A must-act-now email popped up in my inbox demanding my immediate attention… I got flustered because of what it was requiring me to do. My son was demanding that I play chess with him now. The world needed everything I had in that very milli-second. I couldn’t take it.
Can’t you just wait a second, son?! Give me a break!
I was so aggravated, both at what was coming at me, and because of this needy child, I lost my composure. Then, I felt guilty about it.
Grr… A stupid email set my house on fire.
Small things cause big damage just as little foxes spoil whole vineyards…
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.” (SOS 2:15)
What little fox tries to attack you? Is it a mistimed word from a family member? Is it your boss’ critiques? Is it a house out of order? Is it people with different political points of view.
The enemy desires to use small things to create big havoc. If we let him… But, we don’t have to.
““Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.” (Mt. 5:9 AMP)
When I keep the peace I literally express God’s character. When I maintain calm, I am blessed with life and joy and God’s favor. When I remain calm, I am a child who trusts God.
I want all to see the character of God being expressed through me. For then, He will calm them. He will heal the situation. He will add himself to my situation, whereas before my anger and frustration would have stopped me from seeing Him. This is favor.
Have you ever said yes, then hated yourself later? Or, wanted to spend time with God, only to lose track of time to something else? Perhaps, you’ve done what people wanted and completely lost any sense of inner rest…
Long ago, I had no ability to say no. I remember one instance, years ago, where everyone was ordering one type of food. It was unhealthy and, at this point in life, I had made a conscious decision to become more healthy. I knew, with better health, comes making wise decisions. But, because everyone ordered a type of food, I felt obligated too.
They all said, “Come on, Kelly…have it too!”
I gave in and then hated myself later. Afterward, I had such inner-turmoil for not standing strong. My mind wouldn’t let it go.
…Thus, why the invitation at the end of this email is so vitally important.
But, before we get to the invite, let me ask you — what things are forcing you into a state of unrest?
It may not be food for you like it was for me. For you — it may be you doing more housework when you need to sit down with God. Or, working longer hours when you really need to spend time with your kids. Or, allowing a family member to suck the life out of you, because you can’t separate yourself.
The inability to say no causes exhaustion, stress, and tiredness. Are you there now?
Jesus says, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life…” (Mt. 11:28 MSG)
The beginnings of every good “no” — is simply saying yes to Jesus. The more you meet Jesus, the more you want Him. The more you want him, the less things block His joy and peace. The more you rest, the more you understand you are blessed.
Today, I want to invite you to find this sort of rest. Rest beyond people’s demands…rest beyond up-and-down circumstances…rest beyond insane world happenings and rest beyond a busy life. Does this sound like something you may need?
If you have been blessed by this blog…if these messages have resonated with your heart, might you consider blessing me? How? By pre-ordering the book Rest Now and joining “the Rest Now: 7 Ways to Say No, Set Boundaries, and Seize Joy” launch team.
With a supportive, loving group who are seeking rest, much like you, you’ll learn how to
– create boundaries that allow you to overflow with love
– say no so you don’t hate yourself later
– ditch passive-aggressive behaviors in favor of healthy conversations
– embrace permission-giving thoughts to create mental space for God
Only when we receive God’s rest can we most effectively bring God’s peace.
Launch Team Details
Timeline: Starting Now to Mid-October.
Gifts for you: Get all the Pre-order Bonus’
(25 practical ways to rest with God, rest-filled prayers, and more..)
Exclusive videos: Have an inside track to Kelly’s learnings, wisdom, and wealth of resources.
Gain: Support as you walk out rest, peace, and new boundaries in your life.
Your part: read the book, share the book, and review the book.
Anyone — can join no matter who you are! Have a friend who may want to join? Simply forward this message. All that’s needed is to pre-order “Rest Now” and fill out this spreadsheet to join today.
I love you all and thank you for your support. I could not do this without all the prayers, love and heartfelt messages I get from each of you. This book is a product of you — too!
When we got to the coffee shop, the kids and I noted a fluorescent green Lamborghini parked in the “No Parking” zone across from the store. We sat down on the patio while my husband got our coffees. My mind drifted…who’s car is that anyway? I’ve seen flashy cars before. These owners almost always do the same thing…they sit directly across from their vehicle. Why? To watch it? To feel proud of their accomplishment? To buoy their ego? I don’t know…but — if I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it a dozen times — luxury car owners watch their vehicle, like hawks.
My eyes glanced over to the car, then caught a man seated directly across from it. Sure, enough — it must be him. Before long, a truck rolled up. The truck needed to go where the Lambo was parked. The luxury car owner hopped out of his chair, left his coffee trash on the table, and moved his vehicle.
When my husband got back, I relayed the story. I let all my assumptions fly…how it must feel good for this man to see his car…because it affirms his identity. Surely, this car is a constant reminder that — he’s made it!
But, I wondered, had this man really made it? He parked illegally. He left trash on the table. He was seated all by himself, with nothing to face but a pile of metal.
My husband looked at me, and said, “Kelly, I think you are like this man.”
I prayed for a second. Was my husband right? And, what came to mind was how I sometimes:
– feel better when I look good or do good.
– allow projects to label me a success (or a failure).
– permit what I own, how I look, or what I do — to define me more than God’s Words.
– get narrow-minded, believing success looks one way.
“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him….” (1 Jo. 2:17 MSG)
I, like that man, isolate myself from my good Father when I allow bright and shiny things to determine who I am — and how good I’ve done. The truth is who I am is only determined by who God says I am. This is security and stability. Here, I can come — weak, human and needy — and still find the help and love I so desperately need, without shame.
I am always accepted. And, so are you.
Whether you’re succeeding or failing, rich or poor, abounding or sinking, thriving or hardly getting by — you are always loved. Chosen. Wanted. Approved. As a child of God, you have a Father and He loves you — no matter.
Noah built without reason…
Abraham went without knowing where he was going…
Sarah trusted without the physical ability to birth…
Isaac believed without crippling doubts about what God would do…
Joseph spoke without reservations that death could separate Him from God’s promise…
The faith of these Hebrews 11 biblical-greats convict my insides. Think of Sarah…it must have felt ridiculous to think that she, as a 90-year-old, could have a baby. Or, that Noah — on all those sunny days — needed to build a huge ark because of a “purported flood by God”.
These people did not allow feelings of doubt to overpower faith in their God. They saw what things looked like on face-value…and believed anyway. They heard what people were saying…and held on to God’s truth, even though. They understood that the issue was beyond their means…and trusted despite the fact.
So, impossible feats were accomplished, to the glory of God, despite the weakness of these men.
Against all odds, God showed up.
And, He still does. He still comes through. He still parts seas. He still makes walls fall down. He still heals. He still resurrects marriages. He still saves people who need saving.
God is not dead; He is very much alive and working, moving and healing, helping and leading us into the best paths for our life.
“Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping…” (Romans 4:18)
You may have no good reason to hope anymore. But, even in the face of your no-hope situations, I remind you: “There is still glimmers of great hope.” You may not be able to see them right now, but so what??!
Hope is not necessarily something you see; it is your God.
Invite God right now to resurrect hope in your life. Jesus is Resurrector! Ask God to give you faith. He is the giver of good gifts. Then, choose to believe despite how you feel and watch God show up!
Rushed. Pressured. Little time. Ever experienced being under the gun?
People. Distractions. Problems. Does it seem like there’s no way for you?
Right now, I am in a coffee shop, trying to write the devotional that you will read tomorrow… It is noisy; I can’t think. People came up to me; they wanted to talk. I couldn’t pull away. Now, I have no time left to write. I need to leave soon. I can’t, not under these conditions. I can’t work for Jesus, like this. There’s every reason why I should — quit.
There is every rationalization as to why lack will hold me back.
What lack are you experiencing? No time? No money? No way? No people who understand? No resources?
As I sit here, I can’t help but think: Jesus didn’t quit. No. He kept walking with that cross. He kept His eye on the prize. He kept going, even though many of his close friends, the disciples, abandoned him. Even though those He loved, abandoned Him. Even though He was wrongly accused. Even though He went down a torturous, hard road…
Still. Jesus moved.
The many-million reasons why Jesus couldn’t did not ruin the will of the Father, letting Him know: He could.
If Jesus persisted in love, with all the offenses of man all up in His face, can’t I — persist.
Actually…I think I just did. This is nearly the end of the blog post. I persisted in moving my fingers — and God completed the work.
And, you will persist too — because God is equipping you, enabling you and energizing you in all His ways. He will give you strength, no matter what lack you face. It doesn’t matter.
My prayer for you: “May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith.” (Eph. 3:16-17 AMP)
I’ve tried my best to not to agree with fear this CoronaVirus season. And, for the most part, I’ve won. I’ve been at peace in the midst of this mayhem-producing world. Until, today, a Walmart incident got the best of me…
I was on a school supply hunt with my two, I-have-a-bazillion-and-one-questions, kids in tow. Trying to focus, while looking high and low, I found treasures and shoved them in my cart. Then, I marked the things off my list. I had this shopping-thing down. The only issue came when — near the toilet paper lane — I inadvertently drew a black pen mark right down the side of my brand new light pink purse. Grr…
Completely not thinking, I ripped my mask off. I licked my finger and rubbed, rubbed, rubbed. I licked and rubbed. I wasn’t about to let that ink, set in. I got it; I won!
Or did I? Then, it settled on me — what had I just done?!
I just licked the finger…that had touched that Walmart cart, that held the 50+ school supplies I had handled, which also swiped the much-walked-over floor when my school supply paper dropped only a few aisles back. The very cart that probably dozens of other people had used, before me. What had I done?
In a split-second my heart started pumping. Am I going to get sick now?
Fear wanted to grip me. It wanted to make me anxious. It wanted to make me relive that moment. It made me think about myself sick, within a week. I could hardly listen to my kids.
What would I do? I stood at a crossroads. I could either obey God and not fear or I could let my worries overrule His command.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
I could either walk by a Spirit of fear or by the Holy Spirit…
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Grr… I know the enemy too. If you give him an inch he’ll, before long, take a mile. If you fear for five minutes, by the time you get home it will be full-blown. If you worry about it endlessly, by the end of the day it will be all you can think about.
I repented of my fear and released my body into God’s care. If He created the whole of me, He can protect me from a measly germ.
And, then I went on enjoying my kids, singing music, and enjoying the breeze of the day.
Where is fear trying to gain an inch in your life? Shut him down and shut him down, quickly…lest he gain a mile.
She was sharing her heart, but for some reason I felt like I had to have her “fixed” by the time the call ended. She phoned me because she needed help. And, I wanted to really be there for her. To leave her where she was — didn’t feel right.
I offered some advice. I gave her some strategies. Yet, after hanging up — I had a sinking feeling that I said too much. That my words were — input-overload.
In retrospect, she didn’t need my lofty words, but just my care. My heart. My presence with her in the heat of a hard moment.
She didn’t need an answer as much as she needed an ear.
I noticed when I did stay quiet on the call, she had room to pray. I also remember how she seemed to pray her way out of her own hole.
It was my pride that made me want to be a savior. It is also my pride that makes me unload harsh words on others because of my inflamed emotions. It is pride that feels like it has to have an answer to everybody’s every question.
Humility does the opposite, though. It says less so that God can move more.
“A truly wise person uses few words…” (Prov. 17:27)
Wise people say less and listen more. They weigh words carefully before blasting them like a water gun. They intentionally think about restoring the other person, rather than ripping them apart or giving too much advice. They don’t let their emotions get the best of them.
Wise communicators know they don’t have to respond. They are okay with silence. They give space for others to help themselves. They allow ‘no response’ answers or ‘let me think about it’ approaches so they can release life-giving, redeeming words.
Using less words provides more impact. Where, in your life, might God be calling you to use less words? What would this look like practically?
The group was going one way; I was intent on going another. I wasn’t about to eat ice cream this late. That was fattening and I still wasn’t over my eating disorder.
Walking away from the retreat group, I headed back to the cabin. That was –until I felt God stop me in my tracks. It was as if I got hit by a 2×4. God placed on my heart, “Turn around. Go back with the group.” I knew to ignore His pull would be direct disobedience. Direct disobedience comes with consequences.
So, I turned around and, somewhat begrudgingly, walked all 23-years of me back into that line. And, as I met up with a group of girls I recognized, I discovered — He was already there.
The man I would marry. He was already there. He saw me pass Him and that’s when he caught up with me to get to know me. Thank God I obeyed God. Not only that, but Jesus was already there too. After that weekend, I accepted Him into my heart.
Jesus was already there. Do you know that whatever boat you may find yourself in today — in singleness, in financial ruin, in hopelessness, in defeat, in confusion — that Jesus is already there?
“So they left the crowd; the disciples got into the boat in which Jesus was already sitting, and they took him with them. Other boats were there too.” (Mk. 4:36)
Jesus was already in the boat where a wretched storm was about to hit…. He was already there. He knew. He could see. He was aware of what was to come. He was already a step ahead.
“Suddenly a strong wind blew up, and the waves began to spill over into the boat, so that it was about to fill with water. Jesus was in the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow.” (Mk. 4:37)
Just because a storm is raging doesn’t mean that Jesus isn’t already there.
The disciples woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” (Mk. 4:38)
Maybe you are saying… don’t you care God? Why am I here? What is happening?
Jesus hasn’t fallen asleep on you. He hasn’t lost touch on what you are going through. He goes ahead of you.
“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)
God is already there — His love goes ahead of you. Be not afraid, my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. Greater is He who is in you than He who is in the world (1 Jo. 4:4). This isn’t a cheap line, but truth.
Prayer: God, you are amazing. You go ahead of us. You care for us. You are with us. You strengthen us. You empower us. We say thank you, thank you, thank you. Please add all these things to us as we come into loving you more and more and more. Great is your faithfulness! We do not waver, but trust you today. You have not fallen asleep on us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
How many of us desire what we do not have? We want a bigger house, a better husband, a different school year, a more satisfying job, a better family situation… then, life would be good.
There are things that I want. I desire them. Badly. Yet, the time isn’t right. Nothing’s changed. I am at a standstill.
I believe, one of life’s greatest hurts is mental fantasies, unrealized. We create storylines about how things should be. Yet, the more they are not the way we think they should be, the more hope deferred we feel.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” (Prov. 13:12)
Our sickness causes us to act out with schemes to help ourselves feel better… We get jealous of others. We demand people do things our way. We take things into our own hands. We bang our head against the wall out of frustration. We retaliate.
“You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them…” (James 4:2)
But, what if we stopped — to pray God’s way?
James 4:2-3 continues on……”Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:2-3)
What if God was our greatest motive? Our love for Him, our greatest pursuit? Our hope, His way of showing up? Our belief, who He says He is — Provider, Shepherd, Keeper of our Soul, Comforter, Redeemer. Our steadfast belief, He is greater than any fear or worry we face.
God will show up; it just may not look exactly as we think. Are we willing to surrender our thoughts of how things should be for His best plan?
Prayer: God, let me desire you more than anything else on this earth (see: Psalm 73:25) All other things will fall into place as I trust you. You have a good plan and you are worthy of all my trust and faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” (Is. 40:31)
When I wait, I usually don’t feel strength rise. Instead, I’m wondering…
“When will you show up, God?”
“Why is this taking so long?”
“How do I do things differently?”
The more I wonder, the more I feel confused. Ever been there?
Well, I asked God about this verse I could not understand. I knew the issue was not with God, but with me. I needed clarity. Ironically in-line with this bible verses whole concept, I didn’t get an answer from for a while…that is, until He provided me clarity in the most unlikely of places… the ocean.
Surrounded by waves, with my son on top of a boogie board, I was looking into the ocean for just the right wave for him. I explained, “You gotta look for the right wave, son.”
I went on, “If you take any old wave, it will be a dud. If it is a dud, you’ll ride that wave and go hardly anywhere, and then you’ll have to fight all the waves to get back out to where you originally were. That’ll tire you out.
Wait, son, don’t go too early, and when the time is right — go!”
God hit me in that water. I realized, just like riding dud waves, we often let our mind go where it wills when we are waiting. We ride dud emotions and little lies and let them take us where they will. No wonder we feel tired as we have to work our way back; We fight the tides of opposition to get back to a place of faith and trust in God.
Yet, when we stay near to God, keep our eyes on Him and remember that He has the perfect wave of faithfulness coming our way — we stay at peace. We feel renewed. We often see God’s mini-encouragement show up through His Word or people along the way. We stay afloat with God. There, we can enjoy His creation around us and all He is doing.
Here, we rest. We rest and see His nature. We rest and wonder at what He is about to do. We rest and remember how good He has always been to us. We rest and wonder what that beautiful wave of His might look like when it comes…
All these things renew strength. And then, at just the right moment — He breaks through and, boy, were we glad that we didn’t follow every little emotion and instinct that came on us along the way…