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Hearing God In the Now…

Buckle up…this is a long one and I’m probably going to ruffle some feathers.

I am overwhelmed with the repeating words, resounding in my mind like a trumpeting horn, “not my will, but Yours be done.”

I’m increasingly concerned with the people of God, their leaders (not just pastors, but leaders, teachers, praise team members, etc.) especially, not being led by God in the NOW. I will explain my use of “in the now” in a moment.

Jesus Christ – Himself – said in Mark 14:36, “…Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou will.”

Christ knew ALL things were possible; but, He did not want it to be His way. He wanted it to be God’s way. I’m sure Christ, in his infinite wisdom, could have constructed a great way; but, it would not have compared to God’s PERFECT way.

How did Christ know what God’s way was? He didn’t have a Bible to finger through and find the section on “fearing for your life and carrying the weight of the sin of the world on one’s shoulders.” I’ll tell you in three simple words, though He be a very complex and overwhelming being: the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 3:16 tells us very clearly that Christ received the “Spirit of God.” It says, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.” In the English Standard Version it says, “the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him.”

There is such a thing as a “rhema” word. I really like the way James Rae explains the term “rhema” on Sharefaith.com. The word rhema means, “an utterance.” It’s used to refer to a word received that applies to your current situation or need. He goes on to say, “With this understanding, Christians can count on the written words contained in the Bible to have deep and personal meaning to their lives. And it is the Holy Spirit who enlightens believers when reading a Scripture, with the goal of imparting wisdom, knowledge or understanding in order to have an immediate impact.”

Not every Christian is fully aware, but rather it’s tucked away in their subconscious, that the Bible has been translated many times before you get your handy-dandy Message version. Keeping that in mind, also be aware that there are words in our language that cannot be interpreted in other languages; because they have no word for it and that works vice-versa as well. The word “rhema” is one such word. The best way we can put it is as James Rae does when he says that it is (forgive my abbreviation) an on-time utterance.

Now, if we are to refer to Matthew 4:4, where it says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word [rhema] that proceeds out of the mouth of God” and In John 6:63 where Christ confirms the use of this rhema revelation by saying, “The words [rhema] that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life,” then each Christian has an imperative, possibly life-changing, question they must answer for themselves.

Do you believe God speaks today?

Notice I did not say, “Is His written word speaking to you, today?” That is understood, it’s a given. His word is always fruitful, always valid, and will always speak to someone willing to hear it.

Further, as a side note to avoid any confusion, I would like to add that a rhema word, whether delivered by reading the Bible, the utterance of tongues, or a word dropped into one’s heart or mind, will NEVER contradict God’s written Word. If it does, that’s not God.

In 2 Timothy, Paul says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” So, please do not for even a moment assume that I am saying anything other than exactly what I am – that God speaks through us through His written word but ALSO through His Holy Spirit, TODAY. That is to say He speaks to us in addition to His written word. The Word of God is just as valid today as it was when it was first being chiseled and penned; and, a word given by the Holy Spirit – by whatever method – is equally as valid.

The key ingredient that we must not miss, though, is “rhema.” Why would God speak a rhema word? Because you need to hear it NOW!

He is not a God that sits atop a thrown, inaccessible to His children. Your earthly father would be called “a dead beat dad” if he never spoke to you. Wouldn’t he? How much more of a father is God to us than our earthly father? If we know how much greater a father He is, then we should logically assume that He would want to speak to us, currently – now, in our every day endeavors.

To give a more specific example: If I were standing on a ledge ready to jump and my dad, saw me, he would lovingly tell me that he was there for me and that I didn’t need to give up – he would help me through whatever was going on. How much more would my God do?

I’ll tell you. When my daughter was a toddler and her father and I were going through a lot, life became very overwhelming for me. The only person who knew that I had seriously considered taking my own life was my husband. Long story short, I was at the end of my rope and sat, numbly, in a pew one Sunday as a visiting pastor preached a good sermon that had nothing to do with what was going on in my life. At the end of the service, though, he called everyone who “desperately needed a touch from God” to come forward for prayer.

I will be honest, I didn’t even really realize I was standing at the alter until I looked up and saw that I was there with my husband at my side. I waited, silently crying, for this visiting pastor to come over, pray for me, and for me to walk away disappointed. After all, I had lost all hope. I wasn’t in that place where you run to God expectantly. However…we froze, stunned, as this man laid his hands on my head, began praying, and then suddenly paused and then lowered his voice and said with authority, “And, devil, I rebuke this demon of suicide plaguing this daughter of God! She is a child of the King!”

As the weight of the world and all of my hurt – feeling as if I was not even a blip on God’s radar, washed away. The Holy Spirit descended upon me in such a powerful way that I can truly say that I will forever remember how soothing the Balm of Gilead truly is.

You see, in that moment God knew that the only thing I needed to know was not how to fix my problems, where to find direction in His written word, but simply that God was aware and was there with and for me.

That pastor spoke a rhema word, given to him by an utterance of the Holy Spirit, that FOREVER changed my life. Sure, the devil tried to tempt me with suicide again. The thing is, not only has it never been a temptation since receiving that revelation; but, whenever depression descends upon me, I remind myself that God is aware and watching me, with love, knowing that through Him I have the power to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.

Why did I tell you all of that? Because a rhema word is what this world needs. This world is suffering from problems never before conceivable to mere man. Now, more than ever, we need to hear from God.

Please note that I did not say that we need another prophet. Prophets are great (when authentic) yet they come and go. Some are false and some are as true as the day is long. You don’t need a prophet, though, to hear from God. God is just as accessible to you as He is to anyone else. When apostles laid hands on people, the Holy Spirit was not coming from them. Acts 19 tells us that when Paul laid hands on some believers from Ephesus the Spirit came epi, upon them, not dia, through him.

We were given this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, from God, so that we don’t have to walk through the desert following after a prophet to whom God only speaks to. The only thing you need to hear a rhema word from God is to have the Holy Spirit residing within you.

A prophet has to be followed; but, God is accessible everywhere at all times. Didn’t Christ say in John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me, the works that I do he will do also, and greater works than these he will do, because I am going to the Father”? We can hear from God just as Christ and his apostles did.

I’m always blown away when we read that Christ – Himself – and His apostles did things a certain way but we seem to either think it’s beneath us, we’re too smart to have to do it that way, or we’re just too careless to assure that we’re doing it His way – that the very foundation of our every day lives be constructed in His way. I want to repeat that: “to assure that the very foundation of our every day lives be constructed in His way.” The very basis of our foundation should be believing that God manifested Himself into man; He died for our sins, so that we could live again; and, He sent us a comforter, the Holy Spirit, that should reside within us to direct our paths. Why are we skipping the third part? That’s like leaving the water out of the concrete mix and then wondering why it’s not setting up properly!

In Acts 19:1-7, Paul met some disciples of John the Baptist. He thought that they were believers in Christ, after hearing their talk of repentance. Paul, sensing something was missing, asked them the question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” This passage, and others, proves that Paul believed that it was possible to be a believer in Jesus without receiving the Holy Spirit. If receiving the Holy Spirit was automatic upon receiving salvation, then why did Paul ask, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

Christ, during his ascension, told us that he would leave us “a Comforter.” If Christ said He was leaving us a Comforter, we need this Comforter!

Why would the Bible refer to the Holy Spirit as a “comforter?” What is a comforter? A comforter is “a person or thing that provides consolation.” “Consolation” is defined as “comfort received by a person after a loss or disappointment, a person providing comfort to a person who has suffered.”

Allow me to take you back to the beginning of all of this where I referenced Christ’s illustration of choosing God’s way over His. A counselor can be a wonderful person to go to who will have good ideas of what to say to you; but, I want you to think about how much more your grief would be sated if you heard from the one person who actually knows exactly what to say to give you a peace that passes all understanding. I want you to consider how awesome it would be to have access to someone who is so inundated with the Holy Spirit that, if you’re too blinded by grief, confusion, hurt, etc., they can be a conduit of God to deliver a rhema word to you just as that visiting pastor did for me that day.

Yes, His written word can be a comfort to us, guidance, and more; but, Christ was leaving with us a living Comforter, in addition to a written account of His words.

We need to receive the Holy Spirit because God is a personal God – a God that wants to tailor His conversation specifically to you, not merely give you a generic word that you can apply to every situation.

Again, he is just as accessible today as he was 2000 years ago. The only question each of us needs to ask ourselves, and our leaders, is why are we/they not following a path set before us paved by His rhema word in our lives? Why are we following a generic path that we have drawn based on the few things we have assumed we fully understand from His written word. Our senior pastors, associate pastors, worship pastors, youth pastors, children’s pastors, counselors, Sunday school teachers, praise team singers, praise band members, missionaries, …all of those people that would teach the Church about discipling should be anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit and be in such constant communication with God that they have vision, words, and specific application to add to His kingdom. Just as they should have this, so should each and every one of of God’s children.

In conclusion, I just want to finish out a word from THE Word, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

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Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Book, Children, Church, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, god, Holy Spirit, jesus, kids, Law, Life, Love, Marriage, Mental Health, Ministry, Parenting, Uncategorized, verse, women

The Immorality of Worldy “Love”

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I have had too many people I care deeply about that have been betrayed by someone they gave a piece, or all, of their heart to. I apologize if there is any confusion in my thoughts here. I wrote this kind of on the fly. There is no judgment within my thoughts, only love. If you know me, you know that’s true. Also, I’ve cast my assumptions aside. I hope you have as well and I pray you receive this post in the spirit in which it is intended – for those who have messed up but want to save their marriage.

The way I see it, there are two inextricable ingredients involved with a couple in which one of the two is cheating:

  1. Spiritual Death; and
  2. lack of or decreased self-value.

“Spiritual death” sounds so dark, ominous, and final. It is all of that… except final. The Bible says…

“Flee from sexual immorality… do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

The fact is…

“It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore.” (Isaiah 59:2)

What do we learn from these two verses?

  1. Sexual immorality – as with any sin – is cause for you to “FLEE!”
  2. Your body is a temple. It’s not only home to God since you asked Him to reside within you; but, it is of value!
  3. You are not your own. This is very important. The decisions you make are not yours to be making. You gave yourself to God. You were bought with the price of Christ’s crucifixion. So, you should find peace and happiness in the knowledge that if you stick with His plan you will be loved and cared for. You will be happy.
  4. Sin is the only thing that separates you from God.

I couldn’t sit there and watch my children do horrible acts that will ultimately destroy them and possibly the people around them. I couldn’t watch it and God won’t watch it. If God is the Holy Spirit and He is “the way the truth and the life,” sin has separated you from Him, and He will “turn away and not listen anymore” then you have experienced Spiritual death. Life has been removed from you – that only leaves death.

So, to review: If we’re assuming both people knew God in the beginning, now 1 person has forgotten that they are not their own but God’s – that they are of great value considering what Christ voluntarily went through to purchase them; and 1 person has allowed themselves to allow the temptation of their flesh – sin – to inundate their heart to the point that God has turned away. They may think they are going to church and living a good Christian life but:

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“But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them” (Ephesians 5:13)

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“For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light.” (Mark 4:22)

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At least FOUR TIMES God’s Word tells us that nothing will stay hidden for long. They can show up at Church, say they are a Christian, say they love their wife or husband, kiss their children, and go on through life as if they are Christian Saints but God knows, most likely their spouse knows, and not-so-surprisingly their children usually have at least an idea of the truth.

But what about the spouse who doesn’t see their value? Well, the actions of the cheating spouse only make matters worse of course in that department – the spouse continues to devalue themselves because they have tied their worth to this broken person rather than to God, their Creator.

To draw a crass illustration it’s a little like a bulimic asking an anorexic if they look good.

God’s Word has already illustrated that a person who is being sexually immoral does not know the value of their own bodies, themselves, or that they are to glorify – through God – their body.” Yet, that’s what we do – we expect a sick person to make us better. If they were capable of that, and we were on the outside looking in (separate from our own emotions) and using our common sense, we would say, “Hey, they’re just going to make me sicker!”

It becomes an ongoing round-robin of sickness, shared and built to the point of epidemic. You may have noticed I’m not broaching the subject of why a person cheats. That’s because there are many reasons and not one of them is a reflection of the person who is being cheated on but rather it’s a symptom of a deep sickness in the cheater – a Spiritual death that has occurred, as I mentioned earlier.

The fact is this – we must make ourselves strong in Christ. Every single day there is a message for each of us in God’s word.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:16)

You don’t need the world to empower you, your friends to empower you, even yourself to empower you. God has given you power. You only need to take it.

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“My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” (2 Corinthians 2:5)

It’s easy to become dependent upon the person you invested your heart in, even moreso if you were meant to be “one.” Ultimately, though, we’re only supposed to be dependent upon one and if we each are dependent upon God then, subsequently and beautifully, we can actually, SAFELY, depend upon one another!

If each new day each of you are dying to self and living for Christ, you can not help but to love one another because the Spirit within you will be like beautiful harmony to the Spirit within your spouse.

Forget everything the world ever told you about love. It’s a complete crock. Love is work. It’s beautiful and it’s a gift from God. This is what love is not: easy, sex, butterflies, lost, fallen out of, easily traded in, weak, or just not enough.

I assure you that love is not easy because anything worth having is worth working for. It’s work! It takes time. It takes effort. You don’t fall out of love – you make a decision to turn around and walk away.

Sex is sex and love is love. When you choose to truly love someone and they you – then sex is something way more than you can comprehend because, more than merely being flesh, it’s a transference of trust, love, and fulfillment.

Love is not the butterflies doing backflips in your stomach but rather that moment when your heart stirs and your mind awakens because this person just tore away all superficiality and prayed through the glass ceiling for you!

Love is not the butterflies doing backflips in your stomach but rather that moment when your heart stirs and your mind awakens because this person just tore away all superficiality and prayed through the glass ceiling for you; it’s when life has gone straight to hell in a handbasket yet you know you can brave any storm because God is with you and He gave you the best friend you could ever imagine going through it with. Love is not something that is so easily shared.

You can love everyone like Christ loves but you don’t find yourself in love with two people. Christ only has one bride – the church. The church only has one groom – Christ. Christ is not torn for his love of the saints and his love of the sinners. No man nor woman is in love with two people. And, “love just wasn’t enough” is a blatant Hollywood lie. Love is ALWAYS enough. If A=B, then B=A, right? So, if God is love, then love is God. And, I assure you, God IS enough.

True God-anointed love can see you through heartache, cheating, confusion, sickness, and even death. If two people truly love Christ, run after Him with all of their hearts and minds, and they love each other, they cannot help but to succeed. It won’t always be easy. Remember, I said love is work. Remember, it takes both to do said work, both to run after CHrist. They will survive then, thrive even, and become a light in a dark place for other couples that hope to find true happiness in this dark, truly lonely, world.

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BIGGEST GIVEAWAY EVER

*There are no affiliate links. I make no money off of this post. I have, however, been given some of these items and have chosen to give them away.

So, this month is kind of a big deal…at least for me it is. And, I want it to be for you, too! Most of you know that I don’t monetize my blog. That’s not to cast aspersions upon anyone that does because this is a full time job, homie. I simply prayed over it and felt like God was telling me not to.🤷🏻‍♀️ If I ever do, I’ll let you guys know!

So, these are things I want to give away just because I really appreciate those of you that have gone on this journey with me.

1. The Headcase Christian is 1 year old!

2. It’s my birthday month!

3. I’m having life-changing surgery at the end of the month!

To celebrate – while preparing pre-op, op, and post-op😂, I’m giving some of my favorite things away. These aren’t all of my favorite things…but some!

I’ll be giving away things like… (click on image for more information)

So, Erin, what’s the catch? No catch other than you have to be part of my tribe – my supporters, my “followers.” Those that are with me in the rain should bask in the sunshine with me!

So, because I’m going to be preparing for surgery and – as most of you know – I homeschool, most all of this is going to be done through social media and relatively quickly. So, it would probably serve you to make sure that not only are you a subscriber to the blog but you also follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Just because I give away one thing on one social media outlet doesn’t mean I’m going to give it away on all of them.🤷🏻‍♀️ This isn’t to trick anyone. This is simply to keep this simple and fun for me too!🤗

🗣Click on any of these to find the link & follow! (FOR SOME REASON WORDPRESS IS HAVING A PROBLEM ON THEIR END; SO, FEEL FREE TO COPY & PASTE THE LINKS! Sorry about the hassle.)

www.facebook.com/headcasechristian

www.twitter.com/AHeadcaseXtian

www.instagram.com/theheadcasechristian

www.pinterest.com/theheadcasechristian

https://goo.gl/SMcS4S

Anxiety, Bible, Depression, family, Friends, friendship, Holiday, Love

Are you at the wrong party?

I’m Southern. So, it’s safe to say I know a good bit about playing host. After all, the term “Southern Hospitality” didn’t spring out of nowhere. It’s still alive and well, here, I assure you; and, it’s a serious affair. It can make or break relationships. The lack of it can sever ties and hurt immeasurably, while the honesty and beauty of supplying it can restore hearts. God, Himself, is referred to as the “Lord of hosts,” 261 times just in the Old Testament as a matter of fact. Now, it doesn’t actually mean the Lord of all “persons who receives or entertains other people as guests” here but I’m kind of using a play on words. Regardless, He is supposed to be the model of all that we strive to be. But, we’ll circle back around to that.

Fact: Some people may not want you in their lives. I know. It stinks. It hurts. That’s okay, though. And…you know what? It may very well be you and not them. You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be the reason they don’t want to play host to you. Yes, I said it.

You may be too real, too sweet, too honest, not rich enough, not in the “in” crowd. They may see you as not as spiritual as they certainly are. They may not want you close because they see your past. You may not be able to do anything for them. Now, if you’ve gained some perspective from my pointing out the very things that God would actually find pleasing…Because see God appreciates your kindness, your lack of gossip, your honesty, your lack of desire to have money other than to pour it back into the world. He sees to your very heart and doesn’t care if you regularly say the Christian catchphrases that He finds hollow because they’re spoken by a generation who regurgitates what they’ve heard, not the truth that they’ve learned. He sees your past but only pays attention to the new creation you are now.

He sees your past and sees TESTIMONY.

And…God doesn’t need you to do anything for Him or anyone else. He wants to do for you because He loves you, and so that maybe you’ll feel that love so much that you’ll voluntarily want to share Him with others spilling out upon the world like salt and light. So, remember this:

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.‭‭” Matthew‬ ‭10:14

This holds true for everyone. Yes, even your family – whether in Christ or by blood. Christ never stuck around where He was not welcome, even His hometown. He moved on to be useful elsewhere. Yes, I know you just want to be accepted there. You want their love. But consider this: you may be the person called to reach out to another that has absolutely no one, let alone even someone to not appreciate them. While you are rejected, you may be the cornerstone to a new construction. While you see yourself as the outcast, God is positioning you to be the den mother or father to a new pack.

Did you ever wonder how wolf packs are started? After all, they can’t just continue as they are – they’d die out. (I know it feels like I’m digressing but run with me here.)

“The social structure of the wolf pack changes from year to year. Wolves in the pack move up and down in the ‘pecking order’ or hierarchy. A wolf lower down in the pecking order may challenge an alpha wolf… If the alpha wolf loses this challenge, it will likely go off on its own… and start a new pack. Wolves very low in the pecking order (that are constantly picked on by the other pack members) may also leave the pack. They become lone wolves until they either form their own pack or on rare occasions join an existing wolf pack.”¹

So… if you feel neglected or cast aside, dust your feet off and recognize that you have a calling now to start your own pack or move on to another. You have a talent or knowledge needed elsewhere. You may become a “lone wolf” for a season as you gather tools from the Father; but, you have a pack – either to start or to compliment.

Now, circling back to God being the Lord of hosts…

The Lord of hosts is a mighty leader. He is just that – the Lord of all hosts. There is no greater example. He leads with grace and mercy. He loves through self-sacrifice and unending love. He intervenes and intercedes. He is available, readily so, to hear His people. At the risk of mixing my analogies, if the “pack” your desperately trying so hard to cling to is not exhibiting the very traits that define the ultimate Lord of hosts, what kind of “hosts” are they? To whom are they catering, and what is the point of their “party?”

Maybe it’s time you focused on God’s plan, the Lord of all hosts’ plan. Maybe it’s time you lead a new pack with grace and mercy, being readily available (and desiring to do so) to intervene and intercede for them. Maybe that love you’re desiring to share with the unwelcoming pack is meant to be given endlessly to those who truly need you and want you in their lives.

Rest your battered heart, and listen to God’s calling…

1. Scholastic
Anxiety, Bible, Children, Depression, family, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Parenting, Suicide, Uncategorized

#worthless

Have you ever felt completely worthless? I want you to really stop and think about this question. Don’t just say, “Sure!” I’m talking about, “Why did I get out of bed, today? What was the purpose?” #worthless.

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Battling depression for the majority of life has brought me closer to God than anything else in this world. Because I battle it, because I fight and refuse to cave, I must lean on Him. I must find my encouragement in Him. I hope that in sharing my thoughts, today, that you will find encouragement as well. You’ll have to bear with me through the rough stuff first, though.

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For those of you who have never been diagnosed with clinical depression, without diminishing the validity of your bad days at all, I would like to clarify what it means to be truly depressed. One is not anymore important than the other. We’re all entitled to our feelings and the processes that we must go through to find our way in this world. I pray that yours finds you looking toward Christ. Now, that being said… depression doesn’t have to make sense. It doesn’t have to make sense; yet, when you feel it, you feel and believe it all the way to your marrow. One of the worst ways the spirit of depression can attack you is when you can actually reason as to why you feel this way – you can point out evidence that leads you to the conclusion that (in this case) you are in fact worthless.

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That brings me to today.

I don’t want to write about this. I’ll be honest. I keep stopping my fingers from typing because, quite frankly, this sucks. I promised God, though, and you that I would be transparent because this world is full of people that don’t know what the face of true Christianity is and this world is full of Christians that think every other Christian’s life is hunkydory. So, here goes nothing…

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Today, I’m battling the notion that without me my family would go on pretty well. At most, they’d be inconvenienced by having no one to pick my son up from school on weekdays. Even then, my mother-in-law could probably pull that duty and watch him until my husband got off work. That sounds seriously pretty harsh and depressing. Right? Well, that’s transparency for you. Look at that: a true believer in Christ going through a major battle. They don’t tell you about that on Sunday morning at Joel Osteen’s church. Do they?

With depression and anxiety constantly trying to beat down my heart’s door, I’ve had to learn how to set boundaries in order that I can function at my best and, in addition, not hurt those around me. Sometimes that means walking away. Sometimes that means quarantining myself. Sometimes that means addressing something in writing rather than in word. To complicate matters, I’m an INFJ. What? I know. It’s like I just spoke in tongues. While I am pentecostal, that was not the utterance. That is actually my personality type. It stands for Introversion iNtuition Feeling Judgment. This personality type is often referred to as “The Advocate.” This reference is due largely impart because we find ourselves constantly playing the part of mediator and part-time therapist. INFJs don’t want to just be a shoulder you lean on. We want to get to the very heart of the problem and help you to fix it so that you’re the very best version of yourself and you don’t revisit these problems in the future. Tied in with this need to resolve issues and bring situations to a positive head, is the introversion part (Which just means we recoup differently – extroverts get energy from being with others, introverts get energy from downtime. It doesn’t mean I’m shy.), the feelings part (It’s almost as if you’re empathic, though I don’t believe in that. An INFJ is simply really adept at readings others’ body language and listening to them, really hearing them.), and the judgment part (feeling strong conviction in regard to justice prevailing and things being set to rights). Does that sound tiring to you? It does to me and I can attest that I’m freakin’ wore out, y’all; because, I’ve been doing all of that for everyone around me!

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Right now, my husband is going through stuff at work. He’s laterally moved into a position that can be time consuming and stressful yet doesn’t quite have the payoff commensurate to the stress and time involved. Add to that, he’s a leader at Celebrate Recovery and carries his own burdens along with those of the men he leads. Oh yeah… he added soccer coach to his schedule, too. My 20-year-old daughter is going through something very personal right now that, at times, has cut her to the quick and nearly every one of us goes through. It’s something that if she takes one path it could end in a lifetime of committed misery, and if she takes another path it could be the best decision of her life; yet, both paths look the very same at the beginning – there are no signs, simply two seemingly duplicate paths that end in two very different ways. My son is going through his own trials that are in no way little simply because of his young age of five. His trials are heartbreaking and frustrating and….seem hopeless to him at times. And, guess what? I’m feeling it ALL. I’m feeling every tense beat of my husband’s heart. I’m feeling every single tear that my daughter is dropping. I’m feeling every single moment of failure that my little buddy is determined to fend off. And…I’m enduring this all while being completely terrified of the test I’m having run on myself this Tuesday (while trying to hide that terror).

And…I’m trying to do my part. I’m forgiving them when they’re short with me. I’m ignoring things that aren’t worth addressing because they’re like small storm clouds that blow away. I’m trying to hear. I’m loving. I’m trying to counsel. I don’t think I’m a know-it-all. In fact, if life and circumstance has taught me anything it’s that I know very little. Thankfully, I have a manual and I refer to it often. So, when I counsel my three – whether it’s by walking them through them finding the answers themselves or my pointing it out for them – I’m referencing the Bible. After all, if you have no manual, no compass, you’re going in circles with everything being subjective.

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(Now, I feel compelled to say that normally my family is actually pretty darn great. Usually we love each other so much and when I have a bad day they are all there to lift me up in their own special way. We are just going through a really difficult season right now.)

Well, that brings me to today. I’ve been – everyday – fighting for, praying for, and counseling my family nearly every minute of every day, nearly non-stop now for weeks, getting very little sleep and waking up to do it all over again and… all three of them, in their own ways, made me feel worthless. No…the correct way to word that is this: I allowed myself to feel worthless based on the actions of my family members. I don’t really want to say that but the truth is Jeremiah 17:9 tells me that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” So, I have to set how I feel aside and face the fact that I’m allowing their actions to make me feel a certain way.

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I feel worthless. One of them was so quickly offended by the seemingly smallest thing that I did that I thought, “Well, I just shouldn’t talk or interact with [them], then.” After that, another looked at me like I was a complete imbecile in front of my parents – not even deeming me important enough to deserve a verbal response – and that was it for me. My limit had been met. I spoke to no one. I simply stood up and walked away. After 39 years, around 25 of them battling this, you begin to know yourself and see patterns. You know when to walk away, if you care that is about others and end results. So, I sat in the truck…and missed my son’s first soccer game. What? I know. You’re like, “How could you do that?” Well, if you thought that then…praise God! You’ve probably never had to battle this horrific sickness that satan uses against God’s people all over the world nearly every day. I’m not admonishing you. I’m genuinely glad that you don’t get why I had to leave no matter what. You see, if I had stayed, I would have sat there and cried silently, probably shaking, having a full-blown anxiety attack and I would have ruined my son’s first soccer game for everyone else that was there – his dad who was coaching, both sets of grandparents, and his sister. Who am I to do that? This brings me to the third and last of my family that I allowed the actions of to make me feel worthless – my son never even noticed I missed his game nor did he care one way or the other. And (humorless laugh) to add insult to injury: my daughter is now in charge of sitting on the bench with the boys not on the field and taking the score; and they all spent the next hour or two talking about what great fun it all was.

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That’s what I wanted. Right? I wanted to not ruin it for everyone. Job well done, Erin. (Insert proverbial pat on the back here.) Only…they didn’t need me. They didn’t need me. Oh, man, how I want to stop typing right now. I wish God would release me from writing this so badly. At least there’s a cover over my keyboard to keep tears from seeping within the keys, right? (humorless laugh…again)

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I’m not sure there’s anything more hurtful in the world to a person than to feel as if they’re obsolete. Let’s maintain perspective though. My flesh would tell me – and maybe you, today – that those around us don’t love us, don’t like us, whatever. John 8:44 tells us about satan, though. It says that “…there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

 

 The Word also tells us in John 10:10 that satan comes to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” So, allow me to remind myself – and you – that this is a lie (the lie that I am worthless) perpetuated by the devil to cripple me so that I would not be about God’s business but instead be balled up in the fetal position in bed – actually creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by being useless to everyone.

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So, how do I battle rather than buckle? I do what I’m doing now – I write. I delve into God’s Word to find the truth and I share it with others so that when they are experiencing this, not only am I ticking off satan for failing – yet again – at knocking me down for good, but I’m picking up those that he nudged and caused to stumble. You see, what good is me feeling like this for even a moment if I don’t allow God to make use of it? Satan throws a grenade at me and I may have ignorantly caught it; but, I hand it over to God, allow him to transform it into an atom bomb and I drop that bad boy into the lies and spirit of depression that he’s flung on the men and women around me and I let that puppy blow his “well laid” plans to smithereens.

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So, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to print the following image out. I want you to fold it up and put it in your pocket, put it in your purse, hang it on your fridge, pin it up in your office…AND READ IT. Read it every single freakin’ day if you have to. Read it, memorize it, learn it, love it, and live it.

PRINT THIS:

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Anxiety, Bible, Depression, family, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Suicide, Uncategorized

Christian Counseling?

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a Christian counselor out of California. I cannot tell you how as a Christian who battles with depression and anxiety how valuable it is to find a counselor that believes in God and the power of His Word. At times, it can be like finding a needle in a haystack. That is one of the greatest benefits of the Internet, now. We have access to things, information, and people that we may not otherwise have access to. This is especially important when you live in a remote area. I can tell you, though, that even living in a more metropolitan area it is still not as easy as one would think to find a believer that is a counselor.

If you’re asking yourself, “Is therapy really a Godly approach?” Remember that John 14:26 refers to the Holy Spirit as a Counselor. Also, thought the Bible we are told to seek, listen, and receive counsel!

This can be a pretty large roadblock for someone who needs counseling or merely someone to listen to them. I know from experience that when you’re a believer and you are seeking counsel or therapy from someone who is either atheist or agnostic – or maybe simply doesn’t feel comfortable to speak of their own spiritual beliefs – this can be very frustrating when you’re trying to convey how you seek answers, provision, and a relationship with God, the Father.  


Having a counselor, therapist, or physician that understands your believe system, your core values, your identity… because you both follow the one true God, makes your sessions so much more fruitful. For instance, the Bible is our answer book. So, when your counselor knows a verse… when he or she has spent time in prayer and meditating on the word, he or she can share the very words that you needed to hear. That is an extension of God. That is your counselor being the hands and feet of God in a time when you may be weak.


If you’re asking yourself if therapy or counseling is something that you may or may not need, I would remind you of ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭17:12 where it says…

“But Moses’ hands became heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. And Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”‬

You see, as long as Moses’s hands were up they would prevail in battle. Yet, he was exhausted. Even still, God provided Moses with Aaron and Hur to hold him up. Everyone, even Moses, needs someone to hold them up now and again. If you’ll recall, even Christ at the end had someone else carry his cross to the very end for Him.


I encourage you to check out Finally Alive Counseling Ministry. They have a Facebook page you can follow and Twitter. They also have a YouTube channel for you video lovers.


Recently, I listened to their radio broadcast and I was thoroughly encouraged by how much scripture Gary used. So often we look to man for answers because it’s someone who’s tangible, right in front of us. We seek affirmation and validation when really we need to be seeking the answers – whether those answers come with tough decisions and actual participation on our part or not. Gary approaches life and struggles from a biblical standpoint – a thing of which is greatly lacking in this world.

Gary does radio broadcasts and postings. And, if you’re in the Brea, California area, he has Bible studies you can attend. 

Lastly, I would remind you that even if you think you don’t need therapy or counseling, the Bible instructs us to think on good things. The Bible desires for us to seek encouragement and fulfillment through God’s word. You can easily do that by simply turning on one of Gary’s broadcasts and listening to it. It’s a very easy way to refill your vessel with encouragement from God’s word. 

Comment below with what your thoughts on internet access to a Christian counselor are!

Anxiety, Bible, Depression, family, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Suicide, Uncategorized

Battle Depression& Anxiety, Don’t Suffer Them

After a lot of confusion, drama, fear, horrible decisions, and finally a complete and total breakdown that left me in the fetal position in my bathtub, at the age of 16, I begged my mother to “please just fix me.”

She took me to our family doctor of whom we’d known my whole life, who diagnosed me with severe depression. Therapy was suggested, appointments made, and Prozac prescribed and administered. By the time I was 21, mostly because of life and things outside of my control, I was then additionally diagnosed with anxiety and mild obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The OCD mostly resolved itself after a time and rarely springs up, now. The depression and anxiety are still a battle but one I will never give up the fight against. 

Understand that for the sake of this post appealing to those who haven’t the time to read for hours I’m giving The Cliff Notes version, here. To say that there was a lot that brought me to these diagnoses would be the understatement of the century.

The day I decided I would not give up the fight was a pivotal and very real moment in time that will forever be etched in my soul. 

A lot of incidents led up to this particular day and to make a very long story short I was having suicidal thoughts. When you’re to that point, satan has deluded you into believing that the world would actually be better off without you, even your kids. It’s not unheard of to truly believe you’re doing everyone a favor. That’s where I was…even with the Prozac. I went to church as I did at least three times a week, every week. Trust me… no one knew what was going on inside of me. There are people right now reading this saying, “Holy crap. I had no idea and she sat next to me in choir.” I digress. There was a visiting pastor. I don’t even remember what he preached on. I was told he had preached on some message that easily applied to the body as a whole on how we treated one another. I was borderline catatonic in my own world of shame, pain, and misery that I could barely pay attention. All I remember was this – the most important part of this story: he invited people to the alter. My God! When you’ve done everything…you’ll do anything. Keep in mind that at this point I truly believed that even God looked down on me as if to say, “I can’t believe I took the time to make you.” The lies that satan will tell and the extent at which he’ll go to knows no bounds. He is the master of lies and he had found his foothold. So…for me to go to the alter was really an act of “What the heck…” I didn’t go believing ANYTHING was going to happen. I just went. And…something happened. Something that can’t be explained. To be honest, I don’t care if you believe me or not. It is what it is and it’s why I’m here today and why I’ll never consider suicide EVER again. I want to preface what I’m about to say by saying this: NO ONE but me and one other person knew that I was having these thoughts. And…trust me, this other person wasn’t a talker. This preacher made his way to me. He was very quiet for just a moment as he looked at me and then he prayed for me and it was over in a moment. It was only afterward that I realized that in that still quiet moment, the Holy Spirit was speaking to him. In front of the only other person in the world that knew what was going on with me, this preacher laid his hand on my head and said the following (I paraphrase), “God this is your child and you love her and I rebuke any and every single thought of suicide that would ever enter her mind. She is a child of the Most High and has a great purpose. The devil can’t have her because she’s already been claimed by You!” That was it for me.

That was it.

All I needed, all I need, is to know that God is in it with me. That He sees me. And, after that day…that knowledge was given to me when I needed it most. 

But I was too sick to see at the time, to inundated with everything else going on around me, too blind to see… Was that so many of His answers, the answers, and encouragement were already in His word waiting for me to find them. 

At that time, I was to sick to wait patiently but now I know that His word promises…

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. Psalms‬ ‭40:1-3‬ 

I had no idea that Psalms 40:1-3 would soon be my testimony. It proved to me that just as God showed up for the psalmist, He showed up for me. I matter to God and so do you.

In times of anxiety, I would encourage you to meditate on this:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God ‭and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬

In other words, take your burdens immediately to God. Don’t hesitate. Don’t run to your friends. Run to God. And if you find yourself worrying over those things again, give them back to God again! No matter how many times you pick back up your burdens, God will never get tired of you bringing them back to Him.


Now, this Word is a two parter. 

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians‬ ‭4:8

Do not – I REPEAT – do not sit around and watch the news, read the news, look at your Facebook newsfeed, Twitter feed, what have you and allow it to steal your joy. It is so unbelievably easy for you to get mired down in the direction you see this world going into. It’s so easy to get pessimistic and morose over the very real atrocities that are happening in this world. Two of the greatest differences between now and many years ago are that 1) we have access to far more information and current events around the entire planet then we ever had before; and 2) information has led us to believe we merely need our “Tower of Babel” and no longer need God. This is why it’s IMPERATIVE that you think on “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy.” 


The second part of that commission is…

“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians‬ ‭4:9

We are to be active participants in our lives. Remember where in the Bible it tells us about how if we want friends we need to be friendly, if we want love we need to give love, etc.? That rule applies here. These things that God has taught us that are right, that are noble, that are good…these things that we know Christ did, God’s men and women did…we need to go do them. 


It’s amazing how going and doing for others – especially when you don’t feel like it – can change you and bring you peace. 

So, today change your mind. Decide to fight. Clearly satan feels threatened by you or he wouldn’t come at you with a full frontal assault. Right? So…prove him right. Prove that he should feel threatened by you. 

One step at a time. It may just be putting on clothes and getting out of your pajamas today. But, tomorrow, fix your hair. The next day, leave your house. The next day, go to someone else’s house. Every day take one step more. Every day delve into God’s word and spend time in prayer seeking his purpose for your life. Because clearly, as I said earlier, He has a purpose for you. After all, satan finds you threatening! 

You have a purpose. For me, it’s being my husband’s “right-hand man;” it’s being a strong mother to two very strong offspring; it’s writing and teaching. Many days I still feel like a square peg trying to fit in around hole. But, after God took His time throughout all the universe to let me know that He loves me and loves all of you, I’ll never give up the fight no matter what. Why would I ever give up when I know I’m on the winning side – the side of God who shows up and proves that there are no other gods before Him? 

Comment below with some of the things you meditate on!