Purposeful Faith

Tag - life

My Jaw-Drop Moment

Moment

Getting rid of my furniture, indeed, was hard. As each person came to pick up their new goods, a little part of me went out the door with the cushions, the tables, and the lamps…. It’s just stuff, Kelly! 

But, it was my stuff!

So, trying to make the best of a hard situation, we turned on music. My three-year-old daughter jumped around and my son ran all over the room. We sang words about God’s faithfulness, goodness, and promises. But, I never expected what happened next…

Son took all his money, contained in a large Ziploc bag. The pennies, quarters, and dimes he’d been saving for weeks. The money he’d earned through lemonade stands, house chores and online book sales. The pile he’d been guarding like a military soldier. He dug deep into the bag and – fistful by fistful – he threw it in the air so it landed before the throne of God.

“More. I’ll give God, more,” He’d say, returning to the bag, until it was all gone.

Why? He said, “I felt God wanted me to give this money to him.”

My son gave his treasure. He said: It’s all God’s.

What I have: is all God’s.
What you have: is all God’s.

How do we use God’s money to bless Him?

After our worship session was done, I asked my son if he wanted to give that money to our church. He said, “No mom, I still want to get a drone.”

And, while, for a moment, I was unsure about his reply, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, God doesn’t guilt us into giving.

“God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

I mentioned to my son he might want to: think about sharing it, let a friend borrow or ask God how he can use it in a way that serves his purpose.

How might God be calling you to honor him with your resources – your time, your passions, your money, your heart, your life, or your living room furniture? How might it look to adorn his throne with what you’ve been given?

It’s all His. It’s all entrusted to you. It’s all waiting to be used for his glory, with no guilt attached.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

How is Your Heart?

I’ve been watching the show, The Partner. In this show, Marcus Lemonis, puts many to the test but is selecting one right-hand-man or woman to be his partner. He puts each person through the wringer: he tests their knowledge of financial statements, has them run their own businesses, and places them in high-tension sales situations.

In a different way, God, also, is looking for just the right person…

…will He find you?

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chron. 16:9)

Just as Marcus noticed how his contestants endured under fire, God notices as well. Not with the goal of eliminating us, but much with the same goal – of promoting us.

Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Lu. 16:10)

Have you considered, the tests God is permitting are because he knows you’ll prove yourself strong, steadfast and worthy to move to greater things? Have you considered – he believes in you? Have you realized – he desires to move you into great and glorious things for his making?

At the end of the show, The Partner, there was 2 woman left: one was a Harvard genius the other was humble and willing to learn.

Marcus chose the second. I believe God often does too.

Where is your heart? Are you willing to learn? Or, are you set in your ways?

Notice: In 2 Chronicles 16:9, God didn’t say his eyes roam the earth for the best person, the wisest or the most qualified, he said he roams the earth to strengthen hearts “fully committed” to him.

To have a heart “fully” committed is to:

  1. Ask God to search your heart.
  2. Be willing to see what needs change.
  3. To be humble enough to consider doing things differently.
  4. To be open to God’s leading as he helps you do things differently.
  5. To recycle, over and over again, items 1-4 above.

I believe, for this person: new doors are opened, their life is changed, and God’s hand blesses them in tremendous ways. Today, check your heart.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Renew Your Weary Perspective

A few years ago, I thought I wanted a big house. I wanted massive square feet. I wanted a big yard, a long driveway and grass to plant flowers. I wanted it all. At least I thought. Until, I realized what I didn’t want: I didn’t want house problems, like leaks. I didn’t want snow plowing, every winter. I didn’t want, lawn mowing bills every week. I didn’t want house cleaning all the time. I didn’t want furniture bills up to my neck. I didn’t want housework without kid playtime. I didn’t want to live far away from friends. And, I didn’t want to feel like I was drowning under house chores.

That year, we sold the house – at a huge loss.

In retrospect, I realize, after selling the house, I stood at a decision point…

I could either wallow in my misery, thinking, I always lose money. I wasted so much cash on furniture I didn’t need. I cannot figure things out. I’ll always be lost. I’ll forever feel I don’t belong.

Or, I could recognize the issue, bring it to God, reframe my situation, and think differently. Like this:

Money comes and goes, but God’s care and providence for me endure forever.

Worth is what I invest in heaven, not what I see here.

My value is not my home, but God’s vast love for me.

What issue do you face? What seems to impossible to fix? How might you reframe it?

Begin by infusing into your problem what you’re thankful for. Then, move to praising your God for who he is thru your problem. End by requesting from God for eyes to see your problem afresh.

And always remember: There is no victory Christ can’t bring.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

When You Hate What God Gave

God Gave

My 3-year old daughter and I were playing a game. She was behind a box “counter”, I stood in front of it: ordering. I was supposed to buy some food, because, this was a restaurant.

I told her I wanted a salad and ice-cream. Trying to be good, but wanting to indulge, this was my kind of order. Add a chocolate dip to the ice cream and this is what summers are made of. I digress…

Anyway, daughter fixed up my food, looked me in the eye, while handing over my imaginary goodies, and declared “Now, you get what you get and you don’t get upset.”

My jaw dropped. She nailed it.

So many of us internally chide our self with this same kind of diatribe, as if God says this to us. As if this is how we are supposed to cope with life. As if, we are meant to get a crumb and tell our stomach to feel okay with it. Now don’t get upset!!!

Surely, I know this verse: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil. 4:12)

Yet, somehow I think we’ve got it all wrong. God never told us to lie.

Yet, we’re convinced we must show the world we are strong, we tell our self, “We get what we get and we don’t get upset.”

Outside we look like a gracious kid at a candy shop, while inside we are throwing a fit like an irate toddler because we’re unseen by the world, unrecognized for who we are and uncared for.

I notice Paul, in the verse above, mentions the words, “I have learned. . .”  Why are we ashamed of learning? Of journeying? Of admitting we feel the struggle?

So often, we already can sense when this is the case with someone. Why do we hide so?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:18).

Today, consider this: In the light of God’s glory, there is no shame in transforming.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

How to Go Easy On Yourself

Go Easy

Does your mind hone in on what you do wrong, more often what God is doing right?

Maybe you’re quick to notice your quick temper, the error of all your past ways — your choices, your parenting style, your marriage mannerisms.  Or, maybe you’ve made some horrible financial decisions and found yourself at a loss. Usually, there is an area in our lives we hate; sometimes it is our thighs.

We are good at circling problem areas and critiquing them. Somehow, as women, we give ourselves permission to whine to each other. We think, it’s fine to share our worst, don’t brag about your best though.

So, we do. And, we learn to do this in our mind too.

I hate that I hate playing silly games with my kids. I don’t listen well either. I always give in to my kids. They always, nearly get what they want. Oh, I’ve been afraid to do spankings. I have a whole list of things I can improve on; I am aware of them.

I think of them as often as I think about what to eat next. They are a record of wrongs that follows me. Which is why, I needed some reprieve from them. And, fortunately, I found it.

I was in the kitchen, 6-year old so came in and said, “Hey Mommy, earlier, I almost ate the box of cookies in the pantry, but then I didn’t.”

I laughed it off.

The next day, he looked at me and said, “Mommy, I almost pulled all the toilet paper off the roll, but then I didn’t.”

And, it was at this point that wisdom hit me like a hammer: I can choose to see what I am not doing, or I can choose to see how I am improving. By focusing on how I am improving I remember important things.

I remember:

I am being sanctified, upgraded day-by-day, into the image of Christ (1 Cor. 6:11).
I am moving from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:8).
I am growing (Ro. 8:29).

We can’t look at a day and demand of it what God is doing over a year. I felt peace land on me. I felt peace land on my son as I looked on him with proud eyes. And, I imagined how God must look on me, when I try, when I improve and when I ease up on myself.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Seeds Planted

My friend Bev Sheasby of Liberated Living Ministries has been helping me limp across the finish line of a very hard season. She says wise and beautiful things that come at just the right moment. Words of affirmation, wisdom, and encouragement.  She’s been such a comfort to me.

We recently had the loving privilege of handing our long-term foster daughter back into her birthmother’s restored arms.

Simultaneously, our oldest son became a Marine.

That same week, our oldest daughter eloped.  This was a blessing, we are thrilled for the happy couple. But it has just been one thing after another.

And then another.

We welcomed an injured foster placement that same week.  I may be a glutton for punishment, but actually, she has been a delightful distraction.  It’s an honor to care for her.

Still, sending adult children off into the great beyond, I wonder… was it enough?  Did I teach them everything they needed to know?

And I am not of the mindset that the Jesus I love was wholly made theirs simply by my prose.  Scripture memory, “Jesus Loves Me,” and “Larry and the Giant Cucumber” are a start, He will have to take them to the finish.

But what about these “temporary” sons and daughters?  There’s a chance they’ll hardly remember me?  Let alone the whispered prayers or the lullabies of a Jesus who adored them, unto His death.  I panicked, not so much in a lapse of faith, but a lack of confidence – a state of weariness.  That sinking feeling, you know the one, where you feel you must be everything to everyone, every second of every day.

And something Bev said came into my mind, as I let some tears fall and whispered some small, but heartfelt prayers for healing.

“Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.”

In my quest to provide for all, I realize what I often forget is how very small I am.  Barely a seed myself, yet I think I must do it all and be all and fix all.

Alas, if I planted an apple seed, I could water it – but would it be me that would turn it into a tree?  Would I be responsible for ensuring it produces a harvest?  Could I even accomplish this? Even if I wanted to?

Furthermore, if I planted an apple seed and then I moved to a different farm in another state and left it to the elements, would it not be watered by the sky? Fed by the sun?  And pruned by the wind?  Isn’t it completely likely, aside from placing the seed in the earth, the earth would take care of the rest?

Within the seed is the potential for the entire plant.  My comfort and rest come from this.  I will continue to plant the seed and trust the Maker of all to finish the rest.

“The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.” Deuteronomy 28:8 (NIV)

 

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.

 

Give a Lift to Your Heart

At church, I was feeling unmotivated. Call it one of those mornings: you drive into the church lot with a frown on your face, kids screaming up a storm an, an argument brewing. It’s frustrating.

That’s where I was.

Once in the service, worship started, and I worried: I am not feeling this. I feel far. Disconnected. Demotivated. Blah.

My mind bounced to different topics like: I haven’t heard her sing before. I like how she smiles so big when she sings. I wonder if that cross was always on that wall or if they ever had it in the front of the church? Why do they always use that stand when they sing? It can easily tip over. . .

. . . until. . .

. . . a lady, a beautiful, tall and full-bodied hair woman completely interrupted my train of thought. The strength of her voice sounded stronger than the band. She belted out the words to the song, “God is good…so good,” and she belted them loud. She sang “His faithfulness endures forever…” to the rafters.

I wasn’t sure if I should move, hide or shoot her the evil eye. Her voice was moving into my atmosphere of annoyance, and it continued to. Until she shifted my atmosphere of annoyance to one of utter awe: She believes in God that much. She doesn’t care how she looks. She loves her God so much. She has such wild faith in what she is singing.

And, what she put out from her mouth, seemed to land in my heart. I took her strength on as my strength. And, then, I sang with her. And, as I did, as I let her heart encourage mine, I found my own song.

“I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see…”

I could see 2 things:

  1. Our actions have the ability to lift others up or tear them down. We often don’t realize what an impact we are making, but make an impact, we do, when we pour out love.
  2. We have the ability to lean on the faith of others. If we get near someone strong, their testimony, faith and fervor often rubs off on us. We just have to pick up the phone, send the email or show up on their doorstep for connection.

We need each other. God designed us as – better together. And, this day, I thank God for the lady who knew how to belt out her love to Jesus.

How might you reach out to the world with lyrics that belt out?

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Questions We Have For God…

Questions We Have

This past week, I sat there. There were no texts, no calls and my husband was working late. Everything was dull. Facebook, a vast echo chamber of voices sounding off with complaints, thoughts and little questions posed on colored backgrounds. Empty. TV, a wasteful pursuit of the same old stuff – guns, reality gossip and divisive politics.

I breathed in. I looked up. God, are you here in all this? Sometimes, days just seem – fruitless. Dumb. Wasteful.

And, with this, more questions started flying.

I wonder, are you in this place too, of questioning? Perhaps you are…  Let me assure you, there is nothing wrong in the asking, in the pursuing. So that is what we will do here today. We will ask our hard stuff and then we will hear, what I believe is God’s heart back to us….

Where are you, God?

I love you. I’ve always had you, this, a plan. Wait on me and you’ll hear me. Listen for me and you’ll find me. I have not given you a spirit of fear and timidity but of power love and a sound mind. Great is my faithfulness and my ability to change, help and restore. I have a plan. You will find me when you seek me with all your heart. Get ready. This is only the beginning and where we are going no man, evil and the world cannot stand against. Yes, you may encounter hard times along the way, but I am in them and with you. Be not afraid. You will find my joy in unexplainable ways. You will find my peace surrounding you. I am the fullness of all you need. Rest in me. Walk with me and find me. There are days when you won’t know, that is okay. I know and that is all you need to know. Come follow me. I am the way, your way, the truth, your truth and the life, your life. 

God, how to I proceed? I need direction.

Wait on me. Listen. Stop and hear. Ask and discover. Seek and I’ll open the door to you. Watch and I’ll appear. Immerse yourself in my mind and I’ll immerse myself in you. Pay attention to the little things. Open the door of you heart wider. Unfasten the fear and the shame that is keeping you from the fullness of my glory. My wanting you to let go of this is never about shaming or guilting you. Do you want to pass it over to me today? Do you want to hand over what you see as condemnation, so I can begin a grand reformation? Why not take off the burden and pass it along. I am teaching you and leading you, but you need to be able to hear me and my Word.

God, why aren’t I doing more for you? 

A baby doesn’t run until the training days are done. Often, you think you are ready to sprint before you’re developed. I am growing in you the spiritual muscles to do the things I’ve prepared for you. Daughter, I AM at work. If you will just be faithful in the small things, in the meaningless days, in obedient ways, you’ll find I am taking those underdeveloped places and making them strong, so then we can go and do bigger things. Just think, if you are a baby, or a child and I allow you to pole jump too early, you’ll land on your face. I want you to fly, at my appointed time, in my appointed way. I want you to be ready in full with all my equipping. Here is what you need to know: be faithful in the little and big doors will be opened unto you.

As I asked these questions of God, his peace fell on me. Are there some questions you need to ask of God? He doesn’t hate you for asking; He delights in your pursuit of Him, of truth and of life. Press in. Seek. And, find.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

Please, Take Care NOT to do This!

Take Care

The waitress was nowhere to be seen, my glass was empty, my food was late and my patience was running thin. Where is she?

I bet she is on a smoke-break. She’s probably sitting outside the kitchen, leaning up against a brick wall, scrolling Facebook. Of course, something probably caught her eye – maybe an old friend? A boyfriend? And then, she started to see who he is friends with and what he’s doing. Then she gets intrigued with the latest place he took a vacation and she starts to look up the hotel…and then…

She better get out here, I’m starving, plus the kids are about 10-seconds away from losing it and I am entirely losing my patience.

A woman walks towards me, clearly the manager, I look at her and say, “Excuse me, our waitress vanished and I have no idea where she went and we are starving, need water and are waiting to order. Did she forget about us.”

The manager replies, “This is why I was coming over, you see, she got really ill in the bathroom and is being rushed to the hospital.”

Oh.

I guess this means she wasn’t smoking.

I guess this means she wasn’t scrolling.

I guess this means she wasn’t sucked up in some Carribean vacation.

And, as soon as I realize what I’ve done, I realize: The second I become judge is the second I pretend to be God.

It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how obvious my assumption appears. It doesn’t matter how blatant their disregard looks. It doesn’t matter how meanly they talk to me. It doesn’t matter what their track record is. It doesn’t matter if they look a certain way. It doesn’t matter if they started one way. It doesn’t matter if I feel hurt.

Unless I am them, I can’t judge them adequately.  And, unless God gives me a day in their body, I can’t know their heart, their intentions or their struggle.

I have to let go. Not only for them, but for me. Because, otherwise, I’ll be walking around a hot shop of contempt. All that will fly is sparks of rage and malice at the proposed things people are doing and I’ll never live one happy day when I’m in their presence. It’s no way to live. It’s no way to look like Jesus.

This means:

I come to terms with not knowing your story or why you displayed rudeness.
I put on pause my impulsive emotions.
I decide to think positive about you.
I remember all that could be going wrong in your life.
I consider how the past has burnt you.
I resolve to let you know I’m here for you.
I turn away from the longing to harbor bad feelings towards you.
I give you the freedom to apologize when it’s right for you – or to never apologize at all.
I wait on God.
I trust he will fight for me while I am silent.
I believe he cares.

I know, we all hit hard days and hard days that make us respond with hard edges. I remember the days when I responded not so nice, or out of fear, or in a need to preserve myself…and I treat the offender like I would have wanted to be treated, maybe better.

I don’t do this now. But I want to. And, in this, I know God will help me see it through, so I can be kind to you when you’re confronting the very worst.

 

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

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

3 Steps to Calm Anxiety

Calm Anxiety

I’ve battled the tightness of chest, the shakiness of body and the uncertainty of what is to come for quite a while. Only recently have I been able to win the war against what seems incurable: my anxiety.

Do you suffer from it?

It’s a feeling you can’t get ahead…
It’s surviving, with generalized gnawing…
It’s living with overwhelming tenseness because you feel out of control…
It’s bearing with the weight of the world on your shoulders…
It’s carrying irritation from others actions…
It’s a true sense of your inability to change things…

For so long, anxiety crept up on me like a lightweight spider; I didn’t know he was on me until his poison sank in. Then I knew, I was in for it. He saturated me in a way where it felt impossible to get well again. To fix things. Maybe you’ve been there. I wouldn’t wish it on my greatest enemy.

Anxiety has ruined family vacations.

It’s made me snap like an explosive.
It’s caused many a sleepless night.
It’s broken peace.
It’s stolen moments.
It’s made me self-consumed.
It’s made me angry at myself.

What has it taken from you? What has this poison done in your body? Life?

Only recently have I started to make headway against it.

Step 1 of progress is in acknowledging this: My anxiety is due to a gap I do not internally believe I have the power to bridge, control or fix.

Step 2 is deciding I am in charge of my feelings. No one else has the ability to: 1. Tell me how to feel. 2. Make me feel a certain way 3. Force me to have feelings or to act a certain way.

With this, I can imagine a holy box of God around me. In this space, I am permitted to feel as I feel without feeling bad about it. In this space, I am able to present to God the actual emotion I am feeling and the cause that set it off, without living under the weight of crushing judgment. Why can I do this? Because Jesus is my advocate. He forgives, heals and helps. He is behind me and for me. He also wants me to discover his peace. He loves me.

Step 3 is saying this: God, I do not have the ability to figure ______ (insert the trigger of the issue here) out. I need your help with how to respond. Will you show me how to stay with you in this space and place that feels scary? Will you show me how to lean on you when I am not sure how people will react or how well I will do? Will you be my protection as I respond in a way that is truthful – to you and to others? I can hand over to you the person, place or thing that is troubling my heart and be with you in the moment. Here, you will lead me and prompt me to move with your love, grace and mercy towards myself and towards others. I can trust you to be with me, even when I feel all alone.

This 3-step process has literally been my saving grace. When I feel the poison starting to rise up from within me, God’s grace towards my constricting heart makes all the difference. It frees me. The secret is: you gotta catch it early. Right when it starts.

And, when you don’t, it’s okay. Just try again next time.

Prayer for women like me who struggle like this: Dear God, here we stand before you, women who don’t have it all figured out, women who want to be better, women who struggle inside our own bodies. God, will you help us to rely on your truth instead of our feelings? Will you help us to put up healthy barriers between us and the world? Will you help us to take your peace you’ve given us and to keep it? We need you. We can’t do it alone. Please be our guide, Lord Jesus. You are the answer every time. We trust your ways and want to die to our own. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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