Purposeful Faith

Tag - fear

Letting Go of Control

control

I just read a book. It’s not even on a topic I thought I was struggling with, but good words always tend to find a good home in one ready to receive them.

These words did more than just that; they took my heavy baggage, bent them up and dropped them at my feet in a time-to-let go kind of way (dang, Lord, I wasn’t intending this!).

You see, when baggage breaks, it’s time to dump ’em, toss ’em and be done with ’em. And, now, I can see how messed up my baggage really is; it’s filled with stolen items, things I could only pretend to fully own. Things I tried to make myself believe would always be mine – that I could use to fill my needs.

But, I never owned them to begin with.

What we think is ours, always has and always will
belong to God.

He lends us what we love,
so we can see his love – for us.

What is lent is always called back home sometime, in God’s time.

In my heart, God is calling back the idea that I own my kids, my husband and my dreams – because I don’t. They always have and always will belong to him.

But letting go, feels like letting a dog run without a leash. It’s scary. Risky. Uncertain.

To let go of what I clench, to release my imprints and to undo my harness – it’s not work for the faint of heart. For so long, I have relied on these crutches as my own personal hopes of glory, hidden, but golden tickets to personal satisfaction and fulfillment.

But, what happens, one day, when God decides,
that I can no longer clutch and crutch –
right around his great promises?
What happens then?

Because, you see, something like this could happen: “My son purchased drugs which, combined with a beer later that evening, caused respiratory distress, resulting in death.” (Dance With Jesus, by Susan B. Mead)

What would I do then? When the kid that I supposedly owned, ruled and managed ended up – gone? Would I go down with him? Would my crutches be so swiped out from under me that my face would break in a million little pieces?

I think it might. I don’t know what I would do.

The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” Job 1:21

I suppose I am learning, it is in the taking away, that we often find the praise. At least that’s what happened with Susan, when she lost her son.

She says, “Do I want him back with me? Yes- for a moment. Then I realize how selfish that would be because he is now in Paradise with Jesus.”

Amen, sweet Susan.

Her words knock me in the head. She found her praise as she rose up her hands in abandon to the one who held her most prized possession.

She found her praise – in that. Wow. And, rightfully so, he can take care of her child far greater than she ever could (no offense dear).

He can take care of my family far better than I can too.

The more I let go, the more space my loved ones have to learn HE IS
who I am preach HE IS.

The more I let go, the more they know the great rescuer God,
verses the great rescuer mom, wife, daughter, sister.

The more I let go, the more they see Jesus step in,
rather than my need-based insecurities step up.

Then, people can start to Dance with Jesus – without crutches that limit their movements before a great God who delights in them.

They dance.

And, I dance – as I let my child climb in his seat by himself, as I let my husband make that mistake I know he is about to make, as I see a disaster ready to happen and trust God, as I step back when my kid may take a learning-lesson tumble, as I don’t give the advice a sister really should follow and as I humbly listen to all God’s plans for the main characters in this game called life.

I am free.

To find glory in the death of my goals.
To find renewal in God’s new breath of life.
To find hope outside of my 5-inch working hands.

Where do you need to be freed – to dance? To rely on the gentle guidance of one who cares?

This movement is powerful;
it’s a waltz that follows the lead of a One true God
who we actually believe is the One true God.

Real needs surface, then the rescue happens, but what we find out is that – it was always intended for us.

Finally, our hands open, our praises fly, our hopes belong to him. We no longer have strings attached to others. We cup and offer, and he answers and pulls these hearts even closer to him (whether they be on earth or in heaven).

Why do we let go? Because we love them, but most of all, we love him, we know him, and we trust him. In this, as Susan so vividly pictured in her book, we can let them – and us – dance with Jesus.

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God's miracles

My thoughts on Dance with Jesus: This book transports me to a different time and a different place. It wraps its arms around me to pull me into the life of Susan B. Mead, and boy, does she take me on a ride. The unique and charming characters in this book rally your heart and lure your soul into deep healing, joy and release all at the same time. The miracles of God’s wonder move you from a place grief to relief. Thank you Susan for jump-starting me on the journey of letting go.

 

Protecting What God Loves Most in You

God Loves Most

There are voices that speak devastation, demolition and destruction to the temple of God.

Can you hear them?

Ordinary words that travel extraordinary distances to injure.
Words that cut deeper than a machete and further than a scalpel.
Ones that appear to rip the seams of God right out, if you let them.

They are ready steal your passion for bended knees, raised hands, and uplifted eyes. They charge into your face, yelling, “You little, …(fill in the blank.) You always…. You never…. You can’t….”

Maybe the voice isn’t even so loud, but the injury is.

Words a mile a minute – the pressure can seem inescapable. These declarations of powerlessness became my anthem song, they defined my ins and outs, my worth and value, and my hope and future.

Yet, God moves technology, just as he does our hearts and these old cassette songs became just that old – it was time for something that doesn’t take up so much space and without the weight. God gave me a new song.

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. 1 Cor. 3:17

My temple is sacred.

Am I protecting it? Am I keeping it strong guarded?

Sometimes you have to. People seem to come at you.

But I will encamp at my temple to guard it against marauding forces. Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch. Zech. 9:8

The temple of God always was and always will be a monument God calls us to enforce.

As temple carriers, we must strong-guard it from foreign objects, set up to desecrate and devastate it’s beauty.

Remember Jesus in the temple? He flipped false goods, on their heads. Just the same today, he doesn’t want us accepting falsities or hyperboles about our self – in his house.

What have you let dwell in the temple of the most high God?

What labels, libels and litanies from years past still hang out?

What humiliation, intonations and accusations from today won’t leave?

What doesn’t start and end with God, usually starts and ends with shame. What stands outside his holy grounds, usually tries to force a way in to ransack his house.

God is a fan of forged walls, when they are ones that protect his sonship covenant with us – a covenant that always says: I love you. I am for you. I will not hold you – against you. I will rush back every time you call on my name.

When we let God’s promises become do what they were intended to do – protect, we no longer:

Push out godliness to usher in helplessness.
Wash out purity to welcome in fragility.
Remove honest humility to greet a faith disability.

God’s temple always waits to be our refuge, our safety, our barrier, our new confine, our hope, our insight, our wisdom, our future. We don’t need a magic ball, because we have the majesty of Christ’s Spirit in us.

The walls of God’s temple wrap us in love and fortify our hearts in truth. They continually confess our hope of glory. 

When atomic warfare is thrown at God’s temple, the temple that bears his name, we can take refuge under the bomb shelter of his love.

The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Prov. 18:10

5 Lies You Believe (Yet May Not Realize)

lies you believe

What if I told you that as you walked outside there was a predator looming in your bushes? He not only wanted to take a bite of your skin, but entirely rip it off – savor it and devour it.

Sound creepy? Yes, I completely realize it does.

But, if this were the case, would you keep your eyes a little more open?
Might you look a little more left and right?
Prepare yourself in case of attack?

Might you do everything you could to find out who had the power to get rid of this creeper?

Of course you would.

But, do you?

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8

Usually, we live more like busy-bodies than watch dogs.

We don’t look up – or around – we only look down – at our iPhones. 

We look to our extensive to-do’s, rather than our exponential God.
Destination rules on high.

Feelings of worthlessness, uselessness and hopelessness often whip us around.
Meanwhile, we don’t see the abuser standing next to us.

He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Jo. 8:44

When the devil lies, he often makes us lie down in defeat.  Are you discerning is voice?

5 Lies the Devil Wants you To Believe (and you usually do)

1. God doesn’t really love you that much.
How could a god that big, love one who is so small?

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. Jo. 15:3
God’s love is the only thing that is always permanent and always present.

2. Your scars of the past will always blind your eyes in shame (abortion, alcohol, depression, anger, mental issues, insecurity).
You messed up so bad, you’re marked as forever bad.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Ps. 147:3
God doesn’t blind us with what we did wrong, he binds us up in what he did right.

3.  You will be destroyed by your circumstances, your relationships and your trials.
That thing is going to take you down and ruin your life; you won’t be okay.

The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? Ps. 118:6
If God is on your side, you are on the winning side – walk in His stride.

4. You deserve no trials.
A good god would never let you hit bad trials.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jo. 16:33
Your good God knows bad trials will make you even better.

5.  The bible doesn’t really say that. That would negatively impact your happy meter.
God wants all happy, happy, joy, joy feelings for you – go and get it (under breath: you spoiled little brat). Consume it – the world is your oyster.

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Lu. 9:23
God doesn’t say consume, he says exhume your ways and reassume his.

The devil almost always says, “God can’t – and you can’t – unless you can –  with sin. The world will eat you up, the bible will fake you out and your past will kick you out of God’s purpose.”

The devil offers: same lie, different day.
But we have: the same God, everyday.

Our best defense is knowing God is on offense.

God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
​Nu. 23:19

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Breaking Under Pressure

Breaking Under Pressure

Like a teenager under the overwhelming weight of pressure – I did not choose the right road.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Gal. 5:19-20

I let my internal pursuit for feelings of acceptance compel my feet right to the place of wanting more for myself.

I wanted to get from God rather than enjoy him.

His blessings, rather than his presence.
Big confirmations, rather than his small dispensations of love.
Doors open and people to push me forward.
Only His best – for my advancement.

I wanted God “my way”.

Super-sized god.

An I-will-do-it-all-for-you god.

A tailor-made god that fit my needs.

But, my teenage tantrum to feel good, ended with the repercussions that always come when we bend in to disobedience. 

I slammed the door to my room and locked myself away from God, scolding myself for doing the wrong thing, in the wrong way. I didn’t want to look at him; I had done so wrong – I acted badly and was deeply afraid to admit it.

Yet, Jesus is the door and he has all access to our rebellious hearts as we say we are sorry. 

He walked in to comfort me with his love and the words, “Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil 2:12-13

Praise you God!

You take us out of us, and give us you – so we know what to do.
As we work to know and fear you, you work to help and heal us.
The presence of the Spirit in us is greater than power of the flesh over us.

The truth is God that I can never work hard enough to remove my flesh; God never gave me that ability – the actual act would hurt far too much. To wrip off my flesh by myself is to live in a constant mode of chastising self-finger wagging.

Only God has the power.

He releases us on the inside so we can act right on the outside.

Then, we “do not use our freedom to indulge the flesh”.  Rather, we “serve one another humbly (not pridefully) in love. Gal. 5:13

Humble love says, “God your face is all I need.
Rather than, “God, pour out what I want.”

Lord, as your Spirit guides,
your faithful servant will obey,
because your ways are greater than mine.
Give me a heart to endure what you did on the cross,
so my life may reflect the magnitude of your love.
Amen.

As we release our life to God, we find it.  He works, and we, like needy children drawing instruction – listen. And, he leads us.

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You, Stop Hurting Me

Stop Hurting Me

How could he do that?
What was he thinking?
What am I doing wrong now?

Everything he did, said and thought seemed to be a judgement about who I was, am and one day will be. His eyes spoke volumes about the magnitude of his disdain for me.

So I shut down. I shut things down faster than a prison cell at lockdown. I packed it all up, made it all tight and kept myself behind the distance of bars. The risk of injury was too high and I had been hurt one too many times to know that you don’t go around prison like a sitting duck waiting for its next attack.

Nope. I got smart.
Not this time.
You can’t get me again.

Yet, as much as I felt I was doing the right thing, I didn’t. The other side of me hated that I was locking it all up, closing it all down, hiding myself away. I didn’t want to be isolated, I wanted to be free. Free of pain, free of the looks of condemnation, free of having to pretend I am someone I am not.

It was like I was at tug-of-war with myself.

God wants me to be open, vulnerable and transparent. Tug.
No. God wants me to protect my pearls and not be injured again. Tug.

I am not being a good Christian by not loving. Tug.
I am better able to love when I don’t feel so hurt. Tug.

He has treated me cruelly. Tug.
I am to die to self as Christ died for me. Tug.

What do you do when “relationship” means
forging into enemy territory feeling alone and open for attack?

Do you take the risk, the barrage of open-fire,
for the dream that you can one day be free?

I did. I headed straight in.

Because God was saying: check your own eye, daughter. Just as much as you think his eyes can’t see you – yours can’t see him. I want restoration for your heart and for his. I want to clean things out for your good.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Mt. 7:3

Really God? I want it to be all his issue.

But, the truth is that as I analyzed his wrongs, so I was wrong. 

Isn’t how it so often happens? What we see in another as their main flaw is really the flaw that we carry around – we just try to hide it under an inch of makeup, don’t we?

As I figured it, the only natural place to go after you realize you have wronged is to make right. So I did.

I confessed to him that I judge and can’t seem to hug, that I sneer and can’t be near and that I fail and often feel frail.

I faced the captor knowing that One already had secured the victory on my behalf.

He may have looked bruised, beaten and defeated himself, but he never was – he won my freedom.

In this, I was freed to love.

Who do you need to apologize to?

Might they look like someone who has a mile-long list of wrongs?

Perhaps, you the tiniest power to make things a little more right?

I won’t say that all things are right between me and him, but what I will say, is that we moved a step closer to intimacy, to openness and to healing. The door to my cell is open.  I am starting to take more walks towards him so he can see who I am is not all bad – maybe sometimes good even – and what I am starting to see are the same things about him.

It’s amazing what forgiveness can do when you let it work.

So often, we see the one who really needed healing is – us.

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Linking with Susan B. Mead, Suzie Eller and #FiveMinuteFriday.

 

Killing Fear

Killing Fear

My health haunted, “Kelly, you’re going to waste into something no one will will want to love.”
My past taunted, “You were marked, damaged and used.”
My finances tricked, “You won’t make it!”
My feelings tumbled, “I can’t do this. Things are never going to work out.”

Fear Rising. Debilitating fear. ICU worthy fear.

Have you experienced it?

Fear that leaves you feeling bruised, battered and wondering
where you’re rescue will come from?

Fear that leaves you laying paralyzed, comatose on a cot of uncertainty? 

For me, it creates an underlying feeling that I am either not going to make it or that others will pull the plug on me.

That no one will rescue – and all will abandon.
But, someone will…

Do we see him?

It’s the great physician. And, as bad as your charts may appear or the specialists may indicate, you are not left with a sense of doom. You see, for your fears may destabilize and metastasize, but they can never tranquilize God’s power.

One pretty gal, turned queen, understood this. If she didn’t speak up, her fellow Jews wouldn’t live on. They’d die. And truly if she spoke up to the King, she would die too.

Could Esther follow God’s plan, despite the pending threat ready to kill her?

This woman needed an IV of courage.

And, she got it. Likely Esther noted that:

Fear is almost always the wall to one’s greatest calling. 
Esther’s dream may have been for the jews to live free, but could she step up to the King?

It’s the superhighway that leads the opposite direction of the way, the truth and the light.
Esther could die if she spoke to the king, but could she really step up?

It usually arrives when your comfort and safety levels don’t expect it’s shock. 
Esther was living in the kings court after all.

It throws big obstacles in your path that seem impossible to tackle.
Haman’s wrath on the Jews was palpable.

Did she see the details of her pain, people and problems
are never lost charts in God’s billions of files?

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Heb. 4:13

Her declaration in response to all of this was, “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

She knew her need for critical care – and she sought the right care-takers.

She didn’t lay around considering the ceiling art in her court, she:

1. Embraced the reality of the situation and didn’t halt in stagnation.  
Mordecai told her she could be killed for speaking out, but still, she knew who stood above it all.

Fear can’t grow under the great physician’s light of truth. Perfect love casts out fear after all.

2. She got serious. Most fasts are just absent of food. Yet, Esther asked for no fasting from food or drink. Meaning, she didn’t take her feelings lightly and knew she needed an extraordinary, not an ordinary rescue of her feelings.

How often do you call on the prayer support of the faithful when fear starts to mount?

3. She was decisive. There was no, “I want to wear that shirt, no this shirt, no that one. I can’t decide.” She heard the truth, she got the support, she lifted the prayer and made the decision to act.

How often do you walk confidently after you have sought God confidently – trusting that the feelings may not be there, but your God is?

When we trust God and act like Esther, we don’t need critical care units to bring us back to life, because we become the critical care units to dead. We bring new life, just as she did.

We bring Jesus’s transformation. 

It’s risky.
It’s unfashionable.
It’s sometimes death-worthy.
But, it’s powerful – and we are called to it, just as she was.

We have the same force behind us. We have the same support network available to us today.

Will we reach out to it when we need it?

The truth is – we can’t beat the force of fear, unless we know the force of God. And, if we don’t know and believe in the force of God we will remain IV’d to the poison of fear.

It leeches life.
God teaches life.

It isolates.
God placates.

It threatens to kill.
God sets free.

It puts you in a bed of despair.
God offers a lifeline of hope.

Where will you set your eyes?

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Linking with Holley Gerth and #TellHisStory.

Denying Discouragement

Denying Discouragement

It’s days like these that can really cause havoc…

Days where these kids head to time-out, over and over, despite the repeated talks on love.
Days when work doesn’t work-out.
Days when the marriage just goes off kilter.
Days when friendships irk.
Days when finances continue to dwindle.
Days when God doesn’t immediately show up. Days that can turn into weeks…

It’s days like these when you wonder
why in the world things don’t work better when you are working so hard?

It’s days like these that compel your heart to want to give up, to run and hide.

Why is it that the train-wreck days sometimes
 seem far easier to get over than these kind of slow-gnaw-type-of-days?

At least with the train-wreck days, you can clean up the toys at the end of the day and start over with a clean slate. You can file these days away in the “once-in-a-blue-moon” cabinet knowing they won’t repeat too soon.

But, slow-gnaw days are called faith-busting day. Over time, they cut your faith away.

They make you question your worth, your heart, your value, your plans, and your God.

They make me lay in the bed, look up at the ceiling, and say, “Why do I even try, God. When are you coming through? What do I have to do?”

We tend to think that way, don’t we?

That for some reason, we are responsible to fix the hand of God.

As if our actions are the precursor to his decisions.  

Who owns the hand of God – HIM or me?

Yet, I think of another who had a serious loss of heart. I think of another who had a series slow-gnaw days that could have eaten him alive – if he let them.

Imagine hearing these words: But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  Luke 22:32
And then hearing this: “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.” Lu. 22:34
Only to do this: “I don’t even know him!” Lu. 22:57

Might Peter thought, “I’d never! That day will never come! I am strong!” Likely.

But he did – 3 times he did. And he wept. Beyond that, I imagine the next days must have been excruciating as he, probably left in discouragement and despair, saw his savior crucified, dead and buried.

What happened to his purpose?

What use was his life, after in Jesus, he practically twisted the knife?

Peter’s actions must have gnawed worthlessness, pain and struggle.

But, Jesus never leaves the failures, the forgotten or the futureless.

Peter’s inability to stick it through in the moment didn’t disqualify him from Jesus’ love, neither did his past actions.

Nope. Remember this? “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.”  Luke 22:32
And, it didn’t.

How often do we arm ourself up with faith like Jesus did for Peter? His prayer was answered.

How often do we pray preemptively for war? We are at war.

I can only speak for myself, but with faith like mine,
I should make this prayer my living-mantra.

Because it worked for Peter who:

  • Was bound up in forgiveness and recommissioned by Jesus with the words: “Tend My sheep.”
  • Was filled by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to preach and lead 3000 to Christ.
  • First cried for himself, and later cried with passion for the church built above his foundation.
  • Spread the gospel far and wide with crazy love for his Savior.
  • Completed his life as the rock – to the point of death, not as sand – breaking under the pressure of life.

We think Jesus uses heroes, he often used the ones who felt like zeros.

We think it’s about perfection, but it’s simply about his resurrection.

We think Jesus looks for the perfect, but he always finds the willing.

We try to be faultless, but God grows the repentant faulted.

Peter was never disqualified because he doubted.

His days were never marked as fake and tossed out like bad meat
(we read his lessons time and time again).

He wasn’t left in the dust without a purpose or a cause.

He hit gnawing days, battling days and downright discouraging days, yet Jesus chose him, ate with him, replenished his heart and restored his mission so he could go awesome, outstanding and amazing distances for God’s glory.

He waits to do the same with us; Jesus waits to recharge us into his purpose.

What is really amazing is, after all was said and done, Peter, wasn’t just changed for himself, so he could reach some high-and-lofty goal like sitting at the right hand of God, or going before God, or looking good to man, but he was changed to one who learned to deny self (no matter the cost).

He became chief-tender over Jesus’ greatest love – the sheep, just as Jesus always believed he would.

Jesus said to Peter (pre-denial), “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32

And, Peter did.

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2 #RaRalinkup Updates:
1.  Sign up for the NEW Cheerleaders 4 Christ #RaRa Facebook group page (this is different than the prayer one I set up). We will be rolling out a new element to the #RaRalinkup that I want you to be a part of. Details are forthcoming soon. Join here.

2. RSVP for the #RaRalinkup breakfast at She Speaks. Exciting news, prizes and challenges will be shared at this event.

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10 Encouraging Words For Your Heart

What bloggers

10 Bloggers. 10 Heart-Inspiring Mini-Posts. 10 Reflections I Share On Their Words.

Join me today as I welcome mini-guest posts on my blog. We can’t read everything online, so I hope to provide a quick rundown of some great words being written. Check them out!

1. Jess from Masters Calling says:

Our Savior didn’t hide his scars, he showed them; he shared where He’d been wounded and in sharing – He proclaimed the power of God!

“Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).

Our weaknesses can become the stage, where broken vessels witness the strength and power of God’s Word!

My Reflection: Lord help us not to be afraid of the damage we can see, but to bring it to you.

2. Carolyn Dale Newell from Mountain of Faith says:

Fear freezes us. It keeps us from moving ahead. It stops us from witnessing. Fear paralyzes us when God tells us to serve Him. It mutes us when He says, “Speak!”

I don’t have to know what is ahead.
God knows, and when I walk by faith, that is enough.

Friend, what fears are holding you back today?

Learning to depend on God will be the greatest blessing you can experience.

Through my disability (loss of sight), God gave me abilities.

He enabled me to trust him completely.
He gave me the ability to serve him and to encourage others through writing and speaking.
He has shown His mercy, because four years later, I still have some vision.

My Reflection: Perhaps it’s not so much what we see, but what God wants us to see as we trust our disabilities to him.

3. Sheila from SheilaKimball.com says:

Anytime we flip the switch in our minds and hearts and focus on pleasing God more by pleasing our mate something changes deep inside our heart. It’s like the door called self opens and love and light flow into the place once darkened by negativity or complaining.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

My Reflection: Sheila says switching power is found through clenching God’s Word. This is how we flip the switch. Then we see the truth and we walk differently.

4. Christy Pearce from Faith Like Dirty Diapers says:

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

I needed help with my shopping tendencies, so I told my bible study girls to “get in my business.” Something radical had to happen. I gave them a pass to speak truth into my life even if it meant my own embarrassment and humiliation.

P.S. I felt led to sell a purse at a consignment store as an act of obedience. When I went to pick it up, the owner told me that she couldn’t understand why it didn’t sell. 

But I knew. 

God gave that purse back to me, and now I carry it as a reminder of His mercy and grace—with confidence!  Whenever I carry that one, I am careful to share my story of grace with anyone who will listen! 

My Reflection: How can we grab the support of others to finally push through that loitering sin?

5. Lisa Murray from LisaMurray.com says:

When I saw him, all I can say is that what I felt was pure joy.  After 3 years, three months, and two days (of agony-filled waiting), my child who was lost had been found, and that was all that mattered.

Wasn’t that how I came to God?

Wasn’t He the one who was waiting for me,
watching for me in the far-off distance
when I wandered home in my ruinous pain?

Before there was an explanation, a repentance, a hope of restoration, there was that moment when I walked right up to Abba in my brokenness and pitiful rebellion, and we embraced.  I can only imagine that for Him in that moment with me, all that mattered was that His child who was lost had now been found.

I was found — in that moment.  I was home.

My Reflection: How might you be running from God today? How might he receive you if you would only return? I think he would cry tears of joy to see you return in that one small way to him.

6. Ifeoma Samuel with Purposeful and Meaningful says:

I relied on my hard work to get things done.

Maybe you think more work represents more results like did.  

How wrong I was!
I heard him whisper’ “The race is not to the swift”.

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong… Ec. 9:11

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Cor. 3:5

My Reflection: It’s not about how fast we run, it’s about how fast we rely on the one who runs it all.

7. Lois Flowers from LoisFlowers.com says:

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. (Deut. 31:8) 

When you pass through waters, I will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)

And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)

God is with us.

Whether we pray for Him to be or not. Whether we feel it or not. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we think we deserve it or not.

In good times and in bad, He is with us.

My Reflection: God stands nearer than the fear in your air.

8. Amy Talbott from The Laundry Pile says:

The world may not see my pain, but God does. The duties may not go away, but God will walk beside me and help me to carry the load.

Not only does God see my pain, but He is near to my pain. And he has promised to heal my broken heart.

Can you picture that?

God wants to pick you and me up gently in his arms and hold us tightly and remind us that even when the world is crashing down around us…

He loves us.
He is in control.
He is good.
He has conquered the world!
There is HOPE.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy ­laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28­-30

9.  Sandra from Sandra’s Ark says:

God takes care of us.

If I had not told the kids then (about the cancer):

  • Daniel wouldn’t have known that there was an opportunity to help his mum.
  • I would have felt very lonely sitting on my own waiting in the hospital for the scan and mammogram and then the results.

Who would I have had to be thankful with that it was not cancer?

God planned it all.

He planned that I would tell the kids because He had planned how He would show me His love and care for me through them.

Reflection: People can only help us, when we give them the opportunity too. Letting others move in, means that God gets a chance to work through them.

10. Kim Jones from says Hunt and Host:

God called me away from everyone else’s thoughts and ideas and invited me to spend time in His word. Just the two of us. No other influence or interpretation. No other filters or explanations.

Just him talking to me through the Bible.

Friends, I’m not kidding taking a break from bible study was scary for me. I was afraid of loosing the accountability. Afraid I’d miss the social aspect. Honestly, I  was afraid I wouldn’t understand a thing I read. I’m still somewhat new to this whole bible study thing.

God kept gently calling, asking me to trust Him.

He was right.

My reflection: Sometimes getting away from talking heads, helps you to hear the one who is at head. Sometimes, all we need is his voice.

11. Kristi Woods from KristiWoods.net says:

The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? Psalm 118:6

Are you facing something new?
Did you hear God call?
Are you questioning whether you heard correctly?

Make a calculated decision in the face of fear, with eternity in focus. Continuing the venture into new territory, I learned about and submitted various stories and articles, often proceeding with knees knocking (Kristi took the risk of facing rejection and walked intentionally even though she was scared).

It was about God, about eternity, not me. Battles in the Old Testament were calculated as well. Think Jericho. They “heard” what to do, then they “did” what God called them to do. The victory wasn’t as quick nor easy as a snap of the fingers. They didn’t eat from fear’s plate. They ate of the Lord’s faithfulness instead. You and I can too.

My reflection: We may not feel safe, but we can move forward with whatever stands before us knowing that we are!

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10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

Hard on Yourself

I should have done better.
Why did I do that?
I am such an idiot.

Ever spoken these words over yourself? I have.

I take all the things I have done and I judge them for my performance, my worth and my value.

As if these things are the summation of all that I am, can do and will be.

As if these things determine my day, my faith walk and my feelings.

I am hard, oh so hard on myself – hit-myself-with-a-2×4 hard sometimes.

But, is this even godly?

Is this even biblical?

The truth is:

1. He already handled them as he poured them all out over Jesus on the cross. (Is. 53:6)

2. He seizes them up and throws them out. (Jo. 1:29)

3. They are taken and covered by his holiness, grace and righteousness. (Ro. 4:7)

4. God moves my sin as far away as my hometown is from Chinatown. (Ps. 103:12)

5. They are lost, not to be found. Pardoned, for those he has saved. (Jer. 50:20)

6. Like a dead body thrown in the water, never to be seen again, God throws our old sins into the depth of the sea. (Mic. 7:19)

7. He remembers no word of them. (Heb. 10:17)

8. He blesses us in the process of removing our sin. (Ro. 4:8)

9. The guilt, the shame, the part that we feel responsible for – he nailed to that cross. (Col. 2:14)

10. He leaves us white, holy, renewed, revived, whole, complete, righteous, pardoned, sanctified and justified in him. (Ps. 51:17)

As the weight of sin moves out the weight of hope can move in.

A weight of hope that shows us:

  • We are holding the hand of the innocent lamb, until the day his kingdom comes.
  • There is a future, a plan and a glory awaiting us
    because we belong the one to whom all our sin belonged.
  • There is nothing that can come against us,
    because the deal is done, the war has been waged and the victory belongs to Jesus Christ.
  • The power of love is as attached to us as an arm-brand marking us as owned.
    Jesus’ love is forever ours.
  • We have still-water peace always available through the power of knowing God,
    not striving for him, but simply knowing.

Jesus died so we didn’t have to.
He sent the Spirit so we could live day-by-day with a new and living hope.
This power is alive and active – in us.

Do we rely on it?

Do we see it?

Or, do we operate by pounds and pounds, weight over weight of shame and guilt?

When we let the power of shame, guilt and discontentment take hold, the power of God is squelched. Yet, when we see God’s power for what it is – powerful – and his sin bashing skills for what they are – working, we live free to walk in the hope, love and grace that is Jesus. 

I think I hear God calling me today, to let go of performance, praise and perfectionism. I pray, that with humble hearts, we all can let go of what we are not, to grab hold of all that Christ is (death that ends our death so that we can have life).  The truth is that he rejoices over us and wants us to believe and activate the power he has already handed over.

“The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph. 3:17

Linking with #DanceWithJesus and #FiveMinuteFriday.

You Are Not Safe

not safe

It’s the thing we are on a constant pursuit of – but can never quite grab.
The thing that promises peace, yet looks miles away.
The carrot we run after but can’t seem to touch.

We dream of being armored up, impenetrable, uncompromised,
so we save up our bank account money,
we get alarms to keep bad people out,
we put up internal walls to keep other bad people out,
we run from love,
we hide from ourself,
we pick up vices,
we seek a way out…

..all to feel safe.

I know that I have done many of these things.
Finding safety in a man.
A hope.
A dream.
Finances.
People.
Compulsive habits.
Controlling pursuits.

Somehow I thought if I could only help God out just a little, maybe he would do the same for me, maybe I could make all things right and maybe I could avoid all the crud that constantly comes after me.

But, my best attempts always prove out my biggest flaw (I hate that): I simply have no control. Like a drug addict, I take another hit – seeking more control to fill the empty hole that shows I have no control.

It’s like I know the truth, but as one chasing the wrong hope, I move from pain to pain.

It seems, the more I seek to play the hand of God,
the more I play into the hand of the devil
(he wrote the book on control-seeking after all).

He has a field day with hearts in right field, the ones looking all around, rather than looking up to see the ball God launched to save the day, to make us cheer and to help us win. 

When we aren’t looking, sometimes God lets us get hit by the ball to learn who really had the ball all along.

I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Ps. 16:8

You see, without God, we will likely be shaken. We will likely feel lost. We will feel like the inside of us is rocking and we have no control over it.

David knew this.

He seemed to know the more he pushed out his shaky feelings to his steady God,
the more his shaky feelings would be unshaken.

David had every reason to feel unsafe, but he leaned on all the reasons God would make him safe.
He spoke it to himself like a man trying to pound belief into himself. And, it worked.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

He also knew this verse to be true: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Ps. 121:1

Perhaps this is why God had declared him: ‘…a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22

How did he do it?
He believed in unstoppable power of God’s lightning ability to save –
and acted accordingly.

Like David, how often do we face the dire with God’s fire?

Words of fire that says:

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:7–8).

Safety is never a feeling.
Safety is never a circumstance.
A result.
A change of heart in another.
A structure that protects you.
A gift in life that makes it all ok.
A physical condition.

All of that can go in a blink of an eye.

It is simply knowing that God is the only structure that will one day bring complete eternal safety – and, until then, he is the only house that keeps guard over your inner shell protecting it from the pain of the outer world.

He can always keep your heart safe. Surely, sometimes he changes circumstances, but, what he always does protect is your heart – if you just let him.

And isn’t that really what we are after – at the core?
Hearts that feel ok?
That know they have the ultimate way?
That can be at rest.

God has you. You are safe in him. He will lead you on the way you should go. He is for you, with you and in you. Be encouraged – you are armored up in his protection, his love and his grace.

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Linking with Suzie Eller.