Purposeful Faith

A Moment We All Need to Give Ourselves

A Moment We All Need

Occasionally you meet a person you know is an instant friend. Location doesn’t matter, distance doesn’t care and methods of communication aren’t valid – what you know is that this one counts for something. This is how I feel about Rachel Macy Stafford. She shines all things pure and beautiful and it is my delight to know and love her.

R.Stafford headshot

In other exciting news, Rachel’s latest book, HANDS FREE LIFE, has permanently marked my heart with awe-inspiring and heartfelt life change. I feel my life going from bouncy ball crazy, to focused and intentional. I feel my attention moving from scattered to attentive. I feel my heart charging from empty to full again.  I feel grace speaking, rather than condemnation. This book has reserved a permanent spot on my bookshelf of “keepers;” I will be referencing her words for my whole life, I know that. Thank you Rachel, just thank you. I feel your love in this book.

Welcome to Purposeful Faith as a guest contributor for a day.

Post by: Rachel Macy Stafford

Understandably, many people want to talk to me about distraction. More specifically, they want to tell me about the distraction incidents they witness in their neighborhoods, at restaurants, parks, and sporting events. They want to tell me about the texting drivers sitting next to them at stoplights. Many well-intentioned people want to tell me how sad it makes them feel to see distracted people oblivious to their loved ones.

I must admit, these comments make me uncomfortable.

My mission for sharing my Hands Free journey is not to bash the distracted people of the world. My mission for sharing this journey is to bring awareness … namely, self-awareness … the kind of self-awareness I was lacking a few years ago.

Because you see, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about where I came from.

I was that distracted person oblivious to her loved ones.

I was that distracted person texting at stoplights.

I was that distracted person who made excuses as to why I was too busy to spend quality time with my family.

I was that distracted person who couldn’t see my beautiful life slipping right through my busy little fingers.

But I can assure you the judgment was harsh. The judgment was cruel. It was downright unbearable at times. But this condemnation didn’t come from an outside observer, well-meaning friend, or loving companion. Oh no, this ridicule came directly from me.

If you have read my “About Hands Free” page then you know that taking an honest look at the way I was living (or more accurately, not living) was a necessary step in my Hands Free life transformation. In fact, meaningful efforts to let go of distraction would have never happened (or lasted) without honestly evaluating the cost of my distraction.

But despite the fact that assessing my behavior was a vital step in changing my distracted ways, living in regret was not. I’ve come to realize that continually berating myself over what I missed is a waste of precious time. Self-forgiveness and healing have been just as much a part of this journey as my difficult truths.

But every now and then I get waves of remembrance—a taste of “life overwhelmed”, just enough to sting me, just enough to bring tears to my eyes.

It happened the other day. I’d stayed up too late working the night before. I had several deadlines to meet, and I was not as close as I hoped on any of them. I needed to get the kids to a swim meet. We were late. I was tired. The word “Mama” began every single sentence that came from my children’s lips whether I was actually needed or not.

And there I stood in front of the pantry, unable to remember what I came there to get. Part of me wanted to shut the door to that little space, huddle under the boxes of Fiber One cereal, and cry.

That’s when I heard it.

That voice.

It didn’t use the exact phrase that originated in the years of my highly distracted life, but it came painfully close.

“You are a bad mom” was the token phrase my inner bully liked to hiss during my highly distracted years whenever I felt like I was falling short in the parenting department. I’d almost forgotten I used to say such hurtful things to myself.

But then again, I don’t think I will ever completely forget.

I gave up on whatever it was that I intended to get from the pantry and told my children I needed a moment. I went to my bedroom and turned on my fan for soothing white noise and began reminding myself.

I reminded myself that The One who loves me, The One who took my hand and placed me on this transformative journey, still loves me even when I fail miserably.

I reminded myself that I am not perfect and that even the “best” parents have their moments of self-doubt and frustration.

I reminded myself of how I reacted when a tornado came scarily close to our house. It was the day I realized the fierce love I have for my family outweighs my shortcomings, failures, and imperfections.

I would run through fire to spare them.

I would beg kidnappers to take me in order to free them.

I would offer my plasma, my organs, and every single one of my limbs to save them.

I would sacrifice my life without hesitation, without question, if it meant allowing my loved ones to live.

Even in my most distracted, overtired, stressed-out state, my fierce love for my family is always ready, willing, and able.

Once I was finished reminding myself of these important things, I said a prayer of thanks and released a heavy sigh. I centered my disheveled, puffy-eyed self directly in front of the bathroom mirror and said one word.


As in: Give yourself some, Rachel.

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A few minutes later, my children and I were on our way to the swim meet. I turned on one of our favorite songs, which beautifully articulates the value of human scars and imperfections. I felt a slight smile come to my lips as I listened to my children belt out the chorus from the backseat:

“These bruises,
Makes for better conversation
Loses the vibe that separates
t’s good to let you in again
You’re not alone in how you’ve been
Everybody loses—we all got bruises.”


I suddenly feel better.
I just needed a moment.|
Don’t we all?

I think we all do—at some point in our day … our week …  our life—need a moment.

And so when I hear someone describing the unbecoming behavior of a distracted person, I cannot join in the condemnation. I once was that person and remain a work-in-progress.  And that is okay. That is human.

The other day, someone I love and respect as a parent and human being said something powerful to me. My mother said, “Rachel, even at your most distracted, you were always a good parent.”

With those words, the divine light of forgiveness shined like a beacon for my misdirected soul.

Even on days when I can’t tear myself away from my distractions …

Even on days when I overreact over something trivial …

Even on days that I obsess over bulges and wrinkles and things that don’t matter one bit in the end …

Even on days when I want to lock myself in the pantry and weep …

Even on days when I am at my worst,
I remain that person who would sacrifice her life
to spare her loved ones from pain and tragedy.

Perhaps you know someone who would make the same sacrifice. I bet you do.

So when you see that less-than-perfect woman or man staring back at you in the mirror … or the one at the restaurant who can’t quite seem to put down the phone and see the gifts in front of him or her … I ask that you extend grace, rather than judgment.

We are not the sum of our distractions.

Sometimes we just need a moment.

And every moment is a chance to start anew.

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R.Stafford headshot

Rachel Macy Stafford is the founder of www.handsfreemama.com where she provides simple ways to let go of daily distraction and grasp what matters most in life. She is the New York Times bestselling author of HANDS FREE MAMA. Her highly anticipated book, HANDS FREE LIFE, releases in one week! It is a book about living life, not managing, stressing, screaming, or barely getting through life. Through truthful story-telling and life-giving Habit Builders, Rachel shows us how to live better and love more despite the daily distractions and pressures that try to pull us away.


Those who pre-order Unsaved Preview DocumentHANDS FREE LIFE from now
until September 7 receive the FREE e-book of HANDS FREE MAMA

Click here to learn more about the book and pre-order bonus.

Bloggers, share this offer with your readers and with @handsfreemama!



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10 Verses to Comfort Sad Day Feelings

Verses to Comfort Sad Days

Sometimes I feel that I have a personal obligation to those around me.

A smile must go on, a fake cheer must resound and my words must say,
“I’m fine” and really mean it.

I can’t let others go south based on overly exposed emotions.

Ever feel that way?
Like you couldn’t feel the way you wanted to feel?

That you were the helper extraordinaire,
unable to step down from your lofty position to ask for help?

That you were a burden bringer not a blessing keeper
if you opened the floodgates?

That people would hustle you to the nearest cave,
verses rush to your rescue?

Usually when we hide our burdens away, we hide them away from God too.

We shove them into the attic of our mind, bundled, tied and bound so that we don’t have to acknowledge the burden of actually living too near to them.  They aren’t pretty.

We don’t want others to hate us for bringing them into this thing called – mess.

Sometimes, we would rather avoid the “feel” part in this thing called “heal.”

But, what we are so often quick to forget is that:
God hears the one who calls – and the one who calls – he is prone to take their call to answer it.

  • Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Ps. 55:22
  • The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. Ps. 34:17
  • Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

God doesn’t tell us to take our feelings and run far, he takes us to take our feelings and cast them far. To see them for what they are, hold them and to throw them – up.

Feelings are not bad, they just need to be tended for by the master shepherd of care.

Let them live – but, let God live near them.

  • The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18
  • The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refugemy shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Ps. 18:2
  • But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head. Ps. 3:3

Even when those around us don’t respond well, when we cast what exists up to God, he keeps us behind the power of his shield.  God, every time, stands ready to deflect the bullets of advice, repair and condemnation by others.

Safety for our heart is found in the safe refuge of our God.

  • 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

A product, a result, a fruit results when we keep the flow of our feelings attached the source of our life-flow. He gives us what we need to repair in a way that we can give to others what they really want – not just a fake version of our best self.

And he promises us:

  • “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Jo. 14:18
  • And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Pet. 5:10

In God’s arms, and maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day, we become untroubled as we remove our stuff from the attic and we bring it to the master carpenter who faithfully works to reshape what feels broken.

  • Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. John 14:1

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Why You Lack Friends

lack friends

You talk too much. Alone.
Your words are simply dissertation on yourself. Alone.
You judge others. Alone.
You live too far. Alone.
You make me feel uncomfortable. Alone.
You don’t go deep enough. Alone.
You are a square peg in the round hole that I have designed for my ideal friend. Alone.
You are only free when I am busy. Alone.
You just didn’t end up being who I wanted you to be. Alone.

No wonder I lack friends right now.

I never intended to feel so isolated and so absent of peace in the friend category, but this is what happens when your standards are higher than Mount Everest, when busyness takes precedence over connectedness and when people become more burden over blessings.

I kind of know it is my fault. I do. I have forgotten the fact that unity, relationships and bonds are a calling. When you are called to something, sometimes the jog over to the destination is a bumpy road filled with pot-holes, but all the same – you go the distance – for God.

God will always give the “go,” when all appears impossible. We simply rely on him and he shows us His way.

I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.… Eph. 4:2

Paul tells us we can do it.

We can walk like people who know, in the end,
their God will take care of them.

We can go in humility, making way for people’s weaknesses. What better way is there to show someone you love them?

We can show tolerance – loving others just as they are, exactly as they are. What better way is there to confirm to our heart that God loves us just the same way?

We can show patience that excuses the mishaps that drive us nuts. What better way is there to become a person that doesn’t drive others nuts with high demands?

We preserve the unity of the Spirit knowing that if this person is a brother or sister in Christ we are bonded forever. What better cause for celebration and unity is there?

The result is staggering. It feels worthy of a jump-up-and-down celebration and a big victory arm raise to my bond-decayed heart: God bonds me over again with his bond of peace.

What is better than that? Suddenly, what looks fallen apart has hope for being pulled back together again.

It’s making sense. While I thought peace was found by running from the horribly unpeaceful, I’m seeing, sometimes, it’s about submitting to the seemingly awful.  As we release our high demands, our relationships fall into better hands. Hands that heal, rather than steal our joy.

Friendships aren’t just about me; I am learning. It seems obvious, but sometimes it can be, oh, so hard.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

God Sees

God Sees

Post By: Angela Parlin

Sometimes I feed my children an improper view of God.

I’m embarrassed to admit this, but let me explain what I mean.

My (tween) boys love to play Minecraft on the desktop computer in our office-turned-schoolroom. Our oldest takes an online course which teaches him to code Java, and the class uses Minecraft as the platform to teach advanced coding.

So of course, he and his brother need to play in the worlds he creates, to see that it all comes together the way he planned.

I’m good with that. But only if they play by the rules.

In our house, the rule for using any kind of computer or video screen is–Ask First. Because there are a number of important things (like schoolwork) that must be done first. Not only that, but I’ve read too many articles about screen-time turning young minds to mush, and so I limit their time. About this, my boys are thrilled.  🙂

Evenso, the temptation is strong for them, to turn on the computer and click on the little Minecraft icon.

Sometimes I find them playing without permission, so I created a password for them to type in each time they turn on the computer.

The password I created? GOD-SEES.

Just a little reminder.

Just a harmless little reminder. Right? But no.

Recently, I read Psalm 32:8 on a friend’s blog, and it left me thinking about my snappy little password.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.

What am I really saying to them when I’m saying God Sees?

I realized that my point was not that His loving eye was upon them.

I wasn’t exactly trying to say God will guide you because He loves you and desires the very best for you.

I realized I was feeding them the idea that the Lord is just watching for them to make a mistake. That He’s present where they play, but He’s waiting to zap them with a punishment, the way Mom sometimes assigns an extra chore or gives them sentences to write when they disobey.

But I was wrong. I don’t want my kids to believe God is just watching in order to punish them.

I want them to remember God’s loving eye is on them,
to guide them toward choices that are best for them.

I want them to understand He desires to lead them toward freedom and success, not always in the way we define success, but His way.

I want them to know His eye on them is the gift of His presence–at all times, in every place. That He wants to know them all the way down to their hearts, because of the depths of His love for them.

I also want them to want to know the Lord–to look into His heart and see who He really is.

My mistake led to an important conversation between my boys and me, and God used it to lead all of us back to the truth. I changed the computer password to what I really wanted to remind them to do in the first place–AskMom1st.

I hope we’ll never forget that God Sees—but that we’ll remember God sees all of us with His loving eyes.

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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.


It Is Not My Fault

Not my Fault

This was kind of a thing in my house. If something went missing into the great abyss and you were at that point (you know, the one where your ready to pull out every last hair), the accusations would start flying.

Suddenly, all people in the house became, not family members, but culprits.  Bad guys, not common blood. Offenders, not friends – who should be charged, judged and accused. Suspicions would run high. Who misplaced that item?

Why is it so easy to point the finger?
To blame?
To say something like, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

I at because of him!
It wasn’t me!
You see that bite in the apple? Not may fault!
Him! That one! Look over there.
Blame him.

We hunt for relief from our shame, a shelter from the burden, a hope that we don’t have to carry its load. Can I offload on you?

God’s big lesson is less in Eve’s response and more in his question, “What is this you have done?” Gen. 3:13

He knew what she did, but wanted her to know too.

Hitting a hard realization, often pushes us away from immediate rationalizations.

Knowing he sees us, is knowing we can’t pull a fast one on the great one.

The beginning of recommission, often starts at admission.

In fact, just hearing his voice – and answering it – makes us immediately aware of where we stand – naked and hiding in a bush deathly afraid. 

We push away our sin on to someone else because we don’t want it to land on us. It would wreck our good girl image, our seemingly great place and space in God’s garden, our joy in being free as a child of God, or so we think.

So, we scramble and pick up the gameboard of God’s players and try to scramble the board, we mess up progress in a way where no one knows who did what – hoping that chaos will realign the whole mat.

But, we forget who the master player is, don’t we? The one who stands it all the whole time. Just like a kid getting ready to cheat, our moves are made from the same place – we want to win in the end.

I do. I don’t want to disappoint him. I don’t want to let him down. I want to stay child – numero uno. I want to be in good graces. I want to still be loved.

And, that, right there, is the greatest lie of the devil isn’t it? That if we bite into the apple that we will never be loved again. He gets us on that one.

It’s our biggest fear, it’s what makes us rip off our clothes in shame, hide in a bush and beat our knees together out of a pulsating heart of fear.

But, here, we listen to the wrong voice. The other voice, the voice of God says, “You can’t do something that will ever make me stop being something, doing something or giving something for you.” 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ro. 8:38-39

When we stand on God’s ground, we stand on loved ground.

When we find Christ, we are branded as his.

When we find love, we can’t be thrusted outside of its confines, no matter how bad we act.

With these anchors as our holders, we can be okay with God’s instruction that “each one should carry their own load.” Gal. 6:5  

We can carry our own load, because Christ carried his all the way to the point that complete forgiveness was poured out.

In the end, we will be okay. We will be pulled in tighter than a mom with a loved child. We will be held close as our mouths force out the words, “I am sorry.” We will find the lesson under the mat of the gameboard and it will bring us closer to God.

We will look at ourselves and see – we were wrong.

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Finding God in Fast Forward Motion

Finding God

Have you ever watched a movie in fast forward? Sometimes that is how I live my life. People are running like maniacs, cars are moving at high-speed chase speeds, words are mouthed wildly but not heard and people pass by each other, like ghosts in the night.

It’s a hectic place, a place full of to-do’s, will-do’s and should do’s.
It’s doesn’t run at a sit-down pace; it’s more of a you-better move-it-along place.
I can’t even tell you why I have made it into such a race – other than, that is my normal pace.

Yet, I am noticing, a busy heart,
doesn’t sit down so well with a still God.

Have you ever noticed this?

When our eyes are so busy watching the mayhem, the commotion, the movement, the loudness, the TV, the schedule, the hours, the children, the laundry, the job and the bills the small whispers from God tend to go, like a paper airplane right over our head. They were sent, they were apparent, but we were so in our own moment – we missed them  – we missed him.

We can’t hear.
We don’t seek.
We won’t find.

If we do, it is often ushered away by lunchtime.

Mt:7:7: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Is someone at that door? I will complete this dishwasher job and then see who it was? 

I am struck by the idea that we can’t find what we never looked for.

We can’t be touched by what frantic days block us from seeing. 

We can’t be changed if we are running so fast gentle nudges of God fly by with the wind.

Sure, we think, “If we are in the Word, we will be of the Word.” Yes, but not always. Our mind may hold fast in the morning hour, but completely lose touch by lunch hour. The word sits on fresh soil only to be washed away by the mayhem of problems later. Our feet stand on the rock, only to move to quicksand at days end.

How do we get past this cycle of distraction,
this wheel that has no end,
this tiring race of life?

3 Ways:

1. We follow this equation: Every minute + Every day = God First (always)
If we seek God above all, all will be added onto us. Mt. 6:33
If every day is founded and set “in belief”, imagine what the structures of our day might look like?

2. We see God above iPhones, iPads, iBooks, me, myself and I.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13
If we truly open our eyes, God will stagger us with a vision of him.

3. We begin to see that not knowing or understanding does not equal:
– not having it together

– not having a way out

– not being smart

– not having a plan.

Not knowing = the way TO a straight path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6 

When we realize we don’t understand, we are getting to the beginning of wisdom.

The posture of our heart, will predict the progress of our day. It will determine how much of Savior we funnel into our days.

Let’s funnel even more.

As we open the door of our heart in bigger ways to these 5 R’s,
we will create more space for our big God to pass through: 

1. Release. Let go to find he grabs hold. God is never a catch and release type, every time he catches and keeps. He understands that the best fisherman love to take home their catch.
2. Reliance. Choose to walk in humility instead of futility. Step over the cliff of safety, God will catch you.
3. Renewal. Ask, seek, knock (repeat). Then, find.
4. Reality. God is the only truth, not your perception of the world, not your summations, not others predictions. Soak in his presence, his life, and his love.
5. Recognition. Praise him in the sanctuary, which is your heart. Praise him continually.

Break through the white noise of these steps, breakthrough the normalcy, breakthrough the tendency to say, “I know those already.” The truth is – that mentality is what keeps you back – from him.

Think of these words and how they apply afresh to your day.

Then, when we breakthrough arrogance, busyness and complacency, we will find our first love, Jesus.

Then, we can offer our whole self for the one who already did.

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Fight Trials Like Jesus

Fight Trials Like Jesus

What if Jesus was ready to redefine the way you endure hardships?
Would you listen?

What if – rather than trying to run from that tsunami of terror,
you were to find some peace as you head into it?

For me, it sounds kind of crazy, because normally when I see trials on the horizon I ball up like a hundred and one rubber bands balled up and ready to break at the same time. My tension is high, my anticipation is big and my worries run fast.

Jesus though, didn’t run from what threatened him, he threatened what tried to make him run.  We may not think of Jesus as an aggravator or a reprimander, but hold tight, because in one way his strategy was just this.

Before we get into that, Jesus teaches us much about resetting our mindset when we are being set up to be torn down.

Here’s how his ways can restructure ours:

People hated Jesus for no reason. Jo. 15:25
He said they will hate us too.

God had the power to save him from suffering through prayer. Mt. 26:42
Prayer is the one door that never closes. When we walk through it we always find God.

His “kingdom did not belong on here.” Jo. 18:36
When we know our true home, we don’t get as concerned when our earthly one gets ransacked.

He had complete authority, always and at every minute. Jo. 19:11
When we know that Jesus is in complete control, suddenly we realize he holds the handle on all that wants to sweep us under.

“I have told you this to make you as completely happy as I am.” Jo. 15:11
If Jesus could find some happiness in the road leading to death, we can too.

Jesus knew he was under control of the one completely in control.

To walk Jesus’ walk, we have to walk, like him, doubtless and faith-full.

I get Jesus’ approach, because every time I let the doubts creep in, the faith creeps out.

The devil said,

“If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
“If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down.
“All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

The devil challenged Christ’s ability, status and loyalty.

Do you ever feel challenged in doubts of what you can do,
what God can do for you and how he will get you through?

Jesus, doesn’t stick around playing games with these kinds of words, these change agents of faith, instead he fights back by:

1. Using the word of God as his best weapon.
“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Mt. 4:4

2. Telling what is bad, what is full of questions about God, to move aside.
Away from me, Satan! Mt. 4:10

3. Knowing who is in control of all control that ever controlled and that will control.
For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Mt. 4:10

When the devil started to show Jesus a way out of the trial, Jesus knew, sometimes the calling is through the fire. He wasn’t going to sit around while his strength was depleted.

Even when the man after God’s own heart, Peter, spoke doubts as he pulled Jesus aside, Jesus spoke: “Satan, get away from me! You are thinking like everyone else and not like God.” Mk. 8:33

If we think like God, God will help us think in a way where we endure, where we make it, where we aren’t burdened, but blessed by our trials.

He will get us through.
He will hold our hand.
He will fight on our behalf.
He will pave a way to eternity.
He will lead us in all truth.
He will hold us on the pillow of his love.
He will not leave our side.

Let’s fight back like Jesus.

When we do, we will see, like Jesus that:

God is for endurance and the devil is for discouragement.
Doubts pull us away from our mission, yet faith commissions.
The Word of God is the Word that helps.
God’s control, brings our heart under control.

Fight trials like Jesus. Go in his faith. Know that God is with you.

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Letting Go of Control


I just read a book. It’s not even on a topic I thought I was struggling with, but good words always tend to find a good home in one ready to receive them.

These words did more than just that; they took my heavy baggage, bent them up and dropped them at my feet in a time-to-let go kind of way (dang, Lord, I wasn’t intending this!).

You see, when baggage breaks, it’s time to dump ’em, toss ’em and be done with ’em. And, now, I can see how messed up my baggage really is; it’s filled with stolen items, things I could only pretend to fully own. Things I tried to make myself believe would always be mine – that I could use to fill my needs.

But, I never owned them to begin with.

What we think is ours, always has and always will
belong to God.

He lends us what we love,
so we can see his love – for us.

What is lent is always called back home sometime, in God’s time.

In my heart, God is calling back the idea that I own my kids, my husband and my dreams – because I don’t. They always have and always will belong to him.

But letting go, feels like letting a dog run without a leash. It’s scary. Risky. Uncertain.

To let go of what I clench, to release my imprints and to undo my harness – it’s not work for the faint of heart. For so long, I have relied on these crutches as my own personal hopes of glory, hidden, but golden tickets to personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

But, what happens, one day, when God decides,
that I can no longer clutch and crutch –
right around his great promises?
What happens then?

Because, you see, something like this could happen: “My son purchased drugs which, combined with a beer later that evening, caused respiratory distress, resulting in death.” (Dance With Jesus, by Susan B. Mead)

What would I do then? When the kid that I supposedly owned, ruled and managed ended up – gone? Would I go down with him? Would my crutches be so swiped out from under me that my face would break in a million little pieces?

I think it might. I don’t know what I would do.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

I suppose I am learning, it is in the taking away, that we often find the praise. At least that’s what happened with Susan, when she lost her son.

She says, “Do I want him back with me? Yes- for a moment. Then I realize how selfish that would be because he is now in Paradise with Jesus.”

Amen, sweet Susan.

Her words knock me in the head. She found her praise as she rose up her hands in abandon to the one who held her most prized possession.

She found her praise – in that. Wow. And, rightfully so, he can take care of her child far greater than she ever could (no offense dear).

He can take care of my family far better than I can too.

The more I let go, the more space my loved ones have to learn HE IS
who I am preach HE IS.

The more I let go, the more they know the great rescuer God,
verses the great rescuer mom, wife, daughter, sister.

The more I let go, the more they see Jesus step in,
rather than my need-based insecurities step up.

Then, people can start to Dance with Jesus – without crutches that limit their movements before a great God who delights in them.

They dance.

And, I dance – as I let my child climb in his seat by himself, as I let my husband make that mistake I know he is about to make, as I see a disaster ready to happen and trust God, as I step back when my kid may take a learning-lesson tumble, as I don’t give the advice a sister really should follow and as I humbly listen to all God’s plans for the main characters in this game called life.

I am free.

To find glory in the death of my goals.
To find renewal in God’s new breath of life.
To find hope outside of my 5-inch working hands.

Where do you need to be freed – to dance? To rely on the gentle guidance of one who cares?

This movement is powerful;
it’s a waltz that follows the lead of a One true God
who we actually believe is the One true God.

Real needs surface, then the rescue happens, but what we find out is that – it was always intended for us.

Finally, our hands open, our praises fly, our hopes belong to him. We no longer have strings attached to others. We cup and offer, and he answers and pulls these hearts even closer to him (whether they be on earth or in heaven).

Why do we let go? Because we love them, but most of all, we love him, we know him, and we trust him. In this, as Susan so vividly pictured in her book, we can let them – and us – dance with Jesus.

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God's miracles

My thoughts on Dance with Jesus: This book transports me to a different time and a different place. It wraps its arms around me to pull me into the life of Susan B. Mead, and boy, does she take me on a ride. The unique and charming characters in this book rally your heart and lure your soul into deep healing, joy and release all at the same time. The miracles of God’s wonder move you from a place grief to relief. Thank you Susan for jump-starting me on the journey of letting go.


Putting God Above the Need to Please

Need to Please

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I’ll never forget the sound. It was hundreds of pounds of files and metal crashing down on my three-year-old son but to me it sounded like one thing: disaster.

The impact was followed by the shrill scream of my child. In complete panic I ran from my parents’ kitchen to see him lying there with the filing cabinet on top of him.

With strength I didn’t know I possessed, I lifted the weight from him, consoled him and examined his body. As I wrapped my arms around him my mind repeated the question, “How did this happen?”

Later, when my family discussed the mishap, my husband explained how our son didn’t need to be able to move the entire cabinet on his own. He simply had to put it off balance. Once several drawers came out, it only took a small push to send it toppling over.

So often in life, I am like my son. The drawers are projects, service opportunities and responsibilities, and often I have several pulled out at the same time. My balance gets awry and I need to lighten the load, but instead I take on more.

I put the desire to please others above the gentle nudges from God to rest.

The longer I ignore his promptings the more irritable I become, until I am a frazzled mom and wife with little left to offer anyone other than scraps of time. Like the crashing filing cabinet, I lose all sense of stability. Instead of being intentional with my priorities, I am a mess.

 In Romans, Paul tells us, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

When I listen to the world instead of that still, small voice, I take on more assignments than I can handle. His love cannot pour out of me because I am a depleted vessel.

God wants to transform our minds so we can discern what he has for us rather than heeding to every tug of those around us. He desires the best for our lives, and is glorified when we use the gifts and abilities he’s given us. Often, this means declining requests for our time so we can spend it where the he wants us to be.

To this people pleaser, the hardest word to tell others is “no.” But often this is the exact word God is asking me to say.

After watching my son over the next day, we were confident he was alright. I uttered praises for God’s protection in a moment which could have been devastating.

The beautiful truth is that those moments when life is reeling and we lose our balance, God can still redeem our time. When we listen to his voice instead of the world’s, he can turn our mistakes into testimonies of his grace.

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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.

I am a Lion, Hear Me Roar

I am a Lion

If Jesus was a lion, I don’t know why I spend my life living like such a low-level lanky lamb.

I walk into places forgetting about the word “heroism”. I am the sum, the bottom line and the result of other’s judgements. I forget that the blood of Jesus fills my body and drives my organs, actions and thoughts.

And, yes, while God calls us to be lamb-like
in gentleness and submission,
he also calls us to be lion-like
in devouring the Word of God and running it’s meat far and wide.

The problem arises, when we start living all
unsure and unable and unavailable –
when we start living more like a waiting lamb than a stampeding lion.

An always-lamb can easily turn into a ready-doormat,
an enabling vehicle to sin
or a wishy-washy truth spinner in the face of opposition.

They can turn into a silencer of God’s Word if they are not careful.

“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain… Rev. 5:5-6

The spotless lamb was slain,
so the “root” of courage, the small-time battler,
from the tribe of David could live on.

Do you allow your “small-time battler” to live on?

Often, I don’t:

I am afraid to shine too bright;
I may blind other’s sight.

I live like a runt,
not on the hunt for those starving for Christ Jesus.

Humility is my protector and defender,
because I fear the idea of surrender.

The lowly lamb, who pushes aside the ferocious lion, sometimes creates an easy road.

But, when our less than status, becomes our excuse to lay low, hide out and walk without the need for God’s protective armor, we may have some thinking to do.

Lions were a symbol of power, of force, of might.
They were the loved symbol of the Assyrian Kings, Babylonians and the like.

Adad Nirari II of Assyria (911-891 B.C.) proclaimed, “I am powerful, I am all powerful, I am brilliant, I am lion-brave, I am manly, I am supreme, I am noble.”

Assur-nasir-pal II (883-859 B.C.) confidently declared, “I am lion-brave, and I am heroic! Assur-nasir-pal, the mighty king, the king of Assyria, chosen of Sin, favorite Anu, beloved of Adad, mighty one among the gods, I am the merciless weapon that strikes down the land of his enemies.”

A weapon.

I know someone like that. His name is Jesus.

The lion who was, is and always will be.
The one who moved with this intention,
with purpose, with clarity, to save us – and the world.

If there was no lion, no force of courage, no act of bravery –
he likely would not have been the slain lamb.

Jesus was the complete lion.
And now, he has passed the baton.
He was, now we are.

Do we act like it?

God is calling us to it: The wicked person flees when there is no one pursuing, but the righteous person is as confident as a lion. Prov. 28:1

The day of confidence is here.

A day to:

Seek and hear God with the brute force of a long-lost lover.
Walk unabashedly towards others with their real lottery ticket to riches.
Wear Jesus’ love on your sleeve – wear it loud and proud.
Tear down your idols that stand on anything but God’s altars.
Shout what you believe like lyrics at a rock concert.
Wrap your arms around Jesus’ blood-soaked feet at the cross.
Take pride in your noble heritage and inheritance.
Stand out and stand up.

It is a day to be ready to die for the one who died for us.

We  live like a lion, so if that day ever comes, we can die as a lamb.

We are lions – hear us roar, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Heb. 3:16

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