Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

How to Pray

how to pray

God, give me a nice house.
God, I want to see my kids improve at school.
God, make (insert name of annoying person) change.
God, make this opportunity happen.
God, open every door to me.
God, change my circumstances.
God, give me a vacation soon.

There is nothing wrong in the asking, but are we missing something?

What if our deepest need, we walk right past?

When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. Ja. 4:3

I wonder, have you asked God for what you want? Like, what you really want? Have you sought him for your deep inner desires? Doing this – matters.

Jesus asked the blind man, Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mk. 10:51)

We are often blind too. We can’t easily see our spiritual needs. This is why asking ourselves this very question is critical to getting somewhere.

If Jesus was to come before you, this very day…if Jesus was too look you in the eye and ask what you wanted? What would you say?

Would you feel unworthy?
Would you shy away?
Would you make something up to look good?
Would you pretend you were 100% content?
Would you ask for something easy?

Or would you go, all out and unveil the deep and giant desires of your heart?

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  (Mk. 10:51)

There is safety in shallow prayers; we put a comfortable distance from an invasive God. We keep Him up there and us down here, without changing much. But, what if our greatest life change is just a word away?

“What do you want?”

Maybe, what we really want is this:
We want to know you love us, daddy.
We want to see you grow us out of our deep fear we’ll never be accepted by you.
We want to see you heal our need to always be right – or our body for that matter…
We want to have those deep scars from our past, gone.
We want so much of you, we actually find real and enduring peace.
We want you to make our life come alive with love that changes the world.

Prayer that works – is power. It’s radical. It’s honest, deep and willing to go to the risky places knowing God is there too. It’s full of faith.

It is coming before the throne, just like the 24 elders in Revelations…

“They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.'” (Rev. 10:11)

It’s taking off your crown, your need to be right, your need to be exalted, your need for the urgent, your demands, your pride, your ways…

…and seeing Him, in glory, power and honor.

It makes you act differently. It changes us.

 

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.”

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.

Break Boundaries and Barriers – With This!

If you answer yes to any of these questions, you, like me, are bound to love what I’m about to announce…

(Don’t you love all the intrigue?)

But before I divulge the what, let me get on with the questions:
Do you ever long to belong and to be understood?
Do you ever feel alone in your struggle?
Do you ever wonder why you fear the unexpected – and how to manage it?
Do you ever fret you’re not a good enough wife? Or mother?
Do you ever just – worry, worry, worry?
Do you long for better friendships and a more grace-filled life?
Do you dream of living out a creative calling?
Do you hope to truly seize peace and purpose?
Do you want to know what you were created for?
Do you know God has more for you than anxiety?
Do you wonder if prayer really works?

Where do you stand? Did you answer yes to any of these?

For the large part of my life, I answered yes, to well, pretty much every question. I struggled alone, between the 4 walls of my house: trying and failing at multiple ventures, reaching out to women and never following through, hoping for God to bust me into my dream but always doubting my abilities, trembling at what could happen in the future and agonizing my rocky past.

Paralyzed and agonizing, I trembled at the thoughts: I am not enough. I fear failing. I am desperately afraid I’ll waste my life. Women will judge me. Life is a threat. Dark streets and corners are the end of my life.

The list went on and on…

Panic points. That’s what I call them. I had a million and one “panic points” running through my mind, little links of worry, constantly convicting and restricting me. They were chains.

Do you even realize you are chained? Many women don’t. Sometimes we can get so used to living with chains, they start to feel like weighty bracelets, not 50-pound pieces of metal that cut the flow of life from our heart. We fail to see we’re stifled. We can move, but only 50-yards one way or 50-yards the other way…that is all the chain gives.

Yet, metal is no match for one who beat the grave. The nails didn’t determine Jesus’ destiny, and they don’t determine ours either. They may hurt in the moment, but there is freedom in the process, for those willing to seek it. I did and…

I found myself, even though I hadn’t a clue who I was.

I discovered an idea of what God had for me to do,
even though I constantly turned away from everything.

I began to enjoy and thrive in life,
even though I used to hate it.

I embraced risk instead of Christian-cussing at it.

I uncovered a door out.

I opened up new possibilities.

I realized they weren’t too far away.

I altered my perspective slightly and that changed it all.

I believe that can happen to you too.

Do you believe your chains can fall and you can push open that impossible-to-open box, or seemingly inescapable trap door?

Yes, there is always a trap door…

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Cor. 10:13)

Often finding the door, is all about pulling up the carpet that covers your heart. Only then, can you see your heart for what it is. When this happens, your way becomes clear.

What if you found your trap door – to more?

I have an idea for you. You see, I did write the book Fear Fighting, which is a fantastic first step for anyone interested in fighting fear; I highly recommend it if you struggle with any of these things, but this is not what I want to talk about today.

I want to propose to you attend The Journey Together Summit.


Join me, and over 34 fabulous published authors, as we do some fear fighting. We will be talking about everything you care about: mothering, marriage, living with unmet expectations, dealing with an unfair life, building intimacy with your husband, getting clutter-free, letting go of the past, finding your calling and more. With so many topics, and different perspectives on fear, you’ll come with panic points, but you’ll leave with a list of peace checkpoints to guide you on your way to courage, boldness and new found mission.

Don’t miss it! The event goes live June 5-8, but you can sign up today at www.journeytogethersummit.com to watch these 34 video interviews – for free. #JourneyTogetherSummit #Summit #FearFighting

Can’t attend in June? You can still access all the videos post-event with the All Access Pass.

I know the heart, the wisdom and the words spoken during this event will not only free your heart and comfort your soul, but they will provide practical and tactical tips to beat mountain-size fear and worry.

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.

Also, win a 10 Book Bundle of books if you share this event. Learn more…

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Don’t Wash Your Own Feet

Wash Your Own Feet

Post by: Candice Curry

There’s a picture buried deep in a box somewhere, stashed away in my mom’s closet. Staring back at you, from a worn out Polaroid picture, is a family who seems put together. The little girl squints her eyes to lessen the glare of the sun. She’s wearing a striped dress and her hair is carefully combed into two, long ponytails. The picture is filled with pinprick holes from someone moving it around the church bulletin board more than a few times.

It was one of the few occasions that I would actually wear a dress. I was a jeans and t-shirt type of girl. But, on the rare mornings when we actually made our way to church I thought I had to wear a dress or I wouldn’t be allowed in. I don’t remember a single thing about being there except that I felt we had to act a certain way and dress a certain way to fit in.  I knew very little about what church meant or why we even went in the first place.

I thought Jesus was only for certain people. I thought Jesus was for people who had their lives together and never messed up.  I thought Jesus was just for the people who spoke with eloquence and dressed like they had just walked out of a designer store. I wasn’t sure what sin really was or whose was worse, but I knew I didn’t want my dirty sins exposed. I didn’t want to go to church and let everyone see what a disaster I was. I didn’t want to face rejection.

The same feelings carried over into adulthood and I continued to fear Jesus for all the same reasons. I thought Jesus was only for the good people. I thought Jesus was for those without sin and those who navigated through life effortlessly. I thought he only shined on those types of people who were more like him and less like me.

So I stayed away.

I hid from church people.

I hid from Jesus.

I had walked through so much in life that the dirt on my feet was heavy and weighed me down. I dragged my feet everywhere I went and did everything I could to hide the evidence from other’s eyes. I promised myself I would wash them one day and present myself to Jesus when I was good and clean. Maybe then he would open his arms to me. Maybe if I could just be good enough, clean enough, rich enough, married, educated, the list was endless. Maybe if I could just wash the dirt off of my feet so he wouldn’t know where I’ve been.

When I was well into adulthood, married and a mother of 4, I started to attend the church near me because my cousin had signed my oldest daughter up for their choir program. I went out of support for my daughter and not my desire to be in church. I sat quietly in the very back of the sanctuary, under the dimmed lights, and tried my best not to be noticed. The congregation might not have seen me but God did.

And then I met him.

I met Jesus.

And he washed my feet for me.

I spent most of my life thinking I had to be perfect for Jesus to love me. No one ever told me that I could come to him just the way I was. No one ever told me that Jesus already knows about the dirt on my feet. I thought I had to transform into someone better for Jesus to be in my life. I didn’t know that I could come to him the way I was and that he would transform my life for me. He would be the one to wash the dirt off of my feet for me, gently and with mass amounts of grace and mercy.

You don’t have to wash your feet to be loved by Jesus.

You are accepted and loved exactly the way you are right now. No sin is too big, no failure too deep and no past is too dark. Jesus is for the broken and the lost. Jesus is for the underdog, the guy struggling to find a way. He’s for the broken hearts and bruised bones. He’s for the sinner and the thief, the liar and the cheater. He is for us, me and you.  He loves us in our mess and through our mess. All we have to do is show up.

You don’t have to wash your feet.

Come as you are and Jesus will wash your feet for you.

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


Candice Curry, the author of the book The Con Man’s Daughter
spent years working in sales doing what she felt she had to instead of what she wanted to. Then she put her faith in God and gave it all up to share her story through writing. The daughter of a con man and convicted criminal, Candice started a blog as a form of therapy, which has grown into a worldwide ministry and landed her on TODAY and Good Morning America. A speaker and a contributor to The Huffington Post, Today.com, and several other sites, Candice has a passion to give hope to those suffering the pain of rejection, the burden of unforgiveness, and the emptiness of great loss. Candice and her husband, Brandon, have five children and recently welcomed her teenage sister into their home. They live in San Antonio, Texas, in the former home of her childhood best friend. Connect with Candice at http://candicecurry.com/.

Learn more about The Con Man’s Daughter.

Need Faith?

need faith

My husband is a man of great faith. Where I see nothing, he sees something.

With this, he’s been trying to convince myself to lean back on my prayers and trust them. He’s calling me to step into what I felt God was leading me into.  He’s calling me to rely on the fact: I don’t have to see it to believe it.

For your unfailing love is higher than the heavens.
Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Ps. 108:4 

Having a posture of hope in God, when everything appears status quo, stuck and steady – is hard. It is seemingly impossible and this is the point, I suppose.

I think God planned it this way. We have to lean back on Him, the one we trust. We have to again acknowledge God as our God. Our trust in Him who has all power. Because it has to be supernatural. It has to pour from heaven. It has to be procured from his faithfulness.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness

Ps. 3:22-23

What if, every morning God was prepared to pour out the very faith we asked for, but we only need ask? What if, rather than feeling God must be upset at us for our lack of belief, we simply remembered his lovingkindness and compassions that don’t fail?

How might things change? How might we progress? What might we step into?

For he loves us with unfailing love;
the LORD’s faithfulness endures forever.
Ps. 117:2

If you are faithful, by definition of that word: you are always faithful. So, He who is faithful – is faithful. He cannot be different. He cannot sometimes stand and sometimes fall. He cannot come to your rescue one day and not the next. We might not always see, or know or be able to summarize the whys, hows and because explanations, but still – God is – who God is – and who God is – is good.

What do you long for from God? What do you feel he started, but didn’t finish? What have you lost hope in?

Perhaps, you ask him to resurrect it?  To rekindle the fire? To provide you the faith you need to carry it through?

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Ps. 57:10

Prayer: God, help us to believe as we once did. Help us to see your limitless love and your endless compassion. You care for us. You are behind us. You want us do live well and do well for your kingdom. Increase our trust in you. Increase our reliance on you. And, most of all, pour out greater faith in our lives. Forgive us for our unbelief, and pour out what we need to go forward in all you have for us, God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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.

When Change is Hard

Change is Hard

Usually, people trip over a specific moment and realize they need change: some wake up in a gutter, others see their mean reflection in a mirror and some can’t handle the monstrous reactions roaring out of their mouth. Usually, there’s something we want to change about ourselves.

What do you want to change?

For me? I want to change my instinct that assumes the worst. It is so frustrating! Because, so often, like a vending machine, what my mind dispenses is: my lack, my inferiority, and ideas on how other people must really think I am failing.

My mind makes me read into things that aren’t even true.

For instance, just the other day, my husband mentioned a friend of ours. How she prays unceasingly, loves her kids well and makes awesome dinners.  I took it as a subliminal message from him to me: She rules and Kelly is uncool.

He actually meant none of that. What he meant was what he said: she prays, loves her kids and makes awesome dinners.

“Good for her! That’s fantastic.” If only I said that!

But, I didn’t.

What is it you’re not doing, but wish you were? What is it you believe others think about you?

Today’s message is simple to both you and me: Let’s not hate our trying-to-change moments. Let’s be nice to our self in process.  Because life is hard enough and embracing change…well, it’s not always easy. Sure, we have a God who gently shapes us and leads us, but, at times, there are abrupt about-face turnarounds that need to happen or that are happening. Those can hurt.

Change doesn’t always come easy. Whether it’s the decision to stop smoking, swearing, staggering to bed with one too many glasses of wine in you or to simply responding with more care. Any of these things can easily make steady ground – shaky – if you don’t secure yourself in God’s compassion, grace and care.

So, today, let me leave you, fellow friends, people who may be experiencing shifting ground with one verse: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Ps. 103:8

Return to it. Often.

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 Choice Before Us

We sat in the parking lot staring blankly ahead with the doctor’s words still ringing in our ears.

“Some people just can’t have children. Now is when you need to start working on accepting that.”

We were stunned in spite of the clues. The previous years’ experiences had pointed to this moment – the months of negative pregnancy tests, the losses, the testing and exams and poking and prodding, they all pointed to the possibility of infertility. Except now it was real. Now it was our story.

In the weeks that followed our diagnosis I found myself facing a critical juncture in my faith. I could refuse to believe that God might have plans for my future that include infertility and I could live in a state of anxious denial (a place I’d been sitting in for too long already.) Or, I could do as the doctor suggested, and work toward finding acceptance and faith and peace. For several weeks I chose the former and it twisted my stomach and heart in knots. Then one day I chose the latter.

Sometimes peace is a choice. Peace is a choice that doesn’t always come naturally for me, though. I tend to be an anxious person who likes to be in control of, well, everything. I want to know exactly how the day will go and I want to be able to manipulate my surroundings to fit what feels safe, secure, and right to me. But life doesn’t often comply with my version of how things should be. This is where faith and fear collide for me.

Life has taught me I have a choice in how I respond to things outside of my control. Things like infertility. I can’t always control how I feel about these things – if I could take away my grief and pain I would… who wouldn’t? But I can choose to believe in peace and love and hope.

On one of the worst nights of my life – the night I returned from the hospital after losing our first baby – I turned to my Bible for something that would bring me comfort. I don’t think I really believed peace was possible in my grief, but I just wanted something to get me through the night. I flipped the pages and they eventually landed in the book of Isaiah, chapter 54. My eyes fell on verse 10 and I began to read…

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

In those words, I found everything I didn’t know I needed…

Unfailing love from the Father in the midst of tragedy and loss.
Peace that will never leave – no matter what.
And compassion for my broken and baffled heart.

In the months that followed, I found myself navigating the often lonely waters of grief and learning that I often wouldn’t feel peace, but Isaiah had told me it was there. So I made a choice to believe it, whether I felt it or not. Still today, I choose to believe that the peace that surpasses all understanding still covered my life even in times of turmoil. I choose to believe that hope is a fact.

I believe this is what Horatio Spafford had in mind when he penned the words to famous hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. After losing his son, his business, and then his four daughters (who drowned in a shipwreck) he wrote,

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know*
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well. Or, as my son has taught me to say, “It’s Okay About It.” Saying, “it’s okay about it” or “it is well” doesn’t mean declaring that we are unaffected in the face of hardship and loss. It is simply choosing to believe that love, peace, compassion, and hope are true. That they are promises we can believe no matter what comes our way.

So though my heart broke in the pain of infertility and the grief of miscarriages I choose peace and hope, knowing that God will redeem my pain.

When my children suffer I remember God’s compassion for us.

When I face disappointment and rejection I declare the truth of God’s unfailing love.

When I face anxiety and panic over an unknown future and circumstances beyond my control I choose His covenant of peace.

Because of the truth of God’s word and the hope of heaven I can say with assurance, “It’s Okay About It.”

Lauren Casper is the founder of her popular blog, where she shares her thoughts on life, parenting, and faith. She is a top contributor to the TODAY Parenting Team and has had numerous articles syndicated by The Huffington Post, the TODAY show, Yahoo! News, and several other publications. Lauren speaks in various locations around the country at conferences, retreats, and church events. Some of her topics include: adoption and foster care, infertility, parenting children with special needs, building meaningful community, and facing fear.

Lauren’s first book, It’s Okay About It, released May 2, 2017. In it, Lauren shares poignantly simple yet profound wisdom about removing the barriers we construct around our hearts and doing life full-on, all from the least expected source: her five-year-old son, Mareto.

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Ever felt like giving up?

Ever felt like giving up?

Seriously. Ever felt like calling it quit, throwing in the towel, placing all your cards on the table? However you describe it, this race called life can make even the most seasoned of runners tired. Falling down. Not wanting to get back up again. Panting for water. Sitting roadside, alone.

I got tired today. Not for any good reason. Something just came over me and where I once had energy, I felt must go to bed. And where I had clarity, I felt fuzz. And where I am normally eager, I crawled like a slow turtle. Finally, when I went to my room to sleep, a tear slipped out.

Any one of us could land there any day, couldn’t we?

This race is tiring. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Frankly, we can make our own tomb and lie in it if we aren’t careful. We can pull the shades down, dim the lights and lay our self down for days, letting those slimy lurky dirty feelings hang all around us – if we aren’t careful.

But, in actuality, feelings never save us from tombs. Only the power of God does.

Consider this: 3 days and Jesus rose.

He bust out: He was in darkness, but moved to light. He was down, but never – out.

Now, through Christ we can rise up from what wants to keep us down too.

No one can hold the power of God down.
No one can restrain what the Lord is sending out.
No one’s emotions are too strong for God’s resurrection.

I don’t care what the liar and accuser tells you…

Open your eyes to faith.

It is what gets you out of bed.
It is what helps you take the next step.
It is what makes you say that prayer yet again.
It is what moves mountains.

Press against the very thing that came to hold you down: If tiredness hits you, it is by faith you go outside and run. If the idea you’ll never find the man of your dreams, it is by faith you go to that church singles event. If it is your financial debt that sends you into the dumps, it is by generosity towards your neighbor you find freedom.

Resiliency in Christ Jesus bounces you beyond the very thing the enemy is orchestrating.

You step out of your tomb and see verdant pastures. You see life. Hope. Brilliance. God’s more.

Do you want the spring in your step restored?

Step in. Step out. Go out. Give out. Press into what is pressing into you – and you’ll get somewhere.

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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What it took me to Listen

Post by: Christy Mobley

I was more than a tad frustrated. But even though I was ticked off, I felt my words were kind and made my point. Impulsive but clever nonetheless.

I was more than a tad frustrated. But even though I was ticked off, I felt my words were kind and made my point. Impulsive but clever nonetheless.

Well said, I thought.
I went to hit the send button but stopped short. Something felt vaguely familiar about this scene.

I heard a whisper in my heart, Don’t send it.

Hmm, I thought to myself, I haven’t talked to God about this yet have I?

I shut my laptop, pushed it aside and prayed over the email I was about to launch.

You know the saying, sleep on it—give it fresh eyes in the morning. Good advice.

Before I shut my eyes, I asked God, Is this what you would have me send?

There have been times when I’ve heard God whisper and ignored it. 
The still small voice—the warning. Some might say, “Oh it’s just our conscience talking” but I’ve learned the difference…the hard way.

I’ve brushed off this heart whisper enough times to know when I do, it can prove painful. One such experience is still branded in my memory like the scar left from a run in with  fiery stove.

It concerned another email from years ago. It was innocent really. At least I rationalized it was.
Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
And isn’t that what the heart does? It deceives us by telling us lies we believe.

My heart is no different.

There had been a long thread of correspondence within a group I leading. People had been adding to it for days. There was one decision maker with whom I was to consult with and then let the group know the results.

Without thinking, I added my comment to the consultant at the bottom of the ongoing thread instead of starting a new one. My remark was harmless enough, although selfish in nature and could have misconstrued if seen by the wrong eyes.  I knew this to be true but again I rationalized, I was getting my point across.
 I thought, what’s the harm?

Then I heard it. The moment before I hit send, a whisper ever so softly, gently.
A voice of reason calling out to me to think twice.
Don’t send it.

I brushed aside the delicate call to stop and pushed the button sending my pixellated words into cyberspace permanency.

Sure enough, a certain person in the group who was the curious type scrolled through the multiple threads of conversation and landed on mine. She read through my innocent motive straight to the self-seeking one. She exposed the inner workings of a fallacious heart. And then  proceeded to unleash a furry of epic porportion all over the information superhighway.

I was done for. Humiliated. Embarrassed. Scarred for life.
Yes, that about covers it—all the emotional daggers that could impaled me, did.

I hadn’t paid attention to the tension of God’s warning.

Pain however does get our attention. And sometimes God allows it. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Friends, God doesn’t speak to hear His own voice. No, He lovingly will use whatever it takes to protect us from our own undoing.

His voice is not only one of correction but a voice of protection.

 

God could have kept this person from exposing me but because she did, I learned to listen. Getting burned on a stove a few times might hurt but it serves to save you from the real fire later.

After praying over my most recent email situation and putting it to a good night’s sleep, I woke afresh with a new attitude knowing what I was to do.

I opened my laptop, looked at the blinking cursor, highlighted the majority of the piece and pushed delete.
I thought, God will take care of it from here.

There have been multiple, “Don’t do its” in between these two experiences and through them I’ve learned to discern His voice better but moreover I’m remembering to ask for it.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Listen and obey. Simple as that.

And when it comes to emails, letters or talk I ask myself daily…

Am I using my words to make a point, or am I using my words to point to Christ?

Enough said.

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

Christy a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, and brand new grandma!  Her passion is to help women find their joy by experiencing God at work for them in their all their circumstances.

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

Why Your Battle is Good

Your Battle is Good

I thought Christianity was supposed to be a “you’ve arrived kind of thing.” Whoever sold it to me that way, I want a refund. You lied.

Truth is: I am crippled and Jesus is my crutch. I lean on him.

He relieves the pressure. He does the pushing. I do the moving ahead. It’s hard. It’s uphill at times. It’s tiring. It’s a battle, no doubt.

But, I see the battle is good.

It makes us warriors.

Being a warrior makes us aware there is a war.
Being aware of war makes us think twice about how much we need our God.
Being aware of how much we need our God makes us want him more.

Us wanting him more makes us draw near to him.
Drawing near to him makes him draw near to us.

With God, no matter how it looks, we are always winning. I am okay with the battle.

The truth is Christianity is not about arriving, it is about journeying into holy. It is about grabbing hold of the hem of Jesus, as if it is the only life-preserver in the center of a raging ocean. It is about grabbing it and letting it take you where it will. Riding the waves of his truth, until the wave no longer looks like a giant killer-wave that is about to sink you, but a much smaller stretch of water that has been worked out by his love.

All your agony turns into testimony. People draw near and they say, “Wow, look at what God did with you.”

They gawk.
You gawk.

It is a miracle, when you get truthful.

This is what it is about – this thing called faith. Someone sold it to us like a bag of tricks:
You’ll get rich.

You’ll be happy.
You’ll feel good.
You’ll be delivered to everything you wanted.

No.

You’ll find trials, but trials rise into his love.
You’ll find pain, but pain is consoled by his love.
You’ll find heartache, but you will relate to Christ’s heart of ache as it slowly dwindled on the cross.
You’ll find persecution, but you will find peace that your true love is your true love when you are willing to outlast it.
You’ll find shame, but you will wave at it and say, “God promised the world would hate me.”
You’ll find guilt, but you’ll find an advocate, in the Spirit, as you place it like a present before the filth of Jesus’ feet.

Faith it is what dreams are made of and it is what trials deliver you to. It is what will take you home.

Renewing your mind isn’t a one time ticket to delivered, it is a continual commute to holy. Being not conformed to this world is not a quick command you give yourself, but it is a diligent war that must be fought minute-by-minute.

This is a battle. We are in the center of it. Don’t give up fight. It all counts. It is all worth it. God sees. The party will begin the second the curtain closes, and it all will be worth 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.

When You Hate How You Look

Hate How You Look

It’s the last thing you want to do on a day where you need to do everything, and hardly want to do that. But, there I found myself, at the drug store posing half-heartedly in front of a white pull-down curtain. I needed a passport photo.

Mugshot.  Mugshot- was what ran through my head he clicked. That – and the idea that I really should have put my hair down and tried to improve myself a bit, like most moms do. Most moms throw on the lipgloss. Most moms might adjust their hair rather than keeping it in this weird outdated bun look. Most moms might try to smile a little bigger.

Not me. I was tired. Daughter woke at 3 AM with a wet bed. My eye is still not done with pink eye (what are you supposed to do – throw out every last inch of makeup?). Husband is gone all week and I am womaning the house. So, yes, when the “click” happened, well, my face? It didn’t really happen that much.

I just stood there.

He finished the job.

I looked at the photo.

And saw what I am fully convinced must be the worst mug shot ever of me. It was as bad as those pre-jail photos – you all know what I am talking about. It’s the one we all see on TV – “And…today, a mom went rogue in CVS”. The image shoots up on screen. We all know it. The light is bad, the face looks horrible, the smile is gone and the woman looks like death just visited her.

This was me. Bags under eyes. Eye red. Smile gone. And, to add to all this, an outshoot of hair wanted to show off right above my ear. How does this even happen, anyway?

The picture is not cute, not cute at all, I thought as I stood outside the drug store contemplating whether to go back in and hassle the photo guy until he made me beautiful, photo-shopped, wrinkle-less, perfect and all that I ever dreamed of being 8:00 am on a Wednesday morning.

But, I didn’t. I just stood there. Why? Because on my heart was this weird inclination of revelation. Like God wanted to do something with me and this photo. So, although I almost walked back in the store 4 times, I didn’t.

If I’ve learned anything in my short life it is this: You don’t want to turn down God, when He’s working on something.

Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine if Jesus turned down his role. “Change of plans, I’m not dying on the cross.”

Nope. Not good.

With this in mind, I try to stay on God’s path and when I hop off, I fight with all my might to get back on. So, I just stood there on the sidewalk – a freak with a photo – and stared at it. Two steps to the door, two steps back.

Come on, God….any time now.

Friend, maybe, like me, the ugly thing you can’t get through, God is trying to speak through…

And finally, it came to my heart: Kelly, on your worst day, on your ugly days, on your tired days, on your worn days, on your pain-stricken days, on your unsure days, on your bad hair days, on your I-don’t-have-a-smile-days – still, Kelly, I love you. 

I love that picture.
I love your realness.
I love your wrinkles.
I love you.
You don’t need to be more for me.
I don’t love you less when you look less or appear less.
I choose you – just like that – eye bags, red-eye, smileless and all… 

When you see that image, imagine me, wanting you – in all your ugly-, frumpy- and grumpy-ness. 

So, I took that square photo, tucked it into my bag and walked to the car. I’d lie if I didn’t tell you I gasped at it one more time on my way home. I did.  But, I also let that passport stand for what it really was – a reminder: No matter where I go, I always am in God’s love.

I’ll look at this image again. And again. And, my prayer – for when I do – is this: God, let us always remember our worst images, are made beautiful because you simply love us as we are. And, in that, we can rest. We don’t need to work up your love. Help us to remember your goodness, your kindness and your unconditional love towards us, God. Amen.

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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