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Chonda Pierce: Unashamed

Chonda Pierce: Unashamed at select Cinemas May 7 & 9

This Mother’s Day week, May 7 & 9 at 7:00pm., you and your friends can enjoy a night of laughter and  truth as only top selling female comedian, Chonda Pierce, can deliver.  Chonda will make you laugh and think as she boldly proclaims the truth of the Gospel to a hurting world.  Chonda takes a journey into the hearts of the faithful as she engages some of the boldest believers in America. Mike Huckabee, Danny Gokey, the Benham Brothers and others tell their stories of speaking truth to our culture…no matter the consequences. Don’t forget to bring your moms, grandmas and every mother in your church for a night to remember!

Only Chonda can communicate deep and meaningful truth and make you laugh at the same time.  Chonda is unchained, unrestrained and UNASHAMED!

I watched this film before it was available to the public. As I write this, I am both laughing and crying. Every single woman that is a believer should watch this film for… a smile, encouragement, and simply the knowledge that you’re not alone. More than that, I am walking away reminded that I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose – no matter the size – is important to God.

I have a purpose and this world doesn’t get to judge whether my purpose is small or whether it’s large because my purpose no matter the size is important to God.

It’s okay for me to believe in the One that has always believed in me.

It’s okay for me to live for the One that died for me.

And…I can do it all with love, humility, and grace because His love does not have to conform to this world’s definition of it.

Ladies, grab your mom, sister’s, and friends. Reserve this time of encouragement that you will never regret.

 

Giveaway ends May 6 and winner will be selected by May 15th.  Prizes are physical items that will be mailed.

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Blinders

I want you to imagine a horse with blinders on. Blinders are used to keep the horse focused on what is in front of it. Since the horse can’t see everything in it’s peripheral vision, it keeps the horse from becoming distracted or scared.

The horse looks towards the end of the row – it’s goal. So, for instance, if a dog runs up from the house, the horse will hear it; but, the horse will stay the course. If a snake should come into its path… it will tread on and over it; because, the horse’s goal is in sight – nothing else.

I would like to encourage you to first ground yourself in God’s word, assuring that you are walking as Christ did (1 John 2:6).

Then know this, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:19-20)

Don’t take the time to rejoice in your authority. Stay the course, focusing on God. Keep your blinders on. Once your with our Heavenly Father, look back and witness the trail you took in life and how it’s littered with snakes and scorpions that you were never even aware of; because, you were too focused on your goal, the end of your row, your God.

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Thank you, Sweetheart

Today’s guest blogger is Samantha Moss from My Medical Musings. This post struck a particular chord with me because I have someone very near and dear to me that suffers from chronic illness and she depends on her husband greatly. This could bring great stress upon a marriage; or, you can go through it all with God and your marriage can be stronger than ever. #testimony

Find the original Post here!

Behind every great man is a great woman, or so the saying goes.

Let’s flip that on it’s head a little. Behind this chronically ill wife is an amazing husband. A husband who has become a full-time carer. A husband who has gone beyond the call of duty. A husband who has become my legs, my cleaner, my cook, my shopper, my gardener, my driver, my nurse.

A husband who holds my hand when I’m writhing in pain. A husband who heats wheat packs in the middle of the night or makes me a cup of tea in the early hours of the morning, when sleep is completely disturbed by pain.

My husband is nothing short of amazing and I don’t know how, I don’t even want to think about how, my life would be without him by my side.

We share this chronic illness journey, warts and all. He knows me better than anyone else. He can tell when I’m exhausted even before I can. He never complains at this life that has been landed in his lap.

He never gets annoyed at me for my limitations. If anything he gets annoyed at me when I try to do things beyond my limitations. That’s when I frustrate him.

It’s a frustration born out of love though. It’s because he knows how much pain I will endure for stretching my limits. He speaks to me of hating what my body is doing to me and how he feels so helpless. That breaks my heart to hear him say that 😢

A World Of Our Own

Somehow we have managed to create a world of our own that works for us. While it is an extremely limited life, it is also a full and an ever expanding life. Most of it is spent in the four walls of our home but we are together and we create our own adventures on a daily basis.

We laugh and cry together, we read together, we pray together, we watch our favourite TV shows,  we sit in our garden and chat as if on a beautiful date. We share the jobs around the house and keep our environment a place where we want to be.

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We also have our alone time during the day. I have my online support forum and writing commitments and my husband always has a project on the go that he potters with in his “man cave”.

Although we usually only spend 2 or 3 hours apart each day that time is precious and important, particularly for a carer.

Where Would I Be Without Him?

I was recently asked to write on the topic of  “Partners – Where would we be without our partners?”

I have a very simple answer to that question.  Lost, lonely and in a permanent residential care facility.

Thank you Sweetheart, for all you do, your devotion, care, acceptance of our situation and your unfailing love.

Words really can’t express my love for you but I hope this blog post will always remind you that I think you are amazing and I love you so much ❤️❤️

Thank you Sweetheart

Sam xx❤️❤️

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 v 4 – 7

If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.

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I choose peace

Tonight, I am emotionally exhausted. I am not emotionally exhausted in a conversational way. I am emotionally exhausted in the clinical way. As I had that thought on the forefront of my mind, I ran across this picture posted here.

I thought to myself how true it is… but God. You see, if you look up all of the signs of emotional exhaustion you will find that I actually only meet maybe one or two of the criteria. That is not because I’m not experiencing emotional exhaustion. That is because…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22)

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. (Proverbs 12:25)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:6-8)

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6)

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. (Psalm 56:3)

And, I could go on because His Word goes on. I’m not going to worry tonight. I might worry on another day… when I’m stronger of body yet not being diligent about being spiritually focused on God‘s promises that day.

Tonight, though, I’m not going to worry about losing another loved one. I’m not going to worry about having enough money for repairs and gifts. I am not going to worry about whether I am the best mother or not, the best daughter or not, the best sister or not, the best friend or not.

I’m not going to worry because I have given my exhaustion to the Lord and He has turned it into peace. He is Jehovah Jireh. He is the provider of promises, needs, and even emotional balance and health. I could focus on my exhaustion and say that it is there because of all of the turbulence around me; but, instead, I am recognizing that God is using it to force me into a state of awareness of the peace that is simply waiting for me to fall back into. And… I choose to fall back into His peace and His promises tonight.

http://youtu.be/BgaHaioAjyg

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The Nasty, Notorious, Infamous Case of the Mondays

It’s so sinister. It’s so dreaded that you actually begin showing signs of its impending approach on Sunday, before it’s even arrived! You don’t think, you know, everything will be miserable. After all, it’s Monday!

The alarm didn’t wake you. The coffee maker breaks. The kids – ALL OF THEM – can suddenly not find any matching shoes. You had to go BACK home because you forgot all of their backpacks. WHY CAN’T THEY REMEMBER THEIR OWN BACKPACKS STILL?! Dunkin Donuts line is too long but you sit through it anyways because their coffee is your nectar and you’ll just have to live with the guilt that you gave the kids donuts for breakfast instead of a sausage and egg Hot Pocket this morning (because let’s be honest who actually stops and cooks eggs, sausage, toast, and the works for their children every morning?!).

But…why? Why is Monday seemingly always like this? Well, I think if we were really honest with ourselves we would look back and say that that kind of Monday only happens rarely. Still, though, no matter if everything falls apart or if there’s no traffic at all, Monday still feels like Monday!

The Telegraph shared the findings of a scientific study done by Marmite that indicate that “many people don’t smile on Mondays until 11:16 am, and that half of us won’t turn up to work on time, either. Mondays also tend to be fairly unproductive, with only about three and a half hours of actual work getting done. And those in the 45 to 54 year-old demographic will moan for about 12 minutes on Mondays, making them the most susceptible to the suck that is Monday.

Experts indicate that the reason behind our hatred of Mondays is a result of humans being governed by deep-rooted tribal habitsand that we prefer to ease into the week rather than tackle it head-on first thing Monday morning. In fact, those that do the latter may end up burning themselves out before Friday hits.“*

Even this blog 😂 I’m writing it at 2:30 P…M…on Monday and scheduling it to post next Monday! I witnessed my best friend experiencing a true case of the Mondays and simply could not sit idly by and allow her to fall victim to it! 😐😂❤️

The fact is this: life expectancy is 79.3 in the United States. Now, don’t freak out – it’s just a number, an average number, and an estimation at that. But if we take that number and we calculate how many days we’ll have in 79.3 years we will get 28,963.73 days. If you then deduct the weekends, you get 20,688.3785 days. That is 71% of your life (5 days out of 7) that you’re ALLOWING YOURSELF to live in misery.

That’s right. 🤷🏻‍♀️Sorry to tell you this but Monday is just a day – like any other. Though the world would have you think otherwise, Monday has nothing against you nor has it waged war on you.

So here is my question for you…

Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’m going to continue to waste 71% of my life complaining and allowing a day to turn me into its doormat.

Why do you think we often begin to dread Monday before it’s even arrived? I think it may have something to do with this…

Now, I’m not going to sidetrack and begin to talk about which day is the Sabbath – whether it’s Saturday or Sunday. I’m also not going to berate or guilt you if you are in the ministry and can’t seem to find your day of rest. I am going to remind you, however that God called us to have a day of rest. If you’re constantly going, then Monday is going to be a reminder that your hamster wheel is never stopping. That’s why – then – Saturdays and vacations become your goal.

That brings me to goals! Is your goal to be miserable every day of your life? If so, this world has got a great deal for you! This world has figured out how to keep you worried, overspent, in debt, stressed to the nines, and seeing death long before you ever should and all for the low, low, price of your happiness and often a lot…lot more!

That’s right! All of that stress is there for the taking!

Now, if you’ve decided that this world’s idea of success, and the stress that comes with it, isn’t for you, then how about let’s look at the alternative. Shall we?

It starts in your mind. That’s right – your head! It doesn’t start with breathing exercises. It doesn’t start with post-it notes and scheduling. Nor does it even start at the beach. It starts in your mind.

Once you begin focusing on God, you can no longer focus on all of the calamity around you.

Did you know that one of the very first things a runner is taught is to never look behind them? They are trained to never look behind but to always keep their eyes ahead of them looking at their goal – the finish line. It has been proven that if they turn around they will slow down and it will affect their race. Those that keep their eyes on the finish line always arrive faster than if they are distracted.

Now, Romans 12:2 tells us that we are to be “transformed.” How? Well, John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

You see, He’s already given it (peace) to us. Just like his salvation, it’s right there simply waiting for us to receive it! Quick question: when your mom or your dad told you as a child, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it.” Did you question whether they would take care of it? I bet you didn’t. How much more does your heavenly father want to take care of your problems?

I hear you, right now: BUT HOW?! Relax. Geez. You act like it’s Monda… never mind. I won’t leave you hanging.

Proverbs 16 says, ““The preparations of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. The LORD has made all for Himself, Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.”

Now, in the NLT, it says it a little more clearly for the average Joe…

You see, if you will go to God, “The Lord gives the right answer.”; and if you “commit your actions to the Lord,” “your plans will succeed!”

So, instead of repeating the mantra in your head that “Mondays suck!” begin talking to God, aloud, whether in song or in prayer. Who cares what your kids think? I’ve got news for you: they think you’re crazy anyways. So just run with that. As they get older, they will remember the days that mom or dad would talk to God and they will follow in your footsteps.

Begin giving God your problems whether it be your eyeliner breaking and smudging all the way across your face or your coffee maker no longer coming to life. Begin thanking him for the fact that He woke you up this morning which means he must have some sort of plan for you still. Then, really top it off by asking God what it is that He has for you to do today!

Instead of dreading the upcoming week, begin looking at it as five days of opportunity to fix what you broke last week, begin the thing you’d never began but intended to, and talk to the person you know you should’ve talked to already!

You may not turn your Monday into Funday but you will change your life into a life of purpose; and purpose makes us want to get out of bed. Achieving purpose gives us a sense of accomplishment and pride; and it drives us to continue on.

So, I want to leave with you one last passage from the Bible where Paul says something that is extremely poignant:

“For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Https://thenextweb.com/shareables/2011/07/25/scientific-study-confirms-that-mondays-suck/?amp=1
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Even so…

In the NKJV of the Bible the term “even so” is used 36 times. Do you know what “even so” means? It means “in spite of that.” It means “nevertheless.”

It’s a term that, when inserted, can flip the script on any situation in your life!

Watch this: “I see no end to this financial strain we’re under…EVEN SO my God is Jehoveh Jireh and has provided for me so far. I’ve never gone hungry.”

How about this: “My husband left me and my child, and I haven’t got a clue what tomorrow brings…EVEN SO my God has brought me safe thus far and He will take me forward, never leaving nor forsaking me!”

“This world seems like it’s going straight to hell. Sin is widely accepted as the norm. The value of life is no longer a consideration. EVEN SO nothing catches my God by surprise and His word has revealed to us that all of these things would come to pass; so, we WILL be diligent. We WILL soldier on. We WILL change lives. We WILL be about our Father’s business!”

I encourage you to add “even so” to your vocabulary today. I challenge you that every time you catch yourself, or someone else, worrying or complaining say, “Even so…” and watch how God can turn around lives right before your eyes. For we are a sinful lot that would be lost, EVEN SO…

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Review & Giveaway: Always Enough Never Too Much

I received this book for my honest opinion, no monetary gain, and my honest opinion you will get. 

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“We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.
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Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you  banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.”

 

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I think it’s appropriate that this is called a “flip book.” I’ll tell you why: because sometimes you need to FLIP the script on your life!

This past year has been a year of “too much” and “never enough” for me. This book is what I’d call an “on time” book for me. In a world that has programmed us to instinctively compare ourselves to one another and judge ourselves against litmus tests that God never set forth – other than His Word – it is refreshing to find a book that is truly edifying. It is refreshing to know that I’m reading words that are inspired by the Word of God in order that I might get back on the rails that I derailed from and remember who I am in God’s eyes. It’s nice to know I’m about to “flip” things back to the way God intended.

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You might notice that this book has two titles… kind of. I’ll explain it perfectly (and give you a sneak preview) in this short video:

Now that I have my own copy, I know exactly who I’m going to gift one of these to. It’s a pastor’s wife. It would amaze you the pressure that is on women that we look at as if they have it all together and we wish we were them. You may find that the very same insecurities that plague you are plaguing the very people you think have it all. So… don’t just keep this book to yourself – when you’re done, gift it to someone else. If you want to keep yours forever, then consider someone else who may feel the same way and gift them a copy. It may be the very think that helps them to become who they are truly meant to be in Christ simply by empowering them!

Now, after you get your Prime on and and grab your copy of Always Enough Never Too Much, you may find you want to get another copy for someone close to you:

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me

 

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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.”

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!