Purposeful Faith

Tag - hope

15 Strength-Building Verses To Lean on When Under Spiritual Attack

There was nothing different about the day, in comparison to any other day, but what hovered over me was a generalized feeling of – “Blah!” 

I prayed. Blah!

I sought God. Blah!

I worshipped. Still…blah!

No breakthrough. Nothing. Just annoyance that my spirit still felt as stuck as ever.

What is wrong with me? My heart can’t seem to embrace truth, peace, hope – God.

It’s in a moment like this, we go down one of three paths. We:

  1. Get frustrated and angry at ourselves, declaring we are faulted and worthless. We heap guilt upon ourselves.
  2. Decide God has left us and turn away from Him, because, we figure, he turned away from us.
    or,
  3. Keep on seeking. Keep on praying. Keep on proclaiming truth. And, persevere.

I’ve traveled all three. Just this week, I’ve spent a lot of time on paths 1 & 2. Here, all I could see were overwhelming signs I was not doing things right for God.  My heart is falling off a ravine, my feelings are stuck in thorn bushes, God’s plans for me are somewhere ahead in that vast fog.

Here’s where I end up: I need to work harder, pray better, try more and be a better person to recieve God’s love. I carry the baggage of discouragement and doubt. I sit annoyed and flustered by life.

Have you landed here too? Are you struggling to believe God? To hold close his promises because you can’t seem to get close enough to God?

I want to tell you something that will reassure you: This is likely a spiritual attack.

If you are getting after God, with your whole heart, but distraction, lies or discouragement won’t shake off you, you are likely being hit by the enemy. If you are pursuing clarity, but all you find is confusion, you are likely being hit by the enemy. If you are giving God your whole heart, but still feeling tired, worn and weary, you are likely being hit by the enemy.

The good thing about this is: Victory is as won – as you are you. The one against us, cannot effectively come against the cross.  Jesus is, forever and always, high and lifted. There is no undoing his reign. His opportunities, insights and wisdom is already ours.

With this, the enemy’s only strategy is to make us believe he can undo what Jesus did. His only opportunity is a fake. He diverts us left and if we move with him, and take our eyes off truth, we lose God. But, if we stand firm and don’t give in to his fake, we stand firm. We move towards the goal of Christ Jesus.

So, with this, let us stand firm in truth. Let us allow it to sink into our mind, then into our heart and then down to our feet, so that we walk out with such assurance, nothing –  no way, no how – can shake us.

Here is our arsenal, our power and our stand – these verses:

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him. (Ps. 28:7)

Through You we will push down our enemies; through Your name we will trample those who rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, and praise Your name forever. (Psalm 44:5)

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.  (2 Chronicles 16:9)

… but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit … (1 Thessalonians 1:5)

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you … (1 John 2:27)

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from me,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 54:17)

Blessed be the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge, who subdues my people under me. (Psalm 144:1)

“For You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord shall enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2 Samuel 22:29)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Tim. 6:12)

It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. Ps. 18:32

For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. Ps. 18:39

As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And You set me in Your presence forever. (Ps. 41:12)

The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, And makes me walk on my high places. (Ha. 3:19)

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul. Ps. 54:4

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 You’re Waiting for the Next Great Thing

wait next great thing

Post By: Angela Parlin

I couldn’t wait for my life to begin.

I crossed off another day on the calendar. Soon I would load up my Chevy Cavalier and move into my first, tiny, post-college apartment. I’d purchase my own food each day. I’d wear Business Casual Monday through Friday, and pull an IBM lanyard around my neck each morning. I’d sit poolside on weekends, reading all the fabulous novels I never had time for while in school.

There were so many things to look forward to when we were young. We took a step, turned a year older, completed a milestone, and then we looked ahead to the next great thing.

Double digits.

Being a teenager.

Earning a driver’s license.

Living on our own.

Childhood dreams were made of these things.

It was the same through college, where we checked off one step at a time, eyes always fixed on the next great season.

Before I knew it, I was learning the ropes of the corporate world and counting down the days until my wedding. After that, we looked forward to this trip or that and hoped for a baby and added to our family and survived multiple toddlers at once, and we continued to build.

My whole life I’ve been climbing, building, and looking ahead to the next great thing.

Sometimes now, I find myself looking back. I long for the good old days.

They passed far too quickly, if you ask me now. I wouldn’t have said that then, but I was clueless. I often failed to realize so much hidden beauty between the chaos. We don’t know what we have until it’s gone, after all.

We are prone to wanting what we don’t have, what we hope to have, what we used to have.

We look ahead, hoping for an ideal, assuming the next season will be something better. We want the current hard stage to pass. But then a new season arrives, and with it, new difficulties we didn’t plan. So we look back and long for old comforts.

At least, I do.

We find something similar in Hebrews 7, where some newer believers were longing for the not-so-good old days.

They were suffering persecution, and many of them wanted to return to the law, to Judaism. Then they would be part of the crowd again. When life got tough, they lost sight of the Better Hope they’d been given.

They lost sight of Jesus and His amazing benefits.

For the law made nothing perfect, and a Better Hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. Hebrews 7:19

We could talk for hours about the Law, but we probably wouldn’t want to. What I mean is, it’s hard for us to understand all the implications of living under the law as opposed to living under the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ. But the difference was everything. Jesus still makes every bit of difference in our daily lives.

Because of Jesus, we have this amazing privilege–to draw near to God.

Under the law, worshipers had to stand out in the courtyard while the high priest represented them before God. They also had to fulfill so many regulations.

We have a full-access pass to the Throne of Grace. He makes His home within us. Maybe we’ve lost sight of this gift?

We know our greatest good will never truly be found in the next great season or another chance or a smoother road. That’s because our greatest good will always be found in drawing near to the Lord Jesus.

What if we exchange all our longing, for building into and climbing toward and waiting on a place where “real” life really begins?

We’ll be looking forward to the next great season, after all.

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

32 Verses for Women Affirming Beauty, Value & A Beloved Identity in Christ

Affirming Beauty

May I admit something to you all?

When I am at my worst, I doubt who I am. I doubt I am good. I doubt I am valuable. Some days, I know, I don’t look an iota like Jesus. I look in the mirror, but his image I do not see. Instead, I see the image of a woman who is flawed, faulted and failing. I can be hard on myself.

Can you?

It’s easy, on these days, to turn to action plans, to-do lists or a get-better schemes. Oh, I know this inclination! But, more and more, I am convinced, I don’t need a makeover or a new hairstyle. I don’t need a flick on the wrist or a self-inflicted put down to get right, I simply need peace. Peace that affirms who God says I am, not what I am prone to believe I am.

I need the reminder I am:

  1. Beautiful.
  2. Valuable.
  3. Created as beloved with Christ in me.

When we know these things, our vision shifts, our hope emerges and our love flows more freely.

Do you know who you are? If you’re at all like me, and you need a reminder, hopefully these verses – verses that speak of beauty, value and your beloved identity, will bring you to a new place, to a new vision of who you are created to be.

I am Beautiful:

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. (Sol. 4:7)

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (Prov. 31:25)

You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. Is. 62:3

My beloved spoke and said to me, “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. (Song 2:10)

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. (Prov. 31:26)

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Ps. 34:5)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! (Ps. 139:13-16)

Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. (Psalm 139:13 – 14)

For we are God’s masterpiece… (Eph. 2:10)

I am Valuable:

…Created to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph. 2:10)

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her! (Lu. 1:45)

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. (Ps. 46:5)

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Pet. 5:10)

And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this? (Es. 4:14)

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (1 Peter 2:9)

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 3:2o)

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Mt. 5:8)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor. 12:27)

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. (1 Cor. 6:20)

I am Created as Beloved and Christ Lives in me:

She is worth far more than rubies. (Prov. 31:10)

But by the grace of God I am what I am. (1 Cor. 15:10)

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands… (Is. 49:16) 

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:18)

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons (and daughters) of God, through faith. (Gal. 3:26)

…the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (Jo. 15:15)

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you.  (1 Cor. 15:58)

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (Jo. 1:12)

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)

And to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:24)

So God created mankind in his own image… (Gen. 1:27)

Knowing who we are, somehow changes our face: It changes our face in the mirror. It softens our face as we face the world. It turns our face, unashamedly towards God.

May we not forgo remembering who we are. For the fact of the matter is – we are more daughter than anything else. No other name given to us stands more permanent than that name. No other title we carry will surpass that one. No other calling is greater. We are chosen, valuable, beautiful and secure.

We are in Christ. We are powerful in him and beautiful because He is.

Now, go out in the world- and shine!

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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A Love Letter for Guilty Hearts and Shamed Parts

Letter For the Guilty

Child,

I forgive you. In fact, I’ve already forgotten about what you’ve done. I’ve tied a weight around your worst and thrown it into the great abyss of my endless, all-consuming waters never to see it again.

So, why do you still hold on to it?

I’ve separated it from you. I’ve removed it hemispheres from your mind, being and soul. It’s so far, there is no sight of it in my eyes. There is no value to it in my economy.

So, why do you still hold on to it?

You expressed your remorse. You asked for forgiveness. It is done. I judge you not and I consider it not stuck to you, not even a grain.

So, why do you still hold on to it?

Hear this, I declare your righteous, holy and blameless. When I look at you, this is what I see. This is the sum of you are.

So, why do you still hold on to it?

Do you believe clinging on will help you improve? Be better? As if your fear will produce righteousness? As if slapping your own hand will finally make you act better?

If I don’t require this of you, why do you require it of yourself?

You want to hurt yourself so that you can finally be better. But, guess what? Jesus already took the hurt. He took the pain, for you. For moments just like these.

Jesus was forsaken, so you could be forgiven.

So, why do you still hold on to it?

It is not charges upheld, inflicted, that will mark you changed. But, charges released, absolved, that will give you hope, freedom to find my voice that will change you. In the space of forgiveness, you have room to hear my voice, to listen to my words, to find a new way, a different way. Here, your mind doesn’t talk like jury and judge. Here, you accept the fact – I’ve thrown out the court proceedings. Here, there is only new ground, a fresh day and the start of new opportunities – with me. Here, you find peace, you see my way and you uncover my revelations, progress and growth.

May I suggest you, let go?

Let go of what you can’t let go of. I’ll take it for you.
Sit down.

Lay back in the knowledge I’ll hold you. I won’t ever let you go.
Rest easy.

Unclench your hands and believe I will lead you on your best path.
Seek me.

If you run after me, you will find me, when you search for me with all your heart.
Wave goodbye.

What mistakes you keep seeing, have no value in the space between your eyes and mine.

For where we are going together, there is no need for dead weight and there is no necessity for you to control your own progress. I am the one molding you. I am the one keeping you. I am the one leading your family. I am the one in charge of your day. I am the one who you need. So, turn, face me and let’s go to where you haven’t been able to go because you’ve been holding all that.

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.

Do You Need A Lift?

when-you-need-a-lift/

Driving in Texas, I saw a tow truck with tow lift in the back that looked much like a cross.

It reminded me: With Jesus, we’re never stalled.  Jesus who was high and lifted also lifts us and carries us to safety.

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. Ps. 91:11-12

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock… Ps. 27:5

Jesus is our ever-present tow truck…He carries us, in his power to where we were meant to go. He delivers us to safety when we let Him bring us.

Just think, when life stalls, Jesus is our hope.
When we feel we might break down, he waits for us.
When we are quite certain we just got our self into a car crash –
he lifts us above the shattered glass and broken metal – to safety.
When we feel down and out, he lifts our spirits up as we seek an eternal view of our problems.

Where does your life feel stalled? Broken? Injured? Unrecoverable.

You know, when I was about 17, I totaled my parent’s van. It wasn’t my fault – a Mac truck hit me. My gas chamber exploded on impact and, when the police arrived, the said they were surprised I was alive. They said that the car should have exploded – with me in it. Things reeked of gas.

My van got towed away. I stood there.

We never know the small ways God is saving us, the ways he is towing us to something greater.

But, every day, we can choose faith. Faith that says: Father, daddy, I believe that you have a plan in my heartache and a plan through my pain.

For the fact of the matter is – if you’re still breathing, God is still purposing to use you. If you are still waking in the morning, he is still working. And, if you are still moving, he is guarding you.

Do not lose hope. Don’t lose faith. And, certainly, don’t give up.

God is towing you to straight into deliverance – whether on earth or in heaven. Hope in him and his great power to lift us, really, can never be lost.

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.

 

 

 

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.

Believing in a Massive, Miraculous and Ever-Moving God

believing

I stood in line at the drug store, arms loaded with candy and party supplies. My son had done some good listening and as I promised, we were going to do a “movie party.” He paced, streamers and balloons in hand, excited to get home. But, with the line 7 people deep, and a woman tapping her foot behind me, I started to get irritated.

That woman behind me is too close. She’s breathing down my neck.  Great, now she’s panting. Look at her now – she’s showing off her exasperated stance. There are better ways, lady, to show you’re impatient. Jeesh! Look around! We’re all waiting and wanting to get out of here.

I wanted to turn around and inform her to take a chill pill and to come back a different day – one when I wasn’t in front of her. But, of course, God had other plans; He tugged. Listening, I reluctantly shushed my inner voice of selfishness to hear God’s inner voice of selflessness.

She’s sick, Kelly. She’s real sick. There is often more than meets the eye, darling.

Clarity struck:

Rather than looking at her as enemy #1,
I can choose to be the compassionate one.

Rather than seeing things from my limited view,
I can see from God’s caring view.

Rather than keeping space,
I can offer her, through Christ, access to a better place. 

I breathed deep. I was about to do something, I really, really, didn’t want to do.

But, with Christ, you suddenly do what you thought you couldn’t. It’s a typical thing in a Christian’s life. I asked her if she wanted to swap places with me in line.

“No, thank you. I am in a lot of back pain. I am getting surgery next week.”

God never leads wrong.

“Good lesson God.” 

I bought the stuff and left. But, no sooner had I got to the car, than I realized I left a bag inside. Walking and debating internally about why these little blunders happen – why we have to be pressed for time and then do something to throw everything off, I grabbed the lost bag and the wandering kid. I ran back to the car. That’s when I saw her. There she was (she still hadn’t left?). She was in the handicap space, hunched, shoulders slumped. She stared off.

God tugged.

 “Now God? Bad timing, God.”

I approached her window…

“What’s your name,” I asked her, “I want to pray for you, later.”

God tugged.

So, I prayed for her right then and there, in the parking lot. Over her procedure. Over the surgeon. Over her peace.

She said thanks. We left.

God tugged.

Get off me God, haven’t I done enough?!” 

Yet, I’ve learned, to turn away from God is to turn away from all things good. So, I listened to Him: Kelly what you prayed for was good, but it wasn’t great. Believing is great, especially when you believe in more than meets the eye.

He yanked. What God prompted in my heart was:

Kelly, your unbelief often holds me back. Who are you to limit me?

Umm…no one.

What is man that you are mindful of him… Ps. 8:4

Okay, God, I guess I could have prayed with greater faith. I guess I could have believed that if you heal my little girl’s boo-boo’s you could heal that big girl’s boo-boo too.

Who am I to limit God? Why not ask for the biggest, the best and the bold things?

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

With this, I admit to you today, friends: I’m done holding back God’s unlimited power because of my limited mind. Today, I am pulling the leash off my prayer life. I’m going to rush to God, full-throttle, with the biggest, the best and the boldest prayers there are. Care to join me?

Where have you boxed in God?

Where have you determined grounds too off limits for his miraculous hands?

Where are you panting, exasperated and needing healing?

What we don’t believe by faith, we won’t see by faith.
What we cannot imagine and cannot fathom, won’t really happen.
What we don’t give a chance, remains unchanged.

Yet, what we believe in, God works in.

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Mt. 21:22

Decisively, join me today, and choose to believe bigger.

Then, believe it, but be prepared, also, to receive it.

Be warned, though, this is not a prosperity gospel, name-it-and-claim-it type deal. What I am talking about here – it rings differently. It sounds like: God, you can do what you want to do, and in what you want to do, don’t let me be the one to limit you.

It is done by a person who understands: the launching pad for God’s astounding plan is at the point of belief.  

What’s the worst case scenario? You are let down? Embarrassed? Made to feel awkward?

What’s the best case scenario? Someone’s life is changed forever. They see the actual power of Jesus. They are left never the same for it.

Let the power of Christ out. Unleash it.

Why not believe his greatness is bigger than your mind’s capacity to understand him?

Order Kelly’s powerful 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.

I am delivered

I am delivered

Today, I am welcoming Michele Cushatt. Michele is she knows what it’s like to lose her footing, and to wonder if she’d ever again be able to stand. But she also knows what it’s like to cry out to God for grace and discover the miracle of His Presence and His Purpose right here, right now. You will love her words….

Comment for the chance to win Michelle’s book and her I AM scripture cards:

The storm hit hard and fast and without warning.

Several hours before, we’d loaded kids and adults into our family boat for a day of skiing and tubing on Las Vegas’ Lake Mead. The day started in perfection. Blue sky dotted with cotton clouds. Bright sun reflecting on glasslike waters.

It was the first time we’d taken my niece out on the boat. Only three years old, she took it all in with giggles and wide-eyed wonder.

But the laughter died the moment the storm struck. Cotton clouds turned ominous. Glasslike waters turned foamy and whitecapped. With a glance at the shore, I knew it would take more than a few minutes to get to safety. But with each second, the swells grew, threatening to overcome our tiny boat.

I reached for my niece, pulled her onto my lap, and held her close while my husband kept his hands white-knuckled on the wheel. To drive directly to shore, we had to steer straight into the gale-force wind. But to drive into the wind meant a risk of capsizing. We needed to get off the water. But how?

I closed my eyes and prayed. As my three-year-old niece gripped my arms, my heart reached for the God I knew could deliver us.

Save us, God!

I hoped for a Jesus-sized miracle, like the day He spoke to a Sea of Galilee storm, and wind and waves came to a dead stop (Mark 4:39).

But our storm continued. In spite of my faith-filled prayers, Jesus didn’t deliver. If anything, the wind grew in intensity. I tried to stay calm for the kids, but my heart pounded with fear. I grew up on boats, knew a storm or two. But nothing like this one. Not even close.

While my brother navigated from the bow in an effort to keep the boat balanced, my husband started cutting z formations in the water. Turning left, then right kept him from driving straight into the wind. As a result, we inched closer to the shore.

Our nightmare lasted about an hour, a lifetime to a family who thought they might drown. Soaked and cold, weak from fear, we pulled ourselves and our boat out of the water and made for the safety of home. There I could finally contemplate my nagging questions:

Why didn’t God deliver us?

Why didn’t He calm the storm? I knew He was more than able; I believed it to my core. Thus the reason I prayed, because I knew my God could deliver.

And still the storm raged, oblivious to my request.
Even so. We made it home.
It took years for the lesson to have its full impact on my heart. For a long time I wondered why some storm-prayers are answered with calm and others are not. But now I see that day on Lake Mead a bit differently: Sometimes God delivers us from a storm. But other times He delivers us in it.

That day on the lake, God gave my husband the wisdom to z his way back to shore. God kept the boat balanced in waves far bigger than it could handle. And He kept all our children and family members wrapped up in life vests and out of the water. He didn’t still the storm. But He calmed my kids and gave us a great story to tell our friends.

To those praying for a Deliverer, John 10:10 records Jesus making a powerful proclamation: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

I always loved that verse, probably because it sounded like the promise of a happy life. Naively, I believed Jesus’ words included protection from all harm. Like a divine umbrella, God would spread the expanse of His arms over me and my loved ones and keep us from all rain.

It didn’t take long to end up soaking wet.

But that’s when I remembered more of Jesus’ words, only six chapters later in John 16:33: “In this world you will have trouble.”

Not “might have trouble.” Not “could have trouble.”
“In this world you will have trouble.”
It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.
The same Jesus who promised deliverance also promised trouble. At first glance, Jesus’ words sound contradictory. And yet His life proves otherwise. It was His death that made possible our lives. Hardship to realize hope. Trouble today for the promise of a party tomorrow.

Can I trust Jesus to deliver me through one to arrive at the other?

The unexpected is unavoidable. My dream of a trouble-free life was more than a little far-fetched. It doesn’t matter whether you live in an affluent suburb of upper-class America or in an overcrowded slum of poverty-stricken India. The rain falls on each of us in good measure.

The question, then, is this: do you trust the Deliverer?

He’s the hiding place, the shelter in the rain. Yes, there are moments when God delivers you and me from our troubles. Children overcome obstacles, illnesses are healed, marriages are revived.

But more often than not, He doesn’t deliver us from harm; He delivers us in it.

The first is merely protection. The second is presence. The first causes us to cringe, as we wait for the next calamity to fall. The second provides a harbor of rest, regardless of the weather.

Life is more than calm and predictable circumstances. Life—full life—is weathering the unexpected storms and the impossible waves knowing the Deliverer is present with you in them.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

___________

AUTHOR BIO

These words pulled from the pages of Michele’s most recent book—I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is—were penned during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of tongue cancer, during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about our current identity epidemic and the reason why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds.

Michele and her husband, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long walk, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele @ michelecushatt.com.

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DESCRIPTION OF I AM (www.iambook.net)

From the moment a woman wakes until she falls, exhausted, on her pillow, one question plagues her at every turn:

Am I enough?

The pressure to do more, be more has never been more intense. Online marketing. Self-help books. Movies, magazines and gym memberships. Even church attendance and social media streams have become a means of comparing ourselves to impossible standards. Am I pretty enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough?

We fear the answer is “No.”

When a brutal bout with cancer changed how she looked, talked, and lived, Michele Cushatt embarked on a soul-deep journey to rediscover herself. The typical self-esteem strategies and positivity plans weren’t enough. Instead, she needed a new foundation, one that wouldn’t prove flimsy when faced with the onslaught of day-to-day life.

I Am reminds us that our value isn’t found in our talents, achievements, relationships, or appearance. It is instead found in a God who chose us, sent us, and promised to be with us—forever.