Purposeful Faith

Tag - forgiveness

Mercy, Grace, and the Wall-Eyed Fit

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our foster-love has entered into the broad world of the wall-eyed fit.

We have epoxy-stained concrete floors in our house.  It only took a couple times for her to rethink throwing her entire body weight onto the floor and screaming her head off.
It hurts, so the effectiveness of showing her frustration was overruled by the knot on her noggin.

Now, when she is frustrated she gently sits, then lies blithely on the floor… and then proceeds to throw a fit.

We cannot help but giggle as the drama of her tantrum is overridden by her cautious technique of getting to the pinnacle of the spectacle.

Often we wonder, as long as it took her to get prostrate had she forgotten what she was mad about?

And this may seem silly but recently I was upset with God.  I felt He had pulled the rug out from under me.  I found myself flat on my back, hurt and angry that He hadn’t been there to stop the insanity train from leaving the station.

For the better part of two days, I ignored my habitual instinct to “pray without ceasing.”  I found myself audibly saying, “I am not ready to talk to you about this…”

I went so far as to get out some stationery and pen to write out my complaint. With Thesaurus in hand and my gift for the written word, I would tell God exactly how I felt about the current downward spiral.

Yet the longer I postponed the tantrum, the more I worked through the calamity, the more my vision cleared… and all of the sudden I had new clarity.

He didn’t do this to me.

There were natural consequences for our current trial.  He was not dishing out troubles, yes He allowed them and then walked with us through them, but He was not in the business of destroying us.

When did I first believe Him to be cruel I do not know?

But I am rejoicing in the new-found message of GRACE.

Freedom in Jesus wasn’t something He promised just to hear Himself talk.
If we are free… then we are free indeed.

How I love falling into His arms.

How I need Him to catch me and show me it is all okay.

He makes all things new.  And all things work together for good for those who love Him.  In the midst of a trial, I was refreshed and renewed that He was for me.

He is for my marriage.
He is for my children.
He is for my good will.

Who is this God who we encourage others to adore?  Is the walk of salvation a trick manifested just to get others to fall in line?  Or is this the real deal?

Pray, I say to you He is so real… so dear and wise.

In my folly, I have questioned Him. In the explicit moments, He has welcomed me, without judgment or harshness, and allowed me to lie at His feet and worship.

What God is this that shows such mercy and love?

My God… my love and life’s breath.  He will never leave me or forsake me.

He is for me and He is with me, affording mercy and grace… even unto the carefully executed wall-eyed fit.

Matthew 10:16 (NASB)”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” 

 

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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When You’re Self-Critical and Feel Unhealable

Self-Critical

Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?

Freedom can feel far.
Hope can feel lost.
Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza,
when you are one who berates yourself in your head.

Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”

No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.

What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?

If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.

Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.

Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.

So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”

Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.

When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”

God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.

Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
for you,
the weak, wounded and restless one.

You’ll see mercy,
care
and foreknowledge,
pour out.

You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.

When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can  save us.

He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.

When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.

With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.

Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)

Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

Related Reading:

10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

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Healing Deep Church Hurt

Church Hurt

Today, I am delighted to welcome Celeste Gonzales to Women’s Ministry Monday. Celeste points out a path to healing after being injured at church. Thank you, Celeste. It is a delight to welcome you.

Why does God tend to grow us through painful times? Ever noticed? In times where you want to withdraw, God asks us to be vulnerable, willing and open to new relationships and leadership.

Joseph is the prime example of this: sold by his brothers into slavery, appointed ruler of Potiphar’s house, thrown back in prison, then appointed second in command of Egypt.

Ups, downs, ups, downs… God’s ways are a mystery.

Accept the way God does things,
for who can straighten what he has made crooked?
Ecclesiastes 7:13 (NLT)

So, how do you stay emotionally healthy when you’re hit with betrayal, accusations, and loss of friendships, all while being expected to shine Jesus?

Good question! To be honest, I haven’t mastered this…

I’ve had times where I felt so emotionally unstable from how cruel people can be that I needed to collect myself in the bathroom before entering the next meeting so I wouldn’t fall apart.

One day, I looked at my husband and said, “I’m not doing well. I’m sick emotionally and I don’t know what to do.” Unfortunately, he had no idea what to do with me either. It was rough!

I decided I’d had enough. I didn’t know who to trust or if I should even trust anyone, but I was determined to find healing.

Christ died to set us free, right?
By his stripes we are healed, yes?
Doesn’t that mean emotional healing, too?

If Jesus left gifts for us at the cross, isn’t it our job to seek them out? That’s just what I did—I sought answers and guidance. I asked for help…

And, you know what happened? 

I didn’t get a response. Nothing. It hurt. Discouragement settled.

However, one thing I knew is I wasn’t giving up. I wasn’t giving in. Jesus’ healing was already prepared for me. He bought and paid for it on the cross over 2000 years ago! A good Father loves to give good answers. He’s not satisfied until we find them. So, on I went.

I saw a Christian counselor for deeper guidance.  I followed through on the homework he gave me, I took notes during every message from my pastor, and I continued in personal devotion.  Like physical therapy after a bodily injury, I kept pressing on toward the goal.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14

How is God calling you to press on?

What might he be calling you to pursue?

Let me assure you, God not only works for you, but he works with you and behind the scenes – for you.

It just may not come as you expect. You know, I hardly wanted to be open with people about my feelings. That’s tough work. After all, I trusted before – and I got hurt. But God, he had other plans. One way or another, God let people in on my secrets.

Frustrated, I wondered, “Didn’t He just see what happened to me? And He dares to give people insight to my life and tell them things only He knows?”

Well… yes, and yes.

We had a talk: “God I don’t want people to know these things.”
His response: “I know, but it’s good for you.”

Why does God always have to be right??

Because God is God and he has good deep down in the depths of our hurt.

I can attest to this. I really can. Today, my friendships are stronger than they’ve ever been, my home is peaceful, I love the ministry I’m leading, and my heart is full of joy.

Like Joseph, this path wasn’t easy, but still, I found fruitfulness in a time of affliction.

Today, you may feel pained, ashamed or out of the game, but let me assure you, your pursuit of God is not purposeless.

Let Joseph be your reminder. He didn’t stop leading, or stop getting out of bed, or turn his back on God. He got up, kept his heart pure before the Lord. God not only prospered him, but redeemed his pain!

Maybe these words by my pastor might resonate with you, “I’ve never been hurt more than by the local church. I’ve never been healed more than by the local church.”

Have you been hurt?

If you’ve found yourself in an emotionally weak place, today find encouragement – you don’t have to settle into it or ignore it! More awaits. Acknowledge it and seek wholeness; settle for nothing less!

God has already paid the price for your healing, and if you seek him through it – he will lead you to it!

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About Celeste

For nearly a decade, Celeste Gonzales has pursued the call to see women grow in their God-confidence and walk boldly in their calling. As part of the Celebration Church Austin team (along with her church hurthusband, Daniel) Celeste utilizes her relatable communication style, effective strategy, and heart for discipleship to help develop and equip women leaders. She has three things that get her up every, or at least most, mornings with a smile: Syrena (11), Luke (8) & Kya (4). Follow her on Instagram & twitter @celesteadores .

Seizing Resurrection Power

Resurrection Power

What looks without light in your life?

What looks buried over so much that you are convinced is impossible to dig out? 

If you came up with nothing, think deeper. What is it you believe you can’t do?

Remember this thing. 

I am face-to-face with impossible these days. What I want to do, I have tried to do, yet no matter what, I just can’t seem to do it. To make matters worse, the problem sources within me. If it was others – their circumstances, problems or things – those wouldn’t be so offensive, you know, you can more easily brush those off, but what is internal it feels eternal sometimes.

Sure, I said I have forgiven, but truly forgiving is hard when someone keeps on offending.  It is hard when you feel abandoned and ignored. It is hard when those feelings rise to the surface and make you remember stuff.

So I go deep…

I cover my irritation in the darkness, but there it sits.
The pain was a time ago, but irritation sits heavy.
The relationship waits, and I lay immobile to feelings.
The rock lays over me, and I am closed up into myself.
I am tightly wrapped, in my own thoughts about how things should go.
I can’t breathe, I feel upset at myself for not being able to move on.

I feel like I am stuck in a hole. A deep, unscalable, deathly, waterless hole.

But, here is the kicker – so is Jesus.
And, here is the double kicker – he rose from it and will raise you up too! 

In the tomb, where you feel dead,
Christ is ready to rise up in you – to make you alive.

In the tomb where all things seem lost, 
Christ already won that battle.

It is called resurrection power!

“But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb…and did not find the body.” (Luke 24:2-3)
Resurrection power!

“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” (Titus 3:5) Resurrection power!

“He is not here, He is risen.” (Mark 16:6)
Resurrection power!

What looks dead, comes alive.
What seems impossible, becomes possible.
What seems unbearable, becomes bearable.
What seems hopeless, finds hopefulness.

What is it for you that looks dead, dank and dying before you?

Jesus is raising it up to new life. By his stripes you are healed and by his resurrection a new answer to your situation is being revealed.

Jesus both tells and asks you something. Something pointed, like he did to Martha not so long ago, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Do you believe this?

See your situation and believe this verse over it. Grab it like a lifeline. Call it yours.

As you do, he will lift you up out of the pit. You simply: 1.)hand it over to him 2.) let his resurrecting forgiveness wash over it and 3.) feel the promises clean your shame-soaked body.

Here’s what happens – He saturates it with so much light, it nearly blinds you to what was of old. Then, as he raises you to new heights, you move from trauma to transformation (and it doesn’t even feel that hard). Why? Because the power of resurrection sinks right into you…

…if only you believe.

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You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.

 

Grace Changes Hearts

Grace Changes Hearts

I did everything all wrong.

And when I mean wrong, I mean – wrong. Really wrong. Horribly wrong.

Wrong where it makes your heart beat out of your chest because you are a good Christian blogger girl and those type of good girls aren’t supposed to act in these types of bad ways – in a mean-girl kind of way, in a self-righteous kind of way.

Whoops.

This person was loaded to the brim with a huge loss and I let their response to my prayer throw me off the my clear running pattern of love.

To add insult to this horrible injury, I also retaliated. I retaliated with vengeance over a mean dispute about – (brace yourself) – prayer.

I can only imaging God’s delight
as I fought so vehemently for his truth, can’t you
(please sense the sarcasm)?

Instead of arguing over theology,
what if I was set on praying for humility?

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil… 2 Tim. 2:23-24

I let my pride walk like a bully
in front of another’s aching need to vent a pain-ridden heart.

I let her shot take me down,
completely missing the fact that she just needed a straight shot of love.

Her words weren’t ever about me, they were all about her and her dire situation.

Why is it that sometimes in the moment we can’t see?

I can’t help but think, this is why our wise God so often instructs us
to listen more than we talk.

When we can see that others piercing words are really just responses to their own threats, we can act in compassion. 

How can we get angry with those people who are in deep pain, frustration and irritation?

So often people block what they most need, because the severity, the weight and the presence of their issue is suffocating. And, sometimes, coming above water means miles of vulnerability that is frankly too scary to swim through. The distance can seem daunting and shoreline can seem unreachable, so they act in fear.

And, fear is never known for staying contained, it seeps out to reach its gnarly arms around all those it encounters, it hurts those it never intended to. It causes pain.

Yet, when grace meets another’s fear, God’s supernatural placating abilities are activated.

When we:

die to self no matter how the opposing side treats us,
see another’s needs above our own,
remember that we have acted much in the same way,
grab on to the truth that God has placed us in this person’s path for such a time as this,
extend a hand when it looks like the other person might cut it off
and we believe, hope and trust that he will forge truth in the unsaid…
we are operating from grace-power accessed at God’s throne.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Heb. 4:16

Christ’s grace is the lifeline to hope.
It’s the split-second that a person has to find the light of Christ through their moment of need.

Not by our rescues, or by our insults, or our control or our power, but through his small words spoken in the silence of need.

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Pet. 4:10

Then, the door to safety, truth and fearlessness appear – to us and to them. All are granted an opportunity to see the way, the truth and life of Christ in this moment.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

Grace changes hearts – including ours.

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Forgiving a Frenemy

Forgiving a frenemy

When I saw “that lady” my skin cringed a little.

She’s the one who offended me.
The one who deserves my annoyance.
The lady I really didn’t want to see.

It’s nearly impossible to wrap your arms around the word “love,” when you have your arms crossed with hate.

She didn’t hit me like a monster truck might, with an intentional crash, but still she her hit-and-run approach was something I took note of. Intentional or not, she caused damage. 

And, I wasn’t going to let her get away without paying damages.

How do you let go when another doesn’t realize the damage they have done?

Don’t they deserve to know how they’ve injured you?

I wanted the reparations that should be mine. My heart was demanding it, although know one would ever know about that little secret.

I knew my insides were ugly, but I couldn’t seem to get my insides – out –  out into the hands of God.

She was seen with a halo, while I felt like a zero.

Sometimes, though, God works circumstances for our good, because he loves us and he knows our heart intends to be called according to his purposes (kind of Ro. 8:28).

Even when we don’t know how to work or are too busy working on the wrong think or are thinking in the wrong way or are messing up, God often still works things out when we turn to him and let him work out the knots of our tangled up his purpose.

When we come back to God, he backs near to our heart again.
When we see an opportunity to love, and put it above ourselves, the love of God shows up.

A friend approached me and basically said, “You know, you have something, a little piece of information, a little inside scoop that could help that woman (aka: frenemy) out. Why don’t you go over and share it with her.”

What? Me?
Share?
With her? The blessing-taker, the joy-kill, the bane of my burdens?
Heck no.

How can I give to the one who is loaded to the brim with liquid gold while I am drinking out of the plastic cup of nothingness? How can I give when she practically made my drink to taste so bad.

I don’t know about that.

My feet moved, but my heart stayed still. They moved me right in front of her. My mind said, “You can’t,” but my Spirit said, “You can.”

So, I did.

I poured out the information that she had been on the hunt for. I told her I would be her helper. I instructed her on the in’s I could have kept in, but instead I helped her out.

And, what I noticed, is that fears and pain and anger went out too.
They left.
They scurried away.

Giving took the eyes off of my pain and placed them onto my gift. A gift much like the one offered for me, a sinner who didn’t deserve love.

An undeserved gift, especially the act of forgiveness,

brings Jesus right to the center of relationship.

My arms came undone and fell open to receive and pour out love.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (Mt. 5:44)

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. (Prov. 25:21)

God knows something we don’t (ok, a lot actually) and it is this: When we give to someone, we start to love them. We start to feel for them. We start to see that their issues are more about them, than they are about us. We start to see that they need us – and that we need them.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed. Prov. 11:25

As we reach out, we start to see all that is reaching into us through the act of love. We start to see it is not all about us and our rights, but it is simply about giving our rights to another, just as Christ did for us.

He is the justice-keeper, we are are the love extenders.

I learned, the joy is never found in the harboring of rights,

but it is always found in the helping of the hurt.

Forgiveness is the heart and soul of Christianity.

It is the feet – to love,
and the heart – to relationship.

As you let your feet move,
your feelings eventually follow.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. Mt. 6:14

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Linking with Holley Gerth.

Pay Attention to Road Signs

Pay Attention to Road Signs

Post by Katie M. Reid

As I dropped off my kids at Vacation Bible School I could hardly stand up. I was depleted. It felt like work to walk up the stairs, to have a conversation and to drive home. In fact, I didn’t go home but went to my husband’s office and crashed on the couch there.

Four months of staying up too late—burning the midnight oil to chase a dream—had taken its toil on my body. I was exhausted and sapped of energy.

I had sacrificed the hallow for the hollow.
I had ignored the warning signs and worn myself out.
I had neglected my post at home in order to type out another post here.
I had left the secure to grasp at the wind.
I had traded the best in pursuit of the good.

Running ragged and on the brink of shut-down, I had to recharge immediately or my battery might die.

I was disappointed in myself for thinking I was invincible. I needed more sleep but had ignored the wise counsel of God, my husband, and others.

I plowed forward, at breakneck speed, right into a heap of exhaustion.

My marriage suffered, my kids felt ignored but it was like I couldn’t stop, even though I knew I was driving in a danger zone.

I had once judged others for being workaholics, but, as I devoted more time to creative things—writing my heart out, recording an album, capturing beauty all around—I saw never-stop-working tendencies rise within me. I was a workaholic but few people knew it because I worked from home.

Hypocrite.

Yet, a strange thing happened. His grace found me in the unraveling.

When my reckless acceleration caused me to swerve—through days, nights and months of striving—He provided an escape ramp to keep me safe.

God used my weary body to get my attention.

Through feeling lousy He woke me up.
Through past mistakes He showed me a better way.
Through almost losing it He provided another chance.

His kindness, in letting my body suffer, revealed my need for repentance, to go His way, not speeding ahead nor lagging behind.

The enemy likes to mess with us, using whatever strategies he can to keep us off course.

He might try to freeze us with fear so we don’t offer what’s in our hands.
Or, if we do offer, he likes to turn our offering into an idol.
Or if we keep offering anyway, he likes to breed jealousy, insecurity or pride in our hearts as we lift up what God gave us, to reflect His glory.

Be mindful of his schemes (see 2 Corinthians 2:11).
Examine yourself to see if your motives are driving you straight towards destruction (see Proverbs 14:12 and Lamentations 3:40).

Release your grip on trying to make things happen.

Learn to unwind in His Presence and trust His timing.

You can experience that wind-in-your-hair freedom that comes from driving down open roads, and pursuing the places and spaces that He gives you. However, please learn from my mistakes, don’t turn down a path that leads to unnecessary injury to you and those with you.

Pay attention to the signs that He posts along the way.

Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away.”

Dear God: Oh how we need you. It’s easy to get side-tracked on this earthly journey. Help us to hold fast to Your Word and not wander away. Forgive us for running ahead of You, grieving Your Spirit by thinking we know best. Help us not get hung up on past mistakes but freely accept your grace and walk forward with You. Thank You for protecting us from the enemy. Thank You for shining Your light on our sin. Thank You that as we acknowledge You, You make our ways straight (Proverbs 3:5-8). Amen.

Katie M. Reid Headshot

Katie M. Reid is a Tightly Wound Woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in  the everyday moments of life. She delights in her hubby and four children and their life in ministry. Some of Katie’s favorite things are writing, singing, speaking and photography. She is a contributing writer for Purposeful Faith, God-sized Dreams and enjoys helping others take the next step in their relationship with Jesus and their God-given purpose. Katie would love to connect with you over on her blog, katiemreid.com.

Smile Again: When Someone Hurts You (Linkup)

When Someone Hurts You

I got in a tiff.

This came as a surprise to me. I certainly didn’t mean to go there – to the place where my voice got a little louder and my eyes watered a little greater – only to end pouring out in an avalanche of tears.

Ever been there?
To that place where you hate going?
The one where you regret visiting after all is said and done?

I don’t like that place. It distracts my heart from the day’s duties, it disrupts my sleep and it usually leaves me guilt-ridden for days.

Yet, there I was – feelings busted open. Wide open. Lying on the floor open.

It felt, this person was crippling my authentic heart towards God.

Negating my pure intentions.
Saying I was inadequate.
As if, she was not for me.

I took insult.

And, while forgiveness seemed further than Antarctica yesterday, isn’t it amazing how the gift of time can move our hearts rapidly into God’s light? His light where he brings all truth.

His light exposed my aching and rapidly pulsing heart. Here, I was able to identify a resounding theme – She made me feel ____________ about _____________. 

If God is God – and, I am not…

If God is God – and they are not…

How can another define who I am?

How could they ever define the intentions of my heart?

They can’t. Only God defines me. Only He knows the inner workings of Kelly. Only He knows the deep intentions and the pulse of my life, which no one else is privy to.

So, why did I absorb all her words as if they were greater than His?

Why did I overreact instead of act with love?

When you hold someone accountable for that which Christ has already given you, you wrongly exalt them above your Maker.

Sure, words, instruction and wisdom are vital to a strong Christian walk. We should receive these things. And, indeed, the body of Christ is surely put in place to build up, but one thing is true – people never hold greater authority than the work of God or the Word of God. 

God never gave people make or break status. They don’t have that ability – unless we let them.

Our job is to keep our eyes constantly set on him above, so we can always walk in love.

So doubt doesn’t set in.
So fear doesn’t win.
So, others don’t steal our grin.

Then, God enters in.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. (Mt. 7:2)

When I think of this friend, I realize I can’t hold her accountable. Likely, she didn’t know how badly I strive to be pure, she didn’t know how much I pray to be used, she didn’t know how much power her words held. She likely didn’t know her words would cripple. How could she?

Her only responsibility is her own heart, before her great God – something I am entirely not responsible for.

But, I am responsible to respond to God. To forgive. To see past. To release. To love. To heal. To build into. To encourage. To see past. To bear under.

God calls me here because forgiveness is often about them,  just as much as it is about me.

We don’t have to approve what happened,
we just have to approve that God is best equipped to handle it.

We don’t have to feel healed,
we just have to trust he will heal us.

We don’t have to fight,
but simply let God fight on our behalf. (Ex. 14:14)

We don’t have to dwell in misery-mode,
God is calling us to ministry-mode.

This is the call of God. The calling of our heart. The calling to lay down arms, in order to pick up an arm to love, to hug and to wrap around the one before us.

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)

God sees hearts. Only God.

As we seek God, he reveals our hearts to us.  You know what I see when I look deep, deep into my heart? The heart that fought so hard to be right before God? Embarrassingly, I see that nasty word, that mean word, that ugly word  – the one we never want to admit or see – PRIDE.

How many of our arguments are based from this place?

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Forgive me Father. I have sought to look good before man. I have sought to win approval from a sister in Christ. Yet, all that matters is your view of me. You know me and you see me. Forgive me for my anger at not being seen by her, because all that matters is  – YOU. Amen.

The Lord changes hearts, with these types of prayer. He replaced my pulsating hot heart with a radiating softened heart of love. When someone hurts you, God will use it as an opportunity to rework you – if only you let him.

Receive one another, then, just as Christ also received you, to God’s glory. Ro. 15:7

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Do I Need to Forgive?

Do I need to forgive?

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I wasn’t aware I had unforgiveness in my heart.

But, I wondered, “Do I need to forgive?”

So, I sat before the Lord and asked the Spirit to reveal to me if there was anyone I needed to forgive. Someone did come to mind. Someone rather unexpected.

This person had hurt me again and again.
They had stepped on my toes.
They had left me annoyed.
They had let me down.

I had forgiven them in the past, but new offenses had taken the place of their forgiven place.

I thought, in my mind I thought, “This person – again? How many times do I have to go back to this person?”

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? “Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Mt. 18:21-22)

Jesus doesn’t call us to forgive and be done. He knew that one who is forgiven once, likely needs to be forgiven and forgiven again and again. He doesn’t call to a blanket statement forgiveness system, but a system of ever-flowing, ever-aware and ever-outpouring forgiveness.

How many times does Jesus forgive me?

He calls us to seek out the unknown pits of resentment  we hide- in us –
to uncover the known depth of love that he stands ready to outstretch – through us.

A moment of prayer highlighted my black tar within. I never would have realized it if I hadn’t asked. I had forgiven this person so many times, I thought they were covered. I thought I had forgiven.

Jesus knows that people hurters (like you and me) are likely to hurt again and he calls us to forgive them again. Why? Because we are called to something greater – agape love. Not love that says, “I love this day, I love your hair, I love that shirt. I love this place.” Not a shallow, convenient or useful love, instead we are called to the hard depths of real love. We are called to a love like Christ loved.

To love with a love that says, “Despite what you did to me (Example: nailing me to a cross):

I see who God made you to be.
I offer unconditional benevolence towards you.
Nothing can hold me back from offering deep goodness to you.
Christ shows me how to turn the other cheek.
Nothing can conquer the deep heart I have for you.

“…The greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

“As the Father loved me, so have I loved you, now remain in my love.” (John 15:9)

Does a bag of unforgiveness weigh you down? Have you been carrying around load of unneeded junk?

I noticed, the only back unforgiveness was breaking was mine.

It didn’t cause pain to the person that hurt me.
It didn’t teach them a lesson.
It didn’t make them change.
But, my shoulders slumped, my heart felt a little more heavy and my walk with God was burdened.

Yet, as I sought God; he revealed to me new view that changed my perception on forgiveness.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. (Mt 18:18)

When we forgive and we remove junk out of our purse,
the Lord doesn’t leave us with an empty hole.

He doesn’t leave that space unoccupied.

When we forgive the Lord comes back in to fill us up again.

You see, forgiveness is an exchange of our weighted junk for his refreshment.

Refreshment that offers wave after wave of grace, mountain after mountain of joy, an eternal hope of glory, solid-rock security, never ending significance and a waterfall of constant renewal.

Will we accept all that he has for us?
Will we reach out and grab it?
Becuase he holds this refreshment out to us.
The question is – will we seek to forgive?

Let’s ask God who to forgive.

Then he will remove the weight of unforgiveness that ties us down to resentment, so we can run our race unencumbered.

As we humble ourselves in love, God fills our bag. He fills it so high it brims with his goodness. 

We let go of the stronghold we have on the straps, we realize we are strongly held by him. He removes the weight of our straps and lightens our load in his love – to love.

The power of forgiveness is immense. Love transforms, lightens and lifts. Don’t miss the chance to ask God who you need to forgive today. He will pack your bag so full, you will finally see that what he offers is far greater than that ugly bag of junk you have carried around so long.

“…Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48