Monday, March 24, 2014

A Post In The Midst of a Struggle

For the past several days, and honestly weeks, I have felt like I'm losing in a horrible battle of depression.  I say "a battle" because there have been many before this one, and I don't doubt there will be many more after this one.  I know that the war is already won, I just have yet to celebrate the victory.  Knowing that future celebration is coming gets me through some moments, but others are swallowed up by the depression.  In fact, because I have felt like I have been losing this particular battle, I have been reluctant to post much recently.  I figured I should wait until I have mustered the strength to seek God in overcoming this period.

But then I stumbled on on blogpost titled "I have... depression."  My struggles are nothing compared to what the author of this blog is facing. [EDIT : This blog is no longer online.] But instead of hiding his trials, he is sharing them. One paragraph he wrote really stuck out to me:

My desire in sharing my struggle is that others may feel compelled to tell someone of their dealings with depression, instead of feeling that they must keep it to themselves. That is what community among Christians is for! We should be helping one another in our times of sorrow.

I realized that I don't have to be in a high point to share my thoughts.  I can share in the midst of a struggle. My struggle: overcoming depression and focusing on Christ to guide me daily.

A few other sites that are inspiring and encouraging
A Patient Process (I find every single post realistically hopeful)

I know this is an old song, but God really used it to encourage me this week.  Even when it feels like no one is around or relates to you, Jesus never leaves you alone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Be Your Own Dark Horse

This may sound silly, but I had no idea what the term "dark horse" meant until just a few weeks ago.  For those of you that may not know but just don't want to admit it, it means:
  1. a competitor in a race or contest about whom little is known; an unknown
  2. a person who reveals little about himself or his activities, especially one who has unexpected talents or abilities
  3. a competitor who unexpectedly wins

These past couple of weeks have been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I continue to struggle with loads of negative internal thoughts. However, I knew God was calling me to rise above the thoughts that were pulling me down. He was calling me to reach out to people in my life, despite the overwhelming feelings that those people want nothing to do with me.

One day, by the grace and strength of Christ, I mustered up the courage to act in obedience. I was able to do two amazing things: 1) I got to share my faith with a friend and defend the reasons behind my faith, and 2) I got to reconnect with a friend. In sharing my faith, I wasn't able to convince my friend of the awesomeness of God, but I was able to deepen my own understanding of Him.  It's amazing how much you learn about something when you get the chance to explain it to someone else.  Reconnecting with my friend was another amazing blessing I would have missed out on if I had let my feelings get the best of me. But God has greater things in mind.  In a simple 6 minute phone call, He granted forgiveness and closure.

I never expected I was capable of such things. But God made me my own dark horse. With Him, I was able to overcome the odds I set up against myself. 

How can you be your own dark horse? What abilities have you left untapped? What unexpected talents are you not using? Check out Romans 8.

Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 

Picture courtesy of Bing images.
Definitions taken from

Monday, March 10, 2014

Moving On

A wonderful woman and I lead a junior high girls small group in our church youth. The entire youth group has been going through a series about bringing offerings before the Lord. The theme verse is Deuteronomy 16:16b, "No one should appear before the Lord empty-handed." (NIV). The series encouraged the students to bring their sin, guilt, and tithe (if not money, then time and personal investment) to Jesus. 

For the final week in the series yesterday, instead of breaking off into small groups, the pastor set the microphone down and essentially had an open mic for any of the junior highers to open up to the peers about how the series spoke to them. It was awesome to see several junior high kids speak about how the Lord was speaking to them. Many spoke about what was holding them back from having a better relationship with God. 

Then I was convicted. What's been holding me back from God? What sin, guilt, and tithe have I not been bringing to Him? The answer: my hurts from past people. I almost daily remind myself of how someone has hurt me and how many of my friends have just forgotten me. I feel like those who have hurt or forgotten me have moved on, not caring about leaving me behind. Some days I allow that to just eat me up. 

Then God reminds me that even if for the rest of my life I never get to rekindle the friendships I had with those who moved on, I get to hang out with them in heaven. I say this with assurance because I am fairly certain that they believe in Christ's salvation just as I have. While it is so awesome that that Bible guarantees an eternal relationship with God for those who trust in Him, I believe heaven will be filled with restored friendships that were either lost or destroyed on earth. That excites me!

Unfortunately, I have a horrible habit of keeping my eyes on the past. It can be so difficult to move forward, but it is only impossible as long as we continue to look back. Learn from the past, yes. But do not remain in it. My devo today pointed me to two passages:

Isaiah 30:21
Your ears will hear a word behind you, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right or to the left

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way in which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

These verses are encouragements that the all-knowing God wants to guide us. They are a reminder to me that whenever I am lost in dwelling on my past pain, I need to forget that and focus on Christ. I need to allow Him to guide and counsel me. 

Another verse I received from a friend today:

Psalm 119:107-108
I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Your word. O accept the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me your ordinances. 

After reading that, I see that the Lord is showing me something. I need to bring to Him what I am holding onto: the bitterness over my past pain. And I need to be receptive to learning His teachings.

God gives us opportunities to move on, we just need to trust Him in moving forward.  

Picture courtesy of Bing Images.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

My Abridged Testimony

Today I had an assignment due in my Missions, Evangelism, and Discipleship class. I had to write a 2-page paper on my personal testimony of how I came to know Jesus as my Savior. I decided to go ahead and share my paper on my blog as well. In reality, I could write a whole book on God's work in my life. So this blog post is really my super abridged testimony.

My Life Before Christ

When I was six years old, I sat in my living room with my parents and asked them questions about Jesus, heaven, hell, etc. That day, I prayed to “accept Jesus into my heart.” To be very honest, I do not remember that conversation. I only know about it because my parents have told me about it. I do remember getting baptized by my dad shortly after that conversation though. The only evidence I have that I truly knew Christ at that age is that I remember thinking rude thoughts, and disrespecting my parents, and having convictions about how wrong those were.

When I was eight years old,

Saturday, March 1, 2014

2 BIG Reasons You Should Be Journaling

Yesterday, I wrote the final entry in my current prayer journal. In writing my concluding entry, I went back to reread my introduction entry. It was crazy to see how much life had changed in that year and half. I was 18 years old and just a few months into dating my now husband. 

One might expect me to say that the things that bothered me back then seem so silly now. But that wasn't the case. The things that bothered me then turned out to be the things that caused me some of the greatest heartaches I've ever had to face. In flipping through the pages of my journal, I saw how those nagging tugs at my heart turned into red flags, blaring sirens, and eventually emotional catastrophes.

But throughout the heartaches, I wrote down so many prayers and Scriptures. In many entries,