Someone sitting on a couch of complacency, who now grabs a remote more than the Word of God, whose heart feels let down by God – needs to hear this. It is why I am dedicating this blog post to this very person.
Get back up again.
You have not been forgotten. You’ve not been left behind. Just because you’ve pulled away, does not mean that God is pulling away from you. He’s not. He’s pulling even closer. He’s chasing you down, pursuing you, on this very blog page. He’s letting you know that he sees. He sees your tightly clenched jaw. He sees the way you’re shying away from talking to him. He sees your insides that ache. He sees your loss. Your grief. Your shame. He sees your feelings that say – I cannot continue.
He knows when you lay down or when you get up. He’s got every single move, all your thoughts, all your ways and all your actions in his hands. He’s deeply familiar with you (Ps. 139:1-2).
You are not outside His vision. You have not journeyed to wild places where God doesn’t exist, lost friend. That’s impossible! It’s simply impossible to go where he isn’t. He’s everywhere.
I look behind me and you’re there,
then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. Ps. 139
It’s about here, you say: But, Kelly, it’s my shame that keeps me from him. I feel too embarrassed. I’ve gone too far away now, you say.
I say, no one is ever too far for God. We were far, but now are close. Jesus dropped from the paradise of heaven to hit the grime- and stink-laden earth. Why? He came close so we don’t have to live far forever. He took our shame and owned it, to annihilate forever shame. His body broke, so ours could be repaired, restored and renewed according to his glorious riches. He felt agony, so we could learn peace. Jesus cried out so one day we will cry no more, our every tear will be wiped away by Him.
My friend, when you’re in Him, you’re in righteousness – not temporary, but permanent; not moody, but consistent; not dependent on you, but independent of you. He is in you. Period.
Remind yourself of these 3 things:
1. It is done.
2. It is finished.
3. I am secure today and tomorrow, in this minute and the next, in this situation or the next.
When we remember Jesus won our security, we can, once again, get up in victory.
Then Jesus said to him,
“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” Jo. 5:8
Friend, pick yourself up and walk. You’re not as incapacitated as you’ve told yourself. You’re not as sick as you want to believe. You’re not as ruined as circumstances say. You’re not as done as the enemy says. Forget all that…
Walk, I say! Walk, He says!
Enough is enough, because God is enough. What He gives is enough.
And, time is awastin’, days are a progressin’ yet, better said, God’s love endures forever. It is behind you, with you and moving for you. Go with it. Head to the great places He’s prepared in advance for you. Don’t miss the chance! Step in! Grab Jesus. You’ll come alive in ways you’ve never experienced on your safety mat. Get up!
***Bloggers…When I wrote this, I felt sure there was someone who desperately needed this message. Perhaps it is one of your readers. I pray we reach that person so their heart can be restored in truth, love and security. May your heart feel blessed too. Much love to you all!
Sin. It’s a tricky thin, isn’t it? Those of us in Christ don’t want to participate in it, but somehow we easily fall prey to it. We all know there is no hierarchy when it comes to sin. Lust is just as wrong as adultery. Anger is just as wrong as murder. It all quenches the Holy Spirit and it all breaks the Father’s heart.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15
Recently, I had 3 consecutive weekends of attending 3 ridiculously dynamic women’s conferences. I was literally on the highest of highs. It was amazing! I am very much still processing all that God spoke to me and all that He did during those 3 weeks. He marked me beyond words.
After all of that spiritual activity, the enemy hit me hard. I don’t normally attribute much to him, but this was nothing but him. He was waging war for my soul in the worst way. He attacked my mind with no holds barred.
I don’t tend to deal with outward sins as much as I do with inward ones. You know the ones I’m talking about…envy, comparison, anger, bitterness, apathy, etc… The list really could go on and on. If you’re anything like me, those inward sins can bring more shame and guilt than the outward ones. It’s quite easy to hide these sins from the world. Honestly, the shame and guilt came very close to knocking me out for the count. I felt as though I was spiraling out of control. The past few weeks of battle came out of nowhere. I had been beautifully walking out my calling. God had been opening many doors of connection and I had experienced some of the sweetest times of prayer and worship.
One of the events I attended was Beth Moore’s conference called LIT. It was geared to women in their 20s and 30s. Christy Nockels led Heaven touching worship. And Beth, along with Jennie Allen, Priscilla Shirer, Christine Caine and Melissa Moore all shared about this call to communicate. Everyone spoke to the fact that it is a weighty call and there is a cost to it. In order to fulfill this call, we need to first be filled. This filling ONLY comes from time spent in the secret place of God and us. This time with God is not reserved for those who may minister from a public platform. It is for EVERY believer because we all minister and share Christ in some way. We all have a measure of influence.
I’ve been contemplating how such a door was opened in my life for the enemy to slip in could have occurred. I know I’m a flawed human, but I never want that to be an excuse for me to be comfortable living in sin.
Realize the enemy will attack who God has created you to be.
A week ago, I heard a sermon about how the enemy will specifically come for us in direct opposition to who we are. I hadn’t ever thought of that before. If we are a person of faith, He will bring doubt. If we are pure in heart, he will bring corrupt thoughts. If we have the gift of healing, he will bring illness. He sees our potential. He wants to destroy that potential by whatever means necessary. He wants to destroy the impact that God wants to accomplish through us.
The key to fighting this is to pray against him breaking any strongholds he is using to keep us bound. And then, we replace those thoughts with Scriptures that call out our identity and God’s desire for us.
Don’t let the enemy bring dissension.
I am all about community, but over the past few months, the enemy has been working overtime to create division among several friends and me. He has authored confusion and offense and all manner of hurt feelings. In those times, we are to pursue unity despite our emotions. Our emotions say isolate. The enemy wants us to isolate. But the Lord’s heart is for us to be in fellowship.
We must have brave, hard communication. We speak truth in love and always share our hearts in grace.
Camp out in the secret place.
Everything flows out of the secret place. Everything we do. Everything we say. All that we are flows from this place. Anything done in our own strength will falter and fail. The Holy Spirit must be our strength. He is the only source of power in our lives. Much of that power is harnessed when we allow Him to renew our minds in His promises. This power can only be accessed when we have spent time alone with Him in prayer, worship and studying His Word.
This time is non-negotiable. If we forgo it, we forgo everything. We forfeit the word He wants to speak to our hearts. We forfeit all of the good works He prepared for us. We forfeit the ministry that would touch the lives of others so that they may come to know Him. This time in the secret place is how we overcome and walk in victory.
I want to live in such a way where I am aware of the enemy’s schemes and where He doesn’t have such easy access to me. I don’t ever want him to think he can easily deter me from my calling and purpose.
Let us live in the overflow of the secret place…
Overwhelmed by His presence Over our heads in His Word Overcome by His wonder
Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.
Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”
I love Rachel Macy Stafford. I’m her fan – a fan of her heart, a fan of her work and a fan of her authentic pursuit of life. She knows all this. But, what she doesn’t know is, I often, desperately need her words. Some days are just too hard – and then I get hard on myself. Some days are just too overwhelming and I lose control. Some days are a punch in the gut; her words bring me back to life. They revive me. This is what her new book, “ONLY LOVE TODAY” is – it is fresh air, new hope and an opportunity to try again. I can’t rave about it – or her – enough. I am a fan.
Here is Rachel’s Story (Comment and share this post on social media to win her new book, ONLY LOVE TODAY):
“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process
is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” – Brené Brown
It been almost two years since my friend lost her sister to cancer. She still talks about it—the pain and disbelief, the pressure to move on, the things that help and the things that don’t. She talks about the good days and the nearly indescribably bad days.
I listen to everything she offers. I tuck it away for safekeeping. With my friend’s help, I’ll know a better thing to say when someone hurts. With her help, I have some perspective on inconsequential problems when they’re getting more attention than they deserve.
Each time my friend shares her struggles, triumphs, and truths, I am struck with admiration and awe. She never wanted to be an expert on grief, but she is. She never wanted to know what words and actions bring a moment of solace to an aching soul, but she does. This is now my friend’s story, and as much as she’d like to deny it, she’s chosen to own it—quite bravely and brilliantly, I might add.
I thought of my friend and her unchosen expertise when I had a CT scan shortly after her sister’s passing. It was the first time I laid beneath a big scary machine and held my breath for dear life. When the machine began to inch forward slowly, I thought of my friend and her story. I wasn’t sure how my story was going to play out, but I decided I would own it. Tell my close friends. Say, “I’m scared,” when I felt scared. Ask for help when I was in pain. Above all, I knew it was important to pay attention. So I vowed to take it all in—the good and bad. Perhaps I’d discover something worth sharing in the process.
Four weeks after the CT scan that saved my left kidney and possibly my life, I was home from the hospital. I was swollen and sore. I was groggy on pain meds. I was having trouble thinking of words. I was kind of a mess, but I had something I felt must be said. I pulled my laptop computer gingerly onto my lap and typed some words to my friends and family on social media. I remember worrying for a brief moment if there were incomplete sentences, misspelled words, and extra periods. Words were blurry through my grateful, teary eyes, but I pushed ‘publish’ anyway. Here is an excerpt:
“I am home from the hospital recovering from kidney surgery and feeling incredibly thankful to be here. It’s been many months of infection and uncertainty, but I finally have peace. I am on my way to more years, more love, more life. My little public service announcement in the midst of this overwhelming gratitude is this: If you feel like something is not right in your body or mind, please don’t dismiss that feeling. Make an appointment today. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get or things do not improve, keep searching. Keep asking. Keep listening. Keep going until you get answers. You are the only one who can truly look after you. And your people need you to be here.”
An interesting thing happened. Two of my neighbors contacted me over the next few weeks to tell me those words prompted them to action. One of them made an appointment regarding a persistent pain she’d neglected to look into. Another friend said she’d been worried about her spouse’s health and my words were the perfect words to offer him.
Through my life’s mess, I provided a vital message.
Thank you, God.
In that moment, I felt better than I had in months. The uncertainty and pain I’d endured weren’t all for naught. For the first time, I saw my story not a curse, but as a blessing. It was a blessing to be the messenger.
Perhaps you sit here today in a mess you haven’t shared yet. Maybe you thought it had to be all figured out before you told someone. Maybe you thought it had to have a happy ending before it could all be revealed. Maybe you thought you had to have perfect punctuation and periods in all the right places for it to be seen. I hope I can help you see your life’s mess in a new way. This is what came out in a tiny notebook during my first walk outside after having two surgeries in one month. Perhaps there’s something here for you …
Owning Your Story
You never wanted to know how to survive divorce.
You never wanted to know the joys and heartaches of autism.
You never wanted to know the signs of addiction.
But you do.
You never wanted to know rock bottom.
You never wanted to know how to leave an abusive relationship.
You never wanted to know it was possible to bounce back after a financial crisis.
But you do.
You never wanted to know the pain of caring for a parent who doesn’t remember you.
You never wanted to be the strong one.
You never wanted to know the car could be a safe place to cry.
But you do.
You never wanted to know a family could break.
You never wanted to know how to put the pieces back together in a new way.
You never wanted to know a new normal.
But you do.
You never wanted to know the perfect response when someone stares at your child.
You never wanted to know the courage it takes to ask for help.
You never wanted to know how to find joy after having lost it for so long.
But you do.
You never wanted to know when it’s time to sever the ties in order to have inner peace.
You never wanted to know how hard it is to say yourself, “Change begins today. My loved ones deserve better.”
You never wanted to know the weight that can be lifted when you say to yourself, “It wasn’t my fault.”
But you do. You do.
And perhaps as time has passed you’ve discovered that to deny your story hurts more than the story itself, so you’ve chosen to own it.
To speak out, even when your voice shakes.
To tell the truth, even when it’s not pretty.
To encourage someone else, even when you can barely encourage yourself.
To get up and face the world, even when you can barely look at yourself in the mirror.
The tears that streak your face at the most inopportune times of the day, at the most inappropriate moments, are the lines of your story. And each time you own it, someone else is not alone in hers or his. Your jumbled mess, whether whispered as a prayer to one or shouted courageously to a room of hundreds, could be the message someone needs right now. Perhaps by sharing our story, pain will ease and hope will find its voice.
You there in your mess: Thank you for being. Your life is a message. And through your story, there is power to save.
Comment and share this post on social media to win Rachel’s new book, ONLY LOVE TODAY.
What you just read is a small sample of what you will find in Rachel Macy Stafford’s highly anticipated new book, ONLY LOVE TODAY: Reminders to Breathe More, Stress Less, and Choose Love (release date 3/7).
With a unique flip-open, read-anytime/anywhere format, this book is soulful encouragement for busy individuals yearning to anchor themselves in love despite everyday distractions, pressures, and discord.
ONLY LOVE TODAY began as a mantra to overcome her inner bully, but it is now the practice of Rachel Macy Stafford’s life. It can be yours too. Click here to order.
Click here to learn the easy step to receiving your collection of hand-lettered pre-order bonus gifts! #onlylovetoday
Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
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:
Get frustrated and angry at ourselves, declaring we are faulted and worthless. We heap guilt upon ourselves.
Decide God has left us and turn away from Him, because, we figure, he turned away from us.
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
This morning, I walked downstairs and pulled open my cabinet. Bleary-eyed, I reached for a Keurig pod and lamented that the counters weren’t wiped last night. I pull open a drawer. The silverware is askew. Random items are hodge-podged all over the drawer.
Hours later, reach into the cabinet above my computer. Paper nearly falls on my head. This time, rather than trying to shut the door quickly, I stare at it. It looks like a hurricane hit a lawyer’s office. I hate it. I hate myself.
What if someone sees this mess? What if someone knew behind the white doors of my life,
there is mayhem and mismanagement?
What if someone knew I don’t fold my kids clothes, but just stuff them in drawers? Or that a room in my basement is dedicated to boxes – of piled up junk? Or my garage never fits my cars?
What if someone saw – I look disheveled?
Not enough. Imperfect. Not so good.
What I am inclined to do – is fear: I’ll never be better than me. I’ll never meet the standard I am supposed to. I’ll always have hidden mess. And, for all this, you’ll surely abandon me. Judge me, too.
I hide things.
What fear makes you want to hide? What makes you want to stuff things away?
This mere method marks a woman with shame. Anytime we hide rather than turn towards God and thrive, we abide in shame. It’s simple.
This is why I wrote the book Fear Fighting. I was tired of hiding and running; a girl is never seen when she does this. The core of who God made you to be – is out of sight. Not only this, but the constant shuffling of feet to keep your heart calm and in control, wears on a soul.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. Jo. 14:27
If Jesus already left me perpetual peace, I no longer have to live a habitual war…
I don’t have to live in constant fear. The idea thrills me!
Jesus will bind my wounds.
He will release me from the bars that contain me.
He will take what I feel powerless to change and love on it.
He will see my mess, hold it and rework it.
He will accept me no matter what.
He will lead me to new found peace.
I want more. Do you?
Fear Fighting was my desperation cry to God. I wanted to stop trembling with uncertainty so I could walk with certainty into God’s greatest callings. I wanted to leave behind trepidation so I could walk with bold dedication into his purposes. I wanted to exchange jealousy and comparison for the life-charging power of love and grace.
I called out; God answered. I prayed; he healed. I showed him what is behind the doors of my life; he embraced me. I continue this cycle often. This is a fear fight.
I have a great desire to be a Size 6 and for firm thighs and flat tummy. However, why do I equate my physical shape with the depths of my salvation?
They are hardly the same thing.
Somewhere in the twists and turns of thought and belief, I have convinced myself my mind is lacking. I further the insanity by affirming said ideas when I look in the mirror. What is this malady of lies I foster and feed? When did I first believe that my appearance formulated my spirit? If tomorrow I were to meet with an accident and lost a limb would I believe in Jesus any less?
By no means.
Would a handicap define me as lacking in my belief that Jesus died so that I might walk in the freedom of my salvation?
We used to live and work at a Bible Camp. The camp director often challenged the campers to move from being takers to being givers. He explained that it was a sign of maturity to focus on giving instead of getting.
People are hurting, grieving, accusing, and fighting. People are taking jabs at one another in light of the pain they are feeling. People are pointing fingers and striving to be heard above the roar. Some are spitting out venom, in hate. Some are even using fists to crush.
I’m afraid we are a sorry bunch as we walk around bruised, mocked, and wounded.
Yet, I have hope. I have hope that the Spirit of God who resides within us will lead the way through the gray.
We have the holy honor to give instead of take.
May we offer empathy as the hurting gather near.
As we pass the mashed potatoes, may we dish out compassion. As we fill up glasses, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those around the table, may we focus on what we already have—not what we lack. As we partake of what’s been given, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice (of family, of employers, of military, of leaders).
As we gather around the table, may we remember that table spread all those years ago—the bread torn, the wine poured. The Body broken, the Blood spilled—that we might receive the very thing we lacked; salvation.
I’m afraid we have forgotten to be thankful for the One who was bruised, mocked and killed on our behalf.
Jesus stood silently before the angry crowd. He heard their false accusations yet He forgave them still.
Jesus demonstrated great restraint in order to extend a Greater Love.
He is Hope. May we offer Him our life.
May we follow in His steps…
As we pass the marginalized, may we hand out compassion. As we fill our social media feeds, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those with whom we disagree, may we focus on what what we share—not where we differ. As we partake of His grace, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice of our Savior.
Let’s remember the Ultimate Giver—of life, of salvation, of hope. Our sin separated us from God yet Jesus came to bridge the gap. We can be restored through Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice, if we believe and receive.
Let’s build a bridge, instead of a wedge—not through compromise of the Word, but by following Jesus’ example to love others—even when it’s not reciprocated.
Let’s give thanks for life, and breath, and everything else. Let’s take time to pray for the restoration of this upside down place we find ourselves, in this season.
The Perfect One is here. The Unchanging One is near. Jesus has taken our sin, this we believe. He has given us salvation, this we receive. It is done. King Jesus has won!
God will turn the upside down, right side up. He can heal the hurt. He can set the captives free. He can draw all men to Himself. He can do anything.
And so, we have hope!
We give praise that He is able. We take stock of His good and precious promises. We give up the right to control. We take up the sword of the Spirit. We lay down our pride. We put on the armor of Love.
We gather around the table and we offer Grace.
It’s Good News, after all.
Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
In order to put on my ski clothes, I had to tug on long johns. Then, I’d layer super-tight, hard-to-get-on socks. One after another, I’d put everything on until my legs felt like they were the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Only then, would I pull on my snow pants, the final covering that prevented all cold water from entering the warmth that was under the coverings.
There was a process to the putting-on. I couldn’t just start and end with the outer shell of snow pants. If I did, I’d go through the night freezing.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col. 3:12
Compassion. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience.
These are great things. We run after them. Daily we attempt to put them on, don’t we?
I know I do…
I wake in the morning and tell myself, today, I am going to be compassionate and kind. I am going to speak gently and tenderly to my children. Two minutes later, I blast them. Their faces look plastered with shock at my poorly chosen words. Sorry?
I also whisper to the Lord, “I am humble. I want to walk in low places with you.” Ten minutes later, I think, “I could have done that ten times better.” Whoops!
I try to move towards gentleness and patience, saying, “Watch out world!” Halfway through the day, I am tapping my toe and giving the evil eye to the car that’s moving at a snails pace.” Go figure.
What God calls me to put on – falls off halfway through the day.
Ever noticed this happens to you? Every wondered why?
I’ve noticed, I put on the shell of good acts, but what lays under is empty. Underneath, I have not layered myself up, with God, so I can endure the cold times of my day. This discourages us. It causes me to think, “I can never do this Christian faith thing,” “I will always fail” or “There’s no use for me.”
Do you feel like there is now hope for you too?
Like try you may, but you will always fail?
What if we have it all wrong? I can’t help but think, God didn’t just tell us to “do”, there is a whole other component – a component I often forget about. Take a second look at the first part of that verse above: “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” (Col. 3:12)
First things first, friends.
Embracing the goodness of God, lets you live the goodness of God.
To feel embraced, you must layer up:
Layer 1: You are chosen. God picked you. He wanted you. He will use you. He has plans for you.
Layer 2: You are holy. His hanging on the cross, earned your holy status. Nothing can remove that from you.
Layer 3: You are dearly loved. You are loved from above and even when you act dumb, still, you are loved.
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance… (1 Pet. 1:14)
As ones internally covered with God’s garment of grace, mercy and love, like children who need what God has, let us draw near to God’s warmth, so we may go to the cold places of the world.
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My foot slipped. I couldn’t catch myself, not with the bundle of love I had in my hands. I took the fall. Rather than grabbing the railing or even putting a hand down to break the fall, I let my hip hit the stairs – hard. I held on to her. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
Boom! Boom! Boom! The impact left my hip sore for weeks. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
She didn’t even so much as touch the floor. She was saved. After the thrill of her ride, she got up, laughing, she was scuff-free.
God loves to save us from our worst falls. He lifts us right above them. Child. Must. Be. Safe.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10
A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Ps. 91:7
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4
You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Ps. 40:11
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Ps. 63:7
For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Ps. 27:5
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Ps. 46:1
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.
You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Ps. 18:35-36
…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6
You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Ps. 119:114
I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14
As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Ps. 18:30
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Ro. 8:31
But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Ps. 3:3
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Sam. 22:32
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Mt. 26:53
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Ps. 9:9
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Ps. 62:2
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thes. 3:3
No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. Is. 54:17
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. Ps. 138:7
…but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jo. 5:18
Child. Must. Be. Safe.
When you fall down the stairs of life, there is one who will run to your rescue. His name is Deliverer. Fear not, he goes with you.
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A few days ago I received a reminder of this. Even when we think they’re not listening or won’t be interested in the conversation, they hear. They pay attention. And yes, they take interest.
In the process of running my mouth to my husband on a phone call I thought was private, I transferred worry. My eight-year-old son who should be thinking about Santa Claus or how he’s going to finagle his next piece of candy was worrying about his baby sister instead.
Because I was worrying about his baby sister.
Our fears have a way of spreading, don’t they? Like they’re contagious. We think we’re carrying these burdens by ourselves, as though the weight of them may crush us. And then out of nowhere we see the weight is also being carried by others. Other loved ones. Other friends and members of the church body.
The crazy part though? It isn’t being carried in a way that lightens our load. We don’t feel any release. They’re anxious because we’re anxious. Instead of releasing the burden, we hold onto it, unaware of its virus-like effect.
A few days after the phone call with my husband, we put the kids to bed and sunk into the couch, watching mind-numbing TV on Netflix. He told me our son had confided in him about what he’d heard.
“I’m afraid Elise’s heart rate will drop, Dadda,” he had said.
When my husband asked why he was worried about this, big brother said, “Well, Mama is worried her heart rate will drop, so I’m worried too.”
My heart nearly broke.
I realized my son was becoming a mini version of me, fretting about the unknown neither one of us could control.
I thought about all the time I spent racing down endless trails of what-ifs. Now my son was adapting this habit that would only add to the circles under his eyes. The thought of it made me feel a knot in the pit of my stomach, and it wasn’t his baby sister.
A few days later, my mind went to 1 Peter and his thoughts on anxiety.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 NIV
I’ll admit, many times I’ve heard these words and thought, “What does that even mean?” The command seemed good in theory, but putting it into practice was vague and muddled to me.
But this time as pondered the verse, I thought about what Peter did for a living: fish. He cast his net repeatedly out into the water, hoping for a catch that would sustain.
Then I thought about how heavy those nets must have been. Like all of our problems we carry day after day, and how releasing that net must have felt like releasing the weight of the world.
Peter was a skilled fisherman, but once he released his net he ultimately had no control over the outcome. The fish could come or swim away. They could fill his net or fill someone else’s.
Casting our cares carries the same concept.
The cast is the release of control. Instead of fretting and running through endless scenarios in an attempt to micro-manage, we release the problem to God.
All the troubles we carried in our net become God’s to bear. The One who was in control all along takes the weight we were never intended to endure.
When I unknowingly cast my worry on my firstborn, he tried to carry it, but his tiny frame was too small. He was never meant to bear its load, so he and I both had to release it to the One who holds the future.
As we cast our nets, we still can’t see what lies ahead. But we know baby sister will be just fine.
Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.