Purposeful Faith

Category - Comparing

Things Are Easier for Her Than Me

It’s funny. On Facebook, I surveyed a lady going through tremendous pain. She’s struggling through extreme turbulence in her marriage, likely difficulties within her family and heart-stopping health issues. Yet, I thought, “She’s tough in the Lord. She’ll make it through the other side. No problem. She’ll come out stronger in the end.”

When I looked at her, I wasn’t worried. I had great confidence she’d make it out fine. God would bring her through. I knew grace covers her.

But then I looked at me. I didn’t feel as sure. I didn’t feel like God would bring me through stronger. Why?

Why am I not as sure for my trials as I am for hers?

The truth is, we often are so inside ourselves, we fail to see the rock solid truth from God’s outside-in perspective. We fail to see Him above us, grace around us and hope working through us. We neglect remembering the cross that erases bad behaviors, bad days and bad errors.

Inside us, it’s easy to forget: It is not us that makes us strong, but Him.

In heated moments, He pours out strength.
In the face of yet another battle with that person, He is our shield.
In the worst of our replies, He is restoring forgiveness.
In our anger, He is soothing consolation.
In our lack of vision, He is 20/20 fiber-optic sight.

We see trials and tremors; He sees triumph secured — on our behalf.

So the truth is, we WILL come out the other side stronger. Period. Exclamation point. By his grace.

Not because we are great, but because He is. Because He is mighty to save, our shield in every battle, our hope in every offense, our love that beats out injury and hope that quells rebellious thoughts.

Jesus is restoration and renewal, always.

His grace gives me hope. It welcomes me to stop trying to fix myself in order to live well, but to let His all-powerful love do the healing. And this feels like freedom…freedom that is my refuge, strength and stronghold of my life. Salvation for eternity, but also for today.

Thank you, Jesus. I am strong and I will come out the other side of all this, stronger.

Other:

You don’t really know 

 

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

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

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

When You Hate How You Look

Hate How You Look

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

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

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

I just stood there.

He finished the job.

I looked at the photo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nope. Not good.

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

Come on, God….any time now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why the World Needs Your Voice and No One Else’s Will Do

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

My son’s face spelled frustration. He tried to get his classmate’s attention as we left the birthday party, but skating rink noise drowned his voice.

After he called her name several times with no response, he gave up.

“It’s loud in here, buddy,” I said, trying to reassure him.

And it was. I practically ran to get out into the sunshine after two hours of musty air, loud bass and sticky floors. But I also knew he felt defeated.

For better or worse, he inherited my quiet demeanor and his voice doesn’t always project. When he has something to say, he’s intentional, but his words sometimes get lost on those with a short attention span.

I can relate in more ways than one. All it takes is a few minutes on social media for me to feel overwhelmed by the influx of voices.

“What do I have to say?” I ask myself. “No one is going to miss my words.”

There is an article on every topic under the sun. I can find something to make me feel good about neglecting my health, yelling at my kids, and being snippy with my husband. I can find encouragement for any season.

What more does a person need, right?

If we need a good argument to walk off the rink and give up, we don’t have to look far. No one will tell you it’s easy to be heard in a world where everyone is shouting for attention.

This week I read the through the gospels and do you know one thing I love about Jesus? He noticed those others overlooked. He went out of his way to bring hope to the reject, outcast and the lame. It didn’t matter whether others thought he wasting his time.

And do you know what he did for these overlooked people by paying attention to them? He gave them a voice.

He visited the Samaritan woman at the well and gave her words of life, and because he did, she brought truth to an entire village. Many were saved because she didn’t keep what she’d learned to herself. It didn’t matter whether she had prestige, education or social status.

What mattered was the message she shared.

Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” John 4:39 ESV

You may be the exact, one-of-a-kind expression of God’s love someone needs today.

It doesn’t matter how loud your voice is. What matters is using the one He gave you.

It doesn’t matter how much speaking experience you have or how many Bible verses you know. What matters is sharing your own unique story.

No one has the exact same passions, experiences and disposition you do. You are positioned within your community and family to offer something only you can.

A few weeks ago, my firstborn spoke about what he’d learned at cub scouts in front a large group of people. The microphone gave him the extra projection he needed, and he expressed himself with confidence.

Afterwards, the pack leader told my husband how well our son did. He used the tools that were given to him and delivered the message he knew.

And you know what? That’s all God asks us to do.

When we step out in faith and trust the unique story he’s given us, lives change. Sometimes we just need the right tools and the right moment to do so.

 

Abby McDonald is a mom, wife and writer who desires to show women that the hope of Christ can be found in the middle of life’s messes. She’s learning each day to let his lavish love define her instead of the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing her two boys around or cuddling their new baby girl, you can find her writing about her passion for a God who relentlessly pursues her, even during her darkest times. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

When You’re Afraid You’ll Never Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I listened to the interview with the popular Christian writer, my mind reeling with questions. But the one that kept repeating itself over and over was, “How?”

This woman had a slew of kids running around, and she homeschooled all of them. Her writing was not shoddy. Each syllable sang with an effortless harmony as you read.

So how? How were there enough hours in the day? Did she have on a superwoman cape I couldn’t see as I listened to the podcast?

At the time I had two kids. Now I have three, the last one two months young. There are days I barely get the laundry done and the food made, much less worry about doing anything creative.

I see women on social media who, in all the bright lights and glow of the computer screen, are pursuing their goals and dreams. They are achieving milestones I dare to think about as I’m nursing my sweet babe at night.

Before daybreak, the fear takes over and says, “You’ll never get there.”

Comparison is such a lonely place to live.

When we compare, we fear never being like someone else when God simply wants us to be the person he created.

We live in a toxic state of thinking we have to achieve the next rung on our self-made ladder instead of embracing the season we’re in. But friends, we weren’t made to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or anyone else.

We were made to live our own unique lives, each of us working together to create a beautiful God-story.

During the moments I’m tempted to exchange my story for someone else’s God is showing me a better way. Instead of spending my time in fear and comparison, I bring it to him.

I say, “God, today I only have a half hour to work on this project. I don’t know how it’s going to get done, but I trust you.”

And in ways only he can, he multiplies my efforts. He takes that little sliver of time and makes it enough.

One day it was raining non-stop and the fog on the mountain where we live was thick, reflecting my tired mental state. I was feeling discouraged, so I brought my concerns to God. I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t always my first inclination.

I told him my concerns and worries, how I wanted to get back to assignments I knew he’d given me to complete, but I didn’t see how.

A few days later, an opportunity dropped in my lap. It wasn’t something I was pursuing or even knew was a possibility, but in that moment I knew God was answering me.

With this email from an editor that popped into my inbox, he said, “You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do months from now or even next week. Just make the most of the time I’ve given you. Right here, today.”

And in doing so, I not only honor my family, but God. I can stop trying to keep up with the person next to me and focus on the task in front of me. One step at a time.

I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders.

I know there will be days I’m tempted to look in the other lane. Chances are, you’ll be tempted too.

But can I tell you something? The ride is so much more enjoyable when, instead of seeing how far we have to go, we look at the view around us.

Instead of fearing we’ll never make it to the next destination, let’s look at how far we’ve come.

Order Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

 

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, Pinterest, and Facebook.

 

 

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.

 

How to Be Unshakable in the Face of Turbulence

be unshakeable

What are you going after?

This is a question you do not ignore. Instead, it is one you put a pretty design around and then get tattooed on your hand.

It is that important.

You wear this question as if it is a badge of your dedication. You return to it often.

During my days in corporate America, I tried really hard. In my mind, I did really good. I responded to emails with lightning speed. I came up with proactive ideas before my boss even voiced word of the problem. I arrived not just with plans but complete SWOT analyses of the whole situation. I was always a step ahead.

After a long day at work, I’d run to release some steam. I’d run and think “I wonder if my boss sees all I am doing? I wonder if his boss sees too?”  I assured myself, “Kelly, you’ll go places. They’ll uncover you and say, ‘Wow, what a gem.'”

Between striving and running. I was exhausted.

I was going after the wrong thing: the desire to be the star.

I wouldn’t have admitted this, but:
People were often a casualty in my race.
Problems were my ticket to a Kelly-solved-it phone call up the chain.
Work was a means to my end.
I didn’t feel good unless I looked good.

A woman dedicated to self-exalting ways
will run with skinned knees and deep discontentment.

What is your end? Not the one you try to convince yourself that you’re after, but the one daily you live for by your actions? The one that makes you feel cruddy?

Are you after people knowing the great things you are doing? The feeling you are finally enough? The one-track-mind goal of being published? The phone call that ends your waiting time? The approval of that person that restores your sense of self? The success that erases your feelings of illegitimacy? The desire to be wanted by family members? The spotlight that shows millions accept you?  The achievements that are all about you?

Make no mistake, my fellow seekers, we are all after something. Many of us just don’t acknowledge it – because we are afraid to look at what our heart really wants. We are embarrassed; we don’t really want God after all.

No shame here friends. I get off track all the time. I blow it!

Getting off track is not the major problem,
but remaining in denial of the problem – always is.

Where are you in denial? 

Confront these questions (this means really consider them):

What is your heart’s goal on the daily basis?
Is it about pleasing God or pleasing man?
Seeking self or glorifying God?
Self-protection or God-dedication?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17

Draw a line. Draw, not a grey or fuzzy line –
we have enough of those –
but an I-will-do-it-all-in-the-name-of-Jesus line.

Draw a line that says, I will be resolute, determined and steadfast
in only going after the right thing.
In going after – God’s thing.

This way, instead of allowances, excuses and rationalizing, you make progress.
Then, you and I claim a warrior-like mentality. It talks like this:

Speak to me, something that is not from him… I’m not listening.

Divert me with a call to selfish ambition… I’m shutting down.

Send me down a path of sin that will lead me astray…
Nope, I’m not going there, I want God.

Try to get me to make it about me…
I don’t think so. It is all about Him.

Aim my heart at some target off the path of God…
Forget it. That’s not contentment.

We’ve gotta stop doping around.

A woman dedicated to do it God’s way,
finds the upsurgence of God’s heart
ready to explode from within her.

Drive emerges:

Your heart swerves left into discouragement,
but you jerk back and remember how he has always taken care of you.

Your mind stalls –
you pray and uncover your next step to get moving again.

Your doubts backfire –
but you fire back truth that kicks doubt out of the car.

Your friends speak lousy words –
you nod your head and exhale them like exhaust.

Your hard work proves fruitless –
you remember he’s the one taking you somewhere.

You release demands and pressures. You fly free of the strings of the world. No one and nothing is tying you down. Like a hot air balloon, you are released to new heights.

You can see it all, from God’s view.

You move like a woman with laser-vision, dead-set on eternity. You fight hand-and-fist, tooth-and-nail, jackal-style, against the world that wants to wedge its way into your heart. You scream. You run. You stay near God. But, what you don’t do is let it get its sticky fingers on you.

You won’t have it.

And, when it does, when you feel icky because you went the wrong way, so you trash that empty wrapper, as quickly as you can, and say, “It’s not that I have fallen that most concerns God, it is that I get up and get going with him once again.”

And so you do. You just go where he wants to go, knowing that it is the ONLY and the BEST place to go.

A woman dedicated to the Lord
is like a ship anchored to the core of the earth.
What comes against her doesn’t move her an inch.
She is unwavering, unbreakable and unshakable.

Prayer to be an Unshakable Woman

God, help us. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are wavering, help us lay our anchor down. May we find strength through knowing you hold us. We no longer need to be held down by the world’s claws. May we believe you are so believable we see your hand in our everything. May we so fall into your arms of grace, so we never feel the pangs of condemnation rip us apart. That is not you. And, truly, we want nothing that is not associated with you – it will only leave us empty. God, you are one that leaves us on full. Not once, but all the time. God, give us you. Increase our faith; make us into fighters who don’t back down. May we know, strongly, you are what we need to run after. You are the answer to everything. You are the only way. Tie down our heart into you. Amen.

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Related Reading:

Magnificently Inspiring Faith Manifesto

Chasing God

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When The Other Girl Has it All

Has it All

Eyes trying to peep over the counter, they stood on tippy-toes. They were close, yet far enough the glass window preventing them from grabbing it. No touching allowed! They watched, as she ladled on the batter, shaped it, then carefully added the chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers. Like pent up children ready to bust into Christmas, they knew, I knew – something monumental was about to happen. Yet, I also knew WWIII might breakout…

The second the gigantic crepe was in their hand, I heard it,
“Mine, mine, mine.”

He watched, she took a bite, “My bite wasn’t as big as hers!”

She watched, yelling, “He got 2 bites.”

He ripped it a chunk as quickly as he could.

So did she.

He looked at us with frustration, “Why can’t I have more.”

She grabbed it and stared right at him, “Look what I have.”

They were so honed in on what the other had,
they  missed what they had.

So focused on the other’s portion,
they missed the chance to enjoy theirs.

So eager to win in the moment, they ruined it.

How often do we sour our sweet moments?

God, you should have given that to me. Why does she have the voice and the brains? Why don’t my kids act like that? How come every door is open for her to walk through? Why did she get the promotion and I didn’t? When will it be my turn? Why do I have to be the heavier one?

We sour sweet moments when we believe God hands us second-best.

I sat in church today. Up on the screen, they announced the women’s conference of all women’s conference. They showed the speakers perfect smiling faces, they highlighted their glorified messages, their idealized lives and their heart to bring Jesus to stadium-filled masses. Why aren’t I the model spokesperson for Jesus? I wanted their shoes.

They soured my sweetness.

The good in me went rancid.

My husband whispered,“Kelly, are you going to that event?”

“No way,” I whispered. “I am far too jealous.”

I didn’t want to go off.

Because I’ve come to see… women who walk with unaddressed sin are walking time bombs. As time passes, something ticks them off.  And it is never pretty.

I don’t want to live exploding jealousy, but exploding love.

So, when I see even the smallest elements, I stop. I just shut it all down – and look. I look for Jesus.  And, what I’ve come to see is he leads me, Willy Wonka-style, not into a big chocolate vat – but into the waves of my heart.

When you, first, seek Jesus’ heart, you find yours.

New rhythms of humanity surface. I see humans just like me. I see different missions for different children. I see that other’s great callings in no way diminish mine.  I see a daddy meeting me in the gap, with love. I see it all. When I invite Jesus in.

What has soured your sweetness?

Is it a neighbor who is a little show-offy?
A colleague who always does right?
A winner who never loses?
A beautiful gal who, you figure, is BFF with the mirror?
An outgoing one who has it all together?
A successful one who is at the top of the charts?
A relationship you are not a part of?

I think about that crepe again. From another angle, it truly could have represented sugar cubes. That is how sweet it was. But, my kids enjoyed it as much as rock soup.

Jealousy steals our sweetest blessings, so we can’t even see them. 

It’s often, not that we don’t have, but that we just don’t see.

What we do see, though, is the girl on the left and the right. Eyes glued, we analyze her clothes, beauty, success and everything else. Then, jealousy speaks up louder – it speaks vile. Chit-chat, that’s mean. Comparison, that’s damaging. Actions, that scar people. Not only that, but it drives us right by God’s plan.

We look back and say, “Where did God go?”

Well, we left him 4 blocks back, nearly right before we hit the lamppost on the side of the road.

Jealousy is crash-route for Christians. Ride or die – baby!

God, though, in his mercy, is something else; He is Savior. He offers us guardrails so we don’t crash. They’ve saved me a time or two.

4 Guardrails for Jealous Hearts:

– Realize:  All relationships are permissible, but not all relationships are profitable. If someone is gossipy or comparison-oriented, it may be time to step back.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Cor. 10:23

– Pray: If you lift a person up, instead of critiquing them, you might find you start to love them. You’ll see purpose arise out of hatred.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4

– Submit: Lay down and see the height of your Father’s love for you. If you believe he is Creator, don’t you believe he will create something amazing on your behalf?
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Jo. 10:27

– Admire: If you can’t deal with girl’s God-shining glory on earth how will you endure God’s numero-uno glory in heaven? You don’t want to look like a fallen angel who can’t handle God’s glory, do you? Choose to admire his glory – in others – today so you can bask in it tomorrow.

Your sweetness is not found at the end of the yellow brick roads, friend, it is found at the end of yourself and the start of the Father that cannot contain his love for you. Get yourself there and your heart will get right.

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A Wake Up Call For The Jealous Girl (& 10 Tips)

Jealous Girl

Hey you, I know how you do things. You watch everyone else. You size them up to see if what they are doing is good enough. You pick it apart. You notice how they dress, act, carry themselves. What they do, think or say. You’ve pulled your microscope out and you are not missing a beat.

You survey things.
You predict their next step.
You pick apart their face.
You want to anti-applause their success.
You hope they will fail.
You hate yourself, how you look so small and they look so big, as if they were Jackie O’ or something like that.

Your face tenses, your eyes squeeze, your blood pressure rises. You want her to fall and trip over a sidewalk crack. Maybe if she’d hurt her face, you wouldn’t have to see it and feel as flat as a pancake. So, you imagine her ruined, politically, professionally or personally. Truly unleashed, you rub your hands together like the bad witch of the west and chuckle a little over it. Of course, you wouldn’t let any Christian people know this was going on under your covers. 

God, forbids that. 

I’ve been this girl in the past. I see these girls in the present. It’s a war out there friends.  Women are at war with women. At times we almost hate each other, and, no doubt, berate each other.

Can I just ask, “What are we doing?”

jealous girl

We take potential friends and, in our mind, make them foes.

The only one we hurt by hating – is ourselves. Because this kind of behavior makes us hate ourselves even more. We either grow so big for our britches we fear busting and been seen as a fraud. Or, we get so small we fear our whole calling will deteriorate into the vast outer limits of the universe and no one will bat an eye.

Either way, a comparing mind sits in a living hell.

It sees not all it can do, but all it hasn’t done.
It sees not where it will go, but only how it could never go there.
It sees not the call of God, but only his call on the other girl’s life.
It hears not his still small voice, for it is consumed by voices of social media.
It believes not that God will fulfill its longings, for it longs for other peoples’ unique gifts.
It knows not it’s specialness, for it never allows it.
It seeks not humble means, for it is caught up in worldly ones.

This kind of mind is so focused on outer things, it misses God’s inner voice.  It misses his voice that says, “I made you for you and no one else can do what I have set forth for you to do. It is unique to you.”

That truth gets rushed away in the after-wind of someone’s success. Gone. Unseen. Woosh…

We stand there, left with obsessive and critical views that only see the world’s nothingness.

We are the sum of all we are not, short-sheeted by the sheer genius of another. We try to stretch out, but our mind lets our legs take us nowhere. Stunted.

So, today with all this bull, (yes, I said bull), I want to break through the depressive bed of lies that you have trapped yourself in. It is time to rise up and to move out and into something new – and that new is – you.

jealous girl

10 Secrets to Squash Jealousy & to Live Abundantly

  1. Go forth with God. Grab his hand and let him know, “No matter how big or small, my plans will be your plans.”
  2. Establish a determined and resilient will. When (not if) you get off track, be resolute in getting back on.
  3. Give thanks for those around you. Notice their good and let them know.
  4. Notice the little things, the small growths, God is watering within you.
  5. Give out more than your flesh tells you you must acquire.
  6. Believe that God’s goodness for you is plentiful, joyful and powerful. It is not hard to grasp.
  7. Decide to follow his decrees all the way up to the place where he meets your deepest desires.
  8. Agree with God; he made you good. He doesn’t play favorites.
  9. Hope in God‘s “exceedingly, abundantly more,” (Eph. 3:20).
  10. Remember, life isn’t about here, but all about there – heaven.

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

Life is too short to find your mind, heart and progress stunted. God has too great of plans for you. He put the same power that raised Christ from the dead in you (Romans 8:11).  He seated you with Christ in the heavenlies (Eph. 2:13).

After all this, you don’t think Christ has great plans for you?

He let son numero-uno take the rap for you.
Don’t you think he will carry you through?

For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. Eph. 1:4

jealous girl

What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor. 2:9)

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What Pours Out from within You?

Outpours

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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When Someone Is Better Than You

When Someone Is Better Than You

I have this thing that I promise myself, “If I keep my eyes on God, I won’t end up far from God.”

This is actually a battle mottto, because no less than 100 times a day, I have to fight to keep the forces of my mind moving in tandem with it. 

Kids go haywire. Battle.
Someone speaking things that threaten me. Battle.
Anxiety creeping in. Battle.
Girl disses me. Battle.

One thing, I always promise myself not to do, is to look at other people’s journeys and compare them to mine. I know this is the equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. Suddenly you can’t get anywhere.

The blessing you believe is yours turns black, tainted. The progress you felt you were making looks like lint. The value that God places on you resembles a jail jumpsuit, lettered: CAPTIVITY.

someone is better than you

Comparing is the quickest way to go about killing spiritual progress. It really is.

Suddenly, you believe you are:
A. Never going to get anywhere.
B. Never, ever, going to be as good as that other girl.
C. Going to fail, so you might as well pack it all up now.

Comparing is a kid on Christmas who only sees the one toy he didn’t get and sissy did. It is his red scrunched up face that glares at  – he misses the 19 others wrapped goodies intended to bring joy.

Maybe you are like me saying, “Whoops! That is me. What do I do now, God?  “

Friends, I want to offer you a solution here, but let me tell you, I’ve never been that good at giving myself the benefit of the grace (my inclination is to give myself a smack on the face).

I had a friend who knew how to love herself with grace. She got shunned by a boy, she said, “Oh, he is busy.” She had a teacher be rude to her, she said, “Oh, she’s having a hard day.” Me? No. He hates me and she is about to fail me.

Thinking of this friend, though, it inspires me. She lets love – love her.

When it comes to comparing, I am not unliked by God, nor deemed the bad child, but am the selected child. Hand-selected to impact the world in my own way. Hand-selected to dwell in his love.  Hand-selected to minister to my family around me.

When Someone Is Better Than You

He is paving a way for me; that only I can walk through.

He is doing the same for you.

Just opening that small door of grace, let’s new ideas walk in:

People can succeed and I can too.
God has enough to go around.
Every woman’s journey is different but equally as important in God’s eyes.
God cares far more about big faith than he does about big progress.
What is good for her, can be good in me too, as I applaud her.
No one has the power to subtract joy from me unless I let them.
God’s singular mission carved out for me – is mission critical in his eyes.
I am always approved, no matter how much my feelings may disapprove my work.
I am not the sum of accomplishments, I am a testament Christ’s love.

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3 Tools for Bloggers

1.  Is there an online resource that blew you away with social media and marketing tips? Link it up to this resource- The Best Social Media Tips of 2016. Let’s create a one-stop-shop of all things social media to help us all move forward. It should end up being a treasure trove of info to help us all market better.

2.  Have you found any great writing tips online?  Linkup on the page – the Best Writing Tips of 2016.  Let’s all help one another hone our craft.

3. Join the Cheerleaders for Christ Facebook page for continual writing encouragement.

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HGTV, Pinterest, and the Things That Matter {Link-up}

the things that matter

I have a love-hate relationship with HGTV. And Pinterest. And all of those fixer-upper shows.

My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.

Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70’s kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.

It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.

Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.

I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person, since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.

Today the #RaRaLinkup is being hosted over at Abby McDonald’s place. Click here to join us!

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