Purposeful Faith

Tag - trust

Learning to Tango with a Trustworthy Partner

Trust is Required in order to be Led by Katie M. Reid for Kelly Balarie's Purposeful Faith

Post by: Katie M. Reid

I love to dance with my husband. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I treasure the times it does. We’re invited to an April wedding, so I’m counting on a dance or two then.

Back in college Adam and I used to swing dance. I had trouble letting him lead me. I was tense and tried to control the moves—that doesn’t work when you aren’t supposed to be taking the lead.

Someone had to follow. It didn’t mean I was less talented or capable, it just meant that in order for our dance to be effective, I needed to learn to be led so that our moves would be in harmony instead of working against each other.

A New Direction

As most of you know I am pregnant. We were planning on adopting again but God had another plan. This miracle answered many prayers I had for my heart returning home.

But here’s the thing God has been showing me recently, I can’t keep trying to do all the things I am currently doing and add another child to the mix.

He isn’t asking me to stop dancing but He’s asking me to follow His lead as He spins me around—turning me a different way than I expected.

I can fight this new direction, and most likely end up tripping and looking foolish, or I can lean in to His trustworthy arms and see where He leads.

Learning to follow does not come naturally to this first-born leader. I like to be in charge. It feels scary and off balance to bend to the leadership of another. It is challenging for me to trust another’s lead because I don’t know where it will take me. And oh how I like to be in the know!

Just the other day a conference host asked me to submit a proposal to teach a workshop at writing conference this fall. I had been waiting for an invitation like this! I was honored, yet I knew I needed to pray about it and talk it over with hubby.

I soon realized that our baby will only be four months old when this conference takes place.

I had a choice.

I could fight the way the Lord is writing my story with this new life or I could yield to His direction and trust that He will provide another opportunity to teach when my daughter is older.

By His grace I chose the latter. And I feel great peace and relief.

The Loving Lead

Are you fighting His lead in your life?
Are you pulling against His leadership instead of learning to move in harmony with His Spirit?
Have you handed over your right to control to the Only One who is truly in control?

Learn to be led so that your moves will be in harmony instead of working against each other.

He is a loving leader. And He is a fabulous dance partner.

Sometimes He takes us to places that we weren’t expecting. He spins us around and takes us to another spot on the dance floor than what we are used to.

Will we lean in close to His heart and feel His arms holding us near?
Will we let ourselves dip into His strength and bow to His Majesty?

Put on those dancing shoes, sister. There is a stirring tango that calls your name. It’s the dance of your life with Your Loving Savior.

Webster defines the tango as, “a ballroom dance of Latin-American origin in 2⁄4 time with a basic pattern of step-step-step-step-close and characterized by long pauses…”

May the steps we take each day lead us closer to Jesus. Even when there are long pauses of waiting or rerouting on this journey may we remain near to the One who doesn’t leave—even when He is quiet.

May we stay close even when He takes us in a different direction that anticipated.

Follow Jesus’ lead. It won’t always be easy or graceful, but I know it will be beautiful.

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Katie M. Reid Author

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, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

 

The Good and Bad of Giving Up

Post By: Katie M. Reid

She wants to give up, and rightly so.

She has been fighting hard, in faith—on her knees, with her time and finances, and with a broken heart.

She sacrifices beyond what she feels capable of. She doesn’t experience the noble results her heart aches for and she is weary.

She is one of the strongest women I know, and she is hanging on by a thread.

She has experienced injustice, fought corruption and been slammed up against disappointment more times than she can count.

She reaches out to others as she falls to the floor and waves the white flag.

She wants to give up and it’s understandable.

But, giving up can be bad:

  • It can rob us of the miracle just around the corner.
  • It can tempt us to walk away from the One who can do the impossible.
  • It can take us down a road of regret.
  • It can chew us up and spit us out—further from our faith than we ever dared to go.
  • It can trip others up, taking them down as we fall.
  • It can leave us depleted, like a dead man walking.

“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

It is understandable to be in a position where you want to give up. We are human. We have limits. But, if God has clearly said He will do it and laid it out in His Word, than you can count on Him to come through.

He cannot lie. Even when the road ahead is a mangled mess of darkness and tangled roots, His Hope can be found.

O God illuminate the way!

Don’t give up hope but give up control. This kind of giving up can get us somewhere.

Because, giving up can be good:

  • We reach the end of ourselves and we cry out to the Creator.
  • We cease striving and resolve to let Him fight for us.
  • We trade our grasping control for His steady Sovereignty.
  • We pour out our hurts and He meets us in our brokenness.
  • We lay down and He lifts up.
  • We yield and He fills up with peace that passes understanding.

As we begin this new year there are destructive ways of living that we should give up—bad habits, addictions, angry tones and murderous thoughts.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Ephesians 4:31

And as the new year begins there are beautiful things that we can give up, as lavish offerings to our Lord—trusting Him even when life hurts, following Him even when we can’t see the next step, abiding in His Word even when it’s not popular or convenient.

“Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name, bring an offering, and come before Him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.” 1 Chronicles 16:29

Giving up can be an act of defeat or an act or worship. Which one will you choose today?

Dear God,

You know the depths of the burdens that we bear. Yet You carried the weight of sin upon You so that we could live. Help us to lay down our cares and catastrophes at Your feet. Give us hope in dark days. Give us help to keep going. Give us strength to believe that You are who You say You are. You became a dead man so we could walk free. Now You reign at the right hand of the Father so we can be resurrected one day as well. We take a moment, on the cusp on this new year, to declare that we believe in You. You are good. You are trustworthy. You see all and are able to sustain us this day. Help us not to give up hope but to give up control and rest in Your ability to hold us, and the whole world, together. We love you and we thank you that You gave up all for us to prove you won’t give up on us!

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Katie M. Reid Author

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, four children (and one on the way) and their life in ministry. Through her writing, singing, speaking and photography she encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. Connect with Katie at katiemreid.com.

P.S. Katie is delighted to have a memoir piece published in Tales of Our Lives: Reflection Pond by Matilda Butler. The book launches tomorrow, January 8th, on Amazon for only 99 cents!

 

Letting Go of Imaginary Worries

Worries

Post By: Angela Parlin

I used to think I didn’t struggle much with worry.

And then I became a Mom a decade ago. Suddenly there were so many what ifs to contend with. My imagination easily ran off to terrifying places, thinking two steps ahead of them, often fearing the worst.

Sometimes still, I get caught up in a whirlwind of worry, even though I know I don’t get to control things. Even though my trust in God has grown.

Shakespeare said cowards die a thousand deaths, and the brave die only one. I’ve heard a variation of his quote, which rings true for me:

“Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one.”

(Author Unknown)

I know the truth of my thoughts and my imaginations. I don’t tend toward bravery, but fear. How many deaths have I died in my head, or how many deaths have I feared for my loved ones?

What about you? Do you get trapped in worry? Have you grieved for those you haven’t even lost? Do you try to figure out the future, even though you have no power there?

When I’m stuck in worry, my best response is to turn each concern into a prayer, and to listen.

I am God, He says.

I am a good God, He says.

Trust me, He says.

He calls me to hand over all of my concerns to Him, each time they find their way back into my mind.

He calls me to bring my life before Him, to bring my loved ones’ lives before Him, day after day, and to place them in His hands.

He calls me to come to Him in prayer, to lay out the pieces of my life, to entrust it all to Him.

He calls you to all of the same.

When worry takes over, what we need most is to find our way back to the quiet, to fix our eyes upon Jesus once more. There, He speaks kindly to us, transforming and renewing our minds.

There, peace takes over, and worry morphs into trust.

We stop trying to carry our hurts, our struggles, our pain on our own.

We stop trying to bear our burdens–both our real ones and our imaginary ones–apart from the God who holds the whole world in His hands.

And when the worries return, as they often do, the Lord invites us to trust Him again, because He is God and He is good.

Some people die a thousand deaths before they die one, and I don’t want to be that person anymore. Lord, help us to live in peace instead of worry, to trust you with all the pieces of our lives.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid. John 14:27

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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.

 

 

When You Think You’re Missing the Party

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

I could not stop looking at the other table.

I tried to focus on my eating my meal and made eye contact with the women around me. We talked about our writing experience, what drew us to the conference and our hometowns. But every few minutes, my eyes would drift back to the table parked directly in front of the stage.

Filled with authors, speakers and book contracts, I was certain this circle was the place to be.

What were they talking about? What was the source of their laughter?

A seat there would make me content, wouldn’t it? My mind filled with images like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, convinced there was a golden ticket just out of my grasp and I had to get my hands on it. Wonders beyond my wildest imagination waited behind closed doors.

My mind was so preoccupied with crazy assumptions that I almost missed the woman sitting across the table from me. It was her first blogging conference. She was quite visibly nervous, no doubt feeling alone in a room full of people who had already made online connections.

She needed encouragement. She needed to know she’d made the right decision by being there.

And in all my selfish absorption with what I thought I was missing, I almost missed a God-given opportunity. In all my distractedness, I almost forgot the reason why I was there.

Giving the women around me my undivided attention, I leaned in, listened, and shared what I’d learned over the past two years. My eyes stopped wandering and I remembered who I was.

We already have a seat at the table of the Most High King. We share a Spirit with the person who was exalted to sit at the right hand of God, and yet we often can’t stop looking around as though we’re missing party.

God invites us to the greatest party on earth. We simply have to accept his invitation.

When we see the beauty and the opportunity of the exact place and time where we are, we discover what it means to truly live. We stop looking at across the street or across the room and know we are right where God wants us to be, for such a time as this.

People often cite the verse, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” as a powerhouse verse to show God can enable them to accomplish a task beyond their human ability, like scaling a mountain or competing in a triathlon. (Philippians 4:13 NIV) And yes, God can enable us to do each of these things.

But if you look at the context of this verse, Paul is talking about contentment. He is writing to the church of Philippi from prison, and telling them how his walk with Christ enabled him to be joyful no matter what the circumstances.

Friends, true joy and satisfaction don’t come from a physical location or a black and white contract. They come from knowing the One whose love for you was demonstrated in the most humble way possible. He laid down his divinity and took the very nature of a servant.

Let’s lay our false assumptions about what we need at the feet of Jesus today. Let’s remember we’re already children of the Most High King.

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Guest Contributor

Abby McDonald is a writer who can’t contain the lavish love of a God who relentlessly pursues her, 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.

Control Challenge: 30 Days of Not Talking Back To Husband

Not Talking Back To Husband

Epiphany! It is a risk. It is a breakthrough. It is a rarity. Unbelievably, it just happens. We can’t demand it or force it. But, when it happens, your insides do a million little cheers because what you couldn’t see before all of a sudden makes sense. Yes! It happened to me. God pushed down a blockade that has been at least 10-years old and 10-yards thick. With my insides broken, things look different. The potential looks frankly fantastic and tangibly terrifying all at the same time.

Here is the deal, for so long, my agenda is always to have an agenda: 

You have a problem?
This is what you should do.

The kid is crying too much?
I have to figure out every last thing to get him to stop so my head won’t explode.

The plan is unsure?
I will worry my little mind off until something formalizes in my mind.

The husband and I are working together?
I will tell him exactly how to move the couch in the right way.

A family member is in a bad mood?
I tell them to get feeling better so we can start enjoying the day.

God doesn’t answer?
I will be under-the-skin angry at him for not showing up my prayed for “way.”

I fail?
I am horrified at my inability to succeed. I am embarrassed you see me. I defend myself tooth, nail and mouth running 100 miles an hour.

When we manage life, life ends up managing us.

It manages to put us into a hole of anxiety, turmoil and defeat. It manages to make our feelings slaves to other’s emotions, circumstances and outright fear.

How can we be in service to God, while we are in service to fear?

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. Ro. 8:38

If this is the truth, if nothing separates me,
shouldn’t my heart be almost laying right on top of God’s in every
encounter, situation, and moment?

Shouldn’t I almost feel our hearts beating together and moving as one?

Shouldn’t I not be standing on my feet, but trusting, or “bittachon”ing in Hebrew, which means leaning on?

Shouldn’t I be less concerned about standing up and
more concerned with falling into God’s fix-it, love-it, help-it, I-have-it hands? 

Then, perhaps, I actually won’t feel separated. Then, I won’t hold him and others at an arms length. Then, I won’t be ruled by the same driving force that compels the devil’s parade for power. Then, I will actually give God a chance to work. Then, God and I will be one. In my terrifying moments of uncertainty, he will actually become my certainty. He will be the only surety, the only hope, the only way.

Not through my way, but by me actually living God’s way.

Can you imagine the faith-strides that will happen through a true core belief that says,
in every single solitary situation, “God, this one-is-all you”?

What role do you need to forgo to see God’s hand go wild on your behalf?

Is it being a “mom”ager, a dictator, a fixer, an “advice”r, a “peace-maker,”
a ruler, a helper, a planner or an antagonizer?

Maybe you want to join me on this 30-day challenge?

Will you join me in picking one way that you want to pack away for 30 days?

For me, it looks like this: I am making one small decision to bow down to my husband. Starting today, I will not advise, fix, control, manage, plan, help, counsel, instruct, teach, come up with different ideas, endlessly question, give the one-eyebrow raise or offer the silent treatment to get what I want. For thirty days, I will answer everything he says by “leaning in” on God. I will not offer comebacks. I will learn to offer R-E-S-P-E-C-T for the places where I have relied on D-I-S-T-R-U-S-T.

I will say, “yes,” rather than give my off-the-cuff “no.”

I am going to lay it all down to honor him. For one month, I am going to see what it feels like to shut my mouth, open my ears and to soften my heart. I trust that God will open great plan in the places where I might feel defeated, unsure, and tumultuous. 

For 30-days, I am going to let my husband rule unhindered. What a risk! What craziness! What a nut! Yes, I am, I am so nutty that I think God will do some absurd, fanatical and wild things; I am willing to see what I have missed out on for so long. For 30 days, I can survive. For 30 days, I can see what happens. 

What is God calling you to go a little bit “wild” on?

Is it a challenge like mine?

Or maybe he is calling you in an entirely different way to submission? To service? To love?

Maybe his calling you to step out, so he can work-in-
as you trust him.

Every Monday for the next 3 weeks, I am going to reflect on this journey, my progress and letting go of control. I would love for you to join me as I “Say no to saying no to my husband,” and as you ____________ (tell me in the comments)?

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ…Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. Eph. 5,7-8

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Moving Into The Scary

Moving Into The Scary

Do you trust yourself? I mean, really, trust yourself?

I have noticed a little trend in my house. My son asks me for something, I clearly say no and then he asks me again and again until I say yes. Feeling frustrated that I gave in, I ask myself, “Why can’t I hold firm?”

Underneath it all, I know it is because I doubt my decision. I fear that my direction is all wrong, that he will suffer as a result and that things will not work out in my favor.

This kind of thinking is not isolated to parenting. In many arenas of life, I ask myself:

Will people want to move with me if I am honest?
Will they get angry if I tell the truth?
What will they think of me if I am real to me?
How will things play out if I take a hard stand?

This gets me to wondering, what would happen if I happened to stand in the shoes of John the baptist, or rather, in the water with him? As I stood there, face-to-face with Jesus, looking into his eyes, him standing before me, would I repeat the same words as John?

“I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Mt. 3:14  

Absolutely, I would!

But, the real question is-how would I respond when Jesus replied, “Let it be…? Mt. 3:15

Would I argue with him? “But Jesus,
I really am just this sinner who has no right to honor you in this way?”

Would I laugh and hand the baton to someone else saying,
“I don’t want to be responsible if things don’t go well”?

Would I baptize but be filled with grief
that I am not performing up to the standards of – ahem – God?!

Would I put his body under, yet miss the moment,
because I was filled with anxiety?

When we live unsure of our calling, we miss the chance to live it.

I praise God that John was obedient, submissive and honoring to the will of God, despite his flaws.

When we live questioning our abilities, we live by inability.

Yet, because John listened, Jesus was able to display incredible humility, submissive honor to God and a relatable human-nature that is touching to see.

When we letting our minds pull us around on a leash, we live chained like a dog.

John received an honor that no one in the whole world would ever have, only because he accepted.

Do you act decisively and accept the gifts of God
or do you run, skip and hike over them, landing on safer ground?

One who answers the call of God, has an opportunity to hear the incredible and sees the unthinkable. Taking a step towards his will, means taking a step towards his heart.

The result is sometimes unexplainable:

At that moment heaven was opened, and (Jesus) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Mt. 3:16-17

Could you imagine the honor John must have felt to be a part of this extravaganza? Can you imagine the heart-pumping honor it would be to watch the literal presence of God, the Spirit, descend like a dove? Can you imagine the million little light bulbs that would be flashing in your mind as you heard the approval that God grants over his beloved children? 

I praise God that John basically said, “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

How often should we speak the same to our self? “This is me. I am unsaintly, perhaps unsightly, unable and unworthy to have this honor, but if God is entrusting it to me, I will do it anyway.”

What glorious unveiling may we be walking into-and not even know?

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6 Ways to Find Refuge When Finances Tumble

Ways to find Refuge

What do you do when finances take a hard swing, threatening to tumble all you have built in about a split second? What do you when the force of debt, loans and goods become the wrecking ball to a once-sturdy foundation of security?

Dire finances can pull apart a foundation of hope. They can crash into established dreams. They can bulldoze temples of peace shining for the Lord – if one is not careful.

Is your bank balance dictating your emotional balance or
is your great God balancing your mind with his never wavering foundation of his truth?

God knows this trial is not easy and I love how he loves us. He gives us a helping hand when obligation seem to rise higher than our devotion.

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea… Ps. 46:1-3

If you are in need of help, God is your run-to-the-rescue deliverer. He offers incredible-Hulk-like strength. He brings an I-will-not-fear mindset.  With God, the-world-can-fall-around but theology still remains sturdy and steady.

Do you find refuge in God
to find God’s rescuing and aiding help?

6 Ways to Find Refuge:

1. Dwell in the presence of God with you and for you.
“But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge…” (Psa. 73:28).

2. Find the goodness of the Lord, amidst the harshness of the world.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;  (Ps. 36:7-8)

3. Love the one with the power to protect you.
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”  and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him (Ps. 91)…

4. Continually dialogue with the only one with the real power to save.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Ps. 62:8

5. Confess your wrongs and find freedom.
The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned. Ps. 34:22

6. Be confident in the one who has all control.
In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And his children will have refuge. Prov. 14:26

God blesses those who take refuge:

They drink the river of God’s delights (Psalm 36:8-9).
No harm will hit (Ps. 91).
Protection will come (Ps. 91).
They find help (Ps. 46).
No disaster will arrive. (Ps. 91).
Angels guard. (Ps. 91).
Praises abound (Ps. 91).
Big enemies are beaten (Ps. 91).
Lifted on a rock (Ps. 27).
Find safety (Prov. 18:10).

Refuge is one who sits in the center of God’s heart.
He finds all he needs from the pulse of God’s truth.
All his hope is from the promise of God’s security.
All his courage from the picture of what awaits.
It is not always found on earth, but it is always promised in heaven.
There is no fear for this one because he sits next to the throne of the one in control.
He is with the God who promises to be for him and with him.
He trusts the one whose hand rules all the details of his life – and he feels at ease.
​Refuge lays his head on the shoulder of his first love, waits and expects to receive goodness.

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The Object of Our Confidence

confidence

Post By: Angela Parlin

I started this year reading through Psalms slowly. I was learning to sit alone with God to pray, making it a practice to adore God each day. I quickly understood it wasn’t coincidence at all that I had begun this reading plan along with the desire to grow in prayer.

The Psalms filled my mind with ideas and images about who God is and what He does.

God is the One enthroned in heaven, Most High, maker of all, majestic, righteous ruler & judge, our Rock, our refuge, our strength, the One who sees, and these are only the beginning.

As for His actions, in the first few chapters alone, God surrounds the righteous with His favor like a shield. He watches over them and leads them. He blesses all who take refuge in Him. He listens to their prayers and answers them. He delivers, gives relief, disciplines, and judges evil. He fills hearts with joy and peace and brings prosperity.

God is King of kings, who made the world and owns the world and rules the world and sustains it.

So then, what does all this mean about us?

God chooses to be involved in the details of our lives, we learn in Psalms. And also?

He is worthy of our confidence and trust.  

David, who wrote many of the Psalms, had such deep and abiding confidence in God. I’m convicted by it, in the area of belief.

Don’t get me wrong–I don’t usually struggle with doubting God. But sometimes I struggle with doubting me. Deep down, that’s an issue of confidence in God—that He is who He says He is, that He does what He says He’ll do, and especially, that He does it for me.

I do believe; Lord, help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

I don’t think we need more confidence in ourselves. Because at some point in life, even the most self-confident among us will experience their confidence shaken. We are human, and in this state, we are dependent on God, whether we admit that or not. It doesn’t matter how much confidence you were born with or how much you developed through the circumstances of your life.

What matters is that we hope and trust in God.

At the beginning of our school day one morning, I asked my kids what they think it means to have confidence in God.

One of them said, “You just trust Him, because you know He’s God.”

Another said, “It’s like Hope. You have confidence because you hope in God.”

Doing a quick word study using confidence, I found the Greek word parresia, and the Hebrew word, mibtach. 

Parresia allows us to look ahead with confidence–because we know Who is in control. With parresia, we have freedom and boldness, but only because of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Mibtach carries the idea of security, trust, hope, and certainty.

Mibtah assumes our confidence is based on the object of our confidence.

It’s the word King David used when he prayed in Psalm 71~

Lord, You have been my hope, my confidence since my youth.

That was David’s beautiful confession, and his story. Because of what Jesus has done for you and me, this can also become the story of our lives.

Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

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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.

 

Why You Lack Friends

lack friends

You talk too much. Alone.
Your words are simply dissertation on yourself. Alone.
You judge others. Alone.
You live too far. Alone.
You make me feel uncomfortable. Alone.
You don’t go deep enough. Alone.
You are a square peg in the round hole that I have designed for my ideal friend. Alone.
You are only free when I am busy. Alone.
You just didn’t end up being who I wanted you to be. Alone.

No wonder I lack friends right now.

I never intended to feel so isolated and so absent of peace in the friend category, but this is what happens when your standards are higher than Mount Everest, when busyness takes precedence over connectedness and when people become more burden over blessings.

I kind of know it is my fault. I do. I have forgotten the fact that unity, relationships and bonds are a calling. When you are called to something, sometimes the jog over to the destination is a bumpy road filled with pot-holes, but all the same – you go the distance – for God.

God will always give the “go,” when all appears impossible. We simply rely on him and he shows us His way.

I implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.… Eph. 4:2

Paul tells us we can do it.

We can walk like people who know, in the end,
their God will take care of them.

We can go in humility, making way for people’s weaknesses. What better way is there to show someone you love them?

We can show tolerance – loving others just as they are, exactly as they are. What better way is there to confirm to our heart that God loves us just the same way?

We can show patience that excuses the mishaps that drive us nuts. What better way is there to become a person that doesn’t drive others nuts with high demands?

We preserve the unity of the Spirit knowing that if this person is a brother or sister in Christ we are bonded forever. What better cause for celebration and unity is there?

The result is staggering. It feels worthy of a jump-up-and-down celebration and a big victory arm raise to my bond-decayed heart: God bonds me over again with his bond of peace.

What is better than that? Suddenly, what looks fallen apart has hope for being pulled back together again.

It’s making sense. While I thought peace was found by running from the horribly unpeaceful, I’m seeing, sometimes, it’s about submitting to the seemingly awful.  As we release our high demands, our relationships fall into better hands. Hands that heal, rather than steal our joy.

Friendships aren’t just about me; I am learning. It seems obvious, but sometimes it can be, oh, so hard.

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Linking with #FiveMinuteFriday and #DanceWithJesus.

Learning to Find Rest

Find Rest

My 4-year old son asks me a million questions a minute. Rapid fire, it’s like a barrage of bullets that I feel I can’t dodge sometimes. But, he wants to know, he must know. He won’t quit until he DOES know.

It’s a personal pursuit for him; he is trying to figure out how he fits into this grand ole thing called – the world.

I answer.
He always believes. 
And asks more. 
And is eager. 
Hungry. 
Hopeful. 
Listening. 
Ready.

Willing to learn. Expecting to hear.

My son makes me think…

We love to focus on this verse: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Mt. 11:28-29

We jump up and down when we read this one: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Mt. 11:30

But, we hardly consider the verse just a couple lines above it: “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; Mt. 11:25

Could it be that verses are related?

Might we not feel our burden is light,
because we haven’t really established God as our sight?

Perhaps, we haven’t fought after God’s ways like a child would – like my son would.

A child might beg, “What things do I need to learn? How do I do it? Tell me. Tell me. Tell me. Show me too. I want to learn! I want to do it!”

Do we want to learn? Not in a heady, heavy and show-offy sort of way, (like the wise and understanding ones that God hid truth from), but like the hungry, listening, watching and active children that are rambunctious for truth.

God easily hands out rest to those seeking children; they need it – they tire themselves out with their relentless pursuits. He lays them down in the comfort of his safe pastures, under the wings of eagles and in the safe refuge of his mighty tower.

God lets the hungry be full – with his nourishment that never stops filling.

They seek God and they find him.
They hope for an answer and they hear one.
They wait and they receive the power of his Word.

Hungry. Hopeful. Listening. Ready. Eager to know the one driving them around all the time, leading the way, staying close minute by minute to make sure they stay in good health. 

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Mt. 11:27

The Father knows the son, the Son knows the Father.

How can we expect to know the Son, without asking to see him?

Pleading to see him,
leaning in to know him and
crying for a chance to behold him.

God picks up the whiney children wailing for more,
and carries us to make our loads lighter.

Then, we lay up against rest and lean on trust.

Gone, is the weight of striving and, present, is the hope found in abiding.

Our daddy takes good care of us, as he always does for a loved child. Our souls find the rest after listening to the answers for our million questions we were always hungry for. 

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Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.