Purposeful Faith

Category - forgiveness

When You Feel Like a “Problem”

Feel Like a "Problem"

Lately, I’ve been looking like the frumpy mom. It’s time things change.

So, I head to the store and grab a whole bunch of clothes, as if they will radically revamp what is helter-skelter – the stuffed drawers, the haphazard dinners, and my own disheveled look. New pants will fix it all.

I put on the first pair.

But, they’re made wrong. All wrong. I can’t get the dang things over my hips.

I throw them down and grab the next pair, dark jeans. These will do the trick. Except they don’t; they don’t trick anyone. And, that’s the problem. I can see the bulges. Another defective pair! Be gone!

I suck in, lengthen my torso and slightly lean over, as if my moves will grease the fabric. They don’t. The pants move like chalk on sandpaper. They suffocate my insides.

Ugh. It’s not only the pants, my hair looks horrible and my nose looks big too. Plus, these shadows in here are horrendous.

I squint at myself, silently hating – everything.  These pants are all – problems!

Or are they?

What if the problem isn’t the pants?
What if it isn’t this room with dim lights?
What if the problem isn’t fabric,  but  – me?

What if I am more of a mess than I know?

What if these pants that reject me –
are symbolic of a world rejecting me?

What if my inability to look good
represents my incapability to do good in life?

What if I’ll never be more than me?
What if I always fall short?

Ever noticed that when one piece doesn’t fit, if you don’t get it before God, suddenly everything else doesn’t work either?

I inhale.

Will I turn to face him? Will you?

No matter where we stand? In a dressing room? In discouragement? In despair? In frustration? In aggravation? In ruin? In darkness?

Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. (Psalm 112:4)

God’s dawn is lighting. It is for us. We think it is for others, but it is for us. Right there – in our dark rooms, the spaces that highlight our worst, that feature our folds and that cast bad shadows…

…even in these very places, God says, light is dawning…

For us, those who walk, not perfectly, but willingly, with God.
For us, ones gracious: kind and pleasant to our own selves.
For us, ones compassionate to the colossal shortcomings and massive mess-ups we are on the daily basis.
For us, ones growing in righteousness day-by-day.

And, for others, people we know – are aware of our faults.
For people, who can bust us.
For people, who no doubt can point out our flaws.
For people, who also make mistakes.
For people, who sometimes appear as problems.

God flips the light, in our darkness, as we flip our reactions over to love, peace and faith.

What happens is – through Christ – is we start seeing ourselves in good light.

More Reading:
When you Don’t Feel Gifted
When You Long to Do Something Bad
5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

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Healing Deep Church Hurt

Church Hurt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, you know what happened? 

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

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

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

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

How is God calling you to press on?

What might he be calling you to pursue?

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

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

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

Well… yes, and yes.

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

Why does God always have to be right??

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you been hurt?

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

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

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About Celeste

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

You’re Worth It

Post by Christy Mobley

She slipped me the invitation under the table so as to not disturb the meeting going on and whispered, “Are you going?”

I read the first few lines and felt the sting. I whispered back, “I wasn’t invited.”

Obviously embarrassed, my friend said, “I’m sorry.”

And with those two words, I suddenly felt less than.

Kate was flipping through her Facebook feed and saw a group of her friends, all smiles, out to dinner. Friends she normally hangs out with. Their comments below the picture were all about the fine food and good company.

Kate was a little bewildered but even more hurt. She thought, Why wasn’t I invited?

Angela had her girlfriends over for their regular prayer meeting, but all three of them said they had to leave early. They had another obligation. She didn’t think much about it and when they left she gathered up her kids to go the local coffee shop. When she arrived, there they were, her prayer group gals, sipping their lattes and laughing with another mutual friend.

Awkward moment.

Angela thought, I wonder why I was left out?

If you’re breathing, I’m sure like me, it’s happened to you sometime in your life—all your friends are off to a happening you didn’t know about, that is, until an innocent one shows you the invitation, or you walk in where you’re not expected, or people forget you’re also part of Facebook.

And you feel crushed. You feel less than. You feel discouraged.

When we’re uninvited though we may never find out the why, I can tell you it’s not because we’re unimportant, lack value, or are less than.

Why should we let our worth be tied up in somebody else’s agenda? Especially when we don’t know their heart and we don’t know the motives behind their actions. I assure you I know being left out is a humbling experience.

And whereas humility is good and keeps us looking upward, discouragement is defeating and keeps us looking inward.

So how do we keep our perspective right when we’re feeling dejected?

We align our perspective with God’s truth.

His Word says we are worthy.

We are made in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26-27).
We are fearfully and wonderfully made ( Psalm 139:13-16).
We are Gods’ own possession chosen for his glory (Ephesians 1:13-14)

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords wants us to dine at His table
and that’s the only invitation we need.

Yes, people will indeed disappoint us, hurt us, overlook us, fail us, and slap us to the ground…

Unintentionally and sometimes on purpose.

But we have a God who never rejects us, overlooks us, or fails us.

Quite the contrary. Our God revives us, pursues us, restores us, and comforts us and never ever stops loving us.

Friends will hurt us and feelings are fickle. But the facts are simple.

God is faithful.

Always.

So just remember when you’ve been slipped that invitation under the table that doesn’t have your name on it, your name is written in a far better place—on the scarred palms of our Savior’s hands.

And He says you are WORTH it.

“See I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Isaiah 49:16 NIV

Looking forward, pressing on, seeking God,

Christy

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Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, speaker, and Life Purpose Coach. She’s also a girly girl who chases tennis balls for Purposeful Faith Contributorrecreation and hunts for sharks teeth on the beach. But her greatest passion is to encourage women to move forward and press on, seeking God in the midst of life’s struggles.

You can find Christy at Joying in the Journey, Twitter, and Facebook.

When Jesus Puts You On the Blacklist

Decimate Shame

She and I? “We’ve known each other practically forever, so, I wondered, “Why is she hurting me so much?”

She stood far, whispering deep thoughts to others. All I knew, was – I was getting the cold shoulder and, clearly, I was now bumped right out of her ring of friends.  When she finally did speak to me, hardly two words escaped her mouth. I wasn’t sure what I had done wrong, except for I had been a vocal about sharing different perspectives. I had given words to a different path than her; I guess she didn’t like it.

As Christians, there is a risk to sharing the light of faith. You can get burned.

And, even worse, sometimes afterwards, you leave with the heavy weight you did it:
A. At the wrong time.
B. In the wrong way.
C. With the wrong words.
D. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Often, when the sting of embarrassment sets in, 
we more want to run from Christ, than reflect him again.

Ever noticed?

It makes it nearly impossible to be Christ to the least of these,
when we feel like the least of these.

To walk full of love,
when dragging a bag of shame and uncertainty.

To think about caring,
when all you’re doing is caring about yourself.

A mind going bonkers, like this:
“I didn’t show Christ.”
“She hates me.”
“I looked like an imbecile.”
“I should have connected better.”
“I am now the talking point of the game ‘Telephone'”

Doesn’t as easily dwell on thoughts like this:
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

It is easy to let what you didn’t do, become the focus of who you are, unless you let the Word of God redefine it…

Romans 8. It did it for me.

It is a stirring chapter; you can apply it to nearly any circumstance where you feel:
1.) Off Track
2.) Self-Consumed
3.) Unclear about how to proceed.
4.) Busted and left for ruin.

Do you feel any of these in your life?

Check it out. Let’s Pray Romans 8:

Thank you God that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

There is no erasing that, through Jesus, and the Spirit, I have life and am set free from sin and death. (Romans 8:2) With this, I need not fear what I have done wrong or what I am prone to do wrong. I will fail, but Jesus never can. This is my hope and this is my future. This a change-maker in me and through me.

Lord, help me to live according to the Spirit, not according to the flesh, so that I can have my mind set on what the Spirit desires (Romans 8:5).

Shift my thinking your way.
Shift my attitude your way.
Shift my love your way.
Shift my plans your way.
Shift my heart your way.
Keep my mind stayed on Spirit.

If my mind is on Spirit, and in Spirit, I will naturally shift towards life and peace (Romans 6:8). Keep me there. If I think anything else, besides, life and peace, help me wake up to the idea that I am driven by flesh. I don’t want to be hostile to God or have a mindset which you, God, clearly say cannot please you (Romans 8:7,8).

Help me shift, Lord.

Let me not forget, God, the power that is in me. There is incredible power that I can access and rely on, when only I seek and submit to it, “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit.” (Romans 8:11) What is in me, has the ability to make hug the rude.

Thank you Lord, that the those who are led by the Spirit are children of God (Romans 8:14). Through this, I am not a slave, bowing down to fears, but I am a daughter of the most high King. He will take care of me, he will fight for me, he will love me and he will endure for me. I can cry “Abba, Father,” by the Spirit and with full knowledge that I am okay (Romans 8:15).

God, help me endure sufferings, because your promise was not that we wouldn’t hit them, it was just that you would bring us through them (Romans 8:17), and even more, you say those who share in sufferings, share in your glory. Give me your eyes to see this perspective and lead me. Teach me. Help me. May I submit to Spirit. May I pray continually and may I seek to love and lay down my life as Christ has. Amen.

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Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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Overcome Like Jesus: 7 Ways He Proves You Can

Overcome Like Jesus

Ever looked at your life and wondered how God was going to deal with “all this”?

Sometimes, our lives seem to mangle themselves up into intricate webs of complexity. Each string lays on top of the other in a jumble of difficulty, hardship and ugly.

And, if we don’t actually ask God this, we normally think:

God, can you really work through this?
How can you untie everything wrapping against me?
There are so many moving pieces, so many difficult people and so many heavy problems, do you care?

overcome like Jesus
We look up, and we think, “How am I going to climb this barrier, this ridiculous tower of hardship and this likely-to-fall thing of pain?”

My son, looked up at his playground web in much the same way. It looked impossible for him to climb. He got to the middle of it, looked up and said, “I think I have gone far enough. I am not sure if I can go any higher.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mk. 9:23

I wonder if Jesus looked at his walk to Calvary Hill in much the same way?

Did he think “This is impossible? This is a mess I can’t get myself out of? Can God really get me through this?”

Somehow, I doubt it.

Jesus believed that the impossible, was the beginning of God’s possible.

He knew that intricacies of life, are the proof point for the immaculacies of God.

He knew that deeply woven, meant deeply scalable by God.

Look at the intricacies Jesus climbed to make it to the pain-ridden and pain-freeing cross.

1. He had to defeat the powers of hell.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. Col. 2:15

2. He had to defeat his mind.

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Lu. 22:42

3. He had to perfectly time things.

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law. Gal. 4:4

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Ro. 5:6

4. He had to fulfill Old Testament prophecy.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth. Is. 53:7

5. He had to take on the sins, the pain and the agony of the world.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. Jo. 1:22

6. He had to keeping humility, reliance on the plan and people coming at him in line.

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. Jo. 6:15

7. He had to deal with his dearly loved disciples abandoning him at his hour of need.

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled. Mt. 26:56

But, still, what looked impossible, was possible.
Like the King he was, he did not stop halfway.
He didn’t give up in the garden of agony.
He didn’t stop on the road of tears, pain and mocking.
He didn’t bow down to the taunts and lures of Satan.

He climbed. He scaled. To ascended on high. To reach the fullness of God’s heights.

How do you need to keep moving as Jesus did?

Remember, what your eyes see – is not what God sees. What he sees is greatness, holiness, sanctification and peace in process. What he sees is his good ending from the painfully woven beginning. He sees his plan and he knows it is good.

Faith is what you cannot see.
Belief is feet that keep moving when things keep getting harder.
Hope is God’s imminent rescue for those lives that trust him.

Trust him.
Keep climbing.
Don’t give up.
Don’t back down.
There is a plan.
He will bring you to his heights.
Press on.

My son focused. He kept moving. With the son against him, as he always is, he kept climbing and forging. And guess what happened? He didn’t fall, waver or give up halfway, but he made it to the top.

overcome like Jesus

Joy flooded him, smiles returned and a little “happy dance” in the sky occurred. He pulled through with God’s help.

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When You’ve Pushed God To the Point of No Return

Point of No Return

By: Angela Nazworth

The busy highway turned into a parking lot. I gripped the steering wheel and willed the cars ahead of me to move. Not one budged. I was going to be very late picking up my daughter from preschool and I worried that she was feeling sad and scared as she waited for me. When I finally arrived at her school, I found her sitting alone at her table. She was wearing her pink coat with a matching hat; her princess themed back pack was resting over her slumped shoulders. When I called out her name, her little head popped up like a gopher emerging from its tunnel.

“Mommy,” she exclaimed!

Reaching out for my embrace, she turned her head slightly toward her teacher and confidently said, “I just knowed my mommy would never leave me.”

Do you hold such confidence in your heavenly Father?

Do you know that He’ll never leave you?

I ask because deep down in my soul, I didn’t always believe this truth. I believed it in part, but not in whole. I believed that God, the creator of the universe, was always present in His creation. I believed that if I were oppressed, victimized, or sick, He would be with me in those dark hours. I also believed that He celebrated each milestone and victory in my life.

What I had trouble believing is that God
would stay by my side during the times I failed.

When people or the stuff of this world hurt me, I found my strength in knowing that I was a child of God and that He would not forsake me. Yet, when I was the promise-breaker, liar and the selfish hoarder, I felt not only shame and sorrow for my actions, I felt alone. That perceived desolation, which was stationed on a lie and wrapped with guilt, often kept me from crying out to my Savior.

I took God’s promises from John 3:16-17 and added  the word “unless.”

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Unless you mess up in a big way.

With the added unless, I completely ignored John 3:17

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

I rewrote the meaning of grace and lived as if it didn’t apply to me. But Grace is without limits. Grace blatantly steps over our human-made boundaries and says I haven’t left you. I will never leave you. Rest in me. Trust me. Live for Me, because I will never let you go.

Scripture does not read, He will never leave you or forsake you unless you take the Lord’s name in vain, or unless you commit adultery, or unless you yell at your kids, or unless covet your neighbor’s house.

Yes, our actions have consequences. No, God does not want us to chose our sinful desires over His perfect gifts. But once we’re His, he won’t leave us. He never longs for us to self destruct. Instead, He hears our cries and invites us into His open arms.

Point of No Return

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 35-38.

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Angela Nazworth is a flawed and forgiven recovering perfection who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community at angelanazworth.com. She is a wife and a mother of two, who manages philanthropic communications for a nonprofit, national healthcare association. Angela’s also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl’s night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. She believes the creator of the universe is both the author of and lead character in her life story. With every experience she learns more about who she is in Him … and takes another step on her journey to love others better. You can also chat with Angela via Twitter.

Love Wins Over Impossibility

Love wins

Love sees a wrong and rights it.
Love walks into a heart to open it.
Love loves when it doesn’t feel like it.
Love climbs over tall walls that stand before it.
Love crushes the obstacles surrounding it.
Love sets down swords to bring bouquets of flowers.
Love beats out pain over time,
to touch the most callous heart.

Love doesn’t count the cost.
Love doesn’t add up the damages.
Love doesn’t dwell in the days of old, but sees to the dreams of new.
Love doesn’t lose its pumping arms of endurance.
Love doesn’t move away from always-there, glimmer-of-light hope.
Love doesn’t part from passionate perseverance.
Love doesn’t see eye-constricting anger, but ever-flowing grace.
Love doesn’t forgive once, but 1000 times.
Love doesn’t always feel happy, but finds smiles through prayer.
Love doesn’t always have answers, but seeks God’s solutions.

Love lets the definers and originators
of the word make it come alive. 


When our arms fall down and our back falls back,
Father God, the Son and the Holy Spirit step up.

They teach us the real meaning of the word.

Then we see how love wins even when it feels like it is losing.
Love isn’t easy and Jesus proves that to us.
Love sometimes mean being seemingly nailed and beaten by those we love.
Love still remains.

It still works out. Love knows the alternative to love is hate and hate is the quick funnel to all pain, agony and despair. So love continues on…

Love never fails.
Love seeks truth.
Love fights for itself.
Love continues to die to self, and live to Christ.
Love waits.
Love heals.
Love brings life.
Love wins in the end.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor. 13:4-8

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

We love because he first loved us.

1 Jo. 4:18-19

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Breaking Under Pressure

Breaking Under Pressure

Like a teenager under the overwhelming weight of pressure – I did not choose the right road.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Gal. 5:19-20

I let my internal pursuit for feelings of acceptance compel my feet right to the place of wanting more for myself.

I wanted to get from God rather than enjoy him.

His blessings, rather than his presence.
Big confirmations, rather than his small dispensations of love.
Doors open and people to push me forward.
Only His best – for my advancement.

I wanted God “my way”.

Super-sized god.

An I-will-do-it-all-for-you god.

A tailor-made god that fit my needs.

But, my teenage tantrum to feel good, ended with the repercussions that always come when we bend in to disobedience. 

I slammed the door to my room and locked myself away from God, scolding myself for doing the wrong thing, in the wrong way. I didn’t want to look at him; I had done so wrong – I acted badly and was deeply afraid to admit it.

Yet, Jesus is the door and he has all access to our rebellious hearts as we say we are sorry. 

He walked in to comfort me with his love and the words, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:12-13

Praise you God!

You take us out of us, and give us you – so we know what to do.
As we work to know and fear you, you work to help and heal us.
The presence of the Spirit in us is greater than power of the flesh over us.

The truth is God that I can never work hard enough to remove my flesh; God never gave me that ability – the actual act would hurt far too much. To wrip off my flesh by myself is to live in a constant mode of chastising self-finger wagging.

Only God has the power.

He releases us on the inside so we can act right on the outside.

Then, we “do not use our freedom to indulge the flesh”.  Rather, we “serve one another humbly (not pridefully) in love. Gal. 5:13

Humble love says, “God your face is all I need.
Rather than, “God, pour out what I want.”

Lord, as your Spirit guides,
your faithful servant will obey,
because your ways are greater than mine.
Give me a heart to endure what you did on the cross,
so my life may reflect the magnitude of your love.
Amen.

As we release our life to God, we find it.  He works, and we, like needy children drawing instruction – listen. And, he leads us.

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You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.