Purposeful Faith

Category - fear

Mom, You’re Fat

She said (with all the wisdom that 5-years brings a girl): “Mom, how come other moms have bodies that go straight-down? And, you’ve got a body that goes out on the sides? Your back side is big too.”

I said: “Hmm…Madison, that’s true. Some moms do have bodies that go straight down.”

She said: “Mommy, you’re fat.”

I said: “Oh really?”

I fretted: Maybe I really am – fat?

Yes. My sides are bigger. My hips are larger. My silhouette is more pear-shaped than stick-shaped. She’s right about that. In this moment, I almost wanted to rush to the mirror to check myself out. Maybe I’d become disillusioned about own figure? Perhaps I was a whole lot bigger than I’d realized. I do see myself every day. Those kinds of things can inch-up on a woman.

She said: “Mommy, what made you fat?”

How does one answer this…?

I made me – fat?
God made me – look fat?
I am not – fat?

Here, I thought back to how she didn’t want me to hug her in class the other day. She pushed me away. Was it because — I’m fat? Maybe I need to go on a workout plan. Maybe I need to stop those afternoon ice-cream digs for peanut butter cups. Maybe I need to walk some more…

And then reality hit me, much like her words: God could care less about fat. Indeed, He wants me to love His temple, but, where man looks at our outsides; God looks at our heart.

“For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

“Madison,” I said. “God made us all shapes and sizes. He loves all of us the same. It is not how we look that makes us lovable, better or more valuable, but Christ inside of us that makes us special.”

Who knows if I got through to her. It’s a scary thing to send a girl out in this raging pressure-filled world. But, perhaps, I can get through to you and me today…

Here are my thoughts about this:

  1. We’re not a product of our pants-size, but the product of God’s love dwelling inside.
  2. We’re not conformed to the image of this world, but we’re being transformed into the beautiful likeness of Christ.
  3. Grace abounds.  If we need help, He who IS help has more than enough help to help us.
  4. Internal or external insults can’t stick to us when we’re covered by the full acceptance, love, and approval of Jesus.
  5. Jesus is not in the business of weighing us, He’s in the business of pouring out the full weight of His love on us.

In God’s love, even if there’s an extra 5 or 50 pounds we need to shed, we remain: wanted, love, kept, desired, approved of, accepted, valuable and full of Jesus.  God looks at us with love; He doesn’t spend one ounce of time hating our outsides. And, if He doesn’t, why should we?

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Is weight a battle for you? Or, are you going through a different kind of battle in your life? A battle of discouragement, disappointment, frustration, loneliness, fear, worry or doubt? You may be interested in reading my latest book, “Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously.” Many women have found liberation, restoration, renewal and life-change from its pages. I believe, God will do a mighty work as you read it. XOXO!  Check it out today!

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Only God Can Change A Heart

I feel convicted. It is easy to read God’s word and to say, “Yep, that thing right there is what I need to do…”. Yet it is quite another thing to do it. It is easy to develop a three-step plan for improvement, but it is hard to see it through. It is easy to remind yourself of all the ways you really need to change. And then to never find change.

At home, as a mom, I’ve recognized 3 things that need to change:

1. I give in to my children when they ask repeatedly for something.

2. I desperately avoid paths of resistance to keep everyone happy.

3. I have a hard time setting boundaries because I feel guilty.

Friends, I guess I feel a little angry at myself that I haven’t changed these things already. That I haven’t recognized them and reworked them. That I still struggle. That I cause issues at home sometimes. That I can’t stand it when people feel unhappy or angry at me.

I know I am wrong; I am a pushover. I am disappointed in myself.

Maybe you feel like me; disappointed in how you are, what you are doing or where you are today. Maybe you’ve told yourself you’re going to stop cussing, start praying or you’re 100% going to speak nicely now. Or that you’re going to get yourself to where you want to go.

Are we justified to feel this way? To “get our self where we want to go”? To “work up” some sort of inner-heart conversion?

Only God can change a heart.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezekiel 36: 26-27)

Notice:
– God gives us a new heart.

– By his work, he removes the stone.

– The Spirit, in us, moves us to follow God’s decrees and laws.

Only by a work of God can we work-out any real and lasting life change.

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Ps. 127:1

So where does this leave us? In prayer and with faith.

God will complete the good work He has begun in us. (Phil. 1:6) We no longer need to be angry at ourselves but 100% trustworthy in the Saviors saving work, that is at work within us.

 

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When I lost a Little Faith in God

It’s a horrible thing to lose something. I hate it when I can’t find my phone. My husband will be waiting in the car, with the kids buckled in behind him, while I have to “run back in” to find it. I always put my phone in the oddest spot: a shelf to the left, under the covers on my bed or on the corner of a bathroom counter.

To be at a loss of a very important thing is super frustrating. Even more frustrating, the powerless feeling that you don’t know how to go about putting things back together again.

For a bit, I felt like I misplaced faith. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God or anything like that. It’s just I didn’t really believe He had good stuff for me or that I could trust in His goodness to pull through. After a series of disappointments where I expected Him to show up one way, I guess, I became upset when He showed up a different way.

So, I stopped being as tender to Him. I let a little bit of calloused skin cover my heart. I met with God, but only let Him approach me — so-deep.

Wondering what happened to my wild-belief and strong-faith, where anything is possible. I dove back into Hebrews 11 this morning to see if God wanted to bring something back to life.

“Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God…”

Yep. I got that covered. I believe there is a God.

“…and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)

I “must” believe He rewards me?

To believe God “rewards me” feels indulgent, selfish and it induces guilt in me. Isn’t faith supposed to be about all I give Him – what I do, how I love Him, reading the bible with Him and loving others on His behalf?

Yet, God hones in on this— “Kelly, I want you to believe when you sincerely seek me out — I am going to reward you.”

Faith is not only coming to God, or doing His work, receiving and expecting His reward too. We are not old rag dolls, who God uses to take advantage of to get His way or to use up and then throw out. We are children, daughters, of a Father who loves us and wants to take care of us. His heart, when we meet Him, when we trust Him, when we long for Him, when we find Him — is to reward us. It is to give — to renew, replenish, restore and reinvigorate.

When we seek Him, we’ll find Him and He’ll reward us.

Something about this idea — speaks so deeply to my heart that: God is good.

 

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3 Ways: Be in Christ & Change your Life

You are inside God’s love.

It’s an easy thing to forget, I know. We forget things that we are inside of often. For instance, how often do we think, “I am in the system,” or “I am inside the state of ___.”

We rarely consider where we are – although we should. Because when you realize positionally where you are, it situationally reframes the world around you.

What needs reframing in your life? Are you aggravated at a boss? Discouraged at your lack of initiative? So busy you can’t even consider God? Demoralized by the words of people around you? Unsure about the direction you should head? Feeling depressed or powerless to change your circumstances.

Remember where you are. Realize positionally that you are in God’s love to change situationally – everything.

When you are inside God’s love, you realize you are: H.I.S. You dwell on the fact you are H.I.S.

You are:

1. Hidden in Christ.

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3)

If you accepted Christ, in Him (inside all His glory, power, honor, might, strength, wisdom) your life is now hidden. You don’t have to fear the future, because you can trust in His providence to change everything.

2. Invincible in Battle.

“Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle.” (Ps. 24:8 NLT)

If you are in Christ, hidden in Him, then  – because of Him – you actually become invincible in battle. This is powerful.  The King of Glory can go where He wants, in a way that is invincible to the enemy of your life. Take a moment to receive this truth in your mind. Don’t gloss over this point.

3. Secured as you trust.

“Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you.” (Phil. 2:1 GNT)

In Christ, you are strong. In Christ, love comforts you. In Christ, you get everything you need to face whatever mountain stands against you.

You will not be wavered, but full of Christ. You will not be taken down, but covered in his love. You will not give up, but stand firm.

Friends, you are H.I.S. Put your trust in Him. Dwell on these three points. Situationally, you’ll find things radically change. Keep hope and find yourself, in Him.

 

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Why Remorse

Just now, as I took a walk, I saw a twisted piece of plastic on a telephone line. Oddly, it was mangled and wrapped around the phone line in a way that seemed to make no sense.

This is how my mind is when I make a mistake. Remorse wreaks havoc in my mind, until I’m in a twisted mess of: I’ll never be good enough. I always make mistakes. I can’t get anything right. I’ll always offend God.

God doesn’t intend for us to live mangled; Jesus came so we could live untangled from shame.
So, what’s the problem with me?
The story of Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, has a little to say on this subject matter.
When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse…and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.
 
“Remorse gripped Judas and he returned the money.” (Mt. 27:3)
 
Isn’t it amazing that he returned the money and was remorseful? Amazingly, this wasn’t enough.
 
Then, Judas said, “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” (Mt. 27:4)

He even realized his sin.
 
The priests replied, “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” (Mt. 27:4)

I only wish He’d talked to Jesus. 
 
“…Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Mt. 27:5)
 
Remorse without repentance kills us internally. It leaves us in a balled up mess of self-condemnation, ridicule, embarrassment and shame. It kills our insides and has even been known to take a life.

What do you need to repent of? What do you need to release to God? What do you need to finally get over, so it doesn’t destroy you? The price Jesus paid is enough to cover over any mistake you’ve made. There’s nothing His grace won’t cover. Isn’t it about time you finally receive that grace and forgiveness too?

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Heb. 8:12)

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into the place of highest privilege where we now stand and confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” (Ro. 5:1-2)
 

Praying Prayers that Work

When I need to confront a friend with an issue, I pray before.
When I finances go amuck, I pray.
When I desperately need something to change, I pray.
When I want breakthrough, I pray.

I pray kind of like this: “God, please, I need you.”

Like a kid, I lob my prayers upward, hard, hoping they’ll catch heavenly-hold. But inside, I wonder and I fear. I fear they’ll back at me and expose me as a fool. That they’ll return void.

Prayer sometimes feels like wishful thinking. We want, but we aren’t sure if we will get. We ask, but we wonder if we’ll be left empty-handed. We once dreamed and never saw things come to pass.

We write off verses like this:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mk. 11:24 NIV

Why? Because we’ve gotten jaded, over-spiritual, and cynical. Or, at least I have.

Rather than praying, believing, contemplating and thanking God for the outpouring of his blessing, I groan and moan over the issue. I doubt it will ever change. I remain unprepared to receive his better thing and stay unstable in doubt.

“Prayer doesn’t work,” I think.

But prayer isn’t broken. My faith is.

In Hebrews 11, God highlights what great faith looks like:

By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them.” Heb. 11:33 NLT

Faith is not just measured as the by-product of doing. It is also measured in the believing that is tied to receiving. If we pray for friends but don’t want to answer the phone when they call, guess what? Our prayer will go unanswered. It is not because God didn’t give, it is often because we didn’t receive.

We “must believe” that God “rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Heb. 11:6 NLT)

We must pray in belief that God rewards those who sincerely seek him. It is that simple.

God will reward my search of him.
God will come through with this prayer.
I can believe and trust Him to show up on this.
I don’t know the how but I know the Who and that is enough.
I can’t wait to receive the answer God has for me on this very thing.
I can rest in his care with great expectation.

This kind of prayer works and this kind of faith pleases God.

 

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The Pain of Insensitivity

“Oh you’re fine. It wasn’t even a hard fall. Get up, you’re okay. You fell softly,” the grey-haired lady said repeatedly to the 4-year-old who fell off her seat.

Oh really?

After watching this all play out, I consider her words. How can one “fall softly?” I’ve never heard of such a thing. Second, I have no idea how a warehouse metal floor could be soft.

The little girl threw a fit for the next 10 minutes afterward.

Now, I recognize: I’m eavesdropping at this coffee store. I also recognize: I’m judging. Even more, I recognize: I’ve probably done the same thing to my kids at times.

God help me.

But, there’s a point to all this. When we negate people’s fall, or feelings, we fail to be there for them. When we brush off another person’s reality, we hurt them even more. Thus, this 4-year old girl’s 10-minute tantrum post-fall. No one was there for her.

She threw a fit.

Just because we brush off someone else’s pain, doesn’t mean it disappears. In fact, insensitivity to pain often heightens it. It causes tantrums. Explosions. Depression.

How did Jesus deal with people’s pain?

A “man who had died was being carried out” by his mother.

“And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Lu. 7:13

“And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.”  And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus[d] gave him to his mother.” Lu. 7:14

Through compassion, Jesus cleared the way for life. Our approach should be the same.

 

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When You’re Afraid to Take That Step of Faith

Blog post by: Abby McDonald

“Don’t look down, Mom!”

Immediately, I wish my son hadn’t said that. I can’t help myself. My eyes drift to the expanse below and my feet wobble. What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?

I try to regain my composure and remember my harness. The 4-story high ropes course stretches out before me, and I know there was only one way out: through it.

If you fall, the harness will catch you.

I tell myself this repeatedly as I inch across a rickety bridge that seems a mile long. My son moves to the other side with ease, turning around at the end to cheer me forward.

“You’ve got this! Keep going!”

When I get close enough to the next platform, I take a giant step to the safety of a solid surface. I stop and breath deeply, thankful for a minute to relax my legs. As I survey the rest of the course, I take a mental note of how much further we have to go before we can make the trek back down to the bottom. My mouth is dry and I can hear my stomach starting to rumble.

When my husband suggested I embark on this adventure with my boys, my first instinct was to say no. First, I am not a fan of heights. And second, our one-year-old daughter was the perfect excuse for me to stay on the ground.

But then I felt a little nudge.

Say yes.

My parents were with us, and they were more than happy to watch their granddaughter. So I went. With harness tightened securely around me, I made my way to the top. And with my nine-year-old as my cheerleader, I kept going even when my balance was awkward and my footing unsure.

Even though I was afraid, I moved forward.

Even though my stamina was tested, my resolved to finish was greater. And you know what? I will never forget those minutes spent amongst the trees with my family.

When my feet were firmly planted back on the ground, I realized God was teaching me a valuable lesson. Without my even realizing it, he painting a picture.

You see, lately God’s been asking me to be brave. He’s asking me to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t normally do. Speak more. Lead more. Trust him more. And my first instinct, like it was with my husband, is to say no.

God, I’m not qualified.

God, you have the wrong person.

God, I have no experience in this area.

But he keeps gently nudging me forward, waiting for me to take the leap. Desiring obedience, even when I stubbornly keep my feet planted in one place.

After making a lot of excuses, I said yes to one step. And then another. With each one, he shows me his presence never leaves. Even when my feet falter, he’s there.

Having a forward-moving faith doesn’t mean we’ll never fall. It means we trust a God who never fails.

So when we slip, he’s the harness that catches us and keeps us from hitting the ground. When our balance sways, he’s the secure grip that steadies us and enables us keep going.

“It is God who arms me with strength

and keeps my way secure.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;

He causes me to stand on the heights.”

 2 Samuel 22:33-34

Friends, we serve a God who wants us to live life to the fullest.

He wants our faith to move us to new heights so he can show us the depth and width of his love. A love that surpasses all understanding. A love that will change others’ hearts, minds, and lives. But we have to be willing. We have to get off the ground.

When we do, the view is spectacular. When we do, our image of God expands with each shaky step.

 

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

 

When You Feel Undeserving

Do you ever think, “Everything is going so well…I wonder when is God going to pull the carpet out from under me?”

Or, “I don’t deserve good stuff.”
Or, “I feel guilty for accepting…”

I think this way sometimes. As if God’s given me too much and suddenly needs to put me in my place. Or as if I’m spoiled by the fact He is good. Or like He is a killjoy who is out to punish me for my happiness.

Why do I do this?

Recently, I asked God for something. It was small, but I prayed for it to “get better”. Amazingly, I immediately did, to a degree. I saw God move in incredible ways. Then, I wanted to ask him for something else, something more. I almost prayed…but then I heard:

Bad Kelly! You want too much.

Bad Kelly! You think God is there to give you everything.

Bad Kelly! You are selfish.

Bad Kelly! You know there are others who have it much harder than you.

Afraid to take too much from God, I almost missed the opportunity to see how much He really loves me. I almost stopped asking. Why? Because I counted the nature of God equivalent with the nature of man.

God gives abundantly. Many give, but then take for themselves.

God does even more than we ask or imagine. Man does and then expects something in return.

God continually pours out the best of who He is on our behalf. Man halfway gives and then gives up.

When we assign the track record of man to God, we always lose. In fact, we close down the opportunity to see the abundant nature of an abundant God. We essentially hold an arm up to God and say, “You’re a little bit good, but not that good.”

What are you believing about God today? In what ways have you held an abundant God back? How have you let the past hurts of man create a false view of God?

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Jo. 10:10

“For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jo. 6:33

 

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Reasons Why Others Don’t Control Your Destiny

I recently noticed an increasing problem in my life. I can’t stand it if people think poorly of me. If they don’t email me back, I think there’s an issue. If they don’t answer my call, I decide they no longer like me. If I did something in the past and asked for forgiveness, I still figure I’m on the people-we-don’t-like list. The issue is not so much that I haven’t forgiven them. It’s that I think, “They couldn’t have forgiven me.” Which lends to a problem: shame.

And when shame shows up, we can always be sure its makings are from the enemy. And when he shows up, we can know we need to fight back.

How do we fight back? We realize, on many levels, it is not man who is in charge, but God.

Here are 25 Reasons Why Others Don’t Control My Destiny:

  1. What matters is not what man builds, but what God builds.
    “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” Ps. 127:1
  2. Every single battle belongs to the Lord. When He fights, He wins.
  3. Jesus had people against him. Guess what? He kept His eye on the mission, and as a result was still victorious.
  4. I may plan my way, but God ultimately directs my steps. (Prov. 16:9)
  5. God is actively working in others’ hearts in a way I cannot see, manage or predict.
  6. I think far more about how I appear and “come off” than others do. They usually are thinking far more about how they “appear” and “come off” than about me.
  7. What I dwell on, people tend to forget, especially if I’ve apologized.
  8. Another’s silence could also mean: they are busy, out of town, struggling or forgetful.
  9. God is my maker: nothing can unmake His plans for me.
  10. If I remember who annoyed me 10 years ago, they are practically a non-issue today.
  11. For every desperate no-way-out problem in the bible, God drop-kicked its walls and cleared way for victory, for those who trusted Him.
  12. Waiting with trust is the first step to seeing a miracle.
  13. What I can’t see being worked out, God can.
  14. Shame doesn’t rule me. God’s truth and Spirit does.
  15. I’ve been made to focus my attention on God, not on other’s wavering emotions, reactions and motivations.
  16. God knows my heart. He stands behind and protects the hearts of the righteous.
  17. The Spirit in me will guide me and lead me down the best paths.
  18. I am not perfect, but I can trust the one who is to help me.
  19. Jesus’ mission was never thwarted by those against Him.
  20. God-dropped learnings result in my growing, when I steer clear of self-condemning words.
  21. My path is God’s, not the trampled-down wide road the herds travel. Charting a new course with God always takes determination.
  22. It is God’s rod that comforts and protects me, not the response of man.
  23. I am made by God, not by other’s opinions.
  24. I am the daughter of the Most High King. He will provide all I need (and then some).
  25. God is the maker of every man, not the opposite.
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