FEBRUARY CHALLENGE

Around eight or nine years ago, my husband and I ditched cable.

When we first cancelled the cable, we went a few months without internet as well. We had just moved into our place and were in a financial situation where that money was best spent elsewhere.

It was strange to not have the television on in the background constantly when we were home. It was quiet. We weren’t sure what to do – stare at each other? Have lengthy conversations? It honestly took a couple of months to get used to it.

After five or six months, we had the internet turned on and subscribed to Netflix. We now have Netflix, Hulu, Amazone Prime and all the internet has to offer. We can pretty much watch what we want, when we want.

I realized something as we incorporated this type of entertainment back into our lives. We had to choose what to watch. There wasn’t just this big screen playing whatever was on the channel it was last turned to. We had to actively choose what to watch. I started to think about the things I put before my eyes. I felt conviction (not condemnation) over shows that I had watched for years and the type of images and information that I was absorbing through them. I started to question if I really needed to be watching certain things.

I would be sitting in a waiting room at the doctor or the dentist office and I couldn’t believe the things that were being discussed on TV during hours that young children would be playing in their living rooms as moms and dads went on about their day. I was shocked. I was appalled. I was saddened. This is the garbage I had been feeding on for so many years? How did I not see it before? How was I not aware?

DESENSITIZATION. 

That’s how. I had become used to it. It had become common to me. It wasn’t until I went without seeing and hearing those things on a regular basis that I realized what I was really feeding on.

Now, we have an almost one year old and since he was born, I have become hyper aware of what is on our television when he is in the room or what is on the radio in the car. I’ve taken to pretty much only listening to the Christian radio station so that is not an issue so much. What about that 20 minutes in a doctor’s waiting room where a daily talk show is on and they are speaking of things way too mature for his ears and eyes? In all honesty, from the few things I have seen in waiting rooms or Facebook videos of clips from current talk shows, they discuss things that really shouldn’t be in front of my eyes or in my ears either.

There are even cartoons that I will turn off because of imagery or words that I don’t find appropriate for him. He’s not sitting in front of a screen 24/7 by any means but the time we do allow for a cartoon, we (me and my husband) are responsible for what he sees and hears. I grew up on Sesame Street and was shocked to see a few skits where they pulled politics in. Really? Does a child within the age range of who would watch such a show need to be introduced to politics even if it is done with humor?

We want to raise our child to be a light wherever he goes. We want him to choose to see the good in people. We want him to make a difference in this world. These are his formative years and we are responsible for what he sees and hears. He will eventually know and see the harsh realities of the world. Our prayer and hope is that he sees them through the light of the Word.

As grown adults, we are also responsible for what we see and hear and more importantly how we react to it. Most of us mindlessly scroll through Facebook the way we used to flip through channels. Since I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve taken notice of a lot of negativity. Memes that are meant to be funny but in now way enrich my life. People who are constantly posting negative, derogatory words.

Proverbs 18:21 (KJV) tells us Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

If we take this as seriously as we should, we would see these things that seem silly really do affect our thoughts which is where life and death begin. What we think we speak and what we speak we reap.

Proverbs 23:7 (KJV) For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Luke 6:45 (KJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

 

I challenge you, for the month of February, turn the television off. Listen to music or messages that are edifying, uplifting, empowering. No main stream music. No television, not even your favorite shows.  No social media (Facebook/Instagram/etc). Give it 28 days, not even a full 30, just 28 days and then see what you think when you go back to those things. If you don’t think you can handle 28 days, give it one week. Even a full seven days will show you the negativity you feed on when you go back to it.

Detox your mind from the world and its influence. Renew your mind as Romans 12:2 says. People say they feel far from God but it’s because they are closer to the world and not willing to get away from it for a length of time to allow Him in.

Romans 12:2 (KJV) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Get blessed.

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New Year, Same God

It’s a New Year! But God is still the same God!

I’m happier about that than I am to see 2018 behind us and I’m pretty happy to see it gone.

Malachi 3:6

For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

The start of each new year, for the last couple of them, I’ve taken to cleaning out the junk in the house. I use the 40 bags in 40 days method combined with the KonMari method of asking if each thing in our house brings joy. If it doesn’t, it gets sold, donated or tossed. Quite liberating and potentially keeps the clutter to a minimum.

Note: That is as far as I go with her method. I do not thank my house or give honor to inanimate objects. I give God thanks for His provision and thanks to Him only. I figured I would clarify after catching an episode of Tidying Up With Marie Kondo on Netflix.

We had our son at the end of February and let me tell you, baby stuff EVERYWHERE!

We live in a place about 700 square feet. It was a cozy fit for me, my husband, our geriatric chihuahua Spaz, and our three guinea pigs. We had hoped to be in a house before bringing our son home from the hospital but due to a series of unfortunate events, we are still currently making the best of our situation. It’s a whole other story but the last two years have been a roller coaster to say the least.

Well, not only did we have to make room for all the baby stuff and get creative about storage, but I ended up having an emergency C-section along with a colicky child with reflux issues. Lets just say he required a LOT of attention the first six months. We had people offer to come over and help but I always turned them down, for a couple of reasons.

With all the baby stuff now in the house, our place was over crowded and over cluttered. One kitchen wall is lined from floor to ceiling (almost) with boxes of stuff I had to pack up to make room for all the new baby stuff coming in. We weren’t able to even have a regular nursery for him. Instead, we had to clear out our bedroom on my side of the bed to fit a pack n play and shelving for all his clothes. A hanging shoe bag over the bedroom door holds all of his toiletries, towels, wash cloths, etc. I’m telling you, we had to get creative with how to make this work.

I didn’t want anyone over because I was embarrassed at how crowded it was and the fact that the only place we could offer for them to sit was a hard seat dining chair. We have a two person sofa, the kind with a console and two reclining seats that are more like a seat and a half. One seat however is half blocked where I’ve had to push the coffee table against the wall to put up his 8 panel play yard. That’s the only way to keep him safe from the rest of the house, ha!

Another contributing factor is that by college degree, I am an Interior Designer. An award winning one at that. I am no longer in practice other than for my church or other other churches in helping them with design, but you would never know to look at our little home.

God started dealing with me about this however. A good friend kept offering to come over and help with Nicolas and I kept refusing for the reasons stated above. Then, a month or so ago, she was in town and wanted to bring something to me. Usually we would meet up somewhere but I was home this particular day and not dressed to get out and she was already on her way.

I had to release my fear and anxiety over our clutter. Did you know you can have fear and anxiety over such a thing? Yes, yes you can.

I immediately started pointing out the dirty floors, the piled up boxes in the kitchen, apologizing for the hay smell in the living room (we have guinea pigs, they eat hay, they are in the living room)…and she just looked at me and shook her head and said to stop worrying about it. She promised me she wasn’t thinking anything of it and she had clutter at her house too so I shouldn’t be embarrassed by it.

It was difficult for me to let her in that day but I knew I needed to. God was trying to show me something. She is not one to impose either so I knew there was a point to her visit.

Our home is nowhere near being suited for a television show that displays ultimate clutter, except the spare room. That room could be on that show. That room is where things go in the 20 minute clean ups before someone stops by or the landlord has to come over for some reason. The door gets shut and a couple times a year, I tackle it to clean out what we don’t use or need and what doesn’t bring happiness. It stores extra pieces of furniture for when we do move into a house. It stores books that we use occasionally. It stores some childhood memorabilia. It stores arts and crafts. Then throughout the year, it stores randomness from all the other rooms.

As soon as she came in the back door I started saying things like, “Don’t mind the unscrubbed floors. They’re swept, I just didn’t have time to scrub them. And ignore that wall of stuff against the wall, I have nowhere else to store it. At least I did the dishes, ha!”

She just shook her head at me and said something along the lines of she didn’t come over to judge my house. The first ten minutes of our conversation went back and forth like this.

As I sat in the baby jail with my son, she was able to have the one comfortable seat in the house, the unblocked recliner. She ended up staying for a few hours and we had great fellowship. At one point, I told her I knew I needed her to come over that day. I knew God was working on my pride in this event. She just smiled and said (paraphrased), “You know I would never barge in or impose but God told me I had to come over here.”

I won’t reveal what friend this was because she assured me while she was there, her house looked about the same, in efforts to help me be more relaxed about the whole situation. When she left and made it home, she sent me pictures to prove it. That’s what awesome friends do.

This Christmas being our son’s first Christmas, we decided to have my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law over to our place on Christmas Eve day to celebrate. This meant I had to deep clean and remove the clutter from the rest of the house. Now that he’s almost 10 months, I’ve been able to give away a lot of the newborn items and gadgets and free up some space. Those boxes in the kitchen are still there however because there is nowhere else for them to go. In being able to deep clean and scrub floors and walls and baseboards, a lot was shoved into the already stuffed spare room. The door was shut. Out of sight, out of mind.

Christmas came and with everything being cleaned out and put up, I didn’t mind having people over. It helped that I was able to clear out a packed car load of baby goods a few weeks ago and then another packed car load of stuff to the thrift store.

Every time I walked past that closed door though, I cringed. I even had to go in there at one point while company was over and when I did, I opened the door just enough to squeeze in and squeeze back out in hopes that nobody got a peek of the mess behind it.

Later that day after family left and it was just me, my husband and our son, we sat down to relax and watch A Christmas Story (a long time tradition on Christmas Eve in my family) and I commented on how nice it was to have everything cleaned up and put away and we (me mostly) could relax without feeling guilty about having to do dishes or mop the floor or put clothes away or wash clothes or anything else that I can’t seem to keep up with. Then the spare room popped into my head and I sighed but quickly went back to enjoying the movie and family time.

I realized something in that moment however. Each of us have a junk drawer, a spare room, stuff shoved in a closet or some kind of clutter, big or small, somewhere. There are more of us that do than don’t, and if you are one of those who don’t, tell me your secrets!

Anyways, I started thinking about how many of us put other things, spiritual things, out of sight out of mind. There are areas I need the Holy Spirit to come in and do the work I can’t do on my own. I need to learn how to be better at being patient, I need to forgive quicker, I need to realize the fullness of love that God has for me and for others…I could add more here but you get the point.

These things all kind of get put in that “spare room” just long enough to give the appearance that I’ve got it all together until a situation comes up where I have to squeeze into that room and squeeze back out to deal with it. God knows what is in that spare room at all times. He’s the only one it can’t be hidden from.

Proverbs 5:21 

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

There is nothing we can hide from God but this shouldn’t be seen as fear mongering, it should be seen as help. He sees and knows everything about us and still loves us. His Word gives us instruction on how to become more like Him and get rid of that clutter in our closets. There’s something about a clean house that allows me to relax and enjoy the time I spend in it. When we let God help us clear the spiritual clutter, we can relax and enjoy our time with Him as well.

Reading the Word of God enables us to see how Christ lived and we can be more like him by following his examples. Making room for the Holy Spirit in our lives brings comfort and help. Praise and worship opens us up to Holy change and we don’t have to limit our praise and worship to Sunday morning or Wednesday night.

Get blessed!

ANGRY WITH GOD

I’ve been angry with God. That’s right, angry with the Almighty. There’s no point in hiding it, He knows.

Well, at least I thought I was angry with Him.

1 Timothy 6:12 says:

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

I realized today I’ve been frustrated and angry with my own faith.

For a year and a half my husband and I have been believing God for certain things. I can’t go into detail about all of it right now but some of these things are simple things. Every door we thought would open for one thing in particular to come to pass has been slammed shut or nailed shut from the other side before we even arrived at it. It’s been frustrating. Just when we think the situation is about to change, it doesn’t. So we continue on in our faith and belief.

We continue to listen to sermons and read material to encourage our faith walk. We stand on scripture knowing what we have asked for is in line with God’s will. As days, weeks, months and the year and a half has gone by, things seem to have gotten worse.

Yesterday I broke. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was bitter. I was ready to give up and did. I was done. Finished. Towel in hand.

We can’t hide from God so I just let Him have it. I threw my temper tantrum, I questioned our situation based on HIS Word.

“God, we’ve been obedient! We’ve believed! We’ve done what you’ve asked us to do! Those things you asked us to do that we didn’t do, we repented and made right! We’ve prayed! We’ve waited! We’ve listened! Why are we being squeezed into nothing?! Why are you allowing this to happen?! Why?! Why is our situation getting worse and not better?! ”

Fight the good fight of faith. Faith is a fight. I don’t know what round I was in yesterday but I lost that one horribly. It was a KO.

We are in a non stop boxing match when it comes to faith. It’s OUR faith that makes us whole and moves mountains. The Word establishes the rules of the match, the Holy Spirit is our trainer, and God is the referee. Jesus, well, he’s in our corner wiping the blood off our faces and squirting water into our mouths and speaking the words of encouragement we need to hear because he’s already been through it.

Today I woke up and talked to God about yesterday (and the past year and a half).

“God, yesterday I was knocked out. I threw in the towel. I was done. I was spent. I was wore out. It was a silly laptop that pushed me over the edge but everything has been building and pushing me to my breaking point. Today, I’m renewing my mind. I’m continuing the fight. I was knocked out but I know according to your Word, who gets TKO’ed, and it’s not me.”

Faith is a fight. And where I felt defeated yesterday because the latest Windows 10 update destroyed my laptop and rendered it useless, the one tool I had to work on the manuscript God has called me write, the fight isn’t over. It wasn’t just about the laptop. It was about every little punch the enemy has hit us with over the past year. I was tired. I needed a break. I needed to lay in the middle of the ring and not move for a while. I needed time to recuperate.

Guess who came back up swinging? Guess who’s still in my corner? Guess who’s rules still apply? Guess who gets the Total Knock Out when all is said and done.

Keep fighting. Get back up. Swing. Don’t download the latest Windows 10 update.

Learning Curve

Just a heads up.

I am in the process of moving my site from wordpress.com to wordpress.org and self-hosted through Bluehost. Things will look a little different once it’s done and things may be down a while during the time I re-learn this learning curve. There is always the possibility that I’ll lose everything from here too, haha. Praying that doesn’t happen.

As you can probably tell, I’m not good with the lingo but I have no problem learning and saving myself lots of moohlah. I did all of this once before with our main ministry website, www.unreachables.org ,but it’s been a while and I didn’t have a 2 month old in tote while figuring it out.

The website name will stay the same, just re-working everything behind the scenes.

If any of you know of some great tutorials, drop a link in the comments, I would love to check them out!

 

Get Blessed!

Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 

WHAT A BAG OF POPCORN TAUGHT ME

Many churches teach how to sow (tithe/offering) but not many teach how to reap.

There is this crazy generalized idea among Christians, and judgement by non-Christians that if you ARE a Christian, you should be poor.  Poor in every which way, not just financially.

I’m not one of those. I used to be. I used to think it was a sin to have things, to be happy, to enjoy life. Growing up I saw it all the time, if you were Godly, you were poor.

I don’t know of a single verse in the Bible that says we must be poor, sad or unhappy. I do know plenty of scripture that says we are to have and be just the opposite of all that.

Somewhere along the line, we got it all backwards. I’m not going to post every single verse here but John 10:10 sums it all up:

 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10 KJV

If what you have is destruction, death and things taken from you…Is your joy gone? Is Your happiness gone? Are you struggling financially? That’s the thief, that’s not God.

I know some will read this and try to justify the “lack” in life but you might as well just keep your doubt and unbelief to yourself. You can speak lack over yourself all you want, don’t speak it over someone else.

We have an active role in our faith. Our words determine our today and our tomorrow. You can choose love over hate. Joy over sadness. Prosperity over poverty. Belief over doubt. Health over sickness.

You choose what you have with the words that come out of your mouth. God himself spoke and created…read Genesis 1 and see how many times it says “God said…”

Your words create your today and tomorrow. You can change your future with the words you speak. You can change your moment right now with the words you speak.

So what does this have to do with a bag of popcorn? Let me tell you. Many people have no problem giving, whether it’s tithe/offering or giving to others when they see a need. That’s called sowing. But the majority of us in that category, have a problem when something is given to us. We don’t know how to receive. Receiving is the reaping side of sowing.

We feel guilty or unworthy when something is given to us. We will say things like “No, no, no, give it to someone who needs it more.” It doesn’t matter what “it” is, if we refuse, we interrupt God’s process of sowing and reaping.

I was in the grocery store one time and the Holy Spirit told me to pay for the woman’s groceries in front of me. She didn’t have much, maybe $25.00 worth. I stepped forward and told her, “God told me to pay for your groceries.” She visibly became upset and refused and said “No, I don’t need you to pay for my groceries.” I tried to explain to her that God wanted to bless her but she flat out refused. I said okay with a smile and backed off.

How many times has God wanted to bless us and we have refused? Is it pride? Is it lack of understanding?

I recently blessed a friend with a bag of popcorn at the movies. When I did, the Holy Spirit said to me, “Some people can receive from Me a blessing the size of a bag of popcorn and some can receive a blessing from Me the size of the theater.”

Wow.

When we refuse a blessing from someone, we block the blessing God has for them for their obedience. When that woman refused to let me pay for her groceries, she blocked a blessing God had for me not to mention the blessing of having her groceries paid for.

Think of it this way. If you plant a garden, sow seeds into good ground, then take care of that garden until the harvest comes in and reap from the garden what has grown, you are operating in God’s divine plan of sowing and reaping.

What happens if you plant the seeds and then never pull weeds or better yet, when the harvest comes in, you don’t go and pick all the vegetables? It becomes overgrown and eventually rots. Nobody benefits.

If you take care of that garden and reap when the harvest comes in, not only do you benefit but more than likely, you are going to have an abundance to share with others because if you don’t share your abundance, it rots too.

Your words create action and action produce your today and tomorrow. Read the following verse and focus on the last six words: he shall have whatsoever he saith

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Mark 11:23 KJV

Miracles Still Happen

I haven’t been writing much lately and I miss it. My time however has been consumed with the arrival of our son, Nicolas. He was born February 24th, healthy and whole.

I wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids. I was told in my early 20’s that it would be a miracle if I ever became pregnant. Well, at age 39, our miracle is currently snoozing in my arms.

I may have shared this before but eight years or so ago I had a dream that I walked into my doctor’s office wearing a green hospital gown and for the life of me, didn’t understand why I was wearing a hospital gown. The next thing I knew I was in one of the exam rooms and I was in labor.

Even in the dream I was confused as to how it was happening. Then, the doctor handed me a little blonde-haired, bright-eyed, healthy baby boy. As I looked down at him I heard a voice behind me say, “His name is Nicolas and I sent him.”

I woke up from that dream not knowing what to make of it. I thought maybe my husband and I would adopt one day and that’s what it was about. I held onto that dream in my heart all these years waiting to see exactly what God had in store and this past July when we realized I was pregnant, I knew exactly who I was carrying in my womb. Nicolas.

Dimples photography

He looks just as I remember him. He has blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

On my 38th birthday I made a promise to myself to be in my best health by the time I was 40. I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle but had some health issues hindering my efforts. Through prayer I found and switched my way of eating to a Ketogenic lifestyle. When I did, all of those health issues dissappeared. Within two weeks my bloodwork was normal again and I felt like a new person. We’ve never looked back and keep moving forward. You can read about that journey here.

I had read that Keto helped many women with infertility issues but it never crossed my mind that it would be the same for me. I had it stuck in my head that I would never have kids and had accepted that a long time ago. However, my daily prayers over my health of being healed and whole…well, I was healed of everything and made completely whole. When God does something, He does it right.

He’s only 13 days old but I don’t know if I will ever not feel overwhelmed holding him…not just holding him but knowing I am holding a promise from God. I get to hold a promise that God showed me over eight years ago after believing for almost 20 years that it was impossible.

If God can do this, He can do anything. There are things I’m believing Him for right now that seem truly impossible but I’m reminded with each feeding, each diaper change, each cry, each smile, each coo, each look, that with God all things are possible.

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5 KJV

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26 KJV