Purposeful Faith

Category - failure

God Fights Our Battles

My son is at a new school.
He’s still getting used to making friends.
He’s not on the basketball court during recess.
He’s a little shy.
He’s pretty small for his age.
I’m quite sure he’s desperately wanting to be liked, approved and wanted.

We all are.

At his school relay race I hoisted him on my back. As I did, the little guy bent down towards my ear and said, “Mommy, run as hard as you can.” Something took over me. I was going to do this run for him. I’d carry him so well, so proud, so fast – he could finally have a moment to feel proud.

And I did just that. At “Go!” I exploded. Fast. Focused. Almost wild-like.

A mom told me, “Kelly, you ran so fast. I was a little worried, but you made it.”

The reality is: I wanted to redeem my son’s story. I wanted to give him a moment to be proud of. I wanted him to understand his mommy would always carry him.

God does the same for us.

We aren’t struggling alone. We aren’t stuck in some environment where no one sees us.

“When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me.” Ps. 138:3 NIV

Almighty God has a mighty eye on us.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” Ps. 32:8

All-knowing God understands what we’re going through.

“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chron. 20:15 NIV

All-powerful God is working on our behalf even when we don’t think he is.

“Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.” Deut. 3:22 NIV

All-loving God would do anything to see our breakthrough.

“Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” Ps. 144:1 NIV

Already-two-steps-ahead Father has a good plan in motion.

“I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” Is. 45:2 NIV

Altruistic Daddy would carry us, knight-in-shining-armor style out of any predicament.

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.” Zech. 4:6 NIV

Always, we are not alone, not left behind, not destroyed, not ruined, not the laughing stock, not forgotten, not ignored, not destroyed, not crushed, not left to rot. Always, we are helped, loved, carried and guided.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 15:57 NIV

Oh yes. I thank God for this today. What about you?

 

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How to Prevent Yourself from Stumbling

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This (suffering, pain death) shall never happen to you!” (Lu. 16:22)
Jesus replies 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.” (Mt. 16:23)

What is a stumbling block?

It is anyone or anything that tries to stumble you as you move on God’s road. Like Peter, people may have good intentions. Their words may even be comfortable, harmless, or normal, but if they’re stumbling you, they’re worth investigating.

Stumbling blocks often make us say, “Wait, was I really meant for all this? Will God really pull through for me? Is He really that good? Is his Word really true?” 

When I consider stumbling block words, they tend to: question God’s plan, doubt his ability to show up, discourage what He is imprinting on a heart.

They speak fear instead of life and doubt instead of faith.

Will God really…?
How is that possible…?
Are you sure you want to…?

Wise people receive wise words from others.

But like Jesus, we are wise to rebuke voices contrary to the clear moves of God happening in our heart. Indeed, Satan often uses people to do his worst handiwork.

However, we can recognize his schemes. They tend to deter us from…

  1. Holiness
  2. God’s clear call for our life
  3. Loving people as God is calling us to

Here, we can:

  1. Rebuke the enemy within our mind, and ask God to give us fresh courage to see things through.
  2. Forgive others if their words hurt us.
  3. Pray and ask God what he wants us to learn through this situation.

Just because someone said something, doesn’t mean we have to own it. And just because we don’t own something, doesn’t mean we ignore what others have said. Perhaps they have a good point. Wisdom knows to sift it through God’s Word and prayer before deciding to accept or reject it.

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Beware of Forcing the Wrong Season

I worked really hard to get up the hill. Pumping, huffing, standing, sitting, then standing again, I. Was. Going. To. Make. It. To. The. Top.

Nothing would stop me and my bike.

It’s often easy to get on a mission. We want to get somewhere and when we’re really committed, we see it through.

I made it to the top. Then came the decline.

Victory. As I glided down, I kept on peddling hard. Why?

No, really. . . why?

Why did I feed the need to peddle when it was a time to glide?

God says there is a time for everything:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” Ec. 3:1KJV

There is a season to pump our legs hard; there is a season to glide; there is a season to cry; there is a season to rest; there is a season to give; there is a season to take.

Peaceful living, I am determining, has much to do with knowing the season God has placed you in. You don’t want to be laughing in the midst of your spouse’s grieving.

As I went down the hill, it was representative of a season: to glide. To let go of worries. To trust God with all the stuff I normally do. To hear his voice calling me to ministry outside of the internet. To wonder and awe at him doing really special things alone with me.

To step away from life, demands, blog requirements, and doing stuff as usual, because it’s not God’s heart for today…(noticing is half the battle).

Letting go is the other half. It’s recognizing that our current season doesn’t have to look like our last. In fact, I have to tell you, it shouldn’t. This is my opinion, however. It is my belief that when we push a round peg into a square hole, frustration feels as ever present as a hangnail.

But to move with the grace of God. . . this is like windsurfing in the direction of God’s move. You go with him. You let go of what you think things should be. You enjoy the wind on your face. You feel the moment. You come alive in what he is doing.

What season is God calling you into? What if instead of despising it, you decided to embrace it?

Prayer: God, in your presence there is fullness of joy. Keep me in your presence and peace. Keep me going in the direction you desire for me, and nowhere else. Let me go not according to what I think I should do, but according to what your heart is for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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A Radical Call To Take a Stand Today

Do you know what it is to stand up for your faith?

It’s like standing up for the kid getting taken advantage of on the playground, except the kid is you.
It’s like standing up in the court of law to speak justice, because you know it’s what needs to be done.
It’s like standing up at a sports game and cheering wildly because you have love for a team.
It’s like standing up full of sin, like the woman who committed adultery, and allowing Jesus to forgive you.
It’s like standing up against all the chatter of opposition to telling it to shut up and sit down.
It’s like standing up and putting your hands on your hips and saying, “That’s not what God says, so no way.”
It’s like standing up and speaking out God’s truths over the ample lies that surround you on the daily basis.
It’s like standing up and fighting, through prayer, for a sister going through a killer-of-a-hard time.
It’s like standing up and saying, “No, I will not lay down.”
It’s standing on the solid rock of Christ.
It’s knowing that that very rock is unmovable, unbreakable and unwavering.

It’s deciding in your heart that since Jesus was strong enough to bust out of the grave, He will be able to take you right out of your dark circumstances to move you into His light. This is standing strong.

Where do you need to stand strong?

Certainly, there is a time for mourning, crying and wrestling. There is a time. But then comes a day to say, “It is my day to bust out of this tomb of self-pity and dejection and to move into God’s light. It is time for me to stand up and say no more. No more will I be tossed like a boat of doubt, or on the waves of nauseousness or by the words of mankind. No more will I listen to the opinions of old replay or the questions of the enemy circulate. No more.  Today is my standing up day. May standing up and moving out day.”

In what way do you need to stand?

“He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Cor. 15:4

Jesus had every right to count man’s offenses, bad words, religious spirits, hurting words, whips and mockings. He could have dwelt in that tomb of despair for a long, long time. He could have said, “Forget them, they did me wrong.” He could have let death come over us. But Jesus didn’t.

He stood up to the power of hell taking aim to bring the kingdom of God down. He stood. He stood up to take his seat at the right hand of God.

“When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God.” Mark 16:19

God calls us to stand today. He calls us, today, to rise into his heavenly perspective. One that does not count the offenses of man, the injuries of yesterday, the tears we can’t move past, the people we can’t reckon with, the memories we can’t distance, the worries we can’t alleviate… certainly, all that is there. God knows it. We know it.

There it is. We’ve seen it. We’ve seen it every day, for a long, long time. But what if we chose to stand up and walk past it?

The choice is ours.

We can either give in to the weights of the world, or we can rise up and give it to the God who holds the weight of the world in His hands?

We can trust the resurrection life, Jesus.  He is resurrection. In all ways. All the time. With all power.

Take a stand.

 

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.

Things Are Easier for Her Than Me

It’s funny. On Facebook, I surveyed a lady going through tremendous pain. She’s struggling through extreme turbulence in her marriage, likely difficulties within her family and heart-stopping health issues. Yet, I thought, “She’s tough in the Lord. She’ll make it through the other side. No problem. She’ll come out stronger in the end.”

When I looked at her, I wasn’t worried. I had great confidence she’d make it out fine. God would bring her through. I knew grace covers her.

But then I looked at me. I didn’t feel as sure. I didn’t feel like God would bring me through stronger. Why?

Why am I not as sure for my trials as I am for hers?

The truth is, we often are so inside ourselves, we fail to see the rock solid truth from God’s outside-in perspective. We fail to see Him above us, grace around us and hope working through us. We neglect remembering the cross that erases bad behaviors, bad days and bad errors.

Inside us, it’s easy to forget: It is not us that makes us strong, but Him.

In heated moments, He pours out strength.
In the face of yet another battle with that person, He is our shield.
In the worst of our replies, He is restoring forgiveness.
In our anger, He is soothing consolation.
In our lack of vision, He is 20/20 fiber-optic sight.

We see trials and tremors; He sees triumph secured — on our behalf.

So the truth is, we WILL come out the other side stronger. Period. Exclamation point. By his grace.

Not because we are great, but because He is. Because He is mighty to save, our shield in every battle, our hope in every offense, our love that beats out injury and hope that quells rebellious thoughts.

Jesus is restoration and renewal, always.

His grace gives me hope. It welcomes me to stop trying to fix myself in order to live well, but to let His all-powerful love do the healing. And this feels like freedom…freedom that is my refuge, strength and stronghold of my life. Salvation for eternity, but also for today.

Thank you, Jesus. I am strong and I will come out the other side of all this, stronger.

Other:

You don’t really know 

 

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.

Do They Hate Me?

I wanted to write the girl a message of encouragement, but felt… embarrassment.

It wasn’t that I did anything horrifically wrong in the past. I handled our interactions the way I believed God wanted me to. But I didn’t know if she thought I did so well. There were some tensions. This bothered me. Greatly.

I hate tension.

So, I kept testing the waters. I sent her little messages, trying to gauge her emotions as it pertained to me.

I didn’t get much back. Blank messages. Which irritated and inflamed my injuries even more.

The idea that she didn’t like me made me imagine her spreading the word to everyone that I was:

  1. Odd.
  2. Overzealous
  3. Selfish

It made my heart twist, tie and snap almost like raw rope.

They all hate me, miscategorize me and misunderstand me. 

Perhaps I unfriend them first. I must push all them away.

Have people hurt you in this same way? Misunderstanding your motives? Misconstruing your efforts? Ruining relationships?

My friends, what strikes me today is: Jesus.

Jesus was offended. Jesus was misunderstood. Jesus was miscatagorized. Jesus was taken to trial, when he wasn’t guilty. Jesus was hurt, when he didn’t do anything wrong.

Jesus knows these feelings. He also knows the depths of our heart. He knows the cry of our pain. He knows our little schemes to make things right. And most importantly, I believe He knows…

  1. There is a time to speak.
  2. A time for space.
  3. A time for prayer.
  4. A time for grace.
  5. A time for (Add yours here)
  6. And, ALWAYS a time to love, unconditionally, without strings attached.

What is God calling you to?

In order to accomplish #5, we often have to lean on God to see which specific response (see: #1-5), He is calling us to. Sometimes, the best way to love someone who is against you is to just pray for her. Sometimes, the best way to breakthrough is to see life through their eyes. Sometimes, the best way to reconcile is giving space so God can heal their heart.  Sometimes, the best way to love is to just let things go and trust God to be faithful to defend you, restore you, renew you and reestablish what was lost, over time.

But never is there a time to let fear be our driver. Fear steals what God is working out in faith. We cannot permit this. It moves us from free-to-love to chained-by-fear. It keeps us endlessly worried rather than expectantly wondering what our Almighty God will do next. Fear always is a failing mission.

Never should we do in fear what God welcomes us to do with unfailing love.

What no-strings-attached love is God calling you to unleash today?

 

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

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

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

How Do You Choose to Live?

to live

Catastrophe hit my family, and while I can’t go into the details here, I can assure you it shredded my heart. It scared me silly and caused me to release tirades on people I love. I am not as good as you think I am. Nor am I as good as I thought I was. I’m a whole lot worse.

Yet, through this there’s a hidden blessing: I see how much I need Jesus. His light. Because apart from Him, my thoughts are dark.

Getting to this thought is freedom.

Jesus came “to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” (Jo. 9:39)

Apart from the nature of Jesus (love, kindness, goodness, truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, excellence, wisdom, humility or gratefulness) all I see is darkness. Worthlessness. Vanity. Diversions. Fear. Voids. Schemes. Faking. Swirling tornadoes of emotions that lead to an inward focus, plus a generalized sense God won’t come through.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.” Mt. 6:22

The choice is ours. . .

Light or dark?
Dark or light?

Reliant on the Living Water?
Departing from Him?

All Jesus, all the time?
Or me, myself, and I, all the time?

While our world hates calling things one way or another and we tend to desire shades of safety, sometimes one-way-or-the-other choices are exactly what God ordered.

What will you choose to be:
Lukewarm?
Or on fire?

All things hope, all things faith, all the time…not done with perfection, but certainly done from a heart of dedication?

What if we were to choose to see faith, hope and love activated by the grace of God, as we. . .

Pick our kids up from school.
Respond to annoying people.
Grab the bills from the mailbox.
Go to that doctor’s appointment.
Contemplate our yeses and nos.
Let go of our defenses.
Follow God.
Seek His guidance.
Deal with unanswered prayers.
Confront our emotions.
Wake up.
Go to sleep.
Live.

What if we chose to really believe?

“Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality—faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses.” Heb. 11:1 AMP

 

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.

The Damaging Effects of Speaking Under Your Breath

Speaking Under Your Breath

Yesterday, I went to the local cafe to write. I sit in the back where all the employees congregate, gossip and chit-chat. I usually try to keep my head down, but this time my eyes got the better of me. I couldn’t help but watch and listen.

A man marched through the front door. Chest up, he huffed and puffed all the way to to the back full of disdain at what he saw laying around him. Immediately grabbing a napkin and wiping a chair, he proceeded to attack the mess. He also decided to speak out from under his breath, saying, “This place is a mess.” He wanted his co-workers to hear. They did. Loud and clear.

Each belabored move to tackle crumbs, tables and spills, was all a message telling them, “You aren’t on it, but I am.”

A minute later, he pointed out two chairs and said, “Are those chairs supposed to be like that?”

He knew full well they weren’t. Then, he strutted over and fixed them. The two women employees next to me raised their eyebrows and gave each other the look, which I took to mean, “He’s up to it again…”

With their look, something pierced and shifted in me. Something called me to look within myself. Why? Because I knew his ludicrous behavior was also my ludicrous behavior. I am often, “up to it again.”

I speak a word under my breath, “Ugh…this place is such a mess.”

I send a silent message to my child, “Can’t anyone throw out these used paper towels on the counters?”

I leave a complaining spirit around my house, “He didn’t put his shoes away. Now, I have to do it.”

I am “up to it again” often.

I never knew how this practice appears. How it comes off. The arrogance of it. The looks it produces in people. The retaliation it produces. The spectacle of it all.

It makes me consider how I could approach things differently.

You know, the man could have come in and:

  1. Chosen to connect with hearts by first caring for those around him.
  2. Been straightforward with his request for help in cleaning up, saying, “Hey, would you all mind helping me clean up?”
  3. Connected with others during the process.
  4. Given thanks to them for helping him out.

I can do this too.

It was interesting as I watched this situation transpire. The women retaliated and called the man out on his “junk.” They said, “Hey Jim, are these your bags of chips out here on the counter?”

They were. Embarrassed, Jim walked back to pick them up.

None of us are perfect. Usually, what we huff and puff about are things we are equally guilty of.

Why not give everyone a break? Ourselves included.
Why not be honest? In need? Straightforward?

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. Eph. 4:24

 

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.

Dear Perfect Christian…

Perfect Christian

Dear Perfect Christian,

First, we want to acknowledge that you do not exist. You never can, nor will you ever exist. We are sorry to tell you this, but your mission is 100% impossible and we regret to inform you it is one God never called you to.

We also want to encourage you, finally, to let your shoulders relax. You can let down your guard. You can stop pretending you’re a whole lot better than you look. You can let go of the messy drawers, the bad habits, the quick responses and stop beating yourself over the head with a self-improvement plan that never seems to work. You can inhale, let your stomach fill and then exhale.

You can rest. Finally, you can rest. You can find a daddy God who doesn’t look at you for what you can do, but who you are in him. You can see him want to be near to you. You can see him approach you with the fullness of love.

He wants you, even when you don’t want to see the horrible things you’ve done.

Breathe deep. Again.

There is peace for you.  Even when you are face-to-face with a horrible, ugly, unwanted failure. Still, there is peace, love and hope. Acceptance of failure is freedom.

I am writing you today with an invitation to let in- the love you hold at an arms-length. The love your always-unmet achievements declare you unworthy of. The love you keep away lest it make you feel needy. The love that will change you.

Today, let in…Christ. Let love in to a greater capacity.

What Jesus did covers what you don’t do. What he did washes away the blame that sticks. What he did marks you blameless. What he did removes the status of “wholly unworthy” and leaves you with an identity of holy.

This status reminds you: you will mess up, but God never gives up on you.

Return here, to this reminder. It is your rest. He wants you, not your work. He wants your heart. Let him have it. Let it be immersed in the Living Water. Let it splash around, dance, have fun, be free and enjoy the goodness of him who loves you.

I’ll meet you there.

Love, a fellow trying-to-be-perfect girl,

Kelly

 

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.

Do you Need God’s Saving Power?

My biggest fear came true, the exact one I couldn’t stop mulling over as I lay on my shaking, rattling bed. My 6-year-old was on the top bunk of an Amtrak train bed.

Would it hold him? Would he roll over?

At home, my son was protected. He knew his surroundings. He had comfort. His fall wasn’t 6 feet down. But here, in this new situation? In a bed half his size? One really couldn’t tell what might happen…

I got word in the morning. Husband told me he fell off the bed. My heart stopped. My eyes stared. I looked the kid up and down for train wounds. Nothing.

Husband explained, the safety straps next to the bed (the ones I completely took for granted), caught him. They wrapped him as he fell, like a cocoon, keeping him in a deep well of safety. So dear son was just chilling there, swinging and safe. Unaware of how protected he was…how he’d just been saved. He wasn’t even aware it happened. Dad pulled him back onto his bed without waking him.

How often does our Dad “save” us without us realizing? Pull us onto our bed of safety without us noticing? Wrap us in a cocoon of protection so harm can’t touch us?

Many of us, myself included, never give thought to the family wars, the bitter arguments, the looming bills, the accidents, the woops moments, the injuries he saves us from.

We see the things that hit us, and blame God, but we never consider how he saves us, and thank God.

He’s probably protected you a bazillion times, because God is mighty to save.

“He will not let your foot slip– he who watches over you will not slumber.” (Ps. 121:3)

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” (Zeph. 3:17)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Is. 41:10)

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:8)

 

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.