When we surrender to God, He begins the process of healing our heart and soul. Some of us have built walls in our lives that hinder those around us to enter, including God. The wall was built one brick at a time representing our hurt, disappointment, anger, etc. We think we are protecting ourselves from our past, but instead, we are isolating ourselves to be an easy target for satan to tear us down. With no support from family, friends, and church, life becomes lonely. The only way to remove the wall is to hammer out each brick and deal with what it represents. It was a process to build the wall; it is a process to tear it down brick-by-brick. Each time a brick is removed, a light will shine through where there used to be darkness. God is the light in the darkness!
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.
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!
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)
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.
As Texas and Louisiana is healing and rebuilding their cities from Hurricane Harvey, it reminds me of how things have changed in just a matter of a few weeks. Before Harvey, we went about our daily lives caring about our own needs and protesting about what offends us. Individuals did not care about hurting others with his/her words or actions. That was the norm. It was normal to see hate in this world, and, for some, they became numb to it. We just turned off social media or the TV shaking our heads in disgrace. We never thought to make a difference by putting more love into this world by showing who Jesus is. We stayed silent and let hate crimes happen all over this nation. Sadly, I was one of those people who stayed silent.
After Hurricane Harvey hit my little town in Southeast Texas, everything changed. The hate crimes were not getting the attention on social media and the news. We were seeing devastation and heartache. People leaving their homes for safety. Animals, of all kinds, being rescued out of flood waters. Ordinary people using their own boats to save those around them. We saw a nation come together in prayer for those affected by the hurricane. No more hate crime seen on social media; instead, we saw the hands and feet of Jesus doing their part. Now, this should be the norm: seeing people help people. People put down their electronics and started paying attention to the hurt around them. They did not silence the cries of the help; they put on their rubber boots and got messy. They stepped into the flood waters and risked their lives for others. This is what it means to serve others.
If you want to serve, expect to get a little messy, because once you put your heart out there, you will be a part of their messy world. The world that does not look so neat and tidy. The world that is shedding tears for their loss. The stories that can be told about Hurricane Harvey are heart-wrenching and filled with hopelessness. But, as we have seen, we can build others up by being their for them in time of need. We can show them their is hope again by extending our hands to those who are hurting.
The norm should always look like the picture of people coming together to rebuild hearts and cities one day at a time. Let’s put down our phones, tablets, and the TV remote and start being the hands and feet of Jesus. Let us not forget those who have lost everything and help them rebuild their lives again. Let’s not be afraid to get a little messy to help someone who needs it the most.
And, I will leave you this…. Natalie Grant, an amazing Christian artist, sings a song called, “Be One”. Here are some lyrics to encourage all of you to be a part of something bigger than yourself:
It’s time to get our hands dirty
Be love there’s a whole lot of hurting
Calling all hearts
Calling all hands
Calling all feet to take a stand
Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come
When we can be one
When we can be one
When we can be one
A little somethin’
Might feel like nothin’
But in His hands it’s all we’ll ever need
To speak life to the broken
Watch the blind eyes open
It’s who He’s calling you and me
We can be the change, be the hope
We can be the arms that don’t let go
We can be a light in the dark
We are, we are where it starts
In the past few years, I have written about the importance of change, and how we must embrace it. Over a year ago, I made many changes in my life. I changed churches after being committed to one for over three years. I lost my friends due to this change. My pastor’s moved after serving under them for several years. I lost all my leadership roles at the church once I stepped out from being a member. You see, church was my life. Besides working, I stayed busy helping the pastors in various projects. It became my identity. What I did became who I was.
One Sunday God told me this is your last Sunday here at this church. In that moment, I was overwhelmed with the change. I did what I was told and attended church that day for the very last time. I seemed lost for many months trying to fit in and find my place to serve in a new church. Even when I was discouraged, I found myself not wanting to give up. Once I found a church that God led me to, I still mourned over my previous church I attend. I struggled with my emotions and my thoughts.
Eventually, as I continued to attend the new church on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, I began to feel like I belonged. I took two months off from serving to find myself again. Little by little I took steps into serving in the church as a greeter once-a-month. In September 2017, I had the opportunity to serve beside another church to help those throughout our community. In November 2017, I started to help with the youth group on Wednesdays. I have participated in many Bible and book studies throughout the year. I am now part of a church that I love and feel honored to serve in. I have realized that church is not just about works, but it is all about having a relationship with God and being in fellowship with other Christians. My identity is in Christ and not in what I do.
Change can bring many hardships, but, in the end, we are rewarded for not quitting. Since this change, I have had to adjust to being in new leadership roles in the church, meeting new people, making new friends, working with a new boss, and financial changes. My life looks completely different from a year ago, but I am thankful for the changes in my life. It has helped me to grow personally as well as Spiritually. I have realized I am a stronger person than I thought, and I can do anything with Christ by my side.
If you are struggling with changes in your life, always remember God is on your side every step of the way. The journey might not always be easy, but the reward is always worth it.
Recently, I started reading a book called, “The End of Me” written by Kyle Idleman. So far, it has been an incredible book about the beauty of being broken in the presence of God. Jesus becomes real in our lives when we are broken for Him. It is when we come to the end of ourselves that God shows up to pick up the pieces of our lives to put them back together one-by-one. In Luke 9:24, it states that “whoever loses life will find it.”
In this book, the author portrays a beautiful picture of what brokenness really looks like. In Luke 7, Jesus is having dinner with a religious leader, Simon. Simon has disregarded all tradition by not greeting Jesus with a kiss on the hand, washing his feet, and anointing his head with oil. Simon is rich and the people feared him so he intentionally did not honor Jesus as his guest in his home. Simon wanted to be the master of his home, not Jesus. At one point in the middle of dinner, a sinful woman enters Simon’s home uninvited. She heard through the crowds Jesus was in town and was having dinner with Simon and other religious leaders. While everyone else looked at her with judgment, Jesus looked at her with unconditional love. She did not focus on the disgruntled faces around her and allowed Jesus’ love to overwhelm her. You see, Jesus saw “her as beautifully broken” while the others saw her as tainted and untouchable (“The End of Me”).
The woman kept her eyes focused on Jesus and knelt at Jesus’ feet. She began to weep uncontrollably and, with her tears, she cleaned His feet. She let down her hair and dried His feet. She then took an entire bottle of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. In this moment, “she offers all that she has, because He has changed all that she is” (“The End of Me”). A prostitute, known for our profession, “has become a living embodiment of cleansing” (“The End of Me”). Jesus tells her that her sins are forgiven (Luke 7:48). Her brokenness is recognized, and she is made whole again. What an incredible imagery of being made whole in Christ in just one moment.
“Brokenness often overflows with hidden beauty. It is redemptive by design” (author unknown). The moment Jesus forgave the woman from all her sins, it was redemption. She was not ashamed of her past; she boldly walked into a religious leader’s home to have a moment with Jesus. This Biblical story reminds us to never be ashamed to bear our scars in the church or around our family and friends. Our past tells a story of redemption–of who we were and who we are today.
If you look closer in the story of Luke 7, we see that Simon is carrying around brokenness as well. He is so arrogant about his status that he refused to greet his guests with traditions. He does not respect who Jesus is and only invited Jesus to dinner out of obligation. Instead of receiving a blessing from Jesus, he received a rebuke from Him. The sinful woman knew that she was broken and needed Jesus’ forgiveness, but Simon, on the other hand, did not recognize his brokenness.
Romans 3:23 states that we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The truth is, we are all broken people who need Jesus. We can complete this sentence: “We are the people who _________________________________________” (“The End of Me”). Who have debt, ignored the hurting, looked down on others, etc. We are the kind of people who wants to avoid being honest with ourselves. “Most of us have some conception, in our heart to hearts, that a lot of the pieces never seem to be mended. But we will go to great lengths to avoid the full, honest embrace of our condition” (“The End of Me”). “The only solution for being broken is brokenness. Brokenness is the way to wholeness.” (“The End of Me”).
When was the last time you recognized your brokenness and knelt at Jesus’ feet overwhelmed by His love for you? Are you avoiding the brokenness that keeps on pulling you down and telling you lies about yourself? It’s time to bear your scars and be real with God and others about your past or present life. It’s time for you to be whole again through Christ.
“God, take my broken pieces and remold them into what seems best for you” (“The End of Me”). Lord, help me to be vulnerable and bear my scars so I can be mended and whole again. In Your Name, Amen!
What is your passion in life?
What are your dreams?
Are you using all your talents that God has given you?
God has given us all a passion in life to fulfill a dream or a talent. What matters most is whether or not we believe in our dreams enough to go after it. Or use our talents the way God intended it to be used. A passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion” according to Google dictionary.
Let’s be honest here….How many of us run after our dreams or used our talents to the fullest? Maybe some do….but many, including myself, hold back from running after our dreams or fully using our talents God has given us. I can list all the things I know I have the ability to do, but I can also list the ones that puts fear in me or looks discouraging. I convince myself that the dream is too big or that talent is impossible.
Lately, I have been listening to my mom about carrying out family talents. It reminded me of a talent I used to do weekly and that was drawing. There are many family members on my mom’s side who are artist. My mom is an amazing artist who can oil paint, wood paint, and draw. She has the natural talent to draw and paint anything — landscapes, animals, and objects. I want to learn everything she knows so this talent does not die with my mom. I want to continue teaching my children the creativity of art. Recently, I started drawing again, and I have found that I truly love it. It is calming, and the end result even amazes me sometimes. I am now living out a forgotten talent that I enjoy again. Below are some of my drawings:
I also love to sing, write, read, teach, and volunteer. I am utilizing most of these talents on a weekly basis. I enjoy worshiping and singing songs around the house and in the car. I write blogs weekly. I read a good Christian teaching books monthly. I volunteer my time at the church with door greeting once-a-month and help with the youth weekly. I have a passion to teach when the opportunity arises. I have a passion for all these things and find time to do all of them while working a full-time job. My life is full of things that I love to do and be a part of!
A dream of mine is to become an author one day to inspire others to find Christ. Another dream is be married with children. All my dreams have not come true, but I still believe that God will stay true to His Word. If He put it on my heart, then I am going to believe these dreams will come true.
What is holding you back from running after your dreams? What is keeping you from doing what you love to do? It is so easy to get discouraged and give up. I am encouraging you today to pursue your dreams again! I am encouraging you to utilize your talents God has given you!
Take A Bold Step Today!
Know Your Passion.
This week God has put on my heart to encourages those in their mid-20’s and 30’s, who are single, to not give up or be discouraged. While you are single, it is important to remember that it does not make you incomplete as a person. It is not a label placed on you by others. It is not something to be ashamed of. Singleness means you are strong enough to stand on your own and be confident in who you are.
Singleness does NOT mean you are not pretty enough, smart enough, or skinny enough to date, be engaged, or married. Your worth comes from God. He gives you the courage to patiently wait for your godly man. I encourage you to marry someone who loves God more than he loves you. The wait will be worth it, no matter your age.
I am about 35 years of age and never been married. Most relationships I have left me heartbroken and worthless. I have been engaged twice and, before the wedding day, the relationship fell apart. I have been told by many that being a Christian does not mean you have to marry a Christian. Out of desperation, I have tried to date non-Christians and ended up not working out because of different beliefs. I struggle with commitment in relationships. I struggle with finding an authentic Christian guy who loves God more than me. I have dated Christian men who just follow what I do, and he never becomes the Christian leader that he needs to be.
I have always had an insecurity that I was not good enough or pretty enough to find a guy who will love me for who I am. I have been told while in engagement, “Why am I even marrying you?!” I have had guys tell me, “Why can’t you be who I want you to be” or “I’m not worth the wait”. Those words that were spoken over me hurt me deeply and have cursed any relationship that was good in my life.
There came a time when I realized those words have no meaning in my life. The only words I need to hear are from my heavenly Father. He knows my true identity. He knows who I will marry. And, one day, broken and alone, I put my trust in God and never looked back. My life is whole in Christ. I do not need a man to tell me how beautiful I am, or how smart I am to feel complete. God speaks those words over me every day. I am content being single until the right Christian guy comes my way!
While I was organizing my desk at home a few weeks ago, I found a poem that encouraged me, and would like to share it with you. It is called, “On His Plan For Your Mate”. If you need to find contentment today, find contentment with God. He knows the plans He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11). I encourage you to walk in His promises and trust in God’s timing.
ON HIS PLAN FOR YOUR MATE
Everyone longs to give himself or herself completely to someone.
To have a deep and soul relationship with another, to be loved
thoroughly and exclusively. But God says to the Christian – no,
not until you are satisfied, fulfilled, and content with being loved
by Me alone. I love you, My Child, and until you discover that
only in Me is your satisfaction to be found, you will not be
capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for
you. You can never be united with another until you are united
with me – exclusive of anyone or anything else, exclusive of any
other desires and longings. I want you to stop planning, stop
wishing, and allow Me to give you the most thrilling plan
existing – one that you cannot even imagine. I want you to have
the best. Please allow Me to bring it to you – just keep watching
Me, expecting the greatest thing – keep experiencing that
satisfaction of knowing of knowing that I am. Keep learning
and listening to the things I tell you…you must wait.
Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry. Don’t look around at the things
others have, or things that I have given them. Don’t look at the
things you think you want, just keep looking at Me, or you will
miss what I want to show you. And, then when you are ready,
I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than anyone
could ever dream. I am working, even this very minute, to have
both you and the one I have for you, ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with Me, and the life
I have prepared for you will not be able to experience the love
that exemplifies your relationship with Me…
and this is perfect love.
And, dear one, I want you to have this most wonderful love;
I want you to see in Me, in the flesh, a picture of your relationship
with Me. To enjoy materially and concretely the everlasting
union of beauty, perfection, and love that I offer you with
Myself. Know that I love you utterly.
Believe and be satisfied.
I am God Almighty.
Below is a link to the poem, if you would like a printable version:
Poem for Single Christians