I don’t like admitting things, do you? It’s as if – if I hide the truth, I’m excused of its guilt. If you don’t see it – it never happened. As if – what happened in Vegas stays in Vegas if no one ever knows.
Or, that’s the lie the enemy tells me. Don’t admit it and you’ll avoid it.
Lies. We always get a sense of our inner truth, don’t we? And if we don’t face it, the face of it still shows up, doesn’t it? As anxiety. Or as not-able-to-place-my-finger-on-it guilt.
Not-facing-things can wreak inner-havoc on one’s emotions if left unchecked.
Today, my husband pointed something out to me. I didn’t want to see it; so I told him his delivery was off. But, it wasn’t him (if I really admit the truth). I didn’t want to come face-to-face with the fact I imperfectly responded. Sometimes, it’s easier to blame than to accept guilt.
I was struck this morning in a similar fashion by my daughter Madison, as she sat and played with a Rubics cube. She wanted to move all the reds to the one side of the cube. But, the more she turned the thing, the more agitated she became.
“I can’t mommy.” She said.
I turned towards her and spoke the truth of the situation, “Madison, it is hard. That game is hard. It’s a hard thing to do that.”
Admitting truth for truth is freedom. After saying this to her, it was as if she received the freedom of knowing that there is patience for her growth. There is room for her learning. It is okay for things to be hard.
I say the same thing to myself. Kelly, change is hard. Growth is hard. Learning is hard. But, God is good. He will be faithful to change me, to grow me and to lead me. I don’t have to work it up on my own. The truth is – the truth will set me free. It points out what God wants to heal in me – and I don’t have to be ashamed of that.
“Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ…” (Eph. 4:15)
As people, we’re prone to look for anchors in life. Little things to tie ourselves down to in order to feel safe. We may anchor to a certain neighborhood; it makes us feel known. We may anchor to a car; we feel good because we are worthy of this sort of vehicle. We may anchor ourselves to our clothes; we feel strong and beautiful when we have the right outfit on. We may anchor to the appearance of our kids; we appear like we have it all together when they do. We may anchor to our job; it shows we are smart. We may anchor to the future; we think it will save us from what we hate.
Anchors are little holds on our life. We hold on to “it” and “it” holds onto us.
Lately, God has been in the process of un-anchoring my life:
– We moved to a city with no furniture. Due to issues there, we almost immediately needed to move again.
– We pretty much let go of alcohol and rarely drink now.
– We don’t feel beholden to a location or neighborhood.
– We’re fine without the constant pull of TV on our life.
– We don’t really know what the future holds and we’re okay with it.
It is not that I advocate “un-anchoring” the way I did for everyone. It is just the place where God has me. God may have something like this for you in your season, He may be calling you to it or He may be doing something different.
Either way, today I am saying: God, I don’t really feel attached to anything anymore.
“That’s the point, Kelly.”
In the past, I’ve looked at things taken away from me and felt robbed. Today, I look at the things taken away from me and feel blessed. It’s incredible. I don’t online shopping anymore, I skip my red wine and I don’t binge-watch make-yourself-feel-better shows – and I’ve never been more happy, more full and more alive.
Most definitely, it’s not by my work, that’s for sure. It has to be God.
To un-anchor is to let go and find rest.
For me, losing what seems like “everything” gains me greater intimacy with God. Plus, a deeper calling, increased vision and unusual joy and faith.
What might God want to “un-anchor” in your life?
A nightly TV ritual?
Your twirling and swirling worries?
A friend who is leading you down the wrong road?
A mindset that focuses on disappointment?
Let go of something that’s holding you captive to fill the gap with God.
The less you hold on to, the more of God you can grab onto.
I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness and a deep darkness as I looked at the face of the young girl standing in front me. She was maybe all of 16 years of age. I bowed my head and began praying for her when I had the thought enter my mind that she was suicidal. I knew I couldn’t just blurt it out, and yet I knew I needed to speak truth and life over her. I prayed quietly some more, silently pleading with the Lord to give me something encouraging to say to her.
She was a beautiful girl, but it was obvious she was struggling with something in her life. I had just stepped off the stage at a women’s event and the women’s leader announced that I would be available for prayer and ministry time. I no sooner had set my Bible and notes on the table when I looked up to see a line forming of people wanting ministry.
Now, this young fragile, beautiful girl stood in front of me, wanting prayer and ministry and yet, I couldn’t speak out the very thing I felt like God had just showed me. It wouldn’t be encouraging to her in the least bit. Especially if she was suicidal.
Sometimes when God speaks to us about others, it isn’t so we can speak it out, it’s so we can pray it through. I knew I couldn’t ask her, “Are you suicidal?” nor could I say to her, “You’re contemplating suicide, aren’t you?” Instead, I asked God for His heart for her. I asked if there was something specific she needed to know or that He would have me share with her. Immediately, I saw a flash of a picture in my mind of a beautiful, intricate puzzle, with thousands of pieces. The puzzle was complete, except for one missing piece.
I immediately knew what God was saying, He was telling me, she was the missing piece. I shared the picture with her and the message that went with it. She was a part of a beautiful intricate design and if she wasn’t here, the picture wouldn’t be complete, could never be complete.
She quietly began to cry and said, “you have no idea, I don’t feel like I belong anywhere, and no one cares.” I reached down and gently placed my hand under her chin and tilted her head up, so she was looking me in the eye. I said, “Yes, I do know, and I can tell you God wants you to know that you are an important piece to the puzzle. If you weren’t here, then this world and people around you would be missing an important piece.” I went on to minister and pray for her. Then with her permission, I walked her over the pastor’s wife and explain the situation.
This girl was going to need someone looking out for her. She needed someone local to check in with her, to encourage her, to build her up and to speak truth to her. She needed more help than I could give her since I lived several hours away. But God knew her, and He knew what she needed that day. He needed someone to speak life to her and not call out death. God needed someone to pull out the gold that was inside of her and speak the truth to her. God needed someone to make her feel valued and cared for.
There are people around us today that feel the same way this young woman did. They need us to share God’s heart. They need us to speak truth. They need us to breathe words of hope and life into their dry and lonely soul. They need an encounter with a real Jesus.
This is exactly why I wrote “The Gift of Prophetic Encouragement: Hearing the Words of God for others.”
We live in a time, where those around us are in desperate need of a real encounter with Jesus and in need of encouragement. We are called to encourage one another daily (Hebrews 3:13), and to build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
We all have the opportunity to #BeTheGift of encouragement others need today.
“The gift of prophetic encouragement is a necessary gift, one that the Church is in great need of during these last days.”—from the foreword by Wayne Cordeiro, president, New Hope Christian College; author, The Divine Mentor
Did you know that thanksgiving is a mighty weapon in the armor of God? Thanksgiving activates an important part of the armor: the shield of faith. Each time you thank God, it automatically lifts up your shield of faith.
Think about how the shield of faith is described in Ephesians 6. “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16 emphasis added).
God says all! So our shield of faith can extinguish everything the enemy is sending our way! As we begin to thank God, our faith will grow and the enemy will lose his foothold in our lives. Every thanksgiving defeats the enemy and empowers you forward.
Each year, the women of Moms in Prayer International go to battle for the lives of the children and schools around the world through prayer. We are witnessing revival and spiritual awakening worldwide as we pray. At the end of the school year, many of these women will gather to celebrate the answers to their prayers. I call it a Holy Spirit party! Every time we thank God, it is a time of great joy and victory. It is also a time of transforming one’s heart. Many women can lose hope until they spend time remembering what God has done for them. If you want a victorious life in Christ, Thanksgiving is the key!
The people of Israel were to do that which was impossible in Joshua 4! They were to cross the Jordan River at the height of flood season. God miraculously led them through the river to the promise land. Then He told them to take 12 stones from the river and place them on dry land. It was to be a memorial to the sons of Israel forever. There would be more battles ahead for the Israelites, but they could look back on these rocks and remember what God accomplished for them. By the end of the book of Joshua, the children of Israel were victorious and had a time of rest. Joshua told them to never forget all God had done on their behalf, so they could live securely in the land God had given them.
What impossible situation are you facing today? How can making stones of remembrance build your faith to be victorious? Are you praying for a prodigal child who has wandered from the faith? Begin to thank God for what He has already done. Are you struggling in a marriage or with a friend or relative? Transform your thinking by focusing on what you’re thankful for in that situation, and watch God bring healing. He wants to lead you to your promised land!
God knows what you are facing today! As you begin to thank God, your shield of faith comes up and your worries, problems, and fears go down. Make a thanksgiving list and have your own Holy Spirit party— share with others so they can celebrate with you.
“Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5 (niv)
Sally Burke, President of Moms in Prayer International
I saw the other author from afar. Sure, conference attendees were blocking her, but I knew it was her, so I approached to say ‘Hi’.
Sitting down right next to her, I smiled. She stared back tentatively. I waited for her to recognize me (we are after all in a similar circle with similar friends). Yet, her face was blank.
“Hey there, it’s so great to see you,” I proclaimed. She muttered back a one-word answer.
Perplexed, I asked her, “Hey ___, don’t you know me? I’m Kelly Balarie. I am an author too.”
She answered, “Nope, I don’t know you. I’ve never heard your name.”
She what?!!! Bricks hit my chest. My chest hit the floor. I sat like an exposed duck full of embarrassment.
What a fool I am to think I’d be “known”.
I’m so full of pride. I should have known better to think someone would “know my name”. It was so arrogant of me pre-suppose I’d be recognized.
Here, it was as if every childhood diss hit me afresh. Me – the girl sitting alone on the curb at recess. Me – the one made fun of because of my big nose. Me – the one the cool girls walked away from. Kelly? Huh? Who is she? We don’t know her name.
I want to blame all them. As if they’re the reason I want to be wanted and I need to be needed.
They’re why I cry out for attention.
But are they?
Growing up, I was the oldest of six kids, a mom on some days, a daytime babysitter on others, a back-up disciplinarian, a school-supply checker, a number amongst other important numbers…but, at the center of all this – I always wanted to be seen, known, wanted, valuable.
Is this wrong?
To want to be wanted? Do you feel this way too? Perhaps you want your husband to talk to you more. Perhaps you want that boss to finally give you the promotion you deserve. Or you want to be recognized for the friend you really are. Or as the sister who is super patient and forgiving
I don’t think God hates our desire to be seen, as much as we detach from it and call it “icky pride”. I don’t think He’s as embarrassed by our desire to be wanted as we are. I don’t think He shames us because we want to be known.
Because God fulfills each and every one of these desires – in us.
The question is are we looking to Him or to man for this infilling?
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)
7 Truths that Show How Much God Sees & Knows You:
God “Knows the plans He has for us.” (Jer. 29:11)
He calls us “children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jo. 3:1)
He creates us as His “worksmanship”, a beautiful work reflecting His glory. (Eph. 2:10)
God looks at us and sees Christ in us. (Ro. 8:10)
God wants us; He gave his most precious possession for us. (Jo. 3:16)
Our names are written on the palm of His hands, our hairs are counted and our words are known before they’re even spoken. (Is. 49:16, Lu. 12:7, Ps. 139:4)
He loves us first – before ever loved Him. (1 Jo. 4:19)
Do you feel alone? Disappointed? Are you struggling? It is not too late to get the Journey Together All Access Pass, full of 40+ how-to videos from authors and women’s ministers – click here for more information: www.journeytogethersummit.com
Kelly: “God, I feel angry at people. I can’t stop thinking of the past.”
God (what I believe He says to me): “Kelly, it is not about them. It never was about them. In actuality, they’re not the blockages to your goals, the answers to your cause, nor the life you are looking for. When you look at them, it is as if you stare at the gutter. Yet, if you want to strike the fullness of life – of me and all I have – you have to look down the lane. Don’t look left or right. Behold, the pins of my glory. Gaze on the beauty of what I am doing. See past the side-shows. Look straight into who I am, how I see you and what I am doing. Choose to see me. Know me and follow me.
Be led by my Spirit; I’ll take care of the rest.”
Kelly: “God I dismantle the lie that I am being taken advantage of. The truth is, God, you are taking care, defending and providing for me. God, I no longer want to dwell in discouragement. You have enough encouragement to set me free.”
God, you are my all-in-all, my friend, hope, cause, love, guide, strength, help, initiative, being, wholeness, Savior, love, life, wisdom, entirety, mission and surroundings. I trust you.”
Kelly: God, who am I to you?
God: “You are my love, my daughter, my special one, my prize, my sight, my friend, my seen one, my speaker, my joy, my reflection, my peace, my heart, my beginning of new things, my growing child, my blooming flower, my eager-beaver, my purpose, my cause, my listener, my prize, my delight, my boldness and, again, my love.”
Wow. Somehow understanding how God sees me changes everything. He wants me. He loves me. He helps me. He watches me. He knows me. I am not alone. I am not left behind. I am not forgotten. I don’t have to fend for myself. I don’t have to look to man to fix my problems. I am free in Christ.
So are you.
Who does God say you are – to Him?
Here’s a hint:
You are altogether beautiful, my love; (because of Christ) there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)
You know a slump, don’t you? Baseball pitchers hit them all the time. After a streak of bad throws, they think their past throws are their future portion. Losing is their destiny. A few too-far-left or too-far-right throws become a heavy weighted burden. I’m messing up the whole game, I’m not going to do well, I can’t fix how I am throwing.
A slump is when you get so down on yourself, you can’t see out of the hole you’ve put yourself in.
Are you there today?
Regarding my slump? I didn’t like how I was acting. I wasn’t seeing God’s goodness. I was judging others, thinking negatively, becoming offended and perturbed by little issues. Ugh. I don’t want to do this anymore.
I decided to try harder. I can act better than this!
Which, of course, only made matters worse. Deeper, I went into the hole. One I couldn’t climb out of.
Maybe you’re here today: angry that you keep on thinking about that one girl, unsure how to ditch that mindset of comparison, destroyed that you can’t win your battle against finances, broken because you keep responding unkindly to people, uncertain because God still hasn’t shown up yet, sad because you thought life would be better than this. Are you in a hole you can’t climb out of?
“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds, which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)
I translate this personally as: He saved me, not by the hard work of Kelly Balarie, nor the decisive nature of my strong will to “not sin”, but according to the unwarranted mercy Jesus poured out on the cross, which works itself into me today through a washing and renewal solely done by the work of the Holy Spirit.
This mouthful makes me hope-filled. It’s not me that does the work, but God. It is not my saving work that saves me, but Jesus’ saving power at work within me. I come and ask for forgiveness, and it is God who gives me every divine thing I need for godliness.
The same goes for you.
Yet, it is hard to receive life, if we aren’t surrounded by it. I’ve noticed when I flood my mind with truth, it starts to believe and receive it. Yet, when I am drowning in my own thoughts and not finding that renewal, I sink.
One way to surround yourself with truth, new life and the renewal of the Holy Spirit is to join the 2018 Journey Together Summit (40+ authors/leaders will share about their life struggles, issues and how they overcame through Christ). This event starts today a and continues through to Friday. I’d love it if you join in with me as I talk with some amazing Christian authors, leaders and ministers.
It is all new content from last years summit (and we pray – a lot!)
Why Your Mind-set Matters
When a Marriage is Blowing Up
Fighting the Lies Every Parent Hears
Hope for the Financially Frustrated Mama
When Spiritual Strongholds Keep You Stuck
When Health Issues Isolate You
When the Past Hurts
I am Discouraged
People Tire Me
That’s what I kept telling myself on repeat as I talked to the OBGYN nurse over the phone. I tried to catch my breath but the tightness in my chest made it difficult to breathe.
“Don’t try to come here,” the she said. “Just go straight to the E.R. Tell them you just had a c-section.”
All my symptoms pointed to a pulmonary embolism, which could be fatal. I sat there in shock, rocking my newborn while I fed him and wondering what to do. Take him with me? Finish feeding him?
My mother-in-law and husband were the only source of calm in the room. I looked at them both, searching for answers to questions I didn’t feel capable of asking.
“Finish feeding the baby and we will take him. I will send Larry out for formula,” my mother-in-law said. The evenness in her voice steadied me for a moment. She didn’t seem worried. Perhaps things were going to be okay.
A Love that Casts Out Fear
When I look back this moment when my firstborn was just days old, I see a person who was wrecked by fear. It was one of the scariest times of my life. All I could tell myself was to keep breathing in and out, from one second to the next.
I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism, but anxiety and side efforts from some medication I was taking contributed to my symptoms. Within a couple of days, the chest pains and shortness of breath passed, but the lessons I learned after those few hours in the E.R. would play out for years.
Sometimes God allows us to face our greatest fears so we see that there is no fear greater than his love.
Most of us would be afraid if someone told us we could be about to die. It’s the second most common phobia, with the first being public speaking. But what about those of us who live life scared, all the time? Scared of what people will think, scared to take that step of faith into the unknown, or scared to reach out to someone who may reject us?
For a large chapter of my life, this was my every day. I was terrified to truly live because I thought if I did, I would mess things up. What would I mess up? Anything that mattered. Relationships, career, kids, you name it. God’s grace was a gift I couldn’t fathom or recognize.
In the year following my experience at the E.R., God captured my heart in a way I can’t explain. A latticework of events that included a friend reaching out, a book I read at the right time, and many others all combined to reach my tired soul. Day by day, I realized: God’s love will drown my fear, if I let it.
For years, I read the following verse and thought I understood it, but didn’t.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NIV
I thought, “Well, that sounds nice. God loves me and watches over me. I need not fear.” And this is true, but then it hit me. If I’m living as though the words of this scripture are true, I must not only accept his love, but live in it.
When I live in God’s love, I know nothing I can do will separate me from him. I know other’s rejection of me doesn’t matter because he will never reject me, once I’ve declared my devotion to him.
Living in his love means I can walk forward without fear because I know even if trials, discomfort or tragedy lies ahead, he will be with me.
The trials are not punishment, but an opportunity for me to grow in his love even more. They’re when I declare his truth over me- that his presence goes before me, beside me, and has my back.
Living in his love means I can love others even if they don’t reciprocate, because the love Christ gives me is sufficient, complete, and unconditional.
Friends, his love changes everything. But for it to take a radical effect on our lives, we must not only say we believe it, but mean it in our core. A love like this captures every aspect of existence and makes us view it differently.
Fear looks at a trial or struggle and says, “How can this be happening to me?”
Love looks at it and says, “What can God teach me through this?”
How are we going to respond today? I’m still a work in progress and am far from having this whole thing figured out. But I’m learning.
I grew up singing “Jesus Loves Me,” but it’s taken me half my life to believe it and become fully alive because it’s true. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back. I want to sing it with its truth in my bones.
Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.
You’re invited! Don’t miss The Journey Together Summit. 40+ Christian Authors and Women’s Ministers will talk about their battles and how they overcame them. Learn how to stand strong, faithful and to trust in God, no matter what you face. See the full agenda here: www.journeytogethersummit.com
I’ve noticed that when I feel bad about myself, I draw back. I don’t want to burden others. Can’t pull them down. I’ve gotta seem like I somewhat have my act together.
To pull away emotionally, mentally or physically is my safest bet. No one likes a Negative Nelly, after all. People can take a couple of minutes of hard-times talk, but after that – we’ve all seen it – their eyes start to wander and you just know they’re strategizing their exit.
It’s usually safer to stay away from people when problems hit. You usually get less-hurt this way. But, a whole lot more lonely. That’s the paradox. What you want the most – to be seen and known – then, feels utterly impossible. Pain heightens.
And rightfully so. God did not intend for us to live this way.
If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Ro. 12:15
Clearly, rather than running away from those in pain, we’re supposed to run towards them. Why? Because often our healing comes as another does a deep revealing of their own painful story.
Certainly, God speaks through His Word, prayer and life happenings, but especially He talks through others. We don’t want to shut the door in His face as He’s trying to send us a message.
I put together The Journey Together Summit for those like me. Those who may be suffering silently. Those who need help but are afraid. Those going through a hard battle. I wanted to address a wide variety of issues and provide help. I wanted you to hear personal stories, wisdom and biblical insights, to help you.
You ARE not alone. I believe there is help for you. I hope this event feels like a whole bunch of sisters coming alongside to help you.
I’ve gathered a bunch of girlfriends (authors, speakers and women’s ministry leaders) to join me on video to openly talk about their issues, hardships and life problems.
Filming this was amazing. As I heard so many of these women’s difficult stories, I started to hear the voice of Jesus saying to me: I’ve got you, Kelly. I know your way. I want to heal some things. You’re not alone. This was powerful.
Learn from experts, how to stand faithful and firm the worst of life’s trials hit. Whether you’re struggling with finances, your marriage, grief, uncertainty, doubt, discouragement or despair -there is a topic for you.
Gain practical and biblical tips to break the power of uncertainty, doubt and worry in your life.
See past the mountains before you to the heights of your victorious God.
Come to believe God really can do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ever ask or imagine as you trust Him.
All the General Sessions (40+ videos) are FREE. Beyond this, you can upgrade your pass to the Practical Application sessions if you want to dive deeper on a subject, get practical wisdom on how to proceed or if you want to watch the videos over the next year.
What are you waiting for? Grab your FREE ticket today. And, if you can’t attend Sept. 11-14, we’ve got you covered. Get the All Access Pass and you’ll be able to watch the videos post-event.
My body language said much more than those three letters. I stomped around the kitchen huffing and puffing, while making dramatic hand movements as I tried to clean the horribly messy kitchen.
The whole world needs to know right now that I am irritated right now.
My husband looked at me and said, “Oh no, here we go again.” That really irritated me and threw me over the cliff. At this point, I cleaned the messy counters with increasing levels of frustration.
All the while, I hated that I was so flustered. I hated that I was so annoyed.
I hated that I was reactively responding to the fact:
1. I was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything this morning.
2. I had just finished a couple grueling rounds of doing my daughter’s hair.
3. I was already late to get the kids to school and there was still more to do in the house.
All the dominoes had fallen, on me. Now, here I was contending with that feeling I thought I’d beaten: anxiety. I hated myself for feeling this emotion. I thought I was done with this life-sucking feeling that rises in a chest and acts-out like a jerk.
The guilt hit when I got back from the school drop-off. I really dropped the ball this morning. I really let the family down. I really – did it again. God, I am sorry. Forgive me.
5 minutes later: I was still hating myself for it.
10 minutes later: I thought back to it.
15 minutes later: I still was coursing through my mistakes.
So here I am writing a blog post to process through it all, with you. And, I want to process it, because to examine your heart with God, is to heal it – once and for all.
I’m angry at myself. I hate how I do what I’m not meaning to do.
Yet, as I get to the bottom of what is happening in my heart, I can hear God. He practically says:
Like clothes of old, I give-away remembrance of your old mistakes.
I’m in charge of transformation. Just keep connection with me.
Come to me when you’re weary and heavy-laden. I have your rest.
It’s not what you do for me, but what Jesus has already done for you that matters.
You don’t work up repentance to appease me, on the contrary, because of Jesus I’m pleased with you.
Fear not, I am with you and for you, always.
Today’s mistake becomes tomorrow’s learning that delivers your “breakthrough”.
The best part of you falling down is me helping you up, so we can do “it” together.
Because of Christ, I am no longer angry at you.
“For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Is. 54:10 NLT)