Purposeful Faith

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God, Mend my Heart as I Reveal my Hurt

reveal my hurt

Guest Post by: Julie Loos

As I sat in the cold metal chair in my Oshkosh B’Gosh overall shorts and red flip-flops, I nonchalantly chewed on my fingernails. The waiting area was chilly even though outside, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I folded my legs under my bottom on the chair and hoped for warmer.

While I waited, thoughts tumbled in my head like the clothes in the dryer. Worst-case scenarios were tugging at my ten-year-old heart. I didn’t comprehend why I was here other than I was naughty and if I didn’t behave, I would live with another family.

My palms began to sweat, my legs became weak, and I thought I might get sick.

Even though my worst-case scenario didn’t happen, in some ways it already had.

Those who were supposed to love me unconditionally made it contingent on my behavior. The people I could trust deceived me.

As a child, I was alone and abandoned, although not in the physical sense. I grew up believing I couldn’t trust anyone. I learned to become a people pleaser. I made every attempt to control situations around me. Defective was how I looked at myself.

Right there, I decided God was just like everyone else. If I broke His rules or failed to live up to His standards, He’d eventually figure me out and desert me too.

Here’s the thing. The stress trying to keep me together so no one could hurt me again was hard work.

Fear from my past kept me from the possibilities of my future.

I wish God would change my past and remove these gaping heart holes. My anxiety tells me it will never change. I will end up alone and abandoned.

The truth is that God already made a new way for me through the wounds of the past.

Each hard thing was a step I needed to become the person He created me to be.

God can do the same for you. He can make a way when there seems no way. He can help you overcome what looks impenetrable.

Will you trust Him and believe He can make all things new?

Are you so focused on the pain in the past that you are missing the blessings of the present?

He is able if you are willing.

Even though I have grown up physically, the little girl part of my heart still longs for the acceptance and love of those around her. In those moments when my mind returns to that waiting room of my past, God applies His healing ointment to my heart and whispers to me, “I am here, I love you, and I am trustworthy.”

And He has been there through each step of my journey, both in good times and bad, mending the holes and wounds within. I know someday my heart will be mended up entirely, right in His presence.

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

About Julie Loos

Julie Loos is the mom of 5 kids and has been happily married to Greg for 17 years. She loves to read, eat chocolate, drink iced tea and spend time writing in the midst of messes. You can find her blog at www.unmaskingthemess.com.

 

Do You Cast Stones at Yourself?

cast stones

May I tell you something vitally important to your faith life?

Jesus is not casting stones at you.

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Jo. 8:7

Jesus picks up no rock to sling at your face. Sure, He sees what you do and what you have done. But He grabs nothing to pummel you, like you do to yourself. He does not rip your insides. He does not call you, “Idiot” or “Stupid.” Or say, “Oh, look, she did it again.” He launches no accusatory words at you, like you may do to yourself. Jesus doesn’t hurt his daughters.

He approaches them, arms open, ready to receive them again. And he fights off the violent voices rising against them. He lets not condemnation speak any longer.

“Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” Jo. 8:10

“No one, sir,” she said.

The violent stone throwers were no longer there. Why? Because of Jesus. Because of the voice of simple and authentic love. Love that spoke over condemnation to bring love-filled, sin-shattering consolation.

What if you were to let Jesus’ voice of consolation, rise above the stone-slinging voices of condemnation? What freedom might you seize? What life would you be able to return to?

“Then neither do I condemn you,’” Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’” Jo. 8:1

It is easy to leave sin when you’re confronted with authentic, soul-seeing and heart-changing love.

Why not let the one and only Jesus lead you into deeper, life-freeing love? The perfect consoler waits, not with a stone, but with a heart to care for your deep wounds and pain.

Run into his arms today.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

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Is God Far?

God far

I know the feeling. You tell God you want to be with him, but your mind goes left and right as you read the bible. You get in the car and start to pray on your commute only to get caught up in worry about that one thing or another. You try to pay attention in church only to get distracted by the lady’s shoes and matching handbag. You don’t hear a word that is said. You sing. Empty words.

You lose God.

Where did he go? Why is He far?

But IS God far?

“The LORD is near to all who call on him.” Ps. 145:18

God isn’t far. We are.

We are far from our first love. It hurts to admit it. We are distanced by our own days and ways. It is usually hard to see. We are far because some person, problem or predicament swallowed us whole and we are so caught up in it, we can’t peer over its immensity.

God isn’t far. We are.

This may hurt to admit today. How are you far?  Are you far because you feel hurt? Are you far because you feel unloved? Are you far because life is hard? Because problems mount? Because you feel let down? What is it?

Refreshment and relationship waits for you. There is a simple how-to or must-do that God always answers. One way to bring connection that diminishes isolation. Here it is:

“Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.” Acts 3:19-20

Repentance = refreshment. God’s presence comes. You get sent out full of the Lord. This is not a one-time thing, but an all the time thing. All the way up to the day the Lord returns. And you find yourself at home with the Creator.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

God Can, But Will He?

God Can, But Will He quote by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith blog

Post by: Katie M. Reid

This man with leprosy believed that Jesus could make him clean, if He was willing.

Luke 5:12-13 “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man, ‘I am willing’, he said. ‘Be clean!’ And immediately the leprosy left him.”

Lord, if You are willing You can make me clean. 

Shadrach, Meschach and Abed-nego faced a fiery furnace. They knew that God was able to save them from it, but even if He did not they refused to bow down to another (see Daniel 3:16-18).

Lord, if You are willing You can save us from the fire. 

Jesus can do anything. He can do the impossible (see Matthew 19:26 & Luke 1:37).

Do you believe that?

He can rescue us from the fiery trials that we face. He can heal any kind of disease. He can restore broken marriages. He can free us from addictions. He can bring the dead to life.

Nothing is too difficult for Him (see Genesis 18:14 & Jeremiah 32:27).

Sometimes He doesn’t rescue, heal, restore, free or resurrect on this side of heaven, but that doesn’t mean that He is unable to. 

What does it mean then?

The night before Jesus faced the fiercest trial of his life, he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39).

Why was the Father not willing to let this cup pass from Jesus, His beloved child?

Was it because He was displeased with the one praying? Was God angry at him, ignoring him or apathetic towards him?

Not at all.

Jesus was His Son, the beloved of the Father. So why was He not willing to deliver His Son from the horrific, grave circumstances that He was facing?

It was love.

Not just love for Jesus but undying love for all of us. God allowed this suffering because He knew the end result would greatly impact the world forever; providing the way to a restored relationship with the Father and life everlasting with Him.

We have the privilege of knowing the rest of the story, but what if we were there in the Garden with Jesus or there at the foot of the cross as He hung upon it? Would we question God’s Sovereignty? Would we wonder why He wasn’t willing to save His Son?

Faith is being sure of what we do not see (see Hebrews 11:1) We choose to believe even when what we see seems contradictory to our beliefs. God is who He says He is or He is not.

I’m not trying to explain away your pain. I just know that sometimes our finite minds are limited and our eyes are short-sighted.

If God is not willing to let the cup pass in your life, I believe that it is for a greater purpose than what we can see at present.

God is Sovereign. Trust that He is Loving. Rest assured that He is Just.

You can take shelter in His Sovereignty and rest in His ability to cover you and keep you underneath the shelter of His wings. He cares deeply for you- so much so that He was unwilling to let the cup of His wrath pass from Jesus. He was willing to let His Son die so that you could live.

You are precious in His sight and loved beyond comprehension. You can be confident as you rest under the umbrella of His will, because He is faithful.

He is able to do anything. He is willing to make you clean through Jesus. He loves you that much. He did everything for you at the cross with arms spread wide open in love for you, that you may be saved.

I’ll leave you with a song declaring His power and His ability to do the impossible.

Nothing is impossible with God

Nothing is too hard for Him

He is able, more than able, to do anything.

He is Sovereign, He is Wise, He is Great, has limitless strength.

He’s the God who sees, the God who knows, the God Everlasting, the God of me.

Daniel 3:17-18 “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Katie M. Reid Author and Speaker
Katie M. Reid is an author and speaker who encourages you to find grace in the unraveling of life (look for her first book coming out next July with Waterbrook!). She inspires you to embrace your identity in Christ and live out your God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in the Midwest. She is a fan of cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea. Katie and her husband host the popular Facebook Live show, “Stop! Hammock Time” (which airs Wednesdays, 9pm EST). Join in the fun and unwind in this vibrant community.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Encouragement When You Feel Like You’re Failing

no more striving it's already been done quote by katie m. reid for purposeful faith blog

Post by: Katie M. Reid

Dear Daughter:

I see you there…my try-hard girl, my striving for the “A” daughter—the one who handles it all.

You are My creation—painted with the brushstrokes of grace upon breathtaking landscape.

I know how hard you work…rising early, staying up late, constantly stirring thoughts around like stew, looking for the perfect blend to make it all right.

You are not an orphan, but an heir—privy to the inheritance that I died to give you.

Through each season, you strive to keep it all together—polished, shiny, bright. You do not like the idea of failing.

You strive to measure up. You scurry to keep up. You fear messing up. You dread fessing up.

Can I let you in on a little secret? You don’t have to be flawless.

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.” –Psalm 18:32

Can I reassure and encourage you, this day? You don’t have to earn that which has been freely given.

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23

I AM perfect, so you don’t have to be. I AM enough, so you don’t have to do more.

The easy A is yours. That which you are striving for has already been done.

Head over to Katie’s site, for the rest of this post and for the #RaRaLinkup…

 

The Crippling Problem with our Belief

our belief

“Believe,” she said. “You just have to believe. And don’t settle. See belief all the way through.”

It sounded like a very good and faithful thing to do. It sounded like what I really should do. But as we all know, faith in practicality lives much more painfully than it does through words. You think things like: If God doesn’t come through on this, I am toast. If I don’t find my way, I’ll never be happy. If I don’t get this done, I’ll be left behind.

Belief wavers after that first jolt of confidence and fizzles out like day-old soda. It gets flat sometimes.

So, when looking for a house and walking through one that was “a definite possibility,” her words came back to me. “Don’t settle.” She had gone on to say, “If it is an orange light from God, don’t go, but it if it is a green light, only then proceed.”

I liked the layout. It was open. I liked the paint color. It was grey. I didn’t like the door frames that looked like water had gone up their side. I also didn’t like the musty smell. Internally, I debated if the place had mold.

I wanted to overlook the bad, so I could move forward and be done with this frustrating process of finding a new place.

I went home and told my husband, “I think I found a place that looks pretty good. We probably should move on it.”

He remembered the words of our friend, “Kelly, is it a green light or an orange light?”

Umm…

Well…

Hmm…

How often do we push into something God hasn’t called us to because we are over things? Because it is easier not to contend with that issue anymore? Because faith is hard?

When I saw the reality of it, that place was orangey-red.

“See belief all the way through.”

Where do you need to see belief all the way through?

“Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’” Jo. 2:29

After talking with my husband, I redirected my thoughts, my heart and my will to believe. I committed to see things through. And I did. I write now from the comfort of a green light home without mold. Our family loves it.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

Seeing with Eyes of Empathy

eyes of empathy

While driving today, a motorcyclist cussed out loud at an intersection. Apparently, he didn’t make a right turn fast enough to get ahead of the cars headed his way. Now, he was slaying everyone, including me, with the evil eye as he sat waiting for his turn to go.

Staring at him, I wondered, “What would it take to fix this man’s attitude? To show him or teach him you don’t act like this?”

Many women ask themselves the same thing. “What would it take to change this person’s attitude? How they approach me, how they live, how they talk to me and listen to me. . . ”

They say, “Should I:”
Be someone different for them?
Bark at them until they act better?
Whine under my breath?
Nitpick their small issues?
Snap back?
Be passive aggressive?
Teach them a lesson?

Flesh aims “to fix.” It focuses on faults.
Spirit loves always. It never ceases in prayer.

My inclination at that intersection was to fix the motorcyclist’s problems. What if God called me to something different? What if rather than fixing, I was called to go about empathizing.

Empathizing, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, means:

“The action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another…”

Empathy thinks: He is likely having a horrible day. A coffee-spilled-on-you, kids-yelled-at-you, huge-project-at-work, hardly-any-sleep day. I’ve had those days too. I know what it is to feel rushed. I understand what it is to get so annoyed I unleash my mouth like a rabid dog. I can understand how that is.

Empathy acts. It offers eyes of sympathy with a small smile and wave that says, “Please sir, you go ahead. I am making way for you. I love Jesus and I want his love to reach you.”

Empathy sees things from the other side. It loves with all it has. And keeps at it.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Heb. 4:15)

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

The War We Wage with Ourselves

Greatest Defense

One time, I did this totally un-Christian thing. I hid something behind the picture frames on my walls. Because it was unseen, potential new home dwellers never knew what lurked there as they walked through my house. Heck!  I halfway forgot what was back there too. But on move-out day, when I took the frames down, I saw them: deep wall gouges. Ones never fixed. Ones left behind.

Welcome home! You need to re-plaster your walls!

We walk around just like this. A beautiful picture covers our deeply wounded selves.

We carry these wounds:
We don’t meet the standard of the woman we should be.
We are always falling short of other’s expectations for us.
We don’t match the persona of the woman who can do it all.
We are unworthy of receiving unconditional love.

Underneath the glass cover, no matter how beautiful or sophisticatedly adorned we are, our smile is not as real as we pretend it is. We hurt. We angst.

Our internal pictures tell a different story.

What picture is behind your picture? Is shaped like a wound? What lies deep in your soul? Loneliness? Isolation? Discouragement? Doubt?

May I tell you today, Jesus is strong enough to heal. He still is.

He still works. He still frees. He still sets free. The ancient of days is not so ancient of days that your internal wounds are outside his repair, today.

He loves you. He has chosen you to be in his care, and that means he wants to care for you. What would it look like to let him take what you’ve hidden so long?

To let it belong to God? I believe this blog post is a knock on the door of your soul: let God in.

What if you were to believe: God really heals and right now, he is actively healing you? What would it look like to let his freedom in?

“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:20)

Friends, as a heads up, Jami Amerine’s book, Stolen Jesus is now available. Don’t miss it. 

 

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

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

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Just Step Out

Step Out

Often, it can be hard to love others authentically. Ever noticed that?

It can be hard to drop TV and take a meal to a sick friend’s house. It can be hard to make a phone call when you had a horrid day. It can be hard to write another blog post when you’re struggling to get by yourself.

But then you think about love. You think about who He is. Jesus.

You think of how he went out there, carrying what was back-breaking, burdensome and unbelievable. . . and he kept going. With us on his mind. With our sin on his back. With our pain that became his pain.

Jesus doesn’t give up on love. I am compelled not to either.

With this, I’ve been observing it…Love-in-action. Others have loved me a lot lately: They’ve taken me into their home when I almost had no home. They’ve made me food when I didn’t have much to offer. They’ve texted me even though I haven’t talked to them in years. They’ve just done stuff in the face of this post-Irma trial.

And in their actions I can see love is what it is all about. It’s about me, and not giving up. It is about me, and enduring. It’s about me, and believing God can, and will.

It is also about you. It’s about you and acting anyway. It is about you, and reaching out. It is about you, and responding kindly. It is about you, and giving to the person with nothing left to give. It is about continuing to speak authentically when the trials of life leave you breathlessly out of words.

I was thinking of all this today. And then a friend wrote me and said her life was changed because of my breathless writing. It wasn’t in a big way or even a big deal. But that’s how the responses to love usually appear – small, little, inconsequential. But somehow, I figure they’re not. The small thank yous? They all add up to something monumental and massive over all the years in the sight of God.

The bottom line to today’s post is this: We don’t know how much all our small breathless acts of love change — everything.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

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

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

For the Days When Your Soul Aches and You Feel Lonely

Seven Bible verses to help you when you're lonely and your soul aches

Post by: Katie M. Reid

The stale air of the subway felt like her closest companion. She was surrounded by people yet no one seemed to notice her. Some passengers looked straight ahead, others seemed to look through her, and most were on their phone. A few, very few, were engaged in conversation.

I’m hungry. She cried out.

And the passengers were unaware…or unmoved.

I’m hungry! She called out again.

I heard the cry. Not just from the mouth of this fellow passenger, but deep within my soul.

I have known hunger too: soul hunger.

And I wonder how many of us join in this refrain? I’m hungry. I’m hungry!

On the days when there’s nothing left in the cupboard. For the times when the house (or inbox) is devoid of life. In the aftermath of unexpected storms that barrel through. There is one who hears, who sees, who understands. One who has experienced loneliness (and hunger) in ways we can’t even imagine.

He answers our cries with Himself: the Bread of Heaven broken for us.

He doesn’t look through us, He lives in us. He invites us to feast as He provides soul manna that never runs out. He never runs out on us. Jesus. Not a trite answer but THEE answer for our deep soul ache.

Tried and true, tested and proven, His Love saturates lonely, aching places.

Here for us; always. When others ignore, when they overlook, or when they inadvertently hurry by…He remains.

Here are 7 verses to feast on when you’re feeling lonely:

  • Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty (John 6:35).
  • Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me (Revelation 3:20).
  • Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:16).
  • Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10, NLT).
  • Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast (Psalm 139: 7-10).
  • For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
  • Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20, NLT).

There is a verse here for each day of the week. May you be comforted as you cry out to God and bring your loneliness to Him. Oh how He cares for you and is more than able to provide for the hunger of your soul.

Katie M. Reid Author and Speaker

Katie M. Reid is an author and speaker who encourages you to find grace in the unraveling of life (look for her first book coming out next summer with Waterbrook!). She inspires you to embrace your identity in Christ and live out your God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in the Midwest. She is a fan of cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea. Katie and her husband host the popular Facebook Live show, “Stop! Hammock Time” (which airs Wednesdays, 9pm EST). Join in the fun and unwind in this vibrant community.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Facebook and Twitter.