Purposeful Faith

Category - approval

The Choice Before Us

We sat in the parking lot staring blankly ahead with the doctor’s words still ringing in our ears.

“Some people just can’t have children. Now is when you need to start working on accepting that.”

We were stunned in spite of the clues. The previous years’ experiences had pointed to this moment – the months of negative pregnancy tests, the losses, the testing and exams and poking and prodding, they all pointed to the possibility of infertility. Except now it was real. Now it was our story.

In the weeks that followed our diagnosis I found myself facing a critical juncture in my faith. I could refuse to believe that God might have plans for my future that include infertility and I could live in a state of anxious denial (a place I’d been sitting in for too long already.) Or, I could do as the doctor suggested, and work toward finding acceptance and faith and peace. For several weeks I chose the former and it twisted my stomach and heart in knots. Then one day I chose the latter.

Sometimes peace is a choice. Peace is a choice that doesn’t always come naturally for me, though. I tend to be an anxious person who likes to be in control of, well, everything. I want to know exactly how the day will go and I want to be able to manipulate my surroundings to fit what feels safe, secure, and right to me. But life doesn’t often comply with my version of how things should be. This is where faith and fear collide for me.

Life has taught me I have a choice in how I respond to things outside of my control. Things like infertility. I can’t always control how I feel about these things – if I could take away my grief and pain I would… who wouldn’t? But I can choose to believe in peace and love and hope.

On one of the worst nights of my life – the night I returned from the hospital after losing our first baby – I turned to my Bible for something that would bring me comfort. I don’t think I really believed peace was possible in my grief, but I just wanted something to get me through the night. I flipped the pages and they eventually landed in the book of Isaiah, chapter 54. My eyes fell on verse 10 and I began to read…

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”

In those words, I found everything I didn’t know I needed…

Unfailing love from the Father in the midst of tragedy and loss.
Peace that will never leave – no matter what.
And compassion for my broken and baffled heart.

In the months that followed, I found myself navigating the often lonely waters of grief and learning that I often wouldn’t feel peace, but Isaiah had told me it was there. So I made a choice to believe it, whether I felt it or not. Still today, I choose to believe that the peace that surpasses all understanding still covered my life even in times of turmoil. I choose to believe that hope is a fact.

I believe this is what Horatio Spafford had in mind when he penned the words to famous hymn, It Is Well with My Soul. After losing his son, his business, and then his four daughters (who drowned in a shipwreck) he wrote,

“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know*
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

It is well. Or, as my son has taught me to say, “It’s Okay About It.” Saying, “it’s okay about it” or “it is well” doesn’t mean declaring that we are unaffected in the face of hardship and loss. It is simply choosing to believe that love, peace, compassion, and hope are true. That they are promises we can believe no matter what comes our way.

So though my heart broke in the pain of infertility and the grief of miscarriages I choose peace and hope, knowing that God will redeem my pain.

When my children suffer I remember God’s compassion for us.

When I face disappointment and rejection I declare the truth of God’s unfailing love.

When I face anxiety and panic over an unknown future and circumstances beyond my control I choose His covenant of peace.

Because of the truth of God’s word and the hope of heaven I can say with assurance, “It’s Okay About It.”

Lauren Casper is the founder of her popular blog, where she shares her thoughts on life, parenting, and faith. She is a top contributor to the TODAY Parenting Team and has had numerous articles syndicated by The Huffington Post, the TODAY show, Yahoo! News, and several other publications. Lauren speaks in various locations around the country at conferences, retreats, and church events. Some of her topics include: adoption and foster care, infertility, parenting children with special needs, building meaningful community, and facing fear.

Lauren’s first book, It’s Okay About It, released May 2, 2017. In it, Lauren shares poignantly simple yet profound wisdom about removing the barriers we construct around our hearts and doing life full-on, all from the least expected source: her five-year-old son, Mareto.

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Making Marriage Strides

marriage strides

Pop Quiz: What is 1 thing you likely take for granted, yet could bring monumental joy, growth and connection if paid attention to it?

Answer: Your marriage.

Friends, most days I hardly look at it: I rush through breakfast, trying to start my day; I give a little hello near the Keurig; I listen and quickly respond; I go through the bare-bottom motions, trying to make sure I’m at least good enough to get by; I get ready to watch TV instead of to connect; I respond based on my own opinions, rather than hearing his; I focus on the kids and then remember he’s there too.

Uh-oh. Can I admit to you all? I am not the model wife.

And, while it pains me to write this, I have found such encouragement in the book, “A Wife’s Secret to Happiness” by Jen Weaver.

Right off, in the first chapter, her words meet my heart: “God will not call us anywhere his presence does not go with us,” she says, “He will not ask us to do what he has not equipped us to complete. The Lord longs to lead our marriages into spacious place, interwoven with his peace and strength…the day you made your vows He participated in an active agreement, invisible, yet majestic in glory.”

Thank you, God…we are not doing this thing called marriage alone. The Creator of our universe is creating something new, as we listen, go and respond with him. He is working within the confines of our arguments, annoyances, and mishaps to create space, love and peace. Bring it, God! I need that.

To ignite his power, one question remains: Will we let him in to work – by listening, seeking and following or will we continue doing the same ‘ole stuff?

What does it look like to let Him work?
I’m finding, it’s:

Prayer over panic.
Listening rather than responding in flesh.
Trusting God’s timeline to change, rather than my own.
Seeking to notice his good, before his bad.

Jen Weaver breaks down specific ways to see these high and lofty goals through (Thanks Jen!):

  1. Write down index card prayers. Carry them with you.
  2. Ask God to bless your husband right when you’re in the heat of battle.
  3. Remind yourself to welcome God’s presence. Put reminders around your house with verses.
  4. Scribe 5 pain points you have about your marriage. Bring them to God and ask them how he wants you to work them out.
  5. Remind yourself, through scripture, how God has been there for you and won’t abandon you now.

Marriages that work, take work. If I’ve learned anything – it’s this.  But, I’ve also learned, when God is at work, things seamlessly fall into place. Like Tetris. Bing! Connection happens.

Where do you need to let God take the lead? How might he want to put things together again? How might his small nudges be leading you to a greater outpouring of love?

Love that looks like:
A hug.
A listening ear.
An open fist.
A generous portion of time.
An opening of your whole heart.
A letting down of guard.
A soft-spoken word.
Open arms.
Undue forgiveness.
An offering of grace.
A handing-over to God (Re: the past).
An excitement for the future.
Reliance on the Sustainer, Overcomer, and Creator.

Wherever God is calling you – if you step in, He’ll meet you there.

Learn more about a Wife’s Secret to Happiness!

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

What it took me to Listen

Post by: Christy Mobley

I was more than a tad frustrated. But even though I was ticked off, I felt my words were kind and made my point. Impulsive but clever nonetheless.

I was more than a tad frustrated. But even though I was ticked off, I felt my words were kind and made my point. Impulsive but clever nonetheless.

Well said, I thought.
I went to hit the send button but stopped short. Something felt vaguely familiar about this scene.

I heard a whisper in my heart, Don’t send it.

Hmm, I thought to myself, I haven’t talked to God about this yet have I?

I shut my laptop, pushed it aside and prayed over the email I was about to launch.

You know the saying, sleep on it—give it fresh eyes in the morning. Good advice.

Before I shut my eyes, I asked God, Is this what you would have me send?

There have been times when I’ve heard God whisper and ignored it. 
The still small voice—the warning. Some might say, “Oh it’s just our conscience talking” but I’ve learned the difference…the hard way.

I’ve brushed off this heart whisper enough times to know when I do, it can prove painful. One such experience is still branded in my memory like the scar left from a run in with  fiery stove.

It concerned another email from years ago. It was innocent really. At least I rationalized it was.
Scripture says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
And isn’t that what the heart does? It deceives us by telling us lies we believe.

My heart is no different.

There had been a long thread of correspondence within a group I leading. People had been adding to it for days. There was one decision maker with whom I was to consult with and then let the group know the results.

Without thinking, I added my comment to the consultant at the bottom of the ongoing thread instead of starting a new one. My remark was harmless enough, although selfish in nature and could have misconstrued if seen by the wrong eyes.  I knew this to be true but again I rationalized, I was getting my point across.
 I thought, what’s the harm?

Then I heard it. The moment before I hit send, a whisper ever so softly, gently.
A voice of reason calling out to me to think twice.
Don’t send it.

I brushed aside the delicate call to stop and pushed the button sending my pixellated words into cyberspace permanency.

Sure enough, a certain person in the group who was the curious type scrolled through the multiple threads of conversation and landed on mine. She read through my innocent motive straight to the self-seeking one. She exposed the inner workings of a fallacious heart. And then  proceeded to unleash a furry of epic porportion all over the information superhighway.

I was done for. Humiliated. Embarrassed. Scarred for life.
Yes, that about covers it—all the emotional daggers that could impaled me, did.

I hadn’t paid attention to the tension of God’s warning.

Pain however does get our attention. And sometimes God allows it. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Friends, God doesn’t speak to hear His own voice. No, He lovingly will use whatever it takes to protect us from our own undoing.

His voice is not only one of correction but a voice of protection.

 

God could have kept this person from exposing me but because she did, I learned to listen. Getting burned on a stove a few times might hurt but it serves to save you from the real fire later.

After praying over my most recent email situation and putting it to a good night’s sleep, I woke afresh with a new attitude knowing what I was to do.

I opened my laptop, looked at the blinking cursor, highlighted the majority of the piece and pushed delete.
I thought, God will take care of it from here.

There have been multiple, “Don’t do its” in between these two experiences and through them I’ve learned to discern His voice better but moreover I’m remembering to ask for it.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3

Listen and obey. Simple as that.

And when it comes to emails, letters or talk I ask myself daily…

Am I using my words to make a point, or am I using my words to point to Christ?

Enough said.

Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump ad twist in the road.

Christy a wife, mother, mother-in-law, mentor, and brand new grandma!  Her passion is to help women find their joy by experiencing God at work for them in their all their circumstances.

You can connect with Christy at Joying in the Journey, on Facebook, and Twitter.

When You Hate How You Look

Hate How You Look

It’s the last thing you want to do on a day where you need to do everything, and hardly want to do that. But, there I found myself, at the drug store posing half-heartedly in front of a white pull-down curtain. I needed a passport photo.

Mugshot.  Mugshot- was what ran through my head he clicked. That – and the idea that I really should have put my hair down and tried to improve myself a bit, like most moms do. Most moms throw on the lipgloss. Most moms might adjust their hair rather than keeping it in this weird outdated bun look. Most moms might try to smile a little bigger.

Not me. I was tired. Daughter woke at 3 AM with a wet bed. My eye is still not done with pink eye (what are you supposed to do – throw out every last inch of makeup?). Husband is gone all week and I am womaning the house. So, yes, when the “click” happened, well, my face? It didn’t really happen that much.

I just stood there.

He finished the job.

I looked at the photo.

And saw what I am fully convinced must be the worst mug shot ever of me. It was as bad as those pre-jail photos – you all know what I am talking about. It’s the one we all see on TV – “And…today, a mom went rogue in CVS”. The image shoots up on screen. We all know it. The light is bad, the face looks horrible, the smile is gone and the woman looks like death just visited her.

This was me. Bags under eyes. Eye red. Smile gone. And, to add to all this, an outshoot of hair wanted to show off right above my ear. How does this even happen, anyway?

The picture is not cute, not cute at all, I thought as I stood outside the drug store contemplating whether to go back in and hassle the photo guy until he made me beautiful, photo-shopped, wrinkle-less, perfect and all that I ever dreamed of being 8:00 am on a Wednesday morning.

But, I didn’t. I just stood there. Why? Because on my heart was this weird inclination of revelation. Like God wanted to do something with me and this photo. So, although I almost walked back in the store 4 times, I didn’t.

If I’ve learned anything in my short life it is this: You don’t want to turn down God, when He’s working on something.

Frankly, I can’t even begin to imagine if Jesus turned down his role. “Change of plans, I’m not dying on the cross.”

Nope. Not good.

With this in mind, I try to stay on God’s path and when I hop off, I fight with all my might to get back on. So, I just stood there on the sidewalk – a freak with a photo – and stared at it. Two steps to the door, two steps back.

Come on, God….any time now.

Friend, maybe, like me, the ugly thing you can’t get through, God is trying to speak through…

And finally, it came to my heart: Kelly, on your worst day, on your ugly days, on your tired days, on your worn days, on your pain-stricken days, on your unsure days, on your bad hair days, on your I-don’t-have-a-smile-days – still, Kelly, I love you. 

I love that picture.
I love your realness.
I love your wrinkles.
I love you.
You don’t need to be more for me.
I don’t love you less when you look less or appear less.
I choose you – just like that – eye bags, red-eye, smileless and all… 

When you see that image, imagine me, wanting you – in all your ugly-, frumpy- and grumpy-ness. 

So, I took that square photo, tucked it into my bag and walked to the car. I’d lie if I didn’t tell you I gasped at it one more time on my way home. I did.  But, I also let that passport stand for what it really was – a reminder: No matter where I go, I always am in God’s love.

I’ll look at this image again. And again. And, my prayer – for when I do – is this: God, let us always remember our worst images, are made beautiful because you simply love us as we are. And, in that, we can rest. We don’t need to work up your love. Help us to remember your goodness, your kindness and your unconditional love towards us, God. Amen.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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5 Ways to Love God More

Love God More

I’m stumped. My heart is far from God. Problem is, I don’t know how to pull it close again. It runs off. It’s a stray dog, trying to smell it’s own pee, rather than the roses of God. It gets antsy. Pushy.

The fact of the matter is it’s a determined, distracted, annoying little thing. It tries, but, I fear, it gets it all wrong.

How do we really love God more?

We love because he first loved us. 1 Jo. 4:19

This verse teaches me, we so often have it backward. We run out to love, with nothing. What love can we give, if our love compartment is empty? What gifts can we bring, if we allowed God to wrap and deliver none within us? What can we share, when we feel empty.

God’s love in us is paramount to his love flowing out from within us. We must let in, what he desires to send out. We must open the confines of our comforts, to allow his voice, truth and life to console us first.

How? We draw up next to God.

Not like a stray dog, but like a close companion. We stay right next to his heart, because we want to hear his words, his tender mercy, and his uplifting charges. We naturally pull in tight. It only makes sense.

We do it in these 5 ways:

  1. Get alone with God. Meet him in your place of refreshment: a walk, painting, journaling, singing, dancing, being alone.
  2. In every situation, choose not to work hard, not to do more, but simply, to love God. Posture your heart towards him.
  3. Imagine him delighting in you. Imagine him smiling down upon you as you invite him into the hiccups, hurdles and the down moments of your day
  4. Seek his guidance and leading in the little decisions, the words you speak and even your thoughts. Keep returning in need and he’ll feed you with his wisdom.
  5. Let God’s heart become yours. Do your work, do your life, allowing his goal to be yours. Let the outcome of love, rule your intentions. Let the pursuit of peace be your ultimate cause.

The more we do this, the more we realize, the story of the prodigal father, is not just a story for a wayward believer. It is a story for all of us. Each day, we stray. Each day, we go our own way. Each day, we fall away. And, each day, God waits, arms wide open waiting for us to run to him. He stands there, I believe, hoping we’ll sprint like a bullet into the fullness of his all-consuming love that eats away at what’s eating us.

His love heals our love-empty heart. His love reworks our capacity to love. His love placates our wandering soul. His love draws us home. His love sets a table for us. His love welcomes us to eat. His love sends us out into the world – full.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

I’m Being Honest: This Bible Verse Ticks Me Off

ticks me off

I wouldn’t admit this in church, but there’s one verse that continually ticks me off. It’s this: In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Prov. 3:6

I guess you could say I have multiple issues with it:

  1. In all ways acknowledge God.  When you acknowledge someone it’s as if you’re offering a late gesture. Like, they did something for you, and you can’t forget to bring them up, lest you feel guilty that you didn’t pay them back well enough. I mean, you certainly don’t want them to feel slighted or, even worse, to punish you afterward. “Acknowledge” plays out like an after-thought. I did all this stuff…oh, shoot, can’t forget – I’ve got to acknowledge so-and-so. It lacks authenticity.
  2. Make straight your path. I imagine someone walking down the sidewalk, picket-in-hand, yelling in my face, “You better acknowledge God, or else! You better let him make straight your path – or you’re a goner!” This thought entirely stresses me out. It burns my insides with the fear that no matter how good of a daughter I think I am, I’m going to burn in hell one day. It somehow makes me feel like there is no good that is good enough for God. Why try?

Sitting today, just me and this verse, I decided to decode it. If I’ve learned anything it is this: If God’s Word doesn’t give you more vision, it’s probably because you’re looking at it through the wrong glasses.

God, give me new lenses to see. What does acknowledge really mean?

Yada. That’s the Hebrew word for it. It means to “come to know someone by observing, reflecting and experiencing.”

Now this makes sense.

I can almost hear God saying, “In all your ways, come to know me by observing me, by reflecting on me and experiencing me…”

And, I want to. I need to.  Because to acknowledge God is to hang a welcome sign on your heart. It is to open your heart to his movement, rather than to demand your mouth to give him due credit. It is being a hostess rather than a hopeless speaker of things, even you aren’t even sure if you yet believe.

Here, there is no pressure, but peace.
No self-demands, just connection with the love of your life.
No hard work, but an easy yoke.
Less striving, more relaxing.

I feel content with the answer to my gripe #1. But what about #2?

What about the path?

God, do you yell in my face, “make straight your path, girl…or else!?

And, where God focuses my eyes, is here, on this very verse: “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Ps. 23:2-3

When we “acknowledge” or “experience” God, He sets us on a path of refreshment, restoration and righteousness. Where we are, the path is so straight, we get more of a glimpse of him at the end of our every road. Our vision, even more, focuses, targeted and clear. We know what we are running after. We see the end goal. We pursue eternity.

God is right before us. And, all we want is more. We’ve found our straight road.

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called “A must read,” “Breathtakingly honest” and a “Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear.” Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Do You Nitpick Your Every Flaw?

Nitpick Your Every Flaw

I scrolled through old photos on my phone and took notice of my face: When I turned my head to the left, I didn’t look so bad. But, from the right, I looked horrible. In every single picture, when my face was straight towards the camera, my big nose tilted, crooked.

I hated it. I wanted to erase, blur or cover my ugliness.

What do you hate about yourself?

Your hips? Your weight gain? Your crooked smile? Your type B personality? Your love handles? Your tendency to be too curious? Your hair?

I do, in fact, also hate my hair. Frankly, when it’s not flat ironed it looks like I stuck my finger in an electrical socket. Bzzt clown hair (Note: not cute).

Add this to my complexion of rosacea that runs right across my nose and – yes – on those days when foundation doesn’t do the trick – I wear a clown-looking nose too!!!

How do you contend with yourself when you’d rather be someone else?

This is the question I’ve been considering: Because sometimes I am afraid of who I am and what I look like.

I am afraid others will think I am weird. I am afraid I will look dumb. I am afraid I will be left out. I am afraid these weird features will be compounded by a fresh wrinkle. I am afraid you will stand and look at me just a few moments too long to sum up what is so wrong with my face – or my outfit.

I am afraid I’ll know what you are up to and I’ll have to deal with a whole mountain of inner awkwardness. I can’t climb well.

What about you makes you take cover? Feel ashamed? Embarrassed?

Did you know? God loves that part of you. He delights in it. He made you that way.

What would it look like if you accepted it, the way he accepts you? What would it look like to use that very thing – for his glory? For his advantage?

Scared to talk in public? Do a Facetime video.

Feel your heart beat out loud when you are around a circle of women? Approach one of the with a word of encouragement.

Hide your face under sunglasses and a hat? Go sans make-up and wear a smile that shines God’s goodness.

Feel too intellectual or too intense? Let it loose. Let it fly. Be you.

There is something liberating about approaching the world– just as you are, just as God made you. There is something freeing about not worrying about your worst. There is something redemptive about relying on the fact – God loves you.

You find yourself.

I praise you
because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Ps. 139:14

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Isn’t it Supposed to be Easier?

Sold a Lie

I said a prayer. Jesus was in me. I could almost hear the chorus of angels singing in tandem,  “Laa….You’ve arrived!!!” 

Now, my whole life would change for good…

I’m God’s… No problems.
I’m saved. Things will go smooth.
I know the truth. No more mistakes.
God’s my backer. People will no longer annoy me.

Did someone, like me, sell you easy, breezy Christianity?

It’s hardly the case. It’s much more like being on an elite training team. It’s like learning to be a Navy Seal or something. There’s refinement, tests and drills. There are huge growing pains. There’s an enemy to throw you off. There are loads of tired days and hard work.

There is sweat, grit and perseverance.
There is heart.
There is passion.
There is dedication.
There is vision.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because, no matter what – with Jesus, there’s always hope.

No Jesus = No hope.
Know Jesus = Know constant hope.

And there is peace.

No Jesus = No peace.
Know Jesus = Know peace.

Jesus delivers. Not just for eternity either. Many a day, I need a deliverer in a moment, and then, I need a deliverer, once again, in the next moment. Jesus holds me. He relieves the pressure. He picks up my slack.

He delivers me from evil and then delivers me from my own mind that, once again, wants to get its dirty little hands stuck in evil and conniving thoughts.

Jesus is so…good. He surpasses easy. He is that good.

And, so, our battle is good.

It makes us warriors.
Being a warrior makes us aware.
Being aware of war makes us need God.
Needing God makes us want him more.
Wanting him more makes us draw near more.
Drawing near more allows us to know joy, peace, hope and life.

Our battle is good, profitable, worthy and fulfilling.

It’s hardly about arriving, but all about journeying into holy: pinching a hem, clenching His will and riding out love, wherever it will take us.

This is where agony turns into testimony.

We remember the difficulty; they see all His glory.

God is smart. He makes things look easy. But, for the ones, like us, who have been through the wringer, we know, we know the full story.

Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit… (Ro. 5:3-5)

Through trials, we search out his love.
Through pain we find inner-progress.
Through heartache, we remember Jesus on the cross.
Through persecution, we uncover real faith.
Through shame, we realize we have a new name.
Through life, we discover, Jesus is all life.
Through mistakes, we dig up the healing grace.

We become the most radiant and dedicated warriors ever. For, deep in our hearts, we know, there’s nothing better than what we have. For what He’s given us, is truly – the very best. Our commander rocks!!!

Kelly’s new book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears has been called A must read, Breathtakingly honest and a Great Toolbox to Overcome Fear. Read it today.

Discover how to flee from fear and fly in faith through 4 Days to Fearless Challenge.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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When Routine Is Robbing the Romance

Robbing the Romance

Welcome Sharon Jaynes! Sharon is authentic, real and brings practical and applicable tips to win in your marriage. Plus today, she’s giving away a free book if you comment. 

What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’ in your marriage?

Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why.

Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were.

Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted.

Between taking out the garbage, paying the bills, running the car pool, mowing the lawn, disciplining the kids, and folding the laundry, sometimes the passion of marriage gets lost. It happens to all of us at one time or another.

We can get so busy taking care of life that we forget to take care of love.

None of us got married so we could have a long list of chores. If you’re like me, most likely you got married because you were madly in-love and couldn’t imagine life without your man! You got married because your heart skipped a beat every time you laid eyes on him.

You couldn’t wait to tie the knot and build a life with this incredible person God had miraculously brought into your life. Maybe you still feel that way. But maybe you could use a little reminder—a re-stoking of the romance.

In the book of Revelation in the Bible, God had this to say to the church at Ephesus: “I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4).

Ephesus was one of the most loving churches in the New Testament, and yet somewhere along the way they lost that initial thrill of knowing Christ. Their love for each other and for God had grown cold.

So how do you get that lovin’ feelin’ back?

God gave the church two simple steps, and I believe we can apply them to our marriages as well. “Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5, emphasis added).

Remember how it was in the beginning.

Return and do the things you did at first.

One day I took John’s words in Revelation to heart, and decided to remember and return by romancing my husband for fourteen days straight.

Can I tell you, I was a little bit nervous about it?

What if he thought I was silly?

What if he didn’t respond?

But I took a deep breath, push the fear aside, and began to romance my man like I did in the early days.

Everyday wasn’t earth-shaking romance, even though there was some of that.

One day I simply put a sticky note on his bathroom mirror that said, “I love you.”

Another day I placed a box of Red Hot candy on his car seat with a note that said, “You’re a hottie.”

One morning I warmed up his towel in the dryer and had it ready when he got out of the shower.

And you know what happened? At the end of the fourteen days, Steve had a skip in his step and smile on his face like a Cheshire cat.

And what happened in me? I can hardly describe the love that welled up in me, as I loved my man well. Hear this…I changed.

I don’t have a big, bad personal story of how God took a terrible, tumultuous marriage and miraculously transformed it into a storybook romance filled with white-knight rescues, relentless romance, and rides into the sunset leaving all danger and darkness behind. Although our marriage has been all that at one time or another, it’s no fairy tale.

Our marriage is a daily journal, one page after another, one day after another. I’m guessing just like yours.

Some entries are smudged with tears; others are dog-eared as favorites.

Some days are marred by unsuccessful erasures that couldn’t quite rub away hurtful the words said; others are finger-worn by the reading of precious events time and time again.

But on those days when I see my marriage slipping back into the mundane cadence of passionless routine, I pull out my list of ideas, and put a smile on Steve’s face.

And that’s my challenge to you and to me today. When we see the fire needs stoking, remember and return. It may be a little scary at first, but be brave and begin!

What is one thing that you can do for your husband today to remind him of how much you love him?

***Leave a comment and tell one thing that attracted you to your husband when you were dating. We’ll randomly pick one name and send a FREE copy of Sharon’s new book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage.

Sharon Jaynes is a conference speaker, devotion writer for Girlfriends in God and Proverbs 31 Ministries, and author of 21 books. Her latest book, A 14-Day Romance Challenge: Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage will help you step out of the mundane routine of life and captivate your husband all over again. With encouraging stories, Biblical principles, and over 250 simple ideas on how to romance your husband, Sharon will show you how to put a smile on your husband’s face. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

Don’t forget to leave a comment to win….

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15 Things I Wish I Never Did as a Christian

Never did as a christian

Oh, I’ve made some mistakes. Some big ones. I am not proud of them either. At risk of you hating me, and of pigeonholing myself into the corner of worst-Christian-ever, I am going to share 12 things I wish I would have never done.

If Jesus tells us to confess our sins to one another, I guess, you can call this an uber-confession.

Now, as a disclaimer to the disclaimer I wrote above, I fully know, some things may make you feel uncomfortable, but what I hope is, by sharing, admitting and bringing to light my worst, we are all inspired to fully move into God’s best. There is power in acknowledgment, in stepping out in complete transparency, with the purpose of leaving behind what God never called us to carry ahead.

So without further ado…

15 things I wish I never did as a Christian:

  1. Critiqued the Pastor’s Sermon: He’s boring, self-indulgent, missing the point, too knowledge focused, too story-focused, too animated, not animated enough or missing the point.
  2. Decided myself more holy than others. At times, I’ve worn a church-going halo, while internally criticizing the gal who hasn’t said hello to church in weeks.
  3. Believed I need to be less Jesus-y. Thinking, if I shine too bright, people’s eyes may bug out in fright. If I show my strong love for Jesus, they may run away thinking I am a bible bumpin’ freek-a-zoid.
  4. Kept up with the Jesus Joneses’ on Social Media. If my image isn’t pretty enough, calligraphy’ed enough or bright enough, I figured God’s Word wouldn’t be appealing enough to the masses.
  5. Made an exasperated sigh at mention of, yet-again, another sermon on tithing, its merits and why I’m completely, entirely, and utterly missing out – and impacting the church in a horrible way – if I don’t drop my wallet in the basket.
  6. Figured humility was about: 1.) Never accepting compliments 2.) Believing you couldn’t really do things 3.) Acting like you hated yourself.
  7. Received grace only after acting godly enough and/or hard enough to receive it.  Usually allowing myself 3 days to writhe in anxiety and worry before letting in what Christ already accomplished. Keeping company with shame.
  8. Decided that girl is not a Christian because she didn’t say hi to me, lied to me or brushed by me – 3 too many times.
  9. Believed to “deny myself” and to “live for Christ” meant I skip past who God made me to be, to jump ahead to who – you, or others – desire me to be. I forgot my God-given voice.
  10. Made snap-decisions on the motives and heartbeat of non-believers without wanting – to know them, their problems or their setbacks in life.
  11. Forgot the poor. Walked right past them.
  12. Lived a life in pursuit of getting my latte, my life in order or my late self to my next place.
  13. Missed the opportunity to wear glasses of love.
  14. Placed my sin on a scale. Gleefully, watching the lead load of other’s sin crash low – while seeing the feather-light weight of mine – fly high.  Who made me judge?
  15. Found myself worried about, focused on and tightly gripping many things, instead of falling in love with the One and Only thing (the King) that matters – God.

This list is a petri-dish of ugly. My go-to instinct is ugly. My new identity in Christ – is beautiful.

What is your ugly? What judgment lurks behind the doors of your mind? What Christian shame has crept up on you like a night crawler ready to attack?

It is not too much for God. It is not too great for his healing hand. It is not going to disqualify you from heaven, I assure you.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10)

Prayer: Dear God, I am far from the image of glowing Christian. I am far from kind, some days. I do things, in my head, that would embarrass me greatly if they came out of my mouth. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of that. I ask you to teach me your ways. I ask you to lead me in your grace. I ask you to forgive me for the ways, I’ve hurt you and others intentionally or unintentionally. Will you restore my heart in peace and trust? Will you help me know that what I’ve done no longer stands against me? You stand for me. You stand with me. You mark me forgiven. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.

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