Give Him the Night


Laura Bennet

I don’t know about you, but over the past year or so, my sleeping patterns have been a little off.

Sometimes, it’s due to pain that wakes me and makes it hard to get comfortable. But before I became ill, I had many nights of unexplained wakefulness. The world was changing, on edge, hanging by a thread of hope and there was much to think about and pray for.

Because I’ve had continuing sleep challenges, a couple things I read recently in Hosting the Presence by Bill Johnson really stood out to me. He wrote about how he turns his heart to God before he goes to bed and waits until God’s peace rests on him so he can sleep well. If he wakes in the night, he once again turns his heart toward God to receive peace.

I pray when I go to bed. I often pray if I wake up in the night, but this concept of resting with the peace of God on us seems pretty cool to me. Not only that, but he also wrote that when we give God our night, it begins our day. If you think about it, the A.M. hours are the start to the new day, even if most of us are sleeping during them. But what if we start our next day by giving God our night before we go to bed and if we awaken in those wee hours?

When peace is given, it must be received in order to be of benefit.”

Bill Johnson Hosting the Presence

Peace is one of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. But so often we struggle to have peace, to figure out how to get peace, or make peace happen. We can’t conjure up peace. God gladly gives us peace. Jesus said “My peace I give you.” (John 14:27)

But if we aren’t positioning ourselves to receive it, will it benefit us?

Giving him the night is a way of preparing ourselves to receive his peace both while we sleep and for the next day.

That’s some good news.

And not only can we experience God’s peace when we turn our hearts towards him and rest in his presence, but we also cause problems for the enemy who is trying to steal, kill, and destroy us. When he sends trouble our way, we are safe in the presence and peace of God. We threaten the enemy’s attempt to toss us around when we are in peace.

Abiding in peace makes us a threat to any storm.”

Bill Johnson Hosting the Presence

So, tonight, when I go to bed, I’m going to turn my heart toward God and rest in his presence until I feel his peace come over me. When I wake up in the night, I’ll do the same thing again.

I’m looking forward to starting the day tomorrow, and continuing the week in the presence of God with the Holy Spirit’s peace surrounding me.

I pray you will rest there too. The peace that God gives me, I release to you. Goodnight.

Are You Ready?


People joke about zombies and the apocalypse.

Movies are made that depict the world coming to an end, and even if many say they don’t believe in God, the general consensus seems to be that the world will come to an end. Some think sooner, others, later; but it will end. Maybe you believe global warming will be the eventual culprit. Speculation says we may experience WWIII and an ensuing nuclear holocaust.

The Bible says that Jesus is returning for those who have accepted him as their savior and have given their lives to him.

In the book of Matthew, chapter 24, and in I Thessalonians, Jesus describes the events that will take place prior to his return. Wars, rumors of wars, plagues, drought, earthquakes in various places. Lawlessness will begin to take over the world, and many people will suddenly be aware of Jesus and desire him in their lives.

We’re not to be surprised by these things, but we should be ready.

Some people might decide to live off grid, build a tiny home and garden, or invest in bitcoin or gold. Physical and economical preparation isn’t a bad thing, but more than being prepared for hardship, we need to be prepared for Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 1 4:6

None of us know exactly when Jesus will return. It could be today or in two months or twenty years. But the day and hour aren’t the issue as much as our relationship with Jesus now. From the moment we say yes to him directing our lives, we are in a personal relationship with him which we want to develop. Spending time with him in worship, prayer, and reading his word will grow our relationship with him.

Eternity is the big picture, but he wants us to have a great, abundant life with him here on earth too.

So whether it’s for his return in the future, or our relationship here and now, are we ready?

He’s always at the door of our heart waiting for us to open it to him.

Walking in Freedom


Today in the USA we are celebrating our Independence Day.

Centuries ago, courageous men and woman were led by the Holy Spirit to risk everything and bring their families to a new land so they could worship God freely without the government dictating how, when, or where that could happen. Eventually, their descendants found the need to fight to uphold that freedom.

Much has changed over the past few hundred years and even more so in this past couple of years during which we’ve seen our religious freedom, constitutional rights, and liberties of “all men created equal” being challenged, disregarded, and even subdued.

All of that is important, and we need to stand courageously like our forefathers to maintain the freedom they first sought.

But there is another freedom that is even more important.

It is our freedom that Jesus Christ bought with his blood.

Here’s what the Bible says about our freedom:

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then and don’t let yourselves be burdened again with a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

“I will walk about in freedom for I have sought out your precepts.” Psalm 119:45

“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives…” Isaiah 61:1

“Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

God is all about our freedom.

Freedom from sin and from the enemy, Satan, who torments us with lies and accusations, wanting only to kill, steal and destroy those whom God loves. God longs for us to walk in freedom every day. Freedom that leads to peace where there is no condemnation or shame in Christ Jesus.

So whether or not our country remains free, our most important freedom comes from Jesus. That freedom is for everyone everywhere, not only for those of us in the USA celebrating Independence Day. True independence begins with total dependence on God.

Today, are you walking in His freedom?

Revelation Kind of Week


Do you ever feel as if you’ve been able to get a glimpse into heaven?

Yesterday, I attended a memorial service for the husband of a dear friend. The sanctuary, or auditorium as we call it at our church, was packed (Covid style). The love and joy in the room, with I would guess, almost two hundred people, wasn’t a feeling, it was a Presence.

God’s presence filled that place as we sang and listened to music and the wonderful tribute to a son, brother, father and husband that loved well and was so loved.

We tasted a glimpse of heaven.

It’s been that kind of a week for me.

Each day, the Lord has given me a new revelation – or a glimpse into his kingdom, his ways in heaven.

Here are some of the insights God whispered to me this past week. Perhaps they will resound in your heart as well or maybe he’s spoken the same things to you.

  • The light in me (Christ) drives away darkness.
  • No matter what things look like, God is setting us up for success.
  • Don’t live in reaction to darkness; live in response to Jesus.
  • You can’t attain anything good by your own effort – only by the Holy Spirit’s work in you.
  • The enemy intends to harm me with the illness I’ve encountered, but God intends to use it for great good. I’m learning to be bold and live in the power and authority He’s given me. My being forced to step back from our business has allowed my husband to lead. My husband and I are growing in unity as we learn to come against this illness together.
  • God wants us to lead others out of slavery and into worship.
  • When I fear disappointment, I sow sparingly which means I will reap sparingly.
  • The enemy is afraid of us when we step into what God calls us to. I offer people hope for their healing and redemption of their lives through Jesus. No wonder the enemy wants to take me out.
  • We become like what/who we worship. I want to become more like Jesus and model a yielded (to Jesus) life.

Quite a list, right?

Not every season is like this, but I believe God is pouring out his spirit on us. He loves us. He wants to be heard by us. When we ask him to speak, he will give up wisdom and let us have “the mind of Christ.” We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (I Cor.2:16 & Romans 12:2)

And finally, something I’d never thought of before in this passage:

“The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.” Exodus 12:36

When the Lord called his people out of Egypt, they were freed from slavery, but they also gave up the ways of living they knew. They gave up everything, but God gave them so much more, not just of himself which would have been enough, but also the material possessions of the Egyptians.

With God, there is always more for us. What is he calling you out of?

May you have a revelation kind of week!

The World’s Best Father


Today, on Father’s Day here in the USA, we honor our fathers.

Depending on what our experience has been we may be grateful for the way our fathers raised us, we may be grieving the loss of them, or we might not even know them. It’s likely that we have some difficult memories and some good ones. Or maybe none at all. Some have experienced great joy in their relationship with their father, but others have lived through horrendous abuse.

One thing is agreed on by experts, and that is that the experience we have with our earthly father influences the way we see our heavenly father.

Consider for a moment how you view or have viewed God.

Do you think of him as distant? Anger or harsh? Is he a punishing God? Or perhaps he’s non-existent.

But today, let’s look at what is true about God, our Everlasting Father. The Bible shows us all the characteristics of the what a good father looks like:

  • He created us to be like him. We are wonderfully made. (Gen. 1:27; Deut. 32:6; Psalm 139:14)
  • He longs to be with us. (Gen. 3:9; John 17:20-23)
  • He is slow to anger. (Exodus 34:6; Psalm 103:8)
  • He is compassionate, gracious, merciful, and full of love. (Ex. 34:6; Deut. 4:31; I John 4)
  • He is faithful and forgiving. (Ex. 34:7; Col. 3:13))
  • He is available to us. (Deut.4:29; Psalm 5:7; Heb. 4:16)
  • He will not abandon us. (Deut. 4:31; Nehemiah 9:19)
  • He will contend with our enemies, fight for us, and vindicate us. (I Sam. 25:39; I Chron. 14:11; Psalm 140:12)
  • He blesses us. (Job 41:12; Deut. 7:13)
  • He keeps us safe. (Psalm 4:8; Psalm 23:4
  • He gives us good gifts. (Psalm 34:10; Psalm 103:5; Matt. 6:25-34; James 1:17)
  • He corrects us with loving discipline. (Prov. 3:12; Heb. 12:5-11)
  • He gives us an inheritance. (Rom. 8:15-16; I Peter 1:4)
  • He delights in us. (Zep. 3:17)

Shall we go on?

This is only a small sample of the truth of who God is as our Father. When we see or experience tragedy, it’s easy to blame God – especially if we don’t really know his true character.

But he loves us and is a good, good father. Our Abba Father.

The world’s best Father.

Sweet, Sweet Summertime


At the end of May, Brendan and I celebrated our twelfth anniversary with a lovely dinner at Trattoria Mangia in Naples, followed by an airboat ride the next day and a trip to Seed to Table where we enjoyed browsing their massive market/food court and eating a farm raised lunch. Call me crazy, but I thought my “raw lasagna,” which was completely plant based, would still be cooked. It was delicious, but hard to fully appreciate since it was cold. I couldn’t get past the mental expectation of a hot dish. But in spite of that surprise, we had a wonderful time.

With June arriving in Southwest Florida, we’ve seen flowers and produce take off and summer afternoon rains return. A baby mockingbird sat at our front door the other day, pecking at his reflection in the little window next to the door.

Hello, summer!

“As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” Genesis 8:22

We can be sure that our God is faithful in every season of physical and spiritual growth, whether circumstances are pleasant or challenging. His timing is perfect and steadfast. And it definitely has been a season of God growing us and preparing us for exciting things to come.

Summer also welcomes vacation days with time for book lovers to indulge!

My NEW RELEASE, Where Blows the Wind, is available! Starting JUNE 15th in time for your summer reading, and to celebrate summer, the e-book will be FREE through JUNE 19th! That alone is something to celebrate. The paperback version will soon follow.

In case you have yet to check it out, Where Blows the Wind is book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series and follows the story of Tyrina Louise Duval whose tragic, shameful past keeps her from searching for her siblings who were all separated in childhood. But, when author Dylan Davis shares his miraculous story of reconnecting with his missing daughter, Tyrina begins to hope for a similar miracle. She also learns to trust God and care for Dylan. But will his new book be the catalyst for betrayal or redemption?

A Season of Rest


Last week I posted about resting in the Lord. This week I’ve read other posts on the same subject. I’m sensing a theme here!

One post was by author Laura Thomas. Her post was so helpful and practical, I received permission from her to re-post it here. I hope you will find it encouraging as you seek ways to REST.


It happens every year. We ease ever so gently from the long winter season into the glory of spring, but then summer seems to land in our laps overnight. Hot, lacking schedule, and waiting like a panting puppy for all the fun to happen. While summer evokes dreamy visions of relaxation and rejuvenation, if we’re not intentional about scheduling SOUL REST into our plans, we could fall into fall exhausted and dried up. So, let’s contemplate the beauty and benefits of a “soul rest summer”…

“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” Charles Spurgeon

It’s true, REST revives the soul. Rest that reaches into our marrow and beyond, more than physical, mental, and emotional; that complete and utter rest for our battered, frazzled, hopelessly forgetful souls.

This summer, we may be caring for tiny tots or elderly loved ones or working a full-time job. We may be chomping at the bit to dive back into everything wonderful as pandemic restrictions loosen or we could be fearful to wade back out into the ocean of people and activities and unknowns. Anxious or antsy, here are SIX “S” words to help us savor summer soul rest:

  • SIMPLIFY: Let’s set hours, days, or even weeks aside this summer to unplug. Whether from work or social media or the bombardment of news or entertainment, summer is the perfect time to settle into the joy of being in the moment. Everything will still be happening as per usual when we return, refreshed and renewed. Avoiding constant phone notifications and social media posting pressure removes a whole layer of stress and makes life in the present so much sweeter and simpler.
  • SABBATH: Schedules might be skewed in this season but we can still set aside one special day each week to spend time with God, soak in His goodness, enjoy fellowship, eat amazing food, hang out with loved ones, get out into creation—less job and more joy, less hustle and more holy. Rich and rewarding nourishment for our souls.
  • SOCIALIZE: Even as an introvert, I know I need my people. We are made for connection, real connection with actual humans. We need laughter and deep meaningful conversations. We know our limits when it starts to be draining, but let’s fill our cups with life-giving relationships and allow it to be a true balm for our souls, especially after the year or so we’ve all just experienced!
  • SOLITUDE: Arrange some alone time. Pray with purpose. Go for a walk. Take a nap. Listen to music. Read a book. For my fellow booklovers, let’s make a list of books for summer reading that will stir our imaginations, challenge our intellects, make us swoon, grow our faith—whatever fills our souls.
  • SCRIBE: It doesn’t matter if you’re a “writer” or not, journaling our thoughts or prayers or devotions or dreams is a beautiful practice. It can help articulate or make sense of what’s on our hearts and in our heads. Making a gratitude list enables us to literally count our blessings and see all the good things minute and magnificent on the page in black and white. It can change our perspective and posture immeasurably.
  • SATURATE: Immerse our minds and saturate our souls with Scripture. This is time well spent, always. For we not only learn more about the heart of God, but we also find comfort, encouragement, love, acceptance, guidance, and refreshment beyond compare. We have the privilege of having copious versions at our disposal to read or even listen to. With so much out there vying to saturate our minds, only God’s Word can satisfy and give us the truth and peace we crave.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30

In these comforting and familiar verses, Jesus offers soul rest to all who are yoked to Him, who follow Him as believers. It results in much-needed rhythms of grace in our day-to-day lives. Breathing room for our souls. Peace in the depths of our hearts.

Friend, as I write these words I know I need to heed them myself. This summer is shaping up to be a busy yet beautiful season for us and I want to go into it carving out time for God, for others, and for my weary soul to find rest. I hope you will, too. Feel free in the comments below to share other ways we can encourage one another in this…

Have a glorious summer!

P.S. I’d love to hop into your inbox once a month with “Laura’s Letters”—my newsletter complete with a book giveaway, book reviews, recipe, and a little soul encouragement. Sign up HERE! 

Do You Need REST?


During these last six months of illness, I’ve found the need to rest is much greater. Partially because I don’t sleep well at night, but also due to the fact that my body isn’t well. Fatigue is ongoing.

But recently, I’ve heard God speaking the word REST to me at every turn. In his word, in his whispers to me, and in songs, he keeps impressing this idea of rest on me. I finally realized that it had much more to do with my spirit than my physical body.

There are so many places in the Bible that indicate rest.

  • The Lord leads us beside still waters and makes us lie down in green pastures. (Psalm 23)
  • In Genesis, God rested from creating the world. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t tired, but spoke from a place of completion.
  • The Bible refers to God’s people entering his rest. (Exodus and Hebrews)
  • David, the Psalmist, talks about sleeping in peace. (Psalm 4:8)
  • Jesus tells anyone who is weary and burdened to come to him and swap places. (Matthew 30)

Resting is actually about:

  • being in God’s presence
  • letting him hold us and everything in our lives
  • waiting on him
  • trusting that he’s “got this”
  • not stressing about the outcome of situations
  • believing that the God of the universe is holding onto me in love and he will not let go of me

It’s about being able to be still because we know that HE is God. (Psalm 46:10)

No matter what things look like. Despite the possible “what if’s.” In spite of the illness, or bank account, or silence from a loved one.

As I pondered this, I believe God gave me this acronym to encompass what he was trying to get me to embrace.

R – Refreshed. When I rest in Him, I will feel refreshed rather than weary.

E – Established. He is the one who establishes me and everything in my life.

S – Stay. If I want to find rest, I need to stay in his presence.

T – Trust. It all comes down to trusting him. When I know how much he loves me, I can trust that he has my back.

So if you find you are in need of REST, remember that while a nap might help our physical body, true rest comes from a spirit trusting in and leaning on God.

What We Can’t See


Here in Florida, we’re warming up! We’ve had some 90 degree days, but this past week, my son flew to California and had his flight changed because of cold weather in Dallas! Wow. I forget that snow flurries still happen in May in other parts of the country.

Still, for many of us, things are starting to bloom. In my little patio garden, my tomato plant is climbing places, and I can’t contain it. We have a number of plumeria plants growing and producing lovely, fragrant pink tinged blooms. Even a chrysanthemum that I thought was long dead has sprung to life. We just never know what roots are growing where we can’t see them. Maybe you’ve found, like I have that things are blooming in your life, your heart, and mind as well. That new thing that God’s doing?

Maybe you’re seeing evidence bursting forth like May flowers. After the trials of the past year, life is beginning again. Revival is in the air.

“The desert and the parched land will be glad;
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.
Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom;
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.” Isaiah 35:1-2

I pray that the roots that were growing in the dormant, dark, lonely places of your life are giving way to blossoming beauty. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t despair – it will come! The length of every season is different and each zone has it’s own timing. You may be in snow flurries still while some are heading into summer weather, but God’s faithful and does not change.

As I mentioned last month, something in bloom around here is Book 2 in the Winds of Redemption series, Where Blows the Wind. Edits are well underway and we’re heading for a mid-June release. I’m pretty excited about the way God redeems the life of the main character, Tyrina Duval.

If you haven’t read it and want to follow the series from the beginning, you can get When the Wind Blows Book 1, on Amazon.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll have advanced reader copies of Where Blows the Wind ready for anyone who would like to be the first to read and hopefully willing to write a review the day it hits the market. If that interests you or someone you know, email me and I’ll make sure to add you to the list.
Laura’s Reading List for this Month

Within This Circle by Deborah Raney – 
A young mother disappears after she has an emotional breakdown brought on by stress and lies she’s believed. *****
Romeo’s Hammer & Romeo’s Fight by James Scott Bell – I love this witty, philosophizing, ex-cage fighter protagonist who has a challenging past. His heart is all compassion even while he tries to (but doesn’t succeed) avoid the trouble that comes his way. *****
Shock and Awe by Christy Barritt – A favorite author whose suspense/mystery books never disappoint. Lantern Cove series. *****
The Cake List by Dianne J. Wilson – A new author for me. Just started reading, but I’m enjoying the witty humor of this story about a woman who has a list she wants to accomplish before she turns the big 30. So far *****

*Rated 3-5 stars – I won’t keep reading something less. 

Tomorrow we celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We’re looking forward to some restful, romantic, and fun time together. We believe that God has something growing in us as a couple, and we’re looking forward to seeing what that is. After the miracle of meeting online with Brendan and his children traveling across the world from Australia, we’ve had many challenges, joys, and miracles along the way. God keeps us on our toes as he refines us through the gift of marriage!

One thing I would leave you with is to remember that God is faithful even when we can’t see beneath the surface!

Facing Our Pain


068

The pain in our world has escalated to crazy proportions. We need answers. Jesus is it. So today I’m re-posting a previous post because I know how not facing our pain can increase it in our future….

I’ll come straight to the point.

I’ve come to recognize other women like myself who have tried to protect themselves by denying the truth of trauma, abuse or sexual addiction in their lives or their spouses’ lives. But the protection we think we create actually prolongs our pain and hurts those we love as well. Yes, it is painful to deal with our experiences, both present and past, but the cost down the road is much greater if we don’t.

I wish I could shout it.

Look at the fruit of our denial in our children.  I understand the despair, but we can’t be afraid to look at the truth. When we struggle, lost in a hurting, hopeless world, our children also take on our pain. Even if we aren’t aware or think we will keep them from it.

I know. I’ve been there.

I put my kids through hell because I allowed myself to be blind to the abuse in which we were living. I am to blame for my choices that put us there and kept us trapped. Even years later, my heart aches for them. I failed miserably to give them a solid foundation of what healthy relationships look like. They went into their adulthood with tremendous pain and anger behind them and little training of how to navigate a future marriage.

I’ve watched them live my broken life in many ways.

I never intended for my kids to take that kind of past into their future. The pain inflicted upon them was far greater than I imagined. I didn’t realize how badly they were hurt because of the trauma of their parents’ lives.

But I was more afraid of facing my past pain…

…more afraid of being divorced than of an abusive marriage…

…more afraid of what people thought than what my children needed…

…more afraid of my shame than if my family functioned well…

We can’t even count the price for those choices, and the longer it goes on, the higher the cost, as if interest is added.

But there’s good news.

Surrender and repentance changes everything.

God waits for us to surrender to him so he can uncover our festering wounds, bind them with his loving touch, and lead us into a place of healing and wholeness.

We must be willing to open our eyes to the truth, repent of bad choices and turn around into a new way of thinking and living.

God promises us that when we come to him in broken repentance and surrender, he doesn’t condemn or shame us. His love for us, exhibited through Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection, covers us, soothes our soul and protects us with true safety.

However, doing so requires a difficult choice for us.

We must let go of our pride, fear and self-reliance. We must step out in faith with even a tiny step, believing that God will meet us as he promises. We must allow ourselves to experience the pain of our past and present, grieve the losses and move into our future.

But the exchange for us and our families is worth it.

I think of it like this:

When one of my children was very young, they couldn’t grasp the concept of exchanging their pennies for a coin of equal value. Five pennies seemed much better to them than a nickel, two nickels trumped a dime and no way would they give up any combination of coins for a quarter!

Our perception of what we are giving up is skewed by our limited understanding.

And God gives us even more than an equal share! He offers us a massive sundae dripping with fudge and topped with whipped cream, nuts and a cherry if we will hand over our McDonald’s soft serve cone.

There’s really no comparison, is there?

Be brave. Take action. Step into your future and shed your past.

Make a way for generations after you to be healthier, happier, and living a hot fudge sundae life.