Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

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.

///////////

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.

What Does Casting Our Cares Even Mean?

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

Kids hear everything.

A few days ago I received a reminder of this. Even when we think they’re not listening or won’t be interested in the conversation, they hear. They pay attention. And yes, they take interest.

In the process of running my mouth to my husband on a phone call I thought was private, I transferred worry. My eight-year-old son who should be thinking about Santa Claus or how he’s going to finagle his next piece of candy was worrying about his baby sister instead.

Because I was worrying about his baby sister.

Our fears have a way of spreading, don’t they? Like they’re contagious. We think we’re carrying these burdens by ourselves, as though the weight of them may crush us. And then out of nowhere we see the weight is also being carried by others. Other loved ones. Other friends and members of the church body.

The crazy part though? It isn’t being carried in a way that lightens our load. We don’t feel any release. They’re anxious because we’re anxious. Instead of releasing the burden, we hold onto it, unaware of its virus-like effect.

A few days after the phone call with my husband, we put the kids to bed and sunk into the couch, watching mind-numbing TV on Netflix. He told me our son had confided in him about what he’d heard.

“I’m afraid Elise’s heart rate will drop, Dadda,” he had said.

When my husband asked why he was worried about this, big brother said, “Well, Mama is worried her heart rate will drop, so I’m worried too.”

My heart nearly broke.

I realized my son was becoming a mini version of me, fretting about the unknown neither one of us could control.

I thought about all the time I spent racing down endless trails of what-ifs. Now my son was adapting this habit that would only add to the circles under his eyes. The thought of it made me feel a knot in the pit of my stomach, and it wasn’t his baby sister.

A few days later, my mind went to 1 Peter and his thoughts on anxiety.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

I’ll admit, many times I’ve heard these words and thought, “What does that even mean?” The command seemed good in theory, but putting it into practice was vague and muddled to me.

But this time as pondered the verse, I thought about what Peter did for a living: fish. He cast his net repeatedly out into the water, hoping for a catch that would sustain.

Then I thought about how heavy those nets must have been. Like all of our problems we carry day after day, and how releasing that net must have felt like releasing the weight of the world.

Peter was a skilled fisherman, but once he released his net he ultimately had no control over the outcome. The fish could come or swim away. They could fill his net or fill someone else’s.

Casting our cares carries the same concept.

The cast is the release of control. Instead of fretting and running through endless scenarios in an attempt to micro-manage, we release the problem to God.

All the troubles we carried in our net become God’s to bear. The One who was in control all along takes the weight we were never intended to endure.

When I unknowingly cast my worry on my firstborn, he tried to carry it, but his tiny frame was too small. He was never meant to bear its load, so he and I both had to release it to the One who holds the future.

As we cast our nets, we still can’t see what lies ahead. But we know baby sister will be just fine.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Abby 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.

Courageous Authenticity (Linkup)

Authenticity is rooted in courage by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32:1-2

The air was musty as I sat in the balcony of the old theater, turned church. I had heard the pastor speak before, but tonight was different.

He confessed how he and his wife had struggled to remain pure in their dating years—while he was on staff at another church. He explained they had come clean to the Lord but they’d never revealed their sin to that congregation. They now felt the need to confess their past sin to this church.

You could hear a pin drop and the furnace thumping below in an effort to warm the old building. I listened attentively from my vantage point, impressed by his courage to reveal this hidden part of his life.

After the pastor finished his confession, he asked the crowd to forgive him.

As impacting as this was, something else happened that night that I will never forget.

The pastor said something to this effect, “In a group this size, I am sure there are others who have secret sins also. We want to provide an opportunity for you to confess those things to the Lord and also to those gathered here, if that is needed. I am going to open the mic up and, if you feel led, you can come and confess those things. This is a safe place to share.”

No one came, at first…

Head over to katiemreid.com  for the rest of the story and to add your post of encouragement to the #RaRaLinkup.

Embarrassing Bravery and Insane Courage

courage is required as we free fall into grace quote by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

There is a captivating quote in the movie, We Bought A Zoo: 

You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.

For ten years my husband and his sister wanted to go skydiving together. Their plan was to go once she turned 18. Time went by and the dream remained tucked away, but not forgotten. Then a few years ago there was a great deal on Groupon for skydiving nearby—and the rest is history.

These adult siblings demonstrated insane courage and embarrassing bravery as they plummeted to the earth (I have to say that their father and I also displayed some too by promoting, watching, and documenting the experience). I am proud of them. Ultimately, it was a lesson of trust, growth, and quite the bonding experience.

Isn’t this like our faith?

When we “sign-up” we count the cost and take a leap into unknown territory. The Lord asks us to trust Him in the midst of fear, obstacles, and at times scary and exciting circumstances.

The giants are present, but the slingshot is in hand. The hand looks weak, but the power is in the One Who called, Who holds together.

God equips for the task at hand. For what is laid out, He knows the course. We ride this journey, tandem.

What is God asking you to trust Him with?

Is He calling you to something that seems impossible in your own strength? Is it self-control, parenting well, mending a relationship, being kind to that “hard-to-be-nice-to” person, getting out of debt, faithfully spending time with God, learning a new skill?

My father-in-law once preached a great message about how, with God, the impossible is possible (Matthew 19:26). We might find ourselves between a rock and a hard place so we will trust and look to Him, and not rely on our own strength.

I have a few friends right now who are facing impossible types of circumstances. It’s hard to watch as the winds of loss, pain, and injustice beat against their face. They find themselves between a rock and a hard place, and the outcome is uncertain. Yet, I’m reminded of Moses, God put him in the cleft of rock while His glory passed by.

Could it be that when we are in a hard place, or a seemingly impossible season, that God’s glory is very near?

and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Exodus 33:22

Courage is required as we free fall into grace. Bravery is needed as we trust God in the midst of the unknown. We do not go alone, as we take a leap of faith. Our Lord has gone before us, and goes with us.

Look to the cross, Jesus is definitely the example of insane courage and embarrassing bravery.

1 Corinthians 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:4-5 
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

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

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 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 Only Sure Way to Multiply Your Time

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“We recommend an ultrasound around thirty-two weeks for women thirty-five and older,” the doctor said as he helped me sit up on the exam table.

I wanted to see baby girl’s sweet face, but my first thought was, “Do I have time for this?”

I had to pick up my son from school, and the procedure wasn’t scheduled.

I wish I had more time.

I looked at the time on my phone and decided if they were quick, I could make it. And less than fifteen minutes later, I marveled at growing life, seven months young.

Don’t blink.

I stared at the tiny figure on the screen, amazed at how her features had changed in twelve short weeks. She was almost ready to make her entrance into the world. I ignored the growing pressure on my bladder and enjoyed every inch of her.

The tech noticed my discomfort.

“Don’t worry hon. We’re almost done.”

At this point, the clock was no longer important.

“Oh, I’m fine,” I said, shifting my position slightly.

Take your time. This moment will never come again.

After a few minutes, she finished up and wiped the sticky gel off my belly. I held the series of snapshots she’d captured, grateful to have a keepsake of this time.

Time is all we have in this life, isn’t it? And lately, pregnancy has me in a constant flux of slow down and hurry up.

I’m so tired of being pregnant. I can’t wait to meet our little girl.

Oh wait! The nursery isn’t ready. Slow down, baby. Just a little while longer.

A few days after my doctor’s appointment, my oldest son lost another tooth. His first one on the top and another milestone. I snapped a picture of his smile with my iPhone and thought about the first time I held him in my arms.

Now I can’t pick him up without paying for it with back spasms.

In every moment I want to grab and freeze a while longer, I realize that I can’t slow time. I can’t stop my kids from growing up or keep them in their toddler beds until they’re teenagers.

I can’t stop them from asking questions I am completely unprepared to answer like, “Where do babies come from?” or “Can I be in the delivery room when she’s born?”

When a dear friend is offered a job in another state, I can’t stop her from moving away. I wouldn’t want to.

And as the warm air turns brisk and the leaves turn vibrant shades of red and orange, I know I can’t slow their fall.

Time will not slow down, but I can.

I can stop and look people in the eye. I can put down my phone when someone is talking to me and listen to what they’re saying instead of rehearsing how I’ll respond. When someone seems distant, I can reach out instead of pretending nothing is wrong.

Time is all we have.

When you’re growing a little human inside of you, you’re made painfully aware of the ticking clock. Each kick and discomfort reminds you time is not only precious, but short.

I see countless articles on social media about ways to multiply your time, multi-task and get the most out of each second. But the longer I carry this baby, the more I see the truth.

Perhaps the only sure way to multiply our time is to savor it.

It isn’t by rushing from one activity to the next or trying to do twenty things at once. It’s by being intentional, slowing down, and seeing the blessings right here in front of us.

A well-known passage from Ecclesiastes beautifully describes the seasons of life and how there’s a time for each one. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to be silent and a time to speak. (Ecclesiastes 3)

As I read the passage today, what struck me is how the writer doesn’t say, “A time to rush through life. A time to multi-task.”

Because a life spent rushing isn’t a life at all.

Time is all we have, friends. Let’s spend it savoring the things that matter most.

Click here to get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email.

 

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015

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.

Peace & Leaving the World Behind

peace wild rest

Post By: Angela Parlin

We should all spend time outside each day. I don’t know about you, but I spend too many hours indoors.

As a remedy, sometimes I work at the kitchen table near the propped-open door to the deck. Hearing the wind rustling through the trees and birds fighting over seeds at the feeder does something for my heart. It’s not all the way outside, but it’s close.

Long ago, I posted this poem, one of my favorites, on the bulletin board at my desk, the one I don’t actually work at very often.

The Peace of Wild Things 

By Wendell Berry

“When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be.

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.

I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”

I wonder if so often when we misplace our peace, if the answer is simply to spend more time outside.

I say I wonder, but I already know what kind of person I become when I spend extended minutes under the sky. There I see the rest of the beauty, and it’s not that I forget the chaos of the day. It’s not that the challenges disappear or the discouragement dissipates.

Out there, we realize we can walk away for a bit and the whole thing doesn’t all fall down.

Ohhh, right–it wasn’t really me holding everything together.

In the presence of still water or even angry waves, we remember again we have no control over the things we fear.

We remember Who does control all things—He Who is good and true and beautiful and eternal.

Who is acquainted with all this growing old and wearing away and falling down and rising up again. He Who endures forever and ever, Who is seen at the center of all this worldly beauty.

The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine on us. Psalm 118:27

It takes a few minutes, but I confess the truth. I’ve been taxing my life again, imagining losses that haven’t even happened. Why do I continue to repeat this?

Once again, I return to the wild. I take a walk in the woods past the yard, thick with green and a melody of snapping sticks underfoot. I imagine snakes hiding out like sharks in the ocean, while hoping they’re at least as rare.

Somehow I’ve left the rest of the world behind me. I come into the peace of wild things, and their holy message sinks ever deeper to my core.

Like Berry, I rest in the grace of the world—and I’m free.

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From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

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

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.

The Good Found in the Darkness (Linkup)

I can’t sleep without white noise. Whether it’s a fan, air purifier or an app on my phone, I need that gentle hum to lull me into oblivion.

My husband travels several times a year for work, and sometimes during his absence I turn the noise up a notch. Every sound in the house except for that air purifier sends me into a panic.

I check the locks on the doors three or four times. I stand by the kids’ bedroom doors to make sure they’re asleep. I pace the house wondering.

Was that a mouse in our attic? Was it a squirrel? Or was it an intruder looking for a way inside the house?

 Now, we live in a fairly safe neighborhood. But it only takes an hour of drama on Netflix or the latest news story to send my mind into high-anxiety mode.

There’s something about the darkness that makes us uncomfortable, isn’t there?

We fear what’s lurking in the shadows. We like the awareness the light brings- a sense of control, a knowledge of what surrounds us and even what threatens us.

Come on over to Abby McDonald’s blog to read the rest of this post! She’s hosting the #RaRaLinkup today. We’d love to have you join us and share your encouraging post.

 

Desperation Can Give Birth to Dedication

Desperation can give birth to dedication by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

Are you in a desperate situation? Does it feel like you’re facing a brick wall, with no way to get around it? Are you struggling to find hope as the season changes?

In 1 Samuel 1:1-27, 2:1-11 we read about a woman, named Hannah, who found herself in a time of desperation.

Hannah was deeply loved yet she carried around a haunting emptiness. In a time when a woman’s womb was wound up tightly to her worth, Hannah’s barrenness must have flashed “broken” like a neon sign in a dark alley.

Not only was Hannah unable to conceive but her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had children. Not only did Peninnah have children but she provoked Hannah bitterly about her closed womb (see 1 Samuel 1:6).

Have you known that sting? It’s salt in the wound when you are lacking yet someone nearby holds the very thing you long for. Maybe they aren’t hanging it over your head but deep down you struggle to celebrate with them.

Maybe you are dealing with infertility and Hannah’s account hits a little too close to home? Or maybe you long to birth a book, or have more money in your account, or receive a clean bill of health, or to live somewhere else, or for your husband to be more attentive, or to even have a husband?

No matter what leaves you empty, I think we can all relate to the ache that Hannah carried.

She had a life-giving longing and yet, year after year, she was left unfulfilled.

Have you been there? I have. Like Hannah, I longed for a baby to hold. I had three children at the time but God birthed a deep desire to adopt a child. I assumed my God-given desire would be granted in no time; I was wrong.

Some nights I crept into the empty nursery and rocked. The tears fell and my arms ached as I longed for this baby. Where was this little life that had been conceived in my heart so many months ago?

It is hard to trust God in the dark places, when you can’t see a way out of the tunnel and you wonder if the secret desires of your soul can even be seen at all.

But in those difficult times, we can bring our desperation to the Lord and trust Him with it.

Our desperation can give birth to dedication.

My prayer is that we learn from Hannah, not so much that she finally received what her arms ached for, but that in her anguish she poured out her soul before the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:15).

-She allowed God to see the depth of her pain (vs. 15).
-She didn’t run from God but ran to Him and asked for intervention (vs. 11-12).
-She believed God could do what she had asked of Him (vs. 17-18).

Now it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord’” (vs. 20, NASB).

Be assured the Lord hears you when you pour out your soul to Him. You can trust Him with the tender places of your heart.

Have you wanted something so badly that it ached?
And then to make things worse someone else had what you were longing for. It is irritating and painful, and can leave you hollow; fighting for hope amidst the heap of ashes at your feet.

Left unguarded your ache can drive you away from the Lord or it can drive you to your knees.

Hope can be found at Jesus’ feet. He willingly died on the Cross—and rose again—so that you can be emptied of sin and filled with His Presence.

Like Hannah, may your desperation give birth to dedication as you cling to His unchanging hope despite your circumstances. May Jesus’ love light the way through the gray as you take the next step towards Him.

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

Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing and speaking, Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

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

P.S. Here is a free gift from our heart to yours!

As Katie waited to adopt she recorded an album, Echoes of My Heart. As a special gift Katie is offering a free download of a song from that album entitled, “Waitin’ On Someday”. May you be encouraged as you keep trusting the One is with you through it all.

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When You Feel Abandoned By God

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“Well, this isn’t how you prayed this moment would turn out.”

The thought passed through my filter of truth and circled my mind on repeat. I knew it was a lie, but I listened to it. I stood there with my four-year-old, who was starting a new school, and tried to hold back tears.

His own tears flowed freely.

“I want to go to old school,” he said repeatedly. The school staff gathered around, trying to calm him.

“Buddy, this is your school now. You’re going to have lots of fun and you get to go to school with Jay,” I said, faking composure.

Big brother stood beside us, cool as a cucumber. He told little one everything was going to be okay and talked about the things he was going to do with his class.

I looked at my firstborn’s cherub-like face with amazement. He was a little beacon of sunshine in this mess of a morning. A reminder from God that He was still there.

The guidance counselor distracted little one with a walk over to the school’s pet lizard and settled him. With her prompting, I snuck outside to my car, praying my baby’s day would improve.

My day did not. A rough morning with my youngest turned out to be only the start of hours of chaos and like an old habit, I questioned God again.

Why is this happening? Please, God. Make it stop.

For weeks, anxiety over life’s circumstances had been mounting. I worried about my youngest starting school. I worried about a family conflict. My mind turned to the baby growing inside me and I worried about the postpartum months.

You’re not going to have anyone to help you. You’re going to be alone.

With each lie I listened to, I was more overwhelmed. And this crazy day was the culmination of it all, begging to verify all my worries were true.

Except they weren’t.

Those beacons of light that began with my firstborn’s calm demeanor kept coming. A friend offered to help with the kids at the last minute when I needed to go to the doctor.

You’re not alone. You have friends to lend you a hand.

In the middle of a pregnancy scare, I called my doctor’s office to set up a spur of the moment prenatal visit. And in a practice with a dozen doctors, I got an appointment with the one I trusted the most.

I’m here with you in the chaos, child. I haven’t gone anywhere.

When troubles abound, we’re tempted to question God. It’s our human nature. But you know what? The flesh is a liar.

It lied to Eve in the garden when she listened to the serpent and felt like she was lacking something, even though she lacked nothing. It lied to David when, in the midst of being pursued by Saul, he thought God had abandoned him. (Psalm 13:1)

Our circumstances may change like the wind, but God’s faithfulness does not.

He is steady and constant, reaching into our problems with a soft whisper, “I am with you. I go behind you and before you.”

That pregnancy scare? It turned out to be a false alarm. And my sweet Gabe transitioned into his new school with ease after a rough first morning. While I know things won’t always turn out the way I desire, my chaos-filled day served as a reminder of one simple truth: God never leaves.

The next time you’re in a middle of a storm, look for the beacon of light. It may be as faint as a jet stream, but it’s there. And when you find it remember at your weakest point, He is strong.

He’s whispering to you in the storm. You just have to focus your ears and listen.

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AbbyView More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015 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.

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