Purposeful Faith

Category - rejection

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.

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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.


When Prayer Gets Hard

When Prayer Gets Hard

Guest post by: Kelly O’Dell Stanley

Praying for YOU is easy.

If you come to me and ask for prayer, these are the words I will have for you:
All things are possible. God is a healer. Hold tight to your faith. Just believe.

I will carry your request to God, believing He can do anything. And that He will.


It’s easy enough to pray for my friends. I don’t even hesitate.

But for me?

Sometimes the only words that will come are ugly, insidious whispers:

You are not enough.
You don’t deserve what you want.
You haven’t been faithful enough.
You haven’t trusted Him enough.
He’s not going to come through for you, so don’t get your hopes up.

It’s a form of self-flagellation at its worst. Beating myself up and living in the assurance that because of all of my failures, God, too, will fail. Or, at the very least, will fail to act.

It’s a cruel torture that leaves a mark as surely as a whip would do.

A few months ago, I found a lump in my breast. Instead of a regular mammogram, they scheduled me for a high-res, diagnostic ultrasound. I had to wait longer to get in. And I knew, I just knew, that the best thing I could hope for would be an assurance that “it’s probably nothing, but we need to do a biopsy.” I figured I’d have to schedule a procedure or two. And wait. And wait a little more.

Instead of leaning on God, I snapped at my husband. Criticized everything in sight. And tried and tried to pray, but all I could manage was, “Dear Lord,” before I’d stop.

Stumped. Afraid. Before I’d dwell on the fact that Mom died of cancer. That my dad had cancer. That my sister’s best friend died from breast cancer. That one in eight women will get it. And that there’s no reason in the world why that should not be me.

As I sat in that waiting room, with the little pink shirt-gown on, while my technician prepared the machine, I couldn’t focus.

I finally cried.
And I was so afraid.
Too afraid to really pray.

So I tried to block out all of my thoughts with a simple melody. The melody to Hallelujah (You Never Let Go), sung by Jeremy Camp came into my mind, and I thought-sang-prayed, You are with me, Hallelujah. You are with me, Hallelujah…

And I let those words push away my fears.
I let them drown out the what-ifs and oh-nos.

It’s so easy to forget God is with us. That He. Is. Right. There. With. Us.

No matter what we feel. No matter where we go. So I just kept repeating that chorus. Until I believed it.

Felt it. Rested in it.

After the ultrasound, the radiologist assured me that there is nothing there. It’s normal fibrous breast tissue. No cyst, no tumor. Nothing. I’m fine. I could have sighed with relief and moved on, like we often do, forgetting about it now that I’m past the scary part.

But the situation got me thinking.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer (so much so that I wrote a book about it). And if I still have my moments of doubt, if I still think that maybe God will come through for everyone else but not listen to me, then many of you probably feel that way, too.

What if, just for today, we let ourselves pray as though God is everything we want Him to be?

Everything that we think He is or should be?

 What if we prayed full of belief?

What if we stopped torturing ourselves for our failings?

What if God shows up?

What if this is the moment when everything will change?

What if I can summon as much faith for myself as I can summon for you?

What miracles do you suppose we’d see?

                                                                                                                       Let’s find out.

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Kelly O’Dell Stanley is a graphic designer, writer, and author of the new book, Praying Upside
Down, which releases May 1. With more than two decades of experience in advertising, three kids ranging
from 21 to 14, and a husband of 24 years, she’s learned to look at life in unconventional ways—sometimes
even upside down. Full of doubt and full of faith, she constantly seeks new ways to see what’s happening
all around her. Subscribe to her blog (www.prayingupsidedown.com) to download her free ebook, Praying
in Full Color, along with this month’s prayer prompt calendar to jump-start your prayer life.

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Purchase links:
Barnes & Noble
*Also available at christianbooks.com, Lifeway, Books-a-Million, Parable, and others

Join Kelly on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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


How to Heal a Deep Hurt

How to heal a deep hurt

Have you ever felt like you went too far? That you were too vulnerable with someone? That you were standing right at the brink of feeling out of control? Wondering if you would be pushed over and taken advantage of?

We have all been in these situations.

Often, we share and open up, only to feel sorry we did, only to feel put down or only to feel a recipient of unwanted advice.

I understand.  It can feel easy to want to hide, to cover our heads, to shut down, to close off, to get defensive and to self protect. I do these things all the time because sharing is risky. Being open is threatening. People’s responses are uncertain.  It’s sometimes easier to stay on steady ground.

Standing completely open to another’s reactions, views and perceptions threatens to redefine who we are – or simply hurt us at our very core.  It makes us feel like others hold control.

And, none of us like being acted upon – to feel unsure where things are going. It can feel too much to handle. Overwhelming.  It’s much easier to avoid these situations by maintaining control.

This way, we can avoid doubt, self-reflection and feelings of inadequacy. We can avoid wondering if we will be accepted, judged or criticized.  We can avoid worrying about others worrying about us.  We can avoid worrying about being punished for our beliefs.

At the bottom of it all, we fear others, we fear ourselves and we fear we won’t be loved.  We fear we are not good enough and others will know.

And, sometimes these fears feel justified.  We remember what happened the last time we were in a position like this, we remember the result and we remember our feelings. It was hard. Painful. Damaging. So, when we come against it again, we stand afraid – ready to fight – or take flight.  Either way, we know we aren’t going to be treated the same way as last time.

What are we to do? How are we to be honest, transparent and vulnerable with others when we constantly feel in fear? How can we move towards relationship without feeling like we need to move away?

God has been stirring up these questions in my heart lately.  I know he wants me to see beyond fear, but often I wonder how.   I am coming to the realization that I will never feel completely fearless with others; I will never feel completely safe based on who I am. It is impossible. We are all fallen.

And, I will never be completely good enough by my own merit, so if that is my goal – it is unattainable.

Only One makes us good enough, only One can be our refuge in a time of trouble, only One can be our rock when our ground is sinking and only One can be our hope when life is hopeless.

I know these things. I do. But, talk is cheap and the heart is what counts.

I don’t want to be a talking testimony; I want to be a walking testimony.

God sees my desire. He is opening my eyes. Gently, He is revealing truth – to change my perspective and to make me effective.

He captured my eye with just a couple words in His Word that made all the difference in my world.

The Lord said to me, “You are sealed.”

(He) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Cor. 1:22)

On face value, this may not appear the answer to all fear.  But, these words have a powerful ripple effect that extends to the deepest levels of our hearts.

Why?  Because being sealed means that we are enveloped in love. Like a letter wrapped in a sealed envelope, we are entirely covered above and below – wrapped by the ownership and power of the Holy Spirit.  It covers us.  Nothing can penetrate the seal or the mark of the Spirit.

Because we are in Him, our ultimate security is secure. We are sealed. Shut. Marked. Owned. Sent. Made right. 

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit… (Eph. 1:13)

The King’s seal is on our hearts.

If he took the time to seal us, won’t he protect us? Guard us? Ensure we are ok? Help us forgive? Encourage us to speak his truth with love?

Afterall, we are his letter and words to all nations.

In this, we don’t have to live scared. If God stands with us, who in the world can ever stand against us (Ro. 8:31).  At our deepest levels we are secure.

People can say or do what they are going to do, but it doesn’t matter, because the seal of the Spirit keeps us safe. Nothing can change that seal.  The Spirit forever marks us.

And, when we have been marked, we have been marked as belonging to the Lord.  We are united. One. He will help us. He will not abandon us. He knows us. He approves of us because of Him.  We are protected.

But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit. (1 Cor. 6:17)

How could God destroy his very self?

Even if, in the moment, we are threatened – or at worst – taken advantage of, God always has the advantage. He always has a plan.  He knows a way. He has a vision.

Do we trust Him?

We need not fear being hunted, threatened or hurt because – in the end – God will always be victorious.  In fact, he already is. He has already won the battle. It is finished. Because of this, the battles of present day can lose their sting, because Jesus endured the ultimate sting.

Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (Jo. 19:30)

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Let your Light Shine Bright

Let your light shine bright
I was in a mom’s bible study. We were there to grow in love of the Lord – to share his work in the midst of the craziness of motherhood, his encouragement when we felt despair and his grace in failures. As much as I was looking to be loved and accepted, I wanted to shine an encouraging word into each of their hearts.
God had been transforming my soul in awe-inspiring ways, so I was eager to share. He had been teaching me about trusting him – about reaching outside of myself, stepping outside of my comfort zone and about letting go of things I clenched so tightly.  He was teaching me to let him work out what was his to work out. God was teaching me in a powerful way.
But, as I stepped into the spotlight of vulnerability, a dark cloud cast a shadow over me.  I questioned, “Is my story even good enough? Am I overwhelming them? Can they handle all this “Jesus talk”? Am I a “know-it-all”? Do these ladies even care?”
I left the group defeated and discouraged. I went in with a flame ready to ignite the group’s passion for the Lord, but I left with burnt ashes in my wake. 
I was confused. Shining my “light” illuminated my vulnerabilities – and highlighted my insecurities.
God, I heard your call. Why did this happen?

After much soul-searching, I realized I hid my candle – out of fear of judgment.  The light still remained in my soul, but I took my eyes off of God.

I placed the value of my light on the women in my sight.
Instead of the God who works with all might.
Instead of the God who is completely right.
Instead of the God who shines bright.

God’s glory, his radiance, and his brilliance are not dependent on the responses of others. He is light.

It is impossible for darkness to extinguish light.  It will always shine. It will always be. It does not depend on reactions, perceptions or judgments.  It just is.

Even if you have your flame hidden, it is still there. It stands ready to shine.Because the light he put in us is truth. It is the power he works within us to shine the glory of Jesus Christ in present day life.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:6 NLT)

To hide his light, to squelch its power – is to hide the saving and redeeming work of Jesus Christ.  When we do this, we hide the work he has set forth for us to do. But, when we live based on the light that is within us, we are truly living. We are in his will. We are living with purpose and with power. We can see the way we should go. It is amazing. It is powerful.

In Order to Let Your Light Shine Bright, You Should:

  • Not fear the response of man.
  • Speak as the Lord directs.
  • Listen to others opinions and reflect on truth.
  • We run from those who are not willing to listen or hear.
  • Realize that the value of our message is not dependent on the value of others responses.
  • Give glory to the Lord all the time – in all ways.
  • Weigh our words carefully before speaking.
  • Speak truth no matter what, balanced in love.
  • Be who God created us to be, no matter how others feel.
When we shine light – when we let our light shine bright – God sends it into dark places. We  may not even know the distance that our light will shine.  He will send it far and he will send it wide. Our job is to keep our eyes on him and trust him as we let him lead.
People will judge us, but his truth will lead us. He will not let our foot slip (Proverbs 121:3). 

Never be afraid to shine too brightly for the one you love; for the light within you is set to light the world on fire with a love of Christ. Let your light shine bright.


How To Stop Comparing Once and For All: 3 Tips

How to Stop Comparing Once and For all

I recently read a famous author’s article and thought, “I could write a better story than this.”   It’s embarrassing to admit.  My words were spoken through a heart of jealousy.

Comparison, like a teeter-totter, lifted me higher than she was – for a moment.  I felt good. I felt high. I felt powerful.  And then, as fast as I went up, I came crashing down.

As I began my descent, a little voice asked, “If you are so good, why aren’t you like her? How come you aren’t doing what she is doing? Why bother Kelly? You don’t measure up. Quit.” Slam.

The impact of comparing can be shocking.  It often leaves us discouraged as we fall to the ground, feeling disappointed in who we are.  Up and down the teeter-totter goes – feel good, feel bad, feel high, feel low.   What goes up must come down. 

So, how do we gain lasting steady confidence? How do we beat the up-and-down rhythm of comparing? How do we deal with ourselves when we feel less than?  It is time you found out how to stop comparing.


1. Anticipate the Lure of Comparing & Preemptively Fight

Thoughts of comparison are like a fly, they often land on us before we realize – and are gone before we can take action.  What are we to do?  We need to fight the lure in advance – before it even lands. We do this by examining our areas of vulnerability.

Examine Yourself:
 Where do I feel less than?
Where do I feel prideful?
What do I feel I am lacking?
How have I failed?
What areas of my life do I normally fall prey to “comparing”?
What are are my greatest dreams? Hopes?
How can I pray for those who are doing better than me?
How can I encourage those who are doing better and less than me?
What can I be thankful for?

“Let us examine our ways and test them,
and let us return to the LORD.”  (Lamentations 3:40 NIV).

We are wise to open the door to our vulnerabilities and to welcome thankfulness in our lives.  When equipped this way, we can more easily shut (and lock) the door to the temptation of comparing.

how to stop comparing

2.  Bless & Decompress.  

One of the greatest things we can do to combat comparing is to pray.

When we pray, we find a better way.  When we:

Pray for our weaknesses, we find strength.

For our failures, we find hope.

For our dreams, we find new doors.

For our pride, we find authenticity.

For those in need, we find love.

For those more successful, we find a softened heart.

For those less than, we find charity.

For eyes to see like Christ, we find faith, hope and love.

We pray and God answers us with eternal rewards – lasting, meaningful and transformational rewards.  Prayer changes us. Rather than looking for how much value we get, we start to see how much value we can give.

Instead of seeing our size compared to man, God shows us our size compared to Him. 

 He can – and will – bless many.

He is not an either/or kind of God.  So, we can stop comparing, pray big and dream big for others!

how to stop comparing

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11 NIV)

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:19-21)

3. See Yourself as God Sees You.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”  1 Sam. 16:7

To think that we will ever be without weakness, without hardships, without areas that need improvement, is not reality.  God created each of us with both strengths and weaknesses.  And, although the world tells us that we need to shape up or ship out, God just wants us to rely on Him in the midst of pain.  He wants us to look at ourselves created in his image.

We are wise to embrace who we are in Christ (click to learn more),

to believe his truths and let them  sink into the depths of our souls.

He created you uniquely and he loves you uniquely.  He wants you to rely on Him.  To trust Him.  To draw near to Him.

He knows what he is doing.  Posture your heart towards him and trust him to manage the rest.  You are a work in progress – and he won’t finish until his masterpiece is finished.

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on
to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  (Phil 1:6)

***BONUS TIP:  Embrace Grace

No one is perfect – not one.  Jesus didn’t die for us to be perfect; he died to extend us grace.   We are growing more and more into the likeness of Christ, but it is a process.  God has you covered – with the blood of Christ.   Rest your deficiencies in the arms of Christ. He desires to hold your pain and work them to accomplish his goal in the most exciting exhilarating ways.

Now that you know how to stop comparing, trust him and let go of the up and down ride of comparing that only serves to leave you wind blown and frustrated.

Now that you have learned how to stop comparing, be sure you don’t miss Part I (The Shocking Truth about Comparing) & Part II (3 Ways Comparing is Bad) of the Comparing Series.