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

My Identity

My Identity

Hey Friends,

My post has been far and few between because I am concentrating on developing my relationship with the Lord. I was beginning to feel like this blog was becoming my identity, but then as each day passed by, God was revealing that the plans that he has for my life will “accomplish infinitely more than we (me) might ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

I want my blog to be successful. I want to help people with my story of how I am overcoming mental and physical illness so it would inspire you to do it as well. But it says that His “mighty power at work within us” will help us to “infinitely accomplish” more than we could ever imagine for ourselves. Which means that I will accomplish more than developing a blog and helping people. He will use me to do so much more. I just have to keep my eye on the prize – focused on Him and His ways – and not allow the ways of the world to distract me.

It’s so easy to fall into that trap though, right? I mean, the world is constantly telling us what we have to look like, what we have to sound like, what college degrees we have to have, what friends we have to have in our circle, how many likes and comments we should have on our social media….it’s becoming more and more brutal by the day. Anxiety and depression are on the rise because, in my opinion, we are constantly comparing ourselves with “perfect” people online who seem to have everything. When in actuality they are as miserable as the person on the other side of the phone or tablet.

How are we suppose to know what our purpose is if we are constantly “following” other people? Sometimes I think we just poke around until we find something we like and do it. How are we supposed to gain any kind of individuality of we are always seeking approval from the world? We are losing sight of what is truly important, even if you have the right intentions of helping people. One of my favorite quotes is “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. I truly believe this quote because people are focused on what they are doing and not who they are doing it for; Jesus.

While finding my freedom from the world through Jesus Christ, I am finding things out about myself that I have been in complete denial about. I truly thought I was more self-aware than most people on earth. WRONG! I even prided myself in it.

If I could be completely honest, it is hard to peel back the onion of your life only to see that you have been a mindless zombie like the same people you said you would never become. There have been a lot of tears through this process but it is so worth it! Why? Because God will do exceedingly abundantly more in my life than I could have ever imagined and I’ve imagined some pretty cool stuff. But first, He has to strip away what I thought was right so He can renew my mind to what is actually right.

Have you ever tried to put tape on a dirty surface? You can’t. It’ll peel right off. You have to clean the surface first, then place the tape on there. That way, it’ll hold forever. Jesus has to do a deep clean in our lives before He can do His good work in us. That way, the good work He does will “stick” forever. Praise God!

My identity is not this blog or helping people. It’s not even in my husband or kids. It is in Christ because all of the above are wonderful gifts that he has blessed me with. And one day, the kids will have their own families, my husband has his own walk with God and this blog and/or helping people may not be what He is calling me to do 40 years from now. Our lives I meant to be lived like seasons; winter, spring, summer, and fall. But you know what will never change? The fact that I will always be His! I will always be a child of God. God will always love me and nothing will tear me from His love. I will always be a follower of Christ Jesus and that is where my identity lies.

Thank you for reading my thoughts and for sticking with me during this journey. If you are just now following my blog, thank you! If you have been around since the beginning, thank you! I am truly grateful for all of you, I love you, and please remember to pray for one another.

I…beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.” -Ephesians 4:1-3

 

 

**Featured image borrowed from google**