Purposeful Faith

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

broken pieces (1)
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Post by: Jami Amerine

It was an ugly cry; nostrils flaring; with an occasional snort/hiccup/whimper/wail.

On my white blouse, there were traces of snot and black tears.

I knew full well, this meant mascara was streaming down my cheeks and that I looked – dreadful.

This made sense because this how I felt, dreadful.  And vain as I am, I didn’t care that I looked a wreck. Pieces of my heart were going to being left in this “men’s” dorm. My sons would now live here, in halls that smelled like feet and corn nuts.  Here on the second floor of a dormitory I had blazed past 1,001 times during my studies at Abilene Christian University, I was about to leave not one son, but two.

The “man-babies,” John and Luke tried to pity me, bless them. But truth be told, their demeanors could not hide the thrill.  A new episode, a world they have not known, outside the confines of our rules and our ideals. To the man-babies the halls did not reek of burnt pop-tarts and jock itch spray, to them it smelled of freedom. The future was labeled clearly over the doors of Mabee Hall, rooms 208 and 255.

Luke pat/hugged me and kissed our foster daughter that sat casually on my hip. She was oblivious, but I couldn’t help notice that the hug was accompanied by a gentle escort out the door. “I’ll call you mom, and thanks.”

The door shut and a sob escaped me.

And my blurry eyes were relieved to see him as he ambled toward me. At nearly 6’4” my baby boy was as unacquainted as acquainted.  John lifted his cleft chin in my direction with a casual “hey, I am around the other side.” The corners of his mouth quivered as he tried to be cool and not appear too giddy. In a swift movement he lifted his foster sister from my arms and in lanky, cowboy booted strides escorted us to his new room.

Just like Luke, my hug goodbye was laced with a gentle shove out the door.  John had to run back to his car and then meet friends, so he was a little more abrupt. I stood surrounded by student workers hauling mini fridges, parents no better off than I, and the buzz of adventure vibrating in the stale air.

I thought out loud, “I didn’t get a picture of them in their rooms!” I looked toward the exit and yelped, “John! I wanted…” and caught the last glimpse of John’s back before he swiftly turned onto the staircase.

And that picture is burned in my mind.

I keep looking at it. I can’t stop replaying it.

Soaked with tears and the heavy weight of the end of a cherished chapter, I made it to my car. I buckled the baby in her car seat and waited for my husband. In the distance I could see Justin and our two youngest sons heading toward me. We would leave here and go home to our new normal. We’d done this before when our oldest daughter moved into the dorm, on the same campus two years before.  But this was different.  Maggie is my friend, with John and Luke, I know the man-babies wouldn’t be around or text or call like Maggie does.  I know… nothing will ever be the same.

I turned up the radio to blaring toddler tunes so the littles would not be alarmed by my sobs.  I made grilled cheese for the boys; I choked down a salad, and bedded everyone down for a nap. I kicked off my shoes, grabbed a box of Kleenex and climbed into my bed.

I know you think I wanted to stay there; to hang out a little longer at that dorm and make sure they had everything they needed.  Alas, it was time to go. And here, now, in cool sheets with a red nose and swollen eyes I let loose in the place I longed to be. Alone with my God, I cried and prayed. My phone buzzed, I needn’t look to see, words of encouragement, messages of “been there… it will be okay, they’ll be fine…” Had I responded I would have said, “Please leave me alone, I just want to stay here a little longer.”

I didn’t want encouragement. I didn’t want to pull it together or stop the waves of heartache.  I wanted to weep and reminisce.  I wanted to lie there, imagining my head in the lap of my Comforter – my only Hope.  As sad as I was, and as much hurt as I felt, I was right where l wanted to be.

Our society doesn’t grieve well.  We pick up and trudge on to the next thing. We hate to hurt. We despise the low places and we do our best cover the agony with sensory indulgences… an ice cream cone, wine, or new stilettos.

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Will you let me own this hurt?

Here I lie crumpled at the foot of the cross. In this place of my brokenness, there is a view that I can only see through the eyes of my suffering.  Let me stay.  Not to wallow in self-pity, but to weep in the arms of my Father.  Just for a while let me hurt. Just for a little longer let me embrace the great Healer.  He knows me, He remembers what I remember.  I know the man-babies have to go, I am not so dull. But just let me stay here a little longer and visit with the only One who can see the snapshots stored in my heart and head. Here in the quiet, surrounded by decrepit tissues and a tear soaked pillow case I need only to grieve without excuse. No condemnation, no pity, no “pull yourself together.”

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Please, for here with my God is my favorite place to be.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine
is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

 

 


Why Christian’s stay Blind and Struggling

Blind and Struggling
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I’ve been praying lately, to be rid of this flesh-eating bacteria. I know, trust me, I know, it sounds weird. And, I guess you wouldn’t even call it a “flesh-eating bacteria,” because it is more like “soul-eating bacteria.” Or maybe a “peace-eating bacteria”. A “night-time sleep-ruining bacteria.

It chases at my heels telling me I should settle tomorrow’s emotions rather than claiming right now’s peace. You too?

Worry.
It smothers hope; making you desire fix-it dope to feel better.
It exchanges the peace of God for fear of _____.
It stunts the muscles God plans to grow during trials.
It debilitates peace.
It corrodes holy.
It eats joy, causing doubt.

This is why I pray so often, “God, I don’t want to worry. I don’t want to continuously think about people or problems one day longer.”

Because these things blind me. 

..Some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” Mark 8:22-23

Do you see anything when you worry?

Where does worry incline your eyes?

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Mark 8:24

People like trees? Jesus, the miracle-maker, the Prince of Peace, the great physician left this man seeing – trees?  Did the greatest healer – fail? What kind of jacked-up miracle was this?

Let’s consider this deeper…
When the blind man opened his eyes, following Jesus’ touch, “He looked up and said, ‘I see people.‘”

Notice: The blind man did not focus on the Man with Power, but the people with none.

The very God before him – he did not see.
But, he what did see was – his issue.

Where do your eyes head 10-minutes after you get with God?

To people? Problems? Predicaments?  

Sometimes our focus prevents us from seeing – and receiving – God’s greatest work. Like a stray lover, we look at everyone but our first love; we miss his best intentions towards us. We can’t see, because we are too busy looking elsewhere. We become infected with the virus of looking-at-man, looking-at-issues or looking-at-distractions. We partially see God, but we mostly do not.

If we focus on people over the person of Jesus, we’ll never see progress. But, if we focus on the person of Jesus, before the face of our problems, we will face peace.

When we:
1. Wake and seek Jesus as our first thought, our day often is established.
2. Pray and expect God to answer, we get excited to see.
3. Look in order to find God we, many times, do.
4. Ask to see the Lord’s handiwork it becomes more obvious.
5. Hope and request to feel his love, it circles.
6. When we believe that God can do the unthinkable, we perceive God can do the unthinkable.

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:25

I don’t believe this man could see because hands were – on his eyes,
but because Jesus was entirely – in his eyes.

When he opened his eyes, the second time, unlike the first time, he didn’t see problem people, but Jesus, all Jesus, the full-force of Jesus in power and glory, standing right before him. You simply cannot come face-to-face with Jesus – you simply cannot let him into your heart – without something miraculous happening.

This man? With the radiant power of Jesus before him, all he could do – was see. For, Jesus, the man known to have eyes like torches (Dan. 10:5-6) opened his vision to a whole new path. A path to recovery. 

He saw everything clearly. Mark 8:25

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When You Feel Unlovable

Feel Unlovable
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I closed my eyes.

I wanted to be with God. I wanted to spend time with him – I had carved out this time for just that – so I climbed up onto his lap, imagining he was holding me.

I craved love.

Yet, as I rested in his arms, I realized something – something I had never had before: I was scared. Like a newborn, with arms flailing, my body tensed. I felt at-risk, vulnerable and, most of all, I felt like God might hurt me.

Where did this come from God? I never knew.

When you get before God,
he gets his truth before you.

And this is how it is. Nearly every time I make an effort to come before God – by waiting to hear, expecting his Word to work and being with him – I dig up some little flicker of gold that is transformational to my spiritual walk.

This time, it was this: If I believe God’s a God of injury, not ministry, my approach towards him will always be cautionary. 

Like that game of “catch-me-when-I-fall,” if I don’t believe I can let go, fall back and be caught, I’ll never fall – fully surrendered. Instead, I’ll imagine my head being split open – every. single. time.

Internally, I will put on an imaginary helmet; I will:
– Strive
– Fear
– Worry
– Overdo it
– Forget about him
– Get distracted
– Live anxious

So here I stand. Wanting to fix. Because that is what we do when things are broken – we fix. Right?  I want to get out my screwdriver and adjust my loose bolts. Or get out the jackhammer and hit myself over the head with it a couple times. Or to recite a bible verse and get my mind straight. I want to rewire and redo myself until I FULLY. TRUST. GOD.

Yet, a voice of true inner-ministry rises; God’s voice:

Draw near to (me) and (I) will draw near to you. Ja. 4:8

 

There is a counselor inside us, the Holy Spirit, wanting to counsel.
There is a God of love, who waits for us to receive his gift.
There is a moment of joy that is ours if we wait for its arrival.

 

Like the UPS truck. If we look out for God, we will see him drive up.
If the gates are closed, we will miss him. If they are open, we will get the gift we’ve been looking for.

When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears,
and he will tell you what is yet to come. (Jo. 16:3)

 

I want this. I want to be so held by God’s heart that my fleshly heartbeat fades under the resounding covering of his.  I want to be able to let this love in; this holds risk

Risk like:

  • I will be let down.
  • I will be fully seen and not accepted.
  • I will have to change.
  • I will be rejected by God.

Usually, we hold God back,
because at one time or another,
man held us back.

God’s love will never let us down. It looks not like that person who hurt you. It looks not like those feelings that destroyed you. It looks not conditional. Or dependent on performance. It is steady. It is perfect. It works. It heals. It renews. It changes you and me into the likeness of Jesus. It opens new doors. It heals relationships. It mends a broken heart. It cleans up old messes. It induces forgiveness that brings life. It creates wild momentum in your heart, neighborhood and even the world. It brings nations back together and brings Jesus to earth.

Let it in.

Prayer:

God, the truth is:
Vulnerability feels vulnerable.
Openess feels open.
Love feels risky.
You feel overwhelming.

Help me feel okay with the power of your power to change me. Help me trust you more. Help me be in your love. Help me feel your acceptance. Help me know you won’t leave me. Help me abide in you. Amen.

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Lost in The Wilderness

Lost in The Wilderness
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Today, it is my joy to welcome Tracey Rogers to Women’s Ministry Monday. Her words both uplift and remind my heart that there is safety in my struggle and hope in my longings. Thank you, Tracey. 

I got lost in the wilderness.

I hadn’t planned to even go out there, but there I was right in the middle of unfamiliar territory. I did, however, know what was on the other side. THAT I knew, so I was confident on how to maneuver myself through the uncomfortable deserted land.

But I got lost.

No, not literally. The deepest I have been in any kind of wilderness is a color-coded, well-worn hike through many Tennessee State Parks; hardly a place for loss.

No, my wilderness was God’s doing. Leading me out of my comfort and leading me into a place of uncertainty and trial and pressure and temptation.

The wilderness is not an unusual place for God’s people.

He often leads them into the wilderness. 

Moses was called by God from the burning bush while Moses was in the wilderness.

Elijah receives encouragement from God while spending 40 days in the wilderness.

The children of Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness
unlearning the pagan influence from Egypt and becoming a people of God.

They found their identity in the wilderness. 

Even Jesus, Himself spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted before beginning His earthly ministry.

David, too has a season in the wilderness. 

David was anointed king of Israel as a young man, and through a series of God-ordained coincidences he found himself in service of the present king of Israel, Saul. I imagine David saw the path to kingship. He imagined that he would learn from Saul; be mentored by this present king so he could one day step into the role that was destined for him. Although David knew the way the story would end, with him being king, I think the process ended up being very different than he expected. Saul began to see David as a threat and David was forced to run for his life. Where did he run?

To the wilderness. 

The wilderness is a place ripe for God to shape and grow David into the king He called him to be.

1 Samuel 21-31 record David’s time in the wilderness. I don’t think this turned out to be the way he expected God to grow him into a king, but that is exactly what God did. In the wilderness, David went from shepherd to leader. 

David learned how to handle opposition.
David was met with challenges, yet followed God.
The wilderness was where David found shelter in caves, yet knew the shadow of God’s wings.
It was where David found rest beside still waters and found his soul restored.
And David, had tests and temptations, but resisted them and proved worthy of the call.

The wilderness isn’t just for God’s people in the Bible. He is still calling His own into the wilderness today, and that is where I found myself.

But I carved the path. Wondering, how can I get out. How will God actually work things out?

Real surrender is not the act of acknowledging hard times,
but of letting God walk you through them, altogether.

What path do you follow? Is it providing refuge?

Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, 

For my soul takes refuge in You;

And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge

Until destruction passes by.

I will cry to God Most High, 

To God who accomplishes all things for me.

He will send from heaven and save me;

He reproaches him who tramples upon me.     Selah.

God will send forth His lovingkindness and His truth.” Ps. 57:1-3

And so I remained in the wilderness, but no longer felt lost. I found comfort and I think that is exactly what He had in mind.

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About Tracey Rogers

View More: http://keonik.pass.us/traceyrogersTracey Rogers is a gifted Bible teacher who brings passion and enthusiasm to the life-giving Word of God. Tracey speaks with authority and authenticity leaving her listeners wanting to spend more time with God in His Word and inspiring them to live lives that shine His light. Tracey has also taken her revealing teaching lessons and unique insights and put them in her new book, Life Lessons from the Book of Job.

She lives in Franklin, Tennessee with her husband of almost 19 years, Kevin, along with their children Preston, 15; John John, 13; and Josie, 10.  In addition to serving on the adult groups staff at Church of the City, she has been incorporating her love of scripture by teaching Christ-centered yoga for 4 1/2 years.

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How to Make Stress Work For You

Stress is only stress if I choose to see the situation as bad.
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It all happened when I got stuck, sweating bullets in a parked car with a 3-year old who was certain my body was her gym mat. I was over the wait, but the countdown was ongoing. He was nowhere in sight.

My texts went unanswered.
40-minutes passed.
He knew I was parked.

I dialed him again.  Nothing.
Soon after, I saw his phone resting on the car mat.

I tapped my foot, frustrated.

Towing a 3-year old, we headed into the restaurant. We asked some people if they had seen a man with dark brown hair. The one with a boy? No. No. No.

My face reddened. My hand tightened. I pulled the girl out of irritation.

But, breaking the layers of heavy, and as if a messenger of God handed me a “Peace-note”, I remembered the recently-read words in “Sacred Stress.” They reminded me: There is an opportunity found in adversity…

The words said, “A Harvard University study found when participants reframed stressful events as a challenge instead of a threat, they felt energized and performed better.” Hmm…

Could I see this as a challenge rather than a threat that:
1.) Wastes my time?
2.) Ticks me off?
3.) Makes me worried?

The words said, ” Viewing stressful situations as healthy and an opportunity for growth usually eliminates the negative stress-related symptoms.”

What is coming against me, can actually work for me,
when reframed right.

The words said, I can create a positive outcome, a positive view and change the outcome, thereby escaping stress.

Situations don’t rule me, God does.

I can choose to see things from his good view;
it changes my poor view.

I can choose to see thigns from his good view; it changes my poor reactions.

Would this really work?

I tried:

“I have an opportunity to find and extend the grace of God.”
“God is calling me to lean on him. I will know Him better through this.”
“Maybe it will provide an awesome time for daddy to connect with son as they walk home. I can’t wait to hear.”
“I can show my kids we can beat the power of stress by not being stressed.”

I felt proud of my words, but still, troubled by anxiety.

The words said: “Name it.” This means giving an “honest accounting” of how you feel so you can get to the root emotion.

If you speak positive words but don’t let God tend to your bucking emotions,
you’ll still wildly flail out of control.

 

 

 

When we admit our feelings, see them for what they are, and let God hold them –
He does.

 

 

 

We land at peace.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

Looking back, I didn’t handle this situation just right. I messed it up. But, guess what?

I have next time. God doesn’t shun me and say, “You are one and done.” Nope. He is the God of ample opportunities. He is the God of perpetual second chances. He is the God of unending learnings. He will help me at my next crossroad. He will instruct me on the way I should go. I feel a little nervous about this. I see the fear in me – the fear of failure.  God sees it too.  He can handle it. It is not too much.

He whispers, “My perfect love casts out fear.” 1 Jo. 4:18

In this moment, I know I found something. I have arrived somewhere.

It’s called “Sacred Stress”.

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About Sacred Stress: A Radically Different Approach to Using Life’s Challenges for Positive Change

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 6.10.41 AMStress can limit our perspective, leaving us feeling trapped and out of control. But stress can also be a force for good: It is our challenges that most compel us to reach out for relationship. And our proudest moments come after overcoming obstacles we thought were insurmountable.

Based on personal experience and their work as therapists, and drawing on decades of psychological research, George R. Faller, MS, LMFT, and The Rev. Dr. Heather Wright have come to see that stress can be healthy and positive. They equip us with the skills and the knowledge we need to reframe our thinking about stress, understand and embrace our darker emotions, and become stronger through difficulty. View on Amazon.

Learn more about Sacred Stress.

About the Authors

George R. Faller, MS, LMFT, a lieutenant in the New York City Fire Department for twenty years who participated in 9/11 rescue efforts, is a licensed marriage and family therapist, an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy supervisor, and an Emotionally Focused certified therapist, supervisor and trainer. He is also the founder and president of the New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy and teaches at the Ackerman Institute in Manhattan.

The Rev. Dr. Heather Wright, an ordained Presbyterian minister, is a licensed professional counselor and executive director for a faith-based counseling center. She taught graduate-level counseling and pastoral theology and served as a board certified chaplain. She is the author of Redeeming Eve: Finding Hope beyond the Struggles of Life and Small Group Leadership as Spiritual Direction.

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Come Away With Me

#howtoeven
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Post by: Karina Allen

I’m a doer by nature. I’m always on the go. I’m a mover and a shaker. My schedule is full and my planner is happy. I like it that way. However, sometimes my body does not.

Like right now. I think my body hates me. I have been exhausted for the past several weeks. Summer, for me is just as busy as the rest of the year. I’ve had a few trips and the travel always wear me out.

So here I am. Pretty much every morning I have woken up tired, which makes for an incredibly long day.

So, what do I do about? If you are in the same place, what do you do about it?

I’ve been sensing that Lord wants His children to rest a bit more and strive a bit less.

The Lord knows what’s best.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;” Psalm 23:2-3

I more than often think I know best. I tend be strong and independent. I push myself to the limit expecting not to crack. The last thing I want is to experience burnout. But that is where we are heading if we continue to move at a breakneck speed. It’s interesting how these verses in Psalm 23 say that He makes me lie down. God knows that we don’t want to stop. We don’t want to rest. We don’t and sometimes can’t be still. But that is when He does His best work.

Restoring comes out of resting.

God is the giver of rest.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Matthew 11:28-30

Rest doesn’t have to be a fight for us. God intended for it to be a gift to us. He delights in giving us rest. We trade off our heaviness and weariness in exchange for His joy and ease. Problems don’t disappear. Hardships still exist but The Lord’s joy brings us strength. So the weight of our circumstances don’t crush us.

If you’re feeling weighed down and overwhelmed, do not lose heart.

Trust that God knows best.

Trust that He will give you His rest.

Trust that He delights in restoring your soul.

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Karina AllenKarina
is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”


The War in Your Mind: 12 Peace-Tactics

war in your mind
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My daughter felt hot. Hand on head, all I could think was, “Great God. Add this horrid sickness to the list.”
Add it to the uncertainty of our future.
Add it to kids acting up.
Add it to no time to get my work done.
Add it to no energy to continue pushing through.
Add it to the pain of an injury that won’t relent.
Add it to my anxiety levels as of late.

Add it to feeling alone and isolated.

The sum = discouragement.

Are you in that place where the face of God
looks far smaller than the weight of your problems?

Maybe finances are tumbling. Maybe fears are rising. Maybe hope for a family member is vanishing. Maybe car problems are plaguing. Maybe insecurity is surfacing. Maybe a job is harassing. Maybe health is faltering.

Last night, I laid in bed. Ever notice? When you silence your mind, you have a choice: You can either fall into worry or worship. Wonder or wrestling. Wrongs or rights. I sunk under the swamp of worry; floundering and fearful.

You all probably know, my name is Kelly. In Gaelic, my name means: warrior.

What if rather than being a worrier or a wrestler with life,
we became warrior’s with truth?

 

Be strong, and let us fight bravely
for our people and the cities of our God.
The Lord will do what is good in his sight.
2 Samuel 10:12

 

Joab, captain of David’s army, knew:
You fight the good fight believing
God’s good way will prevail. 

If I am warrior – if you are too – can’t we fight in the same way?

Can’t we fight, saying, “I’ll be strong, I’ll let God’s truth to reign in my mind, relationships and over my fears. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

What peace might that bring? If our internal words were more warrior than wussy?

If they sounded like this:

God things don’t look good. They look tough, dark, barren, unmoving, but your will is working. I believe that. I believe you can. I believe you will. I am not going to sink into discouragement. I am not going to fall into the strangulating hands of despair. I am not going to become oozy and doozy with fear. Forget it.

Not today, no God, not today. Today, I am choosing another way.
 

Today, the way of peace is the way of faith.

Faith says: I see horrendous before me, but God sees heavenly. He is working it out and that is enough.

Faith says: God even though every door looks closed, God can open them with just an exhale of breath.

Faith says: A good God is in control. I trust him.

Faith says: Yes, a war in motion, yet I am not the commander. He knows the way.

Faith says: I don’t have to know, because God does.

Faith says: Never once has God let me down and never will He.

Faith says: Evil may want to leave me ruined and in pieces, but God wants to leave me ruined in his love.

Faith says:  Hold firm, like the disciples did – love always wins.

Faith says: My wait isn’t for nothing, for – in me – God is working something.

Faith says: I need not be leashed by feelings, but unleashed by God’s love.

Faith says: I will focus on his more versus continually perceiving my less.

Faith says: My joy found in Christ, through suffering, becomes His light of glory shed upon the world.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

 

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So, #RaRa team, I totally flubbed it up yesterday and missed the linkup. Can you even believe it? I got so overwhelmed with life that I overlooked this post. Forgive me! I am sorry; I never pressed publish.
With this, I don’t know if anyone knows about our rain-date today. Will you share this post on social media to help get the word out about this random Wednesday linkup?
See you next Tuesday!
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7 Ways You Distance God (& 5 Verses to Bring Him Close)

Distance God
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Uber scares me. I rode on it one time and I convinced myself I was about to be trafficked and brought to South America on first sight of the car. I was wrong. He was nice; I got where I needed to go. The next time, things took a different turn.

It was desolate and dark. I stood on the curb heart beating out of my chest, pondering whether to hide behind the nearby bush. I’d watch UBER wait for me, then see him drive away. Perfect! I could go inside to safety. I didn’t.  I am glad, boy, am I glad, I didn’t.

“I am a Pre-K teacher,” the driver said, “You know, kids say all types of things.”

I nodded and continued, “One kid said to his misbehavin’ friends, ‘Aww…you’re in trouble…I am going to tell Jesus on you.’”

Little did she know – I know that kid.

He lives in me. He talks the same:

“You’re being insecure. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not spending enough time with God. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not acting nice to the family. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

When we believe Jesus is out to get us,
we have a hard time believing Jesus is out to love us. 

“…You are trouble in Jesus now! He’ll never bless you, help you, want you, lead you or provide for you now, you little delinquent.”

 God more resembles a punisher than a lover.

Does Jesus ever feel more like a high school principal than the Prince of Peace?

People avoid principals! They take the opposite route, to avoid them. They fear his office. They know retaliation is prevalent. They fear him in a way where they forgo wanting to be near him. They keep safe distance. I do. I don’t want to get hurt, shunned.

Is this you?

7 Ways to tell if you’re Distancing yourself from God:

1. You fear God’s mean face before you think of his abounding grace.

2. You fear admitting wrong because you believe God’s compassion can’t be that strong.

3. You feel if you accept God’s good gifts, you will owe him something.

4. You think you are unworthy of forgiveness.

5. You are certain who you are and how you act, disqualifies you.

6. You work really hard to be loved.

7. You feel great when you’re great and a heathen when you’re horrible.

5 Truths that Move God from Authoritarian to Author of Peace

  1. Remember, for children of God, God’s grace more than meets the strength of mess-ups. There’s no ounce that can stand under the power of the cross.
    “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Ro. 5:20)
  2. God’s love requires nothing from you, but gives everything to you. When you receive and then receive some more, suddenly you start to believe God is good, truly good.
    “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
  3. Meditate on the idea… If Jesus died for us while man treated him like the scum of the earth, if he received whips and lashes on the account of our sin, if he died a slow an agonizing death and won – won’t he continue to forgive you today?
    God demonstrates…love…: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Ro. 5:8)
  4. Say, “I am sorry. Forgive me God.” It will restore you every time.
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps. 103:8)
  5. Believe this: God isn’t a rule-master, but a Master who knows his love, law and liberty will set us free.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:30)

There is no punisher hoping to hurt you. The complete sum of Love pursues you.

Will you let him in?

God doesn’t love you dependent on good actions.
He doesn’t disqualify you based on your wrongs.
He won’t outcast you because you look different.
He sees past your personal convictions of guilty.
He released you 2000 years ago – when Jesus paid for it all.
Not-guilty.
Loved.
Done.
& Done.

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3 Ways to Remain In God’s Love

Remain In God's Love
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In the movies I watch, they tend to throw out the command, “Stand down!”

It’s this moment where the person in charge, usually some Captain or Corporal or Chief gives a word that calls all effort to halt. It calms the strong ambitious and unruly one wanting to push ahead with might, power and strength.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand Down.” 

There is a Creator, a Captain and a Care-taker, who has a much higher view than we do. God sees the good ending to our present moment, far more clearly than we do. He also sees all the steps we need to take to get there.

The Captain knows, what you do not know.

Where are you prone to push ahead?

To overexert yourself – speaking a rash word, entering in when you should step out,
getting angry, rather than getting alone with God?

The commander has a word for you too: “Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. Jo. 15:9

Standing down is remaining in God’s love.

I don’t do this. Remain.

Even right now, I am thinking of all that I need to do. I am writing these words, but my heart is thinking of the house I need to rent, the kids I need to get enrolled in school and the work that I need to do today. I only have 2 weeks until school starts. I want to start working. I need to get this post written. I am a hypocrite.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

What might it look like to leave – seen stress for God’s unseen love?

To just walk away from the overwhelming nature
and let God’s overwhelming nature pacify the fears?

I can’t help but think, where God is, light is. And, where light is – clarity focuses.

Are you, like me, looking for a way to go?

Perhaps, you and I are approaching it all wrong. What if instead of flicking on every light, we stayed in the dark and waited for his light to lead?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Col. 3:3

Power is not in forging ahead, it is in standing down.

I don’t need to do, Jesus already did.
I don’t need to act great, Jesus is.
I don’t need to hide lies, for grace lies in repentance.
I don’t need to pretend I know, God knows.
I don’t need to fix, God already has the answers.
I don’t need to hide, unless it is in God’s shelter.
I don’t need to perform, the curtain closed and love won.
I don’t need to fear his leaving, God is steadfast and good.

“Lay it Down. Give it up. Cease-fire. Stand down.” 

To stand down? It looks like this:
1. Lay it down: To give God what you’re trying to own.
2. Give it up: To step out in faith, knowing that his goodness will lead to a good result.
3. Cease-fire: To stop blaming other people, problems or circumstances.

In Christ, I rest.
Needing nothing less.
Nor nothing more.
For He is the door to my more.
He sees the battlefield.
He knows my way.
His battle is won at the end of my day.

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Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Pursue peace image by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com
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Post By: Katie M. Reid

I’m in denial that it’s August already. I’m thankful we live in a tourist state (Michigan) and don’t start school until after Labor Day. Many of my southern friends are sending their kiddos off to school this month.

Our summer has been a whirlwind and I desperately want it to slow down. I had plans to savor, linger, and slow down—but it feels like I’m trying to swim upstream in a river of gooey molasses.

After deliberations with my sister-in-law, I reinstated allowance in our home. The offspring now receive $3 a week—hey, Hubby and I used to receive 50 cents a week, so it’s an upgrade.

I instructed the children that they should save up for something special and not just fill our home with dollar store treasures (a.k.a. cheap junk). They had their eyes set on larger items until the cash started burning a hole in their pockets. They begged me to stop by the store in the midst of a million-things-to-do kind of day. They would not relent even though I tried to explain how much there was to do.

Much to their dismay we ran out of time and I ran out of energy—lugging the handful of kids around town.

So, I said that we would go the next day. I said it matter-of-fact, with every intent of it happening.

And then it didn’t.

I was achy from trying to do too much, the baby needed to eat, the toddler wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t nap, and so on.

We ran out of time and steam.

I think there was steam coming out of the kids’ ears as I delivered the world-crushing news that we didn’t have time, again, to stop at the store.

They stomped, they screamed, and they called me a liar (more than once).

While their behavior was less-than-stellar, I felt guilty. I hadn’t mean to lie. It wasn’t my intent to not take them. Life happened and plans changed and flexibility and empathy were needed but not offered.

Mom, you always lie.

You say we’re going to do something and we don’t do it!

You are a liar.

I was mad about the unfair accusations but also convicted that often times I unintentionally don’t keep my word. I wanted to remedy the situation so I apologized for what I could.

Kids, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out to take you to the store. I did say that we were going to go, but I should have said something like, ‘We will try our best to go. Or we will most likely go. Or we’ll see if it works out.’ Will you forgive me?

I want my kids to trust me. I need to more careful when I hand out promises. I want them to believe my words.

It’s no fun to feel like a “liar, liar, pants of fire”.

I pleased to say the next day we went to the store, even though it still wasn’t convenient and we didn’t have very much time—but I kept my word and peace was restored.

Here are 3 ways to pursue peace instead of burning down walls of trust:

  1. Be realistic with what you can offer. Many times you might want to help others but when the time comes to make good on your promise, you are unable to fulfill it. It’s hard to know what life will look like months from now. Be careful that you are not ensnaring yourself with your words. Don’t use this as an excuse to be non-committal but ask God to help you be realistic with what you have time for in this present season. It’s easier to be able to help out when the times comes vs. letting someone down because you can’t make good on what you offered a long time ago.
  2. Don’t burn bridges. You want people to be able to trust you. Even if you’ve done something wrong unintentionally, go to the person and apologize for the way that you’ve let them down. Clear the air of offense and be willing to lay down the need to be right for the sake of the relationship (yeah, this one is really hard, but worth it). I’m not talking about issues of sin here, but letting go of the need to be top dog or have the upper hand. Try a little love and logic, like I do with our tween, I love you too much to argue.
  3. Protect the margins on your calendar. Has your summer been like ours? Many of our commitments were unavoidable, but we need to do a better job of protecting margins. When schedules are busting at the seams, frustration seeps out and peace is compromised. Take a look at the rest of the month. Are there any obligations or activities that can be eliminated or delegated? Make some room to breathe and protect your white space. Some seasons require more commitments than others, but make sure your norm isn’t like a hamster in a wheel—spinning round and round but going nowhere in particular. As we rest we communicate trust that God knew what He was doing when he instituted Sabbath.

So the next time $3 is burning a hole in my kids’ pockets, I don’t want to find my own pants on fire because I’m acting like a liar.

Let’s pursue peace with God and family by being true to the Word and keeping our word.

Let’s choose to apologize when we’ve lied and seek to make amends for the sake of our relationship with the Lord and others.

Let’s stop stuffing schedules to the brim and ask God to help us create margin so we can enjoy Him and be recharged.

Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”

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Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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