Think About Such Things â¤ï¸

Philippians 4:4-8 NIV

For some, reading these verses may be very new, while for others this may not be a familiar selection. This verse has become a popular one for those looking for biblical guidance to help them through troubling times. Recently, I came across this verse in a book I read by Max Lucado; Anxious For Nothing.

I just want to say this before proceeding: Mentioning this book is not going to give me any kind of perks! These are just my thoughts and opinions that the book has inspired. Nothing I say here is in any way connected to Max Lucado, although I may use some of his quotes from the book. Lastly, even though I feel it’s rather obvious to declare, I am not a professional counselor or any kind of professional, I just make posts to try to reach others who may be going through some of the same feelings.

After reading this book, I felt like I should use some of my notes and quotes from the book, to make a blog post or posts that others may find interesting or helpful. As most of you know, if you’ve read some of my other posts, I have long struggled with anxiety, panic and depression. I have been very lost in them that I really became this lifeless blob for over a year. While a year is not even close to the length of time I have struggled with these issues, there was a year or a little more, where I was so deep in those issues that I became unable to live a “normal” life. In the midst of this terrible time, I would have never believed I’d be able to get out of the dark place I was in. I felt as if I had gotten so lost, I couldn’t possibly find the light again. Would I ever be the person I used to be again? Would I ever be able to enjoy my family or friends again? Would I ever be able to think about going to work again without breaking down and crying hysterically out of pure fear? Would I be able to walk outside, take a shower, sleep or even eat without the fear that I’m going to die doing those things?

It truly seemed irreversible at the time. It seemed like my anxiety, panic and depression had pulled me so far under, that I could never find my way out and in a way, I was right. I would never have found my way back, if not for my faith. I am aware that simply stating that my faith helped me through such a horrific time may not come across as very helpful, especially to someone who may be in the deepest, darkest depths of anxiety, panic and depression. To be quite honest, sometimes hearing something like that can make a person in the midst of such things feel even more guilty and cause them to sink lower into those feelings. I don’t want anyone reading this to feel as though they can’t make it out of their dark place without faith in God, but I want to tell you that I would not have. God isn’t just exclusively available to believers, He’s there for non-believers as well; He doesn’t turn anyone away. If you need Him, you only need to ask for Him, He’ll find you.

Back to the Bible verses I shared in the photo at the start of this blog. “Rejoice in the Lord always…” ALWAYS. Not just when things are going good in your life, maybe even moreso when they’re going horribly! Easier said than done right? To someone who is struggling, telling them to rejoice in the Lord may seem like a slap in the face! How can I rejoice in the Lord when I’m consumed by fear and worry? How can I rejoice when l find out I can’t have children or when I’ve miscarried? How can I rejoice in the Lord when I’ve lost my job, when my child is diagnosed with so many health issues, when my husband or wife is facing health issues, when I am in constant pain from an unrelenting disease, when I have lost my home and have nowhere to go, when I am going through a nasty divorce and custody battle, when I’m being abused (physically, mentally, emotionally or all of the above)- the list can go on indefinitely! How can we say REJOICE to someone who is drowning? If you have never been taught to swim, how is yelling REJOICE to you when you’ve fallen in the lake going to help? IT WON’T! We don’t have to use our words to tell someone to rejoice, we can simply lead by example around them. We can live our life with such transparency, that they will see things we have had to endure, and in turn, see how we have never stopped rejoicing all the while. Others will see how we handle our times of difficulty and wonder how they too can do the same. I have personally felt, growing up and even now, that you can get so much further with people when you’re not forcing your beliefs and religion down their throats, but simply planting seeds each time you’re near them and living your life authentically; they’ll notice, I assure you! Eventually, they’ll come to you looking for your “secret” and that’s when you’ll get to share with them that there is no secret at all, there’s only God! ☺️

The C.A.L.M approach by Max Lucado in a post found on Pinterest

In the Anxious for Nothing book, you’ll find this C.A.L.M. approach laid out for you. I don’t want to give away too much of this book, so I’ll also include a link at the end of this blog incase anyone is interested. Again I get nothing in return for promoting this book, I just believe it to be a good read.

C is for COOKIE…no wait, that’s not the right one! 😂 C is for Celebrating God’s Goodness. Again, not to sound like a broken record, but during our most trying times, it can be hard to rejoice or celebrate. You’re not perfect, neither am I, so we won’t always be able to do it as we should, but we can do our best to be mindful about it. In our more challenging times, we can say our problems aloud or write them down and then we can voice or think about what we know is good in our lives at that moment, minus whatever negative issues are going on at the time. It may seem that NOTHING good is happening, but if your eyes are open and your heart is beating during your dwelling on your misfortune(s), then you already have something to celebrate! Thank God I am alive and I opened my eyes this morning, although today might be terrible, I am still going to celebrate my being alive to see another day! It’s more about not dwelling on the negatives of the day or week or month or even year. It can be extremely easy to slip down the slope of Negative Mindset Mountain and pretty hard to try to climb back up, trust me I speak from great experience! We can acknowledge the negative and then move our thoughts to what good there is in our lives, on that day, and celebrate those thoughts. It doesn’t matter how big or small the positives are, just as long as we shift our mind from acknowledging our negative and celebrating our positives. Don’t fall into the trap that is the negative mindset, it can quickly get out of hand. One minute you’re talking about one negative that happened to you today, then you’re talking about something bad that happened yesterday, then last week and it just keeps on rolling downhill until, before you know it, you’re discussing stuff that happened to you 10+ years ago! We need to be aware of who we talk to and if the conversation is serving us well. If you find that it’s not serving your mindset well, you have the ability to shift the conversation and if it keeps circling back to negativity, you can just end the conversation and pick up another day. Sometimes our days can be going just fine, then if we encounter someone who is not having such a great day, if we listen long enough, our emotions can take us to the same place they are. Entertaining too much negativity can cause us to catch the negative bug! This is why, when I know I’m having one of those days, I try my best to keep to myself either until I shift my mindset or until the next day! I still have some work to do on this, but I’m happy to say that I have improved pretty well in that area! We need to focus on one day at a time, acknowledging our difficulties of the day, dropping them off at the slippery slope of Negative Mindset Mountain, then keeping on our journey until we reach Celebration Campsite! This is where we can set up tent, take our shoes off and stay awhile!

A is for Asking God For Help. For some of us it can be easy to ask for help, but if you’re like me, you take the world upon your shoulders, never ask for help and then breakdown at some later date under all the pressure. Asking for help may not come as natural to some of us as it does for others, but anyone can feel the relief that comes from simply knowing someone is around if we need help or having someone tell us they’re nearby if they need us. We can call out to God when things have gone wrong, but why do we forget that He’s there from the beginning? Why do we wait so long to go to Him for help when He’s already told us time and time again, “I am right over here if you need anything!” Let us remember that God is this constant Presence and we can go to him at any hour for any kind of help! We don’t have to wait until we’re really underwater before asking Him for a hand.

L is for Leave Your Concerns With God. How many of us bring our backpack of burdens to God and forget to take it off before going on with our day? 🙋🏻‍♀️ We are encouraged, in the Bible, to bring our burdens to God and He will give us rest. He wants to take our burdens from us, so why can’t we seem to let go of them?

Photo credit to Pinterest
Photo credit to womenofnoblecharacter.com

I have stated many times that I believe many of us who deal with anxiety and panic have a bit of an issue with control. What I mean by this is, one way or another our anxiety stems from an issue with lack of control. Take myself as an example, all of the anxiety that caused my panic issues mostly had to do with death, in some way. Every single thing I did, I truly felt and believed I was going to die if I did it. I can’t eat because I’ll have an allergic reaction and my throat will close up and I’ll die. I can’t go outside because I may get bit or stung by something and die. I can’t go to sleep because I’ll die in my sleep. I also always felt I would have a heart attack and die. I would also like to add that I have no known allergies to any food or bites/stings. My anxiety and panic concocted all of these scenarios in my mind and I believed that in refraining from living, I would infact survive! Did you hear me? If I stopped living I would stay alive. In refraining from doing anything I used to enjoy doing or simple daily health habits, I believed I was controlling the outcome of my life. I believed that I was somehow in control or taking control of the situations. I can stop the danger before it happens! What’s wrong with this picture though? Are any of us in control of our lives? To an extent, I suppose we are. We are in control of our choices, we have been given free will. We decide where we go, what we do, say etc. Are any of us able to keep others from death? Do we determine when we die? No! We have no say in this. Age, race, gender, health none of this matters when it comes down to it. Someone could be sick for years and still be alive longer than a healthy person who loses their life in a car accident. The point I’m trying to make and the fact that can be hard to swallow is ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, we are not in control. This fact can cause anxiety and panic in people. If we can accept that we are not in control, we can learn to leave our concerns with the One who is in control! We can go to God in prayer, making our concerns known to Him. We can write them down in a journal or simply on a piece of paper. Once we have prayed or written down our concerns or done both of these things, we can then remind ourselves that we don’t need to pick those burdens back up before leaving, nor do we have a use for the burden backpack anymore. When we leave our concerns, we need to do just that, LEAVE them!

M stands for Meditate on Good Things.

Screenshot from bible gateway.com

Now we revisit Negative Mindset Mountain, where avalanches of what ifs, doom and gloom, worst case scenarios, fears, anger, frustrations, resentment, jealousy, hatred, comparison and the like, happen on a regular basis, 24/7! You would think that not many people would come to visit this place with the frequent avalanches, yet you’d be surprised at how many people have a vacation home here or worse yet, have moved there permanently! I don’t have a vacation home or permanent residence here, but I have been known to visit and it’s not a place I like to be. Sometimes, I have managed to get to this place without wanting to go or without even knowing I’m there, but once I realize I am and I don’t know how long I have been there, I feel such disgust, embarrassment and shame. I feel disgusted because I am someone who is often viewed as the positive one to other people. The one who listens to others, gives great advice and makes everyone laugh, yet in my own personal life, I can be the opposite. I don’t often listen to myself, although I can give sound advice, I can’t give myself that same advice. I don’t extend myself the same grace I do to others. I must admit that I can make myself laugh 😂🤪 I feel embarrassment because I don’t like to be around negativity or negative people and the thought that I have been that person to others can not only leave me feeling disgusted, but embarrassed as well because, I am wondering to myself how long have I been projecting negative vibes? An hour? A day? A week? You see, at Negative Mindset Mountain, you can lose track of many things, one of those being time. In addition to feeling disgusted and embarrassed, I previously mentioned I feel shame. I feel shame because I have forgotten to leave my concerns with God. I have forgotten to ask God for help and I have forgotten to celebrate any good in my life. Much like the person who has had one too many to drink, I have blacked out and somehow woken up in this place. I don’t know how I’ve gotten here and I am not sure when I arrived. I don’t know if there is anyone else I have affected by my journey. If I’m in this place, I most likely haven’t been the example that I want to be to others. I feel shame because I have fallen down that slippery slope and been swept away by the avalanche. We tend to make it to this place because we let the wrong kind of thoughts bombard our minds. We forget to protect our hearts and minds and, in doing so, we nonchalantly open the door and let all the negativity on in to what will later become our very own pity party! Somewhere down the line, we stopped acknowledging all the good or positives in our lives and started solely focusing on all the negatives. So how do we make it back down the mountain?

We use Philippians 4:8 as our cheat sheet! If you take a look at that verse, it maps out the entire way back down! Let’s look at the verse and break it down. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true; not what ifs, not worst case scenarios that may never come to be. Whatever is noble; thoughts that can promote honesty, generosity and things of that nature, not thoughts of jealousy or lies. Whatever is right; thoughts that are morally right are considered reasonable or ethical. We know the difference between right and wrong and this is what is meant when we are told to think of “right” things. Immoral thoughts would be the opposite of right thoughts, such as thoughts of evil or wrongdoing. Whatever is pure; again, untainted thoughts, free from evil. Thoughts that are true and uninfluenced by the wickedness of this world. In our minds is where the evil would start first. The thief, the murderer, the liar, the adulterer, they all have something in common…they first thought of evil before carrying out evil. The thief saw something he did not have and thought to himself that he should have it, so he would take it. The murderer let anger, resentment, hurt and whatever other evil thought control his mind and he thought about bringing harm to someone else and how he could hurt the other person. The liar uses his mind to weave his web of lies before speaking them to others, to come across as believable. The adulterer looks lustfully at others who are not their spouse and has thoughts of how they will become closer with this person(s). They engage in sex with this person, cheating on their spouse not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. Whatever is lovely; these thoughts are rooted in love and affection. They are thoughts that can celebrate the goodness in not only your life, but in other’s lives around you! Jealousy has no place here! Whatever is admirable; thoughts of admiration or respect of others, especially God. Thinking on the goodness in your life can bring about admirable thoughts towards God. We look in wonder and astonishment at the world God created for us and the children He has blessed us with and the family. We see every day miracles and our minds admire the work of God! If anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

If you didn’t notice, most of these words are synonyms of each other. They work together! Meditating on good things is all laid out for us in that one verse. Instead of thinking about what others have that you don’t, think about what you’re thankful for in your life and what you have or have worked for. Instead of thinking about the worst possible outcome of a situation or what MIGHT happen if you do this or that, think about what is more likely to happen. Is it more likely that this whole Final Destination type of scenario will play out or is it more likely that you’ll have worried and stressed yourself over nothing and then miss out on a greater time. Think of all that can go right. This is my hardest challenge, because my mind seems programmed to only see the worst case, but with a little rewiring, I believe I can improve upon it! Instead of dwelling in resentment for how people have treated you in the past, think of what you’ve taken away from that and how you use it for good in your life now. Don’t get so blinded by hatred, anger and resentment, especially from the past, that it hinders your living now. Don’t think of how you can get back or get even, use it as fuel to do better and be better. Nothing that has already happened can be erased, but it can used for good! As Max Lucado said in his book, “There is a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. Your future matters more than your past.”

If you find that negative thoughts are trying to creep in, immediately recall the words in Philippians 4:8. Let this verse serve as a reminder to all of us, to shift our mindset from acknowledging the negatives, to celebrating the positives!

A quote from Max Lucado’s Anxious for Nothing

Dear God, I pray that someone who needed this message finds it. I pray for everyone who comes across this blog, whether they like it or not, that maybe they could just take away one important thing from it. I pray that anyone struggling will find peace that only You can give. May at least one person read this and be able to make that mindset shift. Please use my words to show others Your grace and unconditional love. Let us remember the words in Philippians 4:8 and do our very best to think those kinds of thoughts. I thank You for working in me and through me so that I may not only better myself and my relationship with You, but help others to come to You as well. I pray all of this in Your name, AMEN!

I will leave the link below to anyone who would like to check out the Anxious for Nothing book. He also offers a DVD and study guide, if any small groups are interested in that. I bought the study guide thinking maybe I could still use it with the book, and while I can use it for notes and such, I personally feel it is much more geared towards the DVD. The link below will be just for the actual book. I GET NOTHING FROM SHARING THIS LINK! Please don’t view this blog to be any kind of promotional gain! Much love and God bless! ❤️

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0718074211/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_glt_fabc_CXWBGCDVJZDARV8JKT6Y

Sunrise Reflections

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As I lay here in bed, looking out my window as the sun rises, I am overcome with gratefulness. I’m sure this seems like a bit of an odd statement, given our current state of affairs, but gratefulness is the message today and everyday!

Not every season of life can be without hardships, but we tend to take everyday gifts for granted. It’s true that we open two gifts every day; our eyes! Life. The simple act of waking in the morning is often overlooked. I am always overwhelmed with gratitude for opening my eyes to see another day. I know sometimes we feel so negatively and can get so down that we grow apathetic towards life; we are so depressed that maybe we don’t care if we wake up or not. I hope anyone reading this today does not feel like way, but the sad reality is that most likely someone does. I have felt that deep despair, and it’s not a place in your mind where you want to set up camp! With so much craziness going on in the world each day, it’s easy to get lost in depression and anxiety. The unknown tends to strike fear in the hearts of many, but will our depression and anxiety halt the happenings of tomorrow or even today? No. 

 

One thing I have concluded about my own anxiety, after many years of dealing with it, is that the lack of control in a situation can really be a trigger. I will constantly obsess and worry about things that haven’t even happened yet and may not ever happen! I think my mind is under the impression that if I worry enough about today or tomorrow or next week or even next month or year, that it’ll somehow keep things from occuring. Maybe if I worry so much over something, I may be more aware of what’s going on and avoid potential disaster. I suppose that could happen, but you know what else could? I could also worry and stress so much about something that I create new problems that may have never even transpired otherwise! Isn’t that something? We worry so much and try to control a particular situation, that we create a whole new problem that would have never happened without our trying to play God, and even worse, the original problem that we were worried about initially, may never have happened to begin with! Mind-blowing I know! 

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There will always, always be something to worry about but there will always, always be something to be grateful about. I know many people are social distancing and isolated from most people, and that could bring on some unwanted emotions, but what if it was a good thing? I’m not meaning this virus is a good thing, but what if time away from the rest of the world was a good thing? What if instead of complaining about all you can’t do, you smile and accept all the gifts God has given you each day, that you may overlook in your normal routine? Open your eyes today to the beauty of God’s creation. Silence your cell phone. Turn off your notifications. Don’t turn on the news, it’ll still be there tomorrow, trust me. Watch the sun rise or even set. Make yourself a hot cup or coffee or tea. Sit in silence (if your kids aren’t awake yet 😜). Go out into your yard and soak up some rays. Watch nature happen all around you. Despite present world problems, the trees are still blooming, the birds are still chirping and hunting worms,

 

the bees are still buzzing around the flowers, the sun is still shining, the wind is still blowing, the rain is still falling and the world is still turning. We are alive today and in this moment, so please don’t take the gift of life for granted today or any day. Find happiness in the midst of chaos. Try not to let the media overwhelm you with negativity, it’ll be sure to set the tone for your day. Know that although bad things happen in this world each and every day, we still have a God above us that is for us and never against us. He wants to see us thrive. He wants us to come to Him with our worries and fears, so that He can give us the strength and courage to overcome life’s obstacles. We are meant for so much more than we realize and maybe we can wake up and see that we can do so much better than what we have been doing. 

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Dear God,

I pray that today and every day You give us the gift of seeing the world through Your eyes. Help us discover that there is more than the negative perspective. Let us take this virus seriously, but at the same time don’t let the panic and fear the media creates consume us. Make us aware that these types of things are always out there, some of which kill more people than this virus each year, but that our worry will not stop it from happening. Let us put our trust in You and find comfort in knowing that You are already helping us and guiding us through this season of life. I lift up those reading who are stuck in darkness, may they find their light in You! Thank you for all of us waking up to another beautiful day and may we be grateful today and every day. Amen!

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One more thing I would like to say about this virus. Remember that a Coronavirus isn’t new; it’s been around for years. This strain, however is new, but the flu has different strains as well. We have encountered different flu strains that we haven’t seen before, which also were deadly for many, but we never acted the way we are currently. The media will always report the negative side of things. They will always make sure you hear how many people have died from any illness, but they tend to leave out how many have survived. They also leave out little details like age and health issues etc. Positivity doesn’t gather ratings. I am in no way trying to downplay how serious this virus can be for some of us, but know that this virus was causing issues before the news ever reported it. No one was in a panic then because people weren’t aware of the virus and it’s name, they were only aware that they weren’t feeling good at all and doctors were telling them was they had upper respiratory issues or infections, or it’s viral so it has to run it’s course,  when really they may have had this virus but they just weren’t aware of it because the media wasn’t sending people into a panic over it yet. You will only ever find out about something when it can be hidden no longer. I’m reminded of the Flint, Michigan water situation. Those poor people, adults and children, were basically being poisoned (knowingly) yet it only came out because so many people were being effected by it, they could no longer hide it! Look at how long it was happening before anyone bothered to make those residents aware! We need to wake up and see that we are never given the truth and if we are we only get bits and pieces. I just want everyone to breathe a little easier. I want you to know that although this virus should be taken seriously, all illnesses that you can spread should be too! Washing your hands should be a very common practice as well as staying home when you are sick! I understand some will still have to work, but don’t take your kid to Chuck E Cheese when they’re sneezing/coughing and nose is running everywhere. Don’t send your kid to school to get everyone else sick. Don’t go around pregnant people or elderly when you’re sick too! As a matter of fact, not just when you’re not feeling well but when anyone in your family hasn’t been feeling well, because as I tell everyone, you can always be a carrier even if you feel fine! Say one of my kids were sick but I never got sick and felt fine, I can still carry it on to someone else. Give it time before running around everywhere. Again, I fully understand that some places you have to go and sometimes there isn’t anyone to watch your child if you go alone, but there is almost always something you can do to help prevent spreading any kind of germs. Our bodies are also made to help us fight off illnesses. Our bodies can build up a natural immunity to things as well. Please research any vaccine they roll out because it will not have been tested enough and although it may help you not feel like crap, it’ll leave even more crap in your body that your body will never rid of. All I’m saying is read, read, read. Most vaccines won’t prevent you from getting whatever it is for, it MAY lessen the symptoms or severity, but only on certain strains and no one ever knows which strain they will get. Just please don’t panic. Don’t be anxious. Stress and worry can only make the situation worse. So as hard as it is for some of us, try your best not to. We will be great! ❤️

Much Love and God Bless!

Jekyll vs Hyde

In life, I like to live my life as transparent as I can. With me, usually what you see is what you get. I believe the only exception is my mind. That’s a rather odd statement considering I share SO much, but at the same time I feel when it comes to how my mind and thought process works, I don’t share fully. Many times I believe I have shared completely when maybe I only share 50%. The problem is, I don’t think it’s possible for me to share completely all of my thoughts; there’s just WAY too many swirling around all at once. I tend to just stew because I feel like I will be a burden if I speak any of my “issues”, so I tend to just be to others what I need for myself. Now, there’s nothing wrong with being the positivity for others, bringing light into their world, but it should cause you to neglect your own light. 

I, for as long as I can remember, have always been the light for so many, that when it comes to my life, I am dark. I am the complete opposite in my own life, for myself,  than I am with everyone else. Why? I have no idea. It’s as if I use up all my energy and positivity to build others up, until I just have nothing left for myself. In every aspect of my life, whatever relationship it may be, I always put others before myself and I move my own issues to the very bottom of the “to do” list. In my mind, when someone needs help, it’s MY job to fix their problems. I take their problems so personally, that their problems become more of my problems than their own; not even they would feel as troubled by their issues. I’m just such a feelings person. I swear to you, I can feel the feelings of others and usually without them ever saying a word…it’s like an extra sense. I always view it as a God-given gift. I truly live to help others and make them laugh and just fix their problems. I live to make others happy, but what happens when I need the laugh, the compliment, the conversation, the hug, the words of encouragement, the positivity, the smile or just the help? Who can help me?

We all have those people in our lives who will say, “I’m always here for you” but I’ve come to find that maybe, for most (not all), that these words are uttered out of a sense of obligation. Maybe they feel they HAVE to say this or it makes them feel better to say this, but most people mean, “I’m always here for you…IF I have the time.” Numerous times in my life, I have set aside my own issues to help everyone. I have been in full on panic and anxiety yet I say let me help or I just simply listen.  I didn’t always have the time, but I MADE the time. I put all else in my life aside to help. It’s hard, at times, not to let that cause bitterness. I am not that kind of person, nor do I want to be, but at times you have these thoughts that tell you that no one really cares about you. When you have so many thoughts swirling around in your mind, you tend to get overwhelmed and easily stressed out, so the negative becomes much more easier to believe. At times, you want to say that you need help, but you know no one would pay attention anyway, nor would they understand.

I am not writing this to garner sympathy, but rather to make people aware that even the most positive people in your lives, those who bring you so much joy or make you laugh or are always there for you, they need help too. They are struggling too, so don’t forget them when things are going good for you or when you feel better. I have so many thoughts going on all the time that I feel guilty for thinking most of them. I’m like, my life is good, I have God in my heart, my babies are healthy, happy and just so beautiful, I have an amazing marriage, I have a nice home,  I know other people with FAR greater problems than I have, yet here I am struggling to keep my head above water. There’s so much I want to get out but I can’t. I, myself, cannot even express fully every thought I have. I hear them in my mind, like people talking all at once and all I know is when I try to even get someone to understand the slightest little bit, my thoughts start to come out in the form of tears. Then it’s like why are you crying again? What do you have to be upset about? You’re acting foolish!

The guilt, the guilt will eat you alive. You have your struggles yet you tell yourself you have no reason to feel how you do. You assign so much guilt to yourself because, how can you be so positive for others yet in your life you’re being negative. You view life in worst case scenarios and you have such a negative thought process, yet if someone needs some cheering up, you’re all rainbows, sunflowers and unicorns. You show them how to look on the bright side and carry them along until they are able to walk alone again and then you go back to you own life, drained and barely breathing. You’ve now given away the best version of yourself to everyone else. 

I’m not even sure that this post will be cohesive, I feel as if I am just rambling, but hopefully someone gets something out of it! I hope that you can find a healthy balance between helping others and helping yourselves. I hope that you can remember to fill your own cup as you fill everyone else’s. For myself, coming to the rescue is like breathing to me, I just have to, but maybe I can be more mindful of my own needs. In my mind, thinking or even putting any amount of focus on my own needs is being selfish. I would tell others that thinking of their needs is not being selfish, bit in my own life if I do it then I am being selfish. I don’t know why I am so hard on myself, but I am! I am so great at giving the best advice, yet I cannot even give myself any words of wisdom. I hate to even make a post such as this. I have contemplated deleting this several times during my typing. I don’t like to out negativity out there and I feel as if that’s what I’m doing. I don’t want to come across as a complainer. I suppose sharing the negative can make us appreciate the positive more. Maybe in sharing some of my thought process, it’ll make someone else feel less alone in their thinking. Even the most positive of people can have a hard time, so please remind those people who are always there for you just how much they mean to you and don’t forget to genuinely ask how they’re doing or if they need anything. ❤️🙏

Dear God,

I pray for anyone reading this that relates to what I’ve typed. I pray that they remember to take care of themselves, even when they’re taking care of others. I also pray that you help them deal with any guilt they feel, may they know that it’s okay to think of themselves sometimes. I pray that they know they are never alone with You in their lives and that You are always willing to listen. May we all remember that You are a constant even when others come and go. Thank you for all the good in our lives and even the bad, for without the bad we would never truly appreciate the good! AMEN. 🙌

Much Love and God Bless!

Selah Grace Update Continued

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I figured I would just include a screenshot of my post on another social media page for today. ❤️

If anyone is interested in donating to Selah’s Recovery Fund, below is the link to her page! Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance! 🙌🙏❤️

https://www.gofundme.com/f/selahswarriors?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

Update On Selah Grace

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Above is an update from Selah’s Dad.

Selah did great during surgery and is now in the recovery phase. The doctors are amazed at how well she is doing and how great her stats already are! GOD IS GOOD! Thank you all for the prayers for Selah Grace, and please continue to pray for her and the family! ❤️🙌🙏🎉

A Prayer For Selah Grace

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My baby cousin, Little Miss Selah Grace, has just been taken back to the OR for open heart surgery. Join me in prayer…
Heavenly Father, we come together in prayer this morning, to lift up Selah Grace. We know she has several heart issues Lord, but we also know You are The Great Physician! We pray that You would watch over the entire team in the room with Selah; we pray you guide the hands of her surgeon. Lord, we also pray that You continue giving Selah Your strength, the strength only You are able to give. We know she is very strong, but with You on her side, she’s even stronger! Thank you for watching over her since she was born 18 days ago and we trust You will continue watching over her. Only You know what is best for Selah; what she needs and when she needs it. We trust this is You intervening with the moving up of her surgery. May Selah Grace have a wonderful surgery and an even better recovery so that she can finally go home with her brothers and mom and dad and that they can all hold her and love on her ❤️ I pray for the entire family and most importantly Selah’s mother and father as they wait during surgery. Let Your comfort and peace be over them. Just as David went up against Goliath without physical armor, so Selah goes against her giant, both having You as their armor, strength and courage and we have faith that Selah Grace will be victorious! We pray this all in YOUR name, AMEN!❤️🙌🙏💪

Little Miss Selah Grace

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Hi everyone! This is my baby cousin (my cousin Kayla’s baby girl). Her name is Selah Grace and she was born on October 5th, 2019. She has always looked so great since birth, one would never know she was born with a few complicated heart issues. She has some leaky valves, among other things, but the main concern now is getting the leaks fixed. She was set for surgery this Thursday the 24th which is actually her mother’s birthday, however her surgery has been moved up to tomorrow Oct 23rd at 8:15am. She has been able to do things that most of the little patients in her position don’t normally do, so needless to say she is a very strong little girl! She was born a fighter and God has given her the strength every step of the way and we believe He will continue to do so! We believe very much in the power of prayer and I am asking all of you to please keep my precious cousin in your prayers! Please pray God will guide the hands of the surgeons tomorrow and pray for His comfort and peace to be over the family during the waiting period. They said it could be a shorter surgery or it could go up to 8 hours! Please pray for Selah to come out of surgery with wonderful improvement and be on her road to going home with her family! Let’s pray that Momma gets to hold her baby girl very soon, as she hasn’t been able to because of all the pesky tubes! This baby girl is already such a symbol of strength and I have faith that she will do wonderfully in surgery and after! Please remember Selah Grace today, tomorrow (especially during surgery time) and every day after! God bless you Selah Grace! We love you baby girl!❤️🙏💪 Please feel free to comment on this post your well wishes for the family! Let them know you’ll be praying!

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Reaction or Response

As I sat here in my semi-cleaned kitchen, chomping on baby carrots (straight from the bag because I like to live my life on the edge) and sipping my sparkling water, I came across a thought-provoking post on a social media outlet. The question posed to the readers was, do you mindlessly react to situations or do you thoughtfully respond? A rather deep question, it would seem, for a person in my current state who was just asking herself the equally deep question, “…should I get some ranch to dip these carrots in?” In all seriousness, this question did beckon a response from myself. I felt the response I gave wasn’t all too shabby, so it sparked the decision to blog! Here was my response,

“I would agree, reacting can be this reflex action sometimes, but I try to be more mindful. As you said, some days we will be more successful with responding than others, but at least we are making the effort to self-correct! In certain circumstances, reacting can be momentarily gratifying but that is always short-lived. It goes back to the old saying, ” Two wrongs don’t make a right.” I try to reflect what I want seen in the world. Although our mind may tell us, “react, they NEED to see my reaction!” I think simply responding speaks volumes. Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset! ❤ “

I would like to elaborate more on my response.

Certain times throughout our days, people may disrespect us or try to provoke us and if you’re like me, your mind tells you REACT REACT REACT. We can’t fathom sometimes the act of just thinking before reacting. Instead of taking a breath and contemplating a more intelligent and graceful response, we want to show we can go toe-to-toe with this person and possibly one up their actions. We don’t believe we should be disrespected, so we think we will teach the other person a lesson by beating them at their own game. While I’ll agree that I don’t usually extend respect to someone who isn’t extending it to me, we can most certainly stop and think of a better way to respond. I’m often hearing a voice in my head reminding me, ” …quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger…” which comes from James 1:19-20.

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Sometimes, this appears as a weakness in the eyes of others. They believe if we don’t meet a negative with another negative, that we don’t have any self-respect and we allow people to walk all over us. Not true! There is a healthy balance where you can respectfully be assertive while thoughtfully responding to what has just been done or said. As I mentioned in my response, there can be a momentary sense of gratification after “putting someone in their place” and trust me, I KNOW some people seem to need that reaction or don’t seem to be receptive to anything unless you do choose to react, but those same people also get gratification out of provoking you; when they see you react they know they have the ability to control your emotions. Although they may be somewhat offended by you putting them in their place, they still feel pride that they were able to disrupt your inner peace and joy. Those individuals will love knowing that although they may not have gotten what they set out to get, they still caused you to react which will likely spill over into the rest of your day and onto others you come in contact with. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem worth it. It’s also worth noting that these individuals are prepared to meet reaction with reaction, so a thoughtful response rather than a mindless reaction can truly throw a monkey wrench into their plans and really throw them off their game.

Some people we encounter may not even intentionally set out to provoke a reaction from us, so once their mindless reaction is met with a thoughtful response, this serves as a wake up call and reminds them that grace is better than retaliation. This could also serve as a reminder to believers that we are to be a reflection of God to others, and extend the grace He freely give us to others as well. To reiterate, you will be more successful some day than others, but the important fact is that you are acknowledging and putting forth the effort for self-correction. It will not happen over night, or even all at once, but over time you will see that the little corrections here and there will retrain your mind. I am in no way telling you not to stand up for yourself, but choose a wise way of doing so. There are usually always those extenuating circumstances, but normally those aren’t  occurring on the daily.

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I loved what I had to say at the very end of my response and I think God gave me those words in that moment! “Our mindset can change many things in our lives, and the beauty is, it can always be reset!”  We like to believe that we don’t have the power to retrain our minds, but this is simply false. I can tell you that from personal experience with extreme anxiety, panic attacks, depression and more, that I truly have felt with all my being that “I cannot come back from this. I am too far gone.” Something I want everyone out there reading is to know you are NEVER too far gone! You can always come back to center and reset. Trust me, anyone who would have witnessed how bad things got for me, would have said there is no way to recover from this and certainly not without being heavily medicated. While I am in no way condemning getting help in the form of medication, what I am saying is you CAN get back! God allowed me to get so lost that once I was able to find my way back, I knew how to help myself and more importantly, how to help others! I found understanding and purpose! So, if you’re someone who feels that you cannot retrain your mind to be more positive, that it’s impossible for you, hear me tell you IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE and if you truly desire to, YOU CAN DO IT! Self-correcting once a month, once a week, or once a day is all equally productive! It starts off small and over time will multiply and before you realize it, you are thoughtfully responding rather than mindlessly reacting! It takes no effort what-so-ever to impulsively react, but it takes true strength and character to be mindful of how you will respond.

Much Love and God Bless XO

The Feeling Of Defeat.

Have you ever felt defeated?

Have you ever woke up and already felt like you’re one step behind?

This week, maybe even a little longer, has felt so crazy to me. I have felt overwhelmed and stressed out and just on edge. It’s as if more and more keeps getting piled on top of my shoulders and I’m starting to sink into the ground! One little thing goes wrong, which leads to another, which adds to the pile and then pretty soon I’m drowning in emotions…ALL of them! I’m down because there are SO many tasks to be done, yet there never seems to be enough time for them all. I will feel like a failure many days because I haven’t gotten every little thing done that I needed to or planned to. The expectations I set for myself may exceed what one person could or should do in a day, but I get frustrated nonetheless. This can just bring on more negative…depression, anxiety, lacking patience, anger and even self pity.  We as humans get into these “funks” and before we realize it we’ve already spent way too much time there. I do not like negativity at all, yet when I get into one of these funks, the output is negative-negative-negative!

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Recently,  I have started throwing myself into working out again and just simply being more active. Like I mentioned before, this week has been pretty crazy and I woke up feeling off. I checked the verse of the day and it was one that has carried me throughout most of my life. Isaiah 41:10.Screenshot_20190719-052516

I truly didn’t think much of it this morning and I went on with my day. I had this online seminar I was to attend at a specific time today…long story short, my internet connection is super slow and it would not work on my phone, so 45 mins into trying to get into this online event and no luck. I tried everything and still couldn’t get it to work. FINALLY I was able to get in and got the information I needed and was blessed that it wasn’t completely over with! That one thing that seems so minor now, just added to the pile and truly made me feel even more defeated.

A little later on, I got ready for my 2 mile walk. Just getting to the treadmill when you have 3 kids is an accomplishment in itself! I’m a fan of music; I have always loved a huge array of music and normally I’d put my Pandora on a station which is going to kick out rock of some sort while I am on my walk…today though, I felt a tugging at my heart to go to one of my Christian stations I have programmed on there. I go to the station, which would normally play songs with a variety of messages, as the first song starts I notice it’s a favorite of mine Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns.Screenshot_20190805-074029~2 I didn’t think much of the message it speaks, then the next song comes on In The Eye Of The Storm, which kind of catches my attention. Screenshot_20190805-074311This goes on the entire walk. Praise You In This Storm comes on and I think to myself, I hear you. Screenshot_20190805-074606.pngThe songs started out as recognition of being in the midst of these storms of life “I see you, I hear you…” then they turned to “now here is what to do.” It’s far too easy to get caught up in the negativity that piles up and just succumbing to it. We forget that most of it can be little issues which we have let turn into something far larger than what’s needed. I tend to tell others often, somewhere someone is wishing to have the problem you’re having because they’re going through something much more intense and then here I am giving into these negative feelings and thoughts which then adds to the guilt I’m already feeling.

Today I am reminded that there are indeed others out there who wish for my problems. I am also reminded that there are others out there feeling exactly how I am feeling and I am not as alone as I often feel! Let us learn to let go of the small stuff and let God handle it for us. With anxiety, you think about EVERYTHING, you obsess over little things and you worry constantly. God calls us not to be anxious for anything but instead bring it to Him. My life is FULL of so many blessings and miracles and they outweigh all the negative, hands down! I pray to see from God’s perspective daily. Screenshot_20190805-074940.pngI pray for the strength to only here the voice of truth through all of the things swirling around in my mind. I am thankful for the reminder that God is always there, no matter the circumstance and I am seen and heard. I am thankful that His breath is in my lungs and I don’t have to take on life alone. Every day, whether it’s good or bad, is a blessing. Every day is a day that God has already planned for you far before you were born. He knows just what should happen and when. He knows exactly what we all are going to have to stand against and He never leaves our side. I don’t know about you, but I feel very unworthy of that…especially when I am wallowing in my own self pity.

I pray for everyone reading this that if you are feeling defeated think of those out there who are literally fighting for their lives daily and still they wear a smile every single day. Our issues may seem big and they may just actually be big, but somewhere hidden in the midst of our struggles are blessings, we just need to change our mindset to find them.

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Much love and God Bless!

Armor of God Series: Sword of the Spirit & Helmet of Salvation

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In Ephesians 6:17 (as seen above) you’ll notice the helmet is listed before the sword, but in this post I am going to touch on the Sword of the Spirit first. I hope everyone reading has not only found this series interesting but informative as well. My hope is that everyone take these words to heart and apply them to their own lives.

The Sword of the Spirit is a weapon belonging to the Holy Spirit. Not unlike in battle where a sword is used to protect ourselves, His Word is our protection against the enemies attacks; our sword. Whether in battle years ago or in our spiritual battle, in order to wield the sword properly we must first learn how to use it; we must go through training in order to receive it’s full benefits. All Christians need proper training to understand the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; the Holy Scriptures.

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The Word of God (The Bible) is from The Holy Spirit and written by men. Only when understood and used properly, can the Word of God or Sword of the Spirit be effectively used as protection against evil.

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Hebrews describes the Word of God as a sword, and not just any sword but sharper than any double edged sword. Double edged swords are known to be easier to penetrate and cut in every way and in telling us that His Word is sharper, it is giving us the knowledge that His Word penetrates our hearts and gets to our very core where it reveals our true motives and feelings.

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The purpose of the Sword is to give us strength and allow us to withstand the evil attacks of the enemy. The Holy Spirit uses the power of God’s Word to not only save souls, but also to give us strength to become mature soldiers of Christ so that we may fight against the corrupt world we live in. The more we familiarize ourselves with His Word, the more useful we will become in carrying out His Will and the more effectively we can stand against the enemy.

Helmet Of Salvation

I saved the Helmet of Salvation for last because, quite simply, when putting on armor it would be the last piece to go on. When suiting up, our helmet would go on last, signifying our final act of readiness. In battle, the helmet is vital for survival as it protects the brain. If a soldier’s head becomes injured, the rest of the armor then becomes impractical.

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Our defense against the enemy is our assurance of salvation. In preparation, we must secure our Helmet of Salvation. The salvation which God gifts us is on-going; an eternal state which we can enjoy daily protection and deliverance from both Satan’s schemes and our sins.

The power of the cross cancels out the hold the enemy has on us. Satan is aware of this, but he also knows that not all of us are aware of that fact or that most of us don’t live as if we are aware. It is imperative that we learn to keep our helmet secure so that the enemy doesn’t enter into our minds. If we allow him into our thoughts, he will gain control of us. We can never fight against attacks if we are already defeated in our minds.

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Through the Helmet of Salvation we destroy every obstacle that hinders us from knowing God.  There are steps we can take to ensure that our helmet stays securely fastened and functional. We can renew our minds for starters. Our minds are our battlefields and the outcome of our battles determines the course of our lives.

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We must allow truth to erase all of our old ideas, opinions or world views and replace them with what we know to be right through His Word. Allow that truth to wash away the filth of this world, all of it’s lies and confusion from our minds, so that we may see how God sees. We can also reject doubts caused by our circumstances. Humans are emotional creatures by nature. We are sensitive and we tend to ignore anything we cannot come to comprehend through our senses. If we allow our situations to dictate our thoughts, they will likely convince us that God doesn’t love us and that His Word isn’t true. Where there is doubt, there is no faith and where there is faith, there is no doubt. You cannot have both at once. Through our faith, we choose to believe the appearance of the impossible.

Another thing we can do is, when life doesn’t seem to be going our way, we can look to Him and keep an eternal perspective. Salvation is the most priceless and precious gift we have received and remembering that can help us get through any of life’s storms. We would do well to remember that victory has already been attained.

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In knowing that we are dead to sin and alive in Christ, we rid Satan of his trap and opportunities. We cut off failure.

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We can find hope in Him. The Helmet of Salvation is most effective when we value what it represents. We have to treasure it more than any other earthly possession; it just not be regarded as such. We can phase out our enemy by making God our focus. Wearing out helmet daily allows us to guard and protect our minds from any tricks the devil tries to play on us. It will help us guard our minds from excessive worldly influence, allowing us to think of things which bring honor to God. The Helmet of Salvation protects our hearts as well as our minds.

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Don’t let this be the end of your Armor of God Series. I hope I can encourage you all to dive into His Word and study yourself. I have been a Christian for my whole life, being born again at the age of 9. Although I was baptized at an earlier age (a couple years prior) when I reached 9 years old I felt like I truly understood the gift of being born again and wanted to make it known publicly by another baptism. Not necessary, but symbolic. I’m  almost to 31 years of age and I can assure you that the more I study God’s Word, the more things I see that I never did before. Imagine how many times I have heard some of these passages in my life and yet, each time (like us daily, through Him) they become brand new. What I am saying is, no matter what stage you are at in your faith/beliefs, you can always uncover something you haven’t before.

God, I pray over everyone who has taken this series journey with me, that they read my words and see You in them. I pray that they understand You more and what You have done for them and what You are willing to do for them. I pray every knows it is never too late to come to You and there is never a point in life where they are “too far gone”, they can always come home. Thank you for using me to reach so many and I pray that You continue to use me. I lift up everyone reading who is struggling or has things going on in their life causing them distress, may you comfort them, guide them and heal them. Thank You for the gift of Salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. In Your name I pray. Amen.

One more thing.

I know I spoke a bit about being baptized, but I want to stress that you can become born again without baptism. If you accept Jesus in your heart, regardless of baptism, you are still saved. You still have a place in Heaven. Don’t think that because you haven’t been baptized or can’t for some reason that you aren’t truly saved. Baptism is a nice public show of being born again and if you are able you definitely should have that celebration, but know that it is not essential for becoming new. Anyone out there reading, from right where you’re sitting, can pray to God admitting that you are a sinner and have sinned, that you believe God is the one and only God and sent His son Jesus to die for our sins on the cross and confess that Jesus is Lord of your life and you commit your life to following His Word and you will be saved. Ask Jesus to come into your heart and you will receive the gift of salvation. That’s easily. We as Christians must commit to turning away from our old way of living, our old ways of thinking and embrace truth through His Word.

Since starting this blog and sharing His Word with others, I have felt a renewed sense of faith. I have always had what I feel to be a strong faith, but feel closer to God as I study His Word more and more. I want to publicly rededicate my life to Him today, right here on my blog. I want to become stronger if my faith and to continue seeking God in all that I do in life. I want to do more. I want to renew my heart and mind and reprogram it with the knowledge I have always had but may have not always put into practice. I don’t want to just simply be saved, I want to help save others and live my life in a way that bring honor to God. I want my faith in Him to be so evident that people who don’t know me know that there is something different about me! What a blessing for the end of this series. I wasn’t aware that I would end with this or feel led to do so, but how amazing it is 🙌🎉

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Much love and God Bless 💓