Purposeful Faith

Category - Contentment

Finding true contentment

Need Faith?

need faith

My husband is a man of great faith. Where I see nothing, he sees something.

With this, he’s been trying to convince myself to lean back on my prayers and trust them. He’s calling me to step into what I felt God was leading me into.  He’s calling me to rely on the fact: I don’t have to see it to believe it.

For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Ps. 108:4 

Having a posture of hope in God, when everything appears status quo, stuck and steady – is hard. It is seemingly impossible and this is the point, I suppose.

I think God planned it this way. We have to lean back on Him, the one we trust. We have to again acknowledge God as our God. Our trust in Him who has all power. Because it has to be supernatural. It has to pour from heaven. It has to be procured from his faithfulness.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

Ps. 3:22-23

What if, every morning God was prepared to pour out the very faith we asked for, but we only need ask? What if, rather than feeling God must be upset at us for our lack of belief, we simply remembered his lovingkindness and compassions that don’t fail?

How might things change? How might we progress? What might we step into?

For he loves us with unfailing love;
the LORD’s faithfulness endures forever.
Ps. 117:2

If you are faithful, by definition of that word: you are always faithful. So, He who is faithful – is faithful. He cannot be different. He cannot sometimes stand and sometimes fall. He cannot come to your rescue one day and not the next. We might not always see, or know or be able to summarize the whys, hows and because explanations, but still – God is – who God is – and who God is – is good.

What do you long for from God? What do you feel he started, but didn’t finish? What have you lost hope in?

Perhaps, you ask him to resurrect it?  To rekindle the fire? To provide you the faith you need to carry it through?

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Ps. 57:10

Prayer: God, help us to believe as we once did. Help us to see your limitless love and your endless compassion. You care for us. You are behind us. You want us do live well and do well for your kingdom. Increase our trust in you. Increase our reliance on you. And, most of all, pour out greater faith in our lives. Forgive us for our unbelief, and pour out what we need to go forward in all you have for us, God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

On Loss and Healing

Post by: Karina Allen

I feel as though I and several friends have gone through a season of loss of varying degrees. I, personally, suffered a great deal of loss in Baton Rouge’s devastating flood last August. I, along  with countless others, are still trying to recover. I lost my vehicle and most of my furniture. God has been faithful, but I am still recovering.

I have friends who are dealing with loss of their health and loss of their jobs and loss of parents and loss of dreams.

One dear friend recently suffered a miscarriage with her second child. I can’t even begin to understand what that loss feels like.

Loss is so hard on so many different levels. It is hard to walk through it, but it also hard to walk with others through it.

How do we navigate it? How do we walk out loss and healing like Christ?

Loss is loss. And it all requires grieving.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

My loss is not the same as my sweet friend’s miscarriage, but they are both losses. God cares about both. He cares because what concerns us, concerns Him. Losses hurt and they hurt and they hurt some more. It’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to not be okay. I’s okay to grieve and to cry and to mourn. It’s necessary for healing to come. God can handle our tears. In fact, Psalm 56:8 tells us that God bottles every one of our tears.

Weep with those who weep.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

When I think about Job’s friends, I get frustrated. I think they failed big time when they had the opportunity to be the best friends ever. Instead of simply sitting and listening and praying, they gave unsolicited opinion after unsolicited opinion. I tend to be a fixer and I am super practical. I usually give godly counsel followed up by some sort of application. I am a good listener, however. My prayer is to become better at giving the gift of presence, to sit and listen and cry.

Healing takes time.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.Matthew 5:4

When people are grieving, they don’t want or need quick and easy fixes to their pain. They just want to know their loved ones are there, that they are praying and sympathizing with them. They just need us to be with them…no advice, no solutions, no suggestions. We don’t tend to be people who deal well with pain. It’s awkward and messy and uncomfortable. We don’t often know what to do with it. Really, the Lord simply calls us to sit in it with others.

I’ve also noticed, we want the pain to easily dissipate. We don’t want it to last too long. For some odd reason, we believe that pain has an expiration date, but it doesn’t. The grief associated with the loss of a job may not last as long when a new one comes along. But, the loss of a child may last for months, even years.

My friend Gayla’s husband, Steve is battling Cancer. They are young with 3 young kids. I have committed to be of use to their family in whatever way, for however long is needed. I babysit. I clean their house. I do their laundry. I even help her grade her 4th grade class’s test papers. I don’t know how long this battle will last. We are believing for a miracle. All I know is that they are my brother and sister in Christ. I am called to carry their burdens, even when it’s hard or inconvenient or sad.

Let us be people…

who practice the gift of presence.

who mourn with no easy fixes.

who are in it for the long haul.

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.”

When Change is Hard

Change is Hard

Usually, people trip over a specific moment and realize they need change: some wake up in a gutter, others see their mean reflection in a mirror and some can’t handle the monstrous reactions roaring out of their mouth. Usually, there’s something we want to change about ourselves.

What do you want to change?

For me? I want to change my instinct that assumes the worst. It is so frustrating! Because, so often, like a vending machine, what my mind dispenses is: my lack, my inferiority, and ideas on how other people must really think I am failing.

My mind makes me read into things that aren’t even true.

For instance, just the other day, my husband mentioned a friend of ours. How she prays unceasingly, loves her kids well and makes awesome dinners.  I took it as a subliminal message from him to me: She rules and Kelly is uncool.

He actually meant none of that. What he meant was what he said: she prays, loves her kids and makes awesome dinners.

“Good for her! That’s fantastic.” If only I said that!

But, I didn’t.

What is it you’re not doing, but wish you were? What is it you believe others think about you?

Today’s message is simple to both you and me: Let’s not hate our trying-to-change moments. Let’s be nice to our self in process.  Because life is hard enough and embracing change…well, it’s not always easy. Sure, we have a God who gently shapes us and leads us, but, at times, there are abrupt about-face turnarounds that need to happen or that are happening. Those can hurt.

Change doesn’t always come easy. Whether it’s the decision to stop smoking, swearing, staggering to bed with one too many glasses of wine in you or to simply responding with more care. Any of these things can easily make steady ground – shaky – if you don’t secure yourself in God’s compassion, grace and care.

So, today, let me leave you, fellow friends, people who may be experiencing shifting ground with one verse: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Ps. 103:8

Return to it. Often.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

The Choice Before Us

We sat in the parking lot staring blankly ahead with the doctor’s words still ringing in our ears.

“Some people just can’t have children. Now is when you need to start working on accepting that.”

We were stunned in spite of the clues. The previous years’ experiences had pointed to this moment – the months of negative pregnancy tests, the losses, the testing and exams and poking and prodding, they all pointed to the possibility of infertility. Except now it was real. Now it was our story.

In the weeks that followed our diagnosis I found myself facing a critical juncture in my faith. I could refuse to believe that God might have plans for my future that include infertility and I could live in a state of anxious denial (a place I’d been sitting in for too long already.) Or, I could do as the doctor suggested, and work toward finding acceptance and faith and peace. For several weeks I chose the former and it twisted my stomach and heart in knots. Then one day I chose the latter.

Sometimes peace is a choice. Peace is a choice that doesn’t always come naturally for me, though. I tend to be an anxious person who likes to be in control of, well, everything. I want to know exactly how the day will go and I want to be able to manipulate my surroundings to fit what feels safe, secure, and right to me. But life doesn’t often comply with my version of how things should be. This is where faith and fear collide for me.

Life has taught me I have a choice in how I respond to things outside of my control. Things like infertility. I can’t always control how I feel about these things – if I could take away my grief and pain I would… who wouldn’t? But I can choose to believe in peace and love and hope.

On one of the worst nights of my life – the night I returned from the hospital after losing our first baby – I turned to my Bible for something that would bring me comfort. I don’t think I really believed peace was possible in my grief, but I just wanted something to get me through the night. I flipped the pages and they eventually landed in the book of Isaiah, chapter 54. My eyes fell on verse 10 and I began to read…

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

In those words, I found everything I didn’t know I needed…

Unfailing love from the Father in the midst of tragedy and loss.
Peace that will never leave – no matter what.
And compassion for my broken and baffled heart.

In the months that followed, I found myself navigating the often lonely waters of grief and learning that I often wouldn’t feel peace, but Isaiah had told me it was there. So I made a choice to believe it, whether I felt it or not. Still today, I choose to believe that the peace that surpasses all understanding still covered my life even in times of turmoil. I choose to believe that hope is a fact.

I believe this is what Horatio Spafford had in mind when he penned the words to famous hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. After losing his son, his business, and then his four daughters (who drowned in a shipwreck) he wrote,

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know*
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well. Or, as my son has taught me to say, “It’s Okay About It.” Saying, “it’s okay about it” or “it is well” doesn’t mean declaring that we are unaffected in the face of hardship and loss. It is simply choosing to believe that love, peace, compassion, and hope are true. That they are promises we can believe no matter what comes our way.

So though my heart broke in the pain of infertility and the grief of miscarriages I choose peace and hope, knowing that God will redeem my pain.

When my children suffer I remember God’s compassion for us.

When I face disappointment and rejection I declare the truth of God’s unfailing love.

When I face anxiety and panic over an unknown future and circumstances beyond my control I choose His covenant of peace.

Because of the truth of God’s word and the hope of heaven I can say with assurance, “It’s Okay About It.”

Lauren Casper is the founder of her popular blog, where she shares her thoughts on life, parenting, and faith. She is a top contributor to the TODAY Parenting Team and has had numerous articles syndicated by The Huffington Post, the TODAY show, Yahoo! News, and several other publications. Lauren speaks in various locations around the country at conferences, retreats, and church events. Some of her topics include: adoption and foster care, infertility, parenting children with special needs, building meaningful community, and facing fear.

Lauren’s first book, It’s Okay About It, released May 2, 2017. In it, Lauren shares poignantly simple yet profound wisdom about removing the barriers we construct around our hearts and doing life full-on, all from the least expected source: her five-year-old son, Mareto.

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12 Verses To Remind You: God will Provide

Self-Critical

Last night, I told my son, “Don’t get out of bed after I put you to sleep or we won’t be able to eat pie for breakfast.”

An hour later he was downstairs and next to me. It broke my heart. The fun of eating the mud pie we prepared the night before – for a breakfast party while my husband was out of town, was now going to have to be rescheduled.  I wanted to give, but now I had to take away.

For many of us, we believe God is always taking away just like I did from my son. We believe God is constantly removing goodness from our life, food from our table and providence for our future – because, we figure, we are messing up somehow.

It is easy to fall into this mind of thinking: I must have done something wrong. God is angry at me. I’ll never be blessed. I’ll always be stuck.

Yet, looking at the Word of God, paints a much different picture. I hope these verses encourage you. I pray they remind you what a provider God is. You can never fall out of his love.

12 Verses to Remind You: God will Provide

And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, How! (Ps. 84:11-12)

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41)

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.  (Mt. 7:11)

The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him may your hearts live forever! (Ps. 22:26)

He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners. (Ps. 146:7)

The LORD will not allow a righteous person to starve, but he intentionally ignores the desires of a wicked person. (Prov. 10:3)

For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. (Psalm 81:10 )

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Ps. 107:9)

The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry. (Prov. 13:25)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Mt. 21:22)

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

You Better Be Aware of This (It’s Important)

Important

Kids say the cutest things. Unfiltered by Christian norms, practices and go-to responses they speak brilliantly, truthfully. I love it! They cut to the chase, simplistically. They open your eyes beyond theology and into reality. In this way, my son and daughter literally floored me yesterday.

Son considers the villain on TV. I just told him how villains have schemes. His reply? “Oh Mommy, the devil has schemes too.” I nod. “He tries to throw the schemes at you so you forget about God. But, if you put on your armor of God, he can’t get you.”

Amen, boy. I couldn’t have said it better.

Put it on your:

Helmet of salvation: a right mind to know where you’re going and what matters.
Sword of the spirit: the power of God wielded in a heart yielded to truth.
Breastplate of righteousness: a righteous standing, just as if you never sinned, because of Christ.
Shield of faith: complete knowledge God will come through.
Shoes of the gospel: a willingness to shake the earth at its foundation with the life-changing power of Jesus.
Belt of truth: an unwavering stand in what God says.

Son knows, you can’t easily get knocked down when armed with the weapons Jesus has given you to stand strong.

Daughter knows some things too. Later, while taking her bath, she looks at me and says in all 3-years of her glory: “Mommy, if you are close up to God, the devil can’t really get you. But, if you go really far away, he can.”

Preach it, daughter! 

I think about the times my mind goes far from God: I open myself up to all kinds of discouragement, doubt, frustration, aggravation and repeated follies. It seems the farther I get the more hardened my heart gets to the fact that I need God, want God and can’t do life well without him. Instead, I find myself acting like a woman who demands things from the world, tries to show off to it and who allows others to redefine God’s plan for me. The enemy slowly and certainly pulls me farther and farther off God’s track, getting me more and more lost. He’s a pro at that. He shows off his medal.

And he’s subtle. Son and daughter know it. We should know it too: Be aware, wise, armored, observant and diligent.

What would my cutie kids notice about your life? How might my son and daughter observe the enemy schem’n?

Would they say, “He gets you with worry, right when you trying to be near God in the morning”?

Would they say, “He gets you really busy, so you miss the real point of life”?

Would they say, “He bothers you with the little things so you live life mean and annoyed”?

Or would they say, “He __________’s you real bad so you forget you’re loved”?

I wonder.

But, I’m also pretty sure they’d say this to you: “God loves you real bad, so bad Jesus got hurt for you. He won. And, now what is trying to hurt you can’t so much win in the end. So get up and keep going. God will help you.”

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Stepping Into Your Calling

Your Calling

What is God calling you to?

It’s a very important question to consider.  Knowing the answer can make the difference between ongoing fulfillment and unending misguidance. This answer can radically shift the purpose of your life.

Have you asked God? And listened. Observed. Noticed.

And then asked Him again. Listened. Observed. Noticed.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

Things are in the works my friends, on my end. I have something VERY exciting to announce in the next couple of weeks (and, no, it is not a baby…why do I always have to preface things with that?!). It is something that increases unity, brings restoration and that will change your life. I am sure of it. Oh, I can’t wait for you to know. To be a part of it.

But, I could have missed this calling altogether. I really could have. I was just considering this very thought this morning as I sat on my patio. I love to go out there in the mornings. I seek God, read scripture and absorb the Lord’s goodness. Well, this morning, as I tried to place my mind on Him above, I couldn’t. All I could hear was a consistent…SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!

Get out of here!!! You are so annoying.

Try as I may to focus on how God wanted me to proceed with every He’d called me to, how to…SQUAWK! SQUAWK!

The shrill voice of the crows butted in once again.

And, I couldn’t: I couldn’t think. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my mind off the annoyance.

What is squawking in your life right now? Making you believe you can’t hear God?

God never leaves us; it is usually our mind that leaves him. We always have the opportunity to return back.

Today, I sit with fresh resolve: I will not allow what is making noise around me – other’s voices, distractions of the iPhone, bad news on TV, uncertainty in the world, aggravation with a friend – keep me away from this question any longer –  “What is God calling me to?”

I’ll fight to hear him. Will you?

There is a very real enemy, with a very real plan to hold you back from God’s real good stuff. Are you letting him win?

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

When you are Kind of Okay

My mind keeps telling me: Kelly, you’re kind of a writer.

Kind of. Those words, again?!! 

I am kind of legit.
I have a book, but I still kind of question my writing.
I have another one coming some day in the future, but I kind of wonder if it will be any good?
I have some people who read this blog, but I kind of wonder if they’ll stick around?
I have creativity, but what if it kind of decides it wants to leave me one day?

Even more, I’m kind of a good mom.

I am nice, at times, but I kind of say this a lot, “You all are not listening or doing what I tell you.”
I am trying hard, but the kitchen is kind of a complete disaster zone.
I am kind of trying to keep up with the school calendar, I text moms a lot to see what’s going on.
I am kind of giving my daughter turkey too often in that lunch box.

I am a kind of wife too.
I kind of remember hugs or physical touch.
I kind of meet his needs before my own.
I kind of feel I impress him.

Can I tell you? Kind of stinks, friends. It’s so one foot in, one foot out. It is so hesitant to claim goodness. It’s so constantly wondering if it’s ever going to cross the finish line to peace.

Where are you kind of living?

Where are kind of okay with yourself?

Kind of makes everything temporary, conditional and based on you.
Certainty makes everything eternal, independent and based on God.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Ps. 40:2)

His rock is right here, in front of us. It calls to us. To you.

We can choose to step out of the mud and mire of thoughts, doubts, wonderings, hypotheses and theories – and make it to firm ground.

Ground where we become certain:

  1. God forgives.
  2. God helps.
  3. God grows us.
  4. God provides faith.
  5. God lights the way.

It is not a gray area. It is not nebulous. It is not done by a God who kind of shows up. No, with God: He does it. 100% he does it. He follows through and all we do is – stand firm on it.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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Making Marriage Strides

marriage strides

Pop Quiz: What is 1 thing you likely take for granted, yet could bring monumental joy, growth and connection if paid attention to it?

Answer: Your marriage.

Friends, most days I hardly look at it: I rush through breakfast, trying to start my day; I give a little hello near the Keurig; I listen and quickly respond; I go through the bare-bottom motions, trying to make sure I’m at least good enough to get by; I get ready to watch TV instead of to connect; I respond based on my own opinions, rather than hearing his; I focus on the kids and then remember he’s there too.

Uh-oh. Can I admit to you all? I am not the model wife.

And, while it pains me to write this, I have found such encouragement in the book, “A Wife’s Secret to Happiness” by Jen Weaver.

Right off, in the first chapter, her words meet my heart: “God will not call us anywhere his presence does not go with us,” she says, “He will not ask us to do what he has not equipped us to complete. The Lord longs to lead our marriages into spacious place, interwoven with his peace and strength…the day you made your vows He participated in an active agreement, invisible, yet majestic in glory.”

Thank you, God…we are not doing this thing called marriage alone. The Creator of our universe is creating something new, as we listen, go and respond with him. He is working within the confines of our arguments, annoyances, and mishaps to create space, love and peace. Bring it, God! I need that.

To ignite his power, one question remains: Will we let him in to work – by listening, seeking and following or will we continue doing the same ‘ole stuff?

What does it look like to let Him work?
I’m finding, it’s:

Prayer over panic.
Listening rather than responding in flesh.
Trusting God’s timeline to change, rather than my own.
Seeking to notice his good, before his bad.

Jen Weaver breaks down specific ways to see these high and lofty goals through (Thanks Jen!):

  1. Write down index card prayers. Carry them with you.
  2. Ask God to bless your husband right when you’re in the heat of battle.
  3. Remind yourself to welcome God’s presence. Put reminders around your house with verses.
  4. Scribe 5 pain points you have about your marriage. Bring them to God and ask them how he wants you to work them out.
  5. Remind yourself, through scripture, how God has been there for you and won’t abandon you now.

Marriages that work, take work. If I’ve learned anything – it’s this.  But, I’ve also learned, when God is at work, things seamlessly fall into place. Like Tetris. Bing! Connection happens.

Where do you need to let God take the lead? How might he want to put things together again? How might his small nudges be leading you to a greater outpouring of love?

Love that looks like:
A hug.
A listening ear.
An open fist.
A generous portion of time.
An opening of your whole heart.
A letting down of guard.
A soft-spoken word.
Open arms.
Undue forgiveness.
An offering of grace.
A handing-over to God (Re: the past).
An excitement for the future.
Reliance on the Sustainer, Overcomer, and Creator.

Wherever God is calling you – if you step in, He’ll meet you there.

Learn more about a Wife’s Secret to Happiness!

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

How to Believe You are Really Loved

believe

Post by: Arabah Joy

I remember looking at her.

I remember looking at her. Withdrawn. Held back. Unwilling to join the rest of the family. Unwilling to come.

I beckoned and smiled. Patted my lap. Extended the invitation like I’d done a thousand times before.

She stiffened.

Then, like a thousand times before, she turned away. Scars from past abandonment, neglect, and abuse held her like chains to her chosen spot. She would not come.

In those early days of adoption, it was like God had given a mirror to look in. I saw myself in her. I saw how woundedness had caused me to withdraw, how I braced myself against warmth because I’d believed the lie that I didn’t need it, didn’t deserve it. I convinced myself I could do without love and acceptance. Slowly, the cold I surrounded myself with had seeped deep into my soul and distorted my perspective of life, God, and myself.

I was hard. Jaded. A real cynic but didn’t even know it.

And then I adopted a wounded one.

In doing so, God revealed to me something I’d never allowed the core of my being to truly accept: I was loved.

Surely one of the saddest things ever is to be deeply and lavishly loved but not have the eyes to perceive it.

What a tragedy, to get to the other side of life and see how one could have lived- as a dearly beloved child of God- but having missed it. Adoption taught me there’s such a thing as failure to “lay hold.”

“…So that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12

Just as my Little Bit is of our household, never to leave, always identified with us, so we are in Christ. He is our brother, our family, and we are in the household of God. He has reached down and laid hold of you (Phil 3:12) and has taken you from the domain of darkness and abuse and rejection and pain and transferred you into the kingdom of the family- His beloved Son (Col 1).

We can sulk and hold back and piddle in the corner with our little pet toys… or we can reach out with both hands, press forward with all we’ve got, and lay hold of that which has laid hold of us.

I know what rejection is like. I also know the remedy for rejection is acknowledging the acceptance offered in Christ.

The remedy for neglect is embracing the love and warmth extended me in Jesus.

The remedy for abuse is running to the table of fellowship with Him, where I am always welcomed, loved, and nourished back to health.

Hiding out in the corner never did anyone any good … except the enemy who wishes to single us out from the rest in order to devour us.

As a mom, I knew I needed to help my precious one learn to embrace the new, push forward into the warmth, and lay hold. And that meant I needed to practice it myself too.

She and I began a messy, painful, glorious journey together. And last night at the dinner table, my Little Bit came and sat in my lap without being invited. WIN!! She has made such amazing progress in the nine years we’ve had her. I’m so very, very proud of her. I wouldn’t trade the healing we’ve both received for all the world! I’ve come to now how our Daddy feels when we trust Him and lean into His love, when we run to Him expecting to be heard and loved on. How His heart thrills When we assume He is who He says He is. Wow! What a God. What an AMAZING Father.

How about you, my friend? Will you join your sisters in coming out of the corner, putting down our pet emotions, stretching out our hands and opening our arms wide to embrace the grace that has been lavished on us?

You can do this. Together, we can lay hold. Let’s live as those lavishly loved.

Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at ArabahJoy.com.