Holding Onto Hope
March 17, 2017
“Hold onto hope!” were some of the last few words I wrote in my journal as I reflected over my current circumstances.
I had no idea how much the word “hope” would become even more tangible to me as it has bubbled up inside of me these last few weeks while Paul and I have been discussing our future.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).
Now, I understand that many Bible scholars and Bible thumpers HATE when people quote this particular verse to apply it towards any given circumstance in life. Many agree that it is widely taken out of context.
I understand that the Lord is talking to Israel through His prophet Jeremiah in this passage, and I also understand that the Israelites would have to endure seventy years of captivity in Babylon before they began to see God’s promise of a great future come to pass.
But does that mean that God’s plans towards us are not good or that we should not remain hopeful of a glorious future ahead?
Of course not!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28, NKJV).
God’s character has not changed and He loves us just as He loves His chosen people, Israel.
Yet, we definitely need to remember that our definition of good and God’s definition of good could be two completely different things and those plans could possibly involve some suffering and challenges on our way to that glorious future.
And the Lord knows Paul and I have endured some of those challenges and suffering over the last few years that have tested our faith and shaken our hope in the Lord’s promises to us, especially as it concerns our desire for debt freedom- a dream we have had since very early on in our marriage, which has always been accompanied by very limited time together from all of the jobs we have had to take on to see that dream become a reality.
Although those difficult and sometimes painful experiences seem to have loomed over our heads these last two years, they have most definitely become more intensified these last six months or so.
Our son Isaiah has always seemed to have sleeping issues since he was born, but in late September until early February, he was waking up every single night (no exaggeration), multiple times, into the early morning hours. This just so happened to be around the same time I started my new part-time job in retail where for almost three months (well over 20 hours a week) I wouldn’t get home until close to one o’clock in the morning (thanks to those lovely extended holiday hours). All I wanted to do was sleep during the day, and I dreaded having to do it all over again that night, not to mention hating all the time I was missing out on with my family and friends on the weekends as well.
I didn’t know how quickly this would all catch up to me- my health definitely took a turn for the worse, which was difficult for me to experience since I was in the best shape of my life after working out for an entire year straight, eating clean, and taking supplements. But in December, I began experiencing severe bloating, fatigue, and issues with my menstrual cycle that culminated in a chemical pregnancy, which is a type of early miscarriage, because my hormones were extremely imbalanced from all of the added stress. I was having panic attacks in the middle of the night and arguments increased between Paul and I because of the sleep deprivation and utter exhaustion from dealing with a child who would inconsolably scream for hours through the night. Did I mention we live in an apartment complex? I’m sure our neighbors just adore us. 🙂
But thanks be to God…and to friends who have been praying for us continually!
We have seen great improvement in Isaiah’s sleep and in my health this last month! I have had no choice but to hold onto hope. I have had no choice but to fight to hold onto my peace and joy and to fight for my marriage.
I’ve held onto it all with a death-grip, really.
I refuse to sink. I refuse to let the enemy win because frankly, he’s a loser and has already lost the battle.
My Jesus has already won the war!
I know this sounds kinda cheesy, but it has such a deep truth:
I don’t know what my future holds, but I know Who holds my future.
God does.I will hold onto the hope that God is holding onto me. Click To Tweet
Whatever you are facing today, know that God is holding you. He’s got this and He’s not going to let you down. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and His plans are greater than you could ever ask, think, or imagine!
HOLD ONTO HOPE IN JESUS TODAY, FRIEND! He is your anchor and won’t let you sink!
So, where have I been lately?
November 8, 2016
I know. What a great question, right?
I haven’t let so much time pass in between blog posts in years. I’m not a huge fan of seeing just one post written per month, but honestly, there really isn’t much I am able to do about that right now, in the current season I am in.
As I look through my blog posts over the last two years, especially after becoming a (stay-at-home) mom, I found myself saying “I haven’t had much mental clarity or energy” to actually get words out.
I thought that would be a hurdle I would eventually get over once my son wasn’t a newborn anymore, or when he started sleeping through the night (which is STILL an issue on and off, month after month) , or when I was finished nursing, or maybe when he was able to walk and didn’t have to be carried everywhere, or…
…well, what I found was that my “hurdles list” started to never end as my son got older.
Ad he just so happened to have turned two years old a few weeks ago on October 11th.
So, here I am, two years into this “mom-thing,” and I have come to a conclusion regarding this whole lack-of-mental-clarity-and-energy-thing:
Being a mom is hard.
I know there might be young moms out there whose child(ren) sleep(s) so well all the time, lays down for naps like clock-work without a struggle or wrestling match, do(es) not attempt to climb every piece of furniture in the entire house or knock lamps over repeatedly for sport or pull the flat screen TV down onto the floor multiple times even after getting hurt or dismantle every picture frame on shelves that you didn’t think they could reach yet or throw their entire body weight into the baby gate to craftily escape, enoy(s) car rides or trips to the grocery store and do(es) not mind one bit being buckled in a car-seat or a cart or even conveniently bundled up close to your chest in a baby carrier so you can be hands-free and perhaps be somewhat productive for a couple hours, and may even sit still and calmly while you have coffee or lunch with a friend just to indulge in a little adult conversation and take a break from listening to Baby Einstein, Barney, or Toy Story for the Ten ba-jillionith time.
If you cannot tell, my child LOVES doing or not doing all of those things and quite consistently, might I add.
I, of course, say all of that in fun, but in all honesty, my son is such an intensely strong-willed and energetic boy. I know I am utterly blessed to have such a healthy, strong, and smart little boy in my life, who is honestly such a sweetheart and loves his mama something fierce, but this mama gets tired some days…
…well, most days.
And for the last two months, I have also added a part-time job to the mix in the evenings and weekends, so I probably shouldn’t be too hard on myself for not staying on top of my blogging game.
With all of that said, I have noticed how much I have needed an outlet to express myself and perhaps externally process the stress and tension created from all of this constant demand for mental and physical stamina.
This constant go, go, go and lack of uninterrupted sleep for two years straight has had an effect on my health, and I now have to pay close attention to what I am fueling my body with to make sure I am getting the proper nutrients for these taxing days. I’m very thankful for the revelation about the importance of my health and fitness and for the wisdom God has given me to learn how to take care of my body and soul, and most importantly, my spirit.
I am also grateful that I’m definitely not where I used to be regarding my health and fitness, but it is an ongoing journey that has become a lifestyle that I plan on continuing for the rest of my days here on earth. He created us body, soul, and spirit and all of us matters to Him.
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if it was not for the grace of God I don’t think I would be able to manage the overwhelming amount of stress that I encounter on a day to day basis.
Seriously, I don’t know what people do without Jesus.
That is Who I choose to lean on when the days get long and the road gets rough, and that will never change.
And that’s where I have been and where I am at right now.
I need Jesus. Every hour I need Jesus.
Father, I take this moment to lift up those super-mommas out there who, like me, are feeling a bit overwhelmed. I pray that they can sense Your nearness, that Your peace would surround them, and that Your all-sufficient grace will carry them through each demanding day ahead. In Jesus’ name. Amen and Amen.
Spiritual Unity: Studying the Bible with Your Spouse
July 26, 2016
I have been a Christian for almost fifteen years and my husband has been a Christian for over twenty years. In December, we will have been married for seven years.
Throughout the many years of wedded bliss, I have always longed for the days when Paul and I would enjoy deep times of Bible study and prayer. Although we don’t pray together as often as I would like to, we still do pray together about important issues that rise up in our marriage and we both find it important to cover our son in prayer consistently.
One thing that we never really ever took the time to cultivate in our marriage is studying God’s Word together.
Sure, we listen to sermons together and discuss scripture, and maybe even read our own Bibles while laying next to each other in bed, but we have never had a Bible study together as a married couple.
Until last night.
I don’t know why it took us so long to actually sit down and do it. I could make a list of reasons why I think we just didn’t have the time to and some of them would be really logical reasons, but they would be excuses nonetheless.
Instead of wondering why we waited to enjoy this beautiful area of marriage, I’m going to be so utterly grateful that we have started the journey together.
I could sense the Father’s pleasure as He looked down upon us last night as we read scripture that truly seemed as fresh as it did the first time we laid our eyes on the words on the pages of the Holy Book.
It must have been such a wonderful sight- two of His children who have been made one through the beauty of marriage longing to seek Truth together and their eyes becoming illuminated with revelation straight from heaven!
I guess I tell you all of this, not to make it sound like we are perfect or have it all together, but to encourage you to fight for this absolutely amazing honor within your marriage! I can almost guarantee that the enemy does not want you to read the Bible with your spouse. He will throw every distraction and obstacle your way so that you never make this a priority in your life together as a couple.
It is so utterly important for you to seek God’s Word on your own spiritual journey for yourself, but how much more crucial is it to see your spiritual health be strengthened as a couple since you and your spouse have been unified as one:
But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’[a] 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; [b] so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate (Mark 10:6-9, NKJV).
Knowing that you and your spouse has been made a team in this life, reading and studying the scriptures is also like spiritually preparing and exercising for those moments when the devil will inevitably send attacks your way. Instead of the enemy trying to advance towards you individually, trying to find weakness if your armor, he won’t be able to withstand two children of God with two swords of the Spirit ready to cut down his lies! You both have the Word of Truth sown into your hearts because you have taken the time to meditate and discuss out loud so you’ve gained wisdom and understanding of God’s great and precious promises. The devil doesn’t stand a chance against you both! And with Jesus in the middle of your marriage, he is severely out-numbered!
I know life can get busy and if you have children, there never seems to be enough hours in the day! But I urge you, make the time to study God’s Word together! I’m so excited to see what God is going to do in my marriage now that Paul and I have decided to incorporate this into our life together. Just like the day we said “I do,” the spiritual union we are continue to build seeking God’s Truth will be a beautiful reminder to Him that His children say “yes” to a life pursuing Him together every single day!
Father, I lift up marriages to You today, asking that You would give these precious men and women a fresh hunger for seeking Your truth- both individually and as a couple. If they have never tried studying the Bible together, I pray they start today. Reveal to them just how incredible the experience of gaining wisdom and understanding of Your Word really is and how much it will strengthen their walk with You as a couple. I pray marriages will become divorce-proof and will stand so mighty against the fiery darts of the enemy! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
God Can Use Empty Cups: Part 1
May 11, 2016
This summer marks eight years that I came back to the Lord after being a prodigal daughter for many years, believing in God, but living as if He didn’t exist.
In the course of those eight years, I have grown so much in my spiritual walk that it’s sometimes hard to remember myself before that divine encounter with God on 4th of July weekend in 2008.
As time has gone by, I’ve learned to recognize the ebb and flow of what a journey with the Lord looks like. In the natural, God created Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall and I believe, if we pay attention to what God is doing in and around us closely enough, we will be able to discover what spiritual season we may be in.
In fact, I believe it is important to be attentive to what our current season in life is because I think God has specific directions depending on the demands that particular season brings or what is ahead for us when it’s time for transition.
I also believe we need to get honest with ourselves, honest with God, and honest with each other when things aren’t going so great.Not every season in life is going to be refreshing April showers, May flowers, or Harvest Time! Click To Tweet
For instance, what do you do when you you find yourself spiritually dry or weak? In a barren, winter season?
Admitting weakness has never been my strong-suit, but it always seems to be a lesson God brings me back to time and time again.
One of these days, I’m hoping to pass that test so I never have to take it again, but I don’t think I will as long as I’m in this earth-suit!
I believe that’s one of the main reason Paul tells us that he chooses to “die daily” (1 Corinthians 15:31) and to take off our “old self” and put on the “new self.”
assuming that you have heard about him [Jesus] and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self,[f] which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:21b-24, ESV).
I believe while we are here on this earth, we must choose to do that every single day.
…sometimes our flesh gets in the way and our spirit man wrestles with those old stinkin’ desires!
And sometimes that wrestling match turns into an all-out brawl and fight to the death!
Days can quickly turn into weeks. Weeks can quickly turn into months. And months can quite possibly turn into years, if we tap out let our own flesh be declared champion over us.
I must have been in denial this time around because I’ve hard-core wrestled with my flesh since my son was born, which was 19 months ago today to be exact.
Learning the ropes as a new mom who battled postpartum depression and anxiety for almost a year and who also very quickly became a stand-in mom to another little boy over this last year, I can say that I have thrown some good punches as I have tried to figure out how to walk with the Lord in motherhood. I have felt God’s grace carry me through this season more than ever before, but today, I’m choosing to be honest.
I’m dry. I’m feeling a little like I’ve been running on empty for awhile. I really hate that I am, but I am.
I’ve allowed loneliness in the midst of chaos and stress to quiet my voice to my Father. Not to say that I wasn’t able to hear His voice or sense His Presence or that I haven’t made great strides in my faith or put forth any effort into nurturing my relationship with the Lord, it seemed that every time I took a few steps forward, something would come along and knock the wind out of my sails and I was right back at square one.
Time management has been very difficult for me: between mom duties, housewife duties, babysitting duties, trying to pursue a potential career as a writer/author/blogger, and then discovering a new fiery passion for health & wellness- too. many. articles. Can’t. stop. researching.
Not to mention, the fact that we sold our house that we hadn’t owned for even two years, moved into an apartment closer to our church home, then left said church home, tried to find our new church home, lost countless friendships, our second car crapped out on us completely, and now trying to form new friendships all while my hubs works 60 plus hours a week so we can get out of debt, I’m stuck at home with no car when I desperately long for conversation so I get sucked into making pseudo-friendships online, and have stress up to my eyeballs from playing referee with two active toddler boys, which had been affecting my health all along but I chose to ignore it and dive into working out and losing weight instead (I’m on the uphill, but there are still some chronic symptoms regarding my oral health and sleeping patterns that are lingering around).
And then my grandpa passes away.
And then I can’t fall asleep the night before the funeral because God tells me that He wants me to share my faith and the truth of the gospel with my (mostly all Catholic and/or unsaved) family. The ENTIRE family. Plus distant friends and family who I have never met before in my life.
What? God, I haven’t read my Bible in weeks. I’ve pressed the “Catch Me Up” button on my “Digging Deeper Daily” one year Bible plan so many times, I’m about 7 months behind on where my original end date was. My prayer life consists of “Help me, Jesus” and just praying I can stay awake. And YOU want to use ME? To be your vessel? Right now?
You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Or can you?
Click to continue reading Part 2
Created for Greatness
March 17, 2016
One of the hardest things about living in this world as a Christian is not letting your mind conform to the earthly/carnal/temporal surroundings. The longer you are separated from Kingdom ways, which can be found in the Word of God, the easier it is to begin to think and act like the rest of the world who know so little of God’s ways. We become less and less heavenly-minded and begin to lose our focus on the eternal life that awaits us.
I know that’s why Paul urges us in Romans 12:2 to “not be CONFORMED to this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind.”
The Word of God will transform our carnal way of thinking that we are naturally born with, and once we are born again by receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we must continue our transformation process because we aren’t “home” yet. Although we are citizens of heaven, we still have a temporary residence here on earth and because of that we are subject to its environment. We HAVE TO renew our mind daily with God’s Word.
I’ve personally experienced instances where I have been pulled into following society’s timeline or approval process, measuring the way I lived my life with the world’s standards and regulations. One instance, in particular, is measuring success or accomplishment by popularity and quantity when using the finances, time, talent, or drive that the Lord has so graciously given us to use on this earth. Often we use them to make sure we advance in this life for ourselves, but God’s plan is to use them to bring Him glory and reach people for His Kingdom.
To the world, the more people hearing about the accomplishment, the greater the success and the more difference your life just made by contributing your gifts, time, or finances. The world is all about outward appearance, how something looks on the outside.
But the Lord looks at the heart of a person. 1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT) says:
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
If the world saw a story in the newspaper about a shepherd that left 99 sheep to go after 1 that had gone astray, they would consider it absolutely foolish!
“You could have lost even more! Think of all of that business you could potentially lose!” I hear.
Or what about King David (who was anointed the next King of Israel and awaiting his throne) who faithfully served King Saul even when he sought to kill him?
“Honor his authority?! That throne is rightfully yours! Tell King Saul to take a hike!”
Or how about a man from Nazareth who changed the entire world forever with just twelve people who gave up their entire lives to follow Him?
“You have HOW many followers on Twitter…TWELVE?! LOL I have 6 MILLION…I’m WAY more influential than you!”
Ok, the last example may be a stretch, but in today’s culture, many people truly believe having 6 million followers on Twitter is the epitome of success, “living the dream,” and truly “making it.”
Now, I’m not saying that the Lord can’t use someone to advance the Kingdom who has 6 million followers of Twitter, but why do we think that He chooses to use that person over the one who only has twelve Twitter followers (in the context of influence, of course)?
My point is that we must break ourselves free from the mindset that your life only matters when people hear about your accomplishments or contributions to society. The world says “MORE, MORE, MORE = GREAT, GREAT, GREAT.” But God is looking at the motive behind our drive to be successful.
Let’s face it, we all want to do something great. But I have to ask:As Christians, is our success becoming about us, or are we pointing others to Jesus? Click To Tweet
Are we using our life’s accomplishments to make a difference in the world even if it just for one person and your name isn’t in the headlines, on Billboards, on T-shirts, commercials, the credits of the latest TV show or movie?
Are we ok with being an “unknown?”
John the Baptist began to lose disciples when Jesus came on the scene, but John knew His purpose on this earth: to prepare the way for the Lord’s coming; to point others straight to the King of Kings so that they can enter the gate of Salvation.
“More of Him and less of me,” John declared in John 3:30. This should be our mindset too as we prepare for the Lord’s second coming.
It is our nature to be self-centered, to long for recognition, to be applauded for our efforts, etc. Of course, there is nothing wrong with wanting credit for a job well-done, but we should always remember that “we are not our own. We’ve been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Anything we do, we should always give the credit and the glory to the One who gave us the ability to accomplish it and want nothing more than for others to grow and mature into a strong, healthy relationship with their Heavenly Father and Creator. He sees each life as precious and doesn’t weigh one life more important than another.
So to the stay-at-home mom raising those little ones: you are doing great things! You are successful!
To the CEO of that multi-million dollar company: you are doing great things! You are successful!
And to that youth pastor with a group of ten kids who you minister to week in and week out: you are doing great things! You are successful!
Just REMEMBER, that success is to advance the Kingdom and win others to Christ…one person at time!
Give God the glory He deserves, not only with your words but with your heart…He created you to do great things!
7 Game-Changing Bible Verses for Depression- Guest Blog Post
March 14, 2016
I am thoroughly excited to introduce my readers to my first ever guest blogger on emilyrosemassey.com, Mary, from Nature + Nurture! Mary reached out to me after she read my article DEVELOPING WELLNESS IN YOUR BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT on iBelieve.com and shared with me how our stories of struggling with mental and hormonal health were strikingly similar. Mary has a passion for helping people discover a lifestyle of wellness and wholeness with natural and God-designed means in their whole being: body, soul, and spirit! This guest blog post focuses on the mental struggles of depression. As someone who has battled depression on and off throughout my life, I know how important it is to renew my mind with God’s Word, so I was extremely happy to have Mary share some Bible verses that have helped her through her very own struggled with depression. Thanks again, Mary, for sharing encouragement with us!
These bible verses for depression have changed my life. In this post, I want to help show you how to believe what God says and hide His Word in your heart so you can win against depression. With time, these bible verses for depression will renew your mind. But before I delve into all this, let me give you a little background.
Image courtesy of pixabay.com
I’ve been hesitant to write this post. Why? Because of my selfish side – the side that wants you to think I am perfect and have it all together. But that’s the side that helped get me into this mess in the first place. Why did I decide to write it? Because I feel God wants me to – I have something I can offer those struggling with the same problem.
To those readers dealing with depression and/or anxiety, I want to give you hope! There is so much hope, more than you think possible. This post is not meant to be a sob story about what I went through. In fact, I don’t want that to be the focus at all! I want the focus to be on the light, the light that is most assuredly at the end of the dark tunnel.
The turning point in my life came when I finally decided not to listen to anything except what God tells me in His Word. Not that my journey is completely finished – I’m still working through things – but at the end of the day I know the truth will set me free. That’s why these bible verses for depression are so crucial!
If you ever face mental difficulties, PLEASE decide now to let God dictate your thoughts and beliefs. Your thoughts and feelings may be chaotic. Satan will put lies in your mind to trick you. The world will tell you so many things about the “right way” to deal with mental difficulties. If you try to listen to all of this, you will be overwhelmed!
Depression is a humbling problem to admit – there is so much stigma surrounding it. But that’s why we need to talk about the mind, especially in the Church, because we (God’s people) have the answer!
And what is the answer? Believe what GOD says. That’s it! For many years, I thought I did. But I still had parts of me that listened to what the world was saying to me. Society makes us feel as if we need an “expert” to explain to us how to get through life. And don’t get me wrong – I believe in and am very thankful for the help that is available to those struggling. But our number one authority for how to live and what to think comes from God alone. Here’s my favorite book which helped me learn how to listen only to God.
You cannot follow both God and the world. When someone is “diagnosed,” the world tells them they are a “mentally ill.” But God’s Word says that as a Christian, you possess a sound mind – the mind of Christ, to be exact. So which is true? Whichever you believe.
Check out this related post: How to Get Your Thoughts Under Control + Be Happier
Below are my top 7 game-changing Bible verses for depression. These truly helped me renew my mind and change when I started to believe them!
1. My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19, ESV) God says He will meet all (not just some) of our needs. That includes our mental needs as well. The things you are worrying about in the future? They are taken care of. That’s a promise!
2. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
(Lamentations 3:22-24) Please go back and read the beginning of the chapter. The writer is in despair and feels like there is no hope, until he remembers the above verse. You may feel awful, but your feelings are not the truth. God IS faithful and he IS enough to get us through the hardest of times.
Sometimes we wonder how we will have the strength to get through another day. Neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf explains that
…every morning when you wake up, new baby nerve cells have been born while you were sleeping that are there at your disposal to be used in tearing down toxic thoughts and rebuilding healthy thoughts.
Read more here.
His mercies are literally new every morning – we have new brain cells to use for that day! Our brain is continually being renewed.
3. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:13) This is a verse that most people can quote by heart, but do you truly knowit? You are equal to any task or obstacle placed in your path – not through your own strength, but through the strength of Christ.
4. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
(Psalm 73:26) Sometimes we seriously feel like we have no strength left, and that is okay. When our body is exhausted and our mind is frazzled, we do not give up – because God’s strength never runs out, and His provisions are unending.
5. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13) When you’re depressed, it is tempting to believe that “it’s just too hard.” No, it’s not. God has promised He will not give you more than you are able to handle, and it’s impossible for Him to lie. If you are brought to it, God will bring you through it.
6. His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us…
(2 Peter 1:3 NKJV) Feel like you lack something? This verse says He has already given it to you. Everything. To live your life and to live it in a godly fashion. How? Through the knowledge of Him (Jesus). In the Bible, you will find everything you need to face any challenge.
7. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
(2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV) Being fearful does not come naturally – it is learned. This verse says that the spirit God has given us is powerful, full of love for others and yourself, with a sound (stable) mind. He made you perfectly – He did not create a weakling.
Check out this related post: How to Be Patient & Wait on the Lord
The challenge: don’t just read these verses. Meditate on them continually (think about them over and over, all day long). Pick one per day – or find another one that resonates with you. It will take time, but you will start to believe them and feel them in the core of your being.
WHICH BIBLE VERSES HAVE HELPED YOU RENEW YOUR MIND?
About the author:
How to Develop Wellness in Your Body, Soul, and Spirit- iBelieve.com Post
March 10, 2016
(Photo courtesy of ibelieve.com)
I gave birth to my son in October 2014. Within the first few weeks of mommy-hood, I began to experience behavior and emotions that did not seem normal, although my doctor said as long as I didnt want to harm myself or my baby, I was fine.
But I did not feel fine.
I was arguing with my husband constantly over the most insignificant things and I felt like I had no support, even though that couldn’t have been further from the truth because my husband is the most supportive and selfless man I know. I would belittle him and snap at him at the drop of a hat, which was very unlike me.
I had trouble nursing and had to pump around the clock, yet still wasn’t producing enough milk for my son. This made me feel even more like an absolute failure of a mother. When I couldn’t console my son if he was upset, rage would seem to well up inside of me, so I would slam doors and run into the bathroom to let out a scream.
This little bundle of joy barely slept or took naps during the day for me, so I was absolutely exhausted, living off of caffeine and sugar just to function. When he would actually fall asleep, all I could do was stare up at the ceiling, unable to shut my body down to get rest. I was suffering continuously with anxiety attacks to the point of hyperventilation because I didn’t like who I was becoming. I felt out of control and miserable.
I’m a Christian and I know that Jesus died so that I could walk in TOTAL freedom from all sin, sickness, and disease, I thought.
I would pray and pray and pray for God to heal me. I felt like this was a spiritual battle and I was totally losing. My spirit felt utterly depleted.
As the months went by, the anxiety and emotional outbursts seemed to fade, but then I started experiencing even more random physical symptoms such as oral thrush, ringing in my ears, heartburn, swelling in my throat, restless legs, and insomnia.
It was obvious that my body didn’t have what it needed to fight off these symptoms, and medication to just quiet the symptoms and not eliminate the root cause, for me, was a last resort. Out of curiosity and desperation, I began researching what was physically going on in my body. This was the unhealthiest I had ever felt in my whole life, so I knew that I needed to make some serious changes, especially regarding my eating habits and stress triggers. I believe in prayer, but sometimes there is more going on in the natural realm that we can have control over, with God’s wisdom and provision.
I realized that this battle going on inside of me and all around me could not be compartmentalized. This wasn’t just spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical. In other words, I wasn’t just spiritually, emotionally, mentally, or physically unhealthy; It was absolutely everything combined. Knowing that the Creator of the Universe created me body, soul, and spirit, I couldn’t just focus on the wellness and wholeness of one area. All of me needed healing, and I was ready to partner with the Lord to see restoration unfold.
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Last day of 29.
December 21, 2015
Today is a typical Monday…
Slow cooker chili in the CrockPot (although it is far from chilli here in St. Louis at 62 degrees), babysitting two little ones, chasing around my little one and trying to keep him from eating the giant, colorful bulbs on the string of Christmas lights for the one-millionth time, and of course, checking tasks off of my never-ending “to-do” list.
But there is one thing that isn’t typical…
…I’m soaking up the last day in my 20’s.
Ya know, I have never really made a big deal about getting older or focused too much on my age, but I believe there is something special about this particular birthday for me.
My 20’s didn’t start off on the best note and although the whole decade wasn’t horrible (I did return to the Lord, found my prince charming, and became a mom for the first time), I spent most of those ten years in a healing and recovery process from all the mistakes I made the ten years prior.
That’s why I am excited about this new decade of my life- I’m starting off with a solid relationship with Jesus and I’m not lost or confused about my purpose in life.
Although I called on the name of Jesus to be my Savior almost 14 years ago, this year marks the eighth year that I have been walking with the Lord without hesitation or compromise.
Eight is Biblically symbolic for new beginnings.
Paul and I have already experienced much of that in 2015:
- The newness of parenthood
- Selling our house and moving back to the area we lived when we got married
- Focusing on our health- changing our eating habits drastically and consistently working out
- Leaving our church home and trusting God to lead us supernaturally to our next church home
I believe the Lord has impressed upon my heart that now is the time that He wants to take me to a new level spiritually- a new level of personal devotion to Him and in Him.
Instead of the Lord taking junk out of my heart (what I experienced for a majority of the last eight years), I believe He wants to fill my heart and plant seeds of His Word like never before. He has been positioning me for this time over the last few months, and although it has been uncomfortable letting go of so much of the familiar, I am trusting Him in this new season of REST.
This kind of rest can only be found under the shadow of the Almighty.
It is my season of refreshing…
…the “breath of heaven” as one of my friends said.
I’m not sure what the Lord has planned for this blog, but I’m not going to force writing anything if He does not first breathe upon my words.
Perhaps, my readers will be taken on this journey of renewal with me.
Perhaps, the Lord will allow me to share revelation that I receive in the secret place.
Or perhaps, this blog may become somewhat quiet as this season of rest unfolds.
Whatever the Lord wants to do, I’m yielding to His every word.
I do appreciate that people take time to read this blog and offer support and encouragement along the way.
I pray you enjoy this Christmas season with your friends and family.
Jesus is the greatest gift I can share with you, that’s for sure!
Bearing Good Fruit that Remains (Part 2)
October 21, 2015
READ PART 1 “Bearing Good Fruit that Remains”
We will all face “winter” seasons in our lives, but we should never want to stay there or make it a continuous cycle.
Difficult seasons in life can actually be a time of growth and maturity in the Lord.
In the natural, trees’ roots actually grow down deeper into the earth in the winter time.
If we don’t stay rooted and grounded in Love (and faith because faith works by love- Galatians 5:6), we lose our sustaining life and are prone to depression. Instead of yielded to depression, we need to allow our roots in Jesus grow deeper and deeper. We use those times of trial to draw closer to the Lord and drink deep of His goodness and faithfulness.
During these dark times, the enemy wants you to dry up and rot- physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. We must remain connected to our life-source, Jesus, the Vine.
Over the course of my life, I have experienced some pretty harsh winter seasons.
Early on in my walk with the Lord, the enemy attacked me in a mighty way through the murder of my father. Thankfully, I had established a solid “root-system” in the Lord and also surrounded myself with some mighty “oaks” of righteous people.
If we are isolated during these times, and are not taking in the proper nutrients from God’s Word, we are in trouble. Being around other trees or fruit bearers is crucial to sustain spiritual health. Their root systems can get nutrients to us and their fruit can feed us when we are struggling to hang onto the Vine.
Thankfully, when my dad died, I was around strong trees that helped me drink up the Word of God.
The same situation occurred when my husband and I went through the devastation of a miscarriage. We made sure to surround ourselves with other people of faith, so we didn’t get carried under the dark waves of despair and depression.
The most recent trial I have faced was different and took time to recover.
I endured a pretty traumatic birthing experience with my son, and when he was around two months old, I discovered that I was suffering from Postpartum depression and anxiety pretty severely.
Because I was at home alone with my son hours upon end and my husband was struggling too with the stress of being the sole bread-winner in the family, working 12 + hours a day on over-time with very little sleep because we now had a newborn, isolation created a breeding-ground for the darkness of depression.
It is has now been one year since I had my son, and I can say that I have recovered from the grips of PPD/PPA. I’m still on the road to recovery regarding my over-all hormonal health, but I know where to draw strength from, all the while, keeping a team of faith people around me.
No matter our circumstances, we must allow our fruit to ripen or mature, and even when it may seem hopeless, you are anchored to Jesus, the Vine, our Hope and you will see abundance once again.
Be grateful for the little fruit you do have, but don’t stay there, let the Vine-dresser care for you until you are strong enough to feed others. You can trust God’s love, joy (the joy of the LORD is your strength- Nehemiah 8:10), peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, self control will carry you. The Spirit bears all these things. The Holy Spirit lives on the inside of us and can release whatever fruit we need to endure those winter seasons.
If you have embraced Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have already been given the fruit of the Spirit in seed form. You need to create a good environment for them to grow. Sometimes we can’t control our environmental conditions on the outside, but we can always control the conditions on the inside.
ABIDING IN THE VINE
Like I said above, in the winter, root systems of trees grow deeper. In a spiritual season of winter this is the purpose of how God uses the trial. The deeper our root system grows, the stronger our foundation and the winds and storms of life cannot knock us down.
The moment we disconnect from the Vine, we are disconnected from our very life source. We drink in that living water of the Word to keep from drying up. He is the very nutrients we need to stay alive and continue to bear good fruit. Our fruit will wither and eventually die and our spirit man will become very weak if we try to go off on our own with Christ. If we don’t have any love, we can’t give it out to others. Peace, joy, etc.
Abiding in the Vine requires humility, trust, faith and patience that fruit will mature and grow the longer we are abiding and the nutrients will continue to flow for us to yield food for the hungry .
The water of the Word is a river, continually flowing, never stagnant. If we don’t read the Word or pray every day, we are trying to drink from a low water supply. You are called to be an oak of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3) planted by the river of God, and a little water brook won’t be able to keep you hydrated for a long period of time! Drink deep!
UNKEPT HEART CLEAN UP
Not only do you have to keep weeds from choking out the seed of God’s word, you just must care for the fruit that you do have. Again, protect your heart from cares of the world. If upkept, weeds will start to grow wild and bugs will start to invade fruit.
Father God is the only One who can prune us, but we must allow Him to. Pruning yields a maximum harvest so that more fruit will grow. It may look like we are losing possessions, relationships, activities, etc but the Lord is only trying to get more fruit out of your life.
Endure the pruning process and you will see a bountiful harvest of lasting fruit! #beFruitful Click To Tweet
Remember, bearing lasting, good fruit is a lifetime process! But keep ABIDING IN THE LIFE SOURCE, JESUS!
Bearing Good Fruit that Remains (Part 1)
October 14, 2015
One of my favorite passages in the Bible is John 15.
Two very important verses found in that passage speak of a commandment from Jesus:
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. (John 15:16-17)
The fruit Jesus is mentioning in John 15 is the fruit of the Spirit, which begins, most importantly, with the fruit of love (Galatians 5:22-23).
But how do we bear spiritual fruit that remains like Jesus is commanding?
Well, I think we need to briefly look at the process of agriculture to discover more behind this commandment.
IT ALL STARTS WITH A SEED.
In Luke 8, Jesus compares the Word of God to a seed in the parable of the sower:
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. (Luke 8:11 NKJV)
The seed is completely useless (unless it is an edible seed, of course) if it stays in a packet or bag; it must sown into the ground to have a fighting chance of growing into a plant, tree, fruit, or vegetable.
So where do we sow the seed of God’s Word in our lives?
The parable of the sower in Luke 8 (also found in Matthew 13:1-8, Mark 4:1-9) tells us that the Word of God must be sown into the heart of a person. In other words, the heart is the ground or soil.
Four types of soil Jesus discusses:
- The Wayside/Foot path
- The Rock/Stony places
- Good Ground/Soil
Obviously the best soil for the Word of God is good ground.
What is good ground?
Well, in the natural, this would be soil that has been tilled and ready to receive the seed that the farmer is spreading. The farmer makes sure that it is cultivated and kept moist.
The worst thing that the farmer could allow to happen is for the ground to become hardened or full of weeds.
Jesus explains good ground as “those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15 NKJV).
There is a key word in that scripture that sticks out to me: “keep.”
This word is also found in another part of that Bible that gives instruction about of our heart.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us to:
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. (NKJV)
When I reflect on what the word “keep” means in this verse, I often think of the opposite word “unkept.”
If something is unkept, is is usually a mess and not cared for- an upkept room, an unkept flower patch, or unkept nails.
So if we are to keep our heart with all diligence, we are supposed to continually care for it, protect it, and make sure it is pure and ready to receive God’s Word (Truth) at all times. We must avoid allowing our hearts to become the other three soils Jesus talks about:
Those by the WAYSIDE are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on THE ROCK are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among THORNS are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. (Luke 8:12-14)
Are you making sure your heart is kept and cultivated for the seed of the Word to grow and bear good fruit?
Are you allowing the enemy to immediately steal the Word you just heard by yielding to him and his ways?
Are you making sure your heart remains soft and pliable, guarding it from bitterness or un-forgiveness?
Are you allowing the cares of this world, the riches of this world, and the pleasures of this life crowd your heart with nasty weeds that choke out the potential fruit?
If you can answer yes to the last three questions, chances are the fruit that people can see in your life isn’t very reflective of Jesus and His Kingdom.
What comes out of your mouth is the first indicator of what condition your heart is in. Jesus tell us:
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45 NKJV)
The words you speak should be life-giving, good, and full of compassion; they should always line up with what God’s speaks of in His Word and should always point others to Jesus.
Sometimes this is easier for us when everything in life is going well: all our bills are paid and we have plenty of money in the bank, we have great health, and our relationships are strong.
Regardless of our circumstances, we should always be yielding good fruit. #befruitful Click To Tweet
In the storms and trials, the fruit that is reflected in our lives should be vibrant and fresh to “eat” for all we come in contact with. After all, the fruit we produce is not for us, but for others.
So how do we make sure our good fruit remains fresh and alive in those difficult seasons of our life?
In Part 2, I will discuss how we endure the winter seasons and ensure our fruit lasts.