Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

When You’re Waiting for the Next Great Thing

wait next great thing

Post By: Angela Parlin

I couldn’t wait for my life to begin.

I crossed off another day on the calendar. Soon I would load up my Chevy Cavalier and move into my first, tiny, post-college apartment. I’d purchase my own food each day. I’d wear Business Casual Monday through Friday, and pull an IBM lanyard around my neck each morning. I’d sit poolside on weekends, reading all the fabulous novels I never had time for while in school.

There were so many things to look forward to when we were young. We took a step, turned a year older, completed a milestone, and then we looked ahead to the next great thing.

Double digits.

Being a teenager.

Earning a driver’s license.

Living on our own.

Childhood dreams were made of these things.

It was the same through college, where we checked off one step at a time, eyes always fixed on the next great season.

Before I knew it, I was learning the ropes of the corporate world and counting down the days until my wedding. After that, we looked forward to this trip or that and hoped for a baby and added to our family and survived multiple toddlers at once, and we continued to build.

My whole life I’ve been climbing, building, and looking ahead to the next great thing.

Sometimes now, I find myself looking back. I long for the good old days.

They passed far too quickly, if you ask me now. I wouldn’t have said that then, but I was clueless. I often failed to realize so much hidden beauty between the chaos. We don’t know what we have until it’s gone, after all.

We are prone to wanting what we don’t have, what we hope to have, what we used to have.

We look ahead, hoping for an ideal, assuming the next season will be something better. We want the current hard stage to pass. But then a new season arrives, and with it, new difficulties we didn’t plan. So we look back and long for old comforts.

At least, I do.

We find something similar in Hebrews 7, where some newer believers were longing for the not-so-good old days.

They were suffering persecution, and many of them wanted to return to the law, to Judaism. Then they would be part of the crowd again. When life got tough, they lost sight of the Better Hope they’d been given.

They lost sight of Jesus and His amazing benefits.

For the law made nothing perfect, and a Better Hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19

We could talk for hours about the Law, but we probably wouldn’t want to. What I mean is, it’s hard for us to understand all the implications of living under the law as opposed to living under the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. But the difference was everything. Jesus still makes every bit of difference in our daily lives.

Because of Jesus, we have this amazing privilege–to draw near to God.

Under the law, worshipers had to stand out in the courtyard while the high priest represented them before God. They also had to fulfill so many regulations.

We have a full-access pass to the Throne of Grace. He makes His home within us. Maybe we’ve lost sight of this gift?

We know our greatest good will never truly be found in the next great season or another chance or a smoother road. That’s because our greatest good will always be found in drawing near to the Lord Jesus.

What if we exchange all our longing, for building into and climbing toward and waiting on a place where “real” life really begins?

We’ll be looking forward to the next great season, after all.

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.

Has the Noise of Life Muted Your Soul?

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I had done too much.

After a productive season, I hit a wall and it wasn’t my body that was bruised from the impact. It was my soul.

Right around this time, there was an event happening that I normally participated in, but I heard Him whisper not to take part. Attending this event was not what my soul needed. It would have resulted in more fatigue for my depleted self. Like a moth to flame, I was drawn to this bright and beautiful thing. But this phrase was stuck on repeat, calling me from it—to come and rest.

Tune out, so you can tune in.

But this event is a good thing, so more of a good thing must be good, right?

Wrong.

It was like I had eaten more than my share from the buffet and I wanted to keep going…keep reaching, keep filling, keep stuffing. It was tempting to want to fill up beyond capacity. But I had gorged on activity for so long that I needed to get empty so I could feel hunger again. Soul hunger. 

I needed a break so I could be put back together.

Too much activity starved my soul of the basic needs it craved:

Space.

Light.

Warmth.

Silence.

A quick fill-up would not suffice. I needed slow, small, quiet to make sense of the ache that throbbed and demanded to be heard above the static.

I needed a respite—not just a break. I needed to rest within so I could breathe deep again.

My days and nights had become so crowded and loud that I could not hear the whisper of love, the healing balm, that my fragmented soul needed. I had overspent myself and was feeling the deficit. I had grabbed in order to gain but I was left more empty then when I started.

Slowing down long enough to hear my soul, I realized she was sad.

Why? I am not sure yet. But I am tuning in to His Love and asking Him to help me find out why. 

What about you? Has the noise of life muted your soul? Have you found yourself trying to do more than you know is wise? Why?

We are prone to gorge ourselves on more but our souls cry out for true (not temporary) comfort. We fill and stuff (sometimes with good things) but eventually we hit a wall.

Our breaking point comes when we realize that our self-medication has gone bad.

Does your soul need a break from striving? Does your calendar need some white space? Have you forgotten who you are—buried underneath try-hard living?

It’s time. Time to turn down the loud and tune into His love. Listen to His voice of love as He restores your soul.

You don’t have to work for your worth. You don’t have to fix yourself.

Lean in and listen. Let Him soothe your soul. Let Him slow your rapid pace. Let Him love you—all of you.

Katie M. Reid Writer and Speaker at katiemreid.com

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

When You’re Afraid You’ll Never Achieve Your Goals and Dreams

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I listened to the interview with the popular Christian writer, my mind reeling with questions. But the one that kept repeating itself over and over was, “How?”

This woman had a slew of kids running around, and she homeschooled all of them. Her writing was not shoddy. Each syllable sang with an effortless harmony as you read.

So how? How were there enough hours in the day? Did she have on a superwoman cape I couldn’t see as I listened to the podcast?

At the time I had two kids. Now I have three, the last one two months young. There are days I barely get the laundry done and the food made, much less worry about doing anything creative.

I see women on social media who, in all the bright lights and glow of the computer screen, are pursuing their goals and dreams. They are achieving milestones I dare to think about as I’m nursing my sweet babe at night.

Before daybreak, the fear takes over and says, “You’ll never get there.”

Comparison is such a lonely place to live.

When we compare, we fear never being like someone else when God simply wants us to be the person he created.

We live in a toxic state of thinking we have to achieve the next rung on our self-made ladder instead of embracing the season we’re in. But friends, we weren’t made to keep up with the Joneses or the Kardashians or anyone else.

We were made to live our own unique lives, each of us working together to create a beautiful God-story.

During the moments I’m tempted to exchange my story for someone else’s God is showing me a better way. Instead of spending my time in fear and comparison, I bring it to him.

I say, “God, today I only have a half hour to work on this project. I don’t know how it’s going to get done, but I trust you.”

And in ways only he can, he multiplies my efforts. He takes that little sliver of time and makes it enough.

One day it was raining non-stop and the fog on the mountain where we live was thick, reflecting my tired mental state. I was feeling discouraged, so I brought my concerns to God. I’ll be the first to admit, this isn’t always my first inclination.

I told him my concerns and worries, how I wanted to get back to assignments I knew he’d given me to complete, but I didn’t see how.

A few days later, an opportunity dropped in my lap. It wasn’t something I was pursuing or even knew was a possibility, but in that moment I knew God was answering me.

With this email from an editor that popped into my inbox, he said, “You don’t have to worry about what you’re going to do months from now or even next week. Just make the most of the time I’ve given you. Right here, today.”

And in doing so, I not only honor my family, but God. I can stop trying to keep up with the person next to me and focus on the task in front of me. One step at a time.

I felt like a huge load was lifted off my shoulders.

I know there will be days I’m tempted to look in the other lane. Chances are, you’ll be tempted too.

But can I tell you something? The ride is so much more enjoyable when, instead of seeing how far we have to go, we look at the view around us.

Instead of fearing we’ll never make it to the next destination, let’s look at how far we’ve come.

Order Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

 

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Pinterest, and Facebook.

 

 

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

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

 

On Fear & Misplaced Faith

trust fear fighting

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mom, could you let that car drive past us?”

Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.

When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.

For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.

Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.

When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.

They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.

When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.

The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.

1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.

Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.

I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).

Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.

Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?

One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—

God is good, and we can trust Him.

We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.

I just finished Kelly Balarie’s challenging and practical book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, and this quote from page 53 wouldn’t let me go:

“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”

When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.

When I am afraid,

I put my trust in You.

In God,

whose word I praise—

in God I trust

and am not afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

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.

Do You Fear Being Invisible or Being Visible?

Visible or Invisible Fear Quote for Purposeful Faith

Post by Katie M. Reid

I didn’t know her well, although I suspected she was a kindred spirit. We shared similar titles of: worship leader, songwriter, adoptive mama, and blogger. Yet mostly, we shared the byline, “Daughter of the King.”

We broke soul bread over tea, smoothies and scones. Preferring heart talk to small talk, we dug in. Nuggets of gold emerged as we shared stories of God’s faithfulness at the table. Right there in Panera, we had church as we testified to the goodness of our Father and uplifted each other with words of hope.

She shared about victory. I shared about grace. And we learned from each other’s hangups and breakthroughs.

I thought I had her pegged, until she shared how she feared being seen. Even though her ministry and creativity were public, she preferred to hide and blend in.

I, on the other hand, confessed my fear of being invisible. Being overlooked, forgotten, or ordinary are what I run from. I usually want to stand out, to speak up, and be seen.

It sounds bad, I know, but this is a place for authenticity, right? And my hunch is I’m not alone. And neither is my friend.

Some of us fear being visible. Others of us fear being hidden. And sometimes we fear both.

If I blend in, will I become invisible?
If I stand out, will I be embarrassed?

I fear both invisibility and embarrassment.

Concealed and Exposed

It’s vulnerable to feel exposed—to be paraded in front of others and scrutinized for how we look, act, and what we say. We wonder if we have spinach between our teeth (or chocolate cookies stuck to our molars) as we offer the message that’s been entrusted to us. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the insecurities show through our coordinating ensemble?

You don’t have to rely on the fleeting acceptance of man. God’s acceptance is rock-solid. #fearfightingbook

It’s lonely to feel concealed—to be masked from view and not really feel known or understood. We wonder if who we are is enough and fear what might happen if we are called upon to share. Will they laugh at us? Will they listen? Will the pounding heart and wobbly knees show through our security blanket?

Are we the women people fight to have by their side? Or are we busy trying to run and hide? #fearfightingbook

Not Alone

Fear could have kept my friend and I from meeting that evening, but we pushed past it, and we both left richer.

She didn’t hide, and through her brave words, I began to see more clearly. I didn’t conceal that which embarrassed me, and with courage, I did not edit my imperfections.

Two fear fighting women met for bread and drink and Hope showed up.

Jesus’ body was broken and His blood was spilled on our behalf. He showed up and we are never the same.

We are not alone. We can overcome that which threatens to conceal and expose us, because Jesus has already overcome! He uncovered our sin and provided a way for it to be removed.

Jesus exposed His great love for us by dying for our sins. He has given us everything we need to be victorious. His Holy Spirit is the greatest fear fighting tool, and we carry it within us.

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in us!

We are not alone on this journey. We are not orphans. We are daughters. We belong in this Kingdom and we are seen and understood by our King.

We lay down our fight to be visible.

We resign our efforts to be invisible.

We rise. We fly. Because He has restored that which tries to snuff us and stop us.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. Or, order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

Katie M. Reid Author and Speaker image by Meredith Bernard

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

 

The Heart Behind the Fear-Fighting Book (Interview)

Fly away from fear with faith quote for Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

It is my pleasure to interview Kelly about her newly released book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears.

Interview with Kelly Balarie

1. Why did you decide to tackle the subject of fear for your book?

Frankly, I got sick and tired of living more fearful than faithful. It takes work. Hard work. It takes a whole lot of jealousy, comparing, striving, and procrastinating –  to cover the deep fear I’m the bad apple in God’s bunch. And, it takes a whole lot of protecting, worrying, and controlling – to keep my mind thinking I am safe and sound.

I didn’t embrace the state of peace, but instead, a state of constant panic.

Under the cover of my smile, I couldn’t figure out why, either:

I’d done Christmas x 20.
I’d gone to church and memorized John 3:16 and Phil. 4:6-7.
I was up on Christianese terminolgy – and good theology.
I was in a church community group.
I was repenting and trying not to sin.

So, why did I feel like a holy roller at church, yet wholly loser at home? Why did I fear my house was about to explode and, my kids, upon arrival of dinner, would have ketchup rocket-launchers exploding on just-cleaned windows? Why could I see my heart being thrust into cardiac arrest if people didn’t abide by my commands? Why did I envision ailments, Google them and figure I’d die before even being able to Facebook the world?

If God is as powerful as he says he is; I needed a rescue – in a big way. They say don’t put God to the test, but I guess I did. I wanted to see if he loved me. I found out he did. That’s what saved me. And that’s the hope I offer to readers in Fear-Fighting.

2. What is something that you are afraid of? How has God helped you face that particular fear?

Ordinarily, I’d be desperately afraid you’d:

1. Hate this post.

2. Judge me for writing it.

3. Think I was a bad writer, mother, woman or child of God.

I’d imagine you silently writing my name down on a list that you carry around in your head – the one that you reserve for the people who are extraordinarily stupid or exceedingly faithless. I’d fear you, then I’d steer clear of you.

Truth is, you may continually judge me, but God doesn’t operate that way. You may hate me, but I have discovered that I am loved by God. You may disagree with me, but there is no changing the promises of God. I’ve learned to fight fear by wielding truth.

Head over to katiemreid.com for the rest of this interview and to add your post of encouragement to the #RaRaLinkup. (Starting at 6 AM ET)

The Things God Teaches Us in the Dark

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“I should’ve had all my babies in the summer,” I said jokingly to my friend. Only it wasn’t a joke. We were full into the flu season and I was trying to keep both boys healthy as we awaited the birth of our child- a girl. Trying and failing.

All of us caught colds in the final weeks before her arrival. Panic seized me as I imagined bringing our newborn home to a germ-infested house.

The fight against illness and seasonal elements was hard enough, but there was another battle waging. Another reason a winter baby gave me a sense of dread.

I remembered the months of depression that followed the birth of my first child, who was born in the middle of summer. Baby girl would arrive a few weeks before the official start of winter. The dreariness of the season always brought a gloomy mood with it, and on top of it we were adding newborn baby isolation.

A few weeks after our bout with illness, we brought our new girl home and the overcast weather swept in like clockwork. We weren’t supposed to take her into crowded places for a month.

The first few days I was too tired to care, but one afternoon I felt like the walls were closing in around me. Everything bothered me. I questioned my abilities as a mom and a wife, and at night when our newborn wouldn’t sleep, the tears came.

Sometimes when we go through difficult seasons of life, the lessons we learn stay with us. But most of them need repeating.

We humans are forgetful people.

As I repeated the mistakes I made with my firstborn, God brought me to some timely words from a fellow sojourner. And I realized in my sleep-deprived state I was assuming this battle against depression was purely an emotional one.

I was negating the spiritual side all together.

We have an enemy who loves to use our seasons of physical and emotional weaknesses to whisper spiritual lies. We are so much more gullible when we’re tired. We’re more likely to accept his lies as truth when we our bodies are healing from surgery, illness and pain.

But you want to know the beautiful irony in all this? Those times when the thief creeps in are also the times when God can do his mightiest works.

His power works best when we’re at our weakest point. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I tried to wrestle with God and walk in my own strength, but He just wanted me to let him carry me. Sure, I could take my vitamins, drink my coffee and catch cat naps here and there. All those things were needed.

But what I needed most was his grace. I needed it when I snapped at my husband and kids. Most of all, I needed it when I disappointed myself.

We can say his grace is sufficient for us, but change won’t come until we truly believe it. And it doesn’t just cover us enough for our shortcomings.

It drenches us.

The more I embraced this, the more the darkness shrank back and I saw the sun breaking behind the clouds.

The more I let him cover me, the more I saw that I didn’t have to pretend I had it all together. I could just be me, imperfections and all. And because of Jesus, that was enough.

Order Kelly Balarie’s new book, Fear Fighting today! Or, get all her blog posts by email. Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

Which Hope Are You Holding Onto?

anchor hope

Post By: Angela Parlin

“We just have to hold onto hope!”

She said it quickly, at the end of our short conversation at the shopping mall. Then she walked out the front door, and I didn’t have a chance to respond.

I immediately wondered, Hope in what though? Isn’t that the real question? What are you putting your hope in?

Which hope are you holding onto?

I’ve been facing that question since summer ended, as a number of changes happened at once in my life. I’m not a big fan of change, and the whole situation rocked me. I often felt discontent and discouraged. I struggled to choose joy.

I know the source of my (capital H) Hope—my true and lasting hope for eternity. But when life throws me for a loop and certain comforts, joys, and securities are removed, I learn I’ve been holding onto those little ideals and hoping in them.

I realize now how much I needed this season of change in my life. It’s never comfortable, and I may always resist change initially. But I’m thankful for it, because it’s teaching me to trust in Jesus as my Hope in every area of life.

Jesus is our Hope for eternity, but He’s also our Hope for today.

Recently I returned to my study through the book of Hebrews, and right where I picked up, the author speaks of hope. He encourages believers that their Hope is certain and unchanging.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6:19-20a

Our souls need an anchor, in part because of this rapidly changing, dark, and destructive world we live in. But what about our own double-mindedness, our sin, and our shifting thoughts and feelings?

I don’t know about you, but my soul needs an anchor in the sea of my own humanity.

And we have this Hope.

This Hope is an anchor for our souls.

The anchor holds, firm and secure.

We can’t tell the same story about lesser hopes. When we’re holding onto lesser hopes, it’s like tossing our ship’s anchor into shifting sands. It’s basically ridiculous. But we all do it!

We hold out hope for things that will not endure. We hold onto things that will not fulfill.

When these fail us, we best fall back on our real Hope. Because Jesus went before us, we are able to enter into the inner sanctuary. This means we enter the Presence of God, because Jesus made a way for us to have direct access to the Father.

Today, let your Hope {in Jesus} be the firm and secure anchor for your soul.

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

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. Check out the free Writer’s Guide there, and subscribe to the Ladder2Rooftop newsletter.

More Reading:
10 Ways to Shine Christ On Christmas

Being a Perfect Christian

Finding Renewal in Christ

The Give and Take of Thanksgiving

Are you a giver or a taker quote by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

We used to live and work at a Bible Camp. The camp director often challenged the campers to move from being takers to being givers. He explained that it was a sign of maturity to focus on giving instead of getting.

“…It is more blessed to give than receive.” -Acts 20:35b

Times are tough right now.

People are hurting, grieving, accusing, and fighting. People are taking jabs at one another in light of the pain they are feeling. People are pointing fingers and striving to be heard above the roar. Some are spitting out venom, in hate. Some are even using fists to crush.

I’m afraid we are a sorry bunch as we walk around bruised, mocked, and wounded.

Yet, I have hope. I have hope that the Spirit of God who resides within us will lead the way through the gray.

We have the holy honor to give instead of take.

May we offer empathy as the hurting gather near.

As we pass the mashed potatoes, may we dish out compassion. As we fill up glasses, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those around the table, may we focus on what we already have—not what we lack. As we partake of what’s been given, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice (of family, of employers, of military, of leaders).

As we gather around the table, may we remember that table spread all those years ago—the bread torn, the wine poured. The Body broken, the Blood spilled—that we might receive the very thing we lacked; salvation.

I’m afraid we have forgotten to be thankful for the One who was bruised, mocked and killed on our behalf. 

Jesus stood silently before the angry crowd. He heard their false accusations yet He forgave them still.

Jesus demonstrated great restraint in order to extend a Greater Love.

He is Hope. May we offer Him our life.

May we follow in His steps…

As we pass the marginalized, may we hand out compassion. As we fill our social media feeds, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those with whom we disagree, may we focus on what what we share—not where we differ. As we partake of His grace, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice of our Savior.

Let’s remember the Ultimate Giver—of life, of salvation, of hope. Our sin separated us from God yet Jesus came to bridge the gap. We can be restored through Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice, if we believe and receive.

Let’s build a bridge, instead of a wedge—not through compromise of the Word, but by following Jesus’ example to love others—even when it’s not reciprocated.

Let’s give thanks for life, and breath, and everything else. Let’s take time to pray for the restoration of this upside down place we find ourselves, in this season.

The give and take of Thanksgiving has never been more needed than it is today. Let’s bow, let’s bend, let’s stay grounded in the Word. Let’s give love. And let’s take note that Jesus does not change and that perfect Love casts out fear.

The Perfect One is here. The Unchanging One is near. Jesus has taken our sin, this we believe. He has given us salvation, this we receive. It is done. King Jesus has won!

God will turn the upside down, right side up. He can heal the hurt. He can set the captives free. He can draw all men to Himself. He can do anything.

And so, we have hope!

We give praise that He is able. We take stock of His good and precious promises. We give up the right to control. We take up the sword of the Spirit. We lay down our pride. We put on the armor of Love.

We gather around the table and we offer Grace.

It’s Good News, after all.

Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

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We Can Make Our Plans

plans

Post By: Angela Parlin

I had a plan for the weekend.

I stuffed an entire suitcase. I packed outfits and shoes for each day. I gathered journals & pens & vitamins & snacks. I confirmed a hotel room. I cleaned the car, inside and out.

I looked forward to enjoying the company of some long-distance friends. I was all ready—to run out the door, to drive down the road with a friend, and to soak up all kinds of help I needed at this weekend retreat.

I’ll be honest, it had been a long week at home. First, some of the kids were home from school a few days with coughs, and then my oldest struggled through a high fever for days.

And then something worse happened. I–the Mama taking care of everyone else–started to feel sick.

At first I tried to deny it and told myself I was okay. Mind over matter, right? I tried to stick to the plan. To not be sick.

But hours later, I knew. I was not heading out the door for anything, especially a fun weekend retreat.

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23

I may have had a plan, but my plan was not going to happen.

I’m a fan of making plans. I think we all are, really. We may not all be the Type-A, schedule all the hours, write-it-all-down kind of planners, but we all make plans. It’s a part of life.

I’m also a fan of my plans working out the way I plan. Anybody else? {Sidenote: So God made me a Mom—to give me lots of practice dealing with the opposite.}

These last few weeks of sickness were a good reminder that I have so little control over my days, my plans, and the steps I take. But even more than that, it reminded me that I am fully dependent on the Lord.

And this we will do, if God permits. Hebrews 6:3

In the verse above, the writer of Hebrews declares our complete dependence on the Lord, in 8 little words.

Just before this verse, he encouraged the believers to move forward toward maturity, so that they wouldn’t need to be taught the basic foundations of their faith repeatedly. God’s plan for each of us includes growth and maturity, and we each play a part in our growth.

But it’s also true that we don’t completely control it.

Instead, we depend on God, even in the area of our spiritual growth. He is the One who opens our hearts and ultimately causes us to grow.

So we purpose to move forward; we plan to do this, and we will, if and when God permits.

We are completely dependent on the God who gives us breath, and sometimes that’s easy to forget.

In our day-to-day lives, especially these days, we have so many tools for self-sufficiency at our disposal, tools like the internet and vehicles and finances and opportunities and planners in our hands.

Even so, our lives are not our own. We live and move and breathe by the will of the Lord our God.

Even when we don’t understand what He’s allowing in our lives, His will triumphs over our own.

Even when we believe the Lord is leading us one way or another, He has the final say.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9, NLT

On the other side of this illness, once again I am certain. He is good. He is in control. And He is worthy of my trust. Praise the Lord.

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Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15, ESV

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.