by Katy Kauffman


It just wouldn’t die. I’ve always admired the ivy that creates a velvety green blanket on English cottages. Then we had some ivy of our own. Virginia creeper. But it wasn’t quaint; it kept creeping. Up the house and around the foundation. We cut it back again and again. Time passed, and there it was again, climbing up our house. We had to take it out at the roots.


That was tricky. The creeper apparently likes plants as well as we do. Its root system was so close to the roots of our favorite bushes, we had to be careful when we attempted to extricate the ivy from the ground.


When I was a teenager, an ivy branch of fear kept creeping its way into my mind and heart. It tried to squeeze the joy and peace out of my soul. It was a dreadful fear of not being able to control the thoughts that came to my mind. The fear first began when I remembered swear words from movies but tried to block them out. But then the negative thoughts grew, and I cried out to God to help me refuse them. God’s work in my heart taught me how to overcome negative thoughts, which is one of the lessons that is captured in Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and a blog post titled 7 Ways to Disarm Negative Thoughts (on DiAnn Mills’ website). God gave victory, but it was a hard-won victory.

  By Katy


Sustaining the Victory of Setting Realistic Expectations
by Katherine Pasour


I’ve always been an over-achiever—probably a remnant of childhood insecurities. This creates an issue of setting my own expectations too high. But, a far greater danger to relationships with friends and loved ones is when I set unrealistic and unachievable expectations for others. To inflict further harm—if my hurt and anger at their lack of achievement leads to verbal outbursts, undeserved criticism, or the “silent treatment” punishment, I cause long term brokenness in our relationship.


Early in our marriage, my husband and I experienced a crisis. Many factors led to this fracture, one of which was my unrealistic expectations of how a husband should meet the needs of his wife. A pattern of unfulfilled expectations created conflict and pain. With each broken promise, the simmering pot of my frustration got hotter. Steam began to rise as anger fueled the fire. My pot boiled over into confrontation and accusations.


We expect people to keep their commitments. But, what is our role in whether goals we expect of others are completed? What is our responsibility in setting realistic expectations?

  By Katy


by Katy Kauffman


It attacked my baby tree. It wasn’t enough that this woodpecker had attacked the new metal vent caps on the roof. Now he was going for my precious baby tree. I call it a baby, because this fifteen-foot tree is special to me. For thirteen years, he didn’t grow much, and then last year, poof! His branches went a bit wild, finally growing, and I didn’t have the heart to trim them.


I watched as the woodpecker attempted to drill a hole in this tree. But then, he looked at the tree and flew away. I realized it was the life of the tree that made the woodpecker retreat. Instead of finding rotten wood to carve a home out of, he found life.


Our spiritual enemy Satan tries incessantly to find a weak spot in our lives. In our thinking, our desires, our relationships, our fortitude. He wants to drill a hole in our joy and peace. While he can never inhabit a believer’s heart, he and his forces will do everything they can to harass a child of God. The beautiful but pesky woodpecker taught me something about spiritual victory—it’s the life in a soul that makes the enemy retreat. It’s Jesus’ life within us that enables us to be overcomers. Mark Chapter 9 illustrates this in another way.

  By Katy

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The Scrapbooked Bible Study: A Blog by Katy Kauffman

Award-Winning Author, Editor, Bible Teacher

An editor for Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Katy Kauffman is also a Bible study author who loves to write about the treasures of Scripture. Her Bible studies focus on winning life's spiritual battles, and her blog shares snippets of "scrapbooked" encouragement. Learn more about The Scrapbooked Bible Study, and follow Katy's blog to receive weekly posts. 

 

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