Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

When God Removes People From Your Life

I’m delighted Patricia Holbrook is hosting the linkup today! Patricia is faithful in her calling. She is honest and transparent. She has a story that will meet your heart in its dry places. 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Patricia’s book, 12 Inches!

The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.” Judges 7:7

It was Friday night. I absently stared at the TV, thinking about how lonely I felt. Looking through my phone book, I knew that the options were not good. Friends who would be available on a Friday night would quickly offer me a tour back into my life before Christ… Places I knew not to visit anymore.

My new Christian friends were all busy with their husbands and family. It was me, my TV… and… my Bible. I glanced down and picked it up.

A new Christian, I had heard that Jesus was all I needed, but was unsure of how to let Him fill the void.

I surrendered my life to Christ only months before, and experienced unprecedented joy and peace. I spent the following weeks and months on a spiritual high, attending a new Christian discipleship class, prayer meetings and various church functions.

Yes, I made several new friends, but they were, well… new. And most of them were married, anyway. Loneliness filled my heart on the weekends. That particular weekend was the hardest of all.

As I held my Bible, tears streamed down my face. One of my best friends of eight years had turned her back on me.

Betrayal. Pain. Confusion.

The last drop in the bucket.

“Jesus, I thought you would fill my life, not empty it!” I cried out.

It was there, lying on my couch, that I heard His voice, whispering in my heart for the first time.

“I am preparing the soil for new sowing. For a new harvest.”

It was then that I saw it. I had a vision. As in a dream, I saw a large, bare field. The soil showed places where trees once stood. It was desolate-looking. Ugly, even.

Then I saw seeds coming down from Heaven, falling inside each hole on the ground. And finally, I saw the same field, green and full of beautiful, tall trees.

“Behold, I am making all things new,” I heard.

Twenty Years have gone by since that day…

And I behold the harvest.

I can close my eyes and see the faces.

My husband, our two daughters and wonderful, faithful friends throughout the years, planted in the field of my life. Besides one very best friend from my youth and my immediate family, they are all new.

They all have been planted by Yahweh’s faithful hands. And they have flourished and yielded fruits of joy, peace, love, patience… true friendship. True Love.

I stand amazed.

The vision was hard to believe at the time when loneliness filled my days. When God removed what I thought was true love… and those whom I considered real friends.

He plucked them all, one by one, and left me wondering whether I’d ever feel loved again.

But before He planted a new harvest in my life, He had to teach me to make Jesus my all in all. He wanted to become my very best friend.

Instead of giving in to the feelings of loneliness and depression, I sought His face.

I made the Bible my greatest companion. I woke up in the middle of the night to talk to my Savior and started serving Him at church. And before I realized it, He started planting beautiful new seeds into my life.

God showed me that, just as He gave Gideon victory over mighty enemies with a small army of faithful servants, His children don’t need 10,000 soldiers to win life’s battles.

When God is in control, He weeds out the unfaithful, and fills in the void in our lives with the 300 faithful few.

In.His.time.

Gideon was afraid of not having enough. He couldn’t see how he would defeat his powerful enemy with such a small army.

You may not see how your life can continue without a particular person. Or how you can give up your old friends and still have joy. I challenge you to trust Him. Trust that He is weeding out the unfaithful, cleaning out the soil, preparing it to yield a new harvest.

All He needs is your heart. Your surrendered trust.

I promise that one day you’ll stand amazed, as you contemplate the lush green fields that Yahweh will plant on your current bare land. As you give yourself to Him, believe me: He will give it all back to you.

Pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Because that is the kind of Friend He is.

Just trust His pruning. Trust His plucking. He only cuts out what doesn’t belong, anyway.

*This blog post is an excerpt from Patricia’s Book: Twelve Inches: Bridging the gap between what you know about God and how you feel.”

***Comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!  Also, share Patricia’s words on social media!

Visit the book page: www.soaringwithHim.com/Twelve-Inches

ABOUT PATRICIA:

Patricia Holbrook is the President of Soaring with Him Ministries, author, columnist, blogger, wife and mom. Her passion is to encourage her audience to “soar above life’s circumstances” by the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. She writes about making beauty out of brokenness, trusting God in the dark, the blessings of obedience and her love for the Savior.

Among other places, you can find her writing weekly on her

blog, www.soaringwithHim.com. on her weekend column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution www.ajc.com, on iDisciple.org and websites such as Internet Devotions Cafe, among others. Patricia is also a national and international speaker for women’s events.

 

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When God Doesn’t Move the Mountain

God Doesn't Move the Mountain

Today, I welcome Christy Underwood! She is not only my dear friend, but she is also a woman who fights to stand strong in Christ. I admire her perseverance and endurance. I think you will too. May her story below be an inspiration to you.

The ultrasound tech asked, “How many pregnancies have you had?”

“This is my fifth.”

“How many live births?”

“One.”

Questions like these are tough to answer when you’ve had repeat miscarriages.

What’s even tougher is learning at your first ultrasound that there’s nothing in the sac. Nothing. That was a first – and I was devastated.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” by Lauren Daigle:

“Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive.”

Ezekiel once saw dry bones in a vision. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. When he did, God put breath in them and they came to life. I knew the story behind the song before I was pregnant. Hearing it this time, I cried. I badly wanted God to breathe life into me, into my baby.

In the days ahead, I had bloodwork done, and my hormone levels were consistent with a normal pregnancy but not rising as much as expected. I still was hopeful, but, at our next ultrasound the result was the same:  No life. No baby.

There are no words to explain the sinking feeling.

Yet through this heartache, amazingly, I’ve experienced more of God’s love. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. Sure, I’ve wept – and wept, but God extended strength, peace, and joy during the difficult times. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Only God, the Creator of all good things, could have carried me through this.

Do you ever stop to consider God’s point of view when you’re going through a hard time?

He’s a good, loving Father. When I see my daughter hurting, my heart breaks. I desire to give her good things. Yet, because I love her, at times, I must withhold things for her benefit.

God could have given us this child, but maybe He didn’t because He wants me to share my story with others who have experienced loss. Maybe He saw how this would strengthen my faith and the faith of others. Maybe He saw how He would be glorified.

And, maybe, God intervenes more than I realize, maybe, more than – we – realize…

I started reading Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. Here, it occurred to me, God might have prohibited a situation from happening that would have been even more difficult.

Maybe I don’t need to know it all…maybe I just need to trust a good, loving Father.

Yes, I continue to pray for a child, but I want God’s plan for my life more than a child.  I choose to trust Him for myself, my husband, and my daughter. Trusting for my daughter is the most difficult. Sometimes I want another child more for her than for me. God reminds me that I need to trust Him. Isn’t it hard though when we think we know what’s best?

These words encourage me.  I hope they  encourage you too:

When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.

– Song, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Whether it seems big or small, God cares and desires to reveal His love for you. He wants to breathe new hope, joy and peace into what we look at as dead, dry and done with. Even with Jesus, what looked dead, at the right time, came alive. Day by day, let’s trust God, even when our plans don’t seem to align with His.

Prayer: God, thank you for who You are. You are a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Help us to trust in You when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Help us to keep our minds and thoughts on You instead of the worries of this world. Help us to expect You to show up, that we would feel Your love and know the peace that only You can bring. Amen.

Order Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

Christy is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.

Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy is faithful. She pursues God in a way where she doesn’t let her heart quit. I admire her, I love her and I thank her for using her extreme difficulty as a God-exalting opportunity. Daddy is well pleased.

Fear of Time: Does it rush, pressure or stress you out?

fear of time

I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”

He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.

I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.

What is standing in between you and peace?  Between you and God?

For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love.  So, what happened?

(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:

  1. I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
  2. I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
  3. I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.

(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.

…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)

I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible.  (1 Cor. 7:35)

If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.

I want more. Do you?  I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.

No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…

For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.

We believe by faith. And God handles the rest.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

How to Live Unshaken

unshaken

For a large part of my life this word was not in my dictionary. “Unstable.” “Unable.” “Unsure.” Now, these were the type of words – I knew.

I was “unstable” as I dealt with depression, a debilitating eating disorder and the deep knowledge I could never do enough or be enough to satiate the world’s unbelievable appetite – for perfect.

I was “unable.” Unable to fix a looming diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unable to hold a job down. Unable to endure in friendships. Unable to believe in myself. I quit things before they started. I ended opportunity before it could hurt me. I unsubscribed from risk before it could eat me up, chew me up and spit me out like the failure I knew I was.

I was “unsure” God really was good. I knew him in my mind, but absent was his love from my heart. With this, I walked not in Christ’s identity, but with a disguised limp of insecurity. All I could see was how you were better than me and more likely to do great things. I was unsure why I was born. I was jealous, burdened.

These sticky labels seemed to attach to my heart with permanent glue: unstable. Unable. Unsure. They owned me. They declared my worth. They drove my being. The more I looked at my discouragement, the more I felt discouraged.

Have you been there? Do you know this place?

When we see all we – are not, we have a hard time focusing on all that – God is. This is what I’ve realized. You see, through the power of prayer and a heart-seizing of God’s Word, accompanied by the simple grace afforded by Christ on the cross, I am walking, more and more, out of a place of containment and into the refreshment of God.

It awaits us all. It calls out to us. It is ours to step into.

We grab first for God’s forgiveness; it welcomes us. We run into daddy’s arms; they wait wide-open for us. We feel the warm embrace; it cares for us. We talk to the one who created us; He affirms us. We renew our strength in him; he recommissions us.

And, by the very nature of God – and not by our own doing – we step out, little-step by little-step. Until, we get to the point where we glance back, to see how far we’ve come. And, what we see is – somewhere along the way, he brought us to the power-infused and potential-unveiling place of – unshaken.

It feels like a miracle and, now, we acknowledge – it actually is. We give thanks. We worship. And, we add the word – “unshaken” to our dictionary. We own it. We step into it. We go. Our heart is on fire.

What might small step might God be calling you to move into? How might your life look if you stripped of the mindset of fear to live free of people’s opinions? Undefined by problems? Liberated from the past?

Order my new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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

***I am also featured on Courtney Westlake’s blog today. Read “Overcoming the Fear of Rush.”

When You’re Afraid You’ll Never Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I listened to the interview with the popular Christian writer, my mind reeling with questions. But the one that kept repeating itself over and over was, “How?”

This woman had a slew of kids running around, and she homeschooled all of them. Her writing was not shoddy. Each syllable sang with an effortless harmony as you read.

So how? How were there enough hours in the day? Did she have on a superwoman cape I couldn’t see as I listened to the podcast?

At the time I had two kids. Now I have three, the last one two months young. There are days I barely get the laundry done and the food made, much less worry about doing anything creative.

I see women on social media who, in all the bright lights and glow of the computer screen, are pursuing their goals and dreams. They are achieving milestones I dare to think about as I’m nursing my sweet babe at night.

Before daybreak, the fear takes over and says, “You’ll never get there.”

Comparison is such a lonely place to live.

When we compare, we fear never being like someone else when God simply wants us to be the person he created.

We live in a toxic state of thinking we have to achieve the next rung on our self-made ladder instead of embracing the season we’re in. But friends, we weren’t made to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or anyone else.

We were made to live our own unique lives, each of us working together to create a beautiful God-story.

During the moments I’m tempted to exchange my story for someone else’s God is showing me a better way. Instead of spending my time in fear and comparison, I bring it to him.

I say, “God, today I only have a half hour to work on this project. I don’t know how it’s going to get done, but I trust you.”

And in ways only he can, he multiplies my efforts. He takes that little sliver of time and makes it enough.

One day it was raining non-stop and the fog on the mountain where we live was thick, reflecting my tired mental state. I was feeling discouraged, so I brought my concerns to God. I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t always my first inclination.

I told him my concerns and worries, how I wanted to get back to assignments I knew he’d given me to complete, but I didn’t see how.

A few days later, an opportunity dropped in my lap. It wasn’t something I was pursuing or even knew was a possibility, but in that moment I knew God was answering me.

With this email from an editor that popped into my inbox, he said, “You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do months from now or even next week. Just make the most of the time I’ve given you. Right here, today.”

And in doing so, I not only honor my family, but God. I can stop trying to keep up with the person next to me and focus on the task in front of me. One step at a time.

I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders.

I know there will be days I’m tempted to look in the other lane. Chances are, you’ll be tempted too.

But can I tell you something? The ride is so much more enjoyable when, instead of seeing how far we have to go, we look at the view around us.

Instead of fearing we’ll never make it to the next destination, let’s look at how far we’ve come.

Order Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

 

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Pinterest, and Facebook.

 

 

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

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

 

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 Fear and Truth Collide

Fear and Truth

I am delighted to welcome Jessica Van Roekel as a guest blogger today. Jessica is faithful, diligent and obedient. I am proud to feature her words.

I’m good at bravado, but not so much at living brave. I know how to stand tall and smile with the best of them, but inside I’m cowering, hiding tears, insecure, wondering if I belong or even if I’m wanted.

I know verses. I know that if I’m full of God then there’s no room for anything else. I know that my song is God’s song. I know that he is my refuge, my shield, and my fortress. I know he holds me close and sings songs over me. I know he calls me chosen, beloved, secure, approved, and beautiful. I know all these things and I was so mad at myself for the disconnect between my head and my heart.

So there I sat—alone, with no one beside me—listening to the melody, learning my part or trying—all the while fighting back tears. It was absolutely ridiculous and I was furious with myself. And to be totally honest, furious with God. Why would he compel me to audition for this musical and then humiliate me in this way? It didn’t make any sense.

Have you felt this way? Has God ever shown you a truth and set you free from your bondage and then in an instant you were in bondage again or so it seemed? Have you ever felt you utterly failed God and yourself?

May I offer you and I this encouragement: God is not disappointed with you or me. God is not going to send us into a situation and then leave us to work it out in our own strength. He will provide us with opportunities to exercise our faith in the work he’s doing in our lives. And just like with regular exercise, we will stumble until we figure out the rhythm or the sequence, but if we keep practicing we get better, we grow stronger, we become more fluid, and it becomes second nature because we’ve trusted him and let him work through us.

Freedom from fear of man came for me through one definitive moment a few years ago, and since that moment God has been showing me how to live free. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile. My perspective has shifted from being afraid of people to being settled in God’s thoughts towards me.

You know, I wanted to run from that audition room and never, ever look back. In fact, I walked out of rehearsal that night determined to quit and planned on letting the director know my decision the next morning.

I didn’t though. I leaned into the pain because I’ve learned that sometimes healing comes through the pain, not by avoiding the pain. So I took my younger self by the hand and let her feel the pain. I let her remember and shed her tears, and then I walked her through forgiveness. Was it easy? Uh, absolutely not. Is it over? No, but the cleaning out of the wound has happened, the salve of God’s truth has been applied, and the wound is tender, but it’s healing.

Sometimes we have to experience the hard so that God’s word becomes alive, and once the revelation of his truth, his freedom, and his healing has been revealed, it’s  not ever to be taken away by someone’s words, approval, disapproval, memories, or event.

Becoming fear fighters happens when we’re transformed from the inside out and it requires us to keep taking steps towards faith and bravery, clinging to truth and always, always trusting God’s heart for us.

***Get the book Fear Fighting, by Kelly Balarie today.

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

************************************

Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel

 

 

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On Fear & Misplaced Faith

trust fear fighting

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mom, could you let that car drive past us?”

Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.

When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.

For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.

Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.

When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.

They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.

When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.

The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.

1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.

Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.

I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).

Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.

Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?

One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—

God is good, and we can trust Him.

We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.

I just finished Kelly Balarie’s challenging and practical book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, and this quote from page 53 wouldn’t let me go:

“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”

When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.

When I am afraid,

I put my trust in You.

In God,

whose word I praise—

in God I trust

and am not afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

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

Do You Fear What is Ahead?

fear what is

I walked in the door, dropped my bag and called upstairs to my husband, “Want to take a walk?”

Shockingly, he did. He wanted to enjoy the spontaneous burst of warm weather that was gracing our air. We put on our shoes and headed out. I had no idea I was about to be graced with his wisdom too.

We headed down a forest laden trail. It was beautiful.

“Kelly, I wonder what is up there, beyond that bend?”

I already knew, I’d walked the trail time and time again.

He went on, “I think God says, we don’t have to know what is beyond our bends. We don’t have to see what is up ahead. We just have to walk with him in the moment, knowing he is up there already. He is already where we are headed. And, that’s all we need to know. We are free to enjoy the purple flowers, the flying birds and the moving clouds. We can simply trust he has what we are walking into.”

I knew I married this guy for a reason.

I nodded my head in agreement. “Yep,” I said, ” because if we are so caught up with what we can’t see, we’ll miss what we can. Plus, once we get to that bend, we will want to know, yet again, what is beyond the next one. It’s a losing battle.”

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

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you…  (Deut. 31:8)

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt. 6:34)

Often, I am so caught up in what’s coming, I miss the table of beauty God has laid in front of me today. I don’t partake in what is good.  I fear what is bad. I adjust my shirt just right so my stomach bulges don’t stand out too much. I grip onto tight schedules so I have a handy excuse for social situations I am terrified of. I cling on to my kids hand with a death grip, hoping the doesn’t stray to far away from mom if I let go. I rush through breakfast and traffic lights and pajamas trying to my couch and TV.

But, my husband reminds me – I don’t have to hold on to what is up ahead – or fear it – for God is already there. It’s like he rushed ahead and set the table in advance, so when I arrive, the goodness awaits. Sure, sometimes it might look like the table is empty or it’s not as I thought, but as I am present with him, in the moment, he always surfaces some sort of surprise party.  His spiritual blessings all jump out at me and I leap for joy. I realize, “Wow God, what I really wanted is right here.”

And, friend, what you want is right before you. For what is before you, in this moment, is your God. He is with you and will not let you go. Keep walking with him, no matter how good, how bad or how ugly your trail looks. For, you never know, when you might stumble you upon your – surprise party!

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

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today! Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. 

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

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Go to sleep?…Ur uh, I don’t think So!

It was a Friday morning and I was busily preparing for a surprise weekend getaway I had planned for my husband David, when my cell phone rang. It was hubby. I thought he was calling to tell me about his doctor’s appointment but instead in a bewildered voice he rambled off words that at first seemed nonsensical.

“I just got a call from Mr T. and… Cliff died this morning. Massive heart attack.“

I repeated the sentence several times in my head as if to process the bizarre message, I’m sure I didn’t hear correctly.

You see it couldn’t be true because Cliff, the dear friend and golfing buddy David spoke of was a larger-than-life kind of guy. He wouldn’t just die like that.

But it was true. In the time it takes for a heart to beat, his heart stopped. Forever.

His sudden death made me come face to face with a chilling truth.

I’ve been afraid to die.

It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going.

I do.

I believe with all my heart when I’m done with this earth I’ll see Jesus face to face and live for all eternity with Him.

When friends proudly proclaim, “I’m not afraid of dying” I want so badly to give a, “Yeah, yeah me too!” (High five, fist bump and all that.)

But I don’t. I’m silent.

I hate this fear, it feels so… faithless.

Digging deep, at first I thought it was the process that scares me. I’ve watched my mother and father pass and a few friends. Death ain’t pretty.

However when I honestly brought my contradiction of thought and faith to God, He gently brought to mind something from my past. Something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

From as early as I can remember, probably about three years of age, my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and recite this brief prayer.

Before I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord for my soul to take.

And she wondered why I couldn’t go to sleep…!

I had all but forgotten this nightmarish rhyme. 
Though I have no doubt my Episcopalian mother was well-intentioned, I can say with reasonable accuracy, no three-year old understands the meaning of such words. To my little-girl ears they sounded mystical, scary.

I became frightened of this spooky God my mother prayed to Who might choose to take me in the night—stealing me away from my family, my home, my dolls. This life.
Of course I never wanted to shut my eyes. But what was worse, when I kept them open the Jesus-cross that hung by my beside stared at me in the dark with an eerie purple incandescence glow.

This is not at all the God I worship today. The God I know and worship doesn’t desire to scare little children, or anyone for that matter. He’s a gentle Father who promises hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

However our past often paves the pathways in our future.
Sometimes with bold confidence. But many times with trepidation.
As it’s been in my case.

Has something from your past locked you into a feeling of apprehension, foreboding, phobias or panic?

Don’t allow any fear to steal your freedom. Ask God to unlock the past for you, releasing understanding—clarity.

Now that I can see my past world juxtaposed with my present I believe with God’s help and the power of the Holy Spirit I can dismantle the fears that threaten to unravel me and move forward to living this life as God meant—with abandon…and fist bumps.

You can too.

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold to it. But on thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

***Get a kick-start on a fearless life with Kelly’s book, Fear Fighting.***

Looking forward, pressing on, and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.

About Christy

Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.

Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.