Purposeful Faith

Category - grace

“No Strings Attached”

No Strings Attached

We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.

After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.

It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.

And then someone took it to the next level.

A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.

If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.

I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.

As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”

May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3

Prayer:

Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.

About Kendra Broekhuis:

Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her NeighborThe book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.

 

 

When You Give Your Best Away

give your best

“Give Thanks.” That is what the mug said.

Looking at it, I considered the thought deeper. I hadn’t been giving a lot of thanks lately. Mostly just gripes to God about people, timelines and the endless cause of trying to keep my house clean. In reality, I’d forgotten about thanks.

So when I considered which of the mugs to give away, it was hardly shocking that I nearly heard God say, “Kelly, thanks is made to be given away.”

Here, a mug short, I picked up the “Give Thanks,” mug. I would give it away with a heart of thanks. . .

…for, thanks is meant to be given away.

And this is the heart of hospitality. You give because you are thankful. You receive and say thank you.

So when the ladies came to my house for the event (I told you all a couple of weeks ago, that I was completely nervous about) and they selected little mugs to take home, I nearly kissed my favorite mug goodbye. Except. . . I didn’t.

When the event was over, the mug still remained on my counter. After texting the group to ask who left it, I got no response. So what I gave away in thanks, I kept.

What we give away to God, in thanks, we also keep…

We keep a smile on our face when we think of that precious moment of joy.
We keep a memory of a moment that we will treasure forever.
We keep a belief that God really will come through.
We keep a hope that God really can do the miraculous time and time again.
We keep a heart that is willing to change because God’s results are great.
We keep a fresh perspective on how much we have.

We give: thanks. We keep: everything. God doesn’t take away our cup; He fills it.

 

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.

 

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A Tested Way to Change What is Bad

The exterior of my house looks like a junkyard. I am not exaggerating. Out front is a broken desk; it was shattered during our near-cross country move. Out back are two sets of patio furniture. Ones I picked up and off the neighbor’s lawn.

I’ve never done that before. I really wanted patio furniture. So, the first second I saw the first set, the wrought iron white chairs, I declared them as cute as could be. That is, until a couple weeks later rust stains started showing up everywhere. I haven’t gotten rid of the chairs yet. My deck now is etched with tons of full-blown brown circles.

The other set was the replacement for the first set. I spotted the two big brown wicker chairs set aside as “throw-away items” in a neighbor’s yard. I rapidly snagged them (may I remind you, I’ve never been a trash hunter…I really wanted patio furniture). Like a sleuth agent, I threw them in my back yard before anyone could see.

Only later did I come to find out that the majority of the legs were missing. I guess they had enough legs to fool me at first. Go figure.

So, now, when I go outside, front-yard or back, I am overcome with junk. Junk that is rusty. Junk that is wasteful. Junk that is annoying. Junk I now have to figure out how to dispose of. Junk that leaves stains I also have to get cleaned. Junk that pesters me. And, no patio furniture, to boot.

What junk are you dealing with in your life? An old house? An old wardrobe? An old annoying habit that drives you nuts? A problem you can’t fix? A person you can’t de-stain? Baggage that feels to internally weighty to unload?

We can shift our attitude. Did you know that? I tried it. Sitting on the said-white chairs, the other day, I recommitted to God to be positive about it all. That is. . .until I looked left. . . and saw the brown chairs. Grr…not them again. My thoughts wandered off to lands of annoyed and not-bueno.

God, how do we continually see the good, while we are surrounded by the bad?

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18, NIV)

What if we were really go give thanks in (and for) ALL circumstances, good and bad?

God thank you that these rusty patio chairs remind me: earthly things rust, eternal things last.

God, thank you that the brown chairs, flipped over, with their broken and legless limbs up to the sky speak: on earth we don’t get everything, but in Christ, we have all we ever need.

God, thank you that the broken table out front is symbolic of seasons: they change, but your love, God, always stay the same.

God, thank you that what looks like junk can be seen through a new light. Thank you that what looks broken is a reminder of my brokenness and how you’ve repaired me. Oh God, I give thanks that you haven’t left me broken, but you are repairing me. You are good.

To give thanks for our bad, is to, undoubtedly, find God’s good. It is to let victimhood, despair and frustration drop off you and to let a high and lofty view come in you. It’s powerful.

Junk has purpose. Thank you God, my deck kind-of, now, looks like art work.

Prayer:
God, help me to give thanks. So many times I see what is bad, but through you, I ask for vision to see what is good. I ask you for a voice full of praise and thanksgiving. I ask for understanding of what you are doing through the hard times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. 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.

Beware of Forcing the Wrong Season

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

Nothing would stop me and my bike.

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

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

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

No, really. . . why?

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

God says there is a time for everything:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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7 Ways to Be Spiritually Fit

spiritually fit

Everyday, I know I should at least fit a walk into my schedule.  I should get my shoes on and move beyond the boundaries of my complacency, so I don’t:

– lose strength

– waste away

– gain unintended weight

– make my heart unhealthy

We all think about our physical health, at least sometimes. We take vitamins, make vegetables, drink water, take the stairs. Even if we aren’t so good at it, we normally think about it, or how to improve it. We know it is important to our vitality.

But how often do we consider our spiritual health? Our spiritual fitness?

So we don’t:

– lose strength in the Lord

– waste away, only to find ourselves one with the world

– gain unintended weight, or baggage, we are not meant to carry

– find our our heart unhealthy

Today, let’s stop for a moment and consider why our strength and fitness in the Lord is so important.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” 1 Cor. 9:26-27 MSG

We want to be spiritually fit. But what does that mean?

I believe it means we:

  1. Are led by the Spirit and not the flesh.
    In the Spirit, we are strong. But if we’re driven by our own efforts, we quickly learn — we’re weak.
  2. Follow Christ’s life, truth and ways.
    “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps. 91:11
  3. Be fishers of men.
    When God calls us to cast our nets into risk, and we do, he often encourages our hearts to keep doing it. Here, we learn to be risk-takers instead of home-dwellers.
  4. Fellowship with God, constantly.
    In Christ, we come out of our weakness, stress and fears to find ourselves equipped and empowered by his grace.
  5. Have a readiness to go.
    The more we get our running shoes on, the easier it gets to move out the door.
  6. Stand firm in our identity.
    When we know who we are, it doesn’t work so well when the enemy tries to tell us we are someone else.
  7. Seek purity.
    When sin drops off of us through confession, we become more and more alive. We’re aware of the God who lives in us and all the promises he has for us. Rather than getting caught up in our shame, we become enamored with His name, Jesus.

Today, may you and I choose to walk in spiritual fitness.

 

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.

My Shiny Pet Rock: Sin I Love to Hate

http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/2017/11/14/sin-i-love-to-hate/

This thing, this terrible thing that I have struggled with for years, is something I cannot seem to shake.

So what is a girl to do?

I did what any good church-going gal would do.  I signed up  for every single bible study, every retreat, and any and every special session.  All the things, I believed would help me finally understand why I don’t do what I like, but instead, do what I hate.

Among my friends and acquaintances, I was known for my devotion to the study.  The study of that which they believed was an adoration for my God, but in reality was a desperate attempt to finally break free.

Bible Study Sister.

Jesus fan-girl.

Devoted.

Good people.

A Proverbs-31 woman.

I did all the things. The things that were suggested, the things I believed were essential to 1.  Freedom.  2.  Worthiness.

Yes, I believed I must earn my salvation, and when I finally achieved this worthiness, maybe then I would be able to overcome this thing.  The thing, the thing that I cannot seem to get over, that I cannot leave behind.

Perfection evades me.  As much as I love order and perfection, I love this … this monster I call my sin.

Mine.

What would I do with my time, with my mind, if not for the sin I tend to?

So back I went to my studies, with my highlighters, fancy pens and markers. The bible bag I carry with all my tools has a fancy cross embroidered on the front.  It is decorated with pins asking “what would Jesus do?”  But as much as I study, as much as having memorized, I swear.. I do not know.

I did not know what Jesus would do.

And I could not figure out how to be just like Him.

Truth be told, no matter how much I dedicated to the study of my sin, the sin was all I knew.  And then a friend brought this to my attention.

I was a classic case of a Christian with a sin god…. continue reading and link up here!!!  

 

 

 

When You Say My Situation Is Impossible

Impossible

I get your emails. I know a large majority of you have impossible situations.

Many times, I can’t read your words without reaching my hand up to my heart or crunching up my face in sadness. You all have some heartbreaking stuff going on in your life. I do wish I could fix it. I wish I could reach right in and just tidy up what is terribly wrong.

God hasn’t given me this ability. He hasn’t given it to you either.

But what he has given us is remembrance. He’s given us remembrance of faithfulness. Can you remember it?

Can you think of another horribly desperate and difficult time? A time when you believed there was no way, yet God made a way? Let it come to you. If you can’t remember, sit with this for a minute.

“Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.” Is. 46:9

Your God, who no man is like, who transcends this earth, who has all resources in his hands, who is the specialist of the impossible, who made a way through the Red Sea, who broke the power of death, who would climb any mountain to find you, who died to save you. . . is God. Your God, who sees your tears, who bottles them up, who knows your every thought, who sees your every move, who sympathizes with your every weakness, who will one day wipe away your tears, is your God.

Your God is unlike any other. He does things unlike any human. He fixes (remember: David, Jonah, Job) unlike any way we could come up with.

He will arrive. He always shows up. His love never fails. His faithfulness endures forever.

He is not a God who lets daughters down. Hold firm in faith. God is moving in the places you cannot see.

 

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.

What it Means to Have a Good Father

Good Father

I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.

What does this mean?

To my heart it means:

  1. God inclines his eyes to watch me.
  2. He enjoys me.
  3. He is glad he made me.
  4. He wants me.
  5. He delights in giving to me.
  6. He will always help me.
  7. He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
  8. He sees me as a reflection of him.
  9. He cheers me on as I go the right way.
  10. He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
  11. He wants me to know I am safe with him.
  12. He believes in me.
  13. He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
  14. He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
  15. He speaks over me that I am good.
  16. He wants to be near me.
  17. He loves it when I spend time with him.
  18. He delights over me with singing.
  19. He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
  20. He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
  21. He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
  22. He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
  23. He freely gives the best of himself to me.
  24. He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love  he predestined us for adoption to sonship  through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—  to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)

What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?

Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.

And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.

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.

Don’t Ever Give up

Give up

Today, I am compelled to tell you: Don’t give up.

Don’t. Don’t give up on the kid who won’t listen.
Don’t give up on a dream you’ve never accomplished.
Don’t give up on a hope that seems hopeless.
Don’t give up on the spouse that you think is too far gone for you to ever love.
Don’t give up searching out that great friend you’ve always longed for.

God sees all that you’re enduring. He knows the desires of your heart. He cares for each and every one of them.

And God loves you. I fear this sounds contrite, like wasted words and that somehow, like my daughter, you’ll respond: I know this already. Tell me something I don’t know. . .

But do you really know?

Jesus loving you and dying for you is the equivalent of him jumping in between you and an assault, pushing you out of harm’s way so he can take the blow, and entering a war that feels like a huge loss, all so that you can be lifted above it.

It is like him jumping into the scene of your life to fix it, permanently and eternally.

If he cared for you that much, doesn’t he still care for you that much — today?

Don’t give up: on Him, on you or on those around you.

To not give up means to keep going. It means to you can feel kind of icky, tired, or weary and worn, but you keep at it. Not working hard, or doing more, or pressing ahead, or sweating it out, but simply pursuing him with all your heart. It’s keeping your time intact with him who is love. It’s not letting life encroach on his territory.

This is not giving up.

Getting his love gives hearts new air to breathe, room to move, and a helping hand up.

Our high aim and our lifting hand always is Him.

“Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” (Ps. 37:4-6)

 

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.

5 Ways to NOT get distracted from God

NOT get distracted

My son can’t keep his eyes on me when I talk to him. Granted, he is only six, but his small eyes wander left and right when I’m giving instruction. It drives me nuts.

“Hey boy, Mama is over here, not under the table…”

I hate it the most during those lean-in kind of conversations, the ones where I really need him to pay attention because I have something important to say. When his head starts spanning the ceiling, I just know he isn’t listening. I’ve lost him somewhere. It is usually hard to bring him back and get him to hear me.

Like my son, we can’t easily hear God when our eyes are off him.  We can’t easily follow what He is doing when we look left and right and all around.

We miss His directions. God may be standing in the center of our intersection called “life,” waving his arms, trying to tell us where to go. But if we have our head turned in other directions, thinking about random thoughts, annoyances, pestering people and pain-soaked problems, we won’t see what he is doing or saying to lead us.

So how do we keep our eyes on God so we can follow him? How do we focus our attention on his Word, on prayers and on his beauty so we find ourselves full of his joy?

I’ve mulled over this question long and hard, day after day, week after week and the more I consider it, the more I am finding these steps keep intimacy in this crazy world.

5 Ways to Keep Focus on God:

  1. Give yourself allowance. You have a human mind that does human things. It gets distracted. It wonders about random people. It notices ancillary objects. It tallies up its list of to-dos.Don’t hate yourself for getting off track. Just choose to get back on.
  2. Go back to where you last were with God. Example: If you are reading the bible and you find your mind has gone off another trail, return it back to where you last were.Pick up on the last place you remember being with God.
  3. Swap what you listen to. I watched a Nazi film last night. I couldn’t think about God, nonetheless sleep. But on the nights I pray before bed, I go to bed thinking, dwelling and at peace with God.Sometimes you have to swap what you watch or partake in.
  4. Ask for God’s help to stay awake to him.Then, act like it’s Christmas. Know that today, God has something good for you and you don’t want to miss it.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3

     5. Shut it all down. Literally.Shut down your phone, computer and your active-lifestyle. Pick a certain amount of time and call it off limits. Let no one, no how, no way encroach on that time with God. Then, during this time, refer to items 1-4 above.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Is. 26:3)

The more you practice these things, the more these things will seamlessly and effortlessly become part of your life. They’ll soak into your thinking, living and doing. . . and before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking with God far more often than you’re not.

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.

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