Purposeful Faith

Tag - love

Real Love for Real Life

Real life real love

By Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown

I remember when Valentine’s Day was a big deal. You either loved the question, What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? because you had ultra-romantic plans. Or you dreaded the question because you had no plans.

Now, Valentine’s Day is really more of an annoyance than anything else. Since neither Luke nor I possess gift giving as a love language we like to say every day is Valentine’s Day, thereby relieving each other of any and all romance-based sweets or surprises. It works for us.

Even so, the day still remains and lots of people spend lots of money to show their love.

Last year I started wondering, though.

Why is the heart this day’s cover girl?

Buy a girl a pack of M&Ms on V-Day and you’re likely to get a roll of the eyes, or worse, in return. But give a girl chocolate in a heart-shaped box and Voila! You made a smile. Kids cut out hearts or make them with macaroni noodles. Stuffed bears hold them. Little girls wear them.

Our baby girl, Leah, wears these pajamas with little hearts all about.

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The boys love them because it reminds them of a cow. They’re super cute, but I’m looking at these hearts and thinking,  Is that right? Does a heart really paint the picture of love?

This year, I think if I want to show my love I’ll fashion a picture of my life … laid down.

For him.

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And them.

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 Because that’s what Jesus did. And that’s what He said.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 (KJV)

Or maybe I’ll draw a bunch of little brains.

Brains deciding to smile instead of scream.
Or teach instead of tear down.
Or offer mercy instead of judgement.
Or simply be quiet instead of spilling all of my opinions.

No way that image looks as cute as the cow-print hearts, but I think that’s more realistic.

Because isn’t real love a little gritty sometimes?
Isn’t it practical more often than poetic?

But, somehow the real-life love is more romantic than the, “Katy, will you accept this rose?” kind.

Like that night …..

In a rental home in Jacksonville, Florida, Luke and I shared a small room with two big dogs, a newborn baby girl and a knee machine. Two months earlier Luke tore a ligament in his knee. Surgery fixed him. Rehab strengthened him. But rehab came with a machine – in the bed, all night – bending and straightening Luke’s knee. We figured we got the 1920’s version of said machine, since it squeaked and creaked with every extension.

Add the newborn to the mix and an occasional re-positioning of the giant dogs in the corner, and we weren’t sleeping much. Cherry on top: the boys got a stomach bug, and we found out about it in the middle of the night.

While Luke helped Jonah into the shower I scrubbed the carpet. The rest is a blur. Except for one moment.

The next day, after dogs and knee machines and newborns and throw-up, Luke came home from work. I expected him to fall into the nearest chair and snore, but he didn’t.

Instead, he found me. With a smile he bent over to kiss my forehead and said,

“There’s no one else in the world I’d rather clean up puke with at 3 a.m. than you. I love doing life with you.”

You’ll likely never find those words etched on a Hallmark card, but they are etched on my heart forever. Not because they came in a pretty package. Not because I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. But because real love met real life, and it bloomed.

That memory – that awful memory – makes me smile today. And, you know, I think Jesus might say the same.

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)

Have you ever seen real love in real life? Will you share it with me here? Leave a Comment! Let’s celebrate when real love meets real life and blooms!

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Post by Purposeful Faith Contributor,  Katy McCown

 

Deeply Root Yourself in God’s Love

Deeply Rooted in God's love

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“Love.” What happens when underneath it all – we don’t feel God’s love in our deepest being? When we know Jesus, but we have a hard time believing he loves us?  Perhaps, the world has jaded us, people have hurt us or we have done the unthinkable.

We think God’s love is nice, but we know it as “distant”.

We know love in our mind, but don’t feel it in our heart.
We know love accepts us, but still, our past defines us.
We know love is the answer to freedom, but the chains remain.

What happens here?
How do we move from knowing in our minds – to believing in our hearts?
From knowing about love – to knowing love?

Sometimes, I feel like I live partially loved by God.
Like a daughter who is visited by her step dad a couple times a week.
Like a girl who is not always seen.
Like one who needs constant affirmation.
Like one who wonders if she is forgotten.
Like one who needs to earn approval.
Like one who feels unworthy.
Like one who is forgotten.
Like one who doubts.
Like one who falters.

Is this a picture of a loved daughter of the most high King?

Can I truly love others – and God, when I haven’t embraced depths of his love?
His unceasing, unbelievable and unending love?

Perhaps my earthly experiences have shaped my capacity to perceive God’s love.
Can I only know love to the depths that I have been loved?

In my search to answer these questions, God is teaching me that to walk in love is to walk by faith.

Because none of us have been loved the way he loves.
None of us can understand the depths of his actions for us.
None of us can perceive the immensity of his presence before us.
None of us can comprehend the lengths he goes to fight for us.

His love is unbelievable in a sense.

Because of this,
we have allowed our perceptions and our tribulations
to create realities of God’s love for us.

Yet, his power extends beyond these created idols of love.

Like the many miracles of Jesus; true power is found by faith.

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

Faith is where the love of Christ is found. It is found when we receive what he gives, even though the gift is so immense we can hardly receive it – or believe it.

He gives:

– His own son – for us. He gave the ultimate (Jo. 3:16)
– His life for us – for people who can’t stop sinning. (Ro. 5:8)
– A life that is alive with Christ. He goes with us. (Eph. 2:4-5)
– A saved life. His presence. His rejoicing spirit. A presence that quiets our active soul. (Zeph. 3:17)
– Steadfast, never-ending love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)
– Mercy & graciousness. (Psalm 86:15)
– His own Spirit – a constant companion and help – to live within us. (2 Tim. 1:7)
– A position as a child of God (1 John 3:1)
– An owned status, which nothing – no way, no how – can ever separate his love from us. (Ro. 8:31-39, Ps. 24:1)
– A secure position which – no one, no way – can pluck away. (Jo. 10:28)
– No condemnation even though we deserve it all. (Ro. 8:1)
– Gifts that he delights in giving because we are his children. (Gal 3:26)
– An acceptance and approval of who we are. (Ro. 14:18)
– A powerful care about our daily doings. (Ps. 139:2)
– An ever-flowing rhythm of grace that can never be obstructed. (Jo. 1:16)
– An eternal home that has been prepared just for us. (Jo. 14:2)
– An earthly plan and purpose for our lives. (Prov. 16:9)
– A promise to make us more and more like him. (2 Cor. 3:18)
– A nearness, a shelter and a hope that is beyond compare. (Ps. 46:1-6)
– An advocate who fights on our behalf. (1 Jo. 2:1)
– One who is ALWAYS for us. (Ro. 8:31)
– One whose compassions never fail. (Lam. 3:22)

God is so good that, in a small way, it doesn’t really matter how much we grasp his love because his love will still remain for us. His love is so unconditional that it is not contingent on understanding. He loves us despite us.

Freedom is found in this place. Because, even when our world, our past and our choices have proven that we are unworthy of love, we still remain, as believers, in Him. Then, in faith – we can step out to grab the power of God’s love. This is the way.

We can grab hold of love by faith by:

1. Praying. Lord, let us be deeply rooted in you.
2. Seeking. Lord, let your words of truth shoot as arrows of love to our deepest needs.
3. Meditating. Lord, let us see your love pour over us as we close our eyes.
4. Receiving. Lord, let creation testify to the power of your love.
5. Communing. Lord, let us relish in the daily gifts you pour out on us.
6. Abiding. Lord, let us remain in you – and you in us. Help us to see this give and take.

I am done living fatherless from the most high king, distanced from the one who cares for me the most and duped into believing I am alone. I am done with the fear.

Because isn’t fear just a deep knowledge that no one is near?

But, God is. He was. And, he always will be. The Alpha and Omega never changes.

He is even when I don’t think he is. This is the ultimate love. His love is so all consuming that my eyes cannot begin to absorb his immensity. His love is so great that I can’t even fathom it. I can’t even take it.

I will set my mind, by faith, on the power of his love and trust that it will accomplish all it is set forth to do.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Ps. 138:8)

My life is secure, never to be forgotten, in the palm of his love.

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How to Go with Jesus

How to Go with Jesus

Life gets so hectic. It gets busy. It gets overwhelming.

Many times, I sit with two children screaming their heads off and I don’t even know what to do. Or, I look at a pile of work that needs to be done, but I have no time. Or, look at the Mount Everest of trials and I have no idea how to ski down.

In these moments, I have to wonder – what do I send?

Do I send love?
Life?
Encouragement?
Empowerment?
Peace?
Joy?

Or, do I send irritation, aggravation and frustration?

Because a lot of the time, the world seems to act on me. It seems to send me into a tailspin. One where I just spin in circles trying to grab hold of a tail I can never quite reach.

And, my aggravation, at my lack of control, often sends me on a rampage to dump frustration on those I love.

My environment becomes a result of my circumstances.

I know God calls me to rise above this, but why can’t I? What holds me back?

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Phil. 4:8)

Is it that I send my mind down roads of thought that they shouldn’t be traveling on?

When life breaks down, when circumstances come to topple – I can choose to send my heart to Jesus. I can choose to send my thoughts to the Word of God. I can choose to send out to others a heart that ministers to their needs, instead of one that is being swallowed up with mine.

Jesus will help me.
He understands trials.
He knows the chaos of life.
He has the right answer for me.
He can get me through.

Jesus, you have told me to go. Send me down your paths, send my according to your ways. Send me, so that I may find true, joyful and meaningful life – because when you send, no one who is encountered by you is ever the same.

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Exalt Christ Amidst Christmas Busy

Use Christmas Busyness to Exalt Christ

Note: Bloggers – today is Part I of the Cheerleading Link up (We tweet encouragement using #RaRaLinkup).  Tomorrow is the actual linkup day.

Christmas is that time of year when I mark off the calendar as “busy”.  It’s that time of year where I continuously pull out my checkbook to “gift” and to “card”.  Christmas is that time of year, where parties can just leave me tired. Where people can leave me drained. Where giving can feel not so gracious.

Why?  Because I feel worn.  I feel tired.  It’s year-end and I have given and given and given myself.

It sometimes gets me feeling guilty too – like I am missing the point.  And, it makes me wonder – where’s Jesus amidst Christmas busy?  Where’s Jesus in this hustle and bustle?  Does he look down on this kind of behavior?

See the True Gift

Yet, while pondering these questions, the Lord placed the most wonderful gift in my lap – a gift of truth. And, as I held this adorned box, staring at it’s meaning, I started to understand the beauty of Christmas busy. It’s not all about the wrapping paper, about the bows, about the act of wrapping, but it is about the heart – a receptive heart.

And, as I open God’s gift to me. The heart of the matter comes to light; I see the love of Christ. Authentic. Deep. Heartfelt love.

I admire the gift of Jesus – a gift I am called to share with others.

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

I realize, if I can’t find joy in the gift giving, I have entirely missed the gift-giver and the heart of the gift.

Because we have joy when our joy is derived from Christ.  Suddenly, through the amazing gift of Christ, all we can do is give, sacrifice and love. Suddenly, all the Christmas busy isn’t seen as acts of drudgery, but as acts of service, of adoration, of worship.

What True Giving Is

Christ endlessly gave – not out of obligation, but out of love.  There is no greater gift than to give.  We are blessed when we give. We find meaning to life when we give from a cheerful heart.

Let’s let our busyness come from pure motivations not busy obligation.  Because in many ways, busyness is the essence of Christmas. Busyness that relies on Christ. Busyness that feels overwhelmed but trusts God. Busyness that is fueled by the Spirit. Busyness that shines Christ. Busyness that extends grace. This is where the joy of Christmas is found.

Just as Christ served, preached and loved endlessly, we can give, host, serve and love endlessly too – through his power and strength at work within us.

Helpless we come in this world, and through the amazing gift of Christ – he helps us.  He empowers us, he equips us and he calls us to his work.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– (Eph. 2:8)

Truly, the greatest gift we ever received is the one that lies in a humble manger. The one who calls us to purify our hearts. The one who can never stop handing out grace. The one who reached others tirelessly with truth.

Behold Christ

Behold the gift of Christ, his grace and his enduring love. Let go of striving and grab hold of the ultimate gift – who lays in a manger in a town called Bethlehem.

He lays ready to be embraced and adored.

In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who was never afraid to sacrifice.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby who extends grace beyond compare.
In a little town of Bethlehem, lays a baby whose power is perfected in weakness.

In that little town of Bethlehem, lays the heart of Christmas giving.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

As believers, we have a perfect gift.  This perfect gift frees us through the covering of grace. And, through this gift, we can joyfully give it all and exalt Christ.

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Will They Love My Gift?

By: Katy

“Hey when ya get a chance today, find one of those big empty boxes in the garage and have the kids start getting stuff to give away.”

A text from my hubby on his way to work one morning just before Christmas last year. How sweet. How noble. What a great Dad. None of those, however, crossed my mind. Instead, I kinda went, “Ugggggghhhhhh.”

Doesn’t he know we all still have the flu? Doesn’t he know I have disinfecting to do? Doesn’t he know the kids all have attitudes?

But in the spirit of Christmas I turned off the television, grabbed a box, and sat our little army all in a row.

“It’s time to clean out the toy box.”

They know the drill. We do it bi-annually. Once before birthdays. Once before Christmas. Clear out the clutter before we add more. I know what stays and what goes before we begin. Toys on top we play with on a regular basis. Those stay. Toys on the bottom – those are the forgotten, broken or replaced toys the kids are willing to part with.

Except for last year ….

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Micah Sean, my rough and tough 3rd born with a hard head and a soft heart, sat on the rug with his little legs crossed. One of the first toys out of the box – Dad the Moose. Micah named him. Micah loves his Daddy and loves his moose, so it seemed appropriate.

Dad the Moose sleeps tucked under Micah’s arm. Dad the Moose travels with us wherever we go. Dad the Moose is Micah’s buddy, maybe even his best buddy.

So when I pulled the moose out of the box and said, “Give or keep,” I already knew the answer. “Keep!” Micah yelped and squeezed Dad the Moose close. We continued with several more “keeps.” Then,

“Wait,” Micah said with urgency. “I want to give Dad the Moose.”

And he tossed him into the box. I looked at Micah. Did he really mean it? Does he know what he’s doing? He’ll miss that moose! A few minutes later Micah changed his mind and dug the moose back out of the box. Three times this happened. Moose in. Moose out. Moose in. Moose out.

I watched this little boy struggle. Something inside him said give. Give away your moose. But something inside him also ached. Dad the Moose belonged to Micah. He chose that moose. He named him. He loved him.

And then he did it. Once and for all, he gave his moose away.

“Mom, someone else can have Dad the Moose.”

Elijah, our resident animal lover and stuffed animal collector, warned, “Micah, another boy or girl may not call him Dad.”

For fear of Micah’s tender heart breaking any more than it already had I jumped in … “But that’s okay. Because when we give, we also trust, that whoever gets our gift will love it as much as we did.”

I put my hand on Micah’s little leg and through tears I praised him for his selfless act. I told him about the boys and girls who won’t have much on Christmas and how happy they will be to receive this special gift.

Then I watched … as one gift of love spilled over.

“Okay, Mom, I’ll give Louie.”

Louie, Elijah’s stuffed owl. Just a few weeks earlier, Elijah walked all over the store, carefully considering every option before he picked Louie. He chose him. He named him. He loved him.

“I’ll give away pythor too, Mom.” And here came Jonah with his prize python. Jonah didn’t even like his siblings to play with this stuffed animal. Pythor morphed into a jump rope or super hero sling. His scales were blue, Jonah’s favorite color. Jonah chose him. He named him. He loved him.

But Louie and Pythor joined Dad the Moose in the box.

photo 2  photo 1

All of a sudden this box seemed so cold. How could these gifts given from such a tender place land in a torn, dirty, plain, brown box? They mean too much. They don’t belong here …….

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, he gave. He gave his Son.

He chose Him. He named Him. He loved Him.

Did He really mean it? Does He know what He’s doing?

God knew some would not call him by his Name. Some would not call him Savior. King. Emmanuel. But still, God gave.

He means too much. He doesn’t belong here. How could His gift land in such a torn, dirty, plain world? 

But Jesus did.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14 (ESV)

Our box filled up pretty quick after that.

Turns out once you give away what you hold dear, everything else is easy to release.

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 (ESV)

God gave it all, because He loves you and me. May that truth grace your heart in a new way today. And by His grace, may this greatest gift of love ever conceived spill out of your life into the hearts that surround you.

Katy

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife's life at www.katymccown.com and I'd love for you to visit me!

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World. I blog about a football wife’s life at www.katymccown.com, and I’d love for you to visit me!

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Do You Want to Be Blessed?

want to be blessed

Do you want to be blessed? Maybe life has kicked you while you’re down and you need a pick-me-up. Or, maybe nothing exciting has happened in your life for a while? Or maybe you feel you deserve something good.

We all want blessings.  And, we serve a God who delights in giving good things. He loves us like a father. He wants to bestow his love & his gift. It doesn’t get much better than being blessed by the Lord.

But, if we want to be blessed, we are wise to take a look at our part in the process. What are values that the Lord loves to bless…Read the rest of my post on Abby McDonald’s blog, Fearfully Made Mom.

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From Complaints to Thanks

Post By: Angela Parlin

I stood beside their beds in the dark, praying for each of my 3 little ones while they slept. Every night on my way to bed, I whispered thanks to God for the gift of being their Mommy. But often tears fell, because I knew the truth of that day. And the one before.

I was discontent with that season of my life, and I had become an under-the-breath complainer.

I didn’t always like that this was what God had called me to do. Because it looked like endless wiping. Wiping counters, spills, bottoms, floors, always wiping.

With a preschooler, a toddler, and a baby, my days looked like finding messes by the handfuls, like potty training and nursing and living chronically behind in housework. It was harder than I’d expected. I loved my babies so much, and yet I wished away the hard parts of those days.

One day, after lunch, I stepped in a huge blob of strawberry jam on the kitchen floor. When I grabbed for a dishrag to wipe it up, I ran my arm through more jam on the edge of the counter. I looked up to see this little trail of jam, smudged across the kitchen cabinets, and started to cry.

I felt mad about the mess, about the way I couldn’t stay on top of 6 sticky little hands, mad at my kitchen, mad at jelly, just mad.

And then, I noticed a verse I had taped onto the fridge, written in beautiful calligraphy:

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV

The phrase, “this is God’s will for you” wouldn’t leave me alone.

His will for me then included days full of messes, all waiting for me to clean them up.

His will included a jelly-coated kitchen some days, and jelly-filled hands to clean.

His will included loving and serving three little people, much of which would be done from the ground, on bended knees.

His will for me also included giving thanks, even in never-ending, sticky-mess moments.

It’s easy to thank God when life feels good, when the house is tidy and the days go as planned. But thank God in the middle of the mess? I didn’t even know how. I hated messes.

I decided right then, to try, even though I didn’t really feel it. So I thanked God for the day He made, for the home we lived in, for three little people with small, sticky hands.

The more I thanked God, for both big and small things, the less I complained. And the more I enjoyed being a Mom.

I have to admit, I sometimes fall back into a spirit of complaint. But whenever I realize this and confess it to God, He is faithful to change my spirit, from being full of complaints to repeatedly giving thanks.

When we practice giving thanks in all kinds of circumstances, He fills our hearts with peace and makes us light with joy.

Do you need to confess a complaining spirit today? Will you begin to make a habit of thanking God in every situation?

Thank you Lord, for changes in perspective, for the ability to offer You thanks, even in jelly-smeared kitchens.

I would love for you to connect with me at my blog, So Much Beauty In All This Chaos.

~Angela

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ang3

Labor vs. Love

Post by: Katy

With the Thanksgiving feast only a few weeks away I can’t help but think about the feast preps made famous by Jesus. One feast that two women treated completely different. One woman loved. The other labored.

Jesus’ disciple, Luke, recorded the exchange: Martha invited Jesus into her home then went to work. But her labor peeled her away from His presence. Mary, consumed by her Savior, chose to sit at His feet.

Labor cumbered Martha. Love consumed Mary.

I can’t blame Martha. I imagine her chopping away in the kitchen thinking, “If I don’t do this, who will? Somebody has to do it!” Her chops grew harder. Her blood boiled a little hotter then finally, “That’s it!” she silently screamed.

“And she went up to him [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.'” Luke 10:40 (ESV)

Woah. Crazy lady alert. Can you see her standing in the doorway, hand on hip, jaw clenched, tapping her foot? In this story it’s easy to spot the girl gone wild and her major misstep. Hello! Jesus is in your living room! And you’re complaining about what? Sit down and shut up already!

But if I give it a minute to soak in, this picture hits uncomfortably close to my home. Look at these two gals. Martha stands for chaos, frustration, fatigue. Mary points to a calm, peaceful, purposeful presence. I want to be Mary, but when there’s much to be done it’s hard to choose love over labor. The key word there is choose. Love, often mistaken for a feeling, is actually a choice.

Love serves with a smile as her thoughts swirl around who her hands will serve and how they will benefit. Labor grinds with a grumble as she stands preoccupied with what must be done.

In the very midst of writing this post, opportunity knocked.

My toddler alerted me to the mess with squeals of despair. I hurried around the corner to find him on his back in a growing puddle of water. By the time I arrived, an overflowing toilet bowl had turned the bathroom into a wade pool and threatened to expand into the hallway. I have no clue about plumbing, so I couldn’t make the water stop gushing over the edge. I pushed, pulled and twisted everything on the toilet that moved. Finally, I jammed a bottle of hand soap under something.

I lovingly mopped up the minor flood, piled the sopping towels in the middle of the bathroom, shut the door and ordered no one to use that bathroom until Daddy got home.

No, we did not all have a hearty laugh in the midst of the bathroom fiasco, but we did escape the chaos caused by panic, raised voices, and an overwhelmed spirit. We worked together. The big boys gathered towels and helped the little ones grab a snack.

No, I did not feel like smiling and speaking softly as the kids galloped through the water like I intentionally put it there for them to splash through; but the choice to love made the moment easier to manage.

My Jesus, may my chore never become greater than your choice to love me first, so that I may love. (1 John 4:19)

Leave a Comment! Who do you identify most with? Mary or Martha? Why?

I’d love to hear from you friend!

Sincerely, Katy

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it's safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don't look quite like they did ten years ago, but I've learned along the way dreams do come true ... even if you're not a Disney World.

I left my job as a television news reporter to join my husband, Luke, on our adventure in the National Football League. 10 years, 12 moves, 6 kids, 5 teams, and 4 states later, it’s safe to say the road has been anything but predictable. Our dreams today don’t look quite like they did ten years ago, but I’ve learned along the way dreams do come true … even if you’re not a Disney World.

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How to Believe God (over the lies of the world): Part II

How to believe God

In the blog post, Caution: How Not to be of the World, we talked about how taking our focus off of Christ can divert us down a road we never intended to drive.  But, by keeping our eyes on the Lord, nothing can take us down.  Nothing can shake us.  Nothing can keep God away.  He sees us and is right next to us.  We can learn how to believe God and not the World.

And when we do, God will stand next to us and walk us right up to the purpose of our life.  Finally, we can stand before purpose and to grab hold of it.

When we keep our eyes on the Lord, when we keep him at our right hand, we won’t be shaken. (Psalm 16:8) 

We won’t be shaken, because we are who God says we are.  And, we will be who God wants us to be – as we trust him.

God defines us.  God made us. And, God makes us. He answers and he fulfills his promises.

God is greater than the words and messages of the world that are here today and gone tomorrow.

With God:

  • Talking heads waste their words, because rely on the living active Word.
  • “Keeping up with the Jones” loses its power, because God’s our ultimate Superpower.
  • Never having enough is a thing of the past, because God is more than enough.

We don’t need to believe half-truths, when we have “the Truth”.

  • The world says you are less than, God says you are a child of the most high King. (Psalm 82:6)
  • The world says you need power, God says you need Him. (1 Peter 5:7)
  • The world says you need to conform, God says to be transformed. (Romans 12:2)
  • The world says you should find pleasure, God says to find treasure. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to take for you; God says to give of yourself. (Matthew 19:21)
  • The world says to seek beauty above all; God says to love him above all. (Luke 10:27)
  • The world says be happy and fulfilled, God says die to self.  (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says take all you want, God says take up your cross. (Luke 9:23)
  • The world says live for today, God says live forever. (John 3:16)

When we drive down the freeways of the world, we end up in dark depressing neighborhoods filled with pain, shame and regret. God wants to lead us in truth and light.  He wants us to rush into his arms, to collide with his truth and to cruise in life safely.

He has plans that are so much greater than the world’s plans for us.  He has big plans.  But if we are so distracted with the signs of the world, we will miss the highway to him.  We will miss the joy that is him.  We will miss the peace that is him.  We will miss the life that is him.  We will crash.

He wants all of you.  He loves all of you.  He has big plans for all of you.  Give all of yourself to Him.

 

Why Can’t I Be Better?

Have you ever had that pull on your heart?  That ache that tells you that something is not quite right?  The persistent call that tells you that you have messed up yet again? The one that makes you ask, “Why can’t I be better?”

It’s a feeling of shame, mixed with regret, all combined with a ton of guilt.

I hate these feelings sometimes.  Even worse, I hate how I feel when I am not sure what I should do.  I hate not knowing if I will ever “be better”, “do better” and “love better”.  I hate feeling like I will never get it quite right.  I hate feeling afraid to take the risk to go “there”.

Sin weighs me down. It crushes a spirit.  It burdens a heart.  It stifles a purpose.

Sin comes and:

  • It laughs at us
  • It makes us afraid
  • It shames us
  • It makes us uncertain
  • It tells us, “why bother?”
  • It condemns us
  • It defines us
  • It confirms we can never change
  • It makes us self conscious
  • It covers us in chains
  • It discourages us
  • It attempts to hold us back from our purpose
  • It steals peace
  • It embarrasses us
  • It robs us of joy
  • It lies
  • It hurts
  • It lasts
  • It scars

It knocks on the doors of our lives attempting to lure us.  It stands ready to rob us.  And after it does, it leaves us injured, broken and lying on the floor unsure what to do next.

But it is in this place of vulnerable pain where our hurts drive us to admission.  It is in this place where we have to take a risk.  Where we have to step out of our comfort zone.

And, it is in this exact place where God is best seen.  This is where we see him from an authentic, open and receptive heart.  And, when we come to God, he heals and binds up our pain better than we could have ever imagined.

When we confess, and move towards God through changed actions, he comes to us – and we come to him.

And he says:

  • I forgive you
  • I love you
  • I will embrace you
  • You are my workmanship
  • Your actions don’t disqualify my plans
  • Your sin doesn’t mean you can’t win
  • Your ways don’t supersede my ways
  • I am more successful than your failures
  • My grace extends further than your guilt
  • I live inside of you.  I can’t give up on myself.
  • You are more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus.
  • You are my work-in-progress

Do you believe me?  

If so, let it go.  As far as the east is from the west.  Let. It. Go.

Watch me work.

I can change you.

I am perfecting the beauty that is “me” within you.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

…as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)