Love Letter From Depression Part 2

Hello Ashley,

This is Depression. How are you? Well, don’t answer that. You know I really don’t care. You know what I do care about is why we haven’t been spending time together like we used to? I mean, I see you every once in a while. Every time I think we are going to get back together, you leave me for a guy name Jesus. Like, why? What does he have that I don’t?

You cannot deny it, Ashley. We were so good together. You loved me, I loved you. All we needed was each other. And then this Jesus character came along and told you that you would be better without me. I was shocked! I never thought you would see me for who I really am. I honestly thought we would be together forever.

Remember, we used to have the best times together. I miss your tears of loneliness and hopelessness. I miss how we used to stay in bed together for days, even weeks at a time. I miss how you used to put me ahead of your family. Now you act like you never had such a wonderful, miserable history. You used to tell me how I was the only consistent entity in your life. Now I feel like I am nothing to you.

It’s pretty obvious that whoever this Jesus is that he means more to you than I ever have. That’s how I know he’s powerful because I used to be your whole world. Now all of a sudden he is. I’m angry and hurt because now I know I’ve lost my best victim.

I will never let you go. I will always come back and visit to see if you’ll take me back, I will never stop loving you. But because I see that you are stronger than you have ever been, I’ll have to bring my A game.

Love,

Depression

Click here to read Love Letter from Depression Part One

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

Blogging with a Chronic Illness

So, when you live with an illness that affects how you process information, it is very difficult to successfully run a blog. It has been for me, anyway.

So, I want to share with you ways I manage a blog while living with Lupus. Please read here if you haven’t already about my fight against Lupus. Right now, I don’t talk about as much because the Plaquenil prescribed by my rheumatologist, has finally kicked in and my blood work is coming back normal. Which is AWESOME-SAUCE! I am definitely in a better place than I was a year ago. I digress.

So, oh yeah…Tips on how to run a blog while living with a chronic illness.

  1. Set small goals: As you know, when living with a chronic illness, your days can be unpredictable. I know for Lupus warriors, one day we are feeling great and the next day it’ll feel like we’ve been hit by a bus. So, don’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Set your own pace. The rest will follow.
  2. It’s ok to take a break: Blogging can be emotionally and physically draining for anyone, especially if you have a chronic illness. For me, pain is an issue. I manage it, but I can’t sit one position for too long before my body begins to stiffen up. If you have a schedule for blogging, set aside times for breaks. Blogging can be exhausting, so make sure you take care of yourself.
  3. Water, Water, and what…More Water!: I know you’re tired of hearing this. I’m tired of hearing it, but it true. Water is known to improve your cognition, improve your mood, and lower inflammation. Which means, the more water you drink, the better you will feel.
  4.  Cut yourself some slack: I know that we have goals that we want to accomplish, but remember, it even took the Lord six days to make the universe, and He is a perfect supreme being. Accomplishing anything will take time and continuous effort. I have to remind myself of this daily, especially when I see other people who have blogs that are thriving and mines is…..

Having a chronic illness can definitely put a wrench in the plans, but it doesn’t have to damage our plans completely. Even if it isn’t blogging. Keep going, keep pushing, keep moving. Even if it’s one step forward, three steps back, you are still making progress.

I’ll be praying for your strength while chasing what you love. Thank for you reading words today. God bless each and every one of you. Please remember to pray for one another.

On the darkest days you have to search for a spot of brightness, on the coldest days you have to seek out a spot of warmth; on the bleakest days you have to keep your eyes onward and upward and on the saddest days you have to leave them open to let them cry. To then let them dry. To give them a chance to wash out the pain in order to see fresh and clear once again. -Tahereh Mafi

 

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

 

Funny Friday

Funny Friday

Hey Friends!

I’m so glad to be back. Writing is the source of my calm. Even if I wanted to stop ✋, I couldn’t! It’s my life’s passion. It’s like breathing for me. Do you have a passion like that? Do you find yourself missing something that used to be your “calm”?💆🏽‍♀️ Make sure you make it a priority to get back to doing whatever made your heart flutter. 💕We all need a healthy escape from life sometimes. 😉

Anyway, welcome back to Funny Friday! I pray that you all have a wonderful weekend filled with many blessings and Gods endless grace and love. Please remember to pray for one another and don’t forget to laugh! 🤗

A BUS FULL OF UGLY PEOPLE

A bus full of ugly people had a head on collision with a truck. When they died, God granted all of them one wish. The first person said, “I want to be gorgeous.” God snapped his fingers and it happened. The second person said the same thing and God did the same thing. This want on and on throughout the group. God noticed the last man in line was laughing hysterically. By the time God got to the last ten people, the last man was laughing and rolling on the ground. When the man’s turn came, he laughed and said, “I wish they were all ugly again.”

Can I Get A Lil’ Bit Of That Anointing Oil, Please?

Can I Get A Lil’ Bit Of That Anointing Oil, Please?

Happy New Year, Beloveds!

Early yesterday morning after the ball dropped, I watched a movie with my little ones. I love spending time with my kids. I remember a time when it was hard to spend time with them. I was so convinced that they deserved a better mother, so I began to put a wedge between me and them. Now that I think about, my thinking was so warped. What a great example of how the enemy will use such tactics to get inside our heads to destroy our families and each other. Praise God that I decided to allow God to heal my heart, soul, and mind. Now my children not only have the mother that they need but the mother that they deserve.

After our movie, at around 3 a.m., we decided to anoint our home. I’m not sure how often we should do it, but I thought to start the New Year off, we should do it. Plus, my children have been complaining of nightmares so what great way to get rid of the evil spirits that are trying to plague the minds of my children.

There are so many benefits to anointing our homes and our families. Through the blood of Jesus and Psalm 91, we are PROMISED protection from every danger, which included but not limited to sickness, disease, assault, crime, tornadoes, fire and any other threat to your safety and well-being. But God’s protection is not automatic. There are things we have to do in order for God to be our refuge.

4 Steps to Anointing Your Home and Family

  • Obtain Olive Oil – I’ve been told that extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil is the best to use because of its purity, but I’m sure any olive oil will suffice. You can also grab anointing oil from your local religious and secular stores.
  • Pray over your oil – Some people believe that only a religious leader can anoint oil. I believe that we can do it ourselves as long as we have Christ living within us. We pray to Him about everything else, right? Here’s an example of the prayer that I used to pray over our olive oil:
    • In the name of Jesus, I set this oil apart to be holy anointing oil. Jesus, thank you for your sacrifice so that we can have complete healing and wholeness. This holy anointing oil speaks to the perfection of your finished work. I thank you that whatever this oil touches, the fullness of your grace, power, provision, and healing virtue will flow according to your living word. I pray that wherever this oil is applied, it will bring glory and praise to your name. Amen. 
  • Understanding Anointing Oil – Understand that the power of the oil is from God and God only. Anointing oil is a symbol of our faith, trusting that God will fulfill his promises of protecting us. And if you don’t know God is incapable of lying! He is a God of His word:
    • “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” -Number 23:19
    • Please know that without faith, anointed oil is useless. You must believe in the power of God and the authority that Christ has given you. *Remember, the same power that raised Christ from the dead is living inside of each and every one of us (Romans 8:11)*
  • Using Anointing Oil – There are many things that we can anoint; ourselves, our home, our children, our vehicles, our office, etc. When I anointed my home, my mentor told me to take the anointed oil, put a small amount on my finger (many people place it on their right thumb), and rub it around the entrance of each room while praying Psalm 91. Remove all objects that have evil roots attached to them; false idols and/or statues, evil masks, etc. If you are unsure, pray for God to reveal those items to you so you can throw them out. God revealed to my husband and I that a wooden table that was donated to us had evil spirits attached to it. Once we got rid of it and prayed over our home, you could tell the difference.
    • When anointing my family, I placed a small amount on my thumb, made a sign of the cross across the foreheads of my children and my husband and prayed Psalm 91.
    • If you are using anointing oil for healing, you can rub a small amount of oil across the damaged area of the body while praying for healing.
    • When I prayed Psalm 91, I made into personal prayer. God loves it when we repeat scripture back to him, especially when we pray His words. It not only glorifies him, but it also turns him into a blushing papa.

I pray that this helps you and your family start anew this year. Although I feel this should be done more often than once a year, at least we’re all starting off on the right foot. This year, I would like for whoever is reading is this to be free from the strongholds that Satan has on you and your loved ones. We must accept who we are in Christ and begin to see ourselves how our Abba Father sees us; more precious than anything in the universe, in order to do so.

I love you all and please remember to pray for one another. Don’t forget to hit the follow button to the right so you can receive email updates on new blog post. Oh and let me know in the comment section on how you anoint your home and other living spaces. Peace and love!

“Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, anointing him and making him holy for his work.” -Leviticus 8:12

“…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