Purposeful Faith

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When God Removes People From Your Life

I’m delighted Patricia Holbrook is hosting the linkup today! Patricia is faithful in her calling. She is honest and transparent. She has a story that will meet your heart in its dry places. 

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Patricia’s book, 12 Inches!

The Lord said to Gideon, “I will deliver you with the 300 men who lapped and will give the Midianites into your hands; so let all the other people go, each man to his home.” Judges 7:7

It was Friday night. I absently stared at the TV, thinking about how lonely I felt. Looking through my phone book, I knew that the options were not good. Friends who would be available on a Friday night would quickly offer me a tour back into my life before Christ… Places I knew not to visit anymore.

My new Christian friends were all busy with their husbands and family. It was me, my TV… and… my Bible. I glanced down and picked it up.

A new Christian, I had heard that Jesus was all I needed, but was unsure of how to let Him fill the void.

I surrendered my life to Christ only months before, and experienced unprecedented joy and peace. I spent the following weeks and months on a spiritual high, attending a new Christian discipleship class, prayer meetings and various church functions.

Yes, I made several new friends, but they were, well… new. And most of them were married, anyway. Loneliness filled my heart on the weekends. That particular weekend was the hardest of all.

As I held my Bible, tears streamed down my face. One of my best friends of eight years had turned her back on me.

Betrayal. Pain. Confusion.

The last drop in the bucket.

“Jesus, I thought you would fill my life, not empty it!” I cried out.

It was there, lying on my couch, that I heard His voice, whispering in my heart for the first time.

“I am preparing the soil for new sowing. For a new harvest.”

It was then that I saw it. I had a vision. As in a dream, I saw a large, bare field. The soil showed places where trees once stood. It was desolate-looking. Ugly, even.

Then I saw seeds coming down from Heaven, falling inside each hole on the ground. And finally, I saw the same field, green and full of beautiful, tall trees.

“Behold, I am making all things new,” I heard.

Twenty Years have gone by since that day…

And I behold the harvest.

I can close my eyes and see the faces.

My husband, our two daughters and wonderful, faithful friends throughout the years, planted in the field of my life. Besides one very best friend from my youth and my immediate family, they are all new.

They all have been planted by Yahweh’s faithful hands. And they have flourished and yielded fruits of joy, peace, love, patience… true friendship. True Love.

I stand amazed.

The vision was hard to believe at the time when loneliness filled my days. When God removed what I thought was true love… and those whom I considered real friends.

He plucked them all, one by one, and left me wondering whether I’d ever feel loved again.

But before He planted a new harvest in my life, He had to teach me to make Jesus my all in all. He wanted to become my very best friend.

Instead of giving in to the feelings of loneliness and depression, I sought His face.

I made the Bible my greatest companion. I woke up in the middle of the night to talk to my Savior and started serving Him at church. And before I realized it, He started planting beautiful new seeds into my life.

God showed me that, just as He gave Gideon victory over mighty enemies with a small army of faithful servants, His children don’t need 10,000 soldiers to win life’s battles.

When God is in control, He weeds out the unfaithful, and fills in the void in our lives with the 300 faithful few.

In.His.time.

Gideon was afraid of not having enough. He couldn’t see how he would defeat his powerful enemy with such a small army.

You may not see how your life can continue without a particular person. Or how you can give up your old friends and still have joy. I challenge you to trust Him. Trust that He is weeding out the unfaithful, cleaning out the soil, preparing it to yield a new harvest.

All He needs is your heart. Your surrendered trust.

I promise that one day you’ll stand amazed, as you contemplate the lush green fields that Yahweh will plant on your current bare land. As you give yourself to Him, believe me: He will give it all back to you.

Pressed down, shaken together and running over.

Because that is the kind of Friend He is.

Just trust His pruning. Trust His plucking. He only cuts out what doesn’t belong, anyway.

*This blog post is an excerpt from Patricia’s Book: Twelve Inches: Bridging the gap between what you know about God and how you feel.”

***Comment for a chance to win a copy of the book!  Also, share Patricia’s words on social media!

Visit the book page: www.soaringwithHim.com/Twelve-Inches

ABOUT PATRICIA:

Patricia Holbrook is the President of Soaring with Him Ministries, author, columnist, blogger, wife and mom. Her passion is to encourage her audience to “soar above life’s circumstances” by the power of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. She writes about making beauty out of brokenness, trusting God in the dark, the blessings of obedience and her love for the Savior.

Among other places, you can find her writing weekly on her

blog, www.soaringwithHim.com. on her weekend column for the Atlanta Journal Constitution www.ajc.com, on iDisciple.org and websites such as Internet Devotions Cafe, among others. Patricia is also a national and international speaker for women’s events.

 

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10 Ways: Be there for Someone Dealing With Hard Times

no way

Just yesterday, I met up with a friend. She’s stuck in a foreign prison. She can’t find her way out. Jesus saved her for heaven, but on earth, she nearly lives daily in hell. Depression, despair and dejection have claimed her.

When I got home, she was all I could think about. The way her tears broke down her face, the way her heart was spread out on the table and the way it seemed there was no way out.

I wish I had been there for her more.

We live is in a world of hurt; there is no denying that. And, where I sit is in a chair,  angry, I can’t fix things. I can’t rework their lives. I can’t restructure the story or rewind the tape. Oh, how badly I want to get up like a super-genie with blonde hair, an explosive attitude, with a good sprinkle of Jesus, and just swipe away the pain, as if I’m sending them back to those smiling pictures of old.  I want them to go – back there.

But, I can’t swipe it all away. I can’t swear it away.  I can’t superwoman it away either.

Here pain stands.

And so do I.

What will I do this time?

What will you?

Because the pain of the world isn’t going anywhere. And neither are needy people. Here we all are. Look left, you’ll see her – in the wheelchair. Look right, you’ll remember, yes, that person, who lost their spunky 30-year old spouse. Look across the street, you’ll see him, the dad with tired eyes and a drug addict child.

See what you try not to see, today.

They walk everywhere. I guess the real question is, what will we do? Will we continue on with our day or will we step in to a new way?

10 Ways to Be There For Someone Going through a Hard Time

  1. Realize you are just as needy. Think you don’t have problems? Think again. Meet your neediness first.
  2. Soften your heart. Let your covering of to-do’s fall to the ground. Let judgements go. See afresh.
  3. Smile. Smile at yourself because today, you are choosing to go a new way. Who you abandoned in the past, is forgiven by Christ Jesus.
  4. Ask God for His eyes to see.
  5. Recognize. What you think needs fixing, God may think is down-right astonishing when seen from the angle of his great plan.
  6. Don’t be a Mrs. or Mr. Fix it or Madam Know-it-all. Refuse to allow pride to break the stride of God’s perfect love and timing.
  7. Be. Be in the moment with your own feelings and emotions. Listen from this place and love in that space.
  8. Pray with all your heart, then act as the Holy Spirit leads.
  9. Expect the Lord to be faithful through your prayers. Even more, expect him to grow you along the way.
  10. Enjoy. Enjoy what the Lord is doing, even if it looks nothing like you thought.

A weird thing happens as you love, you find out God is loving you. He gives back what you are giving and he gives out what the other person’s soul most quenches. All of a sudden, what happens is you – and them – are unified. It is not about pity, judgement or charity, it is about two souls in need, hungering and seeking for more. Drawing strength, building hope and seeking rescue. It is a beautiful thing. It is God in action. It is – lives – coming alive. And – it is never too late to find.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

How to Live Unshaken

unshaken

For a large part of my life this word was not in my dictionary. “Unstable.” “Unable.” “Unsure.” Now, these were the type of words – I knew.

I was “unstable” as I dealt with depression, a debilitating eating disorder and the deep knowledge I could never do enough or be enough to satiate the world’s unbelievable appetite – for perfect.

I was “unable.” Unable to fix a looming diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Unable to hold a job down. Unable to endure in friendships. Unable to believe in myself. I quit things before they started. I ended opportunity before it could hurt me. I unsubscribed from risk before it could eat me up, chew me up and spit me out like the failure I knew I was.

I was “unsure” God really was good. I knew him in my mind, but absent was his love from my heart. With this, I walked not in Christ’s identity, but with a disguised limp of insecurity. All I could see was how you were better than me and more likely to do great things. I was unsure why I was born. I was jealous, burdened.

These sticky labels seemed to attach to my heart with permanent glue: unstable. Unable. Unsure. They owned me. They declared my worth. They drove my being. The more I looked at my discouragement, the more I felt discouraged.

Have you been there? Do you know this place?

When we see all we – are not, we have a hard time focusing on all that – God is. This is what I’ve realized. You see, through the power of prayer and a heart-seizing of God’s Word, accompanied by the simple grace afforded by Christ on the cross, I am walking, more and more, out of a place of containment and into the refreshment of God.

It awaits us all. It calls out to us. It is ours to step into.

We grab first for God’s forgiveness; it welcomes us. We run into daddy’s arms; they wait wide-open for us. We feel the warm embrace; it cares for us. We talk to the one who created us; He affirms us. We renew our strength in him; he recommissions us.

And, by the very nature of God – and not by our own doing – we step out, little-step by little-step. Until, we get to the point where we glance back, to see how far we’ve come. And, what we see is – somewhere along the way, he brought us to the power-infused and potential-unveiling place of – unshaken.

It feels like a miracle and, now, we acknowledge – it actually is. We give thanks. We worship. And, we add the word – “unshaken” to our dictionary. We own it. We step into it. We go. Our heart is on fire.

What might small step might God be calling you to move into? How might your life look if you stripped of the mindset of fear to live free of people’s opinions? Undefined by problems? Liberated from the past?

Order my new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

***I am also featured on Courtney Westlake’s blog today. Read “Overcoming the Fear of Rush.”

Does Darkness Surround?

darkness surround

I laid in bed afraid. Alone, vulnerable, it felt like simply closing my eyes was an invitation to injury.  What if, a bad guy broke in? What if I really didn’t lock the back door? What if someone knew my husband was gone?

Darkness surrounded me – in more way than one – lately. In truth, these days, I felt unsure and tense. I was unable to let go. I was incapable of changing things back to the way they were – light. I was mad about it. I was mounting up frustration inside. I was taking it out on my family and unloading it in passive-aggressive ways.

Do you lay in the darkness today? Unsure? Tense? Unable to let go? Incapable to change anything?

In the dark, our irrational fears live (boogie men, bad guys or burdensome worries or worse). In the dark, life feels like it might fall down on us. In the dark, we can’t see our way. In the dark, we think we will never walk into light again. In the dark, we declare, we’ll always stubbing our toe. In the dark, we are left by ourselves to struggle with the shadow of depression, fear, health issues, failing relationships, marital issues, financial concerns or worse…alone.

What dark has convinced you – you’ll always be afraid?

Recently, I chatted with a friend, she said, “I used to be afraid of the dark.”

Of course, I understood this. I’m convinced, no one likes the pitch-black, you-can’t-see dark.  Why? As I figure it, in the absence of light, we often feel absent of God. In the dimness of this world, it’s easy to let your heart turn dim as well. In the places we can’t see, we decide we’ll never find our way.

But, this friend had more to say. She spoke, “If you just turn your head, away from the darkness of your room, you can always find light. Starlight. Moon beams. Street lights. Reflective light. Car lights.”

The light is always out there. You just have to look for it.

It’s all about your perspective, I guess…

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Jo. 1:5

Her words remind me: Jesus is the light. He is not able to be put out. His help is always with us. His reach is always towards us. His power is always moving, always casting, into our darkness. No power, no force, no scenario, no situation, no person – can overcome Him. He is more permanent than our dark rooms. He is more powerful than perceived problems.

What if we were to choose to see him instead of the darkness that surrounds?

What if we were to search for even the smallest ray of his light? How might it change things?

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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When Fear and Truth Collide

Fear and Truth

I am delighted to welcome Jessica Van Roekel as a guest blogger today. Jessica is faithful, diligent and obedient. I am proud to feature her words.

I’m good at bravado, but not so much at living brave. I know how to stand tall and smile with the best of them, but inside I’m cowering, hiding tears, insecure, wondering if I belong or even if I’m wanted.

I know verses. I know that if I’m full of God then there’s no room for anything else. I know that my song is God’s song. I know that he is my refuge, my shield, and my fortress. I know he holds me close and sings songs over me. I know he calls me chosen, beloved, secure, approved, and beautiful. I know all these things and I was so mad at myself for the disconnect between my head and my heart.

So there I sat—alone, with no one beside me—listening to the melody, learning my part or trying—all the while fighting back tears. It was absolutely ridiculous and I was furious with myself. And to be totally honest, furious with God. Why would he compel me to audition for this musical and then humiliate me in this way? It didn’t make any sense.

Have you felt this way? Has God ever shown you a truth and set you free from your bondage and then in an instant you were in bondage again or so it seemed? Have you ever felt you utterly failed God and yourself?

May I offer you and I this encouragement: God is not disappointed with you or me. God is not going to send us into a situation and then leave us to work it out in our own strength. He will provide us with opportunities to exercise our faith in the work he’s doing in our lives. And just like with regular exercise, we will stumble until we figure out the rhythm or the sequence, but if we keep practicing we get better, we grow stronger, we become more fluid, and it becomes second nature because we’ve trusted him and let him work through us.

Freedom from fear of man came for me through one definitive moment a few years ago, and since that moment God has been showing me how to live free. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worthwhile. My perspective has shifted from being afraid of people to being settled in God’s thoughts towards me.

You know, I wanted to run from that audition room and never, ever look back. In fact, I walked out of rehearsal that night determined to quit and planned on letting the director know my decision the next morning.

I didn’t though. I leaned into the pain because I’ve learned that sometimes healing comes through the pain, not by avoiding the pain. So I took my younger self by the hand and let her feel the pain. I let her remember and shed her tears, and then I walked her through forgiveness. Was it easy? Uh, absolutely not. Is it over? No, but the cleaning out of the wound has happened, the salve of God’s truth has been applied, and the wound is tender, but it’s healing.

Sometimes we have to experience the hard so that God’s word becomes alive, and once the revelation of his truth, his freedom, and his healing has been revealed, it’s  not ever to be taken away by someone’s words, approval, disapproval, memories, or event.

Becoming fear fighters happens when we’re transformed from the inside out and it requires us to keep taking steps towards faith and bravery, clinging to truth and always, always trusting God’s heart for us.

***Get the book Fear Fighting, by Kelly Balarie today.

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

************************************

Jessica Van Roekel is a woman on the journey to wholeness through brokenness. She believes that through Christ our personal histories don’t have to define our present or determine our future. Her greatest desire is to see people live this ‘God-life’ with all the power and grace that God provides. Jessica lives in a rural community with her husband and four children. She leads worship on Sundays, but seeks to be a worshiper every day. You can connect with her at www.welcomegrace.com  and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/yourJessicaVanRoekel

 

 

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25 Ways Not to be Lukewarm in Faith

Friends, I’m also sharing on Sharon Jaynes blog, “God, will you come through for me?” and on Suzie Eller’s blog, “Faith when fear tries to run you over“. Two fabulous ladies, two fabulous blogs. I encourage you to check these out! Comment on their blogs for a chance to win a free book.

Now on with my post…

“So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3:16

This. This verse right here. It gives me the chills. It’s one of those things that makes you sit up straight. It reminds me of coasting on a bike. The thing about coasting is – you can’t coast up to God, you’re always coasting somewhat downwards and away from him.

I don’t want to coast. I certainly don’t want to be looking at the world and living my life, only to die and find out – I was never really that close to him to begin with.

Whoops! Big Whoops! Eternal Whoops!

You all know I just wrote the book, Fear Fighting. So, it’s not that I have to fear what I am doing wrong, it’s just that I have to fear God. Get my eyes on him. Seek him. Be with him. Pursue him.

Like dominoes, everything falls in line when we do this. We get near him and he gets in us. I like that.

With this in mind here are my 25 Ways Not To Be Lukewarm:

1. Pray

2. Praise

3. Practically search out ways to love others

4. Read scripture

5. Ask God for help.

6. Submit all your plans to God.

7. Enjoy creation with God.

8. Remember Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross.

9. Forgive others.

10. Forgo anxiety and replace it with praise.

11. Encourage another person.

12. Hold fast to the belief that trials are training you into the image of Christ.

13. Grab on to faith, even when you feel like you are falling.

14. Thank God for everything.

15. Die to your selfish ways and live for Christ’s.

16. Renew your mind in truth, throughout the day, every day.

17. Worship through songs and Psalms.

18. Seek to understand others, verses judge them.

19. Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide, then follow.

20. Seek holy in everything you do.

21. Put on the armor of God (Eph. 6)

22. Proclaim the gospel, no matter how scared you may feel.

23. Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. Speak it over your life.

24. Receive and extend grace. Repeat.

25. Uncover your heart and ready it for God’s transformation.

The good news is – even if we’ve lived lukewarm, we don’t have to fear our salvation. If we are saved, it is as done and done is done. We also don’t have to fear that we messed up, drifted away from God or turned our back for moment. Why? Because God’s love is greater than our deep worry we won’t be loved again. It extends beyond our feelings, thoughts and hurts. It reaches in – and once again – accepts us.

Buy my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears!

Take part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

 

On Fear & Misplaced Faith

trust fear fighting

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mom, could you let that car drive past us?”

Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.

When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.

For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.

Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.

When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.

They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.

When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.

The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.

1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.

Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.

I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).

Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.

Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?

One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—

God is good, and we can trust Him.

We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.

I just finished Kelly Balarie’s challenging and practical book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, and this quote from page 53 wouldn’t let me go:

“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”

When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.

When I am afraid,

I put my trust in You.

In God,

whose word I praise—

in God I trust

and am not afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

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.

Breaking Through the Barrier of Tired

Barrier of Tired

I snapped off the news. Nothing there but terrorism and guns. Who needs all that?!

My heart felt tired, unsure, but, all the same, I figured I should get with God. Maybe try to muster the strength to get up and fill my mind with excellence and good report.

“I should watch something uplifting.”

Unable to discern what, I just stayed put on the couch. Immobile. In tiredness. In a body unable to even gain the strength to end the day’s war under the covers of “tomorrow’s going to be better.”

I just lay there.

“God, why am I missing you lately? Why do you seem far?”

I got the sense of God whispering back to me, “Kelly, I am not far, you are.”

Am I?

I used to spend my days looking for God, now I spend my days looking at how I am messing up.
I used to offer thanks, now I offer myself solutions for how I can improve.
I used to consider momentary lessons, now I consider how God really needs to teach me a lesson.
I used to just delight with letting God be, now I pressure him to show up.
I used to let fears fly out the window, now I roll it up.
I press my eyes tighter and ask, “What happened God?”
I hear nothing. Figures.

I wait.

“You’re missing the moment where I am, because you fear the moments where you are.”

Lighten up.
Lay loose.
Live lightly.
Let in love.
Land in my arms.
Let me carry you.
Leave behind demands.
Let’s go.

My closed eyes – relax. God is inviting my mind to travel – with him. No demands. No requirements. No facades. No prerequisites. No achievements. No guilt. No shame required.

He wants my attention in the moment. So, without distraction, I can see him in the moment.

I open my eyes.

And then I see. God brings clarity: He loves me. He died for me. His light is always pursuing me.

My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest. Ex. 33:14

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Go to sleep?…Ur uh, I don’t think So!

It was a Friday morning and I was busily preparing for a surprise weekend getaway I had planned for my husband David, when my cell phone rang. It was hubby. I thought he was calling to tell me about his doctor’s appointment but instead in a bewildered voice he rambled off words that at first seemed nonsensical.

“I just got a call from Mr T. and… Cliff died this morning. Massive heart attack.“

I repeated the sentence several times in my head as if to process the bizarre message, I’m sure I didn’t hear correctly.

You see it couldn’t be true because Cliff, the dear friend and golfing buddy David spoke of was a larger-than-life kind of guy. He wouldn’t just die like that.

But it was true. In the time it takes for a heart to beat, his heart stopped. Forever.

His sudden death made me come face to face with a chilling truth.

I’ve been afraid to die.

It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going.

I do.

I believe with all my heart when I’m done with this earth I’ll see Jesus face to face and live for all eternity with Him.

When friends proudly proclaim, “I’m not afraid of dying” I want so badly to give a, “Yeah, yeah me too!” (High five, fist bump and all that.)

But I don’t. I’m silent.

I hate this fear, it feels so… faithless.

Digging deep, at first I thought it was the process that scares me. I’ve watched my mother and father pass and a few friends. Death ain’t pretty.

However when I honestly brought my contradiction of thought and faith to God, He gently brought to mind something from my past. Something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

From as early as I can remember, probably about three years of age, my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and recite this brief prayer.

Before I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord for my soul to take.

And she wondered why I couldn’t go to sleep…!

I had all but forgotten this nightmarish rhyme. 
Though I have no doubt my Episcopalian mother was well-intentioned, I can say with reasonable accuracy, no three-year old understands the meaning of such words. To my little-girl ears they sounded mystical, scary.

I became frightened of this spooky God my mother prayed to Who might choose to take me in the night—stealing me away from my family, my home, my dolls. This life.
Of course I never wanted to shut my eyes. But what was worse, when I kept them open the Jesus-cross that hung by my beside stared at me in the dark with an eerie purple incandescence glow.

This is not at all the God I worship today. The God I know and worship doesn’t desire to scare little children, or anyone for that matter. He’s a gentle Father who promises hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

However our past often paves the pathways in our future.
Sometimes with bold confidence. But many times with trepidation.
As it’s been in my case.

Has something from your past locked you into a feeling of apprehension, foreboding, phobias or panic?

Don’t allow any fear to steal your freedom. Ask God to unlock the past for you, releasing understanding—clarity.

Now that I can see my past world juxtaposed with my present I believe with God’s help and the power of the Holy Spirit I can dismantle the fears that threaten to unravel me and move forward to living this life as God meant—with abandon…and fist bumps.

You can too.

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold to it. But on thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

***Get a kick-start on a fearless life with Kelly’s book, Fear Fighting.***

Looking forward, pressing on, and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.

About Christy

Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.

Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

15 Things I Wish I Never Did as a Christian

Never did as a christian

Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.

If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.

Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.

So without further ado…

15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:

  1. Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
  2. Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
  3. Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
  4. Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
  5. Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
  6. Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
  7. Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it.  Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
  8. Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
  9. Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
  10. Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
  11. Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
  12. Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
  13. Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
  14. Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high.  Who made me judge?
  15. Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.

This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.

What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?

It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)

Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Or, order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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