Purposeful Faith

When You’re Lonely for a Friend

friendship

The sun shone bright in the kitchen the day I realized I had no one I could call. Standing at the counter, slicing a pear into bite-sized pieces for my 10-month-old firstborn, I’d instead sliced my finger. I stood silent at the sink, letting water wash over the wound and watching blood swirl in the basin. After bandaging my finger, I reached down for my son, placed him in his highchair, spread the pears on his tray, and in what seemed the very next moment, I woke up underneath the kitchen table. I had fainted, and it felt as if my brain was rebooting after being switched off. My body felt clammy and weak, and as I lay there, immobile, my initial panic subsided as I heard the happy gurgles of my boy, safe with his pears.

It was then that the thought intruded: Who will I call to come help me? I did not have an answer, because I did not have a friend. The knife had opened my finger, but it seemed to have opened a far greater wound, a wound I’d tried desperately to ignore, hide, and resist–the wound of loneliness.

At that time, I was a young pastor’s wife, a young mother, and young in my understanding of God’s grace. When I picture myself in those years, I think of myself in two places: in my home and all tangled up in my own head.

After college, I’d waited for friends to appear, as they’d appeared in every other era of my life–through youth group and band and softball teams and housemates. And they, in fact, hadn’t appeared. I felt as if I’d forgotten how to do friendship and wondered if I was no longer friend-able. In my insecurity, I remained isolated, both in my home and in my head.

I remember hoping another mother would invite me out after morning Bible study. I remember desiring one of the older pastor’s wives to take me under her wing. After my pear-eating boy received a devastating diagnosis, I remember wishing others would intentionally step into my shoes and walk with me, tell me what to do, or care for me in some way.

I was lonely for a friend.

Many women are, I know this now. Many feel forever on the outside. Many have been hurt by other women, so they intentionally stay on the outside so as not to be hurt again. And many feel their genuine attempts at friendship have produced little fruit.

Friendship is not as simple as we’ve been led to believe. But here’s something else I now know: loneliness isn’t always as complex as we’ve been led to believe either.

Sometimes Loneliness is a Gift from God.

Whether we’re new to a neighborhood or a church, whether a good friend has moved away or died, or whether a once close friendship has shifted, any type of change or separation can arouse a sense of loneliness and longing in our hearts. When we have them, we long for healthy relationships and happy life circumstances to remain static. We long for deep community and a sense of belonging. We long for the good old days when friendships came easy and we could enjoy those friends without all the adult responsibilities and burdens mixed in.

Longing is not a misplaced desire. In fact, the longing for friendship is a good one. How we pursue or respond to that longing, however, is important. We must remember that perfect relationships and perfect community and perfect circumstances do not exist on this side of eternity. Knowing that life and friendship will always be imperfect helps us embrace what we do have as grace and gift, even if the current gift is aloneness.

Our aloneness is a gift because it teaches us to turn our desires to the Lord in prayer and swells our hearts with a hope and eagerness for our true home with Jesus. Sometimes God may love us best by calling us to aloneness, precisely so that He can meet us intimately in a time when He has our full attention. We can be at peace with our aloneness, knowing that we have access to God and can cast all our cares and desires upon Him. Because all is gift and grace, we can wait in aloneness with eager expectation of how God might also give us the gift and grace of togetherness.

Sometimes Loneliness is Self-Imposed

Curiously, many of us seem to be standing beside one another, holding identical longings for friendship yet resolutely believing we’re alone in them. The truth is we aren’t actually wandering alone; we’re practically tripping over each other as we grasp at our dreams of friendship that is perfect and easy. These ideal dreams of friendship are often created and watered in our loneliness, and these dreams produce bitterness as we begin demanding from others and from God according to our exacting standards.

I certainly speak from experience. As I look back at my twenties, I see a lonely girl with a stubborn wish-dream. I see a lonely girl because of the stubborn wish-dream. A friend, according to my dream, would have been in her twenties (like me), been married and had children (like me), and understood what ministry entailed (like me). At the same time, I was afraid to ask for help, afraid to initiate, and deathly afraid of being vulnerable. I wanted the gift, but I was unwilling to do anything to receive or unwrap it.

I did pray, and I did cry. And all throughout that time, God was answering. He was good to me in my aloneness; He was the friend who was constantly present. But He was also answering with real people, imperfect people (like me), who lived beside me and went to church with me and who were a few steps ahead and behind me. I see this now, but at the time I couldn’t see past my wish-dream, my standards, and all my bitter longings. If I’d just looked around and if I’d just have been willing to take a few risks of vulnerability and initiation, I would have experienced the answer God was trying to give me.

That’s what I learned that day when the knife cut my finger and opened my heart. It wasn’t that I didn’t have anyone I could call; it was that I was afraid to call. It was that I would have rather drowned in self-sufficiency and isolation than risk reaching out or admitting my loneliness.

Are you lonely for a friend? Loneliness is nothing to be ashamed of; turn to God with your deepest desires and needs. While His love is steady and sure, know that nothing is constant about our relationships with one another–there will be times of abundance as well as times of aloneness. Cultivate a heart posture that receives both aloneness and togetherness as gift and grace. Perhaps this will give you fresh eyes for the women there all around you.

About Christine:

Christine Hoover is a pastor’s wife, mom to three boys, a speaker, and the author of several books, including From Good to Grace, and her latest, Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships.

When Christine and her family moved from Texas to Charlottesville, Virginia in 2008 to plant a church, she got a much-needed re-do on making and deepening friendships. She now loves to help other women discover the surprising reasons friendship often eludes them, and she also loves helping them find the community they crave.

Find Christine online at www.gracecoversme.com

This post is an excerpt from Christine Hoover’s new book, Messy Beautiful Friendship: Finding and Nurturing Deep and Lasting Relationships, which explores the joys and complexities of friendship among Christian women.


Prayer to Beat Destructive Doubt

Beat Destructive Doubt

Be still and know that I am God.

But, that was precisely the problem. I couldn’t be still. My heart was racing a hundred miles an hour like a race car ready to crash. Ever been there? Where the face of your problems > loving face of your God?  Where it is hard to know if God can/will fix what you’re doing, done or are about to do?

“Your child has been exposed to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”

I gave them the blank stare. I didn’t know what this entailed, but I did know by nature of the name it sounded – horrific. Anything with the word “disease” in it is about enough to send mom’s stomach flip-flopping and reeling in anxiety. Add visions of pussing, oozing and painful sores – and mom was already identifying imaginary red spots.

“Were they exposed to the sick kid a lot – or a little?”

“Oh, a lot and it is very contagious.”

Thanks, lady. Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks a lot, God. Don’t you know?

Now, I’d just come off the stomach flu that built into a cold that seemed to never end that morphed into a bad illness with a mean attack from the inside-out. I won’t go into details here. Needless to say, I’d been run ragged. Now this?

Now, I was sure, dear daughter was deeply ill. I could see it happening, and none of my prayers could stop this unforeseen visitor from coming. God wouldn’t help me. I was all alone on this one.

Where do you feel all alone?

Where have you opened the gate to worry and found not only it walked in, but doubt too?

This may sound simplistic, but: Shut the gate.
Doubt disassembles the goodness of God.
It wrecks the benefits of love.
It becomes cancerous over time.
It corrodes dependence on God.
It is the devil’s gambit.

“But, how, Kelly, how?” You ask me.

We fight with the 5 A’s – that’s how! We:

  1. Acknowledge the lies and God’s corresponding truth.
  2. Ask for forgiveness.
  3. Admire the power, height, and love of God.
  4. Abandon our own will.
  5. Affirm God’s goodness through thanksgiving and prayer.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil. 4:8

Filter the bad out of the good, and you’re left with good. And, if we’re left with good, we’re left with God. We want this.

Prayer Against Destructive Doubt:

God, you are in everything. You are above everything. You know everything. You are orchestrating everything. All control is yours. All vision is yours. All power is yours. You move the handle on my life. Thank you that you want to take care of me. Thank you that you love me. You withhold no good thing from me. Thank you that I can trust you. Not with half my heart, but with my whole heart. Thank you that you know my way, even when it looks not like “my way.” Grant me greater faith to trust you by faith. Stand closer to me so I can dwell in your love. Help keep my mind steadfast on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If I move with you, I won’t depart from you. Teach me God in all your ways. I am open and willing to what you want to do in me. I need you, God. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


Can Someone Tell Me If This Is Good Enough?

Post by: Katie M. Reid

What is good enough?

If I greet him with a passionate kiss at the door and have the house picked up and dinner waiting on the table?

If I sit on the floor and play Legos with them or throw the football across the living room to him or listen to her talk and talk?

How much is good enough?

If you have an hour with God first thing in the morning or a time of intense study—marking key words, looking up the Greek, and understanding the chapter’s context?

If you spend an extended time of quiet listening, waiting for His instructions or pouring your heart out in prayer, until there is nothing left unsaid?

And while these are good things, in actuality, I think I’m approaching this all wrong- asking the wrong questions.

Do I just want to “do” so that I am approved?

Do I drive and strive in an effort to make the grade, to pass the course, to get attention, accolades, and shiny gold stars?

Who is really good enough?

I definitely am not!

I fall short. I flounder in my motivation and devotion. I lack. I leave others wanting by falling short of perfection.

Yet, He is good enough. More than enough.

I struggle to believe that I do not have to be perfect, or even good enough.

You too?

Do you wrestle with the truth, that in all our striving, in all our doing, in spite of all our creative and determined endeavors, it is not enough?

It’s not enough to save us.
It’s not enough to earn favor and right standing with the Lord.

Without Jesus, we are not enough.

I can hear the strong and self-sufficient ones arguing, “But I am capable and confident. Surely my works are enough to stay in His good graces!” “Surely I am enough for Him. I work so hard!”

But His grace isn’t earned. And apart from Him we have no good thing.

We don’t have to beg, plead, demand or steal to turn His gaze toward us. We are only required to make a choice: to believe and receive Him, or not.

  • Believe that He is Savior (The Forgiveness for our sins).
  • Receive His Sufficiency (The Enough for our lack).
  • Enjoy His Love (The Hope for our limitations).

In Him, with Him, through Him, we can truly live the abundant life and rest secure.

He says, “enough” to our try-hard souls—stamps it over our tired bodies, places His seal over our frayed selves.

He says that we are enough because He gave all by loving enough…so much more than enough.

We believe that Jesus is who He says He is (see John 1):

The Word
The True Light
The Lamb of God
God’s Chosen One
Rabbi/Teacher
Messiah/Christ
King of Israel
Son of God
Son of Man

He is all in all, sufficient, perfect, holy, the beginning and the end.

Thank You Jesus that we can lay down this “good enough” question and relinquish its power over us because You answered this “good enough” question once and for all, on the cross. Thank You for reigning in love over us. Thank You that we can sit down on the inside because You have finished the work. Amen.

-Do you struggle with a “not good enough” mentality too?
-In what ways have you found victory in this area?

Katie M. Reid Writer and Speaker at katiemreid.com

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

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


She Let Me Down, Again!

Let Me Down

She let me down. Again. She always does.

Now, it’s as if:

She owes me something.
She’s responsible now to figure out how to console me.
Her actions need to shift for me to ever love her.
Everything needs to change before I can be happy.
I win, as a better person, because she’s always losing.

What shocks me about my above brutally-honest list is – when I look at it, I could have striked all those words and just written: me, me, me! I could have summarized it all up: “You stink, lady, you are not good enough and you better improve or I’ll always live hurt.”

Who made her God? And who made me so reliant she rules my emotions, pride, joy and peace?

When people rule us, we aren’t being ruled by God. It’s a give in. God’s gone – gone.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Heb. 11:22-24)

We have come to Jesus.

Not to a woman who lets us down.
Not to a job we detest.
Not to a boss who favors others.
Not to a child who is completely and utterly defiant.
Not to questions that rule over us.
Not to a spouse who speaks meanly.
Not to a situation that is ruling us.

We have come to God, the Judge, the one who makes us righteous, perfect, to the mediator, to the one who sprinkled grace over our head and declared us as his own.

Man will let us down, God won’t. He’s already lifted us up to seat us with Christ (Eph. 2:6) and, even better, He’s declared the deed, the position for us final by saying, “It is finished. (Jo. 19:30)” And, guess what? It is.

So, who can tie us up to the back of the car and drag us through the gravel? No one.

Who can rip out our voice and tell us it’s worthless? No one.

Who can hurt us time and time again, thereby ruining our soul? No one.

Humbly, we rest under him. Jesus. The one crushed, so we emotionally aren’t. The one beaten so we could beat relational pain through Him. The one mocked, so when we are, we remember He understands, knows and cares for us. The one broken, so we could be healed. The one victorious, who marks us that name alike.

We aren’t the product of a person’s action. Or, maybe we are. We are the product of Jesus’ actions. And, by Him, we are saved from the things that want to take us down.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


God, Help Me Not to Judge

Not to Judge

God, please teach me not to judge.
Please. Teach. Me. Not. To. Judge.

Not…to judge the mom at the coffee store who is looking at her phone
when all her toddler wants is her undivided attention.
I do that myself.

Not my husband who is tired when he walks through the door and is looking for rest.
I always want what he requests, but I am terrified to admit it.

Not the driver who nearly side-swiped me last week and then gave me a dirty look.
I nearly drove a car off the road and into shoulder this morning.

Not the woman I consider self-indulgent, self-seeking and far too self-interested.
Many a day, I’ve tried to dress so well, so right, to look perfect. I want to be seen.

Not the family member who is always letting me down, getting under my skin.
God, you really do know, my timely, ordered ways could drive anyone nuts.

Not the person who believes, politically, things far more different and strange than I.
I’ve never walked a day in their shoes.

Not the person I look nothing like.
Just because they don’t reflect me, Jesus, doesn’t mean they don’t reflect you.

Not the person making every single wrong decision in the book.
I made so many bad decisions, I nearly killed myself way back when, but still, hope was never lost.

Not the one who offends me and continually tries to drive me nuts.
Before I run forward with insults, I should remember they likely have a background of pain.

Not me, and all the hundreds of ways I’m offensive.
I let you down all the time, but immediately, Jesus, you toss my offenses on the flip-side of this world when I say, “Sorry.”

Just as much as they are developing, I am too… We are too…

Our stories are complex. Our growth is slow. Our faith is increasing. You’ve planned it this way, God. It takes trust, piles of it. And, space, room to make allowance for others and ourselves.

Yet, when we run to cast labels,  decisions, verdicts and opinions on people, we steal this space. We steal the space you’ve given us to observe. Don’t let me steal the wonder of your works. You are working something. You are moving as you will. As I give leeway, you give way to the wonderful work you’ve always intended to do.

When I fill it that space with negativity, captivity, critiques and prognoses, I steal peace, growth, hope and new life. I don’t want my mind, heart and soul filled with these degrading and base motives. What a waste! What a rip-off for them and me!

Stop me from doing that.

God, give me patience to lift others, rather than to hate them.
God, give me eyes to see your beauty in them; it is always there.
God, give me a mouth that affirms differences, not one that pushes them aside.

God, make me into a peace-maker, not a finger-pointer.
God, make me aware of my faults, so I don’t ever believe I’m too good for your calling.
God, make me need others, so I never stand above them.

God, strengthen humility, erase my pride.
God, show me the low road, so I can lift others high.
God, soften my impulses and slow down my need to decide.

God, open a door so I can walk much-needed love inside.
God, soften my heart so I can bridge great divides.
God, remove my tough skin, so you can sink inside.

God, you are the only power I have to change.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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Dream a Little Dream

Not to Judge

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:18-19

I have a dream.

Ever had one of those? A ridiculous thing? A hope? A wish? A prayer? Something you want, but feels impossible to have? Something that if it came true, you’d feel like – you made it, you lived out what you were created for?

I have this dream, much of it revolves around Ephesians 3:18-19:

  1. That we, as American women, would stand like tall oaks, unwavering, because we are rooted in God’s love.
  2. That we, together, would be planted, with power to mobilize, migrate and make a difference.
  3. That we would extend love that surpasses – knowledge.
  4. That we would be filled with the full measure of God, thereby never being the same again.

I don’t know how this all looks, but something in me sees something uprising and I’m just going to walk by faith. I believe if I plant my seed into fertile soil, God will sink the beginnings of roots right into his love. Love grows things.

So, here I’ll stand. Holding my seed, waiting. Trusting, his love. Believing, He’ll grow it. I expect to return back to this post, smiling. I expect to have remembered the start of a big dream. I expect to encounter trials of many varieties, but I also expect to encounter a triumphant God who always wins. I expect to press on and to press in. I expect to come out different, with new light, His light.

This is faith, I’m learning.

What faith do you need to execute your dream?

Let me tell you what you don’t need: You don’t need people to act a certain way. You don’t need to handle all those excuses. You don’t need more strength. You don’t need to lose that job. You don’t need to wipe clean your errors of the past. You don’t need to know “how”. You don’t need to know “when”. You don’t need people to “get it”. You don’t need new resources. You don’t need more qualifications.  Nope.

God, nearly every time, uses the least exemplary of these to do the most extraordinary things. Moses. Noah. David. Mary.

Dream a little dream, friend.

And go easy on it, for a dream is just a vapor. You hold it up to God. He breathes on it. It forms, grows limbs, moves, speaks and then guides.

All you need is Him. The pressure is off you. All you need is faith. Faith activates great.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…forever and ever!  (Eph. 3:20-21)

We don’t need to know,  He does.
We need only pray, He’ll have his way.
We need only trust, He’s bigger than us.
We need a giant belief He’ll pull through.
We need a bit of grace to take us.
We need eyes for everlasting glory, not our own fleeting glory.
We need reliance on Jesus Christ.
We need praise, worship and thanks.
We need to return all glory to our maker.
We need to make it all about love.
We need wild faith.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


7 Ways: From Manic Mode to Peace

Manic-Mode to Peace

Pots and pans where flung everywhere. I didn’t really know what I was doing, except I knew dinner needed to get on that table, before the two screaming heads even more flipped a lid. Move faster, Kelly.

I tried to maneuver around the crumbs and grease that were splattered everywhere. I tried to manage a deep conversation with my husband while pulling the salmon out of the oven. I threw it on the stove, checked the hardness of the fish (yep…rock-solid, alright) and then proceeded to grabb the handle with my bare hand….Yeee-oww!!!!

I burnt the living-cells right off my palm of my hand.

I’ve decided, in manic-mode, I do dumb things.

I guess you could say this is a theme in my life.

Manic-mode at work: I’d rush so fast, I’d send the “I am so frustrated at my boss” email not to my co-worker two cubes over, but directly to him.

Manic-mode in the car: I pulled out so fast out of school, I crush metal like it’s nobody’s business. Car’s totaled.

Manic-mode with kids: I fear someone is going to fall in the bathroom, so I lean over to shut the door with a baby in hand and her toe gets slammed. It busts wide open. Baby gets stitches at the ER.

My heart longs for manic-mode, sometimes. I don’t know what is wrong with me? It’s like somehow I think I am more productive there, like the hot-flashes of anxiety are going to produce something, like more will get done and somehow I’ll end up being recognized as the shining star mom of the universe. It never happens.

What is it producing?  Burnt hands. Angry bosses. Ruined cars. Babies with stitches. Internal frustration. Residual guilt. Kitchens left half cleaned up because I’m either dealing with the likes of insurance agencies, ER rooms or burn marks. FAIL.

What is manic-mode producing in your life? Where do you see it show up? Why do you chase it?

I think I believe if I rush, the loud sounds of my life will hush and  I’ll make space for peace. Like, I’ll run to the destination real fast and then I’ll have time left over to chill there. To lay down. It doesn’t work that way, I’m learning.

“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Ex. 33:14

To make peace, it works much more like this:

  1. You ask God to be with you through everything.
  2. You trust him to be with you through everything.
  3. You don’t become a marathon sprinter.
  4. You look out for God to be with you through everything.
  5. you still don’t let yourself become a marathon sprinter.
  6. You notice God be with you through everything.
  7. You find some peace, and even some rest, through the process.

Why? Because He’s taking lead. The destination is not your destination, but God is the destination. And, when God is the destination, you’ve arrived.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


6 Verses: God Travels Ahead of You

God Travels Ahead

There is a huge ravine behind my house. If you make it down without falling or getting caught in a rabbit hole, you’ll find yourself at a playground. On most days, my kids longingly stare at it from our kitchen.

On a good sunny day, after rain storms are done and passed, I take the hike with them. As a good mom, or, at least, one who tries to be, I look for everything that could go wrong along the way. If I see a thorn bush, I pull it away before it snags them. If I see a bunch of rocks that may twist their ankle, I lead them in a different direction. If I see a huge ditch that might entrap them, I make sure to lift them over.

I go before my children… My eyes travel the path before them, so harm doesn’t as much befall them.

God does the same for us.

No matter what path we walk down, God is one step ahead. No matter what mountain we come up against, He is already climbing it. No matter what journey of uncertainty we encounter, God is 100 steps further. He’s laying out our path and preparing our steps. He’s flattening the land and preparing our journey. He’s uncovering our gold and laying it out for us.

He sees our way.

Sometimes, it seems, we believe we tread through this world, alone, like little boxcar children, trying to make it to the next meal. I’ve been thinking, this could not be further from the truth. We are always right next to God’s goodness.

Check out all the ways God goes before us:

“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8

‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf…Deuteronomy 1:30

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Psalm 139:5 (NLT)

For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard. Is. 52:12

I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. Is. 45:2

To Him who led His people through the wilderness, For His lovingkindness is everlasting; Ps. 136:16

God is famous for caring and preparing us for greater things. He walks ahead to fight the battles we fear we can’t win. He calms the seas we’re convinced we can’t beat. He softens the blows we worry will take us down. He knows our road. He understands our coming trauma. He knows how to lead us through it.

Do you know what this means? We can worry less.

Just as I opened up the right path for my kids, God is opening the right path for us. It is for good. It will strengthen us. It will help us. It will lead us in the right way. It will lift us above harm.

God is always a step ahead, even when life makes us feel we’ve been left behind. Be it a marriage that is going under, a financial trial that looks impossible to fix, a baby that never seems to come, an addiction you can’t seem to beat, a dream that never surfaces – no matter, he’s a step ahead, working on your behalf.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10


Why Faith Hurts Sometimes

Faith Hurts Sometimes

My son limped into the kitchen unleashing small screams. He looked like a dog with a crippled leg and whined like Poodle just freed from a jammed doggy door. Needless to say, any enjoyment, quiet or solitude that comes with morning coffee left, quickly. “I can’t walk. I can’t….mommy!”

All 40-pounds of him appeared, stumbled and reached out for me in agony.

I didn’t move, just smiled and said, “Good, Michael, God is answering your prayers.”

Now before you think I’m the most insensitive mom out there, which at times, I can be, let me tell you: Kid’s been praying for strength. He’s also spent hours the day before playing at a jump-zone, a rough and tumble get-all-your energy-out kid playground of the indoor variety. Kid was plain-and-simple – sore.

Often, when we pray for strength, we’re shocked by the means in which we get it.

I explained to him how muscles tear when pushed physically, but how they repair stronger. They’re torn, so they may be rebuilt with more power.

Likewise, when we pray for growth, strength or to look like Christ, we’re often torn in order to be rebuilt with more power.

What tears are you experiencing today? What might be breaking for God’s remaking?

Be not discouraged, the tearing starts the rebuiliding. What he’s pulling on, will become more beautiful in time. What He’s doing is not to hurt you, but to help you. What strength you’ve prayed for, is likely in process.

We can’t see it in the moment, because, in the moment, is a test of sorts, kind of like this:

(Jesus) said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”  He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. John 6:5-6

Jesus was building Philip’s faith muscle. He tested it to see if it was strong and then, by multiplying loaves and fish, he ripped his disbelief and made it whole.

He’s likely doing that with us too.

What might God be calling you to believe in?

Inviting you to see?

Tearing so he can make it even bigger, bolder and better for his name?

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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The Women We Want Our Daughters To Be

women daughters

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mommy, can I read something for all of us?”

From the backseat on the way home from school, my daughter couldn’t wait to share something from a book she’d checked out at the library.

“Okay, I need everyone to close their books and phones and listen.”

All the boys groaned. Isn’t it annoying when little sisters act like moms?

She read a verse to us from a little red devotional book. Then in her 9-year-old strong voice, she walked us through the explanation and application.

Later, she and I were heading across town for an errand. Again, she opened up her devotional and asked me if she could read to me.

Tears dripped down my cheeks as I listened. Because I remembered in that moment, there are a million ways I hope she grows past me…

Read the rest of this post at Angela’s site today, where she’ll be hosting the #RARALINKUP!


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