinking…if we only try harder, we can be enough.

On our own we are not enough. We don’t have to have all we need to get through this life because God does have it all. When we can accept that, we can breathe a sigh of relief.

And then know that as we follow Him, through faith, we are enough because God is more than enough.

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

I’m convinced that emotions can wreck us. On any given day, I can go from laughing to crying; feeling angry to craving connection; feeling hopeful to feeling desperate. Emotions take us all over the place, use up what little energy we have, and leave us feeling spent.

Truth can get lost in emotions…if we let it.

For a while now, I’ve felt like God has been silent. I know He’s with me. I know He hears me, sees me, and knows every detail of my days. I know that. But, sometimes I don’t feel it.

As I pray, I’ve been reminding myself that the truth and how I feel are not the same.

In my frustration, I want to demand, God, where are You?!?

Instead, I’ve been confessing, Lord, I know You’re here, but I feel like I can’t find you. Why am I struggling to connect with You?

One expresses my anger, the other cries out for help. God knows I feel both.

Anger clouds my vision and opens the door even wider for doubt and suspicion. (Both of which are in the enemy’s arsenal.) But, expressing my need for Him keeps me looking for Him, watching for even the smallest reminder that He’s with me. It keeps me expecting to see Him.

I imagine I’m not alone in struggling between truth and emotions. Fortunately, God’s Word is filled with His truth to remind us He’s with us, even when it feels like God is silent.

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Isaiah 43:2 (VOICE)
When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned.

Psalm 62:5-6 (NLT)
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

Psalm 34:17-18 (NLT)
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 73:26 (NLT)
My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)
Don’t panic. I’m with you.  There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you.  I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT)
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Ephesians 3:16-17 (NLT)
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

John 14:16-17 (NKJV)
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Psalm 5:3 (NIV)
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you  and wait expectantly.

Psalm 63:8 (VOICE)
My soul clings to You; Your right hand reaches down and holds me up.

Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What verses do you turn to when you’re struggling to feel God with you?

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

Roads. Some are short with a definite destination. Others are long and winding, with a scenic view.

Like me, you might find yourself on a road you didn’t know you were on, but when you look back you can see where it started and where it’s taken you, even if you still can’t see the end clearly.

And then there are the somewhat defined roads. You know where they start—the moment your life changed—but you don’t know where it ends. What you do know is you don’t like the look of the road. You stand at the threshold knowing it will be hard, physically, emotionally, and mentally, and there is no way around it.

Maybe that road is the diagnosis, unemployment, the end of a relationship, the loss of a loved one, or one of so many other defining moments that feel dark and depressing.

Instead of things that can be done, there are things that have to be done. Instead possibilities, life looks full of impossibilities.

And yet, we are not alone on this oppressive road. We have a traveling companion who has promised to never leave us despite the rocky, uphill climb. God promises to go before us, walk beside us, and follow behind us, giving us what we need along the way

Jesus is the Light that will break through the darkness.

Some days along the road are filled with a dark fog blocking the light. There is sadness and exhaustion. Bad news that causes us to grieve and wonder if the sun will shine again. But, no matter how hopeless we feel, the darkness can never extinguish the light of Jesus.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

When we can’t feel it, we have to know it—remember it—Jesus is the Light that shines through the darkness. When we can’t see the light, He’s still there, and the fog won’t block the light forever.

God is at work no matter what we can or can’t see.

Especially during difficult times, we have to remember that God is at work behind the scenes. Sometimes, He’ll give us a glimpse of what He’s working on, but often we just have to trust that His plans are good.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;    do not depend on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 NLT

It’s not easy to trust when we can’t understand why, or how, or when, but I’ve found that the more I try to trust Him, the more I want to trust Him, and with practice I don’t have to try as hard. Trusting Him feels comfortable and becomes more natural.

He is the One who holds us up when we can barely move on our own.

There will be days when we don’t want to get out of bed. If our feet don’t touch the floor, maybe we won’t have to face anything. It’s too hard to hold ourselves up, much less be there to support others. But, whether we stay in bed or trudge through the day, we are not alone.

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ Isaiah 41:10 NASB

There have been many times when I reflected back on my day and didn’t know how I made it through. It was a blur of difficulty that I didn’t have the strength for.

The only answer was God.

I know He was holding me up when I could barely stand on my own. He was there in the hard conversations and the actions I didn’t want to take. He was there to pull me up when the feeling of hopelessness was too great.

No matter what the road ahead of us looks like, God is with us and He won’t leave us.  The days will be hard and some will feel as dark as night…but we are not alone and the sun will shine again.

Lord Jesus, we know that in this life we will have trouble, but You have promised to never leave us. You have promised us peace in the midst of the storms. May we believe Your promises are for us and cling to Your presence in our lives. Amen.

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

A couple of weeks ago we had four trees trimmed. It needed to be done. They were hanging low, touching the fence and getting a little too personal with our neighbor’s vehicles. But, the pruning was done aggressively, taking more than we expected, or wanted.

A range of emotions followed in my home—sadness because I felt like my trees were ruined, surprise over how sad I was, annoyance because it wasn’t what we wanted, anger because the bill still had to be paid…and finally, in time, acceptance.

As we worked through at our own pace, I thought about the pruning God does in us and how we might experience the same emotions.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:1-4 NLT

The pruning process is not easy for us. God wants to draw us close to Him, and as He changes us from the inside out, He knows what isn’t producing fruit. From our perspective though, this looks like having to give up things, interests, behavior, or ways of life that we like or we’re used to. It means laying down our will for His.

The more we know God, the greater the desire to make these changes, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It can be unpleasant, uncomfortable, and downright painful.

While God’s pruning is always what’s best for us, it doesn’t feel that way when the work is being done. It may feel like He’s pruning too aggressively, taking more than we expect, or want to give up.

There might be sadness because what we’ve always known is no longer what’s normal. It may mean a change in who we associate with or where we go, and making those changes can be hard, and even lonely. No matter how much we do want our lives to be different, there are still pieces or memories that we don’t want to give up completely. And that may surprise us.

There might be annoyance at what God is asking of us. We’ve worked and worked to move forward, but it’s still not enough. He’s still snipping and cutting, even from where we’ve made progress, and we want to shout, Stop! Enough trimming. You’re taking too much and it’s just too hard. We didn’t agree to this much pruning.

We might be angry. This isn’t what we asked for. The years of hardship. The loss. The sudden and drastic changes in our lives that don’t make sense to us. Years later we may see how He drew us close and we learned to trust Him in every way. But, right now, when it feels like we’re getting hit with one thing after another and we don’t understand why He’s letting it happen, it’s difficult to see how we can grow from it.

We want some explanation and to know how this will work out. We want our questions answered—How long? Why? When? But, when our questions don’t get answered, we have to wait and trust that the One pruning knows what He’s doing.

At some point, when the new becomes more familiar and comfortable, there is acceptance. We’ve become used to the changes—both the good and the bad, and it’s not as difficult to function. It’s no longer a constant struggle to get through each day because there’s been new growth. Instead of only seeing what’s missing, we see how God has blessed us. There is still grief and mourning, but there is also thankfulness and new beginnings.

Our trees were trimmed with the best of intentions and we received a credit when I kindly expressed how disappointed we were. God prunes us for His purpose and His glory, and when we turn to Him with our disappointment, exhaustion, sadness, and even our anger, He comforts us with love and compassion

God’s work will still be done, but He never cuts and walks away. He stays with us through the pain and the setbacks. He encourages us as we get back on our feet. And He rejoices with us as we begin to see the growth through His pruning.

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

“Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.”
Psalm 4:4

Change. Sometimes you see it coming. Other times it is unexpected.

I’m experiencing change in a couple of different areas right now—one I’ve been preparing for. The other was sudden. Both will take some getting used to.

The sudden change has caused a range of emotions, but the one I’m not feeling is anger. I guess I could be angry. I could hold a grudge. But, it wouldn’t help the situation. And, I’m really not feeling angry, so why fabricate it?

I’ve been thinking about anger, though, because of some of the opinions expressed to me.

If I were you....”

You should….”

They were negative suggestions that could fuel the fire of anger, if there was a spark. But I didn’t accept the match. Instead, I just moved away.

I won’t wear someone else’s anger. If that’s the load someone chooses to carry, that’s their choice. But, when it’s forcefully shared with me, I don’t have to accept it. (I’ve learned that over the years.)

Reactions say a lot about us to other people. Some reactions touched my heart. Others made me want to run in the opposite direction. I don’t know what my reactions said, but I hope they were an example of optimism in this unanticipated change.

I hope my reaction to change reflects Christ, no matter how easy or difficult the next steps may be. When I say “I trust God,” I hope people see that I really do.

Anger is a normal human emotion, but it can be consuming, and it can blind us to the positive possibilities God can bring about through change.

I don’t want to miss those new opportunities. Do you?

By Laura Rath
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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

I don’t know what your days look like right now. Perhaps life feels like it’s out of control and you’re praying for the strength to see your way through. Or maybe, everything is calm right now and you’re thankful for the time to catch your breath.

Whether you’re struggling and worn out, relaxed and feeling good, or anywhere in between, God’s Word is full of life-giving promises to us.

Here are a few I’m reminding myself of. Maybe you can use a reminder as well.

We are called to remember God’s promises…

You are His.

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.  O Israel, the one who formed you says, “Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 NLT

Nothing is impossible for God.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Matthew 19:26 NIV

His love for you is endless.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT

He calls us to life.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12 NLT

God forgives.

No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 NIV

He sees us differently than the world does.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

He walks with us.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

God can be trusted.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Hebrews 10:23 NLT

God changes lives.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace. Colossians 1:6 NLT

He is our hope and our strength.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30-31 NIV

He is our peace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

Life often takes me to my knees. Lately, however, I feel as if I’ve barely been able to stand up before it knocks me down again.

I’m learning though, that it is possible to not give up, but to stay low while I catch my breath. All the while, staying as close to God as possible. Fortunately, He’s not concerned with personal space, so He doesn’t mind if I cling to Him constantly and lean on Him hard. In fact, He encourages it!

I’ve been reminded that the Lord is fighting this battle.  It feels like it’s all on my shoulders, but I’m trying to let Him take the weight from me.

I imagine you might know what I’m talking about…when the weight of the battle feels like it will crush you. Lean in to Him with me. Let Him strengthen you and protect you. He is fighting the battle!

8 Scripture verses for when you need to remember He is fighting for you… 

Exodus 14:14 NLT

The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. 

Deuteronomy 1:29-31 NIV

Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

Deuteronomy 20:3-4 NLT

He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them. For the Lord your God is going with you! He will fight for you against your enemies, and he will give you victory!

Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Psalm 18:39 ESV

For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me.

Isaiah 41:10 NLT

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Ephesians 6:11-13 NLT

Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Hebrews 13:6 ESV

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”

What verse do you turn to when life feels like a battle?

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

I don’t know anyone who particularly likes to wait. Waiting in line, waiting for a delivery, waiting for a repair person to arrive, waiting on our children and spouses…waiting can be tedious.

And waiting can be hard.

Especially when we’re waiting on God.

When we wait on God, we don’t know His timing, what the future will look like, or if our days will go the way we want them to.

We don’t get to see the full picture of our lives like God does. And yet, He tells us to wait and trust Him.

It’s not easy because waiting can feel like a waste of time. There’s a sense of loneliness as we watch others move ahead and we’re stuck behind…waiting.

But we are not left alone. As we wait, God promises to be with us. And God always keeps His promises.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Which means God with us.)  Isaiah 7:14 NIV

His very name is God with us. It’s Who He is.

God promised us a Savior and He kept His promise.

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11 NIV

He is Immanuel. God with us.

While we wait and let God work, He does not walk away and He doesn’t leave us. Instead, He draws us close to Him and helps us wait.

He makes hope possible when we see no reason for hope.

He fills our hearts with joy that we can’t explain and won’t find anywhere else.

He renews our strength and energy when we have nothing left inside of us.

He gives us the ability to see His blessings in the midst of difficulties, and He brings peace to our lives where peace doesn’t make sense.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13 NIV

That’s God—helping us wait on Him.

Waiting can make us feel like we’re not doing anything, but we are doing something. We’re leaning in to Him, learning to trust Him on a deeper level.

Waiting is hard, but it is not time wasted.

Without waiting, we would miss out on the way He draws us close to Him and works in us to change our hearts.

Without waiting and trusting Him, we wouldn’t experience hope when we feel hopeless, joy in the midst of unhappiness, and peace that we can’t explain.

Not through anything we can do ourselves, but all because of Him.

Immanuel—God with us.

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God Psalm 43:5

A couple of weeks ago, before our recent snowfall, I looked out the window into our backyard. The grass was brown and the trees were bare. The bird feeder was empty and uninviting. (We fill it when the ground is covered with snow.)

It was a depressing scene, and yet I saw hope. In a few months the trees will have buds and the grass will turn green again. The birds will return to their nests and baby birds will learn to fly.

I know there is hope in the dead of winter because spring will come again. Every year. Without fail, the cold days will become warm again.

The weather seasons will change, but sometimes the seasons of life feel long and drawn out.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through life without knowing Jesus.

With Jesus, I know I’m not alone and that no matter how long winter seems to last, I know it will not go on forever.
Without winter, there would be no spring.

Without death, there would be no resurrection.

Without the valley, I wouldn’t see the mountain.

Without the hard days, I wouldn’t enjoy the good days.

Without chaos, I wouldn’t appreciate the quiet days.

Without Jesus, there would be no light to break through the darkness.

I don’t know what season of life you’re walking through, but I encourage you to not give up.

The calendar pages turn and the new life of spring will be here before we know it.

God is most certainly at work, whether we can see it or not. Life seasons change, often much slower or quicker than we would like. But in every season there is hope.

Because of Jesus, there is always hope. And hope changes everything.

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission
From https://laurarath.blogspot.ca/

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Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numberedPsalm 40:5

A few days ago, I woke up with seven words on my mind…More of You Lord, less of me.

I knew it had to do with the way I’d felt when I went to bed the night before. Frustrated with emotions that I’d buried months ago, and were now coming back to the surface. Feelings I could either bury again, or would have to deal with now.

Neither choice looked appealing, but those words kept running through my mind like a ticker tape reminder…More of You Lord, less of me.

That reminder became my prayer over and over throughout the day because I know that when I don’t have it in me to deal with something, God does.

When I struggle to forgive…

More of You Lord, less of me.

When I don’t understand and don’t know which way to go…

More of You Lord, less of me.

When I can’t change my circumstances or someone else’s actions…

More of You Lord, less of me.

When I feel lost and lonely…

More of You Lord, less of me.

When my emotions are going to overtake me…

More of You Lord, less of me.

So often I forget this, trying to deal with things on my own. But the truth is, every day, in every situation, I need more of Him and less of me.

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

I don’t know anyone who loves change. Whether it’s sudden, like the loss of a job, or expected, like a child going away to college, change can be difficult, and adjusting to it takes time.

With change comes unknowns and what-ifs. What was normal no longer is, and a new normal has yet to settle in. That’s why I find this short verse reassuring: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. When everything else in life can change in a moment, Jesus doesn’t change. He is our solid foundation in a world of upheaval and unknowns.

Despite whatever change we’re going through, Jesus will be there. Whether or not we reach out to Him is another story. We have the choice to rely on ourselves and our own abilities, but when change comes, it can rock our confidence and leave us anxious and unsettled.

When we rely on Jesus, He is a constant presence when nothing else makes sense. Change doesn’t surprise Him like it does us. It doesn’t mess up His schedule or shake His love for us.

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He stands firm, and when we keep our focus on Him, He is our lifeline. When we rely on Jesus, He brings peace that doesn’t come from ourselves.

When you’re facing transition and unexpected changes, keep your focus on Jesus—the One who doesn’t change. Rely on Him to get you through, and accept the peace He offers.

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission

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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.
Isaiah 43:2 NLT

I’ve read this verse so many times, each time soaking in the comfort it provides. Yet, when I read it again recently, there was more.

There was still the comfort and reassurance I was seeking, but there was also the reminder to persevere.

As much as I’d like God to remove the obstacles and difficulties I’m facing, that doesn’t always happen. He does promise, though, to be there with me.

As I persevere through the deep waters of disappointment and discouragement, He walks through the waves with me.

As I persevere through life’s storms and the rivers of difficulty, He keeps me from drowning.

As I persevere through the flames of oppression, hardship, and suffering, He keeps me from burning.

As I persevere through daily difficulties and life’s hardest days, God is there, walking with me—making sure it doesn’t consume me.

His promise to you, and to me—
He will be with us every step of the way.
Guiding, guarding, and protecting.
Offering strength, comfort, and reassurance.
Today and all of our tomorrows.

We only have to look to Him, trust Him, and rely upon Him.

He will be by your side, and mine, as we persevere one day at a time.

When you face stormy seas I will be there with you with endurance and calm; you will not be engulfed in raging rivers. If it seems like you’re walking through fire with flames licking at your limbs, keep going; you won’t be burned. Isaiah 43:2 VOICE

By Laura Rath
Used by Permission


Do you have Jesus in your life to walk with you as you persevere through your storms? Would you like to have a relationship with Him? If you do,  you can start today by committing and submitting your life to him. It starts with a simple heart felt prayer:

Lord, thank You for dying so we can be set free from all of guilt and sin — no matter how big or small.  Your blood has erased all of our sin. Thank You so much! Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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Thoughts by All thoughts by Laura Rath Thoughts by Women