Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

How to Seek Wisdom For Tough Decisions

Seek Wisdom

A wise old owl lived in an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard.
Why can’t we all be like that wise old bird?

– Edward Hersey Richards

His big, dense, coal eyes looked at me. And, I looked at him.

What does he see – in me?

In him? I saw wisdom: Eyes in no rush to move. A being okay with being. A head made up of regal feathers of grey and white.

He was caged, contained, but still, somehow, he appeared content. Our gaze connected us, yes, but what bothered me was – he seemed to know something. In all his wisdom, was he on to something I could not see?

I walked away from his cage, but in the end, all I wanted to do was return. When I did, his branch was empty and while I peered through the fence for him, he wasn’t so easy to spot.

There he is! The owl of wisdom. He’s in the back of the cage.

But almost as soon as I found him, I realized something I’d missed all along. There was another owl, right next to him. I hadn’t seen him, not even one bit.

I gazed deeper now, wondering if my eyes were still betraying me…

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. Prov. 8:17

The harder I looked, the more I saw: There was a 3rd owl, right next to the first two.

Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
For those who find me find life
and receive favor from the Lord.
Prov. 8:34-35

Could there be more? Should I keep looking? Search harder? I did: another one, a 4th one was right before my very eyes!

How are my eyes deceiving me?
How much more do I miss in life?

Often wisdom is right before our eyes, but we can’t see it.

We think wisdom is much like everything else in this world. We think it will just show up like a boxed up UPS deliver on our doorstep. But, guess what? It doesn’t work like that.

Wisdom isn’t something we trip over. It’s something we’ll miss if we don’t seek it. It is something we’ll step past if don’t pursue it. It is something we won’t find if we don’t hunt for it.

Wisdom, we must pursue.

Because, often wisdom is camouflaged in our environment, in the environment of the world. Just as I couldn’t see the owls, often we can’t see wisdom because we are: too distracted, too worried, too rushed, too preoccupied, too concerned about people, too critical or too annoyed.

But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death. Prov. 8:36

And, with this, as far as I can see, I believe we have two paths – a way of wisdom or a way of destruction. We have a way of seeking or a way of delusion. We have a way of wonder or a way of wreckage.

God doesn’t make it hard for us to seek wisdom, to find it under the cover of our world, to glean it out of our places of uncertainty, he simply says to ask him for it…

“If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.” Ja. 1:5

Then: Watch. Seek. Pursue. Wonder. Wait. Marvel. Pray. Ask. Follow. Look. Crouch low. Keep looking.

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.

Take a Risk as You Step Out in Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

A fun project popped into my head. The idea had the potential to strengthen families and spur on meaningful conversations. Instead of attempting the project on my own, I took a risk and asked a few others if they wanted to collaborate. To my delight, they were intrigued about the project and willing to be a part of it. I was thrilled!

It seemed like a God-inspired idea! The door of possibility was open wide.

We worked hard, against difficult odds, and pressed on. And then (due to unexpected circumstanced beyond our control) it all fell apart. Out of left field, a windstorm appeared and we wisely took cover.

Disappointment set in; I felt like I’d let the team down. Although I hadn’t realized that wind was in the forecast, I could have been more prepared for something like it.

Had I heard God wrong? Had I run ahead hastily? I don’t think so.

Just because something doesn’t turn out the way you want it to, doesn’t mean you weren’t supposed to do it.

Risk-taking has a variety of results.

Right around the same time, I took another risk. I reached out to a fellow writer and basically said, “I think we should be friends”. It felt awkward and vulnerable, but I had experienced that “take a risk” nudge again—so I followed through.

I’m happy to say that this risk had a more favorable outcome. I had a hunch this friend and I were cut from a similar cloth, and that has proven true—”two peas in a pod” is how she describes it.

We have encouraged each other, helped one another, and celebrated work milestones together. It would have been a shame if I had let the failed-project situation keep me from risking again. It would have been easier to ignore the prompting and save face in case rejection ensued…yet we both would have missed out.

Time after time, in Scripture, we see God’s people faced with a choice:

  • They could believe what they saw with their eyes or they could believe what God told them.
  • They could take a step of faith or turn back in doubt.
  • They could risk their current comfort and follow God or they could settle into sinful patterns in rebellion to Him.

Has God prompted you to take a risk? Are you dragging your feet…afraid to step into the sea before you?

When God’s people stepped into the Red Sea (and later, the Jordan River) He parted the waters. They took a risk in believing Him and He faithfully took care of them.

No, it wasn’t often comfortable.

No, it wasn’t free from difficulty.

No, it did not always turn out like expected.

BUT,

Yes, it was worth it.

Yes, it brought them blessing even amidst challenging circumstances.

Yes, God was glorified and exalted through it.

Risk-taking is not easy but it is a part of our faith journey. As we follow God’s lead (whether into deep waters, dry desert, or high ground) we risk, yet we find comfort in knowing that He first took a risk on us.

God gave us everything we need for life and godliness, in the form of His Perfect and Only Son, Jesus. He left us with the choice to receive or reject Him.

Let’s take a risk and follow the One who leads us…through the depths, heights, and middle ground.

Let’s obey and trust Him with outcome.

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

Katie M. Reid Writer and Speaker at katiemreid.com

Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She inspires women and youth to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.

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

 

How 1 Small Thing Will Change Your Life

Change Your Life

Pop Quiz: What is a very small thing in size that has a gigantic impact regarding the direction of your life?

Clue: It moves, kind of flippantly, up and down.

Got it yet?
Not yet?

This should help: “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” James 3:3-6

The tongue.

It can speak liberty or captivity that sinks a heart.

It can speak faith or fear that you’ll always live in the basement and never get anywhere in life.

It can tell you you’ll be stuck in that dead-end job with a boss you hate or
it can profess glory, glory, glory and holy, holy, holy!

It can rip a person apart and spit them out like day old coffee or
it can savor the goodness of others and remind them of it with an intentional word of kindness.

It can blabber about a person who never should have taken your parking space like that,
a family member who is so wrong, an insensitive and unthoughtful husband,
or it can cut through the tension and speak aloud every virtue of God.

It can send you into high places, with high people to confess high things of importance,
or it can keep stuck in the gutter, speaking a whole litany of unholy words that keep you unhappy.

It can halt its movement and literally change the density of another’s heart,
moving a person from defensive to receptive in an instant.

How do you use your tongue?

I can almost hear you all glaring back at me, saying, “Well, Kelly, how do you use your tongue?”

Not so well, friends. This lesson, and every lesson I write, really, is for me because, much more than dwelling on the immensity of God, I taste and swallow negativity. I constantly internally talk about the ways I’m failing to make good meals, spend enough time with the kids before bedtime and open up the door to my husband when he arrives home with a smile and thoughtful motives, like not bombarding him with the daily happenings at first sight of his brown hair. I, then, throw out words, like daggers, because I feel bad about myself.

It’s not easy.

The problem is, my tongue likes to go. My mouth wants to speak, incessantly. My complaints, grievances and objections are many. It is very hard to shut the trap when it wants to catch something wrong, and, golly day, and fix it with my words.

But, fault-pointing words usually fix nothing. And, all they end up trapping is me – in dejection, demotivation and frustration. Get me out of here – I’m stuck!!!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”  Prov. 18:21

By looking deep into this verse, it appears, just as much as my words can get me stuck in a rut – or kill me, they can also lift me out of ruts, and feed me. I like that. I like the idea my words can literally provide me sustenance, food and energy. I like that by changing the course of my words, I can change the course of my life. I can move into into go-mode, into vision and into purpose that surpasses my own thoughts, limitations and plans.

5 Ways to Use Your Tongue to Change the Course of Your Life (for the better):

  1. Constantly speak what is excellent, true, pure, good, right, honorable, admirable, praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). If it doesn’t fall in one of those categories, carry it on over to the trash can and dispose of it. It should be taken to the dump instead of coming out of your mouth like a stinky mess bound to hurt you and leave you overwhelmingly frustrated that your life doesn’t look better.
  2. Let Praise Be Your Chatter. If you lift God up with your tongue, you’ll lift your mind up too. It is natural. You can’t be acknowledging the magnificence and the righteousness of God and still be stuck in a hole. He grabs you and pulls you up to heavenly perspectives when you do some fine-tuning.
  3. Say thanks. Thank you that you have great plans for me, God. Thank you, husband, you are so thoughtful. Thank you, children, you are listening so well. Thank you, self, you are giving your whole heart to speaking carefully and intentionally. Thank you, world, I have such a great opportunity not to react, but to reach out to you and share Jesus
  4. Speak humility. Best said, this means letting the voice of Jesus go before you. It means letting his heart be your words. It means letting his holy verses take flight so they come shooting out of your mouth before your own perceptions or intentions rule you (I know, not easy!). But, it is possible. We have the mind of Christ, which means, it should change us to speak with the mouth of Christ.
  5. Don’t use it: don’t open your mouth, don’t utter a word, don’t speak a sigh, don’t offer a grunt, don’t release a criticism, don’t give flight to judgement. There are times, when the best speech you can give is silence. The best course of treatment you can give is dead air. Why? Because it is often in the lack of words, that God pours out the abundance of grace that changes a person’s heart from contemptuous to contrite.

This very small part has the ability to lead people to Christ, to change demeanors, to open eyes, to counsel the needy through disasters, to promote love, to inflict compassion and to listen. It’s amazing.

Let’s choose to use it as it was intended to be: a weapon of goodness that cuts through people’s hearts using the sword of the spirit, God’s Word. This is effective speech:

Parlaying his majesty into the day that lays ahead of you.
Speaking his glory into the places where you feel hurt.
Highlighting truth in the midst of emotions that are as wild as a bucking bronco.
Correcting another (or yourself) with the tone of compassion, grace and mercy.
Singing wonder about all that He has created.
Recounting the many times – God’s shown up in your life and how he remains consistent.
Reflecting on the limitless nature of His power and being okay with it sitting on you.
Declaring his faithfulness, returning to this truth once again.
Demonstrating his humility, speaking less and listening more.

Let it out. Be not ashamed. Be not restrained. Be forthcoming. Be powerful. Change your life and change theirs.

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.

Do You Nitpick Your Every Flaw?

Nitpick Your Every Flaw

I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.

I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.

What do you hate about yourself?

Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?

I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt clown hair (Note: not cute).

Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!

How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?

This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.

I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.

I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.

What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?

Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.

What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?

Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.

Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.

Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.

Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.

There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.

You find yourself.

I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Ps. 139:14

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.

Super Simple Way: Escape the Rat Race

Escape the Rat Race

Moms know what I am talking about here. It’s that time when you are T-minus 5 minutes until junior’s lights out. It’s that time you know you’re about to be set free. It’s that time things need to move ahead with military precision. Demands and dictates must be followed and executed. Perfectly, even. Orders run like a military checklist…

Prayers: Contrite and consolidated. Check!

Kid: 1 sip,  1 question, 1 hug. Then, they must get snug as a rapid-fire bug in a rug. Check!

Door shuts: Only a confident “Good Night” is permissible with no grain of guilt allowed (lest the kid should pop his head back out again). Check!

Final Declaration of Victory: A sigh against the side of the wall you are slumped against.

War Plunder: A piece of dark chocolate on the couch to soothe away residual anxiety.

You made it!!!

I live my life like this and I feel like a barbarian for it. Sure, I know it is wrong. Yet, after you spend nearly 14 hours being the living slave to the kid you love beyond the smallest inkling of your wildest imagination, and after giving your best and then giving a spoonful more – your somehow on your last leg.

Many days, I hope by morning, everyone will forget how I acted like a jerk. How I spoke words I should have kept in my mouth. How I snapped about people not moving fast enough. How I nitpicked about the kitchen not being clean enough. How I grunted at mistakes.

Honestly, it is often easier to run away than to run straight into confession. It is easier to run fast than to slow down. It is easier to do than to be.

And, so, the insanity continues! I go through the motions. Repeat.

Yet, one night, things changed. He went to sleep. Peacefully.

Hmm…no sound. He was all quiet, all sweet. And here I was – outside the door. I couldn’t help but notice how far, far away I felt.

What if real peace isn’t chocolate?

What if success isn’t determined by a stopwatch?

I opened the door and went inside, I climbed up to the top of his bunk bed. Shocked, his head peeped out.

I sang a long song. Gently, his hand stretched around my neck. I felt its tight grip.

I relished the moment.

He whispered, “I love you.”

There is nowhere else I would rather be.

What have you been rushing to? Often our best moment is in the process of slowing down.

How many times have we missed it? How many times have we rushed to something better, more relaxing, when what we really want- is right before us?

When we slow down to let in a moment, we get a chance to receive it.

When we reach out with no demands, we find people reach in, towards us.

When we choose love we experience it.

I am learning – slowing down is paramount to receiving love.

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.

Fear and Faith Through the Lens of the Small Screen

Fear and Faith

Today, I am delighted to welcome Mary Carver to Purposeful Faith. I love her heart and her unique ability to link faith with the Gilmore Girls! You will love her unique perspective below…

“I’m gonna have to quit drinking coffee, and I love coffee!”

– Rory, The Perfect Dress (Season 6, Episode 11)

Gilmore Girls – or television in general – might not be the first place you’d look for inspiration or encouragement in your faith, but I’ve found it there. And on top of a list of books to add to my to-read pile and a hankering for Pop Tarts, my favorite TV show has taught me a thing or two about fear and faith.

———

You know things are bad when a Gilmore girl is willing to give up coffee. But that’s exactly what Lorelai and Rory, the main characters in the show, do when they’re trying to avoid someone who’s hurt them. I lost count of how many times Lorelai boycotted Luke’s diner after the two of them had argued, and Rory learned from her mom so avoiding her boyfriend Logan (and their mutually loved coffee kiosk) was an obvious choice after a break-up.

Jonah tried ignoring his problems – and God, and that landed him in the belly of a giant fish. Thankfully, my fear has never sent me there, but avoiding people to escape confrontation or further pain has never served me well. Once I missed the baby shower for one of my dear friends because I was too afraid of interacting with the hostess, a former friend of mine who had hurt me deeply. The result wasn’t a seafood sauna, but it was a whole lot of disappointment and regret.

When I thought about this – avoiding hard things or difficult people out of fear – I realized that I didn’t need to rack my brain for more personal examples. I simply needed to rewind to the day I began writing my devotional last fall.

After getting one daughter off to school and the other to the babysitter, I opened a new document and began to … think of all the reasons I couldn’t write yet. I got up and washed some dishes, then moved upstairs to clean my bathroom sink. As long-time hater of all things housework, I was obviously procrastinating this project I was supposedly so excited to begin.

I shouldn’t have been surprised (although procrastination via cleaning is a new variation on a common theme). Though I call myself a writer, I actually find writing a terrifying act of vulnerability and risk. So typical, this tortured writer’s insecurity. And also? So similar to what our Gilmore friends did every time they avoided they people they loved but also feared.

Running away and avoiding people and places and projects is messy. It’s foolish. And it inevitably hurts us much more than it protects us. Even without the siren call of coffee, that is enough for me to remember God’s promises to be with us when we face our fears. We don’t have to be afraid, because the Creator of the universe is for us and with us.

What – or who – are you avoiding today? Do you think God will abandon you now? No! He will never leave you or forsake you. Today I challenge you – and me – to take one step of faith, make one move of bravery. Let’s stop hiding from our fears and begin to face them, knowing God is with us every step of the way. And, for the love of Gilmores, don’t give up your coffee!

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

– 2 Timothy 1:7

About Mary:

Mary Carver is a writer, speaker, and author of Fast Talk & Faith: A 22-Day Devotional Inspired by Gilmore Girls. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God’s grace. Mary writes with humor and honesty about giving up on perfect and finding truth in unexpected places on her blog, MaryCarver.com. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me, MomAdvice.com, and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

Circling Fat: How to Deal When Beauty Is Threatened

Beauty Is Threatened

She looked at herself in the mirror, all 3-years of her life, and sized up her outfit. Her dress had layers of tulle, her face had a smile and her pigtails were long, nearly reaching her shoulders. She waved her head a bit and considered them as I said she looks, “Oh so cute…”

“Are they all going to laugh at me mommy?”

She’s already asking herself this question? God, please don’t let this question rule her life, like it had mine.

Oh how I didn’t want her valuing her worth on no-filter 3 year olds with mouths that sound like waterfalls of ruthlessness.  Oh how I didn’t want her to determine her beauty based on comments. Oh how I didn’t want her living her life based on others opinions. Oh how I didn’t want her to pander to mankind. Oh how I didn’t want her to lose herself.

My heart sunk.

“No Madison. I think you look fabulous. But, even if they do laugh. You know who sees you? Who loves you? God does. Always.”

I deeply worried my words would fall empty, repeated words, landing in the great abyss of things moms speak, but are never truly heard. Please, God, no!  I could almost see the thieves of school, boys and society snatching truth from her. Ripping it out of her heart. Claiming it as theirs.

How do I seal up beauty within her?

We headed downstairs. Me? A million questions stirred. Can I really do this? Will she ever know? She is more than a cute dress. Her small hand clenched mine.

“Mommy, do you think he will like my dress?” She looked longingly at me, inquiring about her brother.

I shrugged, already overwhelmed with the barrage of thoughts firing off in my mind.

We made it to the kitchen.

Son stared at her. She stood there.

He looked at her. She waited.

He formed his hand into a known symbol: a big thumbs down sign.

What?!  What in the stinkin’ world?

And, as if every single one of my insecurities was highlighted, I felt completely and entirely angry! Furious. I felt like my very own son had degraded – me!!! Her!!! Every single woman who ever wanted to feel good about herself!

But, he hadn’t.

As he put it, he was kidding.

But, as I saw it, it was no joke. He transformed. My son was all those people who hurt me. He was every single detractor of my worth. He was completely wrong.  He was messing up my daughter. He was in trouble: I badgered him. I nagged him to say he was sorry. I came down on him. I was unforgiving. I was obnoxious.

I projected my fear, to try to protect my heart from the past.

Do you ever do this?

We might be prone to project when:

  1. We respond super sensitively.
  2. We make comments predictors of our worth, then hate others.
  3. We become a punisher.
  4. We are extremely, overwhelmingly and exceedingly angry at a person.

Yes, my son was rude, but projecting had made me a monster. That’s usually what it does.

And, so, here I sit. Guilty? Yes. Totally.

But, forgiven? Yes. Completely.

I am not perfect. Neither are you.

The fact of the matter is we are all still working through our pain with God, aren’t we? We are all still realizing the areas we’ve once been hurt, aren’t we? We are all still in the process of letting redeemer redeem the beauty we once lost, aren’t we?

God forgives. And, my son will forgive me too. I will tell him my story: a story where I was put down, hurt and let down by the world, a world that can pick people apart instead of loving them.

I will let him know how I never want to do that to him. And, to daughter? I will hold her hand through life, keep my voice next to her ear, relinquish control and let God take the lead. I will trust that even in her hard moments, he won’t let go of her hand.

All through the month of February you will find freedom messages on Jami’s blog about the truth about how Jesus feels about you. From our darkest fears to our greatest folly He is with us – and for us!  You can check out these posts by following this link

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 the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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.

 

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

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Have you Put Yourself in a Position of Worry?

Position of worry

Do you often put yourself position of worry?

My husband and I decided, after I returned to the car from grabbing coffee inside a busy supermarket, the answer to this question is the difference between peace and panic.

We pondered this thought because he’d literally just placed himself in a position of worry. You see, while I was inside procuring two grande Americano’s, he could have chosen to wait in a peaceful low-stress parking spot, however he didn’t. Instead, he drove his car right up to the front lane and waited right where all the traffic was. Sure, he pulled to the side and put on his hazard lights, but, by doing this, he put centered himself in a lane of stress, worry and anxiety.

The whole time he fretted: I don’t want to be in anyone’s way. I don’t want to cause any issues. I don’t want to annoy people.

In his haste to be efficient, he had wasted precious moments of peace. How often do we do the same thing? How often do we place ourself – front and center – right into a position of worry?

Recently, I’ve been waking up, putting the final touches on my blog post and sending it out. Usually, no more than 1 minute after I press send on the blog post – a kid wakes up. Then, I stress.

Because of my distraction, I missed connection with God. I was rushed. I’m angry at myself.

Day-in and day-out, though, I do the same thing.

Why am I putting myself in a position of worry?

Why am I repeatedly subjecting myself to the same outcome?

I can make a change. I can decide to take 10 extra minutes at night to do what the morning is stealing away from God. I can choose to place myself, not in the center of worry, but in a place of peace. You can too.

Creating a place of peace is:

Considering what to reschedule to make more time for your kids.
Relaxing your mind in prayer instead of regurgitating your ongoing mistakes.
Choosing to speak less rather than speaking in a way that hurts a loved one.
Deciding to stop ruminating on the past, so you can remain present in the moment.
Eating breakfast in the morning, so you don’t turn into a ball of anxiety by 11:30.
Letting people handle own their problems, rather than feeling you have to fix them all.
Asking God to handle what you can’t.
Halting your place of worry, by taking pro-active steps to figure out a new path to peace.

What might need changing so you can park your mind in a place of peace?

When God Doesn’t Move the Mountain

God Doesn't Move the Mountain

Today, I welcome Christy Underwood! She is not only my dear friend, but she is also a woman who fights to stand strong in Christ. I admire her perseverance and endurance. I think you will too. May her story below be an inspiration to you.

The ultrasound tech asked, “How many pregnancies have you had?”

“This is my fifth.”

“How many live births?”

“One.”

Questions like these are tough to answer when you’ve had repeat miscarriages.

What’s even tougher is learning at your first ultrasound that there’s nothing in the sac. Nothing. That was a first – and I was devastated.

On my way home from the doctor’s office, I heard the song “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” by Lauren Daigle:

“Breathe, oh breath of God
Now breathe, oh breath of God
Breathe, oh breath of God, now breathe

As we call out to dry bones
Come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts
Come alive, come alive.”

Ezekiel once saw dry bones in a vision. God told Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones. When he did, God put breath in them and they came to life. I knew the story behind the song before I was pregnant. Hearing it this time, I cried. I badly wanted God to breathe life into me, into my baby.

In the days ahead, I had bloodwork done, and my hormone levels were consistent with a normal pregnancy but not rising as much as expected. I still was hopeful, but, at our next ultrasound the result was the same:  No life. No baby.

There are no words to explain the sinking feeling.

Yet through this heartache, amazingly, I’ve experienced more of God’s love. It’s unlike anything the world can offer. Sure, I’ve wept – and wept, but God extended strength, peace, and joy during the difficult times. I’m not depressed. I’m not anxious. Only God, the Creator of all good things, could have carried me through this.

Do you ever stop to consider God’s point of view when you’re going through a hard time?

He’s a good, loving Father. When I see my daughter hurting, my heart breaks. I desire to give her good things. Yet, because I love her, at times, I must withhold things for her benefit.

God could have given us this child, but maybe He didn’t because He wants me to share my story with others who have experienced loss. Maybe He saw how this would strengthen my faith and the faith of others. Maybe He saw how He would be glorified.

And, maybe, God intervenes more than I realize, maybe, more than – we – realize…

I started reading Safe in the Arms of God by John MacArthur. Here, it occurred to me, God might have prohibited a situation from happening that would have been even more difficult.

Maybe I don’t need to know it all…maybe I just need to trust a good, loving Father.

Yes, I continue to pray for a child, but I want God’s plan for my life more than a child.  I choose to trust Him for myself, my husband, and my daughter. Trusting for my daughter is the most difficult. Sometimes I want another child more for her than for me. God reminds me that I need to trust Him. Isn’t it hard though when we think we know what’s best?

These words encourage me.  I hope they  encourage you too:

When you don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When you don’t give the answers
As I cry out to you
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.

– Song, Trust in You by Lauren Daigle

Whether it seems big or small, God cares and desires to reveal His love for you. He wants to breathe new hope, joy and peace into what we look at as dead, dry and done with. Even with Jesus, what looked dead, at the right time, came alive. Day by day, let’s trust God, even when our plans don’t seem to align with His.

Prayer: God, thank you for who You are. You are a Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Help us to trust in You when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Help us to keep our minds and thoughts on You instead of the worries of this world. Help us to expect You to show up, that we would feel Your love and know the peace that only You can bring. Amen.

Order Kelly’s 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.

Christy is a wife, a mother to one sweet girl, and a speech therapist. She’s lived in Southern California her whole life. Kelly and Christy met in their early 20s at a church retreat and have supported each other through all of the crazy transitions life keeps bringing.

Kelly’s must-add words about Christy: Christy is faithful. She pursues God in a way where she doesn’t let her heart quit. I admire her, I love her and I thank her for using her extreme difficulty as a God-exalting opportunity. Daddy is well pleased.