What If I Don’t Have Enough Faith?

Over the past few years, I’ve learned that one of the reasons Christians can come across as condescending or hypocritical is because we don’t want to share the dark parts of our testimony. The struggles with alcohol, drugs, addiction, mental health, anxiety, depression… The parts where we don’t have it all together.

But we can’t glorify Jesus unless we are willing to talk about what He’s delivered us from. Instead of preaching, “You need to fix this in your life,” we have to start with, “I’ve been there.” We have to make it personal. We have to be real and transparent with each other if we want to earn the right to speak into each other’s lives.

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Even After

Over the past weekend, I was home with two sick kids during a snowstorm and—I’ll admit it—we watched a lot of movies. I tried fun games, hot chocolate, cookie baking, and dancing around in the living room, but somehow all of that only took two hours, with a very long 46 hours to go. So I just accepted the impending mom guilt and turned on Netflix.

The good news is that God loves using those moments when I’m wallowing in guilt to lay His Words on my heart. This weekend, it was all about the happily ever after. Movie after movie had the implied happily ever after we all know and love… for the good guys. But what about the bad guys?

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Paid in Full

I grew up believing a lot of things about God and about myself that weren’t true. I never felt like I had a good relationship with Him, but I wasn’t sure why. A few years ago, I decided to finally open up about these struggles to my husband. We had just taken on a mortgage, and here are the words he shared with me:

Imagine that you know the person who owns our mortgage. You owe a massive amount of debt to them, and you know you can’t make a payment this month. If you see that person at the grocery store, are you going to run up and talk to them, or are you going to sneak out and hope they don’t see you?

These words came at the perfect time because that’s exactly how I saw God—as someone to whom I owed a debt I couldn’t pay.

I had been basing my right-standing with Him on whether or not I’d made the payment that month. My confidence in His love for me was only as strong as my “bank account.” Going to church or memorizing scripture was like making a deposit and messing up or missing the mark was like making a withdrawal.

For years, I felt like my relationship with God was dependent on whether or not I had money in my account.

In John 19:30, after Jesus had been hanging on the cross for hours, He said, “It is finished.” In the original Greek, those three words are actually one word—tetelestai—which means paid in full. Once my heart accepted that Jesus paid my debt and that my salvation was based on His works instead of mine, I was finally able to grow in the genuine, intimate relationship with the Lord that I had been seeking.

I’m sure that for a lot of Christians this is common knowledge, but for me, it was a concept I just couldn’t grasp. I let guilt and self-doubt get in the way of truth and grace until my husband helped me break through those lies.

So just in case anyone needs this reminder today:

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
– Colossians 2:13-14

Throw Off Your Cloak: Finding Freedom

When I was in high school, I remember walking out to my car one morning and seeing the words ‘You’re a whore’ written on the window. I think we can all agree that the saying Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you is a complete lie. Those words hurt me a lot. And I carried them in my heart for years, wondering if that’s what people thought of me.

Until I came across four very important words in Mark.

“Jesus stopped and said, ‘Call him.’ So they called the blind man. ‘Take courage!’ they said. ‘Get up! He is calling for you.’ Throwing off his cloak, Bartimaeus jumped up and came to Jesus.” – Mark 10:49-50

Throwing. Off. His. Cloak.

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But You Still Love Me, Right?

As a child, I struggled with OCD-induced anxiety. In an attempt to protect our kids from a similar experience, my husband and I agreed to always reassure them after spills or messes. Life isn’t perfect, and that’s okay was our parenting motto. That turned out to be especially important for our daughter, who would seek affirmation after doing something she considered bad. Every time she knocked over a drink or tipped over a plate full of food, she would ask us things like, “But it will be okay, right?” or “But we can fix it, right?” and we would usually respond with a quick, “Yes, it will be alright, but let’s try to be more careful.”

I assumed she only asked those questions to make sure she wasn’t in trouble until one day after a few cheerios fell off of her tray, she looked at me and asked, “But you still love me, right?”

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You Can’t Win Them All

I have always hated the saying, “You can’t win them all.”

In the interest of transparency, I admit that I am a recovering people-pleaser. I hate the idea of offending or upsetting anyone. I sometimes lay awake at night wondering if I could have phrased something better or if I should have handled a situation differently. Years after a negative confrontation, I can still feel my ears heat up when I think about it.

All this to say, I very badly want to win them all. I want everyone to like me, even though I know that’s not a realistic expectation, especially when I share my personal thoughts on a public platform. That’s just the life of a blogger.

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Perfect Love

Last week, I had a picture perfect moment.

I was curled up next to my husband under a blanket wearing my cozy pajamas, and I felt so good because I knew that I had loved my babies well that day. I had defused multiple meltdowns, managed not to lose my temper, and spent over an hour playing in the floor while my toddler filled the house with belly laughs and my baby cooed and gurgled.

That moment felt so amazing because of its rarity. The truth is that those days are few and far between. More often than not, I end the night frazzled and wondering if I expressed my love well enough.

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