Purposeful Faith

Category - Regular Contributor

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.

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

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.

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

*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.

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.

 

Putting God Above the Need to Please

Need to Please

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I’ll never forget the sound. It was hundreds of pounds of files and metal crashing down on my three-year-old son but to me it sounded like one thing: disaster.

The impact was followed by the shrill scream of my child. In complete panic I ran from my parents’ kitchen to see him lying there with the filing cabinet on top of him.

With strength I didn’t know I possessed, I lifted the weight from him, consoled him and examined his body. As I wrapped my arms around him my mind repeated the question, “How did this happen?”

Later, when my family discussed the mishap, my husband explained how our son didn’t need to be able to move the entire cabinet on his own. He simply had to put it off balance. Once several drawers came out, it only took a small push to send it toppling over.

So often in life, I am like my son. The drawers are projects, service opportunities and responsibilities, and often I have several pulled out at the same time. My balance gets awry and I need to lighten the load, but instead I take on more.

I put the desire to please others above the gentle nudges from God to rest.

The longer I ignore his promptings the more irritable I become, until I am a frazzled mom and wife with little left to offer anyone other than scraps of time. Like the crashing filing cabinet, I lose all sense of stability. Instead of being intentional with my priorities, I am a mess.

 In Romans, Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

When I listen to the world instead of that still, small voice, I take on more assignments than I can handle. His love cannot pour out of me because I am a depleted vessel.

God wants to transform our minds so we can discern what he has for us rather than heeding to every tug of those around us. He desires the best for our lives, and is glorified when we use the gifts and abilities he’s given us. Often, this means declining requests for our time so we can spend it where the he wants us to be.

To this people pleaser, the hardest word to tell others is “no.” But often this is the exact word God is asking me to say.

After watching my son over the next day, we were confident he was alright. I uttered praises for God’s protection in a moment which could have been devastating.

The beautiful truth is that those moments when life is reeling and we lose our balance, God can still redeem our time. When we listen to his voice instead of the world’s, he can turn our mistakes into testimonies of his grace.

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

*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.

Rest & Life & Everything Else

Rest Life Jesus Christ

Post By: Angela Parlin

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

(Matthew 11:28)

This verse follows me around these days, everywhere I go.

From a series I wrote last year to a recent sermon at church to a card from a new friend with this verse painted on the front. Two books I read this summer discussed it at length, and last week, our community group sat around the living room, talking about ways we need to listen to these words.

Do scriptures sometimes chase you around like that?

Like arrows, they point the way to things we need to see.

Since I know these words well, I almost read past them. But there’s gospel wrapped up in them, and they’re worth listening to again.

Come to me.

This means, first of all, to believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

To come is to eat the bread of life and drink His living water, to enter through the Door and spend time being with Him.

Come to who?

Come to Jesus. Our faith should never be wrapped up in a church or other believers or even ourselves. Salvation is found in a Person—Jesus Christ.

Who should come to Jesus?

All you who are weary and burdened.

This means all of us. We are universally burdened by the weight of our sin. When we come to Jesus, we admit we are chained and He is the only way to freedom.

He desires to set all of us free from sin–if we will come to Him, humble to admit our sin.

There are other ways we are weary and burdened.

The people Jesus spoke to were spiritually weary. The Pharisees placed heavy loads on their shoulders and insisted on a legalistic reading of the law, causing unnecessary spiritual anxiety.

They were weary, and this was not the way of Jesus.

These days, many of us are weary because we rarely stop striving. Maybe we’ve swallowed the lie that we are not enough, we need to prove ourselves, and God is just waiting for us to get our junk together and DO something for Him. Also, it better be big. Flashy. Measurable.

Maybe we’re trying to keep up with what EVERYONE ELSE is already doing, or there’s another reason we work so hard. Either way, we are tired from all we’re doing. We’re burdened by commitments we take upon ourselves unnecessarily.

We may also be burdened by the demands of others, because sometimes the people we care for DO need more. Sometimes, others place loads upon us that we weren’t meant to bear. Other times, we carry wounds caused by others’ sins against us.

Jesus sees all of this. He sees the reasons we are weary and burdened, and He cares.

Jesus—the way, the truth, and the life—offers a better way.

He wants to give us true spiritual and physical rest. He offers eternal rest, as in salvation, and then He gives us even more. The Greek word here carries with it the idea of relief, refreshment, ease, blessed quiet, and even recreation.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30)

We may daily enter into the rest of Christ, but this is not something we can earn. It is His gift to us, as we come to Him for life.

At first, we come to Jesus as sinners in need of salvation.

Once we know the way, we come to Him AS the way to life.

We take His yoke upon us, instead of our own. Instead of what everyone else says we need or we need to do. We learn from Him.

In Jesus Christ, we find rest for our souls. With Him, we live out the beauty of the gospel. In Christ, we find rest and life and everything we need.

I’m praying that rest is yours today,

~Angela

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 You Cannot Have It

You Cannot Have it
I am delighted to welcome a new regular contributor, Angela Nazworth. She is not only a friend, who I adore, but an eloquent writer who always teaches me a lesson about God’s goodness. I hope you relish in her words the same way I do. Welcome Angela!
My hair has issues. Or perhaps the more honest statement to make would be for me to write that I have issues with my hair. I always have. Not even when I was five  and my golden locks rivaled those of Rupunzel did I like my mane. Oh, I liked the length, and when it was properly curled and styled I pretended to be a princess, but I did not like the tangles. Even less did I enjoy the pain and aggravation caused by the untangling process.

My mom, being the one who had to listen to my whining protests, decided that my long hair had to go. This decision was made when I was in the fourth-grade, and it was one with which I agreed.

There was a downside. It was the year of the mullet. Not only is the mullet an eye sore, it’s a lot of work. My hair still easily knotted in the back and a brush was no longer the sole implement required to style my baby fine tresses. Each morning my mom had to stand over me with a hot curling iron to make the top portion of my head look more feminine, which in 1984 meant high and fluffy.

Fast-forward 30 years and you will still find me complaining about my hair. I have dyed it various shades. In my attempts for the perfect color, my hair has been green, pastel orange, purple, gray, and pink. All unintended. I have also tried myriad styles: short and bobbed, long and spiral permed, short and spiral permed, pixie, etc.

Once, as I sat in the salon chair of a former stylist eagerly waiting for her to transform me into a super model with just a few clips from her scissors, (I tend to have high expectations) she said the most peculiar thing to me.

“You are so lucky to have straight, fine hair.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said with surprise. “I wouldn’t wish this hair on anyone, plus what is with my crazy hair line in the back that grows upward and that hideous cowlick?”

“It’s much better than having hair like mine,” she bemoaned.  “It’s so thick and coarse.”

I looked at her long, voluminous, perfectly coiffed blonde hair and giggled.

“This is too funny,” I said. “You have my dream hair!”

“Well, I guess we all want what we don’t have,” she replied.

How true that is. For sheep, the grass is always greener on the other side. For women, the hair is always prettier on the other head!

Moreover, it doesn’t stop with hairstyles.  I will be perfectly happy with my blog’s design until I see the makeover another writer’s site recently got and then, suddenly, I determine that my online space needs spiffing up. I will feel content in my house until I overhear the sales rep at Home Depot tell another customer that “Aqua Chiffon,” is the most popular color for living room walls and I realize that I don’t even have anything close to that shade anywhere in my home.

It’s easy for me to brush off this cycle of comparison as innocent, human nature, but in reality it’s unhealthy and emotionally dangerous. Disparaging what belongs to me opens the gates of envy, coveting, and bitterness. Focus shifts from God and His goodness to selfish desires and I begin to lose sight of blessings that surround me. When I’m in the mode of comparison, discontentment and want, the vision of my heart blurs and I open myself up to being more susceptible to commit other sins in the name of pride.

Why is it so much easier for me to want something I cannot have than to thank my savior for the many gifts I possess?

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

Watch out for people who try to dazzle you with big words and intellectual double-talk. They want to drag you off into endless arguments that never amount to anything. They spread their ideas through the empty traditions of human beings and the empty superstitions of spirit beings. But that’s not the way of Christ. Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him, that fullness comes together for you, too. His power extends over everything. – Colossians 2:6-10

So while the grass may appear greener, hair prettier, furniture grander, homes bigger, and figures thinner … I now try extra hard to not be so interested in the proverbial other side. I am going to focus on how to make my inside look more like Jesus and foster a spirit of thankfulness for all He has given me.

What about you? Please use the comment section to share something about your life for which you are thankful and no longer desire to change.

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

______________________________________________________________________

Angela Nazworth is a flawed and forgiven recovering perfection who writes mostly about the beauty of grace, faith, friendship, vulnerability and community at angelanazworth.com. She is a wife and a mother of two, who manages philanthropic communications for a nonprofit, national healthcare association. Angela’s also an encourager, a lover of good books, coffee, girl’s night out, sunshine, and waterfalls. She believes the creator of the universe is both the author of and lead character in her life story. With every experience she learns more about who she is in Him … and takes another step on her journey to love others better. You can also chat with Angela via Twitter.

You Are Welcome Here

Come As You Are by Katie M Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Have you ever tried on a dress that was just not your style—ill-fitted for the shape God gave you?

I have been “blessed” with a pear shape figure, smaller on top and curvy on bottom; literally.

Straight, fitted dresses are a death sentence for my body type. I need extra material down south to cover the bulk.

Last week I tried to wear a style that was not flattering on me. No, it wasn’t a dress style, it was a writing style. I tried to pull on a style that looked good on others, but it was not a good fit for who God has made me to be.

I was trying to wear something shiny and sleek so that I would gain attention and maximize impact.

But, it didn’t lay nicely and it felt uncomfortable.

I was conflicted. I was trying so hard for it to fit, but it just wouldn’t. It did not complement how I was made, much to my dismay.

But here’s the thing, God made each of us a certain way, completely on purpose.

While we might be irritated with the largeness or smallness of our mold, Our Creator was intentional when He spun us on the Potter’s Wheel.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Katie hosts the #RaRaLinkup over at her place, katiemreid.com, today

When the Recognition Doesn’t Come

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I waited a week for acknowledgement that the gift was received. A book I carefully picked out for this season of his life when he was groping for meaning and purpose.

I opted for the express shipping so it would be there in time for his birthday. My anticipation of his reaction mounted.

But the gratitude never came. There was no text, no thank you. I went online to make sure the package was delivered and saw it had.

It was as though the attempt to reach out never happened.

Self-defeat and pity consumed me. Why did I bother? Why did I make an effort when time and time again it wasn’t reciprocated?

An old wound was irritated. I knew I needed to address the source of pain, but I waited.

When a similar situation happened weeks later, I could no longer ignore the ache. I longed for recognition of the love I was pouring into those around me. I watched as others received pats on the back and validation.

In quiet moments between the fluster of a home with two young boys, I searched for peace. I asked the Creator to show me his heart.

Here’s the thing about asking the Father to reveal himself to you: He always delivers. It may not be on our timeline or in the way we prefer, but his response is as sure as the dew after a slow rain.

In another room I could hear my three-year-old begging for praise from big brother. He’d just put together the choo-choo and to him, it was a lifetime achievement worthy of celebration.

The desire to be seen was as deep and innate in him as breathing.

I flipped through my Bible trying to grasp the life behind the words on the page, but the syllables fell flat. Turning pages aimlessly, I landed in John.

Jesus was talking with the Jews, who were persecuting him because he equated himself with the Father. They wanted witnesses who could testify to the truth.

But the Father is the only witness Jesus needs.

“I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” John 8:18 NIV

Even though the Jews didn’t see Jesus’ heart and eternal worth, the Father did. And he sees mine too. But often, my actions say my identity in Him isn’t enough.

I run after accolades and gold stars, but the only credit I need is from my Creator. He approved me, sealed me and delivered me.

I crave the spotlight and the center stage, but on God’s stage we are all equals.

If I walk in step with the Spirit, his witness is sufficient. Everything I have is a gift from Him, and I am simply pouring it into others so that they may experience the life he gives.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with recognition and encouragement. In fact, scripture tells us to encourage each other and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But this type of acknowledgment is conditional and fleeting, while God’s adoration is unconditional and eternal.

Whose favor am I seeking most?

Months after my seemingly forgotten gift, I was visiting family. My loved one brought the book out and told me how much it meant to him. As he opened it to talk about a particular passage, I saw pages filled with marks from his highlighter and thoughts written in the margins.

Despite my flawed impression, he saw my heart.

And your Father in Heaven sees yours too.

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Guest ContributorAbby 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.