Relationships

When No One Else Can Help — Guest Post

By Meredith Kendall

Rejection stings in every form. Friendships that crumble. Parents who disapprove. Children who leave and don’t return. And loves that betray. Labeled “unwanted” is never our plan.

One evening, I arrived home from putting on a successful Fall Festival, filled with laughter and hot dogs and sugared up kids, to hear my husband say, “I just don’t love you anymore. I’m going to be with her.”

He was having an affair.

I was devastated. I was married at 18, moved over six hundred miles away from family and friends and now at 31 years old, a stay at home mom was going to be divorced. Have you ever had your dreams shattered? Hope seemed lost.

Every day I woke up, turned on the local Christian radio station to sing at the top of my lungs and weep. My life was turned upside down. All alone, I had no clue how I would make it.

I received all kinds of advice from well-meaning friends and family, but none of it comforted me. How could they understand what I was going through? Truth was, no one’s words could ease my pain.

Walking in faith was new to me, so I wasn’t sure where Jesus was in this mess. I wish I could say I ran to the Bible to read passages that would give me comfort. Unfortunately, I felt I lacked the confidence and skills to navigate Scripture. The one thing that did bring me comfort was a song on the radio that seemed to be played over and over again. The artist talked about how to survive whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley. The song went on to say that when we are on our knees we are before the Love that can change everything and that on our knees is where we need to find our power.

God used a song of truth to bring peace in a horrible situation. I literally got on my knees for the duration of this song, arms stretched high, tears streaming, making this my prayer. God, who I’d given my life to just a year earlier, met me there. I was a new Christian and had no clue how to navigate this pain, this new normal. But Jesus gave me His comfort through the lyrics of this song.

Now twenty-two years later, I share my story in hopes that you will experience peace knowing that God doesn’t abandon us during our time of Woman's profile against an inky sky with text pulled from the post.affliction, but is waiting for us to cry out to Him. I’m grateful that I allowed Him to be my Comforter during my hardest time because His wisdom helped me find my way.

Worldly wisdom would’ve let me down. It said, “Walk away. Forget your marriage. Just start over.” Some even said, “Let’s go out and get a drink. Let’s go out and party.” But I stayed on my knees for my marriage, and today, by God’s grace, we share our story.

Truth in Scripture says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

What’s your story? Have you fallen on your knees in need before your loving Father? If so, show others the way according to God’s words, it’s not for us to hide our affliction as if it has never happened, but to comfort others in their time of need and to be a light of God’s goodness. What story of comfort are you hiding that God wants to use?

Let’s talk about this! Rejection hurts and, if not dealt with correctly, in light of God’s love and grace, can leave lasting wounds that negatively impact our future relationships. How does knowing God loves us and will never leave us help you move forward? Has He helped you through a deep hurt and perhaps given you insight that could help others? Share your thoughts, stories, questions, and insights here in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another! And make sure to join our social media group–a safe place for women to share their struggles, celebrations, prayer requests, and questions. Join by clicking the “Join Group” button below.

And if you haven’t done so, make sure to snag our free Bible study (in ebook form) on growing in grace and a Christ-centered identity. You can do so HERE. (Print copies are available for $5 plus shipping and handling.)

Get to know Meredith!

Meredith Kendall is a change agent, driven by her God-given passion to equip struggling families to achieve their unique God-given potential.

As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith Kendall learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. God called her to co-found Advancing the Gospel which serves those who are often forgotten. Today she uses her gifting’s to help people understand the root causes of their struggles and find freedom through Christ.

Her upcoming book My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope will be released October 2019. Pre-release copies are available now.

www.the180program.org

www.meredithsagekendall.com

Check out her upcoming release!

Ralynn promised God that if He allowed her to see the light of day she would seek help. Pregnant and afraid for her life, Ralynn’s chance encounter with Ms. Shelly started her on a path of healing and finding a relationship with Jesus and her purpose in life.

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Loving Others

What You Can’t Take Back — Guest Post by Tara Johnson

text pulled from post in coral with mint image background

Sometimes the very place God created to bring wholeness causes deep, long-lasting pain. As our guest today reminds us, what we say, whether casually or intentionally, can leave lasting damage. Scripture says you and I are the church, and the church is to be a place of love and healing, where all are invited in. Are our actions and those things we say consistent with this holy mission? Click To Tweet

What You Can’t Take Back

By Tara Johnson

I watched the teenage girl in the pew, her arms hugging her torso, cheeks flushed red as she stared at the floor.

The rest of the congregation was singing some worship song about the peace found in God’s presence but not her. She looked trapped, blue-eyed gaze darting from side to side.

My heart ached as I studied her. She’d told me of her crippling anxiety. Facing each morning with grit was a victory. Just when she’d begun to find a measure of security in the solace of church, a member with an acid tongue accused her of things that were not only unkind, but untrue.

The result were panic attacks every time she stepped foot in church.

Sometimes our Goliaths sit within our pews.

The teenager turned towards me, tears glossing her eyes.

“I’m sorry. I don’t think I can do this. It’s too hard.”

She darted from the sanctuary and never returned.

Words have power. Quicker than a snap of the fingers, they can build up a life, or crush it into rubble. Click To TweetScripture says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV) This is not just true of the words we speak, but of those we text, type and whisper to others. Everything we communicate yields two results: building others up or tearing them down.

The apostle James had much to say about our tongues. We can claim we love Jesus, love people, do all the good, humanitarian type things the world applauds, and rack up accolades for our holiness, but if we have no control over our mouths, we haven’t learned a thing. “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.” (James 1:26, ESV)

Not only is it what we say, but the tone and attitude behind what we say. Negativity and light cannot coexist. Neither can resentment and encouragement. When we say one thing but feel another, we’re nothing more than hypocrites … play-acting our way through our Christian walk.

Scripture says, “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3: 9,10, ESV)

In our family, we have a simple 3 Step Rule of Speaking.

  1. Is it true?

Let face it … lots of us think we’re right and everybody else is wrong. Maybe sometimes we are. Maybe we aren’t. Truth must always be backed up with Scripture. Otherwise it’s just opinion, and opinion is usually not worth fighting about. Click To Tweet

  1. Is it kind?

Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit, so if our words are flung carelessly and hurtfully, we are not being led by God to speak. It’s our sinful self lashing out. It’s that simple. Be kind or hold your tongue.

  1. Am I speaking from love?

Love should be the motivating factor for all things. If I’m needing to confront someone, I’d better be sure my motive is love and not buried resentment, anger, hostility or “I’ll-show-you” attitude. Love builds up. Love seeks the best for others. It isn’t angry. It’s patient. Any other motivation will lead to a mess. Click To Tweet

An old proverb describes the power of the tongue quite well.

There once lived a woman who gossiped about another lady in her village. Over time, she discovered she’d been wrong about the woman and felt terrible for the awful things she’d said. She visited the village’s wise man and asked how she could take back all the wrong she’d done. He told her to go home, kill her chickens, pluck their feathers, and put them into a bag. On the way back to see the wise man, she was to scatter all the feathers along the road.

The lady obeyed. When she returned to the wise man, he told her, “Go back and pick up all the feathers you have scattered.” The woman was astonished at such a command.

“But, sir, by now the wind has carried the feathers through out the village and beyond.”

“And so it is with your careless words. They are like the feathers scattered in the wind. You cannot retrieve them.”

Our words carry eternal consequences. Life or death. Blessings or curses. When we choose love, we choose wisely. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about this! What resonated with you most when you read Tara’s post? Have you experienced pain similar to the girl she encountered? If so, how does your experience impact your actions today? What is one way you can show others they’re loved and welcomed?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below and make sure to connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!

And before you go … have you grabbed your free ecopy of our Bible study yet? If not, you can do so HERE! (You can get a print copy for just $5 HERE.)

Also, make sure to visit us on Crosswalk to receive daily devotions sent directly to your inbox. You can find our devotions HERE. 

Get to know Tara!

Tara Johnson is an author and speaker, and loves to write stories that help people break free from the lies they believe about themselves.

Tara’s debut novel Engraved on the Heart (Tyndale) earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, as well as numerous other accolades. In addition to be published in a variety of digital and print magazines, she has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio, Enduring Word radio, television and podcasts. She is a history nerd, especially the Civil War, adores comedy, and will happily play basketball with anyone who asks. She, her husband, and children live in Arkansas.

Connect with her on her Website, on Facebook, and follow her on Instagram.

Check out her novel, Engraved on the Heart!

Reluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and Cover Image for Tara Johnson's Engraved on the Heartturns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

Buy it HERE!

Let’s talk about this! Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and join our discussion in our Facebook group!

Our online community is a safe place where women can share their struggles, insights, and celebrations. This is a “closed” group where only members can see posts shared, and it’s also a place where confidentiality is practiced. We share prayer requests, hurts and insecurities, and ways God is meeting us in our struggles each day. And you’re invited to heal and grow and learn with us!

 
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surrender

Fighting Enslaving Behaviors by Leaning Into Jesus

Flower image with quote pulled from post.

Though I trusted in Christ for salvation as a child, you never would’ve believed this, had you encountered me in my young adult years.

It was like I’d grabbed hold of the fringes of eternal life but not the full expression of it.

I had a tainted, partial view of God. I saw Him as lofty, for sure. The One who not only set the rules but had every right to do so. I also knew I didn’t deserve the gift of grace He’d given me. In fact, I felt so undeserving, I was certain that was how He viewed me as well. As if He tolerated me on occasion but was mostly disappointed.

He certainly had cause to be. I wasn’t living anything like my Bible said I should. I went to church on Sunday and Bible study on Tuesday then got drunk with my friends on Friday. I took my daughter to playdates and acted like a responsible and emotionally stable adult. Then, while my husband and daughter slept, I spent the quiet night hours binging and purging in a desperate attempt to fill all my empty places inside.

I was trying to live the Christian life in my own strength, apart from Jesus, and I was failing miserably. Each night, I’d promise God the next day I’d do better, only to find myself falling into the same self-destructive behaviors.

Then one day, I stumbled upon Jesus’ response to temptation. You may be familiar with the story. Scripture tells us the Spirit led Him into the wilderness where He was bombarded, again and again, by the forces of darkness. Yet, He remained strong. Unshakable. Victorious. As I read Matthew 4:1-11 and all the ways Christ engaged in a more intense spiritual battle than you and I ever will, it was as if He were holding His hand out to me, saying, “Come on. Watch what I do. Follow Me.”

Click To Tweet

So I began to do just that. I started to look at my faith differently; less about what I needed to do or not do and more about what God wanted me to learn. My first and most important lesson—discovering who He was. Gaining full knowledge of His love and glory, because only then could I truly live in Him.

In John 14, shortly before His death, Jesus spoke to His disciples. He left them final instructions regarding a rather overwhelming assignment—launching His church during a time of intense persecution. This by a group of men who, in a few short hours would abandon Him. In other words, individuals who, like me, were nowhere near strong or wise enough for the task.

But Jesus said to them, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; Believe also in Me.” In fact, He used the word believe six times in the span of fourteen verses. “Believe not in yourself or your might or plans but in Me,” Jesus said (paraphrased).

Jesus' invitation: Believe not in yourself or your might or your plans but in Me. Click To Tweet

As I fought against old behavior patterns, it was as if Jesus was saying the same to me. “I have so much more for you, Jennifer. I’ll show you precisely what that is, in due time. But today, believe in Me. Lean on Me, and learn from Me. (Matthew 11:28). We’ll take this journey together.”

Woman on swing with quote from post.

That was just under twenty years ago, and I’m grateful to say, Christ conquered each one of those enslaving habits and more as He’s molded me, slowly but steadily, into His image. This transformation hasn’t been quick or easy, but it’s been freeing and sure.

He’ll do the same for you.

Host Wholly Loved Ministries’ Fully Alive conference and learn how to move from striving and merely surviving to thriving, and visit Jennifer online at her weekly devotional blog found HERE. Check out her latest book release HERE.

 

Bible studies

Walking in the Freedom of Grace

Imagine if we truly lived with our feet firmly planted in grace and our hearts deeply centered in Christ’s love. Imagine the freedom and joy we’d experience! Imagine the growth that would occur, the relationships that would be healed, and the lives transformed.

When I lead our Becoming His Princess Bible study, I like to begin by encouraging women to vision cast for their lives. What might their days, confidence levels, home environments, and work places look like if they viewed themselves as Christ saw them and lived in that reality?

I encourage you to do the same, and to grab a free ecopy of our study, if you haven’t yet done so. Grab the PDF file for free HERE and the Kindle file HERE. If you’d prefer a print copy, you can purchase that HERE.

And if you’ve never experienced the transforming grace of Christ and want to learn more, watch THIS.