#LiveChosen: Step Out in Faith

Ladies and gents, today I’d like to share my friend, author and youth pastor Tabitha Caplinger, with you. She’s a treasure trove of wisdom, and today she’s sharing about a snippet from her devotional, Daughters Arise, about stepping out in faith.

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November of last year I released my first novel, The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline. Alongside it I published a companion devotional, Daughters Arise. My hope was that beyond writing a story that would entertain I could offer glimpses of my faith and the hope we have in Christ. I want young women to understand their worth and purpose. To that end I took small moments in the lives of my fictional characters to highlight lessons we can use to live chosen ourselves. Below is an excerpt from Daughters Arise.

   

    “I know it’s hard, but I need you to trust me on this one. I wouldn’t make you move right now if I didn’t believe it was the right thing.” Claire calmly patted the sofa next to her.

    Zoe studied the empty spot next to Claire with squinty eyes before walking over and plopping down next to her aunt, anger melting under another round of hot tears.

    “I’m scared.” She stared down at her fingers, picking at chipped nail polish.

    “Of a new place? Making new friends?”

    Zoe let out an imprisoned breath. “That moving means leaving them behind.” Her eyes reached Claire’s, more tears hanging on the edge. She bit her bottom lip in a failed effort to quell them.

    “Aww, Zo. This is just a place. An important one for sure, but just a place.” Claire wrapped an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, letting her head rest against Zoe’s. “The memories can be taken anywhere.” (Excerpt from The Chronicle of the Three: Bloodline)

 

God has chosen you. You are not the consolation prize to Him dying on the cross. You were never the default option. No, God in all His omniscience, His eternal knowledge, chose you. He saw you, where you are, exactly like you are and made a very conscious decision to love you.

Don’t believe me?

 

1 Peter 2:9 ESV

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 into his marvelous light.

 

John 15:16 ESV

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

 

Jeremiah 1:5 ESV

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.

 

And He didn’t just choose you, He chose you for a purpose. He has plans for you. Good plans. Great plans. Plans that are better then even the best plans you can dream up. And He wants to get you to that place, to those plans, more than you want to get to them. It’s easy right? Or maybe it’s not. Why? If God has chosen us, made great plans for us, and wants to see us succeed in them then why isn’t it easy?

 

Because we make it hard.

 

Maybe we don’t believe God really loves us. Maybe we don’t trust enough in the character of God to believe that His plan is the best plan. Maybe we think we know better. Maybe we are just afraid.

 

Afraid of the unknown. Afraid of what we are leaving behind. Afraid we will fail.

 

In the opening book excerpt we see a young girl who is afraid of what is to come. She is afraid of forgetting where she came from, who she is. What she doesn’t know is that what is coming will show her who she really is and she won’t have to forget where she came from, because that will be the foundation for everything. It is the same with us. We follow, we step out in faith and God reveals the real us. The one He sees behind the fear and facades. And He uses our past, good or bad, to propel us forward; the Great Revealer and Great Redeemer.

 

Romans 8:28 ESV

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

Faith is scary. It can be risky because we don’t always see the outcome of that first step. We want it all mapped out for us with all the details given and questions answered. It doesn’t work that way. Because while God has chosen you for a purpose He loves you just for you. And the person you are is more important to God then the things you will do. He knows that we grow and learn with each step we take, especially when we have to choose to take it in faith rather than bowing to fear.

 

How do we step out in faith?

 

We get to know who we are following. When you spend time with Jesus, really getting to know who He is. Not the surface Sunday School stories but the deep layers of His character, then we can really trust Him. And when we can trust Him because we have learned His promises and seen His faithfulness and felt His unending love, we need not fear His plans. Knowing God means knowing that He really does know best and even when I don’t have all the details I can follow His path, His plan.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 MSG

Trust God from the bottom of your heart, don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go,  he’s the one who will keep you on track.

 

The best part of all of this is while you are drawing closer to God, while you are growing in your faith and maturity, you are also getting ever closer to the abundant, joyful, successful, life that He dreamed up for you in the very beginning. Remember…

 

You are chosen. You are safe. You are loved.

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Tabitha Caplinger has been in student ministry for close to 15 years, and currently pastors at Faith Community Church in House Springs, Missouri with her husband Brian. They have two sassy daughters, Lila and Rory. Student Ministry is core to who Tabitha is; she loves discipling others and helping them see themselves through Jesus’ eyes. Her goal is for every young woman to be confident that, “she is loved more than she will ever know by someone who died to know her.”

When not working, Tabitha and her family like taking in a good movie or walking through the park. She also admits to being a little obsessed with TV.

Connect with Tabitha online:

Facebook: Tabitha Caplinger

Twitter: @pastortabitha

Website: http://www.tabithacaplinger.com

Visit Tabitha Caplinger on Goodreads

 

25 #Christian Memes That Are Just Too Real in My Life

On sharing my testimony.

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It’s true.

On Praying in Public.

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Then, they ask YOU to pray.

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Quit covertly pointing at me when I’m not paying attention.

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And avoid all the eye contact.

On Kids and Youth Ministry.

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On Corporate Worship.

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I’m actually good with learning new songs, but some Sundays, I just want to sing songs I know and love.

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See above.

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Bless your heart.

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I am definitely an eyes-closed, not-paying-any-attention-to-anyone-else worshipper. Me and Jesus, all the way. You want to come between that? Yeah, didn’t think so. 😉

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This analyzing lyrics thing totally comes from my dad. Currently, I’m having a thing with Mercy Me’s Flawless.

On the Bible.

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Context, context, context.

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Fake it ’til you make it, my friend. Fake it ’til you make it.

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Every. Time.

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See Inigo Montoya.

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Seriously, though.

On Being a Continuationist in a Cessationist World.

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Yeah, you know it.

On Trying to Leave Church.

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That’s the bonus of being an adult with your own vehicle. You can leave when you want.

On Christian Guys.

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Those Christian boys, tho’.

On How I Respond to Others.

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Jesus is the answer.

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Don’t think I won’t.

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Really.

Simply Because…

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…I sometimes like to pick on my Calvinist friends.

This Is Me Today…

I am in an increasingly frustrating situation where I feel like I’m under a lot of pressure to be a certain way, and I’m on the verge of total meltdown. So I feel like Grumpy Cat today. Every little thing has me going…

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I need your help de-grumpifying.

Would you do me a favor, please? Comment with your favorite Bible verse or inspirational quote, or tell me a joke, or share a YouTube video or channel with me (inspirational or funny). Maybe together we can beat this funk.

Thanks, y’all.

#TBT: 3 Times I Wasn’t Happy Having My Picture Taken

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(I still get this face sometimes. It’s my contemplating life face.)

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(This is my get-out-of-my-face-before-I-throw-something-at-you face.)

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(This is my sad face. And I was sad. Probably because they wouldn’t let me have my doll.)

Most of the time, though, I was a little ham…

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(My oldest brother was pretty much my favorite.)

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(Yup. Total Ham.)

And I still am, I suppose.

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I get it from my Mom.

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The Playlist for Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but … I’M MOVING TO OKLAHOMA CITY ON SATURDAY!!! (And if you hadn’t heard, well, you have now.)

I’m very excited to follow God’s call to live, minister, and work in Oklahoma City, and I can’t wait to see all of the great things He does in this upcoming season of growth and equipping.

Still.

I’m leaving what I know. I’ve been in North Texas for over eleven years now. I’ve never been very far from my family ever. (And not that I’m going to be really far now, just further than I’ve ever been.) Basically, I know what to expect from my life.

I’m being called out of my comfort zone in a major way.

It’s a good thing.

Still.

It’s a little scary.

Here are the songs that are ministering to my heart right now…

1. Beyond Me by TobyMac

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
Yeah, it’s out of my league
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond me
It’s way beyond

Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin’ on You
I’m leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin’ it all for the plans You got

2. You Make Me Brave by Amanda Cook and Bethel Music

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace
Your grace

You make me brave
You make me brave
You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave
You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way

3. Walk on Water by Britt Nicole

So what are you waiting for?
What do you have to lose?
Your insecurities
They try to hold to you
But you know you’re made for more
So don’t be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk on the water, too

4. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) by Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

5. Overcomer by Mandisa

The same Man, the Great I am
The one who overcame death
He’s living inside of You
So just hold tight, fix your eyes
On the one who holds your life
There’s nothing He can’t do
He’s telling you

 

 

The Liebster Award

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award by BlondeRJ. Thank you, RJ!

For those of you who don’t know, the Liebster Award is a fun way for online communities to get to know each other, like many other blogging awards. I don’t normally participate, because life happens, but this week I could use a fun post to break up the serious stuff I’m chewing on for future posts.

1. What do you believe with all of your heart – and no one can convince you otherwise?

With all my heart, I believe God loves people and wants to be with them. As a follower of Jesus, and one who desires to share His heart in everything, I believe I should also love people and live life with them.

2. Have you ever read the book of John in the Bible?  Why or why not?

I have. I even blogged about it: “I had been wondering why so many believers hand the Bible to nonbelievers and recommend that they start with the book of John.  It wouldn’t be my first choice of Bible books, or of the gospels, for that matter.  Then God reminded me of John 20:31, sort of the purpose statement for John’s gospel: “These [things] are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.”  And I thought, you know, that’s what knowing Jesus is all about: life. (Heck, that’s what God is all about). With that in mind, I set out to read the book of John and consider this theme of life.”

3. Who is your best friend?  Why?

I wouldn’t say I have a best friend. I have a circle of dear friends, with whom I share my life, and they with me. It changes as seasons of my life change.

4. What would (or did) you name your first daughter?  What does that name mean?

I have a feeling that my daughters (if I ever have any) will come to me pre-named.

5. Have you ever prayed?  What did you say?

I have prayed so many times, and said so many things, but I’d say my prayer life has been characterized by honest communication with God. When I’ve been angry, He has heard; sad, He has heard; excited, He has heard; in love, He has heard. In the past few years, I’ve also been learning to listen.

6. Who do you honestly love the most?  Why?

Honestly? God. He loves me – really loves me – and has stepped in countless times when no one else could or would.

Second to that, my dad. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that loving God comes first, and then loving my dad (and everyone else). Again, he loves me. He asks questions. He makes sure I know why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Nothing happens in my life without God and my dad knowing.

7. Why do you blog?  What started it for you?

I started blogging to keep in touch with a good friend who went on a mission trip about nine years ago. I continue blogging because writing is the best way for me to get thoughts out of my head for people to see and speak into them.

8. What purpose where you made for?  And how do you know?

I was created to know God. I know because that’s just something He set in my heart.

9. What’s your worst fear?

I don’t know that any of my fears are worse than the others. Any fear that keeps me from doing what I’m supposed to be doing would be my worst fear, I guess.

10. What’s the worst nightmare you ever had?

I was outside of an abortion clinic protesting, and a loved one walked out. I asked her what she was doing there, and she wouldn’t meet my eyes or answer me. I told her I wanted to help her, and she said, “No one can help me now.” (And I want to be clear, it was those six words that made it a nightmare.)

11. Do you know that Jesus Christ died for you?  Do you know He loves you?  And I do too.

Yes.

If you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged for the Liebster Award. You don’t have to have your own blog, just leave a comment with your answers. I’d love to get to know you more, too. 🙂

Here are my questions:

  1. What’s your favorite kind of food? Why?
  2. Do you follow sports? If so, which sports/teams?
  3. Name three books that have impacted you, and why. (And if you’re going with the Bible, name specific books in the Bible).
  4. Who is your hero? Why?
  5. Three random things about yourself. Go.
  6. Favorite color(s)?
  7. Craziest thing you’ve ever done with your hair?
  8. Special talents?
  9. How would you define your view of God?
  10. Favorite news source?
  11. Favorite Bible verse or inspirational quote?

And as a special added bonus…

Who are you voting for in the 2016 election and why? (I am JUST KIDDING. Nobody answer that.)