Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

Letting Go of Imaginary Worries

Worries

Post By: Angela Parlin

I used to think I didn’t struggle much with worry.

And then I became a Mom a decade ago. Suddenly there were so many what ifs to contend with. My imagination easily ran off to terrifying places, thinking two steps ahead of them, often fearing the worst.

Sometimes still, I get caught up in a whirlwind of worry, even though I know I don’t get to control things. Even though my trust in God has grown.

Shakespeare said cowards die a thousand deaths, and the brave die only one. I’ve heard a variation of his quote, which rings true for me:

“Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one.”

(Author Unknown)

I know the truth of my thoughts and my imaginations. I don’t tend toward bravery, but fear. How many deaths have I died in my head, or how many deaths have I feared for my loved ones?

What about you? Do you get trapped in worry? Have you grieved for those you haven’t even lost? Do you try to figure out the future, even though you have no power there?

When I’m stuck in worry, my best response is to turn each concern into a prayer, and to listen.

I am God, He says.

I am a good God, He says.

Trust me, He says.

He calls me to hand over all of my concerns to Him, each time they find their way back into my mind.

He calls me to bring my life before Him, to bring my loved ones’ lives before Him, day after day, and to place them in His hands.

He calls me to come to Him in prayer, to lay out the pieces of my life, to entrust it all to Him.

He calls you to all of the same.

When worry takes over, what we need most is to find our way back to the quiet, to fix our eyes upon Jesus once more. There, He speaks kindly to us, transforming and renewing our minds.

There, peace takes over, and worry morphs into trust.

We stop trying to carry our hurts, our struggles, our pain on our own.

We stop trying to bear our burdens–both our real ones and our imaginary ones–apart from the God who holds the whole world in His hands.

And when the worries return, as they often do, the Lord invites us to trust Him again, because He is God and He is good.

Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one, and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Lord, help us to live in peace instead of worry, to trust you with all the pieces of our lives.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

 

The Peace Found in Release

peace-in-release

Post by: Katie M. Reid

They had been carrying him for awhile.

He was heavy. His sickness weighed them down—not just physically, but emotionally as well.

They took his suffering seriously and they longed for a different outcome. They wanted to see their friend healed.

But what could they do?

If they could take away his pain, they would.
If they could fix him, they would.
If they could heal him, they would.

But they couldn’t.

So they got together—worked as a committed team—and decided to take him to a renowned physician who was growing in popularity. He was more of an non-traditional doctor—but they were desperate for a cure and open to trying unconventional methods.

So they took their friend, by faith, to go and see this peculiar man.

They hoped for a miracle.

When they reached their destination there were crowds gathered, blocking the door. But these determined friends removed a part of the roof and let down the pallet on which their friend, the paralytic, was lying (see Mark 2:4).

They made sure their friend made it to Jesus.

And Jesus seeing their faith said to the the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Mark 2:5, NASB

But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—He said to the paralytic—’I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.’ Mark 2:10-11, NASB

Obviously I took a little liberty in the retelling of this familiar bible story, but I wanted to share it to explain a work that God did in my heart a few weeks ago.

The Heavy Load

I had been carrying around a heavy burden. I was dragging around a dead-weight mummy, wrapped tightly in burial clothes. I had a few friends who were sick spiritually and I was trying to shoulder their choices by carrying them around.

This effort was weighing me down, both physically and emotionally. I was discouraged and unsure if I would see their healing.

I was weary.

Then God reminded me of the account of the friends who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus. They carried him, but only so they could lift him to Jesus and trust Him to heal him.

They did what they could do from a human standpoint and believed that Jesus would do what they could not.

I wept with relief as God asked me to let down what I had been carrying all this time.

It wasn’t my place to be my friends’ savior. It wasn’t my job to try and carry them. My part was to lift them up to Jesus and let Him take it from there.

As I raised my arms to reflect what He was showing me I felt the weight lift.

He took me from a place of pain and enabled me to rise up—crippled no longer.

I am not responsible for the outcome of my friends’ decisions. My part is to be a good friend and lift them up in prayer, to the One who can make all the difference.

He Stoops to Save

Sweet peace floods our soul as we release our weighty burdens to the Lord.

The Burden Lifter reaches down and comforts His daughters.

He stoops down to help us walk free.
He speaks clear, gentle wisdom that realigns our thoughts to His truth.
He removes our poor attempts at bandaging others and works His healing salve into the cracked places.

My friends:

  • Are you carrying around something that is not yours to bear?
  • Are you trying to be a savior instead of lifting up your loved one to the Savior, the Great Physician?
  • Do your shoulders ache from taking on responsibility that is not actually yours to carry?

Let’s stop, kneel and ask God to help us release that which belongs to Him.

Dear God:
Thank You for the sweet peace that is ours in You. Help us to release all that is weighing us down and holding us back from connecting with You. Thank You that You are Mighty Savior, Great Healer and Faithful Friend. Forgive us for trying to take on things that our shoulders weren’t meant to carry. Thank You that no problem is too heavy for You. Thank You that in You freedom, hope, healing and joy are found. Thank You that You tore off the roof of earth to come down and connect us to the Father again. We praise You Jesus. Help us to walk with You each day, as You lead the way Home.

In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

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Katie M. Reid Writer

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, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Katie is a contributing writer here at Purposeful Faith and also over at God-sized Dreams. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

 

Some Things Are Meant For Unfolding

Unfolding God's Word light

Post By: Angela Parlin

We’ve been working on folding shirts a new way, in my two younger kids’ rooms, because the old way, Mom’s way, was not working.

Our new fold is really a cross between rolling and folding. Instead of stacking shirts flat, we place them in their drawers almost upright. The kids are able to see which shirt they’re pulling out before they move anything around, and so the rest of the drawer stays neat. I like neat. 🙂

Our littlest is five, a great age for being a helper. This new fold is something he does well, and he’s excited because he does it all by himself. He often says, “You HAVE TO come see this, Mom! My shirts are so good!”

I gasp and tell him, “I’ve never seen anything so neat (especially in this room)!” And he nods his head, proudly.

We get a little excited around here about new systems for keeping things neat and tidy and well-managed. But there are some things which were never meant to be kept in a drawer, out of the way, folded up tight, and managed.

Psalm 119:30 says, The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

I wonder, what is this unfolding, and how often do we approach God’s Word this way?

Do you come to this ancient book, ready to unfold the words and let them unfold upon you?

Do you sit long enough to allow layer upon layer to open before your eyes,
lighting the path of your life? Lighting the way to life?

I love to study God’s Word, yet I’m convicted. Sometimes I allow myself to get swept up in the busyness of life, much of that busyness my own making. Then I approach God’s Word as a super-quick fill-up. I know I need it to get through the days, but I don’t always spend the time.

I don’t always approach the Word the way I’d approach a person I love.

I come rushed, asking for what I need, and please, God, drop it on me fast, because I also need to be out the door in a minute.

I hope you don’t hear any condemnation here. I believe God honors any minute we give Him, just as He honors the hours. But sometimes I see a pattern in me, and I wonder if you see the same.

Sometimes I forget this book is a treasure waiting to be unfolded, waiting to give us light.

His Word is alive and divides me in two. It lifts my eyes beyond everything I can see. It lifts my eyes to heaven. It grows my love for Jesus, for others, and even my love for me–as His work of art, His chosen, His beloved, His sister.

Do you unfold His words, and let them unfold upon you?

To unfold means to open. That’s a pretty straightforward starting place. We open His Word and let His words enter into our hearts.

To unfold is also to reveal, which is something the Lord does for us. He unfolds His words upon us, reminding us of truth or revealing truth in a new way.

Finally, to unfold is to interpret or expound, which takes time and the effort to dig in.

God’s Word is a treasure, and any effort we spend unfolding it, manifests in our lives as light and understanding and wisdom.

Lord, Your Word is perfect, and it refreshes our souls. Your Word is trustworthy, making us wise. Your Word is right, giving joy to our hearts. Your Word is radiant, giving light to our eyes. Your Word is righteous and pure. It is firm and endures forever. Your words are more precious than gold. Help us to treasure them, to treasure You. In the Name of Jesus, Amen. {adapted from Psalm 19}

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Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is Dan’s 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, Eyes on Jesus.  

 

Help Me Catch My Breath

Catch My Breath

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I am running. Panting hard, unsteady breath—not effective.

I need air. I need to breathe deep and steady or I’ll double over from exhaustion.

I am covering ground but I am losing it at the same time.

I’m exerting an excessive amount of energy and depleting my reserves as I take shallow breaths. I am flying past the scenery and missing out on the depth of beauty found on these country roads.

As I mentioned before, I am training for a half-marathon. The task is beyond me. I can’t do it without the help of the One who put this body together and is able to sustain me when I reach my limits.

In just a little over a month, I’ll come face to face with cold November air and more than a dozen miles stretching before me.

I have been living as if life is a 100 meter dash, not a marathon. I need to grasp a marathon mindset or be injured or maybe even taken out of the race.

But I’m not just talking about this literal race.

Covering Ground

Have you been training? Have you been doing time on your knees? Have you been stretching your faith muscles through prayer, so that you are prepared for what’s to come?

Are you giving your body a rest?

Have you been taking time to slow so that your body can be repaired?

Are you caring for those in your charge or are you pushing them to the limits as you race ahead?

Are you relying on your strengths to push forward or are you receiving His grace for your lack?

I am not proficient in prayer or rest—in fact sometimes I’m a downright pathetic pray-er and a restless rester. I want this to change. It has to change for the sake of my health, family and spiritual life.

For the next 31 days I am focusing on this dynamic duo—prayer and rest—and asking God to help me grow.

I like to plan my course, but I want God to lead these days instead.
I like to know what the outcome will be, but I want Jesus to overcome me instead.
I like to avoid pain, but I want the Holy Spirit to burn through my weaknesses instead.

Are you following His pace for your path? Are you leaving space for grace?

As we settle into our stride may we keep in step with the Spirit. May we not lag behind nor run ahead. May we stop running ourselves ragged and run instead to that old rugged cross—wrapping ourselves around His love.

May we enjoy the route that He has ordained for us—even when it’s uphill, even when it’s muddy, even when there are detours.

We will likely stumble on this journey, but instead of throwing in the towel, let’s receive and extend His grace for ourselves and those around us.

There is beauty to be found at our feet, let’s not miss it. Let’s embrace His pace for each of our lives.

Let’s Pray

Dear God:

Help us to catch our breath and wake up to Your Presence. We are not able to breathe without you. May we not take the next breath for granted but “breathe in Your grace and breathe out Your praise*.”

May You recharge us as we go down the road that You have laid. Help us to drink in Your grace as You set the pace. Help us to lay down our hurry and scurry and grab hold of Your Body and Blood, broken for us.

We repent of wimpy prayer lives and ask You to strengthen our resolve to cry out to you, often, and with great faith. Help us to unwind in Your Presence, through prayer and rest, as we grow in trust that You will be with us each step of the way. Help us to run the race set before us, faithfully.

Thank You that You are able to take our frazzled and harried days and transform us—free and healed.

Amen.

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*adapted from Your Grace Finds Me lyrics by Matt Redman

Katie M. Reid Headshot by Adopting Natinos

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, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Katie is a contributing writer here at Purposeful Faith and also over at God-sized Dreams. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

Jesus, Where Are You?

Post By: Angela Parlin

Sometimes, life leaves us wondering, Jesus? Where are you?

Sometimes trials last year after year, and we don’t see how God works good things through those hard places.

So often, we need a reminder of who Jesus is and what He’s done and what He’s still doing for His loved ones.

The book of Hebrews begins by telling us that God speaks through Jesus to the world.

Previously, God spoke to the prophets, the Old Testament writers. He revealed Himself to them, with divinely inspired revelation, but that revelation was incomplete. He also spoke to people through angels. The original audience for this book, the Jews, had highest regard for the ministry of angels.

But now, God wants us to know, He has spoken in a far superior way.

God has spoken to the world through the person of Jesus Christ, His Son, who is greater than prophets and angels. More.

Read the rest of this post at Angela’s Blog.

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Join the #RaRalinkup party on Angela’s blog today as she hosts our fabulous day of inspiration and encouragement.

 

 

 

The Object of Our Confidence

confidence

Post By: Angela Parlin

I started this year reading through Psalms slowly. I was learning to sit alone with God to pray, making it a practice to adore God each day. I quickly understood it wasn’t coincidence at all that I had begun this reading plan along with the desire to grow in prayer.

The Psalms filled my mind with ideas and images about who God is and what He does.

God is the One enthroned in heaven, Most High, maker of all, majestic, righteous ruler & judge, our Rock, our refuge, our strength, the One who sees, and these are only the beginning.

As for His actions, in the first few chapters alone, God surrounds the righteous with His favor like a shield. He watches over them and leads them. He blesses all who take refuge in Him. He listens to their prayers and answers them. He delivers, gives relief, disciplines, and judges evil. He fills hearts with joy and peace and brings prosperity.

God is King of kings, who made the world and owns the world and rules the world and sustains it.

So then, what does all this mean about us?

God chooses to be involved in the details of our lives, we learn in Psalms. And also?

He is worthy of our confidence and trust.  

David, who wrote many of the Psalms, had such deep and abiding confidence in God. I’m convicted by it, in the area of belief.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t usually struggle with doubting God. But sometimes I struggle with doubting me. Deep down, that’s an issue of confidence in God—that He is who He says He is, that He does what He says He’ll do, and especially, that He does it for me.

I do believe; Lord, help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

I don’t think we need more confidence in ourselves. Because at some point in life, even the most self-confident among us will experience their confidence shaken. We are human, and in this state, we are dependent on God, whether we admit that or not. It doesn’t matter how much confidence you were born with or how much you developed through the circumstances of your life.

What matters is that we hope and trust in God.

At the beginning of our school day one morning, I asked my kids what they think it means to have confidence in God.

One of them said, “You just trust Him, because you know He’s God.”

Another said, “It’s like Hope. You have confidence because you hope in God.”

Doing a quick word study using confidence, I found the Greek word parresia, and the Hebrew word, mibtach. 

Parresia allows us to look ahead with confidence–because we know Who is in control. With parresia, we have freedom and boldness, but only because of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mibtach carries the idea of security, trust, hope, and certainty.

Mibtah assumes our confidence is based on the object of our confidence.

It’s the word King David used when he prayed in Psalm 71~

Lord, You have been my hope, my confidence since my youth.

That was David’s beautiful confession, and his story. Because of what Jesus has done for you and me, this can also become the story of our lives.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

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Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 

When We Dilute the Gospel of Grace

diluting the gospel

For a long time, I believed a lie which is threatening the very heartbeat of our church. It sneaks in like a slow poison and its symptoms are often loss of joy, endless business and little time for meaningful relationships.

It doesn’t announce itself with brazen warning signs or even seem evident in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. But it’s there, and it’s threatening the gospel message Christ was crucified to bring to the lost and weary.

It pollutes the hope of our Redeemer and plants the seed of doubt. It says we can never do enough, be enough or work enough. Our salvation is not free, but is bought with a price.

It’s the message of striving.

Most of the time it’s presented with splashes of so-called grace along with it, but at the core it’s the same.

Because grace cannot be watered down. The gospel doesn’t say it is by grace plus works that you are saved through faith. No, God doesn’t need us, but through his love he chooses to use us.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Abby McDonald hosts the #RaRaLinkup today at abby-mcdonald.com.

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The Best Way Out of Fear

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

All I wanted him to do was pedal.

I pleaded and coerced, ran behind the bike and offered words of encouragement.

“You can do this. You know how. Just keep going.”

But as soon as I let go of the seat, his feet went down. Every time, without fail. And as much as I tried to hide my frustration, I knew it was as obvious as the sweat gleaming on my face.

I wanted him to succeed at this, but I couldn’t do it for him.

We put the bike away for a few weeks and he went back to racing his Dodge Viper around the cul-de-sac. Yes, my six-year-old was driving a nicer car than his Mama, complete with a rechargeable battery, radio and gear shift.

Little brother rode shotgun, occasionally grabbing the wheel and crashing the car into the overgrown flowerbed. A loud mixture of laughter and aggravated shouts poured out of the vehicle.

I buried myself in my latest copy of Hello, Darling and told myself the training wheels would come off eventually. He wouldn’t start high school with them on, right?

Skimming over the pages, one article grabbed me. The authors, both child psychologists, were talking about fear. Yes, this was what I needed. Some sound advice from those who understood how the mind of a child worked.

Their advice? Tell him it was okay to be afraid. Tell him it was okay, but he had to walk through it.

In the words of my favorite poet, Robert Frost, “The best way out is always through.”

Yet so often instead of confronting the fear, we want to run and hide.

I know. I’m an expert, and I’m sure my son’s behavior was modeled after his mom, the master hider.

When we hide from our fears we do nothing but fuel them.

When we confront them head on and walk through them, we expose them for what they really are: lies. And the father of lies would like nothing more than for us to live life cowering behind a self-made façade of what-ifs.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

The following day I sat down with my son and the mid-summer heat.

“Hey buddy, you want to give the bike a try again?”

“No.”

He didn’t elaborate.

“Why not?”

He paused, considering his answer.

“Because I don’t want to fall again,” he said in all honesty.

I looked him straight in the eyes and silently prayed my words would sink in.

“Buddy, it’s okay to be afraid. But it’s not okay not to try.”

He stood there, thinking about my words and taking his time. Then he turned on his heels and ran toward the garage, not waiting for me to follow him.

That evening, my son rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. His joy was contagious, and within hours he couldn’t even remember why he was scared.

As I stood there watching, God pressed his message on my heart. While fear of the unknown was as certain as the sunset, my response to it didn’t have to be.

Sometimes we just have to do it afraid.

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*photo credit

Guest Contributor Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly   pursues her, 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.

Living in an Overwhelmed State

Let His Love Overwhelm You by Katie M Reid for Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I was overwhelmed.

Our summer was jam-packed with events, responsibilities, conferences, and a move. It felt like we had little room to breathe and not much time to enjoy the slowness of summer.

But, who am I kidding? Those of us in the Midwest don’t sip in summer, we lap it up with an unsatiated thirst—birthed in the bowels of winter. The cold months leave our souls hungry for lake days and firefly nights.

Last week, as the weather prematurely cooled—with school days on the horizon—I sat on my bed, in our half-unpacked bedroom, feeling stressed.

I was on the phone with my life coach, Darlene, and she asked me about my plan for each of the roles that I play in this stage of life—wife, mom, keeper of the home, and writer.

I quickly unveiled my writing plan, proud of the boundaries I had set—at least in theory—and the way I was going to finagle our schedule to find pockets of time to write.

Then Darlene made an observation. “I hear you talking about your writing plan. But what about the plan for your other roles?”

I had made my writing more important than the living, breathing loved ones that fill the places ‘round my table and fill my days to the brim.

Darlene addressed the house first as we hashed out a plan. The sobs came quickly as I confessed, “It’s just too much.”

Within fifteen minutes she helped me outline a plan to tackle each cluttered area of our partially unpacked house. I was reminded of the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

How do you stop feeling overwhelmed? Just take the next step in front of you and then take the next one after that.

It sounds simple yet it isn’t for this creative brain of mine. I start something and am distracted by something else and pretty soon I just have a big mess and nothing is finished.

Just take the next step

Running a half marathon is on my Bucket List and doing it before I turn forty seems like a good idea. So I signed up for a race, in November, with my sis-in-law (yes, it could be really cold).

As I ran last week, putting one foot in front of the other, I tried not to get overwhelmed by the fact that the race will require thirteen miles out of these feet. I’ve only ran a 10K before, and if you do the math you’ll soon realize that this half marathon is more than double that mileage.

The elephant and the house plan came to mind as I tried to focus on the next step.

One bite at a time. One box at a time. One step at a time.

Instead of being known as that wife, mom, homemaker and writer who is often overwhelmed by her roles and responsibilities, I long to be known as a woman who is overwhelmed by Jesus’ love for me.

I want to live from a place of assurance that He is able to be a Rock when my resolve feels shaky.

Do you get overwhelmed by the pace and pressures of life?
Are you allowing the light of His Word to illuminate the next step?
Do you need to take a deep breath and regroup?
Are you dehydrated spiritually because you aren’t coming up for air?

As summer gives way to fall let’s take our weary hearts to the greatest Life Coach there is, the One who has poured out wisdom and longs for us to lap it up as we thirst for righteousness and hunger for His Presence.

That’s where I want to find myself this autumn, at the feet of the One who loves this try-hard woman and longs to give her rest.

I want to take refuge on the Rock that is steady and secure and able to help me face the frenzy.

I want to run this race victoriously, not at a breakneck speeds, but faithfully—one foot in front of the other.

Psalm 61:2 “From the ends of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I am praying that God will show you the next step.

Your next step might be to sit down, it might be to speed up, it might be to rest, it might be to stand.

Whatever the Holy Spirit reveals may you be strengthened and encouraged that He has a plan. God is more than able to uphold you as you go forth.

May His love overwhelm you more than your circumstances.

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Katie M. Reid Headshot by Adopting Natinos

Photo Credit: 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, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

God Sees

God Sees

Post By: Angela Parlin

Sometimes I feed my children an improper view of God.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but let me explain what I mean.

My (tween) boys love to play Minecraft on the desktop computer in our office-turned-schoolroom. Our oldest takes an online course which teaches him to code Java, and the class uses Minecraft as the platform to teach advanced coding.

So of course, he and his brother need to play in the worlds he creates, to see that it all comes together the way he planned.

I’m good with that. But only if they play by the rules.

In our house, the rule for using any kind of computer or video screen is–Ask First. Because there are a number of important things (like schoolwork) that must be done first. Not only that, but I’ve read too many articles about screen-time turning young minds to mush, and so I limit their time. About this, my boys are thrilled.  🙂

Evenso, the temptation is strong for them, to turn on the computer and click on the little Minecraft icon.

Sometimes I find them playing without permission, so I created a password for them to type in each time they turn on the computer.

The password I created? GOD-SEES.

Just a little reminder.

Just a harmless little reminder. Right? But no.

Recently, I read Psalm 32:8 on a friend’s blog, and it left me thinking about my snappy little password.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

What am I really saying to them when I’m saying God Sees?

I realized that my point was not that His loving eye was upon them.

I wasn’t exactly trying to say God will guide you because He loves you and desires the very best for you.

I realized I was feeding them the idea that the Lord is just watching for them to make a mistake. That He’s present where they play, but He’s waiting to zap them with a punishment, the way Mom sometimes assigns an extra chore or gives them sentences to write when they disobey.

But I was wrong. I don’t want my kids to believe God is just watching in order to punish them.

I want them to remember God’s loving eye is on them,
to guide them toward choices that are best for them.

I want them to understand He desires to lead them toward freedom and success, not always in the way we define success, but His way.

I want them to know His eye on them is the gift of His presence–at all times, in every place. That He wants to know them all the way down to their hearts, because of the depths of His love for them.

I also want them to want to know the Lord–to look into His heart and see who He really is.

My mistake led to an important conversation between my boys and me, and God used it to lead all of us back to the truth. I changed the computer password to what I really wanted to remind them to do in the first place–AskMom1st.

I hope we’ll never forget that God Sees—but that we’ll remember God sees all of us with His loving eyes.

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Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.