The Day I Felt Nothing

The Day I Felt Nothing

Hello Friends,

It was like any other day, secretely, unknowingly, holding on to hope that a person is capable of real change. I came to this realization when I found myself terribly upset when someone did what they are known for doing. Honestly, what kind of person would allow themselves to continue to get terribly upset at the fact that a leopard cannot change its spots? What kind of person would allow themselves to go into a mental coma simply because the sun is rising and setting as it should each day.

On this special day something miraculous happened. I was able to see the error in my ways. I was able to realize that no matter what I did, things that are meant to be will simply be. Whether I agree with how they are or not. A leopard will always have their spots, the IRS will always want their money, and the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west.

As my eyes were opened, my heart slowly began stepping out of the woods covering her eyes from the glare. Asking herself, “Am I out?” She immediately feels lighter and safer. She feels the warm sun and its making her radiant, inside and out. She stretches out her arms and legs. She sits up straight realizing she has been hunched over for too long. She looks out in front of her towards the tall trees and the beautiful skyline. She sees everyone that has been calling her name, directing her out of the dark forest. She sees Jesus, family, friends, loved ones. She drops to her knees and apologizes for ever doubting his love and power. Now as she furthers into the unknown of her journey, she is set free. Happily tackling every obstacle like the warriors we are.

I was feeling good after this experience, but then there was something else I needed to do. A ritual I kind of developed since I was a teenager, I suppose. To be honest, I never thought about it until after I did it this last time. Although this particular night where the crickets were extra loud and the cool breeze was blowing around my hair, I went to the gas station and bought a pack of cigarettes. I was never a regular smoker. I guess someone you would call a social smoker. Anyway, the last time I had a cigarette was almost seven years ago when I became clean. I sat outside in my car, lit a cigarette, and started jamming to old school R&B. I listened to everyone from Switch to Keyshia Cole to Jeremih. Sang. Lit another one. Sang. Took a deep breath and I felt nothing. No pain. No guilt. No condemnation. No confusion. No jealousy. No curiosity. No death.

This beautiful women is not me, by the way! ☺️

There is absolutely nothing in this world like freedom. You guys! You have no idea how many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I thought this torture was going to last forever. I was fighting myself everyday. Literally battling with the world and the Word; trying to stick to the idea that there is an entity that claims to be The Creator of all AND on top of that loves me unconditionally?? Me?? But this….this moment, that day, me graduating college, homeschooling during a pandemic (and I’m not going to get into all of the things we had going on) and today, TODAY… my heart and I are walking hand in hand out of the forest.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” -Luke 19:10

Jesus is with me. He is with you. Every step I take in trusting him, the more I fell comfortable trusting him. Thank God he is not a liar nor manipulator like the real enemy. Once God helped me to realize that it is not our loved ones who intend on hurting us, but the influence of an evil entity, it helps recognizing that days like the day I felt nothing needs to happen more often. In saying that, not everything is Satan’s fault. God is more powerful and is calling all of us to do something with our existence to continue to spread the Message. It is our responsibility to either answer or not answer. And when we answer, we will become mentally and spiritually aware that we are free. Then we will be living and acting like the Princes and Princess’ we truly are. Not allowing ourselves to be feed table scrapes when we have banquet tables awaiting us.

Thank you so very much for allowing me to share my thoughts. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

P.S. I didn’t finish the cigarettes. After the two, I was cool as a breeze and threw the rest of the pack away. Weird ritual for closure, I guess. *shrugs*

A New Creation

A New Creation

Hello Friends,

Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Some of you have been following my journey since day one. Thank you to my new followers as well. The past three years have been a roller coaster ride. Not the fun kind, but definitely necessary.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve carried around fear and sadness. It has caused me to make decisions, good and bad, that most people wouldn’t understand.

Three years ago, God started to gut me like a fish, removing all of the remnants of each encounter, each bad decision, each mistake. All of the shame, guilt, fear, sadness, etc. had to come out in order for me to walk in the purpose God has set for me. And that crap hurt! Sometimes still does. He has removed certain people out of my life that I once thought I could never live without. God has helped me forgive those who I thought I would never be able to forgive. He has given me the strength to love those I was determined to hate.

What’s the difference between the Ashley three years ago and the Ashley today? Complete and utter surrender. Understanding that my life is not my own and when I try to control my life and the outcome of certain situations, I get in my own way and fall straight on my face. Ugh! And man, that hurts, too! I ultimately create my own misery.

I used to believe people when they would say, “Life is pain. You just have to deal with it.” That’s not true. I’m going to shame the devil by dropping this fun fact: once we accept Jesus, surrender to God’s will and not our own, life becomes beautiful. Reread that. Everything is possible that once felt impossible. We are able to pour into other people what God is pouring into us. We begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I’m not saying things arent going to be challenging, but I have good news. The more challenges we face, the more opportunity we have to draw closer to Abba Father. The closer we draw to God, the more we trust Him. The more we trust Him, the easier we are able to see our circumstances through our Fathers eyes and not our own, which is awesome because my vision is tore up from the floor up. OK, maybe I shouldn’t bring that phrase back, but I tried. 🤪

The picture above is me in 2018; sick, depressed, 99 pounds soaking wet. I was stressed all of the time. I was trying to do everything in my own strength (which as you can see wasn’t much), including trying to control those around me to fit my agenda on what I thought life was suppose to look like.

The above picture was taken five days ago. I am a healthy 100 and something pounds 😁 and have completely surrendered to the Lord who’s agenda for my life and the lives of my children is so much better than my own.

The road to recovery is not a easy one, nor is it for the faint in heart. Every morning I have to pull up my big girl draws and remind myself that Gods will is better than mine. Surrendering is tough, especially when you’re stubborn, selfish, and arrogant like myself. But thank the Lord Jesus Christ that I get a fresh start each morning to do better than the day before.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I love each and every one of you. Please don’t forget to pray for one another. Remember, we can disagree and still love on each other.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. -2 Corinthians 5:17

Irrational Fears

Hey Friends,

Today, I would like to share an irrational fear that I have. Thefreedictionary.com defines an irrational fear as:

a. a persistent, abnormal, and phobia of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous.

b. A strong fear, dislike, aversion.

For example, my baby girl, Hannah was deathly afraid of pink cotton balls when she was a toddler. I have no idea why. She wasn’t going to daycare or preschool at the time because I was a stay at home mom. I always had white cotton balls in the house, so I guess she wasn’t used to seeing the pink ones. I’m not sure what caused the fear, but every time she saw one, she would scream bloody murder.

I took advantage of this fear by placing them around objects that I didn’t want her touch in the house, like, the old school water heaters. Yea, it was a little mean, but she never burned her hands. She always wanted to touch the heaters, even when they were scolding hot during the winter, but as soon as I placed pink cotton balls around them, she never touched them again.

One of my irrational fears is being judged. Since I was a kid, I would always worry about what other people thought of me, but it has gotten worse in my adult years. I would find myself living for other people, doing what I thought other people wanted me to do. Honestly, sometimes it worked out in my favor, but most of the time it didn’t. Ultimately, I paid a very hefty cost; not knowing who I really am and years of unnecessary depression and heartache.

When I would do something that was more “me”, people would be confused and say, “this isn’t the Ashley I know. The Ashley I know would never say or do something like that.” When in fact, yes, this Ashley would do or say that. No one knew the real me, and quite frankly, a lot of people still don’t.

I keep a lot of my life private because of that fear. I don’t handle confrontation well because of that fear. People feel like I’m not approachable in fear of my reaction. There have been times I have had a full-blown anxiety attack because I was accused of doing something that I didn’t do. Instead of simply saying I didn’t do it, I was so distraught at the fact that someone thought I was capable of doing such a thing. Then I would become worried because then I would think, “Am I capable of doing that?” Then I would think about for days and days and days because of what this person said I did. See how much time is being wasted?

I would like to think that my family and friends can come to talk to me about things that are concerning them when it comes to something they see is happening that I am unaware of. Maybe my addiction wouldn’t have gone as far as it did if I wasn’t too afraid to speak up and say, “I need help!” No. I kept it all in because I didn’t want, 1. My family to judge me and 2. To be gossiped about.

Gossip is becoming the new normal in society because we think that everyone does it. Well, maybe it’s not new since God warns us against it in His Word.

“ ‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. “ ‘Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the LORD. -Leviticus 19:16

I won’t argue that the majority of people gossip, yes, but it doesn’t mean it’s acceptable. I have done my fair share of gossiping and to be honest, I never feel good about when I am done. I always feel like I’ve betrayed the person that I was talking about. And I never want to do that.

Venting, on the other hand, is completely different because you are explaining to a third party about what happened between you and another person. Gossiping is talking about someone else’s business, which shouldn’t be none of our business. Even if you are concerned, it should be shared with you and that person, and maybe another trusted person out of love. Not talked about carelessly. I keep a lot of things bottled up in fear that my situation will be talked about for entertainment purposes.

You may be saying I am overreacting. I would agree with you. That is why this fear is irrational. It controls my life. It keeps me in bondage.  I am unable to share what is happening and ask for help in fear of judgment. I shouldn’t care what my loved ones think, but I do. I shouldn’t allow what someone says about me dictate my every move, but sometimes I do.

I am getting better at it each day because I am learning that:

  1. People will talk about me regardless and what they say about me is not my problem. But how I react to gossip is my problem.
  2. God will take care of the people who choose to gossip. Yes, the majority of us may do it, but in God’s eyes, it’s still sin.
  3. People will judge and talk about what they don’t understand. They will always see what’s in front of them and sometimes that is not always the truth.
  4. God knows everything. He sees and hears everything. His opinion of what I am doing and how I am doing it is the only opinion that matters.
  5. In this life, I only aim to please my heavenly Father, which is to live by His Word and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

I’ll conclude with a short story:

When I was a young kid, my oldest sister lived in New York. I admired her so much and so did my other family members. Everyone loved her. I remember when she would come home to visit, she would receive so much love and attention. I wanted the same. A friend of mines gave me a bag of marbles that we used to play with. They were really pretty and were being kept in this awesome fabric bag. Before she moved, my big sister was always there for me. Made sure I had the nicest clothes and my hair was always done. She always took care of me. Looking back, I think I was missing that and didn’t realize it after she had moved away. She was my escape from the chaos that we experienced in a small apartment almost filled with 9 other people. On one of her visits home, my moms living room was filled with laughter, hugs, and excitement for her arrival.

I quickly thought, “I want love, hugs, and kisses”. I was so small, I felt like I was being looked over or ignored. So, as quickly as I could, I ran and gave her my bag of marbles. I didn’t have much to play with during that time, so it was a big deal that I parted with them. As memory serves, she took them, looked at them, and thanked me. That was it. I thought, “I want more”. I craved more. I wanted her to pick me up in the air, smile really big, and give me the tightest hug a person could give.

I wanted her to tell me how much she loved the marbles and that it was the best gift she had ever gotten. But that didn’t happen. My expectations were too high. I immediately began to feel that her reaction had to do with my character. I internalized it, thinking that I wasn’t good enough. That was my first thought of never wanting to share what was close to my heart with anyone. That I couldn’t do anything to make her happy the way that she has made me happy. I felt useless.

Years have passed as I have completely forgotten that moment, that defined, with many other moments, during my youth, what I thought about myself. How fearful I would become of judgment and rejection. Then I didn’t know that I would soon try to find my self worth in the response to what people said about me and make awful mistakes related to that way of thinking. One day about five years ago, my sister was cleaning out her closet. I was resting on her bed, playing with my baby boy Christian, as my sister and I talked about life. Then she said something that brought yours truly to tears. She said, “Hey, do you remember when you were little and you gave me that bag of marbles?” I said, “Oh my gosh, I completely forgot about that. Yea, I remember.” Then she says, “Do you know I still have them. Every time I travel, I take them with me wherever I go. I never leave home without them.”

Wow! That blew my mind. The fact that she has not only kept those marbles for over 20 years, but she never travels without them meant more to me than a brief moment of praise when I first gave them to her. It means that every time she got on a plane or drove a long distance to go on vacation or travel for work, I was always with her. And my sister doesn’t do light traveling. She has always been one to travel all over the country multiple times a year.

Do you see how the enemy used me as a young child to stir up the fear and insecurity inside of me? Being a kid, of course, I didn’t know what was happening, but this is a perfect example of how the enemy will even attack us as children to further his agenda; kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).  I told you that story to say, I no longer want to be afraid of what people think about me. Sometimes we never know what people are thinking about us. All this time, I never knew that she held those marbles so dear to her heart. I want to concentrate on the good things that people are saying about me and leave the negative things to God because He knows who I am and I know whose I am.

We have to live our lives for the glory of our Father all while keeping our eyes focused on Jesus. Everything else is irrelevant.

Then, turning to his disciples, Jesus said, “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. 23 For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. 24 Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! 25 Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? 26 And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? -Luke 12:22-26

 

Resentment At Its Finest

Resentment At Its Finest

“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” -Colossians‬ ‭3:13‬ ‭NLT

Hey Friends,

This is the scripture that comes to mind when I think about how much I don’t want to forgive a person that has hurt me. I feel like if I don’t forgive them, in some way, I would be hurting them the same way they hurt me. In my last post Continued Cycle of Forgiveness I mentioned how not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. If you haven’t read it, click the link above. Choosing not to forgive someone will hurt you more then it will ever hurt the other person.

Today, I want to talk about unforgiveness’ first cousin, resentment. According to dictionary.com, resentment is defined as “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly.” I like to think of it like it’s unforgiveness marinated in a coat of anger. You could be unforgiving and be sad about the hurt that was caused. But then there is the anger that comes afterward when we fester and think about how we were wronged over and over again?

Have you ever been in an argument and once it was over you thought about what you could have said? I have. And the more I thought about it, the angrier I would become. “Why didn’t I say this? Why didn’t I really speak my mind? Why did I hold back?” But if I chose to let it go after an argument or experiencing a confrontation with someone, and I would let it go immediately afterward, it wouldn’t hurt, I wouldn’t be angry, I would never think about it again. I would be at peace.

Truthfully, this is why I don’t like conflict It would take me forever to get over it. I would think about it. I would think about what they said, and what I should have said in response. I would replay words, body language, etc. until I would be in tears all over again. So since I don’t know how to move forwards, most of the time, I chose to dodge it like the bullet that it is.

Unless we check our unforgiveness at God’s doorstep as soon as it rears its ugly head, we will find ourselves drenched in bitterness, indignation, anger, and hard feelings. We create a wedge between ourselves and God. And resentment is very subtle. It’s sneaky like a thief in the night, robbing our peace without us even knowing it. All we’ll know is that we are waking up angry or frustrated. Resentment feeds on your peace and joy like a plague.

Sometimes it starts at the very beginning when we choose not to say sorry when the Holy Spirit leads us to. Or when we choose to gossip about the mishap with someone else instead of talking it through with the other party involved. Or when we choose to stuff our feelings, numbing the pain with drugs, binging on Netflix, or ignoring that person completely because it feels better to be mad and play the victim.

When untreated, resentment will eat away at our peace, our joy, our happiness, and our soul. We would find ourselves becoming triggered by unrelated events because it reminds us what that person said or did, thus making us angry all over again.

Recently, it has been brought to my attention that I’ve been holding onto resentment towards someone I love. I thought that all was forgiven and in the past, but then, something happened to bring all of those old feelings up. I began experiencing extreme anger and disgust for this person, but I didn’t know why. In my mind, I had forgiven them for what they have done, but God knew my heart.

He knew it was getting in the way of Him and I. So my Father began peeling away at it, like a good Father would, to ensure His child would be equipped with all I needed in the future for if and when this happens again. He’s ripping off the bandage that I put over my broken leg and taking me into surgery so that I can become completely healed. If you’ve ever broken a bone before you know exactly what I mean. The healing process is painful and very uncomfortable, but then, you’re good to go afterward.

So how do we start the healing process?

Saying yes when Jesus asks us, Do we want to be healed? It’s not a literal question. It’s more like, will we do what it takes to become healed? He knows it’ll hurt, but our Father equips us, never leaves us. He tells us to lean into him for comfort and strength. As long as you take one step at a time, He will do the rest. I assure you.

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:13

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Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. -Psalm 23:4

Know that this is a lifetime commitment. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the journey is worth it. Soon you will begin to see the fruits of the Spirit blossoming from your spirit:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22, 23

I believe God asks us to forgive, not just because it will heal our own wounds, but because almost 100% of the time when someone hurts us, it has more to do with the storm brewing inside of them than us personally. We only hurt ourselves when we allow their storm to spill into our hearts, making it’s home in our spirit, causing a tidal wave of destruction in our lives.

It’s hard not to take a transgression that has been committed against us personally. All we can do is look to Jesus, ask him to replace our hearts with his, so we can move forward without bitterness holding us captive and resentment getting comfortable in our souls, thus, stopping the blessings that God has in store for us.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray this blesses you as much as it has blessed me. This was a long one, but I truly believe that I am not the only one who needed to hear this today from the Holy Spirit. Please remember to pray for one another and I love you all.

‘Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.’ -Proverbs 4:23

Continued Cycle of Forgiveness: July 19′ Monthly Theme

Continued Cycle of Forgiveness: July 19′ Monthly Theme

Hey Friends,

Do you ever feel overwhelmed at how many things we have to do to keep ourselves emotionally at peace? Forgiveness is definitely one of those choices we have to make to ensure our hearts, minds, and souls are at peace. I wish that forgiveness was something that we would learn how to do once and then it comes easy peasy afterward, like riding a bike. If you don’t know by now, that is not the case. Sometimes forgiveness can be easy, sometimes it can feel like the most impossible task in the world, depending on who hurt you and how they did it.

My relationship with my mother has always been fickle to say the least. The hurt that she experienced from childhood to adulthood spilled over into her parenting choices. She did the best she could with what she was given, educationally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Yet, she is a great example of what happens when you don’t allow yourself to forgive and move forward from pains that have happened.

(In my blog post, July Monthly Theme: Emotionally Healing, I speak about bitterness and how when not dealt with, it grows like a weed in your heart and soul, wreaking havoc amongst any blessings and relationships you are trying to have. Please click the link to take a read.)

I truly believed in my heart that the hurt I felt growing up was dealt with and forgiven. That I had truly moved on. That nothing she would say or do in the future would ever bother me again and that the new relationship that we were building outweighed actions from our past together.

I’m here to say, I was sadly mistaken. Recently, she did something that took me back to a space of hurt and betrayal. Let’s just say, my reaction was not that of someone who has forgiven all that has been said and done. When someone would ask me about how my relationship is with my mother, I would tell them, “It’s cool. I expect her to be who she is. She can’t hurt me anymore.” I believe when you accept someone for who they are and expect nothing from them, then the power they have to hurt you is non-existent.

I started seeing a new therapist. For those of you who are in therapy, you know the routine of talking about your past so they can get a good idea of who you are and why you’re that way? Well when talking about my childhood, my therapist asked me if I felt like I needed healing from it. I was so sure when I told her a firm, “No!” But my reaction to my mother’s indiscretion says otherwise.

See, it’s not what she did that is the problem. It’s the expectation that I had that she would be different that is the problem. My reaction says more about my heart then it does about hers. Why? Because she is who is she. I know this. She knows this.

So, why do we expect people to give what they just aren’t capable of giving? We say to ourselves, “Well, a mother should be this way. A sister or brother should be this way.” When in fact, they should be who God made them to be, even if it’s difficult for other people to handle. This is why God says when someone hurts you, look to Him, because is never changes AND He can fix it.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. -2 Peter 3:9

I never want to make the same mistakes my mother did as we all grew up, but that doesn’t mean my kids won’t be hurt by different mistakes I will make with them. I pray my kids will give me grace and understanding, knowing every decision I made, wrong or right, was what I thought was the best decision for our family.

I try to be transparent with my children about the illness’ I struggle with so they can understand when some things aren’t right with me, it’s not because of them, but because of me.

I know I need to show my mother that same grace and understanding, but it’s so fricking hard when her words and actions cut so deep beyond understanding. I mean, in my opinion, she has to know what she’s doing is hurtful and not right. Or maybe she doesn’t. I’m learning some people can only see what’s in front of them, not the ripple effect of their choices beyond said words or actions. Sometimes I can only see what’s in front of me. Only to learn afterward, I hurt someone that I love.

What does God say about forgiveness? He has a policy put in place for us for exact moments such as these. It’s then our responsibility to reach out to him for help to forgive the person that has hurt us.

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:32

I was told that unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting that other person to die. Not forgiving my mother would be more detrimental to me than it would be for her. Truthfully, I feel should wouldn’t care one way or another because right now, she can only see what I have done to hurt her.

God forgives us when we curse Him, forget about Him, blame Him, which are all things I have done at least once a day for the past couple of months. He’s so faithful and understanding, more than our earthly counterparts can give us.

It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.               -Romans 9:16 

As much as this season in my life is breaking my heart, I know that God is using it to transform me, preparing me for what He has planned for me. And I want His will for me so badly, I can taste it. And if I have to trench through the mud to get there, then it’s time to put my big girl panties back on, stop complaining about what hurts, and be thankful for what doesn’t.

Pain is like an engine light coming on in your car. It’s a warning sign that something needs healing. Listen to it. Pray about it. Push through it. Not by yourself, but with God’s guidance. With your bible in tow and prayers on your lips and that’s exactly what I plan on doing.

Thank you all reading my thoughts today. Thank you, God, for this moment of reflection. Thank you for the energy and will to share this today. I pray it reaches the person(s) who needed to read this and it blesses them and those who struggle with unforgiveness.

This month is dedicated to forgiveness, which is something I know we all struggle with because the enemy likes to use it as a cage to keep us imprisoned, but God says we ALL have the key. Love you all and please remember to pray for one another. Also, pray for me; that God gives me the strength to continue to talk to you all through our blog.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. -Psalm 62:5

It’s All About Perception

It’s All About Perception

Good Day Friends!

Today I’m thinking about how we perceive certain things in our lives and how much perception makes a difference in whether or not we have a good day or a bad day. Sometimes, we are unable to avoid bad days, but overall, I believe perception determines whether we allow those bad days to control the decision we make.

I believe that one way we overcome life struggles is to perceive our struggles in a positive aspect. I see a lot of post about how changing our mindsets is important to achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves. Even God says that we have to renew our minds each day in order to live a more fulfilling life.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  -Romans 12:2

I love how it says that God’s will for us is “good and pleasing and perfect”!

I used to think that being diagnosed with mental illness, lupus, and fibromyalgia was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I truly thought my life was over, but then I realized it was just the beginning. Changing my perception helped me to realize that I can use this new diagnosis to my advantage.

Changing our mindset or how we view our circumstances helps us forgive those who have hurt us, it helps us to accept our current situation; good or bad, it helps us to have courage to overcome future obstacles, and it helps us to let go and not sweat the small stuff and become more appreciative. Changing our perception also helps us have more faith in God; that He will deliver us from whatever is going on and like scripture says, it will be “good and pleasing and perfect”.

When I decided to change my perception, I asked God for His help and of course He came through with His promise of changing how I think. Fact of the matter is, God will pursue us. He will find ways to get our attention. He will allow things such as illness’ to get our attention so we can actively seek Him, so we can have a close relationship with Him.

He will use our struggles as a chance to get closer to us. God wants us to have a relationship with Him. He wants us to spend time with Him, just like a Father who wants to have a relationship with his children. His love is neither conditional nor passive. I believe God has used mental and physical illness to get my attention so He can have a close relationship with me. Let’s face it. When I was healthy, I really didn’t seek God. I wasn’t concerned with having relationship with Him. I was so wrapped up in my own life, only seeking what I wanted.

When He uses such things are illness’ to get our attention, God doesn’t just sit back and expect us to fight it alone. He fights for us!

The Lord is a warrior: Yahweh is his name. -Exodus 15:3

“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still ad watch the Lord rescue you today… The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” -Exodus 14:13,14

Truthfully speaking, my life has gotten better because of it. Why you ask? Since I’ve embraced that this is the current season in my life, it has inspired me to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do. For instance: I am unable to hold a full time job because of this condition. Since I cannot work, I am able to spend more time with my children. I am able to be at home with them more. I am able to connect with them more. I am able to put more time and effort into starting my own business. I am able to concentrate on starting and sustaining my writing career. And more important, I am able to help people by sharing my struggles and helping them overcome theirs. It truly is the best feeling.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve grown closer to God which is awesome! I feel His presence more and more. I feel His unconditional love like never before. I am able to appreciate life more. I am able to slow down and enjoy sunsets. I no longer desire death when I become overwhelmed. I no longer desire to give up. I’ve shed most of the pain that has been apart of me most of my life. I am free from shame, guilt, and condemnation from the enemy. I’ve been able to forgive and forget. I’m eating healthier and I’ve been motivated to work on my dreams.

My diagnosis has been the best worst thing that has happened to me. It has given me a testimony to share with others who are in same boat as I am.

When changing our perception, it is helpful to remember:

  • Gods love is faithful and good (Psalm 36:5)
  • All we have to do is slow down in our self-efforts and allow God to guide our steps (Psalm 37:23)
  • We are safe and secure in Gods love (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • We are sheltered by His presence (Exodus 33:14)
  • Allow His knowledge to wash over us (Romans 1:19,20)

“Remember, it is not your weakness that will get in the way of Gods working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” -Paul David Tripp

Thank you all for reading my thoughts today. I pray that you all are having a wonderful day. As always, I appreciate everyone who takes the time out to support my blog. Please remember to pray for one another. God bless you!

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. -Isaiah 64:4

 

Can I Trust God With My Children?

Can I Trust God With My Children?

Hey Friends,

Over the weekend, my family and I took family photos. It was only afterward I began to realize how much time has passed by since the last time we took them. We went through the normal hustle and bustle of making sure that everyone’s hair was properly in place, clothes were neatly ironed, and everyone was in high spirits to smile when the camera flashed.

While waiting for the photographer, I reflected back on how many times we’ve gone through this same process. Ultimately, it was the same process. Being a mom, I was in control of almost everything; hairstyles, outfits, poses, etc.

Now in 2019, this time was different. Now, the kids are older so they can make their own decisions. I can honestly say, that was the most difficult part for me; letting go of control.

For most of our kid’s lives, parents are in control of most of what our kids do (for their safety of course). What they eat. What they drink. What they wear (because it always looks so cute). What time they go to bed. Who their friends are. Even the kind of toys they play with. Where they go. But as they get older, those decisions become less about what we want and more about what they want.

Letting go of control is hard. My oldest will be thirteen this year and I’m afraid for her every day. I’ve made so many decisions for her, I’m afraid that she will have a hard time making the right decisions for herself. She is growing up in a world that is influenced by what everyone else is doing. She has unlimited access to information at her fingertips. She is book smart, but not street smart and that fear of her being taken advantage of is overwhelming at times.

I talk to God about this all of the time. He knows that I struggle with letting go and trusting Him with her completely. Like any other parent, I don’t want my kids to struggle. But I also have to remember that they to have to go through the fire to be refined and forged in order to become who God wants them to be. I’m also afraid that I won’t be able to handle whatever they go through in life. Selfish, right? I know, but it’s how I feel.

One day, they’ll get their heart broken if it hasn’t happened already. One day they’ll face a challenge and have no idea how to handle it. I pray that through my dedication to the Lord, they will follow suit and want to grow closer to him as well. I’m afraid that some of my decisions have damaged them for good. I’m afraid that some of my poor decisions have scarred them life. But I rest in the knowledge that God knows how to fix it. So although I’m afraid, I trust that God will see us through as a family and remove that fear. For it says in His Word:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. -2 Timothy 1:7

God has been so good to me, to us. He has gotten us through some pretty rough times. He has proven to us over and over again that He will not leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). My kids may not see it, but one day they will.

The point that I am trying to make today is that I can no longer control my children. WE can no longer control our children. If we do, we will push them further away. I want my kids to spread their wings while keeping a close eye on them; watch them without them knowing I’m watching. 🙂

Right now, I am preparing my kids for the world. Teaching them the love that Christ Jesus has for us and being as honest as I can about the questions they have for this life. The rest is in God’s hand because He loves them way more than I ever could (and that says a lot because the love that I have for my kids is unconditional). So can you imagine how much He loves them?

He pulled me from the pits of hell. So what more could He do for them?

Father, I am choosing and committing right now to trust you with my children. You love them unconditionally and will do what is in their best interest. Father, you see the whole picture, not just what’s in front of You, like us mere mortals. Thank You, Father, for Your grace, love, mercy, and the gift of righteousness that will save them from the enemies lies. I love You with all of my mind, heart, and soul. Amen.

Here is our family photo from this weekend

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭

 

 

Why You Should Get Yourself A Mentor

Why You Should Get Yourself A Mentor

Hey Friends,

The past few days, I’ve been struggling with mental illness stuff. Nothing too dramatic, just everyday life situations. Things that I happen to go through, I remember other people being judged for the same things when I was growing up. So, it makes me want to “suffer in silence” because I want to avoid the same judgment and gossip. It’s usually the reason why most people suffer in silence; they are afraid of what other people may say, especially by our loved ones. Personally, this is why I’ve been such a “private” person. Although, I am fortunate enough to not just have a spiritual mentor who isn’t family, but also mentors who happen to be family.

But, why should you get yourself a mentor? It’s nice to be able to talk to someone about what we are going through without being judged. This is why I love having a spiritual mother or mentor to turn to when I feel like the battle of life is just becoming too much. She is more invested in my spiritual walk than anything else. So if I call her complaining about my marriage, for instance, she is there is give me advice from a godly perspective versus a bias one. I know that I can call her ten times in the same week about the same issue and she will help me discern the voice of God. She rarely adds her own personal opinion, which I wouldn’t mind because she has a very kind spirit. It also helps that she has had a very successful marriage herself.

When I tell her something I’ve done wrong, I’m not met by a finger shake in my face. I’m met with the same kindness that Jesus would show me if he were standing right in front of me. She is able to do all of these things because she is a woman after God’s own heart. She has lived long enough to grow so close to God, that she is able to pour the same love that He has given her, into other people, like me.

She is not doing it in her own strength and not by her own will, but God’s alone. God sent her to me because He knew I needed her. We both didn’t seek each other out. It was literally a miracle from God.

Not only is she able to pour into me when I need it, but I am able to pour into her. No judgments. No expectations. Just God. Peace. Love. Faith. All from Him. It’s nice. I always used to tell her that if she knew the real me, she wouldn’t want to deal with me. She would tell me that it didn’t matter because I am anew in Christ Jesus and that is who she sees.

People who judge us that love us can be heart-wrenching because it may come across as them not caring about your situation, just about what we’re doing wrong. They have a preconceived notion about us because of our past mistakes, so when we make another one, they incidentally assume we are the same person now than we were in the past.

But when we become new in Christ, the old life is left behind and we have a new perspective on how to handle certain circumstances in our lives. Those who know about our “old self” may not or will not understand. Say, for instance, you’ve been a drug addict for most of your adult life. You’ve been known to steal and destroy in order to support your habit. But now, you’re clean and free from drugs and a completely different person. Well, when you come to family dinners, your aunt still hides her purse from you and someone continues to bring up the old stories from when you would disappear on drug binges.

I kind of feel like that with mental illness. When people find out I have a mental illness, every decision I make comes into question. The decision that I make compared to the decision they “would’ve” made is talked about and speculated. That’s why it’s nice to have someone give us advice from a godly perspective on our life’s circumstances. People will have the best intentions to show concern, but it doesn’t mean it hurts any less.

So, why did I type all of this out? Are you confused by anything that I’ve been rambling on about? Well, I will simply say…

Family and friends will always try to look out for you the best way they can, but get yourself a spiritual mother/father or mentor who will have an unbiased opinion about you and your life through God’s perspective. Family and friends will have your back, but their delivery may not come out the best way. It’s not their fault. We are all broken and doing the best we can. But to avoid hurt feelings, you won’t have to face any criticism or judgments that may come from well-intentioned people in your life if it’s coming from someone discerning the voice of God. On top of that, you will feel the Lord’s love pouring into you each time.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray you are having a wonderful start to your week. Please remember to pray to one another.

Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.” -Ephesians 4: 21-24

What Are Gods Truths About Us?

What Are Gods Truths About Us?

Hello Friends,

There are many days that we can get stuck in our heads and believe what Satan says about us. When Satan tells us lies, in order to convince us, he’ll put his thoughts in “I” statements so it could seem like they are our thoughts and not his.

I want to share with you the truth about who YOU are in Christ. Let’s not give the enemy more credit than he deserves. So, whenever we have thoughts, such as, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m not deserving of…”, “I’m a terrible person because…”, “I’m never going to have…” I want us to say the following instead:

God is love; God’s love is in me (1 John 4:8) 

Gods love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)

God has placed within me a pure heart, and my motives and attitudes are made acceptable in His sight. Jesus Christ is Lord of my life (Ezekiel 36:26)

I do not have a care (1 Peter 5:7)

The Lord is my shepard – I do not want (Psalm 23:1)

My God supplies all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)

Every sin, sickness, sorrow, grief, pain, and poverty was laid on Jesus. Therefore, I am free from them (Isaiah 53:4-5)

I know my God; in Him I am strong, and I do exploits in His name (Daniel 11:32)

I trust in the Lord with all of my heart, and I do not lean on my own understanding. In all my ways I acknowledge Him, and He shall direct my paths (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)

God is my refuge and my strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)

I am more than a conqueror through Him that loved me (Romans 8:37)

I let the peace of God rule in my heart and I refuse to worry about anything (Colossians 3:15)

The Lord will perfect that which concerns me (Psalm 138:8)

I am filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (Colossians 1:9)

I have to put off the old man and have put on the new man, which is renewed in the knowledge after the image of Him that created me. (Colossians 3:10)

The peace of God which passes all understanding keeps my heart and my mind through Christ Jesus. I will think of things which are good, pure, perfect, lovely, and good report (Philippians 4:7-8)

I will not let the Word of God depart from before my eyes for it is life to me; I have found it and it is health and healing to all my flesh. (Proverbs 4:21-22)

I am delivered from the evils of this present world for it is the will of God (Galatians 1:4)

I am an overcomer. I overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. (Revelation 12:11)

I am submitted to God, and the devil flees from me because I resist him in the name of Jesus (James 4:7)

The Bible is the Living Word. It is and will always be consistent and relevant to the obstacles that we face in our lives. In order for Jesus to die for our sins, he had to overcome the same temptations that we experience today by believing who he was to God, the Son of God. The same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives inside of us every moment of every day.

Life may seem impossible. It may seem like you are experiencing it all by yourself. It may even seem like God is just like the very same people who disappoint you on a daily basis. None of that is true. Whenever you feel that way, acknowledge that feelings can be deceiving. Compare your feelings to the Living Word because Gods truth is the only truth.

Thank you for reading Gods thoughts today. I pray you all are having a blessed week and please remember to pray for one another.

February Monthly Theme: What Is Real Love?

February Monthly Theme: What Is Real Love?

Good Day Friends,

Valentines Day is coming up and most of us are preparing to share this special day with our loved one. As you may know, Valentines Day is one of the most expensive “holidays” celebrated in our culture. Even my own husband decided to spoil me with a new wedding ring to celebrate all that we have overcome these past few years in our marriage.

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Some people with equate love with today’s corporate America’s idea of what love is, but that couldn’t be furthest from the truth. People will spend thousands of dollars to make their loved ones happy with expensive jewelry, trips, shopping sprees, candy, flowers, etc.

I’m here to tell you, marriage itself is hard and it’s not what is portrayed on television or social media. You may experience loving moments, but a marriage relationship itself takes a lot of dedication, work, and a constant renewing of your mind as your marriage evolves in good and bad ways.

I truly believe that if most people knew beforehand how hard it is, many people wouldn’t go through with it. Divorce rates would be lower because when couples go through the rough times, they are prepared because it’s expected.

Society gives a false representation of marriage. You see it all over social media with hashtags about how a marriage should be. You’ll see a picture of a couple with matching outfits, big bright smiles at their perfect expensive wedding, bragging about how they never fight or how life is so grand. You may even see someone bragging about how their wife/husband bought them a brand new diamond ring with their birthstone on the sides *cough, cough*.

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Even the royal wedding seemed absolutely perfect.

What people don’t tell you is when you get married, it is very likely that you and your spouse are bringing some pretty heavy baggage with them; addiction, fear, shame, guilt, selfishness, heartbreak, childhood pain, and so on. This is unintentional of course. Most of the time, we are unaware that we are bringing that much baggage into our marriage. We think, “oh, I’ve gotten over my abuse” or “I’ve moved past being cheated on in my last relationship.” But then, we are triggered, thus causing a chain reaction of fights, slander, and separations.

For me, mental illness is under very large umbrella of baggage I’ve allowed myself to bring into my relationship with my husband. There are things that I thought I have “moved past” or “gotten over”, but has reared it’s ugly head during a manic episode. My husband knew that I struggled with mental illness, but the poor guy had no idea how much of a struggle it was and how much I’ve allowed it to control certain aspects of my life.

When my husband and I attended a marriage seminar back in April of last year, our instructor asked: “what percentage do you feel you would need to put into your relationship to make it work?” Every couple had the same answer; 50/50. Make sense right? Apparently, we were all wrong. The actual answer is 100/100.

Meaning, there are times when your spouse would have to put in 100% when you are unable to put in 0%. And there are times when you’ll have to put in 100% when your spouse is unable to put in 0%. And then, there are those moments when both of us are able to put in 100%. That is when things are absolutely great.

I believe when relationships fail, it’s because people feel like they are giving more than their spouse. And when they feel like they’re giving more, then they want to give less. And when their spouse sees’s that they’re giving less, then the spouse gives less, until both people are giving 0%, thus giving up completely.

There was a time that I wanted to break up because I was convinced that my husband would get fed up with dealing with my mental illness and leave me. I was giving maybe 20% effort into my marriage because giving my all was too scary.  But my husband continued to give 100%. He never gave up on me. He never stopped loving me. He was convinced that I would move past my insecurity and believe him when he said he would never leave me. If he would have given me what I was giving him, we would be divorced by now, but he didn’t. And I love him so much more for it.

There was also a time where my husband wasn’t able to give as much as he wanted to emotionally due to his past issues, but I continued to pray for him. I prayed to God that he would soften my husband’s heart and to help him to move past his issues and forgive those who trespassed against him. It was my unconditional love and willingness to give 100% when he was able to give 0%, that continues to make our marriage stronger than ever.

This is what God wants for us in our marriages; to love each other past the good times. Unconditional love means loving someone when they are unlovable, praying for someone even if they aren’t praying for you, and trusting God that He will pull you through the hard times of marriage because there is nothing we can do to avoid them.

Like Paul said in Roman 5:1-11, problems and trials build endurance, which builds strength of character which leads to hope of salvation. We are living in a broken, fallen world and one of the hard parts of living in such a broken world is not believing the lies that Satan try to feed us every minute of every day. One of those lies is that God cannot save your marriage. When God can fix anything. All you have to do is ask and be patient.

Marriage is a gift from God that should be taken seriously. It’s not something you can choose to walk away from because it doesn’t fit what YOU had planned. It is a contract that you are making with someone else and with God. I didn’t know that during my first marriage. I didn’t like what my first husband was doing, so I kicked him to the curb like he was a cheap suit.

Don’t do what I did. If you are thinking about getting married or currently married and going through a rough time, I would advise you to put God first in your marriage, and the rest will fall into place.

My husband and I have gone through some pretty rough times, but the good times make it all worth it. He and I are willing to sacrifice to conform to each other’s needs while accepting what we can’t change. Will we continue to make mistakes? Of course. Will we have another fight? Maybe, but having God in the center and loving each other as Jesus loves us will allow is to last til death do us part. This is love.

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I love you guys and thank you, thank you, thank you for reading this extremely long post. I tried to cut it down, but I couldn’t. So smooches to each one of you who had enough patience to read all of it. I pray that each one of you is having a great start to your week and please remember to pray for one another.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. -1 Corinthians 13: 4-7,13

Additional Scripture about Marriage and Relationships

Genesis 1:27-28: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ ”

Malachi 2:14-15: “But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant.”

Isaiah 54:5: “For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.”

Song of Solomon 8:6-7: “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”

Ephesians 4:2-3: “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Colossians 3:14: “And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?”

Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”

Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Mark 10:9: “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …”

Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Proverbs 30:18-19: “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.”

1 John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Proverbs 31:10: “Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.”

Ruth 1:16-17: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.”

Romans 12:10: “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

1 Peter 4:8: “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”

Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Genesis 2:18–25: “Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ … So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.”

1 Peter 3:7: “In the same way, you husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.”

It Takes A Village

It Takes A Village

Hey Friends,

I’ve been through some pretty difficult challenges in life, but one challenge that outweighs the rest of them all is parenting 👶🏽👶🏽👶🏽. There, I said it. Parenting is by far the most difficult task that has been assigned to me. Now before you judge me, just think about why people say “it takes a village to raise a child”. Well, what would it take to raise three or four or ten?

Being a stay at mom requires patience, diligence, Gods love (not human), and being able to multitask at any given moment. You have to be able to hold your composer when you want to yell and scream 🗣and throw a tantrum yourself when your kid wants to act a darn fool out in public. You have moms faking it for social media trying to make it look so easy, but it’s not. I think moms try so desperately to make it look easy because they don’t want to be judged by society. If we were to admit that sometimes we think about running away and never looking back, society would “clutch their pearls” and gasp for air in awe, like, “how dare she? 👀 Children are the most precious things in the world. I would never think such a thing.” Yea, well, most people who think that have never had to stop a three-year-old from throwing a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store almost every time they went shopping or better yet, never had children of their own.

Yes, children are precious and I would give my life for mine, but that doesn’t mean that sometimes I’m not tempted to rip their heads off every once in a while for the frustrating, nail-biting, angering things that they do as children.

I knew this one lady. She was the epidemy of a perfect mother. She was patient and kind to her children. She even made baby food from real fruits and vegetables. Sometimes I don’t even have the energy to make real vegetables and fruits for dinner for my whole family. Anyway, her house was always nice and clean and her children were so well behaved. Until….I found out that she and her six children were all taking over the recommended dose of Adderall (a drug to treat ADHD). No wonder she had the energy to get things done! Everybody in the family was drugged up. My only point being is everything isn’t always what it seems. And she was heavily addicted to drugs to help her raise her family.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes! Kids can drive you to drugs and alcohol if you’re not too careful. People like to assume that loving your kids will make you make the right decisions for them. Love will make you become patient and kind. Love will conquer all the feelings of fear and frustration that comes along with parenting. I am here to tell you that is not the case. Only Gods love for us can do those things. We need support and guidance from other moms who have been down the same road. We need a shoulder to cry on when those days come when we just want to run. We need help!

I judge myself all of the time as a parent. I want to do this right and that right. I want to make them happy, but discipline them so they become responsible adults. I want to love them unconditionally, but also let them know that I am not their friend, but their mom. Lately, I feel like I’ve been screwing up on all of it. I’ve allowed other people to get into my head to fuel those feelings of insecurities and inadequacy. My love for them just never feels like enough because of the things that I struggle with within me. I’m a bad mother…so I thought.

Then I have to remember. Who made me? God did. Who made my children? God did (with a little hanky panky). Who gave me my specific children? God did. Who trusts me with them? God does. Gods opinion of me is the only one that matter and if someone’s else’s opinion of me doesn’t match Gods opinion of me, then that is their problem, not mine. I’m learning to parent everyday that I wake up. I know what God says about me, therefore I know what He says about them.

He says I’m more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus. I am an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony. And I know there is nothing that one one can ever say to me that can separate me from His love. And He says the same things about you and your children.

God also says in His word that children are a gift and that He is will get us through everything that we go through, including raising children. So I want to tell you that if you are a parent and you are feeling overwhelmed, please know that you are not alone. I’m sure you are doing the best you can with what you have. Of course, if you feel yourself getting angry to the point where you want to beat or shake your kid(s), please seek help. Go see your pediatrician and they should provide help for you. Otherwise, look in your area to see where the nearest emergency nursery is. It’s an organization that provides free childcare for parents who need a couple of hours to themselves to clear their heads.

This parenting thing is hard work and it definitely didn’t come with an instructional manual. I don’t care how many baby books you’ve read, each child is different so something that worked for one child may not work for your child.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. I pray if you are having a rough day, that God shines His light brighter than usually during your moment of darkness. I pray you are able to sit at His feet, even if you have a screaming toddler sitting at yours. I pray that you are able to see your children as God sees you, worth more than all of the riches in heaven and on earth. I love you all and please remember to pray for one another, especially us parents ☝🏽🙂

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. -Hebrews 12:11

Funny Friday

Funny Friday

Good Morning Friends,

This week has been uneventful, but draining at the same time. My mentor called me the other day to check to see if I have been experiencing any spiritual attacks from the enemy. At the time, everything was ok. See, last weekend, I shared my testimony with a group of people who are interested in walking in freedom with Jesus. They want to leave their old baggage behind and start their new life in Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-7) knowing who they are in Jesus; loved, adored, and free from the enemies lies.

Well, a couple of weeks leading up to giving my testimony, I was being attacked in all areas of my life, but I did was God requests of me, which is lean on Him and trust that “this too shall pass”. And it did. I gave my testimony and a lot of people became free. The Holy Spirit came and moved a lot of people to freedom. It was such a beautiful thing to witness.

So, when my mentor reached out to me, I thought, “Hmmm…I got this one in the bag. I’m not being attacked. I got a handle on this.” I was so wrong. I was being attacked, I just hadn’t realized it yet. First, it started with old hurt by family members. Then, I began to uncontrollably worry about my children. Then, my marriage, my household, and finally depression and anxiety. What is one to do when it feels like the whole world is against you? Stand still in the presence of the Lord. You want to know why? Because the whole world is against you! Satan is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) and he is out to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). I know his goal is to use my circumstances to draw me away from God, even hate him, but I’m over those days of allowing the enemy to take my joy.

Bad days will happen. I know this. I also know everyone will not always be in agreement with me on certain topics or decisions I make in my life, but this is my life. God has trusted me with it. We are far from perfect creatures, but Gods love is so sufficient, that it can literally get us through any and every season of our lives.

Recently, I’ve spoken to a lot of believers who feel the heavy weight of the burdens of the world on their shoulders and if this is you, I’m here to tell you that it is not your burden to bear. It’s literally the reason why Jesus died for us on this cross. To free us from shame, guilt, rejection, abandonment, etc. so we can experience the full righteousness of God by His grace, mercy, and love. Praise be to the Lamb! In the near future, I want to begin talking about how powerful Gods love is and how, during good and bad times, we need to tap into that love to get us through, but for now, please pray for me that I am able to have the energy and stamina to do such a task.

For now, I will shut down my soapbox and introduce you to today’s Funny Friday. We all need laughter, some more than others and I pray whoever is reading this, that it is able to put a smile on your face. Enjoy, beloveds and please remember to pray for one another. Thank you for reading my thoughts. I pray they bless someone today. In Jesus’ wonderful, all mighty name. Amen.

The Pastor, The Boy Scout, and The Wall Street Analyst

The pastor, the boy scout, and a brilliant wall street hedge fund manager were all flying in a small plane together. In flight, the plane developed catastrophic mechanical issues, so the pilot went to the three passengers and announced that the plane was going down. Unfortunately, he added, “There are only three parachutes, even though there are four of us on board. I should have one of the parachutes because I have a wife and three small children.” So he promptly took one and jumped.

The Wall Street analyst said, “I should get a parachute because I’m one of the smartest men in the world, and the world needs me.” So he took one and jumped. 

The pastor and the Boy Scout looked at each other. Then the pastor volunteered, “I know the Lord. I’m not afraid to die. You’re young and have your whole life ahead of you. You take the remaining parachute and I’ll go down with the plane.”

The Boy Scout smiled and said, “No worries, Pastor. One of the smartest men in the world just put on my backpack and jumped out!”

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. -2 Corinthians 12:9

Who Taught You How To F***ing Drive?

Who Taught You How To F***ing Drive?

“For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” -Galatians 5:14

Hey Friends,

As a Christian, I’ve heard, read, and said this scripture a million times it seems. I’ve even “preached it” to those I’ve felt were being mean to me, but I don’t think it that, until this morning, I’ve actually meditated it. I don’t think I’ve actually looked at it from Jesus’ perspective. Maybe it’s because I am older and I now understand the true ramifications of not loving each other the way Jesus loves us.

I’ll give an example I’m sure we all could relate to; road rage. How frustrating right? I will admit, I have flipped the bird at someone a few times in my life. I’ve cursed and screamed out of the window, “Watch where the f*** you’re going!” or how about “Who taught you how to f***ing drive!”

Afterward, I would feel that rage coursing through my veins. I would be upset even after I arrived at my destination. Sometimes, I would even think about what I could have said to piss them off, even more, to let them know how upset I really was at their inability to drive in an acceptable fashion. Oh, and let’s not forget that it was always their fault, never mine. *wink, wink*

But what good did that do? My frustration at their driving would most likely turn into frustration about something else, and so on and so forth. Then it hit me. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ What if we were to show people the same kindness that Jesus shows us. Not just when they are kind to us, but especially when they are not so kind.

One day, when it seemed like everyone was driving like they were smoking crack behind the wheel, I practiced loving them instead of cursing them. It was not easy. I had to call on Jesus more than a few times, but it worked. I wasn’t frustrated. I wasn’t angry and the best part is, once I got out of my car, I didn’t think any more about it. I was able to carry on with my day with a positive attitude. It felt great.

When we are able to practice loving each other in small situations like that, then we make room in our hearts to love each other when our loved ones make us angry, or frustrated, or when it seems they aren’t so lovable themselves. It is my personal opinion that while Jesus was on earth, he was the most betrayed person on just because people weren’t able to accept the truth, that He was the Son of God sent here to save humanity. But he still loved the same people who persecuted him and hung him on the cross.

Jesus said, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” -Luke 23:34a

He still continues to love those who persecute him and his followers. It is his love for me that saved me from suicide and eternal damnation. In John 14:17 Jesus says that his command is for us to love each other. He could have chosen any other thing for us to; fight each other, pray consistently, go to church every Sabbath. But he didn’t. His greatest command is for us to love each other. Could you imagine a world where everyone loved each other? It would be truly awesome.

In order to love each other, we must practice forgiveness. Ask the Lord to help you forgive anyone who has wronged you. This will accomplish 3 things:

  1. Heal your heart
  2. Please God
  3. Help you to move on

Forgiveness will not help you forget, but it will open up more opportunity for you to become blessed. Always remember that Jesus and bitterness cannot and will not coexist in the same heart. You have to choose one.

Thank you for reading my thoughts this beautiful morning. I pray that each and everyone is having a blessed day. It’s super cold here in St. Louis, so I’m going to bundle up with my favorite, Chai Tea and Gods Word. Love you all and please remember to pray for one another.

 

Restoration

Restoration

Good Morning Friends,

God is so wonderful, isn’t he? God does wonderful things in everyone lives, including yours. Even when it seems that everything is going wrong, God is right there beside you, guiding you with the Spirit that lives inside of you.

What Spirit you ask…The same Spirit that rose our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead to make us right with God (Rom. 4:25). Isn’t that powerful? Thank you, Jesus!

Sometimes it’s hard to see the blessings that are right in front of us because we may be distracted by what is going wrong in our lives. I am guilty of this and quite frankly, it’s frustrating as hell. But, when we know and acknowledge the love that God has for us, we are able to see our problems from a different perspective.

We like to blame God for our issues. We may see Him as cold, heartless, distant, or even cruel. My daughter told me that God is the reason why she is having a hard time in math. I’m going to tell you the same thing I told her…God is not at fault. The god of this world is at fault and his name is Satan. Since we live in a broken world, no one is perfect. So, we struggle with things and situations. Here is where God is awesome. Because He knows that we are not perfect (nor does He expect us to be) He has promised that He will be there for us and love us every step of the way towards RESTORATION and PEACE.

As of lately, the Holy Spirit has been pointing me in the direction of restoration and faith. I love when God answers prayers. It’s so cool! A while ago, I started praying that He speaks LOUD and CLEAR for me to hear. I become confused by His whispers because I doubt whether or not it’s Him speaking to me or my own will speaking to me. So, He has done just that.

For example, I’ve recently begun taking a precept class at my church that is now talking about faith and it is coinciding with my daily devotional of Walking In Freedom by Neil T. Anderson (which all Spirit lead, meaning, I didn’t know that these two studies would touch basis on such topics). Also, last night, I was able to attend my Overcomers support group that I haven’t been able to attend in months, and guess what? We were talking about restoration and faith.

At this point, God is not only speaking loud and clear, but he is slapping me in the face with it. By bringing restoration and faith to my attention, He is gently answering a prayer that I have been crying to Him about for so long. I was starting to wonder why He hasn’t been answering me, why He is leaving me stagnant. But He’s not, He hasn’t. He is speaking loud and clear saying, “Ashley, I am the God of restoration. Just have faith and hang in there.”

 God, your God, will restore everything you lost; he’ll have compassion on you; he’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. -Deut. 30:3

How wonderful is our God! How glorious is His kindness and mercy! I am so proud to call myself His daughter and Jesus my brother. They love all of US so much.

If you are feeling like God is being distant, don’t! He is right next to you (Psalm 145:18). Remember, our feelings can betray and deceive us, just like the enemy. Don’t fall into Satans trap of deception. Understand and know the truth of Jesus and his promises:

  1. Whoever seeks God, they will find. Whoever knocks, it will be open to them. Whoever asks, will receive. All according to Gods will in the name of Jesus Christ (Matt. 7:7-11)
  2. Whoever trust Jesus will be able to not only do what he does, but they will be able to do more. Whatever we ask for in the name of Jesus will be done to glorify God our Father. (John 14:12-14)
  3. Jesus chose us to bear great fruit (love, joy, kindness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, peace, and forbearance) and that it shall remain. (John 15:16)

Thank you for reading God’s words today. I pray that everyone is having a wonderful start to their week. Please remember to pray for one another. Love you all and God bless you.

“[Jesus] was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” -Romans 4:25

Taking Thoughts Captive

Taking Thoughts Captive

Good Morning Friends,

I have been struggling lately. I have been struggling to find the time to do the things that I love; blogging and spending time with God. Sometimes I question, it is laziness or mental illness. There have been a few days where I do nothing but cry all day and other days where I do the bare minimum. I know that those are the symptoms of deep depression; the same symptoms that I experience at least once a month, so does that mean that I’m in denial?

When I go a period of time having really awesome days, I forget that I struggle with mental illness. I forget that one day, deep depression will come rushing back like a flood and try to destroy the hope that I have built up over the past few weeks. Even though it happens time and time again, I always feel thrown off and unprepared. Like, “wait, what? Why is this happening? Why am I so sad?” Then I have to claw my way out like a tiger trapped in a pit of sorrow and self-pity.

I’ve come to the realization that I have to push through and force myself to do the things that I love even though I may not “feel” like it. One thing that I have learned is that feelings lie to you. Feelings have the ability to make or break who you are and what you want to become. I will never become a successful writer if I only blogged when I felt like it. And even though I have a condition that makes it more difficult, I will not allow it to become a crutch nor an excuse for failure.

I see people using mental illness as a reason to feel sorry for themselves, for not accomplishing their goals, for being mean and disrespectful, or even falling back into harmful, risky behaviors. Mental illness is just like any other illness. Yes, it can cause limitations. Yes, it has the ability to delay goals and aspirations that you have set for yourself in life, but it is no different from any other illness that others face on a regular basis.

For those of us who struggle with mental illness, it does not define us or make us who we are. It’s just a challenge that we have and EVERYONE has a challenge that they have to face in life. It’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves and boo-who to and from the doctor’s office. It’s easy to allow the feelings of hopelessness to plague our minds and entertain the thoughts of suicide. I see so many of my brothers and sisters “talk” about how mental illness is ruining their life, but I see few talk about what they are doing to overcome it (besides taking medication).

How do we do that? How do we overcome the sad days and push through thoughts of suicide and hopelessness? The answer is right in front of us. BELIEVE IN JESUS AND HIS TRUTH!

I believe in Jesus’ truth because when I am doing well, when I am having good days, I believe that I am loved. I believe that life is worth living. I am able to look at up the clouds during the day and the stars at night and see the beauty of the universe. I am able to see how glorious it is to hear my children laughing and playing and causing all kinds of “kiddy hell” in their rooms. I can see that. But when the dark days come, I become wrapped in my own pity. I can only see how badly I’m hurting and how dark the world is.

Life isn’t about how dark the world is. The world has always been dark since the beginning of time, but there has always been beauty forged from the darkness; art, love, and redemption. You’ve had artist struggling with their own mental illness make history by painting, drawing, or singing about their pain. Lives have been changed for the better because of it.

Jesus is the truth. He is the way to true freedom (John 14:6). He is the light to get through the dark days. Darkness cannot outdo light. It’s virtually impossible. Allow Jesus into your heart and allow his light to shine through when those dark days come. When you don’t feel like doing what you love, press into Jesus who loves you! Take a breath and ask for strength to get through it because you know one day, you’re going to wake up and be able to see the beauty of life once again. That won’t be by chance or accident. It will be because of God’s mercy and love that he has for us.

Thank you for reading my thoughts today. Usually today I would post Funny Friday, but I had to get this off of my chest. Please remember to pray for one another. Love you all and God bless each and every one of you.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” -2 Timothy 1:7