Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Fear Fighting: When Rejection Tears Your Heart Apart

I am so pleased to introduce you to Kelly Balarie, author of the new book Fear Fighting. She has graciously written this as a guest blog. I hope you love her just as much as I do!

I remember it like yesterday: he was the handsome 13 year old. I was the girl who looked like she put her finger in the electrical socket. My hair never was something I could easily tame.

I had my eye on him for a while.
He was so handsome.
He was so funny.
He was so confident.

Now, as I looked at him, he was just standing there on the other side of the room. He looked alone. Sad even? No one was with him. Everyone else was dancing.

I really could ask him to dance.
I could, for once, try to be brave.
There's always a chance.
My dress is pretty.

I mustered my inner beauty and asked him. He looked at me like I was a martian from an alternate universe. 

"Uhh...well, we can't dance because there are parents watching."

I stared. There were parents watching the other 50 dancing children too. It didn't stop them.

His head turned left and right; he was trying to see who was watching. He wanted to make sure no one saw him talking - to me. 

I got the message. Head down, shoulders slumped and mind sure I'd never allow myself to get hurt like this again, I shuffled back to my spot. The seat at the table where no one else was. 

I made a silent agreement, a firm handshake deal, with myself: I'll leave man before man ever hurts me again like this!

This deal still lives. Even, today, I leave man. At first sign of injury, I turn my back on him.

If he has a word of advice, I take it as a sign of criticism and freeze over my heart. If he speaks too loudly, I take it as he's ready to abandon me and I shut my mind down.  If he does something wrong, I figure it is personal; I raise the security walls around my heart. 

I run from man so man can't run me over.

I'm not proud of it. I certainly don't speak aloud of it. But, it's true.

What about you?

Has man so injured you, that injustice plagues you? Nips at your skin? Pulls out the worst of you?

God's pinged my heart with many arrows of rejection lately. Yet, like the loving cupid he is, I think he's allowed me to get struck, so I can read the message of love attached to me.

It reads like this: He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. (Is. 53:3)

You see, God hit me with the truth: Jesus was rejected. Badly rejected.

But, what did Jesus do, in the face of his rejection?

Did he grab all his favorite robes and go hide out in a cave until man could pull his act together? No. Did he stop healing, loving and moving on earth because man was mean and insensitive? No. Did he turn away from loving, remembering the list of dirty laundry we flaunt nearly every day - in his face? No.

He trudged down a road with a back-breaking cross, digging deep into his skin - on account of me. He rode a lowly donkey that made him look like the village-idiot - on account of me. He made his heart available and accessible - on account of me.

Jesus didn't let man's rejection, give him license to reject man. 

And, thank God this is the case. Look at what his alternate approach to rejection accomplished: it saved mankind.

What might we accomplish by responding to rejection - in a different way? In a loving way? In a mercy-giving way? In a grace-building way?

And, most of all, what might we save? Could it be our own heart? Our marriage? Our relationships? Our feelings? Or, most importantly, a special dance with God. 

About the book, Fear Fighting, Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears:

Author and Speaker, Kelly Balarie didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly, on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. This book reads like a love letter from God, while offering practical heart-calming prayers, anxiety-reducing tips, and courage-building decrees that will transform your day. 

About Kelly Balarie:

Kelly is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog, Purposeful Faith. You can also find a variety of resources for your fight against fear at

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

... but do you actually believe it?

 My rough journey as a mother to trust God with my children.

When most people come to a crossroads of learning something new or being brought to the jumping off point on a cliff, they are focused typically on one thing. Overcoming fear, anger, addiction or learning to believe God for the first time, dealing with a situation out of your control, or the joy of taking a leap of faith are all centrally focused on the one thing at hand.

This season of mothering that has come is literally testing all of my fortitude and believing God that I can muster. Not in just the normal way of letting go and releasing my grown children like parents do, but actually not fretting and trusting God with them, not meddling and trying to control the situation but allowing room for them to make mistakes and learn, grasping tightly to the joy of my salvation and embracing the new season of life.

Let me give a quick intro to my family. I am married to my best friend of 20 years and we’ve got 4 teenage kids. A 19 year old son, a 17 year old daughter, a 16 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. We knew years ago that this time would come. Like an avalanche unable to be controlled, they’d be growing up, graduating and leaving all within a short period of time.

It’s like merciless crashing waves over my head that just relentlessly keep hitting and keep coming .

We are extraordinarily proud of these kids, they’ve grown to be mature, respectable young adults who respect authority, have a great work ethic and try to honor God with their lives. They’ve got bright futures ahead and I’ve got a nagging feeling in my heart that they aren’t going to live close by. Our oldest, pictured here, is off in 3 weeks to Australia for Bible college. To say that this has caused some heart ache is an understatement. To add to the party of releasing, our 17 year old daughter also will graduate 5 months after that and leave for college in August.

Time is racing ahead of me and is no respecter of my 
panicking feelings.

Life, as we know it, is basically done. 
The season is over and the abrupt halt of it is harsh.

I’d like to be very vulnerable in my raw honesty here because I feel like someone else needs to know about this process and how to make it through.

When the subject of my son going to Australia was brought up, it was a leading from God. We strongly believe this. Too many things aligning, prayers answered, and confirmations given to doubt it. However, when it first came up, my comment was “My son is not going to Australia without his mother coming along to help get him settled so I can see with my own eyes that he’s going to be ok”

Yea.... I said that.
Where, you ask, was my trust in God? Nowhere.... it was no where .
It was residing in my abilities alone.

Fast forward many months later, lots of bridges crossed and prayers answered. The moment where my claimed faith crashed into an unforeseen trial and I have to put on my big girl pants and decide to actually believe God. This is not a fun exercise in trust, by the way. It sounds poetic to say let go and let God, or leave it with the Lord etc.

It is not pretty. Lots of proverbial stomping of the feet, clenching fists, toddler style crying and pouts and finally choosing to surrender and accept that the God of the Bible, the God of the Universe, my Savior and Redeemer actually does sit on the throne.... and I do not.

My husband came to me and said he sensed God was leading us to not go with our son. Not only that, to choose to give that plane ticket money as an offering to the Lord, as an act of faith and trust that He will sustain and care for our son. (Any men reading this can understand the care and trepidation my husband had in bringing this up to me.)

Can you hear the whoosh of wind knocking out of my stomach?

This placed before me so many things to overcome in a short amount of time in order to be successful. 

~Do I choose to support my husband’s direction and leading? 
~Do I do this, but wait in expectation for God to give us the    money back as a blessing for obedience? 
~Do I give it with abandonment not expecting anything in return?
~Can I do this with a heart of gratitude for all that God has done to  restore our family? 
~Is it possible to get my heart and mind straight, remove the anger, indignation, sorrow and frustration and truly walk forward in obedience and faith in God?

Well, it has happened, and frankly all to God’s glory because this isn’t something I want, it is not a path I’d ever choose myself. He has worked nothing short of a miracle in my heart to bring me to a place of not only joyfully giving and overwhelmed with gratitude, but shreds of confidence in His ability to carry my child.

It grows little by little, this trust in Him.

It’s so crazy, I believe God for all the amazing miracles of the Bible, I believe and know personally and intimately how he transforms wretched, broken lives into something beautiful that glorifies Him.

Yet... when it comes to loosening the apron strings.... ALL the way to Australia...deep anguishing struggle ensues.

I have 3 weeks of precious time. We are choosing what we do wisely and with purpose. I am temporarily stuffing the sadness of not having my sweet boy’s face coming up the stairs, bleary eyed in the morning for breakfast and devotions. I am refusing to bawl yet for the things he will miss here at home, and for no more having his deep spiritual conversations and questions. I cannot mourn the longing for the fun we’ve had, silliness and laughter from him that has filled our house. The things that drove me crazy will be the things I miss most. I am stuffing the strangling fear of what- ifs. I am setting panic on the back burner for now.

Lord, help me get through this one day at a time. Drawing on Your never-ending strength alone to sustain my broken heart. I believe You have great things for my boy, and You are good....ALL of the time.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

For you...or for them?

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 is the precursor of the greatest description of love written by the apostle Paul.

Verses 4-13 describes what Love is and what it is not. The part I’d like to highlight is the beginning of this chapter in verse one where it says in the NIV version that if we do these things without love we sound like a clanging cymbal.

My reason to highlight this is that so often we skip over what our responsibility is and just want the end product of feeling perfect love. The perfect love itself comes from God alone, we can’t fabricate it or manipulate it into being.

The first verses of 1 Corinthians 13 is our part. It is the part at which we decide to either be driven by ourselves and the good feelings we produce in our mind or driven by selfless Godly love for others.

Most of us have times when we chose to be kind, love someone unlovely or do a seemingly selfless act because it makes us feel good about our selves and it gives us a good story to tell.

Scripture tells us that we are like annoying clanging cymbals, just making noise, having no good purpose when we love this way.

I bring this up because during the Christmas season we often feel obligated to participate in service projects, giving of food baskets, tossing our extra change into the red buckets and participating in angel tree-type projects. For some it’s an obligation out of the “Christmas spirit”, or peer pressure to join in. For others, it warms their own heart to be generous.

What if the entire motive was up-ended and we participated not just during the Christmas season but all year long because of our deep gratitude for what God has done for us and truly out of a selfless heart, wanting only to bless the other person.

What does that look like in real life?

  • -          Pay attention around you and find an actual individual or family that is suffering and quietly or anonymously offer assistance. If it’s monetarily or actually showing up at their home to help in some way, expect nothing in return, not even a thank you, because you aren’t doing it to hear accolades and get a pat on the back, you are doing it out of compassion and love for  them and their need alone.

  • -          In that same vein, if you are blessed with excess funds after your bills are paid, get some cash, write a card to someone in need, don’t sign it, and send it or drop it off without being found out. If you are unsure of who to give to, start by asking your church who might have needs.

  • -          Go to a nursing home and ask the front desk who the residents are that do not get family visitors. Join them for a meal at the home, play cards with them, talk with them and ask them about their life. Invest in someone that can give you nothing in return.

  • -          Go to a coffee shop, buy 4 coffees, deliver to the homeless. To go one step further, bring them a salvation tract. To go one step further than that, do it regularly.

  • -          Google search where your local orphanage is. Call them and find out what they might need. If you have children that have outgrown tons of stuffed animals, donate them. If you love to be creative and make things (blankets, scarves, mittens, hats, paint pictures, etc.) see if you can bless a child or two with a gift.

James 1:27 says pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.

This is service to others out of selfless love. 
They can do nothing in return for you.

To adopt this kind of love into your life, marriages and parenting style it requires us laying down our self-centered ideas of love and choosing to put into action Godly love instead.

Choose to love someone this way this Christmas season.