Anchored Voices is a collaborative blog founded by Chara Donahue where Christians can use their words and creativity to point each other to the God who cares. It was conceived to foster a hope-filled community where we can remind one another that when the waves of life hit—in Jesus, the soul is safe. You can read more from them at AnchoredVoices.com.
Boldness is probably about one of the last words that anyone would ever use to describe me. I am the most introverted, least likely to ruffle feathers, go with the flow kind of person, and always have been. Occasionally, I will speak up boldly when something is really important to me and if the conditions are exactly right, and I am comfortable with the people around me. Even growing up as the oldest of four children, I mostly let my siblings dictate what would happen. Recently I discovered that I am a 9 on the Enneagram, the “people pleaser” and as I slowly learn more about what this means, I am realizing more and more how true this is of me.
Over a year ago, I boldly left my comfort zone at a job I had for fifteen years to follow where I felt God was calling me. In some ways, even as scary as this was, I trusted that things would fall into place, not thinking that God would lead me on a journey to the wilderness, unlike anything I had imagined. Things didn’t even go remotely as planned, and that’s when my faith and my prayers had to become bold.
This last year of my life has been anything but easy. It has also been the time of my life when I have been most real with God. Gone are the timid, safe prayers, as I realize He is there for me, He created me, He knows what I’m going through, and I can be real with Him more than any other. There have been many questions, words of frustration, a lot of “Fix it, Jesus.” What is Your plan in this?,” and “Help me understand.”
I know that my Savior can handle my messy life and messy faith. I know that because of the blood of Jesus, I can boldly approach His throne and be my real self, bringing confusion, fears, as well as laughter and tears. I was reminded of this blessing recently when I was reading Exodus.
In a way, Moses was the middle man in God’s plan for his people. When Pharaoh refused to let the people go, God spoke to Moses, who then told Aaron to tell the people. Again, on Mount Sinai, only Moses could be in the presence of God as He gave the ten commandments. The people had to trust God through Moses and Aaron as they escaped slavery and seemed to be aimlessly wandering in the desert. We often fault them for failing and not trusting, yet how often do I do the same, even when I have the privilege of going directly to the Father myself?
In Exodus 28, Aaron was named as High Priest, the middle man between the people and God. When Jesus came to earth, died on the cross, and resurrected as a sacrifice from God the Father for us, Jesus became the final High Priest. This means, that because of Jesus, we have access to the throne of God. Jesus intercedes for us. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.”
God often uses music in my life, to put into words what I’m thinking and feeling, or to teach me more of who He is and who He has created me to be. The song Boldly I Approach by Rend Collective has been on repeat in my life lately. The words demonstrate the love that Jesus has for us and how blessed we are to approach the throne of God.
“By grace alone somehow I stand
Where even angels fear to tread
Invited by redeeming love
Before the throne of God above
He pulls me close with nail- scarred hands
Into his everlasting arms…
Boldly I approach Your throne
Blameless now I’m running home
By your blood I come
Welcomed as your own
Into the arms of majesty.”
Because of this truth, I can boldly approach my Father in prayer, bringing my real self, not having to make things pretty and pleasing to people. I know that Jesus is interceding for me through my confusion, yet my faith is becoming more real and secure at the same time. Life may not look like I thought it would, but I can boldly move into whatever the future holds. I’m hoping for less desert and more promised land, but even if God has more wandering ahead, I know He hears, sees, and cares for me. Day by day God conquers fear and shows himself trustworthy. Day by day He makes my faith bold.
Karly Grant is a 30-something, single, Enneagram 9, follower of Jesus who likes to keep life entertaining and real. The circumstances of the last few years of her life have held many twists and turns, but she can’t wait to see where God leads. She has a heart for adoption and is waiting to see where the Lord guides her on this path. She can often be found in a coffee shop, curled up with a good book, or spending quality time laughing and having fun with her family and friends.
As a Christian, anytime the word “home” is mentioned, I tend to think long-term, as in our heavenly “home”.
But what do we do with the time we’ve been given right now? What should our earthly home look like?
As my friends and siblings are beginning their own families, I fondly remember the home I grew up in. It was a place that was filled with hospitality: hungry teenagers, sleepovers, parents who encouraged us to invite friends over. I grew up in a home where my parents loved Jesus, and they couldn’t help but want to love on all our friends. My parents took us to church, prayed with us, and ultimately, discipled us.
I share this free print today to encourage your heart, dear friend. If you have little people running at your feet, these are your small disciples. The Great Commission, found in Matthew 28:16-20, says go and make disciples. And to the young parents who are now at home on a Friday or Saturday night, knee-deep in diapers and bottles, bedtimes and Bible stories, simple prayers and sleepless nights, this is my encouragement to you.
These little people, gifted by God, are your disciples. Pray for them, read God’s Word to them. Show them what it means to love Jesus. The seeds of truth you plant when they are young have the opportunity, Lord-willing, to grow into flourishing adults who love Jesus with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. You may not have it all together; heck, you may feel hopeless at times. But your faith in the Lord is not wasted. It is imprinted into the hearts of those you are raising. I know this to be true, as I am living proof of Jesus-loving, God-fearing parents.
Print this verse out, hang it up, and let it remind you that your work at home is not unnoticed. Your greatest gift to your children is to raise them up loving and knowing Jesus, who will always, always, lead them “home”.
Click Here for your free 11 X 8.5 print.
SARAH DOHMAN IS A NURSE, KAYAK ENTHUSIAST, COFFEE ADDICT, MICROBREW LOVER, GLOBETROTTER, ADORER OF FRIENDS AND FAMILY. SHE HAS A WEAKNESS FOR DONUTS, RUNS IN 5K RACES, AND CANNOT GET ENOUGH TEA AND BOOKS. SHE LOVES WRITING MORE THAN TALKING (AND SHE TALKS A LOT), CAN BE SEEN AT TARGET FREQUENTLY, AND IS LOVING LIFE IN HER THIRTIES. SHE BELIEVES GOD HAS CALLED HER TO THIS SPACE TO BRING JOY AND ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH WORDS TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY, NEAR AND FAR. YOU CAN FIND MORE FROM SARAH ON HER BLOG OR ON INSTAGRAM.
I’ve always been fascinated by the people in my life who really know who they are. Unapologetically, yet with much love and grace, they know their purpose, are rarely swayed by another’s opinion of them, and move through life with ease. These people always have incredible stories filled with heartbreak and desperation, followed by a Jesus-in-the-mix miracle. Anyone who has met Jesus in a pit and has been launched out by him knowst, we are never the same afterward.
My life has been a rollercoastery battle of being confident in who I am and tumbling off into the abyss because one person who doesn’t actually know me gave me a critique. Identity does some wonky things to our hearts when placed in the wrong spaces, and I am no stranger to this. I look back over the tapestry of my life and can mark those places Jesus weaved beauty from chaos, intricate lines of fragile lace yet stronger when woven together. I see my self-identified markers of hopeless, broken, flawed, unworthy, and unloved, followed by all of my Jesus-in-the-mix miracles.
Circumstances, roles, and seasons of our lives are loud yet flawed indicators of who we are. If you’re anything like me, you get caught up in the area God has you: wife, friend, mother, leader… and suddenly things that should never hold your identity now do. When ugly moments in life bump up against your specific identity-held role (as they will), don’t you get rocked back a little harder, take it a little more personally?
When we cling to the identity of what we do rather than who we belong to, those ugly moments feel a lot like fuel to the fire already brimming in your heart. Those roles we place our identity in not only are a source of excitement and purpose for our flesh, they are the strongest source of insecurity in our souls.
I was studying the book of Ruth (side note: don’t you just love finding Jesus all over the Old Testament? It’s one of my favorite areas to study) and found myself relating to Naomi in profound ways. She went against the grain traveling to Moab through the wilderness from the Promised Land—the exact opposite direction of how Israel was delivered, searching for provision in a famine. Every time we look to something else – a role, person, circumstance, addiction – rather than to Jesus to satisfy the longing of our heart, we begin that backward wilderness walk searching for provision, just like Naomi. They sought after provision not fully trusting Jehovah Jireh—God our Provider.
Jesus takes a pretty loud stance and proclaims to the crowd surrounding Him a vital piece of his identity. In John 6:35 we see the scene unfold, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
It is in this very statement Jesus claims that He is our provision, the One we need to satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst in this life. The same Jesus born in the city of Bethlehem, which means “house of Bread”. From the very beginning, Jesus has always been our breadwinner: the provider of our every need, our every hurt, our every twisted moment that tries to take a stake in the ground of our identity.
The Israelites would have understood this picture after growing up hearing stories of their ancestors receiving provision in the wilderness, He gave them bread from Heaven to eat. Ancestors who even with this miraculous provision questioned God’s goodness, doubted their journey, and continued wandering the desert for 40 years. The Israelites saw themselves as slaves, incapable of experiencing the goodness of God—labeling themselves unworthy. What labels have you given yourself that God has never given you?
After 5 years of infertility and now having a child in our home through foster care, I am forever grateful for the hard identity work God helped me through. For 5 years I lost my worth as a woman because my womb was barren, thinking “my body can’t even do the one thing it was created to do!” In that moment, Jesus whispered something that changed my life: “You were created to love and worship me.” Love him. Worship him. These are two things that this body can do no matter how broken it feels. I am God’s beloved. I am chosen. I am redeemed. I am strong. I am worthy. I am forgiven. I had to repeat my own “I Am” statements that God has given each one of us throughout His Word to begin replacing all the lying labels I placed on myself through my hurt.
Now I have the opportunity to teach a 9-year-old boy about his identity, when he struggles to know who he truly is. When we operate out of brokenness, we say statements in pain. When this sweet boy shouts my biggest insecurity, “You’re not my real mom. You’re not even a mother!”, I am able to love him well through his pain. This statement did not rock me, not one bit, because I know my identity is not placed in the role of mother. Or infertile woman. Or wife. Or friend. Or leader. My identity is held in the Provision, the Bread of Life, the One who satisfies.
When you begin to learn who Jesus is, the twisty brokenness from someone else inspires your compassion, not your anger. When you recognize Jesus as Provider, you can breathe a big sigh of relief knowing that He has already provided you your identity—you didn’t earn it, you don’t have to work for it, you don’t have to pay for it. It’s already been covered.
My prayer for you is that the circumstance or role in your life that popped up as soon as you began reading this,, the area that holds more claim in your heart than it should, would begin to be surrendered. Look to Jesus and let Him provide the marker of who you are, to who you belong, and that you may see His provision through every forward step to the Promised Land.
Brittney is a married, 30-something, laid down lover of Jesus. She writes at her blogand is full of book recommendations, recipes, and laughter, she chases the things that bring her joy in the margin. Married for 6 years, trying to conceive for 4, Brittney has found herself passionate about encouraging women on the infertility journey through raw transparency and clinging to Jesus. Always seeking laughter and purpose in the pain, Brittney jumps at the chance to do the wild things Jesus asks her to do.