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3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK

If you’re anything like me, at one point in your life dysfunction has served some sort of role in your life.  Maybe for a short while, or maybe it’s still a struggle.  Whatever role dysfunction has played in your life, our dysfunction doesn’t disqualify us, make us incompetent or inadequate, it makes us human.  We all have had dysfunction in our lives and most of us probably still do.  But that doesn’t mean we are less than or unable to still be used by God in a mighty way.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve had so much dysfunction in my life, I could write a book about it.  Growing up when we had problems we didn’t really talk about them.  God and good counselors have helped me so much in my journey in learning how to deal with my problems in a healthier way.  I actually didn’t know I had developed an unhealthy coping mechanism of codependency as a way to get my needs met.  I was very dependent on people to receive my approval, praise, and worthiness.

'For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.' Galatians 1:10 Click To Tweet

At one point I was a big time people pleaser.  I also felt very validated if I could rescue, fix, or solve someone else’s problems, because then I didn’t have to focus on my own problems.  Along the way I found some eye opening discoveries about my dysfunction that kept me stuck in my circumstances.  Here are 3 myths about my dysfunction I would like to share with you.

3 Myths About Dysfunction That Keep You STUCK:

 MYTH #1–Dysfunction is functional- This is very true for someone who lives in dysfunction.  Dysfunction serves us all well until it doesn’t.  In fact, sometimes we don’t even realize something is dysfunctional in our lives, until it is no longer functional!  The enemy would like nothing more than to keep us hidden in our patterns of dysfunction and tell us these patterns are totally NORMAL. These patterns keep us stuck and hidden from God’s plan for us.  Dysfunction keeps us in chaos, making it hard to hear God’s voice and plan over our lives.  It’s not until dysfunction starts crumbling all around us and we slowly get out of the chaos can we hear and see more clearly, that dysfunction does not serve us well over time.  Over time, dysfunction can become very comfortable for us, making it difficult to detach from it because it’s what we know.  Learning how to separate from your dysfunction can be one of the most loving things you do for yourself.  Detaching from the chaos will help one learn  healthier ways to deal with problems instead of reverting back to unhealthy dysfunctional patterns.  Letting go of codependency or dysfunctional patterns may feel overwhelming at first, but this is the first step in allowing God to refine and renew us for His eternal plans.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

MYTH #2–Dysfunction is Absent from my life.  Can we say denial?  The absence of dysfunction doesn’t mean dysfunction is absent.  I’ll never forget a forensics file episode I watched.  The detective said, ‘the absence of evidence, doesn’t mean that evidence is absent.’  That statement was so profound to me–just because we don’t see the evidence doesn’t mean someone didn’t try to wipe away or clean up the evidence.  Trying to get rid of evidence doesn’t negate a crime happened.  Just like our lives, we can become really good at hiding and ‘cleaning up the crime scene,’ to look really good on the outside but that doesn’t mean dysfunction isn’t still lying underneath the surface.  We can fake it till we make it all we want, but that doesn’t mean our dysfunctional problems will go away if we don’t address them!  Just because we can’t see or recognize our dysfunction, doesn’t mean it’s not there.  The enemy uses dysfunction in our lives to keep us blind and deaf, to not really see or hear God clearly.  This is why it’s so important to stay close to God.  Draw near to Him by reading the Bible and praying.  Knowing what His truth is will set us free every time.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1

MYTH #3–I’m too dysfunctional to be helped- This couldn’t be further from the truth.  If this were true, Jesus would have never came and died on the cross for us.  No one is ever too dysfunctional to receive mercy and forgiveness from our Savior.  Sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed in our dysfunction, that we don’t even know where to begin, and think why bother it will never get better.  This is a lie the enemy would like us to believe, that we are hopeless, not worth rescuing or saving, that we will never be good enough.  It may be true we have dysfunction and make mistakes, but what we do isn’t who we are.  Our dysfunction is an opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.  Our dependence in Him in what He’s able to do, helps us rely on His strength, not our own and trusts He is able.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

Stepping into a place of vulnerability where our dysfunction is revealed can be a scary place to be!  Because that means we have to deal with ourselves and may have to do a lot of work to unravel the mess.  There is no one else I’d rather unravel my mess and peel back the layers of dysfunction with than Jesus.  He knows how to refine, restore, and renew me.

When we allow Jesus into our messes and dysfunction we become crucified in Him. It is no longer us who lives, but Him who lives in us. You are loved, friend! Click To Tweet

Are there dysfunctional patterns that have served you well?

How has dysfunction kept you stuck?

What is one action step you can take today that steps out of dysfunction into God’s presence?

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10 Bible Verses About Marriage & A FREE Marriage Prayer Bookmark!

Do you desire to more Scripture and Prayer to guide your marriage?!?!?  So do I!  I’m so glad you’re here!  Staying close to God’s truth is the best way arm and protect our marriage from what the world says.  So many marriages are under spiritual attack and need the stability of God’s truth to stay grounded and healthy.  Learning what God says about marriage will set our marriages us for success to continue to grow stronger and stronger.  Keep these Scriptures nearby, so you can refer to them at anytime.

Marriage can be like a full-length mirror reflecting our inadequacies and flaws or like iron that sharpens iron, a process that refines us into the best version of ourselves.  God’s intent for our marriage is to be sacred and holy.  Staying connected with your spouse in daily prayer is another way to be rooted and grounded in God’s truths and protected from the enemy.  Print out the Marriage Prayer Bookmark to use and pray with your spouse the armor of God over your marriage.

Here Are 10 Bible Verses About Marriage:

  1. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about marriage, is when I am having a bad day or my spouse is having a bad day, two are better than one.  Our relationship with God makes us complete.  He has made and created marriage to help refine us, not leave us to do life alone.  Allowing our spouses to come alongside us when we’re having a bad day can be one of the most life-giving things we do.  We don’t have to have it all together all the time.  Marriages are made to help support one another and bring out the best in each other.  When we don’t allow our spouses to help us back up when we fall, we are missing out on the beautiful gift God has given us, our spouse–these are the moments that will bring us closer together.

2.  Prayer is a beautiful power gift God has given us, especially in marriages.  I have been guilty at times of not making prayer a priority in my marriage.  As a result we can slowly see our marriages suffer.  I never regret making prayer a priority, a daily habit especially with my spouse.  In times of desperation we can always pray.  God hears us especially in numbers.  For more ways to pray with your spouse, either print out the bookmark below or click on link 5 P’s to Pray over your marriage.

3.  Whenever there is a struggle in marriage, I can guarantee you, there is the enemy behind the scenes at work.  The enemy would like nothing more than to come between our marriages, cause division, and destroy what God deems holy and sacred.  When we allow God’s desires to be our desires, He aligns our hearts with HIS WILL, not ours.  If there is a struggle, tension, or an argument, take a step back and analyze a heart’s motives, is this MY WILL or God’s?  Sometimes we have to let go of our own expectations and desires of what we want, to allow God’s desires to Fill our hearts.

4.  One of the best ways to allow God to be the center of your marriage, is to empty your heart of all things worldly.  When we SEEK God with ALL of our hearts, we will find an overabundance of God’s wisdom, peace, joy, freedom, and love.  In marriage we may not always see eye to eye, understand each other or agree, but one common ground we can trust and stand on is God’s TRUTH of who He says we are, His WISDOM, His LOVE, His GOODNESS.

5.  This is my prayer not only for my marriage, but my family as well.  When we love what God loves, with all of our heart, soul, and strength the bond that we build in our relationship with God and our marriage is strengthened with a strength that nothing in this world can break or destroy.  The Love of God is meant to endure, persevere, and be eternal.  The world can never offer anything beyond temporary, mediocre, or idleness.

6.

We are God's dwelling place. Our marriages are meant to be God's dwelling place. God has made and created marriage as a space for His eternal blessings to overflow within us, a place where His love is to be kept holy and sacred.Click To Tweet

Marriage is a gift that is meant to make us more holy than happy.  Happiness is the byproduct of God’s holiness that turns into an eternal joy no one can take away when we allow our hearts and marriages to be God’s dwelling place for His wisdom, love, peace, and freedom.  No amount of evil, circumstances, or tragedy can take away God’s eternal gifts He has given us.  Imagine what the world would look like if we all allowed our hearts and marriage to be God’s dwelling place.

7.

In Marriage there will always be seasons of change. Seasons where we plant. Seasons where we grow. Seasons where we harvest.Click To Tweet

Life will throw so many curve balls at us.  To expect we will never have seasons of hardship is an unrealistic expectation.  To expect marriage to always be blissful and happy is also an unrealistic expectations.  When we take out the language always and never, we can learn to plant, grow, and harvest the way God intended for us.  In due season we will reap the harvest 30, 60, 100 fold (Mark 4:20).

8.  You are God’s handiwork.  He makes no mistakes.  He has created you to be his workmanship, to display His glory, and prepare you for eternity.  Marriages can be the most sanctifying process we go through and the biggest platform to display His glory.  Whenever we go through a struggle we can turn to God and say thank you for another opportunity to be a reflection of you!  We are meant to be a reflection of Jesus.  Whenever a situation occurs we can refer to the One who knows all and allow Him to guide us, and seek His wisdom in the process!

'An enemy might be able to defeat one person, but two people can stand back-to-back to defend each other. And three people are even stronger. They are like a rope that has three parts wrapped together--it is very hard to break.' Ecclesiastes 4:12 ERVClick To Tweet

9.  A strand of three cords is not easily broken.  A marriage that puts God first and center of their lives and marriage is a marriage that is not easily destroyed.  We are meant to do this life together with God, not separate, apart where we are exposed to the enemies attacks.  We are stronger together.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

10.  God’s love never fails.  When we choose to love we are choosing to be hurt and disappointed, because our love isn’t perfect and we get it wrong every time.  God’s love will always prevail and keep us safe.  His love is eternal and everlasting.  God’s love always forgives.  In marriage we will have to forgive, when we do we learn how to love like Jesus.  God’s love will never ask you to hide, keep secrets, or allow for bad behavior.  His love requires boundaries that help keep his love in and the enemy out.  Just like in the garden of Eden, God’s love will be found at the beginning and end of every boundary (Dr. Henry Cloud), will flourish, grow, and refine us more than we could ever imagine.

I’m so honored I’ve been invited to speak at the 2021 Wives of Integrity Marriage Conference!  I want to invite you to 2021 WOI Marriage Conference!  FREE Registration and the discounted ALL-ACCESS PASS for $39 ends 11:59 am May 9th TONIGHT!  Pricing increases to $59 tomorrow, May 10th.  Here are some of the topics the conference covers.

Healthier, happier communication.
Better physical and emotional intimacy.
Seeing sex as an act of worship, not a chore.
The ability to trust God with your husband’s salvation.
Learning how to have financial intimacy.
Understanding how to have hope and healing after betrayal.
The gift of prayer and fasting for your marriage.

…AND SO MUCH MORE!

Here are other Resources to help grow and build your marriage!

Stay Connected in marriage by reading God’s word and staying in Prayer.  Here is a 30 Day Marriage Bible Reading Plan and FREE Printable Marriage Prayer Book mark.

Want more blogposts that apply Scripture?

10 Bible Verses About Grief

10 Bible Verses That Will Give You More Courage

10 Bible Verses For Healing And Strength

10 Thanksgiving Bible Verses

10 Bible Verses to Remind You- You Are Victorious

10 Bible Verses About Love

What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care?

 

 

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3 Ways to Meet People In Their Anxiety

Have you ever tried to view and hear the perspective of another person who was different than you?  Someone who had a different background, different beliefs, different upbringing, lived in a different country, different opinion or point of view?  What was your response?  How did the conversation go?  Was there defensiveness? Anxiety?  An argument?  Or were you able to listen to their perspective and validate their experience?

If there is one thing this pandemic brought out in all of us, it was--where is our hope, where are we putting our trust, and revealed anxieties we probably never thought about before. Click To Tweet

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  Hebrews 10:23

Going through this pandemic brought up a lot abnormal circumstances that were thrown at us all at once.  We all had to wear masks, quarantine, home school our kids, shelter in place, worry about our jobs, businesses, our economy, the health and well-being of loved ones, pause life celebrations such as weddings, graduations, and funerals.  There was stress of finances, how will we pay our bills, childcare, not being able to be with loved ones in the hospital, and loss of loved ones.  There was fear of the unknown, how will this all turn out, how many more people will die, and when will this all end?

There was a high level of anxiety and stress from everything we went through.  And we all dealt with the anxieties of the pandemic differently.  Hopefully, we all came out of the pandemic and still are, a little bit stronger and with a new perspective of what’s difficult.  But what about those who were barely surviving before the pandemic hit?  Those who didn’t know where their next meal came from, didn’t have access to computers for education, or access to healthcare if they got sick?  I hope in all this, the pandemic helped us see and hear others and learn how we can meet people in their anxieties.

3 Ways To Meet People In Their Anxiety

 1.  Listen-  If there is one thing the pandemic taught me how to do better is listen. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1:19).  We all have the core need to be seen and heard.  We are missing out when we don’t listen to our brothers and sisters in their hurt and pain.  When Jesus was here on earth he offered a listening ear to hear people in their suffering like the woman at the well, or the paralyzed man.  He didn’t just say I’m sorry and keep on walking.  He didn’t give lectures or provide ways to temporarily fix it.  He stopped, listened and said, ‘Come follow me.’  There is power in listening.  It allows others to know I hear you, and you matter.

2.  Acknowledge-  Learning how to acknowledge others when they are struggling, to be able to come alongside them and say I see you in your hurt, is so powerful.  “He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”  (1 Corinthians 1:4).  To acknowledge someone when they are hopeless offers empathy and is what Jesus does for us.  Acknowledgement allows their struggle to be known, lets them know you see them, and they matter.  An example would be, “I see you are hurting, there are no words, I’m so sorry.”

3.  Validate-   How lonely would it be it we suffered in silence or by ourselves?  Jesus never intended for us to be alone in our anxieties.  He tells us to cast all of our anxieties on him, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  “God will perfect everything that concerns you.” (Psalm 138:8).  When we tell our concerns and worries to God, they matter to Him.  Why?  Because whatever concerns us and matters to us, concerns and matters to God.  When David wrote in Psalms 56:8, “You have kept count of my tossings;  put my tears in your bottle,”  we know that God cares, he sees, and hears our cries, they matter to Him.  To validate someone, means you support them and value their feelings, it lets them know “I am here for you,”  when you validate them.

'When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.' Matthew 14:14. Click To Tweet

There will always be worry and anxiety in this world.  God tells us in James 5:13-14, if “anyone among you is suffering, let him pray.  Is anyone cheerful?  Let him sing praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him….” We can model what Jesus does for us by opening our eyes and ears to the hurting and suffering and see what matters to Jesus, should matter to us as well.

Jesus didn’t walk away from the sick and the hurting, he met them in their anxieties by either coming alongside of them or healing them.  Because of Jesus’ compassion and God’s love many have been healed and saved.

Have you considered how you can meet someone in their anxiety?

What can you do to let them know God cares for them, he sees and loves them?

When anxiety gets the best of me, I have to refer back to what God is able to do, stay in prayer and trust He is able.

For the month of April, in honor of our son Bowen’s life we are encouraging others to consider sponsoring a child to not only help honor our son’s life, but to show others who are hurting and living in poverty, they matter.  Sponsoring a child is not only life-giving to them, but to you as well, when you give them an opportunity to an education and food.  It also helps open our eyes to see how someone else lives in another country and see life from their perspective.  It helps us move beyond the boundaries of our anxieties and steps into their world to meet them in theirs.  My anxiety is put into perspective when I see what I am concerned about is nothing compared to what others have to go through everyday.

If you were inspired by our son’s story or this post, Click on the link below and meet your future sponsor child!  You will be blessed!

Want to show more compassion? Consider sponsoring a child to help end poverty.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


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Am I Living By Faith or By Fear?

Take the first step in faith.  You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.  #quote Martin Luther King

Recently I finished a Bible Study Habakkuk by Moody Publishers by Dannah Gresh.  At the same time I read a You Version Bible Plan Hope in the Dark by Craig Groeschel which also followed in the book of Habakkuk.  I didn’t realize the plan would be about Habakkuk as well, but how amazing when God orchestrates His plans.

The book of Habakkuk is in the Old Testament and only three chapters long, but it is packed full of godliness and wisdom.  Each chapter has an important pattern of ask questions to God, WAIT, and Praise.  The chapter starts out with Habakkuk crying out to God, asking why all the violence, all the iniquity, injustice (Habakkuk 1:2-5)?

God responds-

This study was so timely for me.  I’ve been working in the COVID ICU’s taking care of very sick patients.  I wouldn’t wish what I do or see on anyone.  All of it is so heavy and hard to watch over and over.  I feel like Habakkuk, looking around seeing all the suffering, the injustice, and loss of life at the hands of a violence but in my case a virus.  I can just picture him on his knees before God crying out, ‘how,’ ‘why,’ ‘when?’  It’s hard at times not to focus on the fear of it all, am I next?  Am I exposing others? How many more will suffer? When will this all end?

It can be difficult to see that God will use all of this pain and devastation for His greater work in us and the nations.  It’s hard to believe God will use all this to strengthen our faith when we wait and trust in His timing.  Physically, logically my brain can’t comprehend what is going on around me, but by faith I don’t have to have it all figured out and answers to all my questions.  The only thing I need to know is God’s outcome is loving and good.

I admit there are times I have to catch myself and question, Am I Living More in Fear or in Faith? Click To Tweet

Being honest, I’ve focused a lot on my fears of what surrounds me.  It FEELS as though God has left and I’m walking through this battlefield ALONE, just waiting for the explosion to go off.  BUT I KNOW, these thoughts come from a place of FEAR.  They are NOT God’s TRUTH or what He PROMISES US.

It’s easy to look around at what the world is doing and Fear there will be more spread of the virus.  People are at their wits end and just want to be TOGETHER.  I believe God doesn’t want us to LIVE in FEAR, but He wants us to also practice Discernment and Wisdom.  He wants us be in community to support one another by giving empathy and compassion.  God is the creator of universe and science. We will all have a different opinion and comfort levels on what we believe is safe for our health and well-being and that’s okay.

It's Not my JOB to FIX the outcome, control people, or take away others' FREE WILL. My Job is to Love them and Trust God's outcome is BEST. Click To Tweet

When the world of chaos feels out of control, I have to stay anchored, centered, and grounded in the ONE who IS in CONTROL.  The balance of trusting, surrendering, having faith, and standing firm can be a fine line to walk.  My HOPE will never be found in the ability to figure it all out.  When I CHOOSE to LIVE in FAITH and not by FEAR, there is always HOPE.  When I TRUST and ALLOW God to GROW my FAITH way beyond anything I could ever do on my own.

He is the God of HOPE.  He is the God of PEACE.  You are loved.  You matter.  You are KNOWN to God.  What you are going through Matters and He will use for all for His good.

“His splendor covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.  His brightness was like the light;  rays flashed from his hand;  and there he veiled his power”. Habakkuk 3:3-4

I will ask.  I will wait.  I will praise.  Just like Habakkuk.  My faith will carry me and  take me further than any amount of fear can.  When I am troubled by what surrounds me.  When I waiver at the battle before me. I remember the one who has it all in His control.

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What Can We Do In Times Of Crisis?

I really wanted to title this post The Power of Compassion or the Power of our Words.  But in reality not many will google, ‘how can I show more compassion,’ or ‘how do my words effect others?’  When I write these posts I’m at the mercy of google to help people find content they are in desperate need of.  I hope this post finds you in your place of need where you are right now.

The answer to this question is compassion.  In any type of crisis, compassion is always the best remedy.  But what does compassion look like when the world is falling apart?

What We Can Do In Times Of Crisis

You never know how one act of compassion or the impact of your words can effect others.  Recently I’ve had to transition from the OR into the ICU to be able to take care COVID patients.  I’ve had to see some really heart wrenching things over the past couple of weeks.  But I’ve also seen the heart of compassion rise when people are hurting.  Nurses have to be some of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.  What they do in times of crisis is just incredible.

Nine years ago when before our son passed away, a nurse thought to record my son’s heartbeat on a recorder and put it into a teddy bear to give to me.  Her thoughtfulness and act of compassion has given me a precious gift that I am forever grateful  for and has touched me deeply.  This past week I witnessed another nurse do the same to give to a little girl as she recorded her loved one’s last heartbeat.  Although nothing can replace our loved ones, these acts of compassion in the last moments of life are what we will remember and cherish.  These acts of compassion give their loved ones’ lives dignity and show them your life matters, I see you.

Our words can show compassion during these times when others are hurting.  Never underestimate the power of empathy in times of crisis.  Just telling someone, “I’m so sorry,” or “I am here for you,” are words that will stay with them and let them know you care and see their suffering.

'But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion' (Luke 10:33) Click To Tweet

Many have read the parable of the Good Samaritan.  After reading the parable many think, ‘I would never walk by a man half naked and dead lying in a ditch.’  But yet two godly men do, a priest and a Levite.  The unlikely person, the Samaritan, who was viewed as someone who was lowly, not to be associated with because of wayward ways, was the person who stopped to help.  Out of the three men the Samaritan was the only one who came to where he was, in the ditch.  The others passed by, for reasons unknown.  Maybe they couldn’t be bothered?  Or maybe they were in a hurry?  Or worst yet, maybe they didn’t care?

But the Samaritan didn’t just come to the hurt man, he bound up his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, brought him to an inn, paid for his room, and came back to check on him.  Why would someone do this?  Because he had compassion on him.  These actions remind me what Jesus has done for us.  When we are moved by compassion, we do things for others we normally wouldn’t do.  We see things we normally wouldn’t see.  When we can see others in their pain and hurt through the lens of compassion, we become God’s love.  We become a friend and a neighbor.

When Jesus asked in Luke 10:36, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”  “He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”  And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).

Because of the act of compassion my nurse did for me by taking the time to record my son’s heartbeat and put it into a bear and the compassion I witnessed this week, now others will have a bear with their loved one’s heartbeat in their time of need.  This is made possible through the foundation associated with the hospital I work for that will help fund for more bears when you donate to this specific cause.

During these times of unknowing and crisis, it’s so important to let others know, I see you, hear you, you matter, through our acts or words of compassion.

How can we be a good neighbor to those around us who are hurting?

Would you like to know how you can be more compassionate in times of crisis?

Join me this month in the 12 Days of Kindness, where you will be challenged to do one act of kindness a day.  Kindness can move us into areas of compassion for others.  Here are the Kindness challenge prompts below.  Post Act of Kindness with Hashtag #12DaysofKindness

 

 

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3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020


 

“The best news in the world is that there is no conflict between your greatest possible happiness and God’s perfect holiness. Being satisfied with all that God is for you in Jesus magnifies him as the greatest treasure and brings you more joy—eternal, infinite joy—than any other delight ever could.”  John Piper

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holiday.  I’ve taken a few weeks off from writing and it’s been nice.  We all could use breaks and rest to be able to recharge and be refreshed.  How has your new year been shaping up?  Have you set goals, made resolutions?  Whatever your aspirations are I pray they are blessed beyond measure and filled with joy.

I’ve been reading a YouVersion Bible Reading Plan by John Piper called 15 Days in the Word with John Piper.

He talks about the secret of invincible joy and how our greatest rewards are in Jesus.  This message is something I’ve heard before, but never had I heard joy described as rescued.  Nothing can destroy or take away our joy, even in our suffering when it’s anchored in Jesus.  It is possible to keep our joy protected and safe even in the most painful of times when heaven is the reward.

'Great is your reward in heaven. And the sum of that reward is enjoying the fullness of the glory of Jesus Christ' quote John Piper (paraphrased John 17:24).Click To Tweet

Our greatest fulfillment will always come from what God can provide.  Nothing in this world could ever compete or compare to the eternal joy in which only God provides.

3 Ways to Have More Joy in 2020

1.  Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and not beat yourself up over them.  To all the perfectionists out there write this down on a notecard and put it somewhere you can see it.  Say this to yourself everyday until this sinks in.  If there is one thing I struggle with, it’s being gentle with myself when I don’t make good choices.  I have a constant message in my head on repeat on how I could have done things better.

Thank goodness for God’s grace.  His grace was never meant to be abused to continue with bad behavior over and over but to help refine us and mold us through Him, not ourselves.  Joy will always be found in what God does in us.  Our mistakes don’t make us bad, they make us human.  God can do so much more with our mistakes when we surrender them to Him, then we could ever do ourselves.

2. Learn how to be emotionally honest with yourself.  Let’s face it, if we struggle with the ability to give ourselves grace when we mess up, we probably struggle with being realistic with our emotions.  Our emotions and mistakes don’t define us but what we do with them matters.  If we’re being honest with ourselves we’re able to own our own stuff and not constantly use blame or criticism to take the focus off ourselves.

Are you critical and judgmental of others?  Do you like to point out others mistakes in front of others?  Do you create chaos?  Looking within ourselves we might  discover when we’re critical of others we’re probably critical of ourselves.  Pointing out others’ flaws, doesn’t make your flaws as bad and then you don’t have to focus on yourself.  When you point out others mistakes, you probably aren’t secure with yourself and when other’s mistakes are magnified, no one is looking at your messes.  When patterns of chaos are created, then you don’t have to deal with your own problems when chaos is around.  If you want to have more joy in 2020, learn how to be emotionally honest, it’s the best gift you can give yourself.   Emotional honesty allows us to be emotionally available for others which is very enriching for relationships.

3.  Learn how to ‘BE’ instead of always doing.  Girl, if there’s one thing I could write to my younger self this would be it.  I’m ashamed to say how much of my energy has been wrapped up in doing, performing, and achieving.   Again if my focus was on the accomplishment I didn’t have to focus on myself.  Somehow my identity got tethered to these things and life became about doing.  God didn’t make human doings, he created human beings.  We were created ‘to be.’    We can be free in how God made us when we learn how to be.

We don’t always have to be the solution to every problem, the rescuer or savior (roles that were never meant for us in the first place).  Learning to be, means learning how to have balance when there are problems in your life.  Being means learning how to have more empathy for others when they are going through hard times.  Learning empathy allows for more compassion to be in our lives.  God wants us to learn how to BE love not DO love.  When we do, we put our own efforts into it and bypass God.  When we be, we allow God to work through and within us so His love overflows not the other way around.

Do you struggle with giving yourself grace when you make mistakes?

Are you able to be emotionally honest with yourself?

Do you struggle with being instead of doing?

Me too.  You’re not alone.  I struggle with every single one.  This is the beauty in our journey when we EMBRACE THE PROCESS.  It’s not about being perfect, getting it right all the time, it’s about learning to be well and allowing God to use EVERYTHING in His time.

How about you?  Do you desire to have more joy in 2020?  I do.  Learning to trust in the process God has put forth will always allow for His abundant joy to fill us, satisfy and complete us more than we could ever imagine.

Are you able to receive God's joy in your life?Click To Tweet

How can you have more joy in 2020?

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I will be taking a little break from blogging to be able to work on a project that God has been pressing on my heart.  In order to be obedient to what God has for me, I need to be realistic with my time.  I may post a new post from time to time, but it won’t be weekly.  I will keep you posted on what I’m doing and thank you all who read and subscribe to the posts, it means so much to me.  I am grateful.


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When You’re Identity Isn’t You’re Identity

In case you haven’t noticed, anyone you talk to nowadays has had their DNA tested by some sort of DNA testing company such as ancestry and 23 and me.  These companies make it so easy, just swab or spit into the container they provide and ship off the specimen in the mail.  They are not only able to test what your ancestral composition is but your genetic health as well.

People choose to have their DNA tested for all sorts of reasons.  It could be they were adopted and want to know more information about where they came from.  It could be to find out if their ancestral heritage is really what they’ve been told.  Or they just want to know if they have a variant for a certain genetic disorder.

Whatever the reason, people are curious about what makes up their genetic DNA, because that makes us who we are.

When You’re Identity Isn’t You’re Identity

I recently had my DNA tested and was very surprised to find out what I discovered.  I knew I was Scottish and British and was told my whole life I was Native American.  Well, DNA is DNA and evidence does not lie.  My DNA did not show one drop of Native American blood.  In fact it showed I was 8% African American and 5% Ashkenazi Jew among 13% French German and 2% Scandinavian and Spanish/Portuguese.

I was quite surprised to discover my DNA didn’t show what I was told my whole life.  What I’ve discovered on this journey, is creating a family tree to trace back who your ancestors really are helps.  I have found there is some truth to what I’ve been told and what my DNA shows.

The only problem is once one starts digging into the past and building family trees, one might discover there’s a lot of skeletons in the closet that some don’t want uncovered.

We all have messed up and broken pasts that may reveal ugly parts of our past.  Even Jesus did.  Check out this short video done by Bible Gateway that shows the messed up past of Jesus’ genealogy.  He was related to Rahab the prostitute, King David a rapist and murder, And King Solomon a big time polygamist. Click here to watch the short video.

One might think how can Jesus our Savior, who never sinned have such a messed up past? Click To Tweet

We may want to dismiss our own broken pieces of our past to somehow make us more ‘holy’ if we didn’t have these things as a part of our lives.  But the Bible doesn’t cover up the brokenness of Jesus’ past or anyone for that matter.  In fact, the Bible leads with the brokenness of the most highly esteemed people in the Bible.

To cover up the broken pieces of our lives is to cover up Jesus.Click To Tweet

We miss out on our true purpose and identity when we deny how God made us.  We may not like our flaws, our idiosyncrasies, or even our past mistakes, but it is how God made us and will use everything for His greater plan.

Our brokenness and past mistakes don't define us, our choices and who God says we are does.Click To Tweet

What’s so amazing about Jesus’ history is no matter who we are, no matter what our past reveals he can identify with our messes!

Our identities will never be found in our past.  They will never be found in what we wear or even how much money we make.  They will never be found in titles, the more we have or how many people we know.

Our true identity will always be found in Jesus in who he says we are.  Hallelujah praise God for that!

We all have different genetic DNA, but when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we all have the same spiritual DNA making us all apart of God’s big family.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”  Ephesians 1:5 NLT

We obtain a new identity in Christ when we accept Him as our Savior.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Galatians 2:20

We no longer want or desire our old ways.

“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”  Galatians 5:24

We become a new person in Christ.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”  2 Corinthians 5:17

Our old selves are no longer. 

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  Philippians 1:21

To live in Christ is to gain.

“Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Phil. 3:8 ESV

Friend, you were made for this.

Your past does not need you, your future does.

You were made and created just the way you are for God's bigger plan and purpose. Praise God our identities aren't in what this world says but in who God says we are. Click To Tweet

Have you ever believed something about your identity that wasn’t true?

What part of your identity do you struggle with?

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What To Do With Unsolvable Problems

“The thing I love about God is He intentionally guides people into failure.”  Bob Goff, Love Does

Do you ever struggle with having unsolvable problems in your life?  You know those problems that keep coming up over and over that don’t ever seem to get solved?  The more I’m getting to know myself the more I realize, I can’t stand having unsolvable problems in my life.

You know what I do with those problems?  I try to solve them myself!  Yup.  For some reason I think it’s my job to attach myself to the solution, the outcome, and the problem itself and try to fix it!  I try to control these things I have no control over.

As a result of me trying to exert my non-existent authority and weakness over these matters a mess happens.  Why do I think I can do a better job than God?   I don’t know, but it never works.  God doesn’t need my help, yet I interfere to offer my services where they don’t belong.

Have You Ever Been There?  

What To Do With Unsolvable Problems:

We’re not the only ones who struggle with problems in our lives we can’t solve.  The Israelites had A LOT of problems and they ALSO tried to take matters in their own hands MANY times.

In Exodus 32:1-2, The Israelites went before Aaron, Moses’ brother and said, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us.  As for this Moses, the man who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”  So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”

“So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron.  And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and make a golden calf.  And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”  (Exodus 32:3-4).

If you have been following my posts we have been following the Israelites through their journey of their captivity, deliverance  and waiting.  In Letting Go, Letting God The Israelites had to let go of their expectations of how God was going to deliver his promise of The Promised Land.  Here once again, The Israelites were waiting for Moses (which seemed like forever) to return from Mt. Sinai with the 10 commandments.

They got impatient, seeking an alternative to God.  And instead of seeking their one true God, they looked elsewhere to a less than false god with their own belongings.

What a mess they had made when they got impatient, taking matters into their own hands.  Instead of waiting for God’s greater and better plan, they decided their plan was better and went ahead of God.

How many times do we do this as well?  We think we know better.  We think we have a better way.  And then our fruitless efforts of making God’s plans better become an entangles mess.

If only The Israelites took their unsolvable problem of wanting to worship a god NOW was taken to their one and only true God FIRST. Click To Tweet

If only when we have Unsolvable Problems we take them to God FIRST instead of trying to solve them OURSELVES with our own accord and strength.

“For I know the plans for you, declares the LORD, Plans to Prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to give you a Hope and a Future.”

God does not need my help, nor did He ask for it.  Yet I run ahead and involve myself to try to ‘fix’ or make it ‘better.’

We all have unsolvable problems.  The balance is learning how to live life WITH these unsolvable problems.  It’s okay to have problems, because I know the one who can solve them.  I know the one who has the solution for them.  I know the one who has the answer to them.

When we allow God to have our unsolvable problems, He’s able to mend, to mold, to refine, use them, restore, redeem, reconcile them into something so much greater.  The only problem to the unsolvable problem is US when we continue to get in the way and don’t allow God to do His thing.

His ways are greater, His plans are better.

What should we do with our unsolvable problems? Give them to the one who is able. Click To Tweet

What do you do with your unsolvable problems?

Do you try to ‘fix’ your own problems?

The best thing we can do to allow God access to our problems is to GET OUT OF THE WAY.  When we do, we give God the authority to solve our problems in His power and in His way.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I know I have unsolvable problems that only you can fix.  I know that I’ve been guilty of trying to fix my problems my way and have been getting in the way.  I know I’m not the authority in my problems but yet I try to take control and fix my problems my way.  Please forgive me Lord, for taking the steering wheel out of your hands.  Take my hands off of anything where they don’t belong.  I pray I will allow for your timing, your plans to mend and restore my problems.  Thank you God for caring so much for me and walking through this with me, I pray this in Jesus name.  Amen

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Letting Go and Letting God

I will never forget when my family and I went on this one camping trip.  We had a golden retriever named Ginger.  My dad handed my eight-year-old sister the dog leash and gave her the instructions, ‘don’t let go.’  I was standing next to her and a squirrel ran across the parking lot up a tree.  You can only imagine what happened next.  The dog chased the squirrel, the only problem was my sister was holding on to the leash.

My sister was then drug across the gravel parking lot holding onto the leash.  I yelled, “Let go! Let go of the leash!”  I couldn’t believe it.  If a dog who weighed as much as me ran across a gravel parking lot, I would have let go of the leash.  But for some reason my sister held on and endured scrapes and injuries from the gravel as a result of holding on.

This picture of my sister holding onto the leash shows me this is what a lot of us do in life when we are going through hard times.  We think we have to hold on so tightly to what God is allowing in our lives, and just take the injuries along the way.  In reality we have a choice to let go of what we’re holding onto so tightly and allow God to handle it or keep holding onto it and endure more suffering.

Recently,  I was in a group discussion about what it means to “Let God and Let God.”  This phrase is used all the time but what does it really mean to be able to accomplish the task of letting go and letting God?

According to Psychology Today, Letting go means, being willing to allow life to carry you to a new place, even a deeper more true rendition of self. Holding on means trying to push life into the place of your making or be damned

In our group discussion we determined letting go meant, trusting in God that things will get better, to accept the things we cannot change and having the courage the courage to change the things we can.

Letting go doesn’t mean keep holding on and hoping for the best.

Letting go doesn’t mean keep walking around your problems hoping God does his part.

Letting go doesn’t mean sit back and wait for God to do all the work.

Which part do you struggle with, the letting go or the letting God part?Click To Tweet

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”  Romans 8:28 NIV

Letting go might feel like you are walking away and don’t care, but in reality it’s the exact opposite.  Letting go allows God to do his job of what he was intended to do in the first place.  When we hold on, we just get in the way.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. 19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”  Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Letting go might mean to let go of expectations or resentment.  Letting go may even mean one needs to forgive to be able to let go of un-forgiveness.  We may even have to let go of the outcome.

One group of people who learned the epitome of letting go, were the Israelites.  They had expectations God was going to deliver them from Egypt into The Promised Land.  God is a God who ALWAYS keeps His promises we just might not agree with His timing.  God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt but not immediately into The Promised Land.

“Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that a great amount of water gushed out, and the congregation and their livestock were able to drink” (Numbers 20:11).

At this point the Israelites had been wandering around the wilderness for 38 years.  Over the years God had provided food, protection, etc. for them time and time again.  This time they were groaning for water complaining they were surely going to die if they didn’t receive it.

Moses and Aaron went before God with their request.  God instructed Moses to take the staff and TELL the rock to yield water.

As you can see in the above verse, this is not what happened.  Instead Moses took the staff and struck the rock twice.  Although there is only a slight difference in what God told Moses to do and what he actually did, this caused a BIG difference in the outcome.

I can relate to Moses.

Maybe he was frustrated the wandering was taking so long.  Maybe he couldn’t handle the Israelites complaining anymore.  Or maybe he held onto pride, let it get in the way and wanted to deliver the water the way he wanted instead of how God intended.

Whatever the reason, we can see God honors our obedience. God says to them, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them”  (Numbers 20:12).  Ouch.  That consequence had to hurt.

Because Moses wasn’t able to let go of frustration, resentment, pride and/or expectations, he acted out because of it and received a heavy consequence.  When we hold on to what God is asking us to let go of we aren’t trusting He is able.

Letting go may be one of the hardest things we do, but allowing God to have whatever we're holding onto is trusting He is able to accomplish anything.Click To Tweet

Letting go will never pull us into a direction that will intentionally hurt us.  Letting go will allow room for God’s original plan in our lives to fill us with His joy, peace and freedom.

What does letting go and letting God mean to you?

Do you struggle with letting go and letting God?

What has God asked you to let go of?

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3 Ways to Break the Crazy Cycle

The crazy cycle.  You know that cycle of insanity of doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different outcome to happen, that never happens.  Instead the exact opposite happens a downward spiral of nowhere good.

We’ve all been on it.  We’ve all engaged in it.  So how do we stay out of this crazy cycle?

I’m no expert.  Even though I’ve been married 16 years, I still get caught in the trap of the crazy cycle, if I’m not careful.

If we know the crazy cycle is detrimental to our relationships then why do we continue to get caught in this trap?

I think because we each want to be heard and see each others hearts, but somehow craziness erupts instead leaving us feeling hurt and frustrated.  Over the years I’ve discovered what works, what doesn’t work and what I’m still working on.  Marriage isn’t a one and done, I’ve got all the answers and figured it out kind of deal.   It’s a forever refining process that reveals our flaws and weaknesses and if we allow it, transforms us into the best version of ourselves.

Here are 3 Ways to Break the Crazy Cycle:

Respond don’t react.  “Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (Proverbs 29:11).

I don’t know about you, but I never feel good about myself when I react in anger.  What I have learned over the years getting angry at the situation will never get me closer to the outcome I desire.  Whenever I stop, calm down, then respond, I never regret it.  The best thing we can do is recognize when the crazy cycle is about to happen.  Instead of reacting out of emotion and engaging in the crazy cycle the better response is BE CALM.

Come up with statements, ‘Let me think about that first and I will get back to you.‘ Or, ‘I need to calm down, I’m going to go for a walk, then I will address this when I get back.’  By temporarily walking away (not avoiding) it helps dial down the heat of the moment.  I am also a big fan of acronyms.  Here are two that have helped me.  Before responding use the *THINK acronym, is it TRUE, is it Helpful, is it Inspiring, is it Necessary, or Kind?

There is also the HALT acronym, am I Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?  Chances are if we are one of these things we will not react well.  Identifying and recognizing underlying factors can help tremendously in our responses.

Listen and Be Available. “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1:19).

Over the years I’ve had to really work on this one.  There is an art to listening.  Listening can be so powerful.  It just lets the person know I hear you and I empathize what you are going through.  We don’t have to offer advice.  We don’t have to fix it, we can just make ourselves available so the other person can vent.  Allowing for opportunities to hear one another in non-confrontational scenarios creates a loving environment that has potential for growth.

Forgive.  “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Without forgiveness, marriage wouldn’t be able to exist.  Forgiveness is the crux to marriage.  To forgive is to love and to love is to forgive.  Forgiveness allows us to turn away from destructive habits, allows us to take a step back and see what is triggering this cycle again, and gives us a glimpse into how God’s grace continually forgives us.

Forgiveness is a powerful tool in looking inwardly at ourselves to learn from our mistakes and unlearn bad habits that keep us in the crazy cycle.Click To Tweet

In the Bible, there is a story of a crippled man who sat by a healing pool.  By this pool laid multiple invalids who were blind, lame and paralyzed (John 5:2).  However this one day, Jesus arrives to the scene and approaches one crippled man in particular.  Jesus knew this particular man had been there a greater part of his life of 38 years and asks a very important questions, “Do you want to be healed?”

The invalid man, didn’t know how to respond, of course he wanted to be healed, he was sitting by a pool that could heal him.  But this isn’t how he answered.  He responds to Jesus, not with an immediate yes, but with a few reasons why he can’t quite get down to the healing pool.  Jesus replies, ‘that is not what I’m asking you, if you want to be healed pick up your mat and walk’ (paraphrased John 5:7).  

This man was hesitant to accept this miraculous gift of healing because the only thing he’s ever known was dysfunction and disability.  He’s lived his entire life begging and making a living as a cripple, which has served him well until this point.  Talk about crazy cycle, doing the same thing over and over for 38 years expecting something different to happen!  If he was healed then he was going to have to learn how to provide for himself instead on relying on others.

Just because this crippled man became comfortable living in the chaos of the crazy cycle doesn’t mean this is what God intends for us or what is good for us.

For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33Click To Tweet

Let me say that again, Chaos does not need you.  The crazy cycle will only keep us in a state of chaos, which is exactly what the enemy wants for us.  When you feel the tug of the chaos, that crazy cycle pulling you in, don’t react, respond when calm, listen and forgive.

Chaos is the enemy’s way to get us engaged in his plan to pull us down and lure us away.  Don’t fall for it.  Be smarter than the crazy cycle so we can engage in God’s purpose and plan for us to transform our lives.

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