Purposeful Faith

Category - awe

How to Take Care of Yourself

Take Care

A few weeks ago, I told you about a flower that got pulled out by the bulb. I replanted it.

I also told you how, I believe, the enemy wants nothing greater than to pluck out the bulb of our faith. Deep truth in fertile soil only survives.

We talked about this…we pondered those beautiful flowers.

So, everything was fine and dandy, until, snow got in the forecast. Until, my beautiful budding beauties were about to clobbered by a mega snowstorm.

Then, my heart started up again. Worrying like I do. About – flowers?!

What?! While most worry about finances, pension funds, and pilgrimages to far away lands, here I am – worrying about flowers!? While other people are fretting about unsaved folk, disaster planning due to health catastrophes and pleading coverage for substance abuse therapy – here I am worrying about petals – yet, again?!

Normally, I’d silently call myself stupid! and call it a day. But, not today.

Today, I’ve learned to create space for what God is speaking. The Spirit is always working, ever-counseling and constantly grabbing for the attention of our hearts and mind. Will I listen? Will you?

No matter what they all think? No matter how stupid we look or feel?

By not listening, just think of all we miss: How much we deny ourselves. How we look past what God is doing, because we feel we have to be on this hamster wheel of progress, schedule and monotony. How we think we are running after the right stuff, only to find out chasing urgent is all wrong.

Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 1 Cor. 3:18

I consider those flowers in the snow. And, when it is snowing, I give them a second glance on the way to the car.

Their little yellow noses pop up from under the white blanket of freezing. I smile at them.

Then, I think, what God wants me to see. It comes: They are closed.

Before, when they were in light and warmth the petals were open. Picture-ready flowers.

Yet, now, while being battered by ice, snow and wind they are closed. Closed and shuttered for a non-tropical hurricane. There’s no getting in. 

I hold on to the message given to me, as if it is a clue for Kelly Balarie as she traverses this dangerous world. It’s this: When the high winds of the world come (and they will!), close your shutters and pull in close to God.

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

It works like this:

When you feel frazzled because you aren’t dazzling the world,
shut out the show and slow things down.

When people are speaking at you from five different sides,
shut off the voices and find His voice of peace.

When life keeps telling you, you’re no good,
shut off the messages and read God’s Word.

When social media reminds you you’re a step short,
shut off the computer’s power and rest in His power.

When you feel as weak as a woman one day short of death,
shut down, be still and know that He is God.

When everything and then everything goes wrong,
shut off negativity and ask for God’s objectivity.

When you feel stupid for doing something,
shut off your inner-voice to see if God’s voice is calling you deeper still.

When you remember all them laughing,
slam shut the memory and open up truth:
you can do exceedingly abundantly more than you ask or imagine.

When you’re afraid you’ll fail, shut out doubt.

Just as God feeds the birds, He’ll feed us. Just as God protects the flowers, He makes way for us to protect our hearts.

 

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.

How to Seek Wisdom For Tough Decisions

Seek Wisdom

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

– Edward Hersey Richards

His big, dense, coal eyes looked at me. And, I looked at him.

What does he see – in me?

In him? I saw wisdom: Eyes in no rush to move. A being okay with being. A head made up of regal feathers of grey and white.

He was caged, contained, but still, somehow, he appeared content. Our gaze connected us, yes, but what bothered me was – he seemed to know something. In all his wisdom, was he on to something I could not see?

I walked away from his cage, but in the end, all I wanted to do was return. When I did, his branch was empty and while I peered through the fence for him, he wasn’t so easy to spot.

There he is! The owl of wisdom. He’s in the back of the cage.

But almost as soon as I found him, I realized something I’d missed all along. There was another owl, right next to him. I hadn’t seen him, not even one bit.

I gazed deeper now, wondering if my eyes were still betraying me…

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Prov. 8:17

The harder I looked, the more I saw: There was a 3rd owl, right next to the first two.

Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
Prov. 8:34-35

Could there be more? Should I keep looking? Search harder? I did: another one, a 4th one was right before my very eyes!

How are my eyes deceiving me?
How much more do I miss in life?

Often wisdom is right before our eyes, but we can’t see it.

We think wisdom is much like everything else in this world. We think it will just show up like a boxed up UPS deliver on our doorstep. But, guess what? It doesn’t work like that.

Wisdom isn’t something we trip over. It’s something we’ll miss if we don’t seek it. It is something we’ll step past if don’t pursue it. It is something we won’t find if we don’t hunt for it.

Wisdom, we must pursue.

Because, often wisdom is camouflaged in our environment, in the environment of the world. Just as I couldn’t see the owls, often we can’t see wisdom because we are: too distracted, too worried, too rushed, too preoccupied, too concerned about people, too critical or too annoyed.

But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death. Prov. 8:36

And, with this, as far as I can see, I believe we have two paths – a way of wisdom or a way of destruction. We have a way of seeking or a way of delusion. We have a way of wonder or a way of wreckage.

God doesn’t make it hard for us to seek wisdom, to find it under the cover of our world, to glean it out of our places of uncertainty, he simply says to ask him for it…

“If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.” Ja. 1:5

Then: Watch. Seek. Pursue. Wonder. Wait. Marvel. Pray. Ask. Follow. Look. Crouch low. Keep looking.

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.

How 1 Small Thing Will Change Your Life

Change Your Life

Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?

Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.

Got it yet?
Not yet?

This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

The tongue.

It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.

It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.

It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!

It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.

It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.

It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.

It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.

How do you use your tongue?

I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”

Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.

It’s not easy.

The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.

But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Prov. 18:21

By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.

5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):

  1. Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
  2. Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
  3. Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
  4. Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
  5. Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.

This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.

Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:

Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent.
Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.

Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.

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.

Super Simple Way: Escape the Rat Race

Escape the Rat Race

Moms know what I am talking about here. It’s that time when you are T-minus 5 minutes until junior’s lights out. It’s that time you know you’re about to be set free. It’s that time things need to move ahead with military precision. Demands and dictates must be followed and executed. Perfectly, even. Orders run like a military checklist…

Prayers: Contrite and consolidated. Check!

Kid: 1 sip,  1 question, 1 hug. Then, they must get snug as a rapid-fire bug in a rug. Check!

Door shuts: Only a confident “Good Night” is permissible with no grain of guilt allowed (lest the kid should pop his head back out again). Check!

Final Declaration of Victory: A sigh against the side of the wall you are slumped against.

War Plunder: A piece of dark chocolate on the couch to soothe away residual anxiety.

You made it!!!

I live my life like this and I feel like a barbarian for it. Sure, I know it is wrong. Yet, after you spend nearly 14 hours being the living slave to the kid you love beyond the smallest inkling of your wildest imagination, and after giving your best and then giving a spoonful more – your somehow on your last leg.

Many days, I hope by morning, everyone will forget how I acted like a jerk. How I spoke words I should have kept in my mouth. How I snapped about people not moving fast enough. How I nitpicked about the kitchen not being clean enough. How I grunted at mistakes.

Honestly, it is often easier to run away than to run straight into confession. It is easier to run fast than to slow down. It is easier to do than to be.

And, so, the insanity continues! I go through the motions. Repeat.

Yet, one night, things changed. He went to sleep. Peacefully.

Hmm…no sound. He was all quiet, all sweet. And here I was – outside the door. I couldn’t help but notice how far, far away I felt.

What if real peace isn’t chocolate?

What if success isn’t determined by a stopwatch?

I opened the door and went inside, I climbed up to the top of his bunk bed. Shocked, his head peeped out.

I sang a long song. Gently, his hand stretched around my neck. I felt its tight grip.

I relished the moment.

He whispered, “I love you.”

There is nowhere else I would rather be.

What have you been rushing to? Often our best moment is in the process of slowing down.

How many times have we missed it? How many times have we rushed to something better, more relaxing, when what we really want- is right before us?

When we slow down to let in a moment, we get a chance to receive it.

When we reach out with no demands, we find people reach in, towards us.

When we choose love we experience it.

I am learning – slowing down is paramount to receiving love.

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 Things Look Dull and Dreary

I kick myself. Again, things seem to be falling on me. It’s not so much the entire world, this time, but it is much more – me. I know, with God, he always calls me out from under my awning of darkness. There is nothing holding me back really. But, sometimes it is easier to stay in self-pity and self-reproach than it is to move into something new.

What dark awning of guilt, shame and frustration are you staying stuck under?

You stay there when you berate your endless bad actions.
You stay there when you sum up all the ways you look dumb.
You stay there when you think that girl is miles ahead of you.
You stay there when you tell your mind it’s useless.
You stay there when you ruminate on yesterday.
When you overthink things.
When you feel caught by man.
When you declare your mistakes your identity.
When you let bitterness, anger and frustration reign in your heart.

We don’t have to stay in the dark.

If we take only 1 step, just one step – out…we’ll move somewhere new. We’ll move somewhere blessed, whole and free.

I know, it feels risky, unknown even, as we place one foot down on new ground.  Sometimes we don’t even have thoughts formed about these areas. I understand.

But, here, right here, as we step out, we can see. Light above us.

It was always there, it was just hard to see when covered by the weight of wrongs. But, now, right here, we notice the immensity of a great God overhead. We look up. Stars. Lots of stars. A show, millions of them. Ahh!

We soak it in.

We are small, but he is so great.

He loves us, oh he loves us!

His face does shine upon us.

We understand if he could create this masterpiece, he can create a masterpiece out of us too.

We marvel at the vast lengths of his care that reaches further than eye can see. It reaches deep.

We notice how God extends beyond our vision. He reaches nebulas and galaxies and things far out there.

We ponder how faithful God is.

Every night – God is. Yet, some days, the clouds cover God’s best. Then, we can’t see. We run to the portico because we believe rain is coming, we are ruined.  All we see is clouds.

But, no longer, do we have to hide. God’s brilliance, his flowing faithfulness -is still there – a covering of it, is overhead.

It is there on our good days and on our bad.
It is there in our best moments and at our worst.
It is there through the thick and through the thin.
It is there when people are mean and when they’re nice.
It is there when we’re mean to our self or kind.

A beautiful display of glory is. It just – is. Whether we see it or not. The goodness of God remains. HIs faithfulness never ends. His love endures forever.

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

15 Strength-Building Verses To Lean on When Under Spiritual Attack

There was nothing different about the day, in comparison to any other day, but what hovered over me was a generalized feeling of – “Blah!” 

I prayed. Blah!

I sought God. Blah!

I worshipped. Still…blah!

No breakthrough. Nothing. Just annoyance that my spirit still felt as stuck as ever.

What is wrong with me? My heart can’t seem to embrace truth, peace, hope – God.

It’s in a moment like this, we go down one of three paths. We:

  1. Get frustrated and angry at ourselves, declaring we are faulted and worthless. We heap guilt upon ourselves.
  2. Decide God has left us and turn away from Him, because, we figure, he turned away from us.
    or,
  3. Keep on seeking. Keep on praying. Keep on proclaiming truth. And, persevere.

I’ve traveled all three. Just this week, I’ve spent a lot of time on paths 1 & 2. Here, all I could see were overwhelming signs I was not doing things right for God.  My heart is falling off a ravine, my feelings are stuck in thorn bushes, God’s plans for me are somewhere ahead in that vast fog.

Here’s where I end up: I need to work harder, pray better, try more and be a better person to recieve God’s love. I carry the baggage of discouragement and doubt. I sit annoyed and flustered by life.

Have you landed here too? Are you struggling to believe God? To hold close his promises because you can’t seem to get close enough to God?

I want to tell you something that will reassure you: This is likely a spiritual attack.

If you are getting after God, with your whole heart, but distraction, lies or discouragement won’t shake off you, you are likely being hit by the enemy. If you are pursuing clarity, but all you find is confusion, you are likely being hit by the enemy. If you are giving God your whole heart, but still feeling tired, worn and weary, you are likely being hit by the enemy.

The good thing about this is: Victory is as won – as you are you. The one against us, cannot effectively come against the cross.  Jesus is, forever and always, high and lifted. There is no undoing his reign. His opportunities, insights and wisdom is already ours.

With this, the enemy’s only strategy is to make us believe he can undo what Jesus did. His only opportunity is a fake. He diverts us left and if we move with him, and take our eyes off truth, we lose God. But, if we stand firm and don’t give in to his fake, we stand firm. We move towards the goal of Christ Jesus.

So, with this, let us stand firm in truth. Let us allow it to sink into our mind, then into our heart and then down to our feet, so that we walk out with such assurance, nothing –  no way, no how – can shake us.

Here is our arsenal, our power and our stand – these verses:

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. (Ps. 28:7)

Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever. (Psalm 44:5)

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (2 Chronicles 16:9)

… but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit … (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you … (1 John 2:27)

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. (Psalm 144:1)

“For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:29)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim. 6:12)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Ps. 18:32

For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. Ps. 18:39

As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your presence forever. (Ps. 41:12)

The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places. (Ha. 3:19)

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. Ps. 54:4

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

32 Verses for Women Affirming Beauty, Value & A Beloved Identity in Christ

Affirming Beauty

May I admit something to you all?

When I am at my worst, I doubt who I am. I doubt I am good. I doubt I am valuable. Some days, I know, I don’t look an iota like Jesus. I look in the mirror, but his image I do not see. Instead, I see the image of a woman who is flawed, faulted and failing. I can be hard on myself.

Can you?

It’s easy, on these days, to turn to action plans, to-do lists or a get-better schemes. Oh, I know this inclination! But, more and more, I am convinced, I don’t need a makeover or a new hairstyle. I don’t need a flick on the wrist or a self-inflicted put down to get right, I simply need peace. Peace that affirms who God says I am, not what I am prone to believe I am.

I need the reminder I am:

  1. Beautiful.
  2. Valuable.
  3. Created as beloved with Christ in me.

When we know these things, our vision shifts, our hope emerges and our love flows more freely.

Do you know who you are? If you’re at all like me, and you need a reminder, hopefully these verses – verses that speak of beauty, value and your beloved identity, will bring you to a new place, to a new vision of who you are created to be.

I am Beautiful:

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

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov. 31:25)

You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Is. 62:3

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song 2:10)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:5)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (Ps. 139:13-16)

Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13 – 14)

For we are God’s masterpiece… (Eph. 2:10)

I am Valuable:

…Created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! (Lu. 1:45)

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. (Ps. 46:5)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Pet. 5:10)

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Es. 4:14)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:2o)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)

I am Created as Beloved and Christ Lives in me:

She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov. 31:10)

But by the grace of God I am what I am. (1 Cor. 15:10)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands… (Is. 49:16) 

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)

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18)

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons (and daughters) of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:26)

…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Jo. 15:15)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  (1 Cor. 15:58)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (Jo. 1:12)

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

And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24)

So God created mankind in his own image… (Gen. 1:27)

Knowing who we are, somehow changes our face: It changes our face in the mirror. It softens our face as we face the world. It turns our face, unashamedly towards God.

May we not forgo remembering who we are. For the fact of the matter is – we are more daughter than anything else. No other name given to us stands more permanent than that name. No other title we carry will surpass that one. No other calling is greater. We are chosen, valuable, beautiful and secure.

We are in Christ. We are powerful in him and beautiful because He is.

Now, go out in the world- and shine!

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

I am delivered

I am delivered

Today, I am welcoming Michele Cushatt. Michele is she knows what it’s like to lose her footing, and to wonder if she’d ever again be able to stand. But she also knows what it’s like to cry out to God for grace and discover the miracle of His Presence and His Purpose right here, right now. You will love her words….

Comment for the chance to win Michelle’s book and her I AM scripture cards:

The storm hit hard and fast and without warning.

Several hours before, we’d loaded kids and adults into our family boat for a day of skiing and tubing on Las Vegas’ Lake Mead. The day started in perfection. Blue sky dotted with cotton clouds. Bright sun reflecting on glasslike waters.

It was the first time we’d taken my niece out on the boat. Only three years old, she took it all in with giggles and wide-eyed wonder.

But the laughter died the moment the storm struck. Cotton clouds turned ominous. Glasslike waters turned foamy and whitecapped. With a glance at the shore, I knew it would take more than a few minutes to get to safety. But with each second, the swells grew, threatening to overcome our tiny boat.

I reached for my niece, pulled her onto my lap, and held her close while my husband kept his hands white-knuckled on the wheel. To drive directly to shore, we had to steer straight into the gale-force wind. But to drive into the wind meant a risk of capsizing. We needed to get off the water. But how?

I closed my eyes and prayed. As my three-year-old niece gripped my arms, my heart reached for the God I knew could deliver us.

Save us, God!

I hoped for a Jesus-sized miracle, like the day He spoke to a Sea of Galilee storm, and wind and waves came to a dead stop (Mark 4:39).

But our storm continued. In spite of my faith-filled prayers, Jesus didn’t deliver. If anything, the wind grew in intensity. I tried to stay calm for the kids, but my heart pounded with fear. I grew up on boats, knew a storm or two. But nothing like this one. Not even close.

While my brother navigated from the bow in an effort to keep the boat balanced, my husband started cutting z formations in the water. Turning left, then right kept him from driving straight into the wind. As a result, we inched closer to the shore.

Our nightmare lasted about an hour, a lifetime to a family who thought they might drown. Soaked and cold, weak from fear, we pulled ourselves and our boat out of the water and made for the safety of home. There I could finally contemplate my nagging questions:

Why didn’t God deliver us?

Why didn’t He calm the storm? I knew He was more than able; I believed it to my core. Thus the reason I prayed, because I knew my God could deliver.

And still the storm raged, oblivious to my request.
Even so. We made it home.
It took years for the lesson to have its full impact on my heart. For a long time I wondered why some storm-prayers are answered with calm and others are not. But now I see that day on Lake Mead a bit differently: Sometimes God delivers us from a storm. But other times He delivers us in it.

That day on the lake, God gave my husband the wisdom to z his way back to shore. God kept the boat balanced in waves far bigger than it could handle. And He kept all our children and family members wrapped up in life vests and out of the water. He didn’t still the storm. But He calmed my kids and gave us a great story to tell our friends.

To those praying for a Deliverer, John 10:10 records Jesus making a powerful proclamation: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I always loved that verse, probably because it sounded like the promise of a happy life. Naively, I believed Jesus’ words included protection from all harm. Like a divine umbrella, God would spread the expanse of His arms over me and my loved ones and keep us from all rain.

It didn’t take long to end up soaking wet.

But that’s when I remembered more of Jesus’ words, only six chapters later in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.”

Not “might have trouble.” Not “could have trouble.”
“In this world you will have trouble.”
It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.
The same Jesus who promised deliverance also promised trouble. At first glance, Jesus’ words sound contradictory. And yet His life proves otherwise. It was His death that made possible our lives. Hardship to realize hope. Trouble today for the promise of a party tomorrow.

Can I trust Jesus to deliver me through one to arrive at the other?

The unexpected is unavoidable. My dream of a trouble-free life was more than a little far-fetched. It doesn’t matter whether you live in an affluent suburb of upper-class America or in an overcrowded slum of poverty-stricken India. The rain falls on each of us in good measure.

The question, then, is this: do you trust the Deliverer?

He’s the hiding place, the shelter in the rain. Yes, there are moments when God delivers you and me from our troubles. Children overcome obstacles, illnesses are healed, marriages are revived.

But more often than not, He doesn’t deliver us from harm; He delivers us in it.

The first is merely protection. The second is presence. The first causes us to cringe, as we wait for the next calamity to fall. The second provides a harbor of rest, regardless of the weather.

Life is more than calm and predictable circumstances. Life—full life—is weathering the unexpected storms and the impossible waves knowing the Deliverer is present with you in them.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

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AUTHOR BIO

These words pulled from the pages of Michele’s most recent book—I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is—were penned during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of tongue cancer, during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about our current identity epidemic and the reason why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds.

Michele and her husband, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long walk, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele @ michelecushatt.com.

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DESCRIPTION OF I AM (www.iambook.net)

From the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:

Am I enough?

The pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?

We fear the answer is “No.”

When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.

I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.

Does Darkness Surround?

darkness surround

I laid in bed afraid. Alone, vulnerable, it felt like simply closing my eyes was an invitation to injury.  What if, a bad guy broke in? What if I really didn’t lock the back door? What if someone knew my husband was gone?

Darkness surrounded me – in more way than one – lately. In truth, these days, I felt unsure and tense. I was unable to let go. I was incapable of changing things back to the way they were – light. I was mad about it. I was mounting up frustration inside. I was taking it out on my family and unloading it in passive-aggressive ways.

Do you lay in the darkness today? Unsure? Tense? Unable to let go? Incapable to change anything?

In the dark, our irrational fears live (boogie men, bad guys or burdensome worries or worse). In the dark, life feels like it might fall down on us. In the dark, we can’t see our way. In the dark, we think we will never walk into light again. In the dark, we declare, we’ll always stubbing our toe. In the dark, we are left by ourselves to struggle with the shadow of depression, fear, health issues, failing relationships, marital issues, financial concerns or worse…alone.

What dark has convinced you – you’ll always be afraid?

Recently, I chatted with a friend, she said, “I used to be afraid of the dark.”

Of course, I understood this. I’m convinced, no one likes the pitch-black, you-can’t-see dark.  Why? As I figure it, in the absence of light, we often feel absent of God. In the dimness of this world, it’s easy to let your heart turn dim as well. In the places we can’t see, we decide we’ll never find our way.

But, this friend had more to say. She spoke, “If you just turn your head, away from the darkness of your room, you can always find light. Starlight. Moon beams. Street lights. Reflective light. Car lights.”

The light is always out there. You just have to look for it.

It’s all about your perspective, I guess…

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jo. 1:5

Her words remind me: Jesus is the light. He is not able to be put out. His help is always with us. His reach is always towards us. His power is always moving, always casting, into our darkness. No power, no force, no scenario, no situation, no person – can overcome Him. He is more permanent than our dark rooms. He is more powerful than perceived problems.

What if we were to choose to see him instead of the darkness that surrounds?

What if we were to search for even the smallest ray of his light? How might it change things?

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

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When Fear and Truth Collide

Fear and Truth

I am delighted to welcome Jessica Van Roekel as a guest blogger today. Jessica is faithful, diligent and obedient. I am proud to feature her words.

I’m good at bravado, but not so much at living brave. I know how to stand tall and smile with the best of them, but inside I’m cowering, hiding tears, insecure, wondering if I belong or even if I’m wanted.

I know verses. I know that if I’m full of God then there’s no room for anything else. I know that my song is God’s song. I know that he is my refuge, my shield, and my fortress. I know he holds me close and sings songs over me. I know he calls me chosen, beloved, secure, approved, and beautiful. I know all these things and I was so mad at myself for the disconnect between my head and my heart.

So there I sat—alone, with no one beside me—listening to the melody, learning my part or trying—all the while fighting back tears. It was absolutely ridiculous and I was furious with myself. And to be totally honest, furious with God. Why would he compel me to audition for this musical and then humiliate me in this way? It didn’t make any sense.

Have you felt this way? Has God ever shown you a truth and set you free from your bondage and then in an instant you were in bondage again or so it seemed? Have you ever felt you utterly failed God and yourself?

May I offer you and I this encouragement: God is not disappointed with you or me. God is not going to send us into a situation and then leave us to work it out in our own strength. He will provide us with opportunities to exercise our faith in the work he’s doing in our lives. And just like with regular exercise, we will stumble until we figure out the rhythm or the sequence, but if we keep practicing we get better, we grow stronger, we become more fluid, and it becomes second nature because we’ve trusted him and let him work through us.

Freedom from fear of man came for me through one definitive moment a few years ago, and since that moment God has been showing me how to live free. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile. My perspective has shifted from being afraid of people to being settled in God’s thoughts towards me.

You know, I wanted to run from that audition room and never, ever look back. In fact, I walked out of rehearsal that night determined to quit and planned on letting the director know my decision the next morning.

I didn’t though. I leaned into the pain because I’ve learned that sometimes healing comes through the pain, not by avoiding the pain. So I took my younger self by the hand and let her feel the pain. I let her remember and shed her tears, and then I walked her through forgiveness. Was it easy? Uh, absolutely not. Is it over? No, but the cleaning out of the wound has happened, the salve of God’s truth has been applied, and the wound is tender, but it’s healing.

Sometimes we have to experience the hard so that God’s word becomes alive, and once the revelation of his truth, his freedom, and his healing has been revealed, it’s  not ever to be taken away by someone’s words, approval, disapproval, memories, or event.

Becoming fear fighters happens when we’re transformed from the inside out and it requires us to keep taking steps towards faith and bravery, clinging to truth and always, always trusting God’s heart for us.

***Get the book Fear Fighting, by Kelly Balarie today.

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel

 

 

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