Purposeful Faith

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The Silent Faith-Killer (You Likely Allow)

Faith-Killer

My son lives like a son. Meaning, he takes all momma wants to give him. If I walk in with a plate of cookies, he dives into them. If I offer him a hug, he runs up to get it in full. If I sit down with him, he delights in showing me things. If he gets injured, he runs to me and asks how I might help. He takes what I give, eagerly and willingly.

Somehow he knows where he is –is safe. And, what I am giving – is good.

For the most part, Christians aren’t good at being children. It’s not because we aren’t loved, adored and chosen, we completely are, but it’s mostly because we grew up. We think we can’t accept all that – all that the Father wants to lavish on us.

I’ve been watching, us, his children shut down his love.

Here’s how it tends to go:

  • I say, “Need prayer?” They say, “Nope. But, I know someone who does.”
  • I say, “Are you struggling with anything?” They say, “Nope. Not at all.”
  • I say, “I’d like offer you a gift – God has put you on my heart.” They say, “Nope. I never take gifts from others.”
  • I say, “You are courageous.” They say, “I don’t want to talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”

Rather than living as needy children, we living as arrogant adults. To turn away the love of Christ is to turn down the greatest gift moving on earth. We do it often.

Why?

Maybe, because we don’t want to owe people things. Maybe, because we feel guilty or embarrassed. Maybe, because we feel undeserving. Maybe, we don’t even notice he wants to hand it to us.

The maybe’s don’t matter.

What matters is, like children, we open our arms up to hold the gifts God is outpouring through others. What’s important is we see all the ways he is trying to love us. What is vital is we let this love in, so we can let this very love – out.

God wants to hand us his best, yet so often, we either walk right past it or reject it. Then, we get angry that God doesn’t answer our prayers, or reach out to us in our time of need. Guess what?! He’s been doing that all along. If only we’d just open our arms and hold close all he is pouring out.

He made us worthy.

What have you denied? Held at an arms length? Shut down? Walked away from? Turned away?  Sit down, look up and let in what love is pouring out from others onto you – receive what the Father wants to give you. You will be shocked at how it impacts your life.

Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. Jo. 16:24

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More Reading:
A 3-Point Plan to Beat the Enemy
When You Don’t Feel Gifted
25 Verses About God’s Protection

25 Verses About God’s Protection

God's Protection

My foot slipped. I couldn’t catch myself, not with the bundle of love I had in my hands. I took the fall. Rather than grabbing the railing or even putting a hand down to break the fall, I let my hip hit the stairs – hard. I held on to her. Child. Must. Be. Safe.

Boom! Boom! Boom! The impact left my hip sore for weeks. Child. Must. Be. Safe.

She didn’t even so much as touch the floor. She was saved. After the thrill of her ride, she got up, laughing, she was scuff-free.

God loves to save us from our worst falls. He lifts us right above them. Child. Must. Be. Safe. 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Is. 41:10

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Ps. 91:7

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Ps. 91:4

You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Ps. 40:11

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

For You have been my help, And in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy. Ps. 63:7

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. Ps. 27:5

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Ps. 46:1

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.

You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. Ps. 18:35-36

…the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 31:6

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Ps. 119:114

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

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Ex. 14:14

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. Ps. 18:30

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Ro. 8:31

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high. Ps. 3:3

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

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

For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? 2 Sam. 22:32

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? Mt. 26:53

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Ps. 9:9

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Ps. 62:2

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. Ps. 4:8

But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thes. 3:3

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. Is. 54:17

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. Ps. 138:7

…but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 Jo. 5:18

Child. Must. Be. Safe.

When you fall down the stairs of life, there is one who will run to your rescue. His name is Deliverer. Fear not, he goes with you.

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When You’re Self-Critical and Feel Unhealable

Self-Critical

Do you hate yourself when you yell – again?
Do you want to flick your wrist when you eat those brownies you should’ve dumped a week ago?
Do you call yourself an idiot for forgetting that appointment?
Do you believe you’ll never get better, live better or act better?

Freedom can feel far.
Hope can feel lost.
Deliverance can taste like an extra-large pizza,
when you are one who berates yourself in your head.

Half my life, I’ve looked at my mistakes and asked, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I say something dumb. “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I bump someone’s bumper with my bumper, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”
I miss an opportunity, “Kelly, why are you so stupid?”

No wonder, one of my big fears is of being stupid. I’ve been speaking that fear into my heart for a long, long time.

What have you been speaking into your heart? Does it look – and hit – hard, like a hammer to the head or does it look and feel soft – like grace?

If you’re a heavy self-hitter, like me, listen up, because this is important: You no longer have to be hard on yourself, because the world was already hard on Jesus.

Let it really sink in. It hit him hard – and he took it.

Have you considered the weight of that? You don’t have to beat yourself up because, Jesus, the bodyguard of all bodyguards, took all your hits. He got hit so hard his flesh broke wide open.

So, while you sit and stare at your injuries, thinking, “They’ll never heal,” God says, “If I conquered the cross, surely I can conquer what plagues your heart today.”

Your brokenness is of no magnitude
that the maker of heaven and earth can’t fix it.

When you whisper, “Please God, help me, help me, help me. God, I can’t. God…God…God…”

God hears and nearly whispers, “Jesus”.

Because if you see this man on the cross,
if you see the fullness of his gift,
if you see the King,
nearly riding to death on a donkey,
in this place of poverty and powerlessness,
if you just see him,
you’ll see how he hung –
arms wide open,
for you,
the weak, wounded and restless one.

You’ll see mercy,
care
and foreknowledge,
pour out.

You’ll see his heart
to save –
both for today and yesterday.

When we see, Jesus, the man who won our freedom,
we really begin to trust his life can  save us.

He didn’t died for us yesterday,
only to give a half-hoot about us today.

When Jesus spread his arms on the cross, he welcomed our pain. He welcomed the addicts, the rapists, the depressives, the adulterers, the anxiety-prone, the controllers, the abusers, the abused and the proud. He basically says, “See me, I am reaching out to hug you, to embrace you – to receive the worst of you. Don’t forget what I’ve done. Let yourself be saved from your plague.

With this idea friends, knowing his heart, I want to be saved afresh. There is an area so wounded in me, I keep on trying to layer dirt over it. I keep trying to wrestle it down in my own mind. I keep wanting to tell it to go hide out in Timbuktu. It never does. It tapes itself to me. It labels me.

Well, today friends, today…today, I say, Jesus, you are my only way. I am willing to travel through the hurt to find your help. I am willing to get honest with you, so I can get healed by you. I am willing to give it a shot, knowing that you surpass my slip ups.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Pet. 2:16)

Hurt one, are you ready to live free? What’s holding you back?

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

Related Reading:

10 Reasons to Stop Being Hard on Yourself

When Forgiving Yourself is Hard (Linkup)

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How to Be Unshakable in the Face of Turbulence

be unshakeable

What are you going after?

This is a question you do not ignore. Instead, it is one you put a pretty design around and then get tattooed on your hand.

It is that important.

You wear this question as if it is a badge of your dedication. You return to it often.

During my days in corporate America, I tried really hard. In my mind, I did really good. I responded to emails with lightning speed. I came up with proactive ideas before my boss even voiced word of the problem. I arrived not just with plans but complete SWOT analyses of the whole situation. I was always a step ahead.

After a long day at work, I’d run to release some steam. I’d run and think “I wonder if my boss sees all I am doing? I wonder if his boss sees too?”  I assured myself, “Kelly, you’ll go places. They’ll uncover you and say, ‘Wow, what a gem.'”

Between striving and running. I was exhausted.

I was going after the wrong thing: the desire to be the star.

I wouldn’t have admitted this, but:
People were often a casualty in my race.
Problems were my ticket to a Kelly-solved-it phone call up the chain.
Work was a means to my end.
I didn’t feel good unless I looked good.

A woman dedicated to self-exalting ways
will run with skinned knees and deep discontentment.

What is your end? Not the one you try to convince yourself that you’re after, but the one daily you live for by your actions? The one that makes you feel cruddy?

Are you after people knowing the great things you are doing? The feeling you are finally enough? The one-track-mind goal of being published? The phone call that ends your waiting time? The approval of that person that restores your sense of self? The success that erases your feelings of illegitimacy? The desire to be wanted by family members? The spotlight that shows millions accept you?  The achievements that are all about you?

Make no mistake, my fellow seekers, we are all after something. Many of us just don’t acknowledge it – because we are afraid to look at what our heart really wants. We are embarrassed; we don’t really want God after all.

No shame here friends. I get off track all the time. I blow it!

Getting off track is not the major problem,
but remaining in denial of the problem – always is.

Where are you in denial? 

Confront these questions (this means really consider them):

What is your heart’s goal on the daily basis?
Is it about pleasing God or pleasing man?
Seeking self or glorifying God?
Self-protection or God-dedication?

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col. 3:17

Draw a line. Draw, not a grey or fuzzy line –
we have enough of those –
but an I-will-do-it-all-in-the-name-of-Jesus line.

Draw a line that says, I will be resolute, determined and steadfast
in only going after the right thing.
In going after – God’s thing.

This way, instead of allowances, excuses and rationalizing, you make progress.
Then, you and I claim a warrior-like mentality. It talks like this:

Speak to me, something that is not from him… I’m not listening.

Divert me with a call to selfish ambition… I’m shutting down.

Send me down a path of sin that will lead me astray…
Nope, I’m not going there, I want God.

Try to get me to make it about me…
I don’t think so. It is all about Him.

Aim my heart at some target off the path of God…
Forget it. That’s not contentment.

We’ve gotta stop doping around.

A woman dedicated to do it God’s way,
finds the upsurgence of God’s heart
ready to explode from within her.

Drive emerges:

Your heart swerves left into discouragement,
but you jerk back and remember how he has always taken care of you.

Your mind stalls –
you pray and uncover your next step to get moving again.

Your doubts backfire –
but you fire back truth that kicks doubt out of the car.

Your friends speak lousy words –
you nod your head and exhale them like exhaust.

Your hard work proves fruitless –
you remember he’s the one taking you somewhere.

You release demands and pressures. You fly free of the strings of the world. No one and nothing is tying you down. Like a hot air balloon, you are released to new heights.

You can see it all, from God’s view.

You move like a woman with laser-vision, dead-set on eternity. You fight hand-and-fist, tooth-and-nail, jackal-style, against the world that wants to wedge its way into your heart. You scream. You run. You stay near God. But, what you don’t do is let it get its sticky fingers on you.

You won’t have it.

And, when it does, when you feel icky because you went the wrong way, so you trash that empty wrapper, as quickly as you can, and say, “It’s not that I have fallen that most concerns God, it is that I get up and get going with him once again.”

And so you do. You just go where he wants to go, knowing that it is the ONLY and the BEST place to go.

A woman dedicated to the Lord
is like a ship anchored to the core of the earth.
What comes against her doesn’t move her an inch.
She is unwavering, unbreakable and unshakable.

Prayer to be an Unshakable Woman

God, help us. Where we are weak, make us strong. Where we are wavering, help us lay our anchor down. May we find strength through knowing you hold us. We no longer need to be held down by the world’s claws. May we believe you are so believable we see your hand in our everything. May we so fall into your arms of grace, so we never feel the pangs of condemnation rip us apart. That is not you. And, truly, we want nothing that is not associated with you – it will only leave us empty. God, you are one that leaves us on full. Not once, but all the time. God, give us you. Increase our faith; make us into fighters who don’t back down. May we know, strongly, you are what we need to run after. You are the answer to everything. You are the only way. Tie down our heart into you. Amen.

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Related Reading:

Magnificently Inspiring Faith Manifesto

Chasing God

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When The Other Girl Has it All

Has it All

Eyes trying to peep over the counter, they stood on tippy-toes. They were close, yet far enough the glass window preventing them from grabbing it. No touching allowed! They watched, as she ladled on the batter, shaped it, then carefully added the chocolate chips, marshmallows and graham crackers. Like pent up children ready to bust into Christmas, they knew, I knew – something monumental was about to happen. Yet, I also knew WWIII might breakout…

The second the gigantic crepe was in their hand, I heard it,
“Mine, mine, mine.”

He watched, she took a bite, “My bite wasn’t as big as hers!”

She watched, yelling, “He got 2 bites.”

He ripped it a chunk as quickly as he could.

So did she.

He looked at us with frustration, “Why can’t I have more.”

She grabbed it and stared right at him, “Look what I have.”

They were so honed in on what the other had,
they  missed what they had.

So focused on the other’s portion,
they missed the chance to enjoy theirs.

So eager to win in the moment, they ruined it.

How often do we sour our sweet moments?

God, you should have given that to me. Why does she have the voice and the brains? Why don’t my kids act like that? How come every door is open for her to walk through? Why did she get the promotion and I didn’t? When will it be my turn? Why do I have to be the heavier one?

We sour sweet moments when we believe God hands us second-best.

I sat in church today. Up on the screen, they announced the women’s conference of all women’s conference. They showed the speakers perfect smiling faces, they highlighted their glorified messages, their idealized lives and their heart to bring Jesus to stadium-filled masses. Why aren’t I the model spokesperson for Jesus? I wanted their shoes.

They soured my sweetness.

The good in me went rancid.

My husband whispered,“Kelly, are you going to that event?”

“No way,” I whispered. “I am far too jealous.”

I didn’t want to go off.

Because I’ve come to see… women who walk with unaddressed sin are walking time bombs. As time passes, something ticks them off.  And it is never pretty.

I don’t want to live exploding jealousy, but exploding love.

So, when I see even the smallest elements, I stop. I just shut it all down – and look. I look for Jesus.  And, what I’ve come to see is he leads me, Willy Wonka-style, not into a big chocolate vat – but into the waves of my heart.

When you, first, seek Jesus’ heart, you find yours.

New rhythms of humanity surface. I see humans just like me. I see different missions for different children. I see that other’s great callings in no way diminish mine.  I see a daddy meeting me in the gap, with love. I see it all. When I invite Jesus in.

What has soured your sweetness?

Is it a neighbor who is a little show-offy?
A colleague who always does right?
A winner who never loses?
A beautiful gal who, you figure, is BFF with the mirror?
An outgoing one who has it all together?
A successful one who is at the top of the charts?
A relationship you are not a part of?

I think about that crepe again. From another angle, it truly could have represented sugar cubes. That is how sweet it was. But, my kids enjoyed it as much as rock soup.

Jealousy steals our sweetest blessings, so we can’t even see them. 

It’s often, not that we don’t have, but that we just don’t see.

What we do see, though, is the girl on the left and the right. Eyes glued, we analyze her clothes, beauty, success and everything else. Then, jealousy speaks up louder – it speaks vile. Chit-chat, that’s mean. Comparison, that’s damaging. Actions, that scar people. Not only that, but it drives us right by God’s plan.

We look back and say, “Where did God go?”

Well, we left him 4 blocks back, nearly right before we hit the lamppost on the side of the road.

Jealousy is crash-route for Christians. Ride or die – baby!

God, though, in his mercy, is something else; He is Savior. He offers us guardrails so we don’t crash. They’ve saved me a time or two.

4 Guardrails for Jealous Hearts:

– Realize:  All relationships are permissible, but not all relationships are profitable. If someone is gossipy or comparison-oriented, it may be time to step back.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. 1 Cor. 10:23

– Pray: If you lift a person up, instead of critiquing them, you might find you start to love them. You’ll see purpose arise out of hatred.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil. 2:3-4

– Submit: Lay down and see the height of your Father’s love for you. If you believe he is Creator, don’t you believe he will create something amazing on your behalf?
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. Jo. 10:27

– Admire: If you can’t deal with girl’s God-shining glory on earth how will you endure God’s numero-uno glory in heaven? You don’t want to look like a fallen angel who can’t handle God’s glory, do you? Choose to admire his glory – in others – today so you can bask in it tomorrow.

Your sweetness is not found at the end of the yellow brick roads, friend, it is found at the end of yourself and the start of the Father that cannot contain his love for you. Get yourself there and your heart will get right.

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Seizing Spiritual Confidence: 4 Foundational Keys

spiritual confidence

I got to the end of the day, pulled into the driveway, stared out the front windshield and laid down a verdict, “I didn’t succeed at loving. My morning goals – looked like a blown-out tire by afternoon.

Sure, I began the day with aspirations a mile long – I’d do great things with God, we’d pour out love on people, we would encourage the world with the love of Jesus.  But then, life happened. Ugh.  I felt much more like a woman on a treadmill – working up a sweat and getting nowhere – than a woman on a mission of grand importance.

I exhaled. Scrunched down in my seat. Clenched the steering wheel.

I stink.
God, I am sorry that I didn’t win for you today.
I am sorry that I let you down.
My heart is to go all out for you, but I lost.

Have you sat like me –
wanting to make progress only to end up discouraged?

I recently signed up for Michael Hyatt’s Free To Focus Productivity Summit. Reason being? I have a minuscule amount of time to complete a massive amount of ministry. I need help.

Learning a ton, Michael said something that struck me; it clicked: Not keeping up, makes you feel like you are losing. Feeling like your losing diminishes productive confidence.

My confidence ride likes waves. I go high when I am confident, but when the waves crash – so do I. I eat it.

With this, I wonder, shouldn’t my confidence look more steady, more consistent?

More like Jesus?

More grace-filled, less about getting ahead?
More locked and loaded on eternity, less concerned with check-marks?
More set on God’s big mission, less engrossed with endless busyness?

How does God see confidence?

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

I might say, “Do more”,
but God says,
Be more with me. Come more – to me.”

Lasting confidence.
Enduring confidence.
Unwavering confidence.

What if I no longer lived like a temperature gauge –
hot and on fire with passion one day, cold in defeat the next?

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish;
no one will snatch them out of my hand. Jo. 10:28

Godly confidence is knowing that God will never let you go.

It is less in what we do,
or how we see things, and more in who He is – and what he does.

He has our future. Confidence!
He knows our way. Confidence!
He will be faithful. Confidence!
We can fly arms wide open into his will. Confidence!
We can fall and he will still make my fly. Confidence!
We can not know the way – but he will. Confidence!

Confidence in Jesus, can’t be stolen, revoked or denied. It is a solid rock; it does not waver.

On what ground does your confidence stand confidence?

Achievement? People pleasing? Perfection? Performance? Busyness?  Perhaps it is time to exchanges confidence that crashes like waves for rock-solid confidence that can’t be stolen.

4 Foundational Truths that Breed Confidence

  • There is no effective building of anything unless the Lord truly resides over everything.
    Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
    Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. Ps. 127:1
  • God’s work is less about what you do and more about what He’s already decided to do.
    For I am confident of this very thing,
    that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:6
  • You don’t need to fear, God protects you from the snares.
    For the LORD will be your confidence
    And will keep your foot from being caught. Prov. 3:26
  • You don’t have to know where you are going, just that God is going there with you.
    Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Heb. 11:1

The real power of confidence transcends our natural eye. When we pull our strength from the supernatural, something amazing happens – we often do the supernatural. Suddenly, focus is exactly what we have and progress is exactly what we get. It never comes by our strength – but always comes by His. This removes the pressure. It is a heavenly movement on our behalf, not a heart-attack ridden movement by our striving.

This kind of confidence? It makes all the difference.

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Do you Focus on Differences that Separate?

differences that separate

Standing there, remembering, it felt like these moments happened just 5 minutes ago…they still weigh heavy. Somehow, everything about these situations said so much about me. Here’s how they played out:

1. I cut the strawberries carefully, practically savoring the trifle I’d soon pick apart. Conversations were ample, fun and full. Juice ran off my fingertips and I loved the feeling, the freeness, the summer air. Life was good, until, I came undone by her words, “You cut differently than I do.”

2. A friend joined me for a morning IV of coffee. We connected, discussing: who we are, where we will go, and how we will approach things. But as quickly as the caffeine jolt appeared, it was crashed with his words, “Well, I am just different than you. I don’t do things like that.”

3. She was kind. So kind. I love her. I still do, but it stung deep when she said, “I believe differently than you do.”

Differences make us feel odd and outside the norm. Rather than feeling like a belonger, we feel like an outsider. Underneath, we hear hostile threats, declaring, “You are wrong. You are not as good as me.”

Ever noticed? These threats come in all different shapes and sizes: A child whose dreams, views or agendas are different. A spouse who thinks “contrarian”. A job moving forward with different plans than the ones you were committed to. A person who looks nothing like you. An opinion that doesn’t resonate with yours. A person you can’t relate to. Backgrounds you don’t understand.

What difference is threatening you? More.

Read the rest of the post
at Christy Mobley’s site,

where you will find the
6 easy steps to being a uniter:
click here to continue reading.

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The Beauty In Imperfection

Beauty In Imperfection

I am delighted to welcome Pamela Mercer, from CrossLife Church in Florida, to the Women’s Ministry Monday Series. Pamela’s words are honest and thought-provoking. It is a pure joy to welcome here words today…

Post by: Pam Mercer

Several years ago, my life as I knew it ended with three little words. “You have cancer.” The events that followed were rushed and intense. Suddenly, everything that, by definition made me a woman was taken from me. Within two months time, I lost both breasts and had a radical hysterectomy.

imperfection of beauty

These were moments that could define me as someone who lived by faith or who took the easy route. I could have believed I was inadequate. Instead, I made a distinct choice to believe the truth of God’s word and my relationship with Him. He was my hero when He died for me and He was still my hero when I needed Him in extraordinary ways. He is the beauty in our imperfection both in the ugliness of life and in our humanity.

Through all of this, I realized things:

1.  I never felt like I quite measured up. 
There was always someone prettier, smarter, had more things and seemed to have it easy.

2. Despite our feelings, we have the ability to choose how we think and feel. 
We can focus on eternal things or we can focus on temporal.

3. If we solely follow our feelings, we will live a miserable existence. 
As women, there are not enough emoticons to describe our feelings in a 12-hour period. Our feelings run a 100-yard dash with no sense of direction. Yet, when we choose to follow the principles of God, we recalibrate our hearts toward Him. Our life, our relationships and our feelings follow. Our heart choices will dictate our feelings. What we believe and who we love will change the way we live and the choices we make.

We can believe fleeting feelings or we can believe all-consuming truth, like this:

Ephesians 2:4-5 say, “Because of His great love for us, even when we were dead in our sin made us alive in Christ, so that, by His grace we are saved.”

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

Psalm 107:8-9 says, “Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love; for His wondrous works to the children of man. For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul, He fills with good things.”

No matter how you may feel, the Lord our God is always in our midst.

Beauty In Imperfection

He alone can save us from our sin. He rejoices over and loves you (individually) with a never-ending love. He feels a lively or triumphant joy; rejoices exceedingly; is highly elated or jubilant over YOU!!

His love is steadfast. I love the meaning of the word steadfast. His love is loyal; faithful; committed; devoted; dedicated; dependable; reliable; steady; true; constant; solid; trustworthy; firm; determined; resolute; relentless; single-minded; unchanging; unwavering; unhesitating; unfaltering; unyielding; unflinching; and uncompromising.

With truth so amazing, why do we feel unloved or inadequate?

The key to remember is this: When satan feeds our heads with lies, our heart follows.

Yet, if we fill our heart with Christ, then Satan has to go.

They cannot occupy the same space.
The light cancels out the darkness.

Darkness must flee.

C.S. Lewis has said about seizing truth, “We are afraid we will lose something, but we lose nothing, we become the greatest version of ourselves. We fear we will have no more personality, no more distinction. That is so untrue. The truth is, we will never be more ourselves with the fullness of our personalities and the uniqueness of our giftedness as when we wholly give ourselves over to our faithful God.”

Let truth grab hold of your imperfections to replace them with beauty!

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About Pamela MerceThe Beauty In Imperfectionr

Pamela Mercer is the wife of Dr. Dwayne Mercer, Senior Pastor of CrossLife Church. When Pam and her husband came to CrossLife in 1993, God gave her a vision for the women in the Oviedo and
surrounding areas. This passion led to developing a team, from which, CrossLife Women’s Ministry was created. The ministry has grown significantly and God has changed many lives through retreats, rallies, mentoring and Bible Studies.

Pam currently serves as Director of Women’s Ministry at her church.
CrossLife provides consultation for new Women’s Ministries, as well as,
Existing ministries. This involves speaking at various events.

Pam is a woman with a heart in pursuit of God. Her passion is to lead
women to reach their full potential in Christ. She seeks to live
authentically and with intentionality. She shares in an insightful and humorous way that
connect with women of all ages. She and her husband are the proud parents
of 3 adult children, 2 daughter-in-laws, 3 granddaughters and 3 grandsons.
All of their children are serving God in their own ministries.

I’ve Unknowingly Sidestepped Christ’s Love (You Could be Too)

to Be Loved

I stood in front of the mirror, deciding I looked great. You women know how those body slimming mirrors work in dimly lit dressing rooms…you’re all ten pounds lighter and skin tones more brilliant. Then you get home.

I pulled the white dress out of the bag. The zipper wouldn’t move. It was getting stuck somewhere between fat and fabric.

My face sank. Yank! Soon enough, I looked like a beet.

Things were tightening in around me; I called in the troops. Husband wasn’t strong enough.

I pressed him to press on.

“We don’t give up on these types of things, I assured him. This is far too important to call it quits.”

He didn’t quit. He’s not that type. It zipped.

And as everything pulled together, I looked in my mirror, to see if it could possibly be as good as I remembered.

Wait, what is that? Those little dots?

Somehow, what resembled spattered pizza grease made my brand new white dress look tainted. I shrugged and figured hair could cover it well enough. I left for church, stained. Toddler son caught a glimpse, sealing the whole experience, and asked, “Mommy, are you getting married today? Is that your wedding dress?”

Ahem. No.

Mike Archer (6)

Beloved at Church

My hair was doing its job. My mouth was singing praises. Things were alright, especially since I wasn’t expecting much on this off-to-a-rocky-start day. God has other thoughts – thoughts unlike mine. Ones that work despite half-kept appearances, plummeting feelings and flawed days.

He whispered, “Kelly, you are my bride.” 

I wanted to laugh. Argue even. I hardly was… Didn’t God see what I was wearing?

I sat. Pastor got up. He was going to be talking about women’s roles in the church. I held onto my seat. This kind of message can go anywhere; I wasn’t sure where we were headed.

Pastor Mark Henry said:

1. Husband is to love me like “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Eph. 5:25 (Tall order there!!!)

2. I am to “honor husband and lovingly respond to his leadership and care.” (Vente latte order here!!!)

3. This is a picture of intimate love. It is also is a picture of Jesus relating to Father God.Mike Archer (8)

Something rocked me, the bride. I thought, “Yes. Just think, we gawk, ooh and ahh over that one moment. The moment Jesus requested, relied and relinquished his rights, by saying: ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ (Luke 22:42)

Jesus trusted Father.
And, Jesus followed Father, no matter the cost.

Through this, we see a unified and magnified triune. 

We see, as onlookers, the presence of all peace move in tandem with God’s intended purpose.
It saves. Testifies. Redeems.

Do I let it work on my behalf?

The thought occurs to me: to feel like the bride of Christ, I must humbly accept the blessings that correspond with lowliness and selflessness. 

The Aisle of Clarity

I must allow in, what the world and my controlling personality stifle.

I must let my husband love me by leading me, not because he will do it perfectly, but because God will love me perfectly – as I do it.

I must give Christ the chance to make my stained dress white, clean and sparkling. He often does this through man.

I must receive what is love, even if it looks different than my rigid definitions of it.

I must avoid rushing in, questioning paths and offering advice to my husband so that space and grace can make room for Jesus Christ to walk in and love me.

I must avoid blocking love so I don’t feel like a dirty and deserted bride on her wedding day.

This won’t be easy, but it will be easier when I remember:

I am beloved.
I am cared for.
I am adored.

All man is faulted.
God is not.
His love works past man’s worst or best efforts. Mike Archer (7)

Will I give – faith in God’s plan – a chance to work for me? Will you?

To bend so low that only a knight in shining God could rescue in the gap of defenselessness***?

What might it look like for you to run into God’s arms of refuge – to find yourself loved – as bride?

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***Side note: This type of humble bowing is not done in a way where, we women, justify slaps or abuse. It is also not intended to tell us to go against the Word of God in blatant disregard. If, however, you find yourself in this place, you are not alone. You have a liberator and a door. He will help you. He will love you with compassion and gentle leading. Please consider wise counsel. Contact your church or a therapist for help. My prayers and heart are with you. Please remember, you are no less bride than I am. May your wise steps lead you to feeling this in your heart as you proceed forward. 

Father’s Day Note: You are a Great Daddy

Great Daddy

You do things.
You get me coffee.
You clean the pans that have scum left from the night before.
You give me time to execute my dreams.
You love your kids.
You give them your best.
You think about how I am feeling.
You encourage me in my dreams.
You tell me I can.
You show me you care.
You make sacrifices and time.
You give me the best Apple computer a writer could ever want.
You think about what I will delight over…

…all while being daddy of two, leader of home and strong at work. 

If there is one thing a woman wants, besides God, chocolate and new clothes – it is a man that loves her. I have that in you. You are mine and I am yours. When I see you, I see Jesus.

If there is one thing a kid wants, besides candy and toys – it is a daddy who cares.

You make breakfast a coveted affair.

great daddy
You lug them around on your shoulders.
You tackle and toss and take your kids places they have always wanted to go.
You laugh and dance and fuss over little things.
You bring little gifts home from work.
You make time for stories.
You pray morning and night over things that count.
You take them on new adventures.
You do breakfast tours in new cities.
You make your minutes count.

great daddy

They know.

And what I know is all these small moves of love, will end up as giant leaps of the heart kind. They will know significance. Believe in it. They will know belonging. And rely on it.

They will know they can because daddy always believed they could.

They will believe Father Daddy will carry them because you did.

great daddy

They will know Jesus because you reflected him.

She will find a good man because you are good man.

They will remember. They will remember the “You are courageous” comments. They will remember the “Don’t give up,” words. They will remember the, “Spin for me” requests. She will remember the, “You are beautifuls.”

You are sowing security. You are making it the fabric of our family, the knitting of our future. It counts. It will reap rewards.

We cheer you today, daddy.
You are a man doing well.
Working hard.
Giving your all.
We applaud your generosity, your heart and your passion – for us.

Love,

Wifey and Kids

P.S. From your little boy: Daddy, I love you, daddy. You are strong. My heart feels glad to be with you, daddy.

P.S.S. From, your even littler girl: Daddy, you make me feel happy.

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