Purposeful Faith

Category - blessings

What Pours Out from within You?


Marcia Kuyper is joining us today for Women’s Ministry Monday and, boy, am I delighted about it. Her words struck a chord with my heart. They are both encouraging and thought-provoking. I am confident they will bless you as much as they did me. Enjoy!

Post by: Marcia Kuyper

I could see he was annoyed with me.

My husband Tom set our vitamins out on the counter, and I, knowing a better system, “politely” questioned his arrangement.

The tension was subtle, but I was keenly aware of his frustration with me. It makes me mad when he gets annoyed with me.  I was thinking, “What right does he have to be irritated with me, after the way he hurt me?”

I say out loud, “You are so bugged with me.”

My conflict avoiding husband gave it to me straight.  He courageously began to tell me about the way I affect him.  I knew he was talking about more than the arrangement of vitamins.  He was talking about our life together.

I didn’t want it to be about me.

I looked down at my Bible, which was open to Luke, and I paused, asking Jesus to help me have ears to hear.  “Lord, help me listen, truly listen. Help me listen for what’s being said beneath the words. Let me listen the way you listen… love the way you love… lay down my life the way you laid down your life.”

I looked at the words before me in Luke 7:36-50…

“And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”

And I hear it loud and clear…

“Marcia, I have something to say to you.”  I pause…ask again for His help in my listening,  and then I reply,

“Say it Teacher.”

I’ve read this so many times.  I get the meaning of these words, but this time, His message hits home in a more personal way.

To love the way Jesus loves,
I must receive all the love and forgiveness He offers.

I must let the blood of the Lamb cleanse me from ALL unrighteousness,
which includes my SELF-righteousness.  

I’m  listening, so He gently shows me that I am the pharisee in this story.

I realized I was saying : “I would never do that.”

I didn’t say it out loud, but in my heart, I was saying, “I would never do that.”

It’s pride. I hold on to a small sense of superiority, and that is what comes out when pressed.

Tom was courageously being more direct and bold, because he loves me and values our relationship.  I was tempted to react in a self-protective way, turning the fault back on him, but this time, by God’s grace, I was able to have ears to hear what He wanted to teach me.  I am learning that, until I own my part, until I own my sin – my inability to come under him, my resistance to letting him lead me, to learn from him, to listen without pushing my words  – we will only get so far.

Is there something God wants to say to you?

With Jesus as our teacher and guide, like the woman in Luke 7:36-50, we have the opportunity to let Jesus love us fully by giving Him access into every corner of our lives.  Even the things we don’t speak out loud.  It is here, in this place of admission and confession, where we experience His loving forgiveness and respond with extravagant gratefulness, just like this exposed woman did.

She, the woman, poured out her most costly possession (perfume), He poured out His blood for our redemption.  As I wrestled with Jesus over my unforgiveness, He helped me identify and spill out my pride, which released in me an outpouring of love and forgiveness for Tom.  What might your spontaneous outpouring of gratitude look like?

May you receive His love and forgiveness today in a way that overflows in love, forgiveness and gratitude.

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About Marcia Kuyper

Screen Shot 2016-07-08 at 10.14.39 AMMarcia Kuyper is the Women’s Ministries director at Open Door Fellowship Church in Phoenix Arizona. She leads Bible studies and Retreats, counsels couples and women in marriage and family and has a deep passion for God’s Word and His people

Marcia teaches with her husband at the A Time for Us Marriage retreats and Marriage preparation classes for engaged couples. She also shepherds and teaches a class for young marrieds and singles called C’est La Vie.

Marcia is a wife to Tom, mom of four, and grandma to seven, soon to be eight…

She spends a lot of time… planning vacations.  🙂  She loves reading… (Favorite authors: Oswald Chambers, Henri Nouwen, Elizabeth Goudge… too many to list.) the beach, snow skiing…

Raised in a Jewish family, Marcia came to know Jesus as Savior in high school.  She is so deeply grateful that Jesus pursues her and never stops loving her.

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He Who Knows…

Post by: Jami Amerine

Five and a half years ago, in the midst of heartache and tragedy, we decided to increase instead of decrease. We were walking wounded; run down, depleted, on empty. Perhaps it seems foolish, go ahead “guffaw.” But I had a dream about a little girl named Allison.

Allison, of Noble Birth.

That is what the name Allison means.

Of Noble birth. 

And so I made a phone call to my husband, and he hesitantly agreed, we would adopt a child.

Nine months from that day we met our son, Sam.

Sam was instantly one of us. We cared for him as a family, the least of these brought light, hope, and laughter back into this house.

Yet, so certain was I of the reality of Allison, we dove right into foster to adopt care.

Next month we will finalize the adoption of our new son, “Charlie.”

So?  Where the heck is Allison?

I love Jesus. I believe in a one on one relationship with Him. I believe He wants to commune with me.

Was I wrong?  And more importantly, by telling the Allison story did I somehow mislead others? Oh my! What if my words caused someone’s faith to falter? What if I lead someone down a path they should not go?

This morning, as four-year-old Sam stumbled, sleepily from his bed, two-year-old Charlie greeted him cheerfully.

Charlie chirped, “Morning Sam! Hey, widdle buddy? You wants some breawkfast?”

Sam, sleepily glared, and growled, “No. Stop being cute Charwglie, I not in da mood.”

And we laughed and laughed.

These boys are brothers. “Brothers from other mothers” is our tease. A tapestry has been woven and in it is a picture of a family. That family has seen some hard times. That family has seen miracles. That family has had hopes and dreams and prayers… some came to fruition; others float aimlessly on a breeze.

We aren’t sure what will become of them.

But, this much we hold true: HE KNOWS.

The God of Israel, healer of our hearts, Yahweh, Our Beloved… knows.

And what He knows is what we cling to in desperation.

What He does or doesn’t do, that is where we put our faith.  He is good. Bad things happen, still, His favor rests upon our heads.

And I have asked Him, “Lord, where is Allison?”

And time and again He has answered. Chilling encounters with a foster baby with the middle name Allison, a distance cousin… Allison.  A near placement of a little girl named Camilla, when I looked up her name meaning?  It said: “see also Allison.” And just last week a friend sent me a touching video with an adoption story – the birth mother? Allison.

I keep these things near to my heart. I choose to believe the Allison was a personal message for me, a cue to start a journey.  Tonight as I rocked a little foster baby to sleep in our home, I know not what her future holds. No, her name is not Allison.

However, there was a calling. There was a need. Our God spoke, and in spite of what we thought made sense, we answered, “Here we are Lord.” The hurts, the scary times, the unknowns, none of that matters as long as we follow where He who knows, leads.

As the calling has expanded, we have seen things we had not known. We have loved immeasurably. Our borders have grown. Our numbers have increased. We have multiplied rather than divided.

And these children that have joined our ranks? They and their birth families have taught us so much. We love them, all of them. So much good has come about from He who knows.

He who knows when a sparrow falls or a hair from our head is plucked, He is waiting for us to believe Him, wholly. He who brings us through it all, Our Father in Heaven, can make all things work together for His GLORY. He assigns greatness to us, not because of who we are, or what we do, but because of who He is. He who knows cannot be contained. His mercies are new every morning. Like sweet dew on a delicate and fragrant rose petal, He is the freshwater our souls cry out for. King of heaven and earth, He who knows all things, brings to each of us, His children the grand title: “of Noble birth.”

But she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)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.

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3 Ways to Embrace Positivity

Embrace Positivity

I sulked. I whined. I cried. My knee hurt.

Ever noticed when things feel bad,
the whole world turns bad in the blink of an eye?

I will not like the school my kids will attend.
My summer will amount to boredom.
My future book will go bust.
My efforts will not succeed.
People are going to laugh at me.
I will never laugh again.

Ever noticed, after you think badly, you think God hates you badly?

Negativity makes you fall further….

God doesn’t bless people who wallow.
He doesn’t help those who can’t help themselves.
He doesn’t want a sour puss like me.
He gets angry when I can’t dwell on truth.

He has distance reserved for me, because I am distant…I figure.

Are you heading down, down, down too? Thinking of all you aren’t, don’t have and will never get?

Half of me is tired of feeling tired. The other half is ready to pull out some fighting gloves to get positive again. Care to join me?

3 Ways to Embrace Positivity

1. Acknowledge you are feeling down. Let God grab that feeling and hold it. Know that he doesn’t get all red-faced, hot and bothered about it. He doesn’t steep with hot air when he thinks of you. Instead, he looks at your trial with tenderness. He cares.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18

2. Confess & return to His presence. embrace positivity

The past is in the past. With this, there is no reason to wad your bad rap sheet and to stuff it in your pocket. Christ doesn’t require you to carry it around. Simply, say I am sorry, really mean it – and throw it out.

So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! Lu. 11:13

3. See faith in all things.

If you believe in what a good God can do, rather than what you can’t do – just imagine what he could do – through you. This is faith.  Consider it a weapon for worriers. Something we can pull out, stand tall in and believe in.

We can pull it out and say:

This kingdom may look against me, but God is for me.
Justice on earth may seem impossible, but God will be just.
Promises seem far away, but God’s Word is as good as gold.
Lions want to snap my head off, but God can keep their mouth shut with a blink of his eye.

“For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—Who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.” Hebrews 11:32-33

We can conquer kingdoms, no matter our size. We can uphold justice, even if we are a stay-at-home mom. We can obtain promises, despite our continual failings. We can stop the mouths of lions, who may look like teenage boys with ferocious appetites and foul-sounding speech. Who knows what we can do – if only we believe.

With God, all things are possible.

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I’ve Unknowingly Sidestepped Christ’s Love (You Could be Too)

to Be Loved

I stood in front of the mirror, deciding I looked great. You women know how those body slimming mirrors work in dimly lit dressing rooms…you’re all ten pounds lighter and skin tones more brilliant. Then you get home.

I pulled the white dress out of the bag. The zipper wouldn’t move. It was getting stuck somewhere between fat and fabric.

My face sank. Yank! Soon enough, I looked like a beet.

Things were tightening in around me; I called in the troops. Husband wasn’t strong enough.

I pressed him to press on.

“We don’t give up on these types of things, I assured him. This is far too important to call it quits.”

He didn’t quit. He’s not that type. It zipped.

And as everything pulled together, I looked in my mirror, to see if it could possibly be as good as I remembered.

Wait, what is that? Those little dots?

Somehow, what resembled spattered pizza grease made my brand new white dress look tainted. I shrugged and figured hair could cover it well enough. I left for church, stained. Toddler son caught a glimpse, sealing the whole experience, and asked, “Mommy, are you getting married today? Is that your wedding dress?”

Ahem. No.

Mike Archer (6)

Beloved at Church

My hair was doing its job. My mouth was singing praises. Things were alright, especially since I wasn’t expecting much on this off-to-a-rocky-start day. God has other thoughts – thoughts unlike mine. Ones that work despite half-kept appearances, plummeting feelings and flawed days.

He whispered, “Kelly, you are my bride.” 

I wanted to laugh. Argue even. I hardly was… Didn’t God see what I was wearing?

I sat. Pastor got up. He was going to be talking about women’s roles in the church. I held onto my seat. This kind of message can go anywhere; I wasn’t sure where we were headed.

Pastor Mark Henry said:

1. Husband is to love me like “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25 (Tall order there!!!)

2. I am to “honor husband and lovingly respond to his leadership and care.” (Vente latte order here!!!)

3. This is a picture of intimate love. It is also is a picture of Jesus relating to Father God.Mike Archer (8)

Something rocked me, the bride. I thought, “Yes. Just think, we gawk, ooh and ahh over that one moment. The moment Jesus requested, relied and relinquished his rights, by saying: ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42)

Jesus trusted Father.
And, Jesus followed Father, no matter the cost.

Through this, we see a unified and magnified triune. 

We see, as onlookers, the presence of all peace move in tandem with God’s intended purpose.
It saves. Testifies. Redeems.

Do I let it work on my behalf?

The thought occurs to me: to feel like the bride of Christ, I must humbly accept the blessings that correspond with lowliness and selflessness. 

The Aisle of Clarity

I must allow in, what the world and my controlling personality stifle.

I must let my husband love me by leading me, not because he will do it perfectly, but because God will love me perfectly – as I do it.

I must give Christ the chance to make my stained dress white, clean and sparkling. He often does this through man.

I must receive what is love, even if it looks different than my rigid definitions of it.

I must avoid rushing in, questioning paths and offering advice to my husband so that space and grace can make room for Jesus Christ to walk in and love me.

I must avoid blocking love so I don’t feel like a dirty and deserted bride on her wedding day.

This won’t be easy, but it will be easier when I remember:

I am beloved.
I am cared for.
I am adored.

All man is faulted.
God is not.
His love works past man’s worst or best efforts. Mike Archer (7)

Will I give – faith in God’s plan – a chance to work for me? Will you?

To bend so low that only a knight in shining God could rescue in the gap of defenselessness***?

What might it look like for you to run into God’s arms of refuge – to find yourself loved – as bride?

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***Side note: This type of humble bowing is not done in a way where, we women, justify slaps or abuse. It is also not intended to tell us to go against the Word of God in blatant disregard. If, however, you find yourself in this place, you are not alone. You have a liberator and a door. He will help you. He will love you with compassion and gentle leading. Please consider wise counsel. Contact your church or a therapist for help. My prayers and heart are with you. Please remember, you are no less bride than I am. May your wise steps lead you to feeling this in your heart as you proceed forward. 

Out of Sight and Out of Mind

Out of Sight

I want to extend a warm welcome to Kari Stainback. Her words hit the tender places of not being seen and chosen. I couldn’t be happier to feature her words as part of the Ministry Monday Series. Welcome Kari!

Not long ago at a family gathering, I happened upon an endless version of the game “Peek a Boo” with a toddler.  Over and over and OVER again I put a scarf over her little head and said, “Where did Lucy go?”

Then I’d yank the scarf off to her gleeful shrieks and reply, “There she is!”  The giggles and the fun lasted for longer than I thought possible for a game to continue with a baby.

What made Lucy giggle so profusely as she participated in this game is that she was learning something called “object permanence”.  It is the developmental process that allows children to understand that an object continues to exist when it can’t be seen, touched or heard.  Prior to this stage, in the first few months of a baby’s life, they think when an object is “out of sight”, in their minds, it ceases to exist!  So when Lucy couldn’t see me, she just thought in her tiny toddler mind, “she’s not gone, she’s right there and boy howdy that is hilarious!”

Object permanence is very important because it gives us the ability to understand that objects that we may have never seen in our lives actually exist.  For example, I’ve never been to France nor seen the Eiffel Tower, but I know that it exists even though I’ve never physically seen it.  Throughout our childhoods as we become adults, object permanence moves from the physical to the abstract as we gain more experience with the world around us.  And, by God’s grace, it lays the foundation in our brains to develop faith in the triune God.  We can know, by faith, the One who we have not seen physically, but we can be sure He is with us.  In Christ, He is our ultimate permanent object.

Some of my favorite verses that teach us this truth are:

“My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.”  (Exodus 33:14)

“Just as I as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.” (Joshua 1:5)

“Where can I go from Your Spirit?  Or where can I feel from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:8-9)

“…I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b)

Sometimes, I don’t feel God is near.  Perhaps, you, like I, tend to think, “Does God really care? Does He know I’m feeling alone and forgotten?”  

For years, I thought I experienced loneliness because of my singleness.

I find, loneliness tempts us to find comfort by escaping through activity, or shutting down or drowning our sorrows in food or drink, or my personal favorite: cruising the mall on Saturday nights.  It’s easy to give in to despair and resentment, to stop reading the Bible or praying. I keep learning, none of these leads us to lasting peace.  What does lead to peace is something Amy Carmichael wrote about in her poem, “For In Acceptance Lieth Peace”.

Our loneliness may not go away,
but it can be accepted as God’s will for today and that turns it into something beautiful. 

Recently I had an ugly bout with loneliness, all of my familiar temptations to doubt and escape swirled around me.  I did not feel God’s presence.  All I felt was the dread that the loneliness had returned and that it would only get worse in the days ahead.

I found His presence.

I opened my Bible and read it, listening for the Word He had for me.  It came!  I prayed and thanked the Lord for being the One who would never leave me or forsake me.  He gave me peace. The very next day God sent me a surprise of His love in the mail, something only He could do in His perfect timing.  It was a quarterly magazine from the seminary from which I graduated.  On the back was a graphic of a tree, rooted in Christ Jesus, with its branches filled with names of single men and women who have furthered God’s Kingdom throughout church history.

To my utter amazement, in the far right branch I saw my name.  Underneath the graphic was written the verse, “Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35).  

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About Kari

CounselingandCare (1)Kari Stainback is Director of Women’s Ministries at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.  She coordinates women’s Bible studies, discipleship and special events.  Kari is a Licensed Professional Counselor and does pastoral counseling for women in the church.  She is also a board certified supervisor of counselors.

Kari joined the staff of PCPC in the fall of 1999.  She has been in her present position for 15 years.

Father’s Day Note: You are a Great Daddy

Great Daddy

You do things.
You get me coffee.
You clean the pans that have scum left from the night before.
You give me time to execute my dreams.
You love your kids.
You give them your best.
You think about how I am feeling.
You encourage me in my dreams.
You tell me I can.
You show me you care.
You make sacrifices and time.
You give me the best Apple computer a writer could ever want.
You think about what I will delight over…

…all while being daddy of two, leader of home and strong at work. 

If there is one thing a woman wants, besides God, chocolate and new clothes – it is a man that loves her. I have that in you. You are mine and I am yours. When I see you, I see Jesus.

If there is one thing a kid wants, besides candy and toys – it is a daddy who cares.

You make breakfast a coveted affair.

great daddy
You lug them around on your shoulders.
You tackle and toss and take your kids places they have always wanted to go.
You laugh and dance and fuss over little things.
You bring little gifts home from work.
You make time for stories.
You pray morning and night over things that count.
You take them on new adventures.
You do breakfast tours in new cities.
You make your minutes count.

great daddy

They know.

And what I know is all these small moves of love, will end up as giant leaps of the heart kind. They will know significance. Believe in it. They will know belonging. And rely on it.

They will know they can because daddy always believed they could.

They will believe Father Daddy will carry them because you did.

great daddy

They will know Jesus because you reflected him.

She will find a good man because you are good man.

They will remember. They will remember the “You are courageous” comments. They will remember the “Don’t give up,” words. They will remember the, “Spin for me” requests. She will remember the, “You are beautifuls.”

You are sowing security. You are making it the fabric of our family, the knitting of our future. It counts. It will reap rewards.

We cheer you today, daddy.
You are a man doing well.
Working hard.
Giving your all.
We applaud your generosity, your heart and your passion – for us.


Wifey and Kids

P.S. From your little boy: Daddy, I love you, daddy. You are strong. My heart feels glad to be with you, daddy.

P.S.S. From, your even littler girl: Daddy, you make me feel happy.

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Seeking Your Fame Over His Gain

Seeking Your Fame
I was checking to see how many Twitter followers I had. It was just a few seconds of distraction, a few seconds of indulgence, but seconds that cost me so much.
I glanced around the room for my 1-year-old daughter. She was nowhere to be found. I called her name. Nothing. I furiously looked around the room. Nowhere. My heart skipped a beat. Anxiety welled up in my chest. There are so many things that can happen in just seconds. My mind raced. The possibilities overwhelmed me.
Then I heard it—a thump, thump, thump. My worst nightmare was becoming a reality. Something was happening to my baby. I heard her falling and ran as quickly as I could muster to the most dangerous spot in the house—our stairs. I saw her at the bottom, crying. My heart broke.

My distraction led to this infraction.

My preoccupation created a situation.

My online enjoyment led to her torment.

How do you find that what you seek online—pleasure, satisfaction, fun—leads you away from God and others? What we do in a matter of a few seconds can have long-lasting repercussions. What makes us feel good or accepted can make others feel the exact opposite: denied and rejected
As I hugged my crying baby girl, I realized, it was time to turn away from Google and Facebook to think about how I was impacting others. It was time I look at what and where I invest my heart.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23).
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).

God, what do you want to show me about my heart?


I was distracted from the presence, the place where God shows off. Usually, I love to see my daughter’s new milestones, but, this time, I didn’t get to see her climb those stairs. I missed that moment.

When we immerse ourselves in a screen, we miss the in between.

I sought AMUSEMENT above all. 

“Entertain me! Delight me! Consume me!” That is what I say so often to my screen. Give me a moment of joy in a world that aggravates me.
God speaks differently, to me it sounds something like: amusement comes and amusement goes, but my love remains forever.
“For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations” (Psalm 100:5 NIV).

I wanted my FAME above his.

Read my posts. Like me. Favorite me. Retweet me. See me. Accept me. Do you notice the theme? Me. Me. Me.

When we focus on self, God goes on a shelf. 

“LORD, I have heardof your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NIV).
What desires does your heart seek?  They extend far beyond a screen, I assure you.
“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things” (Psalm 107:9 NLT).

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A Permanent Address

Post by: Jami Amerine

I have been chewing on this scripture for a couple weeks now.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Philippians 3:20 ESV

For the last two weeks, we have been living in our hunting cabin. Our house is undergoing extensive upgrades. My husband is not only a general contractor; he can do anything. Once he rescued a stranded driver on interstate by repairing his radiator with some goulashes and three zip ties. The driver reported he drove it another 50,000 miles with the provisional repair.

Needless to say, I can have some things tended to that might otherwise cost a fortune.

But in our tiny cabin in the woods on our ranch, I haven’t been in need. Well, selfishly in need of space from the three littles.  But other than a washer and dryer and Internet service, we have everything we need to live a lavish life. Better than most.

Still, I am eagerly awaiting my renovated residence.

My permanent address.

And as I flip through Pinterest and online catalogs, I dream of all the fun things I will do to our newly refurbished home. I carefully plan the placement of each picture, candle holder, nick-knack, rug, and throw pillow. My permanent address will be stunning.

And in that stunning space, I will have friends and family over for spectacular feasts. I will fix beautiful meals, tasty pies, and pastries. Wine glasses will make musical “clinks” as we toast new years, new lives, marriages, holidays, and celebrate those we love as they pass on, to their permanent address.


Perhaps because we moved so much in my childhood, I am more prone to crave and create spaces that are indicative of permanency. I want to create a lovely home where everyone feels welcomed.

This is my spiritual gift, hospitality.

I want a home that speaks to the soul. Halls that whisper welcome, and a table that screams, “SIT! STAY! ENJOY!”

I can make this happen. Napkin rings for every occasion, a table that seats 18, a fire in the fireplace, or fluffy multicolored beach towels next to the pool. Watermelon in summer, smores by the fire pit in the fall, and rich, decadent cocoa with homemade whipped cream and festive sprinkles by the light of the Christmas tree.

I can make this happen.

All of it.

This is my craft.

Well, all of it is mine to give, except – the permanency.

I can’t make it all stay.

And that is what I desire.

This is what evades me.

For deep within the borders of my heart, I am still wandering like the nomad I was raised to be.

The longings of my flesh might seek to create a fanciful, cozy home but my spirit craves permanency.

And that can only be through the Father by His Son.

The most hospitable of all, my Jesus. He creates for me a forever address. No repair is needed; it was purchased on the cross.  Timeless, perfected, beyond cozy or hot chocolate, this place I long for – this place I have not known…

Yet, somehow know, this will be my forever home.

Angels heard on high, praises to the King of Kings. Mercy, grace, and joy will sing and I will be reunited with my God.

Lord Jesus, let this be the true desire of my heart. Let me not lose the focus on my true home.  Keep my eyes ever upward. Forgive me when I stumble and obsess over the trinkets, lace panels, fragrant candles, sales, and paint swatches. I wish only to have eyes for you, and my permanent address.  An eternity of worship in a beautiful home…

One you prepare for specifically for me.

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

But as it is written: “Eye hath noseennor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 COR 2:9

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Broken Perfectionism

Broken Perfectionism

I could not be happier to have Angela Craig joining us today for Ministry Monday. Angela is on fire for the Lord; her passion exudes from her (and I have only talked to her online, so this says so much!). She is a gift sent by God to this world and I am excited to honor her here today. Welcome Angela!

“A dangerous leader is one that has great familiarity with their skills and gifts
but cursory knowledge of their inner brokenness.”
– Dan White, Jr.

I will admit it. I want everyone to like me. The two things I have struggled with most of my life are people-pleasing and perfectionism. In the past, if someone didn’t like me or critiqued my work, I would spend an unhealthy and disproportionate amount of time lamenting on where I went wrong. Then I would make a plan to fix it. The problem was, no matter how hard I tried, I still disappointed people and made mistakes.

It could be because I am human. As far as I know, human beings can strive for excellence but they can never be perfect. Having the hope of perfectionism is like having a boat with a hole in it and thinking you can stay afloat if you can just keep the water out of the bottom. Eventually, you will take on more water than you can bail out and get tired of trying to fulfill other people’s expectations. This leads to burnout or drowning. Neither, a good option.

But what if I was perfect? Would everyone like me then?

Actually, the answer is no.

Listen for a moment to this story of Jesus. On Palm Sunday, Jesus made his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on a humble donkey. The people were so enamored by Jesus they lined the street with their cloaks and palm leaves in honor of who they believed to be the next royal King from the line of David. Jesus could do no wrong. Five days later, that same King hung on a splintered wooden cross with a crown of thorns on his innocent head – naked, accused, mocked, beaten, hated, and judged – but still perfect.

As the story ends, we see it was obedience, not perfection that changed the world forever.Broken Perfectionism

As leaders, it is easy for our interactions with others to become performance driven. We can become actors on a ministry stage. Our actions being guided and directed by audience approval and recognition. If left unattended, the approval and recognition of others will eventually affirm or challenge our identity and self-worth, leaving God’s opinion back-stage.

We must maintain the ability to embrace our gifts, God’s words, and our brokenness at the same time. For me, a broken perfectionism has been the path to being a healthier leader.

You are unique and distinctive. Your leadership matters. Live fearlessly for Jesus today, my friends, and be encouraged by these last scriptures and a quote from Brennan Manning. I will be here cheering you on!

Brennan Manning wrote: “God loves you without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are not as you should be!
Real freedom is the freedom from the opinion of others. Above all, freedom from your opinion about yourself.”

“Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7 NIV).

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 NIV).

About Angela Craig

image001 (1)Angela’s 10 years of international speaking experience covers leadership and women’s conferences, non-profit events, and on-line leadership training. Angela is the Director of the women’s department at the Northwest Ministry Network where she has the honor to lead a team who is responsible for the development and empowerment of female leaders in over 320 churches. Angela is an ordained minister and a certified coach with Gallup Strengthsfinder, SLTA 360, and AGC. A life-long learner, Angela has a Ministry Leadership degree from Northwest University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga. Angela is honored to teach as an adjunct professor at her alma mater, Northwest University. Angela is also the founder of the GIVE GOOD Awards Foundation, an organization that recognizes inspirational people and promotes volunteerism.

Devoted to helping others reach their fullest potential in life and leadership, Angela has authored two books, The Story of Leah: When life is not what you expected it to be and Pivot Leadership: Small Steps – Big Change . You can read her weekly blog encouragements and leadership tips on angelalcraig.com and  on hervoiceblog.us, a blog specifically designed for women in leadership.

Magnificently Inspiring Faith Manifesto

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Faith Manifesto:

Walk around arms-wide-open – life passes, you want all God’s good stuff to land in your arms along the way. Grab truth, everything else is living a lie. Listen more than you talk; it is how you get to see Jesus. Seek to understand and you’ll realize the world’s about a whole lot more than – you. Walk in the valleys of humility and you’ll see how mountain-reaching your great God really is. Worry less about who will run the country and remember that Jesus rules. Let critics criticize, but let Christ’s love pulverize their power – over you. Pray like everything in life depends on you, but know your cares just landed on the to-do list of God. Trust that God isn’t just going to give you your good, but he is going to give you his great. Be happy when things don’t turn out as you thought; God has a better plan. Don’t be held back by looking like a perfect picture, grab Jesus’ hand when you look horrid. Suddenly, you find, you look beautiful. Let the waiting rooms of your life, be exchanged for praising rooms – it is God’s training space of outpouring grace. Be like a child – adults make faith too complicated. Lay down against the cross; it will remind you that life’s pains wane in the face of eternity. Seek justice, don’t lose the opportunity to fight for what is right. Love mercy; let others know how great it feels. Seize compassion. Let it fly. Hunger for truth and wave it like a flag. Turn towards God again and again. The face of Jesus is found everywhere – in cranky kids, cantankerous folk, careening cars, chirping creation and quiet moments. Know Jesus stands right with you – you need only see. Confess when you feel far away; God wants you to recognize his love again.  Don’t lose the opportunity to spend every day hungry for more. At the end of your days, you want him to look at you and say, “Her. I knew her.” It will make you jump up and down. Until then, be not afraid, for His throne stands close. Walk with the confidence that only the Holy Spirit can give you. Rely on it.