Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

When Those Who Wander Get Lost

Wander Lost

Post By: Angela Parlin

I tore through the woods behind our home barefoot, chasing two tiny dachshund puppies, on repeat.

I was a young puppy Mom, and Bailey and Bear were my sweet, scrappy baby boys. They were fearless, but only because they were also clueless. They could sniff out a door open for adventure, faster than I could grab my shoes.

Bailey and Bear were happy at home, let me tell you. Spoiled rotten actually. It wasn’t that they wanted to leave our home, but they were made for the hunt. They loved to make us happy, but they also lived to chase after squirrels and birds and other puppy dog friends.

They were prone to wander beyond the walls of our home, beyond the confines of our fenced backyard.

It stressed me out to no end. I felt like a crazy woman. But when they ran? I ran after them. Because they were my babies. And while I believed they were the most adorable dogs ever made, I also knew their brains were small. Their hunting instinct and tunnel vision overpowered their intelligence, and I wasn’t going to let them get hurt. I wasn’t going to lose them…

Come on over to Angela Parlin’s blog  to see how our Father comes after us also. Bring your encouraging linkup post, as she’s hosting the #RaRaLinkup this week!

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here

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

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.

subscribehttp://app.feedblitz.com/f/?sub=971370

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Pursue peace image by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com

Post By: Katie M. Reid

I’m in denial that it’s August already. I’m thankful we live in a tourist state (Michigan) and don’t start school until after Labor Day. Many of my southern friends are sending their kiddos off to school this month.

Our summer has been a whirlwind and I desperately want it to slow down. I had plans to savor, linger, and slow down—but it feels like I’m trying to swim upstream in a river of gooey molasses.

After deliberations with my sister-in-law, I reinstated allowance in our home. The offspring now receive $3 a week—hey, Hubby and I used to receive 50 cents a week, so it’s an upgrade.

I instructed the children that they should save up for something special and not just fill our home with dollar store treasures (a.k.a. cheap junk). They had their eyes set on larger items until the cash started burning a hole in their pockets. They begged me to stop by the store in the midst of a million-things-to-do kind of day. They would not relent even though I tried to explain how much there was to do.

Much to their dismay we ran out of time and I ran out of energy—lugging the handful of kids around town.

So, I said that we would go the next day. I said it matter-of-fact, with every intent of it happening.

And then it didn’t.

I was achy from trying to do too much, the baby needed to eat, the toddler wouldn’t sleep, I couldn’t nap, and so on.

We ran out of time and steam.

I think there was steam coming out of the kids’ ears as I delivered the world-crushing news that we didn’t have time, again, to stop at the store.

They stomped, they screamed, and they called me a liar (more than once).

While their behavior was less-than-stellar, I felt guilty. I hadn’t mean to lie. It wasn’t my intent to not take them. Life happened and plans changed and flexibility and empathy were needed but not offered.

Mom, you always lie.

You say we’re going to do something and we don’t do it!

You are a liar.

I was mad about the unfair accusations but also convicted that often times I unintentionally don’t keep my word. I wanted to remedy the situation so I apologized for what I could.

Kids, I’m really sorry it didn’t work out to take you to the store. I did say that we were going to go, but I should have said something like, ‘We will try our best to go. Or we will most likely go. Or we’ll see if it works out.’ Will you forgive me?

I want my kids to trust me. I need to more careful when I hand out promises. I want them to believe my words.

It’s no fun to feel like a “liar, liar, pants of fire”.

I pleased to say the next day we went to the store, even though it still wasn’t convenient and we didn’t have very much time—but I kept my word and peace was restored.

Here are 3 ways to pursue peace instead of burning down walls of trust:

  1. Be realistic with what you can offer. Many times you might want to help others but when the time comes to make good on your promise, you are unable to fulfill it. It’s hard to know what life will look like months from now. Be careful that you are not ensnaring yourself with your words. Don’t use this as an excuse to be non-committal but ask God to help you be realistic with what you have time for in this present season. It’s easier to be able to help out when the times comes vs. letting someone down because you can’t make good on what you offered a long time ago.
  2. Don’t burn bridges. You want people to be able to trust you. Even if you’ve done something wrong unintentionally, go to the person and apologize for the way that you’ve let them down. Clear the air of offense and be willing to lay down the need to be right for the sake of the relationship (yeah, this one is really hard, but worth it). I’m not talking about issues of sin here, but letting go of the need to be top dog or have the upper hand. Try a little love and logic, like I do with our tween, I love you too much to argue.
  3. Protect the margins on your calendar. Has your summer been like ours? Many of our commitments were unavoidable, but we need to do a better job of protecting margins. When schedules are busting at the seams, frustration seeps out and peace is compromised. Take a look at the rest of the month. Are there any obligations or activities that can be eliminated or delegated? Make some room to breathe and protect your white space. Some seasons require more commitments than others, but make sure your norm isn’t like a hamster in a wheel—spinning round and round but going nowhere in particular. As we rest we communicate trust that God knew what He was doing when he instituted Sabbath.

So the next time $3 is burning a hole in my kids’ pockets, I don’t want to find my own pants on fire because I’m acting like a liar.

Let’s pursue peace with God and family by being true to the Word and keeping our word.

Let’s choose to apologize when we’ve lied and seek to make amends for the sake of our relationship with the Lord and others.

Let’s stop stuffing schedules to the brim and ask God to help us create margin so we can enjoy Him and be recharged.

Psalm 34:14 “Turn from evil and do good, seek peace and pursue it.”

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, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

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

subscribe

When Grief is Great and Your Words Are Weak

Post by Abby McDonald

Today we’re saying goodbye to one of the oldest members of our family. She doesn’t wear human skin or express herself in many syllables, but she’s loved just the same.

She’s the four-legged kind. A blondie. A dear friend named Coco.

She and our other mutt brought my husband and I together thirteen years ago with their mutual love for walks and chasing furry creatures. And as they say, well, the rest is history.

Since I’m pregnant and rather hormonal the realization that our companion is dying hit me rather hard. But I believe during those hard seasons God often speaks the loudest, sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

As my husband wrapped his arms around me and my round belly this morning, I reflected,

“It’s amazing how God speaks to us through our animals.”

I’d been observing our two girls over the past couple of days. Our other dog, Zoe, knew something was up and her disposition had changed. She’d become more affectionate, more calm, wanting to be near us often.

One day I let both of them out on our back porch while I cleaned. After about a half hour, I peeked through the window. Coco laid on the doormat, like she always does, and Zoe reclined behind her, practically spooning her with her legs.

She stayed in the same position until I let them inside, only leaving Coco’s side for an occasional drink of water. It was as though she was saying, “I’m here for you, girl. It’s okay.”

But she didn’t need words to say it. Her presence was enough.

As I thought about these mutts who started our family, I realized how often I use words to fill the empty spaces of grief. Not because they’re needed, but because I think they are. I have friends and family members who are walking through difficulties much harder than a dying pet, and the silence of sadness can be awkward.

I focus on myself and my need to fill the void rather than the grieving person’s need to simply know I’m there. To know I’m not going anywhere, and that the discomfort of grief won’t keep me from loving them.

When it comes to grief, silence always speaks louder than empty words.

Sometimes a hug goes further than a platitude and a listening ear further than a trite explanation.

“Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” Job 2:13 NIV

When we can’t mouth the words to Jesus because of the weight of our sadness, He still hears us. He’s that good of a Savior and a friend.

Job’s friends modeled the behavior of Jesus himself when he encountered those who were grieving a deep loss. If we look into the scriptures and walk through the chapter of his life where a close friend died, we see that his words were few. And even though he foresaw the miracle, he wept. (John 11:25)

Today as I run my fingers through my companion’s soft fur for the last few times and reflect on these verses, I know my love for words won’t change. I’ll keep offering them up as praise, encouragement, and a gift at the altar of the One who gave them to me.

But I pray God will give me wisdom to know when words are weak. Because even when I have nothing to say, his healing power is still strong.

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

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.

Choose to Celebrate the Beauty

Celebrate the Beauty

Post By: Angela Parlin

He smiled from ear to ear, with a patch of fuzzy hair standing straight up on top of his five-year-old head. Big eyes twinkling, he grabbed my hand from behind the kitchen sink and led me out to the back deck.

“Stay RIGHT there, Mom. I gotta show you something you’re gonna LOVE!”

He descended the stairs, filling the air with his mile-wide smile.

I stood there spilling tears under the sky on a windy Friday afternoon, because some days, I start to understand. These are the days of my life, and they aren’t always easy. I often don’t want them to play out the way they do.

But these off-schedule, messy, monotonous days are always full of beauty—and God gives us the opportunity to choose to see it.

Will we choose to celebrate the beauty found in our own right here, right now?

Sometimes I realize how much I miss. I don’t always enjoy the little gifts in my life, because I’m focused on my to-do lists. Or I’m honed in on my plans and the way they should go. Or I’m fixated on some disappointment. I need these stop-everything moments. I need this reminder–to celebrate the little things.

He climbed up on the green swing seat and asked me if I was ready. He asked if I was watching.

“Go ahead, honey. I’m watching. I’m ready!”

Then my last little tiny, who’s growing way too fast, started pumping his legs back and forth, keeping his eyes on me. I cheered, like he’d crossed the finish line of his first marathon.

And I cried. Because he’s adorable and he’s smart and he’s taller now and his feet can reach and when did I miss him working on the swing?

So many times, I’d pushed him back and forth in that spot, encouraging him to pump his little legs, so that when I walked away, he could keep on swinging. So many times, he just didn’t even want to. He wanted me to push him instead.

Not this day. This day he felt the thrill of figuring it out on his own, of kicking up dirt and swinging high into the air. All by his big self.

So I stood there swinging between pride and joy, but also fear and loss.

I know I’m going to miss these days, and I don’t like that feeling. To fix it, I want to try to be present for every ordinary sliver of daily life with each of my kids. I want to save them all up and hold them in my heart forever.

Of course, every is impossible. Right? We’re only human, and we will miss things. We can make an effort to be present with our people, but there will still be limitations.

One day, we will miss this–and there’s nothing we can do to change that.

What comes next will also be sweet. But it will be different. So today? Let’s love the opportunities God gives us. Let’s ask Him to fill our hearts with wisdom, as the psalmist prayed.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12, NIV

While lost in thoughts about seeing beauty and living fully and all that is to come in our lives, my little man asked a question I’ll never forget.

“Isn’t it FUN to watch me swing, Mom?”

Oh, buddy. You have no idea. I LOVE to watch you swing.

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.

How to Transform Ugly to Lovely

Death and life are in the power of the tongue Proverbs 18:21

Post By: Katie M. Reid

Last week my husband and I directed Vacation Bible School (VBS) for our church. The theme was “Ocean Commotion” and there was a lot of commotion in our home as we prepared for this program. I decided to wear my loud LuLaRoe leggings—yellow, turquoise, brown, and orange splattered, a bold flowing top, and my feather earrings to help support the theme.

There was so much to do to prepare for opening night of VBS. When I feel stressed, I bark out orders to the family, expecting them to hop-to and meet my demands. It isn’t pretty.

As I walked down our hallway, I informed Sunshine-headed son that he better start emptying the dishwasher. Usually this reminder is met with resistance and sighing but this time was different.

“You look beautiful, Mom!” my son declared with enthusiasm.

I had wondered if my outfit was a bit much, but my son’s unexpected compliment reassured me that I had made the right wardrobe selection. I smiled and my countenance lifted.

Later on, as we were frantically getting ready to head to the church to decorate for VBS, I told my daughter to go get her toddler brother’s shoes on so we could get out the door and “Hurry up, we need to leave soon!”

“Mom, I love your outfit. You look beautiful!” she cooed.

Once again I was stopped in my tracks. Darling daughter’s words of affirmation gave me a burst of joy. Her adoration transformed my frustrated tone, if but momentarily, as I held my head a little higher.

My kids were being so nice to me when I was being bossy.

Then I heard my tween daughter whisper to my husband, “When Mom is in a bad mood, we decided to give her a compliment and tell her that she looks beautiful.”

“Hey, I heard that! ” I called out from the bathroom.

So, that’s why they were bathing me with compliments. They were trying to transform my irritation and see if that would help me get off their backs about cleaning and doing chores.

It was working.

They turned ugly to lovely by responding in love to my meanness. Okay, they were being a bit manipulative and trying to get out of work, but their experimental tactic was quite genius.

With each compliment, I felt uplifted. My demeanor changed as they met my demands with a verbal blessing.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all there was to get done, I was overwhelmed with gratitude that they were being so nice. They heaped burning coals of love upon my head as they issued the unexpected.

My kids social experiment convicted me of my negativity and also inspired me to try it out.

What if I respond kindly to others when they are mean instead of pouting about it?

What if I issue grace instead of offense when I get my feelings hurt?

What if I compliment those I’m frustrated with instead of complaining to their face
(or behind their back)?

Could it be that we can transform ugly to lovely by reminding others of the beauty we see in them?

Let’s give it a try.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” -Proverbs 18:21

Dear God:

Thank You for saving us from sin. Thank You for dying on the cross and then rising again, that we might live for Your purposes, now and in the life to come. Thank You for taking what is broken and making it beautiful. Thank You for transforming our ugly into lovely. Forgive us for hurting others with careless words. Help us to reflect Your unconditional love with the way we respond to others. May we care for others with the strength You provide, by the leading of Your Spirit, and out of our commitment to doing things Your way—even when it’s hard. Thank You for Your Word and that we can be transformed by it. Give us a desire to know and apply Your Truth, that we might truly live—radiant and free.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

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

 

The Promise Inside the Sting of Rejection

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I remember watching my firstborn get his first taste of rejection. He was about two at the time, and he leaned in to give his older female playmate a kiss.

On the mouth.

She looked at him, wide-eyed and a little mortified, and backed away. I couldn’t help but chuckle but my sweet toddler took it in stride. He knew he was cute, and her lack of interest didn’t stifle his confidence.

We kiss in our family. We show unrestrained love. But I know that once we go outside the walls of this home, those unstated rules of conduct change. My two-year-old didn’t know these rules but at that age, who does?

As he’s gotten older, the tide has shifted. Rejection hurts. I remember the first time he cried after a spat with a friend who said, “I’m not your friend anymore.” I’ve seen kids come in and out of his life, sometimes later to return.

He’s usually able to roll with the stings and the snubs, but he’s not bulletproof. And I don’t want him to be. As much as I’d love to see him never cry, get hurt or given a cold shoulder from a friend, I know he has to experience these things to truly live.

A week ago I sat at my computer reading a rejection email from an online publisher and I realized the prick of “no” may change in nature, but the pain doesn’t.

When we see the pictures of the get-together we weren’t invited to plastered on Facebook, we may feel like we’re in our high school skin all over again.

When we extend the invite to the new acquaintance from church and are repeatedly shunned, we may wonder why we even bother.

We may feel like crawling into a hole with our popcorn and Netflix marathons so that we never have to feel the ache of another “no,” another denial, another wave of apathy and disregard.

But can I tell you something? The blessing is worth it. The “yes” is worth it. When you don’t think you can extend yourself one more time, remember this.

 We serve a God who was rejected in the most brutal, public way. He did it for you. For me. He did it so we could experience life and love and yes, pain. He never rejoices in our pain but he knows it’s sometimes necessary for us to grow.

But we can’t live if we’re constantly trying to protect ourselves. We can’t live if we let fear of pain and rejection rule our lives.

For over a year of my life, I stared at what I thought was a closed door. I counted cracks in the ceiling, and our recliner and a good book became my best friends.

I was tired of trying to make friends. I was tired of the blank stares.

Since I didn’t have anyone else to talk to, I talked to God. He hears us, you know. And he’s the always the best person to talk to. The first and the last.

After months of staring at ceiling cracks, I wasn’t sure God heard me. Silly, right? But then, I made a connection. And then another and another.

I discovered community, life and purpose. I discovered friendship, yeses and open hands.

Keeping our hands open isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. When we make those kindred connections and see those invitations extended, it’s worth the “no’s,” the stings and the heartache.

The next time you’re rejected, remember the promise of the One who was rejected most of all. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). And he’s working and listening, even when we don’t see it.

Keep your hands and your doors open, friends. You never know what God may have for you on the other side.

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

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.

 

What Age Do You Feel on the Inside?

pray God holds sky

Post By: Angela Parlin

“It’s kinda boring in here, Mom. There’s nothing colorful about this place.”

She says this a little sassy, from a plain old emergency room bed. She’s drawing a picture in her fancy notebook, and watching Liv & Maddie on the corner television. Most importantly, she’s breathing slower. She’s acting like herself again.

We wait for medications to wear off, and these unplanned hospital hours have me thinking. A Carrie Underwood song I played last week, on the day I turned 40, runs through my head:

“Whenever you remember times gone by,

Remember how we held our heads so high.

When all this world was there for us,

And we believed that we could touch the sky…”

(“Whenever You Remember” lyrics)

Time has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?  I no longer believe I could touch the sky. Not like that anyway. I also don’t feel 40.

The age we feel on the outside never seems to match the way we feel on the inside.

Do you know what I mean?

When I turned 30, a friend asked me if I felt older. I said I felt about 17. I told my older sister yesterday, now that I’m 40, I feel a good strong 27 inside. Maybe it’s only lingering optimism, although it wasn’t all pretty then.

On my 27th birthday, I woke, sobbing, with Temporary Insanity. My overdue “little tiny” still had not joined us. I thought I’d be pregnant forever with that one.

Eventually, he arrived, and 27 began this giant growth spurt that is motherhood.

I started questioning my ability and doubting my own strength. Looking back, that’s where my real growth began. I wanted to depend fully on God, but something was in the way. Youth, maybe? So I regularly exhausted my own efforts, research, and ideas, and just after that, called on the name of Jesus.

It’s funny the way life changes us.

You go from believing you could almost touch the sky–to knowing the limits of your power.

You go from holding your head high, feeling the wind of the world beneath your wings–to bowing down, carried by One who moves like wind or however He chooses.

It’s upside-down, but this is where life gets good. Because now you’re falling upward. In the corner of your bedroom. In the emergency room. And everywhere in-between.

“My heart beating, my soul breathing,

I found my life when I laid it down.

Upward falling, spirit soaring

I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”

(Hillsong United, “Touch the Sky” lyrics)

You fall to your knees, like it all depends on the GOD who holds up the sky.

You’re singing a new song, because now you really believe.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13, NLT

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

Angela ParlinAngela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. From her home in North Carolina, she writes about the Jesus, grace, and motherhood, because there’s always “So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.” In addition to writing, she spends her days homeschooling, putting meals on the table, and wiping countertops. When she can’t be found, she’s hiding in the closet, devouring another novel, because stories are her favorite.

The Catcher, The Change-Up, and Summer Preparedness

ready for the change up

Softball is usually a major part of our summer activities. The kids and I pack up the van and head over to the local park to cheer my husband on as he plays. Adam usually plays shortstop—he’s quite good. But between wrangling kids and catching up with friends, I often miss some of the key moments of the game.

The position that amazes me is the catcher. I’m always worried about his knees. How does he hold that position for so long? 

A lot of game-changing moments take place in front of home plate. The game can be going along in a predictable pattern and then whack! the catcher has to be ready to spring into action.

The catcher is ready for anything—even the change-up. Flexibility is his strength. His body is limber and his mind is engaged— ready to respond to whatever is thrown at him. When the pace changes, he adjusts.

I want to be like the catcher:

I want to be marked by adaptability, ready for the unexpected, and not thrown off balance when it comes.

When the pace of life changes I want to adjust and learn to embrace what’s in front of me.

I want my knees to be strong because they are bent often, in prayer.

When God brings a change-up, I don’t want to be thrown off balance.

Summer will soon be upon us. Are we prepared for this new season? Are we ready to be flexible? Are we willing to bend low so that we’re ready for what’s coming? Will we adjust to the change of pace or experience burnout from running ourselves ragged?

Come on over to Katie M. Reid’s blog as she continues this discussion and hosts the #RaRaLinkup…

 

Releasing Results to the Righteous One

Peace in release to His Keeping by Katie M. Reid for purposefulfaith.com

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I had a plan to promote a product. I brainstormed ways to roll it out and made lists of people who might be able and willing to help spread the word. But while in the shower the other day (where it’s quiet enough to get good ideas and where I usually hear God more clearly) I sensed Him asking me something like this…

If you don’t get the outside help you’ve been planning on, will you be okay? Are you dependent on others or will you trust Me to do what I desire through this? Will you release this project and leave the results to Me?

I wrestled for a few moments but quickly realized that God was right, of course.

He was asking me not to hold so tightly to my well-crafted plans but relinquish the outcomes to Him.

There was no guarantee the project would be a success in the world’s eyes but there was a reassuring peace that God’s will would be done. I could insist on my desired outcomes or bend to His higher and better ways—even if the results looked like “not much” or even a failure to others.

As the water poured over me, I was reminded afresh…

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” -Proverbs 16:9

We should rely on God all the way through a project.

I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” -Psalm 16:2

But sometimes we turn what was His to “mine”. Like Gollum, from Lord of the Rings, we hold our “precious” close at all costs. We don’t want to let go because we can’t imagine how life would go on if we lose that which we hold so dear.

What is your “precious”? Is it a person, a project, or a possession with which you have an unhealthy attachment?

Have you turned what once was an act of worship into an idol? Did you start off doing something for God but then it became all about you?

Are you willing to trust God with what He’s asked you to steward or have you made the sneaky shift from steward to prison guard—caging in your “precious” so that it can’t be freed from your watchful gaze?

Or will you bravely unclench your fists and hand over the “precious” to the Great Overseer of your soul?

You are precious in God’s sight. He doesn’t cage you in but sets you free under the necessary boundaries of His loving and watchful gaze.

God is trustworthy. He has entrusted you with people, projects, and possessions to steward well. Release the results to the Righteous One. He does know what’s best. His will for you and your project might look different that you expect but there is great freedom in letting Him lead and use you according to His good, pleasing, and perfect will.

Don’t despise His Sovereignty. Don’t discount His Supernatural ability. Don’t depart from His ways.

Find peace as you release people, projects, and possessions to His keeping.

Release what is precious to God and then stand back and see what He will do with your surrender.

Dear God: We want to worship you with clean hands and pure hearts. Thank You for entrusting us with projects, people, and possessions. Help us to steward them well and not elevate them above Your rightful place in our lives. We choose today to release the results to You. You are good. You know what is best. You love us too much to let our desires destroy us. Give us the wisdom and strength to hand over our dreams to Your keeping. Would you take our humble offerings and multiply them for Your purposes and glory? Forgive us for holding on too tightly to that which is mean to be handed over as a fragrant offering to You. We open our fists and raise our hands in worship to You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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, singing, speaking and photography Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

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