They are re-paving a road near my house. This past week, as I approached the end of my street, I’ve had to wait for five to ten minutes. In this, there’s no rushing. There’s no getting where I am going quickly. Once I do get on the unpaved road my car bounces up and down. It’s bumpy.
Maybe you’re going through some bumps or waits in your life… Maybe you are trying to get somewhere but you feel delayed… Maybe you aren’t so sure why it’s so hard and difficult…
You know, waits are how God constructs something great.
David waited in a cave before he became King. Jesus waited until the right time until He was to die. People didn’t experience His resurrection-life until 3 days later.
Before I knew it, that road-under-construction was finished. Then, it became — smooth sailing for me and my car. Now, I have the most enjoyable ride as I go down that street.
All the bumps and the waits are part of God’s rebuilding process.
Don’t get dismayed by what things seem. Waits re-construct what is great. Bumps are all part of the process of God building a new thing.
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Ps. 27:13-14)
You will see God’s goodness. Just don’t give up. Don’t hop off the road. Don’t detour. Keep going.
This is what my husband says to me if I am ever feeling down.
Remember when God helped you in that situation far worse than this one…
Remember when you didn’t think you’d ever be healthy again and then you were…
Remember when God answered your prayers and how He showed up.
Remembrance recovers faith.
I believe it is why in Joshua 4, God instructed Joshua to build a memorial with stones. God had just parted the Jordan River for these Israelites, so they could make safe passage. Then, he instructed them to gather 12 stones, for the tribes of Israel and to pile them up, in remembrance.
The Lord of Lords said to Joshua, “In the future, your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant went across.’ These stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever.” (Josh. 4:6-7 NLT)
What memorials do you need to remember? What markers and moves has God made in your life that are unmistakable? What made you stand in awe of your awesome God?
You know, what strikes me in this story is that the stones did not come from any old place… They came from “the middle of the Jordan” and then they were piled “at the place were you camp” (Josh. 4:3 NLT).
God wanted them to take the victory with them, never to forget it. Never to part with it. To see it. Understanding this concept, Joshua also built a memorial in the center of the Jordan. There, it would always be remembered — seen or unseen — that God is faithful.
We build altars of praise when we stop, thank, and praise God for doing the unthinkable.
What great thing is God doing in your life, even right now?
It is wise to write down, to mark, or to memorialize the greatness of God. These things encourage us in the future. They build hope. They crush discouragement. They build us up again at the right time.
Breakthroughs of God, remembered, are great reminders that God will move again! They showcase His power and might.
We make things far more complex — when, in so many ways, the Kingdom of God is simple.
My kids ran around my car last night like kids. It was simple. They had fun chasing each other down. The driveway was a playground. They were not worried about what dinner would be. They were not thinking about what they needed to do next, for bedtime. They were present in the fun, in the joy, in the moment. Complexities did not weigh them down.
“Truly I tell you anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Lu. 18:17)
The practice of receiving the Kingdom of God is not a heavy task; it is light. Childlike.
“My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mt. 11:30)
Some of us love to weigh down the Christian walk. It’s so hard. I have to do this…. I’ve gotta wake up and spend time with Jesus. I don’t know how to obey. I’m always…(doing such and such).
With such a heavy burden on oneself to accomplish and figure out God’s work, one almost — can’t…
Kids, with good parents, don’t fixate on self-issues. They know dinner comes. There’s an excitement about what’s to come. Worry isn’t necessary; they’ll be taken care of. Children believe God on face-value. Faith is easy.
Are you a child or do you feel weighed down by religious expectations that feel impossible to meet?
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13)
“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things….” (Ro. 11:36)
“(Now the God of peace)…make you perfect in every good work to do his will…” (Heb. 13:21)
Somewhere along the lines, we picked up a bag of “self-effort” and began to think the work was up to us. But, every work of God belongs to the Lord. It starts from Him, it is by Him, and then, it is back to Him.
Let’s not get confused, lest a yoke of heaviness weigh us down.
Prayer of Repentance: Father, forgive me for carrying a heavy burden that is not mine to carry. This is pride. I repent of thinking that I have to do more or be more to be loved more by you. Jesus, you died for me while I was yet a sinner. I receive your grace today. Equip me and Empower me to be like a child. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
I stood looking over a box filled with cash. Should I give her two dollars or should I give her five?
Earlier in the day, my daughter said, “Mommy, mommy, please give me a five-dollar bill tonight — for the tooth under my pillow.”
I replied, “Madison, this is your third tooth you’ve lost. For the first tooth, you get a lot but for ones after, you get a little less. Don’t expect a five-dollar bill, you’ll maybe get a couple dollars.”
She asked me again for the $5 bill and then I shuffled her off to do other things…
Yet, when night came, and I stood looking over the cash box…I realized how badly I — wanted — to give her more. I wanted to delight her. I wanted my daughter to have the very best. I just love her so much.
I grabbed the $5 bill, snuck up to her room, and tucked it under her pillow, with joy.
“If you then, evil (sinful by nature) as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give what is good and advantageous to those who keep on asking Him.” (Mt. 11:7 AMP)
If I love to give what is good, how much more does my Father in heaven want to give good, to me? If I want what is advantageous for my little one — and I’m not even nearly half as amazing as God is — how much more does God give what is advantageous?
Sometimes I long to do the most amazing things for my kids… I desire so deeply that hard situations change… I want, absolutely, their best…
This makes me see, the enemy has been telling me lies. Namely that: God doesn’t give me good things, God doesn’t want to give, and that He won’t help me. He might be busy with other people. I’m last on the list.
What lies have you been hearing?
The truth is that God has a heart to give: He gave His son. He gave us eternal life. He gave us the flowers, the birds, and the stars out of kindness.
He gave everything for us. He loves us, incredibly, absolutely, and eternally.
Believing we have a Father who gives is important.
If we don’t believe God is good and that He gives, we will keep our head down and miss all the goodness He has set before us. We may even develop a victim-mindset. I think I’ve missed God’s good gifts before. I’ve likely walked right by them, but I am determined on lifting my head and seeing what He has for me now!
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.
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(25 practical ways to rest with God, rest-filled prayers, and more..)
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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.
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?