Goodbye For Now

Goodbye For Now

Namaste Blogger Family,

Thank you all so much for reading my thoughts and staying with me throughout this journey, but I have to step away from social media for a while. For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t been doing well emotionally and social media intensifies what I’m feeling. So, I’ve decided to take a break and spend more time focusing on my family and my relationship with God.

I so badly wanted to have a successful blog 1. so I can monetize it and 2. because I wanted to help people realize that all isn’t lost when you are struggling with a mental and/or physical illness. Turns out, I am unable to accomplish neither task if my mental state is in the wrong space. And social media has a way of offering false hope and idols, allowing the enemy to further distract me from the ultimate goal; becoming a God-fearing mom for the children.

So I would like to say goodbye for now, but not for long. I will allow God (and health professionals) to let me know when it would be safe for me to return.

I have a post scheduled for later this afternoon and since I feel it is important, it will still get posted. Hopefully, you find comfort and hope in what I was lead to say.

I love you all dearly, and remember, pray for another as the Holy Spirit prays for you…love one another as our Abba Father loves you. God bless you each and every one of you.

 

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Seeking God Part 5: Shame

Hey Friends,

Remember when I said I Suck At Maintaining Friendships, well I also meant online relationships as well. I apologize if many of you feel as though I don’t reciprocate the same love on your blogs as you do mine. I blog to release my feelings and share God’s words. So I apologize and will try to work on it. I truly love you all and are very proud of each and every one of you for doing what you love to do day in and day out.

Now that is out of the way, I want to share what happened to me tonight. Right now, I am currently reading a book by Christine Caine titled Unashamed. This is such a great read, especially if you are like me who has been carrying around the burden of shame since adolescent years.

While reading, it kind of ties into what happened tonight. So, as I was getting ready to head out to one of my classes at church, I looked for what seemed like an eternity for a shirt that didn’t show how skinny I am (current shame); anything too baggy or too tight would reveal an alarming skeleton frame. But, Eureka! I found a white shirt that I felt fit perfectly.

I get to my class, sit down next to my classmates, pull out my bible and notebook, look down only to see two large orange stains on the front of my shirt. Those stains led my eyes to a large brown stain on the left side of my shirt. My first thought was, “what the hell! This shirt was clean when I left the house 15 minutes ago.” After further inspection, it seems as though the stains were “sat-in” stains…meaning, even though I had washed it, those stains weren’t going anywhere.

Needless to say, I was embarrassed. I began to think about what other people would say to themselves when they noticed the stains. Would they think…“Oh, she’s dirty? She’s nasty? Why would she leave her house with a dirty shirt on?”

I would have never left the house in a shirt with stains all over it, for this exact reason…shame. Then I realized the lighting in my room and the lighting in my class are completely different. The lighting in my room made the shirt look nice, white, and clean. But the lighting in our classroom made my shirt look dingy with stains.

This made me think about my relationship with God. Before I began my journey, I felt like my life was nice, white, and clean. But then the more I sought God and the closer I became, the more He began to reveal that my life was just the opposite; gross, dingy, and stained. But he did this out of love to show me that the only way to “change my shirt” was through him.

Sitting in class, as embarrassed as I was, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to hear what God had to say to me. Since this week has been emotionally tough, I needed to hear hope. But God didn’t speak to me during this class…or at least I didn’t listen to what he had to say. The chatter in my head about the stain on my shirt (and other nonsense I have no control over) was too loud for me to hear anything God had to say to me. So he chose to speak to me through Christine Caine.

The more we draw closer to God, the more God shines a light on our shortcomings… it may make us feel ashamed, embarrassed, just as Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit from the forbidden tree. “At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” Genesis 3:7). 

When God shines his light on our shortcomings, it’s not to shame us, it’s to draw us closer to him. We were created to feel no shame. We were created in his image, his likeness (Genesis 1:27-28). Is God ashamed of us? No, quite the opposite. He made us “reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” (Genesis 1:28). 

As yourself, you would give that kind of authority to someone you were ashamed of? Would you kill your only Son for people you were ashamed of?

That is what’s so amazing about his love. God forgave Adam and Eve, even though they didn’t listen to the one and only rule he had given them; But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— 17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Genesis 2:16-17.

God still gave up the most precious gift he had, Jesus, so we didn’t have to feel shame, or guilt, or regret, or hate, or anxiety. He gave us his word as a guide and his promises that through him, we will see better days. Remember folks, the enemy has already been defeated on the cross…that battle has been won, through Jesus name. But I was told that even if you’ve cut the head off of a rattlesnake, his venom can still harm, or even kill you. Meaning, even though Satan was defeated on the cross, his “minions” are still working hard to turn you away from Jesus and shame has become one of best tactics.

When you walk into the brighter light and see of all of the stains in your life, don’t turn away from it. Don’t turn off of the light, but embrace it. God will tackle all of those stains one by one. Turn to Jesus when Satan throws another stain on your shirt because he is the only one that can get the stain out.

Love you all. Have a wonderful day. Please pray for Guatemala, each other, and anyone else you know who is suffering. The enemy is busy, but God is almighty. Blessed be, family.

“Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you…” Isaiah 54:4

 

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

I Would Like To Order The Early Bird Special, Please!

Hello Friends,

I saw a video on Facebook this morning that I couldn’t stop thinking about. I don’t remember the creator of the video, so know that the information that I’m about to lay on you didn’t come from me. Then again, are any of our ideas original?

Let’s call him, “Mr. Monk”. He said that the most successful people in the world wake up extremely early. “Mr. Monk” said that he lived as a monk (thus the nickname) for three years, which forced him to wake up every morning at 4am to meditate and do whatever monks do. He even said that some monks would wake up as early as 2am. Yikes! “Mr. Monk” went on to use successful people, such as, Michelle Obama, who is working out by 4am.

Michelle Obama

Apple CEO Tim Cook wakes up at 3:45 a.m and begins working on his emails.

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Xerox CEO Ursula Burns rises at 5:15 a.m. to email and work out.

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…for examples. I’ve always wanted to be an early riser. I remember being a teenager and I would watch my younger cousin wake up 2 hours before she had to be at work at 10 a.m. just to get her day started. I was always the last minute sleeper. I would wait until, literally, the very last minute I had to wake up in order to get to work during the 7-minute window they gave us to be late without getting in trouble.

Later in life, I noticed that I used to sleep as a coping skill to get through moments in my life. If I was sad, I would sleep. If I were angry, I would sleep. If I didn’t want to be bothered, I would sleep. Starting as a child into adulthood, I slept to escape the realities of mental illness. If I was asleep, I didn’t have to do or think about anything.

I remember when I began down this road of Seeking God (click the link to catch up), I desired to be an early riser. Mental and physical illness prevented me from doing so. When my Lupus symptoms started to get under control, it was more so the mental hell that I was living in that kept me captive in the bed. I slept not to feel shame, guilt, and rejection.

Then one day, out of the blue, I woke up around 6 a.m. while the kids were still asleep and spent the next hour and 45-minutes with God, reading my bible and journaling. It was truly a miracle. My body wasn’t stiff and in pain. My chest wasn’t caved in from anxiety. There weren’t the normal sounds of grunting, ooohhs, and aaahhhs. I felt…regular.

This gave me hope that I can have more days like this again. Soon afterward, I fell into a Lupus flare, but it didn’t matter. I did it!

“Mr. Monk” asked, what would you do if you were deposited $86,400 into your bank account each day. The catch is at the end of the day that it would disappear. But the same $86,400 would reappear the next morning. What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer was, “darn skippy I would spend it, then invest it, duh! Every last penny. Then, do it all over the next day.” 

Then he said, turn that same $86,400 into 86,400 seconds into your life account. What would you do then? What would you do? Would you spend it on yourself? Would you spend it on other people? Would you invest it? Would you leave it sitting there untouched completely? My answer completely changed.

I realized that God has been putting 86,400 seconds into my life account each day. Most days I use maybe 8,000 seconds, maybe!…other days I prefer to use none. When I fact, I could use most of it to help shape the world. Just as I would use the $86,400 to better the lives of my children and loved ones, I should use some of the 86,400 seconds from God to help better the lives of those same people (well most of it with the proper rest, of course).

Bringing awareness to God’s grace and salvation has become a goal of mine. Now that I know what is a stake, I can’t allow the seconds that God is gifting me to go unused any longer. I want to be able to be like most successful people in the world; wake up, do what needs to be done for the people who are defenseless to do it for themselves.

I no longer want to use sleep as an escape from reality. Now I’ve found more of a reason to do so. It’s funny how God will use non-believers to make a point and pull your attention back to the original plan of what he has designed you for. I’m not sure if “Mr. Monk” is a non-believer, but he definitely delivered a message from no one other than God.

I pray that each of you feels Gods unconditional love throughout the day. No matter your circumstances, you find peace in his glory, rest in his love, and comfort in knowing that you are a child of God.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing…” -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

 

**Just a reminder, images and gif’s are not my own**

 

 

Foggy Days

Foggy Days

Hey Friends,

So, have you guys ever felt so busy or occupied that it is almost like you are in a fog? It seems for the past couple of days, I’ve been really occupied with my kids and maintaining a relationship with God, I haven’t been able to have time for anything else.

Lately, my mind has been reminded of heartbreaking moments in my life…relationships that have been lost in outer space (it seems). I’ve even been reminded by haunting dreams; people that I haven’t thought about in years have suddenly come up as if our relationship was obliterated yesterday.

I can’t help but to wonder, is this the trick of the enemy? Is it suppressed feelings that have stayed dormant for so long that they no longer can stay hidden in whatever God-forsaken area of my heart? Or is because of a recent heartbreak that opened the floodgate of hurt feelings that I’ve tried to ignore for years?

I’m not sure of the answers to any of these questions, so I’ve occupied my mind with two things that I know would bring joy to my heart; my children and God.

Fixing my focus on God’s love for us is vital to my mental and physical health. Simply put, when I feel good and I am able to “do good”. I’m able to be a good mother to my children, I’m able to take care of my household, and most importantly, I’m able to see past my own struggles and have hope for the future. And hope is so important when trying to overcome adversity.

I have hope in knowing that God has given the gift of grace and righteousness. I have hope because Jesus Christ died in order for us to live! When I meditate on that thought alone, I have no other choice but to worship and rejoice. Knowing that he has paid the price for my past, present, and future mishaps.

That being said, I don’t know where this feeling of heartbreak is coming from. I don’t know why, all of a sudden, I am hit with past and present foes, but I do know that I will not let them defeat me because Jesus’ death defeated them for me already. And it is a complete waste of time to spend anymore thought or energy on it.

So, Satan I say to you…

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I pray that you are not allowing whatever demons haunting to no longer haunt you. I pray that you put on the armor of God each day that you wake up and fight as if your life depended on it because Jesus’ is fighting for you. I pray that you find comfort in God’s love for us and know that it is more than our mere human minds can comprehend. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

Have a wonderful blessed start to your weekend. Sorry I missed Funny Friday…I will be more prepared next week. I love you with all of my heart.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” -1 Peter 5:6-7

Letter To A Broken Heart

Letter To A Broken Heart

Hey Friends,

So, a good friend of mines, who I care for dearly, even though we have never met in person, is suffering from heartbreak. This pain is so familiar to me and I’m sure to you as well. There are very few people, if any, walking this planet who hasn’t experienced a broken heart. Whether it was from a breakup, betrayal, or even loss of a loved one (literally or figuratively).

Heartbreak has been known to claims lives. According to the American Heart Association, Broken Heart Syndrome can resemble symptoms that of a heart attack due to stress-induced cardiomyopathy aka a broken heart.

Personally, the last time my heart was broken, it felt like death had both of his hands wrapped around my heart, squeezing so hard that every breath that I took was unbearable. Every tear that ran down my face was that of physical and emotional twinge. I begged for relief, at one point, even hoped for death to finally claim the pieces of what was left of what used to pump life throughout my limp, lifeless body.

As my friend described her pain, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own grief. I felt helpless on how to tell her ways to overcome such horrific agony. Honestly, I barely remember how I made it through myself.

Then, I prayed and asked God to reveal to me the right words to say which prompted tonight’s post.

My Dear Friend,

I know that you are hurting right now. The pain that you feel is unbearable. It feels as though life cannot possibly go on for one more minute of agony surrounding your mind. I do not have the answers that you seek, nor the cure for your discomfort, but one thing is for sure. The love that Jesus has for you will get you through this difficult time. Our Creator designed us to have needs and wants. He has designed us to love and take care of one another and you were betrayed by a person who promised they would protect you. There is only one person who can fulfill your need and desire for unconditional love, Yahweh. Even saying his name…Yahweh, allows you to create a new breath with every letter.

He created your needs and wants to match up with his. Your desire to be loved lines up perfectly with his need and desire to love you like your hand fitting into a glove. It is natural to try to find our desires here on earth in things and people other than God. So, it is not your fault. Please forgive yourself, friend. No one saw this coming, including you. But you know who did? Jesus! He knew that the world would break your heart. That is why is he waiting with his arms open wide, awaiting you to climb into his lap like an infant so he can comfort you that way a Father should comfort their child.

God promises that he will satisfy all of our needs and wants, including our need and want to be loved. He also promised to never break your heart as the world has. We will never be fully satisfied here on earth because the earth is not our permanent home. His kingdom is. We will find contentment for which we were created when we let our desires become fulfilled by him, and him alone. During times of suffering, he says, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9). Take this opportunity to draw closer to him. He is waiting for you, friend. I promise he will give you more love and joy that this world has to offer. His word says, So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7). 

I love you so much, sis. I will continue to pray that the Lord makes every day easier to bear. Until then, know that I and our Abba Father are here for you.

Sincerely,

Ashley

If you are experiencing heartache, this letter applies to you also. Please know that I am here for you. You can email me, and I will be more than happy to pray for you and try to give you the best advice that I possibly can without judgment. I do not have all of the answers, but I know who does. Jesus and I are tight like size 2 underwear on a size 20 bear.

 

Love you guys with all my heart. Stay safe!

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“…but God, I Don’t Wanna!”

“…but God, I Don’t Wanna!”

Hey Friends,

It is becoming abundantly clear that I whine to God…a lot. Not just a little, but way too much for my comfort. Here I am thinking, “Hmmm, I’m pretty mature. I got this being 32 years old down, pretty well.” Ha! That couldn’t be furthest from the truth when it comes to Jesus. I find myself being more child-like than anything, but then I think that it’s kind of the point, right? How do we try to obtain perfection in the eyes of the only true perfectionist?

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In the morning, I try to spend time with God for two main reasons: 1. To set the tone for the rest of my day and 2. To check it off of my “to-do” list. As the day progresses and I haven’t spent time with him, I become more nervous because I know my chances of actually doing it becomes very slim. Not because I am extremely busy, but because I begin to whine to God as to why I unable to do it.

For example, imagine a very whiney Ashley saying, “…but Lord, I’m so tired. I need sleep. I have to spend time with the kids. I have to make dinner. I’m so tired, Lord.”

Then here comes the bargaining. “Ok, ok, God, give me like an hour to get my body together. Let me put something on my stomach, first, Jesus. Ok, ok, really, I haven’t forgotten about you. Lemme just watch this show real quick.”

Then, all of the sudden it’s midnight and I’m saying, “Oh Jesus, I will definitely spend time with you in the morning.” Then morning comes and the process starts all over again. You get my drift, right?

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For me after a few days, guilt begins to set in. I’ll feel guilty that I’ve promised God my time and haven’t given to him. I’ll feel like a child asking for forgiveness, pleading and begging for another chance of redemption. Not realizing that he already knew that my lazy butt was going to make excuses and he has already forgiven me when he sent Jesus to die for me…and you. Pause and let that sink in, but come back cause I have more to say.

Related Post:

We sin all of the time. Even we are whining and crying like children at 32 years old, we are forgiven. Once I allowed that that to seep into my brain, spending time with him has become more of a pleasure than a chore. Now, I look forward to it. And when I miss the opportunity, I no longer beat myself up. Instead, I pray that I get another chance to hear his words and adhere to his glory and grace since it has already been gifted to you and me.

Plus, it’s a win/win because I always feel so much better after I open my bible. Me, personally, I love having a book to open and read, take notes, and highlight. But if you’re not like that, there is always the free digital bibles online. It’s literally a click away.

Spend a little time with God. He will give you the sustenance to get you through the next day. For Yahweh says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” -Matthew 6:34. 

And if someone tells me not to worry about it, you guys should know me well enough to know my whiny butt is not going to worry about. Think of it like this…if someone tells you not to worry about paying the check for dinner, are you still going to pull out your wallet? I think not! I don’t know if that analogy fits, but oh well. I put it in there anyway.

I love you guys! I pray that you are having an amazing start to your week. I pray that your bellies are full, your beds are warm (or cool) and that your minds are at peace. I thank that Lord each day for all that read my thoughts, cause Jesus knows that they are crazy. Amen.

“Reading the Bible will help you get to know the word, but it’s when you put it down and live your life that you get to know the author.”― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Related Post: Stop Whining, Ashley!

 

 

 

 

Mental and Physical Illness Is My Thorn

Mental and Physical Illness Is My Thorn

Hey Friends,

Today I want to talk about something that has been on my heart to share. So I decided since I am kidless for the next couple of hours, I would take this opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to use me to speak to you. That’s if you have time to read it, of course.

So, here’s goes. Self-pity is a very real entity in my life. It is for a lot of people, but very few will admit it. I’m sure everyone has gone through a moment of despair and uncertainty and have asked, “Why me? Why is this happening to me? I’m a good person. I don’t deserve this.” Whether it’s a loss of a loved one or possession, job, or when dealing with an unexpected unfortunate event, such as mental and/or physical illness.

There are so many times, I have asked God, “What did I do to deserve this?”  I originally anchored my illness to the idea that it was punishment for all of the horrible things I have done over the years. And it seemed that he would never answer me back. He would only give me tools to get through whatever “crisis” that I was experiencing to get through it, such as, bible scriptures, support from my family and friends, and as of lately, support from my church elders.

There are two scriptures that I have learned to “lean on” during times of self-pity, just in case you’re feeling pitiful right now…

Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

One day, last week, during a moment of “why me?”, I felt God said, “Baby, stop whining and come here. Let me tell you why this is happening.” Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. I’m sure God was so much kinder and gentler, but it was almost like a smack upside the head.

The Holy Spirit lead me to 2 Corinthians 12, where it talks about the visions and revelations that God gave to Paul about heaven (2 Corinthians 12:3-4). Paul says, “…that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.” 

Heaven is also described in Isaiah 6:1, which states, “It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.” and also in Revelation 4, which John describes seeing “a throne in heaven and someone sitting on it. The one sitting on the throne was as brilliant as gemstones…and the glow of an emerald circled his throne like a rainbow.” In verse 6, John also described “…in front of the throne was a shiny sea of glass, sparkling like a crystal.”

Paul then goes on to say that God gave him a thorn in his flesh to prevent him from becoming too proud, or full of himself. In other words, Paul was forced to be uncomfortable to remain humble with all of the wonderful blessings that he was receiving (2 Cor. 12: 7-9). Paul even states that his visions are worth boasting about, but he doesn’t want to do it because then it would take away from the fact that it was because of God’s grace that he was able to have such beautiful visions in the first place. Talk about humility.

In verse 8, Paul states that he asked God three times to remove the thorns. And do you know what God said…

2 Corinthians 12:9

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'”

When I first read this, I was like, “wait, what?” I need a little bit more than that Lord. I need money, I need health insurance, I need peace of mind. But then I learned the meaning of God’s grace.

The Old Testament word describing God’s grace is chesed. This word speaks of deliverance from enemies, affliction, or adversity. It also denotes enablement, daily guidance, forgiveness, and preservation. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. –AllAboutGod.com

See 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 3:22-24,Ephesians 2:8-10

And that’s not even to the tip of the iceberg. So then I was like…

Then our Abba Father hit me with his Tsunami-sized grace that had me like…

I was weeping like a baby, shouting, “Yes Lord, thank you, Jesus!!” Like Paul said, “That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

So in conclusion (if you’ve made it this far down this extremely long post) I no longer see my mental and physical illness as a punishment, but yet the thorn in my flesh to draw me closer to our Abba Father and help further his agenda of drawing you closer to him as well. To be extremely honest, I wouldn’t have sought an intimate relationship with Jesus if I weren’t sick. I would still be living a life of sin…that good ole nasty, sticky sin, too. You know what I’m talking about.

My friends, if you are going through trials, hardships, loss, persecutions, and troubles as Paul describes, do not fret. Use this opportunity to draw closer to him. He will give you his grace on a platter. He will not only help you through it but restore you and heal you during the aftermath. He promised to never leave, nor forsake us. (Hebrew 13:5)

I love you all. I pray that each and every one of you is having a great start to your week. Happy Memorial Day to all of my United States followers. Stay safe out there.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” -Deuteronomy 31:6