Purposeful Faith

Tag - trust

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.

 subscribe

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.

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

 Loading InLinkz ...

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

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.

 Loading InLinkz ...

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.

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

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.

 

What Age Do You Feel on the Inside?

pray God holds sky

Post By: Angela Parlin

“It’s kinda boring in here, Mom. There’s nothing colorful about this place.”

She says this a little sassy, from a plain old emergency room bed. She’s drawing a picture in her fancy notebook, and watching Liv & Maddie on the corner television. Most importantly, she’s breathing slower. She’s acting like herself again.

We wait for medications to wear off, and these unplanned hospital hours have me thinking. A Carrie Underwood song I played last week, on the day I turned 40, runs through my head:

“Whenever you remember times gone by,

Remember how we held our heads so high.

When all this world was there for us,

And we believed that we could touch the sky…”

(“Whenever You Remember” lyrics)

Time has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it?  I no longer believe I could touch the sky. Not like that anyway. I also don’t feel 40.

The age we feel on the outside never seems to match the way we feel on the inside.

Do you know what I mean?

When I turned 30, a friend asked me if I felt older. I said I felt about 17. I told my older sister yesterday, now that I’m 40, I feel a good strong 27 inside. Maybe it’s only lingering optimism, although it wasn’t all pretty then.

On my 27th birthday, I woke, sobbing, with Temporary Insanity. My overdue “little tiny” still had not joined us. I thought I’d be pregnant forever with that one.

Eventually, he arrived, and 27 began this giant growth spurt that is motherhood.

I started questioning my ability and doubting my own strength. Looking back, that’s where my real growth began. I wanted to depend fully on God, but something was in the way. Youth, maybe? So I regularly exhausted my own efforts, research, and ideas, and just after that, called on the name of Jesus.

It’s funny the way life changes us.

You go from believing you could almost touch the sky–to knowing the limits of your power.

You go from holding your head high, feeling the wind of the world beneath your wings–to bowing down, carried by One who moves like wind or however He chooses.

It’s upside-down, but this is where life gets good. Because now you’re falling upward. In the corner of your bedroom. In the emergency room. And everywhere in-between.

“My heart beating, my soul breathing,

I found my life when I laid it down.

Upward falling, spirit soaring

I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”

(Hillsong United, “Touch the Sky” lyrics)

You fall to your knees, like it all depends on the GOD who holds up the sky.

You’re singing a new song, because now you really believe.

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13, NLT

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

Angela ParlinAngela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. From her home in North Carolina, she writes about the Jesus, grace, and motherhood, because there’s always “So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.” In addition to writing, she spends her days homeschooling, putting meals on the table, and wiping countertops. When she can’t be found, she’s hiding in the closet, devouring another novel, because stories are her favorite.

The Catcher, The Change-Up, and Summer Preparedness

ready for the change up

Softball is usually a major part of our summer activities. The kids and I pack up the van and head over to the local park to cheer my husband on as he plays. Adam usually plays shortstop—he’s quite good. But between wrangling kids and catching up with friends, I often miss some of the key moments of the game.

The position that amazes me is the catcher. I’m always worried about his knees. How does he hold that position for so long? 

A lot of game-changing moments take place in front of home plate. The game can be going along in a predictable pattern and then whack! the catcher has to be ready to spring into action.

The catcher is ready for anything—even the change-up. Flexibility is his strength. His body is limber and his mind is engaged— ready to respond to whatever is thrown at him. When the pace changes, he adjusts.

I want to be like the catcher:

I want to be marked by adaptability, ready for the unexpected, and not thrown off balance when it comes.

When the pace of life changes I want to adjust and learn to embrace what’s in front of me.

I want my knees to be strong because they are bent often, in prayer.

When God brings a change-up, I don’t want to be thrown off balance.

Summer will soon be upon us. Are we prepared for this new season? Are we ready to be flexible? Are we willing to bend low so that we’re ready for what’s coming? Will we adjust to the change of pace or experience burnout from running ourselves ragged?

Come on over to Katie M. Reid’s blog as she continues this discussion and hosts the #RaRaLinkup…

 

The Way to Handle Life

pray handle life

Years ago, I took one of those 20-question quizzes, which used to populate our email inboxes. Before Facebook took over, we replied to all and read our friends’ answers one by one as they replied to ours. Remember that?

This quiz included questions about your favorite fruit, your most embarrassing moment, and how many days a week you cry. Random.

Guess what I learned?

Most people don’t shed tears every day.

Or at least that group of my friends didn’t. After I sent out my answers, some of them wondered if I was depressed. But I didn’t have anything to hide—I’ve just always been an easy cry.

I’ve been studying the book of Hebrews, where we see Jesus as superior to angels and prophets and the law that came through Moses. He’s our High Priest who gives us continual access to God’s Presence.

But we also see Jesus living out of his humanity, displaying strong emotion.

We see Him crying and praying fervently about what was to come.

We see Him struggle and still obey God, even through suffering.

We see Him fully dependent on God His Father day after day.

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Hebrews 5:7

It’s the emotion here that stops me—fervent cries and tears to the One who could save Him.

This points to His time in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus asked His Abba, Father to take this cup from Him. He was asking God to not let Him die in such agony–with the sins of the world heaped upon Him.

He didn’t want His Father to turn away from Him.

And He was heard because of His reverent submission. This last part of the verse is important.

Jesus asked for a different way, but He submitted to the Father’s will.

Yet not what I will, but what you will. Mark 14:36b

Is this the attitude you carry into your prayers?

It’s often not where my heart is, when I come to God with a need. I’m thinking, MY will, Lord, just say yes! I’m assuming I can see far enough ahead to know my way will work out best. I’m sure I know what I need.

But often, God shows me that what I need more than anything is to walk with Him and depend on Him.

What I need most is to lay my requests at His feet and say, Not what I will, but what you will.

Jesus endured His life on earth with regular time away from everyone else, praying to His Father–even though there were endless people to help and things to do.

Our lives, also, are meant to be handled with prayer.

May we follow Christ’s example to actively trust in God and depend on our Father through prayer. May we pray as an offering, sometimes including tears. Every day if needed.

View More: http://kimdeloachphoto.pass.us/allume2015

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.

5 Ways God Cares (More Than You Think)

God Cares

I stared out the window. The outside was about ready to teach my insides a deep lesson.

What caught my eyes were two birds frolicking, jumping and having fun. They didn’t care; they chased, played and enjoyed the beauty of the day. Before not too long, a few friends even joined in. Life seemed to be a blessing not a burden.

I think they had no idea of when the next storm was approaching, but all they same, it didn’t seem to matter.

They didn’t seem worried about what they didn’t have;
they just went about enjoying what they did.

 

What is it you don’t yet have?

What is it that distracts your eyes from beauty?

I know it’s crazy, but wonder if somehow birds have an understanding that we don’t, like:

1. God’s nature is to forever take care of me. It is impossible for him not too.

2. Every season eventually ends and God provides. I will trust that.

3. God is who he is. Just as he makes the sun come up every morning and the moon fall, he will be true to his word.

4. I don’t have to fear I’ll be hungry for my next best thing, God remains my best thing.

5. “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

I want to be like these birds – free to fly high. Soaring. Enjoying. Living.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

I try to store away so much: 

Stress.
I fill myself with action plans.

Fear.
I load up on maneuvers to self-protect.

Distraction.
I let it divert my mind from what God wants to heal.

Frustration.
I let my storehouse get shaky because God hasn’t yet shown up.

What do you store in your barn?

When we fill our barns to the brink, we always feel about to sink.
But, when we trust that God will provide the next meal, we are ready to fly. 

We break out of molds. We rise up from our nest. We don’t think about the next storm. We approach the edge of our safety and we jump out to dance in the air of providence.

We remember his voice of faithfulness, the “I will take care of you” voice. We hear it rise to its heights.

It sounds like:

1. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” Gen. 28:15

2. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Heb. 13:8

3. Cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Pet. 5:7

4. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today… (Ex. 14:13)

5. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God is calling us to delight in the gap between of uncertainty and his next big gift. Will we?

Will we choose to delight in his faithfulness or die in ungratefulness?

I don’t want to settle for second worst when I have second best. What I want to do is run, jump and fly with God to the places he has set to take me. Care to join me?

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