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…but God

This has been a…hard year.

A year of a lot of loss but also a lot of prayers answered.

We’ve lost loved ones.

We’ve lost dreams. I lost a very personal dream but also was delivered from cancer, pain, and gained…a lot of weight 🥴 from that lost dream.

Milestones were not forgotten but … prioritized, often not in the order we wished but in the order which was right.

A dear friend found she had cancer….but God and she fight.

She still fights today.

We celebrated 50 years of God-focused marriage between my parents.

We finally found our Church home after nearly a decade of praying and seeking, going through different seasons, and being used at various places.

So, while we have seen loss and experienced hurt…we rejoice – I rejoice – because though we prayed and often felt like He didn’t hear us, He knew what was down the road and where our specific brand of love and talents were needed most. He saw us through fear. He delivered us from slings and arrows.

While my flesh wants to cling to the loss, the hysterectomy, the pain, the fear, the weight gain, the heartbreak… my spirit cries out in joy and appreciation for the hope of Heaven, no cancer, loving and being loved again in a Church family, and my family’s every need being met.

What do YOU choose to thank Christ for, today?

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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

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.

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!