Where Are You Going?

As a young girl I spent many hours visiting with the neighbors in our small, rural neighborhood. Nearly every Saturday, I’d lace up my shoes, run down the hill and cross the road for a day of visiting. And every Saturday, just before I’d leave the house, momma would faithfully ask a question that’s ringing in my heart today.

“Where are you going?”

My response isn’t quite the same as it was back then. I’m no longer running across the road to visit the neighbors, but I am running into 2017 with a newfound excitement and anticipation about what God wants to do in your life and mine.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

2017 is taking me back to my momma’s question, and so today I ask, “where are you going?” Your answer probably won’t look anything like mine. But can I tell you that when I answered that question honestly, my response had me on my knees proclaiming one thing: “here I am, Lord, I’m ready to change!”

I’m sharing the rest of this post over at Peacefully Imperfect where Mitzi Neely is hosting a Fresh Start for 2017 series. I’d love to have you join me there.

Fear Fighting: Stomping Out the Image of Perfect {Guest Post}

By: Kelly Balarie

I blame it on TV. I grew up watching the princesses. You know them, right?! They were the ones whose complexions looked like porcelain, whose lips were the color of rose and whose lives were a hot mess. Until, the prince came in and swooped them up into his arms and forever changed their lives.

They always looked perfect. You see, they had dresses that swooshed in the wind and 90% of the time their voice sounded like an angel sent straight from heaven. Usually, I was jealous of them.

I guess I still am. Because, in so many ways, I try to be them.

I try to doll myself up. I try to show the world there is not a fold in my face. I try to pretend I have Pinterest Christmas when really my focus is on having Christ in Christmas. In reality, I’m the centerfold for T-shirts with yoga pants. I live in the model house of toilet paper adorned floors, little droppings of paper my kids rip up and leave behind like trails of their journey.

Ugh. I fall short.

I don’t think I am fooling people either.

My sister came over just the other day. When she got to my porch, she said, “Kelly, you do know that Halloween was over weeks ago?”

The frozen pumpkins on my stoop threw her for a loop, I guess.

Whoops.

I want to fool people though. I want to fool you – real bad. Because then you’ll aspire to like me. This is what I tell myself anyway. If I look all great for you, you’ll approach me like that prince and you’ll want to give me things and bless me with kind words and pour out love on me. I’ll take that. Sometimes, I convince myself I need that.

I need your approval. I need to feel good about myself.

Or, do I?

I am not so sure lately. Because, what I am coming to terms with is the fact that – there ain’t no woman who can do everything. You find her and I’ll buy you whatever material item you’ve convinced yourself you need to have to finally reach the pinnacle of…dun, dun, dun…”perfect woman.”

The lady is imaginary. She’s an illusion. Yet, still, we all chase her as if she worthy of our highest praise. And, this is what I am realizing – if I am praising this image of the woman I want to be, I can’t really be the image of whom Christ has created me to be.

Dang! I could truly spend my whole life chasing carrots, rather than partaking at God’s feast? His bounty. His spiritual riches.

I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.. (Eph. 1:18)

I wrote the book, Fear Fighting: Awakening the Courage to Overcome Your Fears to find God’s truth. In so many ways, God answered. He showed me there is a glorious inheritance awaiting me and it is not found through appearances, airs or goods.

It is the joy found in the lopsided nature of my nose – a nose God adores.
It is the grace covering the moments I forget things.
It is the peace dug up from a heart that knows God is in charge.
It is the hope God will shape me into the likeness of him.
It is the knowledge God loves me just as He created me.
It is the belief that he chose me.
It is the understanding, in Him, I am secure.

It is in the need, we find our prince, Christ Jesus. Will you let him rescue you?

Interested in fighting fear? Join the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge!

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. www.fearfightingbook.com

 

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 here.

Guarded by Christ {Book Review and Giveaway}

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

What is a fortress?

If you’d asked me that question a year ago, I probably would have thought about the “forts” the neighborhood kids and I use to build in the woods when I was a little girl, and then, said something like a place to hide.

The truth is I didn’t know what a fortress was until I set out to teach a group of children that God is our fortress.

In preparation for the lesson I jumped on the Internet to find some pictures I could print and show during the lesson. What I discovered blew me away!

battlements-1239279_1920I didn’t find anything that looked like the stick and leaf hideaways my friends and I use to build. Instead, I found large, majestic stone structures with castle like characteristics. These structures were strong, immovable and would provide protection for anyone dwelling inside them. I found places of refuge. But, what I found more than anything was a new understanding of who God is.

You see, on multiple occasions I had read about God being my fortress. I had even quoted these scriptures. However, it wasn’t until I saw an actual fortress that these scriptures had a marked impact on me. After looking at each picture, I paused to read the scripture above again.

The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. Psalm 18:2

Like the fortresses in the pictures, God’s strength is beyond anything we can imagine. He’s our refuge when the enemy attacks. He can withstand anything we bring to Him and He desires for us to cast our cares upon Hialnwick-castle-92607_1920m. He’s a place where we can safely tuck ourselves whether the storms of life are raging.

But how do we make God our fortress?

Simply by admitting our need for Him and asking Him to be our fortress.

Here are some specific times we can run to him for refuge:

  • When worry threatens our peace: “God, I’m placing myself in your hands; you are larger than ____ (whatever is on your mind), and I thank you for keeping me safe in the fortress of your love.”
  • When fear taunts us: “God, you are my fortress; in you I find confidence and safety. I’m casting ____ (whatever has made you fearful) upon you and I trust you for a beautiful outcome.”
  • When uncertainty keeps us from moving forward: “God, my times are in your hands. I’m hiding in the fortress of your love today and giving you full control over my life.”
  • When we feel out of control: “God, I’m placing myself in the fortress of your love and wisdom. Please guard me from myself and cause me to walk in peace and wisdom with all things today.”
  • And then there are times when all we can say is: “God you are my fortress; I’m hiding in you.”

Making God our fortress doesn’t mean we will never experience difficult times again. But, it does mean we can endure difficult times with peace and rest knowing He will meet all of our needs.

So go ahead, turn to God and ask Him to be your mighty fortress! His arms are open to you, today!


guarded-by-christWe all experience feelings of anxiety, fear, and worry at times, but God never intended for us to live this way. God’s Word says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) If you want to overcome these feelings and experience life at its fullest, I recommend reading Heather Hollerman’s book, Guarded by Christ.

It will help you break free from the thoughts that bring you down and teach you how to live with God as your fortress.  You’ll learn memory techniques to help you experience God’s Word on a deeper level by connecting scriptures to visual images. Guarded by Christ would be an excellent gift for anyone you know struggling to rest in God’s love.

GIVEAWAY: If you would like to enter to win a free copy of Guarded by Christ, simply leave a comment below. For a second entry into the drawing, sign up to receive future posts by email or like Raising An Arrow on Facebook. (Just be sure to comment below and tell me what you did.)

Deadline for entry is December 13th. Winner will be notified by email. Open to US residents only.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR READING.

 

 

 

 

When You Can’t Stand, Sit at the Feet of Jesus

when-you-cant-standsit-at-the-feet-of-jesusWhen the news came that we were expecting our first child I jumped into planning mode immediately.  Within days, I was designing the nursery, collecting reading material and filling the freezer with meals for our first months as a family of three.

Every plan was carefully crafted to ease our transition into parenthood. When it was time for baby to arrive, I road to the hospital expectantly and walked blissfully into the delivery unit. What happened seven days later took me by surprise.

Caring for our son one morning I was hit suddenly with the realization of how dependent he was upon me to live. For years I had been responsible for only myself. I enjoyed coming and going as I wanted. Now, I was responsible for myself and the life I stood holding. Suddenly, my life no longer felt like my own, and the journey was only beginning.

I’m sharing the rest of these words over at Abby McDonald’s blog. Would you join me there to continue reading? Click here to read the rest of this post. 

Holiday Traditions

What’s your favorite thing to do during the holidays? Mine is visiting with family and friends. I absolutely love spending time with others! And the holidays often present that opportunity more than any other time in the year. Today, my dear friend, Carmen, is sharing her Top 10 Favorite things to do during the holidays! When you’ve finished reading, I hope you will share your favorite tradition or thing to do during the holidays in the comments below! 

Enjoy! 


holiday-traditionsY’all. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

I have always stated that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. While I still stick to that, (It is the only holiday where I get to see most of my cousins) I have come to realize that, for me, it is the BEGINNING of the season. I am a person who has always accepted the “Happy Holidays” greeting. Because, for ME, “The Holidays” are all of the days that comprise the times and days between the last Thursday in November to January 2. It’s a whole season of happiness!!  (Legit dancing in my seat because I’m getting excited!)

As a kid, I learned A LOT about making the season memorable without busting tail to try too hard. My mom always says, the things we remember the most, weren’t the big things she went out of her way to do. It wasn’t the presents or having the perfect dress. It was the things we did together to make the house feel warm and festive.

(DISCLAIMER: Jesus is ABSOLUTELY the meaning behind everything we do. ABSOLUTELY. However, I feel strongly that there is something extra special about the whole season. While keeping Jesus at the forefront, we do a lot of other things to focus on love and joy instead of stress and perfection.)

Here is my top 10 favorite things we do during the holidays:

10. BAKE!!! – My favorite is to bake homemade party mix, cookies, crème de menthe brownies, peppermint bark and cinnamon roll. As a kid, my mom always baked for my teachers, and I do now for my kid’s teachers. I mean, they don’t need another mug, but another cookie…

9. MUSIC!! So. Much. Music. Fun music, Jesus music, pretty music, classical music… Some of our favorites are: Chris Tomlin, Oak Ridge Boys, Amy Grant, Kenny G., the kid’s Christmas play music, Alvin and the Chipmunks. Play it in the house, in the car, while you’re baking…PLAY IT, SING IT, DANCE WITH IT. 

8. Decorate together: True, most of the ornaments on my tree are at knee level, but the kids have so much fun. We have a Nativity in every room and I LOVE the way they perceive the Holy Family by the way they arrange them. Your house can be pretty in a few years when they’ve gone off to college.

7. Movie night, often. Everyone sits and you watch together. (Enjoy #10.)

6. Do the family stuff! The biggest cause of conflict is uncommunicated and unmet expectations. Talk to both sides of the family early in the season to establish their hopes and your schedules. The more you talk, the happier everyone is.

5. Be a team: If one member of the family is expected to do it all, there’s going to be a lot of joy lost. Wrap presents together as you get them. (And do #7, #9, and #10 while you’re at it) Stuff Christmas cards together. Make it a relational time, not a stressful time.

4. Turn the room lights off and the tree lights on. Often.

3. Spend extra time with people. Take the extra cookies to the neighbors. Give an extra hug. Make an extra phone call. Choose the right extras and do them.

2. We do Santa. (That may put me in jail for the Christian parents.) We don’t emphasize it. But, we both were raised doing Santa and still 100% believed in Jesus from a young age and were able to decipher the difference. And the wonder of Christmas and the element of surprise is so fun and something I looked forward to. We still read “The Night Before Christmas” and we sing “Rudolph”. We make Santa cookies. “Santa” brings 3 presents to emphasize the 3 presents from the Wisemen. The other presents they get are from us. As a mom, I find it exhausting to always do the “right” things especially in raising my children to love Jesus. And, for our family, we don’t feel that a little Christmas imagination thwarts that.

1. Advent wreath: Advent at church is beautiful. And meaningful. But, often the skit, or the reading is over my kids’ heads. There are tons of pretty wreaths with candles to buy to use at home. We light one candle and talk about what that means. Let them ask questions. Reteach the previous week. Because, we can never talk too much about LOVE, JOY, PEACE, HOPE, AND JESUS. We chose to do the Jesse tree with the book leading us: “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas” by Ann Voskamp. It has a daily reading taking us from the beginning of the Bible to Jesus and what all of the signs along the way said about the coming Messiah. There are ornaments the kids can color and hang on a tree. It has been one of our greatest times together. Every night, we relight that week’s advent candle to reemphasize the characteristic of Jesus we want to embrace.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year y’all.

Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite thing to do during the holidays? Share in the comments below.

CarmenCarmen Boso is a pastor’s wife who is a teacher on the side. She is married to Lee and together they have a daughter, Nina, and a son, Brooks. They also have a Lab and a Golden Retriever. They share a love for cooking and traveling and eating copious amounts of junk food. To learn more about Carmen visit: www.babyboso.blogspot.com