Purposeful Faith

Dreaming of Being Used By God

used by God

Here I am Lord.
Will you use me?

I am trying Lord.
Will you help me?

I am hoping Lord.
Will you come through for me?

I am dreaming Lord.
Will you send me?

It is easy to look at our dreams and think they are the answer to our joy.
It is easy to look at another and think they have all we dreamed of – and more.
It is easy to face our rejections and to let them destroy us.

In many ways, we have set up our structures of hope and we have decided how they should be built. We know who needs to be involved, how we will put them together, what will make up the parts to success, but do we miss out in this process of self-promoting and self-reliance?

Does God have more hidden behind that structure
we have erected in our mind that we can’t see?

Might it be waiting, unseen,
because our mind is sprinting in another direction?

I know, for me, I miss out when:

  • I start becoming so focused on my blue prints that
    I miss the blessing God has sheltered in the “now”.
  • I see that girl and decide my structure looks like a shack in a third world country.
  • Questions become probing inquiries to steal my goods.
  • A request becomes an opportunity for another to use me.
  • My accomplishments become the savior of my insecurities.

This is exactly why God speaks this verse: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Phil. 2:3-4

God is so smart; sometimes he has to protect me from me.

God seems to know that the greatest gift is not found in me, but it is found in the outpouring of love found in him.

It’s almost like God says,
“Hey, you’re blocking the view of what I really have for you –
the needy hearts in front of you.”

“You will miss them with your eyes focused on your own plans,
your own ways and your own dreams.
If it is my dream, I will make it for you.
You need not stress, but until then, don’t run after ambition,
run after a heart to love.
I fill in all the gaps.”

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt. 6:33

I am going to listen to the truth of these words. Will you?

There are so many around. So many who need us.

They hurt and wait for someone to see that tear in their eye.
They hurt and hope for an arm to go around their shoulder.
They hurt and dream of a helping hand.
They hurt and they wait for our love.
They hurt and God wants us to meet them.

Much in the same way we hurt – they are hurting too.

What we will see is that, often, we end up needing them more than they ever needed us. God ends up using them to shape us and form us and make us into the vehicle that brings our dreams to life. 

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Are you a She Speaks Attendee?
Get armored up with 3 more powerful posts to encourage you:

1. When the Recognition Doesn’t Come by Abby McDonald
2. When You’re Cheering on the Sidelines by Katie Reid
3. Where Are My Blessings God? by Kelly Balarie

 


When the Recognition Doesn’t Come

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I waited a week for acknowledgement that the gift was received. A book I carefully picked out for this season of his life when he was groping for meaning and purpose.

I opted for the express shipping so it would be there in time for his birthday. My anticipation of his reaction mounted.

But the gratitude never came. There was no text, no thank you. I went online to make sure the package was delivered and saw it had.

It was as though the attempt to reach out never happened.

Self-defeat and pity consumed me. Why did I bother? Why did I make an effort when time and time again it wasn’t reciprocated?

An old wound was irritated. I knew I needed to address the source of pain, but I waited.

When a similar situation happened weeks later, I could no longer ignore the ache. I longed for recognition of the love I was pouring into those around me. I watched as others received pats on the back and validation.

In quiet moments between the fluster of a home with two young boys, I searched for peace. I asked the Creator to show me his heart.

Here’s the thing about asking the Father to reveal himself to you: He always delivers. It may not be on our timeline or in the way we prefer, but his response is as sure as the dew after a slow rain.

In another room I could hear my three-year-old begging for praise from big brother. He’d just put together the choo-choo and to him, it was a lifetime achievement worthy of celebration.

The desire to be seen was as deep and innate in him as breathing.

I flipped through my Bible trying to grasp the life behind the words on the page, but the syllables fell flat. Turning pages aimlessly, I landed in John.

Jesus was talking with the Jews, who were persecuting him because he equated himself with the Father. They wanted witnesses who could testify to the truth.

But the Father is the only witness Jesus needs.

“I am the one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” John 8:18 NIV

Even though the Jews didn’t see Jesus’ heart and eternal worth, the Father did. And he sees mine too. But often, my actions say my identity in Him isn’t enough.

I run after accolades and gold stars, but the only credit I need is from my Creator. He approved me, sealed me and delivered me.

I crave the spotlight and the center stage, but on God’s stage we are all equals.

If I walk in step with the Spirit, his witness is sufficient. Everything I have is a gift from Him, and I am simply pouring it into others so that they may experience the life he gives.

Friends, there is nothing wrong with recognition and encouragement. In fact, scripture tells us to encourage each other and build each other up. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

But this type of acknowledgment is conditional and fleeting, while God’s adoration is unconditional and eternal.

Whose favor am I seeking most?

Months after my seemingly forgotten gift, I was visiting family. My loved one brought the book out and told me how much it meant to him. As he opened it to talk about a particular passage, I saw pages filled with marks from his highlighter and thoughts written in the margins.

Despite my flawed impression, he saw my heart.

And your Father in Heaven sees yours too.

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

*Photo Credit

Guest ContributorAbby 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.


Slammed With A Shot of Pain

A Shot of Pain

Mommy, I am going to play doctor. This came as no surprise to me as we had just returned from the doctor’s office, but what came next totally hit me.

“Sit.” Mikey said in a high pitched doctor voice, “Here little honey, here’s a sticker for you, sweet thing. Choose out which one you like. I hope you like it. Now, I am going to stick you with this shot.”

Mikey slams the shot straight down into my leg.

Ouch! He hit the nail on the head (or the shot on the target) with this one. This is exactly what that doctor did, and sometimes, how I feel my God treats me too.

He seems to woo me with words of “I am with you. I won’t leave you. I will help you. You are my daughter, my precious, the one I want to give good things to,” only to stick me a minute later with pain.

He speaks, “Kelly, my darling, I love you so much. I am here for you.” only to slam me with a trial.

Sometimes it just hurts.

Do you really love me God? If so, why do you have to hurt me like that?

Surely, I know this verse: “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.” Job 1:21 

I know it, but do I have to like it?

The second part often plagues me as too hard to do…

“May the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

How do you praise when you can’t lift your sore arms above your head?

When they are much more comfortable on your hips, where they can ponder his methods rather than his truth?

But, as our eyes stare off in the distance figuring out how we ended up where we are, we see the long road – the road to heaven – and the road of Calvary, that Jesus endured.

He never said it was going to be easy. But, he said – for it – one day, we would be exceedingly blessed.

When we focus our eyes on his truth over our shots of pain, we start to remember verses like:

These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Jo. 16:33)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; Romans 5:3

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 

But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him. James 1:12 

What we see is that the pain, but what God sees the abundant produce he is growing.

Sure, we feel agony in the moment,
but when our little bud pushes through the tough ground,
we finally see what God was always working on –
 fruit – ample fruit.

Fruit that endures past this sliver of life called earth.

Fruit that makes it all worth it, that teaches us something far greater than the lessons learned on the easy road.

Do you see it starting to pop up?

Peace, a sight of eternity, patience, a knowledge God is working for us, a shift to perfection, establishment, strength and a settled heart.

As our fruit multiplies on earth, so it does in heaven as God sets his banqueting table that awaits us after we have run our race with perseverance.

Our trials are not for naught, they are for gain.

While it sometimes seems God delivers a shot of venom to knocks us off our feet, he is always in the process of shooting us with love, hope, a future and peace. That is his business and that is his game – always and forever.

Even more, his shots protect us from a world that wants to drag our heart away from spiritual health and reliance on God.

God has a plan. He always has and he always will.

Your pain and brokenness is just the beginning of God’s beautiful restructuring.

With God, our trials inject new hope. They reset our focus to eternity. They are the antibody to complacency.

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Where Are My Blessings, God?

where are my blessings

That girl has it together.
She has what counts.
She speaks, and people listen.
She lights the room.
And blesses so many.
Who am I?

That girl, she is special.
She must be God’s favorite.
She must be the apple of his eye.
He really loves her.
Who am I?

Look how he blessed her.
Who am I?

Who am I if God doesn’t show me that I am worth something?

Who am I if God doesn’t push me a little bit further ahead than her?

Do I still count?

Sometimes, we look at our faith walk, like a race of worth. Sometimes we look at our blessings as medals of accomplishments.

It only looks like we are winning when we are not losing.

Do you ever feel this way?

Imagine for a moment, if the disciples had let this kind of thinking creep in.

If Peter looked at John to say,
“If you are beloved, I am not loved.”

If Elizabeth looked at Mary to say,
“You birthed Jesus, my womb is now worthless.”

If Jesus turned to his father to say,
“You reign higher, my lowly position has no place.”

How would Christianity look today?

Might living this way send us down a similar road as Satan? A road of orphanhood?

I praise God that these movers and shakers of faith didn’t move away and shake frozen in their boots – as God chose to bless some and not others.

Sure, the disciples had their moments, “A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.” Lu. 22:24

I have these moments too. I have moments where I want that girl’s stuff so badly. But, I am realizing that my needy declarations are, more than often than not, just proud questions demanding his marks of approval.

Questions like: “God do you love me?  Do you count me worthy enough to bless me too? Why are you forgetting me and exalting her?”

I kind of want to be God’s favorite loved child. Do you?

I kind of want to finally secure my place in his eyes.  I want people to think, “that’s the girl God blesses.”

I am prone to think my blessings count me worthy,
but God says – and always says –
my son has already marked you approved.

He was marked, to forever mark me  – loved.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time 2 Tim. 1:9

God pursues our holiness, many times, on our behalf; he knows what is best for our heart, our needs and our spiritual development.

He looks at his gifts to us, much like we look at ones for our children, likely asking,
“Will it delight them or spoil them?” 

“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. Lu. 15:31

He is less concerned with the everyday, all the time blessings because he knows, everything he has is already ours.

He is not so much interested in playing into our insecurities, he is interested in healing them.

I wonder, do we realize, just like the lost son at home with his father,
that we aren’t missing out on anything? 

That the whole time, even though a brother strayed and was blessed,
we already had everything we needed to begin with?

Jesus never sets a value on one child over another.

All the same, all the time, equally adored, accepted and loved, he waits with arms wide open for: the losers, the winners, the victorious, the downtrodden, the proud, the humble, the rich, the poor, the sinful and the less sinful, the loved and the unloved.

He doesn’t have super-pipes of one-directional love. His love flows unhindered, ungated, unrestricted, all the time, into all the hearts that need his love, his gifts, his blessings and his perfect ways.

We are all worthy, every moment of every day, because Jesus Christ was crucified, covered, guarded, uncontained, glorified and magnified.

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Updates for #RaRalinkup Friends:
1. Visit this Thursday when Abby McDonald will share another powerful sucker punch to the devil’s work.
Don’t miss it!
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No Good Dirty Rotten Christian

Dirty Rotten Christian

I am good at organizing my faith. It means I line up all the little pieces of my life in a straight line and expect them to fall like perfect dominos.

I expect my plans to fall into place.
I expect that the dominos will hit the ground – and not me as I sin.
I expect that my perfectly placed pieces will keep my faith in a straight line.

Perhaps, this is why I feel so devastated, so demolished and so pushed over when I do wrong. It is as if all my attempts to control my faith, my sin and my progress press on my shoulders, compacted and ruined.

It’s nearly back-breaking.

How can God’s ways be light when this work seems so hard?

Is this light-load wording really even truth?

Because if it is, I am living by a lie.  Again and again, my faith falls and I do too.

But, what if? What if?  I am looking at everything all wrong?

What if my inability to carry, isn’t so much because of him – but, because of me?

One with the weight of shame,
can’t really pass out the grace of Christ.

One whose hands cover her face,
can’t let God hold her hand.

One who laying down in despair,
can’t see up in hope.

One lining everything up,
can’t help but take everything personally when it all falls down.

And, in a heart-pumping way, I can’t help but think, maybe this line of thinking is real progress.

Because my way = the wrong way.
God’s way = a chance to see his work at play.

God’s way is his Word and it restructures our approach:

Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy. . . Jude 1:24

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 1:20

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” Luke 17:5

And he said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go in peace. Lu. 7:50

He makes us stand before his presence.
He grants us joy.

He keeps us from stumbling.
He holds us in the love of God as we pray in the Spirit.
He increases our faith as we ask him.
He makes our faith win when we rely on him.

We don’t need us, we just need him. We don’t need strategy, we just need prayers. We don’t need plans, we just need the Spirit. We don’t need holy roller practices, we just need help.

Every time, we need his help.
All the time, we need his help.
Every hour, we need his help.

Bottom line, as our heart cries out for faith by his Spirit, he will keep us and help us. He makes our load light as we lay our load on him.

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You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.

 


When You’re Cheering On the Sidelines

cheering on the sidelines

Post By: Katie M. Reid

My dad said that if I got a tattoo or was a cheerleader he wouldn’t pay for college.

Years after I graduated, I almost caved and got a tattoo, but backed out at the last minute. It was going to say something like, “Follow the Way of Love”.

I didn’t exactly avoid the cheerleading thing though—cheering for others is something that naturally springs forth from within.

No, I don’t cheer on the sidelines for sporting events—except when our kids are playing soccer, then my husband and I are completely obnoxious and embarrassing, we’re so competitive!

But I do cheer for others as they pursue their dreams. I love to inspire others to take the next steps and to jump higher. I enjoy celebrating like a fool when a writing friend gets a book deal or a speaking friend gets an invitation to a national conference.

I am genuinely happy for my friends when they succeed, and I would do a back handspring for them, if I could—I tried to master one in gymnastics but never did get the hang of it.

But here’s the thing, when I see others sailing through the air—reaching new heights—it’s easy to feel left behind, grounded and insecure.

Recently, I confided in a few friends about how I was feeling as I saw others soar. It was embarrassing to admit that I was having a 38 year old temper tantrum—this first-born over-achiever doesn’t like to be left-out or passed by.

One of these friends prayed that God would give me clarity in my mission so that, regardless of what others are doing, I will feel peace pursuing the things that He has put in my heart (thanks Kelly!).

So I prayed this prayer. And you know what I felt like He said? Help others be successful.

I’m not going to lie, this was not really what I wanted to hear! It was, and is, such a pride-buster to my striving and driving self.

And maybe that’s exactly the point.

God knows what I need and that truly, deep down, I want to be more like Him than be liked by the masses—it’s buried down deep in there somewhere.

I read this the other day and it hit home, right in the epicenter of my success-driven self,

“Do I want to make a difference or do I want to be famous?” -Kimberly D. Henderson

That’ll shut you up—or at least me up—as it speaks to the heart of the matter.

Do I want to climb the ladder or am I willing to hold the ladder for others?

Do I want the accolades, the fame and the win, or will I stoop, support and assist in order to hoist others to the heights that He has prepared for them?

Are you sure God? So basically You want me to be a cheerleader, so that others have a greater chance at V-I-C-T-O-R-Y? This is hard on my pride God, but I trust that You know what is best. And, thank You, for wiring me to cheer and come alongside others. It hurts sometimes as I’m stretched and bruised but it is a privilege. Forgive my unbecoming greed for gain and help me to be committed to holding the ladder so that others can climb.

Follow the way of love. I didn’t tattoo it on my foot, but He wants to write it on my heart and help me walk it out.

Jesus stooped down—from His royal throne—to come to earth and be the ladder between us and God.

Jesus made a way for us by serving, sacrificing and surrendering so that we could be restored to a right relationship with Father God, if we choose to believe and make Him Lord.

He offered Himself—holding nothing back—out of Love for us.
Oh, how I fall short of this kind of love.

May we make Jesus famous in our lives as we bend to exalt Him.
May we trust Him with our dreams and let His Spirit lead each step of the way.
May we care more about connecting with Jesus and being known by Him than we are about gaining connections to be known by others.
May we celebrate well when God brings others success—and maybe even learn how to do a back-handspring too.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, four children and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com

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Killing Fear

Killing Fear

My health haunted, “Kelly, you’re going to waste into something no one will will want to love.”
My past taunted, “You were marked, damaged and used.”
My finances tricked, “You won’t make it!”
My feelings tumbled, “I can’t do this. Things are never going to work out.”

Fear Rising. Debilitating fear. ICU worthy fear.

Have you experienced it?

Fear that leaves you feeling bruised, battered and wondering
where you’re rescue will come from?

Fear that leaves you laying paralyzed, comatose on a cot of uncertainty? 

For me, it creates an underlying feeling that I am either not going to make it or that others will pull the plug on me.

That no one will rescue – and all will abandon.
But, someone will…

Do we see him?

It’s the great physician. And, as bad as your charts may appear or the specialists may indicate, you are not left with a sense of doom. You see, for your fears may destabilize and metastasize, but they can never tranquilize God’s power.

One pretty gal, turned queen, understood this. If she didn’t speak up, her fellow Jews wouldn’t live on. They’d die. And truly if she spoke up to the King, she would die too.

Could Esther follow God’s plan, despite the pending threat ready to kill her?

This woman needed an IV of courage.

And, she got it. Likely Esther noted that:

Fear is almost always the wall to one’s greatest calling. 
Esther’s dream may have been for the jews to live free, but could she step up to the King?

It’s the superhighway that leads the opposite direction of the way, the truth and the light.
Esther could die if she spoke to the king, but could she really step up?

It usually arrives when your comfort and safety levels don’t expect it’s shock. 
Esther was living in the kings court after all.

It throws big obstacles in your path that seem impossible to tackle.
Haman’s wrath on the Jews was palpable.

Did she see the details of her pain, people and problems
are never lost charts in God’s billions of files?

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:13

Her declaration in response to all of this was, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

She knew her need for critical care – and she sought the right care-takers.

She didn’t lay around considering the ceiling art in her court, she:

1. Embraced the reality of the situation and didn’t halt in stagnation.  
Mordecai told her she could be killed for speaking out, but still, she knew who stood above it all.

Fear can’t grow under the great physician’s light of truth. Perfect love casts out fear after all.

2. She got serious. Most fasts are just absent of food. Yet, Esther asked for no fasting from food or drink. Meaning, she didn’t take her feelings lightly and knew she needed an extraordinary, not an ordinary rescue of her feelings.

How often do you call on the prayer support of the faithful when fear starts to mount?

3. She was decisive. There was no, “I want to wear that shirt, no this shirt, no that one. I can’t decide.” She heard the truth, she got the support, she lifted the prayer and made the decision to act.

How often do you walk confidently after you have sought God confidently – trusting that the feelings may not be there, but your God is?

When we trust God and act like Esther, we don’t need critical care units to bring us back to life, because we become the critical care units to dead. We bring new life, just as she did.

We bring Jesus’s transformation. 

It’s risky.
It’s unfashionable.
It’s sometimes death-worthy.
But, it’s powerful – and we are called to it, just as she was.

We have the same force behind us. We have the same support network available to us today.

Will we reach out to it when we need it?

The truth is – we can’t beat the force of fear, unless we know the force of God. And, if we don’t know and believe in the force of God we will remain IV’d to the poison of fear.

It leeches life.
God teaches life.

It isolates.
God placates.

It threatens to kill.
God sets free.

It puts you in a bed of despair.
God offers a lifeline of hope.

Where will you set your eyes?

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Linking with Holley Gerth and #TellHisStory.


Denying Discouragement

Denying Discouragement

It’s days like these that can really cause havoc…

Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…

It’s days like these when you wonder
why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?

It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.

Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes
 seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?

At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.

But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.

They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.

They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”

We tend to think that way, don’t we?

That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.

As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.  

Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?

Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.

Imagine hearing these words: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  Luke 22:32
And then hearing this: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34
Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57

Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.

But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.

What happened to his purpose?

What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?

Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.

But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.

Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.

Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Luke 22:32
And, it didn’t.

How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.

How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.

I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.

Because it worked for Peter who:

  • Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
  • Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
  • First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
  • Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
  • Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.

We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.

We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.

We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.

We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.

Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.

His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).

He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.

He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.

He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.

What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).

He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.

Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

And, Peter did.

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2 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

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10 Encouraging Words For Your Heart

What bloggers

10 Bloggers. 10 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 10 Reflections I Share On Their Words.

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. Jess from Masters Calling says:

Our Savior didn’t hide his scars, he showed them; he shared where He’d been wounded and in sharing – He proclaimed the power of God!

“Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Our weaknesses can become the stage, where broken vessels witness the strength and power of God’s Word!

My Reflection: Lord help us not to be afraid of the damage we can see, but to bring it to you.

2. Carolyn Dale Newell from Mountain of Faith says:

Fear freezes us. It keeps us from moving ahead. It stops us from witnessing. Fear paralyzes us when God tells us to serve Him. It mutes us when He says, “Speak!”

I don’t have to know what is ahead.
God knows, and when I walk by faith, that is enough.

Friend, what fears are holding you back today?

Learning to depend on God will be the greatest blessing you can experience.

Through my disability (loss of sight), God gave me abilities.

He enabled me to trust him completely.
He gave me the ability to serve him and to encourage others through writing and speaking.
He has shown His mercy, because four years later, I still have some vision.

My Reflection: Perhaps it’s not so much what we see, but what God wants us to see as we trust our disabilities to him.

3. Sheila from SheilaKimball.com says:

Anytime we flip the switch in our minds and hearts and focus on pleasing God more by pleasing our mate something changes deep inside our heart. It’s like the door called self opens and love and light flow into the place once darkened by negativity or complaining.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

My Reflection: Sheila says switching power is found through clenching God’s Word. This is how we flip the switch. Then we see the truth and we walk differently.

4. Christy Pearce from Faith Like Dirty Diapers says:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

I needed help with my shopping tendencies, so I told my bible study girls to “get in my business.” Something radical had to happen. I gave them a pass to speak truth into my life even if it meant my own embarrassment and humiliation.

P.S. I felt led to sell a purse at a consignment store as an act of obedience. When I went to pick it up, the owner told me that she couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell. 

But I knew. 

God gave that purse back to me, and now I carry it as a reminder of His mercy and grace—with confidence!  Whenever I carry that one, I am careful to share my story of grace with anyone who will listen! 

My Reflection: How can we grab the support of others to finally push through that loitering sin?

5. Lisa Murray from LisaMurray.com says:

When I saw him, all I can say is that what I felt was pure joy.  After 3 years, three months, and two days (of agony-filled waiting), my child who was lost had been found, and that was all that mattered.

Wasn’t that how I came to God?

Wasn’t He the one who was waiting for me,
watching for me in the far-off distance
when I wandered home in my ruinous pain?

Before there was an explanation, a repentance, a hope of restoration, there was that moment when I walked right up to Abba in my brokenness and pitiful rebellion, and we embraced.  I can only imagine that for Him in that moment with me, all that mattered was that His child who was lost had now been found.

I was found — in that moment.  I was home.

My Reflection: How might you be running from God today? How might he receive you if you would only return? I think he would cry tears of joy to see you return in that one small way to him.

6. Ifeoma Samuel with Purposeful and Meaningful says:

I relied on my hard work to get things done.

Maybe you think more work represents more results like did.  

How wrong I was!
I heard him whisper’ “The race is not to the swift”.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… Ec. 9:11

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Cor. 3:5

My Reflection: It’s not about how fast we run, it’s about how fast we rely on the one who runs it all.

7. Lois Flowers from LoisFlowers.com says:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. (Deut. 31:8) 

When you pass through waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

God is with us.

Whether we pray for Him to be or not. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not.

In good times and in bad, He is with us.

My Reflection: God stands nearer than the fear in your air.

8. Amy Talbott from The Laundry Pile says:

The world may not see my pain, but God does. The duties may not go away, but God will walk beside me and help me to carry the load.

Not only does God see my pain, but He is near to my pain. And he has promised to heal my broken heart.

Can you picture that?

God wants to pick you and me up gently in his arms and hold us tightly and remind us that even when the world is crashing down around us…

He loves us.
He is in control.
He is good.
He has conquered the world!
There is HOPE.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy ­laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28­-30

9.  Sandra from Sandra’s Ark says:

God takes care of us.

If I had not told the kids then (about the cancer):

  • Daniel wouldn’t have known that there was an opportunity to help his mum.
  • I would have felt very lonely sitting on my own waiting in the hospital for the scan and mammogram and then the results.

Who would I have had to be thankful with that it was not cancer?

God planned it all.

He planned that I would tell the kids because He had planned how He would show me His love and care for me through them.

Reflection: People can only help us, when we give them the opportunity too. Letting others move in, means that God gets a chance to work through them.

10. Kim Jones from says Hunt and Host:

God called me away from everyone else’s thoughts and ideas and invited me to spend time in His word. Just the two of us. No other influence or interpretation. No other filters or explanations.

Just him talking to me through the Bible.

Friends, I’m not kidding taking a break from bible study was scary for me. I was afraid of loosing the accountability. Afraid I’d miss the social aspect. Honestly, I  was afraid I wouldn’t understand a thing I read. I’m still somewhat new to this whole bible study thing.

God kept gently calling, asking me to trust Him.

He was right.

My reflection: Sometimes getting away from talking heads, helps you to hear the one who is at head. Sometimes, all we need is his voice.

11. Kristi Woods from KristiWoods.net says:

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

Are you facing something new?
Did you hear God call?
Are you questioning whether you heard correctly?

Make a calculated decision in the face of fear, with eternity in focus. Continuing the venture into new territory, I learned about and submitted various stories and articles, often proceeding with knees knocking (Kristi took the risk of facing rejection and walked intentionally even though she was scared).

It was about God, about eternity, not me. Battles in the Old Testament were calculated as well. Think Jericho. They “heard” what to do, then they “did” what God called them to do. The victory wasn’t as quick nor easy as a snap of the fingers. They didn’t eat from fear’s plate. They ate of the Lord’s faithfulness instead. You and I can too.

My reflection: We may not feel safe, but we can move forward with whatever stands before us knowing that we are!

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