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. 

How Do We Connect Santa to the Savior? {with Giveaway}

Wonderful friends,

I am so glad you are back for another post in the Home for the Holidays series. Today, Jennifer Moye is with us talking about a topic that’s dear to many parents – “how do we connect Santa to the Savior?” I’m excited for you to read what Jennifer is going to share and when you get to the end, be sure to register for her FREE giveaway!


Around this same time a couple years ago, our boys were sitting in the living room floor creating their Christmas lists to send to Santa. The lists consisted mostly of cut out pictures from the Toys-r-Us catalog pasted sloppily with glue sticks on poster paper. They jumped up and down with excitement with every page turn as they found a new must-have toy. In all the fun of that day, I noticed that our oldest boy had only 3 things listed on his paper. An IPad, a phone like mommy’s, and crutches.

Crutches?

Yep, that’s right. Those were his must-haves of that Christmas.

As Christmas morning rolled around, the boys ran downstairs with all the excitement that kids should ha-gospel-christmasave on Christmas day. They ripped open packages and slung presents around, eagerly ready to move to the next item.

The younger two boys seemed quite content with their loot for the day. But the oldest sat on the floor with his arms crossed and a sour look on his face. In his lap set a box for a brand new iPad mini still in the wrapper.

Let me just pause right here. I do not even have an iPad. Just sayin’.

When asked what was wrong, he proceeded to through a fit about how he didn’t get a phone like mommy’s or any crutches. He was furious!

I could not believe how ungrateful he was being. Didn’t he realize how awesome the gifts he had received were? How did we get to the point of demanding what we should receive and then being mad if we didn’t get it exactly as expected? Didn’t he understand he couldn’t have everything? Didn’t he know that Christmas is about more than receiving everything on your wish list?

As I sat there in the floor with my wonderful little boys, I instantly felt like a failure.

Clearly I had missed the mark in explaining to him what Christmas is all about. Why else would he act so ungrateful?

Now before you say it, I know . . . he is 5 years old. And kids are kids. I get that. But it just didn’t sit right in my soul. We had talked about the reason we celebrate Christmas. We read the Bible stories. We went to the Christmas play at church. We even gave gifts from the angel trees and donated spare change to the guy outside Walmart. We had talked about this.

I wanted my children to understand at their very core, that Christmas simply wasn’t about them. It was about Jesus. I wanted them to realize that our gifts should be a reflection of the gifts God gave to us in His Son Jesus. I wanted them to have the fun and excitement that Santa, and the Elf on the Shelf, and Christmas parties at school bring – but they needed to know in their hearts that all of it was because of the birth of our King. Even though they knew these things in their heads, I don’t think they really felt it in their innermost being. And that really bothered me.

The following year was a big year for us as we decided to homeschool, made another move, and various other life changes. One scripture passage remained in my mind throughout that time.

Deuteronomy 6: 5-9  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

As the holiday season approached I knew we needed to do something different this year. We needed something that would create an impression of the hearts of our boys and our family. It needed to be in our home, on our doorframes and at our gates. It needed to be intentional and purposeful.

I had no idea that the months to follow would lead me to writing a book and sharing with others the things God was revealing to me and convicting me of in my own life. This month marks the launch of the book A Gospel Christmas and it is straight from my heart to yours.

A Gospel Christmas, is our journey through the month of December 2016. We found a way to connect Santa and his naughty little elf to our greatest gift of all. It is personal and transparent. It is messy at times and most importantly it is real. It is our story of how God lead us to Himself and made a huge impression not just on the hearts of our children, but on my heart as well.  Through the 25 days in December we walked through the life of Jesus in a very practical, easy, and kid friendly way.  We read scripture together, we did crafts, we talked, we gave to others, we cried, and we laughed. It was the most beautiful thing to see the gospel of Jesus come alive in our children’s’ hearts. To see their eyes light up with excitement and their minds begin to understand who Jesus is to them is something that a parent couldn’t be more proud of.

As the Christmas season is approaching us quicker than we all can handle, I would like to challenge you to pray over how your family will celebrate the birth of our King this year. Do your children truly understand what this season is about? Is your family focused on Jesus this year, or distracted by parties, the latest gadgets, and hosting friends? Are you searching for a way to connect all the fun of the holiday with the true meaning of Christmas?

I would love to hear your thoughts and I would love to be on this journey with you! Head on over to my website and receive the first two chapters of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! You will also be included in our Christmas newsletter which provides tons of ideas and inspirations on different ways to connect your family to Jesus throughout the season. And because you are one of the first to know about A Gospel Christmas, I will also send you some insider tips on how to incorporate Santa, the Elf, school parties and more with our Savior’s birth!

A Gospel Christmas is available in digital copy and paperback just about everywhere! It can be ordered online or ordered through your local bookstore. Bulk orders are available for churches or other organizations as well. I would be truly honored for you to share this book and post with those you love. What better gift to give at Christmas than one that could lead someone to Jesus? You never know who’s life can be touched by a simple share.

BONUS!!! Just because you guys are awesome and you are supporting my friend by reading her awesome blog I want to give you a chance to win a signed copy of A Gospel Christmas for FREE! Click here to enter the giveaway.  

jennifer-moyeJennifer is wife to an Airman and mom to three rambunctious little boys. With excitement on a daily basis and grace around every corner, she believes we are meant to live this life in community with others and with the mercy to mess up and try again….and again.  Being a mom is hard, but it is also a divine calling we can have in this life. Her ministry to women is relevant and heartfelt with her core passion being that we learn to glorify our God in our parenting, our marriage, and in our everyday lives. Join Jennifer’s community online at her website, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.