Grateful Heart

Good Morning Everyone!

I’m not quite sure if today I will be able to continue blogging my notes from the sermon series I have been listening to, it may have to be tomorrow. It would seem today is leading me down a different path; I seem to have woke up with a message on my heart, so we’ll see how it unfolds. I’m sure God is leading me to this message for a reason, so it’s likely something to offer peace and comfort to all of us in some form. ❀ Wherever He leads, I’ll go!

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I woke up this morning with an urgency to discuss gratefulness. Many of us, like myself, would say they’d consider themselves to be a rather grateful person; always doing their best daily to thank God for the blessings in their lives. Honestly, some days it seems I give thanks constantly because I am filled with an unexplainable joy. Good times seem to cultivate more joy and without much effort. What of the not-so-good days? How can we remain grateful, with that same unexplainable joy when our days aren’t going well or our life has taken some unexpected sharp turn?

I know I may seem wise, but I don’t have all the answers πŸ˜‰ I will, however use personal experiences to give my best opinion/views on the matter. I also love using Bible scriptures as a reference because the Bible is our cheat sheet…it has all the answers to any question we will ever have, we only need to look.

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Most of us would say, I have a grateful heart. I wake up each morning, thank God for the gift of life and for the health and contentment of myself and my family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this scenario; it’s ideal! We should be thanking God as soon as we wake up because He is the reason we do. But, we have all had those times in our lives when we have gotten so deep down in our trials that we wonder if we even want to wake to face another day. Of course, to me, this is a form of bitterness; something has gone wrong in our lives and we are a bit bitter and confused. We think things we don’t mean wholeheartedly because we feel pain, hurt and sadness. We want to know why. Why God is something like this happening to me? Am I not a good person? Am I not worthy?

A simple fact of life is, bad things can happen to the “best” of people just as they can to the “worst” of people. We are all human and no matter how good we are, we are never immune to the bad experiences in life. There is ALWAYS a reason, very evident or not, for why we are assigned specific mountains at certain times. In any circumstance, I can guarantee that a gift is hidden in the darkest of times. You’re being equipped to help someone else who will need you or your words. We can all appreciate and be thankful for people in our lives who give us great words and express care during our tough times, but in all honesty, don’t we wonder how they know how we feel when they haven’t been in our situation? We feel their heart is in the right place, they’re saying all the right things, but in a way their words are empty to us because we don’t believe they can relate. So, whose words can hold meaning to us most? Yes! The ones who have endured things we are going through. Someone who has personally been where we are at and made it to the other side! I believe any bad we go through gives us this unique ability to be someone else’s hope and light in their time of darkness. I know I sound repetitive with that statement, but it’s so true. Think of how many more people you can reach on a personal level, when you have been through some of the same situations they have. That is the beauty in our pain. That is where our gratefulness can come from in our darkest hours. We can thank Him for allowing us to go through this terrible time, because we know He has much bigger things in store for us. Trust me, in those hours, I KNOW it can be difficult and almost near impossible for us to think that way. It’s in our nature to question why something is happening to us, but remember we have tunnel vision and God has that panoramic view; He sees the whole picture, while our focus is what’s right in front of us at this moment.

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One of my most difficult times with maintaining a grateful heart during a hard time was when I endured the loss of my pregnancy in 2014. January 16th, 2014 to be exact; one never forgets. My husband and I had our oldest son at the time, he was approaching 2 years old, yet we were so excited to be expecting another child. We love babies and they’re an amazing miracle from God! Unfortunately, our baby wasn’t to be here on this Earth with us…we were unaware we had conceived a real angel. I feel we often forget that our babies are a true gift from God and they’re His before they are ever ours. Even with that knowledge, the pain didn’t seem to subside any. I was about 7-8 weeks when we lost our pregnancy. Some would say an insignificant amount of time to have such a tremendous reaction to, but no matter the size of the baby or the amount of time you carry your baby…it was still a part of you. You had plans for this baby that went years into the future; it was already a part of your life because it was a part of you. I remember going to the hospital because I had to leave work early that day because I started bleeding. Of course, some bleeding can be considered normal in the beginning of pregnancies, I however was not convinced. I guess I just knew in my heart where this was leading at that point. I passed some clots prior to leaving for the hospital and all I could do was cry. I do remember telling my father through my tears that if I’m losing my baby, it’s what God thinks is best for my baby and I. Still sadness was ever-present. There I sat in the hospital waiting room…waiting and waiting and all the while still bleeding. I felt like I’m losing my baby and no one is trying to help me. It’s an emergency! I’m in a hospital, I’m pregnant and bleeding and I can’t save my own baby and no one is coming to help; I must wait. What a sick and devastating feeling, especially as a mother, knowing what’s happening to your baby and yet you cannot do one thing to stop the process…all you can do is witness the unfolding of events. After waiting in the waiting room, being called back for blood work, then sent back to the waiting room, then called back to lay in a hospital bed in the middle of a crowded hallway and given an IV, I was finally seen. By the time they administered an ultrasound, there was no sign of pregnancy; like my baby never even existed. It was heartbreaking. At some point from leaving our home to waiting in the hospital, we had lost our baby. I had lost our baby. Guilt weighed heavy on me, as I felt I had failed at my job as a mother. I felt I had failed to keep my child safe and protected. They gave me a discharge paper which read in big, bold print: Miscarriage; then they sent us on our way. My husband and I got to the car and as we were leaving we just stopped the vehicle and held each other crying. It was such a long day, yet it seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. It’s a sadness and pain I would never wish on anyone. I struggled with seeing pregnant women or babies. I am a person who has always loved children and babies and pregnancy etc, yet I developed this aversion to them. I worked in a grocery store so it’s not like I could escape them. I remember crying because I missed being pregnant and knowing I was having another baby, yet I also cried because I didn’t want to be that kind of person. I didn’t want to feel that feeling of avoidance when encountering pregnant women, babies and children. I knew miscarriage was a common occurrence but we never imagine it could happen to us until it does. I’m not going to say I did not struggle and still don’t shed tears for our angel baby, but I chose a grateful heart instead of accepting a bitter one. I thanked God for the short time I had with our baby and I chose to talk openly about it to not only help my healing process, but to bring honor to the life we had made. I chose to name our baby, although gender was unknown, I went with Uriel, which means “God is my light.” It was confusing and one of our toughest times, but I told others I would be open about it because God will use me to help others going through the same circumstances and that He did! I have be able to help several people since and was able to give them comfort, peace and hope that no one else could.

Of course that example was one of many. Whether it’s my anxiety disorder, depression, struggles with self harm/ suicidal thoughts and tendencies and all that I have experienced, the same gift has come from all of it…the gift of light. In those times I often wondered the meaning and purpose of it all, but as time went by I had my “ah-ha!” moments. I realized God had better plans for my life. He might say yes, no, wait or simply not right now, but trust me when I say better is around the corner. ❀

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I sit here typing this to you at 30 weeks pregnant today with our 4th baby (3rd earthly baby). God is good πŸ™Œ Nothing is impossible with Him! I know He cares for my Uriel until I am reunited with him/her later in life. I am still blessed in many ways! I am very blessed to be able to speak from a personal place to all of you as well! I pray my words always help someone who needs it! Let’s all be grateful in the good and bad times because we know God is for us, not against us!

Much Love and God Bless! ❀

A Clear Conscience

God addresses the challenges of life and offers us answers through His word, the Bible. In my last blog, I shared from the sermon series on Soul Therapy, which was all about Accepting Myself. We are a spirit. We have a soul. We live in a body. We should be viewing ourselves as God views us and be unconcerned with how the world views us. This blog is a continuation of that same sermon series of Soul Therapy. As you can see, this one will touch on the subject of a clear conscience and living with guilt.

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Conscience: A sense of right and wrong; it governs our thoughts and actions.

Many of us, Christian or not, live with a guilty conscience. We even get to a point where we don’t feel comfortable in God’s presence…whether praying, attending church etc. We often forget that we have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

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The key to a clear conscience is dealing with guilt.

Guilt: The nagging knowledge that we have done wrong; often accompanied by regret and shame.

There is both a positive guilt and a negative guilt. Living with negative guilt can rob us of any relationship in life, even our relationship with God. Positive guilt is the kind of guilt we are overcome with through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit will convict us for things we have done wrong in the eyes of God. The Holy Spirit’s guilt is specific and focuses on exactly what we have done wrong and points us to God.

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The Spirit’s conviction will always point us to God, who offers forgiveness through repentance. When we repent we see our errors and commit ourselves to going God’s way. The Holy Spirit offers us the positive kind of guilt in that it always allows you an escape from danger; a remedy for your circumstance. The Spirit will always point you in the right direction and give you hope!

The devil’s guilt is the negative kind of guilt, otherwise known as condemnation. This guilt is never specific and is usually always general. This type of guilt points us away from God and tells us we are hopeless and without worth. Many people are living in condemnation, even when it comes to things they have already been forgiven for through God. The devil is relentless and will continually attempt to break you down. He will repeatedly bring up old issues to produce guilt in you and try to make you feel as a hypocrite, only to strip you of your beliefs. He will force-feed you lies such as, “God will never forgive you” and make you question yourself as a Christian. We must remind ourselves that we are free from condemnation through God! Christianity does not equal perfection. We sin before we become Christians and even after! So many of us become absorbed by guilt and yet we don’t determine it’s correct origin. Where is it coming from? Is it truly the Holy Spirit convicting you or is it the devil making you relive something God has already forgotten?

Sometimes with negative guilt we try to hide the wrong we have done. This may work with hiding from certain people but we all know we cannot hide anything from God. Trying to hide your guilt will weigh heavily on you and your health. You’ll try to ignore it, avoid it and yet you’ll remain miserable and exhausted. We cannot hide our guilt, we have to DEAL with it!

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Another wrong way we try to handle negative guilt is by rationalizing the wrong! Some try to justify their wrong doings like King Saul. King Saul started off on the right path but ended in tragedy. He continually made decisions without consulting God and placed blame elsewhere; always blaming others for the outcome of his own actions. With these type of people there is always a “because” or reason they will give you for why they did wrong. This is not responding correctly to guilt.

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Genesis 3:11-12 is probably the most classic example of someone trying to rationalize and place blame.

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We see God talking to Adam and Adam placing blame on Eve. Instead of owning up to his decision to eat the forbidden fruit (which he was told not to eat) he tried to shift the blame from himself to Eve.

ALL of us know right from wrong. We ALL ultimately make our own decisions in life. We have to stop placing blame for our wrong choices on how we were raised, our parents, our siblings, our friends, where we had to grow up etc and we have to acknowledge we are in charge of what we choose. We have to take responsibility for our actions. There comes a point in time where we are all old enough to know right from wrong and we cannot use those excuses or continue to blame those people or circumstances for our mistakes and bad choices now.

To enjoy a clear conscience we must address the guilt, confess the guilt, accept forgiveness and live freely! Everyone makes mistakes and we will never experience grace if we don’t address our sin.

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God erases our mistakes and makes us clean. He is always offering us a fresh start and we must not let the devil keep reminding us of what God has already forgotten! You’re not obligated to entertain the devil. Put him in his place and live freely through God!

I pray all of us are able to decipher between the positive and negative kind of guilt in our lives. May we all deal with our guilt and set ourselves free! Don’t live in negative guilt and allow the devil to control your mind. Remind yourself that you are forgiven by God. We can never go wrong when we bring our problems to God!

Much Love and God Bless πŸ’š