Anywhere Faith

Have you ever struggled to step out in faith when you sensed God calling you to do something? Or perhaps you’ve just doubted your faith because of difficult circumstances swirling around you. 

My friend, Heather King, is guest posting today on my blog and her new book Anywhere Faith is something you will definitely want to check out. She writes candidly about how fear and insecurity often get in the way of our desire to step out in faith. You’ll be challenged and encouraged by her words! 

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I was in the middle of packing for a writer’s conference when I felt a crushing wave of defeat.

I wanted to give up.

It would be easier (I told God) if I just stopped now, stopped packing, stopped investing time, energy, focus and resources on writing.

Maybe I could pick it up again later, but right now this was hard.

I felt terrifyingly small. I worried that maybe I was trying to do something that God hadn’t actually called me to do.  Had I heard His voice right?  Was I in His will?

I also, to be totally honest, felt overwhelmed by the idea of being plain old me at a large writer’s conference with women who looked so put-together.  They would have perfect hair with perfect highlights and perfectly awesome shoes that matched their perfectly stylish outfits.

Me?  I don’t have highlights in my hair and I don’t wear high heels.  Surely I’d be out of place.

I flopped back on the pillows of my bed with stacks of clothes around me and an empty suitcase in front of me.

It felt like one of those defining moments, one of those times when we have to choose whether we take another step forward and say “yes” to God or we pack it all in and choose what feels easier in the moment.

Two things happened.

The first is I remembered I wasn’t alone. Many before me had similar conversations with God.

Moses wanted God to “send somebody else.”
Gideon wasn’t sure he heard God’s voice clearly.
Esther was afraid of what might happen if she obeyed.
Martha thought God’s call didn’t make sense.

So often what we really need in our Christian walk is for someone to understand what we’re going through and to say, “Me too!  I’ve been there!  And this is how God was faithful.”

That’s what Scripture shows us.  We see broken people bringing their brokenness before God and He still used them.

We don’t have to pretend with God and we don’t have to be perfect before He can use us.  We can tell Him the deeply honest truth and bring Him our brokenness so He can make us whole and holy. (#AnywhereFaith)

I brought God my smallness in that moment.  I gave Him my brokenness.  I told Him the truth:

I feel overwhelmed by the task and underwhelmed by my ability.  I feel like others are more able and more worthy.  I feel uncertain of the next step.  But I will go.  I will follow you “Anywhere” you want me to go as long as you go with me.

As a teen girl, I had copied a poetic prayer into the front of my Bible that began with these words:

Lord, send me anywhere only go with me (David Livingstone).

This became the prayer of my heart.

And truly, wherever He calls us to go, He’s right there with us and His presence is our great desire and our deepest need.

The second thing that happened for me in that moment I wanted to give up is that my phone pinged with a Facebook message from an author I’d never met face to face.

She had been to the writer’s conference before and wanted to encourage me with this: “Don’t feel overwhelmed.  God’s got this.  Don’t worry about what to wear or whether you have the perfect hair.  Don’t feel out of place because you think every woman there will have snazzy outfits and you won’t fit in.  Just be yourself and trust God.”

It was the perfect confirmation, perfect encouragement, perfect word at the perfect moment.

When our hearts are set on obedience to God, He is our Help and our Strength along the way. We don’t have to be enough all on our own!

Whatever God has called you to do, whether it’s to follow Him around the world, across the street or right there in your own home:

He will equip you, He will be with you, and He will help you overcome. (#AnywhereFaith)

But we must first choose to bring Him the honest truth about our fears, insecurities, and excuses and ask for His help to follow Him “Anywhere.”

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3).

 

To read more about how we can bring our honest struggles and fears to God and ask for His help to live lives of obedience and faith, please check out my new book: Anywhere Faith: Overcome Fear, Insecurity, and Excuses and Say Yes to God.

To read more devotionals from heather C. King, please visit her website at http://heathercking.org/ or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/heatherckingauthor/

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Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

The Pain No One Sees

Today I am welcoming my dear friend, Melinda Means, as my first ever guest blogger! Her new book, Invisible Wounds, addresses the heart wrenching issues that we often carry around, hidden deep within our souls. On the outside we look polished, but on the inside we are deeply hurting. If you are experiencing physical, emotional or spiritual pain of any kind, you will be encouraged and equipped today from Melinda’s insightful words. She’s blessed me and I know she will bless you!

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I think back to one of my favorite photos of my children. Molly was three. Micah was nine months old. They look absolutely enchantingly adorable. Everyone’s smiling and looks happy.

It’s just the perfect photo—no easy feat with little ones.

But let me share the story behind this “perfect” snapshot.

I had done all the right things to prepare for the child photography experience. They both had a nap, they’d been fed, and they were dressed in the required darling matching outfits.

I was golden.

We arrived at the mall. That’s when it got interesting.

I lifted my son Micah from his car seat just as he had a diaper blowout of legendary proportions. I used every baby wipe I had and he was still a poopy mess. I was so close to photo-taking victory I could smell it (unfortunately that’s not all I could smell).

So I wrapped him in a blanket and with my daughter in tow we high tailed it through the mall parking lot to find the nearest bathroom.

On the way, my daughter tripped and fell, ripping a hole in her white tights and scraping her knee. Time to throw in the towel? Nope. This newest setback only made me more determined.

In the bathroom, we made a tragic discovery: hand dryers—no paper towels. As my daughter handed me reams of toilet paper, I went to work cleaning up my son. We finally made it to the photo studio.

The result? Adorable.

My son’s plaid outfit masked the stains (if not the smell). My daughter’s strategically placed little hand covered that wound on her knee. No one would ever guess the trauma that had gone on behind the scenes.

Looks can be deceiving, can’t they?

Just like that photo, our pain lurks beneath the surface. It’s often camouflaged by busyness, a confident demeanor, or a tough outer shell.

We hide because we think no one else will understand. Maybe we think we’re to blame. We’re afraid of rejection. We believe it makes us weak. We don’t want others to feel sorry for us. We don’t want our pain to define us.

So we nurse our pain in isolation. We live alone with our invisible wounds.

After 20 years of chronic pain and illness—mine and my son’s—I bear the scars of isolation and discouragement.

My anxiety and insecurity—always a struggle—has sometimes felt nearly unbearable. At times, it has shaken my faith to its very core.

So what do we do with our pain? Where is God in all this? I don’t have all the answers. But here’s something important that I do know: God is not afraid of our questions. He isn’t surprised or appalled by our frustrated, tear-soaked temper tantrums (I’ve had more than a few). He just wants us to come to Him.

For years, I have looked for an outcome. Relief from my pain. I wanted healing. Period. I still do. But I’ve learned healing can look very different from what we imagine.

Hope and healing can come through telling our stories. It can materialize as God meets us and reveals Himself in the middle of our struggle. It can materialize as we see God redeem our pain.

This isn’t the path I would have chosen for myself. It isn’t the journey I would have chosen for my son, who battles cystic fibrosis.

Yet pain leads us to a deeper walk with God if we are open to gifts that we would never have received without our pain. Others receive gifts they wouldn’t have received without our pain. God cares. He sees your struggle, sweet friend.

But He wants to do so much more than change our pain. He wants to use our pain to change us.

When our joy, freedom, and hope rest on an outcome, instead of a Person, we will ultimately be disappointed. It is not through the result—the relief of our emotional, physical, or spiritual suffering—that the most important transformation comes. It is through the relationship with Jesus.

I can say that genuinely and with complete conviction. Not because it’s what I’m supposed to say as a good Christian. Or because I’m in denial. It’s because it is what I know and have experienced to be true, particularly over this past year—the most physically, spiritually, and emotionally brutal season that I’ve ever experienced.

Your wounds may be hidden from the world, but they never escape the notice of a loving God. Through Him, we can find hope—even while we’re hurting.

© Melinda Means. This post includes excerpts from Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting. Used with permission.

About Invisible Wounds: So many of us walk around looking fine. Hidden beneath the surface, however, are deep, painful physical, spiritual and emotional wounds. We feel isolated in our pain. We feel guilty about the private doubts we have about God and His goodness. We live alone with our invisible wounds.

In this book, Melinda draws from her long history with chronic illness—hers and her son’s—and also shares the stories of seven brave, beautiful women who reveal their hidden hurts. Throughout its pages, she tackles the tough spiritual questions and dark, raw emotions that accompany suffering and illuminates the path that leads to hope that heals.

Author Bio: Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has found the joy of seeking the Healer more than the healing. She is a professional speaker and writing coach, as well as coauthor of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015). Check out her website at Melinda Means.

You can order the Kindle version on Amazon! (Deal for 99 cents through August 31st) Click HERE.

Invisible Wounds Cover for Kindle