A couple weeks ago we left our house to prepare for Hurricane Irma. There were so many moving parts. We had no idea when school would resume. My husband needed to take a business trip. The storm had no real direction, and we had people telling us to leave and which houses we could live at. A million decisions were thrown up in the air, with a storm barreling towards us.
And so many worries…would our car be okay? Would our place get flooded? Would our life ever return to normal? Would power take months to go back on? Would schools ever start up again? How could I get my manuscript done for the next week with a hard deadline on my shoulders?
Add to the ride screaming kids, a phone that was blowing up with texts, bad news after bad news and it all could add up to: too much.
My husband looked at me and said, “Kelly, we need to take things one day at a time.”
These words released me from the burden of knowing it all. They spoke to me: Kelly, it is okay to be where you are today. Just stick here, in today. . .you can figure out the rest later.
Inhale. Exhale. God has this.
Where do you need to “take things one day at a time?” How might keeping your thoughts in today prevent you from rushing into quick, sandy thoughts of tomorrow? Thoughts that want to sink you emotionally?
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mt. 6:34
What we have here, in this moment, is what God works with. It is what he impacts, as we trust him. It is what we feel peace with, as we address it. It is what calms us, as we know we did our part. It is what sets us free from overwhelming and heartbreaking worry.
Let it go. You have full permission, today, to take things one day at a time.
I’ve been watching the show, The Partner. In this show, Marcus Lemonis, puts many to the test but is selecting one right-hand-man or woman to be his partner. He puts each person through the wringer: he tests their knowledge of financial statements, has them run their own businesses, and places them in high-tension sales situations.
In a different way, God, also, is looking for just the right person…
…will He find you?
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chron. 16:9)
Just as Marcus noticed how his contestants endured under fire, God notices as well. Not with the goal of eliminating us, but much with the same goal – of promoting us.
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Lu. 16:10)
Have you considered, the tests God is permitting are because he knows you’ll prove yourself strong, steadfast and worthy to move to greater things? Have you considered – he believes in you? Have you realized – he desires to move you into great and glorious things for his making?
At the end of the show, The Partner, there was 2 woman left: one was a Harvard genius the other was humble and willing to learn.
Marcus chose the second. I believe God often does too.
Where is your heart? Are you willing to learn? Or, are you set in your ways?
Notice: In 2 Chronicles 16:9, God didn’t say his eyes roam the earth for the best person, the wisest or the most qualified, he said he roams the earth to strengthen hearts “fully committed” to him.
To have a heart “fully” committed is to:
Ask God to search your heart.
Be willing to see what needs change.
To be humble enough to consider doing things differently.
To be open to God’s leading as he helps you do things differently.
To recycle, over and over again, items 1-4 above.
I believe, for this person: new doors are opened, their life is changed, and God’s hand blesses them in tremendous ways. Today, check your heart.
We have a broken fire alarm in our house. It’s either that, or well working. At the first hint of bacon, or scents of meat or scorch in a pan the thing fires off.
At first, we freaked. We didn’t know whether, with this obnoxious sound, we should run outside to grab a hose or just sit around and chill out. But, after the 11th or so time, we realized – all will be okay. We just have to address the issue and move on with our day.
Some of us, need to do the same: We need to hear a fire alarm sounding in our mind, address the issue with God and know it will be okay.
What fire alarm should be sounding off in your life? Is it harsh words? Is it a mean attitude? Is it a shut-down heart? Is it a busy lifestyle? Is it a spending habit?
Usually, we try to go through our house, our life, acting like everything is okay when it really is not. This is not okay. We need to hear that fire alarm, the sound of God reminding us – Hey, look over here, there are some things you need to address. There are some areas that I want you to see, so you can better see me.
It is not a sound of condemnation, it is a sound of restoration, meant to bring us to Jesus’ consolation. Jesus loves us. He wants to help us. He is for us. He is with us. He is our advocate. He is our relief. He is our way. He is our life.
Why not let him heal us from what hurts today? Why not call out to him, instead of trying to soldier on with bandages around our knees and a limp to your spirit? We were meant for more than this kind of living, weren’t we?
You’re not faking him; I am not either.
And, even though I try to “fake it” in my house, today I admit: My heart feels fragile. It feels needy. It feels wanting.I am a little weary.
But, no weight is not too much for God to carry.
In fact, renewed power and passion comes to types like me and you, who admit need. For, with Christ, our weakness becomes our strength. We need not feel ashamed to abide in the place of wanting, of longing and of helplessness. Here, he who is help, brings help, speedily. He rescues us. He rushes in. He saves.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)
Be not ashamed if there is an alarm sounding in your life; he who saves will show up.
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:
He can do all things. He created this world; he can create new circumstances.
In the world I might feel weak; but when I walk with him, I am strong.
Appearances mean nothing; his truth and my status as daughter means everything.
He has created me in advance for good works and these good works he will see through.
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.
We can be like tires, after a lot of mileage, we run down. We loose our traction to God’s Word. We slip and slide into worldliness. We can feel it happening, we sense the tug, we know we are a little out of control, the problem is, sometimes, we are not so sure what to do about it.
I feel it in my life. I’ve had a series of frustrating situations: the babysitter backed our car into the mailbox, my feelings got hurt by a friend, and my prayer life with God landed in the doldrums.
Fortunately, I’m beginning to get eyes to see, if I don’t change something at the first sign of a slide, I’ll land in a ditch of faith. I don’t want this. Neither do you, I bet.
And, what about you? Are you, like me, slipping and sliding today?
– Letting arguments or distance with another dictate your worth.
– Finding yourself alone, tired and doubtful in your house.
– Resting on your own abilities to accomplish things, and not God’s.
– Endlessly worrying about your “situation” and having a hard time giving it to God.
– Recounting all that went wrong and not knowing how to get your mind off it.
– Returning to the sense that you are not really cared for by God.
– Battling your own will to avoid the temptation before you.
– Forgetting your quiet time or prayer time with God.
No matter where you stand, even if you feel completely on fire for the Lord, our goal is to boost your traction. So you cling on to the King of Kings, grip his paths, and stay on them.
The first step along this path is to:
Offer Forgiveness: Even if you need to forgive the same person 50 times. God endorses this behavior. He tells us to forgive 77 times – times 7 (Mt. 18:22).
Ask God: Will you help me to receive your Words and believe your words in a way where they relieve my heart?
Proclaim Godliness: Speak the truth (out loud). Speak it over yourself. Now, don’t fear, while you might feel dumb, you don’t look dumb to God, you look quite wise, actually, for getting your little self back on his path.
Speak this:I am beloved; I am God’s child and nothing can ever change that.
I am chosen; Father God never turns his back on those he wants.
I am helped; in everything I do, God will help me.
I am equipped; the Lord gives me what I need to accomplish his will.
I am restored; Jesus didn’t come to earth to leave mankind broken and he won’t leave me this way either.
I am forgiven; what was done on the cross is as permanent as marker –
there is no erasing its power.
I am renewed; I am being transformed into the image of Christ Jesus.
I am not perfect; I am growing and moving from glory to glory.
I am strong. In Christ Jesus, I have all I need to walk into this life;
his grace is more than enough.
I am able. There is nothing that God can’t help me do;
there is no mountain I can’t move, through prayer.
I am destined. I am destined to the fullness of heaven and
no scheme of the enemy can take that from me.
I am alive. This is my one life to go all out for God – and I will.
I am talented. God has given me works to do in advance,
not so I can doubt them, but so I can unleash them.
I am in love. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are my affection. Through them, I spread love.
I am called. I will go as God calls me to go.
I will lay it all down to follow my King, Master and Prince of Peace.
I am daughter; I am cared for in the kindest ways.
I am covered; God’s faithfulness will bring me through.
I am safe; God’s protection never breaks.
I am whole in Christ Jesus and if he is for me – no one can be against.
Believing and speaking these words restores tread and traction in our heart. We reattach to the vine and abide in his love, so much so, our mind realizes, we are not operating in this world but in HIS world. Getting to this place, to the place of spiritual eyes, is what brings us back to a heart that is on fire for God. It is what makes us go out in the world and pass the torch to another person. Rest here.
My last semester of college, I moved to North Carolina for an internship at a giant computer corporation.
I hated to leave school early, but they offered me a chance to work into my first real job, and I couldn’t pass it up. Just before I moved, my boyfriend proposed, and we decided to get married less than 6 months later. Just after college graduation. It was an exciting time, to say the least.
So I transitioned into a new job, and moved into what would become our first apartment. I learned our new city and made some new friends. And after setting up our apartment with just the basics, I laid out pieces of wedding paraphernalia on the nightstand beside my bed. It was a daily reminder of my new life to come, the life I was eagerly waiting for.
Do you remember a time when you longed for something new, just around the bend?
I studied a verse earlier this week, and it reminded me of this anticipation.
“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:28, ESV
Let’s talk about that last phrase for a minute. To save those who are EAGERLY WAITING for Him.
Jesus will come again, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him.
I have a question for you, and it’s probably going to hurt a little. But I hope it brings you to a better place, and a new perspective.
Are you eagerly waiting for Jesus?
He is coming to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him. But there’s just one problem.
We love the world instead.
We are eagerly waiting for all our dreams to come true in this life. We are waiting, for everything we love right here—for the work and accomplishments and people and events and promotions and possessions and all the plans we desire for our families, for our lives. Right here.
I hate to admit it, but my desires and dreams for this life compete with my desire for Jesus.
I’ve been involved in a love affair with this world, and it has prevented me from waiting eagerly for Jesus to come again. But the Holy Spirit used this passage to make me aware, and to lead me to repentance. There’s no better place to be, because repentance brings refreshment.
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19
I don’t want to be waiting on all the amazing possibilities of this world.
I want to be waiting for the King of the world.
Let’s hope He finds us waiting for a new life to come. Waiting eagerly for Jesus.
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.
When I got home, I noticed one remaining trash can. Apparently, my husband didn’t pull it to the end of the driveway for pickup. Approaching it, I could see why…maggots climbed up, down and all over it. Yuck! I looked inside, only to see, at the bottom, a half eaten box of chicken legs.
And, seeing this, brought a valuable insight: Death leads to more death.
Death leads to more death because, what life – sin has killed, the enemy, like a maggot – feeds on. He brings more death.
Now, sweet friends, I am fully aware all this talk sound highly disgusting. But, I also believe it can be highly transforming, this is why we are venturing into the depths of trash.
Consider this: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 6:23
Sin leads to death.
Then, death leads to death.
Jesus leads to life.
Then, life leads to life.
Where have you allowed sin to produce death in your life? How is the enemy feeding on you, only to produce more death – death of joy, peace, productivity, power, grace, hope, love, mercy – in your life? Death of relationships? Death of belief?
While through the Spirit, we are being transformed into the image of Christ with ever-increasing glory (2 Cor. 3:18), I am convinced the enemy’s operating procedure is to move us to ever-diminishing glory. So we don’t look like Christ.
Today, I didn’t want to touch that maggot-box. I didn’t want to drag it down the driveway, but I knew, it had to go or the death would stay.
What today, do you need to drag in front of Jesus – and let go in order to remove the death that is settling in around you?
Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters, our God is a gentle God, slow to anger, abounding in grace, mercy and new life. When you come and encounter his face, the face of your sin will change.
Perhaps, you do this today. Rather than continuing in excusing, rationalizing, permitting, blaming or smearing – today, perhaps you approach the one who loves you – so he can.
This is my prayer for you – and for me…
Dearest Father, you love us. You love us, then you love us, then you love us…and love us some more. May we know, in the place where we feel death, we are only a confession away from your life. May we know you want us. May we know you always welcome us. We confess, God, we have fallen into sin. It looks like this: _______. It has hurt us in this way: _____. We hand it to you, into your loving hands. We are sorry. What new way can we go when we are prone to do it, Father God? ____. We thank you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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It’s a very important question to consider. Knowing the answer can make the difference between ongoing fulfillment and unending misguidance. This answer can radically shift the purpose of your life.
Have you asked God? And listened. Observed. Noticed.
And then asked Him again. Listened. Observed. Noticed.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13
Things are in the works my friends, on my end. I have something VERY exciting to announce in the next couple of weeks (and, no, it is not a baby…why do I always have to preface things with that?!). It is something that increases unity, brings restoration and that will change your life. I am sure of it. Oh, I can’t wait for you to know. To be a part of it.
But, I could have missed this calling altogether. I really could have. I was just considering this very thought this morning as I sat on my patio. I love to go out there in the mornings. I seek God, read scripture and absorb the Lord’s goodness. Well, this morning, as I tried to place my mind on Him above, I couldn’t. All I could hear was a consistent…SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!
Get out of here!!! You are so annoying.
Try as I may to focus on how God wanted me to proceed with every He’d called me to, how to…SQUAWK! SQUAWK!
The shrill voice of the crows butted in once again.
And, I couldn’t: I couldn’t think. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my mind off the annoyance.
What is squawking in your life right now? Making you believe you can’t hear God?
God never leaves us; it is usually our mind that leaves him. We always have the opportunity to return back.
Today, I sit with fresh resolve: I will not allow what is making noise around me – other’s voices, distractions of the iPhone, bad news on TV, uncertainty in the world, aggravation with a friend – keep me away from this question any longer – “What is God calling me to?”
I’ll fight to hear him. Will you?
There is a very real enemy, with a very real plan to hold you back from God’s real good stuff. Are you letting him win?
Our youngest vandal son came into our room early this morning for a cuddle.
He climbed in the bed and whispered, “Good mowning mommy.”
He smelled of warm sleep and I was happy to have a moment alone with him before the chaos of the day erupted with the rising sun.
I tickled his back and stroked his blonde hair. And then, I noticed a terrible scratch on his neck.
“What happened Charlie?” I inquired.
Charlie elaborated. “I spent da night in da jungle wif my fwend Ashwee. A big wion scrwatched me. Ashwee killed da wion five times!”
I tried not to giggle, “Oh my, I think that was a dream baby!”
Charlie’s brow furrowed, “Den how comes I gots dis scrwatch?”
It wasn’t long and the day imploded… as suspected. It got bad fast. A horrible argument ensued with a semi-adult-baby, a checking debacle, a missed opportunity, a leaking trash bag, a blown-out diaper, and a stalled-out vehicle… I checked my watch, it was only 9:45 am.
I wanted to crawl back in the bed and pretend with Charlie.
Frankly, being chased by a lion seemed like more fun than the day unfolding before me.
My fairy godmother, AKA, my mommy helper Bobbi took over the three littles and I escaped to my office.
I stared at my screen.
I drank four cups of coffee.
Nothing. Well, heartburn and the jitters.
Again, it would be nice, some days to be an author of fiction. Fantasy, where my mind might escape the non-fiction reality of sticky floors, parking tickets, and the pursuit of some form of normalcy.
What that would look like I do not know. I wandered to the bathroom to blow my runny nose and blot my sodden eyes. It was then I noticed the toilet lid partially shut.
I opened the closure.
The toilet was packed full of toys; a stuffed purple bunny, a roller skate, 10 blocks, 44 Legos, a Jedi, a dump truck and a baby doll.
I shut the lid and climbed back into bed.
I willed my eyes closed and pictured a lion chasing me through the jungle. It was a relief.
Perhaps a creative mind is more burdensome, alas sometimes it is my greatest reprieve.
Make that, most times.
My brain, fingertips, and caffeine charged imagination couldn’t resist and I climbed out from my sheets to face what was left of my day.
The unbelievable is my inspiration, the death and resurrection of a hero. A hero who died for me, saving me from the bondage of my folly. Setting my feet on the pure path of righteousness… glass slippers. Despite all the ick, I delight in the yoke of He who saved me. A yoke that is easy, whose burden is light. A protective lion, gentle as a lamb. He lies with me in the high grass.
I stare at mystical clouds that make shapes, shapes I imagine are visions of peace, hope, joy, love, and I delight in this future with Him by my side. I tug at a piece of cool grass, with my head nestled closely to his course fur I feel the rise and fall of His mighty breath and I hear the rumble of His word, a purr.
He stretches and yawns, proving His majestic ability to rest in the work already accomplished. At His movement, as if on cue, butterflies erupt in the breeze and I am swamped… with peace.
I have no proof.
No resolve to the toilet calamity still soaking in the commode in the master suite.
Yet, I am okay.
It is well.
My mind is free from the burden of worry. He knows every hair on my head. This is the place where He calls me to rest. This is the promise He made, “come you who are weary.”
Indeed this is me.
You may inquire, “I think that’s a dream… a fantasy you created.”
And I have only one question for you, “Then how comes I got all this peace?”
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
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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.
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:
That we, as American women, would stand like tall oaks, unwavering, because we are rooted in God’s love.
That we, together, would be planted, with power to mobilize, migrate and make a difference.
That we would extend love that surpasses – knowledge.
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.