Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Book, books, Church, Direction, god, happiness, health, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, patience, Praise, Praise & Worship, prayer, struggle, Uncategorized, women, Worship

Waiting for the door to open

When God closes a door….

We don’t usually talk about what we’re supposed to do after that – how we are to occupy ourselves after a door is closed. No, what we’re used to hearing, what we WANT to hear, is “…another one opens.” And, yes, it generally does!

What, though, do we do in the in-between time? The pastor that I had growing up frequently said “It’s what you do in the in-between times that matters.” For instance, it’s easy to praise Him when the proverbial door has opened wide and you’ve been ushered in. It’s easy to lift your hands and sing praises when He’s opened up a window from Heaven and poured out blessings.

It’s even pretty easy – moreso for some – when all hell is breaking loose because it’s all you feel you can do. You lift your hands, calling out to Him, trusting Him, because there is nothing and no one else.

When you’re just waiting, though, it’s a little different. Some of us long-time Christians call it “being in the desert.”

When God closes one door and has yet to open the next…

I tend to refer to this time, not as a desert, but I say, “I’m in a holding pattern.”

I don’t feel dry, after all. I simply feel like I’m in the waiting room. I know where I came from. I’m pretty sure of where I’m going (at least the direction).

I’m just not sure where the door is; or, if I do know the location, if I should open it yet. Maybe the window is shut to me for now.

The way I figure it I’m in the lobby for either of two reasons: 1) I’m not ready; or, 2) my destination is still begin prepared.

I have no way of knowing whether or not my destination is still being prepared as I’m not yet there. That leaves me with two options: 1) complain about being in the holding pattern for so long; or, 2) prepare myself so that I’m ready for whatever is behind that door.

Let’s look at it this way: I’m at the doctor’s office. I’ve been waiting for an hour. I can lose my patience, make a move to push things along faster (e.g., “I want to see the doctor now!”), only to find out that the doctor hasn’t seen me yet because he’s waiting with a patient that has just had a heart attack and is currently awaiting an ambulance. Essentially, I’ve made a fool of myself. The doctor is saving someone’s life while I’m yelling like a petulant child.

I sometimes feel like that’s how God sees us but His grace abounds.

I can try all of the various doctors on the street until I find one that will see me immediately. Yes, my temporary need – that of being seen, has been met; but, since I’ve ended up in a cardiologist’s office, I’m probably going to walk out no better than I was before because my problem was a broken bone.

Now, I’ve wasted the cardiologist’s time, my time, God’s time, and the original problem – my broken bone – has acute pain. Clearly, I didn’t choose well that time either.

What about this? What if I sit in the lobby patiently, with a good attitude? I pull out a notepad and begin writing down what I would like to discuss with the doctor. I might even open up my smart phone and look up all of the information available to me about this bone.

I’m prepared. I’m prepared to share my concerns, my options, my questions with the doctor. I’ve gotten so involved with my studying and preparation I didn’t even realize it was my name that was just called. “Coming right now!” I eagerly say.

“I’m so sorry for the wait,” the nurse will say; and, I will respond, “Oh, no sweat! I didn’t even notice the time, honestly. I kept myself busy figuring out what I wanted to talk to the doctor about.” The nurse is pleased now because I’m the fourth patient since the heart attack victim; and, I’m the first to not complain.

I go in and speak with the doctor and he’s pleasantly surprised that I’m prepared. I’ve saved his time. I understand the use of that bone and how this injury is going to effect me. I understand the hard work that lies before me. I know there’s going to be self-discipline involved and patience. These are two traits that I have already learned and practiced while sitting in the lobby!

Why do I share this scenario? Because, what are you doing in the waiting room?

What are you doing while in the waiting room?

Are you preparing yourself for the door to open? For your name to be called?

“…Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the good news of peace. Always carry the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. And take the helmet of salvation along with the sword given by the spirit, that is, the word of God…” (Ephesians 6: 14-17)

You see, we have a lot of preparation that has already been directed to us, assigned to us. These are our “Initial Patient Forms,” if you will. This is our prep work, the work we do, before we are called.

These forms are our foundation to our file. All other treatments and decisions will be based on what these documents say about us: our medical history, our current history, etc.

Your battle readiness is based upon your foundation of His word. Whether you can weather the storm is determined greatly upon how you fortified your soul.

God help me to do my homework during the holding pattern.

I want my “current state of health” to say things like, “She is surrounded by truth, covered in righteousness, and constantly sharing God’s good word. She walks in faith that cannot be extinguished in any situation. She is covered in His salvation and walks in God’s anointing at all times. She knows His word, lives His word, and is full of His word.”

What will your “current state of health” say?

Advertisements
America, Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Christmas, Church, Death, Depression, family, god, happiness, healing, health, Holy Spirit, insecurity, jesus, Life, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Ministry, Uncategorized, verse

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

America, Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Children, Depression, family, god, health, Holy Spirit, insecurity, jesus, kids, Life, Love, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Ministry, Parenting, Praise & Worship, social media, Uncategorized, verse, women

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
Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Church, Depression, family, god, health, insecurity, jesus, Life, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Ministry, Uncategorized

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…

Anxiety, Bible, bible verse, Church, Depression, Holy Spirit, jesus, Life, Mental Health, Uncategorized

Stop Weeding!

Recently, I have been overwhelmed and battling every single day. It has felt as if I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop and I have a closet full of shoes! I went to my husband and told him this with tears in my eyes. He prayed over me and one of the things that he said was, “God, allow us to weed out these problems” (or something along those lines). In that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how weeds grow in relation to grass. He gave me revelation and I hope to share that with you today.

But first we have to understand how weeds grow.

“The conditions that allowed for weeds to flourish must be corrected or they will continually be a problem. You can kill the weeds all you want, but if you do nothing else, they will return.
Lawns must be maintained in a way that promotes a healthy lawn, while discouraging lawn weeds.
Overseeding, aeration and other maintenance activities may be needed in the beginning especially to promote the best lawn possible.
For most grasses, it’s better to mow the lawn at the highest recommended level. These tactics will hinder weed germination and growth since most weeds cannot compete easily with a thick lawn.”
Lawn Care Academy

You see, If the grass is tended to properly and it is allowed to grow at its intended height, it actually stifles out the weeds all on its own. The grass and the weeds are competing for sunlight and whichever gets the most nutrients gets the most height. Subsequently, whichever gets the greatest height stifles out the other. And allow me repeat what they said: “You can kill the weeds all you want, but if you do nothing else, they will return.” ALL YOU WANT!

You can kill the weeds all you want but they’ll never stop coming if that’s all you do – kill the weeds.

I have always recognized and told others that if you have a purpose and a plan placed within you by God – which we all do – satan seeks to destroy that. That being said, life can be such a distraction to our eternal life and calling! I have been allowing my attention to go to the weeds and to tending to them rather than my spending time on tending to the grass in order that it would kill out the weeds on its own. (In this scenario life’s mishaps, misery, and mayhem are the weeds, God’s purpose and plan for me are the grass.)

Then, to add insult to injury upon myself, I backed away from reading His word and delving deeper into it and replaced those priorities with things like worry, busted tires, homeschool trials, emotions, and more.

“Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew. “The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’””

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:24-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I was literally tossing away and neglecting the “wheat” (my walk with God) while rooting up the weeds!

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve gotten caught up weeding rather than nurturing the grass. Maybe you’re mourning, worrying, healing, working… All of these things are “life” but guess what? They’re not life giving!

If you’re feeling lost, untethered, as if you’re drowning, allow me to remind you…

No amount of worrying, planning, crying, venting, nor weeding can do in months what God can do in but a moment.

So, allow me to encourage you to stop whatever weeding you are doing right now. You may very well be pulling up purposefully-sown grass with them! Instead, take time to nurture your grass. Take time to water your life with water from the well that never runs dry.

In case you need a little help getting started…

Bible, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at best and discouraging at the worst. It’s frustrating when you want to know more about God, be a better person, have a better life, and yet you can’t understand the manual. If you feel that way – or know someone that may feel that way – this post is for you!

First off, don’t feel like a freak. Everyone – at some point in their journey – has read the Word and gone, “Huh?”

Most people simply don’t announce that but it’s common place. Even myself, even the elders that I know, sometimes spend days or weeks on one passage trying to understand it by delving through concordances and Hebrew translations.

Reading the Bible is truly a journey. You’ll read a passage and it will mean one thing to you. Many years later, it will be more complex and mean something even deeper to you. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Word of God to me – that the Word never changes yet somehow it always adapts and becomes what you need in your very personal season because it’s alive.

Secondly, God wants you to understand and know Him so He wouldn’t give you a book that you couldn’t understand. He loves you and He want you to succeed.

So, here’s a sort of game plan for you…

1️⃣ Call on God

Don’t just open up the Word and expect it to make perfect sense to you. Don’t open up the Word and expect it to pertain to your moment. Instead of expecting the word of God to apply to what you think you need, go to God and ask him to open your heart and open your mind to what he would have that passage teach you no matter what’s going on in your life right now.

2️⃣Never give up

Often times, when something is difficult, we just want to give up. Reading the Bible is one of those things that, once you get going, you can’t seem to put it down. Unfortunately common too often, it’s that “once you get going” part that’s the challenge. As crazy as this may sound, the devil doesn’t want you to read the Bible. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. He knows that if you read the word of God you will become stronger and you will be armed for battle. So, you will find that distractions will occur, confusion will happen, exhaustion will come against you,… and it’s your job to stick to it and not give up.

3️⃣Trust God

You may feel like, “What does this have anything to do with?” when you are reading the Bible. That’s OK. Just trust God. Usually you will find that the information that you’re receiving, that your etching upon your heart, will be there when you need it though that time may not be right now.

4️⃣Not sure? Test it!

Don’t know if that passage was for you? Test it!

Ask your elders that are more wise than you, those that God has placed in your life!

5️⃣You were meant to understand His Word

As insulting as this may sound to some of you, the Word was written even for the most simplest of minds. Christ spoke in parables so that anyone and everyone could understand. We do not teach children in Sunday School for no reason. If they are capable of understanding the word of God so is any adult that so desires!

6️⃣Understand that you may understand His words, but may not understand all

Sometimes God reveals His words to us just when we need to understand them the most. Sometimes we hide a word in our hearts and at just the right moment the Holy Spirit reminds us of that word and it all suddenly makes sense. Then there are other things such as the idea that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… How can one God be three entities yet one God? If we could all answer these questions, we would have no need for God. All of these things will be understood once we’re with Him. Until then, we have to come to terms with the fact that on this plane we will not understand it all.

7️⃣ Taste and see…

Challenge yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Test Him. Say to yourself, “I’m going to try this Bible reading thing for one year.” In my life, and all the people that I’ve met from around the world, I have yet to meet a person that has told me that the Bible returned void.

8️⃣ Testify

When you see that the Word is good and that it has changed your life for the better, remember where you were before the Word touched your life. Don’t just bury that. Go out and share your testimony so that someone else can have their life changed.

Bible

Choosing to depend on God

When circumstances beyond our control come at us in such a way that we are faced with having to depend upon ourselves or God, sometimes it’s easier than at other times. 

Allow me to give you an example:

You’re in a car wreck and can’t get to your loved ones. All you can do is depend on God. There is no other choice; so, the choice is easy.

Alternatively:

You’re told there’s a growth and chances are that it’s not malignant but you won’t know until it comes out. And…it’s not coming out for weeks. Now it’s not as easy.

When time is extended, when circumstances are not panicked, we often find ourselves running to the phone instead of the throne. We want to be wrapped in the loving arms of our spouse or our parent rather than the loving arms of our Father. Hey it doesn’t make you any less of a Christian. It’s much like how a child has to learn to not burst into tears simply because they saw the sight of blood. As we mature, as we endure various types of strife, we practice holding it together and going straight to God rather than going straight to man. I’m 39 years old (about to be 40), have known God all of my life, and I still run to my husband first thing. I give some slack to myself on that because I truly do believe that in God’s sight two became one; so it’s not as if I am running to a friend but rather the other side of myself. Still, though, I’m looking for comfort from someone other than my Creator. 

So… if you haven’t figured it out, I’m in a holding pattern. The ultrasound technician found some things. The doctor will have to remove them. There’s no way of knowing how serious it is until it’s removed. Chances are everything is fine, just painful. Unfortunately – and sadly I am in no way being pessimistic 😂 but rather completely serious when I say that my life tends to be ran by both God and Murphy’s Law. In other words, if in 3% of the population it’s not so good, then you guessed it! I tend to fall in that 3%. 🙃

Before my husband married me, I not-so-jokingly warned him that my life was ran by Murphy’s Law. It didn’t take long for him to see what I meant: If it might be broken, it is. If I may need surgery, I do. If I get my hair cut and styled, it’s storming. If I finally get that rare craving for ice cream, the whole family ate it in one day and there is none. It’s honestly laughable. There have been so many instances when something really cruddy happened; but, it was so astonishing that it even did happen that we all had to laugh. I digress.

So, I don’t say any of this in a “woe is me” way. I honestly have a very humorous look at my life. I sometimes make the joke that I’m God’s little science project. That IS a joke, by the way. I know Him better than that!

Credit: reverendfun.com

So, since I received the news (of which the Holy Spirit had already prepared me for), all that first day I alternated between crying and hearing the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear, “Depend on me. Lean on me. No matter what.” It’s that “no matter what” part that’s getting me. Not the way you may think though. I’m actually not having a hard time giving this to God even if it winds up being “bad news.”

Confession Time: I’m having a hard time of letting go and giving it to God. 

I am a person who likes to research, find solutions, and expeditiously apply the solution. In this case, I have absolutely no control over anything other than how I respond to it. 

Let me just get to it:

It’s as if God wants me to depend on him right now. I mean, it’s as if He wants me to stop and depend on Him, trust in Him, right now – before the tears, before the next procedure, before arriving at the hospital, before the anesthesia, before the removal, before the results are relayed to me. And of course He does. His Word tells us that over and over. It’s hard to remember, though, when the storm is raging, though. Isn’t it?


I feel in my spirit that He wants me to know I’m taken care of – whatever that may mean – right now before even assessing the situation. After all, if I want to give God the glory for saving me…. isn’t my act of faith larger if I give him the glory for it right now than giving it to him after the doctor tells me, “It looks as if we took care of it”? 


Shortly after the findings were relayed to me, I was watching Jentezen Franklin live on Facebook and he challenged me. He was talking about the disciples in the boat after the miracle of the loaves and fishes. He was talking about Jesus’s disappointment in them that they had missed the miracle. And…Franklin said (I’m paraphrasing), “You’re walking around in the midst of your storm with the crumbs of your last miracle still on your shirt!” In other words, I still have the memories of every good and perfect thing God has ever done in my life, yet I’m walking through the storm as if I don’t have access to the God of all creation, as if He hasn’t already proven Himself. The disciples were in the midst of the storm, in a boat with the leftovers from a miracle; and, even with the reminder of a very recent miracle, they were operating in fear, oblivious to Whom they were in the presence of.


I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want that to be you. So, together…right now…let’s agree that we’re going to give whatever it is to God because He’s already proven Himself though He doesn’t have to. 


It’s my experience – in life and in reading the Word – that miracles come after desperation and/or an act of faith. 


Let’s not wait for desperation. The Holy Spirit is drawing us near to believe in God’s plans long before we ever feel desperate.

Let’s pray:

Heavenly Father, You are the Great I Am. You are Alpha and Omega – where we see a dead end, You are a new beginning. You created us all, the very blueprints of our lives. We come before You, in one accord, asking for You to help us lay our burdens at Your feet and to not pick them up again. We ask that you imbue us with such a level of faith that others around us must ask us, “What is it that makes you believe so firmly? What gives you such peace?” We ask that you take our storms and turn them into stories – testimonies of Your delivering power and mercy. We give You all the glory because You are King of Kings and nothing in our lives has caught you unaware. We worship You now for what You will do tomorrow. Thank you, God, for loving us so much, so incomparably. May we learn to love You more and more each day. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray. Amen.

Bible

The Good Samaritan Challenge

Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan
This poor guy was left on the side of the road beaten, half dead. How many times have you felt half-dead? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally? 


This priest sees him. The priest looked the other way because he can’t get caught up in that. He can’t get dirty. He’s got a sermon to prepare. He ain’t got time for drama. That’s what other people are for: police, counselors, associate pastors. 

Then a Levite comes by, a neighbor. He even takes time to look at the carnage on the side of the road but then “keeps driving” so to speak. He hopes the guy is okay, maybe, but he’s got some place to be. He’s got his own problems. 


Then…a Samaritan comes by, someone seen as lesser than the man beaten, an outsider, possibly even an interloper. 


This Samaritan doesn’t just see the beaten down guy. He actually bandaged his wounds. He didn’t call someone and say, “Hey, could you…uh. Could you take care of this?” He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He even gave him a ride on his own ride. He then took him to an hotel. It doesn’t end there, though. He went in and took care of him. Then, when the Samaritan left…he paid the hotel manager and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

So, today…I challenge you: be a Good Samaritan. Stop right now and think: Who hasn’t been around? Who do I know is going through something? Who might be hurting?

Then…


1. Go to them: Don’t just call or text. You can do those first but then physically GO TO THEM. 

2. Attend their wounds: This may mean literally. This may mean saying, “Lets look in the Bible together, right now.” This may mean bringing them food, talking with them, and praying with them. 

3. Then “come again”: That means follow up. Go back and check and see if they’re healing.

4. Challenge someone else to do this. Can you imagine if a Good Samaritan Challenge went viral?! How insanely awesome would that be?!

But it starts with you.


You could change someone’s life. You could SAVE someone’s life

This isn’t merely a suggestion nor a trite challenge made by yours truly. This was a tactfully directed commandment made by the Son of God.
“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:30-37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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!