Purposeful Faith

Tag - Jesus

Feeling all the Feels…Riding the Wave

Post by: Jami Amerine

My week has been – ridiculous.

The list of life-altering changes include, a transitional end to our foster-love’s time in our home, the departure of our oldest son to Marine Bootcamp, our oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding, the release and launch of my book, potty training debacles, enormous new developments in my husband’s company, and the persistent comedic drama symptomatic of a household of nine.

On the evening after dropping our son at the Marine MEPS for his departure to San Diego, I couldn’t sleep.  My nose was slammed shut, my eyes were swollen, my heart was aching, and about 1:45 am I sat on the couch in our loft, fully clothed, and let loose.

Ugly cry is not even close to a valid definition of the performance.

I am surprised, no entirely amazed that I had that much left in me.  And I begged God for relief.  Out loud, alone in the dark I whimpered-wailed my need for His help.  Up until that moment, I had just rolled with the emotions.  I’d been laughing at sweet memories, crying at the unknown, smiling at the thoughts of what was to come, and angry it went by too fast.

I couldn’t take anymore.

I needed some sleep.

I needed Him to stop the ride and let me get off… even if it was only for 5 hours.  I pleaded, “Please Jesus, help me… please, I am so tired, I just need to…”

Just then, my phone rang with a caller I.D. from California.

It was 1:48 a.m.

Just as I’d been informed, I heard my son’s voice is a sea of other hollers;

This is Marine Recruit…  I have arrived safely… the next time you hear from me it will be by postage mail in 2 to three weeks. I love you.  Goodbye.”

The scripted call I’d been told about at just that moment in the midst of heartbreak came, I can still hear him.  He sounded tired, stressed, and… hungry.  Whatever, I know him. That was his “I want a grilled cheese sandwich” voice.

And, I let loose a brand new emotion… gratitude.  I remember I started my new brand of weeping about 1:49 a.m…

I remember nothing else until 7:00 a.m… when my alarm went off to wake the children.  Fully clothed, jewelry, streaks of tear stained make-up, and my shoes –  I was startled awake and painfully crooked.

Somewhat refreshed, with a perpetual lump in my throat I limped through packing lunches and fixing hair, the toddler sons said something delightful and I giggled.  A tween left a wet towel on the bathroom floor and I grumbled.  An email popped up from an old friend offering prayers and another tear escaped.

This rollercoaster of emotions is indicative of this life.  The relief when I need it comes from my Jesus.  The rest… the rest is a blessing.  The release of tears celebrating, missing, wishing, and hoping for change or good – are part of the creation He fashioned.  Not to punish or test me, but to give me release and a reminder of my design.

In the midst of that gift, when I was most in need, He answered.  He sent a phone call, sure – it was due, but it came right when it was most needed… in the midst of my pleas.  And then, He blessed me with unconsciousness and much-needed reprieve.

My emotions and nerves are on high alert.  I am a compulsory explosion of sunshine and rain.  I am hitting every single cylinder.  And I am confident He who created me, will walk through this with me.  He is for me.  He came to bind my broken heart.  He came to comfort, heal, and nurture.  To grieve or rejoice, I am nearer to Him.  He knows me and adores me.

In my weakness He is strong.

He is my rock and my fortress.

I will ride this wave, reveling in these reactions, delighting in this life, and I will not go down with the ship.


Psalm 89:9You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

Jami AmerineJami 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.

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.

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.

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

Which Hope Are You Holding Onto?

anchor hope

Post By: Angela Parlin

“We just have to hold onto hope!”

She said it quickly, at the end of our short conversation at the shopping mall. Then she walked out the front door, and I didn’t have a chance to respond.

I immediately wondered, Hope in what though? Isn’t that the real question? What are you putting your hope in?

Which hope are you holding onto?

I’ve been facing that question since summer ended, as a number of changes happened at once in my life. I’m not a big fan of change, and the whole situation rocked me. I often felt discontent and discouraged. I struggled to choose joy.

I know the source of my (capital H) Hope—my true and lasting hope for eternity. But when life throws me for a loop and certain comforts, joys, and securities are removed, I learn I’ve been holding onto those little ideals and hoping in them.

I realize now how much I needed this season of change in my life. It’s never comfortable, and I may always resist change initially. But I’m thankful for it, because it’s teaching me to trust in Jesus as my Hope in every area of life.

Jesus is our Hope for eternity, but He’s also our Hope for today.

Recently I returned to my study through the book of Hebrews, and right where I picked up, the author speaks of hope. He encourages believers that their Hope is certain and unchanging.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. Hebrews 6:19-20a

Our souls need an anchor, in part because of this rapidly changing, dark, and destructive world we live in. But what about our own double-mindedness, our sin, and our shifting thoughts and feelings?

I don’t know about you, but my soul needs an anchor in the sea of my own humanity.

And we have this Hope.

This Hope is an anchor for our souls.

The anchor holds, firm and secure.

We can’t tell the same story about lesser hopes. When we’re holding onto lesser hopes, it’s like tossing our ship’s anchor into shifting sands. It’s basically ridiculous. But we all do it!

We hold out hope for things that will not endure. We hold onto things that will not fulfill.

When these fail us, we best fall back on our real Hope. Because Jesus went before us, we are able to enter into the inner sanctuary. This means we enter the Presence of God, because Jesus made a way for us to have direct access to the Father.

Today, let your Hope {in Jesus} be the firm and secure anchor for your soul.

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

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. Check out the free Writer’s Guide there, and subscribe to the Ladder2Rooftop newsletter.

More Reading:
10 Ways to Shine Christ On Christmas

Being a Perfect Christian

Finding Renewal in Christ

The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

Post by: Jami Amerine

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I learned my physician suspected that the greatest health crisis I was facing was… dehydration.  That’s right, I am thirsty.

I consider myself fairly intelligent when it comes to health and nutrition.  I confess, I am embarrassed by this diagnosis.  Alas, I knew he was correct.  And the fact of the matter is, I don’t have time to drink eight, 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  On the days I do get that much water in my thirsty body, I don’t have time to make it to the bathroom in an efficient ratio of water in, urine out… so I am fairly miserable for 90% of the 64 ounces.

Needless to say, I left my doctor’s office feeling defeated, depleted and discouraged. There isn’t any way that my scale can be ten pounds lower than his. Is he just a vindictive mad scientist?  I sat in my car and had a hale and hearty cry and then as I examined myself in the mirror, I began to multitask. I reapplied mascara and lip gloss while listing all things I find most awful about myself.

Fat.
Loser.
Lazy.
Dehydrated.
Whiner.

Horrible at math, mostly weights and measures.

Exasperated.
Phoney.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

I called the friend who was babysitting our young son and two foster placements and told her I would be there in an hour. I went to the store and bought her a lovely fall floral arrangement and the ingredients to put a fragrant squash soup in her crock pot for dinner. Crusty bread and an apple pie were added to my basket.

I would take great care of my friend for helping me.

On my way to the checkout, I stopped and grabbed chocolates for my sister, my husband’s favorite cookies, and the children’s favored frozen pizza.  I scurried to the other side of the store and thoughtfully picked lovely greeting cards to bless my friends, our foster-daughter’s birth mom and her caseworker too.  Just before I checked out, I filled my basket with an abundance of toiletries for our three oldest children  who are at college. Then I made my way to the gift wrapping aisle to find bright colored bags to put the shampoos, shaving gels, creams, lotions, and deodorants in;  if I hurried I could leave the bags at their dorms before I picked up my babies.

When I climbed back in my car, quite pleased with the purchases, I would bless my darlings with, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Immediately I began to admonish myself, I forgot to grab myself any water.  I rehashed the list of my faults:

Chubby.

Dumb.

Slothful.

Parched.

Grumbler.

Frustrated.

Fake.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

About that time my daughter called to ask about my doctor appointment. I reported to her my struggle and she chirped, “OH MY GOSH MOM!  You must get this new app!  It’s called plant nanny!”

I followed her instructions and downloaded the app. I picked a cute little cartoon plant and begrudgingly entered my weight and read my results. The plant nanny decided how much water I must drink to keep my little imaginary plant conscious alive. The little seedling blinked at me with trusting animated eyes and I cooed at the psychological entrapment that would force me to drink enough water to nurture the cybernetic life into a blooming dependant illusion.

Over the next few days, I became more diligent in my pursuit of water. My iPhone would alert, my little make-believe Japanese succulent would bat her eyes at me and I would drink, click, and apply “water” to my H2O conscious companion.  I treated that animated being like royalty, then on the 4th day, a tragedy arose.

I lost my phone.

I turned the house upside down, it was nowhere to be found.  Later that evening, I recovered my phone between the  couch cushions.  When I opened the plant nanny app I knew immediately, the app had died of thirst.

Fat.

Loser.

Lazy.

Dehydrated.

Killer of simulated Japanese succulents…

And the familiar voice hummed in my ears, “You are so mean… you were so good to tend to that imaginary plant.  You are so kind to your neighbors, orphans, and case workers. You observe such careful and tedious attention to everyone, but you are so mean to My girl.”

I know this to be true.

The things that come out of my mouth toward myself are brutal. The TLC I afford those around me is stellar. The attention I bestowed upon the animated succulent … was criminal compared to the neglected efforts I make to grab myself, His girl – an artless glass of water.

I am most convicted of this, I may look as though I love my neighbor… but how could I possibly when I so blatantly despise myself?  How can I be so hard and ugly to the daughter of the Most High?  How can I spend so much energy on what I deem righteous and be so cruel to myself?  He who died for me, that I might be called blameless… His girl. I agreed with Him. It was not what He wanted for me. He wants me to recognize, I am clothed in His goodness. He sees me as perfected. He adores me as His own.

I have neglected the gift of my inheritance, daughter of Jehovah.  I deleted my plant nanny app.  I applied mascara and powdered my nose.  I grabbed my glass off the table and filled it with new water.

Water that this beautiful girl needs to bless the nations with wealth, prosperity and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A champion for the little guy, a woman on a mission. Refreshed and adequately warned, don’t mess with His girl.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God – a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5: 2

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)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.

 

 

 

Remembering Jesus

Remembering Jesus

If the man sweat, I’m convinced, it would’ve come out as iron. He was strong! No doubt, he was military. I tried to keep my eyes straight, but to no avail, they wandered like a girl cheating on her 11th-grade chemistry test. I didn’t want to get caught – pastor was going strong. Still, how the man rubbed tenderly and passionately his bracelet, over and over, round and round – it meant something. I needed to know what.  The sermon, this day, was all about him.

I squinted and spotted a location and a date. Aha! I figured it out. They are winning moments. Times, people, places that were special, meaningful or momentous.

As his fingers moved,
did his mind also, going back to the memory of what happened?

A place where he joined hands with a fellow warrior and pressed on?

A time when his courage nearly beat out of his chest – and he conquered all?

A lesson of bravery, learned through trial, never to be forgotten?

How sweet! “Hold on to that fella,” I wanted to say, “that’s what moments are made of.”
If I could’ve whispered it without being rude and out-of-place, friends, I might have.

The paint was chipping, kneaded raw, but clear as day I spotted three letters: KIA.

At first, I thought of the car brand – KIA.  Then, I the reality appeared:

KIA. Killed. In. Action.

My eyes widened.
Killed. in. action.

My back sank down the chair.
Killed. in. action.

My heart moved with it.
Someone willing to pay the ultimate price for freedom.

This man? He knew: You hold on to one you love. You knead into the fact they gave up their needs and wants, so you could have yours. You absorb the price of their sacrifice.

The man next to me did just that. He remembered…

Him, a person, laying down his life for liberty.
Him, one suffering all pain, for our gain.
Him, a beating heart, a heart he knew, silenced.

Do we remember Jesus Christ in the same way?

Keeping the reality of his sacrifice not only within our fingers,
but everpresent within our heart?

Our warrior, the perfect warrior – Jesus – with his final breath beat death, sin and the war of all evil. He is worthy.
Our Jesus lion and lamb, burst free of the tomb. He is worthy.
Our Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the father, won the battle, so he could plead on our behalf. He is worthy.

Jesus was K.I.A.

Because of the lamb, who is also the lion,
we are now forever liberated, loved and alive.

Do you hold him close? Do you knead into his goodness? Do you remember the power of his miracles worked into your life? Do you draw from his words and wear them, like an embossed memorial, across your heart?

Today, hold close: Jesus. Died. For. Me.

Goodness, purity, wholeness was killed, willingly, on your behalf.

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor. 11:24

Jesus. The man who had it all, but gave it all – for you. R.I.P.

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When Those Who Wander Get Lost

Wander Lost

Post By: Angela Parlin

I tore through the woods behind our home barefoot, chasing two tiny dachshund puppies, on repeat.

I was a young puppy Mom, and Bailey and Bear were my sweet, scrappy baby boys. They were fearless, but only because they were also clueless. They could sniff out a door open for adventure, faster than I could grab my shoes.

Bailey and Bear were happy at home, let me tell you. Spoiled rotten actually. It wasn’t that they wanted to leave our home, but they were made for the hunt. They loved to make us happy, but they also lived to chase after squirrels and birds and other puppy dog friends.

They were prone to wander beyond the walls of our home, beyond the confines of our fenced backyard.

It stressed me out to no end. I felt like a crazy woman. But when they ran? I ran after them. Because they were my babies. And while I believed they were the most adorable dogs ever made, I also knew their brains were small. Their hunting instinct and tunnel vision overpowered their intelligence, and I wasn’t going to let them get hurt. I wasn’t going to lose them…

Come on over to Angela Parlin’s blog  to see how our Father comes after us also. Bring your encouraging linkup post, as she’s hosting the #RaRaLinkup this week!

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Life is a Puzzle, Without the Full View

Life is a Puzzle, But We're Missing the Full View

Post By: Angela Parlin

Some nights, my little girl stops me from heading out of her bedroom after I’ve tucked her in.

Before I move on to the next kid’s room, she needs me to help her sort through scary questions, unfathomable for a just-turned-9 year-old. Matters of life and death and everything in-between.

It’s a gift to talk deep with her, because I get to point her to the HOPE I know, again and again.

I get to help her see where Jesus resides within the gains and the losses of this world.

But it also tears my heart out. She’s seen enough now to know it’s not all going to be okay. Not in the way we would like it to be.

She’s seen the broken way of things here. She’s walked through loss and several near-losses with us. She’s wiped tears and cut out pink heart-shaped cards, adding stickers and cursive I love you’s. She’s served up comfort in mugs of hot tea with a side of dark chocolate & almonds.

She knows things I wish she didn’t know.

It’s a terrible world, one with ISIS and earthquakes and anger and leaving and loss. It’s a world where we sometimes shake our heads and cry and say I don’t know. I don’t understand.

Recently a friend of ours lost his sister suddenly. She was younger than me.

She’d had a hard run, and when he stood to speak at her funeral, he said, It seemed like she could never really catch a break in life.

He shared what he has left of her, his memories. He talked about how she loved to put together 5,000-piece puzzles, and laughed that there was one currently spread across a table at Mom and Dad’s house–missing that one piece like always. Then he asked a question, and it left a lasting picture in my mind.

What’s the most important part of a puzzle?

It’s the top of the box. The completed view.

The picture of how things are supposed to look in the end.

Without that, we don’t know where we’re headed.

Without it, the puzzle doesn’t make sense.

That day, remembering his sister, was a little like putting together a puzzle without the box top. Without that one missing piece.

Why did God allow it? We don’t know. Will it all be okay? Yes, and also no.

What we do know: Jesus resides within the loss. It hurts, and God still moves. He is working toward the good of drawing us each to Him. One day, the losses will end. He will bring so much beauty out of all this chaos.

It will be okay, but only because Jesus never loses the view of the top of the box.

It will be okay, because of Who God is–the Eternal God and the Everlasting Father. Because He is Good and He cares for us. Because He is full of Mercy and Kindness and Grace. It will be okay, because we trust in Him, even when we don’t understand.

We see blurred images in this mirror, but one day we will see clearly.

Life is a puzzle, and today we’re missing the finished view.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, NLT

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Angela Parlin

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.

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Sometimes, Failing Precedes Blessings

failing precedes blessings

There he was, Jesus, tugging the weight of the world on his shoulders, straight up the road to his demise. He trudged along, weighted. He proceeded by faith, bent over. Heart and body, likely splintered. By all accounts, Jesus, looked like he was failing and failing badly, very badly. His Messiah mission fell, His name apparently couldn’t save, His cause was causing people to laugh, mock and taunt him.

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” Mt. 27:39-40

People anti-worshipped him by outpouring disgust.

“Fix it!” they screamed.
“If you are so great, why do you look so bad?” they yelled.
“If you trust your God, why has he let you down so badly?” they ensued.

Are you hearing the same?

Does it look like you’ve been left on the side carrying failure?

That you are destined to be hurt?

That God isn’t coming through for you?

Sometimes, I feel I am falling into the great abyss of obscurity and aloneness. I see the black storm. I see myself as homeless.

These storms make our future look dim.

We continue to drink, even though we wanted to quit.
We figure we will never shed that last 10 pounds.
We react in anger and try no different.
We gossip, then do it again and again.
We figure we will always be stuck in a dead-end job.
We have no hope for our marraige.
We decide our kids will always be ingrates.
We accept rejection at work and no longer try.
We feel like a sub-par Christian and accept that as truth.
We believe we will always be in debt.
And on and on it goes…but, no doubt about it – it will never end well – for us.

What if Jesus, by all accounts,
saw the circumstances and declared himself destined to be a loser?

He could have –
if he lived by the comments, claims and convictions of the world around him.
If he chose to believe doubts over faith.
If he didn’t believe in a good, good daddy.
If he didn’t know that a Saving God, always saves.

But, he didn’t.

Jesus believed victory was on the brink and didn’t let his mind sink.  

He kept walking…even though.
He kept ministering…even though.
He kept his mind on heavenly…even though.
He thought about forgiving us…even though.
Even though, he was hanging on a limb in gut-wrenching agony.

He thought of us.
He is still is.
He is thinking of you and where you stand.
He is thinking of that standing place as his victory-place.

Will you sink by how you think
or will you rise keeping your eyes on the prize?

I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

Jesus’ situation looked bleak.
It looked heavy.
It looks so bad the ones he loved ran away in fear.

But here is how it turned out, here is what he was right on the brink of:
He was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures—and is still alive! (1 Cor. 15:4)

He is still alive and still saving us.
He is still alive and still pleading for us.
He is still alive and still making a way for us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
And so through 
him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2 Cor. 1:20)

His answer to your heart is – yes! Yes, he will do the amazing for you, according to his will, if only you believe.

And we all say, Amen.

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Believe

Post by: Jami Amerine

I believe.
I believe in Jesus Christ, only son of the Father.
I believe He died for me.
I believe He rose from the dead.
I believe He ascended into Heaven.
I believe He will come again.

I believe.

But sometimes, I forget that this belief means so much more because of who it is I believe.

Recently our oldest son, who is severely dyslexic, decided he wants to go to medical school.  He came to my husband and me and said, “I think I am supposed to be a doctor.”

Not for one moment did I doubt him.

I homeschooled John for the better part of his academic career this far.

I know.

I know first-hand that the road he just ventured onto will be hard. When I say hard, I mean “reads at a 5th grade level” hard, or so the test makers tell me. But I have seen the work of this man-baby, I have witnessed a determination in him like no other.

I believe.

It is one thing for John to believe he can do all things through Christ who is his strength. It is another thing for someone else to believe he can do it.  And on the evening after John’s announcement I made arrangements for him to test into the university near our home, my alma mater.  A tightness grew in my chest as I recounted the days of dreaded placement and diagnostic testing. For just a moment I entertained, “what if…”

I quickly shook off the thought.

I believe.

And somewhere on the still evening air, a warm sound swept over me.

I was bathed in peace.
I was slain by love.
I was certain the sound was audible.
The breath of my Lord comforted me and I heard Him say, I believed first.

Yes.

The Alpha and the Omega, the God of Isreal, Maker of Heaven and Earth believes in my boy’s abilities to be fulfilled, the good work that this God created him for cannot be impossible.  It cannot be measured by human standards.  And in that moment, I am further struck with the reality – He believes in me too.

As much as I strive to love and serve this Mighty and Mysterious God, as many times as I have proclaimed my adoration, as often as I have shouted “YES LORD! I believe!”

He believed first.

He believed all those years ago on a hill, nailed to a cross.
He believed as He descended into the abyss.
He continued to believe as He walked that road to Emmaus.
And when He ascended back to the Father, He believed without a doubt.
He believed in me at the dawn of my conception.
He believed in me as I took my first steps.
He believed when I fell away from Him, when I rejected Him.
He believed in my daughter-ship, He believed I would return.

He still believes. He believes even when I am at my worst.

He believes.

He believes that the good work He began in me will be carried through to bring Him glory.

This is magnificent to me.  When I am in doubt, when I am afraid, when I can’t bring myself to believe, He who dwells in me… believes.

So great His belief he took His petition, His deep and unshakable beliefs, and died for me on the Cross.

Who am I that He who measures the depth of the sea

and counts the feathers on the songbird,

believes in me?

I believe I am the daughter of the God of All.

I believe my son, a newly accepted Pre-Med student at my alma mater, is the son of the God of all.

I believe I am a foster mom, when I was the most terrified woman on the planet.  Afraid I would get hurt, afraid of the brokenness, I believed in the calling from my God.

I believe I am an adoptive mom of two precious boys, I believe in all seven of my children.

I believe I am an author, when everyone said, “It’s too hard to get published.”

I believe I am a sinner, desperate for a goodness I am incapable of on my own.

I believe in an unseen God who first believed.

Who am I that He believes in me?  I am a believer in Him.  He is mighty to save. He is mighty to deliver.  He believes in the impossible for He was able to conquer death, death on the cross – for me.

And for you.

He believes in us, dear friend.  He believed so greatly in us – and His Father loved us so, that He took it to the grave.  Meet Him there. Crumpled at the foot of the cross cry out the hurt, the disappointment, and the fear. For even if the only words you can muster are… I believe.  Know He will honor and care for you. He will deliver you and conquer that which terrorizes you.  He will make all things new. He will make it all work together for good.

The great I am, your Father in Heaven… He who first believed.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

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