Walking Out of Deception and Into Truth
July 9, 2019
A couple weeks ago, I reviewed over 130 blog posts that I wrote for this website and deleted any that lined up with false doctrine that I used to adhere to for many years.
As a Christian writer, I never want to cause anyone to stumble on their journey of gaining understanding of the truth of God’s Word. In America (and perhaps even around the world, thanks to television and social media), the gospel of Jesus Christ has become extremely muddied by false teaching full of false gospels, New Age/occult/pagan practices, lying signs and wonders, and distractions from worldly desires that are all leading many to false Christs.
My husband and I were among those believers who were believing lies from the result of the twisting of scripture and emotional, mental, and spiritual manipulation from leaders in ministry whom we trusted.
Although God began removing “the scales” from our eyes about four years ago, the road has been humbling, painful, frustrating, and difficult, among many other things. The wounds of deception can run deep and can take time to heal; the longer you are deceived, the longer this process is probably going to take, we are finding.
God, in His sovereignty (a term we knew very little about, if we were honest), has been so incredibly faithful to us. The Holy Spirit has illuminated truth to us and has helped us cast down lies we were believing. Renewing our minds with God’s Word has been quite the healing experience (although painful to be sure), and I am so thankful for ministries who not only preach truth and exegete scripture so beautifully, they expose the lies of false teachers that seem to be all around us today.
This shouldn’t catch us by surprise because both Jesus and the Apostle Paul gave us proper warning that this would happen:
Jesus came out from the temple and was going away [a]when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. 2 And He said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here will be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”
As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the [b]end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the [c]Christ,’ and will mislead many.Matthew 24: 1-5, NASB
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.2 Timothy 4:3, NASB
Although my husband and I’s journey into discovering truth began several years ago, this past winter, we were reminded the depth of our deception after watching the documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone. I cannot recommend this film enough. Seriously, go watch it. The first hour is free on Youtube. What are you waiting for?? Go. Watch. It. Now.
Since watching this film, we have experienced a conviction so deep that it lead my husband to quit his job at an infamous world-wide ministry because he did not want to be associated with helping propagate false doctrine, known as the prosperity gospel. Resigning from his position there was cutting the last tie to his past involvement in the Word of Faith/Prosperity Gospel movement.
Before his last two weeks were over, he witnessed to as many coworkers as he could, hoping their eyes would be opened to the heresy of this false gospel. His boss, an executive at the ministry, requested a meeting with him to share his reasoning of why he was leaving. He came equipped with examples of the false teaching comparing it to God’s Word. To say I am proud of him is an understatement. We continue to pray for eyes to be opened for those in leadership and the employees at this ministry.
Over the last few months, I have also connected with others (online mostly) who have had similar experiences as Paul and I of walking out of deception. Feeling alone in this journey is one of the hardest parts to walk through. Our friends at our church have been extremely supportive, but they were never involved in this false teaching, so it is hard for them to truly relate experientially.
Some of these people I have met are quickly becoming good friends of mine, and I am so thankful for God’s kindness by allowing friendships to unfold that are centered around this similar experience and a love for truth.
There is a great need for boldness to speak the truth in love today, and I pray the Lord would use our experience to help lead others out of deception. Perhaps, there will be more to come regarding this, if the Lord wills.
As far as this platform is concerned, I pray God would receive all the glory from the words written and that I would always point you to truth.
To all my readers, thank you for your graciousness and forgiveness if I have ever lead you astray. I count it a privilege to be a writer and I don’t take any influence the Lord gives me lightly. Blessings.
What Is the Enneagram? 3 Reasons Christians Should Use It with Caution- iBelieve.com Post
March 26, 2019
The popularity of The Enneagram, especially within Christian circles, really stirred up some questions as to why so many people were being drawn to this test that apparently brings about “breakthrough” in unhealthy personality traits or behavior. Why would a Christian use a source outside of the Bible to find self knowledge and find such identity in it? What is really behind this information?
When I pitched this idea to my editor at iBelieve, she really wanted me to discuss both the positives and concerns of The Enneagram (I tried to stay as close to her wishes as much as possible), but the more I researched about the origins of The Enneagram, the more concerned I became. Although the title of this article (which I did not pen) says Christians “should use it with caution,” I highly urge believers to use discernment in their involvement with this test/system at all. Any type of involvement in pagan/occultic practices should be taken very seriously. I pray you always look to the Lord and the Bible as your ultimate source of knowledge and identity.
______________________________________________________________________________When I was in high school, our science teacher taught us about biorhythms, which are mathematical measurements that can be charted and used to attempt to predict various cycles of a person’s life (physical, emotional, and intellectual) using the date of birth as a variable. In addition to completing a personal charting assignment for class, I would very frequently visit websites to review where my physical, emotional, and intellectual states would land that day/week/month. Would my emotional well-being land in the high mark or low mark this week? Is that why I was feeling ‘off’ today? Ironically enough, several controlled studies have deemed biorhythms as nothing more than pseudoscience, but there seemed to be something so captivating about possibly predicting my moods and understanding patterns of my behavior using this tool.
When the excitement of biorhythms faded, my best friend and I would hang out at Denny’s where she would perform “a reading” using Tarot cards while we sipped on our mediocre coffee. I would find some type of comfort in what was uncovered as each card was turned over. That’s why my life is a mess right now! Oh, maybe I should pursue that relationship after all!
I was a Christian. If you didn’t know this already, these practices are clearly New Age and occultic in nature. The Bible is very clear that God forbids such pagan practices and considers this divination, which is a grave sin (1 Samuel 15:23; see also Deuteronomy 18:9, 12 & 14).
Thankfully, when I got serious about following the Lord, I realized how dangerous it was to seek out answers from anything else but my Creator as well as seek other spiritual avenues that do not, above all, have a foundation in the Word of God.
Why would a Christian get caught up in these kinds of practices in the first place?
We Long to be Known
I think it stems from the desire to know ourselves and to be known. We long to discover answers to the unknown.
Let’s go back to Creation.
Adam and Eve enjoyed unbroken fellowship with God. They were naked and unashamed. Nothing was hidden. They were fully known by their Creator. As humans, if we are honest with ourselves, we long for this too.
Because of The Fall, we experience separation from God; there is this void in our hearts and a desire to be known by our Creator.
All of this- this desire to be fully known- had me wondering about another typology method that is pursued for such knowledge about our life and those we are connected to- personality tests, specifically The Enneagram.
If you are not familiar with the Enneagram, I will not judge you for living under a rock. I kid, I kid. Although it is not new- some even say it has ancient origins- it does seem to be a major buzzword lately on social media, even among Christian circles.
What is the Enneagram test?
The Enneagram is a personality typology method that is useful for understanding the inner workings and motivations behind human behavior, both healthy and unhealthy, and how we interact with others. Based upon their unique responses to the various questions in the test, everyone is considered to fall into one single type as their primary personality with a secondary personality trait called a “wing.” A person’s personality isn’t confined to just one type, but they can have traits belonging to other ones. There are nine types (“ennea” means “nine”) using the numbers one through nine. Each number has been given a descriptive name. For example, my enneagram number is a two, which is described as “The Helper.” My wing is a number three, which is described as “The Achiever.”
The Enneagram Institute boldly declares that this test is “one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others.”
According to the Institute, “… the Enneagram helps us to see ourselves at a deeper, more objective level and can be of invaluable assistance on our path to self-knowledge.”
Now, while I am not directly comparing reading Tarot cards or your horoscope to be the same thing as taking a personality test, I honestly believe the underlying desire is the same. We long to know answers about ourselves, about others, about the world around us. We are fascinated by discovering our identity, purpose, the meaning of the life- the whys and whats behind our existence.
Why Is the Enneagram So Popular?
We have this deep-seated desire to be known. Ultimately, I believe we equate being known to being loved.
Perhaps that is why the Enneagram test is so popular. There has always been a human desire to find identity, who we truly are, but might I boldly declare, Beloved, if you are a believer, this will only be fulfilled if found in Christ. We were created to be loved, but most importantly, loved by God.
Although engaging in the Enneagram may not blatantly fall under involvement in divination like Tarot card reading or astrology, I do think as Christians we should use this “powerful and insightful tool” with caution. The Enneagram has some questionable origins at best, but that is an entirely different topic for another time. I agree, the Enneagram test can be a very helpful tool to explore human behavior and motivations, but if we are going to utilize it as believers, there are a few things I think we should prayerfully consider.
Read more at iBelieve.com
Naked Nutrition’s NAKED CHOC PB- Product Review
March 7, 2019
When I got pregnant with my first son in 2014, my husband and I started to make some major changes regarding our health. Since we were going to be in charge of caring for this new tiny life that God was entrusting to us, we got serious about how we wanted to protect his life and see his life thrive in the best way possible (including our own) with how God intended us to live. I like to call this “God’s Original Design.”
Thus, the research began. We were blown away to find out about what was actually in our water supply, how so many Americans are deficient in vital vitamins and minerals because of the depleted soil content and consuming GMO foods, and the long list of harmful chemicals and toxins in beauty and personal products. The more we learned, the more our eyes were opened to the truth that we needed to become more alert and aware of what we put inside our bodies, on our bodies, and the environment around us. After all, as Christians, we believe our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God only gave us one body, so it was time to start taking better care of it!
In addition to doing a thorough inventory of our personal products such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and soaps, we began eating more fresh, organic produce, increased our (distilled) water intake to almost a gallon a day, started regular juice and parasitic cleanses, incorporated solid supplements to our daily lifestyle, and got pretty serious about working out consistently- we both saw such a turn-around in our over-all health and well-being and have not looked back since.
Most importantly, we became “label readers.” If we could not pronounce the ingredient, we tried our best to avoid purchasing the product or we researched the ingredient.
Simple ingredients is what we look for in almost everything we buy now.
That’s why when Ryan from Naked Nutrition reached out to me about their products, specifically protein powders, I was extremely happy to try a sample. This company lives up to its name! They sell products with the purest ingredients and do not try to hide anything from customers.
From their website:
From Grass-Fed Whey Protein to Pea Protein Powder to Organic Brown Rice Protein Powder, Naked Nutrition provides the purest supplements. Our proteins are loaded with essential amino acids and no artificial sweeteners or colors. Our commitment to offering the best protein powders and supplements extends to all our products including Powdered Peanut Butter, Casein Protein, Creatine Monohydrate and more. No additives means your body gets more of what it needs and not what big agribusinesses use to pad their bottom line. Take your nutrition to the next level with Naked Nutrition.
As I looked through the list of products that I possibly wanted to try, they had me at peanut butter. And I cannot forget to mention their Naked Choc PB also has organic cacao as an ingredient.
Powdered peanuts and cacao. No added sugars or salts.
Y’all, it tastes like peanut butter AND chocolate?! You can’t go wrong with that combo!
It does not have very many grams of protein (only 6g as well as
0.9 Grams of BCAA’s) per serving, so if you are looking for a protein powder with something closer to 20g or more, you can either try adding 3-4 scoops to your shake or simply add it to another plain protein or vanilla protein powder that you already use at home to add more flavor.
The other day, I just wanted a quick snack after breakfast, so I added a scoop of Naked Choc PB protein powder to my favorite chocolate cashew/ almond milk. Thank you, Trader Joe’s! It was totally chocolaty peanut buttery yumminess that gave me a nice morning boost!
OH! And you can also use the powder to bake protein bites or even brownies! You don’t even need to head to Pinterest to look up recipes, guys. Naked Nutrition has you covered- they have a list of recipes for their powders on their site. I am so ready to get to baking! Yummmm….
If you are like our family who looks for pure, simple, nothing-to-hide ingredients, head to http://Nkdnutrition.com and check out their other products! Your body will thank you!
Thank you, Ryan, for sending me this powder so I can have even better results from my work-outs, all while keeping my tummy happy with its healthy ingredients!
*I received this product for free from Naked Nutrition. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Do You Know Who You Belong To?
November 19, 2018
“But to all who did receive [Jesus], He gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God” (John 1: 12-13, HCSB).
Those who try to find their identity in what they do will always be searching for their ultimate purpose and will never find fulfillment in life.
Because there is only one position that will ever give you a sense of purpose.
You are a child of God! You are His!
When you receive Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you are then adopted into the family of God. We find this amazing truth in John 1: 12-13.
But sadly, many of us continue to look for purpose on our walk with God, working to achieve His love, instead of just trusting in it. I am extremely familiar with this type of mentality because even after I received God’s forgiveness when I called upon Jesus to be my Savior, I still thought I had to work for that forgiveness to maintain it. Because I didn’t fully understand that my faith in Christ is what pleased God, I tried to perform for God, thinking my talents and gifts were what made me valuable and loved by Him.
Of course, this distorted view of God stemmed from my very dysfunctional relationship with my earthly father. Sadly, because his addiction to alcohol and pornography hindered him from showing me genuine love and affection, I didn’t feel loved by him, and tried all that I could to show him that I was worth loving through my gifts and abilities- High honor roll student, playing clarinet in the marching band, star in the Spring Musicals, Cheerleading Captain, Student Council officer, track star…the list went on and on.
No wonder I was always stressed out and exhausted! But over time, the Holy Spirit began to reveal to me the Father-heart of God. My mind was renewed through the truth of scripture of who God is through the glorious gospel message. The more I studied the gospels, the more I fully received His mercy and love.
Truthfully, God is very unimpressed with your performance, but He is deeply impressed with Christ’s performance. You will find such freedom when you finally realize you can rest in knowing that Jesus paid for your performance and by putting your faith in that, God sees you as His daughter or son and His love for you is never-ending. Because of what Jesus did on the Cross, you can literally do nothing to change that. Embrace the Cross and the Father will embrace you as His child!
Father God, thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to not only die for my sins to be forgiven, but to restore me back to You as Your child, the greatest position I will ever stand in!
Read more: Galatians 3:26-4:1-7
“He Pulled It From the Mud”
October 15, 2018
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He turned to me and heard my cry for help. He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40: 1-2, HCSB).
God will use pretty much anything to get your attention, so He can get a message across to you sometimes. The other day I was just having a really rough day and was struggling to find joy. While I was looking up the weather forecast online, hoping maybe it would be warm and sunny to help brighten my gloomy day, a story headline caught my eyes- “He Pulled It From the Mud,” it read in bold letters.
Immediately, one of my favorite passages from the Psalms came to my mind: Psalm 40: 1-3, specifically verse 2: “He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure.”
This truth is at the core of my personal testimony of how God changed my life completely and transformed my hardened clay heart into a vessel He could us for His glory! For many years, I chose to live in the pit of my sin and self-destruction, even though I was completely miserable and full of so much pain from my terrible life choices. I struggled with alcohol abuse, sexual sin, pride, and was plagued by anxiety and depression. Then one glorious day, I cried out to the Lord, He heard my cry, and He helped me out of my pit!
Then I realized that this truth is the core of every believer’s story!
When we cry out the name of Jesus, the Father reaches down into our slimy pit of sin and pulls our life from the mud, the filth of this world, and He gives us a new heart and begins to transform us from the inside out. He pulls us up from the pit of darkness and despair and sets our feet upon the firm foundation of the Rock, Christ Jesus. He not only does all of that, but He helps establish our steps as we learn to walk in faith, hand in hand with Christ. The longer we walk with Jesus, and learn of His of ways as His follower and disciple, we begin to see true life transformation and a deep change of heart.
I believe this is something we must keep at the forefront of our minds at all times to remind us of where God has taken us from. How can we not remain thankful? If you are struggling to find joy today, be grateful that “He pulled it (your life) from the mud!”
Father, thank you for rescuing me from the pit, picking me up out of the miry clay, and setting my feet on solid ground. Help me to always remain thankful for this truth every single day!
Read more: Psalm 91: 14-16; Colossians 1:13
Finding Rest in the Yoke of Christ
September 24, 2018
“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, HCSB).
For a majority of my life, I was what many would call a “control freak.” It overwhelmed so much of my life that I even tried to control how people related to me, which meant I tried my best to be a people-pleaser. It’s extremely difficult to cultivate authentic and genuine relationships when you are constantly adapting and hiding your true self just to keep others happy and keep the peace.
You can imagine why this would cause anxiety within your soul because you are simply not living honestly- with yourself, with others, or with God. For me, it was just a matter of time before that lifestyle became such a heavy burden upon my shoulders that I could no longer carry. The weight became too much for me that I lived in a constant state of worry and panic.
But one day, Jesus’ words in Matthew 11 beckoned me to come to Him and give Him all of the heaviness I was trying to carry on my own.
I must admit, when I first read His words to “take up [His] yoke” to find rest, I was hesitant. How would taking upon a yoke around my neck bring me rest? I pictured an ox plowing a field with a wooden yoke around its head, and the image didn’t bring about thoughts of peace and rest, but more exhaustion. I saw a yoke as bondage.
But that is the beauty of Jesus’ words and the beauty of the Kingdom of God that operates differently than the world’s system. Where I initially saw bondage by surrendering my control, God was revealing to me that His yoke is actually a tool He uses to help us move forward in the destiny that He has for our lives. When we yoke ourselves together with Jesus, He carries the load upon His shoulders and His peace and rest comes into our lives. Click To TweetHis grace carries us while we walk along side of Him, connected to Him, trusting His ways over our own.
Over time, God has taught me to run to Him first and trust Him with every single detail of my life, including my relationships. When the cares of this life try to overwhelm me and bring stress and anxiety, instead of taking matters into my own hands, I must remember to come to Him every day for rest and peace. Thankfully, His peace surpasses all understanding and is unlike anything else this world can offer us.
Father, show me areas of my life that I have been trying to control- areas that are bringing unnecessary burdens that You do not intend for me to carry. Lord, I run into Your arms and gladly take upon Your yoke, knowing that You alone bring me the rest that my soul needs.
Study more: Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7
Just Keep Breathing
September 16, 2018
It’s Sunday morning.
And I am at home.
I would normally be at church right now with my family, but my (very fussy, teething who is obsessed with comfort-nursing) 7 month old is fighting a cold. Considering we just faced this last week with our 3 year old who is majorly sensitive to pain or un-comfortableness (well, what 3 year old isn’t dramatic, right?), all I can say is “Momma is tired.”
Stress has been high, y’all. My right eye won’t stop twitching. Sleep deprivation is starting to become a part of my daily reality.
Where my mommas at?? This is #momlife.
And in a weird, optimistically sadistic way, I love it! Ha!
Moms are weird. Or maybe, it’s just me?
I often wonder if I will be able to physically and emotionally be able to take another hard day. Each day seems to drain every ounce of energy I have to give and sometimes it feels like I have to remind myself to breathe.
Although sometimes I find myself holding my breath when I am stressed to the max (and there has been a lot of instances lately…), I don’t have to remind myself to breathe. My body simply keeps breathing. Adding mom-brain to the mix, I am so glad I don’t have to remember to breathe…I would be in respiratory distress way too many times throughout the day if that was the case!
As I was reflecting upon this basic human function- breathing- I realized how dependent I am upon my Creator to physically remain alive. He is the One who filled my lungs with breath when I came into being and is the One who sustains every single breath since my very first one.
The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things… (Act 17:24-25, NASB).
Why do I worry?
I think it is important to truly acknowledge this. Instead of complaining about how stressed I am, I need to simply ask myself why I am worried.
This goes for all of us- not just moms. Stress, worry, and anxiety are our body’s response to being overwhelmed. Most likely we are putting ourselves into this state of panic because we are trying to control the outcome and trying to do it all in our own strength. As believers, we know that God is sovereign. We proclaim “God is control.” If we honestly believed this, we wouldn’t allow ourselves to be completely crushed under the weight of the stresses of life.
Life is stressful, but we do not have to live in a constant state of stress. If we do, there must be a part of us that believes we can completely control or fix our circumstances- this is oh so prideful, friends.
…all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5: 5b-7, NASB).
I love how these two ideas are connected in these Bible verses.
HUMILITY= ENCOURAGEMENT & GRACE
When we remain anxious for a long period of time, we are choosing to control the situation and not hand it over to the Lord. We are simply telling God, “It’s okay. I’ve got this. I don’t need Your help.”
Grace is a gift from the Father. It empowers us to walk out our calling and the assignments the Lord has given us. We are weak without it.
Jesus told the Apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Like breathing, it is by His grace that we have the ability and strength to do anything for Him. If grace is like the air in our lungs, then constant anxiety is like holding a pillow over your own face. Click To Tweet
(I am shouting at myself too…)
Stop trying to suffocate yourself!
Now, I know that for many people, anxiety goes beyond your thought-life and can be a very serious medical condition regarding chemical imbalances and inflammation in the brain. I have been there many times throughout my life and still struggle with it…hello, crazy hormones! In this case, seek medical attention if you believe your anxiety is caused by a physical problem going on in your body. I believe in total wholeness and wellness: spirit, soul, AND BODY.
No matter what, we need God’s grace and help!
Most of the time, experiencing anxiety, worry, and stress are signs that you are trying to gain control and are struggling. You will undoubtedly experience those things in life (the Bible tells that we must cast our anxieties upon the Lord, so obviously there will be anxieties to cast), but they do not have to be your everyday reality because we should never hold onto them. When we are beginning to panic or stress-out, this is an opportunity to humble ourselves and call out to the Lord for help. 1 Peter 5:7 tells us that He cares for us, and because He is such a good, good Father, He longs to help take care of our needs.
Calling out to the Lord for help should be an everyday occurrence, especially during intense and overwhelming situations.
“Help me, Jesus” is my go-to prayer all-day everyday as a mom of little ones, and I am not ashamed to admit it! His grace and peace come into my situation as I fix my thoughts upon His goodness and faithfulness. I remind my head that Jesus is Lord and that He is in control. Without trying, breath fills my lungs, and hope fills my heart once again.
Take a deep breath and remember that God will care for you, no matter what stresses may come to overwhelm you.
Father, I pray for those who are feeling overwhelmed by their circumstances right now. I ask that You would graciously remind them to surrender their control over to You, the only One who can sustain all things and bring true peace and hope. Thank You for your grace and your strength when we feel so powerless. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How to Show Empathy (Without Internalizing Everyone’s Negative Emotions)- iBelieve.com Post
August 10, 2018
One of my nicknames in high school was “Queenie,” short for “Drama Queen.”
I understand that not all women are this way, but I guess I have always been an emotional person by nature. Of course, there were many times where my emotions got the best of me. I was pulled under and tossed to and fro by anxiety, chaos, worry, and drama. I would eventually find a place to release all of those emotions – the theater.
My emotions negatively affected many of my relationships because I didn’t know how to experience and process them in a healthy manner. My feelings controlled me when it should have been the other way around. Perhaps, this drama queen was attracted to drama, or perhaps, I simply wanted to help others weather the storm of their own emotions. Yet in addition to my own mess that I would find myself in over the years, it seemed my life got even more dramatic and chaotic when I allowed others’ junk to pile onto mine. Suddenly, I was carrying others’ baggage including my own. After a while, that starts to get heavy!
Thankfully, there came a point in my life where I cried out to the Lord that I couldn’t do it any longer on my own; it was just too heavy to carry anymore. Jesus found me in my mess, under all of my heavy suitcases, and He set me free from all of the unnecessary burdens that weighed me down. He showed me how to trust Him and surrender my emotionally-out-of-control/control-freak-ways all to Him.
We truly weren’t meant to carry around all this baggage!
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NLT).
It took time, but I learned how to find rest in Lord. The Holy Spirit helped me cultivate the fruit talked about in Galatians 5:22-23 (especially self-control) and taught me how to tell my emotions who’s boss. Take that, anxiety! Take that, anger! Take that, bitterness! Take that, depression!
Although I knew to run to Jesus when I was emotional, weary, or anxious, if I was around others (whether one-on-one, or my family, or people I encountered at work, or even things I would hear in the news or on the internet) who were going through a dark time or just needed to vent, I still found myself taking on their negativity and anxiety. Why? Because:
I wanted to help them through the struggle.
I wanted to bear their burdens like the Bible says we are to do (Galatians 6:2).
I wanted to show them empathy and put myself in their shoes.
All good things, right? As long as you don’t lace up those shoes and run off with them!
Ultimately, we cannot control the sadness or destruction going on in the world or in others’ lives around us, nor can we control others’ behavior or actions. But we can control how we react to it all and keep our own emotions in check.
Before we become involved in someone else’s problem or emotional experience, I believe the most important thing we must do is to guard our own heart.
Proverbs 4:23 tell us “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV).
We don’t want our heart to become someone else’s dumpster. Considering the heart as the soil in which we bear good fruit (Luke 8:15), we must protect it from negativity, worldliness, worry, bitterness, and anxiety. Those things will only act like weeds and choke out the growth of the seed of the Word of God in your life.
When it comes to healthy interaction in relationships, our involvement in others’ personal problems, and exuding empathy, I think people can fall in certain categories: those in mourning, the pessimists, and the toxic. Depending on which category the person may fall under, I believe we can better understand how the Lord may be able to use us as an instrument of healing through walking in empathy in a healthy manner as well as what our role in their life may be during the hard time.
Read more at iBelieve.com
“You Put My Tears in Your Bottle”: Drawing Close to the God Who Sees Our Pain- iBelieve.com Post
August 3, 2018
I laid on the cold, sterile exam table feeling uneasy from the moment I parked my car. I thought, “Paul and I were just here 2 weeks ago. We got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time and got pictures to show our family. Why did the doctor need to see me again for an ultrasound?”
I told my husband he didn’t have to come with me to this appointment since it would just be a quick routine checkup on the baby’s growth, which is what I was told. Since this was my first pregnancy, I didn’t think anything of it when I put the appointment on my calendar, but the closer I got to the doctor’s office on my drive there, I was starting to worry and question why I needed to be seen again so early on.
Within the first few minutes of the ultrasound, the doctor got very quiet and simply said, “Oh, I hate when this happens.”
“What?” I asked, my heart racing faster and faster.
“There is no heartbeat. I’m so sorry.”
That Kind of Faith
I sat up, tears streaming down my face and let out a big sigh. She asked if I was going to be okay.
With a shaky voice, I pointed her to the One that has always been near to me during times like these.
“I have been through a lot in my short life. I have had some serious valley experiences. My dad was murdered several years ago, two divorces ripped a part my family, serious family illnesses, anxiety, depression…but my faith in God has always gotten me through it. This will be no different. Jesus is faithful.”
She sat across from me still, nodded her head, and said “I’m glad you have that kind of faith. I will give you some time alone…just get dressed and come out whenever you are ready, and we will talk about our options.”
Although this baby went on to be with the Lord early on in my pregnancy, Paul and I did not believe this would be the end of our story; we strongly believed God would give us a child, and we would rest and trust in His timing. God was faithful to us and we now have two sons. But do those two sons erase the pain of losing a baby? No.
Although God answered our prayers to have children, He still saw all of those tears and was with me as my heart and body healed. I looked to the only One who could keep me from being crushed under the weight of my grief. I knew that I was not alone in my sorrow. God saw me in my pain and did not overlook it.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8, NLT).
The same was true, years before, after I received the news that my dad had been brutally murdered. Honestly, my faith met at a crossroad during that time in my life. Instead of allowing the weight of that loss to completely crush me, I chose to look to Jesus. I chose to call upon the Lord and to stand upon Christ, my solid Rock, and believe He was good and He was in control. I chose to have faith in the One who is near to the brokenhearted.
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