Tag Archives: scripture

Because of Who They Were, I Am.

Lately I’ve been filled with gratitude. I’ve been pondering how I got to where I am today. I think about the people who contributed to raising me during childhood. They sacrificed so much for me, and still do. Many of them are still supporting me, praying for me, and cheering me on. Without them, I would not be the woman I am today.

I think about my ancestors, who hailed from a variety of countries. I don’t know as

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Photo by Brytny.com on Unsplash

much about them as I would like. I do know that without them, I would not exist. Many great qualities have been passed down. I think about the generous spirit that I received and learned from both sides. I think about the love of children and environments that embrace baby talking, play, and letting children be children. I was so blessed to grow up in these environments. Some people grow up in families that don’t know how to deal with children or see them as a burden. Every ancestry comes with various challenges. That includes mine, many times over. Yet I know the power of Jesus to break any curse. I know that I am not a lone individual, but I arrived on a foundation built by many others. 

I think about the saints who have gone before. Beginning with the Apostles, they had numerous weaknesses. Christ didn’t forsake them despite their evident weaknesses. Think about Peter, who Jesus put in a leadership position, despite his denials. The Apostles clung to the faith to the end, some even paying the price with

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Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

their lives. Then throughout the past 2000 or so years, there have been countless others who lived lives worthy of their calling. There was Monica, who prayed her wayward son (Augustine) and her angry, faithless husband to unshakeable faith, even when it seemed her tears and prayers would have no pay off. These, and many, many more. They give me the example of keeping faith in any circumstance. They cheer us on and intercede still. The family of God doesn’t end with earthly death.

Always, we are “people in process.” I know that whatever my process looks like, and however far I feel from the person I was created to be, I am surrounded by people cheering me on to my finish line. Here in the earthly realm, and in realms beyond imagining. I can’t give up the fight. I’ve come too far. They came too far, and gave too much. Because of who they were, I am.

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Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”-Hebrews 12:1

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”-John 15:13

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 
Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”-Ephesians 4:2-3

 

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Changing Seasons.

Have you ever been surprised at how quickly the seasons change?

Quickly, sometimes surprisingly. A bright, brutally hot summer abruptly turns to a chilly, gray fall. Fall to winter. Frozen winter to a blooming spring.

It’s a bit the same with the seasons in our lives. Our seasons change, but not always with our consent. We want to stay in the sunshine forever, and keep the cold far away. Some seasons are longer than others. There are seasons that we long to change. Seasons at a certain job may seem to drag out, or a rut-filled season within a relationship.

No matter what, we are called to faithfulness in every season. It’s our Creator’s decision when a season will change. Only the Lord knows exactly why the door closes quickly on a beautiful season, and a dark season seems to stretch on endlessly. It’s our job to trust our Heavenly Father. Trust, and be faithful.

Seasons are a gift. May we practice presence and embrace the beauty and lessons in each one.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”~Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

(Happy Autumn! I always find this to be such a season of change and hope. Autumn is a season that brings much shifting. May you find refreshment, hope, and healing in this season of transformations!)

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Photo by Stephen Ellis on Unsplash

Life In Christ=No Limits.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”~Luke 1:37

A decade ago, I would never have dreamed of the places I’ve been and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with in life. You see, I had a picture in my head of how God “normally” worked in people’s lives. Because of this picture, I placed limits on my life. I expected my life to follow a similar trajectory. I based my vision for the future based on what I saw in other people’s lives, and even what society expected. Very sadly, I was putting God in a box and limiting an all-powerful, limitless God!

As I began to be more open to God’s work in my heart, mind, and each aspect of my life, amazing things began to happen. My Heavenly Father placed people beside me that lived with purpose and did not follow societal expectations. Miracles happened. I was presented with opportunities that cannot be explained except through the eyes of faith.  My mindset shifted. My eyes were opened, along with my mind. I began to see that the only limits on life are those that we place upon ourselves. Yes, you read right–the only limits on your life are those that you allow yourself to believe.     

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Photo by Katerina Radvanska on Unsplash

I have crazy dreams for my future. Or should I say, I don’t have the “American dream.” (Thank God!) Other people sometimes find it difficult to understand when I tell of my dreams for the future or to understand why. I know that God has placed these dreams within me, and has confirmed them over and over again. The reactions of others and the practicalities could easily sway me from striving from these dreams. But, would God be pleased? Would I achieve what God put me on this earth for? NO. Does God want me to live within my comfort zone and let those gifts He has placed within my heart to languish? NO. In fulfilling our purpose and coming to better know our Creator, we find joy.

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Photo by Luca Zanon on Unsplash

Thank You Jesus, that these lives You have given us are limitless in YOU! Show us the limits we have set on ourselves for whatever reason, and show us the dreams that YOU have for us and the path You have set before us to attain them. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen!

“Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”~Galatians 4:6-7

Mental Health Series Pt. III: Faith and Mental Health.

Faith can be a huge help when it comes to mental health struggles. In fact, it has been shown that faith can have a positive impact on mental health and on reducing anxious or depressive symptoms! Faith can also assist you in thinking positively, since faith gives us hope. We know that faith enriches our lives in so many ways and gives us hope for eternity as well.

Please be aware: there is a danger of “over-spiritualizing” mental health. There is a real biological component to many (if not most) struggles with mental health, including depression and anxiety. If someone tells you to simply pray it away, they are not looking at the whole picture. It’s true that faith in God can assist us in our struggles with mental health. In fact, forgetting the spiritual component of ourselves can be detrimental. But please realize there is more going on than a lack in prayer life and support that person as they seek whatever other help may be necessary for them.

Below are a few ways to find improved mental health with faith:

  • Soak yourself in the Word. Instead of letting negative thoughts take root, read God’s word. Do an internet search for the promises of God. There are many! Study His Word consistently. The Psalms are also a great place to take refuge in times of difficulty. There is a Psalm for all kinds of emotions and occasions.
  • Pray. Yes, it’s simple, but many people forget to do it! Instead of letting yourself fester in negative emotions, bring it God right away. Allow Him to carry your burden. Seek a close relationship with Him.
  • Recognize when your struggles are caused by sin, past or present. Confess your sin and learn to live in freedom from guilt and shame. Walk into the freedom and life that Jesus Christ offers. He doesn’t want us to live trapped in guilt about our past. He tells us to “go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11)
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    Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash
  • Praise in every circumstance. Learn to thank God for your blessings instead of focusing on what you don’t have. This practice will not only keep you rooted in thankfulness to the Lord, it will help you to stay mindful of the great things in your life and remind you that you are truly blessed! Praise is a mindset changer.
  • Get in the practice of doing the Examen. This allows you to stay in gratitude. Gratitude has positive effects on mental health (similar to praise, above). The Examen also keeps you rooted in listening to the voice of God in your life and seeking His will for you. (Also: check out this journal, which I used a number of years ago. Though it’s not specifically an Examen journal, it more or less follows the same pattern.)
  • Read books that focus on God and His goodness. There are so many books out there, from this generation and from when the Church was in its earliest beginnings. Reading these inspirational books can help you delve into a deeper walk with God. I’ll leave a short reading list at the end of this post. Please leave any other suggestions you have. (Of course, I’m going to leave my motherly caution to be careful of what you read, as there are many false teachers out there and books with half-truths!)
  • Surround yourself with positive, faith-filled people. There’s nothing like being surrounded by people who truly live what they believe. This can do wonders when you yourself are struggling with faith. These people can give you encouragement in the tough times.
  • Seek (Christian) therapy. Struggles with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, etc. are affected by and can be exacerbated by our past  & present relationships and life situations. A therapist in the world can assist you. However, looking at life from a godly perspective takes into account the entire picture and remembers your relationship with your Creator and Savior. As always, I recommend Christian therapy if you are looking for truth-based and sound therapy. In my experience with Christian therapy, the therapist will ask questions about your relationship with God, about how God fits in with what you are feeling and experiencing, and also will feed you truths from His Word.

Faith has been crucial to many people struggling with their mental health. Faith gives us hope in our earthly future (Jeremiah 29:11) and in an eternal future! However, please don’t be afraid to seek help in the resources and people that God has given, when needed! Remember, He told us that “where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” (Proverbs 11:14).

(Short) Recommended Reading List

  • The Holy Bible
  • Josiah’s Fire by Tahni Cullen
  • To Heaven and Back by Mary Neal, MD
  • Left to Tell & Led by Faith by Imaculee Ilibagiza (note: Left to Tell takes place during the Rwandan genocide; not recommended for sensitive readers)
  • Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young (spot-on devotion for each day)
  • God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew
  • There is More by Randy Clark
  • Please leave other suggestions in the comments!

Next up: higher education and mental health!

Past posts from the series:

Mental Health Series Pt. 1: Relationships

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling

Merry Christmas!

A very merry and joyful Christmas to all of my readers & your families! 

May you know more truly the love Jesus has for you and know the deep peace that He brings! In whatever trials and joys are currently in our lives or coming soon, let’s lean on Him always. Thank You, Jesus, for coming to save us!

“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.”~Isaiah 9:6-7
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Photo by Walter Chávez on Unsplash

 

Christian=Spared From Troubles?

Did you ever think being a Christian would make your life…easier? I think a lot of Christians are in that boat. We think (even subconciously) that knowing Jesus and the truth about salvation will make this earthly life a breeze. It is true that knowing our Savior and the waves of grace makes life manageable, and even joyful. Yet an easy life is not a promise in the Bible…Far from it, in fact!

Recently I faced a situation that I never, ever anticipated would happen to me. I

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Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash

thought I was wiser. I thought that my knowledge and education would keep me from that situation. If I’m completely honest, there was even a part of me that thought Christ would spare me from that type of situation. Yet…Christ never promised our life on earth would be easy. Never. Recently, I discovered that Matthew 11:30 (“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”) is not translated well. Instead of “easy,” the word from Greek is better translated as “suitable,” “well fitting,” or “useful.” The crosses we have are well-fitted to us, and useful for the particular growth we need as individuals. As much as we protest our crosses, they are fitted to our shoulders, not someone else’s. Christ gives us many forms of grace to endure whatever it is we face. 

Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune from the troubles of this world. Countless Christians have done the “right things” and still faced martyrdom, spousal abuse, bankruptcy, natural disasters, chronic illness, and any other struggle you can name. We are in the world, though we are not of it. The advantage we have as Christians is knowing Who helps us carry our burdens. We are never left to our own devices, but in every moment we are completely loved and upheld. We know that the suffering here is not the end, but there is a life of eternal joy that awaits us one day. Our suffering is not without meaning. Remember what came after the crucifixion? We can look forward to the same, whether on the horizon of our earthly lives or in Heaven.

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised.” Hebrews 10:36

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:18

“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

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Photo by Will van Wingerden on Unsplash

 

The Word on Wednesday-Seasons.

“There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

We grasp at the seasons we consider good. The being born seasons, the planting seasons where we joyfully await the fruit of our labor. The building and healing seasons, and the laughing and dancing seasons. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything, a season for everything under the heavens. All of the seasons are necessary. Without the different seasons, we would not grow. We would not learn to rely on our Heavenly Father if the seasons were all easy.

I know that many believers, and the world in general, are enduring the difficult seasons: uprooting seasons, seasons where there is emptiness and mourning. There is even threat of killing and war. In these circumstances, we learn to lean on the Lord and His steady faithfulness. We learn to better love our neighbor. We learn to await His promises, and the joyous seasons. Embrace your season. This earthly life is temporary. Seasons don’t last forever, but the enduring love of our Father does. 

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Photo by Jordan McQueen on Unsplash