Purposeful Faith

Category - hope

When God Didn’t Give What You Wanted

God Didn't Give
 Has God ever boomeranged truth – where it hits you right between the eyes? He did with me; it kind of hurts.

My son asked, “Mom, can I have hot chocolate.”

I figured I was being super nice by saying yes. He wanted marshmallows too.

“You can have 6,” I said.

But, six in the cup looked like a swim party of few, so I reached into the bag and grabbed the biggest handful I could. With an overwhelming feeling of generosity, I dropped them into his mug, expecting to see the face of a kid lit up in a candy shop; he didn’t look impressed.

Oh well. A mom can try. 

Even so, I figured, I’d made him happy for the morning. Mission accomplished. I figured wrong. As soon as the last drop was licked out of the cup, he was at it again, “Mom, I didn’t get to eat a marshmallow on its own. I only got them in my cup. Those ones were all wet.”

His face was gearing up for WWIII. My face was not pleased either. I’d just given him ten times more than he deserved and he was whining about one marshmallow? Mom. Can’t. Win.

And, this ungrateful kid won’t win either!

“Son,” I said, “You can either be thankful for what you have or be discontent with what you don’t.”

No sooner were these words out of my mouth than they boomeranged. Boing!!!

They hit me like this:
“Kelly, you can either be thankful for what you have –
or discontent with what you don’t.”
Boing!!!

You may be missing me as much as he is Kelly. Boing!!!

Thankfulness is where you find joy, Kelly.
It is where you meet greater trust in me. Boing!!!

You see what you don’t have,
but what you do have is gi-stinking-normous.
 Boing!!!

You enter my presence with a word of thanks; you find me. Boing!!!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise;
give thanks to Him and praise His name”
(Psalm 100:4)

I want more of God – and all of this is true. God has given me much. He’s reached into the bag of his goodness and made the cups to overflow. He’s gone above and beyond to open up life-changing spiritual insights. He’s provided for me when I saw no way. He’s given me the opportunity to write a book that blessed me beyond get-out with new courage.  He has grown me in patience. He has offered me a chance to be near loved ones. He’s grown my faith.

God, hasn’t given me a tad, He’s given me a ton. Yet, sometimes, like my son, I see only the little thing he hasn’t done. I focus on it, forgetting everything else. I get obsessed with that one little marshmallow and forget the sweetness of his providence.

But, what I am coming to today is – I always have something to be thankful for: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. 1 Chron. 16:34

Quick-fire prayer: Forgive me, God for my ingratitude. Thank you that you do forgive. Thank you, you love me no matter what. Thank you, I cannot step outside of your love. Thank you, you always have a plan. Thank you, you give me handfuls of blessings. Thank you, you see my way and guide me to it. Thank you, you bestow vision. Thank you, you restore me with eyes of clarity as I approach you with the honor you deserve. Thank you, you withhold no good thing from me. Thank you, God, you are all I need. Amen.  

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A 3-Point Plan to Beat The Enemy

Beat The Enemy

Sometimes, in the summer I get lazy. Real lazy. You see, when I go out to sit in the backyard and to soak in the summer sun, I just grab my books, my towel, my chair and my lemonade – and go. I forget the pests. I forget about those nasty mosquitos- that bite.

And, bite they do. It is usually the next day – I’m scratching my legs off.

If only I would have picked up that bottle of repellant so that I would have held up against the suckers. That would have been good.

Even more, with all this talk of Zika, I start to fear. What if I get sick? What if some disease is passed to me with all these bites?

Some days, I worry about mosquitos, most days I worry about something.

I don’t have a fight-plan either. Well, I guess by definition, if you have no plan, you do have some plan – its just a bad one.

Mine looks like this:

  1. Kelly, stop worrying.
  2. Kelly, do something to fix what is coming against you.
  3. Kelly, didn’t I tell you to stop worrying?

My fight looks like me on defense, not Christ on offense. But, Jesus never told us to sit around like doormats anticipating a good stomping. He never told us hang out in the midst of blood-sucking mosquitos.

He gave us self-protection on the cross. Jesus shows us a way out. He gives us a plan to repel what is coming against us.

Do you know it?

It looks like an unconventional fight:

Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Eph. 6

3 Point Offensive Fear-Fighting Plan:

  1. Pick up. Grab faith so you can fight life-sucking fear.
  2. Hold it up. Hold up faith founded on truth during spiritual, emotional and physical attacks. When you feel fear popping up, remember: God is for you. God is with you. God won’t leave you.
  3.  Blow up the fiery arrows of evil. Go forward in faith like it is your personal repellant to the enemy. You see him coming? Spray him with faith.

No spiritual attack can hurt you spiritually, unless you walk into life unprotected, uncertain, of God’s great love for you.

Take up your faith, hold up your shield and blow up every strategy that is trying to take down your trust in your first love. Fear Fight. Stand firm. Don’t back down.

When Life Comes Down On You

Life Comes Down

You. I know you feel sad, down or discouraged that things aren’t going so well.

That person? Yep. They aren’t so much changing.
That dream? Yep. It isn’t so much happening.
That pain? Yep. It isn’t so much going away.
That trial? Yep. It’s very much still there.
That bill? Yep. It’s not going away.

And, there you are in the middle of that rainstorm feeling tossed to and fro. You can nearly feel the pain of things that are going to hit into you. You nearly see the rocks and pebbles heading towards you. Add, the past? It howls with the whipping of regrets of yesteryear.

The power of God moves, you just aren’t sure if it is moving for you.

Do you just lay down and give up? Do you run?

But, run where?

There appears to be no covering, no safety from the onslaught of water falling. There appears to be no parting in the sky.

But, what if, what I saw as doom and gloom, God was working for my good?

I shall give you rains in their season,
so that the land will yield its produce
and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Lev. 26:4

While we see rain, God sees gain.
While we see storms, God sees the seed of new starts.
While we see downpours, God sees the fruit he’ll bear.
While we see darkness, God sees the light that will shine the next day.

God calms calamity and turns it into spiritual prosperity. Believe.

There is more than the eye can see.
There is more than the ear can hear.
Faith is more than your senses can perceive.

There is more than your mind can conceive.

God is higher than your loftiest vision.
God is bigger than your largest memory.
God is not contained within your own perceptions.

Even more, he is good.
Not good sometimes.
Good all the time.
Not good on some days.

Good everyday.
Not just good to other people.
Good to you.

He won’t fail you either.

 

How Many Christians Live Grace All Wrong

Grace All Wrong

“Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NLT)

Easy, right? Hardly.  This is just about one of the hardest callings.

Imagine:

You toss potato salad at my face? I smile and speak in an angelic tone to soothe you.

You throw me under the bus with my boss and steal my promotion? I make allowance for your mistake and let go.

You con me out of all my money? I humbly confront you with words of kindness.

How is this possible?

Not by my own strength, I’ll tell you. My own strength would have you pressed up against the wall with a lesson stuffed down your throat. It is not easy to respond with humility, gentleness, patience and allowance for mistakes.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible.

All our righteous acts are like filthy rags… (Is. 64:6)

It’s impossible by our own strength because we are weak. We either muster up humble-arrogance, which looks a whole lot like pious Christianity, or brute force, which ruins relationships.  Either way, the result is not from God and it’s quite ugly.

…For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Phil. 2:3

God works in us and God wills us to act out his good purpose. God moves then we move forward in love.

Yet, I often live backwards-grace. This is where I muster up good within myself and force it on the world. It usually ends up looking a whole lot like manipulation rather than ministry. Yuck.

Backwards-grace is fruitless. It leaves Christians dejected, demoralized and discouraged. It flat-out doesn’t work. What does work is getting with Savior. Seeking his heart. Letting him mend yours. Allowing him to grow you. Returning again to the wealth of his truth. Letting his grace cover your failings. And then, from the place of heart-change, allowing that very shift, within you, to work kindness, patience and humility into the world.

If you let God into your heart, you’ll find he changes it.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Ps. 51:10

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Have You Lost Peace?

Lost Peace

I am delighted to have Susan Pettrey from Brooklyn Tabernacle join us. Susan is a tremendous force for the Lord. She is used in ways, I know, she can’t even begin to imagine. She has impacted my life through prayer. It is a pure delight to welcome Susan today for Women’s Ministry Monday.

It was another night of going through the normal bedtime routine I have with my 6-year old son, Levi. Something was wrong.  It had been for days.  He was unusually hyper, unfocused and distant from me. I knew why.

We had recently moved to a new neighborhood, and within the past month, Levi had to adjust to a new home, school, peer group and, even, a new nanny.  It was a lot.  It would be for any child, but Levi is adopted and, as I’ve learned, adopted children intensely crave security.

I can only imagine what goes on in his little mind as he tries to process the implications of his adoption and life, but it was no mystery that all of the recent changes were creating extreme anxiety in his heart.

As Levi jumped up and down on his bed, I decided that a reprimand was not what was needed at that moment.  Levi needed to be ministered to.  I asked him what was bothering him only to be given his typical response of “nothing”.

The more I probed the more Levi tried to change the subject until, finally, I said, “Honey, it’s very clear right now that you don’t have peace in your heart.”

With that, Levi got quiet and waited for me to continue telling him what he couldn’t find the words to express himself.  I did my best to validate his feelings. Then, I encouraged him with words of hope.

I told him that I knew God had led us to this new home and, so, we could trust He had a plan. It would be for all of our good.

He laid his little head on my chest. I could feel his body slowly begin to relax.  It was as though my confidence…or peace about Levi’s life and future was transferring into his own heart.

We prayed together. I kissed him goodnight with an assurance that his anxiety had subsided.  I was grateful for that moment and thanked God for it without realizing the deeper truth He was going to teach me.

When I opened my Bible the next day, this is what I read- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

As I pondered the verse, God showed me my exchange with Levi was just a dim reflection of what He desires to have with me.

So often, when life has been difficult and seemingly out of control, I’ve prayed for more peace.  As if the process involved God giving me the power to muster up my own peace in the midst of my troubles.  But, now, what Jesus was saying became so alive to me as I remembered my experience the night before.

Just as Levi received my peace as his own,
so Jesus wants to give us HIS peace.

When we were saved, God’s Spirit took residence in us.  Our old man was put to death and, now, it is no longer we who live but Christ who lives through us.  How often I forget the benefits that come with this great truth.  I don’t have to be a better “Susan” anymore.  All I need to do is look to my Savior who longs to give me everything He is.  Not only does Jesus want to fill me with things like His love, His strength, and His wisdom, but He desires to fill me with HIS very own peace too!

Not a peace that is manufactured by me or dependent on imperfect people or an unstable world. It’s a divine peace rooted in the one, true God who has all authority over heaven and earth.

It’s a supernatural peace that can never be moved or shaken by the circumstances of life. It’s a peace that comes from the One who knows how the story really ends.

Whatever the challenges we might be facing at this moment, Jesus invites us to lay our head on His chest and receive His peace today.

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Susan Pettrey’s Bio

img_8712_2Susan Pettrey is the second daughter of Jim and Carol Cymbala, who pastor the Brooklyn Tabernacle in Brooklyn, NY.  Susan grew up witnessing great moves of God and His power to change the most hopeless of lives.  As an adult, Susan has been all over the spectrum of ministry at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.  She has served as a worship leader and soloist in the choir.  She is the director of the women’s ministry, as well as, the BT Drama Company, where she writes and produces full-length plays that are used to minister to the church and evangelize her city.  Her greatest priority, however, is her wonderful husband, Brian, and four amazing children, Luke (19), Claire (16) and Levi (6) and Charlotte (1)

5 Steps to Dismantling Doubt

Be still and know that I am God.

But, that was precisely the problem. I couldn’t be still. My heart was racing ten miles an hour. Ever been there? Where the face of your problems seems far more apparent than the loving face of your God?  Where it is hard to know if God can fix what you are standing up against?

“Your child has been exposed to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”

I gave them the blank stare. I didn’t know what this entailed, but I did know it sounded – horrific. Anything with the word “disease” in it is about enough to send mom’s stomach flip-flopping and reeling in anxiety. Add visions of pussing, oozing and painful sores – and mom was already seeing red spots.

“Were they exposed to the sick kid a lot – or a little?”

“Oh, a lot and it is very contagious.”

Thanks, lady. Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks, God. Don’t you know? I just came off the stomach flu that built into a cold that seemed to never end then my family was attacked with illness from the inside out. I’ve been run ragged and now I have to deal with – this? Great, how do you heal this thing?

In my spinning mind, my jumping, skipping and smiling daughter was already deeply ill. I could see it happening, and none of my prayers could stop this unforeseen visitor from coming.

When we open the gate to worry, it walks in, but it almost always invites its friend – doubt – to come along.

Are there uninvited guests filling your mind,
heart and soul with agony?

Doubt arrives as an attack on hope.

It deconstructs the goodness of God.
It wrecks the order of his love.
Its slow-seep is cancerous over time.
It corrodes dependence on God.
It is the devil’s biggest win.

Doubt is about as good as a heart attack,
so how do we fight it?

Fight doubt with these 5 A’s:

  1. Acknowledge the lies and God’s corresponding truth.
  2. Ask for forgiveness.
  3. Admire the power, height and love of God.
  4. Abandon our own will.
  5. Affirm God’s goodness through thanksgiving and prayer.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil. 4:8

If we filter the bad from the good, we will only be left with good. And, if we’re left with good, we’re left with God. Simply said: If we are filled with God, we can’t be filled with doubt, fear and worry.

I’m going to bank on that verse up there. It keeps uninvited guests out!

Prayer Against Destructive Doubt:

God, you are in everything. You are above everything. You know everything. You are orchestrating everything. All control is yours. All vision is yours. All power is yours. You move the handle on my life. Thank you that you want to take care of me. Thank you that you love me. You withhold no good thing from me. Thank you that I can trust you. Not with half my heart, but with my whole heart. Thank you that you know my way, even when it looks not like “my way.” Grant me greater faith to trust you by faith. Stand closer to me so I can dwell in your love. Help keep my mind steadfast on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If I move with you, I won’t depart from you. Teach me God in all your ways. I am open and willing to what you want to do in me. I need you, God. Amen.

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Walking into God’s Best

God's Best

Step-by-step, eye-on-goal, I navigated rocks, roots and off-kilter mountain terrain. My thoughts kept pace…

Push, push, push.
Do, do, do.
Keep treading this beaten path…

untitled-design-2
I end my day couch-ridden, feeling beaten by my fears.
I walk a beaten path.

I let stress spill pent up emotions – everywhere.
I walk a beaten path.

I let time rush me.
I walk a beaten path.

I let other’s define the “right” way.
I walk a beaten path.

I rush and shush my family.
I walk a beaten path.

I do the same things. Again and again.
Same walk. Same path. Different day.

God, I feel tired, cranky and a bit off kilter.

untitled-design-1

Kelly, how’s this working for you?

Umm…Okay, God, so what am I supposed to do?

Get off the beaten path!

So, I do, I venture off. I don’t have to do it like I always have. I don’t have to do it like they do. I don’t have to be what the world demands. This beaten path does me no good.

If God isn’t in it, what use is it anyway?

Covered by the thrill of trees, the calling of excitement – a step is all it takes.

Although it’s risky, I’m just where I want to be. Somehow the mom of, “Don’t venture out in those woods, there are ticks out there” vanishes and some childlike charge comes alive.

I let go.

If I just go with God, where will he take me?

I press into the vines, the brush, the scary. Even more, I find her. Her heart is still going. The girl of adventure, of freedom, of willingness, of spontaneity, of joy, of wonder, of peace.

She’s still alive. She wants to arise.

If I move outside my norm, God,
what will you do with me?

Might I see myself like you do?

I go deeper. My ears hear it first…the rush, two rocks and a transformation in progress…

Living water is changing hard, non-pourous and rough edges into a new mold. They need do nothing, they are being changed.  Restructured as recipients of the living water’s power.

Change only happens if we submit to the force of love over us…

untitled-design-3

What if our greatest life-change is just
on the other side of – stepping out?

What if by stepping out we best get the chance
to sit under God’s love?

I sit, in order to see.
It is something we are all wise to try sometime…

untitled-design-4

Rather than a schlep to “destination,” just accept God’s invitation.
You don’t want to risk missing it.

This time, I don’t – I won’t.

Quiet whispers wander.
Internal sparks come alive.
True identity surfaces.

I am called. So I go. We go.  We walk on.

To a clearing. It is about as sunny as Florida. Clouds are invisible. But, all the same – off the beaten path, a mini-miracle happens – light drops fall.  The dance from heaven speaks something. But, what, God, what?

untitled-design-5

I sit.

He who waters the plants, who keeps green the grass, and who rises the sun, is more than equipped to hold together the nitty-gritty details of my life…

Even if I do nothing, he will create an orchestra of outstanding, mesmerizing and brilliant – out of nothing…

Even if I only breathe, but nothing else,
he can lead all relationships where they need to go…

Even if I just observe, he will create something far better than marketing, manpower or management skills ever could…

I inhale. I like being off the beaten path. I sit longer.

When I finally get home, I crawl down next to him, the boy. I inhale and abolish time. Only the moment counts. Nothing is required. Words aren’t demanded. Planning isn’t essential. What matters is not the destination, but the invitation to rest in the presence of love.

I set my heart on getting off the beaten path…

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Love In Training

Love In Training

By: Christy Mobley

Today while driving home from a meeting I had a revelation. I’m living on the training grounds for love.

You’ve heard what praying for patience gets you, well I want to explain where praying to love takes you. However, before I got to this place of truth I first had to pass through a few painful phases…

Maybe you’ll be able to relate.

I know it’s hard to believe but not everyone loves/likes me. I’m pretty sure I know a few people who don’t (and some of them may be relations)!

There was a time not so many years ago, if someone said something to me off-putting, unkind or otherwise just plain mean, I would pick up the phone and call my mom or one or two, okay maybe three of my “true” friends (who would side with me) and I’d dice, slice and dissect the cruel words ten different ways until I was worn slap out and tearless. I suppose this kind of talk could be interpreted as gossiping… about myself. And it never truly made me feel better.

This was my phase one.

Finally after exhausting my friends and when I couldn’t solve the mystery of the perpe-“traitor’s” meanness, I might take it to God and dump on Him asking Him to make certain necessary changes in said mean person.

This was my phase two.

Phase three went something like this…

As I grew in my relationship with the Lord, talking to Him (praying) and listening, I started recognizing how He was working in my life. I came to trust Him, really trust Him. That’s when I started taking my hurts to Him first—a big move for me. When I’d be tempted to pick up the phone I’d feel the Spirit nudge me to stop.

I finally did.

This graduated me to the phase three.

As I started aspiring to be more like Jesus, my desire grew to be obedient to His Word in every way, which meant I needed to love like He loves.

A tall order.

I began to pray a specific prayer for each difficult person I came across. A prayer I still pray today and It goes something like this.

Dear Lord, help me to see ______ the way you see them so that I may love them the way you love them.

This phase lasted many years. I thought I was making real progress but I had to go a step further. I needed to recognize my part in the equation. And God waited until I was ready to hear it.

Phase 4…

I came to a place where I would pray to see the hard people the way God saw them and pray to love them the way God loved them but I didn’t want to have to deal with them.

My thoughts would be, away with you hurtful person. I want nothing to do with you. I can pray for you and love you from afar but you can’t hurt me if you can’t get close.

It was after a painful rejection, while I was having this conversation in my head, I heard God say, what makes you any different from them? Do you not treat me at times the same way they treat you?

It was honest, it was convicting and in God’s infinite wisdom, the right time for me to hear and accept this truth.

And the Truth changed my perspective and brought me the next phase and the training ground for love.
Here my eyes can see, these hard people in my life are not part of the problem, they actually provide the solution.

They are the training grounds for love.

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.”1 Corinthians 1:7

It’s easy is to love those who love us, share with us, give to us? On the other hand, it feels almost contrary to reason, foolish even, to love those who snub us, hate us, ridicule us, whose mouths drip with sarcasm aimed at us.

And yes, if I keep my eyes focused upward on Jesus, I can see these hard people the way He sees them; the way He sees me—a hurting soul in a broken world.

Today I can say it’s an honor to come to this place. The battle ground where I lay my life down for a better one. On the training grounds for love.

What ground are you standing on right now?

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Purposeful Faith Contributor

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

She’s also a wife, mother, mother-in-law, soon to be grandma, speaker and mentor. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and turn in the road.

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

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Life is a Puzzle, Without the Full View

Life is a Puzzle, But We're Missing the Full View

Post By: Angela Parlin

Some nights, my little girl stops me from heading out of her bedroom after I’ve tucked her in.

Before I move on to the next kid’s room, she needs me to help her sort through scary questions, unfathomable for a just-turned-9 year-old. Matters of life and death and everything in-between.

It’s a gift to talk deep with her, because I get to point her to the HOPE I know, again and again.

I get to help her see where Jesus resides within the gains and the losses of this world.

But it also tears my heart out. She’s seen enough now to know it’s not all going to be okay. Not in the way we would like it to be.

She’s seen the broken way of things here. She’s walked through loss and several near-losses with us. She’s wiped tears and cut out pink heart-shaped cards, adding stickers and cursive I love you’s. She’s served up comfort in mugs of hot tea with a side of dark chocolate & almonds.

She knows things I wish she didn’t know.

It’s a terrible world, one with ISIS and earthquakes and anger and leaving and loss. It’s a world where we sometimes shake our heads and cry and say I don’t know. I don’t understand.

Recently a friend of ours lost his sister suddenly. She was younger than me.

She’d had a hard run, and when he stood to speak at her funeral, he said, It seemed like she could never really catch a break in life.

He shared what he has left of her, his memories. He talked about how she loved to put together 5,000-piece puzzles, and laughed that there was one currently spread across a table at Mom and Dad’s house–missing that one piece like always. Then he asked a question, and it left a lasting picture in my mind.

What’s the most important part of a puzzle?

It’s the top of the box. The completed view.

The picture of how things are supposed to look in the end.

Without that, we don’t know where we’re headed.

Without it, the puzzle doesn’t make sense.

That day, remembering his sister, was a little like putting together a puzzle without the box top. Without that one missing piece.

Why did God allow it? We don’t know. Will it all be okay? Yes, and also no.

What we do know: Jesus resides within the loss. It hurts, and God still moves. He is working toward the good of drawing us each to Him. One day, the losses will end. He will bring so much beauty out of all this chaos.

It will be okay, but only because Jesus never loses the view of the top of the box.

It will be okay, because of Who God is–the Eternal God and the Everlasting Father. Because He is Good and He cares for us. Because He is full of Mercy and Kindness and Grace. It will be okay, because we trust in Him, even when we don’t understand.

We see blurred images in this mirror, but one day we will see clearly.

Life is a puzzle, and today we’re missing the finished view.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, NLT

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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.

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When You Don’t Feel Able

Don't Feel Able

God called me to write a book.

And the angel of the Lord appeared to [Gideon] and said to him,
“The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” (Ju. 6:12)

This summer, God has felt not felt “with me” and I’ve felt not a smidgeon mighty.

I wrote this thing last winter, with power, but this season, I lamented.

Everything broke. My knee got hurt; I couldn’t exercise. My shoulder continued to hurt; it wouldn’t stop. My house was isolated; I knew no one. Kids camps got cancelled; my time got cut short. Rejections came; my heart got burdened. I re-read the words of the book; doubt covered me.

If you remove the promises of God
from the work of your hands,
you’ll land in the dirt of defeat and doubt.

And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13)

And Kelly said to God,
“Why has this happened to me? Where are your wonderful deeds?
Did you not say 
you would use this book, me, and my life?
But now you have forgotten me and left me looking up unscalable heights.” 

Don't Feel Able

I haven’t learned much this summer, but I’ve learned,
when you get real with God, he really answers.

And the Lord turned to him and said,
“Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Ju. 6:14)

And the Lord turned to me and said, 
“Kelly, this is my work.
Go in my might and
minister to fearful hearts.
Do I not send you?

Abandoned?
Less than?
Where do you feel more minuscule than mighty?

And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel?
He continued Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Ju. 6:15)

And Kelly said to him, “Me? I am a nobody. I don’t look like her. I don’t talk like her. I don’t have gifts or money or a way. I am the least and hardly even a writer.”

Don't Feel Able

And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.” (Ju. 6:16)

Admit to God authentically where you can’t
and he’ll remind you how He can.

There is no method to God’s mightiness.  No recipe to his success. No progress without him. No encouragement apart from him. This God, needs nothing from us, because everything, all power and purpose, is Him.

In one strike, through one woman or man, he can – and will – do what he wants to do. He’ll win. It’s that simple.

Rest easy, friends,
no ability, no skill, no strength, no plan, no power is required – but Him.

This is where beauty is, because…

When all strength comes from God,
all glory tends to go to God.

One man.
One woman.
One step.
His power.
A connective spark of glory is lit.

Don't Feel Able

He doesn’t need our anything,
because he is everything. 

Wherever you feel incapable, know: God is capable. Wherever you feel anxious, know: God already has the end in mind. Wherever you feel less than, know: God is greater than your perceptions of yourself. Wherever you feel unseen, know: God cares for every stray feeling, thought and tear that falls.

You are not left, but loved. Not forgotten, but being forged into his image. Keep at it and keep trusting and His wind until, one day, it pushes you home.

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