Purposeful Faith

Tag - #grace

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.

12 Verses To Remind You: God will Provide

Self-Critical

Last night, I told my son, “Don’t get out of bed after I put you to sleep or we won’t be able to eat pie for breakfast.”

An hour later he was downstairs and next to me. It broke my heart. The fun of eating the mud pie we prepared the night before – for a breakfast party while my husband was out of town, was now going to have to be rescheduled.  I wanted to give, but now I had to take away.

For many of us, we believe God is always taking away just like I did from my son. We believe God is constantly removing goodness from our life, food from our table and providence for our future – because, we figure, we are messing up somehow.

It is easy to fall into this mind of thinking: I must have done something wrong. God is angry at me. I’ll never be blessed. I’ll always be stuck.

Yet, looking at the Word of God, paints a much different picture. I hope these verses encourage you. I pray they remind you what a provider God is. You can never fall out of his love.

12 Verses to Remind You: God will Provide

And my God will fully supply your every need according to his glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus. (Phil. 4:19)

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. (Ps. 34:10)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, How! (Ps. 84:11-12)

Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41)

So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.  (Mt. 7:11)

The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him may your hearts live forever! (Ps. 22:26)

He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners. (Ps. 146:7)

The LORD will not allow a righteous person to starve, but he intentionally ignores the desires of a wicked person. (Prov. 10:3)

For it was I, the LORD your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. (Psalm 81:10 )

Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. (Gen. 9:3)

For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. (Ps. 107:9)

The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry. (Prov. 13:25)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Mt. 21:22)

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.

Stepping Into Your Calling

Your Calling

What is God calling you to?

It’s a very important question to consider.  Knowing the answer can make the difference between ongoing fulfillment and unending misguidance. This answer can radically shift the purpose of your life.

Have you asked God? And listened. Observed. Noticed.

And then asked Him again. Listened. Observed. Noticed.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

Things are in the works my friends, on my end. I have something VERY exciting to announce in the next couple of weeks (and, no, it is not a baby…why do I always have to preface things with that?!). It is something that increases unity, brings restoration and that will change your life. I am sure of it. Oh, I can’t wait for you to know. To be a part of it.

But, I could have missed this calling altogether. I really could have. I was just considering this very thought this morning as I sat on my patio. I love to go out there in the mornings. I seek God, read scripture and absorb the Lord’s goodness. Well, this morning, as I tried to place my mind on Him above, I couldn’t. All I could hear was a consistent…SQUAWK!!! SQUAWK!!!

Get out of here!!! You are so annoying.

Try as I may to focus on how God wanted me to proceed with every He’d called me to, how to…SQUAWK! SQUAWK!

The shrill voice of the crows butted in once again.

And, I couldn’t: I couldn’t think. I couldn’t listen. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get my mind off the annoyance.

What is squawking in your life right now? Making you believe you can’t hear God?

God never leaves us; it is usually our mind that leaves him. We always have the opportunity to return back.

Today, I sit with fresh resolve: I will not allow what is making noise around me – other’s voices, distractions of the iPhone, bad news on TV, uncertainty in the world, aggravation with a friend – keep me away from this question any longer –  “What is God calling me to?”

I’ll fight to hear him. Will you?

There is a very real enemy, with a very real plan to hold you back from God’s real good stuff. Are you letting him win?

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 are Kind of Okay

My mind keeps telling me: Kelly, you’re kind of a writer.

Kind of. Those words, again?!! 

I am kind of legit.
I have a book, but I still kind of question my writing.
I have another one coming some day in the future, but I kind of wonder if it will be any good?
I have some people who read this blog, but I kind of wonder if they’ll stick around?
I have creativity, but what if it kind of decides it wants to leave me one day?

Even more, I’m kind of a good mom.

I am nice, at times, but I kind of say this a lot, “You all are not listening or doing what I tell you.”
I am trying hard, but the kitchen is kind of a complete disaster zone.
I am kind of trying to keep up with the school calendar, I text moms a lot to see what’s going on.
I am kind of giving my daughter turkey too often in that lunch box.

I am a kind of wife too.
I kind of remember hugs or physical touch.
I kind of meet his needs before my own.
I kind of feel I impress him.

Can I tell you? Kind of stinks, friends. It’s so one foot in, one foot out. It is so hesitant to claim goodness. It’s so constantly wondering if it’s ever going to cross the finish line to peace.

Where are you kind of living?

Where are kind of okay with yourself?

Kind of makes everything temporary, conditional and based on you.
Certainty makes everything eternal, independent and based on God.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Ps. 40:2)

His rock is right here, in front of us. It calls to us. To you.

We can choose to step out of the mud and mire of thoughts, doubts, wonderings, hypotheses and theories – and make it to firm ground.

Ground where we become certain:

  1. God forgives.
  2. God helps.
  3. God grows us.
  4. God provides faith.
  5. God lights the way.

It is not a gray area. It is not nebulous. It is not done by a God who kind of shows up. No, with God: He does it. 100% he does it. He follows through and all we do is – stand firm on 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.

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Making Marriage Strides

marriage strides

Pop Quiz: What is 1 thing you likely take for granted, yet could bring monumental joy, growth and connection if paid attention to it?

Answer: Your marriage.

Friends, most days I hardly look at it: I rush through breakfast, trying to start my day; I give a little hello near the Keurig; I listen and quickly respond; I go through the bare-bottom motions, trying to make sure I’m at least good enough to get by; I get ready to watch TV instead of to connect; I respond based on my own opinions, rather than hearing his; I focus on the kids and then remember he’s there too.

Uh-oh. Can I admit to you all? I am not the model wife.

And, while it pains me to write this, I have found such encouragement in the book, “A Wife’s Secret to Happiness” by Jen Weaver.

Right off, in the first chapter, her words meet my heart: “God will not call us anywhere his presence does not go with us,” she says, “He will not ask us to do what he has not equipped us to complete. The Lord longs to lead our marriages into spacious place, interwoven with his peace and strength…the day you made your vows He participated in an active agreement, invisible, yet majestic in glory.”

Thank you, God…we are not doing this thing called marriage alone. The Creator of our universe is creating something new, as we listen, go and respond with him. He is working within the confines of our arguments, annoyances, and mishaps to create space, love and peace. Bring it, God! I need that.

To ignite his power, one question remains: Will we let him in to work – by listening, seeking and following or will we continue doing the same ‘ole stuff?

What does it look like to let Him work?
I’m finding, it’s:

Prayer over panic.
Listening rather than responding in flesh.
Trusting God’s timeline to change, rather than my own.
Seeking to notice his good, before his bad.

Jen Weaver breaks down specific ways to see these high and lofty goals through (Thanks Jen!):

  1. Write down index card prayers. Carry them with you.
  2. Ask God to bless your husband right when you’re in the heat of battle.
  3. Remind yourself to welcome God’s presence. Put reminders around your house with verses.
  4. Scribe 5 pain points you have about your marriage. Bring them to God and ask them how he wants you to work them out.
  5. Remind yourself, through scripture, how God has been there for you and won’t abandon you now.

Marriages that work, take work. If I’ve learned anything – it’s this.  But, I’ve also learned, when God is at work, things seamlessly fall into place. Like Tetris. Bing! Connection happens.

Where do you need to let God take the lead? How might he want to put things together again? How might his small nudges be leading you to a greater outpouring of love?

Love that looks like:
A hug.
A listening ear.
An open fist.
A generous portion of time.
An opening of your whole heart.
A letting down of guard.
A soft-spoken word.
Open arms.
Undue forgiveness.
An offering of grace.
A handing-over to God (Re: the past).
An excitement for the future.
Reliance on the Sustainer, Overcomer, and Creator.

Wherever God is calling you – if you step in, He’ll meet you there.

Learn more about a Wife’s Secret to Happiness!

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

How to Believe You are Really Loved

believe

Post by: Arabah Joy

I remember looking at her.

I remember looking at her. Withdrawn. Held back. Unwilling to join the rest of the family. Unwilling to come.

I beckoned and smiled. Patted my lap. Extended the invitation like I’d done a thousand times before.

She stiffened.

Then, like a thousand times before, she turned away. Scars from past abandonment, neglect, and abuse held her like chains to her chosen spot. She would not come.

In those early days of adoption, it was like God had given a mirror to look in. I saw myself in her. I saw how woundedness had caused me to withdraw, how I braced myself against warmth because I’d believed the lie that I didn’t need it, didn’t deserve it. I convinced myself I could do without love and acceptance. Slowly, the cold I surrounded myself with had seeped deep into my soul and distorted my perspective of life, God, and myself.

I was hard. Jaded. A real cynic but didn’t even know it.

And then I adopted a wounded one.

In doing so, God revealed to me something I’d never allowed the core of my being to truly accept: I was loved.

Surely one of the saddest things ever is to be deeply and lavishly loved but not have the eyes to perceive it.

What a tragedy, to get to the other side of life and see how one could have lived- as a dearly beloved child of God- but having missed it. Adoption taught me there’s such a thing as failure to “lay hold.”

“…So that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Phil 3:12

Just as my Little Bit is of our household, never to leave, always identified with us, so we are in Christ. He is our brother, our family, and we are in the household of God. He has reached down and laid hold of you (Phil 3:12) and has taken you from the domain of darkness and abuse and rejection and pain and transferred you into the kingdom of the family- His beloved Son (Col 1).

We can sulk and hold back and piddle in the corner with our little pet toys… or we can reach out with both hands, press forward with all we’ve got, and lay hold of that which has laid hold of us.

I know what rejection is like. I also know the remedy for rejection is acknowledging the acceptance offered in Christ.

The remedy for neglect is embracing the love and warmth extended me in Jesus.

The remedy for abuse is running to the table of fellowship with Him, where I am always welcomed, loved, and nourished back to health.

Hiding out in the corner never did anyone any good … except the enemy who wishes to single us out from the rest in order to devour us.

As a mom, I knew I needed to help my precious one learn to embrace the new, push forward into the warmth, and lay hold. And that meant I needed to practice it myself too.

She and I began a messy, painful, glorious journey together. And last night at the dinner table, my Little Bit came and sat in my lap without being invited. WIN!! She has made such amazing progress in the nine years we’ve had her. I’m so very, very proud of her. I wouldn’t trade the healing we’ve both received for all the world! I’ve come to now how our Daddy feels when we trust Him and lean into His love, when we run to Him expecting to be heard and loved on. How His heart thrills When we assume He is who He says He is. Wow! What a God. What an AMAZING Father.

How about you, my friend? Will you join your sisters in coming out of the corner, putting down our pet emotions, stretching out our hands and opening our arms wide to embrace the grace that has been lavished on us?

You can do this. Together, we can lay hold. Let’s live as those lavishly loved.

Arabah Joy is wife to Jackson, adoptive and biological mom to 4 little ones, and missionary to East Asia. Her adventures span far and wide, from eating pig snouts to giving birth in three different Asian countries. Mostly though, she is a broken woman redeemed by grace. She has written several books including the 40 day devotional, Trust Without Borders. You can find out more and connect with her at ArabahJoy.com.

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.

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