My mind keeps telling me: Kelly, you’re kind of a writer.
Kind of. Those words, again?!!
I am kind of legit.
I have a book, but I still kind of question my writing.
I have another one coming some day in the future, but I kind of wonder if it will be any good?
I have some people who read this blog, but I kind of wonder if they’ll stick around?
I have creativity, but what if it kind of decides it wants to leave me one day?
Even more, I’m kind of a good mom.
I am nice, at times, but I kind of say this a lot, “You all are not listening or doing what I tell you.”
I am trying hard, but the kitchen is kind of a complete disaster zone.
I am kind of trying to keep up with the school calendar, I text moms a lot to see what’s going on.
I am kind of giving my daughter turkey too often in that lunch box.
I am a kind of wife too.
I kind of remember hugs or physical touch.
I kind of meet his needs before my own.
I kind of feel I impress him.
Can I tell you? Kind of stinks, friends. It’s so one foot in, one foot out. It is so hesitant to claim goodness. It’s so constantly wondering if it’s ever going to cross the finish line to peace.
Where are you kind of living?
Where are kind of okay with yourself?
Kind of makes everything temporary, conditional and based on you.
Certainty makes everything eternal, independent and based on God.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Ps. 40:2)
His rock is right here, in front of us. It calls to us. To you.
We can choose to step out of the mud and mire of thoughts, doubts, wonderings, hypotheses and theories – and make it to firm ground.
Ground where we become certain:
God grows us.
God provides faith.
God lights the way.
It is not a gray area. It is not nebulous. It is not done by a God who kind of shows up. No, with God: He does it. 100% he does it. He follows through and all we do is – stand firm on it.
Our youngest vandal son came into our room early this morning for a cuddle.
He climbed in the bed and whispered, “Good mowning mommy.”
He smelled of warm sleep and I was happy to have a moment alone with him before the chaos of the day erupted with the rising sun.
I tickled his back and stroked his blonde hair. And then, I noticed a terrible scratch on his neck.
“What happened Charlie?” I inquired.
Charlie elaborated. “I spent da night in da jungle wif my fwend Ashwee. A big wion scrwatched me. Ashwee killed da wion five times!”
I tried not to giggle, “Oh my, I think that was a dream baby!”
Charlie’s brow furrowed, “Den how comes I gots dis scrwatch?”
It wasn’t long and the day imploded… as suspected. It got bad fast. A horrible argument ensued with a semi-adult-baby, a checking debacle, a missed opportunity, a leaking trash bag, a blown-out diaper, and a stalled-out vehicle… I checked my watch, it was only 9:45 am.
I wanted to crawl back in the bed and pretend with Charlie.
Frankly, being chased by a lion seemed like more fun than the day unfolding before me.
My fairy godmother, AKA, my mommy helper Bobbi took over the three littles and I escaped to my office.
I stared at my screen.
I drank four cups of coffee.
Nothing. Well, heartburn and the jitters.
Again, it would be nice, some days to be an author of fiction. Fantasy, where my mind might escape the non-fiction reality of sticky floors, parking tickets, and the pursuit of some form of normalcy.
What that would look like I do not know. I wandered to the bathroom to blow my runny nose and blot my sodden eyes. It was then I noticed the toilet lid partially shut.
I opened the closure.
The toilet was packed full of toys; a stuffed purple bunny, a roller skate, 10 blocks, 44 Legos, a Jedi, a dump truck and a baby doll.
I shut the lid and climbed back into bed.
I willed my eyes closed and pictured a lion chasing me through the jungle. It was a relief.
Perhaps a creative mind is more burdensome, alas sometimes it is my greatest reprieve.
Make that, most times.
My brain, fingertips, and caffeine charged imagination couldn’t resist and I climbed out from my sheets to face what was left of my day.
The unbelievable is my inspiration, the death and resurrection of a hero. A hero who died for me, saving me from the bondage of my folly. Setting my feet on the pure path of righteousness… glass slippers. Despite all the ick, I delight in the yoke of He who saved me. A yoke that is easy, whose burden is light. A protective lion, gentle as a lamb. He lies with me in the high grass.
I stare at mystical clouds that make shapes, shapes I imagine are visions of peace, hope, joy, love, and I delight in this future with Him by my side. I tug at a piece of cool grass, with my head nestled closely to his course fur I feel the rise and fall of His mighty breath and I hear the rumble of His word, a purr.
He stretches and yawns, proving His majestic ability to rest in the work already accomplished. At His movement, as if on cue, butterflies erupt in the breeze and I am swamped… with peace.
I have no proof.
No resolve to the toilet calamity still soaking in the commode in the master suite.
Yet, I am okay.
It is well.
My mind is free from the burden of worry. He knows every hair on my head. This is the place where He calls me to rest. This is the promise He made, “come you who are weary.”
Indeed this is me.
You may inquire, “I think that’s a dream… a fantasy you created.”
And I have only one question for you, “Then how comes I got all this peace?”
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.
But, that was precisely the problem. I couldn’t be still. My heart was racing a hundred miles an hour like a race car ready to crash. Ever been there? Where the face of your problems > loving face of your God? Where it is hard to know if God can/will fix what you’re doing, done or are about to do?
“Your child has been exposed to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease.”
I gave them the blank stare. I didn’t know what this entailed, but I did know by nature of the name it sounded – horrific. Anything with the word “disease” in it is about enough to send mom’s stomach flip-flopping and reeling in anxiety. Add visions of pussing, oozing and painful sores – and mom was already identifying imaginary red spots.
“Were they exposed to the sick kid a lot – or a little?”
“Oh, a lot and it is very contagious.”
Thanks, lady. Thanks a lot. Oh, and thanks a lot, God. Don’t you know?
Now, I’d just come off the stomach flu that built into a cold that seemed to never end that morphed into a bad illness with a mean attack from the inside-out. I won’t go into details here. Needless to say, I’d been run ragged. Now this?
Now, I was sure, dear daughter was deeply ill. I could see it happening, and none of my prayers could stop this unforeseen visitor from coming. God wouldn’t help me. I was all alone on this one.
Where do you feel all alone?
Where have you opened the gate to worry and found not only it walked in, but doubt too?
This may sound simplistic, but: Shut the gate.
Doubt disassembles the goodness of God.
It wrecks the benefits of love.
It becomes cancerous over time.
It corrodes dependence on God.
It is the devil’s gambit.
“But, how, Kelly, how?” You ask me.
We fight with the 5 A’s – that’s how! We:
Acknowledge the lies and God’s corresponding truth.
Ask for forgiveness.
Admire the power, height, and love of God.
Abandon our own will.
Affirm God’s goodness through thanksgiving and prayer.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Phil. 4:8
Filter the bad out of the good, and you’re left with good. And, if we’re left with good, we’re left with God. We want this.
Prayer Against Destructive Doubt:
God, you are in everything. You are above everything. You know everything. You are orchestrating everything. All control is yours. All vision is yours. All power is yours. You move the handle on my life. Thank you that you want to take care of me. Thank you that you love me. You withhold no good thing from me. Thank you that I can trust you. Not with half my heart, but with my whole heart. Thank you that you know my way, even when it looks not like “my way.” Grant me greater faith to trust you by faith. Stand closer to me so I can dwell in your love. Help keep my mind steadfast on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. If I move with you, I won’t depart from you. Teach me God in all your ways. I am open and willing to what you want to do in me. I need you, God. Amen.
A fun project popped into my head. The idea had the potential to strengthen families and spur on meaningful conversations. Instead of attempting the project on my own, I took a risk and asked a few others if they wanted to collaborate. To my delight, they were intrigued about the project and willing to be a part of it. I was thrilled!
It seemed like a God-inspired idea! The door of possibility was open wide.
We worked hard, against difficult odds, and pressed on. And then (due to unexpected circumstanced beyond our control) it all fell apart. Out of left field, a windstorm appeared and we wisely took cover.
Disappointment set in; I felt like I’d let the team down. Although I hadn’t realized that wind was in the forecast, I could have been more prepared for something like it.
Had I heard God wrong? Had I run ahead hastily? I don’t think so.
Just because something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, doesn’t mean you weren’t supposed to do it.
Risk-taking has a variety of results.
Right around the same time, I took another risk. I reached out to a fellow writer and basically said, “I think we should be friends”. It felt awkward and vulnerable, but I had experienced that “take a risk” nudge again—so I followed through.
I’m happy to say that this risk had a more favorable outcome. I had a hunch this friend and I were cut from a similar cloth, and that has proven true—”two peas in a pod” is how she describes it.
We have encouraged each other, helped one another, and celebrated work milestones together. It would have been a shame if I had let the failed-project situation keep me from risking again. It would have been easier to ignore the prompting and save face in case rejection ensued…yet we both would have missed out.
Time after time, in Scripture, we see God’s people faced with a choice:
They could believe what they saw with their eyes or they could believe what God told them.
They could take a step of faith or turn back in doubt.
They could risk their current comfort and follow God or they could settle into sinful patterns in rebellion to Him.
Has God prompted you to take a risk? Are you dragging your feet…afraid to step into the sea before you?
When God’s people stepped into the Red Sea (and later, the Jordan River) He parted the waters. They took a risk in believing Him and He faithfully took care of them.
No, it wasn’t often comfortable.
No, it wasn’t free from difficulty.
No, it did not always turn out like expected.
Yes, it was worth it.
Yes, it brought them blessing even amidst challenging circumstances.
Yes, God was glorified and exalted through it.
Risk-taking is not easy but it is a part of our faith journey. As we follow God’s lead (whether into deep waters, dry desert, or high ground) we risk, yet we find comfort in knowing that He first took a risk on us.
God gave us everything we need for life and godliness, in the form of His Perfect and Only Son, Jesus. He left us with the choice to receive or reject Him.
Let’s take a risk and follow the One who leads us…through the depths, heights, and middle ground.
Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
Today, I am delighted to welcome Mary Carver to Purposeful Faith. I love her heart and her unique ability to link faith with the Gilmore Girls! You will love her unique perspective below…
“I’m gonna have to quit drinking coffee, and I love coffee!”
– Rory, The Perfect Dress (Season 6, Episode 11)
Gilmore Girls – or television in general – might not be the first place you’d look for inspiration or encouragement in your faith, but I’ve found it there. And on top of a list of books to add to my to-read pile and a hankering for Pop Tarts, my favorite TV show has taught me a thing or two about fear and faith.
You know things are bad when a Gilmore girl is willing to give up coffee. But that’s exactly what Lorelai and Rory, the main characters in the show, do when they’re trying to avoid someone who’s hurt them. I lost count of how many times Lorelai boycotted Luke’s diner after the two of them had argued, and Rory learned from her mom so avoiding her boyfriend Logan (and their mutually loved coffee kiosk) was an obvious choice after a break-up.
Jonah tried ignoring his problems – and God, and that landed him in the belly of a giant fish. Thankfully, my fear has never sent me there, but avoiding people to escape confrontation or further pain has never served me well. Once I missed the baby shower for one of my dear friends because I was too afraid of interacting with the hostess, a former friend of mine who had hurt me deeply. The result wasn’t a seafood sauna, but it was a whole lot of disappointment and regret.
When I thought about this – avoiding hard things or difficult people out of fear – I realized that I didn’t need to rack my brain for more personal examples. I simply needed to rewind to the day I began writing my devotional last fall.
After getting one daughter off to school and the other to the babysitter, I opened a new document and began to … think of all the reasons I couldn’t write yet. I got up and washed some dishes, then moved upstairs to clean my bathroom sink. As long-time hater of all things housework, I was obviously procrastinating this project I was supposedly so excited to begin.
I shouldn’t have been surprised (although procrastination via cleaning is a new variation on a common theme). Though I call myself a writer, I actually find writing a terrifying act of vulnerability and risk. So typical, this tortured writer’s insecurity. And also? So similar to what our Gilmore friends did every time they avoided they people they loved but also feared.
Running away and avoiding people and places and projects is messy. It’s foolish. And it inevitably hurts us much more than it protects us. Even without the siren call of coffee, that is enough for me to remember God’s promises to be with us when we face our fears. We don’t have to be afraid, because the Creator of the universe is for us and with us.
What – or who – are you avoiding today? Do you think God will abandon you now? No! He will never leave you or forsake you. Today I challenge you – and me – to take one step of faith, make one move of bravery. Let’s stop hiding from our fears and begin to face them, knowing God is with us every step of the way. And, for the love of Gilmores, don’t give up your coffee!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
She looked at herself in the mirror, all 3-years of her life, and sized up her outfit. Her dress had layers of tulle, her face had a smile and her pigtails were long, nearly reaching her shoulders. She waved her head a bit and considered them as I said she looks, “Oh so cute…”
“Are they all going to laugh at me mommy?”
She’s already asking herself this question? God, please don’t let this question rule her life, like it had mine.
Oh how I didn’t want her valuing her worth on no-filter 3 year olds with mouths that sound like waterfalls of ruthlessness. Oh how I didn’t want her to determine her beauty based on comments. Oh how I didn’t want her living her life based on others opinions. Oh how I didn’t want her to pander to mankind. Oh how I didn’t want her to lose herself.
My heart sunk.
“No Madison. I think you look fabulous. But, even if they do laugh. You know who sees you? Who loves you? God does. Always.”
I deeply worried my words would fall empty, repeated words, landing in the great abyss of things moms speak, but are never truly heard. Please, God, no! I could almost see the thieves of school, boys and society snatching truth from her. Ripping it out of her heart. Claiming it as theirs.
How do I seal up beauty within her?
We headed downstairs. Me? A million questions stirred. Can I really do this? Will she ever know? She is more than a cute dress. Her small hand clenched mine.
“Mommy, do you think he will like my dress?” She looked longingly at me, inquiring about her brother.
I shrugged, already overwhelmed with the barrage of thoughts firing off in my mind.
We made it to the kitchen.
Son stared at her. She stood there.
He looked at her. She waited.
He formed his hand into a known symbol: a big thumbs down sign.
What?! What in the stinkin’ world?
And, as if every single one of my insecurities was highlighted, I felt completely and entirely angry! Furious.I felt like my very own son had degraded – me!!! Her!!! Every single woman who ever wanted to feel good about herself!
But, he hadn’t.
As he put it, he was kidding.
But, as I saw it, it was no joke. He transformed. My son was all those people who hurt me. He was every single detractor of my worth. He was completely wrong. He was messing up my daughter. He was in trouble: I badgered him. I nagged him to say he was sorry. I came down on him. I was unforgiving. I was obnoxious.
I projected my fear, to try to protect my heart from the past.
Do you ever do this?
We might be prone to project when:
We respond super sensitively.
We make comments predictors of our worth, then hate others.
We become a punisher.
We are extremely, overwhelmingly and exceedingly angry at a person.
Yes, my son was rude, but projecting had made me a monster. That’s usually what it does.
And, so, here I sit. Guilty? Yes. Totally.
But, forgiven? Yes. Completely.
I am not perfect. Neither are you.
The fact of the matter is we are all still working through our pain with God, aren’t we? We are all still realizing the areas we’ve once been hurt, aren’t we? We are all still in the process of letting redeemer redeem the beauty we once lost, aren’t we?
God forgives. And, my son will forgive me too. I will tell him my story: a story where I was put down, hurt and let down by the world, a world that can pick people apart instead of loving them.
I will let him know how I never want to do that to him. And, to daughter? I will hold her hand through life, keep my voice next to her ear, relinquish control and let God take the lead. I will trust that even in her hard moments, he won’t let go of her hand.
All through the month of February you will find freedom messages on Jami’s blog about the truth about how Jesus feels about you. From our darkest fears to our greatest folly He is with us – and for us! You can check out these posts by following this link!
Today, I welcome Christy Underwood! She is not only my dear friend, but she is also a woman who fights to stand strong in Christ. I admire her perseverance and endurance. I think you will too. May her story below be an inspiration to you.
The ultrasound tech asked, “How many pregnancies have you had?”
What’s even tougher is learning at your first ultrasound that there’s nothing in the sac. Nothing. That was a first – and I was devastated.
On my way home from the doctor’s office, I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” by Lauren Daigle:
“Breathe, oh breath of God Now breathe, oh breath of God Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe
As we call out to dry bones Come alive, come alive We call out to dead hearts Come alive, come alive.”
Ezekiel once saw dry bones in a vision. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. When he did, God put breath in them and they came to life. I knew the story behind the song before I was pregnant. Hearing it this time, I cried. I badly wanted God to breathe life into me, into my baby.
In the days ahead, I had bloodwork done, and my hormone levels were consistent with a normal pregnancy but not rising as much as expected. I still was hopeful, but, at our next ultrasound the result was the same: No life. No baby.
There are no words to explain the sinking feeling.
Yet through this heartache, amazingly, I’ve experienced more of God’s love. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. Sure, I’ve wept – and wept, but God extended strength, peace, and joy during the difficult times. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Only God, the Creator of all good things, could have carried me through this.
Do you ever stop to consider God’s point of view when you’re going through a hard time?
He’s a good, loving Father. When I see my daughter hurting, my heart breaks. I desire to give her good things. Yet, because I love her, at times, I must withhold things for her benefit.
God could have given us this child, but maybe He didn’t because He wants me to share my story with others who have experienced loss. Maybe He saw how this would strengthen my faith and the faith of others. Maybe He saw how He would be glorified.
And, maybe, God intervenes more than I realize, maybe, more than – we – realize…
I started reading Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. Here, it occurred to me, God might have prohibited a situation from happening that would have been even more difficult.
Maybe I don’t need to know it all…maybe I just need to trust a good, loving Father.
Yes, I continue to pray for a child, but I want God’s plan for my life more than a child. I choose to trust Him for myself, my husband, and my daughter. Trusting for my daughter is the most difficult. Sometimes I want another child more for her than for me. God reminds me that I need to trust Him. Isn’t it hard though when we think we know what’s best?
These words encourage me. I hope they encourage you too:
When you don’t move the mountains I’m needing you to move When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through When you don’t give the answers As I cry out to you I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.
– Song, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle
Whether it seems big or small, God cares and desires to reveal His love for you. He wants to breathe new hope, joy and peace into what we look at as dead, dry and done with. Even with Jesus, what looked dead, at the right time, came alive. Day by day, let’s trust God, even when our plans don’t seem to align with His.
Prayer: God, thank you for who You are. You are a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Help us to trust in You when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Help us to keep our minds and thoughts on You instead of the worries of this world. Help us to expect You to show up, that we would feel Your love and know the peace that only You can bring. Amen.
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
Christy is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.
Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy is faithful. She pursues God in a way where she doesn’t let her heart quit. I admire her, I love her and I thank her for using her extreme difficulty as a God-exalting opportunity. Daddy is well pleased.
If someone told me I’d write a book on fear, I’d have laughed in their face and told them, “There’s as much a chance of that as an ant marching in world peace.”
Not. Going. To. Happen.
But, here I am – I wrote a book – on fear, nonetheless.
Only with God. Only with God, can what you declared too scary, too high and too wild for you – become possible. Only with God, do the weak become warriors. Only with God, do those who feel like outcasts get cast out to bring others close to his love.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor. 1:3-4)
God is a wild ride.
The blessing is – he takes you peacefully, not with your hair flying back all wide and your heart plummeting to the ground. It feels, usually, more fluid.
But, this story isn’t about me. Not one bit. It’s not even about how I was a horrible, no good, hated writer. It’s not about how bosses, teachers, and my inner critic laughed in my writing-face! Nope. It’s not about my inability to ever follow through on anything. Nor my tendency to blame away any opportunity as “not good enough”, because I was desperately and hopelessly fearful it was exactly what God meant for me.
It’s not about all that – because it’s about you.
Because, when I think of YOU, every time, my heart pumps a little more. Suddenly, I accept you’re, in many ways, the same as me. Some of you are afraid of lice and little bugs and what a disorganized house says about you. Or, you’re terrified your kid is going to leave Jesus to become consumed with the next pop star showing pearly whites and tanned biceps. Or, you’re not sure you’ll ever amount to anything and you fear failure – so you pretend you are disinterested in your greatest dreams, God’s leadings and massive opportunities. Maybe, you freeze. You run. You hide. You do it all because you’re desperately afraid people won’t like you. And, you’re 100% confident of one thing – you’ll never stack up to her – the All-star with the perfect car. Nope. You’ll never…ever look like her – in all her Facebook glory! Every day you hate her a little bit for that.
Because we get each other. We know what it is like to worry, wrestle and war against anxiety day-in and day-out. And, with you, rather than against you, I believe, together, we can win. Like, if we strip it all off (not literally) and just get really honest, supportive and unified, we will have power as we move forward. We can raise our finger to Jesus and remind each other, “He won’t leave us!”
So, in actuality, my thoughts about you – are also largely about me (sorry). I need you.
And, most of all I need God.
Because, there is no way out of the dark, without Jesus. No woman ever has ever done it alone.
Sometimes, we all need a helping hand.
Accepting help is half the battle. I am sure of it.
With all this said, I hope my book, Fear Fighting feels like a helping hand to you. That’s my dream. That it would just as much bolster your courage, as it did mine. That God would just as much meet you, as he did me. That you’d just as much find his love, as I did – and am.
It’s not like life is perfect now. But it is pacified. The edge is gone.
It’s not like I have all the answers. But, I feel okay that I don’t. I am giving space to not knowing.
It’s not like the journey isn’t ongoing. But, I am rapidly growing. I see God teaching me new things all the time.
Instead of trembling, I am more and more, walking into God’s greatest callings.
I am shedding the weight of comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of love and grace.
I am holding tight to daily bravery decrees instead of buckling at my knees at the first mention of the flu.
I’ve exchanged fretting for the feeling of being on fire for God. I want this for all my sisters in Christ Jesus. Heck, I want it for every woman. I want this book, like a movement of God, to reach into every heart and set them ablaze with passion and purpose (pray for that if you would).
Fear says it’s impossible. God says anything’s possible. God’s voice wins.
Will you join me? Beyond a shadow of any of my doubts, I need you.
Seriously, will you join the Fear Fighting movement? Will you spread the word? Will you light hearts on fire, starting with your own? Will you pass the book around? The message? The heart?
Do as God leads, that is what I did as I wrote this book. And, God never leads one wrong.
Let’s go, my sisters in Christ Jesus, I need God, so do you – let’s leave debilitating trembling behind so we can walk into God’s most astounding callings.
Have you ever felt like you were following through on what God called you to do? But, it seemed he was punishing you?
Perhaps, he’s called you to love a difficult person.
Perhaps, he’s called you to serve in a difficult spot.
Perhaps, he’s called you to wait on him.
Perhaps, he’s called you to stay put in a place you don’t want to.
Paul went to Macedonia saying, “God had called us to preach the gospel (in Macedonia).” (Act 16:10) There, he cast out a demon in a woman, saying, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” (Acts 16:18) Only to land himself in prison when the owners of the woman realized they lost “their hope of making money.” (Acts 16:9)
If I was Paul, I might throw my hands up in the air and say, “Thanks a lot, God. You really know how to send a woman out and then let her down.”
Paul and crew were stripped, flogged, beaten and thrown in jail.
What do you do when it seems God – led you, but now he’s fled you?
It’s easy to feel angry, frustrated and indifferent in this place?
Years back, God called me to start a company. I seeking God with all my heart. I was obedient in the work, diligent in the process and hopeful in prayer, yet it didn’t happen. It tanked so badly, there were tens of thousands of dollars on the line. That was tough.
What is tough place has God called you to?
Here’s how Paul responds, within the walls of his prison: About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)
Imagine that? Beaten, wounded and imprisoned, yet still singing, praising and evangelizing…
This act, brings me to a place of pause: What if rather than seeing my disgrace, I believed God, for me, would about-face my situation?
And, in this I could give praise?
Did Paul believe this?
Did he know his good God would most certainly do a good thing?
Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. (Acts 16:26)
When we believe in God’s power, his power tools break down high walls. When we are in the center of God’s will, God works a way out for us. When we are worshipping, God is working on our behalf to open doors.
I think Paul believed in the power of God. What if we believed too?
When that person hurts us. God can shake us in love that heals.
When that dream fizzles. God will quake new dreams in us; He has a plan.
When pain surfaces: Through God all things are possible. We will wait.
When we see no way out: God will mine gold in our heart through this. When we feel bad: Jesus’ forgiveness rattles our soul in unwarranted acceptance that feels like peace.
God will show up and when he does the power of his work – will set you free. Until, then, like Paul, “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
I walked. I not only walked, but I felt like I was in that place, that very special place, you only get to once in a while. It is that place where you mind stops thinking about the million and one things it has to do, and it starts thinking of Jesus. That is where I was. Each step was a movement with God and each prayer was one I knew he heard.
I turned the corner and walked next a fence. Still, I honed in on Jesus – his power, his life and his resurrection and what that meant in my life. Peace sat heavy- until, a bulldog scared the living daylights out of me. He was right next to me, moving along the fence, jumping and trying to attack. I jumped in fear. But, then I remembered, that dog can have a loud bark, but he can’t really touch me. A fence is between us. I am safe. As fast as I was fearful, I returned to being faithful.
Thank you, God.
The enemy jumps on us the same way. He’s ready to bite our heads off. But, what I’ve realized is – the enemy’s bark is worse than his bite when we trust God at his words. He can only bite us if we hop over the fence and enter into his territory. If we get caught up in the sound of his voice. Only then are we destructible and torn apart.
But, if we walk in God’s territory, in places of trust, hope and love, he can’t touch us. Try to scare us he may, but he can’t touch us.
We are protected. We are safe. God puts a shield before us. He puts his armor around us. He places the mind of Christ within us.
When we walk in the Spirit, the enemy can only destroy the flesh. What is spiritual can’t be touched by him, unless we allow it.
It releases us. We don’t have to walk around in fear, afraid of the next catastrophe ready to befall us or the next dog ready to bite our head off. No. We move in faith.
My daughter is afraid of dogs. I lift her high and hold her tight. Nothing can harm her when she is in my arms.
God is doing the same with us. We are lifted above the fray above the mania when we take his words and say, “By golly, I’ll believe those things.”
I’ve been working on this. What I’ve found is – if I can walk with God’s eyes to see, I’ll walk in a way where the enemy lets me be. Each step I take to thwart him, discourages him. Each move I make in faith, is like a fake – where I move left and he moves right and we don’t hit each other. I think it is working.
But, of course, upon reflection, I can see why: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
What if today, rather than living ready to run from attacks, we lived ready to run into the full and unwarranted favor of God? What would it look like if we grabbed his Word and let it work, as if we really believed it? How discouraged might we make the very opposition in life, rising up against us?
God, may we keep our eyes on you. May we keep our gaze steadfast. May we know that nothing can touch us with your armor around us. In you, we are safe. In you, we are full. In you, we are brought to life. Thank you that you are within us and He who is within us is greater than He who is in the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.