Purposeful Faith

Category - expectations

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.

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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.

What’s Blocking you from Christ?

Blocking you

The boy stood there. Between him and the time of his life – was glass.

blocking you

To move on to new adventure, he had to let go of reservations and fears and find a way around what stopped him. He had to submit to Father’s way, so he could find his way. 

untitled-design-23

Often we get stopped. All the same, we peer out, uncertain about how to proceed, how to claim joy. We see the barrier – our fears, rejections and worries.

God doesn’t see barriers. God sees perfectly. He sees us. He sees our way. It’s crystal clear.

What is holding you back? Stop, and really consider this. It could make all the difference to your life.

Are you proceeding with the God
who removes barriers?

Or are you proceeding straight into a glass window
that gets you nowhere?

Here’s a quick test to tell…

Do you think:

  1. With God, all things are possible. He will do what he will do, but no matter what he will get me through.OR
  2. I’ve got to make a way or I’ll be left and standing here watching my dream take-off. I’ll be forgotten and worried and never to be loved.

We need add nothing to the perfect work of God.

Have you been adding stuff?
Stress? Anxiety? Plans? Opinions? A controlling spirit? Doubt?

 I consider myself a know-it-all on this subject matter, for good reason, I bang my head on the window of my own self-preservation, self-seeking and self-righteousness all the time. But, here’s the kicker – when I do, when I actually turn around to find him –  He is there. And, I find joy.

Mercy abounding, he waits. Love untainted, he restores his daughter. Grace unfolding, I access new hope.

He gives me a one-way ticket to new adventure and calling in Him, when I finally “re-turn.”

Do you feel too far gone – to get back?

Let me remind you of something important: the perfect Savior saves the imperfect people. This is the bottom line of the gospel.  That’s me! That’s you!

Even more, the perfect savior empowers imperfect people. Imagine that!

That’s me! That’s you!

All that is required is, us, simple folk, like lost prodigal children, just “re-turn.”  No shame about this friends, every disciple had to do it.

Will you?

God breaks the glass standing between us
and Him when we let him.

The weary get rest.
The tired get blessed.
Anxieties are less.
There is clarity to see.

Where we believe we could never go, God takes us. It isn’t by our efforts, for there was no way we could climb over the issues ourselves, but – with God – he can do it.

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The Gift I Have Refused…

Post by: Jami Amerine

My dad and his older brother have a favorite tale they expose about their youth. Their younger brother was a studious boy. He would finish his homework and then go to bed before the sun went down, in an effort to be well rested for school the next day. After he’d been sound asleep for about an hour, my dad and his brother would wake their younger brother for school.  The poor boy would get up, dress, and scramble upstairs for breakfast.  Their mother would be the first to alert the poor dupe of the prank.

Recently, alone in a hotel, I was so duped. I fell asleep at 8:45 in the evening.  We have seven children, and I had been hectic away from home at speaking engagements. I was exhausted.  When I woke I barely recognized my surroundings. I got up, made a pot of coffee, pulled on my cozy robe and opened the light blocking drapes. I was pleased to see the sun wasn’t up yet. As I opened my computer, I smiled to myself; I would have an entire day to work alone in the hotel and I was eager to get started.

That is when I saw the time.

It was only 12:15 am.  I had been asleep less than four hours.

Granted four hours of uninterrupted sleep at home is nothing short of a miracle. Between the teens texting to ask me if I am awake, the toddlers requiring comfort after a nightmare, and the baby demanding a bottle – I rarely get unremitting sleep.

I turned off the coffee pot, closed the drapes, and climbed back into the crispy, hotel grade, Egyptian cotton sheets.

It was both a relief… and a burden.

I lie there giggling to myself.  And then, I worried about my husband, home alone with our brood.  He was probably exhausted too.  I felt dejected I wasn’t there to help him.

Unable to fall back to sleep, I got up and worked until 5, fell asleep on my keyboard and was startled awake at 7:20 when the neighbor in the adjoining room started his shower.

I felt all the pangs of a protracted night and my keyboard was firmly imprinted on my left cheek.

I drug my weary body to the shower and stretched the kinks out of my neck and back.  Steam chased me from the bathroom and I poured a cup of stale coffee into a sorry little Styrofoam cup and added powdered cream. I stared out of the window at the foreign town, straining to spy a Starbucks on the horizon.

As bitter java assaulted my tongue, I bemoaned the day before me.

The sun poured out the freshness of a new morning, yet I felt less than fresh. Scripture floated into my mind, “Come to me all you who are weary, I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Yet, in spite of the rest, He offers me, I sleep on my keyboard and then bathe in culpability when I put my feet up to take a break.

Rest.

I associate rest with something shameful rather than a blessing.

Curious, the Maker of Heaven and Earth produced this body for survival in an unconscious state. Eyes closed, breath steady, mind in a playground of non-sense, unprovoked folly, escapism, and suppressed considerations.  Occasionally, darkness creeps in and a chase ensues or great terrors play out, still, He fashioned me for slumber.

To rest.

Society demands I work harder, invest more and rest less. He waits for me. The blessing of rest in His gentle hand, and instead of wrapping up in His majestic creation of slumber, mind, and body – I analyze, supervise, and contrive.

I am weary. And I am most weary of the weariness. Self-induced standards of being most effective, crowning production, and the bragging rites of minimal repose.

If He were here now, if I stood before my Lord and He presented me with a lovely package; a medium sized box wrapped in shiny paper, an enormous bow, glitter, and streamers, would I decline the offering?

Would I boastfully retort, “I don’t need that from you.”

Oh, my stars! The mere thought slays me. Yet, I refuse Him… often.

But not today. Today, I closed the heavy swathes of my room. With lotioned flesh and a soaking wet head, I slipped back into the pajamas I had tossed aside before my shower.  I hung the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the outside doorknob.  A mischievous smile crept across my face. I poured another cup of coffee and snickered when I uncovered two tiny cups of liquid creamer underneath the packets of dehydrated Coffee-mate powder. How had I missed those?

A gift.

A gift of rest.  I might write.  I might watch the I Love Lucy marathon on channel 18.  I might nap. A package of crackers and bottled water sit on my nightstand. Today, I accept the gift of rest.  This is a rare occasion, still, I wonder, how many days I neglected the gift? A load of laundry dominates the opportunity to cuddle on the couch with my babies. Running to the grocery store in lieu of a lunch date with my husband, or staying up another hour to catch up on that which will never actually ever be fully settled.

Coffee with a friend; bubble baths or just a moment alone on the closet floor begging His help maneuvering homework and dinner – so that I might sleep just an hour before the baby wakes.

A good Father, Creator of the gift of rest.  And more than this rare occasion where I celebrate loneliness, I know I will need the rest He offers in times of worry, heartache, and grief.  What will I say then? Lord, I pray I remember you stand in wait with the majesty of rest. Rest only you can bring me.

Thank you for that, my Lord.  Thank you.

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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.

When People Complicate Things

People Complicate Things

I thought about bringing them in. But, if I do everything will get turned upside down. There will be questions, problems, ideas and suggestions about how I should do things. There will be recommendations for how the games should be played and different ideas on how the event should look. There will be deep discussions on outfits. Whether to serve mushrooms or asparagus. There will be rabbit trails I am too busy to commit to – and honestly could care less about.

I want to move alone. I want to lead the charge.  Is there anything wrong with that?

People = Problems

I like:

Kelly = Leader
People = Quiet doers

Hate me if you will, but I am being completely honest. Sometimes I can’t handle people. I’ve always had an issue with them. They get loud. They get opinionated. They get political. They get whiny. They get long-winded (you open your mouth to speak only to have the words stolen from you). They get advice-oriented, especially when you already have a good plan in motion. They diss your ideas. They judge all the time…! They get critical. They hurt you.

Sometimes it feels better to shove people
down a rabbit hole and cover the top,
then let them give voice to things that might hurt you.

Ever noticed?

I throw them a carrot every now and then if they’ve been good. If they’ve been obedient and rule-sensitive down there.

But, if they’ve been a vwery bad rabbit, I tend to:

– Ignore them.
– Try to advise, derail or shush them.
– Avoid them
– Squeeze them out.
– Talk about them behind their back or in my head.
– Get filled up with so much steam, I exhale scolding words.

I punish those disobedient rascals. Mostly, I punish them because I am afraid of them.

Oh, boy…it’s true.

I am afraid they’ll: look better than me, come up with better ideas than me, steal my show, be liked more by other people, grace the world better than me, make me realize the ugly parts of myself.

Can’t have Kelly feeling uncomfortable! No way, friends. That is the first rule of avoidance. 

Better to diss than be dissed, right? Better to be the first one to walk out on that boyfriend, than to have him dump you. Better to let your eyes roam the room with your eyes, than to have others do it to you. Better to step away than have to deal with your friend liking the other girl more. Better to disassociate than associate with potential pain.

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Phil. 2:3

There’s that…

It looks the opposite of my approach. It’s one of those verses you recite because it sounds so beautiful. It sounds so Jesus. It sounds like, “Yes! I am great and humble and self-sacrificing and writing for Jesus (or fill in whatever holy excuse you use to not really love).

Self-protection is not holy affection, friends.

It’s a sack of nasty pride.

Am I being too hard on you – and on me?

Maybe. We’ve been hurt. It’s been painful. People have played – not nice. I know, I really know. It stinks.

Let’s throw a pout-party and squeeze our face muscles real tight and remember their icky-ness. Let’s.

Then, let’s toss them to the wind. Let’s let them fly away from us, because those past pains are holding us up from receiving present love. We are missing moments. We are losing joy. We are hiding away and into ourselves. We are losing the depths the real warmth that comes from letting someone really knowing you.

Our pride party is pointless.

Our joy is incomplete.

Our glass isn’t half empty, it is depleted.

He who is faithful to love operates in the gaps of people’s messes. If we are looking for pariahs of perfection, they don’t exist, but He does. He will layer in love, where they have left holes. Friends, it is not a person we are looking to fill us, it is God. We find him in the holes of man, for that’s where he leaves us – holy.

Prayer for Recovery of Relationships:
Dear Lord, today, I confess, I get scared. I get scared that someone will hurt me the same way as yesterday. It feels like a very real, present and oncoming threat. Help me trust you. Help me leave my heart in your hands, knowing that your wrapping of it is a covering that no man can penetrate. Help me believe that you are good, even when man is messed up. Help me know that my identity is in you and it is not indicative of man’s opinion. Lead me in your grace, mercy and fearlessness. Amen.

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Related Reading:

When People Are Disgusting

Broken Perfectionism

Healing Deep Church Hurt

Church Hurt

Today, I am delighted to welcome Celeste Gonzales to Women’s Ministry Monday. Celeste points out a path to healing after being injured at church. Thank you, Celeste. It is a delight to welcome you.

Why does God tend to grow us through painful times? Ever noticed? In times where you want to withdraw, God asks us to be vulnerable, willing and open to new relationships and leadership.

Joseph is the prime example of this: sold by his brothers into slavery, appointed ruler of Potiphar’s house, thrown back in prison, then appointed second in command of Egypt.

Ups, downs, ups, downs… God’s ways are a mystery.

Accept the way God does things,
for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13 (NLT)

So, how do you stay emotionally healthy when you’re hit with betrayal, accusations, and loss of friendships, all while being expected to shine Jesus?

Good question! To be honest, I haven’t mastered this…

I’ve had times where I felt so emotionally unstable from how cruel people can be that I needed to collect myself in the bathroom before entering the next meeting so I wouldn’t fall apart.

One day, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m not doing well. I’m sick emotionally and I don’t know what to do.” Unfortunately, he had no idea what to do with me either. It was rough!

I decided I’d had enough. I didn’t know who to trust or if I should even trust anyone, but I was determined to find healing.

Christ died to set us free, right?
By his stripes we are healed, yes?
Doesn’t that mean emotional healing, too?

If Jesus left gifts for us at the cross, isn’t it our job to seek them out? That’s just what I did—I sought answers and guidance. I asked for help…

And, you know what happened? 

I didn’t get a response. Nothing. It hurt. Discouragement settled.

However, one thing I knew is I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t giving in. Jesus’ healing was already prepared for me. He bought and paid for it on the cross over 2000 years ago! A good Father loves to give good answers. He’s not satisfied until we find them. So, on I went.

I saw a Christian counselor for deeper guidance.  I followed through on the homework he gave me, I took notes during every message from my pastor, and I continued in personal devotion.  Like physical therapy after a bodily injury, I kept pressing on toward the goal.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14

How is God calling you to press on?

What might he be calling you to pursue?

Let me assure you, God not only works for you, but he works with you and behind the scenes – for you.

It just may not come as you expect. You know, I hardly wanted to be open with people about my feelings. That’s tough work. After all, I trusted before – and I got hurt. But God, he had other plans. One way or another, God let people in on my secrets.

Frustrated, I wondered, “Didn’t He just see what happened to me? And He dares to give people insight to my life and tell them things only He knows?”

Well… yes, and yes.

We had a talk: “God I don’t want people to know these things.”
His response: “I know, but it’s good for you.”

Why does God always have to be right??

Because God is God and he has good deep down in the depths of our hurt.

I can attest to this. I really can. Today, my friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been, my home is peaceful, I love the ministry I’m leading, and my heart is full of joy.

Like Joseph, this path wasn’t easy, but still, I found fruitfulness in a time of affliction.

Today, you may feel pained, ashamed or out of the game, but let me assure you, your pursuit of God is not purposeless.

Let Joseph be your reminder. He didn’t stop leading, or stop getting out of bed, or turn his back on God. He got up, kept his heart pure before the Lord. God not only prospered him, but redeemed his pain!

Maybe these words by my pastor might resonate with you, “I’ve never been hurt more than by the local church. I’ve never been healed more than by the local church.”

Have you been hurt?

If you’ve found yourself in an emotionally weak place, today find encouragement – you don’t have to settle into it or ignore it! More awaits. Acknowledge it and seek wholeness; settle for nothing less!

God has already paid the price for your healing, and if you seek him through it – he will lead you to it!

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About Celeste

For nearly a decade, Celeste Gonzales has pursued the call to see women grow in their God-confidence and walk boldly in their calling. As part of the Celebration Church Austin team (along with her church hurthusband, Daniel) Celeste utilizes her relatable communication style, effective strategy, and heart for discipleship to help develop and equip women leaders. She has three things that get her up every, or at least most, mornings with a smile: Syrena (11), Luke (8) & Kya (4). Follow her on Instagram & twitter @celesteadores .

5 Ways to Be (and Stay) at Peace

steadfast faith

Are you at all like me?

Do you get in the car and, immediately,
start running down your list of worries?

Do you try to keep calm
but inevitably lose your cool with that one person?

Do you try to be near to God,
only to get caught up with fear things won’t turn out well?

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast
because they trust in you. Is 26:3

I’ve got to figure out what it means to be steadfast because one thing I know is that – I want peace.

Lately, I’ve been moving my two kids in duck-formation; they know by now, they better follow Mama.  I am going places. Doing things. Accomplishing stuff. There’s order, discipline and diligence in our house. People, best follow in line.

I think it is pretty apparent to all – I’m running my house like a jerk. I’ll be the first to admit it.

Wake. Breakfast. Don’t spill it on the floor. Get your plate to the sink. Get those clothes on. Why isn’t your lunch box in your bag? Can’t you get those shoes on yourself. Shuttle. Home. Dinner. Get a book. Hustle kid. Move it. Don’t talk back. You are getting time out. Clean that floor. Lights out.

I look like the wicked step mother, my kids look like Cinderella incarnate. I horrify myself.

You will not keep in perfect peace,
those who minds are controlling, obnoxious and abhorrent
because they trust only in themselves. Kelly 1:1

You all, I am not God, but I am a woman who knows the opposite of Isaiah 26:3 and it is what I wrote above.

I feel convicted.

Truly, to only see my way is to miss God’s.
To be demanding is to raise the flag of pride. 
To bark marching orders is to lose pleasure in Him. 
But, to release a mind into the fullness of his Word, leading, promptings and character – is dig up perfect peace.

I feel released.

Able to see more clearly, I realize: She who stays in peace is she who dwells on Him, who is Peace.

On the other hand, she who stays in worry and anxiety is she who settles for fakes. She’s like a girl who walks down the streets in New York City and grabs imitation handbags when she has wads of cash in her pocket. She’s the rich girl, the one with everything, who picks up and studies 5th rate Chinese Chanel bags because she thinks she doesn’t have enough. She forgets she is rich, so she settles. She suffers. She buys up stress instead of the real deal – God’s peace.

I buy up stress instead of staying steadfast and certain in God. Do you?

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8

I don’t know about you, but I often rely on vain idols:

The Facebook F: Here, I focus in on a girl’s clothes, and completely forget about my devotional time.
The Pinterest P: With this idol, I figure my friends will judge me based on napkins and centerpieces.  I try to be perfect.
A mirror: I stare at it and criticize myself.
My bank account: I think it will protect me more than God.

The prized possession of steadfast peace is lost
when a girl bends down to grab lower shelf goods and gods.

What are you reaching for?

Let me remind you, steadfast love always sits high and mighty.

To identify it from fakes, it looks like this:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us
and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
 1 John 4:9-10

Steadfast love looks not like a crazed girl on an elliptical trying, sweating and endlessly pumping – but a gal just being, just sitting, in Christ’s love. It is one open, ready and willing to receive his riches. One who lets God determine her value.

What does this practically look like?

It looks like:

Seeing devotional time as sitting time,
not striving time, with God.

Viewing success as Godly-connection
rather than always-perfection.

Letting go of the psychotic pace to
continually dwell in God’s grace.

Quieting your inner-hater,
to find the Always-Lover.

Relaxing with God in the moment,
rather than demanding he reconstruct your future.

Remembering all Jesus did,
not what you need to accomplish.

To be steadfast is to walk steady in the idea you will not move fast.

It is to walk steady at God’s pace – moving only with him.

So, today, rather than rushing, huffing and puffing – and blowing our house down, this truth we can cling to. We don’t have to push ahead. We don’t have to yell and scream and feel anxious that people are going to mess up. We only need to slow down, grab his hand and trust, He will carry us through- straight up to perfect peace.

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When Life Goes Not Good, Not Good at all!

Not Good at all

I love Annie’s all-chocolate graham cracker bunnies and only the all-chocolate graham cracker bunnies.

At this point, you are probably asking 2 questions:

  1. Why is she telling us this?  I promise there will be a good point.
  2. Why is she eating something so childish as that? Because I try to pretend my kids love them.

So, sometimes, with these all-chocolate graham bunnies, they run out of stock (probably because they are so amazing). Then I have to settle for the mixed bag – with vanilla and chocolate chips. I try to pick out my favorites. But, my all-time fave bunnies, well, they don’t taste the same- the other flavors rub off on them.

Almost every time, after I do that, I vow not to buy that mixed bag again. But, yesterday, I did. My sugar craving won over bad memories.

When I sat down with the bag at home, I considered…

What if I saw things differently?

What if rather than expecting that these bunnies taste exactly as planned,
I expect a different plan,

but not an all-together bad plan?

What if rather than pushing my demands,
I open myself up to delight in these bunnies as they are – in a new way?

I can accept:

They won’t be as flavorful as before, but different.
They won’t crunch exactly the same, but different.
They won’t be my all-chocolate bunnies; but different.

I crunched, munched and considered them a whole bunch…and by golly, I liked them. I really liked them. I do like green egg and ham, or rather the vanilla-coated chocolate bunnies in my hand.

If I failed to consider them from a new angle,
I would have failed to grasp the joy present in the moment.

How might you need to see things from a new angle?

What might God be prompting you to let go of – so you can grab hold of – a new view?

Times change. People move on. Days look different. Life evolves, turns and seasons change. And what I find can be the hardest thing to contend with are good times, gone. Good memories, lost. Good laughs, evaporated.

What is it you are still grasping for – that is long gone?

Might you consider a new angle?

Perhaps what is good is gone, because what is great – is coming.

Have you considered that?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Is. 43:19

When we look at a job as dead-end, we miss the little path God has jutting out to a new opportunity. When we see a marriage as failed, we miss the rail that leans us onto God’s great love. When we see finances as doomed, we miss the door God wants to open to save us. When we see our anxiety as endless, we miss the small prompting of new life God calls us to. When we see life only as overwhelming, we miss the wind of God directing us where to go.

What are you missing?

Maybe something has taken new form because God wants your heart to take new form.

We are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18

Next time something seems lost, paused or different than expected, ask yourself these three things:

  1. Might God be doing “a new thing”?
  2. Am I open armed or closed armed to his movement?
  3. Will I believe that God is moving me from glory to glory,
    or will I walk against his wind, trying to step back into an old story?

Friends, I know it is hard. I hate it too. I stomp my feet, I chide change and I turn my back on things outside of comfortable. But, I am going to assure you – and me – we are not sitting with a mixed bag of blah. What we are sitting with is a bag of blessings. God is moving us into spiritual progress, greater spiritual blessings. There is fullness God so desires we enjoy.

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Seizing Spiritual Confidence: 4 Foundational Keys

spiritual confidence

I got to the end of the day, pulled into the driveway, stared out the front windshield and laid down a verdict, “I didn’t succeed at loving. My morning goals – looked like a blown-out tire by afternoon.

Sure, I began the day with aspirations a mile long – I’d do great things with God, we’d pour out love on people, we would encourage the world with the love of Jesus.  But then, life happened. Ugh.  I felt much more like a woman on a treadmill – working up a sweat and getting nowhere – than a woman on a mission of grand importance.

I exhaled. Scrunched down in my seat. Clenched the steering wheel.

I stink.
God, I am sorry that I didn’t win for you today.
I am sorry that I let you down.
My heart is to go all out for you, but I lost.

Have you sat like me –
wanting to make progress only to end up discouraged?

I recently signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Free To Focus Productivity Summit. Reason being? I have a minuscule amount of time to complete a massive amount of ministry. I need help.

Learning a ton, Michael said something that struck me; it clicked: Not keeping up, makes you feel like you are losing. Feeling like your losing diminishes productive confidence.

My confidence ride likes waves. I go high when I am confident, but when the waves crash – so do I. I eat it.

With this, I wonder, shouldn’t my confidence look more steady, more consistent?

More like Jesus?

More grace-filled, less about getting ahead?
More locked and loaded on eternity, less concerned with check-marks?
More set on God’s big mission, less engrossed with endless busyness?

How does God see confidence?

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

I might say, “Do more”,
but God says,
Be more with me. Come more – to me.”

Lasting confidence.
Enduring confidence.
Unwavering confidence.

What if I no longer lived like a temperature gauge –
hot and on fire with passion one day, cold in defeat the next?

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand. Jo. 10:28

Godly confidence is knowing that God will never let you go.

It is less in what we do,
or how we see things, and more in who He is – and what he does.

He has our future. Confidence!
He knows our way. Confidence!
He will be faithful. Confidence!
We can fly arms wide open into his will. Confidence!
We can fall and he will still make my fly. Confidence!
We can not know the way – but he will. Confidence!

Confidence in Jesus, can’t be stolen, revoked or denied. It is a solid rock; it does not waver.

On what ground does your confidence stand confidence?

Achievement? People pleasing? Perfection? Performance? Busyness?  Perhaps it is time to exchanges confidence that crashes like waves for rock-solid confidence that can’t be stolen.

4 Foundational Truths that Breed Confidence

  • There is no effective building of anything unless the Lord truly resides over everything.
    Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1
  • God’s work is less about what you do and more about what He’s already decided to do.
    For I am confident of this very thing,
    that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
  • You don’t need to fear, God protects you from the snares.
    For the LORD will be your confidence
    And will keep your foot from being caught. Prov. 3:26
  • You don’t have to know where you are going, just that God is going there with you.
    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Heb. 11:1

The real power of confidence transcends our natural eye. When we pull our strength from the supernatural, something amazing happens – we often do the supernatural. Suddenly, focus is exactly what we have and progress is exactly what we get. It never comes by our strength – but always comes by His. This removes the pressure. It is a heavenly movement on our behalf, not a heart-attack ridden movement by our striving.

This kind of confidence? It makes all the difference.

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7 Ways You Distance God (& 5 Verses to Bring Him Close)

Distance God

Uber scares me. I rode on it one time and I convinced myself I was about to be trafficked and brought to South America on first sight of the car. I was wrong. He was nice; I got where I needed to go. The next time, things took a different turn.

It was desolate and dark. I stood on the curb heart beating out of my chest, pondering whether to hide behind the nearby bush. I’d watch UBER wait for me, then see him drive away. Perfect! I could go inside to safety. I didn’t.  I am glad, boy, am I glad, I didn’t.

“I am a Pre-K teacher,” the driver said, “You know, kids say all types of things.”

I nodded and continued, “One kid said to his misbehavin’ friends, ‘Aww…you’re in trouble…I am going to tell Jesus on you.’”

Little did she know – I know that kid.

He lives in me. He talks the same:

“You’re being insecure. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not spending enough time with God. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

“You’re not acting nice to the family. I’m telling Jesus on you…”

When we believe Jesus is out to get us,
we have a hard time believing Jesus is out to love us. 

“…You are trouble in Jesus now! He’ll never bless you, help you, want you, lead you or provide for you now, you little delinquent.”

 God more resembles a punisher than a lover.

Does Jesus ever feel more like a high school principal than the Prince of Peace?

People avoid principals! They take the opposite route, to avoid them. They fear his office. They know retaliation is prevalent. They fear him in a way where they forgo wanting to be near him. They keep safe distance. I do. I don’t want to get hurt, shunned.

Is this you?

7 Ways to tell if you’re Distancing yourself from God:

1. You fear God’s mean face before you think of his abounding grace.

2. You fear admitting wrong because you believe God’s compassion can’t be that strong.

3. You feel if you accept God’s good gifts, you will owe him something.

4. You think you are unworthy of forgiveness.

5. You are certain who you are and how you act, disqualifies you.

6. You work really hard to be loved.

7. You feel great when you’re great and a heathen when you’re horrible.

5 Truths that Move God from Authoritarian to Author of Peace

  1. Remember, for children of God, God’s grace more than meets the strength of mess-ups. There’s no ounce that can stand under the power of the cross.
    “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” (Ro. 5:20)
  2. God’s love requires nothing from you, but gives everything to you. When you receive and then receive some more, suddenly you start to believe God is good, truly good.
    “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)
  3. Meditate on the idea… If Jesus died for us while man treated him like the scum of the earth, if he received whips and lashes on the account of our sin, if he died a slow an agonizing death and won – won’t he continue to forgive you today?
    God demonstrates…love…: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Ro. 5:8)
  4. Say, “I am sorry. Forgive me God.” It will restore you every time.
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (Ps. 103:8)
  5. Believe this: God isn’t a rule-master, but a Master who knows his love, law and liberty will set us free.
    For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mt. 11:30)

There is no punisher hoping to hurt you. The complete sum of Love pursues you.

Will you let him in?

God doesn’t love you dependent on good actions.
He doesn’t disqualify you based on your wrongs.
He won’t outcast you because you look different.
He sees past your personal convictions of guilty.
He released you 2000 years ago – when Jesus paid for it all.
Not-guilty.
Loved.
Done.
& Done.

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