Purposeful Faith

Feeling Powerless to Change Others

Powerless to Change

If only they would do what I wanted.
If only they would take the right path.
How can I make them?

What do you do when all that you want to do – is make people do the right thing?

How do you break through to someone who has the power to break your world into a million little pieces of despair, which you’re certain “all the kings horses and all the kings men could never put back together again?”

As I see it, with this kind of devastation, you don’t let things break in the first place. So, here’s what I do: I demand a quick delivery of perfectly wrapped progress to their doorstep of pain. I offer it with the outstretched arms of “you better love this gift.” As I do, I can almost see their moment of realization, their tears of release, their jumps of joy.

I not only crave that “Glory! God!” moment, but I expect it.

The only problem is, of late, I have a sneaky suspicion that no one is listening. I have a sneaky suspicion that my words are falling as void as a tree in the woods with no one around to hear it.  I have a sneaky suspicion the echo of my words are resounding to nowhere.

And while I kind of feel like pulling my hair out and screaming to the highest mountains, “It all doesn’t matter,” I realize I would be left with no hair and this might end up a big issue for me.

And the truth is, I know the truth. As much as sometimes, truth doesn’t look like truth, it always remains the truth (and that’s the truth). I am a Jesus daughter, and as Jesus daughters, we believe in things we cannot see, we walk the crazy walk called faith – it’s just what we do.

Truth means that his perfect love, as it is always known to do, grabs the hand of fear and drags it to the exit sign of no return. Adios!

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18

Notice that God did not say:

My perfect love will set all those other people free as you fix their situations.

My perfect love is the best antibiotic to cure
that person’s virus that makes you uncomfortable.

My perfect love is a tool that you can use to ensure
people don’t threaten your emotional balance
.

God just gives us 2 commands:

1.  Love God completely, entirely, unabashedly and wildly.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Mt. 22:38:39

When we forget the “as yourself” part, we forget how to forge true love.

The only way to send out love is to receive it yourself, first. 

How can you mail, stamp and deliver something you never held in your hands in the first place?

It’s as impossible as the idea that we can somehow restructure another’s mind through well-timed advice or high-held opinions. I can’t restructure the small cells that keep others stuck in big cells of defeat.

That’s God’s job to beat.

The only cell I can walk out of today is my own – and today I will.  Because, the watching eyes of other people’s square blocks of doom are only boxing me in to defeat in Christ Jesus. Like a ball and chain, they chain me to a wall that seems impossible to scale. It leaves me angry at God.

Frankly, it’s a ball of confusion and a chain of pride. 

Are you chained into confusion and pride?

What form of head-hitting, that moves nothing anywhere, is God calling you to stop today?

What offering of grace might he be delivering straight to your doorstep?

His gift was always meant for you.

RELEASING PRAYER: 
Lord, today, we let you capture us and hold us. As we are attached to you, God, you keep us where we need to be. You deliver us to the right words, you lead us to the right hopes, you guide us in the right light. You puff us up with authentic, pure and rich love for you and others. You make us new and you guide us to freedom every time. Help us to be lighthouses of freedom, simple lights that direct others to the only shore that provides safe refuge – yours. We can’t do it on our own. We will fail, so we fall down and know that even when we can’t move, you work on our behalf. The work belongs to you God.

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6 Ways to Find Refuge When Finances Tumble

Ways to find Refuge

What do you do when finances take a hard swing, threatening to tumble all you have built in about a split second? What do you when the force of debt, loans and goods become the wrecking ball to a once-sturdy foundation of security?

Dire finances can pull apart a foundation of hope. They can crash into established dreams. They can bulldoze temples of peace shining for the Lord – if one is not careful.

Is your bank balance dictating your emotional balance or
is your great God balancing your mind with his never wavering foundation of his truth?

God knows this trial is not easy and I love how he loves us. He gives us a helping hand when obligation seem to rise higher than our devotion.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea… Ps. 46:1-3

If you are in need of help, God is your run-to-the-rescue deliverer. He offers incredible-Hulk-like strength. He brings an I-will-not-fear mindset.  With God, the-world-can-fall-around but theology still remains sturdy and steady.

Do you find refuge in God
to find God’s rescuing and aiding help?

6 Ways to Find Refuge:

1. Dwell in the presence of God with you and for you.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge…” (Psa. 73:28).

2. Find the goodness of the Lord, amidst the harshness of the world.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;  (Ps. 36:7-8)

3. Love the one with the power to protect you.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him (Ps. 91)…

4. Continually dialogue with the only one with the real power to save.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps. 62:8

5. Confess your wrongs and find freedom.
The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. Ps. 34:22

6. Be confident in the one who has all control.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. Prov. 14:26

God blesses those who take refuge:

They drink the river of God’s delights (Psalm 36:8-9).
No harm will hit (Ps. 91).
Protection will come (Ps. 91).
They find help (Ps. 46).
No disaster will arrive. (Ps. 91).
Angels guard. (Ps. 91).
Praises abound (Ps. 91).
Big enemies are beaten (Ps. 91).
Lifted on a rock (Ps. 27).
Find safety (Prov. 18:10).

Refuge is one who sits in the center of God’s heart.
He finds all he needs from the pulse of God’s truth.
All his hope is from the promise of God’s security.
All his courage from the picture of what awaits.
It is not always found on earth, but it is always promised in heaven.
There is no fear for this one because he sits next to the throne of the one in control.
He is with the God who promises to be for him and with him.
He trusts the one whose hand rules all the details of his life – and he feels at ease.
​Refuge lays his head on the shoulder of his first love, waits and expects to receive goodness.

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Do Feelings Rule You?

Feelings Rule

Guilt.

It hits me with a sledgehammer a lot. Normally, it concentrates it’s whacks in one place. For me, it is in my mothering. So often, I ask myself: Am I fun enough? Caring enough? Playful enough? Instructional enough? I walk around trying my hardest, while, all at the same time, feeling at my neediest, my guiltiest.

Just the other day, my 4-year old son looked at me and said, “Mommy, I love daddy a little bit more than you.”

HUH? After all I do for you! (then the tsunami rushed over me sweeping away all value I have as a mother).

Do you, son?

Yes, but not a ton, just a little bit more.

May I ask you why?

Well, you look a little strange, mom. I mean, your body is more odd than mine. If you were like daddy and me, then I would love you the same.

And there you have it. While I was walking around defeated, hunched over and breathless at the thought of piles and mounds and landfills of failing, my son was just being a 4-year old in his 4-year old world. He was simply saying, it’s not you mommy, it’s just a phase.

How often do we look at things that have nothing to do with us
and immediately feelings of guilt?

In a way, we load up all the bad things about ourselves into a huge offering of inadequacy and put it before the feet of Jesus and say, “I stink. What are you going to do about it?”

Certainly we don’t want to do the opposite and act like this: “This is the way of an adulterous woman: She eats and wipes her mouth, and says, ‘I have done no wrong.’” Prov. 30:20

One unable to see their wrongs is one
unable to allow Jesus to make them right.

Yet, we have no need for this: When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect…It is a guilt offering. Lev. 5:15

Sacrificing our own animal instincts, unloved emotions and bad feelings
upon an altar of guilt is not a standard that God upholds anymore.

So, why do we keep doing it?

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor. 5:21

The one without defect is not found in our self.

The one without defect is not admonished of guilts
through a continuous offering of side effects.

The one without defect never has been and never will be us.

The one without defect is the one sledgehammered to a cross to abolish us from the painful rendering of guilt-laced feelings so long ago.

If we feel unsure. His blood says, “Do your best and trust me with the rest.”
If we reside in shame, his blood says, “Don’t hang out with lowly feelings, let me clean you through my healing.”
If we sin, his blood says, “Confess and know that I have covered that.”

What cause to celebrate! What need to rejoice! What once noosed us has no rope. What held us back is no longer the starting gate we can’t leap out of. What cripples us is let go in the free grace of Jesus’ love.

A love that says, “Live free. I will take you to where you need to go, trust me in the process. I don’t demand no flaws, just full trust.”

As I look at my Savior, I see full acceptance. And I see that what grips me so often is gripping his life out of me.

Do you live by the pulse of your feelings
or do you live by the pulse of God’s great heart beating only for you?

Lord, may our conscience align with your truth. Not the truth of our feelings, but only truth as only outlined by your Word. May we live full of the fact that you are not demanding perfection, but are aware of our imperfection until the day that you make it complete in Christ Jesus. More and more we are growing into you. Until then, we have all we need to live complete. Give us a fresh outpouring of your grace, so that we can know it and live it. Amen.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday, #LiveFreeThursday and #DancewithJesus.


The Object of Our Confidence

confidence

Post By: Angela Parlin

I started this year reading through Psalms slowly. I was learning to sit alone with God to pray, making it a practice to adore God each day. I quickly understood it wasn’t coincidence at all that I had begun this reading plan along with the desire to grow in prayer.

The Psalms filled my mind with ideas and images about who God is and what He does.

God is the One enthroned in heaven, Most High, maker of all, majestic, righteous ruler & judge, our Rock, our refuge, our strength, the One who sees, and these are only the beginning.

As for His actions, in the first few chapters alone, God surrounds the righteous with His favor like a shield. He watches over them and leads them. He blesses all who take refuge in Him. He listens to their prayers and answers them. He delivers, gives relief, disciplines, and judges evil. He fills hearts with joy and peace and brings prosperity.

God is King of kings, who made the world and owns the world and rules the world and sustains it.

So then, what does all this mean about us?

God chooses to be involved in the details of our lives, we learn in Psalms. And also?

He is worthy of our confidence and trust.  

David, who wrote many of the Psalms, had such deep and abiding confidence in God. I’m convicted by it, in the area of belief.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t usually struggle with doubting God. But sometimes I struggle with doubting me. Deep down, that’s an issue of confidence in God—that He is who He says He is, that He does what He says He’ll do, and especially, that He does it for me.

I do believe; Lord, help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

I don’t think we need more confidence in ourselves. Because at some point in life, even the most self-confident among us will experience their confidence shaken. We are human, and in this state, we are dependent on God, whether we admit that or not. It doesn’t matter how much confidence you were born with or how much you developed through the circumstances of your life.

What matters is that we hope and trust in God.

At the beginning of our school day one morning, I asked my kids what they think it means to have confidence in God.

One of them said, “You just trust Him, because you know He’s God.”

Another said, “It’s like Hope. You have confidence because you hope in God.”

Doing a quick word study using confidence, I found the Greek word parresia, and the Hebrew word, mibtach. 

Parresia allows us to look ahead with confidence–because we know Who is in control. With parresia, we have freedom and boldness, but only because of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mibtach carries the idea of security, trust, hope, and certainty.

Mibtah assumes our confidence is based on the object of our confidence.

It’s the word King David used when he prayed in Psalm 71~

Lord, You have been my hope, my confidence since my youth.

That was David’s beautiful confession, and his story. Because of what Jesus has done for you and me, this can also become the story of our lives.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

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Angela Parlin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

 


15 Ways to Find God in Ordinary Life

Find God in Ordinary Life

I find it’s easy to go through life focusing on the next destination. To move from house to gas station, gas station to grocery store instead of from hope to hope, life to life. It’s easy to allow people, places and problems to become distracting diversions that keep you from deep devotion.

I know, because between morning devotions and evening prayer
I seem to get stuck in an afternoon wasteland.

Operating in this mode makes me feel like I am driving around with a zoned out head and a fogged up window. It makes me feel like I am going through the motions of life on yet another ground hog day. It makes me wonder how I find God in the mundane, in the streets and in my head.

God, how do we get through the craziness of life
and still keep the magnificence of you?

15 Ways to See God in Ordinary Life:

1. Pray through your day.
The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth. Ps. 145:18

2. Make the choice to rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil. 4:4

3. Let gratitude rule your attitude.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thes. 5:18

4. Dwell on the good.
Hold on to what is good. 1 Thes. 5:21

5. Protect, project and inject love.
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Jo. 13:34

6. Shine forth the source of your light.
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thes. 5:19

7. Be patient in pains, with people and through persecution. 
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. Prov. 16:32

8. Find the complete joy in expectation.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Ro. 12:12

9. Dwell in humble places.
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Eph. 4:2

10. Submit every particle of your being to his authority.
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Ja. 4:7

11. Seek to do good all the time, for all time.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Gal. 6:9

12. Get still in the face of busy.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes. Ps. 37:7

13. Keep heart and know God will arrive.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Ps. 27:14

14. Meditate on God’s Word through the day.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Ps. 1:2

15. Do not worry.
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink… Mt. 6:25

When we live with God,
we live branded with his acceptance, approval and adoration
marked all over us.

We start seeing the things that our fogged up soul windows could not see before.

God won’t let hearts that dwell within his lands be shaken by the earthquakes that dwell in ours. Ps. 55:22

Seeing God in our day provides us the hope that he will make a way. Is. 40:31

Eyes set on God can’t as easily break down from the mayhem of life breaking down around them. Ps. 16:8

God will protect, you, the apple of his eye, because in him you are restored and renewed. Ps. 17:8

As we are seeking God’s strength, he is strengthening us. Is. 41:10

God is working good tidings for us as we grab his hand and follow. Ro. 8:28

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. Jo. 15:4

All deliciousness, all fullness and all greatness is found, not in the successful shooting around of a day, but in knowledge of the sustainer of our shoot. When we become the needy branch reliant on the vine, suddenly even the mundane becomes glorious.

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Linking with Holley Gerth.


When We Dilute the Gospel of Grace

diluting the gospel

For a long time, I believed a lie which is threatening the very heartbeat of our church. It sneaks in like a slow poison and its symptoms are often loss of joy, endless business and little time for meaningful relationships.

It doesn’t announce itself with brazen warning signs or even seem evident in the sanctuary on Sunday morning. But it’s there, and it’s threatening the gospel message Christ was crucified to bring to the lost and weary.

It pollutes the hope of our Redeemer and plants the seed of doubt. It says we can never do enough, be enough or work enough. Our salvation is not free, but is bought with a price.

It’s the message of striving.

Most of the time it’s presented with splashes of so-called grace along with it, but at the core it’s the same.

Because grace cannot be watered down. The gospel doesn’t say it is by grace plus works that you are saved through faith. No, God doesn’t need us, but through his love he chooses to use us.

Come on over for the rest of the story as Abby McDonald hosts the #RaRaLinkup today at abby-mcdonald.com.

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7 Encouraging Words from The Blogosphere

Encouraging Words

7 Bloggers. 7 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 7 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. Valerie Murray

My mommy! My daddy! Does your child ever possessively announce that you are “his/her” mommy/daddy? Isn’t it because of who you are to them and how you love and take care of them?

When I remember that I am loved by God and my family because of who I am to them, I tend to worry less about my reflection and focus more on my character.

God thinks you’re beautiful because he created you!

God formed man from the dust and personally breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

He created you in his image. True beauty comes in the pursuit to reflect the image of Christ in our lives.

And clothe yourself with the new nature, which was created according to God’s image in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24

Read More…

2. Lisa Murray
Follow on Twitter

I was simply stunned from my less-than-gracious tumble, humbled by the gaze of concerned onlookers, and grateful that my husband saw me and picked me up, lovingly lifting me to my feet again.

Isn’t this what God does for us?
Isn’t He the one who sees us in our distress and lovingly picks us up?
Isn’t He that present with us in our lives?

I am reminded of David in Psalm 145:14 (NIV), when he says, The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.

How great is the love of God that doesn’t leave us in such a pitiful state lying on the ground.  He holds up all who fall – ALL.  That means ME!  That means YOU!

What moves me more than anything is to realize that in order for Him to pick us up, He had to be there, right there, watching all along.  He saw.  He sees.  He knows. Read More…

3. Samantha Citty
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This kind of guilt was not from God.

Here was the problem: I was looking for answers at all the wrong places.  I was turning to blogs and social media instead of the One who comforts us in our time of need.  The opinions and words of other people became more important than the Word of God.  I didn’t realize that “the fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the Lord is protected (Proverbs 29:25).

So I read the entire Bible cover to cover and noticed one of several themes about God.  He doesn’t leave or forsake us (1 Chronicles 20:20, Deuteronomy 31:6, Joshua 1:5).  He’s not looking down from heaven judging whether or not we’re “good Christians”.  Because without Christ, we aren’t good.  Only He is good.

Not everyone will agree with our choices.  For a while, I took these opinions more seriously than what God thought of His own children.  Since He gives good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:11), I can trust He has good intentions for me and my family.  His blessings are beyond the guilt and shame we put ourselves through.  Read More…

4. Lori Schumaker
Follow on Twitter

That day, as I experienced the betrayal, I felt my thoughts pulling me into the downward cycle of self-blame, unworthiness, and bitterness.

I wanted to hide away, hardening my heart to relationship. I craved a sense of safety, and the enemy beckoned for me to hide my goodness from the world. He beckoned me to hide my light.

In that moment it was tempting. Hiding the good in me away forever in order to protect it from all future attacks, seemed my safest act.

But I’d walked that road before and recognized the lie. In Matthew 5:17 we read, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Truth declares hiding as contrary to His desires for us. If I choose to live contrary to the way in which God has called me, I will only feel a greater sense of unworthiness and bitterness in my soul.
Read More…

5. Sarah Travis
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I see others around me succeeding at running. I feel left out when I can’t track my Couch-to-5k journey along with friends or take part in Tough Mudder!

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV

We all have to keep moving forward with our eyes focused on the Lord and not what others around us are doing. You see friends, if I run it sets me back rather than moving me forward. I can experience pain that can prevent me from even power-walking. When we strive to be like others, and become bitter because we are not able to be like them, we are keeping ourselves from what we have been created to do.

Ephesians 2:10 says I was “…created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us {me} to do.”  The Lord prepared my assignments before I was even born! I don’t want to miss what He has created me to do because I am too busy looking at the assignments my friends have been given.
Read More…

6. Jenny Shinsky
Follow on Twitter

I ran under the goal post and past the scoreboard before a friend caught up with me. “You ran the wrong way,” she said. “You just scored for the other team.”

I wore blinders that day. Once the ball was in my possession, I became focused on one thing –  to get a touchdown and win the respect of my classmates.

All those the father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me, I will never drive away. John 6:37

God created us with a need to be loved and accepted. When we expect others to fulfill that need, we set ourselves up to be emotionally hurt. God never meant it to be that way. No one can completely fill our need to be loved and accepted.

Only God can do that. He wants to fill that need.
Read More…

7. Carolyn Newell
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She stood there humiliated and ashamed as her accusers publicly condemned her before Jesus. After catching her in the act of adultery, the men were eager to cast stones at her, but the stones were already being hurled. Stones in the form of words. Adulterer. Tramp. Worthless. Had she heard these words before? Perhaps they had been the labels her conscience had given her.

Jesus stooped down and began writing with His finger on the ground. Nobody knows the words that Jesus wrote that day. What if He replaced the insults of her accusers with the words of a loving Savior? Words like blessed, chosen, and holy. He replaced the labels of the men with labels of blameless, loved, and predestined. He could have identified her as an adopted daughter, accepted in the beloved. Redeemed and forgiven heir. Sealed with the Holy Spirit.

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11b (NKJV)
Read More…

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International Stop And Share Day

stop and Share

It hit me.
I don’t like sharing.

As I sat in a group of women chatting one-hundred miles/hour, all I could think was what I wanted to say next. All I could think was how my story was going to impress and bless – so much so that couldn’t pay attention or think about retention.

How do you share with others when your thoughts
seem to cover the full parking lot of your mind?

Wow, God. I think about me a whole lot.

My emotions kind of make me want to throw myself up against the wall to say, “What is wrong with you, you selfish little girl,” yet my God would never approach me this way.

His love is patient, his love is kind, his love doesn’t seek to chastise, condemn or criticize my failings. His love stands to heal. Step-by-step, moment-by-moment, he reaches and teaches anew.

He pours out patience and gentleness as I move towards him.

So, today, with this idea in mind, this is why I am proud to introduce to you – International Stop and Share day! I am linking hands with Candice Blomeley for a day that is simply about small beginnings.

For me, it means less me and more love.

Perhaps you want to make a move towards selflessness today too.

It be as simple as sharing…

  • a cup of coffee
  • a parking space
  • your seat on the train
  • a kind word
  • a meal
  • your favorite shirt or pair of shoes
  • a visit
  • your time to help someone in need
  • a $5 Venmo to a friend
  • your cab
  • an extra tip on a receipt
  • your place in line
  • a tank of gas
  • your time to help someone move
  • a text or call to someone who would love to hear from you

Sometimes, changing over night seems impossible, but doing one small task, on one small day, looks entirely possible. This small movement makes all the difference.

Follow The Stop and Share Project:  Facebook & Twitter (#stopandshare2015 )

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Weak and Humble – Changes Families

Weak and Humble

I had it all wrong. I always thought family was this ship you had to keep moving in the right direction. One that all crew members needed to approach in tandem, knowing their role and pushing through to the next destination. With this, I figured, it was my job as mom to run a tight ship.

Efficiency was key: Get those shoes on and be in the car by the time I get out of the bathroom.
Rules were paramount: I set the guidelines, you follow them.
My authority reigned: Don’t question, just obey or else!
My voice counted: Don’t express opinions, just express a head nod and move that dish to the dishwasher.

I don’t know when I turned into such a jerk. In the moment, there is always a way to justify it (how else are you going to get things done, the kids won’t respect you, the house will be a mess, perfection will sink into oblivion). Somehow family, for me, turned into a model-toy that I was carefully constructing according to instructions, schedules and guidelines. All parts were required to fit within my needs. I moved them according to my desires.

With this knowledge, my heart has been on a journey to change course; it is pursuing a redirect. Just the other day, my son looked at me to say, “Mom, that’s a mean voice.” My initial response was to say, “Son, that is not mean. If you want to hear mean, I could really show you mean.”

But, if I am going a new path that means I have to try new things. I looked at him and said, “You thought that was mean?” His head nodded.

What he thought was mean, I thought was on level 2 of my stern-voice scale, but still, I was trying and trying counts for something, so I tried some more.

“I am sorry. I will speak nicer, son.”

The day progressed and so did my heart. A heart just trying – trying to be calm, to be present, to be aware, to be humble, to be eager to love, and quick to let go of to-do’s. By days end, I felt shipwrecked, but what happened next brought buoyancy back.

At story time, this 4-year old outer-space pajama clad kid looked up at me to say, “Mommy, I am sorry too for all the mean things I have been speaking to you.”

And, there it was, what seemed like galaxy of distance, came together in a meteor crash of sense. He is just the same as me. He feels the same too. We are in this together.

Family united, rather than divided.

What I build in myself, I build in him.
What I forge around me, will be forged around him too.
What I lay down, he will have permission to lay down as well.
What is hard to do, we can try to do as one

At days end, I don’t want to give him me as I am today. I want to give him full of grace, sailing with mercy, loaded with compassion, flying with patience. I want him to have all of that. I want more for that beauty. And, in a way, in this day, I gave him a small ride towards this. And, one day – counts. It counts for something; I will take that and own that and relish in that.

Small beginnings matter.

When I simply understand, when I take a minute, when I sit down, when I listen, when I confess, when I become humble, the family makes strides towards godliness. Together we move ahead, not to my pre-set plans, but to God’s pre-set sanctification. We move towards what is greatest, rather than what I deem as great.

Jesus relates to me when I am weak. He sympathizes with that kind of thing. He says, that testing you are going through, me too Kelly, me too.

We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality.
He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin.
So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.
Take the mercy, accept the help.
Heb. 4:15 MSG

What will we choose in the rapid-fire moments of “family”?

​Will we choose to to take a stand in our ways or
will we choose to stand in God’s mercy?

Will we accept his help or will we drive the helpers?

Will we chart a course or will we enjoy the ride?

The second we set down the burden of pride set upon our shoulders of despair is the second we rise up in the freedom of surrender that finds itself in the shadow of the eagles wing.  Work falls to the wayside and we see things from new heights, with new vision and new hope. We soar. We let go. We glide. We ride.

“What a relief,” we say,
“We never knew it could be this easy!”

And we sail.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is. 40:31

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Linking up with #LiveFreeThursday, #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.


The Best Way Out of Fear

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

All I wanted him to do was pedal.

I pleaded and coerced, ran behind the bike and offered words of encouragement.

“You can do this. You know how. Just keep going.”

But as soon as I let go of the seat, his feet went down. Every time, without fail. And as much as I tried to hide my frustration, I knew it was as obvious as the sweat gleaming on my face.

I wanted him to succeed at this, but I couldn’t do it for him.

We put the bike away for a few weeks and he went back to racing his Dodge Viper around the cul-de-sac. Yes, my six-year-old was driving a nicer car than his Mama, complete with a rechargeable battery, radio and gear shift.

Little brother rode shotgun, occasionally grabbing the wheel and crashing the car into the overgrown flowerbed. A loud mixture of laughter and aggravated shouts poured out of the vehicle.

I buried myself in my latest copy of Hello, Darling and told myself the training wheels would come off eventually. He wouldn’t start high school with them on, right?

Skimming over the pages, one article grabbed me. The authors, both child psychologists, were talking about fear. Yes, this was what I needed. Some sound advice from those who understood how the mind of a child worked.

Their advice? Tell him it was okay to be afraid. Tell him it was okay, but he had to walk through it.

In the words of my favorite poet, Robert Frost, “The best way out is always through.”

Yet so often instead of confronting the fear, we want to run and hide.

I know. I’m an expert, and I’m sure my son’s behavior was modeled after his mom, the master hider.

When we hide from our fears we do nothing but fuel them.

When we confront them head on and walk through them, we expose them for what they really are: lies. And the father of lies would like nothing more than for us to live life cowering behind a self-made façade of what-ifs.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

The following day I sat down with my son and the mid-summer heat.

“Hey buddy, you want to give the bike a try again?”

“No.”

He didn’t elaborate.

“Why not?”

He paused, considering his answer.

“Because I don’t want to fall again,” he said in all honesty.

I looked him straight in the eyes and silently prayed my words would sink in.

“Buddy, it’s okay to be afraid. But it’s not okay not to try.”

He stood there, thinking about my words and taking his time. Then he turned on his heels and ran toward the garage, not waiting for me to follow him.

That evening, my son rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. His joy was contagious, and within hours he couldn’t even remember why he was scared.

As I stood there watching, God pressed his message on my heart. While fear of the unknown was as certain as the sunset, my response to it didn’t have to be.

Sometimes we just have to do it afraid.

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*photo credit

Guest Contributor Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly   pursues her, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.


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