Purposeful Faith

Tag - trust

Fear of Time: Does it rush, pressure or stress you out?

fear of time

I approached him, “Get your backpack. We need to get in that car.”

He marched right past me holding the shovel like a sword, swinging it as if he just won a war. He wasn’t going anywhere, this I knew. My words floated over him like the wind. His eyes were dead set on the game he was playing.

I was annoyed, for what stood between me and peace – was a 5-year old, a pretend game and a wrestling match of words that was about to explode.

What is standing in between you and peace?  Between you and God?

For me it is distractions. Consider this: Just 5 minutes before my son’s victory march I was praying to God, asking him to be with me and wanting to walk forward in his love.  So, what happened?

(Deep breath.) 3 distractions bubbled up – ones that so often pull me off track:

  1. I let the demands of this world, steal my delight in the Creator.
  2. I allow urgency to replace intimacy – between me and God.
  3. I let destination take precedence over God’s invitation to let loose.

(Another deep breath.) When I am worried about time, (I don’t have enough of it, I am stressed out by it, I am going to be late, I am missing out, I am too old, I am too young, I should be somewhere already, I don’t want to wait, I must think about my future, rather than be present) I work myself into a tizzy. And, here, in all my trembling – I can’t see God.

…But all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life…so no fruit is produced. (Mark 4:19)

I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord the best, with as few distractions as possible.  (1 Cor. 7:35)

If I am distracted I can’t as easily be engaged with God. If I am worried about many things, I can’t be enthralled by the One thing. If I am trying to press through a tight knit schedule, I can’t as easily press peace into this world.

I want more. Do you?  I want to take God through my day with me. Not just in the morning time, but all the time. Not just when I think of him, but as I do everything. I want to invite in his love so I can spread his love.

No longer do I want to fear the rush, the clock and the game – that calls me to sprint ahead, but I want to stop and sit and savor and sip up God’s goodness. Maybe you do too…

For we serve a God who is limitless and unbound by time. The truth is, he can work within any barrier that lays before us. He just outstretches his hand and it expands in a way where we can do what we once thought we couldn’t.

We believe by faith. And God handles the rest.

Order Kelly’s powerful book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

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

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On Fear & Misplaced Faith

trust fear fighting

Post By: Angela Parlin

“Mom, could you let that car drive past us?”

Staring out the backseat window, my daughter noticed a van in the next lane. I wondered why she cared about which cars shared the road with us. Questioning her further, I learned my 8-year-old daughter was afraid of dark vans.

When I was her age, I had the same irrational fear.

For me, it started with a Crime Stoppers commercial. I accidentally saw a piece on the news one night, about a store robbery and a couple of men pulling away in a big, black van. I couldn’t forget it. It changed my life, but not in any good ways.

Fear consumed my thoughts and ruined activities I previously enjoyed.

When a black van drove down our quiet, country road, I imagined a man would jump out and stuff me into the back. Or take my Mom away. Some days, it kept me from playing outside. I thought about it often, always measuring how far I was getting from my parents.

They tried coaching me through this fear and praying with me, after noticing changes in my behavior. But mostly, I didn’t speak my fears aloud. I kept them on the inside. Maybe this was the reason the enemy had a hold on me through fears, at such a young age.

When my fear of dark vans went away, other fears arrived, one after another.

The temptation to ponder my worries, cares, and fears rather than give them to the Lord has always been a great struggle for me.

1 Peter 5:7 (AKJV) says, “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.” I would cast my cares on the Lord, but then reel them back in, holding them tightly in my own hands.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be a believer in Jesus Christ, who can say with certainty, “I trust God for everything.” I’d rather not own this struggle with fears. But trust is an action verb, and sometimes, I do not trust.

Sometimes I hold my most precious possessions back from God, as if I have any control over them.

I’m still learning to trust the Lord completely, with my life’s most important pieces (or people).

Speaking of what’s most important in our lives, what are your greatest fears? Your answer will show you what you fail to entrust to the Lord.

Through seasons of life, our fears may shift. When I had babies of my own, and when they were no longer “safe” and warm inside me, my fears not only shifted. They metastasized. Maybe you can relate?

One of the greatest lessons I’ve been learning is the same truth I repeat to my own children night after night—

God is good, and we can trust Him.

We live in a scary world, and we hear of scary things happening to people around us all the time. In this world, where bad news abounds, we must battle for trust in God over fear.

I just finished Kelly Balarie’s challenging and practical book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, and this quote from page 53 wouldn’t let me go:

“Do you fear God—living life in awe, in anticipation, and in adventure? Not fearing Him in a way where you get all shaky and nervous and defensive, but in a way where God moves into position number one. In a way where He gets to stand above everything else you fear.”

When we give in to fear, it’s a lot like putting our faith in something other than God. Instead, may we trust in the all-powerful, cares-for-us, praise-worthy God Almighty.

When I am afraid,

I put my trust in You.

In God,

whose word I praise—

in God I trust

and am not afraid.

What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalm 56:3-4, NIV

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.

Go to sleep?…Ur uh, I don’t think So!

It was a Friday morning and I was busily preparing for a surprise weekend getaway I had planned for my husband David, when my cell phone rang. It was hubby. I thought he was calling to tell me about his doctor’s appointment but instead in a bewildered voice he rambled off words that at first seemed nonsensical.

“I just got a call from Mr T. and… Cliff died this morning. Massive heart attack.“

I repeated the sentence several times in my head as if to process the bizarre message, I’m sure I didn’t hear correctly.

You see it couldn’t be true because Cliff, the dear friend and golfing buddy David spoke of was a larger-than-life kind of guy. He wouldn’t just die like that.

But it was true. In the time it takes for a heart to beat, his heart stopped. Forever.

His sudden death made me come face to face with a chilling truth.

I’ve been afraid to die.

It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going.

I do.

I believe with all my heart when I’m done with this earth I’ll see Jesus face to face and live for all eternity with Him.

When friends proudly proclaim, “I’m not afraid of dying” I want so badly to give a, “Yeah, yeah me too!” (High five, fist bump and all that.)

But I don’t. I’m silent.

I hate this fear, it feels so… faithless.

Digging deep, at first I thought it was the process that scares me. I’ve watched my mother and father pass and a few friends. Death ain’t pretty.

However when I honestly brought my contradiction of thought and faith to God, He gently brought to mind something from my past. Something I hadn’t thought of in a long time.

From as early as I can remember, probably about three years of age, my mom would tuck me into bed, turn out the lights and recite this brief prayer.

Before I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord for my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord for my soul to take.

And she wondered why I couldn’t go to sleep…!

I had all but forgotten this nightmarish rhyme. 
Though I have no doubt my Episcopalian mother was well-intentioned, I can say with reasonable accuracy, no three-year old understands the meaning of such words. To my little-girl ears they sounded mystical, scary.

I became frightened of this spooky God my mother prayed to Who might choose to take me in the night—stealing me away from my family, my home, my dolls. This life.
Of course I never wanted to shut my eyes. But what was worse, when I kept them open the Jesus-cross that hung by my beside stared at me in the dark with an eerie purple incandescence glow.

This is not at all the God I worship today. The God I know and worship doesn’t desire to scare little children, or anyone for that matter. He’s a gentle Father who promises hope (Jeremiah 29:11) and works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28-29).

However our past often paves the pathways in our future.
Sometimes with bold confidence. But many times with trepidation.
As it’s been in my case.

Has something from your past locked you into a feeling of apprehension, foreboding, phobias or panic?

Don’t allow any fear to steal your freedom. Ask God to unlock the past for you, releasing understanding—clarity.

Now that I can see my past world juxtaposed with my present I believe with God’s help and the power of the Holy Spirit I can dismantle the fears that threaten to unravel me and move forward to living this life as God meant—with abandon…and fist bumps.

You can too.

“I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold to it. But on thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

***Get a kick-start on a fearless life with Kelly’s book, Fear Fighting.***

Looking forward, pressing on, and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.

About Christy

Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.

Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey christymobley.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

Which Hope Are You Holding Onto?

anchor hope

Post By: Angela Parlin

“We just have to hold onto hope!”

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

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

Which hope are you holding onto?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And we have this Hope.

This Hope is an anchor for our souls.

The anchor holds, firm and secure.

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

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

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

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

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

Angela Parlin is a wife and mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. In addition to spending time with friends and family, she loves to read and write, spend days at the beach, watch romantic comedies, and organize closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos. Check out the free Writer’s Guide there, and subscribe to the Ladder2Rooftop newsletter.

More Reading:
10 Ways to Shine Christ On Christmas

Being a Perfect Christian

Finding Renewal in Christ

Grief Isn’t a Lack of Faith

Post by:Jami Amerine

From the windows of my bedroom on the second story of our home on our 640-acre ranch, I could see the sky morphing from daytime to a water colored twilight.

The master bedroom glowed with purple hues.

My husband Justin, always generous and thoughtful, had excused me for the evening.  I could hear the acquainted sundown clamor.  One of the college children was home to help. Our 14-year-old daughter would help too.  The three youngest, our two adopted toddler sons and our infant foster daughter laughed, hollered, and then one of them began to cry.  Dishes clapped, a chair scraped across the dining room floor. All the normal sounds heard on any normal evening in our normal lives played out like a recording.

Tonight wasn’t normal.

Having just learned we would begin the transitioning of our foster daughter to her birth home I was a wreck.  Make no mistake, I have championed her momma, I love her.  She is my friend, she is a good mom.  Still, this sweet child has brought nothing but joy and laughter to our home.  She is delightful.  For the last year, she has been a cherished part of our family.

I was slain with grief.

I ignored my instinct to remove my mascara. I was not interested in protecting my 800-count white cotton sheets.  I needed to cut loose and grieve.  My phone buzzed alerts on my nightstand, I didn’t move.  I just cried heaving sobs and blew my nose, repeatedly into a tattered Kleenex… eventually crying myself into a deep slumber.

Later, sticky eyes pried open to a pitch black room.  I reached to my side for Justin, he wasn’t there.  I picked up my phone and tried to make out the time.

2:17 am.

And then… I remembered.  Grief washed over me again. Safely alone I said it out loud, “God, I am so sorry I lost it. I am so sorry my faith is so weak.  I am so sorry for…”

Grieving?

Crying?

Mourning a loss?

I sat up, my head pounded.  My nose was efficiently slammed shut.  “No, I am sorry… “

That you will miss that baby girl?

That your relationship with she and her momma are now irresolute?

That your work, work you love, is ending?

I reached for the lamp on my nightstand and switched it on and then opened a package of makeup removing wipes.  I wiped my face and continued to attempt to repent for… grieving.

In my sorrow, I had convinced myself I was somehow lacking.  In my hurt, I had managed to negate the gift of tears.  In my uncertainty, I had belittled my role as daughter of the Most High, having every confidence that stoic patented me faithful.

Rest.

Cry.

Let me comfort you.

I kicked off my shoes, removed my earrings and in a most artistic fashion, removed my bra without so much as unbuttoning my blouse. I switched off the light and heard Justin’s muffled snores coming from the family room.

Thank you for Justin.

Thank you for the children.

Thank you for the gift of tears.

I yawned and my lungs burned with the fatigue of grief.  Hot tears escaped my weary eyes. Yet I knew, this was not a sign of my unbelief. No, this was a sign I was blessed among the mourning and loved and cared for as the weary.  I lamented the times I had missed out on being fully loved and favored for by my Father in Heaven, somehow believing the lie that grief was indicative of a lack of faith.

A lie from the enemy.

I do not doubt the Father’s love.  I do not question His devotion to the baby girl I have loved as my own.  I do not believe He will not continue the good works he has instilled in her birthmother.  Why would I feel that my heartache counts me less than devout?

My breath steadied, and I felt myself slipping back into the comfort of His blessing, rest.  Good Father, Mastermind, and Creator of tears, laughter, and all emotion, every state of being and every stage of life. He blessed me with these life affirming emotions, no longer will I consider they somehow nullify the gift of my salvation – the majesty of faith – faith that counts me worthy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Read More:
Grace for One Who Self-Condemns
Why God Really Has A Better Way
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

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

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

We Can Make Our Plans

plans

Post By: Angela Parlin

I had a plan for the weekend.

I stuffed an entire suitcase. I packed outfits and shoes for each day. I gathered journals & pens & vitamins & snacks. I confirmed a hotel room. I cleaned the car, inside and out.

I looked forward to enjoying the company of some long-distance friends. I was all ready—to run out the door, to drive down the road with a friend, and to soak up all kinds of help I needed at this weekend retreat.

I’ll be honest, it had been a long week at home. First, some of the kids were home from school a few days with coughs, and then my oldest struggled through a high fever for days.

And then something worse happened. I–the Mama taking care of everyone else–started to feel sick.

At first I tried to deny it and told myself I was okay. Mind over matter, right? I tried to stick to the plan. To not be sick.

But hours later, I knew. I was not heading out the door for anything, especially a fun weekend retreat.

Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10:23

I may have had a plan, but my plan was not going to happen.

I’m a fan of making plans. I think we all are, really. We may not all be the Type-A, schedule all the hours, write-it-all-down kind of planners, but we all make plans. It’s a part of life.

I’m also a fan of my plans working out the way I plan. Anybody else? {Sidenote: So God made me a Mom—to give me lots of practice dealing with the opposite.}

These last few weeks of sickness were a good reminder that I have so little control over my days, my plans, and the steps I take. But even more than that, it reminded me that I am fully dependent on the Lord.

And this we will do, if God permits. Hebrews 6:3

In the verse above, the writer of Hebrews declares our complete dependence on the Lord, in 8 little words.

Just before this verse, he encouraged the believers to move forward toward maturity, so that they wouldn’t need to be taught the basic foundations of their faith repeatedly. God’s plan for each of us includes growth and maturity, and we each play a part in our growth.

But it’s also true that we don’t completely control it.

Instead, we depend on God, even in the area of our spiritual growth. He is the One who opens our hearts and ultimately causes us to grow.

So we purpose to move forward; we plan to do this, and we will, if and when God permits.

We are completely dependent on the God who gives us breath, and sometimes that’s easy to forget.

In our day-to-day lives, especially these days, we have so many tools for self-sufficiency at our disposal, tools like the internet and vehicles and finances and opportunities and planners in our hands.

Even so, our lives are not our own. We live and move and breathe by the will of the Lord our God.

Even when we don’t understand what He’s allowing in our lives, His will triumphs over our own.

Even when we believe the Lord is leading us one way or another, He has the final say.

We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9, NLT

On the other side of this illness, once again I am certain. He is good. He is in control. And He is worthy of my trust. Praise the Lord.

///////////

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.

What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15, ESV

Angela Parlin

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

Desperation Can Give Birth to Dedication

Desperation can give birth to dedication by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post By: Katie M. Reid

Are you in a desperate situation? Does it feel like you’re facing a brick wall, with no way to get around it? Are you struggling to find hope as the season changes?

In 1 Samuel 1:1-27, 2:1-11 we read about a woman, named Hannah, who found herself in a time of desperation.

Hannah was deeply loved yet she carried around a haunting emptiness. In a time when a woman’s womb was wound up tightly to her worth, Hannah’s barrenness must have flashed “broken” like a neon sign in a dark alley.

Not only was Hannah unable to conceive but her husband’s other wife, Peninnah, had children. Not only did Peninnah have children but she provoked Hannah bitterly about her closed womb (see 1 Samuel 1:6).

Have you known that sting? It’s salt in the wound when you are lacking yet someone nearby holds the very thing you long for. Maybe they aren’t hanging it over your head but deep down you struggle to celebrate with them.

Maybe you are dealing with infertility and Hannah’s account hits a little too close to home? Or maybe you long to birth a book, or have more money in your account, or receive a clean bill of health, or to live somewhere else, or for your husband to be more attentive, or to even have a husband?

No matter what leaves you empty, I think we can all relate to the ache that Hannah carried.

She had a life-giving longing and yet, year after year, she was left unfulfilled.

Have you been there? I have. Like Hannah, I longed for a baby to hold. I had three children at the time but God birthed a deep desire to adopt a child. I assumed my God-given desire would be granted in no time; I was wrong.

Some nights I crept into the empty nursery and rocked. The tears fell and my arms ached as I longed for this baby. Where was this little life that had been conceived in my heart so many months ago?

It is hard to trust God in the dark places, when you can’t see a way out of the tunnel and you wonder if the secret desires of your soul can even be seen at all.

But in those difficult times, we can bring our desperation to the Lord and trust Him with it.

Our desperation can give birth to dedication.

My prayer is that we learn from Hannah, not so much that she finally received what her arms ached for, but that in her anguish she poured out her soul before the Lord (see 1 Samuel 1:15).

-She allowed God to see the depth of her pain (vs. 15).
-She didn’t run from God but ran to Him and asked for intervention (vs. 11-12).
-She believed God could do what she had asked of Him (vs. 17-18).

Now it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord’” (vs. 20, NASB).

Be assured the Lord hears you when you pour out your soul to Him. You can trust Him with the tender places of your heart.

Have you wanted something so badly that it ached?
And then to make things worse someone else had what you were longing for. It is irritating and painful, and can leave you hollow; fighting for hope amidst the heap of ashes at your feet.

Left unguarded your ache can drive you away from the Lord or it can drive you to your knees.

Hope can be found at Jesus’ feet. He willingly died on the Cross—and rose again—so that you can be emptied of sin and filled with His Presence.

Like Hannah, may your desperation give birth to dedication as you cling to His unchanging hope despite your circumstances. May Jesus’ love light the way through the gray as you take the next step towards Him.

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

Author & Speaker Katie M. Reid image by Adopting Nations
Katie M. Reid is a tightly wound woman, of the recovering perfectionist variety, who fumbles to receive and extend grace in everyday moments. She delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Through her writing and speaking, Katie encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life.

Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com and on Twitter and Facebook.

P.S. Here is a free gift from our heart to yours!

As Katie waited to adopt she recorded an album, Echoes of My Heart. As a special gift Katie is offering a free download of a song from that album entitled, “Waitin’ On Someday”. May you be encouraged as you keep trusting the One is with you through it all.

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Are you Fooling Yourself Faithless?

Fooling Yourself

Bang! The thunder sounded like a shot in the night, except it was morning. Either way, the shrieks that ensued caught us all off guard. “Quick, get under the blankie! Let’s hide,” Madison shouted at her toddler brother.

They tumbled down like miniature-wrestlers, grabbing the comforter and maneuvering it over their heads.

They felt safe. But, what I could see from the height of my vantage point went beyond two sets of covered heads – to the 3 feet of remaining limbs laying uncovered. These soft legs, arms and hearts were still vulnerable – vulnerable to thunder, destruction and all the fierce consequences of lightening.

Fooling Yourself

All I could think was, “Those cute little fools aren’t safe. They’re hardly covered.”

In the same way, I act like a fool.

Do you?

Do you take cover with defensiveness, escape and busyness to escape the danger of reality?

Are you afraid to deal with mounting problems and the excruciating weight of your own emotions?

Do you figure Jesus won’t be able to handle the likes of you?fooling yourself

It’s embarrassing, ugly even, to admit, but I cover. I grab a leaf and pretend it will hide the ugliness of my nakedness. Yet, what didn’t work for Eve, still doesn’t work for me. 

These thoughts…
“If I can’t see my problems, my problems can’t see me…”
“If I pretend it isn’t there, maybe it will go away…”
“If I can fight back with strength, I won’t be so weak…”
…these thoughts, leave me vulnerable, exposed and aimless – running like a rabid dog in hunt of life. 

Even worse, my tricks go bust, because no one is tricked. My family sees my limbs flailing about. My God sees everything. And, my insides see a hole too deep to climb out from.

The tension mounts, my heart asks:
How can I deal with my feelings without fleeing?

An answer settles: What pain we give God an opportunity to see, he’ll free.

Because God is a God of clear vision…
From heaven the Lord looks down
and sees all mankind;
from his dwelling place he watches
all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all…(Ps. 33:13-14)

…who cares.
who considers everything they do…. (Ps. 33:13-14)

And He sees deliverance and delivers deliverance to those who desperately hope in him.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine. ( Ps. 33:18-19)

His tender mercy wants to approach us (Lu. 1:78). It doesn’t look like a hand raised. It doesn’t squint with eyes furrowed. It doesn’t pontificate with a red face. No. It is a cupped hand that holds you tenderly, as if you were a shell about to break into his glory.

Unfailing love wants to heal you. He wants to heal me too.

Will we let Deliverer deliver us from fear to faith?

We don’t need to hide from tender mercy. For it is, after all, what we most crave, isn’t it?

So today, gather your courage, put it in a line, get it ready to launch, and pray with me: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23), make them plain to my eyes, Lord. Help me be able to handle them. Show me the way to go. Teach me. I am open.”

Then prepare your heart to be flooded by He who is – LOVE. He will lead your way through the muck and yuck. Through thick and thin. Through tears and healing.

fooling yourself

He won’t let you down, as you look up.

It may not always feel easy or safe, but, every time, his ways are (Mt. 11:3o).

So, let’s no longer pull the comforter over our eyes, for the Spirit is comforter (Jo. 14:26) and his vision will see us through.

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He Who Knows…

Post by: Jami Amerine

Five and a half years ago, in the midst of heartache and tragedy, we decided to increase instead of decrease. We were walking wounded; run down, depleted, on empty. Perhaps it seems foolish, go ahead “guffaw.” But I had a dream about a little girl named Allison.

Allison, of Noble Birth.

That is what the name Allison means.

Of Noble birth. 

And so I made a phone call to my husband, and he hesitantly agreed, we would adopt a child.

Nine months from that day we met our son, Sam.

Sam was instantly one of us. We cared for him as a family, the least of these brought light, hope, and laughter back into this house.

Yet, so certain was I of the reality of Allison, we dove right into foster to adopt care.

Next month we will finalize the adoption of our new son, “Charlie.”

So?  Where the heck is Allison?

I love Jesus. I believe in a one on one relationship with Him. I believe He wants to commune with me.

Was I wrong?  And more importantly, by telling the Allison story did I somehow mislead others? Oh my! What if my words caused someone’s faith to falter? What if I lead someone down a path they should not go?

This morning, as four-year-old Sam stumbled, sleepily from his bed, two-year-old Charlie greeted him cheerfully.

Charlie chirped, “Morning Sam! Hey, widdle buddy? You wants some breawkfast?”

Sam, sleepily glared, and growled, “No. Stop being cute Charwglie, I not in da mood.”

And we laughed and laughed.

These boys are brothers. “Brothers from other mothers” is our tease. A tapestry has been woven and in it is a picture of a family. That family has seen some hard times. That family has seen miracles. That family has had hopes and dreams and prayers… some came to fruition; others float aimlessly on a breeze.

We aren’t sure what will become of them.

But, this much we hold true: HE KNOWS.

The God of Israel, healer of our hearts, Yahweh, Our Beloved… knows.

And what He knows is what we cling to in desperation.

What He does or doesn’t do, that is where we put our faith.  He is good. Bad things happen, still, His favor rests upon our heads.

And I have asked Him, “Lord, where is Allison?”

And time and again He has answered. Chilling encounters with a foster baby with the middle name Allison, a distance cousin… Allison.  A near placement of a little girl named Camilla, when I looked up her name meaning?  It said: “see also Allison.” And just last week a friend sent me a touching video with an adoption story – the birth mother? Allison.

I keep these things near to my heart. I choose to believe the Allison was a personal message for me, a cue to start a journey.  Tonight as I rocked a little foster baby to sleep in our home, I know not what her future holds. No, her name is not Allison.

However, there was a calling. There was a need. Our God spoke, and in spite of what we thought made sense, we answered, “Here we are Lord.” The hurts, the scary times, the unknowns, none of that matters as long as we follow where He who knows, leads.

As the calling has expanded, we have seen things we had not known. We have loved immeasurably. Our borders have grown. Our numbers have increased. We have multiplied rather than divided.

And these children that have joined our ranks? They and their birth families have taught us so much. We love them, all of them. So much good has come about from He who knows.

He who knows when a sparrow falls or a hair from our head is plucked, He is waiting for us to believe Him, wholly. He who brings us through it all, Our Father in Heaven, can make all things work together for His GLORY. He assigns greatness to us, not because of who we are, or what we do, but because of who He is. He who knows cannot be contained. His mercies are new every morning. Like sweet dew on a delicate and fragrant rose petal, He is the freshwater our souls cry out for. King of heaven and earth, He who knows all things, brings to each of us, His children the grand title: “of Noble birth.”

But she kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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The Promise Inside the Sting of Rejection

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I remember watching my firstborn get his first taste of rejection. He was about two at the time, and he leaned in to give his older female playmate a kiss.

On the mouth.

She looked at him, wide-eyed and a little mortified, and backed away. I couldn’t help but chuckle but my sweet toddler took it in stride. He knew he was cute, and her lack of interest didn’t stifle his confidence.

We kiss in our family. We show unrestrained love. But I know that once we go outside the walls of this home, those unstated rules of conduct change. My two-year-old didn’t know these rules but at that age, who does?

As he’s gotten older, the tide has shifted. Rejection hurts. I remember the first time he cried after a spat with a friend who said, “I’m not your friend anymore.” I’ve seen kids come in and out of his life, sometimes later to return.

He’s usually able to roll with the stings and the snubs, but he’s not bulletproof. And I don’t want him to be. As much as I’d love to see him never cry, get hurt or given a cold shoulder from a friend, I know he has to experience these things to truly live.

A week ago I sat at my computer reading a rejection email from an online publisher and I realized the prick of “no” may change in nature, but the pain doesn’t.

When we see the pictures of the get-together we weren’t invited to plastered on Facebook, we may feel like we’re in our high school skin all over again.

When we extend the invite to the new acquaintance from church and are repeatedly shunned, we may wonder why we even bother.

We may feel like crawling into a hole with our popcorn and Netflix marathons so that we never have to feel the ache of another “no,” another denial, another wave of apathy and disregard.

But can I tell you something? The blessing is worth it. The “yes” is worth it. When you don’t think you can extend yourself one more time, remember this.

 We serve a God who was rejected in the most brutal, public way. He did it for you. For me. He did it so we could experience life and love and yes, pain. He never rejoices in our pain but he knows it’s sometimes necessary for us to grow.

But we can’t live if we’re constantly trying to protect ourselves. We can’t live if we let fear of pain and rejection rule our lives.

For over a year of my life, I stared at what I thought was a closed door. I counted cracks in the ceiling, and our recliner and a good book became my best friends.

I was tired of trying to make friends. I was tired of the blank stares.

Since I didn’t have anyone else to talk to, I talked to God. He hears us, you know. And he’s the always the best person to talk to. The first and the last.

After months of staring at ceiling cracks, I wasn’t sure God heard me. Silly, right? But then, I made a connection. And then another and another.

I discovered community, life and purpose. I discovered friendship, yeses and open hands.

Keeping our hands open isn’t always easy, but it is always worth it. When we make those kindred connections and see those invitations extended, it’s worth the “no’s,” the stings and the heartache.

The next time you’re rejected, remember the promise of the One who was rejected most of all. He will never leave you. He will never forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5). And he’s working and listening, even when we don’t see it.

Keep your hands and your doors open, friends. You never know what God may have for you on the other side.

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View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues here, even during her darkest times. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, she loves hiking, photography, and consuming copious amounts of coffee with friends.

Abby would love to connect with you on her blog, Twitter, and Facebook.