Purposeful Faith

Category - birth

No Fear in Love

Remember Bam Bam? He was the prehistoric cartoon baby who walked around with a bat.

Well, I feel like mean Bam Bam is chasing after me out of nowhere. He’s trying to make me go starry-eyed, hitting me over the head with questions.

What I you’re not really good enough for God? Bam.

What if you do things wrong and you eternally offend God? Bam.

What if you don’t save yourself from your problems and end up unwanted? Bam.

Bam Bam attacks. How is He attacking you? Make no mistake, although he may be sneaky, Bam Bam is our enemy. He is. He chases our heels with questions of what if.

What if God doesn’t really love you?
What if you really did mess up your kids forever?
What if you can’t ever change?
What if that person never changes?
What if you lose your house, your family, your dreams, your salvation?

We have to stand up to Bam Bam. It is the only way. We have to speak back at Him and chase him in the other direction with evil-repelling truth: God’s promises that make him run scared.

“His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” Ps. 91:4

If you have a personal Bam Bam, talk back. Fight back with promises, such as:

  • “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Eph. 2:8
  •  “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 Jo. 4:18
  • “So then, it does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” Ro. 9:16
  • “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will certainly not cast out.” –Jesus, Jo. 6:37
  • “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned…” Jo. 3:17
  • “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” Jo. 10:28

Take whatever is fighting against you and be like Jesus when he was tempted in the wilderness. (see Mark 4:1-11) Fight back with truth. Done. Period. Adios Bam Bam. We’re not listening to you anymore!

 

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.

Behind the Scenes of “Difficult”

Behind the Scenes

My husband noted, “God has lined everything up just right. It’s almost as if I thought nothing was happening, but God was doing everything.”

We continued to talk. He had no idea, at the time, he was meeting just the right people to help him in his time of need. He had no idea that chance encounters in a Starbucks, random introductions by friends, and shifting situations behind the scenes, would produce SO much. But, at the right time, when all things were laid out just so, everything changed.

While my husband had no idea what God was orchestrating, God was orchestrating it all. He was orchestrating what could not be seen.

God is always working. God’s timing is perfect. His plan is perfection.

Just yesterday, I had planned to go take a walk by the ocean. After I dropped the kids off at school I was going to make the drive. There was only one problem, I remembered I had to run back to the house to tackle something.

Ugh. Now, I can’t go. Frustrated, I headed home. I tackled what I needed to. Then, I met with God.

During that time, with God, some lightbulbs went off. I realized I so often don’t expect God’s great; I expect average or a blah-meeting. While God is a good dad, I expect him to give me a bit and then turn away to do other things.

I decided I wanted to see His goodness. I wanted to know His abundant heart.

After praying, I felt prompted to take that walk with Him at the beach. I am so glad I did. There, orange butterflies came flying in off the ocean. There, dolphins were jumping all around me. There, I established: God is brilliantly beautiful. God is giving. God orchestrates perfect timing.

What if I didn’t make that layover at my house? I probably would have missed the show of his wonder he had planned to set off at just that hour when I was at the beach. I probably would have gotten there hours earlier.

But, God knew. God always knows. He knows what He is lining up for you. He knows what he is doing behind the scenes. He knows the details he is currently working out. . . that will come to fruition at just the right time. You are not lost to Him. You are not outside of His working plan. There is a time for beauty and He is working on it.

“God has made everything beautiful for its own time. (Ecclesiastes. 3:11).”

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

One Thing you Can Do to Bring Peace

Bring Peace

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

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

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

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

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

Inhale. Exhale. God has this.

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

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

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

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

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

What Greater Safety Truly Looks Like

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

The Price of Giving It All

Two shadows appeared. One was a small, old, hunched over man with a cane and the other a young and vibrant woman with a flowery dress.

Sitting, they leaned in toward each other and talked. A father and daughter? 

All I could think as I noticed this man’s feeble body, his leaning body on that old war memorial was, “He must be telling her about a life that counted.”

He’s saying, “Sure, I paid a mental price, seeing all that war stuff, seeing people fall. The battles, the pain, the sacrifice. But when push comes to shove, I gave my all. My life. I offered up what mattered.”

Only a few minutes later, I saw the “Vietnam War Veteran” pin on his cap. I wanted to remember this man, because without saying a word, he delivered to my heart a message from God: Kelly, if you give it all up for me, you won’t look back and regret your life. You’ll sit on a memorial of what I did and rejoice over it.

I asked the man if I could take his photo. And I did. But after, he couldn’t get up. His hands wouldn’t support his weight. When I reached out my hand, he looked hesitant at the thought of grabbing it, but he did.

“Pull hard,” he said. I gave it my all. And all I could think as I pulled up the strength of this man, who was so weak, was how Christ gave it all. And how, at the right time, his broken body beat the ravages of earth to reign in heaven.

Jesus gave his everything to bring us all life and hope. Jesus paid it all so we could sit under the shadow of that memorial cross. Jesus gave it all so that we could end our lives, knowing all will end up being okay as we leave this earth. Jesus paid it all so we could accept a helping hand on the days we feel weak. Jesus paid it all so we wouldn’t have to kill ourselves by pretending we are strong, when we actually are weak.

Jesus fought for and bought our freedom. He won.

And he is winning today. He is winning whatever war you face. He’s behind you. He’s in front of you. He’s your future. He is your life. He is your answer. He is the beginning of your new thing. He is your help.

Live for him in a way so when you get to that memorial of your life and you look back, you’ll say, “With Jesus, I gave my all. In him, I fully believed.”

 

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.

My Jaw-Drop Moment

Moment

Getting rid of my furniture, indeed, was hard. As each person came to pick up their new goods, a little part of me went out the door with the cushions, the tables, and the lamps…. It’s just stuff, Kelly! 

But, it was my stuff!

So, trying to make the best of a hard situation, we turned on music. My three-year-old daughter jumped around and my son ran all over the room. We sang words about God’s faithfulness, goodness, and promises. But, I never expected what happened next…

Son took all his money, contained in a large Ziploc bag. The pennies, quarters, and dimes he’d been saving for weeks. The money he’d earned through lemonade stands, house chores and online book sales. The pile he’d been guarding like a military soldier. He dug deep into the bag and – fistful by fistful – he threw it in the air so it landed before the throne of God.

“More. I’ll give God, more,” He’d say, returning to the bag, until it was all gone.

Why? He said, “I felt God wanted me to give this money to him.”

My son gave his treasure. He said: It’s all God’s.

What I have: is all God’s.
What you have: is all God’s.

How do we use God’s money to bless Him?

After our worship session was done, I asked my son if he wanted to give that money to our church. He said, “No mom, I still want to get a drone.”

And, while, for a moment, I was unsure about his reply, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, God doesn’t guilt us into giving.

“God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

I mentioned to my son he might want to: think about sharing it, let a friend borrow or ask God how he can use it in a way that serves his purpose.

How might God be calling you to honor him with your resources – your time, your passions, your money, your heart, your life, or your living room furniture? How might it look to adorn his throne with what you’ve been given?

It’s all His. It’s all entrusted to you. It’s all waiting to be used for his glory, with no guilt attached.

 

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 is Your Heart?

I’ve been watching the show, The Partner. In this show, Marcus Lemonis, puts many to the test but is selecting one right-hand-man or woman to be his partner. He puts each person through the wringer: he tests their knowledge of financial statements, has them run their own businesses, and places them in high-tension sales situations.

In a different way, God, also, is looking for just the right person…

…will He find you?

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chron. 16:9)

Just as Marcus noticed how his contestants endured under fire, God notices as well. Not with the goal of eliminating us, but much with the same goal – of promoting us.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Lu. 16:10)

Have you considered, the tests God is permitting are because he knows you’ll prove yourself strong, steadfast and worthy to move to greater things? Have you considered – he believes in you? Have you realized – he desires to move you into great and glorious things for his making?

At the end of the show, The Partner, there was 2 woman left: one was a Harvard genius the other was humble and willing to learn.

Marcus chose the second. I believe God often does too.

Where is your heart? Are you willing to learn? Or, are you set in your ways?

Notice: In 2 Chronicles 16:9, God didn’t say his eyes roam the earth for the best person, the wisest or the most qualified, he said he roams the earth to strengthen hearts “fully committed” to him.

To have a heart “fully” committed is to:

  1. Ask God to search your heart.
  2. Be willing to see what needs change.
  3. To be humble enough to consider doing things differently.
  4. To be open to God’s leading as he helps you do things differently.
  5. To recycle, over and over again, items 1-4 above.

I believe, for this person: new doors are opened, their life is changed, and God’s hand blesses them in tremendous ways. Today, check your heart.

 

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.

Seeds Planted

My friend Bev Sheasby of Liberated Living Ministries has been helping me limp across the finish line of a very hard season. She says wise and beautiful things that come at just the right moment. Words of affirmation, wisdom, and encouragement.  She’s been such a comfort to me.

We recently had the loving privilege of handing our long-term foster daughter back into her birthmother’s restored arms.

Simultaneously, our oldest son became a Marine.

That same week, our oldest daughter eloped.  This was a blessing, we are thrilled for the happy couple. But it has just been one thing after another.

And then another.

We welcomed an injured foster placement that same week.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but actually, she has been a delightful distraction.  It’s an honor to care for her.

Still, sending adult children off into the great beyond, I wonder… was it enough?  Did I teach them everything they needed to know?

And I am not of the mindset that the Jesus I love was wholly made theirs simply by my prose.  Scripture memory, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Larry and the Giant Cucumber” are a start, He will have to take them to the finish.

But what about these “temporary” sons and daughters?  There’s a chance they’ll hardly remember me?  Let alone the whispered prayers or the lullabies of a Jesus who adored them, unto His death.  I panicked, not so much in a lapse of faith, but a lack of confidence – a state of weariness.  That sinking feeling, you know the one, where you feel you must be everything to everyone, every second of every day.

And something Bev said came into my mind, as I let some tears fall and whispered some small, but heartfelt prayers for healing.

“Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.”

In my quest to provide for all, I realize what I often forget is how very small I am.  Barely a seed myself, yet I think I must do it all and be all and fix all.

Alas, if I planted an apple seed, I could water it – but would it be me that would turn it into a tree?  Would I be responsible for ensuring it produces a harvest?  Could I even accomplish this? Even if I wanted to?

Furthermore, if I planted an apple seed and then I moved to a different farm in another state and left it to the elements, would it not be watered by the sky? Fed by the sun?  And pruned by the wind?  Isn’t it completely likely, aside from placing the seed in the earth, the earth would take care of the rest?

Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.  My comfort and rest come from this.  I will continue to plant the seed and trust the Maker of all to finish the rest.

“The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8 (NIV)

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

Add Life to Your Life

Life

When I got home, I noticed one remaining trash can. Apparently, my husband didn’t pull it to the end of the driveway for pickup. Approaching it, I could see why…maggots climbed up, down and all over it. Yuck! I looked inside, only to see, at the bottom, a half eaten box of chicken legs.

And, seeing this, brought a valuable insight: Death leads to more death.

Death leads to more death because, what life – sin has killed, the enemy, like a maggot – feeds on. He brings more death.

Now, sweet friends, I am fully aware all this talk sound highly disgusting. But, I also believe it can be highly transforming, this is why we are venturing into the depths of trash.

Consider this: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 6:23

Sin leads to death.
Then, death leads to death.
Jesus leads to life.
Then, life leads to life.

Where have you allowed sin to produce death in your life? How is the enemy feeding on you, only to produce more death – death of joy, peace, productivity, power, grace, hope, love, mercy – in your life? Death of relationships? Death of belief?

While through the Spirit, we are being transformed into the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I am convinced the enemy’s operating procedure is to move us to ever-diminishing glory. So we don’t look like Christ.

Today, I didn’t want to touch that maggot-box. I didn’t want to drag it down the driveway, but I knew, it had to go or the death would stay.

What today, do you need to drag in front of Jesus – and let go in order to remove the death that is settling in around you?

Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters, our God is a gentle God, slow to anger, abounding in grace, mercy and new life. When you come and encounter his face, the face of your sin will change.

Perhaps, you do this today. Rather than continuing in excusing, rationalizing, permitting, blaming or smearing – today, perhaps you approach the one who loves you – so he can.

This is my prayer for you – and for me…

Dearest Father, you love us. You love us, then you love us, then you love us…and love us some more. May we know, in the place where we feel death, we are only a confession away from your life. May we know you want us. May we know you always welcome us. We confess, God, we have fallen into sin. It looks like this: _______. It has hurt us in this way: _____.  We hand it to you, into your loving hands. We are sorry. What new way can we go when we are prone to do it, Father God? ____. We thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

 

 

Don’t Miss The Journey Together Summit, June 5-8! Join 34 leading authors with the sole mission of helping you discover new bravery. Whether you desire to be brave at home or at work, in your marriage or with your children, in ministry or in the mess of the day, dealing with a surprising life or just organizing it – this is the event for you.  There is something for everyone with over 34 topics of fear covered (wait till you see them all!).

Visit: http://www.journeytogethersummit.com/ for more information.

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How to Believe You are Really Loved

believe

Post by: Arabah Joy

I remember looking at her.

I remember looking at her. Withdrawn. Held back. Unwilling to join the rest of the family. Unwilling to come.

I beckoned and smiled. Patted my lap. Extended the invitation like I’d done a thousand times before.

She stiffened.

Then, like a thousand times before, she turned away. Scars from past abandonment, neglect, and abuse held her like chains to her chosen spot. She would not come.

In those early days of adoption, it was like God had given a mirror to look in. I saw myself in her. I saw how woundedness had caused me to withdraw, how I braced myself against warmth because I’d believed the lie that I didn’t need it, didn’t deserve it. I convinced myself I could do without love and acceptance. Slowly, the cold I surrounded myself with had seeped deep into my soul and distorted my perspective of life, God, and myself.

I was hard. Jaded. A real cynic but didn’t even know it.

And then I adopted a wounded one.

In doing so, God revealed to me something I’d never allowed the core of my being to truly accept: I was loved.

Surely one of the saddest things ever is to be deeply and lavishly loved but not have the eyes to perceive it.

What a tragedy, to get to the other side of life and see how one could have lived- as a dearly beloved child of God- but having missed it. Adoption taught me there’s such a thing as failure to “lay hold.”

“…So that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12

Just as my Little Bit is of our household, never to leave, always identified with us, so we are in Christ. He is our brother, our family, and we are in the household of God. He has reached down and laid hold of you (Phil 3:12) and has taken you from the domain of darkness and abuse and rejection and pain and transferred you into the kingdom of the family- His beloved Son (Col 1).

We can sulk and hold back and piddle in the corner with our little pet toys… or we can reach out with both hands, press forward with all we’ve got, and lay hold of that which has laid hold of us.

I know what rejection is like. I also know the remedy for rejection is acknowledging the acceptance offered in Christ.

The remedy for neglect is embracing the love and warmth extended me in Jesus.

The remedy for abuse is running to the table of fellowship with Him, where I am always welcomed, loved, and nourished back to health.

Hiding out in the corner never did anyone any good … except the enemy who wishes to single us out from the rest in order to devour us.

As a mom, I knew I needed to help my precious one learn to embrace the new, push forward into the warmth, and lay hold. And that meant I needed to practice it myself too.

She and I began a messy, painful, glorious journey together. And last night at the dinner table, my Little Bit came and sat in my lap without being invited. WIN!! She has made such amazing progress in the nine years we’ve had her. I’m so very, very proud of her. I wouldn’t trade the healing we’ve both received for all the world! I’ve come to now how our Daddy feels when we trust Him and lean into His love, when we run to Him expecting to be heard and loved on. How His heart thrills When we assume He is who He says He is. Wow! What a God. What an AMAZING Father.

How about you, my friend? Will you join your sisters in coming out of the corner, putting down our pet emotions, stretching out our hands and opening our arms wide to embrace the grace that has been lavished on us?

You can do this. Together, we can lay hold. Let’s live as those lavishly loved.

Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at ArabahJoy.com.