Purposeful Faith

Author - purposefulfaith

Learning to Trust God

I didn’t push the girl’s sheet of paper. I didn’t. She was the one who kept inching her colored sheet over mine and trying to irk me all throughout art class. And despite my best efforts to ignore her, she wouldn’t stop. She did something else annoying too. She kicked me under the table. It was taking everything in me not to respond.

Until, I did. She pushed too far. So I screamed out in the middle of the elementary school classroom, “Stop it.” The girl barked to the teacher that I’d been pushing her sheet. But I hadn’t.

I got in big trouble. The girl sat there unscathed.  I sat in the punishment seat. The girl sat there smiling. I sat fuming. The girl sat in victory.

Where was my defender? Who stood up for me? Why didn’t God bring justice? I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

I still ask these questions, even as an adult.

Why? Why did all that happen? Where were you God? Why did I go down those roads? Where were you God? Why did I get hurt like that? Where were you, God?

When I look back and see God’s absence, it makes me believe He was negligent.

But was He?

While horrible stuff happened, it never kept me away from God’s love. While things went wrong, I still lived. While stuff hurt my insides, it never ruined me. While there were some close calls, I often squirmed right past.

Just because we can’t see God work doesn’t mean He isn’t working.

There is so much I can’t see in the moments when I believe He’s not defending me.  Like His hands holding things back, the angels He sends on my behalf, and the wisdom He pours down from high to help me understand things. Like the arms wrapping around me when I think I am alone, the heavenly court docket that has no record of my wrongs, and the road he reroutes to make sure I am take care of.

Don’t discount the Protector working in the unseen just because you can’t see Him.

Here I stand today. I may have fallen and felt alone yesterday, but I stand victorious in Christ. I stand wanted and in His love. I stand whole and wholly loved. It looks like God took care of me pretty well. He continues to. He does the same for you.

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

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The Trainwreck Called, “My Mouth”

my mouth

“Whatever you have said in the dark will be revealed in the light…” Lu. 12:3

I’ve said much in the dark. In the darkness of my mind, I’ve pointed fingers at others, judged their actions and sized up their issues. In the darkness I’ve wondered, “Why does she act so selfish? Who does she think she is, and why is she trying to show off?”

It is not the mouth on my face that goes off. It is the mouth in my mind that won’t shut up. This is damaging. Every time I point a finger at someone else (you know the saying) three more point back at me. Every time I consider myself better or worse than them, the damage boomerangs back. All of these thoughts set up impossible hurdles for my own mind to jump over as it pertains to relationships, goals and self-esteem. If you think badly about others, you’ll always be thinking, “What are they thinking bad about me?”

To add insult to injury, God is clear: What I say in the darkness of my mind will be revealed in the light. It will be revealed in the light of my life and it will be revealed in light before Him.

Do you tally up people’s wrongs in your mind? Do you lament that you are either horribly worse than someone else or miles better? Do you keep track of others’ value, Christianity, or intentions?

Jesus tells us: “…and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted on the rooftops to be heard.” Lu. 12:3

This verse is our help. We remember our every bad thought about another is a screamed proclamation before God.

Next time you think:

She is so blah, blah, blah….Imagine you screaming it from a rooftop, as you stand right before God.

I hate him and he is always being a jerk…Imagine you screaming it from a rooftop, as you stand right before God.

I am so much better than she is and she is a horrible motherImagine you screaming it from a rooftop, as you stand right before God.

Imagine yourself screaming it so loud that both God and she/he would hear. Imagine this, not to guilt yourself into doing things right, but to unite with God – and to come to terms with the reality of your words.  God is in front of us.  We have the ability to cling to His ways, not ours. To do this is to allow Christ’s face of love to change our face — to love.

To see God is to see a new way.

A way of forgiveness. Even for those who screamed insults at the cross, Christ forgives. He loves and is guiding us to a new way.

 

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.

“No Strings Attached”

No Strings Attached

We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.

After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.

It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.

And then someone took it to the next level.

A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.

If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.

I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.

As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”

May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3

Prayer:

Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.

About Kendra Broekhuis:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

 

When You Give Your Best Away

give your best

“Give Thanks.” That is what the mug said.

Looking at it, I considered the thought deeper. I hadn’t been giving a lot of thanks lately. Mostly just gripes to God about people, timelines and the endless cause of trying to keep my house clean. In reality, I’d forgotten about thanks.

So when I considered which of the mugs to give away, it was hardly shocking that I nearly heard God say, “Kelly, thanks is made to be given away.”

Here, a mug short, I picked up the “Give Thanks,” mug. I would give it away with a heart of thanks. . .

…for, thanks is meant to be given away.

And this is the heart of hospitality. You give because you are thankful. You receive and say thank you.

So when the ladies came to my house for the event (I told you all a couple of weeks ago, that I was completely nervous about) and they selected little mugs to take home, I nearly kissed my favorite mug goodbye. Except. . . I didn’t.

When the event was over, the mug still remained on my counter. After texting the group to ask who left it, I got no response. So what I gave away in thanks, I kept.

What we give away to God, in thanks, we also keep…

We keep a smile on our face when we think of that precious moment of joy.
We keep a memory of a moment that we will treasure forever.
We keep a belief that God really will come through.
We keep a hope that God really can do the miraculous time and time again.
We keep a heart that is willing to change because God’s results are great.
We keep a fresh perspective on how much we have.

We give: thanks. We keep: everything. God doesn’t take away our cup; He fills it.

 

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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Really, Do Not Worry

I have got so much to do and I don’t know how I can ever take care of everything because there is not enough time in the day plus I can’t even begin to get on top of that laundry and the family needs clothes and I wish I was a better organizer…it seems everyone else has buckets and labels for all the things they have so that everyone knows where things are located…and I can’t seem to keep track of where the scissors went…plus I am hardly making dinners, most nights it is quick-eats, not gourmet dinners and I need to get my kids more nutrients because they need to have strong bones and I really should be taking my daily vitamins but I am not even doing that and what if when I get old my bones crack in half and I am hunched over and have to spend the rest of my life sitting in a lawn chair or strapped to a recliner…

“Don’t worry about such things. These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers all over the world, but your Father already knows your needs.” Lu. 12:29

God knows our needs.

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need.” Lu. 12:30

Seeking the Kingdom first = Getting everything you need.
Letting go of the mind-rubbish consuming you to let God’s plans consume you = Getting everything you need.
Seeing the world as God’s drawing board and you as the paintbrush = Getting everything you need.
Getting love loosened from you and into the world = Getting everything you need.
Keeping your eyes on the kingdom of God, versus the kingdom of your every-waking-need= Getting everything you need.
Being watchful through prayer and diligently pursuing God = Getting everything you need.

God knows what we need. He has a good plan to give it to us. We need not worry about our fiefdom; it is all about His kingdom.

 

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 To End a Friendship?

When do you end a friendship?

This is both a hard question to ask, and perhaps, one we’ve all been confronted with. Are there times, reasons or seasons to pull away from a friend? And should we feel horribly guilty about it?

I stood facing exactly this type of decision only three weeks ago. I liked the girl, but she had been giving me far too much detailed advice about topics I never asked her input on. This annoyed me. It was as if she was rewriting my life with a pen I never handed her. It was as if she was telling me a list of things I should improve, but the hard part was she didn’t even know my story or what God was doing behind the scenes. She was quick to talk and slow to ask questions of understanding.

My finger was pointed at her. And my mind kept circling the thought, “Guard your heartCreate distance from her.”

This meant avoid her: Avoid confronting her. Avoid the problem and avoid dealing with the repercussions of having a real discussion.

But God bless my husband. He essentially told me, “Love has hard talks.”

It does? So I talked with her.

Which I’m so glad I did, because if I didn’t I never would have seen:

-How my wounds made me react quickly to her words.
-God had things for me to learn through this discussion.
-Her heart was in the right place.
-God has deeper healing for me.
-There are safe boundaries that can be set up.
-I am not always right.
-Communication about what works and what doesn’t is vital to any relationship.
-We both have good goals in mind.
-The enemy is sneaky and he loves to create division.

I am not perfect, and neither are my friends. I haven’t always been a good or an enduring friend but I am learning to give people the benefit of the doubt.

So to answer the question, “When do you end a friendship?” I don’t have all the exact answers and there are far too many nuances to explain in black ink…but I do know: you never ditch people like trash. That is for sure.

You talk and you tell. You love and love some more. You give and accept grace. You listen and you learn. You dive in and you uncover. You persist and listen to God’s direction.

You take the risk, even when you want to turn your back and walk away. Sure, there may be times God leads you to go a different path. But, before this point, you enter the difficult spaces and get real. You seek to understand.

Take a hard-learned lesson from me.

Prayer: God, I want to be a good friend. I want to be a person who is slow to anger, quick to listen, patient and kind. Grow me in this. Show me how to communicate well. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. 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.

Invite More of Jesus In

“While we were still sinners…” Ro. 5:8

Take notice, the line above does not read…
“While we were trying really hard to improve…”
“After we had started to get wise…”
“Once we read the book of John three times…”
“As soon as we looked like Mary, not Martha…”
“After a huge and long prayer that really showed God you loved Him…”
“After we proved we would have Christian value for the future…”
“Because you did better things than the other woman…”

No. While you were a sinner. . . while you had dirty knees and an unclean heart, while you still were doing that horrible blasted thing you always do, while you brought nothing to God on your own…right then, Jesus chose to die for you.

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” 1 Tim. 1:15

Jesus, sans sin, saves sinners. Lamb of the world. King of Kings. Lord of Lords. Lion of Judah. He came (and got) what he was after: our sin and our hearts. What we hate in us, Jesus annihilates. He throws it as far as the east is from the west, and remakes us into His image. Glory.

What love is this?!

Right now, love calls you deeper. Will you respond? What must you clear out so Love can make His way in and renew your spirit? So that you can abound in freedom?

No matter how unworthy, messed up, horrible or guilty you feel, there is nothing that can separate you from Jesus’ love. There is no amount of feelings that can devalue the price Jesus paid on the cross. There are no lengths that can’t be erased by his grace.

Invite Jesus in, no matter how badly you feel about things. No matter how wrong you may have been. No matter how bad that thing from the past really was. No matter how hurt you feel. No matter how badly you’ve been sinning.

Jesus will take it, then remake you. It is that simple.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Ro. 5:8

He loves you.

Prayer: Jesus, all of you is what all of me needs. Everything else is of no merit in comparison to your glory and grace. Fill me with you and lead me in your ways. Thank you for the price you paid, to love me. I love you so very much. I confess, (share with Jesus here). I need your help (share more with Him here). What do you have for me, God? In Jesus’ Name, I pray. 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.

This Person Taught Me a Huge Lesson

There’s an unsaid celebrity who said unsaid things. I don’t want to say much about this person because: 1.) I’m not a fan of gossip. 2.) I do not know this person’s heart 3.) I bless her and hope she gets all her heart desires (aka. Jesus). 4.) The point of this story is not really about her, but about me. (and perhaps, you)

However…the whole story really spoke to me. Here’s the clandestine background you need to know: This individual is at the top of her game. She is loved. She has been beyond successful in every single and solitary sense of the word. The world stops and gawks, “Wow, look at her. She has it all.”

Now, you’d think with so many awards, cheers, and recognitions, this person would know: I am amazing. I am so happy. I have all I need.

Yet, in a recent report this person lamented something the equivalent of, “Waa…my friend didn’t call me today to tell me I did a good job.”

When I heard this person say this, I considered it deeper. It is like an Olympian saying, “I didn’t hear the 4-year-old clap for me, so I must be no good.” Or like a professor becoming furious that on the first day of class that no one stood up and cheered for him. Or the genius saying, no one was happy for me that I completed the Spokane Post crossword puzzle.

And here I realized: If you are always looking for people to recognize you, you always will. You won’t just reach the pinnacle of success one day and say, “Well, looky here…now I need nothing from anyone. I have arrived at happiness…”

This just isn’t happening.

The truth is if you base your worth off of others’ opinion, it will never stop. The ferris wheel keeps going. Sure you may rise to the top because you’re getting seen, but before you know it, it swoops to the bottom and you are in obscurity, feeling bound with insecurity. Then, you lament that your husband didn’t cheer for you as you finished your bike ride.

We can undo this, you know?

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mk 12:30-31

What if we weren’t as much bound up by what we do as how much we love?

If who you are is loved and what you do is love others, how can mankind ever block a goal like that? His love sets us free.

Prayer: God, it is not trophies, metrics or applause that I serve, but you. Fill me with your love, so I can pour it out. Equip me with your heart, so I can enjoy it above all. Do a mighty work in me, but let it be all about you. Everything else pales in comparison. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.

 

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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Stay On Your Course

course

“Mommy, I can’t race. She’s ahead of me on the track,” my son said.

“She is?”

I looked left and right, but in neither direction could I spot her. I knew she was halfway looped around the track, on the other side of the building.

My son couldn’t see her either. There was nothing blocking him from charting his own path: she was enough ahead so that he wouldn’t see her and he could enjoy the ride at his own pace. And this thing wasn’t even a race.

Why was he so concerned with her? Why am I so concerned with them?

These are legitimate questions.  Why am I so concerned with the track of others when God has me on my own path? Why do I look to let other people’s courses direct mine?

I told my son it is all about perspective. He could look at his journey around the loop as:

1.) Being behind his sister 2.) Being in front of his sister 3.) Being on his own unique track with God.

When we fail to stay on our track with God, we tend to decide we are either ahead or behind. This is where pain settles in. “Ahead” tends to lead to performance anxiety, arrogance or heavy burdens, while “behind” feels like disappointment, dejection and demotivation.

Which track do you tend to be on?

The best track is: with God. God has a journey marked out for each of us. It doesn’t matter if someone is a few miles ahead, tracking their own way. You track yours. I track mine. We each want to keep space (by grace) to see what God is doing as we travel our road. Looking at others takes our eyes off God’s next best thing He is about to do.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Heb. 12:1

Prayer: God, I want to be on your road. I want to race with you. Let me not look left and right, but keep my eyes on You. Fill me with peace and an immense joy as I go. In Jesus’ Name. 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.

A Word on Other’s Advice

What is advice?

It is that which makes you feel guilty that you aren’t on the right track.
It is that which pressures you into doing something you don’t really feel right about.
It is that which tends to speak over God’s voice.
It is another person’s perceived answer to your deep heart problem.
It is unsolicited input that creates average output.

What opinions are coming at you? Are you reliant on them?

I spent years reliant. I needed your answer to my problem. I didn’t believe in myself much. I didn’t know if I could trust myself enough to not make a fool of myself. I thought you knew better than me. If I had an idea, I would change it if yours was different.

I was horribly pulled in every direction and completely unsure of my life-path.

Until, one day, I realized: I was on man’s course, not God’s.  Maybe this is the case for you too?

Little by little, voice by voice, we can become so swayed by others’ insight that we have no sight to see God’s unfolding plan for us. We hear all the swirling voices but miss God’s.  We may be sure we are on the right path, only to have someone else doubt us.

This is why prayer is paramount.

Praying hearts understand this truth: you can ask and expect God to answer. Often He answers by giving you peace. Peace for a specific road you want to travel. Or, He answers with a random word through a person (it often doesn’t sound like advice, but a random comment that strikes you). Or, He answers with a verse in your mind.  Or, He answers by putting a situation right in front of you.

The vital component to the answer is waiting. When we wait on God, we create space for the move He wants to make. Then, we gain certainty.

What advice does your heart need to turn away so you can turn toward God in prayer and follow Him?

Prayer: God, we want to hear you first and foremost. Soften the loud voices around us so that what comes through is your heart and your heart only. Give us a view of our best path. Lead us, with your arm around us. Grant us peace and certainty in our walk. In Jesus’ Name. 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.