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The Darling Blog

Welcome to The Darling Blog, a life and style blog by the owner of Darling Boutique, Linnea White. Darling is passionate about empowering women and inspiring strength through fashion to restore dignity and true beauty. Enjoy outfit inspiration and style tips, featured #darlingfinds, local collaborations, and so much more. Live the Darling lifestyle - an altogether beautiful life.

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Trusting God, Week 2: Unswerving Faith

Linnea White


When your pastor preaches on the same verses you've been reading and journaling the last week, reverberating each perfectly placed point in your spirit, you know God is speaking. And that's what happened this week for this devotional about the Shunammite Woman - a story of unswerving faith in God. As we look at the Shunammite woman's story in 2 Kings, the fundamental truth is this: there is hope even in the most devastating of circumstances, for our God's word is faithful - always.

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." Hebrews 10:23

Unswerving Faith: The Shunammite Woman

In 2 Kings 4:8-37, we meet the Shunammite Woman, a wealthy and capable woman who shows great kindness, generosity, and hospitality to the prophet Elisha. This woman literally prepared a room in her home for Elisha where he could stay on his frequent visits.

We live in a culture of "guest bedrooms," these neatly decorated (or sometimes filled with all of our extra crap until company comes) spare rooms used for hospitality. This woman so beautifully demonstrates literally hospitality and metaphorically the posture of her heart to this prophet of God. What if we cleared out our spare rooms (our hearts) of all of our crap, and made space for God, space for Him to dwell and for us to realign the posture of our hearts? How beautiful and effortless would our faith become?

God is always faithful. And Elisha, moved by her kindness, asked what he could do for her. "I'm alright," was her reply (basically). The Shunammite woman was unable to ask for the deep desires of her heart, to pray the big, scary, beyond comprehension prayers - to ask God for a child. But Elisha, finding out she was childless, spoke a word over her - a promise: "About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms" (vs. 16). This promise of God was received with doubt - she answered, "Don't mislead your servant, O man of God!" Despite the posture of her heart being hospitable to God's presence in her home, she was afraid, for she had known a broken heart.

Unswerving Faith | Photo by Linnea WhiteWe've all experienced pain and loss that makes as ask the question, "Can I trust God?" The answer is always, resoundingly, unswervingly YES.

A year later, as Elisha had promised, the Shunammite woman had a son, fulfilling God's word and the deepest, unspoken desire of her heart. Talk about renewed trust in God! But God's work was not yet finished. And the Shunammite woman would face further devastation and temptation to doubt God's promise.

In verse 20, her promise literally dies in her lap. Her son, this prophesied gift from God, dies. And what is her response when he dies? Complete and utter faith in God. Without a word, she carried her son to the room she had prepared for Elisha and laid the boy on his bed, an act demonstrating her trust in God. And that trust in God fueled her hope in a miracle, in not collapsing under the weight of grief.

She made the twenty-five mile journey north to find Elisha at Mount Carmel, and asked him, "Didn't I tell you, 'Don't raise my hopes'?" Elisha at first instructed his Gehazi, basically his sidekick, to return to her home and lay his staff on the boy's face. But the woman wasn't going to settle for a stand-in to this mouth-piece, this prophet of God. Miraculously, the boy is revived, after Elisha warmed the boy's body with his own, praying all the while. The boy sneezed 7 times upon awaking --- the sacred number representing the completion of God's word.

Once again, in verse 37, the woman shows a beautiful posture of her heart --- worship and thanksgiving. For God had been true to His word, fulfilling His promise to her and then preserving it in the face of impossible circumstances.

May this beautiful woman of the Bible speak to your own faith and trust in God. May her example of kindness teach us to seek opportunities to care for others in basic and practical ways. May her attitude to "seek first his [the Father's] kingdom and his righteousness" empower us to trust that "all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). When we aren't fretting over God's provision, we experience it abundantly. So this week, realign the posture of your heart by practicing practical hospitality and kindness for someone, and, in turn, trust in a God that is always faithful to his unswerving servants.


Read last week's introduction to the Trusting God devotional series.

Trusting God | Women of the Bible Series, Week 1

Linnea White


Let's face it - God and I have long had trust issues. Because if I'm being honest, trusting God is a isn’t as simple as it sounds. It’s more than words on a cute mug or a favorite verse above your desk, it’s more than a song of praise or momentary thanksgiving. Trust is a verb. What does the Lord say about trusting Him? What does it mean to trust the Lord, to trust in His promises and His unwavering goodness? What about when life gets tough, when the enemy throws tragedy and pain, suffering and hardship our way?

"All I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all I have not seen." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Just hours after writing those questions in my journal a few weeks ago, I received devastating news from a friend - the kind of news that could cripple your faith, that could crack your bedrock of trust in the Lord. And I knew there was no better time than this to lean into the Bible, to seek His wisdom on this topic that defines our faith - trusting God.

The Bible is filled with women who trusted in God, and the cast of characters includes women young and old, married and single, mothers, sisters, and daughters. In this series, we'll dive into a few of their stories, exploring their faith to increase our own.

Trusting God, Week 1 | An Introduction

In Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, she chronicles the lifelong battle against our flesh as we trust in God. "Anxiety has been my natural posture, my default stiffness[...] I don't fold my hands in prayer... weld them into tight fists of control[...] Worry is the facade of taking action when prayer really is." Voskamp calls stress not only a "joy stealer," but also warns that our response to stress can be sin.

Instead, give thanks daily. “Thanks is what builds trust,” adds Voskamp. “Gratitude is what births trust… the true belief."

Belief is a verb, it is the action of our faith - to place our trust in God. If we believe, then we must let go and trust. And it is a daily choice, a daily action and step of our faith.

"Jesus replied, 'This is the work (service) that God asks of you: that you believe in the One Whom He has sent [that you cleave to, trust, rely on, and have faith in His Messenger]'." John 6:29 AMP

Trusting God series | Photo by Megan TiernanThis is our daily aim, our striving steps of faith as we make our way about our day. May the work of this world, may the trials and tragedies of this world, not deter us from our ultimate work: living a life fully trusting in God.

Meditate on these verses throughout the week, turning to prayer instead of stress and worry, and giving thanks instead of giving in to fear.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." John 14:1 NIV

"Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord." Psalm 40:4

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow." Romans 15:13

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock." Isaiah 26:3-4

Next week, we'll start diving into scripture by exploring the story of the widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:8-24.

Christmas Devotional: Joy to the World

Linnea White


'Tis the season for giving and receiving, list making and gift wrapping, holiday shopping and merry making. 'Tis the season filled with hope, with mercy, and with joy. This season, God has been speaking to me about gift-giving, and I wanted to share a few thoughts for a special Christmas devotional this week. What does it mean to give with the heart of Christ-mas?

The Joy I Pursue

"When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy." Matthew 2:10

Gift-giving at Christmas is unequivocally Christian, but not in the way our society practices it today. In this passage in Matthew 2, the three wise men followed the star to Bethlehem, filled with "great joy" at the promise of finding the Christ. Yes, they brought him gifts - gold, frankincense, and myrrh, each significant for the Christ - but these gifts were an act of worship, an overflow of the heart and a sacrificial gift to honor the Messiah.

This year, I picked up the Advent devotional book by John Piper, "The Dawning of Indestructible Joy." It's filled with daily thoughts to challenge us with a counter-culture mindset during this Christmas season.

On December 15, Piper describes "Our Truest Treasure" and the scene of the gifts of the magi. These gifts, given in a barn surrounded by animals, were not meant to add to the Christ, to assist him or even provide pleasure or enjoyment (what is a baby going to do with these gifts?!). Piper describes these gifts as "intensifiers of desire for Christ himself," much like fasting.

"The joy that I pursue is not the hope of getting rich with things from you. I have not come to you for your things but for yourself. And this desire I now intensify and demonstrate by giving up things in the hope of enjoying you more, not the things. By giving you what you do not need and what I might enjoy, I am saying more earnestly and more authentically, 'You are my treasure, not these things.' I think that's what it means to worship God with gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh."

Christmas Devotional | Photo by Linnea White

2015 was a year of radical change (you know, buying a store and quitting a "real" job can be pretty radical!). Gift-giving at Christmas time used to be convenient and easy, not requiring much sacrifice on my part. This year, it's very different, and I know that's why God has been speaking to me about giving. God recently reminded me of the story later in Luke about the widow's offering - the woman who gave everything she had to live on, only two small coins (Luke 21:1-4). Giving is about our hearts, not what we give or how much we spend.

Even when we have little here on this earth, we are rich in the kingdom. Following Christ means keeping our eyes on that star in the sky, it means being filled with indestructible joy, it means not being shaken by worldly worries. If gift-giving, in the biblical Christmas sense, is an outpouring of worship to the Lord, a sacrifice of material for holy, shouldn't we be giving gifts to one another that reflect God's love rather than appease insecurities or guilt? Whether you have a little or a lot this year, pray and ask God to give you wisdom about how you spend your time and money. Give with thanksgiving and joy, sharing in the blessings from our Father.

I love this final prayer on this daily reading by Piper: "Therefore, whatever opposition I may find, I joyfully ascribe authority and dignity to you and bring my gifts to say that you alone can satisfy my heart, not these."

May we seek Christ in our gift-giving this year. May we oppose the ways of this world, and give joyfully with a heart fully knowing where our satisfaction is founded - in Christ, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.

Merry Christmas, darlings! Linnea


Next week, we will return to our Parables devotional series!

The Parables, Week 3: Wise & Foolish Builders

Linnea White


[The Parables] The Wise and Foolish Builders

Luke 6:46-49

"Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

This week, we dive into how our actions reveal our hearts, our faith, and our trust in the Lord. This parable appears in both Matthew (7:24-27) and Luke, but the truth Jesus shares remains the same: Stand on solid rock [have faith in Christ Jesus alone] and your house will not crumble [you will not be shaken] by the storm [the attacks from the enemy].

Practice what you preach. It's an overused phrase, sure, but it speaks volumes to the heart of what faith is. In Luke 6, after choosing the twelve apostles, Jesus gives a sermon filled with rich wisdom, including the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders. This parable describes two groups - the people who practice [live out] the word of Christ and those who don't walk the talk. Their actions - wise, sound choices vs. foolish, irrational choices - reveal where their faith lies.

Let's face it. We all experience storms in life, floods and rains and winds that threaten to shake our foundation. It could be financial or relational, mourning a loss of friendship, a job, a home, or a life. These worldly afflictions, these attacks from the enemy have no power over those founded, rooted in Jesus. In this parable, Jesus is comparing His Word to a rock, a steadfast foundation. And those foolishly building their house on "ground without a foundation" are crushed under the weight of the storm.

My dad taught his own version of this parable when I was a little girl. At the beach, I loved to build sand castles, and, of course, my older siblings and I always built our castles right by the water. I remember crying when the water erased any trace of my hard work, only to have my dad sit me down and gently tell me, "Come up the beach a little bit, away from the waves, and let's find a better foundation for your castle."

I like to imagine God holding my hand, guiding me to solid ground, to the rock of Christ Jesus. There He places me, there He teaches me, and it's on that rock I must stand - always.

Photo by Linnea WhiteIt's simple, really. Practice what you believe. Live out the faith you proclaim. Rebuke the lies and attacks from the enemy with the authority you have in Christ Jesus. Stand strong. Do not be disheartened by the rains, the winds, the flood waters of this world. He is our rock, and when we place our faith in anything but Him, we crumble to pieces in the sinking sand. Don't crumble when the enemy throws storms your way, but stand on the solid rock, and His truth, love, grace, mercy, and hope will prevail.

Stand on the Solid Rock, darlings. Anchored in Christ, we are not shaken.

xo, Linnea


Devotional Series: Altogether Beautiful, Week 2

Linnea White


Song of Solomon, Week 2 | The Discovery of Full Acceptance

He's got the whole world in His hands. That Sunday School song always amazed me as a kid, awe-struck by the idea of a God so big He could hold all of us, the entire world, in His hands.

"The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters." Psalm 24:1-2

When did it become so hard for me to accept that He holds me in His hands? Why did I start to believe my problems aren't big enough or important enough for God? The enemy seeks to tear us down, to fill us with doubt and unbelief. These attacks on our spirit can cause us to question the character of God.

Just this morning, my car wouldn't start. My heart sunk, and I wish I could say I didn't let the enemy assault me with lies and anxiety about finances or being late for my barre class. But he did assault me, and I felt defeated for a little while. With barre class out of the picture, I sat on my bed with my devotional and prayed. God quickly gave me the image of holding me in His hands, surrounded by the fullness of His love and provision. I laid there basking in the warmth of that fullness, accepting His love and grace, and praising Him for His unchanging goodness.

Photo by Linnea WhiteThe Song of Solomon is a beautiful testament to the fullness and the goodness of relationship with God. In a world thirsty for truth, the Song of Solomon speaks of a union made whole by God's love - the marriage relationship. When the bride struggles with the fear of separation from her beloved, he reassures her of his love for her (Song of Solomon 5:2-8:14), just as God reassured me this morning when I fell prey to anxiety and fear. He meets us when we are beautifully in over our heads, to remind us that He remains the same.

In Ephesians 3, Paul writes a beautiful prayer about the fullness of God's love, and how, through faith, this love can dwell in us:

"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory. For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:12-19

All we are, all we have belongs to Him. Lay aside selfish intent or possessiveness, for it is an obstacle to God's leading and peace in your life. Give it ALL to Him. Surrender what already belongs to Him, and see how wonderful the garden of your life will become through His power and care!

It's okay to not understand that Sunday School song - to be in awe at the greatness and goodness of God, to be filled with wonder at the love of Christ. But let it never lead to doubt, fear, or worry. This is a "love that surpasses knowledge," that we cannot comprehend with our minds. Accepting the fullness of God's love means being filled with the fullness in our spirit. It's a leap of faith, and sometimes a daily, even hourly, leap we need to take to believe, to trust, to accept the fullness of our Father's love. Because it's altogether beautiful, my darling.

Lord, forgive my unbelief. Forgive me for doubting You. Bring back that childlike zeal for full acceptance, for full provision and protection, for full trust in You. Help me re-discover the fullness of Your love. Thank you for Your grace that meets me with the dawn. Today, I choose to speak words of truth to combat the fear and lies the enemy has put in my path.You are a good, good Father, and I am loved by You. You are Provider, Counselor, Comforter, Deliverer, and Shield. I give thanks for every blessing, and for every trial. Amen!

xo, Linnea