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!

 

This Is Us

For all the This Is Us fans, this blog is for you.  For those who are not familiar with the show, it is an American television drama series that revolves around an everyday family who has three children, two are twins.  Episodes show flashbacks from the past (1980-1998) to present day (2016-2018).  The show is based off of Jack and Rebecca Pearson and their three children (Kevin, Kate, and Randall).  We know from the beginning that Jack died when the children were 17 years old.  The show begins with the children as adults at age 36.  They are all in different stages of their lives.  Kevin is struggling as an actor.  Kate struggles with weight issues, self-image, and love.  Randall is a successful business man and family man who struggles with perfection and joy.  Rebecca, after losing her husband, remarries her past husband’s best friend.  The Pearson family is no different than our lives.  We struggle with loss, love, self-image, family, children, and careers.  We laugh together, cry together, love one another, and, most of all, support each other.  This series is us — in every way!

We can learn from the Pearson family on how to strengthen our love for one another, how to support each other in all things, and how to laugh together in the good times.  The characters all have different personalities who make life work together.  Their lives are as mundane as ours.  The characters are real and relevant for all of us.  Rebecca Pearson tries to be the best mother and wife she can be, and, yet, she was not perfect in any way.  Jack Pearson was perceived as the perfect father, but, yet, he fell back to his old ways and became an recurring alcoholic.  Kevin was known as the high school football star, and then became a famous actor.  He quit his job out of frustration and became an alcoholic and drug addict.  Kate struggles with her weight and self-image so much so that it almost ruined meeting the love of her life.  Randall, from the outside, looked like he had the perfect life — great career, wife, children, and a nice home.  He quit his job after having a nervous breakdown and found himself finding his purpose again.

As seen in This Is Us,  we relate to many of these characters’ insecurities.  We are born into a family who is imperfect which causes us to have insecurities.  Some of the insecurities follow us into adulthood.  Most of us lived with loving parents who cared for us and provided for our needs.  And, yet, something was still missing.  Maybe a sibling was shown more love than you.  Maybe a parent was hard on you in an area you struggled in.  Maybe a parent reacted to a situation badly that may have scarred you for life.  Maybe a spoken word hurt you deeply, and you never recovered from that moment.  As a result of these insecurities, we struggle with finding purpose in our lives.  We struggle with our appearance.  We struggle with loving others and receiving love.  The list could go on and on.

Just like this series, the characters get back up and dust themselves off.  Life does not end with that moment.  In the midst of their tears and chaos, they find the strength to move forward.  At the end of the road, they find joy again where there once was sorrow.  You can do the same.  If you do not have a family who supports you, you are not alone.  God is always there to pick you up and dust you off to start again.  He will never leave you defeated and alone.  He will carry you through your journey and heal you from your wounds.  God will cry with you and will hold you until you stand on your own.  He will create a support system for you during a time of difficulty.  Our lives may feel like a roller coaster at times (ups and downs), but God will overwhelm us with His peace, if we only come to Him for help.

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!

 

Change Is Hard But Necessary

As we grow in Christ, God continues to remold us and reshape us into something new.  In life, change is necessary to pursue new opportunities.  It is not always easy nor is it always voluntary.  Change happens no matter we like it or not.

Currently, I have been put in a position to seek an involuntary change.  I did not realize what I was leaving behind until I took the first steps in a new direction.  But, at the same time, I cannot return to what was.  Change is a must.

I find that with change there is a moment when we grieve what was left behind as we gradually adjust to the newness of life.  There are exciting moments and sad moments blended together.  Even though a new adventure is exciting, it comes with the unknowns — the awkwardness.

The Bible tells us change is not to be feared. Deuteronomy 31:6 says for us to “be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”  God is with us and guiding us on where we should go.  We need to put our trust in Him and take another step forward into the unknown.  Jeremiah 29:11 declares that “‘God’ know[s] what [he is] doing.  ‘He has’ it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”

When change occurs, we become anxious.  Our emotions are scattered.  Our old life seems to be fading away with every step we take.  What was familiar is not familiar anymore.  Philippians 4:6-7 tells us not to “fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  The Bible instructs us to pray instead of worry.  It also tells us to praise God through the difficult times.  He will see us through every situation.  

God says to “forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history.  Be alert, be present.  I’m about to do something brand-new” (Isaiah 43:20)  As we embrace the new and leave behind the “old”, we will see God working in our lives like never before.  We will have a closer relationship with God during the journey.  We will become stronger as we walk into a new chapter of our lives.  Yes, it may be scary but, the end result is worth it.

(Scripture – The Message Version)

 

What Is A Blessing?

Many people think a blessed person is someone who has it all — lives in a big house, drives an expensive car, has the best job, and so forth.  This way of thinking is distorted.  If we see a blessing just as material things then we miss a blessing in our lives, because we compare our lives to others.

The word “blessing” means “a favor or gift bestowed by God or the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.”  It also is defined as “approval” and “good wishes” (www.dictionary.com/browse/blessing).  A blessing comes in many forms.  It can come directly from God.  Or a blessing can come from family members, friends, or complete strangers through God working in them.

Before Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the world was full of chaos and hate.  After the hurricane, we saw people working together.  Complete strangers risking their lives to save others.  As Christians, we need to be watchful on how we say we are blessed.  I am guilty of this as well.  I said, “I was blessed to have minor damage in my home.  A home I can still live in after the storm.”  But, we all have to understand those who have lost everything due to the storm, they are still blessed.  God protected their family, and, in the past three weeks, people have seen complete strangers help them rebuild their home.  In Philippians 4:19 declares that “MY God will supply every need to yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”  In Isaiah 41:10, God says “fear no, for I am with you; be no dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”  “And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” (John 1:16).  I encourage everyone who is going through hardship to declare these Scriptures over your life.

Many who have lost their homes have asked, “What shall we eat?” “What shall we drink?” What shall we wear?” (Matthew 6:30-33).  They have lost all their belongs.  They have lost all their food.  They only have the clothes on their back.  But, be encouraged today.  God clothes you every day with His blessings and righteousness.  Churches and business have opened their doors to give food, clothes, furniture, and toiletries to those in need.  God put it on their hearts to bless you with items that you have lost.  It may be heartbreaking and difficult to ask for help, but never turn down a blessing.

There may be some who are too broken to see God’s blessing in their lives.  And, that is okay.  Having any kind of loss is devastating and finding hope again may take time.  Sometimes all we can do is get on our knees and cry out to God for help.  Through prayer we all will find “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).  Psalm 144:2 is a prayer of declaration in time of need: “He is My steadfast love and My fortress, My stronghold and My deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge.”  This Scripture not only gives you hope again, but it also gives you renewed strength through Christ.  Matthew 5:4 states the “blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Let these words wash over you and remind you that you are not alone.  God is ALWAYS with you.

And, always remember that a blessing is not all about material things.  A blessing is simply God loving on us through a prayer being answered.  His continuous protection over your life and family.  A blessing is helping people in need.  We are blessed every day through Christ.

 

The Bride of Christ

Today, I will be talking to the single women who are longing for their soul mate.

Imagine setting the date for your wedding.  You are in anticipation as you make arrangements and plan for the perfect day.  The cake and food has to be prepared, several dress fittings, guest lists, and all the other details required to make your wedding day special.  This is the moment you have been waiting for all your life.  It has finally come!

Now, imagine it looking a little different.  Instead of man standing there, God is standing as your groom.  In Isaiah 54:5 it states God is your husband: “for your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!  He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.”  Close your eyes and visualize you walking down the aisle with your hair down and full of curls, make up is perfect, and wearing a beautiful white gown.  Your emotions are everywhere, because you are walking into the unknown, but, at the same time, you are filled with excitement.  You can barely hold back the tears with every step you take towards your Heavenly Father.  It is a magical moment as you walk closer to God and take His hand in marriage.  You give Him your all, and you allow Him to have control of every aspect of your life.

Just like any marriage, there are things that will be asked of you.  God is asking you today if He has made you single the rest of your life and just be with Him, can you accept His offer?  Do you trust Him enough to be His bride?  Is He enough in your life to feel complete?  Can you give up your own desires to be with Him, and Him alone?  Do you feel worthy enough to be His bride?

Since I am currently single, God has been asking me the same tough questions.  Is He enough in my life that I will give Him my all?  My desires, my heart, my love, and my worship!  Will I accept His offer no matter what my future holds?  Am I ready to walk down the aisle and take God’s hand in matrimony with these terms?  I am praying God’s will be done in my life no matter the outcome.  I am praying that He will always be my husband, my first love!

I am reminded of a song by King and Country called, “Priceless.”  The chorus is powerful.  God is saying to you today:

I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable
Unmistakable,
Incomparible
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you!

God sees you whole!  He sees you dressed in purity and righteousness!   He sees you as PRICELESS!  He sees you “more than all the money or the diamonds and pearls [because] this is who you are” (“Priceless” lyrics).

As you walk down the aisle to become the Bride of Christ, remind yourself you have worth in Him, not in man.  Being single is not a curse but a blessing.  You are never alone when God is in your life.  He sees you, and He says you are beautiful in His sight!

Women’s Insecurities – Week Five

As I bring this series to a close, I felt like it was appropriate to post a declaration instead of a lengthy blog.  It only seems appropriate after we talked about the causes of rejection and how to overcome it though Christ that we declare God’s power over our lives.  Remember that “rejection never has the final say.  Rejection may be a delay or distraction or even a devastation for a season.  But it’s never a final destination.  [We are] destined for a love that can’t ever be diminished, tarnished, shaken, or taken.  With You, Jesus, [we are] forever safe. [We are] forever accepted. [We are] forever held.  Completely loved and always invited in” (Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst).

DECLARATION:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

Whatever rejection has stolen from you, I declare that the deepest desperation you’ve experienced will lead to God’s greatest revelation in your life.

I declare that the Lord will give you relief from your unbelief.

He will restore you, redeem you, and write His story–His glorious story onto the pages of your life.

It will happen.

Doubt and defeat have no place in the sacred sanctuary of your heart.

Bitterness, resentment, and anger have no place in a life as beautiful as yours.

PRAYER:  (Written by Lysa TerKeurst in her book, Uninvited)

From now on when misguided voices or the enemy himself tries to put you down with lies or pull you away from the truth or push you into anything that could derail your destiny, I pray that you will sense the mighty hands and heart of God…

  • Lift you up with truth.
  • Draw you close with His loving tenderness.
  • And shame Satan back to hell with His resurrecting power.

Overcoming Adversity

Adversity is defined as difficulties, misfortune, trouble, hardship, distress, disaster, suffering, affliction, sorrow, misery, tribulation, woe, pain, trauma, mishap, accident, upset, setback, crisis, catastrophe, tragedy, calamity, trial, cross, or burden.

We all go through trials in our lives.  Some circumstances are created by bad choices we make and some are unavoidable because of the world we live in.  “We will all go through things in life, but the things we go through are the very circumstances, challenges, and situations that make us people who know how to overcome adversity.  We do not grow or become strong during life’s good times; we grow when we press through difficulties without giving up.”

We must have adversity in our lives to grow in Christ.  We must appreciate life and understand that it may not always be good, but God is always good!  He is always faithful! He is always in control!  We do life with Him every day so we can face our circumstances and fears head-on!  We must “press in, press on, [and] press through” our hardships and never give up to see the reward — to reach our future goals and our full potential.

Repeat the following statement today and believe that God is with you through hardship and suffering:  “God, I know that today nothing can happen that you and I can’t handle together.”

The hardships in our lives should never hinder us from God’s will.  They should make us stronger for going through  it!  Thomas Carlyle said that “the block of granite which was an obstacle in the pathway of the weak becomes a stepping-stone in the pathway of the strong.”  I encourage you to stay strong and face life with God!

(Quotes from the book, “Never Give Up” by Joyce Meyer)

Worry…

WORRY
IS USELESS
UNNECESSARY ANXIETY
BRINGS ON UNNEEDED STRESS

Are you the type of person that worries about every little thing —  the unknowns or the unexpected?  If so, you are not alone.  Everyone worries about something and most of the time the things we worry about is important to us.  We worry about what the future holds or receiving a diagnosis that is unpredictable.  We worry about what people think about us and want to feel accepted.  We all worry!

Worry is not productive.  It only brings unnecessary anxiety and stress into our lives.  It can bring on paranoia and illnesses.  The Bible says we have a choice and our choices are to trust God with our lives or try to do life without Him.  When we trust God with our circumstances and the unknowns, we have nothing to worry about.  We are being held by a Heavenly Father who loves us and cares about our every need.

Matthew 6:25-34 says that we do not need to worry about anything — life, what we eat or drink, what we wear.  Those things are provided to us by God.  In verse 33, God says to seek Him first and all these things will be given to us.  In verse 34, it states, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

In the book Matthew and Luke it states that God takes care of the birds in the sky.  God provides them food and water.  If God takes care of the birds, how much more can God take care of us?  We are made in His image.  We are precious to Him.  He calls us His children!

In Matthew 11:28-30, God says “come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  God invites us to give our burdens to Him.  He asks us to place them on the cross and leave them there.  Jesus received all our burdens when He carried the cross to Calvary to die for our sins.

There are many, many Scriptures in the Bible that talk about:
Peace       (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Colossians 3:15, Hebrews 13:5-6)
Trouble     (John 14:27, Psalm 23:4)
Worry       (Matthew and Luke, Psalm 55:22) 
Anxiety     (Philippians 4:6-7, Proverbs 12:25, 1 Peter 5:6-8)
Trust        (Psalm 56:3, Proverbs 3;5-6)

Replace anxiety with hope for the future!
Replace worry with peace!

Worry keeps us in the past when God wants us to live in the present!  The next time you find yourself worrying about something, remember that God is with you and wants to give you peace.  Rest in His arms today and be comforted by a God who will never let you go!

Waiting….Hoping…Dreaming

Do you sometimes say to yourself, “I feel like I’m waiting for something that
isn’t going to happen?”

Do you sometimes feel hopeless or alone in your hopes and dreams?
Do you sometimes feel like God is silent?

Waiting is not an easy task for anyone.  We live in a world that wants things right now rather than wait for it.  We wait in line at the store, restaurants, and in traffic jams.  We have to wait our turn to talk to an operator on the phone.  We all know what it feels like to wait.  We wait for something every day.

In the Bible, God does not promise us an easy journey, but He does say the wait will be worth it.  “The soul that waits upon the Lord is the soul that is entirely surrendered to Him, and that trusts Him perfectly.”   A person who trust God and surrenders his or her life to Him understands what waiting is all about. It is about preserving even when there is nothing happening or trials come his or her way.

When God makes us wait for a dream or a desire in our lives, it makes us stronger and reminds us not to take it for granted.  Isaiah 40:31 states that “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”  It is so easy to get tired of waiting and give up.  Isaiah says our strength is in the Lord.  As long as we believe that, God will renew us and keep us strong in Him.  Psalm 27:14 declares that we need to wait for the Lord and remain strong in Christ.

When we wait for the Lord, we submit to His ways.  Psalm 130:5 says to “wait for the Lord” with our “whole being” and put our hope in His Word [Bible].  Another way to stay strong while waiting is to dive into the Word, believe what it says, and apply it to our lives for encouragement.  Intentionally read the Bible and let God speak into us with truth and wisdom over our lives.

There are many characters in the Bible that had to wait for their promises from God.  Joseph waited 13 years to get out of slavery with the Pharisees.  Abraham waited 25 years before Isaac was born.  Moses waited 40 years to get out of the wilderness to save the Israelites out of bondage.  Jesus waited 30 years to start his ministry.  You see, we are not alone in waiting.  These people in the Bible waited for a dream to come true and hoped every day that God would fulfill these promises.  When God fulfilled these promises, God showed up in a big way and changed their lives forever.

One of the first steps of trusting God is to be still and know that God is good all the time (Psalm 46:10).  The next step is to believe and declare over your life that God knows the plans for your future, and He is going to prosper you (Jeremiah 29:11).  The third step is to believe that God hears you and will give you the desires of your heart in His perfect timing (Micah 7:7).

Personal Experience

My mom began a few years ago calling me her ladybug. I never knew what it meant.  While on vacation with my mom a few weeks back, I found a pocket charm with a ladybug on it that says: “Dreams come true”!  I have so many dreams that have not yet been fulfilled and have given up on them.  In some ways, I have given up on God, because He is silent in these areas.  I stopped waiting and moved on.  Rather than trusting God with my dreams and knowing He will fulfill them in His timing, I have given up on them completely.  This charm reminds me that I still need to believe and trust God, no matter the outcome.  I do not need to give up and get frustrated while waiting.  I do not need to lose hope and stop dreaming, because I see nothing happening.  I need to believe because God is real, and He can do the impossible (Luke 18:27; Matthew 19:26).

Taking Action

What have you stopped dreaming about?  What have you quit or gave up on because the wait was too long?  Do you need to bring the dreams and desires back into your life and remember what it was like to have hope again?  Do you need God to heal your hurt and redeem what was meant for you and you alone?

Whatever it may be, spend time with God and His Word this week!  Believe again for the future!  Believe in the impossible!  Believe that the Almighty, All-Knowing God cares about you and wants the best for you!  He never leaves or forsakes you (Deuteronomy 31:6 & 8).