Purposeful Faith

Category - dreams

Dream a Little Dream

Not to Judge

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:18-19

I have a dream.

Ever had one of those? A ridiculous thing? A hope? A wish? A prayer? Something you want, but feels impossible to have? Something that if it came true, you’d feel like – you made it, you lived out what you were created for?

I have this dream, much of it revolves around Ephesians 3:18-19:

  1. That we, as American women, would stand like tall oaks, unwavering, because we are rooted in God’s love.
  2. That we, together, would be planted, with power to mobilize, migrate and make a difference.
  3. That we would extend love that surpasses – knowledge.
  4. That we would be filled with the full measure of God, thereby never being the same again.

I don’t know how this all looks, but something in me sees something uprising and I’m just going to walk by faith. I believe if I plant my seed into fertile soil, God will sink the beginnings of roots right into his love. Love grows things.

So, here I’ll stand. Holding my seed, waiting. Trusting, his love. Believing, He’ll grow it. I expect to return back to this post, smiling. I expect to have remembered the start of a big dream. I expect to encounter trials of many varieties, but I also expect to encounter a triumphant God who always wins. I expect to press on and to press in. I expect to come out different, with new light, His light.

This is faith, I’m learning.

What faith do you need to execute your dream?

Let me tell you what you don’t need: You don’t need people to act a certain way. You don’t need to handle all those excuses. You don’t need more strength. You don’t need to lose that job. You don’t need to wipe clean your errors of the past. You don’t need to know “how”. You don’t need to know “when”. You don’t need people to “get it”. You don’t need new resources. You don’t need more qualifications.  Nope.

God, nearly every time, uses the least exemplary of these to do the most extraordinary things. Moses. Noah. David. Mary.

Dream a little dream, friend.

And go easy on it, for a dream is just a vapor. You hold it up to God. He breathes on it. It forms, grows limbs, moves, speaks and then guides.

All you need is Him. The pressure is off you. All you need is faith. Faith activates great.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory…forever and ever!  (Eph. 3:20-21)

We don’t need to know,  He does.
We need only pray, He’ll have his way.
We need only trust, He’s bigger than us.
We need a giant belief He’ll pull through.
We need a bit of grace to take us.
We need eyes for everlasting glory, not our own fleeting glory.
We need reliance on Jesus Christ.
We need praise, worship and thanks.
We need to return all glory to our maker.
We need to make it all about love.
We need wild faith.

 

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.

What Gives, God? Where are You?

Where are You

What is stuck in your mind? What hassles you?

We all have our thing. Don’t tell me you don’t. It’s what you gravitate to in silence. It is what makes your heart nervous because, no matter how you strategize, you can’t figure out the puzzle. You can’t figure how you’ll be delivered to peaceful, serene. There are no answers. God hasn’t pulled through.

Moses was a little puzzled too.

God told Moses at the burning bush to lead the Israelites out of slavery.

Ummm? What??? ME!!???

Yes, you!

“And I will make the Egyptians favorably disposed toward this people, so that when you leave you will not go empty-handed.” (Ex. 3:21)

Okay, God, maybe this is possible…you have my back. God will do this! I am bustin’ my people outta here!!!

I wonder if Moses was thinking the same? If excitement coursed through him, an eagerness to do God’s will?

In any case, Moses proceeds forward all obedient, faithful and bold. He approaches Pharoah and declares, (I imagine him standing all upright, strong and rock-solid, confident God will speak out of a local bush on his behalf if need-be), “Let my people go.”

Pharaoh’s response? “Make(s) the work harder for the people…” (Ex. 5:9)

What?!! The outcome was the opposite of the promise.

What gives, God???

Maybe you’re asking God that too.  What gives, God???

Why did you call me to something huge, only to not make it happen?
Why did you lead me to respond in this way, when it is backfiring in my face?
Why did you promise and not deliver?

What gives, God???

God’s response to Moses, speaks profoundly to our very own questions. God says, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”

God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord….and I have remembered my covenant.” (Ex. 6:1-2, 5)

Here are 5 points we can take away from this:

1. God speaks to us similarly, saying “you will see…”

Oftentimes, the long wait is because God is preparing something great.

2. God is still Lord.

God might not do things like us, but then again, would we want him to? What God is working, will eventually amount to blessing.

3. God will do what he has promised to do.

He will “remember his covenant.” If God said it, He will see it through.

4. Often, we need to know our progress is because of God’s “mighty hand.” Twice God repeats this line to Moses.

Our wait might be because others need to see that God is great. When his light shines through the darkness of a long cavernous agony, it appears even brighter from the outside.

5. God responds to our pain as we call on his name.

God didn’t leave Moses at the burning bush to figure out captivity and release all by himself. He returned to Moses, he instructed him and he assured him. As we call out to God, God can’t help but approach our hearts with love and compassion. Because it is who he is and what he does.

So, what gives? God is giving you something better. He is giving you a chance to get to know his nature. He is giving you a chance to see something miraculous. He giving you deeper faith. That’s what gives.

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 Not the Favorite

favorite beauty from chaos

Post By: Angela Parlin

They were the sparkly people.

This was my secret definition for the beautiful people who surrounded me growing up. My sisters, my best friends, the cheerleaders I wanted to grow up and be like. People with big personalities, who turned eyes without trying.

People watched them.

People listened to them.

People laughed at whatever they said.

People wanted to be with them.

They didn’t fear being seen, because they knew it was true—everybody wanted to hear whatever they had to say. They were the beautiful people through and through.

And I wasn’t one of them, at least in my perception.

So I was reading through Genesis again a few years ago, and I came to the story of Joseph. The part where his father loved him more than his other sons. I knew all about people like Joseph. I’d spent decades observing them. The sparkly people. The beautiful ones. People with big dreams, and all the pieces coming together into a perfect picture.

The truth is, my parents didn’t play favorites at home. I grew up with 3 sisters, and we were all entirely different, yet deeply loved. But beyond the walls of our home, another story unfolded. People responded differently to each of us, and the only problem with that? I noticed all these things. And as I stored them up in my heart, it broke.

I had never been a Joseph. I could only identify with his brothers—the other kids, the ones less chosen. The only thing I could understand was that longing for a coat of many colors made for me. Something to show I was picked, that I was also a favorite.

So my view of Joseph’s story had always been colored by my own story.

Do you ever find yourself so focused on one piece of the story, that you miss the whole rest of it?

I know I sound like Ms. Obvious, but there’s a whole lot more to the story about Joseph. His brothers threw him in a pit and sold him as a slave. And when the sight of him had his master’s wife all hot and bothered, her desire for him landed him in prison. But the Lord was with him, through it all. Even in prison, Joseph was put in charge. He continued to take what he was handed in life and do the next right thing. God repeatedly elevated him to places of honor.

Even so, Joseph spent years in prison, and when he interpreted dreams for some of the king’s former servants, he asked them to remember him when serving the king again. But they did not remember Joseph. 

This time around, I sat with these words, and I felt like I owed Joseph an apology.

I’d looked at his blessings—the way he was favored and handsome and put in charge. But what about his suffering? He was also trafficked, sold, imprisoned unfairly, and forgotten.

For the first time, I looked at Joseph’s story and saw his blessings and tragedies. I saw how the Lord was with him—from his original home to the pit, in slavery, at the king’s house, in prison, and in power.

The Lord remained with Joseph through it all, and He promises the same for you and me.

Joseph was chosen by God for specific purposes. But we are also created for specific purposes and the Lord also remains with us. We’re not so different from Joseph. Look long enough at your life and you’ll see where our Father is making beauty out of chaos. You’ll see that He’s working good even where harm was intended.

You’ll see He only makes beautiful, sparkly people. And that we’re all His favorites.

Favorites who once had blind eyes, but now we see.

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50

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

Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

This is for You: Get Up!

Get Up

Get up.

Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.

Get back up again.

You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue. 

He knows when you lay down or when you get up.
He’s got every single move, all your thoughts,
all your ways and all your actions in his hands.
He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).

You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.

I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too—
your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139

It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.

I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.

My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you.  He is in you. Period.

Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.

When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.

Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8

Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…

Walk, I say!
Walk, He says!

Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.

And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance!  Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!

And go….today is the start of your new day.

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.

 

***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!

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On Secret Sins and the Secret Place

Secret Sins

Post by Karina

Sin. It’s a tricky thin, isn’t it? Those of us in Christ don’t want to participate in it, but somehow we easily fall prey to it. We all know there is no hierarchy when it comes to sin. Lust is just as wrong as adultery. Anger is just as wrong as murder. It all quenches the Holy Spirit and it all breaks the Father’s heart.

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Recently, I had 3 consecutive weekends of attending 3 ridiculously dynamic women’s conferences. I was literally on the highest of highs. It was amazing! I am very much still processing all that God spoke to me and all that He did during those 3 weeks. He marked me beyond words.

After all of that spiritual activity, the enemy hit me hard. I don’t normally attribute much to him, but this was nothing but him. He was waging war for my soul in the worst way. He attacked my mind with no holds barred.

I don’t tend to deal with outward sins as much as I do with inward ones. You know the ones I’m talking about…envy, comparison, anger, bitterness, apathy, etc… The list really could go on and on. If you’re anything like me, those inward sins can bring more shame and guilt than the outward ones. It’s quite easy to hide these sins from the world. Honestly, the shame and guilt came very close to knocking me out for the count. I felt as though I was spiraling out of control. The past few weeks of battle came out of nowhere. I had been beautifully walking out my calling. God had been opening many doors of connection and I had experienced some of the sweetest times of prayer and worship.

One of the events I attended was Beth Moore’s conference called LIT. It was geared to women in their 20s and 30s. Christy Nockels led Heaven touching worship. And Beth, along with Jennie Allen, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine and Melissa Moore all shared about this call to communicate. Everyone spoke to the fact that it is a weighty call and there is a cost to it. In order to fulfill this call, we need to first be filled. This filling ONLY comes from time spent in the secret place of God and us. This time with God is not reserved for those who may minister from a public platform. It is for EVERY believer because we all minister and share Christ in some way. We all have a measure of influence.

I’ve been contemplating how such a door was opened in my life for the enemy to slip in could have occurred. I know I’m a flawed human, but I never want that to be an excuse for me to be comfortable living in sin.

Realize the enemy will attack who God has created you to be.

A week ago, I heard a sermon about how the enemy will specifically come for us in direct opposition to who we are. I hadn’t ever thought of that before. If we are a person of faith, He will bring doubt. If we are pure in heart, he will bring corrupt thoughts. If we have the gift of healing, he will bring illness. He sees our potential. He wants to destroy that potential by whatever means necessary. He wants to destroy the impact that God wants to accomplish through us.

The key to fighting this is to pray against him breaking any strongholds he is using to keep us bound. And then, we replace those thoughts with Scriptures that call out our identity and God’s desire for us.

Don’t let the enemy bring dissension.

I am all about community, but over the past few months, the enemy has been working overtime to create division among several friends and me. He has authored confusion and offense and all manner of hurt feelings. In those times, we are to pursue unity despite our emotions. Our emotions say isolate. The enemy wants us to isolate. But the Lord’s heart is for us to be in fellowship.

We must have brave, hard communication. We speak truth in love and always share our hearts in grace.

Camp out in the secret place.

Everything flows out of the secret place. Everything we do. Everything we say. All that we are flows from this place. Anything done in our own strength will falter and fail. The Holy Spirit must be our strength. He is the only source of power in our lives. Much of that power is harnessed when we allow Him to renew our minds in His promises. This power can only be accessed when we have spent time alone with Him in prayer, worship and studying His Word.

This time is non-negotiable. If we forgo it, we forgo everything. We forfeit the word He wants to speak to our hearts. We forfeit all of the good works He prepared for us. We forfeit the ministry that would touch the lives of others so that they may come to know Him. This time in the secret place is how we overcome and walk in victory.

I want to live in such a way where I am aware of the enemy’s schemes and where He doesn’t have such easy access to me. I don’t ever want him to think he can easily deter me from my calling and purpose.

Let us live in the overflow of the secret place…

Overwhelmed by His presence
Over our heads in His Word
Overcome by His wonder

Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.

Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”

When Things Look Dull and Dreary

I kick myself. Again, things seem to be falling on me. It’s not so much the entire world, this time, but it is much more – me. I know, with God, he always calls me out from under my awning of darkness. There is nothing holding me back really. But, sometimes it is easier to stay in self-pity and self-reproach than it is to move into something new.

What dark awning of guilt, shame and frustration are you staying stuck under?

You stay there when you berate your endless bad actions.
You stay there when you sum up all the ways you look dumb.
You stay there when you think that girl is miles ahead of you.
You stay there when you tell your mind it’s useless.
You stay there when you ruminate on yesterday.
When you overthink things.
When you feel caught by man.
When you declare your mistakes your identity.
When you let bitterness, anger and frustration reign in your heart.

We don’t have to stay in the dark.

If we take only 1 step, just one step – out…we’ll move somewhere new. We’ll move somewhere blessed, whole and free.

I know, it feels risky, unknown even, as we place one foot down on new ground.  Sometimes we don’t even have thoughts formed about these areas. I understand.

But, here, right here, as we step out, we can see. Light above us.

It was always there, it was just hard to see when covered by the weight of wrongs. But, now, right here, we notice the immensity of a great God overhead. We look up. Stars. Lots of stars. A show, millions of them. Ahh!

We soak it in.

We are small, but he is so great.

He loves us, oh he loves us!

His face does shine upon us.

We understand if he could create this masterpiece, he can create a masterpiece out of us too.

We marvel at the vast lengths of his care that reaches further than eye can see. It reaches deep.

We notice how God extends beyond our vision. He reaches nebulas and galaxies and things far out there.

We ponder how faithful God is.

Every night – God is. Yet, some days, the clouds cover God’s best. Then, we can’t see. We run to the portico because we believe rain is coming, we are ruined.  All we see is clouds.

But, no longer, do we have to hide. God’s brilliance, his flowing faithfulness -is still there – a covering of it, is overhead.

It is there on our good days and on our bad.
It is there in our best moments and at our worst.
It is there through the thick and through the thin.
It is there when people are mean and when they’re nice.
It is there when we’re mean to our self or kind.

A beautiful display of glory is. It just – is. Whether we see it or not. The goodness of God remains. HIs faithfulness never ends. His love endures forever.

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

32 Verses for Women Affirming Beauty, Value & A Beloved Identity in Christ

Affirming Beauty

May I admit something to you all?

When I am at my worst, I doubt who I am. I doubt I am good. I doubt I am valuable. Some days, I know, I don’t look an iota like Jesus. I look in the mirror, but his image I do not see. Instead, I see the image of a woman who is flawed, faulted and failing. I can be hard on myself.

Can you?

It’s easy, on these days, to turn to action plans, to-do lists or a get-better schemes. Oh, I know this inclination! But, more and more, I am convinced, I don’t need a makeover or a new hairstyle. I don’t need a flick on the wrist or a self-inflicted put down to get right, I simply need peace. Peace that affirms who God says I am, not what I am prone to believe I am.

I need the reminder I am:

  1. Beautiful.
  2. Valuable.
  3. Created as beloved with Christ in me.

When we know these things, our vision shifts, our hope emerges and our love flows more freely.

Do you know who you are? If you’re at all like me, and you need a reminder, hopefully these verses – verses that speak of beauty, value and your beloved identity, will bring you to a new place, to a new vision of who you are created to be.

I am Beautiful:

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Sol. 4:7)

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov. 31:25)

You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Is. 62:3

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song 2:10)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:5)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (Ps. 139:13-16)

Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13 – 14)

For we are God’s masterpiece… (Eph. 2:10)

I am Valuable:

…Created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! (Lu. 1:45)

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. (Ps. 46:5)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Pet. 5:10)

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Es. 4:14)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:2o)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)

I am Created as Beloved and Christ Lives in me:

She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov. 31:10)

But by the grace of God I am what I am. (1 Cor. 15:10)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands… (Is. 49:16) 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18)

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons (and daughters) of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:26)

…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Jo. 15:15)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  (1 Cor. 15:58)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (Jo. 1:12)

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)

And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24)

So God created mankind in his own image… (Gen. 1:27)

Knowing who we are, somehow changes our face: It changes our face in the mirror. It softens our face as we face the world. It turns our face, unashamedly towards God.

May we not forgo remembering who we are. For the fact of the matter is – we are more daughter than anything else. No other name given to us stands more permanent than that name. No other title we carry will surpass that one. No other calling is greater. We are chosen, valuable, beautiful and secure.

We are in Christ. We are powerful in him and beautiful because He is.

Now, go out in the world- and shine!

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

God: Artisan of Brave

Post by:Jami Amerine

I have spent the better part of 45 years afraid.

I am afraid of many things; flying, heights, spiders, the demise of one of my loved ones, egg salad, and weight gain, just to name a few.

Within the last year, I have added a new fear to my list… failure.

In the midst of this new terror, I made a friend.  At first, she wasn’t a friend, although she didn’t know, I was intimidated by her. I saw her message as a threat to my message. Which was, altogether inaccurate.

As our relationship progressed, she invited me to become a regular contributor here, on her website.  Her book, Fear Fighting launched this week.  In perfect harmony with my new fear of failure, her book has been salve to my wound.

A few nights after her book was featured on the Today Show by Kathie Lee Gifford, I climbed into bed to read more of Kelly’s beautiful paperback.  After a couple chapters, I rolled over to go to sleep and I went to work on my shortcomings, my inabilities, and disabilities.  I fell asleep afraid my book would fail. I began to compare the beauty of Kelly’s manuscript with the folly of mine.

I distinctly remember praying, “God, I am afraid I can’t do this…”

And I dreamed.

It was a vivid dream.  I dreamed I was watching Kelly speak and white butterflies flew about every time she spoke of the Jesus she adores.  In my sleep, I dreamt that I told my husband, “When Kelly speaks of Jesus white butterflies appear.” My husband brushed me off as silly.  In this reverie, I went on to dream that I was meeting Kelly at my alma mater by a fountain.  My husband came with me and when Kelly and I met and hugged white butterflies exploded in the evening sky and we laughed and danced. My husband knelt and began to pray for us.

I sat upright in the bed.  The dream still fresh in my mind, I reached for my iPhone to check the time.  I had only been asleep a few hours.  Shaken by the mystery, I decided to flip through my phone and consider.  I opened my Facebook, the first thing in my feed was a picture my friend, fellow author Rachelle DeNecochea had posted.  It was the image of a painting Rachelle’s husband gave her for Christmas.

The painting, by artist Melissa Paddock, was of two girls dancing in the moonlight with white butterflies in the sky.

I was undone.

Here is the thing.  I am not in any way insinuating Kelly and I are some grand prophetesses.  What I am implying is, my God knows me so well.

I am more than suggesting, He met me where I was in my fears.  The dream?  I would have easily brushed it aside as my tiny brain having a playdate of non-sense.  But I fully believe God didn’t intend for me to dismiss it.

My fears of failure are not from Him or of Him.

He has blessed me with opportunities, outside of anything I could have wished or hoped for – opportunities to speak about how magnificent He is.

You can call it a coincidence.

My husband is certain I saw the painting before I fell asleep.  I won’t argue with him, my phone was dead when I plugged it in and picked up Kelly’s book.  I believe that God wanted to encourage me. I am confident the dream and the painting were meant to minister to me.  I have faith that Jesus knows me, and is available to ease my terrors and worries with signs and wonders.  As Kelly says, “Faith is the thing that makes little warriors do big things.”

Certainly, He is all that is right with me.  The fear doesn’t come from Him, only the comfort does.  And I need not worry about my abilities, as I read Kelly’s words the next day I was further convinced, “It’s not about ‘my’ abilities that make me able but God’s capabilities, that make me more than able.”

I am encouraged like never before.

Truly, as many the years, I have spent in fear, I fully intend on spending the next years brave.

I will watch more closely and with a new found eagerness for Him to reveal things to me, and my faith will allow me to believe. He is the master of words, maestros of symphony, and a virtuoso of every canvas and coloring page.

I choose to believe He will move in every aspect of my life. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am strong, He is my strength.

I encourage you to grab a copy of Kelly’s book and “let the creator re-sketch your scenery of fear into faith…”

The season of bravery is upon us, the time of freedom is at hand.  The tools for breaking down your bondage are available.

Dear Captives, be set free.

“I will not be shaken for God is right beside me.”  Acts 2:25

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss taking part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. Or, order my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

“The Sway” image was used with permission from the artist Melissa Paddock.

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

 

Need A Miracle? This Is Breakthrough…

need a miracle

Do you feel unable? Do you have a dream no one believes in? Have you hit an impossible roadblock?

Maybe you’re after a miracle.
Even worse, maybe your not.
Maybe, you’ve given up.

I am well aware, we all have our – “if onlys”, “it’s impossible” or “that couldn’t happen” scenarios. They loom like harbingers of how we will self-destruct, how those we love will get hurt or how we will never come out the other side – alive.

The enemy loves to tell us we can look, but can’t touch. He tells us good things are out of reach. So, instead we put on anti-faith, which is doubt cloaked in the covering of Christian-like behavior. We pretend.

We forget about this: Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Jo. 16:23

Our real problem isn’t that it’s out of reach, it’s that we don’t believe God’ll put it within reach.

The difference between a miracle and a mirage – is prayer.

If only we asked.
And believed.

For 80% of my life, I lived not believing. I mean, half-believing, I guess…if that is such a thing. I lived attending church. I lived trying my best. I lived praying. But, for the most part I lived doubting: doubting I’d ever do good, doubting God would really forgive me, doubting God could use me, doubting people would ever like me.

Fear was my slave master and my inadequacy his whip. I stayed in line.

Until, I started praying. Prayer is the liberator every woman needs, but has no idea how to find.

Me? A girl who stayed back in 3rd grade. A girl crippled by a chest that clenched its own self. A woman afraid that everyone would hate her. A quitter. An anorexic who felt she had to be perfect. A woman who hid from opportunities because she didn’t want to fail. A lady who was told she’d never write, nonetheless be an author.

Me? God saved me – from the overwhelming anxiety of being me.
Me? God opened up purpose and passion.
Me? God lit vision and destroyed the power of rejection.
Me? God inspired my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Fears.
Me? God just put my book on the Today Show. Kathie Lee Gifford named it one of her Favorite Things.
Me? God showed me – He can do anything, free anyone or rescue anyone – if only they ask.

We don’t ask though. This is the real problem.

What if you asked God to be fearless?

What might your life look like?

Where might God take you?

No doubt, underneath this stark movement in my life, were countless prayers.  Above it, stood a limitless God. Between these two places, was my belief. I watched everything collide.

God is calling us to step deeper and walk further into the fullness of all he can do. You see, we don’t have to imagine it, or perceive it – forget all that – we just have to believe it.

This is what my book Fear Fighting is all about. It’s about linking arms with the Savior, the Redeemer and the Creator of all good, so that we, as sisters, may walk bold and brave. It’s about leaving behind trembling so we can walk, on sure foundation, into God’s greatest callings. It’s about exchanging comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of I-am-loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you. It’s about stepping out when every voice from your past tells you to step in. It’s about finding the you God created you to be.

Join the Fear Fight. The time is now. Your God waits. He will help you. Prayer will be your guide and God will not steer you wrong. Your greatest miracle is just ahead.

Buy Fear Fighting!

Join the Four Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

More Reading:
When You Let God Down
5 Ways: Calm the Inner-Rumbles of Rejection
When Your Picture Is Not Pretty

Finding the Good in Your Bad

Good in Your Bad

I cuddled with coffee (which is no doubt one of my favorite things to do). It warms me better than mittens on a cold day, which it was. I was sitting on my outside bench and enjoying the frosty morning. Not expecting to see what I was about to see…

Because, after you’ve sat on your porch day in and day out, things start to look, well…monotonous. Been there…seen that – the tree placed on the side of the yard, the bird house a little off to the side and the neighbors car – almost out of line’s site.

I know what’s out there – I can see everything.

My kids? I know their story and what their day will entail. My husband? I know him well, if not, too well. The blog? I know what I do each day. My problems? I can see them ruining me.

I know things – and maybe, this is precisely my problem.

What if by knowing everything, by relying on what I see, I am missing the chance to believe in what I can’t?

What if by seeing things as they are, I am not seeing by faith?

What if, by slightly changing perspective, I could change everything?

If, by believing in what I do not see,…

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Heb 11:1)

I might receive what is best for me…

…so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Gal. 3:22)

Why don’t I full rely on God’s eyes to see…

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph. 1:18-19)

Maybe my life feels dull and ordinary because I’ve relied far too much on my own vision. God wants me to push pasty my might so I adopt his sight of that frees the captive, that brings beauty out of ashes and that overpowers the forces of darkness. I think I’ve missed out. And, what hits me is – when I seek to see like God sees, I experience a new way to be.

What appears like a shut door,
is really God’s way of sending me off in His new way.

What looks like a kid with a bad attitude is
really an opportunity to bring the gospel to her heart.

What lives like a long waiting period is really time
for me to prepare my heart for what God might want to do.

What comes at me like an in-your-face rejection,
is really a reminder God gives better gifts.

What appears to be time-lost is the chance to see
God reclaim, miraculously, what was lost.

If we don’t believe, how will we ever see – God’s greatest works?

For the one who believes God can do all things, for them, they get to see these things – and greater things.

When did I become such a jaded Christian? I am sorry God. Heal my unbelief. Restructure my faith. Pour out grace. Enliven me in belief with no bounds. I don’t want partial faith in your goodness, but an all out allegiance to your way, your truth and your life. Amen.

And, as I sit there on that bench, surrounded by commonplace things on a commonplace day, I see something far less common. I see, beyond a stone’s throw, a leaf – one I had never seen before in my life. It was oddly shaped, as if it should be in some exotic locale. It is beautiful, awe-inspiring and special. It teaches me – when we get expectant to see, God puts his beauty before us.

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

More Reading:

When You Long to Do Something Bad

How to Find Rest in God

Do you Need a New Perspective?

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