One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck! I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.
Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!
We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.
We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.
Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.
Our internal pictures tell a different story.
What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?
May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.
He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.
He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?
To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.
What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)
Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it.
I am God’s daughter. I am the daughter of a good, good father.
What does this mean?
To my heart it means:
God inclines his eyes to watch me.
He enjoys me.
He is glad he made me.
He wants me.
He delights in giving to me.
He will always help me.
He opens up his inheritance to me, gladly.
He sees me as a reflection of him.
He cheers me on as I go the right way.
He seeks to grow me, so I can thrive.
He wants me to know I am safe with him.
He believes in me.
He thought of me before creating me and liked his workmanship.
He considered my abilities, strengths, character, and frame.
He speaks over me that I am good.
He wants to be near me.
He loves it when I spend time with him.
He delights over me with singing.
He declares I am altogether beautiful, flaws and all.
He gives grace in good measure, without casting down shame.
He hands out wisdom and understanding with good pleasure.
He blesses me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
He freely gives the best of himself to me.
He encourages me to unite in heart-centered relationships with other women.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. . .” (Eph. 1:3-6)
What number from above do you need to let soak in? What truth seems a little distant from you? What do you have a hard time believing?
Ask your good Father to comfort you in that way and make known that exact nature of his good, good character. He will.
And this makes all the difference. When a daughter knows she has a good father, she finally finds peace.
Often, it can be hard to love others authentically. Ever noticed that?
It can be hard to drop TV and take a meal to a sick friend’s house. It can be hard to make a phone call when you had a horrid day. It can be hard to write another blog post when you’re struggling to get by yourself.
But then you think about love. You think about who He is. Jesus.
You think of how he went out there, carrying what was back-breaking, burdensome and unbelievable. . . and he kept going. With us on his mind. With our sin on his back. With our pain that became his pain.
Jesus doesn’t give up on love. I am compelled not to either.
With this, I’ve been observing it…Love-in-action. Others have loved me a lot lately: They’ve taken me into their home when I almost had no home. They’ve made me food when I didn’t have much to offer. They’ve texted me even though I haven’t talked to them in years. They’ve just done stuff in the face of this post-Irma trial.
And in their actions I can see love is what it is all about. It’s about me, and not giving up. It is about me, and enduring. It’s about me, and believing God can, and will.
It is also about you. It’s about you and acting anyway. It is about you, and reaching out. It is about you, and responding kindly. It is about you, and giving to the person with nothing left to give. It is about continuing to speak authentically when the trials of life leave you breathlessly out of words.
I was thinking of all this today. And then a friend wrote me and said her life was changed because of my breathless writing. It wasn’t in a big way or even a big deal. But that’s how the responses to love usually appear – small, little, inconsequential. But somehow, I figure they’re not. The small thank yous? They all add up to something monumental and massive over all the years in the sight of God.
The bottom line to today’s post is this: We don’t know how much all our small breathless acts of love change — everything.
Let me warn you, this is not one of those “I have it all figured out and I’m on the other side of this situation” kind of posts. This is more of a “I am right here in the middle of a mess” kind of posts. Today, I am in smack dab in the middle of a season of transition. Honestly, it’s a big one. My job situation is in question and my housing situation is in question. The Lord has been opening doors for me in my writing and speaking and coaching. And I have also been in a hard season in my thought life where I have felt very tormented. So, in many ways I have not had the best year.
Transitions are tricky. They can be really good or really bad. They can come at the perfect time or at the not so perfect time. They can be for the better or for the worse. All year, I have had a sense that transition was coming and boy has it come. It’s all coming at once. I’m not really sure where this transition falls. It’s wrought with deadlines and unanswered questions and not a strong sense of direction.
There are not a ton of things I’m sure of right now, so I have determined to lean on what I do know. Maybe you’re in a transition too and needing to be reminded of truths that will never change.
God is good.
“The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.’ Psalm 145:9
I know sometimes, I don’t want to hear that God is good because what I’m going through doesn’t feel good. This is when I try my best to ignore my emotions and what I can see in the natural. I try to focus on the things that don’t change. God’s goodness is at the top of that list. He is good. He just is. It is part of His nature. Everything flows out of that goodness. He promises to bring good out of the hardest and most confusing circumstances. He promises to work it out for our good. I may not know how He will accomplish this, but all I need to know is that He will.
God’s plans are good.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Not everything that happens is good. That is what happens when we live in a broken world among broken people. Jesus never guaranteed that life would be painless, effortless or that only good things would happen to us. In fact, He gives us a heads up as to how much tribulation would actually come our way.
The heart of transitions is so multifaceted. Many of the areas where I find myself in transition are all contingent on something else. They are not simple in any way. But, I am grateful that the One who created the Heavens and the earth and me knows my future. He has already been there. He is there now. It blows my mind every time, but it’s true. His will is for us to rely on Him, follow His lead, fulfill His calling for us and be light to a dark world.
God is faithful.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful— for He cannot deny himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13
This is one of my favorite verses! Like God’s goodness, His faithfulness is a part of His character. An aspect of this transition that causes me concern is wondering whether or not I will make the right decisions. I think for the most part, I hear from God clearly. But there are times like now, where I have no clear sense of direction. I don’t know what to do. That is a difficult place to be. I want everything planned out fifty steps in front of me, but that is not in any way how God works.
I tend to struggle with remembering His past faithfulness to me. In my mind, I think whatever is happening right now is the one thing He won’t be faithful in. I think I suffer from some sort of spiritual amnesia. Even then, He remains faithful.
All of us are either in transition, coming out out of one or heading into one. That is the rhythm of life. I want to do my best to glorify God and follow His leading in every transition that comes my way.
There is no grand revelation here, just basic reminders of where to set our gaze. I’ve found that I need to tune out the voices of the world and cultivate an ear to the God who whispers promises, purpose, provision and destiny over me.
If you are in a season of transition, I’d love to hear about it and pray for you!
About Karina Allen
Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.
Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”
Don’t. Don’t give up on the kid who won’t listen.
Don’t give up on a dream you’ve never accomplished.
Don’t give up on a hope that seems hopeless.
Don’t give up on the spouse that you think is too far gone for you to ever love.
Don’t give up searching out that great friend you’ve always longed for.
God sees all that you’re enduring. He knows the desires of your heart. He cares for each and every one of them.
And God loves you. I fear this sounds contrite, like wasted words and that somehow, like my daughter, you’ll respond: I know this already. Tell me something I don’t know. . .
But do you really know?
Jesus loving you and dying for you is the equivalent of him jumping in between you and an assault, pushing you out of harm’s way so he can take the blow, and entering a war that feels like a huge loss, all so that you can be lifted above it.
It is like him jumping into the scene of your life to fix it, permanently and eternally.
If he cared for you that much, doesn’t he still care for you that much — today?
Don’t give up: on Him, on you or on those around you.
To not give up means to keep going. It means to you can feel kind of icky, tired, or weary and worn, but you keep at it. Not working hard, or doing more, or pressing ahead, or sweating it out, but simply pursuing him with all your heart. It’s keeping your time intact with him who is love. It’s not letting life encroach on his territory.
This is not giving up.
Getting his love gives hearts new air to breathe, room to move, and a helping hand up.
Our high aim and our lifting hand always is Him.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn.” (Ps. 37:4-6)
My son can’t keep his eyes on me when I talk to him. Granted, he is only six, but his small eyes wander left and right when I’m giving instruction. It drives me nuts.
“Hey boy, Mama is over here, not under the table…”
I hate it the most during those lean-in kind of conversations, the ones where I really need him to pay attention because I have something important to say. When his head starts spanning the ceiling, I just know he isn’t listening. I’ve lost him somewhere. It is usually hard to bring him back and get him to hear me.
Like my son, we can’t easily hear God when our eyes are off him. We can’t easily follow what He is doing when we look left and right and all around.
We miss His directions. God may be standing in the center of our intersection called “life,” waving his arms, trying to tell us where to go. But if we have our head turned in other directions, thinking about random thoughts, annoyances, pestering people and pain-soaked problems, we won’t see what he is doing or saying to lead us.
So how do we keep our eyes on God so we can follow him? How do we focus our attention on his Word, on prayers and on his beauty so we find ourselves full of his joy?
I’ve mulled over this question long and hard, day after day, week after week and the more I consider it, the more I am finding these steps keep intimacy in this crazy world.
5 Ways to Keep Focus on God:
Give yourself allowance. You have a human mind that does human things. It gets distracted. It wonders about random people. It notices ancillary objects. It tallies up its list of to-dos.Don’t hate yourself for getting off track. Just choose to get back on.
Go back to where you last were with God. Example: If you are reading the bible and you find your mind has gone off another trail, return it back to where you last were.Pick up on the last place you remember being with God.
Swap what you listen to. I watched a Nazi film last night. I couldn’t think about God, nonetheless sleep. But on the nights I pray before bed, I go to bed thinking, dwelling and at peace with God.Sometimes you have to swap what you watch or partake in.
Ask for God’s help to stay awake to him.Then, act like it’s Christmas. Know that today, God has something good for you and you don’t want to miss it.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Jer. 33:3
5. Shut it all down. Literally.Shut down your phone, computer and your active-lifestyle. Pick a certain amount of time and call it off limits. Let no one, no how, no way encroach on that time with God. Then, during this time, refer to items 1-4 above.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Is. 26:3)
The more you practice these things, the more these things will seamlessly and effortlessly become part of your life. They’ll soak into your thinking, living and doing. . . and before you know it, you’ll find yourself walking with God far more often than you’re not.
Jesus is your victory. Your victory and your destiny. You are secure.
Because it is: Won and done. (Let these words take root in your mind when you forget)
Jesus won, is winning and will win. Period. Always. Forever. And on and on…for always.
If everything is against you, Jesus wins. Won and done. If you see death to cancer. Won and done. One day, you’ll be healed on earth or in heaven as your every tear is wiped away.
If your husband left you. Won and done. Jesus will be right next to you, never leaving your side, while leading you to his best thing.
If you get every door slammed in your face. Won and done.God will be your defender and restorer. Nothing gets by him.
If you can’t see out of depression. Won and done. In God’s presence there is fullness of joy.
If you are hated. Won and done. Jesus loves you and will fill the deep desires of your heart.
If pain overwhelms you. Won and done. Greater is God’s love than the substance of anything in this world.
Always, Jesus wins. Won and done. Always. Always. Always. Honor God by returning to this truth, in every case, at all times, in every way. Don’t delay.
He won for you and his victory is done.
“For those who honor me, I will honor.” 1 Sam 2:30
A couple weeks ago we left our house to prepare for Hurricane Irma. There were so many moving parts. We had no idea when school would resume. My husband needed to take a business trip. The storm had no real direction, and we had people telling us to leave and which houses we could live at. A million decisions were thrown up in the air, with a storm barreling towards us.
And so many worries…would our car be okay? Would our place get flooded? Would our life ever return to normal? Would power take months to go back on? Would schools ever start up again? How could I get my manuscript done for the next week with a hard deadline on my shoulders?
Add to the ride screaming kids, a phone that was blowing up with texts, bad news after bad news and it all could add up to: too much.
My husband looked at me and said, “Kelly, we need to take things one day at a time.”
These words released me from the burden of knowing it all. They spoke to me: Kelly, it is okay to be where you are today. Just stick here, in today. . .you can figure out the rest later.
Inhale. Exhale. God has this.
Where do you need to “take things one day at a time?” How might keeping your thoughts in today prevent you from rushing into quick, sandy thoughts of tomorrow? Thoughts that want to sink you emotionally?
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Mt. 6:34
What we have here, in this moment, is what God works with. It is what he impacts, as we trust him. It is what we feel peace with, as we address it. It is what calms us, as we know we did our part. It is what sets us free from overwhelming and heartbreaking worry.
Let it go. You have full permission, today, to take things one day at a time.
There is a homeless lady my kids love. She sits on the side of the road in a makeshift tent made out of trash bags, tarps and cardboard. Everyday, when we pass her on the way home from school, my kids scream out the window, “Hi, have a great day,” as we pass by.
They know her name because one day, my daughter thought we should bring her food. She thought carrots would be nice. My son thought flowers would be a good idea too. So, we bought carrots and flowers and delivered them to her. It was then we learned she had a name.
Linda. I can’t stop thinking of Linda right now. She had to leave the streets…probably by force. I hope she didn’t protest. Somehow, I imagine her not wanting to desert her carts of personal belongings. I imagine her crying because that block is where she’s always lived. But if Linda didn’t leave, she might be dead. Hurricane Irma planned to hit her, hard.
Linda likely perceived her stuff more valuable than her safety. And she probably didn’t think about how there was a better place for her.
We’re like Linda, too. We don’t want to leave “our heart stuff” behind for God’s soul-calming safety.
We don’t want to cling to the safety of what we know, forgetting the calm that God brings. We don’t want to stay in a marginal place, missing the greater place of growth God is calling us to. This is even riskier than staying where we are. To stay on our corner, clinging to the past, our faults, insecurities or worries, hurts not only ourselves but others.
We must leave our baggage behind to pick up God’s easier yoke. There is a transaction involved in this. There is a sacrifice.
I’ve certainly learned this. I could easily go through life paying no attention to what God is prompting. Or the greater love he is calling me to, the mission he’s set ahead, or the unneeded garbage he is calling me to leave behind. But I would lose so much. Everything, almost.
Left to the whimsies of Kelly Balarie, I’d be a woman in a storm who felt like she had no home. I’d be tossed to and fro, feeling powerless.
The letting go and going where God goes is safety and power. It is a powerful Christian life that permits God to decrease self, while increasing the Spirit. This woman realizes more and more she’s in love with her daddy. She sees his best beyond her worst. She uncovers his faithfulness.
What is better than that? What is a more worthy pursuit? A more honorable goal?
Every time God teaches us something and inches us in a new direction, it’s not because we are doing bad, but because we are doing good and because he loves us that much. He wants our full heart within the safe place of his arms, where no harm can touch us, because — when we let go of everything, we find him fully.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.” Mt. 5:5
Where is God calling you to step more fully out of your comfort zone and into his love? What if you were to believe he truly did have your best intentions in mind?
“See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Ps. 139:24
Recently while playing back a Facebook live video I discovered an ugly truth…
I don’t have a chin in my profile view unless I smile.
I stumble when searching for the right words to say.
And I forget to look and mention each person that tuned in—how rude!
As I watch the video again, I think, I should have done better. Silently I resolve never to do another Facebook live video.
The ugly truth? Gasp—It wasn’t perfect. The realization? Ugh, I’m a perfectionist.
Perfectionist: A person who demands perfection of him or herself.
A couple of years ago I would have never called myself out as being a perfectionist because to me, a perfectionist is someone who has to make everything perfect—meaning they accomplish the task. Since I knew I couldn’t make everything just so, I surmised I didn’t fit this description.
But I was wrong.
I do try to make everything perfect but it’s according to my own standards. And I set them pretty high then I beat myself up when I don’t measure up. This often leaves me feeling like I’m good enough.
And that’s sad.
This idea that I shouldn’t ever make a mistake—mess things up, well, it’s paralyzed me and boxed me in for years. It’s kept me from trying new things, from moving forward, from chasing my dreams.
Have you ever felt like this, even partially? If you have and you are like me, you probably don’t know where this need for doing things flawlessly originates.
I believe perfectionism is a scheme of the devil. Another kill, steal and destroy game plan.
It kills our drive. It steals our joy. It destroys our dreams
Satan feeds us lies to keep us stuck. Because when we hold ourselves to this unreachable standard we keep ourselves from taking a next step—from learning.
By God’s divine design we learn by making mistakes—trial and error. If we are scared of goofing up how can be ever move ahead to the great things God has planned for us—our divine destiny—our God-given purpose?
But there is hope. It’s called grace.
And grace looks like Jesus—God’s greatest gift to us.
I am good enough and you are good enough because Jesus was good enough to be the perfect sacrifice for us. Because Jesus took our place on the cross we’ve been made perfect in God’s eyes. No more striving. It’s already been taken care of. By God’s grace it’s been done.
“For by grace you have been saved though faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Ephesians 2:8 (ESV)
His grace allows us the freedom to be all He intended us to be.
And though I now intellectually know this, I‘ve believed the lies so long its been a slow recovery. But I am recovering. You too?
So let us perfectionist types forge our way forward bravely running head on into mess-ups, blunders, goofs and mistakes, allowing God to refine us through each one. Knowing and believing that as His children, He sees as not only good enough but priceless, blameless and beyond compare. Already perfect.
So give yourself a little grace. God has.
Christy is an award winning writer, national speaker, wife, mother, mother-in-law, and first time grandma! She is passionate about helping women see God working for their good in the midst of their circumstances.
When Christy isn’t with family, speaking or writing, you can find her on the tennis court chasing a fuzzy yellow ball.
You can connect with Christy on her blog, Joying in the Journey, Facebook, and Twitter