Purposeful Faith

Category - expectations

A Power Boost in Christ Jesus

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:

  1. 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).
  2. Ask God: Will you help me to receive your Words and believe your words in a way where they relieve my heart?
  3. 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.

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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How You Handle Mistakes is Important

Handle Mistakes

His face said it all: his brows furrowed inward, his eyes squinted and his mouth was as tight as a rubber band ready to explode. My son was angry at himself. In all his 6-years of wisdom, he knew – he’d done something he wasn’t happy with.

He looked up at daddy and said, “I want to go in time-out for 2 minutes – for you, daddy…”

My son’s words got me thinking recently, as a friend offered me unsolicited advice I knew I shouldn’t be listening to. God had already made my steps clear: I was to wait on Him until wisdom came. I knew this was the plan. Yet, as I sat down with this friend and they started talking on and on about what I should do, my heart started to plummet.

Would it really turn out okay? I really should save myself. Is anyone there to help me? 

While one minute I was standing strong with God, the next, I was tumbling over with fear. I was buckling in with anxiety.

Ever been there? Ever been sure of what God wanted you to do, only to act out the exact opposite?

I let another’s influence invade a boundary God had established. And, I felt horrible about it.

What do you feel horrible about? What boundary has been invaded in your life, in a way where you constantly beat yourself up? In a way where you feel bad, horrible and no good? In a way where you’re not sure you can ever be nice to yourself again?

Because of what I did, I was convinced God was stripping me of all my good girl medals. It was as if, the row of trophies I’d earned – were disappearing before my very eyes. I was being demoted on his team and I was being relegated to the sidelines.

I could almost see it all happening and transpiring because of my faithlessness. You’re out, Kelly! You’re out! So, I took myself out of the game. I counted myself unworthy. I discounted my standing. I practically said to God, “I want to go in time-out for 2 minutes – for you, daddy.”

Like me, are you keeping yourself in time out – for daddy? Are you holding yourself back to make right what you know you made wrong? Are you punishing yourself?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Jo. 3:17

If Jesus didn’t come to put us in permanent time out…then why do we send ourselves there? Why do we stay far from the Healer who wants to heal?

If Jesus came to save and not punish,
his procedure is to heal us and not ruin us.

With this idea in mind, we can approach him from a feeling of loved, adored and about-to-be restored, rather than failing and floundering.

When can approach like this:

  1. I am sorry God.
  2. You forgive me God.
  3. I am holy God, in you.
  4. Nothing can change that.
  5. I am blameless in you.
  6. You are leading me a new way.

And then, we realize, we were never outside of his love, but we were always in it and, then, we remember it is his love that heals us every time.

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.

Why Our Attempts to Create Our Own Personal Jesus Will Fail Every Time

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I used to approach friendship with a long list of expectations. Things I thought a friend should do. A space I thought my friend should fill.

Instead of extending grace, I was disappointed when friends didn’t follow through with what they said they’d do. I didn’t care whether they had kids and or whether the unexpected happened.

All I saw was my set of rules.

“A true friend wouldn’t do that.”

“If she was your friend, she would keep her word.”

What’s even sadder is I approached my relationship with God the same way. Instead of coming to the throne of grace wanting to know him, I came with my expectations.

But my expectations weren’t based on promises in his Word. They were based on my notions of what he should be and what he should do for me.

“If he is God, he will answer this prayer.”

“He didn’t answer this prayer, so he must not care about me.”

All this time I walked around feeling lonely and defeated, God still loved me. He still heard my prayers and you know what? He still answered them.

He just didn’t answer them in the way I wanted or expected. During a season, I didn’t see his hand at all because I was so razor focused on certain details of my life.

When we try to create our own personal Jesus, we will fail every time. Because God is not a god of our creation. He is infinite, going far beyond our limited minds.

But what’s amazing is we can have a relationship with him. When we want more of him, he meets us where we are. He gives us his Word as a living tool to guide us and show us his heart. Take the story about Mary and Martha, for example.

Most of us know this story, and Martha often gets a bad rap. This pains me, because what Martha did wasn’t wrong. Serving God and wanting help was not the issue.

The problem was instead of expecting Jesus to be God, Martha expected Jesus to do what she wanted. She came with her expectations and preconceived ideas of what a Messiah who cared would do. When he didn’t meet her expectations, she was disappointed.

Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?

Luke 10:40 ESV

In other words, “Lord if you cared you would not let her leave me here.”

And Jesus corrects her not out of condemnation, but out of love. He says Mary chose what was more important. Mary chose knowing him.

Friends, we will always have expectations. It’s how our brains are wired and God knows this.

But freedom comes when we’re willing to hold loosely to our expectations and come to him in surrender. When we say, “God, I may not understand what you’re doing but I trust that you love me anyway.”

When we let go of our notions of who we think God should be, we can know him for who he truly is.

He is faithful to give us glimpses of his character and love. He shows us his ways and his plans and gives us hope.

Let’s lay our aside our expectations today and come to him with open hands.

Let’s have faith in what we don’t see, and bring glory to the One who sees us.

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

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

How 1 Small Thing Will Change Your Life

Change Your Life

Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?

Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.

Got it yet?
Not yet?

This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

The tongue.

It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.

It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.

It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!

It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.

It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.

It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.

It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.

How do you use your tongue?

I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”

Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.

It’s not easy.

The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.

But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Prov. 18:21

By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.

5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):

  1. Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
  2. Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
  3. Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
  4. Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
  5. Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.

This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.

Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:

Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent.
Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.

Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.

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

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

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

When You Feel Alone in your Secret Struggle

I am delighted to welcome Asheritah Ciuciu! She is both a friend and a woman with an important story to tell. Be blessed by her words today!

I hugged the pillow and sank back in her couch, trying to look relaxed while hiding my bulge. This new friend I had made was friendly, welcoming, and open about her past struggles.

She was trusting me with a part of her past, and I felt honored and humbled.

She shared how God had set her free of her past hurts, and I felt a stirring in my heart. I wanted to return the token of friendship, to share with her a hidden part of my story too.

And so the words came out, awkward at first but tumbling faster and faster as I tried to make sense of what I was saying.

“I think I have a food addiction,” I said, sheepishly, twisting the decorative frays on the pillow between my fingers as I kept my gaze down. “I mean, I don’t know, I just find myself controlled by my desire for food instead of by the Holy Spirit.”

I chanced a glance up as I shared this discovery I had made about myself the week before.

And I held my breath.

The air felt tight in my lungs because we all fear rejection. Every one of us.

We long for friends who will know and love us as we really are. Not the instagrammed version of us. Not the 140-character witty us. Not the perfectly curated media stream of us.

No. Not that. We’ve had enough of that.

We yearn for someone to see us, every layer of us, and love us anyway. Cellulite and all. Love handles. Baby bellies. Thunder thighs.

Broken marriages. Strained friendships. Prodigal children. Bulging debt. Hidden addictions.

ALL of us.

Shame keeps us silent, convinced we’re the only ones who struggle. And our enemy continues to taunt us that “good Christian girls” don’t talk about these things. Blazes, they don’t even struggle with these kinds of things!

But in the midst of my own food addiction journey, here’s what I discovered: truth will set you free.

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Telling the truth. Declaring truth. And embracing Truth Himself.

You see, we have a very real enemy, and he comes only to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Satan will use whatever tool he can to distract you from seeking satisfaction in God, and if money, sex, or power don’t hold any sway over you, then French fries or skinny chocolate lattes just might.

For me, it was just that. Food addiction just about did me in.

Almost… But for truth.

Back to the living room scene, there I was, holding my breath.

Her gaze filled with compassion as she nodded and said, “I know what you mean.”

“You do?” I asked, my eyebrows arching as I let out my pent-up breath. I sized up her tiny frame.

“Yeah,” she continued. “Even skinny girls struggle with food, you know. I’ve begun to realize just how much a bar of chocolate comforts me, and it’s scary.”

I shut my eyes and relished the feeling of coming home. Here, finally, was someone who knew my secret and did not condemn me. In fact, she put her arm around me and invited me to walk this path toward freedom together.

That day, in my new friend’s living room, I took a chance and told her the truth. And over the weeks that followed, I searched Scripture to learn God’s truth about who I am and how to overcome this struggle. But ultimately, this journey led me straight into the arms of Truth Himself, and He set me free.

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus, Truth Himself, sets us free from our strongholds and welcomes us into the Father’s presence, where we find fullness of joy and life to the full.

And you want to know the most surprising part? If we let Him, God uses our stories of brokenness to heal others too. That’s a miracle in itself.

Though this journey has had its ups and downs, I’m so grateful He carried me through my doubts and insecurities to free me to tell my story. From food fixation to fullness in Jesus. From shame to shouting out His goodness. Because every day I receive emails from women saying, “I thought I was the only one who struggled with food fixation. But when you told your story, you were telling mine too. And now I’m asking God to give me victory just as He has you.”

I’m not that special, really. Just one woman who’s been set free calling out to others to join me in finding sweetness and satisfaction in Jesus. But we don’t have to go it alone, and there’s beauty in that. 

Tell the truth, declare the truth, and embrace the Truth… and then prepare to receive the full life Jesus came to give you.

No more hiding. No more pretending. No more second-guessing.

Just beautiful, authentic, abundant, overflowing, satisfying life. Not always easy or trouble-free, but always filled with His presence and provision.

He’s done this in mine, and I know He’ll do it in yours, because God always keeps His promises. Always.

About the Book

If you’ve ever felt stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of overeating, yo-yo dieting, and obsessive thoughts about food, you know how hopeless this struggle can be. But the answer isn’t finding a new diet or a miracle pill. The answer is seeking satisfaction in the right place.

Join Asheritah Ciuciu in her new book Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction as she shares honestly about her own battles with food and reveals the path to freedom. You’ll discover the joy of living free from food fixation so you can experience deeper satisfaction in Christ, gain a renewed sense of purpose, and yes, even enjoy good food (without regret). Buy Full today or join the 7-day Food Truth & Dare Challenge.

About the Author

Asheritah Ciuciu is a popular blogger, speaker, and author. She grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and studied English and Women’s Ministry in college. Her passion is leading women deeper with Jesus through daily devotions and spiritual disciplines, both in her local church and around the world through digital discipleship at www.onethingalone.com. Asheritah is married to Flaviu, her childhood sweetheart, and together they raise their spunky children in northeast Ohio.

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When People Take Advantage of You

Take Advantage

She told me, “I deserved more.”

Do I?

I hadn’t thought of it like that. But, perhaps she was right.

I should get it. I am owed it. I’ve missed out, been singled out, treated poorly.  Suddenly, she confirmed my worst fears.

I’ve been taken advantage of.

In a split second, her statement touched an open nerve, exposing all I-don’t-have, but should. The words grabbed me hook line and sinker. They make me want to get mad, to fight. Maybe, with some effort to get what I really deserve; I’ll feel 100% happy. 

What do you feel you deserve? What have you been passive-aggressively implying you’re owed?

I suppose, under the cover of my steel lid, I’ve been slowly simmering with the idea I deserve respect, answers, and kindness from people. I deserve them to pull through for me. I deserve their help.

Yet (and this is the part that really gets to me – and hard to embrace), Jesus didn’t demand much. Jesus wasn’t known for saying he deserved things – even though he deserved everything. Actually, rather than taking what he deserved, he gave to the world what they didn’t deserve – his very own body.

He got broken for me, when he could’ve stayed enthroned, without me.

If Jesus is my role model…

If I really follow him…

I deserve nothing…
but, through Christ, gain everything…
the ability to love…
to receive grace
and to delight in the journey of being with God...
…it is more than enough.

It really is. It truly is.

I lose peace when I start to think otherwise. I lose freedom too.

I can do nothing on my own…I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. Jo. 5:30

It’s a war of the world for the heart. There’s a tug one direction saying: fight for yourself. Then, there’s the Spirit’s tug the opposite direction saying: Die to yourself and live with me. And, there’s God’s truth saying: While you are silent, I’m fighting for you. (Ex. 14:14)

What if we gave up all our ways – to seek God’s? What might happen? I wonder what might happen to the world if – instead of fighting, we started loving? Call me simplistic or idealistic, but somehow, I not only think this is what God calls us to do, but he, in the process, sets us free to do.

The power isn’t in getting, but in giving.

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all transgressions. Prov. 10:12

Love never fails… 1 Cor. 14:7

Quick-fire Prayer: May I have eyes from above to shed love. May I not seek to gain the world, but extend a hand to it. May I fight not for my ways, but give up all my ways, in order to find Jesus.

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

More Reading:
Have You Lost Peace?
The Good Found in the Darkness (Linkup)

What’s Blocking you from Christ?

When God Didn’t Give What You Wanted

God Didn't Give
 Has God ever boomeranged truth – where it hits you right between the eyes? He did with me; it kind of hurts.

My son asked, “Mom, can I have hot chocolate.”

I figured I was being super nice by saying yes. He wanted marshmallows too.

“You can have 6,” I said.

But, six in the cup looked like a swim party of few, so I reached into the bag and grabbed the biggest handful I could. With an overwhelming feeling of generosity, I dropped them into his mug, expecting to see the face of a kid lit up in a candy shop; he didn’t look impressed.

Oh well. A mom can try. 

Even so, I figured, I’d made him happy for the morning. Mission accomplished. I figured wrong. As soon as the last drop was licked out of the cup, he was at it again, “Mom, I didn’t get to eat a marshmallow on its own. I only got them in my cup. Those ones were all wet.”

His face was gearing up for WWIII. My face was not pleased either. I’d just given him ten times more than he deserved and he was whining about one marshmallow? Mom. Can’t. Win.

And, this ungrateful kid won’t win either!

“Son,” I said, “You can either be thankful for what you have or be discontent with what you don’t.”

No sooner were these words out of my mouth than they boomeranged. Boing!!!

They hit me like this:
“Kelly, you can either be thankful for what you have –
or discontent with what you don’t.”
Boing!!!

You may be missing me as much as he is Kelly. Boing!!!

Thankfulness is where you find joy, Kelly.
It is where you meet greater trust in me. Boing!!!

You see what you don’t have,
but what you do have is gi-stinking-normous.
 Boing!!!

You enter my presence with a word of thanks; you find me. Boing!!!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name”
(Psalm 100:4)

I want more of God – and all of this is true. God has given me much. He’s reached into the bag of his goodness and made the cups to overflow. He’s gone above and beyond to open up life-changing spiritual insights. He’s provided for me when I saw no way. He’s given me the opportunity to write a book that blessed me beyond get-out with new courage.  He has grown me in patience. He has offered me a chance to be near loved ones. He’s grown my faith.

God, hasn’t given me a tad, He’s given me a ton. Yet, sometimes, like my son, I see only the little thing he hasn’t done. I focus on it, forgetting everything else. I get obsessed with that one little marshmallow and forget the sweetness of his providence.

But, what I am coming to today is – I always have something to be thankful for: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chron. 16:34

Quick-fire prayer: Forgive me, God for my ingratitude. Thank you that you do forgive. Thank you, you love me no matter what. Thank you, I cannot step outside of your love. Thank you, you always have a plan. Thank you, you give me handfuls of blessings. Thank you, you see my way and guide me to it. Thank you, you bestow vision. Thank you, you restore me with eyes of clarity as I approach you with the honor you deserve. Thank you, you withhold no good thing from me. Thank you, God, you are all I need. Amen.  

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

More Reading:

Are You Getting Nowhere – Fast?

Getting Nowhere

Are you wondering if God will be faithful to you?

Maybe he’s called you to something…
Maybe he’s led you to something…
Maybe he’s pushing you to DO something…
Maybe he’s prompting you to change something…

Yet, sometimes, excuses can hold one captive within a fortress wall. They encircle, blocking the greater thing. I should know, I’ve made excuses my whole life. I am not good enough. Smart enough. Able enough. Willing enough. ____ enough.

Are you really going to work, God?

Are you really with me?

God, is it really possible that you will work – if I don’t?

In this place of, God…I-trust-you-uhh,-kind-of…., there are 101 reasons why the plan won’t work. Here, there visions are demise, prayers like desperate pleas and a will all about self. I should know.

Just the other day, I found myself sitting on the couch with these exact emotions. So, not knowing what else to do, I asked God to meet me and walked outside to my front porch…

Was I in a bird sanctuary? As they sounded off, something in me came alive, I was no longer trapped in my vision, my mindset, and my will.  I’d pushed beyond the first protective wall. God was taking me somewhere.

I asked him for greater eyes to see; he gave them to me. First, I noticed the nest in my tree – the one neighbor called “a nest for squirrels”. The thought repulsed me at the time. I could somehow imagine them burrowing themselves in my gutters and then my attics and somehow- before the clock struck midnight – right into my bed – and under my covers. Over my dead body – (literally)!

But, as I stared at that nest, it wasn’t rabid squirrels that came out, but the tiniest and cutest of baby birds. 
New life.
New life always exists outside our walls of our disbelief. 

Getting Nowhere

 

I ventured out more, walking my ordinary path. The extraordinary birds sang something, but what did God want me to come to?

Kelly, if I hold the world together, don’t you think I can hold your dreams together?
Your life together?
Your moving parts together?

…in Him all things hold together. Col. 1:7

A bird swooped down in front of me. Not too long after, another one took a nose dive right along my path.
Follow me. Like the disciples followed me, you need only follow me. It’s that simple.

Go as I go.
See as I see.
Where I go, I give new view.

“They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Mt. 19:20 MSG

It all sounded good. Because, seeing like me, a manipulating and self-steering girl, gets tiring. There’s a whole lot of things to worry about and people to please and things to do; frankly, I’m overbearing. Just going as he goes, sounds, well? Relaxing almost. So, I walk on and try to just welcome God into my space. I want to see as he sees and to go as he goes. And, what I notice is something I haven’t noticed all the other 200 times I’ve taken this walk. I see nests – ones almost invisible. Big nests. Small nests. Miniscule nests. Leaf-filled nests. I stop. How could I have missed them before?

Kelly, you don’t always see what I am birthing behind the scenes.
But, let me assure you – where I go, I bring life.
Every time you trust by faith, I hatch something.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

With this, God fills me up in some sort of transcendent way. He offers me His goodness – and I’m addicted. I crave more. I want more. I really want more. I desperately want more. I believe, God intends it this way, he must know: He’s the best dependency. 

Upon arrival at home, my fortress looks different. The drawbridge is down and the front door stands welcoming. And, what I notice out of the corner of my eye are birds giving a final salute. They jump and frolic, enjoy and bathe in the puddles. They live – happy. Unconcerned with the future.

Getting Nowhere

I never celebrate what God has done – for very long.
I, so quickly, move on to the next thing.

Is God calling me to celebrate, in advance, what He’ll do through faith?

Kelly, I have a flight plan for you.
Joy launches with it.
It’s never a fight to be on my plight,
for my load is light. 

Peace flies in. I decide to go with God. I no longer need excuses, nor fear (read more on my journey to bravery, in my upcoming book, Fear Fighting).

Quick-fire Prayer: May I celebrate what I cannot yet see. May I trust in what I do not know. May I rest in where, with him, I’ll go. Fear need not be my companion, nor excuses my guide. For there is one true fact, and that is, you God, will not leave my side. Amen.  

More Reading:
Chasing God
7 Reasons Why God Is Allowing Your Trial
Do you Need a New Perspective?

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4 Reasons Why God Changes Plans

Feel Like a "Problem"

“I just want you to be able to earn a good living.”

“Don’t you want me to be happy?”

“What is happiness, Kelly?”

All I wanted to do, as I sat there and stared at the college buildings before me, was declare my major Psychology. Dad didn’t agree. He wanted to make sure I was provided for, secure and set on a good track for the rest of my life.

“Kelly, I think business, law or medicine makes the most sense for you.”

The plan was changing before my eyes. I’d no longer change the lives of the brokenhearted, heal their pain and comfort them in their time of need – I’d work on a profit and loss sheets. My shoulders slumped, because, in motion, was a huge change of plans.

Four years later, I graduated from business school.

A change of plans can feel heartbreaking. Frustrating. And, sometimes, heart-damaging.

It can leave you asking God:

Why did you leave me behind?
Didn’t you know I wanted this?
How could you do this to me?

What change of plans has left you hands-on-hips frustrated?
In a place you don’t want to be? Rejected?

They seem to pop up all the time. Sometimes I expect them to come. Sadly, I feel my excitement is about to be stomped out and I go into life fearing. You too?

With this, I figured, it’d be interesting to discover the biblical-why to changed plans.

Here are 4 reasons why plans change:

Satan thwarted the plan. Sometimes, where you’re going is so opposed, you can’t move forward. I don’t confess to know why God permits it, but what I do know is we serve a good God, who takes bad situations and makes them work to our favor. In that we can trust.

For we wanted to come to you–certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. 1 Thess. 2:18

God wants to bless you with spiritual riches. I am sure to Simon, carrying the cross was the last thing he expected to do. In the moment, he probably hated carrying that grueling load. Looking back, however, it was probably the greatest honor of his life. He got to be there – with Jesus and for Jesus – in his time of need.

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross” (Mark 15:21).

God is moving us back to his will. We might think our way is the best way, but no matter how odd, difficult or unusual, God’s will always is what is best for us.

Matthew 16:21-23 21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things…and be killed and on the third day…Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

The Holy Spirit is directing you according to the will of God. God knows where he needs his foot soldiers. He knows where to send his paramedics. He sees the field of war from the air. He is moving with a clear mission.

Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. Acts 16:6

Change of plans are not outside God’s plan. Make no mistake, our changes of plans are under the authority of the One who controls all plans. Where you are today, is not an accident or an impediment to how God wants to use you, grow you or send you out. It is not a red light to your dreams or a path that cannot be met in full come the future. It is not a lost opportunity, but one that can be made up in a split-second, a million times better than you ever imagined.

Don’t lose hope. God is God for a reason. We are under his reign because his reign is best. We can rest, heart calm, in this fact.

Just look at me today, I am a blogger, encouraging people like me – ones who at times feel brokenhearted, discouraged or downcast – people who need a helping hand. Isn’t it interesting how God brought me back around to what he created me to do? As I figure it, my role is even more valuable than a counselor, for I point people to the only Counselor who truly heals – Jesus. He had a plan.

Not only this, but my business degree has aided me in the publishing world. I’m releasing a book, “Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears” in January.  I don’t think I could have done this if I didn’t have a little bit of business acumen. God knew.

God always knows.

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

More Reading from Purposeful Faith:

Chasing God
1 Way to a Better Day: Challenge
Are you Behind Schedule?

Grief Isn’t a Lack of Faith

Post by:Jami Amerine

From the windows of my bedroom on the second story of our home on our 640-acre ranch, I could see the sky morphing from daytime to a water colored twilight.

The master bedroom glowed with purple hues.

My husband Justin, always generous and thoughtful, had excused me for the evening.  I could hear the acquainted sundown clamor.  One of the college children was home to help. Our 14-year-old daughter would help too.  The three youngest, our two adopted toddler sons and our infant foster daughter laughed, hollered, and then one of them began to cry.  Dishes clapped, a chair scraped across the dining room floor. All the normal sounds heard on any normal evening in our normal lives played out like a recording.

Tonight wasn’t normal.

Having just learned we would begin the transitioning of our foster daughter to her birth home I was a wreck.  Make no mistake, I have championed her momma, I love her.  She is my friend, she is a good mom.  Still, this sweet child has brought nothing but joy and laughter to our home.  She is delightful.  For the last year, she has been a cherished part of our family.

I was slain with grief.

I ignored my instinct to remove my mascara. I was not interested in protecting my 800-count white cotton sheets.  I needed to cut loose and grieve.  My phone buzzed alerts on my nightstand, I didn’t move.  I just cried heaving sobs and blew my nose, repeatedly into a tattered Kleenex… eventually crying myself into a deep slumber.

Later, sticky eyes pried open to a pitch black room.  I reached to my side for Justin, he wasn’t there.  I picked up my phone and tried to make out the time.

2:17 am.

And then… I remembered.  Grief washed over me again. Safely alone I said it out loud, “God, I am so sorry I lost it. I am so sorry my faith is so weak.  I am so sorry for…”

Grieving?

Crying?

Mourning a loss?

I sat up, my head pounded.  My nose was efficiently slammed shut.  “No, I am sorry… “

That you will miss that baby girl?

That your relationship with she and her momma are now irresolute?

That your work, work you love, is ending?

I reached for the lamp on my nightstand and switched it on and then opened a package of makeup removing wipes.  I wiped my face and continued to attempt to repent for… grieving.

In my sorrow, I had convinced myself I was somehow lacking.  In my hurt, I had managed to negate the gift of tears.  In my uncertainty, I had belittled my role as daughter of the Most High, having every confidence that stoic patented me faithful.

Rest.

Cry.

Let me comfort you.

I kicked off my shoes, removed my earrings and in a most artistic fashion, removed my bra without so much as unbuttoning my blouse. I switched off the light and heard Justin’s muffled snores coming from the family room.

Thank you for Justin.

Thank you for the children.

Thank you for the gift of tears.

I yawned and my lungs burned with the fatigue of grief.  Hot tears escaped my weary eyes. Yet I knew, this was not a sign of my unbelief. No, this was a sign I was blessed among the mourning and loved and cared for as the weary.  I lamented the times I had missed out on being fully loved and favored for by my Father in Heaven, somehow believing the lie that grief was indicative of a lack of faith.

A lie from the enemy.

I do not doubt the Father’s love.  I do not question His devotion to the baby girl I have loved as my own.  I do not believe He will not continue the good works he has instilled in her birthmother.  Why would I feel that my heartache counts me less than devout?

My breath steadied, and I felt myself slipping back into the comfort of His blessing, rest.  Good Father, Mastermind, and Creator of tears, laughter, and all emotion, every state of being and every stage of life. He blessed me with these life affirming emotions, no longer will I consider they somehow nullify the gift of my salvation – the majesty of faith – faith that counts me worthy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Read More:
Grace for One Who Self-Condemns
Why God Really Has A Better Way
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)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.