I know people don’t tell you that often and you probably are thinking, “How can Kelly even say this? She doesn’t even know me that well?”
Well, I know Jesus. And, I also know that, if you are a believer in Christ Jesus, then Jesus is alive in you.
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)
This isn’t a tall-tale, but the truth. This isn’t a theory, but a reality. Christ lives in you.
The King of Glory…
The Hope of all Nations…
The One and Only…
The Embodiment of Love…
Wow. He is alive in you. Through Jesus, you are now dead to the overwhelming power of sin and alive to Christ Jesus.
The thought it profound. Can you even imagine how amazing it is that the Wonderful Counseling Holy Spirit has chosen to make His home within – us? Of all people — you and me?
God wants to be with us. He wants to be near us.
If you ever feel bad about you, remember who is in you, the one who chose to live in you. If you ever doubt yourself, remember that you are dead and alive to Christ Jesus. If you ever feel too bad for God’s love, remember the imputed righteousness of Christ Jesus has been won for you thanks to Jesus. When Jesus looks at you He sees goodness. When Jesus looks at you, He loves.
Where and how do you need to receive this as truth? How might God be calling you to receive Jesus’ work in a fresh way?
I tell myself things like this: I am now clean. I am loved. I am whole. I am chosen. I am wanted. I am called. I am infilled by the Spirit. I am busting at the seams with Christ’s love. I am dead to me and alive to Christ’s goodness.
When I remind myself of these truths, I truly feel Christ’s power working out, from the inside-out.
Our life is meant to lift other people higher. Like Jesus. He laid down His life to lift us to new life. In the same way, we lay down our life for others.
The second we lay low; He gets lifted high. People see the power of Jesus from new heights…
One time, I forgot a towel at a retreat. A bunkmate that I didn’t know offered me her only towel. She laid down her right for a towel for me. This act of generosity opened my heart to the love of Christ. Who is this girl that she would give up her own towel so that I could be clean? It was such a weird offering but it touched my heart. It didn’t seem normal. After that retreat I accepted Christ in my heart.
Because she put her rights low, I saw the love of Jesus lifted high.
There is a working-power so immense when one give up the pursuit of themselves for the betterment of others.
Often, I want to preserve my own life. I do something that I think is really fantastic — maybe, I give to someone in need — and I base my work on their response or, I tell others about the great work I did. I want to be appreciated. This is not going low, but putting myself high.
It can feel very hard, sometimes, to do things just for Jesus… Just because you love Him… Just because you want to please Him… Just because He is your all-in-all… Just because you want to imagine His smile… Just because Jesus is worth all the glory…
It is hard to separate flesh from Spirit sometimes.
Is it hard for you too? Maybe you pray, but you want people to hear. Maybe you talk and hope people will think you have good things to say. Maybe you help out but expect people to appreciate you. Maybe you help your husband with something specific, and yet, he never returns the favor. Maybe you talk to be heard…
The main question is: are you doing these things for man or God?And, is it about gaining credit or is it to the credit of the one who paid it all?
Oh, to bring an offering of great measure can never compare to the great treasure in which Jesus paid. However, to operate from the secret place — where it is all for His glory — still brings incredible pleasure to His heart. I want to please Him. Don’t you?
I want to bring a pure offering.
Verses to Ponder:
“Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Mt. 10:39)
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Phil. 1:21)
“But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Mt. 6:6)
Father, give us the grace to lay low, so that we can see you lifted high. Give us the power to set down our ways to see yours in motion. Give us the ability to let go of us to gain all of you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
As it pertains to mothering. I keep thinking, “What have I done? What have I done to make my child act like this?”
With this line of questioning in my heart, I try to fix myself. I try to act better. I try to talk nicer. I try to hug more. I try to lean in when I talk. I try to soften my voice. I try to share my feelings. I try to listen better.
And, when that doesn’t work, I ask myself again, “Where did I go wrong?”
Ever been there? Ever tried your hardest, only to feel like you’re going nowhere? Not succeeding?
I feel guilty. But, the one simple thing God speaks is: grace.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9)
I mess up. God still gives to me…
I don’t handle everything right. God loves me anyway…
I need help. God helps me…
I am not perfect. God shows up for me despite this…
I am not sure about what to do. God leads me to where I need to go…
Jesus meets me in the place of my need. I never need to fix-myself-up for Him.
There He is — perfect and providing.
Here I am — in-need and dependent.
I don’t have to hate my needs. Jesus paid the price so I could take-home all His goodness, without me having to pretend or hate the fact that I am not a better mother. This is grace. And, yes, it is abundant and it is amazing.
I haven’t gone wrong; I have gone right into His arms. What about you? Do you know the face of the loving Father, even when you face a million problems? What does His grace do for you? What might it want to say to you?
Prayer: Father God? I love you. You are a good Father. And, I am a loved daughter. Will you help me know this — as truth. Real truth. I want it to be more than just mind-truth; I want it to be heart-truth. I want to know your love, more and more. I want to understand your grace, day-by-day. I want to live and breathe from this very place. Help me, God. I love you. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.” (Mark 16:1)
Sometimes I stare at the body of Christ while I am in church.
While everyone else is worshipping, I open my eyes and look at the body of Christ, His people (1 Cor. 12:27). Even while the pastor is speaking about the headship of Christ, I behold Jesus’ body, each precious soul He died to save. I love my sisters and my brothers. I desire to care for their wounds. I so want them to be anointed in His love. The body, along with the headship of Jesus — both, are vitally important to Jesus.
Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome came first to care for Jesus’ body. What a ministry of love. These three women showed up to love — His body, post death. At this moment, it wasn’t about getting more knowledge about Jesus…it wasn’t about memorizing bible verses…it wasn’t about being right politically…it wasn’t about being seen, it was about the body. His precious war-torn body. They came with the best for — His body.
I can’t help but think that there are many Christians, people who make up the body of Christ, who are in pain, in a tomb, discouraged, and hopeless right now. Are we loving the body or we tearing it down. Are we seeing those in need or are we only focused on a stage that speaks of the headship of Jesus?
Oh, to love the very body of Jesus! It is vitally necessary these days. Consider this: what is a head without a body? How effective when a body lays paralyzed and immobile?
This weekend, during the Breakthrough Retreat, all who attended got a chance to love the very body of Jesus. And, oh how souls were revived through it! It was sister-loving-sister. It was hearts coming to Jesus. The women who joined said it was “amazing”, “inspiring”, “uplifting”, “encouraging”, “timely”, “insightful”, and “hopeful”. The women who watched the recording wrote to tell me of the hope God brought them. This is exactly what I was hoping and praying for.
You know, dear sisters in Christ, it is not too late to join the retreat. If you want to take part, via the recorded version, just sign up below. I will send out the link to you. Even more, stay tuned, I will be hosting another retreat next month.
Breakthrough Retreat 1/27
Make space to encounter God. Gain new strength for this year.
January 9, 2020 from 10 AM ET - 1 PM ET via Zoom.
But, until then, look at the body of Christ. It needs you — your love, your care, your words of encouragement, your hope and your attention.
Prayer: Oh Jesus, there is none like you, none before you, and none after that will ever compare. We exalt your name. We love your headship. Father, at the same time, we ask for grace to love the very body of Christ — not forgetting it, no matter how they act and what they do. Pour out your Spirit of Grace upon us to love without measure and to lift each other higher. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
My Christmas tree is sideways. Kind of. Well, not really…but it’s seriously slanted.
After my son and husband spent all that time hooking the thing up to the top of the car and carrying it in the house, paying special attention to my request that they bring it through the back door and not the front so that pine needles would not get everywhere…I did not have the heart to tell them to straighten it.
So now it is slanted.
It is slanted when I glance at it from the kitchen.
It is slanted when I walk past it in the living room.
It is slanted when people knock on my front door and they walk in my house.
It is slanted when I adjust the presents just-right under it.
Part of me wants to hate the slant. It’s not perfect. The other part of me sees the slant for what it is: a reminder that Christmas imperfections are to be expected.
There will likely be moments when: People get upset. I feel overwhelmed. I go to my closet for my own time-out. I get annoyed. Family does something I don’t like.
Slants in Christmas don’t mean the whole holiday is wrecked, they just remind me that I have and need a Savior. They remind me — I’m human. They invite me to pray and to breathe deep.
Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Imperfect people desperately in need of a perfect Savior. This is what Jesus came for.
With this sort of mentality, I can remember slants are only moments. They come and they go, but God’s love for me endures forever. I am not defined by a passing moment, I am defined wholly and completely by Jesus’ love. With this, imperfect happenings, traditions, and inflated expectations cannot take me down.
There is a Savior and He came for me — and changed everything.
I see slants, I pray, and then I carry on. I feel offense, I remember how much Jesus forgave me and I move on. I deal with hard people, I throw my hands up and say, “I surrender” to God and I entrust them in His hands.
How can you brush off slanted moments and carry on in His love and grace, both to others and yourself?
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16)
Let me start off by saying…I’m starting something new (scroll down to the bottom if you have to know before I tell my story!).
There’s nothing I love more than to see God work in my devotional emails. At the same time, I want more…I want more live connection with you and deeper intimacy with God. Many of you have participated in The Journey Together Summit and/or read my three books…and while I hope these have blessed you…what I am talking about goes beyond this.
To uncover the more, I feel now is the time to pull together to go deeper and farther in Christ…WITH EACH OTHER. This is why today I’m launching a series of retreats called “Breakthrough Retreats”. My hope is to gather a tribe together — that sticks together and moves forward together. I’ll tell you more about all this in moment, but — before I do — let me say…
I didn’t get to where I am because I have something you don’t. For many years, I was — stuck. For a long time, I couldn’t move forward.
During these years, I was even reading God’s Word, asking God to help me and trying with all my will to change. Yet, internally, I was scared and immobilized. I didn’t believe in myself or in who God made me to be. I couldn’t quite access depth with God.
Ever been there? Ever felt unsure about yourself? Ever known what youshould do, but you still can’t do it…? Ever wanted (to take action, change, forgive, leave the past behind, draw closer to Him, get healthy or reach out to someone) but felt hindered? Maybe you start and then stop. Or, you just can’t seem to deepen your relationship with God.
Oh, I know all the defeatist feelings that say — you’ll never change, you’ll never do it, you can’t.
Oh, but — my friend, you can — change! And, this year? In 2021…I believe you will. Why? Because, perhaps what you are missing is not as hard or distant as it seems, but instead it’s — super simple (it was for me).
Hebrews 10:24 says, “and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”
I found people who stirred me up. They encouraged me, inspired me, asked me tough questions, gave me the right scripture at the right time, and kept me accountable. This was my breakthrough.
Said another way, stirring-up means, “Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” (Heb. 10:24 MSG)
My friend, do you want or need to be spurred on or stirred up?
Often, our breakthrough comes from the people, used by God, who make up the body of Christ. The simple-folk who just — believes in us. This helps us to walk into all God has, up and over the hill that blocks us. It’s not hard.
With this, I feel called to raise the bar higher…and higher still. Do you want to be part of tribe of women pressing in to all God has? Is God calling you to do this, even right now?
I want to invite you to a “Breakthrough Morning Retreat”, designed to stir-up faith, connection, resolve, rest, and passion.
During this Breakthrough Morning Retreat, my hope is that you will:
1. Worship and Connect with the Heart of God.
2. Hear from God about practical next-steps for this coming year.
3. Be encouraged with teaching that will inspire courage, hope and breakthrough.
4. Connect with sisters within a small group context post-event, helping you to forge new bonds, accountability and friendships. (My thought is as we do quarterly retreats this year, you can meet and encourage the same group)
5. Find yourself activated and uplifted via mountain-moving prayer.
***You will also get a 2021 Encouragement Post-up Sheet that includes key reminders and biblical declarations to keep you on your game.
The morning retreat cost is $29. The morning retreat cost is $29 (to cover costs, technology, logistics and more…) Beyond this, I believe that when people put something in, they get more out.
Don’t miss this heart-to-heart event, where you will learn to leave the past in the past so you can press ahead to all 2021 has for you! Now is the time to: do it with others, build a support group, get encouragement and revive hope.
Register today (via the button below) for the Breakthrough Retreat on January 9, 2021 from 10 AM ET to 1 PM ET.
Breakthrough Retreat 1/27
Make space to encounter God. Gain new strength for this year.
January 9, 2020 from 10 AM ET - 1 PM ET via Zoom.
“Kelly is a great encourager! Her greatest desire is that you should know who the Lord created you to be and who you are as a daughter.” – M.R.
“Kelly brought light into my very dark world by demonstrating what the true love of Jesus looks like!” – D.P.
“Kelly’s “realness”, no matter the cost has helped liberate me from all the masks I carried. Christ uses her to powerfully deliver freedom in every conversation.” – S.A.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will there be a recorded version?
If you are unable to attend, but you would like to be a part of the event on your own time, my plan is to create a recorded version. Simply buy a ticket for the retreat and let me know via email that you will be “watching at home”. I will send you the file after it is complete. For more information or if you have questions contact email@example.com
2. How will we have the meeting?
The event will be hosted on Zoom. Please check your Zoom account for updates prior to the event. Lines will be muted.
3. How often will you be having retreats?
I would like to have these retreats quarterly or every other month. My dream is that we can know each other. I would also like to place people into small groups that they can regularly meet with and form relationships. My dream is that we become even more of a tight-knit community. I will love to pray for the small groups at times and I hope this is something that can continue for a long time.
4. How can I continue to connect and build accountability?
I will be creating a dedicated page for your small group to meet, talk, encourage and support each other. I am looking for alternate locations to Facebook. Stay tuned. I hope to announce this during the retreat so that you can continue to meet with a small band of women. Additionally if I can set it up (depending on the retreat group size), I may even have you meet your small group during the event.
5. Is there more I can do with you?
On the retreat, I will share some more ways we can go deeper and grow in intimacy with God. Stay tuned.
6. Will I stay with my small group?
Yes, I hope to form a small group at the first event and to keep you connecting at future retreats. Let’s do life together!
7. Can I invite my friends to join this or is it only for Purposeful Faith readers?
Everyone is welcome!
Breakthrough Retreat 1/27
Make space to encounter God. Gain new strength for this year.
January 9, 2020 from 10 AM ET - 1 PM ET via Zoom.
For more information or if you have questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Ticket non-transferable/refundable.
“You are not listening. You don’t understand what I am saying.”
In some ways, the people who have said these very words to me — are right. Many times I don’t listen. Instead, I am thinking about what I am going to say next. Or, I am sizing up what their words convey. Or, I am deciding what to do when they are done speaking. Or, I’m thinking about what still needs to get done.
I can grow in hearing, listening and understanding others. At my worst, I completely miss what others are saying. When I try my best, I’ve — at times — even thrown out advice. None of these meet the needs of a heart.
And, what strikes my heart is — if I can’t hear mankind, how can I truly hear God? If I can’t understand the words of another person’s heart how can I understand the deep mysteries of God’s Word?
God wants to raise my bar on hearing, listening and understanding.
“…Let every person be quick to hear…” (Ja. 1:19)
What about you? Do you hear and understand or do you miss things?
Somehow, I think the greatest gift we can give others this season — is our ears. With all the competing voices, opinions and perspectives, what we most want is to be heard by those we love.
We want to be understood, at least — even if others don’t agree.
How do we do this?
Here are some practical ways to be a great listener:
One: Decide you will really hear what the other is saying, without allowing your mind to make a trail elsewhere.
Two: Choose to repeat back what the other person is saying, to make sure you captured their thoughts. Let them clarify, if need be.
Three: Clarify their response, ask questions and/or show interest.
Four: You don’t have to agree, but it can feel validating to someone to acknowledge their feelings. You do this by saying things like, “That must have been tough, “I can’t imagine how that would have felt”, “I get what you are saying.”
Five: Let them know that you appreciate their perspective.
These tips work if you are in arguments. The other person may not be right, but they can be loved and cared for along the way. They also work with contentious people. Likely, they want to be heard far more than they demand you agree with their ideas. They work with kids. Their eyes light up when they know that someone understands their unique perspective.
There is something healing, when people start hearing. Indeed, hearing takes humility, but God gives grace to the humble. You can do it!
Choose to be a hearer more than a speaker and you’ll find new connection with God and others.
***In other news, stay tuned…on Thursday I have some big news coming. I think it is going to bless you. I can’t wait to share it. Don’t miss this Thursday’s blog post.
Prayer: Father, help us to listen before we speak. May we trust you in all our ways and humble ourselves before you. Often this means we have to lay down our agendas, words and ways to see you come through. Thank you that listening clears a way for you, Jesus. We trust you to protect us, to lead us and to help us with all our words. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Throwing caution to the wind, our family decided to go to an amusement park this past weekend. As we headed in, they did a temperature check. All good.
The lines were long, on some of the rides. As I waited in one line, to go on a bus that would lift me up and down with other kids, I observed a family ahead of us. The boy’s hair was perfectly done. The girl’s braids were tightly tied together with bows. Their clothes were ironed and perfect. The moms face looked immaculate. There was no flaw with this crew…
“They must always dress like the perfect family,” I thought. “Everywhere they go, they look amazing. They only wear clothes that are brand new and they have it all together.”
Standing there, I felt like trash next to this woman, in my clunky sneakers and my wind-thrashed hair. Unable to control myself for a moment, my voice chimed up from within me. I started to speak to the woman.
I said, “You all are the picture of a perfect family. You must always dress amazingly.”
The mom replied back, “Oh no, I am in workout pants most days.” The son said, “And, I am so uncomfortable in this belt; I can’t wait to get it off.” Apparently, they just had their Christmas picture-shoot right before coming to the park.
Things are not always what they seem. Our inner stories and presumptions give us an outer snapshot of what we figure — must be true. But, our automatic truth does not equal autonomous God’s truth. For, what we see on the outside never explains the inner story, behind the walls of someone else’s life.
We see social media and the parties and think: we’re the only one watching movies at home…
We see the woman with the perfect Christmas tree by the fireplace and figure: her family must always be at peace.
We see those with close family and think: they have it made; their life is bliss.
Suddenly, our world is trash and everyone else has it better. But, things are not what they seem. Usually the inner stories we concoct about other people are half-truths, if not outright lies.
This is why Philippians 4:8 tells us to “Fix your thoughts on what is true.”
When we lay down things we figure must be true, we can more easily fix our mind where it is meant to dwell…
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus…” (Heb. 12:2)
Who have you been comparing yourself too? How has this been stealing joy from you? Impacting your relationships? What would it look like for you to begin focusing on truth and on Jesus?
Have you ever been with a friend who constantly looks at their phone when they’re with you?
My pet peeve is when I meet someone for coffee and they keep looking at their phone. I can’t help but think…is it me? Is it something I’m saying? Am I not good enough to have their full attention?
This also happens on occasion at social gatherings when a person looks behind me or around me, rather than looking at me when I’m talking. I have to admit, I wonder why they’re so distracted.
It is hard to build a relationship with someone who is only half-in. Or, half-way listening. Or, half-way minding what they’re saying to you.
I couldn’t help but think about all this — this very morning, as I made coffee, while trying to pray…
I muttered some words, but as I got the grinds in the cup, I only half-way put my heart into what I was praying. I spoke some things that sounded good, but as I assembled the cups in the right place, I wasn’t much thinking about what I was saying. I tried to think about God, but I was much more thinking, “Where’s the cream?”
My attention was divided two ways. Looking at coffee, I couldn’t — in actuality, look at God. It’s like trying to drive ahead while looking out your rear window. You can’t look two places at once.
Good friends focus on each other. They are attentive and available, rather than distracted and double-minded.
“…But I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (Jo. 15:15)
Good friends set down their phones, their to-do lists, their mind, even — and hone in on what’s happening between them. They talk. They make room to listen. They aren’t trying to do 5 things at one time. They rest in each other’s company.
Are you a friend of Jesus or are you far-more a distracted doer? Are you following a million rabbit trails around you and in your mind — or are you attuned to God’s heart?
I’ve noticed as I’ve set things down, or given my thoughts a time-out, I’ve been able to make space for exceptional times with God and for His breakthrough. I’ve noticed as I’ve said no to other things — I have made space for my first love. With this, I’ve come to know Him on such a deeper heart level. I believe the same is available to you…
Prayer: Father, I want to know, love and be with you more. Will you give me focus? Will you help me be available to you? Will you pour out grace so that I can leave everything else behind as I read your Word? As I pray? You are my treasure of greatest measure. Please help me to treat you this way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The face on my 7 year-old, with her head jutting through my bedroom door, said it all… There was an issue.
Oh no…what happened?
Once I got to the living room, I knew: Bright red lipstick was striped all down the arm of my living room chair.
She looked up at me, “Mom, it is not just on that one chair, but it is on the other one too.”
At this point, she apologized profusely. But, my insides boiling and turning within me… I was angry! These weren’t just any chairs, but expensive chairs. If I hadn’t told her once, I’d told her 500 times not to sit on those chairs with food and not to put on my lipstick without asking. But, there she was — caught red-handed…
Yet, after a bit, I forgave her. Why? Because if I’ve learned anything from ministry it is that to hold unforgiveness — is to hold yourself in bondage. But, to let go — is to let go of bitter pain targeted to hit your hearth in the future.
I forgive you, Madison.
“Mom,” she said. “I’ll pay for those chairs.”
“You can’t afford them, Madison. The price I paid for them is far too high.”
The second these words came out of my mouth, the second it felt like Jesus’ sacrifice was talking straight to my heart….
The price I paid for you, Kelly… You could never afford it. The price I paid was far too high for you to pay. But, I paid it on your behalf and I still forgive you…for it all.
It was as if…just as I wiped Madison’s art-chair clean…Jesus was reminding me how He wiped my slate clean too. I deserved so much punishment… I still make mistakes — yet, Jesus. Jesus paid the complete (and expensive) price to wipe me clean. To make me whole. To mark me holy. To see me as righteous.
I am off-the-hook because Jesus hung on the cross.
He “bought (me) with a price…” (1 Cor. 7:23)
A price I could never pay on my own.
And, the price He paid still covers me. When I make a mistake… When I talk in a way that I shouldn’t… When I think that thought… When I don’t do what I want to do… Still, His grace and His love cover…my many I’m sorrys.
I spent a good amount of time washing those lipstick chairs. When I look at them now, I keep noticing the way they are matted-down, imperfect. But, you know what? I’m like those chairs, imperfect. And, Jesus loves me anyway. He still wants me too.
Despite my flaws, Jesus marks me more than enough, more than helped, and more than equipped, even though… Those imperfect chairs stand as reminders that His perfect price was more than enough to make imperfect me — white as snow!
Jesus’ love continually wipes the marks right off me. Now, I am clean, accepted and loved, always.
Glory to the King!
Prayer: Oh, how I thank you, Jesus, for the price you paid. Oh, how I praise you for how you wipe me clean again and again. You free me — not once, but all the time. You save me, not just for eternity, but for today. I cannot thank you enough Jesus. I cannot praise you enough. I receive all the grace and mercy I so desperately need. You are faithful. You love me and see me as righteous, holy and pure…all because of your blood, Jesus. Thank you. Amen.