Purposeful Faith

Encouraging Words from The Blogosphere

14 Bloggers. 14 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 14 New Bloggers to Check Out.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

1. Mary Geisen
Twitter: @MaryGeisen

My story of marriage shattered and with it my childlike dream of love. But like Job, I found hope. My summertime musings turned into truth the day I invited God to take my simple dreams and make them into His beautiful reality. The key to dreaming is accepting God as the keeper and developer of the dreams.

I opened my heart and looked for Jesus in my life. I asked Him “why” questions over and over, and found my answers in Him. In the process, my dreaming didn’t stop, and in the reworking our patient God taught me this…

We nurture dreams when we feed them with hope, purpose and trust.

What begins as a fleeting thought can easily blossom into hope for the future. What looks good on paper may turn into a career that lasts for thirty years. What is broken can be made whole again.

Dreams are the visions we imagine and release to God to mold, shape and grow. When we let go, God creates amazing beauty. He makes all things beautiful!

He covers the sky with clouds;
he supplies the earth with rain
and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
and for the young ravens when they call. Psalm 147:8-9

Read more.

2. Bethany McIlrath
Twitter: @BethanyMcIlrath

Blame First, Forgiveness Next

When I tell my husband about an incident and the way it hurt my heart, he listens. Patient as usual. My phrases go something like this: “This happened. Then this happened. It was a mess. I felt____.”

Inevitably, he asks. “Why did that happen?”

I stammer. I don’t get it. I just know I’m hurting. Why do men have to solve everything anyway?

The conversation continues and he gently pushes.

He believes I need to recognize the “why” when something hard or hurtful happens. If a person is behind an issue, I need to assign them blame. Righteous blame…also known as responsibility.

It feels so backwards to me.

Read more…

3. Angela Craig
Twitter: @AngelaLCraig

Sometimes You Win, Most Of The Time You Learn

Whatever you do, the world says, DON’T FAIL. You need to be the best (at everything) or else.

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with winning (unless you become an ego driven narcissist).

But, if you have ever failed to reach a goal, you will agree that there was a lot you received out of the learning. 

Winning is a one-time gift. Learning is a life-time gift.

I believe, that is why learning is God’s ultimate priority. He is focused on who we are becoming, not what we accomplish.

Here are five ways God uses learning to grow us as His people:

Relationship – the place we face our brokenness and understand the meaning of forgiveness

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (NIV)

Read the Five Ways…

4. Irina Glazkova
Twitter: @glazkovairina

Gracious God

Many people in the church complimented me on my strength. Little did they know that behind the strong façade I was a wreck. I kept smiling. Sometimes I said that I was tired, but nothing more.

I failed three out of six courses. The Lord was gracious. I was able to get a note from counseling center which allowed me to drop off those courses. There was no fail on my transcript. I couldn’t continue the program. I dropped out.

At the time, it looked like a defeat. I left my dream of becoming an environmental specialist behind. I was not going back to finish the program. How could I when I wasn’t able to pass even the smallest lab reports. Our God is so wise. Sometimes, when the road was not meant for us, He will let us to walk until we are crushed and can’t continue down that way.

With Him are wisdom and might; to Him belong counsel and understanding Job 12:13 NASB

My dream was buried under the rubble of personal and emotional problems. I became more focused on the Lord. I became more involved with my church. My heart became settled. Read more.

5. Courtney Leigh
Twitter: @courtneylblog

Finding Rest from Insomnia

Sleep has always been a thorn in my side. I am a night owl who is required to rise early, and while I meet my responsibilities that require me to rise early, falling asleep is never easy. It doesn’t matter if I go to bed early, drink tea, take sleep aids, or try relaxation techniques. Those methods help to some degree, but they aren’t enough to lull me into a relaxing full night’s sleep.

I lie there tossing and turning, counting down the hours until I will have to get up. I begin to worry not only about what I may have forgotten, but also about whether I will get enough sleep. My mind races to figure out how to ensure that I have the energy I believe will be required to accomplish what I have planned for the next day.

Anxiety takes over because I pressure myself to perfectly manipulate circumstances that are beyond my control.

Then God reminds me that I am following Him, not the other way around. Read More.

6. Sarah Rexford
Twitter: @sarahjrexford

God, Everywhere.

Newsflash! God doesn’t give us a certain amount of faith and hope we use it for the correct issues. He gives us faith and grace for each moment, as we need it!

Despite these truths, at times it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around this. But this shows how little I know of God in comparison to how much there is to know of Him!

Honesty moment? It’s a tiny, little, teeny bit similar to how little I know about sports in relation to how much there is to know. (I mean let’s be real – I had to ask what sport the Blackhawks play. By the way, it’s hockey.)

I need to choose to understand that when God says He cares about me it includes the little things. Even things like college, jobs, internships, and friends (and learning how to make dinner without demolishing the kitchen!). He’s present in all those places, not just when I’m experiencing dramatic life change. Read more.

7. Julie Loos
Twitter: @juliealoos

How Do You Break Free from Anxiety and Overcome Settling in Life?

A year ago, God asked me to do something ridiculous. He asked me to share my story; to write. He asked me to be honest, to unmask and let others know I struggled. When I struggled with anxiety, I felt shame because Christians aren’t supposed to worry. We aren’t supposed to be hopeless and feel desperate, and we aren’t supposed to quit.

Panic keeps you paused and passive.

God didn’t want me to remain muted and overlooked. He wanted me to be courageous and confident.

Me, the girl who likes to blend into the background?

Honestly, I still feel awkward.

I’m still afraid.

When you’re used to hiding, it’s hard to have confidence. I’m vowing to unmask and not withdraw this time.

Five Ways to Overcome Settling…Read more.

8. Stefanie Lynn

A Healed Heart

I recollected what happened.

“God, how can this be? The doctors said the mastectomy was necessary. I’d never dreamed I’d lose that. But I hoped after reconstruction I’d look normal.” With tears streaming down my cheeks, I stared at the pale hospital wall.  “I’m only 34!”  Now it had failed. What I anticipated rectifying the effects of cancer on my body, on my appearance, on me, had failed. Now the only option left was for me to gain thirty pounds and have a procedure requiring six months recovery.

I knew I’d never opt for it. I had three daughters ages 11,7, and two. I’d already lost two years with my family, stolen by cancer, no way I’d voluntarily surrender more.

“God,” I cried, shaking and sobbing alone in my hospital room, “I know You’ll redeem this. I just can’t imagine how.” I stared ahead, trying to comprehend it all. “But You will find a way somehow, some way; You’ll use this for good.”

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Man may judge by appearance, but I judge by the heart,” Scripture burned in my brain. “Your heart is beautiful,” His voice whispered into a mind struggling to comprehend such a concept.

I sobbed all afternoon, praying, “God help me fully trust You.” Read More.

9. Shelby Spear
Twitter: @shelspear

Strength in Fragility: How To See Beyond Our Weaknesses

“God is pressing upon this season to see things from a new perspective. To recognize that although I may be fragile, who I am able to Trust in is not.”

God’s love never wanes, His strength never wavers, His comforting never ceases, and His guidance is resolute. Frailty becomes gift worthy when the weakness allows us the freedom to be our true self. This in turn allows the wonderful truths about our Lord and Savior to shine into our glass facade.

Our Lord invites us to embrace the insecurities within us and see them as stepping stones to greatness. He encourages us to believe his love is an oasis for our weakened spirit where we are able to sip his living water, revitalizing our soul and providing strength for the journey.” Read more.

10. Kim Fredrickson
Author, “Give Yourself a Break: Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend”
Twitter: @kimfredrickson

Practicing Self-Compassion

Having a terminal illness with no cure is rough to say the least. Despite such devastating news and the way my life has changed, I’ve been blessed by God’s support and the love and encouragement of family and friends. There are still blessings and things to be grateful for if you look for them.

Self-compassion (S-C) has helped me get through these tough times. When I was diagnosed with cancer, and then PF, I decided to be a good friend to myself. S-C helps me be kind and caring to myself in the ways I talk to myself, take care of myself, encourage myself, and accept the volumes of prayer and support my friends and family offer. I am committed to not turn on myself or abandon myself during these difficult times. God has not, and will not abandon me.

I know He has a purpose for PF in my life, and in the lives of others. I honestly wish I didn’t have to go through cancer or pulmonary fibrosis. I wish I would have a miraculous healing. I know God doesn’t waste any pain or hardships as I submit to Him and allow Him to use what has happened in my life for His purposes…

Read More.

11. Kelly Russel
Twitter: @KellShayRuss

More than A Diagnosis

I googled Luke’s condition, marking the last time I’d experience peace for the next sixteen months. Hopes and dreams for my boy collapsed one by one with each account I read. When I wasn’t cluster feeding my infant, I was reading of botched surgeries and broken lives. I wasn’t sleeping and soon slipped into a dark place. Instead of enjoying my infant, our last, I found myself distancing myself from him. It hurt to love him. I’d lie him back in his crib as soon as I was done nursing him, simultaneously feeling guilty for not savoring those precious moments and knowing that lingering over him only caused more tears.

On one particularly bad night I reached out to a few of my Christian girlfriends. I was wracked with anxiety and depression and knew I could no longer do this on my own. I told them everything, Luke’s condition, my fears, our indecision, how utterly hopeless I felt. It was hard to press “Send” but also strangely freeing when I did. There is power in bringing the darkness into the light. And I was tapping into it.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46

Read More

12. Kelly R. Baker
Twitter: @kellysinging

From an Outfit of Foolishness to Duds of Discernment

I felt God near me, and the morsels of His Word were enjoyable. I had been trying to read my Bible on a regular basis. I applied the plan to read the chapter from Proverbs that corresponds with the calendar day of the month since it has 31 chapters. It helped me begin the habit of spending time regularly feeding my spirit.

Then one day I started seeing a disturbing pattern. I wasn’t quite sure, so I skimmed for confirmation. Yep. It was there.

I saw myself accurately described in the verses I read. It was staring at me from the black text printed on the thin white paper of my Bible:

I. am. a. fool.

It was one of those moments when you get to the bathroom after sitting at the restaurant table with your friends, and you look in the mirror and discover what everyone else had probably already seen. Read more.

13. Lorraine Reep
Twitter: @lreep

Am I invisible?

Recently I read that many of the craftsman and artisans who built the great European cathedrals didn’t live to see them completed. They never knew the satisfaction of seeing it all come together.

The craftsmen were more than skilled laborers performing a job in exchange for a livelihood. They viewed their work as service, even worship, to God. Many of them intentionally hid some of their best work within walls, fully intending it for HIM alone.

They weren’t afraid their work wouldn’t be seen; they knew the one who truly matters did see it. He sees. The Gospels remind me that he knows if a sparrow falls. The psalmist declares:

“You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” (Psalm 56:8, The Message)

The challenge is clear. How can I move from feeling invisible to doing everything with the intention of being invisible?

Read more.

14. Kathy Garrison
Twitter:  @klgarrison8

Finding My Worth

I needed to know that I was enough. To know that others liked me and would include me. Unfortunately, it left me looking for acceptance among people, which will always leave us wanting for more. We can never please everyone and most won’t love us unconditionally.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. – Galatians 1:10

I’ve always been sensitive to being left out or left behind. I’ve had my feelings hurt unnecessarily at times when I’ve made assumptions about not being included. It’s been a process of years to heal from those wounds and slowly learn about my Father’s love and my worth in his eyes.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Read more.

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purposefulfaith

Kelly, a fun-loving, active and spunky mom of two rambunctious toddlers, spends her days pushing swings, changing diapers and pursuing the Lord with all her heart. Called a “Cheerleader of Faith”, Kelly’s greatest desire is to help women live passionately, purposefully and unencumbered for the Lord.

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