Fear: The New Brave

My adult children and I communicate almost daily—via Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, or text. It’s a daily practice that we’ve developed to keep tabs on each other and to know that everyone is alive and well. With my business travel, my daughter’s various travel nurse assignments, and my son’s work throughout the valley and state, it works for us.  If more than two days pass without any communication, I will often text, “Are you still alive?” This is usually followed by a quick “Yes, Mom…Just busy with work,” and I breathe a silent sigh of relief.

However, nothing can strike fear in my heart as when my phone rings at midnight or later and caller ID shows one of them calling. Good news isn’t usually delivered at that hour. I’m immediately wide awake and ready to rush to wherever they may be. One memorable moment: “Mom, the tornado sirens are going off and we’re taking cover in the basement of our apartment building. I don’t know what’s going on but I’m scared.” It was my daughter, who was more than three hours away from me. I tried calming her as I followed the tornado’s path online and on the Weather Channel. Texting became the best option to stay connected. My heart was racing. And I felt intensely helpless.

Fear has a way of bringing out the part of us that we don’t want seen—helplessness, hurt, rejection, not being in control.  Fear will lie about the truth and tell a different truth that isn’t truth at all:

I’m not good enough.

             I’m not equipped to do that. 

                        She’s so much better than I; more blessed than I.

                                     I can’t…

But God can.

And He will, if we let Him work in us and through us. It’s not about us, anyway. Not our glory. All for His glory. Always and only His glory. With this promise and knowledge, do I still get fearful? Yes! However, I’m reminded of how God told Joshua, not once but three times, to be courageous (Josh.1:6-7, 9) and this gives me comfort. God knows we will become fearful and yet it doesn’t have to be a negative thing or a place we stay. In fact, fear may just be the “new brave” because no brave person has not known fear. In our fear, we find strength we never knew we had. Strength from the One whose strength alone is all we need. In our weakness, He is strong (2 Cor.12:9-11).

Today, my daughter lives about 20 hours away from me, as she works in another country for the next three months. I’m learning and sharing with her that fear can be healthy when we give it to the One who can do something about it. Every time we give our fear to Him, He puts it to rest so we can move forward in His grace and for His glory. Every brave soul has faced fear. The brave just choose to give their fear to Christ, and then rest in His promise to “fear not (Is.35:4).



What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Do you have that one safe friend?

I have lots of friends, good friends, but there was a time in my life when I didn’t have one particular person who was committed to the role of being that one safe friend. Why? FEAR. The fear that I wouldn’t measure up, fear of not fitting in, fear that I would disappoint…and biggest of all, fear of being hurt.

Fear pushes us around.

That period of my life feels like a lifetime ago and yet I still need to remain alert to fear attempting to shake my faith and push me towards isolating myself from others. Can you relate? I’ve come to the conclusion that I need, we need—no matter our status in life—someone whom we can trust enough to be transparent, authentic, and vulnerable. Someone who will reach out to us consistently, who will encourage us, comfort us, laugh with us, and weep with us (Rom.12:10, Eph.4:32, 1 Thess.5:11).

It’s not that there won’t be several people who could do this for you, but without someone specific to take on that responsibility, you may find yourself in a crowded room, with no one. Being that one safe friend doesn’t take an unusual skill set, nor is it someone who has all the answers. It does need to be someone who is a good listener, someone who is caring and empathetic, and someone who understands you and understands the core challenges of life, regardless of the setting (2 Cor.1:4). It’s not an unusual skill set, but neither is it common to everyone.

Love leads gently on.

Don’t assume that people will come knocking at your door to be that one special friend…maybe because they doubt your need or their ability to fill that role. So if you’re looking, what should you look for? What should you expect from that friend? Here are some suggestions:

  1. That one safe friend will be safe (obvious, huh?) and contact you regularly. You will be able to tell your friend the candid, unfiltered truth. This happens through consistent contact, not in a passing Sunday morning “How are you?’” Your friend will not share with others your private conversations without your permission, unless there are special circumstances that involve danger to yourself or others. Choose someone who you know is good at keeping confidences.
  1. That friend will ask questions, lots of questions, starting with “How are you?” and going much further and deeper. The questions will be based on a firm understanding of who you are. Of course your relationship will go both ways, and you will invest in your friend’s life as well.
  1. That friend will pray for you and with you…OFTEN…and consistently direct you to God’s Word. Your friend will know your heart and seek to not give you his or her opinion, but point you to the Word to experience God’s power, promises, and provisions. Your friend will make it a habit to carry you to God in prayer, voicing your needs and concerns.

There are many examples of “that special friend” in the Bible: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Paul and Timothy, to name a few. However, the only perfect and greatest friend of believers, who promises to never leave or forsake us, is Jesus Christ. What a friend we have in Jesus!

Best Ever

It’s summer, it’s hot, and the kids are home from school. The big question in many families is: What are we doing for vacation? I remember as a child, vacation meant long car rides to a destination with my siblings as I crammed into the station wagon…the 70’s version of a minivan but way smaller. My mom would pack the ice chest with enough food to feed an army, my dad would make sure the car had a full tank of gas and was ready for the road. Why did we travel this way? Because it was the budget friendly way to travel with 5 kids. I don’t think it was the intention of my parents to “make memories” but in their ordinary, everyday parenting, they created long-lasting memories.

Once I had my own family, I wanted to be intentional about making memories with my children. One special memory that my now adult children still call the BEST VACATION EVER was our Disney cruise. Disney World is pretty amazing but the cruise takes it to the ultimate. However, beyond the obvious Disney experience, one of the best and long-lasting memories of this trip was not about the trip at all.

Managing my “teacher salary” budget to afford such an adventure taught us three life principles about money. First, deciding to spend it now or later requires wisdom (Prov.21:5, 20). Second, investing in the future requires planning and patience (Luke 14:28; Prov.13:11). Finally, it’s important not to take your eyes off the goal and squander money (Luke 12:15; Prov.6:6-8).

Giving your family the best possible experiences and memories doesn’t have to be extravagant or cost a fortune. What is does require is remembering God owns it all, being a good steward of what He has provided, and wisdom and patience to live with God’s will and timing.


Cracked Pots Make the Best Parents

As the mother of two adult children, this month’s post on truth is a timely and intriguing one. My daughter Jessica came home last week for a short visit. We always have a great time together and when my son Durrell joins us, it often makes me think of those early days of parenting.

In my unrealistic quest to be “the best parent ever,” I held my children and myself to some really unrealistic expectations. Along the way, I realized these expectations were not because they were the right or best way, but more about how I thought it made me look to others.

Truth: Perfect parenting leaves no room for the power and grace of God. Instead, everything is about performance. When we aren’t perfect as parents, we have to create the illusion that our kids are. 2 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” The point is that Christ’s power is demonstrated best through cracked pots. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Him and nobody would see Him shining through our cracks. So take heart—crackpots make the best parents.

The older our kids get, the more they see our imperfections. Eventually, our defects will be on full display and failing to admit our failures (especially when they are so obvious) only serves to drive a wedge between our kids and us. So, what’s the best way? Truth—with yourself, with your kids, and especially before God. (Ps.25:5; 86:11)

Truth: Parenting is hard, humorous, complicated, messy, heartbreaking, filled with peer pressure, yet one of the greatest joys in life.

I would like to think I was a great parent when my children were young; the truth is, I’m just glad we survived it all and I still have their love, friendship, and the occasional piece of great advice they offer for my own life. Today, as I look at their lives, I see my days of parenting in the flesh (“Do what I say because I’m your mother!”) are over because they are adults. Now, it’s time to parent them in the Spirit. Earnestly and consistently praying for them and trusting God to do what I cannot do and believing He will.

The Good Life

There is this popular idea in our world today that the best thing that could happen to you would be to win the lottery. Then you could spend the remainder of your days on a beach somewhere, living the “good life.” But nothing could be further from the truth. Interestingly, many people end up going broke within a few years of winning.

 “What if the life you wanted was actually right in front of you?”

A year and half ago, I transitioned to working part-time. I thought I had prepared and planned for everything. However, I discovered there was still one big shift I hadn’t planned for… silencing the call of my desires. My desire for shopping and other material indulgences seemed perfectly fine to me, especially since I didn’t have anyone to take care of but myself. Although my spending habits have never been extravagant, I did enjoy this newfound freedom. However, as I settled into my new lifestyle and income, I became increasingly aware that the end game as a Christian is not about acquiring more and more material goods and wealth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

It is dying to self and living for Christ.

This change in my lifestyle is more than just a journey to own less stuff and live for Christ. It’s about not allowing myself to fall into the trap of how society defines success—brand name clothing, price of your car, square footage of your house, dollars in your bank account, even the model of your cellphone. Too often, those who make, spend and keep the most resources for themselves are labeled as the “successful ones.”


It’s quite the contrary in the economy of the Kingdom: it all comes down to dying to self and living for Christ (Gal.2:20; 2 Cor.5:17). This simple yet essential truth changes hearts and minds. For me, it has meant a shift from being rooted in the nebulous idea of what I wanted to accomplish, into a new approach to life that is fueled by the excitement of being known and used by God. Each day, I have the opportunity to see life through this lens and everything has changed. In fact, it infuses meaning into everything I do from the seemingly mundane to the obviously profound.


Lord, my life is not my own, what would you have me do?”




Wisdom in Parenting

Parenting is a commitment of epic proportions! As parents, we spend our days accomplishing a vast list of important (and not so important) things. Just consider the sheer volume of resources available to “help” us in our parenting duties. There are books that deal with ADD, bedtime, discipline, defiance, curfew, complaining, bed-wetting, biting, finances, friends, fighting in the car (yes, there is an entire book on automobile arguments!), manners, media, potty training…you name it!

When my children were young, I was often left wondering, “Will I make it through this day alive and sane?” Now, as an empty-nester, I can’t help but wonder how it all happened so fast!  Although the necessary duties fill our days, there is something spiritual about our parenting that often gets lost in the mundane.

How can parents capture a glimpse of eternity in the midst of the ordinary in order that they will not merely spend their hours, but invest their days?

  1. Abandon the idea of perfect parenting.
    • When you fail, ask for forgiveness.
    • Stop trying to impress everyone; including yourself!
    • Kill the “Super-Parent” lie and ask for help!
    • Live an honest and authentic life before your child.
  1.   Determine to worry less and pray more.
    • Set aside time each day for a few minutes of prayer and quiet reflection.
    • When a difficult situation arises, choose to pray for wisdom and strength before acting.
    • Write out prayers or Scriptures and place them around your home for encouragement.
    • Pray with and for your child.
  1. Talk with (not at) your child every day.
    • Look at your child in the eyes when speaking.
    • Be aware of what is not being said; ask questions that will allow your child to share his or her heart.
  1. Give your child a strong sense of identity.
    • Share your faith journey with your child.
    • Tell your child stories of your family’s history and heritage.
    • Offer words of blessing to your child at meals and before dropping them off at school or special events.
    • Speak positive words about and to your child.

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”—Proverbs 3:5-6

I Surrender All

According to Forbes magazine, Bill Gates reclaimed his #1 ranking as the richest man in the world. He’s worth a reportedly $72.7 billion dollars! If Bill Gates were a country, he would be the 37th wealthiest country on earth. If he lives to be 90 years old, he needs to spend $6 million dollars a day to exhaust his wealth. How do you spend that much money daily? If he gave everyone on earth $10, he would still be worth $2.6 billion. He has also given away about $28 billion to eradicate childhood diseases in third world countries.

So, why do I share this opening paragraph? Because even though in a worldly sense it sounds impressive, his wealth and generosity, when compared to the wealth and riches of God, makes him a pauper. Everything he is and has was created by God, and all of his life—and ours—is sustained by, gifted by, and held together by the generosity of God.

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”—Colossians 1:16-17

This perfect picture of the generosity of God oftentimes collides with the default position of our hearts: complaining about what we don’t have or think we deserve versus what He has already generously lavished upon us (Eph.1:7; 1 Pet.1:3-4).

As I learn to pursue a simpler and surrendered life, I see how I have been conditioned to behave like everyone else and take good things (career success, love, family, material possessions, etc.) and make them idols in my heart; unknowingly thinking that they can give me significance and security, safety and fulfillment, is a lie. It’s a societal sickness and one of misplaced priorities that can only be healed by a heart transformed by Christ that daily seeks Him. So, I will share with you the questions I ask myself and seek to make a habit of:

  • Do I own anything that I would not be willing to part with if God were to take it from me or ask me to give it to another?
  • Do I give generously, sacrificially, and gladly give to the Lord’s work and to others in need?
  • Am I a wise steward of the material resources God has entrusted to me?
  • Do I view God as my provider and the source of all my material possessions?
  • Do I give my tithes and offerings to the Lord before I pay my bills or spend my income?
  • Am I content with the material resources God has given me?

As we wrestle with this issue in our lives, let us keep the eternal perspective that will always take us back to our true mission and purpose on this earth: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.


Kimberly Allen serves as the Children’s Ministry Director and Ministry Administrator. She is the mother of two adult children.

Letting Go

Every Thursday on Facebook is “Throwback Thursday.” It’s a weekly movement for Facebook followers to reminisce in pictures about a particular time or event in the past. Often, you will find funny and cute school pictures and videos, impromptu family gatherings or “that picture” of yourself that you thought you had hidden away…until your mom posts it. Almost every week, I find myself sifting through the baby books and photos of my two children, now ages 28 and 26, hoping to find a picture of them or us to post. There are my favorites: the first day of school, vacations, and those cute baby pictures. It’s amazing how a picture can capture so many memories and fill my heart with so much emotion.

However, gone are the Legos, Barbies, and picture books. My children have grown up, moved out, and are now amazing adults pursuing careers and relationships. So, how does a parent let go and give them the freedom they need and crave? To parents who are watching their children sprout wings of independence, God gives strong direction followed by a powerful promise.

Strong Direction: our job as parents is to teach.

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut.11:18-19 NIV).

Followed by a promise: as we let go, we need to trust our children will hang on to God.

“Teach your children to choose the right path, and when they are older, they will remain upon it” (Prov.22:6 NLT).

Teach and then trust. Parenting is a divine partnership, with God as the controlling partner. Our acts of obedience to teach our kids merge powerfully with His promises to carry them through to the end. We need to trust God to finish the work He has begun in them. The work may not be evident immediately, and there will be bumps in the road, but teaching and then trusting helps this mommy’s heart to let go.


Change. Everything around us is constantly changing—the seasons, the weather, circumstances, people, and finances.  When I think about the many changes I’ve made in my life, it’s dizzying! As I consider fluctuations and uncertainties of life, the sharp contrast of the character of the Lord comes to mind.  That the Lord does not change is not a topic I often dwell on, but one that has significant implications for the way I approach my life, finances, and the things I know to be true.  As I enter this phase of my life, making some career decisions that will impact me financially, I have to slow my thoughts and pace to remember who God is and that His promises are true…. always and forever. This leads me to trust in God’s immutability. The word, immutability, is one of those big, fancy words that simply means: unchangeable.

God does not change; He isn’t altered; He isn’t in process; HE IS as He has always been and always will be. It’s an important truth to remember in the ups and downs of life, especially when it comes to financial change. In the midst of circumstances that are difficult and incomprehensible, resting in the character of the Lord doesn’t always feel like I’m standing on solid ground. But I must remember that His will never changes, the direction of His actions remains constant, and yet He is active and moving within the circumstance. So, when I begin to think, “What if?” and “Will I have enough?” the unchanging nature of the Lord offers me a foundation to reframe my thoughts and understanding in His Word.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to Him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”—Matthew 6:25-33(NLT)

 I have no reference to immutability in my life. Everything I see, everyone I know, every part of my life experience is changing and in process. What that means is that it’s not a natural jump to rest on something that is changeless. However, when I seek God’s will and trust God’s promises, I can take comfort and confidence in my Lord, which allows me to reject a fearful spirit and develop a thankful attitude in all circumstances.