Purposeful Faith

Category - Freedom

Exchanging Labels and Lies for His Truth

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I went to the N.A. meeting with one goal. To get in and get out. The last thing I expected was for someone to give me a new label. I had too many of those already.

Sure, I wanted to support my loved one. I wanted him to get healthy, find release and healing. But I hoped by staying quiet and not making direct eye contact with the group leader, I could make my exit as soon as the meeting was over.

My strategy didn’t exactly work out as planned. The leader saw me right away, as it’s hard not to notice someone new when you’re sitting in a huge circle.

Once he learned who I was, he asked a series of questions. I didn’t know where he was leading and tried to be as vague as possible with my answers. Later, I learned he was trying to see if I met all the criteria for a term commonly used to describe the loved ones of addicts: codependent.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what the word meant. I had an idea, but I was nineteen years old at the time. Things like this didn’t enter my vocabulary. So, like any good college student, I did some research.

Codependency: (n) a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s drug addiction, alcoholism, gambling addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.

I wasn’t willing to admit it out loud, but I knew I was a classic case. And without even realizing it, I took this label and added it to the list of other ones I allowed to define me through my college and early work years. Codependent, quiet one, underachiever, shy girl.

What’s ironic is that I hated stereotypes. When others tossed them around, I tried my best to avoid them.

“You can’t put me in a box,” I thought to myself.

What I didn’t see is that even though I wasn’t saying them aloud, I was listening. I was allowing these titles to limit me and hold me back.

When I had the opportunity to read my poetry aloud at the coffee shop, I quietly declined. When my professor told me I should enter a writing piece into the tribune, I let fear hold me back.

Staying in the shadows felt safe.

But by never venturing out and taking risks, I slowly lost little pieces of myself. I watched opportunities pass by and wondered why it was so hard for me to step out and be brave.

Years later, after graduating and acquiring my first couple of post-college jobs, I sat in a sanctuary trembling as the labels I’d adopted fell, one by one. I had new ones, and they weren’t names the world could give or take away.

Chosen. Worthy. Daughter. Beloved.

It took me years of searching and asking questions. Lord knows, I can be pretty hard-headed at times. But what I finally saw is that if I let the world define me with a finite label, I would never know who I was as an eternal being.

The world gives us labels based on appearance, but Jesus gives us names that stick.

Once we realize this, we can walk in freedom because we know that when he calls us to do something, it is his name we represent. Not our own.

So if he if he calls us to speak or share or move, what do we have to lose? Nothing but chains, dear daughters. Nothing but chains.

“My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.” Song of Solomon 2:10 ESV

 

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.

Is That You Jesus? 

I have only been blogging for a couple of years.  In those years I have interacted with many amazing women. I have found that among the things we do not have in common, there is almost always one thing we do have in common.

We are the walking wounded.

I have yet to meet a woman or receive an email from someone who says, “I have no battle wounds, I have not a single emotional scar. I have never been let down, lead astray, hurt, disappointed, cheated, lied to, manipulated or violated.”

In this life, these things happen.  These bad things happen.  They sneak up on us, and they change us, sometimes – they define us. This is tragic but in my case, and what I am now learning, in the case of so many women, these incidents also defined Jesus.

What?

Well, yeah.  Think about it, do you have an incident where you were hurt or hurting that a human being, someone you loved or trusted said or did something that you have now negatively associated with Jesus?

At my brother-in-law’s funeral, an older parishioner came up to me and said, “God must be trying to show you something.  Don’t let this lesson go to waste.”  I believed this lie. I believed that God was up on high killing, cutting innocent men to ribbons to teach me… the worst person on the planet, who ate too much cheese, a harsh lesson.

Ridiculous.

But I believed this.  I believed in an irrational wrath.  I believed His fury could never be quenched. I was certain there was no telling who would be next.  I was exhausted, paralyzed and petrified.  As I typed words of His goodness and truths of His mercy, love, and unending favor His true character began to peep through my darkness. I began to question what I knew about Him.

And then I began to grieve what I had come believe about Him.

One Thursday afternoon, I fell into His arms in the most genuine of submissions. I curled up in His lap and recited scripture after scripture about His goodness.

If He is for me who can be against me?

If nothing can separate me from His love, why do I keep a list of things I believe have alienated me from Him?

If Jesus died, rose again, and then sat down… why do I think I must work to finish anything?

If Jesus came to give me life and peace and joy in abundance, why am I so stressed and sad?

The litany went on and on and when it was finished I was free.  Free from the terror of believing I was doomed, that my children were doomed… that the other shoe was about to drop because I messed up my Weight Watchers points. The lists of things I believed I did wrong could never catch up with the meager list of things I did right.  The things I did right?  How could ever measure if they were enough?

In the midst of the revelation, I was writing my first book, which you can now find by following the link below. As excited as I am to share it here, on Kelly’s page, who was with me through every step of the journey, it is a very vulnerable time.  I have cried buckets, rejoiced, and cried some more.  Still, Jesus has been so real to me in these months, that is my entire focus. Although He doesn’t need me, I need to voice how wrong I was about Him. And I know this, He does want me. He craved me unto His death. Not to terrorize me, but to commune with me. He enjoys my company, I am His girl. He waits patiently for you as well, the unearthing of His true identity is one I wouldn’t have missed.  He is indeed Bread and Life.

For more information about Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior follow this link!  And for a chance to a win an autographed copy of the book follow me on Facebook and then email me at sacredgroundstickyfloors@gmail.com and say FOLLOWED!  I’ll draw Saturday, September 16, 2017, at 9:00 am central and announce it on my author page and then email you back for your address!

 

Jami AmerineJami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

The Simple Way to Strength

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Is. 40:29)

When I read these verses, do you know what I think?

I think: That’s great He does all that – for them.

It’s great that he cares for the weary people who have cancer, or the poor people in India or the single mom in Detroit. He is SO loving to all them. But, I never apply God’s Word to me…

…even though I fall entirely in this camp. I am weary from packing up my whole house and carting boxes all the way to a new state. I am weak from trying to sell off my whole house and I am lacking might in the kindness department as night gives way to another night of no sleep.

But, I hardly count myself like them. I hardly place myself in the camp of the needy and poor people who should get God’s best.

“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;

the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” (Ps. 41:1)

What about you? Do you regard yourself?

Do you easily admit you are:

  1. Weary
  2. Weak
  3. Lacking might
  4. In trouble

What strikes me is that when we admit these things, we receive strength and power. It’s what this scripture says will happen. But, part of it happening is allowing it to happen.

You know, we can stop it from happening…

I’ve never been able to shove a popsicle in a kid’s mouth who didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to make my husband accept time of rest when he didn’t want it. Nor have I been able to fully feel God’s love when I didn’t make time for it.

David, the man who wrote this Psalm, even said, “Have mercy on me, Lord, heal me, for I have sinned against you” and “Even my close friend, someone I trusted…has turned[ against me.” (Ps. 41:9)

He admitted his gunk. What’s yours?

Psalm 41 says God:

– protects
– preserves
– does not give people “over to the desire of their foes”
– sustains
– restores those who are weary and lacking.

Seems like everything I need. What about you?

 

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

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

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

When Your Past Returns to Haunt You

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Are you a pagan?”

I sat in a body-piercing studio with the owner gazing at a tattoo displayed on the nave of my back. It was a gnome, sitting on a mushroom and playing a fife. Everything about it screamed pot-smoker, hippy and apparently, pagan.

And to think I got it because I thought it looked cool. To me it said, “Outsider,” a label I gave myself during my younger years.

The man’s question caught me off guard. I was twenty-one at the time and wasn’t sure who I was, let alone what I believed.

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. The artist seemed as surprised by my answer as I was. Immediately, I felt ashamed.

Who was this person, anyway?

I spent the next eight years trying to figure out the answer to that question. Eventually, I realized all of the places I ran to seek my identity were fickle and fading.

It wasn’t until I started with the One who gave me my eternal name that I would know my true self.

These days, my tattoo is usually hidden. But the other day, while on family vacation, I was changing into my swimsuit and my five-year-old saw it.

“Mama, what’s that on your back?”

I told him what the picture was and explained how a tattoo is like a permanent picture on your skin. Then, my mind went back. Back to the person I was. Back to the mistakes I made and the years I spent wasting my life. Things much bigger than a silly tattoo that shape the person I am today.

For a little while, I let the voice of condemnation darken the light in my soul.

Scenes of things I wish I’d never seen replayed in my mind. Faces of people who left this life for the next one burned in my memory and left my heart heavy.

Perhaps you’ve been there? You’re walking in the new life Jesus freely gave you, and then all of a sudden you’re hit with a blatant reminder of the mess you used to be? That, despite your best efforts, some days you still are?

In those dark moments when I’m not sure I can escape my past, God often gives me a reminder. This time was no different.

We arrived at the pool and found it closed because of an incoming storm. After playing for a while in the arcade next door, we made our way back to the campsite. As we made dinner, a beautiful site caught my eye.

A spectacular sunset over the river.

The sun was big and radiant, dipping to the horizon in a circular blanket of clouds. I hurriedly got my camera and ran down to the beach.

I must of snapped a dozen pictures, but when I flipped through them in my viewfinder I was disappointed. This huge ball of light and fire looked tiny and dim. I couldn’t capture its draw. It was uncontainable.

As I sat in our camper later that evening, I felt that gentle whisper in my spirit.

Don’t try to put limits on my grace, Abby. It’s more limitless than the sun.”

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16 ESV

I was putting God in a box again, thinking I could somehow run outside his grace. But it doesn’t just cover me. It drenches me.

We can’t put finite limitations on the grace of an infinite God.

And the moment we stop trying to put God in a box, we find we don’t want Him there. We find freedom. We find joy and rest.

So today, if your past is trying to haunt you, take a lesson from my tattoo. Remember it shapes you, but it doesn’t define you.

God can take the shattered pieces of your life and turn them into something far more spectacular than a sunset. He does it each and every day. Sometimes we just need a reminder of who he is.

Sometimes we have to take him out of the box and come to the altar. 

 

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.

Need Faith?

need faith

My husband is a man of great faith. Where I see nothing, he sees something.

With this, he’s been trying to convince myself to lean back on my prayers and trust them. He’s calling me to step into what I felt God was leading me into.  He’s calling me to rely on the fact: I don’t have to see it to believe it.

For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Ps. 108:4 

Having a posture of hope in God, when everything appears status quo, stuck and steady – is hard. It is seemingly impossible and this is the point, I suppose.

I think God planned it this way. We have to lean back on Him, the one we trust. We have to again acknowledge God as our God. Our trust in Him who has all power. Because it has to be supernatural. It has to pour from heaven. It has to be procured from his faithfulness.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

Ps. 3:22-23

What if, every morning God was prepared to pour out the very faith we asked for, but we only need ask? What if, rather than feeling God must be upset at us for our lack of belief, we simply remembered his lovingkindness and compassions that don’t fail?

How might things change? How might we progress? What might we step into?

For he loves us with unfailing love;
the LORD’s faithfulness endures forever.
Ps. 117:2

If you are faithful, by definition of that word: you are always faithful. So, He who is faithful – is faithful. He cannot be different. He cannot sometimes stand and sometimes fall. He cannot come to your rescue one day and not the next. We might not always see, or know or be able to summarize the whys, hows and because explanations, but still – God is – who God is – and who God is – is good.

What do you long for from God? What do you feel he started, but didn’t finish? What have you lost hope in?

Perhaps, you ask him to resurrect it?  To rekindle the fire? To provide you the faith you need to carry it through?

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Ps. 57:10

Prayer: God, help us to believe as we once did. Help us to see your limitless love and your endless compassion. You care for us. You are behind us. You want us do live well and do well for your kingdom. Increase our trust in you. Increase our reliance on you. And, most of all, pour out greater faith in our lives. Forgive us for our unbelief, and pour out what we need to go forward in all you have for us, God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

We Will Not Stay Down

Post By: Angela Parlin

We had been going over the same set of details for days.

Each sit-down, hour-long discussion felt like we were walking around in two separate circles.

I could see how he was wrong, but he couldn’t.

He could see how I was wrong, but I couldn’t.

Add in miscommunications, assumptions, and misunderstandings, and there you have our reasons for walking in lonely circles of our own making.

I wouldn’t say we were angry with each other, but we both felt misunderstood. We were waiting for the other person to see our own point of view.

It took a few days before the light turned on and we joined hands and walked together again. In the light, I read through my journal and saw some things I hadn’t realized before.   I saw my own sin and the resulting sadness. 

I had been deceived.

We can be so deceived by sin, and fail to see it. Or admit it. Or turn from it. Sometimes, we don’t really want to see where we are wrong. It would feel better if only they  were wrong.

When were you last deceived by sin?

Every one of us chooses to sin at times, and others, we fall into sin. We are works in process. Sometimes, we fall and refuse to get back up for a while. Or we make a huge mess and track it everywhere, and then find remnants in hidden corners long after we’ve come clean.

Sin sticks like mud sometimes. And it’s messy. It can be lonely and make us feel trapped.

I pray with the psalmist, Lord, keep your servant from willful sins; may they not rule over me. (Psalm 19:13) And I remember His unending love.

He freed us from our sins, so they will not rule over us.

We are being transformed, and He’s not finished with us yet.

So Child of God, you may fall into sin, but you are not going to dwell there.

Jesus changed everything when He made a Way for us to be near God. He paid the penalty for all of our sin–and set us free from our slavery to sin. When we first trusted in Him, He planted love deep in our hearts, for Him and others. His new law of love.

“I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts.

I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Hebrews 8:10b

You see, the old covenant failed because of the people’s unfaithfulness. But the new covenant cannot fail. The new covenant is based on what God did and does and will do.

The Lord who frees captives will continue to rescue us–every time we call to Him–out of any pit where we’ve fallen.

He is our God, and we are His people.

So we may fall, but we will not stay down.

Angela Parlin

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.

Super Simple Way: Escape the Rat Race

Escape the Rat Race

Moms know what I am talking about here. It’s that time when you are T-minus 5 minutes until junior’s lights out. It’s that time you know you’re about to be set free. It’s that time things need to move ahead with military precision. Demands and dictates must be followed and executed. Perfectly, even. Orders run like a military checklist…

Prayers: Contrite and consolidated. Check!

Kid: 1 sip,  1 question, 1 hug. Then, they must get snug as a rapid-fire bug in a rug. Check!

Door shuts: Only a confident “Good Night” is permissible with no grain of guilt allowed (lest the kid should pop his head back out again). Check!

Final Declaration of Victory: A sigh against the side of the wall you are slumped against.

War Plunder: A piece of dark chocolate on the couch to soothe away residual anxiety.

You made it!!!

I live my life like this and I feel like a barbarian for it. Sure, I know it is wrong. Yet, after you spend nearly 14 hours being the living slave to the kid you love beyond the smallest inkling of your wildest imagination, and after giving your best and then giving a spoonful more – your somehow on your last leg.

Many days, I hope by morning, everyone will forget how I acted like a jerk. How I spoke words I should have kept in my mouth. How I snapped about people not moving fast enough. How I nitpicked about the kitchen not being clean enough. How I grunted at mistakes.

Honestly, it is often easier to run away than to run straight into confession. It is easier to run fast than to slow down. It is easier to do than to be.

And, so, the insanity continues! I go through the motions. Repeat.

Yet, one night, things changed. He went to sleep. Peacefully.

Hmm…no sound. He was all quiet, all sweet. And here I was – outside the door. I couldn’t help but notice how far, far away I felt.

What if real peace isn’t chocolate?

What if success isn’t determined by a stopwatch?

I opened the door and went inside, I climbed up to the top of his bunk bed. Shocked, his head peeped out.

I sang a long song. Gently, his hand stretched around my neck. I felt its tight grip.

I relished the moment.

He whispered, “I love you.”

There is nowhere else I would rather be.

What have you been rushing to? Often our best moment is in the process of slowing down.

How many times have we missed it? How many times have we rushed to something better, more relaxing, when what we really want- is right before us?

When we slow down to let in a moment, we get a chance to receive it.

When we reach out with no demands, we find people reach in, towards us.

When we choose love we experience it.

I am learning – slowing down is paramount to receiving love.

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

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

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

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.

 

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

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When Someone is Better than You (& You Hate Them for it)

Better than You

The lady was confident. That was my first issue with her.

If she was just beautiful and – not confident, she might not have bothered me. But, she was SO sure of herself. She knew she was made of.  No one in the world could tell her otherwise! No one could stop her! She brought her brilliance with her wherever she went!

She sat like the statue of liberty. I was a small seagull whose job was to soak in her glory.

It didn’t help she had a great job and wouldn’t shut up about it. That really irked me, because at this time, I had a horrible job and I loved to whine about it. I have too much work! I can’t do it! I need a new job!

This lady spoke to my husband differently: My job is a dream! My boss is inspirational. My life is fantastic!

Puh-lease….someone pass me the salt shaker – so I can pour it on her head.

I could almost see it, me – the small one, salt-shaker in hand – wrecking her moment. Her, the large-and-in-charge one melting like the Wicked Witch of the West.

But, she is not wicked. I am. Ever asked yourself…Why am I thinking this way?

I sat back in my chair, tuned out her conversation and considered –  why am I thinking so – meanly?

Her strength is depleting mine.

Her success is ruining my moment.

Her great attitude defines me as less than.

Her belief in herself is stealing my joy.

Why does one woman have such a great impact – on me? Can 1 lady take away all of God’s promises with 1 sparkly super-white smile?

Is this what God intended? For me to hate girls who are happy, successful and beautiful?

Somehow, in this moment, I know my heart has followed a rabbit trail – straight away from God’s glory. I’ve gone got myself stuck in a pit now.

Have you found yourself in a pit lately? Perhaps someone shines better than you? Always has a perfect answer? Has the job of all jobs? Is PTA mom extraordinaire? Is driving your dream car? Has perfect kids? Constantly shows off Facebook vacations?

God says, our pits are escapable, with his help. “He lifted me out of the slimy pit…he set my feet on a rock & gave me a firm place to stand.”

God has the strength to lift me up from the yuck I put myself in.
When I set my eyes on God, not her, he, like a medivac, pulls me to safety.
Choose to stand upon the solid rock – the ground that is not sinking. , that is not wavering and that will not quake under the pressure of earthly measures.

Here, I see: I am not less than, I am just right in God’s eyes.
I am not struggling, but victorious, because I am chosen as daughter.

I am not without a plan, because God has created good works for me in advance. I am not alone, for God sees the desires of my heart.

I am not dependent on others, but fully dependent on God – and who he says I am.

I pull out of my thoughts and find myself at that restaurant table. Her voice emerges, except it no longer sounds like nails on a chalkboard, but another girl, who’s excited to be who she is created to be. I mention how blessed she is to have a good job. She smiles. We talk – and have fun.

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How to Fight Like… a Boy?

fight like a boy

Post by:  Beth Duewel

I wonder how many seconds I’ve held my breath? Like when I lost my mom. 1, 2, 3. Or when I stared at another blue line on another pregnancy test. 1, 2, 3, 4. How about the many times my children have ran into the sharp corners of life. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,…

I don’t get those moments back.

So, I need to breathe in brave. It helps to remember David fighting the giant.

Because I want to be able to fight like…a boy? Really, it still amazes me. How did a boy have the faith to step forward to fight a giant of a man? The name alone intimidates—Goliath the giant of Gath. I mean, David heard what the people were saying. His father, Jesse, and three brothers went to fight the Philistines while David ran errands and tended to their heard of sheep. But this small story of giant fighting is huge. For me. And no doubt for the girls in my fifth grade Sunday school class.

Because we want to know God will help us battle big in life. Just like David, we’re afraid sometimes. We also want to test and see if God’s love makes us brave. Does it?

Taking a breath of fresh air.

I’ll admit, when I am tired or feel unable—I forget about David. Really. All I can do is watch the worry-wrinkle between my brows deepen. But last month, while hearing this fear-fighting story again through the voices of my fifth grade Sunday school class—I took in a breath of fresh air.

In fact, we were all shocked to discover that David had no cheerleaders. Nope. Not even one. No one expected David to be brave. Not his family. Not his friends. Not his enemy. Because afraid was contagious and had already traveled throughout the valley. It loomed over the battle camp like smoggy smoke. A gasp, a quiet sigh, and a defeated shrug accomplished what words didn’t have to. In fact, Jesse kept David busy minding his own worry that his other sons were okay.

“And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp of your brothers. Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring back some token from them.” (1Samuel 17: 17-18 ESV).

Yes. David took the provisions as his father had commanded. But while he was there at the camp speaking with his brothers, David heard something. He heard Goliath making threats, breathing anger like fire, and beating his bronze chest with demands to fight just one. Then 1Samuel 17: 23 says, “And David heard him.”

David heard the raging voice of Goliath, but he also heard the Sovereign whisper of God.

Besides, he wasn’t about to breathe in the same air as everyone else. While they were keeping David busy running ten cheeses to the commander, David was puzzled and questioned the fear and concerns of others. Why did he wonder?

Because David knew. He knew God protected. He knew God slew evil. He knew God rescued the lost. He knew God helped him pry open the jaw of the lion that tried to eat his sheep. He knew God.

We want to know God in this way. But we are satisfied with delivering cheese.

Why? Because we listen to the sound of our own heart beating. We allow our faith to match our circumstance. We pay closer attention to our worry-wrinkles and don’t see ourselves as the true reflective image of God.

How do we fight like a boy? Like David. We need to take time each day to know God.  Through prayer and His Word we can know without a doubt God will help us. He will protect us. He will slay the enemy for us. He will rescue our lost hope, lost patience, lost courage, lost joy, and our lost breath. God’s love makes us brave.

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone…” (1 Samuel 17:48-50) ESV. 

Whatever the battle today. Breathe brave, my friend. Breathe brave.

Want to be more fearless? Sign up for the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge! Or, order the book, Fear Fighting, today!

fight like a boyBeth Duewel is a wife and mom of three who is only able to breathe-brave through the perfect love of Christ. Beth would love to connect and pray with you on her blog: Fix-Her-Upper.com. Look for her book in spring of 2017, Fix-Her-Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God Renovated Life.