Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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.

Do They Hate Me?

I wanted to write the girl a message of encouragement, but felt… embarrassment.

It wasn’t that I did anything horrifically wrong in the past. I handled our interactions the way I believed God wanted me to. But I didn’t know if she thought I did so well. There were some tensions. This bothered me. Greatly.

I hate tension.

So, I kept testing the waters. I sent her little messages, trying to gauge her emotions as it pertained to me.

I didn’t get much back. Blank messages. Which irritated and inflamed my injuries even more.

The idea that she didn’t like me made me imagine her spreading the word to everyone that I was:

  1. Odd.
  2. Overzealous
  3. Selfish

It made my heart twist, tie and snap almost like raw rope.

They all hate me, miscategorize me and misunderstand me. 

Perhaps I unfriend them first. I must push all them away.

Have people hurt you in this same way? Misunderstanding your motives? Misconstruing your efforts? Ruining relationships?

My friends, what strikes me today is: Jesus.

Jesus was offended. Jesus was misunderstood. Jesus was miscatagorized. Jesus was taken to trial, when he wasn’t guilty. Jesus was hurt, when he didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus knows these feelings. He also knows the depths of our heart. He knows the cry of our pain. He knows our little schemes to make things right. And most importantly, I believe He knows…

  1. There is a time to speak.
  2. A time for space.
  3. A time for prayer.
  4. A time for grace.
  5. A time for (Add yours here)
  6. And, ALWAYS a time to love, unconditionally, without strings attached.

What is God calling you to?

In order to accomplish #5, we often have to lean on God to see which specific response (see: #1-5), He is calling us to. Sometimes, the best way to love someone who is against you is to just pray for her. Sometimes, the best way to breakthrough is to see life through their eyes. Sometimes, the best way to reconcile is giving space so God can heal their heart.  Sometimes, the best way to love is to just let things go and trust God to be faithful to defend you, restore you, renew you and reestablish what was lost, over time.

But never is there a time to let fear be our driver. Fear steals what God is working out in faith. We cannot permit this. It moves us from free-to-love to chained-by-fear. It keeps us endlessly worried rather than expectantly wondering what our Almighty God will do next. Fear always is a failing mission.

Never should we do in fear what God welcomes us to do with unfailing love.

What no-strings-attached love is God calling you to unleash today?

 

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.

God Loves You!

God, I can’t even trust myself sometimes, how can you trust me?

I see:
my faults
my forgetfulness
my ability to be deceived in the smallest way
my pride that so often fools me.

“God, do you really love me? How much?”

Do you love me when I forget you? Do you love me when I yell at my kids? Do you love me when I go the wrong way? Accidentally hurt you? God, do you really love me?

As if God answered my very prayers back, these questions came to mind…

Kelly, how could you have experienced so much freedom (release of fear, anxiety, worry), aside from my love?
(What freedom has God brought you within the space of his love?)

Kelly, how could I call you and not want you?
(In what ways has God called you to things, only He could?)

Kelly, how could I not love you after sending my son to suffer and die for you, as He did?
(In what ways does Jesus suffering cast new light on God’s love for you?)

Kelly, how could I abandon myself in you?
(How would God abandon his own Spirit within you? Sounds impossible.)

God loves me. He loves you.

Even when life breaks down…or people do…
Even when fears tumult all around…or uncertainties do…
Even when answers to questions do not abound…and problems still exist…

Still. Even then, His love still works.  It pursues. It remains. It saves. It quiets rambunctious hearts. It sings over us. It moves on our behalf.

“The LORD your God is in your midst…
a mighty one who will save
he will rejoice over you with gladness…
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17).”

What we have…the lengths, heights and depths of His love, cannot be stolen, removed or relinquished.

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Ro. 8:37-39).”

 

You, as a daughter, are in God’s love.
You are secure.

 

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.

Compassion for You

compassionate

Have you ever felt all alone? Like no one understands what you are going through?

I know the feeling. I know what it is to keep things inside because admitting them is hard. I know what it is to feel embarrassment about what’s happening in your mind. I know the hurt that wells up when you’ve tried 100 times to express your heart, but it always gets rejected. I know what it is to feel embarrassed. To keep things in. To stuff problems away. . .

What are you keeping to yourself? How do you feel stuck in your own world? Hungry for someone to deeply understand you?

Yesterday, I read a story I’d read a million and one times in the bible. It was the story where Jesus multiplied seven loaves and a few small fish to feed four thousand. But this time, I saw things, like never before…

1. Jesus said, “they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, or they may collapse on the way (Mt. 15:32).”

I noticed: Jesus cares for the hungry. He DOES NOT want us to collapse.

What are you hungry for? What makes you feel like you might collapse?

2. Jesus, as He surveyed the predicament said, I feel sorry for these people. (Mt. 15:32 KJV)” Or, in another translation, he said, “I have compassion for these people (Mt. 14:32 NIV)”

I noticed: Jesus has compassion for hungry people. He feels for their situation. While Jesus could have let these people go home hungry, He, as the bread of life, was true to character — He fed his children. He was moved by compassion.

Likewise, Jesus cares and has compassion for our struggles.

Where do you need to know that God deeply feels for your situation?

3. “The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”

I noticed: The disciples saw the wilderness nature of where they were — the lack, the nothingness and the impossibility of finding sustenance in this place. Jesus saw things differently. He saw the potential of his abundant provision. Jesus can do all things, at all times, with an all-out rescue, at any moment.

Where do you need to know God can create something out of your wilderness?

Did you know? The people “ate as much as they wanted.” They didn’t leave at first sight of no food. They stuck around.

What might it look like for you to stick around Jesus to see what he could do in your life? What would it look like for you to draw near to a compassionate and loving Jesus, who wants to help you? May you know, you are in the hands of a God, who loves you and sees you and all your inner needs.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious (Ps. 103:8).”

 

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.

Surpise! Today, This Post is Meant for you!

This post is unlike others; it is straight unfiltered scripture. Why am I sending it today, on Saturday? Why am I breaking my pre-scheduled posts with a random post like this? Because I feel deeply, there are a few of you – or maybe your friends in need- who need to read it. His will be done. I am expectant it will speak loudly to at least one of you, today.

Dear God, please highlight the words that need to be highlighted to my brothers and sisters today. Through your words, reach the deep places of their heart. Awaken something in them. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Psalm 91

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.

For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.

4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.

6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.

Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.

Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.

11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”

I love you all.

– Kelly

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.

Give yourself a break

a break

Are you as hard on yourself as I am?

So, last night I met with a bunch of women. With one of them . . .let’s just say I was a little overzealous to connect. My mouth got ahead of my mind and I blurted out some totally weird comment. Later, when saying good-bye, I uttered an I-don’t-know-what-to-say-so-I’ll-complain comment.

“Oh, I’ve got to head-out. I’ve got to wake up at 5:30 AM to be with my kids.”

I rolled my eyes.

Why? I have no idea why. I have no idea why I just released a complainy comment in my awkward absence of words. But, I did. It came out of nowhere. Ever done that?

Well, these little mishaps didn’t end at that get-together. I got in the car and felt all guilty about me. I questioned what kind of Christian I am. I wondered why I can’t do things right. I kept wondering if the women thought less of me or if I seemed odd.

Do you ever question yourself? Constantly?

Jesus doesn’t do this to us. This is not his voice. He doesn’t tail us like we do. He doesn’t chase us at our heels saying, “Why did you do that? You really messed up this time. You really don’t know how to be like me, do you?”

Jesus doesn’t do this. We do.

What if we were to give ourselves a break? Like Paul does when he addresses the early believers and says, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

What if we were to say to ourselves, in the heat of our self-hating moments, “Grace and peace to me, right now, from God my Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

And then, we let it in. What hooks might come out of our skin? What new places might our heart move to? What truth may we begin to swim in because we give our mind free reign to consider something other than self-condemnation?

It’s okay to be hungry for grace. Horribly. Desperately. Ravagely hungry for it.

Jesus knew we needed it. It’s why he died on the cross. Because we’ll never be perfect. We’ll never be spot-on. We’ll never be without fault.

We need him and we need grace. What if you gave yourself a break today and received his peace and grace so much that it set your mind free to receive Him?

 

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.

 

5 Ways Waiting is a Blessing

I drive up to a stop sign and hate that the car in front of me lingers an extra ten seconds. I go to grab some food at Chipotle and find myself annoyed at the gap in the line being caused by that texter. I go to the grocery store and size up the length of the lines to get out quickly.

I hate waiting.

What are you waiting for? A marriage to finally work its way to peace? A time when you can finally quit your job and work toward your dream? A child who will come back home and change his or her ways? A prayer that you so desperately want answered? A future that you no longer need to worry about? A solution to the problem that you just can’t piece together?

Waiting can feel like agony. It can also feel like injustice. Or torture. Or frustration because you don’t know why your good God isn’t pulling through.

May I tell you something? He is pulling through.

Waiting is not about destroying hope, but renewing you.

“How?” you say.

The 5 Ways Waiting is a Blessing

  1. Waiting addresses your heart-issues.
    What you can’t see through times of abundance becomes the red hot potato in your hands during waiting. Here, you can see the burning anger, irritation, bitterness or frustration at God and others. Waiting points a finger to the places God is ready to bring restoration through a heart of confession.
  2. Waiting creates a deeper dependence on God.
    When I really need my husband’s help to hang a picture or to get something done, I hang near him. I want him to see me and be reminded of what it is I asked him to do. We do the same with God. We hang closer to Him when we really need him.
  3. Waiting reworks our vision.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted a lesser gift from God. Years ago, I thought it was a silver convertible that was going to be my joy. I prayed for it, desired it and got it. That day was glorious. A couple of months later, it was just another car on the road. I realized I longed for a lesser gift, when what I really wanted was joy. In a wait our vision often adjusts, and rather than asking for a lesser thing, what comes to light is our need for a greater thing.
  4. Waiting sends us out in ministry.
    You are not alone in your wait. Thousands of other women and men sit in the same shoes with the same hope, deferred. Waiting helps us to get our eyes off of our demands and to see the dejection of others. As we reach out to them, see the needs and address them, the weight we placed on ourselves lightens. The desire to help and love them increases. Peace swoops in like a dover of hope.
  5. Waiting prepares your heart today for the abundance coming tomorrow.
    It’s in the waiting that God does his preparing for the gifts, goodness and greatness he will bring tomorrow. As we wait, impurities fall, so we’re ready to walk into His best with purity. Waiting prepares us to become holy vessels.

 

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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When You’re Out of God & Need a Miracle

need a miracle

Things in life far from work out perfectly.

I was driving to a conference the other day. With a quarter tank, I had my mind on a gas station, but I didn’t feel tremendous urgency as I drove. Pulling onto a new highway I’d never driven, I realized 20 miles in…I was headed for trouble. Left or right, five miles and five miles, there was not a single exit. Miles grew on miles and little by little, my heart beat with the anxiety of I-am-not-going-to-make it. There was no turning back.

I was deep into the trenches of my problem. Maybe you are today too…

In the pitch dark surroundings of the early morning, I imagined myself stalling onto the shoulder. One that there wasn’t much of. Would my car be stuck, partially out onto this dark highway? I imagined myself confronting a stranger on the side of the road as a random car pulled over.

Maybe your life appears dark today, too. Maybe your imaginings are starting to get out of control.

All I had was God. All I had was him and prayer. A hope and a desire that he, the one who says he is King of the Impossible, could do the impossible. The little gauge to my gas was now below the empty line. I prayed. But when I prayed, I decided to 100% believe God was going to pull through for me.

He was:

  1. Going to pull a gas station exit out of nowhere.
  2. Going to supernaturally fill my tank with gas.
  3. Going to do some other wild thing that would make all of this good.

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

I don’t believe this bible verse is dead. It is our deadness – our fleshness, that does.

I believed. I believed in the pitch darkness, no matter how doubt was screaming at me. I didn’t listen. I told it to shut up.

And, I kept believing…until I saw a sign: a service exit was coming in three miles.

I pulled in. God restored the gas. He also restored my mind’s belief that there is no impossible scenario for God. God runs on full, no matter how empty we feel. He sees where we need to head. By believing, we open the spiritual doors to our place of victory.

Believe. Don’t let doubt scream at you any longer. I don’t care how many years you’ve been suffering, how far off your husband is, what you’ve done, or what kind of mess it looks like around you. Let the spiritual truth of God give you supernatural gas to carry you through. He will. Oh yes, he will.

Let me say it again: God will give you the gas you need. He will provide.

Today is your day of belief. Take it. I am believing with you.

Prayer: God, thank you that you can do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we can ask or imagine. We praise you for this. You are not only good, but you are glorious, glory-filled and gracious. Thank you that right here, right now, we can start believing, trusting and abiding in you. You will answer. We will wait on you, in faith. In Jesus’ name, 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.

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.

God, Mend my Heart as I Reveal my Hurt

reveal my hurt

Guest Post by: Julie Loos

As I sat in the cold metal chair in my Oshkosh B’Gosh overall shorts and red flip-flops, I nonchalantly chewed on my fingernails. The waiting area was chilly even though outside, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I folded my legs under my bottom on the chair and hoped for warmer.

While I waited, thoughts tumbled in my head like the clothes in the dryer. Worst-case scenarios were tugging at my ten-year-old heart. I didn’t comprehend why I was here other than I was naughty and if I didn’t behave, I would live with another family.

My palms began to sweat, my legs became weak, and I thought I might get sick.

Even though my worst-case scenario didn’t happen, in some ways it already had.

Those who were supposed to love me unconditionally made it contingent on my behavior. The people I could trust deceived me.

As a child, I was alone and abandoned, although not in the physical sense. I grew up believing I couldn’t trust anyone. I learned to become a people pleaser. I made every attempt to control situations around me. Defective was how I looked at myself.

Right there, I decided God was just like everyone else. If I broke His rules or failed to live up to His standards, He’d eventually figure me out and desert me too.

Here’s the thing. The stress trying to keep me together so no one could hurt me again was hard work.

Fear from my past kept me from the possibilities of my future.

I wish God would change my past and remove these gaping heart holes. My anxiety tells me it will never change. I will end up alone and abandoned.

The truth is that God already made a new way for me through the wounds of the past.

Each hard thing was a step I needed to become the person He created me to be.

God can do the same for you. He can make a way when there seems no way. He can help you overcome what looks impenetrable.

Will you trust Him and believe He can make all things new?

Are you so focused on the pain in the past that you are missing the blessings of the present?

He is able if you are willing.

Even though I have grown up physically, the little girl part of my heart still longs for the acceptance and love of those around her. In those moments when my mind returns to that waiting room of my past, God applies His healing ointment to my heart and whispers to me, “I am here, I love you, and I am trustworthy.”

And He has been there through each step of my journey, both in good times and bad, mending the holes and wounds within. I know someday my heart will be mended up entirely, right in His presence.

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

About Julie Loos

Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes. You can find her blog at www.unmaskingthemess.com.