Purposeful Faith

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When You Hate How You Look

Hate How You Look

It’s the last thing you want to do on a day where you need to do everything, and hardly want to do that. But, there I found myself, at the drug store posing half-heartedly in front of a white pull-down curtain. I needed a passport photo.

Mugshot.  Mugshot- was what ran through my head he clicked. That – and the idea that I really should have put my hair down and tried to improve myself a bit, like most moms do. Most moms throw on the lipgloss. Most moms might adjust their hair rather than keeping it in this weird outdated bun look. Most moms might try to smile a little bigger.

Not me. I was tired. Daughter woke at 3 AM with a wet bed. My eye is still not done with pink eye (what are you supposed to do – throw out every last inch of makeup?). Husband is gone all week and I am womaning the house. So, yes, when the “click” happened, well, my face? It didn’t really happen that much.

I just stood there.

He finished the job.

I looked at the photo.

And saw what I am fully convinced must be the worst mug shot ever of me. It was as bad as those pre-jail photos – you all know what I am talking about. It’s the one we all see on TV – “And…today, a mom went rogue in CVS”. The image shoots up on screen. We all know it. The light is bad, the face looks horrible, the smile is gone and the woman looks like death just visited her.

This was me. Bags under eyes. Eye red. Smile gone. And, to add to all this, an outshoot of hair wanted to show off right above my ear. How does this even happen, anyway?

The picture is not cute, not cute at all, I thought as I stood outside the drug store contemplating whether to go back in and hassle the photo guy until he made me beautiful, photo-shopped, wrinkle-less, perfect and all that I ever dreamed of being 8:00 am on a Wednesday morning.

But, I didn’t. I just stood there. Why? Because on my heart was this weird inclination of revelation. Like God wanted to do something with me and this photo. So, although I almost walked back in the store 4 times, I didn’t.

If I’ve learned anything in my short life it is this: You don’t want to turn down God, when He’s working on something.

Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine if Jesus turned down his role. “Change of plans, I’m not dying on the cross.”

Nope. Not good.

With this in mind, I try to stay on God’s path and when I hop off, I fight with all my might to get back on. So, I just stood there on the sidewalk – a freak with a photo – and stared at it. Two steps to the door, two steps back.

Come on, God….any time now.

Friend, maybe, like me, the ugly thing you can’t get through, God is trying to speak through…

And finally, it came to my heart: Kelly, on your worst day, on your ugly days, on your tired days, on your worn days, on your pain-stricken days, on your unsure days, on your bad hair days, on your I-don’t-have-a-smile-days – still, Kelly, I love you. 

I love that picture.
I love your realness.
I love your wrinkles.
I love you.
You don’t need to be more for me.
I don’t love you less when you look less or appear less.
I choose you – just like that – eye bags, red-eye, smileless and all… 

When you see that image, imagine me, wanting you – in all your ugly-, frumpy- and grumpy-ness. 

So, I took that square photo, tucked it into my bag and walked to the car. I’d lie if I didn’t tell you I gasped at it one more time on my way home. I did.  But, I also let that passport stand for what it really was – a reminder: No matter where I go, I always am in God’s love.

I’ll look at this image again. And again. And, my prayer – for when I do – is this: God, let us always remember our worst images, are made beautiful because you simply love us as we are. And, in that, we can rest. We don’t need to work up your love. Help us to remember your goodness, your kindness and your unconditional love towards us, 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.

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5 Ways to Love God More

Love God More

I’m stumped. My heart is far from God. Problem is, I don’t know how to pull it close again. It runs off. It’s a stray dog, trying to smell it’s own pee, rather than the roses of God. It gets antsy. Pushy.

The fact of the matter is it’s a determined, distracted, annoying little thing. It tries, but, I fear, it gets it all wrong.

How do we really love God more?

We love because he first loved us. 1 Jo. 4:19

This verse teaches me, we so often have it backward. We run out to love, with nothing. What love can we give, if our love compartment is empty? What gifts can we bring, if we allowed God to wrap and deliver none within us? What can we share, when we feel empty.

God’s love in us is paramount to his love flowing out from within us. We must let in, what he desires to send out. We must open the confines of our comforts, to allow his voice, truth and life to console us first.

How? We draw up next to God.

Not like a stray dog, but like a close companion. We stay right next to his heart, because we want to hear his words, his tender mercy, and his uplifting charges. We naturally pull in tight. It only makes sense.

We do it in these 5 ways:

  1. Get alone with God. Meet him in your place of refreshment: a walk, painting, journaling, singing, dancing, being alone.
  2. In every situation, choose not to work hard, not to do more, but simply, to love God. Posture your heart towards him.
  3. Imagine him delighting in you. Imagine him smiling down upon you as you invite him into the hiccups, hurdles and the down moments of your day
  4. Seek his guidance and leading in the little decisions, the words you speak and even your thoughts. Keep returning in need and he’ll feed you with his wisdom.
  5. Let God’s heart become yours. Do your work, do your life, allowing his goal to be yours. Let the outcome of love, rule your intentions. Let the pursuit of peace be your ultimate cause.

The more we do this, the more we realize, the story of the prodigal father, is not just a story for a wayward believer. It is a story for all of us. Each day, we stray. Each day, we go our own way. Each day, we fall away. And, each day, God waits, arms wide open waiting for us to run to him. He stands there, I believe, hoping we’ll sprint like a bullet into the fullness of his all-consuming love that eats away at what’s eating us.

His love heals our love-empty heart. His love reworks our capacity to love. His love placates our wandering soul. His love draws us home. His love sets a table for us. His love welcomes us to eat. His love sends us out into the world – full.

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.

I’m Being Honest: This Bible Verse Ticks Me Off

ticks me off

I wouldn’t admit this in church, but there’s one verse that continually ticks me off. It’s this: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:6

I guess you could say I have multiple issues with it:

  1. In all ways acknowledge God.  When you acknowledge someone it’s as if you’re offering a late gesture. Like, they did something for you, and you can’t forget to bring them up, lest you feel guilty that you didn’t pay them back well enough. I mean, you certainly don’t want them to feel slighted or, even worse, to punish you afterward. “Acknowledge” plays out like an after-thought. I did all this stuff…oh, shoot, can’t forget – I’ve got to acknowledge so-and-so. It lacks authenticity.
  2. Make straight your path. I imagine someone walking down the sidewalk, picket-in-hand, yelling in my face, “You better acknowledge God, or else! You better let him make straight your path – or you’re a goner!” This thought entirely stresses me out. It burns my insides with the fear that no matter how good of a daughter I think I am, I’m going to burn in hell one day. It somehow makes me feel like there is no good that is good enough for God. Why try?

Sitting today, just me and this verse, I decided to decode it. If I’ve learned anything it is this: If God’s Word doesn’t give you more vision, it’s probably because you’re looking at it through the wrong glasses.

God, give me new lenses to see. What does acknowledge really mean?

Yada. That’s the Hebrew word for it. It means to “come to know someone by observing, reflecting and experiencing.”

Now this makes sense.

I can almost hear God saying, “In all your ways, come to know me by observing me, by reflecting on me and experiencing me…”

And, I want to. I need to.  Because to acknowledge God is to hang a welcome sign on your heart. It is to open your heart to his movement, rather than to demand your mouth to give him due credit. It is being a hostess rather than a hopeless speaker of things, even you aren’t even sure if you yet believe.

Here, there is no pressure, but peace.
No self-demands, just connection with the love of your life.
No hard work, but an easy yoke.
Less striving, more relaxing.

I feel content with the answer to my gripe #1. But what about #2?

What about the path?

God, do you yell in my face, “make straight your path, girl…or else!?

And, where God focuses my eyes, is here, on this very verse: “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Ps. 23:2-3

When we “acknowledge” or “experience” God, He sets us on a path of refreshment, restoration and righteousness. Where we are, the path is so straight, we get more of a glimpse of him at the end of our every road. Our vision, even more, focuses, targeted and clear. We know what we are running after. We see the end goal. We pursue eternity.

God is right before us. And, all we want is more. We’ve found our straight road.

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.

Do You Nitpick Your Every Flaw?

Nitpick Your Every Flaw

I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.

I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.

What do you hate about yourself?

Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?

I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt clown hair (Note: not cute).

Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!

How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?

This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.

I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.

I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.

What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?

Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.

What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?

Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.

Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.

Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.

Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.

There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.

You find yourself.

I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Ps. 139:14

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.

Isn’t it Supposed to be Easier?

Sold a Lie

I said a prayer. Jesus was in me. I could almost hear the chorus of angels singing in tandem,  “Laa….You’ve arrived!!!” 

Now, my whole life would change for good…

I’m God’s… No problems.
I’m saved. Things will go smooth.
I know the truth. No more mistakes.
God’s my backer. People will no longer annoy me.

Did someone, like me, sell you easy, breezy Christianity?

It’s hardly the case. It’s much more like being on an elite training team. It’s like learning to be a Navy Seal or something. There’s refinement, tests and drills. There are huge growing pains. There’s an enemy to throw you off. There are loads of tired days and hard work.

There is sweat, grit and perseverance.
There is heart.
There is passion.
There is dedication.
There is vision.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, no matter what – with Jesus, there’s always hope.

No Jesus = No hope.
Know Jesus = Know constant hope.

And there is peace.

No Jesus = No peace.
Know Jesus = Know peace.

Jesus delivers. Not just for eternity either. Many a day, I need a deliverer in a moment, and then, I need a deliverer, once again, in the next moment. Jesus holds me. He relieves the pressure. He picks up my slack.

He delivers me from evil and then delivers me from my own mind that, once again, wants to get its dirty little hands stuck in evil and conniving thoughts.

Jesus is so…good. He surpasses easy. He is that good.

And, so, our battle is good.

It makes us warriors.
Being a warrior makes us aware.
Being aware of war makes us need God.
Needing God makes us want him more.
Wanting him more makes us draw near more.
Drawing near more allows us to know joy, peace, hope and life.

Our battle is good, profitable, worthy and fulfilling.

It’s hardly about arriving, but all about journeying into holy: pinching a hem, clenching His will and riding out love, wherever it will take us.

This is where agony turns into testimony.

We remember the difficulty; they see all His glory.

God is smart. He makes things look easy. But, for the ones, like us, who have been through the wringer, we know, we know the full story.

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit… (Ro. 5:3-5)

Through trials, we search out his love.
Through pain we find inner-progress.
Through heartache, we remember Jesus on the cross.
Through persecution, we uncover real faith.
Through shame, we realize we have a new name.
Through life, we discover, Jesus is all life.
Through mistakes, we dig up the healing grace.

We become the most radiant and dedicated warriors ever. For, deep in our hearts, we know, there’s nothing better than what we have. For what He’s given us, is truly – the very best. Our commander rocks!!!

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 Routine Is Robbing the Romance

Robbing the Romance

Welcome Sharon Jaynes! Sharon is authentic, real and brings practical and applicable tips to win in your marriage. Plus today, she’s giving away a free book if you comment. 

What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?

Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.

Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.

Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.

Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.

We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.

None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.

You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.

In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).

Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.

So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?

God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).

Remember how it was in the beginning.

Return and do the things you did at first.

One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.

Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?

What if he thought I was silly?

What if he didn’t respond?

But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.

Everyday wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.

One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”

Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”

One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.

And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.

And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.

I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.

Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.

Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.

Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.

But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.

And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!

What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?

***Leave a comment and tell one thing that attracted you to your husband when you were dating. We’ll randomly pick one name and send a FREE copy of Sharon’s new book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.

Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to win….

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15 Things I Wish I Never Did as a Christian

Never did as a christian

Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.

If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.

Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.

So without further ado…

15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:

  1. Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
  2. Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
  3. Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
  4. Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
  5. Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
  6. Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
  7. Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it.  Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
  8. Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
  9. Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
  10. Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
  11. Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
  12. Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
  13. Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
  14. Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high.  Who made me judge?
  15. Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.

This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.

What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?

It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)

Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Or, order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

The Silent Faith-Killer (You Likely Allow)

Faith-Killer

My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.

Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.

For the most part, Christians aren’t good at being children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up. We think we can’t accept all that – all that the Father wants to lavish on us.

I’ve been watching, us, his children shut down his love.

Here’s how it tends to go:

  • I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
  • I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
  • I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
  • I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”

Rather than living as needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.

Why?

Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe, because we feel undeserving. Maybe, we don’t even notice he wants to hand it to us.

The maybe’s don’t matter.

What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is vital is we let this love in, so we can let this very love – out.

God wants to hand us his best, yet so often, we either walk right past it or reject it. Then, we get angry that God doesn’t answer our prayers, or reach out to us in our time of need. Guess what?! He’s been doing that all along. If only we’d just open our arms and hold close all he is pouring out.

He made us worthy.

What have you denied? Held at an arms length? Shut down? Walked away from? Turned away?  Sit down, look up and let in what love is pouring out from others onto you – receive what the Father wants to give you. You will be shocked at how it impacts your life.

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Jo. 16:24

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

More Reading:
A 3-Point Plan to Beat the Enemy
When You Don’t Feel Gifted
25 Verses About God’s Protection

25 Verses About God’s Protection

God's Protection

My foot slipped. I couldn’t catch myself, not with the bundle of love I had in my hands. I took the fall. Rather than grabbing the railing or even putting a hand down to break the fall, I let my hip hit the stairs – hard. I held on to her. Child. Must. Be. Safe.

Boom! Boom! Boom! The impact left my hip sore for weeks. Child. Must. Be. Safe.

She didn’t even so much as touch the floor. She was saved. After the thrill of her ride, she got up, laughing, she was scuff-free.

God loves to save us from our worst falls. He lifts us right above them. Child. Must. Be. Safe. 

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

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Ps. 91:7

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Ps. 40:11

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Ps. 63:7

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Ps. 27:5

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Ps. 46:1

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.

You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Ps. 18:35-36

…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Ps. 119:114

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Ps. 18:30

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Ro. 8:31

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Ps. 3:3

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Sam. 22:32

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Mt. 26:53

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Ps. 9:9

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Ps. 62:2

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thes. 3:3

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. Is. 54:17

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. Ps. 138:7

…but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jo. 5:18

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

When you fall down the stairs of life, there is one who will run to your rescue. His name is Deliverer. Fear not, he goes with you.

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When You’re Self-Critical and Feel Unhealable

Self-Critical

Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?

Freedom can feel far.
Hope can feel lost.
Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza,
when you are one who berates yourself in your head.

Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”

No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.

What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?

If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.

Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.

Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.

So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”

Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.

When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”

God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.

Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
for you,
the weak, wounded and restless one.

You’ll see mercy,
care
and foreknowledge,
pour out.

You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.

When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can  save us.

He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.

When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.

With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.

Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)

Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

Related Reading:

10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

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