‘Fraidy Cat Confessions is moving!

Hello again, faithful confessers! It’s been a long time since I posted an affirmation, and I’m sorry for the lag. But I want to let you all know that I’ve moved ‘Fraidy Cat Confessions to a dedicated website. I’m still feeling my way around – HTML is not yet my friend – so I ask your patience with the changing layout. But the content is the same!

Please go sign up for new posts and encouragement to live outside of fear. Leave comments, prayer requests, and confessions at shelleyring.com. I look forward to seeing you there!

Keep confessing the truth!

He keeps every promise forever

Twenty-one years ago, God promised me a son. Fourteen years ago today, when my husband and I said our vows, He kept that promise with my stepson. I’ll call him the biggest big. At 6’5″ and still growing, he’s much bigger than any big I know! I didn’t realize it at the time, but this biggest big would become one of the biggest blessings in my life. (Okay, I didn’t mean to do that. God must have something BIG in mind for us today, huh?) Anyway, this big has become my son in every way, and I love him to pieces.

Then four and a half years ago, God kept His promise again by giving me another son, the biggest little. Abundant blessings! (Talking of abundance, He gave me a surprise blessing with my daughter, the littlest little. I can’t leave her out of this because she reminds me of today’s confession with every smile.)

God has kept other promises in my life, but sadly I haven’t recorded most of them. One of the things I’d like to start with my littles is a sort of altar to the Lord, where we keep a basket of rocks with numbers on them and a notebook nearby. Each time a promise is realized, we’ll write a number on a rock and record it in the notebook. What better way to remember His faithfulness? (And thanks to my Bible study teacher for this idea.) I’m still waiting on some promises to be fulfilled, but I know He’ll do it. So today’s confession speaks to that (and to the ‘K’ in our line of affirmations).

He keeps every promise forever.

According to Psalm 146:6, God is a promise-keeper. He’s a heart-keeper. He’s a spirit-keeper. In other words, He keeps us in such an all-encompassing way we can’t wrap our brains around it in this life. He keeps every promise forever. I encourage you to start a notebook and record the promises He’s kept to you. I’m going to go celebrate another one: my wedding anniversary with the man He promised to me. Keep confessing, y’all!

What promises has God kept in your life?

Names of Jesus reposted from Chief of the Least

Hey, gang. I’m taking today to repost something from fellow blogger Bryan Daniels at Chief of the Least. It fits well with our affirmations, and I love that Bryan included the Scripture reference for each name.

Take a few minutes today to look up some of these verses, then confess the truth out loud. And check out Chief of the Least for more fantastic insights.

AND HE SHALL BE CALLED:

God (Hebrews 1:8)

Son of God (John 1:34)

Wonderful Counselor (Isaiah 9:6)

Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)

Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8)

I AM (John 8:58)

Savior (2 Peter 1:1)

Creator of all things (Colossians 1:16)

Upholder of all things (Hebrews 1:3)

Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8)

The Word (John 1:1)

The Image of the Invisible God (Col 1:15)

The Brightness of God’s glory (Hebrew 1:15)

The Wisdom and Power of God (1 Cor 1:24)

The Lord from Heaven (1 Cor 15:47)

Son of Man (Mark 10:33)

The Great Prophet (Luke 7:16)

The Great Apostle (Hebrews 2:1)

Righteous Servant (Isaiah 53:11)

Messiah (John 4:25)

Anointed (Psalm 2:2)

Lamb Of God (John 1:29)

The Bridegroom (Matt 9:15)

Jehovah’s Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7)

The Door of the Sheep (John 10:7)

Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2)

True Vine (John 15:1)

Tree of Life (Rev 2:7)

Bread of God (John 6:33)

Light of the world (John 8:12)

Sun of Righteousness (Mal 4:2)

Horn of Salvation (Luke1:69)

The Rock (1 Cor 10:4)

The Foundation (1 Cor 3:11)

The Temple (Rev 21:22)

The Altar (Heb 13:10)

Great High Priest (Heb 4:14)

Mediator (1 Tim 2:5)

Intercessor (Hebrews 7:25)

The Resurrection (John 11:25)

Last Adam (1 Cor 15:45)

Holy One (Acts 2:27)

Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10)

Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Righteous Judge (2 Tim 4:8)

King of Kings (Revelation 17:14)

Lord of Lords (Revelation 17:14)

The Way, The Truth and The Life (John 14:6)

Jesus Christ

Does one of Jesus’ names speak more to you than the others? Why?

Nothing is impossible with God

The last two weeks have been an interesting time in my house. For the first time ever, I’ve battled panic attacks that threaten to lay me flat on the floor, gasping for air, sure my heart is going to come to a dead stop. Or I’ve nearly climbed the walls with anxiety that sends adrenaline soaring and blood screaming through my veins. The only thing that keeps me from showing this panic to my children is reciting Psalm 23. I’ve also watched my four-year-old son scream, unable to catch his breath, and almost throw up in fear. I have no idea what he’s afraid of, but it seems to control almost every move.

I make light of my own panic because there’s really no reason for it. (Not that the realization stops my fear, but it is true. Forget what seems to be real; the truth is that I have not been given a spirit of fear. Realizing it and confessing it is the first step to making it real for me.) But seeing it in my child is a different matter. Fear – and overcoming it – is hard enough inside my own head. How do I teach my son to recognize the truth and fight against the fear?

The only way I know is to speak the truth over him, over our entire family. We move forward with normal activities, and if I have to leave him with a Sunday school teacher or a Bible study teacher, I pray and trust God to take care of him. Doing this, I’ve seen the fear we both experience recede. I love today’s confession (the ‘I’ in our alphabet of confessions) because it speaks to the myriad of reasons I battle breathtaking fear.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Do you really believe this? We serve the God of the impossible. What are your dreams or goals? What are your wildest prayers? Here are a few of mine, and what I think of when I pray them.

Establish a successful storytelling career? Impossible.

Raise happy, healthy, Jesus-loving children in a world of pride, excess, and indulgence? Impossible.

Banish all forms of fear, and embrace the future and the hope He plans for me? Impossible.

But nothing is impossible with God. Luke 1:37 says so. For that reason, I’ll continue confessing the truth over myself and my family. My God will make a way, and the impossible will become possible. Beyond that, the possible will become achievable. Nothing is impossible with God.

What impossible things have you seen God do lately?

He is the Lord who heals me

I told my sister this morning that being an adult is far harder than I thought it would be. Must we choose between our dreams and reason?

When I was younger, I watched my mom and dad do the things parents do. I never wondered if they had dreams, but I wonder now. They went to work, probably paid all the bills, cooked meals, cleaned the house, set healthy boundaries for us, and generally gave me a wonderful, wholesome, sheltered childhood. They argued, but they laughed too. I remember game nights (Scrabble from the vantage point of Dad’s lap, anyone?) and bacon waffles for dinner. I remember feeling safe. Loved. Unafraid.

Then I grew up and realized I had to do what they did. And I might have to choose between my dream or living responsibly.

I’ve been editing my second novel and trying to get started on the path of public speaking while taking care of two littles who are by nature demanding, loud, and cuter than anything I’ve ever seen. Is the responsible thing to continue pursuing my dream, believing God will show favor? Or am I to abandon it and the faith that I can do all things through Jesus Christ? Life is uncertain. I struggle with depression, discouragement, anger, and a boatload of disbelief.

But I don’t have to live with it.

Today’s confession is important because it proclaims the truth about God’s power and promise in light of my struggles. Exodus 15:26 says, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

The first part of that is important because it leads to the second part. It tells me what I have to do to get the promise. If I listen carefully to the voice of the Lord my God. Do what is right in His sight. Obeying His commands and keeping His decrees. The promise is protection. And today’s confession is deliverance.

He is the Lord who heals me.

Whatever my struggle, He is the Lord who heals me. Uncertainty, depression, discouragement, anger or doubt, none of these things are bigger than my God. He is the Lord who heals me. Whatever you fight today, know that God is capable and desires to heal you. Confess the truth and keep the faith that He loves you and wants to bring bountiful blessings to you. Then step out in that faith and expect them to happen.

What is your big dream? Are you doing something to make it happen?

The Lord is my deliverer

It is late and my family sleeps. (Well, my littlest little fusses in bed, but she’s supposed to be asleep.) The night is dark, quiet, seemingly peaceful, but I know…

Women in my own city – in every city across the world – are held in bondage.

Children lie terrified in their beds.

Men sit with their hands fisted in their hair, fighting the urge to do something drastic to make a little money for their families.

We need deliverance, and it feels more urgent now than ever before by listening to people. We’re looking for someone to rescue us from the pain, hopelessness, and fear.

My husband and I watched The Hunger Games movie today. I’ve read the books, but one line from the movie reached out and snared me. I don’t remember if it’s in the book. President Snow says, “There is one thing stronger than fear. Hope.”

Like many people, it is at night that fear grips my heart hardest. With an unrelenting hold, it flashes my worst nightmares in front of my mind’s eye. It tells me I’m not enough, I’ll never make it, and my family will suffer unspeakable pain. I might listen but for the still small voice that nudges me to hope.

What a powerful drug hope is. It encourages us to keep going, to fight against all odds. It picks us up by the bootstraps and kicks us in the pants. That still small voice carries the promise of hope to my spirit. It reminds me that the Lord is my deliverer, and He is coming.

Psalm 18:2 makes me think of someone who has nothing left, someone who is holding on to the last thread of hope with all his might. He holds on, knowing the truth in spite of appearances. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

The Lord is my deliverer.

I don’t know why people suffer, why children are abused, or why God doesn’t just smite the offender where he or she stands. I only know the truth I choose to believe. Yahweh, God Almighty, the one who created the heavens and the earth, is my deliverer. A day will come when we don’t suffer. Children will be loved and cherished. Justice will prevail because my deliverer is coming. Will you confess it with me?

How will it change your life today to believe God is your deliverer?

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted

God is Almighty.

Blessed be the name of the Lord.

He is compassionate and full of comfort.

Have you ever tried to go through the alphabet and ascribe one of God’s traits to each letter? I never did until now. It’s harder than I thought, but not because I can’t think of anything. (Okay, X and Z have me a little stumped.) I’m having trouble landing on just ONE of God’s traits for each letter. Today’s affirmation for C is no different, and maybe you have some thoughts on this one too.

I had the beautiful opportunity this weekend to talk to a few people about their fears and their deepest sorrows come to life. For one woman, it was an intense fear of heights that impacts time spent with her mother, who lives over several steep mountain passes. For another woman, it was a tragic loss that no one will ever understand. And for yet another, it was the fear of losing a loved one to the past. As I prayed for these women, God’s heart became clear. And so did today’s affirmation.

The comforter nature of God is so evident in the Bible. I could confess His Creator-nature or His companionship. I could pull out Scripture about being committed to Him, or about how He cleanses us from sin. All those things are true and worth considering. And yet, it’s His compassion that people often overlook. It’s His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). Okay, kindness is a ‘k’ word, but you get the point.

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Today’s confession comes from Matthew 5:4, but the Psalms are chock-full of evidence of God’s comfort.

Psalm 10:17: “LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them.”

Psalm 23:4: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”

Psalm 94:19: “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

Psalm 119:50: “Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.”

God comforts us, but what a blessing it is to comfort others in the name of the Lord. It builds my faith and reminds me of the truth. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. And for those who mourn, I pray that God’s promise comforts them, and that His comfort will give them renewed hope.

What troubles do you face today? How do you feel God’s comfort in the midst of them?

Blessed be the name of the Lord

Day two of my alphabet of affirmations, and I’m forced to choose again. It’s a difficult position to be in. How do I decide between confessing my own blessing, salvation by the blood of the Lamb, God’s bountiful work on my behalf, and His glorious beauty? Let’s not forget to bless the name of the Lord.

I can’t do it. I can’t choose just one of these, well, beautiful affirmations. We might have to begin confessing multiple truths a day while we go through the alphabet, people. Don’t complain. There are worse things – like not recognizing the abundant nature of our God and His love for us.

One of the things I love about searching for an affirmation and confessing it all day is the song God puts in my head as a result. I’ve had two of them lilting through today, keeping my perspective and attitude where they should be. (As I write this, He puts another into my head. How awesome is He!)

Chris Tomlin’s version of Blessed Be Your Name. This comes from Psalm 113:2: “Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.”

And this song by the David Crowder Band. “You make everything glorious, and I am yours. What does that make me?” Ecclesiastes 3:11 in The New Living Translation says, “Yet God made everything beautiful for its own time.”

I love this version of Jeremy Camp singing Beautiful One. “Beautiful one I love. Beautiful one I adore. Beautiful one, my soul must sing.”

You can’t go wrong with any of these confessions. For myself, I’ll be blessing the name of the Lord, and maybe doing it in song if no one is listening. Care to join me?

Blessed be the name of the Lord now and forever.

I’ve heard it said that I can’t outgive God. Does that mean if I bless His name, He’ll bless me more and more? Possibly. Deuteronomy 28:1-14 spells it out. But that’s not why I’ll do it. I will bless His name because He is worthy of blessing. And if I happen to get through the day without fear, well, that’s just a BONUS.

What is your favorite song to bless His name?

I will find grace when I need it most

Every day that passes convinces me more that this life is not easy (perhaps not meant to be easy), and then I read a beautiful blog post that puts it all into perspective. Check out this post by Beth Vogt for a dose of fresh insight today. It really blessed me. And stay tuned next week for a guest post by Beth. Can’t wait for that!

Today I want to propel myself – and everyone else – into the weekend with one more powerful thought on God’s grace. It comes at an especially challenging time for me, which makes it all the sweeter. My dear husband continues to fight the battle in repairing his knee, and my littles fight battles against each other and me. For an overly sensitive girl, it can be difficult to push past their emotions and remember my place in the kingdom. That’s one reason I’m so thankful for my Bible. It reminds me of God’s grace.

I’m starting to equate grace with strength. Yes, it means free and unmerited favor, but if God’s favor doesn’t give me strength then nothing will. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to come boldly to the very throne of God, not with heads hung low and fearful. What greatness is it that allows the created to approach with assurance and confidence the Creator? Only our God. I read this and realize that He hears my prayers. He sees my situation. He offers grace and strength to continue serving Him in spite of appearances.

I will find grace when I need it most.

With prayer, my husband will heal. By God’s grace, my littles will outgrow this stage of defiance and sibling rivalry. And by His grace, I will be strong and continue serving them in His name.

Whatever your situation looks like today, approach the throne boldly, with reverence and belief in His love for you. Ask for the things you need. Trust that He hears you. Then go share His grace with someone else in need.

What does grace look like to you?

 

God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace

I love this grace thing so much I’m going to do another post or two about it. It just takes that much hitting me over the head to get it to sink in. 😉

If you haven’t already looked through your Bible for the frequency of the word ‘grace’, I encourage you to do it. I like to use BibleGateway.com because I can look through any translation and it gives the verses as well as surrounding text. Pretty handy when I don’t have a concordance laying around. Click here for a keyword search on grace in the New Living Translation.

What I find when I look for grace is the incredible number of times it’s there:

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace (Romans 1:7).

May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you (Romans 16:20, 1 Corinthians 16:23, 1 Thessalonians 5:28).

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace (Galatians 1:15).

I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless (Galatians 2:21).

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16).

Choose any of these to confess daily, but today I choose Galatians 1:15.

Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.

Remember the first post this week on grace? It broke down the meaning of the word. If I want to know that my life has value and meaning, if I want to live empowered and free of fear, I need only to realize how much the God of the universe loves me and how He desires to see me live in Him. Even before I was born, He chose me and called me by His marvelous unmerited, unearned, unconditional favor. Pair that with yesterday’s truth: His grace, or His favor, is all I need. It’s beginning to take hold, this idea that I don’t need to fear all these things. That I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Say it with me today, and let it take hold in your mind: God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace.

Is it sinking in for you? Do you believe that God’s grace is the sweetest, most powerful force in your life?