Purposeful Faith

Author - purposefulfaith

The War We Wage with Ourselves

Greatest Defense

One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck!  I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.

Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!

We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.

We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.

Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.

Our internal pictures tell a different story.

What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?

May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.

He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.

He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?

To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.

What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)

Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it. 

 

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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What it Means to Have a Good Father

Good Father

I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.

What does this mean?

To my heart it means:

  1. God inclines his eyes to watch me.
  2. He enjoys me.
  3. He is glad he made me.
  4. He wants me.
  5. He delights in giving to me.
  6. He will always help me.
  7. He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
  8. He sees me as a reflection of him.
  9. He cheers me on as I go the right way.
  10. He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
  11. He wants me to know I am safe with him.
  12. He believes in me.
  13. He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
  14. He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
  15. He speaks over me that I am good.
  16. He wants to be near me.
  17. He loves it when I spend time with him.
  18. He delights over me with singing.
  19. He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
  20. He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
  21. He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
  22. He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
  23. He freely gives the best of himself to me.
  24. He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship  through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)

What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?

Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.

And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.

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.

Just Step Out

Step Out

Often, it can be hard to love others authentically. Ever noticed that?

It can be hard to drop TV and take a meal to a sick friend’s house. It can be hard to make a phone call when you had a horrid day. It can be hard to write another blog post when you’re struggling to get by yourself.

But then you think about love. You think about who He is. Jesus.

You think of how he went out there, carrying what was back-breaking, burdensome and unbelievable. . . and he kept going. With us on his mind. With our sin on his back. With our pain that became his pain.

Jesus doesn’t give up on love. I am compelled not to either.

With this, I’ve been observing it…Love-in-action. Others have loved me a lot lately: They’ve taken me into their home when I almost had no home. They’ve made me food when I didn’t have much to offer. They’ve texted me even though I haven’t talked to them in years. They’ve just done stuff in the face of this post-Irma trial.

And in their actions I can see love is what it is all about. It’s about me, and not giving up. It is about me, and enduring. It’s about me, and believing God can, and will.

It is also about you. It’s about you and acting anyway. It is about you, and reaching out. It is about you, and responding kindly. It is about you, and giving to the person with nothing left to give. It is about continuing to speak authentically when the trials of life leave you breathlessly out of words.

I was thinking of all this today. And then a friend wrote me and said her life was changed because of my breathless writing. It wasn’t in a big way or even a big deal. But that’s how the responses to love usually appear – small, little, inconsequential. But somehow, I figure they’re not. The small thank yous? They all add up to something monumental and massive over all the years in the sight of God.

The bottom line to today’s post is this: We don’t know how much all our small breathless acts of love change — everything.

 

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.

Don’t Ever Give up

Give up

Today, I am compelled to tell you: Don’t give up.

Don’t. Don’t give up on the kid who won’t listen.
Don’t give up on a dream you’ve never accomplished.
Don’t give up on a hope that seems hopeless.
Don’t give up on the spouse that you think is too far gone for you to ever love.
Don’t give up searching out that great friend you’ve always longed for.

God sees all that you’re enduring. He knows the desires of your heart. He cares for each and every one of them.

And God loves you. I fear this sounds contrite, like wasted words and that somehow, like my daughter, you’ll respond: I know this already. Tell me something I don’t know. . .

But do you really know?

Jesus loving you and dying for you is the equivalent of him jumping in between you and an assault, pushing you out of harm’s way so he can take the blow, and entering a war that feels like a huge loss, all so that you can be lifted above it.

It is like him jumping into the scene of your life to fix it, permanently and eternally.

If he cared for you that much, doesn’t he still care for you that much — today?

Don’t give up: on Him, on you or on those around you.

To not give up means to keep going. It means to you can feel kind of icky, tired, or weary and worn, but you keep at it. Not working hard, or doing more, or pressing ahead, or sweating it out, but simply pursuing him with all your heart. It’s keeping your time intact with him who is love. It’s not letting life encroach on his territory.

This is not giving up.

Getting his love gives hearts new air to breathe, room to move, and a helping hand up.

Our high aim and our lifting hand always is Him.

“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” (Ps. 37:4-6)

 

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.

5 Ways to NOT get distracted from God

NOT get distracted

My son can’t keep his eyes on me when I talk to him. Granted, he is only six, but his small eyes wander left and right when I’m giving instruction. It drives me nuts.

“Hey boy, Mama is over here, not under the table…”

I hate it the most during those lean-in kind of conversations, the ones where I really need him to pay attention because I have something important to say. When his head starts spanning the ceiling, I just know he isn’t listening. I’ve lost him somewhere. It is usually hard to bring him back and get him to hear me.

Like my son, we can’t easily hear God when our eyes are off him.  We can’t easily follow what He is doing when we look left and right and all around.

We miss His directions. God may be standing in the center of our intersection called “life,” waving his arms, trying to tell us where to go. But if we have our head turned in other directions, thinking about random thoughts, annoyances, pestering people and pain-soaked problems, we won’t see what he is doing or saying to lead us.

So how do we keep our eyes on God so we can follow him? How do we focus our attention on his Word, on prayers and on his beauty so we find ourselves full of his joy?

I’ve mulled over this question long and hard, day after day, week after week and the more I consider it, the more I am finding these steps keep intimacy in this crazy world.

5 Ways to Keep Focus on God:

  1. Give yourself allowance. You have a human mind that does human things. It gets distracted. It wonders about random people. It notices ancillary objects. It tallies up its list of to-dos.Don’t hate yourself for getting off track. Just choose to get back on.
  2. Go back to where you last were with God. Example: If you are reading the bible and you find your mind has gone off another trail, return it back to where you last were.Pick up on the last place you remember being with God.
  3. Swap what you listen to. I watched a Nazi film last night. I couldn’t think about God, nonetheless sleep. But on the nights I pray before bed, I go to bed thinking, dwelling and at peace with God.Sometimes you have to swap what you watch or partake in.
  4. Ask for God’s help to stay awake to him.Then, act like it’s Christmas. Know that today, God has something good for you and you don’t want to miss it.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3

     5. Shut it all down. Literally.Shut down your phone, computer and your active-lifestyle. Pick a certain amount of time and call it off limits. Let no one, no how, no way encroach on that time with God. Then, during this time, refer to items 1-4 above.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Is. 26:3)

The more you practice these things, the more these things will seamlessly and effortlessly become part of your life. They’ll soak into your thinking, living and doing. . . and before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking with God far more often than you’re not.

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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When You Feel You’re Losing

feel your losing

Jesus is your victory. Your victory and your destiny. You are secure.

Because it is: Won and done. (Let these words take root in your mind when you forget)

Jesus won, is winning and will win. Period. Always. Forever. And on and on…for always.
If everything is against you, Jesus wins. Won and done.
If you see death to cancer. Won and done. One day, you’ll be healed on earth or in heaven as your every tear is wiped away.
If your husband left you. Won and done. Jesus will be right next to you, never leaving your side, while leading you to his best thing.
If you get every door slammed in your face. Won and done. God will be your defender and restorer. Nothing gets by him.
If you can’t see out of depression. Won and done. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
If you are hated. Won and done. Jesus loves you and will fill the deep desires of your heart.
If pain overwhelms you. Won and done. Greater is God’s love than the substance of anything in this world.

Always, Jesus wins. Won and done. Always. Always. Always. Honor God by returning to this truth, in every case, at all times, in every way. Don’t delay.

He won for you and his victory is done.

“For those who honor me, I will honor.” 1 Sam 2:30

This practice is critical, vital and eternal.

 

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.

One Thing you Can Do to Bring Peace

Bring Peace

A couple weeks ago we left our house to prepare for Hurricane Irma. There were so many moving parts. We had no idea when school would resume. My husband needed to take a business trip. The storm had no real direction, and we had people telling us to leave and which houses we could live at. A million decisions were thrown up in the air, with a storm barreling towards us.

And so many worries…would our car be okay? Would our place get flooded? Would our life ever return to normal? Would power take months to go back on? Would schools ever start up again? How could I get my manuscript done for the next week with a hard deadline on my shoulders?

Add to the ride screaming kids, a phone that was blowing up with texts, bad news after bad news and it all could add up to: too much.

My husband looked at me and said, “Kelly, we need to take things one day at a time.”

These words released me from the burden of knowing it all. They spoke to me: Kelly, it is okay to be where you are today. Just stick here, in today. . .you can figure out the rest later.

Inhale. Exhale. God has this.

Where do you need to “take things one day at a time?” How might keeping your thoughts in today prevent you from rushing into quick, sandy thoughts of tomorrow? Thoughts that want to sink you emotionally?

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mt. 6:34

What we have here, in this moment, is what God works with. It is what he impacts, as we trust him. It is what we feel peace with, as we address it. It is what calms us, as we know we did our part.  It is what sets us free from overwhelming and heartbreaking worry.

Let it go. You have full permission, today, to take things one day at a time.

 

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.

What Greater Safety Truly Looks Like

There is a homeless lady my kids love. She sits on the side of the road in a makeshift tent made out of trash bags, tarps and cardboard. Everyday, when we pass her on the way home from school, my kids scream out the window, “Hi, have a great day,” as we pass by.

They know her name because one day, my daughter thought we should bring her food. She thought carrots would be nice. My son thought flowers would be a good idea too. So, we bought carrots and flowers and delivered them to her. It was then we learned she had a name.

Linda. I can’t stop thinking of Linda right now. She had to leave the streets…probably by force. I hope she didn’t protest. Somehow, I imagine her not wanting to desert her carts of personal belongings. I imagine her crying because that block is where she’s always lived. But if Linda didn’t leave, she might be dead. Hurricane Irma planned to hit her, hard.

Linda likely perceived her stuff more valuable than her safety. And she probably didn’t think about how there was a better place for her.

We’re like Linda, too. We don’t want to leave “our heart stuff” behind for God’s soul-calming safety.

We don’t want to cling to the safety of what we know, forgetting the calm that God brings. We don’t want to stay in a marginal place, missing the greater place of growth God is calling us to. This is even riskier than staying where we are. To stay on our corner, clinging to the past, our faults, insecurities or worries, hurts not only ourselves but others.

We must leave our baggage behind to pick up God’s easier yoke. There is a transaction involved in this. There is a sacrifice.

I’ve certainly learned this. I could easily go through life paying no attention to what God is prompting. Or the greater love he is calling me to, the mission he’s set ahead, or the unneeded garbage he is calling me to leave behind. But I would lose so much. Everything, almost.

Left to the whimsies of Kelly Balarie, I’d be a woman in a storm who felt like she had no home. I’d be tossed to and fro, feeling powerless.

The letting go and going where God goes is safety and power. It is a powerful Christian life that permits God to decrease self, while increasing the Spirit. This woman realizes more and more she’s in love with her daddy. She sees his best beyond her worst. She uncovers his faithfulness.

What is better than that? What is a more worthy pursuit? A more honorable goal?

Every time God teaches us something and inches us in a new direction, it’s not because we are doing bad, but because we are doing good and because he loves us that much. He wants our full heart within the safe place of his arms, where no harm can touch us, because — when we let go of everything, we find him fully.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Mt. 5:5

Where is God calling you to step more fully out of your comfort zone and into his love? What if you were to believe he truly did have your best intentions in mind?

“See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps. 139:24

 

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.

Healing Inner Regrets

inner regrets

Have you ever done something you didn’t want to, and then regretted it?

I regret being a woman who desperately wanted men to like her. I regret not standing up for who I was. I regret not standing firm when people tried to tell me what to do.

Because I think all this produced a thick heart. Skin that is like cow hide.

And now I tend to not trust people easily, believe what they say, accept things without considering the strings attached or believe people will like me – for me.

I consider ulterior motives. I consider God’s ulterior motives.

As if he says to me:

If you aren’t good, I won’t be good to you.
If I don’t think you are serving me well enough, I’ll be distant from you.
If you don’t spend time with me, I am angry at you.
If you don’t give enough to me, I am over you.
If you don’t have something to offer the world, I’ll pass you over.

I am being frank with you today.

I am also convicted that hearts covered with protective skin are not God’s best working ground. He loves a supple heart that lays in his hands. One that, when he presses on it with just the slightest amount of loving pressure, responds.

So, I’ve forgiven those who never asked for forgiveness. I’ve asked God asked to soften my heart. And I’ve requested to hear his voice. God speaks to us today, something like this:

I won’t hurt you.
I don’t need anything back from you to love you.
I’ll love you as a good, pure and holy Father, forever.
I know where I am taking you. It is not to a place of harm or ridicule.
I don’t have plans to help and then hurt you.
It’s not what you do for me. It is what Jesus did for you.
If you take off what covers your heart, I’ll reach in and heal it.
I’ll grow you because I love you.
I care for hearts, including yours, with care.
You can trust me.

His perfect love casts out my fear.

 

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.

When You Meant to Follow Thru, But Don’t.

I was shocked when I got the email. My friend, Jackie, said, “We really need to pray for Jennifer.”

I wasn’t shocked she said we needed to pray; this I was fully aware of. I already knew Jennifer was headed toward dangerous, murky no-return waters. What shocked me was Jackie, one I considered maybe-connected to God, was telling me to pray.

And she busted me. I wasn’t praying a lick. Instead, I was tossing up my arms, doing nothing and giving God no chance to change a single thing.

It was Jackie, the maybe-connected-one-to-God who was praying. I was just sitting there.

Guilt dropped on me like a hammer. And so did the remembrance of many other things I didn’t do. . .

Like following through with a friend who came to church with me. I never made time to return to her house with love and the right words after that day.

Or being present for a friend dealing with a life near breakdown. I was too caught up in my own movements.

Or making the regular phone calls to the friends I know who are struggling in their marriages. I only saw my life.

Or taking a mom I met at my child’s school for coffee, like God prompted me to.  I got distracted with other things.

Or making the time to meet with the people God placed around me for a time of impact, such as now. I forgot about them.

When we only see our world, we miss God’s world. The one he intentionally set before us – for impact. We miss his higher calling.

God’s higher callings feel like taking a lower road. They feel like setting aside our stuff. They feel like remembering the least of these. They feel like doing something when you’re tired. They feel like acting, anyway.

What higher calling might God be setting before you, where you have to take the lower road?

There is no day better than the present day to move on what he’s set before you. Move, so one day, like me, you don’t look back and say, “Sorry God, I forgot to do so much.”

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Gal. 6:9

 

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.