Anxiety and Community

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Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

In the world of Christianity, you will most often hear, just give it to God. You will also hear, these scriptures 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” and Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Here’s one more many recite in times of crisis, it’s found in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Although, these scriptures will give you peace (when you receive them) for all your concerns, they can also come across cold and churchy at times too.

My anxiety level for the past four months has been all over the place between trying to sell our house in Georgia, looking for a home church here in Florida, having one vehicle for our family of six, and wondering where in the world we are going to live.

It’s a weird place to be. If there was such a place as purgatory that is where I feel I’m at. Everything is on hold and I’m just sitting here waiting.

Cast means, to throw (something) forcefully in a specified direction. Yes, I’ve done this and peace comes, but after a week or so when I see no movement and no answers anxiety creeps in again!

I’ve learned when the feelings of anxiety overtake me I turn on worship music and pray. When the music isn’t penetrating my thoughts like I need it to I send out a S.O.S. to a few of my family members.

Don’t try to battle anxiety on your own! God did not create us to walk alone. He desires us to hold each other up when our brother or sister is too weak to stand.

My mama sent me this story a couple months back. It really shows the power of support.

When a mama elephant is giving birth, all the other female elephants in the herd back around her in formation. They close ranks so the delivering mama cannot even be seen in the middle. They stomp and kick up dirt and soil to throw attackers off the scent and basically act like a pack of fierce bodyguards.

They surround the mama and incoming baby in protection, sending a clear signal to predators that if they want to attack their friend while she is vulnerable, they’ll have to get through forty tons of female aggression first.

When the baby elephant is delivered, the sister elephants do two things: they kick sand or dirt over the newborn to protect its fragile skin from the sun, and then they all start trumpeting, a female celebration of new life, of sisterhood, of something beautiful being born in a harsh, wild world despite enemies and attackers and predators and odds.

Wow, what a visually….and in the subject line of my Mama’s email, “I’ve got you Sissy.” Talk about the water works flowing!

God knew I didn’t need another scripture, I already knew His promises, but they weren’t piercing through my thick scull. Instead, I just needed to know someone was going to battle for me when I was down and too weak to fight for myself.

I’m sharing all of this to say, the next time someone shares their fears and worries with you, don’t be quick to blurt out a scripture. Instead, pause a moment. Only God knows what that person needs. Yes, it could be a Bible verse or it might just be open ears, closed lips, and a tight embrace.

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Christianity Is Not About Rules

If I was asked to sum up Christianity in one word, what would it be? Well, I would choose a four letter word, L-O-V-E, LOVE.

People, the church and religion has complicated Jesus!

I have four beautiful kids. Each time I gave birth, the nurse would put my sweet baby in my right arm and a large rule book in the other arm…no, not really. The nurse didn’t need to give me a rule book of do’s and don’t’s.

You see, when she placed my baby girls and my baby boy in my arms, I instantly felt LOVE. I wanted to be the best mom possible for them.  As I looked in their eyes, the love was so strong, at that moment I knew my life wasn’t my own. From that point on, my life was their’s! I was there to protect and guide them.

Is it required to have a rule book to be a parent? NO, but I now wanted all the information I could get my hands on to help me raise my children! Why, because I love them. Parents that truly love their children are constantly asking advice from doctors, other moms, and family members. They spend time reading books and blogs on parenting, terrible twos, potty training, teenage years, etc…that’s because when we love, we give our best to those we love.

How many of us take our kids to sports practice, dance class, piano lessons etc. multiple times a week or even drive an hour or two to their event every weekend? Why do we do it?  We do it because we love them, we will go the distance for those we love.

That goes the same for our relationship with God. When we ask Jesus into our life, we are instantaneously filled with LOVE. We quickly realize our life is not our own, but God’s. We don’t need a church to give us a list of do’s and don’t’s, but because we love Jesus with all our heart we want to read all we can about Him. When we love Him, we long to spend time with Him in prayer, talking to Him. You desire to build a close relationship with Him and when you deeply love Him, you never want to leave Him. You will possibly find yourself driving 40 to 50 minutes to church, three to four times a week…why, because you love Him.

To be a Christian is not complicated at all. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and the rest will follow.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. ~Deuteronomy 6:5

 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. ~Matthew 22:37

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. ~Mark 12:30

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind..’ ~Luke 10:27

 

 

 

Perfection is Not the Answer!

FTH_1151Hi, my name is Moses. No, not really, but at times I feel like him. I am not eloquent with my words and grammar is my second worse subject (History is my first, I just can’t remember all those dead people and the dates they died!). But even so, I feel God’s call on my life, so strong at times, to speak, write, pray, and encourage others that I can’t silence it.

Exodus chapter 4 tells us about Moses. He was not a confiedent man. He was an insecure human that stuttered, and lacked his self worth.  He questioned and doubted God over and over in this chapter. Finally, the Lord has had enough when he tells him, “Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

God doesn’t need a perfect man or woman to use. He receives no glory for the one that has it all together! He takes us as we are, does the impossible, and then he receives all the praise!

Friend, don’t let your weaknesses handicap you. Stop making excuses. There are people needing to be set free! They are enslaved in this world and the devil has pulled the wool over their eyes. Believe me if God is pulling at your heart strings, He will strengthen you to do the task ahead.

Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. ~2 Corn. 3: 4-5 
I can do all this through him who gives me strength. ~Phil 4:13 

 

Faith to Move

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Faith is put into practice when you step away from the familiar. 

For almost twenty years we’ve been comfortable in our church. It’s where my husband was saved, where I rededicated my life, it’s also where I met and married my husband, then our kids were dedicated and baptized there too.  We didn’t just attend church, we were the church, we were leaders and volunteers!

Then an opportunity came, a promotion to be exact! It wasn’t a surprise to us, I had been praying about moving for a couple years now. I knew it was coming and I wasn’t happy about it. I’m a family person, I love being around family, and making memories with them! One early morning, on my way home from the gym, I was praying. I spoke the words, “I pray Javi walks in your will….”, and as soon as the words left my tongue peace came over me. I heard God say, “You’ve been praying this over and over, I’ve heard your prayers, do you not think He’s in my will? He’s in my will because you have prayed for it.” At that moment my heart was ready to go wherever God opened the door.

Five or six months later my husband was promoted and we were moving to Georgia! Now we had to have faith for God to sell our house, help us to find a new house in a good location, and a new church!

Again, I faced a time of doubt. I was flat out miserable because I was doubting God. It was like I was in a depression state, a needy loaf, constantly asking my husband for reassurance. Day after day I continued to worry about our house not selling. Then one Sunday morning on the way to church, I heard God speak to my heart. “When you are ready to stop all of this, I’m here,” so out loud I said, “Enough! I’m done worrying and fretting, this is in God’s hands and I’m done trying to be God!” Again, within seconds I felt peace and a calmness that can only come from Him.

I would love to tell you that our house has sold, but it hasn’t! Now ask me how are you doing? Well, I’m doing fabulous, thanks for asking! Yes, I can confidently say I’m doing great because I don’t just know who is in charge, but I believe it!

We have visited four churches, in all different areas of Georgia, since moving up here last month. If our house would have sold a month ago we would be at one of those churches. I believe it wasn’t meant for us to attend there, not because it’s a bad church, but it wasn’t the church for us. I choose to look at our house not selling as God’s hands moving in our favor. When He closes one door, He will open another. We are on an amazing adventure and our faith is growing as we lean fully on His direction and wisdom.

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

Midway Place

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Suspendedlimbointermediatetransitional, or midway place, these words describe my feelings since we announced we’re moving to Georgia. It’s been over six weeks from the time when we made our decision, however we are still in Florida!

My mind is confused…are we staying or leaving?! Sadly, I’m not a very patient person, so this is killing me! Our move will be a challenge and I can feel God stretching us already, but I’m excited to start our new adventure!

Let the countdown begin…12 days!

Great Reminder from Jesus Calling, “You will never be in control of your life circumstances, but you can relax and trust in My Control. Instead of striving for a predictable, safe lifestyle, seek to know Me in greater depth. I long to make your life a glorious adventure, but you must stop clinging to old ways.”

Do you see others as walking trees?

20141010-083430.jpgOur little ones are growing quicker than we care to realize. Monday through Friday, I teach them about the three R’s, writing, reading, and arithmetic, but I know that is not the purpose of life.

I regretfully admit I have not conquered looking past my own chaos daily, to see others that are suffering. However, God has begun to clear my vision. In Mark it says, Jesus took a blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

At times this is how I view others, as walking trees and not as peers struggling with soul-searching battles. I have allowed the busyness of life to fill my surrounds with pollution, so much that others become like mummies just roaming around me. Instead of viewing them as a life with importance, my actions demonstrate as though they are already dead. My desire is for God to remove the toxic “my-life”, so that I will be an effective tool for God to use and example to my children.

I don’t want to just tell my kids what is right…I want to live it before them. I don’t want to just tell our children how to love…I want to demonstrate it.

God clear my vision I pray. Eliminate all distractions; open my eyes to the big picture, your picture. Help me to see past my own mess, remove self, so I can be full of grace, mercy, encouragement, and most of all LOVE. In Jesus Name, Amen.

 

I Want God

20140808-195948.jpgWe need more of God, but we do not really want Him. The truth is, until the want matches the need, nothing will ever change. Needing without wanting is just a really good idea that never sees light. (Excerpt from Lisa Whittle’s new book, I Want God)

*Do you want Him or just need Him? Something to think about this weekend.

To PREORDER Lisa’s book, I Want God, CLICK here.