Purposeful Faith

Category - doubt

In the Fire of a Trial?

If some of you are being tossed around like bacon on a camp fire, in a way where parts of you are burning off…

…can I tell you something? I relate?

I know what it is to go through a time of wait, where all you need is answers.

I know what it is to struggle with relationships at a high-tension point.

I know what it is to see truths about yourself that hurt.

I know what it is to wonder if everything will work out.

I know what it is to feel like it never is going to end.

I’ve experienced this time and time again, in different ways: a near-diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, financial debt, emotional issues, and endless trials. Tribulation keeps happening.

Even today.

What fire are you enduring? What do you feel like you are losing?

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pet. 1:7)

May I encourage you today? The fire you’re enduring is removing you and increasing God’s glory within you.

Through my Multiple Sclerosis issues, where my hands got numb and my eyes couldn’t see, I learned: Heaven is all that matters on earth and I have that WRAPPED UP!

Through my financial debt, when I had a double-digit-in-the-thousands negative balance, I learned for the future: It is good to have less stuff, it ties you down to debt less and frees you to move according to God’s will more.

Through my emotional issues, when I suffered with depression, I learned: God really does love me just the way I am. In this, I am free to trust him with the change he is leading me to. It will be good for me.

Through my endless trials, I learned: God, less of me and more of you.

Fire removes the impurities of our flesh and leaves us with the Spirit of God. Every time. It leaves the blaze on us. It ignites us with passion. It refuels us with glory.

Be encouraged: What you are enduring today will not kill you, it will make you, when all is said and done, more radiant, beautiful and sure in Christ Jesus.

Keep hanging on! He has a good hold on you.

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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Note: To the Unforgiven and Condemned Gals Like Me

To the daughter who can’t forgive herself for years past. . .God already has.
To the person frustrated they do nothing right. . . Christ Jesus sees himself – purity and righteousness – in you.
To the gal repeating I’m sorry to God. . .Your debt is as good as gone; God keeps no record of your wrong.
To the lady who only half believes in her new identity. . . there is no half-way “you” in God’s handbook.
To the person who feels miles less than free, who the son sets free, is free indeed.
To the child who feels under the microscope, God looks at you and is well pleased.

To want to be more, to try hard for God, to give it our all, to push with all our hearts, these can be good noble things. Yet, trouble comes, when we believe the job belongs to us. When we pull out brute strength. When we expect to muscle our way into some kind of new-glory. God deserves all glory.

Likewise, relief comes when we know this: Our sanctification belongs to God. Our growth is his to impart. Our spiritual strength is His to build or rebuild.

Knowing this, is paramount, because then, when we scuff a knee, or get in a tiff, or injure a loved one by accident, our world doesn’t explode like Hiroshima. “He who is all strength” is still for us.

Keeping our minds stayed, in rest, with God is our highest calling.

We do this by:

  1. Allowing our hearts and minds to be “rooted and established in love” (Eph. 3:17)
  2. Praying we would know “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph. 3:18)
  3. Opening our heart to need God’s nourishment, truth and direction.
    “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. (Jo. 15:4)
  4. Confessing and believing – what is done is done.
    “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.” (Mi. 7:19)

God is at work. He knows you. He has destined you for his greatness and he is conforming you to his image: “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image.” (Ro. 8:29)

The work belongs to him, the freedom belongs to us. It is his timeline, not our stopwatch and this realization = freedom.

 

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.

Getting Saved from Problems

need help

If you want to know how I found Jesus, know this: He found me.

Sure, pre-Jesus, I was religious. I knew how to go to church well. I knew how to say prayers. I knew how to follow rules. I knew how to make sacrifices. What I didn’t know was, love so great it would send you down to your knees because you wanted to go there. Because it was your joy to fall down. No. I didn’t know that.

I only knew striving hard and working hard to earn favor that felt about as unreachable as a life that mattered. It all frustrated me so. The idea of figuring out how to prove I was a prized daughter. The unquenchable desire to be seen and the corresponding desire to do everything right. The endless guilt and self-contempt. I always felt busted; I knew he always knew I wasn’t worthy enough.

And, it was tiring. I wore my body out doing all this. My weight dropped like a rock, my stomach turned knots in the night and my mind swung wild circles in the fog it lived in. It’s called Anorexia.

That’s where I went.  We all go somewhere. Without God we all go somewhere to escape the vicious thought: God might hate me. I went there.

It was painful. And, to add pain to this injury, the drinking didn’t help. I nearly hated myself.

Have you been there? Perhaps, you’re there now. Perhaps, you are trying to pretend you aren’t there, while everything in you – knows, you are there.

Do you feel the distance between you and God?
Do you sense the anger at yourself?
Do you feel the pull towards old addictions?
Do you try to meet all God’s expectations, but feel helpless to do it?

Today, I want you to know there is no shame. We tend to look at life as colors of black and white, good or bad, God or Godless. And, while, absolutely, truth is truth, often our own spiritual progression is not so easily delineated.

Faith is a journey; you are the sojourner. Beyond this, greater is a truthful heart to God, than a story contrived to the world. A fake.

God wants your truth. He wants your heart and he wants your truth. Will you bare it to him? Reveal it without shame? Let him unravel it?

That is what I did way back when (and I still do today). I called out to God. I said, “I don’t know what I am doing anymore. I don’t know who I am Jesus. Will you help me, save me?”

It’s a prayer we should use often; it works.  God always shows up. God always saves. God’s love completely endures, no matter how many years past a vibrant faith you are.

You are never too lost to be found.

He found me.

So, no matter where you stand on the spiritual spectrum, consider this:  God is ready to save you, today. Why not let 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.

When You Hate What God Gave

God Gave

My 3-year old daughter and I were playing a game. She was behind a box “counter”, I stood in front of it: ordering. I was supposed to buy some food, because, this was a restaurant.

I told her I wanted a salad and ice-cream. Trying to be good, but wanting to indulge, this was my kind of order. Add a chocolate dip to the ice cream and this is what summers are made of. I digress…

Anyway, daughter fixed up my food, looked me in the eye, while handing over my imaginary goodies, and declared “Now, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

My jaw dropped. She nailed it.

So many of us internally chide our self with this same kind of diatribe, as if God says this to us. As if this is how we are supposed to cope with life. As if, we are meant to get a crumb and tell our stomach to feel okay with it. Now don’t get upset!!!

Surely, I know this verse: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)

Yet, somehow I think we’ve got it all wrong. God never told us to lie.

Yet, we’re convinced we must show the world we are strong, we tell our self, “We get what we get and we don’t get upset.”

Outside we look like a gracious kid at a candy shop, while inside we are throwing a fit like an irate toddler because we’re unseen by the world, unrecognized for who we are and uncared for.

I notice Paul, in the verse above, mentions the words, “I have learned. . .”  Why are we ashamed of learning? Of journeying? Of admitting we feel the struggle?

So often, we already can sense when this is the case with someone. Why do we hide so?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Today, consider this: In the light of God’s glory, there is no shame in transforming.

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

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

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

How to Go Easy On Yourself

Go Easy

Does your mind hone in on what you do wrong, more often what God is doing right?

Maybe you’re quick to notice your quick temper, the error of all your past ways — your choices, your parenting style, your marriage mannerisms.  Or, maybe you’ve made some horrible financial decisions and found yourself at a loss. Usually, there is an area in our lives we hate; sometimes it is our thighs.

We are good at circling problem areas and critiquing them. Somehow, as women, we give ourselves permission to whine to each other. We think, it’s fine to share our worst, don’t brag about your best though.

So, we do. And, we learn to do this in our mind too.

I hate that I hate playing silly games with my kids. I don’t listen well either. I always give in to my kids. They always, nearly get what they want. Oh, I’ve been afraid to do spankings. I have a whole list of things I can improve on; I am aware of them.

I think of them as often as I think about what to eat next. They are a record of wrongs that follows me. Which is why, I needed some reprieve from them. And, fortunately, I found it.

I was in the kitchen, 6-year old so came in and said, “Hey Mommy, earlier, I almost ate the box of cookies in the pantry, but then I didn’t.”

I laughed it off.

The next day, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I almost pulled all the toilet paper off the roll, but then I didn’t.”

And, it was at this point that wisdom hit me like a hammer: I can choose to see what I am not doing, or I can choose to see how I am improving. By focusing on how I am improving I remember important things.

I remember:

I am being sanctified, upgraded day-by-day, into the image of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11).
I am moving from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:8).
I am growing (Ro. 8:29).

We can’t look at a day and demand of it what God is doing over a year. I felt peace land on me. I felt peace land on my son as I looked on him with proud eyes. And, I imagined how God must look on me, when I try, when I improve and when I ease up on myself.

 

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

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

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

How to Fess Up

Fess Up

I am horrible at fessing up. Maybe you are too.

Here’s why I think we hate to do it:

  1. We feel so guilty.
  2. We don’t want to bring attention to it.
  3. We would rather pretend it didn’t happen.
  4. We are embarrassed.
  5. We hate to admit we aren’t perfect.

It’s number 5 that really gets me; I try so hard to be perfect, so to break the porcelain veneer is like dropping grandma’s ancient heirloom. I feel crushed. I feel caught. I feel like someone might want to yell in my face.

Yet, when my son started pointing fingers at everyone else but himself. When he couldn’t admit doing things wrong. . . well, all fingers pointed back at me. I can’t blame on him, what he learns from me. He’s really just a reflection of the environment that I create for him.

I declared it was high-time I start to change something – about me.  And, sooner rather than later. It is far easier to say you want to change than it ever is to actually do it.

I still tried. I noticed when I got that little prick of anxiety in my heart and admitted why: I pushed a little too hard on my husband to get my way. I paid attention to the small sense of guilt I previously ignored and acknowledged my wrong: I brought up a sensitive topic at the worst time. I looked at my child’s face when I chided with too much force and reacted: I am sorry.

Nope. And, I wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, my pride inhibited my humility. Pride made me take an hour, where humility would have shown up right away. But, I am learning: it is a learning process.

Sometimes, the act of being honest with yourself is the first act. You have to cheer yourself on for this. I am doing this. YAY!

Maybe you need to join me? Have you built up defenses so high even you can’t see over them to the truth? Have you found that you don’t ever want to be wrong.

This verse has been such an encouragement to me: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:6)

I used to think an apology meant I needed to go dwell in a dumpster or something. Now I see an apology is a welcome by God to a higher place with him. It is my letting go so that I can welcome his glory and peace in. When I do this, I find my way back to his heart more easily.

I go low. God brings me high.

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.

Give a Lift to Your Heart

At church, I was feeling unmotivated. Call it one of those mornings: you drive into the church lot with a frown on your face, kids screaming up a storm an, an argument brewing. It’s frustrating.

That’s where I was.

Once in the service, worship started, and I worried: I am not feeling this. I feel far. Disconnected. Demotivated. Blah.

My mind bounced to different topics like: I haven’t heard her sing before. I like how she smiles so big when she sings. I wonder if that cross was always on that wall or if they ever had it in the front of the church? Why do they always use that stand when they sing? It can easily tip over. . .

. . . until. . .

. . . a lady, a beautiful, tall and full-bodied hair woman completely interrupted my train of thought. The strength of her voice sounded stronger than the band. She belted out the words to the song, “God is good…so good,” and she belted them loud. She sang “His faithfulness endures forever…” to the rafters.

I wasn’t sure if I should move, hide or shoot her the evil eye. Her voice was moving into my atmosphere of annoyance, and it continued to. Until she shifted my atmosphere of annoyance to one of utter awe: She believes in God that much. She doesn’t care how she looks. She loves her God so much. She has such wild faith in what she is singing.

And, what she put out from her mouth, seemed to land in my heart. I took her strength on as my strength. And, then, I sang with her. And, as I did, as I let her heart encourage mine, I found my own song.

“I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see…”

I could see 2 things:

  1. Our actions have the ability to lift others up or tear them down. We often don’t realize what an impact we are making, but make an impact, we do, when we pour out love.
  2. We have the ability to lean on the faith of others. If we get near someone strong, their testimony, faith and fervor often rubs off on us. We just have to pick up the phone, send the email or show up on their doorstep for connection.

We need each other. God designed us as – better together. And, this day, I thank God for the lady who knew how to belt out her love to Jesus.

How might you reach out to the world with lyrics that belt out?

 

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.

Your Greatest Defense in Life

Greatest Defense

Backing into my driveway today, from my rear view mirror, I could see the sign planted in the ground adjacent to the garage. It said, “This house is secured by ADT.” I needed this reminder from God.  Because, while I might forget it — while I might feel alone, left behind, broken or tired, the truth is: I have personal security. And, so do you.

We all walk secured and protected by God: He holds our hand, He keeps our foot from slipping, He gives us his name, His strong tower and He always defends us.

“The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Ex. 14:14)

We have personal security!

This is a vital truth to remember. It is one to return to often, because, like colanders, we only hold Living Water until the gravity of the world pulls it out.

When empty, we wonder:

Is God good?
Will he really help me?
Do I have what it takes?
How will I ever survive?
Does God really care?

I found myself in this place today: I was drained, discouraged and down in the dumps. Who knows why!

But, I pulled on security. Quiet time with God is my security. It is likely yours too. It is what protects our mind in Christ Jesus.

As I prayer walked, God reminded me:

  1. He can do all things. He created this world; he can create new circumstances.
  2. In the world I might feel weak; but when I walk with him, I am strong.
  3. Appearances mean nothing; his truth and my status as daughter means everything.
  4. He has created me in advance for good works and these good works he will see through.
  5. If I keep coming to God, He’ll keep showing me what to do.

We all have home security. It is called getting alone with him who assures you, you are: 1. safe 2. loved and, 3. His, forever.

In Christ, you cannot be invaded.

 

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

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

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

My Gigantic Mistake

Gigantic Mistake

I only wish I could take it back. Why doesn’t life come with a rewind button? Why can’t we re-do those horrible, wretched moments where we just get ahead of our self?

I got lured in. No, I didn’t.
I got pressured. Well, no, actually, I didn’t.
It was an impossible situation. No, to see things plainly, it really wasn’t.
Anyone could have done it. This point really doesn’t justify my action.

Now that my excuses are out of the way, I can name my action for what it is: a gigantic mistake. I can own it: I sinned.

Here’s what happened . . .

I met up with a girlfriend, Jen. Oh, how I love her. Wisdom is all over her. She is someone I can tell anything. Laughing, we enjoyed our time together. We connected, relayed stories and then, at one point, Jen relayed one of her secrets: she didn’t enjoy going to one of our common friend’s, Christy’s, marketing parties.

To me, this was no big deal, but to Jen, as she shared this information, it seemed huge. She quieted her voice, she leaned close, and she told me to keep it between me and her. She had that face on her that said, I just told you something I am SO embarrassed to admit. 

Of course, I promised to keep quiet. But, I didn’t. The secret about Jen slipped out while I was talking with Maria, our common friend. And, the “whoopsie moment” was magnified when I realized, Carrie, Jen’s closest friend, was right behind me. Like, RIGHT behind me. She totally could hear.

All I could do was – Panic! I’d messed the whole thing up, horribly. I’d gone – and got myself – caught.

Suddenly, rather than enjoying my place amongst friends, my mistake spun me out into some parallel universe of worry, fear and angst. I’m going to be busted. My friends will never tell me anything ever again. I am horrible. I am now going to be known as a liar.

The sin bothered me, but what was really killing me was the fact: I got caught. It is funny how sin works that way, isn’t it?  If we can hide it safely, we figure – no harm, no foul, but if it gets brought to the light we are crushed, tied up and self-tortured for our horrible behavior.

I tortured myself and disallowed my heart from experiencing joy that night.
I tortured myself by rewinding, over and over again, my big mouth blabbing in slow motion.
I tortured myself by trying to pull away from those friends out of embarrassment.
I tortured myself by believing God hated me for a moment.
I tortured myself by thinking my prayers were like paper airplanes missing the target of God.
I tortured myself by not accepting forgiveness.

I didn’t have to do this. I didn’t have to partake in self-torture. You don’t either. Even if you’ve blabbed like me, or thought no good rotten thoughts about your husband or stolen some item from the grocery story. Whatever it is, trying to pierce and plague your heart – you can let it go.

“For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” Romans 6:14 (NIV)

My friend, you and I both, are under grace. Together we stand, united we will not fall, because Jesus loves us and she who the son sets free, is free indeed (Jo. 8:36).  Done. Finalized. Finished.

I am forgiven and you are too. Grace that hung on the cross absolved us from the pain of self sin-torture. Today, let’s receive it and move on.

 

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.

Healing an Offense by a Friend

Healing an Offense

She infuriated me. The one I called friend was acting much like foe. She was acting selfish, wrong and mean.

How could you? I thought you cared about me. How did I ever get tricked?

Somehow, I had convinced myself that we were in this thing called life together; yet, her actions silently hand-motioned otherwise. She knew what she was doing. And, she did it anyway.

All I could think, at this point was, I need to boot her out of my life, she can’t be trusted, she is not who I thought she was. 

I needed to protect myself. You can’t be friends with women walking with scalpels, can you?

But, God…

Oh, I say that often, because He catches me in my tracks.

But God…he says, love your frenemies: “But love your (fr)enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luke 6:35)

What frenemy do you need to love?

God inspires me to think a new way towards the offender. I pray I can see the new thought process through.

Take a look:

New thought:  That injurer is likely just as injured as I.
My prayer: God, give me strength to love ____ & their weakness. Amen.

New thought: They have their reasons too; I can’t judge their heart.
My prayer: God help me to see their side in the process of all this…

New thought: I need no expectations of man because Jesus met all my expectations on the cross.
My prayer: God, may I truly believe you are – enough.

And, while I might not be ready to talk to her; I am ready to grab God’s hand and start processing it all. Sometimes, just taking this small step towards forgiveness is half the battle.

 

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.