Purposeful Faith

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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.

When God Doesn’t Move the Mountain

God Doesn't Move the Mountain

Today, I welcome Christy Underwood! She is not only my dear friend, but she is also a woman who fights to stand strong in Christ. I admire her perseverance and endurance. I think you will too. May her story below be an inspiration to you.

The ultrasound tech asked, “How many pregnancies have you had?”

“This is my fifth.”

“How many live births?”

“One.”

Questions like these are tough to answer when you’ve had repeat miscarriages.

What’s even tougher is learning at your first ultrasound that there’s nothing in the sac. Nothing. That was a first – and I was devastated.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” by Lauren Daigle:

“Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive.”

Ezekiel once saw dry bones in a vision. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. When he did, God put breath in them and they came to life. I knew the story behind the song before I was pregnant. Hearing it this time, I cried. I badly wanted God to breathe life into me, into my baby.

In the days ahead, I had bloodwork done, and my hormone levels were consistent with a normal pregnancy but not rising as much as expected. I still was hopeful, but, at our next ultrasound the result was the same:  No life. No baby.

There are no words to explain the sinking feeling.

Yet through this heartache, amazingly, I’ve experienced more of God’s love. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. Sure, I’ve wept – and wept, but God extended strength, peace, and joy during the difficult times. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Only God, the Creator of all good things, could have carried me through this.

Do you ever stop to consider God’s point of view when you’re going through a hard time?

He’s a good, loving Father. When I see my daughter hurting, my heart breaks. I desire to give her good things. Yet, because I love her, at times, I must withhold things for her benefit.

God could have given us this child, but maybe He didn’t because He wants me to share my story with others who have experienced loss. Maybe He saw how this would strengthen my faith and the faith of others. Maybe He saw how He would be glorified.

And, maybe, God intervenes more than I realize, maybe, more than – we – realize…

I started reading Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. Here, it occurred to me, God might have prohibited a situation from happening that would have been even more difficult.

Maybe I don’t need to know it all…maybe I just need to trust a good, loving Father.

Yes, I continue to pray for a child, but I want God’s plan for my life more than a child.  I choose to trust Him for myself, my husband, and my daughter. Trusting for my daughter is the most difficult. Sometimes I want another child more for her than for me. God reminds me that I need to trust Him. Isn’t it hard though when we think we know what’s best?

These words encourage me.  I hope they  encourage you too:

When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.

– Song, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Whether it seems big or small, God cares and desires to reveal His love for you. He wants to breathe new hope, joy and peace into what we look at as dead, dry and done with. Even with Jesus, what looked dead, at the right time, came alive. Day by day, let’s trust God, even when our plans don’t seem to align with His.

Prayer: God, thank you for who You are. You are a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Help us to trust in You when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Help us to keep our minds and thoughts on You instead of the worries of this world. Help us to expect You to show up, that we would feel Your love and know the peace that only You can bring. Amen.

Order Kelly’s new 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.

Christy is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.

Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy is faithful. She pursues God in a way where she doesn’t let her heart quit. I admire her, I love her and I thank her for using her extreme difficulty as a God-exalting opportunity. Daddy is well pleased.

Believing in a Massive, Miraculous and Ever-Moving God

believing

I stood in line at the drug store, arms loaded with candy and party supplies. My son had done some good listening and as I promised, we were going to do a “movie party.” He paced, streamers and balloons in hand, excited to get home. But, with the line 7 people deep, and a woman tapping her foot behind me, I started to get irritated.

That woman behind me is too close. She’s breathing down my neck.  Great, now she’s panting. Look at her now – she’s showing off her exasperated stance. There are better ways, lady, to show you’re impatient. Jeesh! Look around! We’re all waiting and wanting to get out of here.

I wanted to turn around and inform her to take a chill pill and to come back a different day – one when I wasn’t in front of her. But, of course, God had other plans; He tugged. Listening, I reluctantly shushed my inner voice of selfishness to hear God’s inner voice of selflessness.

She’s sick, Kelly. She’s real sick. There is often more than meets the eye, darling.

Clarity struck:

Rather than looking at her as enemy #1,
I can choose to be the compassionate one.

Rather than seeing things from my limited view,
I can see from God’s caring view.

Rather than keeping space,
I can offer her, through Christ, access to a better place. 

I breathed deep. I was about to do something, I really, really, didn’t want to do.

But, with Christ, you suddenly do what you thought you couldn’t. It’s a typical thing in a Christian’s life. I asked her if she wanted to swap places with me in line.

“No, thank you. I am in a lot of back pain. I am getting surgery next week.”

God never leads wrong.

“Good lesson God.” 

I bought the stuff and left. But, no sooner had I got to the car, than I realized I left a bag inside. Walking and debating internally about why these little blunders happen – why we have to be pressed for time and then do something to throw everything off, I grabbed the lost bag and the wandering kid. I ran back to the car. That’s when I saw her. There she was (she still hadn’t left?). She was in the handicap space, hunched, shoulders slumped. She stared off.

God tugged.

 “Now God? Bad timing, God.”

I approached her window…

“What’s your name,” I asked her, “I want to pray for you, later.”

God tugged.

So, I prayed for her right then and there, in the parking lot. Over her procedure. Over the surgeon. Over her peace.

She said thanks. We left.

God tugged.

Get off me God, haven’t I done enough?!” 

Yet, I’ve learned, to turn away from God is to turn away from all things good. So, I listened to Him: Kelly what you prayed for was good, but it wasn’t great. Believing is great, especially when you believe in more than meets the eye.

He yanked. What God prompted in my heart was:

Kelly, your unbelief often holds me back. Who are you to limit me?

Umm…no one.

What is man that you are mindful of him… Ps. 8:4

Okay, God, I guess I could have prayed with greater faith. I guess I could have believed that if you heal my little girl’s boo-boo’s you could heal that big girl’s boo-boo too.

Who am I to limit God? Why not ask for the biggest, the best and the bold things?

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

With this, I admit to you today, friends: I’m done holding back God’s unlimited power because of my limited mind. Today, I am pulling the leash off my prayer life. I’m going to rush to God, full-throttle, with the biggest, the best and the boldest prayers there are. Care to join me?

Where have you boxed in God?

Where have you determined grounds too off limits for his miraculous hands?

Where are you panting, exasperated and needing healing?

What we don’t believe by faith, we won’t see by faith.
What we cannot imagine and cannot fathom, won’t really happen.
What we don’t give a chance, remains unchanged.

Yet, what we believe in, God works in.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

Decisively, join me today, and choose to believe bigger.

Then, believe it, but be prepared, also, to receive it.

Be warned, though, this is not a prosperity gospel, name-it-and-claim-it type deal. What I am talking about here – it rings differently. It sounds like: God, you can do what you want to do, and in what you want to do, don’t let me be the one to limit you.

It is done by a person who understands: the launching pad for God’s astounding plan is at the point of belief.  

What’s the worst case scenario? You are let down? Embarrassed? Made to feel awkward?

What’s the best case scenario? Someone’s life is changed forever. They see the actual power of Jesus. They are left never the same for it.

Let the power of Christ out. Unleash it.

Why not believe his greatness is bigger than your mind’s capacity to understand him?

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.

Do You Fear What is Ahead?

fear what is

I walked in the door, dropped my bag and called upstairs to my husband, “Want to take a walk?”

Shockingly, he did. He wanted to enjoy the spontaneous burst of warm weather that was gracing our air. We put on our shoes and headed out. I had no idea I was about to be graced with his wisdom too.

We headed down a forest laden trail. It was beautiful.

“Kelly, I wonder what is up there, beyond that bend?”

I already knew, I’d walked the trail time and time again.

He went on, “I think God says, we don’t have to know what is beyond our bends. We don’t have to see what is up ahead. We just have to walk with him in the moment, knowing he is up there already. He is already where we are headed. And, that’s all we need to know. We are free to enjoy the purple flowers, the flying birds and the moving clouds. We can simply trust he has what we are walking into.”

I knew I married this guy for a reason.

I nodded my head in agreement. “Yep,” I said, ” because if we are so caught up with what we can’t see, we’ll miss what we can. Plus, once we get to that bend, we will want to know, yet again, what is beyond the next one. It’s a losing battle.”

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Heb. 11:1

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you…  (Deut. 31:8)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt. 6:34)

Often, I am so caught up in what’s coming, I miss the table of beauty God has laid in front of me today. I don’t partake in what is good.  I fear what is bad. I adjust my shirt just right so my stomach bulges don’t stand out too much. I grip onto tight schedules so I have a handy excuse for social situations I am terrified of. I cling on to my kids hand with a death grip, hoping the doesn’t stray to far away from mom if I let go. I rush through breakfast and traffic lights and pajamas trying to my couch and TV.

But, my husband reminds me – I don’t have to hold on to what is up ahead – or fear it – for God is already there. It’s like he rushed ahead and set the table in advance, so when I arrive, the goodness awaits. Sure, sometimes it might look like the table is empty or it’s not as I thought, but as I am present with him, in the moment, he always surfaces some sort of surprise party.  His spiritual blessings all jump out at me and I leap for joy. I realize, “Wow God, what I really wanted is right here.”

And, friend, what you want is right before you. For what is before you, in this moment, is your God. He is with you and will not let you go. Keep walking with him, no matter how good, how bad or how ugly your trail looks. For, you never know, when you might stumble you upon your – surprise party!

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

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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Go to sleep?…Ur uh, I don’t think So!

It was a Friday morning and I was busily preparing for a surprise weekend getaway I had planned for my husband David, when my cell phone rang. It was hubby. I thought he was calling to tell me about his doctor’s appointment but instead in a bewildered voice he rambled off words that at first seemed nonsensical.

“I just got a call from Mr T. and… Cliff died this morning. Massive heart attack.“

I repeated the sentence several times in my head as if to process the bizarre message, I’m sure I didn’t hear correctly.

You see it couldn’t be true because Cliff, the dear friend and golfing buddy David spoke of was a larger-than-life kind of guy. He wouldn’t just die like that.

But it was true. In the time it takes for a heart to beat, his heart stopped. Forever.

His sudden death made me come face to face with a chilling truth.

I’ve been afraid to die.

It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going.

I do.

I believe with all my heart when I’m done with this earth I’ll see Jesus face to face and live for all eternity with Him.

When friends proudly proclaim, “I’m not afraid of dying” I want so badly to give a, “Yeah, yeah me too!” (High five, fist bump and all that.)

But I don’t. I’m silent.

I hate this fear, it feels so… faithless.

Digging deep, at first I thought it was the process that scares me. I’ve watched my mother and father pass and a few friends. Death ain’t pretty.

However when I honestly brought my contradiction of thought and faith to God, He gently brought to mind something from my past. Something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

From as early as I can remember, probably about three years of age, my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and recite this brief prayer.

Before I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord for my soul to take.

And she wondered why I couldn’t go to sleep…!

I had all but forgotten this nightmarish rhyme. 
Though I have no doubt my Episcopalian mother was well-intentioned, I can say with reasonable accuracy, no three-year old understands the meaning of such words. To my little-girl ears they sounded mystical, scary.

I became frightened of this spooky God my mother prayed to Who might choose to take me in the night—stealing me away from my family, my home, my dolls. This life.
Of course I never wanted to shut my eyes. But what was worse, when I kept them open the Jesus-cross that hung by my beside stared at me in the dark with an eerie purple incandescence glow.

This is not at all the God I worship today. The God I know and worship doesn’t desire to scare little children, or anyone for that matter. He’s a gentle Father who promises hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

However our past often paves the pathways in our future.
Sometimes with bold confidence. But many times with trepidation.
As it’s been in my case.

Has something from your past locked you into a feeling of apprehension, foreboding, phobias or panic?

Don’t allow any fear to steal your freedom. Ask God to unlock the past for you, releasing understanding—clarity.

Now that I can see my past world juxtaposed with my present I believe with God’s help and the power of the Holy Spirit I can dismantle the fears that threaten to unravel me and move forward to living this life as God meant—with abandon…and fist bumps.

You can too.

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold to it. But on thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

***Get a kick-start on a fearless life with Kelly’s book, Fear Fighting.***

Looking forward, pressing on, and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.

About Christy

Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.

Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Today is a day I like to call “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Why? Because with the release of my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, I’ve written a bunch of different guest posts around the web. Now, you get to pick your own adventure.

Have fun choosing your own way:

  1. Visit Ann Voskamp’s blog: When Answers Come in Ways We Least Expect But Most Need
  2. Visit Girlfriends in God: Are You Living Christ’s Full Power?
  3. Gwen Smith’s Blog: Fear Fighting Giveaway
  4. Susan B. Mead’s Blog: God’s New Thing for You
  5. Kelly O’Dell Stanley’s Blog: A Victory in the Battle Against Fear

Buy my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears!

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email click here.

The Things God Teaches Us in the Dark

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“I should’ve had all my babies in the summer,” I said jokingly to my friend. Only it wasn’t a joke. We were full into the flu season and I was trying to keep both boys healthy as we awaited the birth of our child- a girl. Trying and failing.

All of us caught colds in the final weeks before her arrival. Panic seized me as I imagined bringing our newborn home to a germ-infested house.

The fight against illness and seasonal elements was hard enough, but there was another battle waging. Another reason a winter baby gave me a sense of dread.

I remembered the months of depression that followed the birth of my first child, who was born in the middle of summer. Baby girl would arrive a few weeks before the official start of winter. The dreariness of the season always brought a gloomy mood with it, and on top of it we were adding newborn baby isolation.

A few weeks after our bout with illness, we brought our new girl home and the overcast weather swept in like clockwork. We weren’t supposed to take her into crowded places for a month.

The first few days I was too tired to care, but one afternoon I felt like the walls were closing in around me. Everything bothered me. I questioned my abilities as a mom and a wife, and at night when our newborn wouldn’t sleep, the tears came.

Sometimes when we go through difficult seasons of life, the lessons we learn stay with us. But most of them need repeating.

We humans are forgetful people.

As I repeated the mistakes I made with my firstborn, God brought me to some timely words from a fellow sojourner. And I realized in my sleep-deprived state I was assuming this battle against depression was purely an emotional one.

I was negating the spiritual side all together.

We have an enemy who loves to use our seasons of physical and emotional weaknesses to whisper spiritual lies. We are so much more gullible when we’re tired. We’re more likely to accept his lies as truth when we our bodies are healing from surgery, illness and pain.

But you want to know the beautiful irony in all this? Those times when the thief creeps in are also the times when God can do his mightiest works.

His power works best when we’re at our weakest point. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I tried to wrestle with God and walk in my own strength, but He just wanted me to let him carry me. Sure, I could take my vitamins, drink my coffee and catch cat naps here and there. All those things were needed.

But what I needed most was his grace. I needed it when I snapped at my husband and kids. Most of all, I needed it when I disappointed myself.

We can say his grace is sufficient for us, but change won’t come until we truly believe it. And it doesn’t just cover us enough for our shortcomings.

It drenches us.

The more I embraced this, the more the darkness shrank back and I saw the sun breaking behind the clouds.

The more I let him cover me, the more I saw that I didn’t have to pretend I had it all together. I could just be me, imperfections and all. And because of Jesus, that was enough.

Order Kelly Balarie’s new book, Fear Fighting today! Or, get all her blog posts by email. Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Know What Can Ruin Christmas?

Ruin Christmas

I keep going back to what happened – what was said, how it was said and why the person is wrong.

A label was tossed my way; I was called a name. But, it’s more than just that. The bullets run deep – and are hard to pull out.

Sometimes what’s said or done, is not easily removed.

People yakked and hacked an image.
They understood things wrong.
They dissed, offended or disregarded you.
They were insensitive.

Like, I said, with people, what’s said or done, sometimes, is not easily removed. It sinks deep.

So, anyway, here I come, prancing on up to Christmas – a time of joy, a time of Jesus, with a hundred and one holes through my heart – and increasing pain lodged between me and a manger.

I am not sure what to do.

Because, this I know, if I want to meet holy, I can’t walk around hostile. In order to be super-close with Jesus, I can’t be loaded-up with sin. This idea is Christianity 101, but it takes a masters degree to apply.

Waving goodbye to your right to be angry, is like letting go of a bad habit – you love. Everything in you knows you’ll be better off without it, but not walking up to that wine bottle and taking a glass, or three, after a hard day, is hard. Like unforgiveness, it beckons you to hold on.

In some ways, your noble actions have warranted it, you figure. You’ve earned it. Other people have entitled you to carry around that glass, even if it makes you cranky, tired or on edge. Even if it hurts.

Yet, here’s the quandary: God says I should be able to approach him with “freedom and confidence” (Eph. 3:12). I can’t when I carry around this cup of self-righteousness. It spills over onto my eyesight and then I can’t see God. I get all clouded with shame, guilt and discontent.

So there they stand – ones who’ve offended me, tremendously.
There Jesus stands – the One who befriended me, groundlessly.

I wonder if Jesus thought about me before he entered the world?

Maybe he thought: “Hmmm…there she stands; I see all Kelly’s offenses. In fact, I can line them up and they’d reach around the world. Join them together, they’d actually wrap it 3 times. How can I go down there, to that place of vile, and forgive her? How can I leave the heights of glory, a throne of brilliance, and all the angelic hosts of heaven – for her likes?

I would have thought that way, if I was him. I would have thought, “Keep me up here at the banquet, but don’t send me down there into the stink and dirt of a manger – coupled with difficult people. Don’t put me there for that bad girl, Kelly. Not worth it.”

But, He didn’t. And this is the part I can’t contend with: Jesus didn’t abandon me because I abandoned him.

How can I abandon others, when Jesus didn’t abandon me? What right do I have to pick up a right that he laid down? To stand when he laid down?

He teaches me to lay it all down for others so that I can pick up that baby, Jesus Christ, and hold him close this Christmas.

I don’t do it for them, I do it because I love him. I want him. I can’t do life without him. I do it because he’s forgiven them too. He’s set the standard. He shows me the way. And, if I want the way to lead up to his throne, I can’t have mean people blocking my path to him.

So, there they stand. I look at them and, in them, I see me. I see me, because we are all in Christ. I see me, because just as they are covered, so am I. And, what I also accept, beyond the peace that comes with forgiving them, is God’s peace that comes with him forgiving me. For what I’ve held inside, me – the contempt – is covered. And, like a magic trick, but better,  with God’s grace it goes – Poof!  It’s gone.

And, all that’s left is Jesus. A man, whose small act of entering a large world, changes it all. Whose humility, radically rewires our vision. Whose love, makes our mouth go agape. Whose forgiveness, goes against all odds, yet changes them all the same.

The one “who is, and who was, and who is to come” (Rev. 1:8), remains. He always does. And, what we’ve done is cleared a way for us to bow low, so we can cry, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” So we can get eye-level with a baby, who redeems it all.

Will you let in the baby this Christmas? Who do you need to forgive?

Continue Fighting Fear!
Join me on the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Prayer:

God, we come to you as we are. We come to you with our frustration, anger and irritation. We come to you with our pain and our opinions. We bring to you our perceptions, right or wrong. We hand over to you, what you don’t invite us to carry any longer. God, will you take care of all this? Will do you do justice on our behalf? Will you mend our hearts on our behalf? Will you soften our rough edges and take from us what you know is not healthy for us to carry? We turn it over, God. Today, through the name of Jesus Christ, we release it. We know what you have, in return, is peace and joy that is far better than self-righteousness and pride. Lord, now that we are clean, we ask you to bring us close to your heart. We ask you to walk us up and into your love. We ask you to teach us and grow us as you see fit. We trust you God. Above all, we trust you. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

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

More Reading:

1 Clear Way to Victory When in a Losing Battle
Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage
When Sharing Makes You Embarrassed

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What’s Blocking you from Christ?

Blocking you

The boy stood there. Between him and the time of his life – was glass.

blocking you

To move on to new adventure, he had to let go of reservations and fears and find a way around what stopped him. He had to submit to Father’s way, so he could find his way. 

untitled-design-23

Often we get stopped. All the same, we peer out, uncertain about how to proceed, how to claim joy. We see the barrier – our fears, rejections and worries.

God doesn’t see barriers. God sees perfectly. He sees us. He sees our way. It’s crystal clear.

What is holding you back? Stop, and really consider this. It could make all the difference to your life.

Are you proceeding with the God
who removes barriers?

Or are you proceeding straight into a glass window
that gets you nowhere?

Here’s a quick test to tell…

Do you think:

  1. With God, all things are possible. He will do what he will do, but no matter what he will get me through.OR
  2. I’ve got to make a way or I’ll be left and standing here watching my dream take-off. I’ll be forgotten and worried and never to be loved.

We need add nothing to the perfect work of God.

Have you been adding stuff?
Stress? Anxiety? Plans? Opinions? A controlling spirit? Doubt?

 I consider myself a know-it-all on this subject matter, for good reason, I bang my head on the window of my own self-preservation, self-seeking and self-righteousness all the time. But, here’s the kicker – when I do, when I actually turn around to find him –  He is there. And, I find joy.

Mercy abounding, he waits. Love untainted, he restores his daughter. Grace unfolding, I access new hope.

He gives me a one-way ticket to new adventure and calling in Him, when I finally “re-turn.”

Do you feel too far gone – to get back?

Let me remind you of something important: the perfect Savior saves the imperfect people. This is the bottom line of the gospel.  That’s me! That’s you!

Even more, the perfect savior empowers imperfect people. Imagine that!

That’s me! That’s you!

All that is required is, us, simple folk, like lost prodigal children, just “re-turn.”  No shame about this friends, every disciple had to do it.

Will you?

God breaks the glass standing between us
and Him when we let him.

The weary get rest.
The tired get blessed.
Anxieties are less.
There is clarity to see.

Where we believe we could never go, God takes us. It isn’t by our efforts, for there was no way we could climb over the issues ourselves, but – with God – he can do it.

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

Shine!

Shine

Today I am excited to welcome Kim Breuninger from Twin Lakes Church to Women’s Ministry Monday. Kim’s words speak encouragement and liberation in who has God has created us to be. They encourage me. 

“What’s your ‘shiny’ name going to be Kim?”

“Umm…I don’t know.”

As part of a playful team of women planning a retreat with the theme ‘SHINE’, I struggled to come up with a funny, creative and ‘shiny’ name to equal theirs.  My newly named friends, Crystal, Jewel and Tiara teased and laughed with each other as they worked, eagerly anticipating the weekend ahead of us.  While I, the more administrative task-oriented type, could only come up with some neatly organized spreadsheets and the question, “Lord, why can’t I be more like them?”

Eventually, the team brought a nametag to me. They had chosen a shiny name for me! Pearl. Pearl? I thought of Minnie Pearl, a TV comedian from the 1960’s, dressed in a frumpy dress and a straw hat with a price tag hanging off it yelling, “HOW-DEE-E-E-E!”  I was a little disappointed with my new identity, but wanting to fit in, I did my best to act like part of the team and cheerfully ‘shine’ with the others.

On the second night of our retreat the guest speaker taught from Matt. 13:45 (NIV), “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” She went on to make the point that most precious jewels are found in the earth, but the pearl is found inside a living creature, setting it apart from the others as the only living gem.

I felt ashamed. God’s Word had finely divided the joint and marrow of my thoughts (Heb. 4:12 NIV). I heard him say “Kim, I searched for you, I chose you and I bought you at a great price. I created you in my own image, made you unique from anyone else and gave you a special blessing, a gift, all so that just as you are, you might be a blessing to others.  I love YOU.” His words struck my core. He’s done all this, and yet what do I do? I neglect my true calling trying to be like everyone else instead of the jewel God created me to be.

I’ve kept my nametag from that retreat for over twenty years. It reminds me that although I may feel inadequate, my unique traits and gifts are just what God is looking for. It’s my personal love note from my redeemer and King.

In Christ we’re called to “shine like stars in the universe” (Php. 2:15 NIV), but the process of transformation, turning from a life dulled by sin and doubt, begins with the choice to place our trust in him, the Light of the world. Transformation requires our thoughtful involvement. Just as a pearl begins as an insignificant grain of sand and is refined by constant irritation, so we become set apart from all others, a radiant testimony of who we’re created to be, as we learn to live in faith and God’s truth.

Are you experiencing the blessing of who God has created you to be?

Do you believe he’s shown you his great favor,
so that you can be a blessing to others just as you are, wherever you are?

Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a young girl from a dusty unknown town.
Paul was imprisoned, chained to armed guards.
Timothy was considered too young for the job.

Each of them chose to look beyond their circumstances, to God’s Word.

They trusted his purposes, not popular opinion,
and became a blessing to others, to us, even to this day.

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About Kim

kim_breuningerKim Breuninger has lovingly served the women at Twin Lakes Church in Aptos, Ca. for the last 24 years. Her desire to encourage women through life’s challenging seasons, and the healing many of us seek, has also taken her to Zambia, Africa where she’s spent many years teaching and encouraging pastor’s wives.

Kim is wife to her handsome husband, and Koinonia Conference Grounds Director, Dave Breuninger. Together they’ve raised their blended family of 5 children, all married with 6 grandchildren, (so far! J ).