For the One Who Doubts God’s Call {Linkup}

worthy or willing

I take deep breaths in and out, trying to calm the rapid pulse of my heart. It’s no use. My hands shake as I rummage through my purse for lip gloss, trying to silence the voices of defeat. Every five seconds, I look over my shoulder for my husband. Where is he?

When the worship band begins playing, I focus on the words.

Holy Spirit you are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere

Yes, God, yes. Your Spirit will get me through the next five minutes in front of a sea of faces.

I’ve committed to giving my testimony to our church congregation that morning, but as I watch person after person pour into the sanctuary, thoughts of self-doubt and defeat create an endless chatterbox in my mind. What was I thinking? I’m not a public speaker.

What if my story doesn’t resonate with people? What if my voice cracks and trembles?

I down an entire cup of water in between songs and look around for my husband again. He still isn’t there.

If I were a soldier, I would be the last person chosen to fight. But God doesn’t choose the worthy. He chooses the willing. Even when we stand in the face of doubt and timidity.

I’m reminded of the mighty warrior, Gideon, who isn’t so mighty the first time we see him. When an angel of the Lord appears to him, he doubts what the angel is telling him. When the angel gives him an assignment, he doubts his ability to do it.

At this point, surely the Lord will punish him or give the mission to someone else, right? One would think so. But that is not what God does. He is incredibly patient and understanding.

Gideon asks him not once, but three times, for assurance that his charge will be successful. Instead of becoming angry or frustrated, God fulfills every request.

Then Gideon said to God,

Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece…That night God did so. Judges 6:39 NIV (emphasis mine)

Gideon goes on to defeat an army that is described as being, “as thick as locusts,” riding camels that “could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore.” Judges 7:12 NIV.

Not only does he defeat them, but he does it with an army of only three hundred men. Three hundred men against an uncountable number of men.

That Sunday, as I sat trembling in my chair, I faced an army. But the army was not in the physical realm. I faced arrows of discouragement, self-doubt, and nerves that threatened to destroy me.

Do you know what God did? When I stepped out in obedience, he exchanged each arrow with assurance that he was there. He gave me confidence when my husband finally came in and grabbed my hand. He gave me calm as I stood in front of the congregation and a brother in Christ nodded his approval.

With each “Amen,” and “Mmhmm,” my nervousness eased away. And I was reminded that we do not serve a God who is quick to anger or turn away when we doubt.

We serve a God who reaches out his hand in love and says, “I’ll go with you,” as his Spirit carries us through the fire.

Today, if the arrows of doubt won’t stop, will you come before the throne of grace and seek his mercy? He will not turn away in anger or shame you with disdain.

He will wrap his mighty arms around you and shield you with his grace.

It’s #RaRaLinkup time! Click on the blue frog below to link your encouraging post on the NEXT PAGE. Let’s encourage each other and be encouraged. I’m excited to read your posts today!

1. Link up your inspiring & motivating post with the button below.
2. Feel free to grab the Kelly Balarie & Friends button to display on your blog.
3. If you don’t have a blog, leave your cheerleading encouragement in the comments.

Let’s lift him up!

Also, join our #RaRaLinkup Facebook page here to share prayer requests, encourage your writing sisters, and receive encouragement: RaRaLinkup Prayer Community.


*I’m also linking up with Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday

Because We Need to Know We Are Not Alone

 voice 2

I will never forget the moment when I finally got it. When it finally sank in. I was sitting on the couch of our 30th St. Rancher in Ogden, Utah reading The Purpose Driven Life with my husband. The opening chapter is aptly named, “It’s Not About You,” and those words changed my life.

I made the decision to follow Jesus while reading that book, and for the first time, I understood what that meant. Surrender. Seeing him in every decision I make, everything that I do. Putting Him front and center.

I had prayed the sinner’s prayer several times growing up. But I never got it. It was more of an emotional response than a life changing decision.

I also was petrified of getting up in front of hundreds of people to proclaim my faith to everyone.

Although I made the decision in the privacy of my home, the next day our pastor decided to end the service with an open baptism. Unannounced. As I looked at my husband, knowing what I should do, I was scared. But I also knew it was my time.

As the pastor lifted me up out of the water and asked me to proclaim my faith I looked out into the audience and tried to make out faces, but everything was a blur. The bright light made it difficult to see.

Although I can’t remember everything I said I do remember saying this: “I don’t have to be alone anymore.”

I have been passionate about writing for as long as I can remember, but for most of my life I never shared my writing with anyone. I blog because of the experience I had that night on the couch. I write because words matter, and because somewhere, someone thinks they’re alone in their struggles, their depression, their doubts and fears.

I write to scream in the loudest voice I have, “You are not alone.”

I write because it is my voice.


*This post was written for Five Minute Friday. A beautiful, bold group of writers who free write on one word each Friday. Today’s word was: because. Click the button below to learn more.

Forgiving the Unforgivable


As I sat cradled in the branches of the oak tree late that summer afternoon over twenty years ago, forgiveness was the last thing on my mind. Confusion, shame, fear…all of these emotions stirred within, creating a strange combination that made me want to vomit. A piece of my innocence was stolen that day. What happened affected how I would look at men and their advances. It would instill fear in my heart when my future children were absent from my watchful eye. I was changed in a way I never imagined or desired.

For the better part of my life, I sought answers. Most of the places I looked led me down a path further from the truth than where I began. I tried to numb the feelings of betrayal.

After years of trying to hide, to forget, to avoid any connection to my Maker, I finally turned to the Church for some answers. Initially, I found more uncertainty and doubt than comfort.

When trying to recover from an act against you which is so heinous you can barely speak of it, phrases like “seventy times seven” feel like a wet blanket. Although scriptural, in the first stages of healing they do not mend an aching soul or answer unresolved questions like “how,” “why” and “what does it look like?”

What I needed to hear was that I was loved. That’s it. That what happened was not because God had turned his back or forgotten the little girl that sat crying under wind swept boughs that afternoon. I needed an inkling of the depth and width embodied in “agape.”

After much time and restoration, I found a church where I grew and found compassion. God led me to some verses that changed my perspective on forgiveness. What I discovered is that to forgive didn’t mean what I thought it did. In Romans Paul recounts the words of the Lord, saying, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay.” (Romans 12:19 NIV

Forgiveness doesn’t excuse the evil done to me, but places its burden in hands that bled so that I may be set free.

Free from shame and bitterness. Free from anger.

Although I’ll never know whether my aggressor repented or not, through prayer, God changed my heart toward him in a way only He is capable of doing. I know he had access to the same throne of grace I come to day after day.

It is a process that does not happen overnight, but as God is my Strength, my Healer and Redeemer, it is possible to forgive the unforgivable.

He laments with you. He is your Advocate.

He will turn your oak of shame into an oak of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3), rooted deep in the abounding love of the One who sets captives free.

Surprised By Motherhood


Since the day my first son was born, motherhood has been full of irony and contradictions. I told myself I would give a natural birth and avoid an epidural, but a few hours into labor decided the anesthesiologist was my new best friend. I envisioned myself pushing and bearing my child into the world, but ended up getting cut open in an OR instead. During the midnight feedings I marveled at the tiny frame I carried for nine months and helped mold into existence, but was at the same time terrified that I was the life line, the person this boy’s life depended upon. There were times I wanted to pause the clock just for a moment or an hour so that I would have time to breathe in each moment of my son’s life which was moving so fast I barely had time to take notice. Other times I longed for the next phase when he would be more independent and able to perform routine tasks.

The paradox that amazed me the most about motherhood was while I lost a sense of who I was, in the process I learned more about myself than I had ever known.


Until becoming a mother, I had always been a very independent person. Or at least I thought I was. And although I am still stubborn and reluctant to listen to advice, I discovered how deeply I need community. I need other moms. I crave interaction and camaraderie and the knowledge that others are enduring the same struggles and sleepless nights. I want someone to tell me I’m not failing and even though it’s kneeling-at-the-feet-of-Jesus hard, I will get through it. I’m going to be ok. I love seeing my children interact with other kids and playing trains with someone other than me. I cannot live without these shared experiences. They give me life and keep me sane.

I spent over a year after my first child was born battling postpartum depression. After finally seeking counseling, I realized that my life isn’t about “me” at all. It’s all for Him. I spent years blindly thinking I was putting more distance between myself and God, and when I finally turned around, fell into the sea of Grace. And now, day after day, I pursue Him. And motherhood was the trigger that pushed me into surrender.

I rediscovered my passion for writing. I began sharing my writing in a way that I never dreamed possible or thought I would be capable of doing. I became braver than I ever knew I was or could be.

There’s no greater freedom than living a life completely surrendered to the One who created it.


*This post was written to celebrate the Lisa-Jo Baker’s book, Surprised By Motherhood, which is being released TODAY. Although I’ve only read the first three chapters, I can already tell this is going to be an amazing read. This is the type of book I wished I had when I became a mother. Honest, real, and vulnerable. Like receiving a hug from a long lost friend. You can find out more about the book at


When the Answer Doesn’t Come

As I lifted my dear family up in prayer one day in late September, my words seem to reverberate off the ceiling and back down to me. I couldn’t remember how long I’d been praying for him. Days, months, years, decades? Was I crazy to continue petitioning God for an answer that may never come? Was I truly interceding on behalf of this person or was I simply wishing for an ending that was impossible?


As these questions and doubts circled through my brain I remembered the words of Pastor Cymbala in his study, “When God’s People Pray.” He jokingly said the hardest part of the wait during any test or trial is the last thirty minutes. We want to give up. We don’t see a result and think persistence is futile, but sometimes the response is just one prayer away.

Our finite mind’s wait for an answer may seem never-ending, but our infinite God’s work has only begun. Tweet this!

So, with my limited understanding of God’s thoughts and ways, I continue to look upward. I pray because there have been times when I had no doubt that He had reached down and touched His hand on my life. Sometimes the answer is almost immediate.


About a year after moving to the area where we currently live, I went through a period when I felt extremely alone. We weren’t making new friends the way I thought we would. We were trying, but failing, to connect with our community, and I felt incredibly discouraged. I cried out to God one day and asked Him to show me he was there with me, to relieve this feeling of loneliness from my heart.


Within a half hour, I received an unexpected knock at my door. It was my neighbor and friend who I was beginning to know, and she stopping by to drop off some hand me down clothes for my boys. And to give me a hug. Although she’d never hugged me before, that day, when I needed an act of love so badly, she did. Coincidence? I don’t think so. God used a neighbor to show me He was there, and all I had to do was ask. 


Since that day, we’ve found a church home, formed new friendships, and are volunteering in numerous ways in our church and in the community. He has answered me in ways I never imagined. So regardless of whether the answer to my intercessory prayer is minutes away, years away, or in another lifetime, I will continue to call out in the name of Jesus. 

If you’re struggling through a difficult time right now and wondering whether God hears your cries for help, know that He does. Keep calling on Him. You could be a prayer away from an answer that will change your life.

Toward the Light

Darkness. It is a setting which existed even before the formation of the earth. Before there was light to oppose it, to shine into it. Before the two entities were separate, there was only dark. 

It only takes the tiniest bit of light to penetrate the dark. A candle, a flashlight. A kind word or an unexpected smile. But sometimes, we simply cannot see it. Our vision is obscured by negative thoughts, the seemingly futile circumstances surrounding us, and self condemnation. Our glass isn’t just half empty. It is bone dry.

For over a year after having my first child by means of an emergency c-section and losing my grandmother the following day, I lived in the dark. Although I’d battled a cycle of depression for most of my life, the events surrounding the birth of my son sent me into a pit so deep I thought I would never clamber out of it. I had a loving husband who treated me with the utmost respect and a beautiful child who was healthy and the most flawless thing I’d ever done, but none of it could permeate the desolation that followed me everywhere. We lived in a gorgeous area of Northern Utah surrounded by majestic mountains and vistas through every window of our home, but I felt as though I was living in a black hole.

Mental illness is not a subject which many people like to discuss. Some people shirk around it, try to make jokes and belittle the matter, and others simply ignore it. But it is real. It affects people in various ways and the symptoms are vast, but a chemical imbalance in the brain is not a condition you can simply snap out of or escape by just trying harder. No amount of busyness could improve my mood, and when caring for a newborn, there is plenty to do. 

At my six week check-up, I told my doctor about my emotional state and was prescribed an anti-depressant. Although I have heard of many success stories from people who take one regularly, it did not work for me. My state of depression progressed to nearly suicidal. I couldn’t sleep, I barely wanted to eat, and was dismally attempting to care for an infant in my zombie-like state. 

A year after my six-week check-up I had a regular OBGYN visit and my doctor noticed I was still suffering from PPD. He prescribed another pill, which gave similar results, and at that point I decided to see a therapist. For me, making the decision to talk to someone I didn’t know about my emotional and mental state was more scary that taking a medication which altered my brain. I was terrified. There was pain which I had buried so deep for so long that I was convinced that if it was brought to the surface I would crumple right there on the sofa in the patient room. But admitting you need help is not a sign of weakness. It shows strength. A faith in something you may not be able to see just yet.

I would be lying if I said it was easy. There were some fervent tears shed on that couch, but I can honestly say that seeking professional help was one of the first steps I took toward seeing the light again. I was able to cope with issues I kept hidden for most of my adult life and receive objective advice and perspective from someone who was not involved. Other steps forward were finding a supportive group of moms and reaching out to the community around me, becoming involved in our church and serving others. Each of these actions opened my eyes to the big, bright world around me. But the biggest step was surrendering all of my burdens to a God who is greater than my fears, anxiety, or self-loathing. He is a God of peace, love, and mercy.

For several years, I never shared this experience with anyone except for my closest friends and family. Now, I share with anyone who asks. I want people who feel as though the light will forever elude them to know there is hope. Even when you don’t see the light, it is still there.

I believe in a God who often uses medication and science to heal, but this method clearly didn’t work for me. Sometimes the most difficult step toward healing is admitting you need help. Saying no, I’m not fine, and being okay with that. The worst reaction you can have to depression or mental illness is to ignore it. Restoration begins with admission that there is a problem.

Acknowledging the dark is the first step toward seeing the light.

“‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John  8:12

A Path to Surrender

Today I am participating in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ blog hop as we study A Confident Heart by Renee Swope.  This is an online Bible Study which will be taking place over the next eight weeks.

This post’s topic is the point when I fully surrendered my life to Christ. Renee talks about this experience in her own life throughout chapter 3 of her book.

Reading Renee’s story, I found so many similarities between the two of us.  I spent much of my life looking to things other than a life surrendered to Christ to fill me and fulfill me.  Sex, drugs, alcohol, you name it.  I dated many different boys throughout high school and college, thinking that if I found the right relationship, I would be content.

Although I grew up in the church, I never fully understood that having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ also meant trusting him with my heart, relinquishing control, and having faith that his will for my life is always the best path. I left the church as a teenager because of anger toward God… anger because of the abuse that a dear friend had experienced at the hands of my childhood pastor, anger because of the drug addition my brother was, and still is, under the shadow of, anger at my parents for being enablers instead of enforcing consequences, anger at myself for never fitting into the cliques at youth group and school.

So I ran… I ran far away from God and tried to immerse myself into the college life, which for me mostly meant parties and boys. And drugs. Lots of alcohol. Some studying here and there.

One of the first major turning points in my life came when I met my husband. He reached his time of surrender a year before meeting me, and after going on only a few dates, I could picture myself marrying him. He was unlike any person I’d ever met. We married after about three years together and throughout that time I could feel God pursuing me. I began going to church every now and then. I sent up a prayer here and there. But I still wasn’t ready. I was trying to behave, to stay clean, to live a life I felt was worthy. Of what? I don’t know. I just didn’t get it. I couldn’t grasp what I was missing.

There were two major events which catapulted me into the realization that I needed God in the deepest way. That I would seek Him and find Him when I searched with all my heart. 

The first was a cross-country move to Utah. I had lived in the same place, Columbia, South Carolina, my entire life. Utah is very different culturally than the “Bible Belt” of the south. The second was the birth of my son, which coincided with the death of my grandmother, and sent me into a long battle with postpartum depression.

Anti-depressants left me feeling worse and unable to sleep in my already zombie-like state. Exercise helped my mood but couldn’t fill the void in my life.

God continued his pursuit of me. A series of messages entitled “God is Bigger…” at the church we’d been attending really resonated in my heart. A friend and follower of Jesus reached out. She didn’t look like the typical “Christian” that I’d stereotyped them to be. I finally admitted I needed help with my depression and began seeing a Christian therapist. 

I was sitting on the living room coach of our home in Utah, after putting our son to bed, reading “The Purpose Driven Life” with my husband when I made the decision to follow Jesus with everything that I had…heart, soul and mind. To live a life surrendered. It was time. There was a chapter where he extended an invitation and I took it. 

I made the choice to leave my life of ruins and come to the living water which never runs dry.

I remember the first chapter of that book hitting me like a freight train.  “It’s Not About You.” Wow. How convicting. How liberating. How freeing to not have to think about myself so much. To get over my own neurosis. To realize that I have a purpose that has nothing to do with my self-loathing and everything to do with glorifying the God of the Universe. A God who loves me and cares for me so much He sent his son to die in my place.

Since that day on November 10, 2009, I’ve realized that God is sovereign even when I don’t understand my circumstances. That despite my control-freak tendencies, my life is in his hands and there is freedom found in knowing He’s at the wheel. He is a big God who will reveal Himself to me when I earnestly seek Him.

It is a day by day process. There are so many distractions begging to divert my attention from the One who gives me peace. But I’m learning. Each step. Each leg of the race. I will keep my eyes on Him. I will let him mold me to become the woman He made to be.

P31 OBS Blog Hop