Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

Snapping Beauty, Crushing Vision and Tiny Stitches

Snapping Beauty

Snapping Beauty

I probably would be the girl that you’d least like to walk behind on a busy street. I might even be the one that you’d silently curse under your breath (although not too loudly or discernibly because you are Christian, after all), but all the same I wouldn’t be surprised if you did. You might even step on my heels a little to give me a quick signal I am being slow, rude and indignant.

Heck, I may even deserve it.

But, would I stop doing it? No way. Would I stop listening to the small voice that speaks about 2 feet below me. I don’t think so.

You see, I think that little voice of immaturity is on to something all the rest of us have been missing. He is on to something that in our pursuit of destination we miss. He is on to the small meaning of life, the beauty in the cracks of a sidewalk and the peculiarities in a bird with a beak of an different variety.

He is mesmerized by creation and affirmed
in God’s determination to show love.

We call it a sidewalk. He calls it a God-walk. 
We call it a place where you move from one place to another. He calls it a place you see one glory to another.
We call it a stroll, he calls it God being on a roll.

Snapping Beauty

“Stop mommy, you gotta see those birds over there. Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see that little flower sticking out of the wall? Take a picture!”
“Stop mommy, do you see the way the sun is coming out of the clouds? Take a picture!”

Snapping Beauty

Snap that shot mommy and don’t let me ever forget about this little slice of moment where what God showed is greater than the crazy, mundane and forced things in this world.  Capture the moment of greatness that only those who have the small eye seeking beauty can find. Get that and let me hold on to it so I can remember how God wanted me to see him above the scary, freaky and dark things of world.

Snapping Beauty



A moment that will last forever.

Crushing Vision

How often do I look at the world like one waiting to be mesmerized?
How often do you?

I always thought I could see, but now I see, I was always becoming blind.

Maybe it happens to others like me. The ones who pull “drive” out of their back pocket and put on the glasses of determination to try to get themselves somewhere. Ones who believe they’ll end up seeing peace, joy and life from goals, plans and agendas. These types, they run a fast race; they move like a panther in hot pursuit of prey (work, spouses, cleanliness, promotions, money, vacations, internal value (fill in blank), yet tired and panting, huffing and puffing they always land in the same place –  in the alley called dead end, dead life and dead weight.

I should know, busted my head in that alley.  I told myself I needed to be best in my class (fail.). I told myself I needed to get the best job ever out of college (I went bust at the job after a year). I told myself I needed to press through an abusive situation (nightmares plagued me).

Dead-locked vision left me for dead and on lock down with discouragement.

Tunnel vision drive, driving towards anything but God’s goals leaves you driving into a head-on collision where you feel like you can’t breathe and you are not sure if you can return to normal life.

I thought those who try hard – win big.  Where did I go wrong?

Tiny Stitches

Blind folk start to see again, when they aren’t afraid to see themselves as dirty.

After saying this, (Jesus) spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. Jo. 9:6

Untitled design (8)Yet, I don’t think it is only this. It is not just saying, “Hey God, go ahead, put that stinking muck on me. I am okay with it. I am okay with seeing myself as tarnished, hurt, powerless and needing the reality of myself to cleanse me.”

Nope. I think it transcends this.

“Go,” (Jesus) told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing. Jo. 9:7

Be willing to wear the grime of your self, your past, your wrongs, and your traumas – and then allow yourself to be sent out. See those things in a way where they earned your masters degree of life learning.

You let the dirt sit afresh on your eyes, you feel the muck and the yuck, and then you let the word “sent” compel your whole being to move to greater insight, vision and power; you move with them and beyond them all at the same time.

Then you start to see. As the grime of what you really are, the disgust of what you have been and the pain of shame wash off, you finally get somewhere.

“I went and washed, and then I could see.” Jo. 9:11

I could see innocence.
I could see through eyes untarnished.
I could see roads untainted.
I could see the slow movement of ordinary things.
I could see worry dissipate and fears calm.
I could see people – pained people.
I could see glory – in sunrises, sunsets, grime and grit.
I could see beauty – in grace extended.
I could see growth – by offering space.
I could see life – budding in the small forging of patience.
I could see flowers – protrude from the cracks of pain.
I could see longing, desire and hope.

Snapping Beauty

It is a picture that even words fall short of explaining. So, you just stop, drop your jaw at what you see, then you look for someone that doesn’t have their head stuck in automated zombie-zone, and together, you snap a picture. Usually with the child, the innocent one who gets the greatness of God. And, then, you go about carrying on in the mayhem called planet earth until God staggers yet again with all he has stored up in the unseen places of the world.

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Learning to Love Your Purpose, Even When It’s Painful

love your purpose

I am delighted to have Mary Carver join us today for this #RaRalinkup post!

Last night I messaged two friends. I asked them if I was a bad person for getting upset to see other people get attention and accolades for something I had also done (but for which I certainly wasn’t receiving that attention).

Honestly I wanted them to yell and point fingers and join me in my indignation at being left out and overlooked. Instead, they did what good friends do and reminded me that I wasn’t in this business or this life for either attention or accolades.

They also admitted that my feelings didn’t make me a bad person, simply human – but they were right about my focus. I had forgotten that my ministry and work and life are about obeying God and serving Him the best I can. Not pats on the backs and plastic trophies, not awards and atta-girls. But trust and obedience, love and service.

We can easily get distracted from our mission, can’t we? One minute we’re all about following God, no matter where He leads us, loving Him and loving others, doing whatever it takes to help people see Him. And then…bam! Before we even know what’s happening, we’ve heard about someone else’s mission – and all the perks that come with it, and we’re simmering with envy, wishing our call looked like theirs.

My friend and co-author, Sara Frankl, knew something about that. The call on her life was one that was full of beauty and joy – but it was also full of pain and loss. Trusting God and loving what He had given her was a challenge, but she managed to do it with a grace and wisdom that encourages me and teaches me every day.


I remember the first time I really understood the parable of the vineyard workers. I had heard this Bible story all my life, but it finally clicked in college.

In Matthew 20, Jesus is recorded telling the story of a man who needed help with his harvest. He hired some men for the day, telling them the day’s wage, which they accepted and began working. Throughout the day, he realized he needed more help to get the work completed, so he went out multiple times and hired more workers. Each time he offered the wage to his new workers, they accepted and set out to work.

At the end of the day, he called all the workers together and paid them the same day’s wage. It was the wage he had offered to them, the one they had all accepted. But the men who had worked all day laboring in the fields were angry. They said they were cheated because they worked harder and longer than the others, and should be paid more than those who had worked only the last few hours.

In reality, the problem wasn’t the amount they were paid for the work they did. He gave the workers what was promised to them. The problem was in the worker who only felt cheated when he compared his life to someone else’s. The problem arose when the worker took his eyes off of his own mission, the one he agreed to gladly – and decided he wanted the easier task that was promised to someone else.

I have to remind myself of this story because it’s hard for me not to feel cheated. It’s hard for me to be thankful on a holiday weekend when I have to be alone in this condo. When there is no bustle of family or friends, when I can’t enjoy a turkey dinner, when I have no one to talk with and laugh with and reminisce with and grieve with. It’s hard when I compare my isolated existence with what I know is happening everywhere else.

But that’s not the deal I made with God. I promised Him my whole life, and He promised He would love me, never leave me, and take me home to have eternal life in Heaven someday. It was the wage He promised me, the wage I accepted – and it’s only when I take my eyes off of that promise that I feel cheated. God is honoring His deal. It’s me who looks at life and says, “I’ll have what she’s having, please.”

Does going back to that Bible story make all the hard-to-deal-with feelings disappear? Of course not. It’s still brutal. But it reminds me of what I believe. I believe that God has a purpose for me, and that my job is to be faithful to whatever comes with my life. I will do my daily task and honor Him as I believe He is honoring me.

I believe it. Even when it doesn’t feel good. Even when it hurts and is lonely and feels unfair and requires me to grieve a life I was never promised.

The truth is that my life is no better or worse than I wanted. It’s just completely and utterly different. The wisdom comes in knowing that it is exactly as it should be. The joy comes in learning to love it, not despite all I’ve lost, but because of all that it has brought to me.

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Excerpt, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl & Mary Carver


Mary and SaraMary Carver is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com. Mary is the co-author of a new book called, Choose Joy: Finding Hope & Purpose When Life Hurts. Released by the Hachette Book Group in 2016, CHOOSE JOY is a must-have for those searching for meaning and beauty in a world full of tragedy. Sara’s words breathe with vitality and life, and her stories will inspire smiles, tears, and the desire to choose joy. To learn more about CHOOSE JOY.

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The Sneaky and Subtle Sin That May Be Ruling You

Sneaky and Subtle Sin

This sneaky sin. . . let me just tell you something. It’s under the radar, it’s pulling the covers over your eyes and it’s having a field day in your life – and, likely, you don’t even realize it.

For many of you, you actually think it helps you. You actually think you are better off, smarter, more capable and resourceful for pulling this little trick out of your bag of hats.

Do you know what I am talking about yet? (Clue: it is man’s greatest downfall)

Here’s how it looks in my life:

It makes me a super-speed, crazed, mess cleaner.
It transforms me into a female Dyson; I develop routes and measures to ensure every crevice is “handled.”
It levies the weight of the world on my shoulder and tells me, “You can handle it.”
It shuns advice, instruction and wisdom.
It tells people you better get on my highway, turn left and then arrive on time, or else.
It pushes me towards ambition and drive, without concern for the little guys.
It places one hand over God’s mouth, so I can speak just a little big louder than him.
It passes along the unsaid message, “Stay back God, I’ve got this.”

When I consider why I do it, much of it boils down to this:

If I am not controlling the world, it seems the world is controlling me.
If I don’t use my ammo, I become the target.
If I am just standing there, I risk getting run over.

Add that to the fact that the world hands out a bunch of cliched garbage (like this), and you can see how one can start acting like a maniacal lunatic:

“If you don’t make a way, you’ll have no way.”
“Fend for yourself.”
“Eat or be eaten.”
“Get ahead.”
“Get a leg up.”
“Work harder.”
“Reach for the stars.”
“Figure it out.”
“Watch your back.”
“Don’t give up.”

Self-sufficiency, otherwise known as pride, is gangrene to a body of Christ. It takes his blood, oxygen and flow and blocks it in a way where his mighty providence is dead. We flow by our own accord, our own merits and our own will. So, naturally, our limbs of love, of reliance and of hope, they die. They wither away. For, we have no need for them. We don’t use them. You see, we exchanged God’s sufficiency, for our self-sufficiency and then, we lose.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. Jo. 15:6

Limbless, lifeless and loveless we stand, duped. We stand as tall temples of places where hope is not required, where need is useless and where one bows down only to self. The incense of stink rises and fills the air near those around us.

What we can produce by self,
is nothing in comparison to light scent of love
that is always ours to inhale.

It is not a mantra, a self-help phrase or a lift-me-up status that says, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” -A.A. Milne from Winnie the Pooh

It’s nothing like this. Because that kind of statement is a lie – it is poo from Pooh. The truth is, we are worse off than we think we are. We are weaker than we admit and we are a whole lot less wise than we walk around pretending to be.

Even more, we are wasteful without his purpose and lacking without his cause. Apart from Christ we can do nothing (Jo. 15:5).

But, here is the thing: with him, we can do everything.  

I can do all things through Christ[a] who strengthens me. Phil. 4:13

When we get to the end of self, we get to the start of life. It is an exchange.

We hand over our ways.
He gives us his.
In the empty, he fills.
In the wanting, he restores. 
In the empty, he sits.
In the cant’s, he can.
The dreams, he makes.
For the low, he lifts.
The unseen, he sees.
The marginal, he magnifies.
The insecure, he holds.
The offering, he transforms.

“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Mt. 16:24-25

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Being Dissed. The (real) bad – and good of it.

Being Dissed.

She looked at the girl sitting next to me, and said, “Hey it is so great to see you” and continued on not even giving me the time of day.

Who does that?

Who completely ignores someone when they completely know someone?

Boiling hot, I was about ready to make a primed kettle sound.  Wwwhhh….
Someone was going to get burned, and I had a feeling it was going to be me.

In an instant, my mind returned to a time of old,
me, the new girl, trying out for the team,
her, a potential friend that I really enjoyed being with,
all was good, until…
[walk in villian],
her age-old best friend walked in… (dun. dun. dun.)
and whispered to my potential laughing-mate,  “Don’t be friends with her.”

Things went cold, I went hot. Wwhhh!!!

Discouraged. Dejected. Demotivated. I lost my athletic swagger.
I was rejected from the team.

I felt rejected by everyone. Wwhhh!!!

Clearly, it was apparent that there was something deeper going on here.

I couldn’t help but think:

Boiling over happens because of past pain that lays under.
Yesterday returns to sear us with the markings of – unwanted today.
The devil is a avid scorcher, using his red trident of age-old shame – time and time again.

He hits us with it – and we almost can’t help it. We jump out of our seat, jump on the person and rip the person apart from the insides out. We say, you won’t mess with me or rule over me or hurt me ever again. Our eyes close, our fists move and our whole will is determined not to live on repeat. Except, when we open our eyes, the person we look at is not the girl on the field, but the thirty year old with two kids and a whole heaping lot of problems just like us.


I want to cut off this record on repeat that won’t stop playing,
“I think I am dumb. I think that is why. People don’t love me. They will always pass by.”

This kind of song makes you live in limbo. It makes you live believing people have one foot in and one foot out. It makes you live expecting the next diss. It makes you live wondering when you will feel hurt again. It makes you wonder if God will be out the door on you too.

Wwhhh!!! It starts to rise in you. You feel like hitting again. Except when you open your eyes you realize who you would be hitting, and you remember – he was already hit.

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Mt. 26:67

You want to get angry, but as you start to soften your face, you remember:
‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief cornerstone… Mk. 12:10

The stone that keeps the unsteady fabric of beings from falling over.
The stone that was never thrown.
The stone that binds eternal life.
The stone that knows the depth of rejection.
The stone that rose up to build a church that unites hands around the world today.
The stone with a clear purpose, despite the mocks, slanders and accusations of others.
The stone that was raised on high.
The stone that the Father adored.
The stone that seals us as always accepted.
​The stone that pursues us and loves us and owns us always and forever and then forevermore.

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It Will Surely Come

It will surely come

Post by Karina

“And the Lord answered me:

“Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
 For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:2-3

These are the words of God. I read them and I know they weren’t just for Habakkuk. They are for me. And they are for you. At the dawn of a new year, we are filled times of reflection. We look back, sometimes with a sense of accomplishment or delight. But often, with a sense of regret…regret for what we did or didn’t do.

On the other side of looking back, we look forward. We look forward not knowing what lies ahead. The future entails so much mystery. We can prepare and plan all we want but, we cannot control what is to come. We never could.

Mystery is okay. It can be a good place to be. I have found that it is in the mystery where God reveals HimselfHe does His best work there because it is there where we learn to completely depend on Him.

All of us have dreams. God has dreams for us. Along with those dreams, God has a strategy for how He desires it to come to fruition. We want the dream to happen now. We are such a people conditioned to expect a suddenly. Now, God is well able to bring about a suddenly but, He is much more concerned about the process. He is not so much concerned with the outcome as He is with who we are becoming. The Father is looking to develop patience in us a character within us that can sustain the calling He has for us.

Write down the vision.

What are the dreams of your heart? What are the longings of your soul? Write them down. Pray over them. Call them forth.

It will not lie.

God is a God of His Word. He is not a man that He should lie. His promises stand true throughout eternity. He is a God of purpose and of order. That holds true whether or not we can see the work of His hands.

Wait for it.

This whole timing thing is tricky! There is my timing and there is God’s timing. As much as I want it to be true, my timing is rarely His timing. You and I have to be okay with that. He really does know best. He knows the end from the beginning. We have to trust that. We have to trust His timing. Ours dreams will come at the right time under the right circumstances.

God’s new mercies are here and waiting for us to take hold of them.

The Lord will never place a dream in our hearts that He doesn’t intend to bring to life. He wants us to simply trust Him and partner with Heaven to walk in the fullness of our callings.

Be brave my sister.

Hold onto your God-Sized Dream.

Trust in His perfect timing.

Destiny is calling your name.

What is the vision that you are believing God for?

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BjBC4hzUKarina 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.”

When God is Punishing You

God is Punishing

You kind of figure, because of you,
because of all your bad actions,
he’s going to open the heavens,
rain down lightening like pocket knives
​and  land one straight on your head.

Maybe it is already happening. All is plummeting and God is: hitting you with health issues, cutting into finances, shredding a marriage, stabbing emotional well-being, hurting your kids, slicing out pain at work and dicing up trials for your course du jour.

And, it has to be you, right? All you have done, you deserve it. All you keep doing, it makes sense. All of your past, you get it. You are a degenerate in so many ways.

You may not hear his words from his mouth, but you certainly hear them in your head:

 “Get your bad self to your room. Don’t return until you act better.”
“Get yourself together.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“You can’t do anything right.”

Exasperated, you wait to hear from him, expecting a whole lotta words on how you are a royal mess-up and a giant loser. You expect to hear a list of practial law and rules and insights and plans that you need to stick to.

Instead, a whole different picture rises – a picture that puts God’s truth first.

It is painted.  Not in muted shades of pained grey, but with the spectrum of new life. It beckons you to step in and to feel the warmth, to participate in growth and to enjoy the ride, so you listen and hear things like: 

1. You see all you do wrong, I see so much that you do right.

2. You’re my first love. I don’t want to hurt you, I want to prosper, grow and see my glory shine through you.

3. You see your mistakes, I see how your mistakes are the starting of new.

4. You get discouraged and defeated by relational hiccups, but I see the pauses as space for me to work.

5. You’re the child I created, I love you exactly the way you are – strengths with weaknesses, weaknesses with strengths.

6. You don’t have to have it all figured out in the today, because I have it all figured out in the tomorrow.

7. Your repentance is the start of my next best thing. You turn away and then you see me.

8. Other people acting badly, is the best chance to show holy.

9.  When you turn towards me, in turn you see my kindness.

10. When you say you’re sorry (and mean it), I say, “I forgive you” (and mean it).

Staring at the image, your mind dwells on the new story:

“God’s face looks a whole lot different than mine. His love is ten times more infusive than mine. His ways are galaxies more compassionate than mine. His grace is tanks more abundant than mine.

While I look at the immediate, he sees the long-term. While I get defeated in battle, he cheers the victory over the course of the war. While I get angry, he knows that anger does not produce righteousness (Ja. 1:20)”

The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. Ps. 145:8

The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Nu. 14:8

You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. Ps. 86:5

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. Ps. 25:8

But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. Ps. 130:4

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 Jo. 4:8

God calls you in.

God calls you out.
To head towards grace.

God dares you to hear him.
To listen to his true sounds.

For to know him,
is to know love.

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Regular Contributor, Katie Reid, is delighted to have a memoir piece published in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler. The book launches today on Amazon for only 99 cents! Don’t miss it.

6 Verses About Second Chances

Second Chance

Lately, I have been speaking one word over my family “Presence.”

I have been telling myself:
“Don’t let your mind wander.”
“Stay active and involved.”
“Pour out love.”
“Give space for calm.”
“Cease worry.”
“Give your best.”

My intentions are good, but the outcomes have been lousy. Days go haywire, accidents happen, kids scream, family irritates, pressures arise, crises happen, distractions lure, people call, I divert my attention, I get frustrated, I speak in a mean kind of way, I demand action, I get terribly afraid, I push people away and then I feel horrible.

I walk out of the day head down.
Face dejected.
Self-doubt metastasizing.
Abilities deteriorating.
1,205,200 fails plus 1.
Jail cell number: 201 please.
I won’t come out until I act better.
I won’t return until I figure things out.

Each fail is another stripe added to my uniform of transgression. It is another weight that both declares who I am and what I cannot seem to do. It is another lash I add onto my back.

Have you ever done the same?

Have you ever confined yourself to a cell God never put you in?

Those who lean in to growth, often fall down into defeat.
Those who try, and try and try again are clay ducks for the devil. “Bang! Gotta stop her!”
Those who do bad, usually feel that they deserve punishment.
Those who walk into new, usually hit the barrier of old habits so they can climb over to freedom.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Ro. 7:15

I am not alone.
If Paul didn’t get his lousy behavior, I guess it gives me some permission not to get mine.
I guess it gives me some permission to say, “Agh! I hate that I do this. God help.”

And God does, he helps with 6 truths like these:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Jo. 1:9

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Ro. 5:8

If I confess, God suppresses my offense.

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. Jo. 16:33

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus… Eph. 2:4-6

While it appears worldly transgressions stand over us,
we sit on – and over them – with Christ in the heavenlies.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Ps. 86:15

“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love.” Mi. 7:18

There is not a thing that can make God change a thing about his character.

He is who he is and who he is – slow to anger, abounding in love, faithful, steadfast, delighting in giving.

Even when we say: For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Ro. 7:15

Then, the neurons connect, the forces of truth collide and we realize something very powerful:
Paul didn’t hate himself – he hated what he did.

Paul might have hated the act –
but didn’t let that become a chance to react in complete defeat.

He didn’t allow his injury to become his identity. Christ’s blood was his permanent marking.
He didn’t erase who God said he was. He acknowledged who he is prone to be – and do – without him.
He didn’t throw down his uniform and give up his life – he made his jail cell an open door for the gospel to flow.
He didn’t cast himself into punishment for his past transgressions, he claimed his grace and freedom in Christ.

Isn’t God calling us to the same?

When we know who and whose we are, we live in a way where we nod at failure and move on to progress.  We say, “I am not perfect, but I am growing. I am thinking about things that count, that are good, that are noble and trustworthy and valuable and right – and you know what, that is worth something.”

Then we pray: God, I can’t do anything without you. I can’t find the first door to progress without your wind of help behind me. Come to my rescue. Lead me on. As if I am a blind baby, come, pick me up and take me to where you want me to go. Keep my self far and keep selflessness close, for then I know I will find my way. Thank you that you can’t give up on me. Thank you that you will never abandon me to my self-confined chamber of torture – the one where I am mark myself convicted by my own mind. You are rescuer, redeemer and restorer. You are the remaker of old things and you do not despise new beginnings. I thank you. I serve you. May I forgive others as you forgive me. Amen.

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Falling In & Out of Prayer


Post By: Angela Parlin

It doesn’t sound super spiritual, but you guys–prayer is hard.

Stillness is hard. Hard stops in a busy life are hard.

Do you agree? Tell me it isn’t just me.

In early January, I thought I had picked a word for the year. But instead, God led me to focus on prayer, and not to only toss Him my cares and needs.

I needed to grow in prayer as worship. To take my sin seriously and regularly confess it. To sit in the silence and listen for His whispers.

So I set out to spend time away from the world each day in prayer, to learn to pray without multitasking.

My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Psalm 27:8, NIV

Sometimes, my prayer life was amazing. I was learning so much about God. But the truth? It wasn’t all glitter and rainbows, and I didn’t always show up.

Sometimes I really struggled to sit still before the Lord.

When I got caught up in so much busyness, concentrated prayer was the first thing I let go of. I put it off for later, and another day went by.

At the same time, I enjoyed mountaintop views this year, and they were unbelievable. But there were also valleys.

The mountaintop often didn’t appear when I was on my best behavior. It didn’t show up when I was the most faithful, or the most consistent.

Instead, I’d come to this place with hard corners in my heart, with a terrible attitude, having been away from Him for days. Even my kids could tell the difference. I’d be having one of those weeks when I didn’t like myself very much.

Having fallen out of prayer, I’d fall on my knees again.

And just when I knew I was a mess and didn’t deserve it, I’d see that view again. He’d bring me around to the mountaintop. He’d fill me with His grace and lift me up.

Then I’d walk around the house, humming “Love Lifted Me.” Knowing Love lifts us once for eternal salvation and continues to lift us every time we fall, whether in ways that measure large or small.

Sometimes in this world, we’re sinking in sins and distractions. Love is always near to lift us, when we come back to Him.

Jesus doesn’t stand there, pointing His finger and saying, You know better. You should be more consistent. You should be more… He doesn’t call us those names that float around our heads.

Jesus stays near. His arms are open wide. Whether it’s been a week or 20 years, His desire is that we seek Him. That we come and talk with Him.

He didn’t come to rescue us because we’d be star performers or at least consistent.
He didn’t save us because we earned it.
He saved us because He is Love and He longs to lift us.

And He’s already everything we’re not.

Jesus is an unending welcome-back, a Love who lifts us up again.

May we settle in before the Lord this year. May we worship Him and know Him more and let His kindness to change the course of our days.

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8, NLT

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Angela Parlin

Angela Parlin is Dan’s 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 each week at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.

Failproof your Resolutions


With Christmas down, this is the time of year we move our hearts away from awe and wonder and drive them straight into strategy and planning.

I have got to lose 10 pounds.
I am going to “kill it” at work.
No more coffee.
I will set up that savings plan starting this year.
I will be a more loving mom.
I will start eating more healthy.
I will find a new job.
I will get that graduate degree.
​I will make more friends.

We become resolute to be resolute.
We plan to make a plan.
We drive into drive.
We see our win.
We know our strategy.
We. Will. Make. It. Happen.
Nothing. Will. Stop. Us.

“Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.”  Ps. 127:1

Is the Lord building your house or are you?

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Prov. 16:9

I can’t help but think, this is where the resolution buzzkill sinks in. Even though we game planned, strategized and attacked our resolution, the small whisper still emerges, “Is this your solution or mine? Is this your will or mine? Am I going with you or are you going out there alone?”

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Mt. 7:7

God whispers, “Are you asking me or are you deciding yourself?”

With God, we endure.
With God, we press on.
With God, we find strength.
With God, he renews hope.
With God, we find fresh encouragement.
With God, we get a helping hand.
With God, he speaks truth and humility.
With God, he refocuses us in love.
With God, he redirects our paths, as he holds our hand, so that we don’t end up falling over the cliff of failure. Instead, he grabs us and leads us where he wants us to go – and we feel okay with it. It make sense, for he is the leader. It makes sense, because sometimes he is more concerned with our spiritual than our physical.

Are your plans to go – with God – or are they with an insatiable drive to succeed, win and to thrive?

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Prov. 16:3

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7 Verses for Relational Encouragement

Relational Encouragement

Christmas is here, but so is family tensions.
Christmas is here, but so are dysfunctional relationships.
Christmas is here, but so are old habits.
Christmas is here, but gone are people we love.
Christmas is here, but baggage of old still exists.
Christmas is here, but fears surface.

God says, “I see all that, and I can handle all that.”

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

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“Tell everyone who is discouraged, Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

What looks unscalable, God boosts you over.

What seems unbearable, God brings you through unbelievably.

What can’t be managed, God says let down your guard and I will guard you.

Will you throw your cares upon God’s shoulders? He is the only one that can hold the weight of them without breaking his back.

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” Psalm 55:22

transitive verb sus·tain \sə-ˈstān\

  • : to hold up the weight of (something)

As you cast it over, God gets under its crushing weight (just like he did at the cross).

The weight is no longer on you, so when you walk, talk, eat or digest other’s insults, you don’t fall. You are preserved, whole and entire.

Press in and God will press his being through you.

Cast your cares and he will care for you.

Be strong and trust – God is about ready to rescue you!

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