Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

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.

 

Do You Cast Stones at Yourself?

cast stones

May I tell you something vitally important to your faith life?

Jesus is not casting stones at you.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jo. 8:7

Jesus picks up no rock to sling at your face. Sure, He sees what you do and what you have done. But He grabs nothing to pummel you, like you do to yourself. He does not rip your insides. He does not call you, “Idiot” or “Stupid.” Or say, “Oh, look, she did it again.” He launches no accusatory words at you, like you may do to yourself. Jesus doesn’t hurt his daughters.

He approaches them, arms open, ready to receive them again. And he fights off the violent voices rising against them. He lets not condemnation speak any longer.

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jo. 8:10

“No one, sir,” she said.

The violent stone throwers were no longer there. Why? Because of Jesus. Because of the voice of simple and authentic love. Love that spoke over condemnation to bring love-filled, sin-shattering consolation.

What if you were to let Jesus’ voice of consolation, rise above the stone-slinging voices of condemnation? What freedom might you seize? What life would you be able to return to?

“Then neither do I condemn you,’” Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jo. 8:1

It is easy to leave sin when you’re confronted with authentic, soul-seeing and heart-changing love.

Why not let the one and only Jesus lead you into deeper, life-freeing love? The perfect consoler waits, not with a stone, but with a heart to care for your deep wounds and pain.

Run into his arms 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.

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Is God Far?

God far

I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.

You lose God.

Where did he go? Why is He far?

But IS God far?

“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18

God isn’t far. We are.

We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.

God isn’t far. We are.

This may hurt to admit today. How are you far?  Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?

Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20

Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.

 

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

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

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

The Constant Practice of Being Something for Everyone

Something for Everyone

There is this real pressure to look right before man.

TV constantly implies, “Don’t be one of them.”

Clothing stores convey, “You better look as good as the music we’re playing.”

Past encounters remind us, “Be likable, or people will reject or leave you.”

Because of this, it is easy to find an identity, tweak it, and fit it to man.

Ever done that? Molded, morphed or changed color to look like others? To fit in? To be liked? Loved? Accepted? To not be seen as off?

If you’re human, the answer likely is yes.

We like to look like everyone else, so as to not stand out. To not be set apart. To be one of the many. To not feel like we are “too much” or “not enough.” Keeping ourselves from being  “set apart” makes us feel safe. It prevents us from being that one… the weirdo!

Yet Jesus tells us, being set apart is this: Holy.

“We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all.” Heb. 10:10-12

Why do we fight it? Why do we fight the idea that Jesus picked us up and set us apart? Why do we fight his identity that provides the only identity we’ll ever feel good about: Chosen and set aside for his purposes. Why do we fight him, in us? Everyday, he’s our only saving chance.

As daughters, our identity is Jesus. He will never be loved by the world. But he will always be set apart as the victorious, high and mighty King of Kings. Why would we ever want to settle for the world’s second best when we have the kingdom’s first and only?

What God-given qualities have you stifled because of your fear of man? How have you held back who God created you to be? Where may God be calling you to step up and step out into his purposes, right now? Even if you are set apart?

Moving into that will be your joy.

 

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

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

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

The Crippling Problem with our Belief

our belief

“Believe,” she said. “You just have to believe. And don’t settle. See belief all the way through.”

It sounded like a very good and faithful thing to do. It sounded like what I really should do. But as we all know, faith in practicality lives much more painfully than it does through words. You think things like: If God doesn’t come through on this, I am toast. If I don’t find my way, I’ll never be happy. If I don’t get this done, I’ll be left behind.

Belief wavers after that first jolt of confidence and fizzles out like day-old soda. It gets flat sometimes.

So, when looking for a house and walking through one that was “a definite possibility,” her words came back to me. “Don’t settle.” She had gone on to say, “If it is an orange light from God, don’t go, but it if it is a green light, only then proceed.”

I liked the layout. It was open. I liked the paint color. It was grey. I didn’t like the door frames that looked like water had gone up their side. I also didn’t like the musty smell. Internally, I debated if the place had mold.

I wanted to overlook the bad, so I could move forward and be done with this frustrating process of finding a new place.

I went home and told my husband, “I think I found a place that looks pretty good. We probably should move on it.”

He remembered the words of our friend, “Kelly, is it a green light or an orange light?”

Umm…

Well…

Hmm…

How often do we push into something God hasn’t called us to because we are over things? Because it is easier not to contend with that issue anymore? Because faith is hard?

When I saw the reality of it, that place was orangey-red.

“See belief all the way through.”

Where do you need to see belief all the way through?

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” Jo. 2:29

After talking with my husband, I redirected my thoughts, my heart and my will to believe. I committed to see things through. And I did. I write now from the comfort of a green light home without mold. Our family loves it.

 

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.

Seeing with Eyes of Empathy

eyes of empathy

While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn’t make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.

Staring at him, I wondered, “What would it take to fix this man’s attitude? To show him or teach him you don’t act like this?”

Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person’s attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . ”

They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Snap back?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?

Flesh aims “to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.

My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.

Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:

“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”

Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I’ve had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.

Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, “Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you.”

Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Heb. 4:15)

 

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’re 100% Certain: You’re Lost

Lost

As my husband put it, “Kelly, you need a day of relaxation.”

I tended to agree. Recently, stress sat on my shoulders. Grievances were monumental annoyances. My mind was having an affair with worry. To-dos were growing longer. Much was adding up to – too much.

With this, I knew: God was calling me elsewhere – to something greater. So, I went.

I drove to a local park to take the day off and to walk. I was confident I’d found relief right after the 30-minute drive of grueling, never-ending traffic. Except it wasn’t.

As I pulled up to the address shown on Google, the gates were slammed shut. Closed for business. No entry. Bye-bye day of relaxation.

No-go, Kelly.
No-go to where God called you.

More irritation climbed my back.

Have you ever gone where you believed God wanted you to go, only to find it a no-go? Only to have the gate shut? Only to feel lost?

Frustrated, but determined not to give up, I circled the mile-long block a couple times, wondering if there was another entrance. There wasn’t. I returned to the gate with the word “STOP” on it, trying to inch forward and back to see if it would open. It wouldn’t. I called a number to find out if it really was closed. It was.

“God, why did you take me here? To drop me? To leave me?”

“Kelly, I never dropped you or left you.”

I looked down on my lap, and I could see that along the drive to this location, God had been speaking all kinds of blessings to me. Words of encouragement, thoughts of learning, discoveries about my day. He had been with me all the time.

He invited me to a drive of delighting in him. Not to a destination I demanded of him.

He never left me.
He never dropped me.
He never lost me.

Often, we declare we’re lost when God knows we’re in the process of being found. We see our way as long and burdensome, but I believe God thinks, “I’m doing something amazing along this way. I am transforming this woman, my way.”

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)

Perhaps today, you don’t lament where you are, but you grab on to it and see what God has for you.

Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it. 

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

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

The War We Wage with Ourselves

Greatest Defense

One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck!  I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.

Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!

We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.

We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.

Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.

Our internal pictures tell a different story.

What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?

May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.

He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.

He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?

To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.

What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)

Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it. 

 

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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Just Step Out

Step Out

Often, it can be hard to love others authentically. Ever noticed that?

It can be hard to drop TV and take a meal to a sick friend’s house. It can be hard to make a phone call when you had a horrid day. It can be hard to write another blog post when you’re struggling to get by yourself.

But then you think about love. You think about who He is. Jesus.

You think of how he went out there, carrying what was back-breaking, burdensome and unbelievable. . . and he kept going. With us on his mind. With our sin on his back. With our pain that became his pain.

Jesus doesn’t give up on love. I am compelled not to either.

With this, I’ve been observing it…Love-in-action. Others have loved me a lot lately: They’ve taken me into their home when I almost had no home. They’ve made me food when I didn’t have much to offer. They’ve texted me even though I haven’t talked to them in years. They’ve just done stuff in the face of this post-Irma trial.

And in their actions I can see love is what it is all about. It’s about me, and not giving up. It is about me, and enduring. It’s about me, and believing God can, and will.

It is also about you. It’s about you and acting anyway. It is about you, and reaching out. It is about you, and responding kindly. It is about you, and giving to the person with nothing left to give. It is about continuing to speak authentically when the trials of life leave you breathlessly out of words.

I was thinking of all this today. And then a friend wrote me and said her life was changed because of my breathless writing. It wasn’t in a big way or even a big deal. But that’s how the responses to love usually appear – small, little, inconsequential. But somehow, I figure they’re not. The small thank yous? They all add up to something monumental and massive over all the years in the sight of God.

The bottom line to today’s post is this: We don’t know how much all our small breathless acts of love change — everything.

 

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 Feel You’re Losing

feel your losing

Jesus is your victory. Your victory and your destiny. You are secure.

Because it is: Won and done. (Let these words take root in your mind when you forget)

Jesus won, is winning and will win. Period. Always. Forever. And on and on…for always.
If everything is against you, Jesus wins. Won and done.
If you see death to cancer. Won and done. One day, you’ll be healed on earth or in heaven as your every tear is wiped away.
If your husband left you. Won and done. Jesus will be right next to you, never leaving your side, while leading you to his best thing.
If you get every door slammed in your face. Won and done. God will be your defender and restorer. Nothing gets by him.
If you can’t see out of depression. Won and done. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
If you are hated. Won and done. Jesus loves you and will fill the deep desires of your heart.
If pain overwhelms you. Won and done. Greater is God’s love than the substance of anything in this world.

Always, Jesus wins. Won and done. Always. Always. Always. Honor God by returning to this truth, in every case, at all times, in every way. Don’t delay.

He won for you and his victory is done.

“For those who honor me, I will honor.” 1 Sam 2:30

This practice is critical, vital and eternal.

 

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.