Life…Disappointment…Hope

Life…
It’s exhausting at times
It’s hard at times
It’s lonely at times

Disappointment…
Tells you it’s not worth getting back up
All hope is lost
Convinces you to not even try again

Hope…
Renews your mind
Gives you the courage to stand strong even when you are tired
Reminds you that you are stronger than you appear

My life has been a roller coaster in the last ten years.  There has been much heartache and hurt.  I have been hopping to one church to another to only find more hurt and rejection.  Since December I have been in three different churches to only have the same results.   I started to question my faith, and what I believed.  Last Sunday I was singing a song about God’s goodness, and I wondered if I believed the words that I was singing.  I was so discouraged and tired that I wanted to quit church completely.  I left in tears wondering if church was even for me.  I told myself that, “I was a Christian, and I am supposed to be in church.”

In that moment, I realized I was going to church because that is what you do as a Christian.  I was going out of duty  and not out of passion for God.  I decided to re-evaluate my heart and to see whether or not my faith was wavering.  I found that yes I was tired to church, but my faith was strong in the Lord.  I have just attend churches that was not allowing God to lead.  I was seeking the wrong kind of churches.  And, deep inside, I did not want to quit church, because I was defeated.  I felt more alone than ever and church is about fellowship and God’s love.

Life was never meant to do alone.  So…I looked searched online for churches in my area.  I came across one that really drew me in, and I attended this Sunday.  Not only do I have a Women’s Bible Study to attend on Wednesday, I have two coffee meetings in the next few weeks with some women I met at the church.  I felt like I belonged and that I was welcome.  No one pushed me to do anything I did not want to do.  I felt home for the first time in a decade.  My disappointment turned into hope.  My loneliness turned into meeting other Christian women who understood my hurt.  Yes, I am tired, but I am strong.   The devil wants to keep kicking me to the ground in defeat, but the Lord wants me to stay strong in Him.  As long as I keep my eyes focused on Jesus, I will have the strength to find hope again in church.  Not because I am supposed to attend church every week, but because I want to attend church and worship God with other Christians.  I want to attend church, because my heart longs for fellowship with other believers.  My flesh may be weak, but Spiritually I am strong.

Life happens, but it does not mean you have to live in defeat.  Get up, Dust yourself off, and Stand strong.  Hope for what’s to come!

 

Lacking Nothing

As we begin a new year, we look back on what we accomplished in the previous year.  We go down our bucket list and realize that we did not accomplish everything that we hoped we would.  We beat ourselves up for what we lacked rather than what we accomplished.  The truth is, what we accomplish on earth will one day fade away.  It is not permanent.  Yes, we have desires and goals that were not met and will carry over into the new year, but it is not worth stressing over, because God already knows our needs and wants.  We lack nothing in Him.  Let me say that again: We lack nothing in Him.  God is our everything!

I recently heard a song called, My Everything, by Gateway Worship.  It is a beautiful song that captures who God is in our lives.  The lyrics are a love song to God.  When you hear this song sung over you, you cannot help but fall to your knees and praise God in full surrender.  The chorus says that,

You’re more than just a song
You’re more than just a whim
You’re more than just a passing fantasy
You’re My Every Way
You’re My Everything

Take a few minutes to read these lyrics slowly aloud.  God is more than just rescuing us from our troubles.  He is more than granting our every wish.  He wants a relationship with us, no matter what is happening in our lives.  As the song continues, it declares that,

I want to be with You
I need to be with You
I long to be with You, precious King
So with every day, Lord, in every way
You’re My Everything

This song cries out to God for an intimate relationship with Him.  The lyrics express the wants and needs to be with God.  We feel the yearning and passion as we read these words above.  In this song, we are saying, “You are My number one in my life.  God, You are important to me, and I want to experience You completely.”

In another song called, “So Will I (100 Billion X), written by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings and Michael Fatkin, it declares everything God created by speaking it into existence.  The lyrics begin with,

God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praise so will I

In this song, we proclaim who God is by His creation.  We are His creation, and because He created us, we lack nothing.  We may be waiting for a prayer to be answered, but, in Him, we lack nothing.  God provides our every need.  If He can speak anything into existence, then He is choosing to wait for His perfect timing to answer our prayer.  In Ecclesiastes 3:1, it states that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11 declares that, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  BUT, “do not grow weary” while waiting, because “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

Year 2017 may not have brought you everything you wanted and desired, but, remember what you accomplished and praise God for your successes.  I encourage you to never get discouraged while waiting, because God is preparing you for what’s to come.  In Year 2018, continue to believe in miracles.  Never lose the desire to dream big!

 

Owning Who You Are In Christ!

Lately, I have felt that I’m not good enough in many areas of my life. But God says, “you are good enough”. “You are good enough for Me to let My Son die on the cross. You are good enough even when someone bullies you or misjudges you for who you are.”

God sees value in you! He sees beauty in you! God loves you every day of every moment of your life. Own it!!! Because God has always called you His Child! You are good enough for Him!

Please take a moment and watch this video:

Our Past Is Just Our Past

I have learned something valuable this week. Your past does not hinder you from living for today. Yes, your past tells a story about who you used to be, but it does not determine who you are today. Your past is just that–your past.

We all have a history we would love to erase, but God intended it to be a testimony. It may not look pretty, but, in God’s eyes, our past is just a moment when we were beautifully broken, desperately needing His presence.

Let our past remind us of who God is in our lives, and how He turns something ugly into something beautiful.

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Worshipping Through Scripture Series -Being An Overcomer Through Christ

As Christians, we live in a world filled with chaos.  Every day we put on our Armor of God and fight the battles of this world.  With God on our side, we face “giants” with confidence and come out as winners through Christ.

There are several characters in the Bible who have fought and defeated giants.  One of the characters is named David.  In 1 Samuel, chapter 17, David fought and defeated a giant named, Goliath, with just a sling shot and a stone.  His story encourages us to stand strong on the battlefield, no matter what we are facing.

Two Christian artists, Francesca Battistelli and Blanca, wrote songs based off this Scripture to encourage Christians to not give up in the fight.  These songs remind us to stay on the battlefield and to trust that God will come through for us.  Francesca Battistelli wrote a song in 2014 called, “Giants Fall”.  The song is written in honor of a young girl, at the age of 11, who wanted to start an organization called, “Project Yesu”.  The purpose of the organization is to minister to girls and women in Uganda.  When the artist read her story about being mocked by others and being told she was crazy to start an organization, Battistelli was inspired to write a song to encourage all of us to be bold and courageous for what we believe in.  It’s never “too late” or “too far” to turn away from sin and walk with God (prodigal son, Luke 15:11:32).  We are never “too small” and it’s never “too hard” to go after our dreams (David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).

In the chorus, it states “don’t you be afraid of the giants in your way [because], with God you know that anything’s possible” (Referenced: Matthew 19:26; 1 John 4:18).  The chorus continues to encourage us to stay in the fight with boldness and bravery and watch the giants fall.  “With childlike faith” (Matthew 18:2-4), mountains will move and miracles will happen (Hebrews 11:1; Matthew 17:20).

Blanca, also wrote a powerful song in 2015 called, “Greater is He”.  She wrote the song in honor of her mother being diagnosed with cancer.  The artist was inspired by her mother’s courageous fight to live.  The song lyrics expresses the struggles we deal with on a daily basis.  It starts out saying, “I face a giant in over my head.  Help me to look up [and remember to] take a deep breath” (Referenced: David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17).  These lyrics are a prayer to God desperately crying out to Him to be present in our circumstances.  I imagine this artist face down on the floor crying out to God for a miracle for her mother.

In the chorus, Blanca declares who God is through Jesus’ miracles.  She states that her family have faced “an ocean [with] waves raging (Psalm 89:9, 93:4; Mark 4:35-41) and, with faith, they have “step[ped] out on the sea” to meet Jesus (Matthew 14:2-23).  The song continues on to proclaim God’s name.  We can face anything “in His name”.

APPLICATION

We were all made to be warriors through Christ.  The songs mentioned above are powerful and will lift our spirits when we are discouraged and feel defeated.  The lyrics and the meaning behind these songs come from the heart of these artists.  Battistelli and Blanca both wrote songs through inspiration of others.  They were inspired by someone else’s strength while going through hardship.

These two songs declare who God is through Scripture.  Just like David in 1 Samuel 17, we have our own battles to fight and win.  The lyrics remind us to stay strong in the fight and always have God by our side.  Philippians 4:13 states that we “can do all things through Him who gives [us] strength.”  I encourage you to put on your Armor of God and run onto the battlefield to face your giants.

OTHER REFERENCES TO LOOK UP

  • Joshua 24:14-18 (Joshua’s Story) – “Every Giant Will Fall” by Rend Collective, The Promise land.

Women’s Insecurities – Week Two

Last week we talked about being honest with ourselves, and how we are created in God’s image.  We broke down four common women’s insecurities, and I showed you all a few steps on how to be honest with yourself and with God.  This week I will dive deeper into self-rejection, and how it can destroy your life.

Rejection is defined as “the act of not accepting, believing, or considering something” or “the state of being rejected” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rejection).  Rejection can be described as an abandonment, a dismissal, or a brush off.  Rejection comes in many forms.  We can have such a low self-esteem that we put ourselves down due to our insecurities.  Self-rejection will destroy us.  It “paves the landing strip for the rejection of others to arrive and pull on up to the gates of our hearts” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  Our low self-esteem may prompt others to convey what we believe about ourselves.  We are opening the flood gates for rejection by our own insecurities.

Another way we can allow rejection into our lives is to let the harsh words and actions of others dictate how we feel about ourselves.  The lie becomes truth when we are already vulnerable to the negativity.  The truth is, “rejection steals the best of who [we are] by reinforcing the worst of what’s been said about [us]” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  We are all guilty of being rejected as well as rejecting others.  We have been a victim to rejection as well as giving out rejection.  We are not innocent here, by no means.  Jealousy and comparing ourselves to others allows room to judge people harshly.  Insecurities bring out the worst in us when we try to better ourselves by putting others down.  As women, we have to stop being so critical of each other and start lifting each other up with encouraging words.

The key problem is that we have a broken identity.  We allow the world, others, and ourselves to tell us who we are rather than allow God to dictate who we are.  “You can’t expect stability from a broken identity” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).  We have to get to the root of the problem to find stability in our lives.  The core fears of rejection are abandonment and loss of identity.  We must write down all our insecurities and work them out one-by-one with God.  And, then and only then, we will see our identity as God sees us.  We are all yearning for something that will keep us stable and anchored.  The world’s view and what other’s say about us does not keep us anchored.  Only God can keep us anchored because He “is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Here are five simple steps to push past your insecurities and rejections to start living a life with less negativity and with more Godly thinking:

  1. Acknowledge the problem areas and weaknesses and write them down
  2. Pray over one problem area at a time
  3. Begin to write and say prayers daily that are the opposite of how you feel (positive prayers)
  4. Continue the prayers until you believe God’s truth about yourself
  5. Repeat the process for the next problem area

When we stop rejecting ourselves by our insecurities and what people say about us, we give the control back to God.  We allow Him to work in our lives to change our mindsets from negative thoughts to positive thinking.  When we say we are not smart enough or talented enough, we are putting down God’s creation.  God created us in His perfection so let’s start living a life with confidence of who we are.

APPLICATION

Is God good?  YES!
Is God good to me?  YES!
Do I trust God to be God?  YES!
(Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst)

If you can answer these questions with a bold “YES“, then give God control over your emotions and your thoughts.  I encourage you to allow Him to transform your life so you can be whole in Christ.  I will say this again, “rejection will destroy your life.”  Rejection will keep you in the past.  Rejection will never let you move past the hurt and disappointments.  A life filled with rejection promises no hope but only a mentality of “I will never be good enough to _________________________.”  You fill in the blank of what area of your life you feel rejected.  This is no way to live.  A life without hope is not worth living.  It is a life that will always bring you down and tell you you have no worth. Let God tell you who you are and stop listening to the negativity around you.

Women’s Insecurities- Week One

In the next five weeks, we will talk through women’s insecurities, and how to change our view on what or who we think we are.  The world tells us we have to look or act a certain way to fit in.  Sometimes the people around us tell us our flaws on a daily basis and remind us of who we can never be.  Negativity comes in many forms.  The harsh words create insecurities that we try to hide behind a mask.  We become ashamed of who we are because of the world or what others say about us.  In time, we start to believe the lies.  The words become truth, and we change our personality or career paths to feel wanted and loved.

The truth is, God knows all our insecurities as women.  Psalm 139 says that God has searched our hearts and minds, and He know everything about us.  He knows when we are sitting and when we rise.  He knows our every thought.  He even knows what we will say next (vs. 1-6).  He is a God of All-Knowing (Omniscience of God).

Women tend to have common insecurities in physical appearance, sexuality, career, money, education, and life in general.  What and who we believe we are sometimes come from the lies of the world, others, and ourselves.  This week we are talking about being honest with ourselves.  There will be steps on how to remove the mask of lies and be true to who we are created to be.

1) Physical Appearance

  • Physical appearance can be age, weight, body, and hair. Women see models in magazine who have the perfect body and doesn’t ever seem to age.  Let’s be reminded that every photo in a magazine has been photoshopped to have the perfect body image.  On social media we have filters that will perfect our physical appearance to our desire.  We live in a world that says we have to have the perfect body to fit in.  The world and the people around us wants us to conform to their ways.  Let’s face it, their demands are unrealistic and shameful.  In the Bible, it tells us we are made in God’s image.  Our Creator made us in His perfection (Genesis 1:27).  Everything God created is good. (Genesis 1).  God sees us as good!  He is proud of His masterpiece.  Psalm 139:14 declares we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (NIV).  Let’s stop putting ourselves down by our negative thoughts and let’s start loving on ourselves.  One way to start thinking positive is to start a “positive thinking jar.”  Each week write something nice about yourself and place it in the jar.  Every time you have a negative thought cross your mind, open the jar and read a note from yourself.

2) Sexuality

  • As women, we want to be attractive to men.  Much of our confidence is through encouragement and feeling loved by a significant other.  We desire to be wanted and touched.  So many women are single these days.  They feel alone and unloved.  Singleness is not a label.  It does not mean you are not loved.  Married or not, God loves us unconditionally.  We feel His touch by simply being in His presence.  He is our first love.  We are attractive to an All-Mighty God who created us to be in His image.  So the next time you feel unattractive or unloved, remember God is attracted to you.

3)  Education/Career/Money

  • We all want to be successful in our careers.  This is not just a desire in men.  Women want to have an important role in their families.  In today’s world, it is not uncommon for women to work and children in day care.  Many women have Ph.D’s and have big careers.  Back in the day, you would see women as at-home-mom’s only.  There was no option to work on the field as women.  They were responsible for bearing children, keeping the house clean, laundry, and cooking.  Now, please do not misunderstand me.  At-home-mom’s are to be celebrated.  They stay home with the children, with no adult conversations or contacts for over 10 hours a day, so the husband can provide for the family.  It is an honorable position to have so no one should put down a wife and mother staying home with their children.  Whether we decide to get a college education, a career away from home, or be a stay at-home-mom, we are all doing a job that matters.  We are all responsible for someone or something.  I encourage you to be proud of what you do and find joy in all things.

4)  Life In General

  •  So many of us look at our lives as mundane.  We do the same thing every day — work, school, home, children, family, cook, clean, laundry, etc.  We see nothing exciting in our lives.  As women, we allow the negative thoughts to make us feel like a maid or just worth nothing.  We think that  we do the things that no one else wants to do.  There is some truth to that, but not completely true.  We do those things, because we have a family to take care of.  We are made to put others first before ourselves.  We are selfless beings who love catering to others whom we love.  So, how do we spruce up our lives with so much responsibility?  Leave the dishes in the sink overnight and spend time with family and friends.  Make a point to do something fun and affordable several times a month to get out of house.  I encourage you to create a life filled with more adventure and outings with your family.  You can create a life that you always wanted within your means.

APPLICATION

So, what will it take for you to be honest with yourself and starting talking better about yourself?  Will you see a new perspective on your career choice and live with more joy?  Will you see life with excitement and not just a mundane life?

Women tend to believe a lie about themselves, no matter if it came from their own insecurities or the world.  We are sensitive to the negative words that are spoken over us and a lie feels like a truth.  I encourage you to look towards the Word for who you are and not focus on the world’s point of view or someone’s opinion.  As long as we do not believe the lie, it will never become an insecurity in our lives.

Bullying

Today, my post may look different but every writing comes from the heart.  Especially this topic — BULLYING.  Everyone is affected by bullying.  No matter our age — young or old — we are affected in some way or another.  Sometimes bullying comes from places you least expect it.  Places that should lift you up not tear you down.  People that you expect to speak an encouraging word to you, but instead you are mocked.

Bullying is defined as using superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants.  Other words to describe bullying are: persecute, oppress, tyrannize, harass, torment, dominate, coerse, pressure, and push.  Bullying is a cowardly way to bring someone down and make him or her feel worthless.  Usually bullies have their own insecurities and one of the ways to build their confidence is to put others down.

As Christians, we are expected to be persecuted for our faith and to stand up for what we believe in.  But, as Christians, we are not supposed to bully people, because of someone’s personality, hobbies, fears, and so forth.  We are supposed to encourage each other.  We are not to be jealous of each other but love one another.

Bullying affects so many emotions and it hurts!  It causes:
Depression
Anxiety
Loneliness
Unworthiness
Helplessness
Quietness
Fear
Shame
Guilt
Self-blame
Insecurities
Defeat
Outcast

Currently, I am dealing with a bully who I do not know how to handle.  I am trying to be the better person, but it’s getting difficult.  I feel more like an outcast than part of a team.  I don’t know where I fit in or belong.  I do know one thing: God does not want me to feel defeated and let go of something I love to do because of a bully.  I may feel weak today, but I will stand up and try again.  I won’t quit!

If you are being bullied, please remember that what is being said about you is not true!  God loves you unconditionally!  You are wanted by an Almighty God who adores you!  He made you who you are and be proud of YOU!  Don’t change for anyone, because you want to feel accepted and loved.  It’s not worth it!  You should never have to change for someone who does not accept you for the REAL YOU!!!

You are loved by God!
You are defined by God!
You are accepted by God!