Purposeful Faith

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Mom, You’re Fat

She said (with all the wisdom that 5-years brings a girl): “Mom, how come other moms have bodies that go straight-down? And, you’ve got a body that goes out on the sides? Your back side is big too.”

I said: “Hmm…Madison, that’s true. Some moms do have bodies that go straight down.”

She said: “Mommy, you’re fat.”

I said: “Oh really?”

I fretted: Maybe I really am – fat?

Yes. My sides are bigger. My hips are larger. My silhouette is more pear-shaped than stick-shaped. She’s right about that. In this moment, I almost wanted to rush to the mirror to check myself out. Maybe I’d become disillusioned about own figure? Perhaps I was a whole lot bigger than I’d realized. I do see myself every day. Those kinds of things can inch-up on a woman.

She said: “Mommy, what made you fat?”

How does one answer this…?

I made me – fat?
God made me – look fat?
I am not – fat?

Here, I thought back to how she didn’t want me to hug her in class the other day. She pushed me away. Was it because — I’m fat? Maybe I need to go on a workout plan. Maybe I need to stop those afternoon ice-cream digs for peanut butter cups. Maybe I need to walk some more…

And then reality hit me, much like her words: God could care less about fat. Indeed, He wants me to love His temple, but, where man looks at our outsides; God looks at our heart.

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

“Madison,” I said. “God made us all shapes and sizes. He loves all of us the same. It is not how we look that makes us lovable, better or more valuable, but Christ inside of us that makes us special.”

Who knows if I got through to her. It’s a scary thing to send a girl out in this raging pressure-filled world. But, perhaps, I can get through to you and me today…

Here are my thoughts about this:

  1. We’re not a product of our pants-size, but the product of God’s love dwelling inside.
  2. We’re not conformed to the image of this world, but we’re being transformed into the beautiful likeness of Christ.
  3. Grace abounds.  If we need help, He who IS help has more than enough help to help us.
  4. Internal or external insults can’t stick to us when we’re covered by the full acceptance, love, and approval of Jesus.
  5. Jesus is not in the business of weighing us, He’s in the business of pouring out the full weight of His love on us.

In God’s love, even if there’s an extra 5 or 50 pounds we need to shed, we remain: wanted, love, kept, desired, approved of, accepted, valuable and full of Jesus.  God looks at us with love; He doesn’t spend one ounce of time hating our outsides. And, if He doesn’t, why should we?

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Is weight a battle for you? Or, are you going through a different kind of battle in your life? A battle of discouragement, disappointment, frustration, loneliness, fear, worry or doubt? You may be interested in reading my latest book, “Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.” Many women have found liberation, restoration, renewal and life-change from its pages. I believe, God will do a mighty work as you read it. XOXO!  Check it out today!

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Only God Can Change A Heart

I feel convicted. It is easy to read God’s word and to say, “Yep, that thing right there is what I need to do…”. Yet it is quite another thing to do it. It is easy to develop a three-step plan for improvement, but it is hard to see it through. It is easy to remind yourself of all the ways you really need to change. And then to never find change.

At home, as a mom, I’ve recognized 3 things that need to change:

1. I give in to my children when they ask repeatedly for something.

2. I desperately avoid paths of resistance to keep everyone happy.

3. I have a hard time setting boundaries because I feel guilty.

Friends, I guess I feel a little angry at myself that I haven’t changed these things already. That I haven’t recognized them and reworked them. That I still struggle. That I cause issues at home sometimes. That I can’t stand it when people feel unhappy or angry at me.

I know I am wrong; I am a pushover. I am disappointed in myself.

Maybe you feel like me; disappointed in how you are, what you are doing or where you are today. Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re going to stop cussing, start praying or you’re 100% going to speak nicely now. Or that you’re going to get yourself to where you want to go.

Are we justified to feel this way? To “get our self where we want to go”? To “work up” some sort of inner-heart conversion?

Only God can change a heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

Notice:
– God gives us a new heart.

– By his work, he removes the stone.

– The Spirit, in us, moves us to follow God’s decrees and laws.

Only by a work of God can we work-out any real and lasting life change.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Ps. 127:1

So where does this leave us? In prayer and with faith.

God will complete the good work He has begun in us. (Phil. 1:6) We no longer need to be angry at ourselves but 100% trustworthy in the Saviors saving work, that is at work within us.

 

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The Power of Our Words

My mom was visiting from another state. Because of this, I had the whole day planned out. We’d take bike rides (she loves biking), via the scenic route and then stop off at a waterside hotel. The day would be perfect, or so I thought…

Finally, the special day arrived. Mom and I sat down at the waterfront restaurant. Although we only had a limited amount of time to eat, because she was flying out soon, we thought we could make the restaurant work.

The waitress approached and, in summary, said, “It is an issue you all are here. We don’t open until later. I could see if they could get you some food, but you really have to tell me what it is you want. What sandwiches would you want?”

We told her the options we were interested in.

“What about something less difficult? A salad?”

We gave her a few more options.

She went on, “I really need to know what you want because it is going to take me about 10 minutes to walk up three flights of stairs to get an answer from the chefs on this. And they just finished up making breakfast. And they may need to know which things you want so we can figure out what you can have and what you can’t.”

With every unleashed detail of her backstory, the more I felt like a burden. I wish we weren’t here. Maybe we should just go. She seems frustrated. I don’t want to cause an issue.

Yet, as she continued on…I started to think of how I often am just like her. If I have a hard day, I tend to tell my husband the hundred and one things that led up to it. If I’m talking with a friend and want to share an issue, I also convey the nitty gritty annoyances that were included in it, even if it takes a while to convey.

Yet, I don’t believe grace talks like the waitress or I tend do. Grace doesn’t unleash every negative line, every belabored detail, every issue, every complaint, every trauma. Grace considers the ear of the listener. It is a blessing to the hearer, rather than a drain on them.

This doesn’t mean that the tough-stuff didn’t happen (the 3 flights of stairs, the 10-minute walk, the little hiccups during the day); it means love chooses to leave the person feeling built-up, rather than bummed-out after the talk.

How? You ask yourself 3 things before you talk:

1. Will it profit the listener if I speak this?

2. Would Jesus talk like this?

3. Do my words honor God?

I don’t point out the waitress to judge her, but to learn a little bit more of how I act myself. I’m learning: Words of grace often don’t include every painful detail. They get to the heart of the story in a way that still honors and uplifts the listener, at almost all costs.

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Eph. 4:29

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The Heart of Christ

If Jesus was to write a note to you, here is what I think He might say:

It was a hard fight, but well worth it. I have you now. To pay the price for you, was my honor. To go those lengths for you, was important to me. To not give up on you, is actually part of my DNA. I don’t give up on daughters. I don’t forsake those I love. I can’t.

And, I never will. This is why, I want you to know, dear daughter, that you can trust my promises. I did not make them to break them. I did not come to earth and say things to never follow through.

“God is not a man, that He should lie…” (Nu. 23:19)

My character is not disappointment, abandonment or rejection. If you’re living those things, can I tell you something? That is not of me. If it is not “of me” why are you carrying it?

You can give those things to me right now and banish them in you. Just as I absorbed every nail, I can absorb your every pain, trauma or feeling that has captured you for far too long. I’ll take it all for you. My body was broken, so that your’s might find healing.

“And by (my) stripes[c]  (you are) healed.” (Is. 53:5)

I carried what you were never meant to carry, so that you might live life abundantly.

“I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (Jo. 10:10)

Can you see? What I have for you?

I really am as good as you hope I am. You don’t have to be scared that I am not as good as you wish I am. Or, act pious so that you can finally feel like you’ve earned or warranted attention, accolades or affirmation. This is not the way of love. This is the way of conditional love. That is not of me.

I have unconditionally laid down my life so that you, as a child of God, could unconditionally rest in my gift of grace.  If you’ve never done that before, today is your day. Come and hear more about who I really am.

I wait for you…

Love,

Jesus

 

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A Note About You

May the words I believe Father God would love to speak to you — may they unshake the deep places of your heart and speak life to you (don’t miss all the verses at the end of it too) …

Dear child,

You are mine. Always. From the very beginning, you were mine. Before I fashioned the earth, you were mine. I thought of you. knew you then and I know you now. I take delight to think of you. I get excited when you want to draw near to me. I find pleasure in your presence with me. I am not afraid of your realities. Nor do I want to run away from them or tell you that, when you bear them, they are too much. I find interest in your interests.

Who do you think I am?

I always have your best in mind. Being over it all, I see it all, know it all and handle it all. Even what you can’t understand, will one day come to light before your eyes. Then, you’ll understand. Then, it will all make sense. You will come to see I am good.

Did you know, you can choose to trust that now?

It brings me pleasure when you do. It pleases me when you trust me by choice. When, in uncertainty, you ask your questions. When you follow me, even though you don’t know, really, where you are going. I am not thrown off when you are thrown off. I am not distant because you’ve been. I won’t ditch you because you haven’t done everything – just right. I am better than that.

Do you know who I AM?

Receive my grace in a time of need. Accept my hand of help. Trust that when you are weak I am strong.

I always believe in you. Because I see Christ in you. His goodness is my righteousness. I put that inside of you.

Do you realize what this means?

Who can stand against you, when Christ is in you? What can topple you when the light of the world is your core? Dwell on these kinds of things and you will find strength. Consider me, empowering you and you will become strong.

I know, at times, the going has been tough. It was that way for Jesus too. But, just as He didn’t give up, don’t you give up either.

Love,
Your daddy…who cares so much more than you know.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5)

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zeph 3:17)

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)

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When I lost a Little Faith in God

It’s a horrible thing to lose something. I hate it when I can’t find my phone. My husband will be waiting in the car, with the kids buckled in behind him, while I have to “run back in” to find it. I always put my phone in the oddest spot: a shelf to the left, under the covers on my bed or on the corner of a bathroom counter.

To be at a loss of a very important thing is super frustrating. Even more frustrating, the powerless feeling that you don’t know how to go about putting things back together again.

For a bit, I felt like I misplaced faith. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or anything like that. It’s just I didn’t really believe He had good stuff for me or that I could trust in His goodness to pull through. After a series of disappointments where I expected Him to show up one way, I guess, I became upset when He showed up a different way.

So, I stopped being as tender to Him. I let a little bit of calloused skin cover my heart. I met with God, but only let Him approach me — so-deep.

Wondering what happened to my wild-belief and strong-faith, where anything is possible. I dove back into Hebrews 11 this morning to see if God wanted to bring something back to life.

“Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God…”

Yep. I got that covered. I believe there is a God.

“…and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

I “must” believe He rewards me?

To believe God “rewards me” feels indulgent, selfish and it induces guilt in me. Isn’t faith supposed to be about all I give Him – what I do, how I love Him, reading the bible with Him and loving others on His behalf?

Yet, God hones in on this— “Kelly, I want you to believe when you sincerely seek me out — I am going to reward you.”

Faith is not only coming to God, or doing His work, receiving and expecting His reward too. We are not old rag dolls, who God uses to take advantage of to get His way or to use up and then throw out. We are children, daughters, of a Father who loves us and wants to take care of us. His heart, when we meet Him, when we trust Him, when we long for Him, when we find Him — is to reward us. It is to give — to renew, replenish, restore and reinvigorate.

When we seek Him, we’ll find Him and He’ll reward us.

Something about this idea — speaks so deeply to my heart that: God is good.

 

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When a Good thing becomes Not-So-Good

Any dream, devoid of Jesus, becomes a nightmare. Any effort, apart from what God inspires, becomes self-defeating work. Any accomplishment, no matter how great it looks, done by performance leaves you fearful, desperately afraid you may fall flat in the future.

I was struck by these thoughts as I read singer Michael Buble’s words in this article:

‘I realised that for many years I couldn’t believe I was on the same stage as my heroes, that I was sharing a microphone with Tony Bennett or [Canadian pianist and singer] Diana Krall. I couldn’t believe I was looking across at someone like Paul McCartney, and I’d be saying things like, “It’s hard to get here, but my God it’s harder to stay here.” 

‘But then I woke up and thought, “After ten years of trying to get here and five years of being scared it would go away, I think I can enjoy it.”’

There were people in my business life saying, “If you hadn’t done this or that, or you’d written a better song, tickets might be selling quicker.”

‘I started to take all that on board.”

“Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Ps. 127:1)

In some ways, I think I’ve subscribed to wanting to be successful. To maintaining an image. To vanity.

I perform. I feel the need to do things better than last time. I sometimes incline to impressing people to be accepted. I try to make people happy so as not to let them down. I go back and count up the things I could have done better.

But, at what cost?

Who am I performing for?

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mt. 16:26)

There’s no real gain without God.

And so, this gives my heart space today. Space to reconcile with God. Space to hear Him. Space to let go. Space to ask for discernment as to the next steps. Space to just “be”. Space to know him more. Space to realize that once you hit one plateau you feel an obligation to get to the next one. Space to be honest about my motives. Space to uncover God’s heart in me. Space to not be afraid of what it is God is calling me to. Space to become free. Space to be me. Space to grow. Space to uncover. Space to breathe.

What is God calling you to? Where do you feel an obligation to perform, to put on a show or to prove to man you are worthy? Might you consider giving yourself some space to find God’s love between your fast-paced steps of fear?

He wants to talk with you; I’m sure of it.

 

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3 Ways: Be in Christ & Change your Life

You are inside God’s love.

It’s an easy thing to forget, I know. We forget things that we are inside of often. For instance, how often do we think, “I am in the system,” or “I am inside the state of ___.”

We rarely consider where we are – although we should. Because when you realize positionally where you are, it situationally reframes the world around you.

What needs reframing in your life? Are you aggravated at a boss? Discouraged at your lack of initiative? So busy you can’t even consider God? Demoralized by the words of people around you? Unsure about the direction you should head? Feeling depressed or powerless to change your circumstances.

Remember where you are. Realize positionally that you are in God’s love to change situationally – everything.

When you are inside God’s love, you realize you are: H.I.S. You dwell on the fact you are H.I.S.

You are:

1. Hidden in Christ.

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

If you accepted Christ, in Him (inside all His glory, power, honor, might, strength, wisdom) your life is now hidden. You don’t have to fear the future, because you can trust in His providence to change everything.

2. Invincible in Battle.

“Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle.” (Ps. 24:8 NLT)

If you are in Christ, hidden in Him, then  – because of Him – you actually become invincible in battle. This is powerful.  The King of Glory can go where He wants, in a way that is invincible to the enemy of your life. Take a moment to receive this truth in your mind. Don’t gloss over this point.

3. Secured as you trust.

“Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you.” (Phil. 2:1 GNT)

In Christ, you are strong. In Christ, love comforts you. In Christ, you get everything you need to face whatever mountain stands against you.

You will not be wavered, but full of Christ. You will not be taken down, but covered in his love. You will not give up, but stand firm.

Friends, you are H.I.S. Put your trust in Him. Dwell on these three points. Situationally, you’ll find things radically change. Keep hope and find yourself, in Him.

 

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When Feelings are Overwhelming

Feelings can be frightening, overwhelming a heart to the point of desperation and misery. Or prisons, entrapping one to past experiences, traumas or memories.  Often they become future proclamations, declaring over us, “What was, always will be. You’ll never escape this emotion.” Feelings, on the other hand, can be amazing, liberating and soul-rejuvenating. Just think of the best day of your life!

What do we do with them?

Up, down and all around – they move like the wind. Like a hurricane or an underground rocking that shakes the foundation of who you are. I get all this. I know how anger has made me act, in days of old. I remember getting all up into my sisters face. And the feelings of self-annoyance I perpetually lived with. The depression that made me feel like there was no good way out of life.

Feelings can be fun, or no fun. They can be old and then haunt us again.

Yet, just because they show up on our doorstep doesn’t mean we have to answer the door so they stay forever. We are not obligated to say, “Come on in and make yourself at home.”

I fear some of you have done this. Sadly, now old feelings are cramping your good style. They’ve spread out all over the space of your soul, heart and mind, stealing your attention on God, negating God’s good plan for your life and telling you that there’s no way you can be enough.

People ask me what to do with “feelings”?

Well, I think when we see them at our doorstep, we peep out the side window and first acknowledge them. We allow them and we even bring them to God. There he is again, “Mr. Disappointment” I see him there, trying to get in. God, what do you think about this? What does your word say about hanging out with this emotion for too long?

Then, with wisdom, we decide whether or not they can sit in our house for long periods of time.

We can do this by asking ourselves a few questions:

1. Are these feelings going to cause me to dwell on what is “true, noble, right, pure, lovely,  admirable, excellent, praiseworthy” or lesser things? (Phil. 4:8)  Are they leading me to life or death?

2. Are they reinforcing God’s truth or are they backed by lies?

Example: If God says he is “for us”, we would not be wise to dwell in hopelessness that believes, “God is not for me.”

3. Are they helping me to love God (and others) with all my heart or do they cause me to pull away from this?

If we’re called to do all things in love, anything contending against it should be heart-checked.

Friends, we don’t have to declare our initial feelings as “bad”,  ignore them or hate ourselves for them. However, we do need to see them for what they are, quickly, and make moves to let Godly-facts take precedence over wavering-feelings.

Why? Because sadness soon turns into isolation. Rejection soon turns into depression. Anger soon turns into a division. Loneliness soon turns a bottle. You get the picture.

Don’t make a long-term resident of a feeling that should only be seen as a passing-by door-to-door salesman. Yep, Kelly sees you there wanting to sell a whole bunch of stuff, but God’s got a better word than you. She’s listening to truth, over feelings. And letting that be her guide…

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When You Have to Forgive, Again!?

The problem with forgiveness is when you let things go, only to have “that person” go and be offensive again. That’s why I don’t like forgiving. It makes me feel like I am giving someone a green pass to hurt me again. It seems if I let them off the hook they won’t have to watch themselves. It seems they’ll have removed the burden-of-improvement removed. They’ll have no feelings of guilt causing them to change.

This is the mental theology I’ve created around the “benefits of unforgiveness.”

Recently, a person I forgave did something really in-my-face. It felt a little arrogant. A little I’ll show you anyway. The second it happened, feelings of hurt resurfaced.

My mind returned back to the “benefits of unforgiveness” list. In this I decided: I can be a little short with this person. I can avoid them now. I can internally pick apart their wrongdoings.  

So, I began judging their actions. They’re wrong. They’re rude. They’re prideful. 

…Until I got convicted.  I am the one boiling with hatred. I am the one deciding exit-paths from love. I am the one judging.

If God gave me no magnifying glass into another person’s heart, how can I know what they are doing?

They’re “offense” could have been:

1. Unintentional
2. Derived from their own pain.
3. A prompting by God to follow through a certain way (in my case, it didn’t have direct sin tied to it).

I remembered how Paul used to tell so many churches at the beginning of his letters, “Grace and peace to you” (2 Cor. 1:2). I wonder if he did that not only for the general church folk, but if he also extended these words, with wisdom, to those who may rub him wrong?

I tried it with the person who faced me, I said, “God, grace and peace to that person.” As I did, I noticed that I not only felt unburdened by their issues, but I also felt willing to receive that same grace and peace for myself.

I think Paul was onto something…we all need grace and peace. Then, we can extend it to others.

Grace doesn’t make wrongs right. It extends to people the very thing, even we, don’t deserve. Just like Jesus did for us.

Are you Battle Ready? Learn more about the book,“Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.”


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