Tag Archives: mercy

Life and the Storms: This, Too, Shall Pass

It was a bright and sunny day and the temperature was perfect. Although I felt like winter lasted forever, the amazing weather I saw made me think that things were going to lighten up and boy, was I excited. I was ready for the warmer weather, and all that came with it like trips to the lake, pretty flowers, and walks outside.

I looked at my phone to find a notification from a local news station informing me that the area was under a severe thunderstorm warning. I scoffed at my phone in disbelief because from what I had observed, there was no way a storm was possible. The weather was amazing and there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky. A couple hours later the meteorologist proved me wrong, and the storm came down hard.

As I sat on my couch listening to the rain fall and thunder bellow outside my house I couldn’t help but think that this is what life is all about…

I was reminded that life is full of up’s and downs. The adversary has undesired surprises hidden in every corner. One moment things are fine and then bam, you are hit with an unexpected expense or sickness. Happiness is drowned in the midst of a storm. Through all the hardships that come from life, I am so thankful that my God is in control.

This too shall pass

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

Are you going through a storm right now? Were you hit with a situation that seemed to knock you right off of your feet? Take heart, my dear friend, because our troubles won’t last forever. Our loving God is full of comfort and guidance. Even if you can’t see Him, He is present in your situation and there is hope because  this, too, shall pass

A New Meaning to My Half Marathons

As I peeled off the sticker that had remained on my car for what seemed like forever I began to remember the significance of my first half marathon. I remember that race like it was yesterday. I was so overwhelmed with thankfulness that I cried. With the Lord’s help I had ran 13.1 miles and completed a race that I never would have even imagined competing in.

In the process of three years, I had successfully lost 80 pounds and was healthier than I had ever been before. To me, my half marathon symbolized how far God had brought me and how He would continue to push me even farther.

The day after my half marathon I purchased a sticker at a local running store. It said 13.1 and once that sticker was on my car, everyone who drove by would know that the girl in the ruby red Ford Fiesta ran a half marathon.

As far as I was concerned, I had earned my bragging rights. I had literally earned that sticker with my own sweat and tears. 

Here’s the reality; Everyone could see that I ran 13.1 miles, but they couldn’t what God did for me. 

So two half marathons later with a third on the way, I found myself taking off the 13.1 sticker that I had become so proud of. I didn’t take it off because it was old; in fact, those large black numbers could be seen a mile away.

I was taking off the sticker because with every scrape, I was one step closer to completing an even bigger race. My life isn’t about my success and in no way do I ever want to glorify myself, so with one last scrape, the remains of the sticker were gone and a new symbol was made that day.

13.1

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

The absence of the sticker was the beginning of my discipline. In that moment, I promised God that I would run as fast as I could towards His presence and that day I made a commitment to give Him the rightful glory He deserves for  EVERYTHING He has done.

~ Lovelle ❤

What I Learned From My Dog: Approaching God Without Expectations

When my husband told me that I could get a dog for my birthday, I was over-the-moon excited! I love dogs but I had never had a stable home environment so it had never been possible. With that decision came expectations.

We wanted to adopt though the Paws for Prison Program. Through this program, the dogs are taken out of a shelter and trained by prisoners. After their training they can be adopted out. I was scared of training a dog because I did not have the attention span or ability and I thought that this program would give me the ability to be a better dog owner since they did the training for me. So with those expectations in place and a determination to adopt the perfect dog, I applied.

I got so excited when they called me about the dog I had applied for. I was almost certain that I would get the dog and we would live happily ever after… And then I got turned down. I was a little disappointed but I tried again.

I filled out the paperwork and got another call back only to find out the dog I had applied for got really hurt and could not be adopted out.

Really???” I told my mom. “How hard can it be to adopt a dog?

Be patient” she said. “God will give you the perfect dog.

Like all moms out there, she was right. We went into PetSmart to get cedar chips for a dog we were watching only to find out they were showing dogs from the local animal shelter. I walked over to the area where all of the dogs were and sat down. To my surprise the most precious dog walked underneath my chair and planted himself right in between my legs.

My husband looked at me and said, “I think that dog chose you.” He had, and we brought our baby home two days later.  His name is Buford.

The funny thing is that our dog did not fit the expectations we had put in place. He didn’t come from the program we wanted to go though and he was bigger than we originally wanted.

I was so scared of training, but our dog was potty trained within two days, and through the program we have him in, he is learning a lot of commands. Our trainer says he is one of the smartest dogs he has ever seen.

Buford

God did give me the perfect dog! I couldn’t ask for a better workout buddy. It turns out Buford was neglected by his previous owners. All he really wanted was love and well, God knew I had more than enough to give him. I had worried for nothing.

I learned through this situation that we shouldn’t approach God with expectations. He has a plan and it will come to pass. The moment we let fear of failure cause us to take matters into our own hands is the moment we will fail. 

What expectations are you approaching God with? What has got you scared today? Know that God has got your life in the palm of his hands and He will neither leave nor forsake you {Deuteronomy 31:6}. When it comes down to it, our life has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Him and who He is.

The Waiting Game: What I wish I Was Told When I Was Single

I had this dream that was tucked inside my heart so tightly that hardly anyone knew about it. Everyone in the world saw a completely content and independent woman, but deep down all I wanted was to be married.

I was ashamed of this dream and at times, I felt that I obsessed over it too much. After all, a woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her. I was taught in church that I should be content and my impression of content was to be happy single.

The problem I had, was that I wasn’t happy single. Instead I was stuck with an unwanted desire… 

I would pray to my Creator because I wanted Him to take away my feelings. I was sick of guilt and I thought that my desire for a husband meant that I wasn’t content.

After years of struggling and an extreme amount of guilt, God gave me an answer to my request but it didn’t involve Him taking away my desire. He gave it to me through a simple scripture.

I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please Him.
~1 Corinthians 7:32

I learned through this scripture, that there is nothing wrong with my desire for a husband. God created me that way. I learned that I should embrace this chapter of my life by spending my time doing the Lord’s work and thinking about how to please Him. This verse taught me what it really means to be content.

Being content means that you are making the best of your situation. The fact is, we all have unwanted feelings. Paul says it best in 2nd Corinthians. In two powerful verses he tells us how to be content in the midst of hardships.

I asked the Lord three times to take it away from me. He answered me, “I am all you need. I give you My loving-favor. My power works best in weak people.” I am happy to be weak and have troubles so I can have Christ’s power in me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Despite what I was taught in church, desiring a husband isn’t a bad thing and it does not mean that I am not content.

You see, God designed us with a desire for companionship. Since the beginning of time, man has struggled with loneliness. We see that in the book of Genesis. Adam was lonely and needed a helper so God made Eve {Genesis 2}. When Adam saw her he praised God because he thought that she was a wonderful gift.

“At last!” the man exclaimed “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh!”
~Genesis 2:23

The Christian culture tells us to be content with singleness, and yes that is true but often times we think that a desire for a spouse means that we aren’t. It causes us to feel shame because we think that our desire means that we aren’t having faith or trusting in God. How we handle that situation often involves us feeling guilty, stuffing our feelings inside, and hiding them instead of embracing them. 

I am married now and I absolutely love it. Ironically enough, I met my husband a couple months after God changed my perspective but as I look back at the four years I struggled with singleness there are a few things I wish I would have been told because they would have helped me through that season in my life and it probably would have made my time as a single woman more useful.

If you are struggling with singleness I want you to know that your feelings are completely normal, in fact, they are a gift from God. I’ll be the first to admit that being single is REALLY hard. Friends are great but on those cold days, there is something really depressing about not having someone to snuggle with.

Here’s how you get through it: Focus on advancing God’s kingdom. Take advantage of your time, and minister to people.

Hispowerinweakness

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

p.s. If you’ve ever struggled with feeling like you need to be perfect, my mom Holley Gerth’s new book will encourage you. You’re Loved No Matter What: Freeing Your Heart from the Need to Be Perfect.

I drove into the parking lot of the country club where my meeting was supposed to be and did a double take. “Surely this isn’t where the meeting is” I thought to myself. With determination and a little bit of desperation I typed in the address again only to find Google maps doesn’t lie… This was in fact the building.

As the realization hit, all the confidence in my abilities suddenly diminished. I had only been to a country club once in my life, and that was because I had gotten a scholarship to attend an event.

As far as I knew poor people didn’t attend country clubs. I didn’t even think they were allowed in.

I took one last look at my underdressed self through the rearview mirror and attempted to straighten up my messy hair I took a deep breath, and stepped out of the car.

Excuse me.” I said to the fancy lady at the front desk. “I’m here for the chaperone meeting.

She smiled and pointed me down the hall to the conference room filled with women who I thought were all better off than me. “What do I have to offer. They are so blessed.” I thought to myself. Those thoughts remained throughout the meeting and they almost made me change my mind about helping until God whispered a powerful statement.

Receiving blessings often means you have more blessings to give to others.

Boy was that a kick in the butt from Jesus… Here’s the best part. I was walking to my 2013 Ford Fiesta that the Lord had BLESSED me with! I was also reminded of God’s response to Samuel when he was picking the next king after Saul’s reign. Like any normal human, Samuel assumed the good looking tough guy would be the chosen king. 

Not Our Ways

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

The Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~1 Samuel 16:7

The same goes for us. Making assumptions about a person is like trying to see in a deep fog. Just like it is impossible to see in front of you when it is foggy, it is also impossible to see the true character and beauty of a person when assumptions cloud your view of them.

When it comes down to it, we are all blessed. When we forget that we are blessed, we become jealous and lose confidence in who God made us to be.

My prayer is to ditch the labels and see people like God does. The next time I walk into a country club {probably a very long time from now} I will be confident and genuine because I know that every one in that building as well as myself was fearfully and wonderfully made by a Creator who loves us deeply. {Ps. 139:14} 

~ Lovelle ❤

Healing from Abuse: Turning to God

I see a little boy going up to a his friend’s house because the girl hadn’t shown up for school. He finds the girl terrified and as the girl shakes with fear he suddenly realizes why she never wanted to go home all of those times before…

Jenny! Where are you!?!” her dad yells from the back porch.

The scared little girl grabs the boy’s hand and says, “run Forrest!” The intoxicated man throws the beer bottle on the ground and starts running after them. They ran as fast as they could only to realize that they can’t outrun her dad.

With one last ounce of hope she grabs the boys hand, gets down on her knees and yells in desperation, “pray with me Forrest!” and over and over again the girl says,

Dear God,
make me a bird so I can fly far far away…

The scene in Forrest Gump ends and the past begins to flood my mind. I begin to remember all of those nights that I would be on my knees asking God to take me out of my abusive home. I also remember how it didn’t happen.

As my husband holds me with his strong and protective arms and I am reminded of God’s mysterious ways. It’s easy to blame God and accuse him of not being there but what if I told you that He was holding you through every bad trial you endured?

While you look at yourself in the mirror, feeling dirty and when you feed into all the lies, God is staring back with the most adoring eyes.

When you feel alone and defeated, He is there with you. When you fall, He is holding you up. He is the strength that sustains you and He is the one deciding your steps when you feel you can’t go on anymore.

I know because it’s in my lowest that I feel God most of all…

Faith-is-Confidence-by-HolleyGerth.com_

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

Yes, I was abused.

Yes, at random times the pain still occurs.

However, I am not my pain or my past and neither are you.

The worst thing you can do to yourself is ask God “Why?” I don’t know why my step dad did what he did and I don’t care because my God is bigger than what was done to me. His love overcame it all.

God did what no man can do. He redeemed me. On that cross, He alone made me new. So in those hard times I will run to the feet of my Savior because answers won’t make me feel any better. Only His love can.

When Peter told his listeners in 1 Peter 4:8 that love covers a multitude of sins I know that he wasn’t only talking about the sins they committed. I believe that he was referencing the sins that were done to us, too.

You see, it takes love to save, but it takes love to forgive. Jesus was the first example of that when He was being beaten and spat at on that cross. We see true redemption in the words, “Lord forgive them for they do not know what they have done.”

Abuse is real and healing is a process. I love that even in my pain, when I can barely even whisper, “Lord make me feel better” I know without a doubt that God is there and He is better than what I am going through now.

That fact may not take away the pain but it helps me sustain. If you’re hurting today I just want you to know that God says it’s going to be okay…

~ Lovelle ❤

Jesus is Our Gluten

I wouldn’t be surprised if I were nicknamed “The Queen of Carbs” because, out of all of the types of foods I consume, foods that are rich in carbs make up the majority. Not long ago I had to change my diet for health reasons and the result was taking gluten out of my diet which pretty much eliminated all breads and anything with flour in it.

Gluten is an ingredient found in wheat and what it does is even more interesting. You see, gluten puts the “fluff” in bread. This ingredient helps the food keep it’s shape and represents sort of a glue, which helps hold the food together.

Needless to say, giving up brownies and bread was not easy. Gluten is in all the good food! One day as I was watching my husband eat a really good looking homemade waffle (I must admit I was a little jealous) God whispered a powerful statement in my heart…

Bread of Life

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

It’s easy for me to crave carbs and gluten, but am I really craving what’s important? I’ll be honest here and say there are days when I pick up my Bible out of habit. There are times when I go to church because “it’s the right thing to do.” As ashamed as I am to admit it, quite a few sermons go in one ear and out the other. I want to crave God as much as I crave gluten.

When Jesus made that powerful statement in John 6:35 He meant so much more than simply never being hungry or thirsty. He was saying that HE ALONE is the one who shapes us. He is the glue that holds us together and it is only through Him that we can truly live.

As cheesy as this sounds, Jesus is our gluten. God needs to be a part of everything I do and I need to crave him more than I crave anything else. Yes, I love carbs but there is also something even better that I can crave and digest without getting fat and that is God.

Unlike gluten that tends to shape my thighs and stomach through unhealthy foods, God shapes my spirit and mind. Every day He molds me more into the woman he designed me to be.

~ Lovelle ❤