I’m Grateful But…

This post has turned out to be rather difficult for me to write. Having deleted what I was going to say twice because it sounded more like rantings than actual wisdom. In all honesty, perhaps this title is misleading in that envy isn’t exactly what I’m talking about, but what envy is at it’s core…selfishness.

I’m sick and tired of selfishness, not just in the lives of those around me but in my very own life. It alone has led to depression problems, anger/control issues, marital problems, and so much more. If I was only selfless in all things…wouldn’t that make everything better?

Unfortunately, no one can be completely selfless, not like Christ was, who gave up His life on the cross to save us all from ourselves. He is the very definition of agape love as John described in chapter 15 verse 13: “Greater love has no more than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.”

I want to know what that love is like. I want to be wholly surrendered to God so that I quit stumbling and backsliding on my walk with Him. I must say, sometimes I do envy those who seem to come by selflessness naturally. They are the ones at the forefront of this battleground, winning souls over daily for Christ. Meanwhile, I feel accomplished If I read the Bible for a few minutes a day.

Is this convicting? And yet, how many of you will let such convictions fade away as I have done many times. Praise be to God that He loves us anyway, that He just wants to be close to us, whether that looks like talking to Him as you drive to work, or worshiping Him as you do the dishes.

I was going to spend my time writing about all the selfish things I’ve witnessed around me, but have realized that little can be gained in pointing at others when I struggle with the same thing (Matthew 7:3).

An example, would be the depression I once struggled with a few years ago. I was to the point of almost taking medication and believing it was a mental illness when in reality I had allowed my mind to become rewired into thinking poorly and seeing only the hurt and pain around me and in my own life. I was spiraling and no one could save me from this but God and myself.

It was painful because I had to make the decision to fix how my mind operated, and this could only be done through Christ and talking about my feelings with Christian couples I trusted. I cannot stress this enough, that Christ is the answer here…we don’t have the power to pull ourselves out of the pits we dig without His hand reaching down to pull us up. Our action is also required in that we must accept His help and do the hard dirty work of climbing up out of the pit.

What happens is selfishness takes a backseat instead of sitting upfront in the place where God should be sitting. You see depression is selfish also, as hard as it is to admit, thinking of yourself poorly is still thinking of yourself. If your mind is always consumed with self, that is selfish thinking, it doesn’t have to always be positive. They are two sides to the same coin.

I once heard humility described this way as, “not thinking any less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” From there true healing can commence, something that drugs ultimately prohibit and put off. If you are suffering from depression since childhood, you need Christ to uncover what it was that effected you and caused you to spiral. If you were born with a mental problem which causes depression, know that God’s Will doesn’t include you feeling that way. He wants you to be healed and to seek healing apart from medicated emotional control, He wants you to be free.

For those who are suffering from depression within the past few years, ask yourself when it began and why. If you can pinpoint some traumatic event or loss, most likely you just never allowed yourself a chance to heal or to mourn that loss. There is a healthy way to grieve and if we aren’t careful the devil will get us to grieve indefinitely. Because if we are consumed with self, we will not accomplish the things of Christ.

It is as simple as that, the more inward we are focused the less we can give/pour onto others. That is the one crippling factor of selfishness in that it will rob you of your true destiny and true happiness.

You might think that your heart is king and never makes an error or that your heart is pure and reflects the heart of God for your life, but ultimately if God isn’t on the throne of your heart, you will desire only what is evil and what destroys you. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

The cure is more of God. That is always the answer, to any problem you face in this life. More of God=more joy, love, peace, faith, purpose….etc, etc. And so I will seek more of Him and the closer I become to Him perhaps, I will mirror Christ a bit more until that fateful day when He restores the good work He began in me and I can go home.

If you are struggling with this issue, you aren’t alone. If you are witnessing this around you, simply pray that hearts will be softened to hear the truth because let me tell you, no one who is consumed with selfishness is content, and if they are, they are deceived or only momentarily content. They are like leaves in the breeze chasing something that is incomplete and void. They are chasing a very lie from the enemy and many are falling into this pit today, in America alone.

May God bless you on your journey ever closer to His heart, His ways, and His truth. Amen.

2 Months of Bliss

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“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, the bank balance smaller, home happier, clothes dirty, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for.” -Anon

I am convinced that the greatest gifts in life come at a price. And that price is sacrificial love. Time and effort. Blood and tears. And sometimes, the price is all that you are and all that you have, which, without God, isn’t much…and yet, all He wants.

These past few months have been full of tests, fears, and adjustments. Not to mention, very little sleep, however, these pale in comparison to the joy, love, and fulfillment of motherhood. I love being a mom, and I love especially being James’s mom. God knew what He was doing when He chose me and Aaron to be this boy’s parents, not that we are perfect by any means. God is though, and He makes up for our imperfections and so long as we remain teachable, we continue to become “better” parents and people every day.

To all the mothers reading this, I know you can relate, and remember the long nights you spent caring for your little ones. I have an even greater respect now and appreciation for such love and sacrifice. And a greater wonder at how God created women. Who else can survive days without little to no sleep, or to back it up even further, can carry/grow a baby in the womb and birth the child, withstanding the greatest pain in doing so? I found a strength within me I never thought possible, and now get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and God’s blessing.

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Motherhood has changed my body, but more so, my heart. I have different priorities now, and selfishness has taken a back seat. I don’t have time to be selfish or to chase after my own whims. A child is completely dependant upon his/her parent to meet their every need and desire. I had to remind myself many times to eat and drink or I simply forgot in my constant rush to keep James content.

I’ve noticed also, that a child can challenge one’s own weaknesses or pitfalls. If you had struggles in your marriage/spiritual walk before children, those will most definitely surface when you bring that new baby home. Some tips I’ve gathered these two months on how to overcome such hurdles are as follows:

  1. Make time for your spouse!! Put aside your mothering for a few hours each day and truly talk or spend quality time with your husband. If you can, schedule a date night each week and have some trusted friends or relatives watch the little one. You need this as much as your spouse! Believe me!
  2. Surround yourself with other Christian parents/mothers that you can call or meet up with whenever you feel overwhelmed or worried. Pull from their wellspring of knowledge and put your mind at ease.
  3. Take church with you. If you are struggling to make the early morning services due to lack of sleep or fussy baby, don’t fret. As time passes you will adjust and until then, worship with your baby at home, read your bible between naps or even read it aloud to your little one. Watch sermons online at a more suitable time.
  4. Find a routine. It takes a month or so, but your baby will adjust to a routine you set firmly. Nothing major since they still have to eat/sleep more than you, but with James, we have a pretty solid nightly routine/bedtime schedule set.
  5. Communicate your needs! You and your spouse are in this together and are a team. Take turns watching the baby, doing chores, etc. Respect each other and your needs for sleep/destressing or simply to eat a meal uninterrupted.

At 2 months, I know more than I did at 1 month and will know even more at 3 months. Motherhood is a journey of constant learning and growing just as your little one learns and grows in your arms. And boy, does time fly! Remember to enjoy every minute of it, even when your stressed and your baby is crying…someday soon your little one won’t cry for you anymore but will be strong and independent, ready to take on the world.

To all mothers reading this post, God bless you ❤

He’s Here!!

James Leonard Slob
Born May 30th 2020
7lbs 1oz

On May 29th I celebrated my 26th birthday, hoping and praying that our son would come soon.

The long awaited answer to my prayers came the next morning at 3am when I woke up with cramps and a small water break. From there the clock started ticking…our son was coming soon!

I would go into details about how covid changed this experience for me, and how in some ways it tried to rob me of this joy. But I simply refuse to pay it even that much credit. God’s blessing far out weighs this cursed virus and its societal impact.

I will, however, give credit to all the mother’s out there who have labored without epidurals. Good Lord that was a pain like no other! Though I was induced and that brought what was originally the “end pain” to the beginning of my labor, with only 2-3 minute intervals of peace inbetween.

After hours of labor, once my epidural was doing it’s miraculous work, It was time to meet James. And at around 8:20pm he entered the world and changed our lives forever ❤

We stayed at the hospital 2 days and then brought our little bundle home. The first night brought me to tears as my milk hadn’t come in and James couldn’t be satisfied. That morning though God again came through and now I have plenty to feed him (even freeze for later use).

James is an easy baby, never cries, loves to look around and wave his arms when he’s hungry. He smiles during tummy time and loves to be bathed and held.

I honestly am overwhelmed by how much I love him. I never thought that such a depth was possible. Not to discredit my love for others, I’d die for my family and friends…but the love of a mother is something entirely new and terrifying. Another glimpse into the heart of Father God.

I am honored and blessed beyond measure. Thank you God for trusting me with your precious one. ❤ And thank you everyone for supporting and praying for me throughout this pregnancy journey. God bless you all!

Victims of Victims

Hands pointing fingers at each other. Blame concept.

“We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.”

-Abraham Lincoln 

Scrolling through social media it appears that the devil has won in his grand scheme to turn America and the world against each other. We the people is fading away and being replaced by us vs. them. You can’t go anywhere without feeling the offense, the fingers pointing at everyone but ourselves. Or have we forgotten the childhood phrase, “pointing is rude,” or “when you point, remember three fingers are always pointing back at you?”

My “point” is simply that we have believed ourselves victims for too long and use that as some mantel of power to victimize others. And for what reason? To what end? Honestly, we are playing into someone else’s hand, like puppets or sheep! It’s becoming sickening and downright impossible to find reason or a thirst for truth anywhere in this day and age.

Something must change. Righteous people must stand up before it’s too late…

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” -Abraham Lincoln

Good old Abe went down in history for a reason. He was wise, gentle, righteous, and believed in equality. His America is what’s on the line here and if he knew what was happening today, along with all our forefathers, they would be turning in their graves! Why? What they stood for, the America they would have died for, is nearly in the grave itself, all in the name of progression.

Strange the names they give us to describe their movements:

Progression, Reform, Agenda 2030: Sustainable Development, #inthistogether, #alonetogether, Lives Matter Movements, Pro-Choice, The New Normal, Socialism, Feminism…

The list goes on, and I’m not typing these to necessarily harp on some of the intentions behind them. Obviously, in word alone, these terms aren’t so bad. At least some of them, such as Black/White/Baby Lives Matter, I mean of course we all agree with that! and Progression in and of itself isn’t a “bad” thing, nor is coming together to seek Sustainable Development or to hold hands and say, “we’re in this together!” And Pro-Choice? I’m pro-choice in that I make choices every day…however…

These innocent terms hide a whole lot of evil in them. I mean, satan would never call something as it is. Just as he would never approach you as the wolf he is, but clothed in sheep’s wool.

The terms rightfully mean: Pro-Murder, Regression, Sustainable Control, #enslaved together, Certain Lives Matter More, Female Domination, Communism, etc. I think you see the picture here.

So long as the devil is ruler of this world we must always assume an agenda behind such large waves of societal change that involve the gradual erasing of God and His Word. Waves that travel and persuade through victimization, offense, hatred, manipulation, and even violence are all red flags that something is off.

God works in truth and love.

The devil works in lies and chaos. 

We’ve taken God out of the equation, we’ve removed the good book from our memory and in doing so, have idolized something in His place. Notice, how I say “we.” I too take ownership of my fellow American brethren, because I am an American. So long as I call this land MY land, and it’s people, MY people, I can’t hide from the atrocities nor can I stand apart from them because we all share the same title.

Makes things a bit more personal doesn’t it? Brings a bit more urgency to the table when you’re reputation is on the line, and you share in carrying the sins of a nation. Now, we can better understand the prophets of old who pleaded day and night for their nation and people to return to God. They never once said, “have mercy on them”, but “have mercy on us (me)!”

Satan stands on the side of humanity. He’s all for us humans staying human and seeking to be gods and to progress apart from God’s Will.

God stands on the side of Christ. When we are born again we are new creations, no longer “just humans” but eternal/righteous/saved beings with power and authority that basic humanity could never give us. We were made to reflect Christ, not Adam. And the only progression we should be seeing in our world and in our lives is a transforming progression into the image of Christ.

Jesus Christ.

That is the new term, the only name that will transform this country and world. You want equality? Jesus. You want love? Jesus. You want freedom? Jesus. You want unity? Jesus. You want justice? Jesus…

Stop taking on the devil’s titles, stop being his sheep. Stop believing in the media and letting them tell you how to feel and when to feel it. Seek first the kingdom of God, seek His Holy Spirit’s guidance in all things and you won’t be manipulated like a puppet.

This year has brought a lot of offense to the surface, and most of it was created and spread very much like the coronavirus fear was. The media has grown that powerful, in that it can plant an idea in the minds of those who watch it and then they sit back and watch that idea become an all-consuming flame of hate/fear/offense, furthering their own agenda and desire for power.

I’m not going to go into detail here on what I believe is happening and why. It isn’t biblical to join in the finger-pointing or to turn our attention and anger toward the flesh. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood but against the devil at work in people’s hearts. He is guilty of it all. And will pay for his crimes in full.

Our job is to speak the truth in love, to pray, to worship, and to minister to a hurting world and a people/generation that feels fatherless. It isn’t to argue, or to pick sides, or to point fingers.

I’m a woman, a mixing pot of many ethnicities, a mother, a wife, a Christian, and an American. And most importantly, I’m a child of God.

Everyone has a list, an identity, and a value. In fact, everyone is priceless and Christ died for everyone. If we remembered this simple truth, perhaps we would never feel offended, insecure, or victimized. Christ would be enough and love for our brothers and sisters would come naturally as we see it displayed in the hearts of children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Done With Me Yet

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There are alot of things I’m grateful for as we emerge on the other side of this world pandemic. This and pregnancy has forced me to face some fears and lack of trust I still have towards God. What I’ve learned is how grateful I am that He is not done with me yet and won’t be till that fateful day when Christ returns.

I’ve wasted time on my cell, I’ve fallen a few times into the pit of worry or anxiety, I’ve gotten angry and resentful, and I have pulled away from people and God on a few occasions. Some would excuse this behavior as the result of “pregnancy hormones”, but I know better. All those hormones and emotions did was pull my flaws to the surface, my weaknesses.

As motherhood draws near I am even more compelled to change and grow. I don’t even want to go into labor with this fear and honestly chose to believe that I don’t have to suffer through it either. I don’t know to what extent I will be successful, but regardless I will believe that pain and suffering of every kind were paid for in full on the cross.

If God’s will is “on earth as it is in heaven”, and there exists no pain/tears in heaven, than the answer is clear to me what we must seek and believe. These things won’t be possible until we start believing they are God’s will. Our hearts have to reflect His will.

Waiting is the hardest part.

I’ve waited a lot in my life and sometimes it feels like I’m in an endless desert. My mind is tempted to fear in those moments of waiting, and now that I’m 38 weeks pregnant and can go into labor at any time, I feel this temptation to fear again. I keep imagining what I could go through instead of trusting in God and just surrendering to Him and His will. He told me this would be a joyous occasion and oh how faithful He has been so far! Satan has tried to rob this joy from me and has failed many times throughout these 9 months.

I overcome my fear with expectant hope. I’m ready to hold baby James in my arms, to see his face and hear his cries. I’m ready to begin this new chapter and it is that expectant hope that brings me joy.

Everything is coming to a close.

This virus, this cold winter/spring, this pregnancy is coming to an end…and with it a new beginning for us all.

Turn off the news channels, block out the many voices that are trying to pull fear into the future through their declarations. Seek the Lord and His guidence/discernment and you won’t hear Him saying such things, but reminding you of joy and hope.

It’s no secret what the devil is attempting to do, the sad truth is that despite him using the same old schemes, we still fall prey to them. It’s a cycle of rebellion that goes back to the very beginning. We are creatures of forgetfulness and yet our God is always ready to catch us when we fall, and to fight our battles.

He never gives up on us….on you.

Inducing Labor Naturally

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36 Weeks
Yep, that is my stomach making my feet look so small! Now imagine trying to bend over to put shoes on, phew!! it’s a workout. And I’m typing this late into week 37. My doctor said by 38 weeks (come Tuesday) I can begin trying to induce labor. Yay!

How to Induce labor naturally?

As a first time mother, I have yet to know what methods of labor induction actually work for me. Course, what may work this time could fail me the next pregnancy. It really is a hard thing to pinpoint or to control. Labor ultimately will happen when it happens at God’s chosen moment. Still, it is good to try and bring about what must come since laying around could keep the kid cooking in the womb beyond your due date for sure! Gravity is your friend here and during labor! 👍

I asked many mothers how they induced labor naturally and here are some of their trusted methods, hopefully, this helps! 

  1. Walking (and if cramping/contractions start-keep walking!) 
  2. Yoga ball (stuck at home? Bounce away on a yoga ball) 
  3. Sex (This really is #1 and doctors say it’s the “sure” tested method that works) 
  4. Trampoline (Small or large, a few bounces may just cut it) 
  5. Spicy foods (Some people swear by it, if anything, It couldn’t hurt I guess)
  6. Pelvic Stretches (Even if you don’t go into labor by them, they help you prepare)
  7. Chiropractor (Apparently some Chiropractors can actually induce labor by aligning your pelvic floor…fascinating)
  8. Castor Oil (I don’t recommend this one unless you really are desperate and don’t care about the possible side-effects of this natural laxative) 
  9. Chores (Let the nesting instinct take hold of you, clean, mop, sweep and maybe all that work will also bring about labor too)

I have yet to try any of these but just wanted to share what has worked for the mothers in my life in the hopes that it will help other expectant moms out there. If you can’t go into labor, don’t worry! It’s common for your first child to carry up until or after your due date. Your doctor will then make the call on what is best for you and most likely that will involve inducing you in the hospital with Pitocin/Oxytocin (a hormone that a woman produces anyway to induce labor). 

Also, don’t expect the first sign of labor to be “water breaking.” The movies make it like this is the first step when really it isn’t all that common for your water to break. This they will painlessly do at the hospital once you are in active labor. 

Lastly, be patient. 

Even if you start getting symptoms, or are dilated, it could still mean days or weeks before you meet your baby. If you are like me and don’t want the unnecessary torture of getting your cervix checked at your weekly appointments, then simply ask not to. It’s your right and honestly, checking the cervix for dilation really doesn’t tell you anything between 35-37 weeks because as I said, you could be dilated for weeks or not at all and an hour after your appointment go into labor lol (that is verbatim what my doctor said). 

Just relax, try the steps above when you are feeling energized, and pray that you will meet your baby sooner rather than later. God’s got this! ❤

 

 

 

The Final Stretch

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35 Weeks!!

It was the first ultrasound that I went alone. Thanks to this crazy virus and it’s consuming fear, my husband wasn’t allowed into the office to see our son one last time in the womb. Still, James cooperated great, and here is one of those special pictures I will probably be staring at for the next few weeks as I await his arrival. 😊❤

God has been so good to me and I can’t be more blessed, even during this pandemic I get the constant reminder that God is with me and for me. And His Will? Is that this life should go on…that there IS a future and a hope, otherwise, why else would there be a baby boom happening amidst such times? This baby boom started well before any talk of a virus, and I personally know of over 10 people who are either pregnant now or just had their baby! It really is amazing.

Even as I type this, James is hiccuping steadily (he does this quite often) and is gratefully oblivious to the world he is about to enter. When I look back on these moments I don’t want to remember the looming shadow of covid-19, but the joy of carrying a new life within me. Each new day, he grows older, and I’ll never get a re-do, a chance to go back to this minute, hour, or day. To this moment.

God has been trying to tell me or remind me, that this is a time of joy in my life, and the devil has no power apart from what I give him. He has reassured me that everything will work out and this pandemic will pass quickly, that I have no reason to postpone “celebrating” all the good things He has blessed me with. Our son is a gift from God and I will give God honor and praise, even in the rain!!

The journey has been difficult, and I’ve had many moments where I’ve felt very alone, powerless, or afraid. It’s a confusing time and unfortunately, the complete truth has been unattainable. If I had to name this season I’d call it, “the unknown.” There is nothing that stirs up more fear in the human heart than the unknown. That is why as children (and even adults) we fear the dark and all that is unseen. We fear unexplored territories such as the deepest depths of our ocean, or the far reaches of space. All of these invite both danger, wonder, and fear because we have yet to turn over every rock.

It isn’t that we hope to find something sinister. As a child, running from a dark basement doorway, we never wanted real monsters or ghosts to chase us, we simply believed that they would. And how often were we wrong? Hopefully every time, right? Fear is a liar. And this lack of “knowing” has led to a worldwide panic that I must navigate with my sanity intact.

At my baby shower next week, there will be masks worn over smiling faces, some won’t come, out of this great fear, and others still will sit far away from one another. There is no judgment here or pressure on my end to make people forget. If anyone understands fear, it is me. I’ve had my own monsters to tackle over the years…I simply long to see everyone set free again.

Does the virus pose legitimate concerns? Yes, and for that reason, I want those who are afraid or at risk to do what they feel called to do. I just know that, deep down, this is a spiritual attack, just as much if not more than it is physical…however, God told me to keep straight on the path He has laid out before me, and that is what I intend to do.

My prayer is that those who attend the baby shower will find peace and rest, and be given a chance to escape if only for a while, this unknown world. My husband and I? we are going to celebrate, even if we are the only ones in the room. Because virus or not, James is coming soon and we aren’t novices in fighting an unseen enemy, as Christians, that is what we do, sometimes on a daily basis.

In life there will always be a certain amount of unknowns, I have yet to know what labor will be like, for example. But I have hope to counter the fear and uncertainty I face, that hope is in Jesus. He is with me tomorrow and today, He is making a way for me, and His promises are good. I trust in Him and want my son to grow up knowing that and experiencing that trust for himself. James is going to look to me and Aaron to know how far he can grow in his Faith, I want him to see that he can continually grow because his parents are doing just that.

My heart goes out for all of you, especially those who have had to postpone weddings, parties, graduations, and baby showers of your own. My heart breaks for those who have had to give birth alone, who couldn’t attend a loved one’s funeral, or who couldn’t be there at the hospital for a dying or suffering relative. Just know that if this feels wrong in your heart, that is because it is. We aren’t creatures of loneliness, and were never made to do any of this life apart. But take heart! Tomorrow is a new day, and no storm lasts forever, the sun is within sight now and we will taste the victory together!

May God bless you and guide you, may He wash away your fear and give you discernment instead. May you find an abundance of joy that can’t be explained, except by the power of Christ, and the unshakable hope we have in Him, in life and death. Amen and Amen. ❤

 

 

God or Humanity

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“The most dangerous thing you can do is to take any one impulse of your own nature and set it up as the thing you ought to follow at all costs. There is not one of them which will not make us into devils if we set it up as an absolute guide. You might think the love of humanity, in general, was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials “for the sake of humanity,” and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man.” 

-C.S. Lewis

Humanitarianism was never in itself “bad.” In a world full of sin and destruction, a kind act,  from anyone, is highly sought after and deemed “good.” So why attack a humanitarian? Do they not work alongside the Christian missionaries to bring about world change?

The thing about godly traits is that they can be easily warped outside of Faith. Hence, what C.S. Lewis said above, that we can begin to do an evil act, sometimes without realizing it, all in the name of “humanity!” Be it seeking equality or justice, protecting minorities, or even in how we combat a global pandemic. The truth is, apart from God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we can start operating under this false sense of humanitarianism, believing that we are in the right and that we alone are governed by morality, while everyone else…well…is against humanity.

Fear for the preservation of life is an innate human quality. We were made to value our lives and to value the lives of others. However, again, if we remove God from the equation, that fear can become a monster, as I have seen demonstrated quite clearly in the last few weeks. Some examples?

Arresting people unjustly, neighbors and friends reporting others to the authorities for not maintaining quarantine orders (which vary state by state), fights erupting because someone “invaded” another’s social distancing space in line, masks being forced onto people and those without masks being labeled as “heartless and cruel,” businesses being attacked for trying to retain their livelihood, skate parks being filled in with sand, the right to freedom of speech and expression being attacked and deemed “nonessential”, churches being fined and pastors arrested, differing views being removed from social media….the list goes on and on…

Regardless of your stance on these matters, I think we can all agree that to a level, this has gotten out of hand. The “panic” is still at large and is turning many good well-meaning people into vipers. Many Christians have embraced humanity over faith, have forgotten what love looks like in the face of this worldwide fear. Weren’t we supposed to be the light? Whatever happened to “what would Jesus do?” Honestly, I feel like I’m surrounded by dictator-like humanitarians and very few Christians a.k.a “little Christs.”

And how can we stand to correct them? In their minds, what they are doing is right for the world and we are the ones who are labeled as selfish and unthinking for going against the tide. Just look at how the churches are being attacked, all it took was fear to change a nation, a world. Fear has turned a sanctuary into a breeding ground for disaster.

I admit that revivals are taking place and while many are turning away from their faith, many more are turning back to God. That this pandemic is opening eyes all around to the evil schemes of this world and is finally making people question the gov’t and authorities at work in their lives. All this is happening even while others do the opposite, giving away their freedoms so readily, believing in the news so easily when before they would have questioned what they heard and seen. I find it very unsettling how quickly we can turn back on our words and our very beliefs..actually, I think the heart of the problem is that we never really did “believe” and it took a pandemic to bring those unbeliefs to the surface.

So what is a healthy response to this?

To be honest, I’m still working that one out! How do I walk in faith, not fall for the lies and yet respect the fears of others? At what point do I fight for my freedoms and at what point do I relent? How much should I be protecting myself and others, and what is taking it too far and operating solely in fear? What do I believe and what do I question from statistics to doctors, to even the articles shared amidst friends? How should the church operate under these circumstances? At what point do we simply just do what we feel is right regardless of what others think of us?

These are just a few of the questions circling my head and up until this point I have tried to take a middle ground and have chosen faith above fear. I have respected the choices of others but haven’t relented to their fears myself. I have practiced good hygiene and have kept quarantined to my house except for church and occasionally the grocery store or doctor. I have kept clear away from the elderly and at-risk individuals in my family and have practiced social distancing in public whenever possible. I haven’t forced my presence upon anyone but have prayed for people’s protection and healing daily.

Despite this, many would label me as heartless and uncaring toward my fellow man. As if I must be fully adherent to every guideline set in place without question in order to be considered a thoughtful human being or member of society.

I’m not trying to sound offended, in fact, I am more disappointed than I am personally angry. It isn’t my job as a Christian to judge another’s convictions, nor to fight for the sake of my reputation, that battle is better left with God and is proven genuine by our actions. I’m disappointed that people aren’t thinking for themselves, I’m saddened that those I care very deeply about are living in constant fear and are suffering mentally from the toll of carrying it all alone.

I care about our country and our freedoms as well as caring about our health and the protection of those who need it most. I care about our economy and I care about the lives that have been lost, be it from covid or anything else, I promise you that death is not right and never will be. I care about those who are very alone right now, and how this whole quarantine might actually be doing more harm than good to them and their peace. I care about justice and equality, and I care about all those suffering from medical illnesses apart from covid that aren’t easily getting the treatment they need during this time. I care about my self and my unborn baby, as well as my own mental state which could affect my child as well. And I care about the truth, a truth that is more and more muddied and harder to distinguish, nevertheless there is freedom in truth and I long for the full truth to be made known to the world.

I refuse to submit to something I do not believe. I refuse to bow to something that doesn’t feel right in my Spirit, and I encourage every Christian reading to do the same. Your convictions may differ from mine, and that’s ok, so long as they come from a place of peace and not fear, you are bound to follow your convictions and I am bound to follow mine. At the end of the day, we must answer to God alone, and it is His Will and His Heart that should interest us, that should drive us forward on our walk. Condemnation is not from God, conviction, however, is. Do not be swayed by this world but remember that you are set apart from it for a reason.

Perhaps when this thing blows over we will all have a new perspective, a new appreciation for the things that God has blessed us with. Maybe we might even grow and mature in Christ and discover new ways to help others. Maybe we will realize that we could’ve done better, that maybe we cast aside our faith too quickly, or tried to do good apart from Christ for the sake of humanity. I don’t know…my hope is that at least, we all learned how to love a little deeper.

 

 

Don’t Throw in the Towel

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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

-Joshua 1:9

I haven’t posted in a while, because quite honestly I’ve been unsure of what to say. It is strange to be in such a situation where basic biblical wisdom and understanding becomes muddied and difficult to determine. This is the first time in our lives we have faced a worldwide pandemic, or as Bryan Fischer of Focal Point so rightfully called it, “panic-demic.” What is the right response to such a foe? Is there really anything we can believe or discredit about such a new virus?

Perhaps it is time I step back and take a look at what I know to be the truth, before delving into all the mess surrounding this situation. Let’s list them:

  1. God is Good-this virus is satan’s doing and God’s Will is that this evil is not only defeated but transformed into good. (Already we see some good coming out of this-strengthening families, counting blessings, universal unity, self-sacrifice, people turning to God….the list goes on)
  2. Fear is a Liar-fear likes to masquerade under the title of “common sense”, when really it shuts down the mind, strips the Christian of his/her authority, and intimidates others who don’t share in the chaos. Fear is putting faith in the wrong power.
  3. Christians have authority-in fact, we are called to the front-lines at such times in order to defeat the enemy and reaffirm truth in the hearts of fellow believers and the lost. We are the bringers of hope and peace and there are many verses supporting that we have been given the authority to carry out the miraculous on the earth. A virus should be no problem.
  4. Follow your convictions-(Romans 14:1-23) talks not only about the importance of following your convictions (so long as they are by the spirit and unto the Lord), but the equal importance of honoring another’s convictions which may very well differ than yours. This includes someone’s lack of faith. Therefore we shouldn’t scold those who do not share in our convictions concerning the virus, it is our duty to do what we feel is right and not to judge another.
  5. Cling to Hope-Hope should always be at the core of who we are. No matter how dire the storm, our unshakable hope in Christ remains. It cannot be taken from us, though we can choose to give it away. Don’t join in the pessimism and doomsday talk, be hopelessly hopeful, believing the best over a situation or person. Our hope was never founded in circumstance, it transcends anything life throws at us.

As Christians, our duty is to honor and love one another. It is that simple. Instead, I see so many fellow Christians attacking their brethren for what they feel is a lack of personal conviction concerning the virus. Churches that have closed are pointing fingers at those who have remained open, and vice versa. Intimidation is at an all-time high as family and friends turn against one another in fear instead of building one another up in faith.

Tell me truly, what is more damaging? Is this virus really the cause of such discord? Has it really caused more damage than we have to ourselves in our fear-driven state of mind? I’m not downplaying the loss of lives here, any death for any reason is a tragedy and not the Will of God. All loss should be mourned from covid-19 victims to aborted babies and yet we have forgotten this very truth?

Babies are still dying, thousands are still losing their lives to the flu and many other illnesses/diseases/and medical conditions…even our fellow Christians are still being persecuted and killed, especially during Easter.

The fact is, we may never know the complete truth concerning this outbreak. And we have to still keep our heads despite this lack of knowledge. In life there are times we must be ok with not having all the answers, this may be one of those times. I get it, truly, the “unknown” leads to uncertainty and this can manifest as fear. Well, I’m here to tell you that you can’t throw in the towel to this fear!

Most of the time our fears are unfounded and quite misleading. Generally, experiencing fear is worse than experiencing the thing we actually feared. Our minds have a wild imagination and we easily imagine the worst-case scenario over the more likely one. However, when we needlessly fear we do give our imaginations power that they didn’t have before. Demons thrive on stolen power, and any authority they have is the authority that we give them. And so, by fearing we actually give ourselves a reason to fear. Yikes!

Lastly, I just want to share how Aaron and I have avoided fear and I want to leave you with the hope that this storm really is passing and will soon be behind us.

-If the news/Facebook/etc. isn’t life-giving than it is better to turn it off than to immerse yourself in it. There are other ways to get the news without as many biased opinions, though as I said before, it is almost better to unplug entirely at this time because no information is complete or correct and many if not all are quite biased and caught up in the “panic.”

-Be smart but don’t let fear control your movements. Whatever you do, do it without fear. If fear is trying to control you then take a step back, surrender it to God and move on. Memorize bible verses that build your faith and trust and recite these aloud when tempted to fear.

-Pray/Worship/Fast-even if you aren’t afraid or caught up in this war against the enemy, it is our duty to pray for the world and love our fellow neighbors. We are servants and God placed us in this world to transform it, not to wait it out till we go to Heaven. Or have we forgotten the prayer concerning God’s Will, “on earth as it is in Heaven.” Bringing Heaven to earth is the goal, and if successful this virus will have no choice but to die.

-Don’t cancel a thing! Reschedule if you must in order to respect others and the authorities in place, however, don’t mourn what you haven’t lost or admit defeat before you have even fought. There is still a long year ahead and satan isn’t going to rob you of it if you don’t let him!

-Reassess your priorities-that involves looking closely at your convictions and making sure that they are not driven by fear. Take this lockdown and start to bring your own “good” out of it. This is free time you won’t probably experience again to this extent. Make the most of it!

My heart goes out to you all and despite my words I do know what it is to experience moments of intense anxiety, fear, and loneliness. This is a difficult time, but we will prevail, and it is nearly over. Grow your faith, test your resolve, so that you can look back on this thing with joy and celebration instead of regret. God bless you all with peace, hope, and both spiritual and physical protection today and always.

And please, if you get the chance, pray for me. I want my unborn son to be proud of who I am, I want to demonstrate now, the kind of Christain woman/mother I desire to be. I know I make mistakes, I don’t always get it right, but I never want him to see me give up. I want him to surpass me on his walk with the Lord, and fulfill his own God-given destiny with as few obstacles as possible. Perhaps the obstacles I face and overcome mean less he will have to face and overcome on his own journey. If this is true, I will not relent, no, I will never throw in the towel. Amen.

 

Learning To Wait

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“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” 

-Psalm 27:13-14

I always thought that I was a patient person. It seems like my whole life has been one waiting game after another. Waiting to graduate, to meet my spouse/marry, to see a spiritual breakthrough in a situation, to be promoted in the kingdom of God, to see our dreams become a reality, to get pregnant…the list goes on, and each time we grew in our patience and trust in the Lord.

Growing up as an only child meant that I would have to be creative during the long summer break from school. I remember having moments of intense boredom, lying in bed racking my brain for anything fun that didn’t involve others. Generally, I ended up reading, playing video games, or creating my own worlds/stories with the stuffed animals/ TY Beanie babies I owned in abundance.

But nothing compared to the rare occasions in which the neighborhood kids asked to play with me. They would pull up on their bikes and mom would let them in through the back gate. Together we would play, eat popsicles, and never run out of fun games/ideas. When before I wanted the days to end, their presence made the days too short.

Today, during this Stay At Home lockdown, I find myself in a similar state of mind. Though, perhaps, this time it’s worse. I’m no longer a child, oblivious to the world and its problems. No matter what I do, I can’t shake the spiritual attack pressing in through my thoughts, threatening the peace and trust within me. It’s a daily battle but I won’t be defeated!

Social distancing has separated me from my usual escapes and favorite people. And though I still trust that this will all blow over soon, it has, unfortunately “changed” some plans. The baby shower was moved to May (I’m due June 2nd) instead of being this weekend, and the long-awaited final 3D ultrasound had to be moved because the doctor’s offices won’t allow my spouse inside. My excitement toward labor has also been under attack, as many hospitals are forcing women to give birth alone during this crisis.

The patience I have so long harbored is ebbing away, like sand through my fingers. How do I maintain patience at such a time as this? I know that I’m not alone in this feeling, many others are pregnant, own small businesses that had to close, or are simply shut off from everyone and everything right now. Thankfully, no matter what you are going through, you are never alone.

I know, it might sound like a Christian catchphrase to smooth over hard times. But that doesn’t change its truth. God never leaves you, He has never left you, and this time of waiting and trusting may be pivotal in your walk with Him.

So many Christians easily claim, “all I need is God/Jesus,” and yet, now find themselves needing//fearing/wanting so much more. Perhaps in this time of waiting, we won’t keep Him waiting. Maybe we’ll take this time to really reflect on what we say we believe, and put our words and faith to the test.

Remember, Easter is coming. Do your problems really stack up to His sacrifice? Does your joy/hope reflect that of an empty grave? No matter what, there are some things the enemy can never take away from you, and those things alone should fill all our hearts with praise!

My advice is to take this time to get to know God and His heart. Worship, pray, and most importantly, listen to His still small voice in your spirit. Just as He is always there, He is always speaking…we are the ones who pull away and fail to listen. As Easter approaches watch The Passion movie or Son of God etc. Often times to change our perspective we need to take a step back. Turn off the news/ take a break from Facebook and instead dive into God’s Word. Watch Him renew your time and give you real rest.

Other waiting tips:

  1. Be outdoors as much as possible! Take walks, ride your bike, find a new place to encounter God.
  2. Keep a journal. Record your thoughts and conversations with God. Challenge yourself to write one thing each day God is teaching you.
  3. Keep some Bible verses handy! Write them on flashcards or record them on your cell so that anytime you are feeling afraid/stressed you can read these verses aloud.
  4. Clean, Clean, Clean! Garden, re-arrange the house, clean out the fridge/closets/cabinets you name it. It just feels good!
  5. Really get to know your kids/spouse. Take advantage of this time to build good memories and draw closer to one another.
  6. Create a schedule. It’s easy to get lazy and that can lead to depression and lack of motivation. Set a schedule to keep your mind/body healthy and to promote action.
  7. Plan a summer yard sale. While you are cleaning you may come across a bunch of junk your willing to part with, now is the best time to gather up all those unwanted items for a yard sale. Summer will be here before you know it!
  8. Don’t overlook those small tasks! That dripping faucet you keep forgetting to fix, that unfinished painting you set aside and haven’t touched in months, make time for these tasks each day and you will feel accomplished.
  9. If you get tired, take a nap. Honestly, so long as you aren’t sleeping the day away, a good 20-minute nap here and there can help relieve stress at this time.
  10. Feeling lonely? text, call, facetime, or set up a “social distancing” get together. What does that look like? You can meet at the park, I’ve even seen people sit in the back of their cars in a parking lot somewhere and just chat at a safe distance. It is up to you to find creative ways to respect the law as well as meet your social needs.
  11. Create a list of blessings and a list of all the things you want to do this year. Be hopelessly optimistic! 2020 isn’t over, it’s only just begun. ❤

May God bless you all with safety and peace during this time of waiting. Hang in there! You are not alone and no storms of life last forever. See?! The end of this thing is coming! It’s just on the horizon, look toward it and trust in the Lord. This time of waiting is coming to an end. Will it have been wasted? That’s entirely up to you…