Purposeful Faith

Tag - peace

How To Hold On To Joy… No Matter What

No Matter

Post by: Carey Scott

Some women make ministry look glorious and easy.

Their outfits are adorable. They look confident in how they carry themselves. They seem to have perfect lives. Their understanding of scripture is mind-blowing. And we wonder if God is more pleased with them than He is with… us.

And deep down, we may even envy their notoriety. Don’t we all have a desire to be seen and known.

I’ll be honest… this kind of mindset makes me want to scream. I can’t stand it when I let myself go down this road of thinking. Because I know everyone struggles as they navigate life. No one has it all together…

… regardless of who they are.

Here is the hard, cold truth: No matter how it may look, ministry is hard.

It’s a call to be vulnerable and open with your life—your story. It’s choosing to sit down at your computer or stand in front of an audience and pick the scab off your deepest wounds. It’s a radical act of obedience when we feel lacking and even unqualified. And sometimes it feels like you’re setting yourself up for a big heart thump.

Last year was one of those times.

Within about 3 months…

… I lost a good ministry-minded friend,
… an opportunity to work with an amazing group of Jesus-girls exploded,
… and I was betrayed at the deepest level by someone in ministry.

That trifecta knocked me down. Hard. And I lost my joy for ministry.

It made me question the calling on my life, wondering if maybe I heard God wrong. I was on the verge of quitting, frustrated because I felt He had abandoned me. It just felt like too much heartache to handle.

But then God. Those three words are so powerful.
But then God nudged women to send affirming emails at just the right time.
But then God crossed my path with the paths of encouragers at the right moment.
But then God spoke the right words into my heart.

And my hopelessness began to lift… my perspective began to shift… and joy began to trickle back in.

Honestly, I am still low on the joy-meter. It’s a process, right? But I know the only One who can restore it is God.

And we’re working on it together.

Friend, where is joy draining from your life?

Where are you struggling to hold on to it?

Maybe it’s in a marriage that feels fragile or because a child is making bad choices. It could be because of your failing health or because your finances are unstable. Are you losing joy because of a strained friendship, a moral failure or a career that seems stuck?

What if we looked at our circumstances a little differently?

Mother Teresa once said, “The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” This is meaty. It’s trust on steroids. And it is faith to the core.

But even better…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us… “Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live” (MSG).

God is asking us to engage in uncommon gratitude when life is draining our joy.

That means we thank God no matter what happens. It means we don’t focus on what’s lost, but instead focus on what’s left… and to be grateful for it.

It means we praise Him in the storm.

We don’t have to thank God for allowing cancer or death or pain in our life. I’m not sure we could ever genuinely find gratitude in that. Instead, we show gratitude because we know God is bigger than what we are facing, and that He is intricately involved in the details.

And that choice—choosing praise over hopelessness—is what takes us from common to uncommon.

Friends, praise will always usher in joy when we’re struggling to find it. It’s a negativity-buster and gratitude-generator at the same time. And it will keep us tethered to hope… no matter what comes our way.

Let’s be joy-carriers and show the next generation how it’s done so they can harness its power in their own lives.

I know you can do this.

Because of Jesus, you have everything it takes to #beUncommon. Now choose it.

About Carey Scott 

Carey Scott is an author and speaker, honest about her walk with the Lord… stumbles, fumbles and all. Her NEWLY RELEASED BOOK, Uncommon, a battle cry for women to step out of the ordinary and live with purpose and passion. Carey also wrote Untangled, a book about the insecurities we face as women and how to live in freedom. She lives in Northern Colorado with her family. Learn more at CareyScott.org. You can also connect with her on Facebook.

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The Way Out if You’re Angry and Bitter

Angry and Bitter

I recently talked with a friend.

Plain as day, she told me:

  1. I can’t hear God.
  2. I am upset at God.
  3. Others have done me wrong.

Maybe you are there too. Maybe there are miles of distance between you and your once beloved Father, God. Maybe you are irritated, although you likely don’t admit it. Maybe you feel God has let you down. Maybe you are counting up all the ways others have failed, hurt, and insulted you.

Maybe you can’t see straight because you want to let the world, have it!

We’ve all been there. Or at least I have. I remember, I felt God let me down so badly I’d go to church, pretend I was voicing the worship songs, count the lights and draw doodles on my notepad rather than giving the pastor one second of my listening ear.

It seems what others do to us, we displace onto God.

Which is why there is only one way out of this mess: forgiveness.

Yes, it is that word. The one we cringe at.  Because we hate to do it. We hate, hate, hate to let go of the injury that was SO WRONG, SO UNDUE, SO MEAN, SO RUDE, SO INFURIATING…SO, SO, SO!

But, the reality is, that person, who injured us doesn’t continue to lose, when we hold on to bitterness, we do. That person who was horrible doesn’t get their due from our resentment, we do. We don’t hurt them. We are the ones who stay hurt. We are the ones who live the offense over and over. We are the ones who stay in pain.

Unforgiveness is the enemy’s trick. He steals, kills, and destroys the freedom waiting on the other side of our anger. He keeps us wrapped up in the agony of the unjust, the immoral and the inept. He keeps our mind off Jesus.

Indeed, he’s cunning. But, God is greater. And, so is forgiveness. It breaks every shackle. It tears off every band-aid. It restores peace. It renews joy. It returns us to high standing with God, where we feel okay with talking to him.

Forgiveness is our way home. Do you need to come home? To a God who wants to comfort you in your time of need.

Prayer:

Dear God, I am angry at  ____ because they ____. I know that as I let them go, you will handle them. I hand them to you today, Lord. I forgive them in your name. I ask you to bless them and to keep them. I ask you to heal whatever was hurt within me as a result of them. Repair me. Repair them. Be near to me. Thank you, my God. 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.

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.

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.

Yes, It’s true, God Sees You.

weary perspective

Yesterday, was the “day of all days” for my little 3-year old, turning 4. Her birthday!  The girl wasn’t asking for much…no toys, no gifts…she only wanted one thing: to be like mommy. And, she only had one request: to get her nails painted. So, although I figured she was way too young for this, I scuttled her off in the car, expectant of what God would do for her – only later, becoming completely surprised about what he did – for me.

At the nail store, little sweetheart was mesmerized by all the rainbow colors, the nail tools and her mom – she kept smiling, giving me the thumbs up and delighting in how all the “big” people in the salon were saying hi to her.

All was happy. But, then they moved her chair – and rather than her being right next to me, she was across the store.

All I could think was:

I’m missing her moment!
I’ve got to see my daughter!
Can I smile at her from here?

Leaning my head to the left and right, trying to view her through a slat, aiming to give her my best look, I suddenly was struck…

God looks at me the same way: he wants to see me, delight with me and enjoy my moments.

Just as I want to bless my daughter, God wants to bless me too.
Just as I want to delight in her special moments, God wants to delight with me.
Just as I am thrilled to see her joy, God is thrilled over my joy as well.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Mt. 7:7)

Later, after we got home and she showed off her nails to her brother and daddy, I thought about the little gift, the one wrapped all up in the top of the: a new dress. Specifically the one I told her in the store was, “too expensive.”

I bought it for her. And all my mind kept returning to was the moment she opened it: her face, her delight, her life, her thrill.

God sees us too, as we open his best gifts: our face, our delight, our life, our thrill.

There is no shame in enjoying his good things. Our good, good daddy delights in the giving and he loves our receiving his very best.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from (our) Father…” (Ja. 1:17)

 

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.

In the Fire of a Trial?

If some of you are being tossed around like bacon on a camp fire, in a way where parts of you are burning off…

…can I tell you something? I relate?

I know what it is to go through a time of wait, where all you need is answers.

I know what it is to struggle with relationships at a high-tension point.

I know what it is to see truths about yourself that hurt.

I know what it is to wonder if everything will work out.

I know what it is to feel like it never is going to end.

I’ve experienced this time and time again, in different ways: a near-diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, financial debt, emotional issues, and endless trials. Tribulation keeps happening.

Even today.

What fire are you enduring? What do you feel like you are losing?

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Pet. 1:7)

May I encourage you today? The fire you’re enduring is removing you and increasing God’s glory within you.

Through my Multiple Sclerosis issues, where my hands got numb and my eyes couldn’t see, I learned: Heaven is all that matters on earth and I have that WRAPPED UP!

Through my financial debt, when I had a double-digit-in-the-thousands negative balance, I learned for the future: It is good to have less stuff, it ties you down to debt less and frees you to move according to God’s will more.

Through my emotional issues, when I suffered with depression, I learned: God really does love me just the way I am. In this, I am free to trust him with the change he is leading me to. It will be good for me.

Through my endless trials, I learned: God, less of me and more of you.

Fire removes the impurities of our flesh and leaves us with the Spirit of God. Every time. It leaves the blaze on us. It ignites us with passion. It refuels us with glory.

Be encouraged: What you are enduring today will not kill you, it will make you, when all is said and done, more radiant, beautiful and sure in Christ Jesus.

Keep hanging on! He has a good hold on you.

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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The One Thing We Must Always Return To

Love see people

Post By: Angela Parlin

 I was out-of-my-mind frustrated.

He had spewed mean words to his younger siblings too many times that day. We had talked. And talked. And prayed. Well, I had prayed. There’s no telling if he prayed along. This battle had been brewing a while, and I was over it.

So I sent him to his room, thinking I needed a few minutes to cool down before I could deal with his most recent outburst {in a calm manner}.

Unfortunately, I didn’t leave it there. I followed him, giving him an ugly earful of my own thoughts and feelings about the situation he created and the ways he was ruining my day.

I dealt with his outbursts by having an outburst of my own. And then I left his room with a sigh and that rotten feeling.

This is not the way I plan to, hope to, want to parent. But it’s the way I sometimes do.  

As I walked down the hallway, the phone in my pocket chirped. I pressed the home button, only to be greeted by the Verse of the Day. Oh, shoot. I had just signed up to receive these verses as a text each day, but it had to arrive right then?

1 Corinthians 13:2 brightened up my screen.

“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

If I do not have love? Of course I have love for my kids. But I wasn’t acting in love. During the course of that challenging day, my thoughts had shifted to me. Instead of acting in love, I focused on how I felt like a victim of my child’s nasty behavior.

So I asked God to help me, to move toward this boy with love. 

My son quickly softened at my apology, and he asked for my forgiveness as well. It doesn’t always happen that way, but this time it did. We talked for a while, and as I listened to the way he viewed things, I began to see him with different eyes. Love does that for us, doesn’t it?

Love helps us see through the lens of compassion. It reminds us that everyone, even the kid currently mistreating his siblings, is struggling in their own ways. I’m not excusing the behavior, just handling it with compassion.

I hope to love well, not only as a Mom but in every relationship. So I’ll keep on asking for supernatural help and listen for God’s voice–even if His words come through and afternoon text from the Bible app.

Love makes all the difference. It’s the one thing we must always return to.

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

Alarm: You Need Help & It is Okay

We have a broken fire alarm in our house. It’s either that, or well working. At the first hint of bacon, or scents of meat or scorch in a pan the thing fires off.

At first, we freaked. We didn’t know whether, with this obnoxious sound, we should run outside to grab a hose or just sit around and chill out. But, after the 11th or so time, we realized – all will be okay. We just have to address the issue and move on with our day.

Some of us, need to do the same: We need to hear a fire alarm sounding in our mind, address the issue with God and know it will be okay.

What fire alarm should be sounding off in your life? Is it harsh words? Is it a mean attitude? Is it a shut-down heart? Is it a busy lifestyle? Is it a spending habit?

Usually, we try to go through our house, our life, acting like everything is okay when it really is not. This is not okay. We need to hear that fire alarm, the sound of God reminding us – Hey, look over here, there are some things you need to address. There are some areas that I want you to see, so you can better see me. 

It is not a sound of condemnation, it is a sound of restoration, meant to bring us to Jesus’ consolation. Jesus loves us. He wants to help us. He is for us. He is with us. He is our advocate. He is our relief. He is our way. He is our life.

Why not let him heal us from what hurts today? Why not call out to him, instead of trying to soldier on with bandages around our knees and a limp to your spirit? We were meant for more than this kind of living, weren’t we?

You’re not faking him; I am not either.

And, even though I try to “fake it” in my house, today I admit: My heart feels fragile. It feels needy. It feels wanting. I am a little weary.

But, no weight is not too much for God to carry.

In fact, renewed power and passion comes to types like me and you, who admit need. For, with Christ, our weakness becomes our strength. We need not feel ashamed to abide in the place of wanting, of longing and of helplessness. Here, he who is help, brings help, speedily. He rescues us. He rushes in. He saves.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Ps. 34:18)

Be not ashamed if there is an alarm sounding in your life; he who saves will show up.

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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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.