Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

The Worry Wheel

Do you feel like you worry more than you should? Worrying so much that your life feels like it’s spinning faster and faster, and you can’t seem to slow down?

A Night on the Ferris Wheel

For those of you who knew me in my college days, know that I’ve ridden on the famous ferris wheel at Navy Pier, in Chicago, IL. This ferris wheel is massive!

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That night, during our college Bro-Sis outing, we all lined up to ride the ferris wheel. Up until this point, I loved ferris wheels, and had no fear whatsoever.

In my group seat was my boyfriend (my husband now) and my good friend from his sister floor. She is from India and she inspires me in so many ways.

Now, imagine the scene…I am at the top of the ferris wheel, with people I love, and suddenly, it stops.

We are stuck at the top of the largest ferris wheel I’ve ever ridden on, and amazingly enough, fireworks light up the sky!

You may be wondering, what is so bad about that?

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Yes, it was an amazing experience, until my friend began rocking our group seat back and forth, shouting, “Look at me! Look what I can do!”

If you knew my friend, you’d know that she was doing this to freak us out!

That moment of joy, amazement, worry, and terror of a sudden death by ferris wheel; I will never forget. In the midst of an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime moment, was shear terror.

How can you feel both at the same time?

The Worry Wheel

I tell this story, because it reflects my life as a Christian. In the midst of God’s amazing creation, blessings, protection, and provisions for me and my family, I worry.

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I worry if we will have enough money.

I worry if my husband is mad at me or not.

I worry if my kids will grow up to love and serve God, when they seem to hate me at the moment.

I worry I will mess up my kids’ lives.

I worry my husband will grow tired of me, and leave.

I worry I will be abandoned. I worry I don’t fit in.

I worry I never will be enough.

Do you get the picture?

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The more I worry, the more the wheel in my head spins. The more I worry, the more I worry about.

The more I worry, the more I am depending on myself, and the less I rely on God. The more I worry, the more I am trying to take my place on God’s throne.

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“What? Wait a minute, I don’t do that,” you might say to yourself.

However, I can’t take credit for this phrase. In a few of my past therapy sessions (yes, even Christians need therapy), my therapist reminded me I am trying to control things I can’t control.

When I am worrying, I am worshipping the things I can’t control instead of praising God and trusting Him for His all-knowing (omniscience), all-powerful (omnipotent), good and loving God, who will take care of me – no matter what.

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Additionally, worry and caring are not coequal or codependent. Caring about someone, does not justify worrying.

Recently, I have been worrying over a friend of mine. One of my closest friends, and yet, I can’t run in and save her. I am powerless to help her out of her current situation.

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Only Jesus is the Savior of the world, not me and not you, either.

Key Scriptures

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?

…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:25, 34 NIV

“Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Luke 12:26 NIV

“But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.”

Luke 21:14 NIV

Wow, that really puts worry into perspective.

Lord, forgive me for not relying on you for everything. Forgive me to trying to take control of my life, when it belongs to you. Help me see your blessings in my life. Help me to trust you more, and be patient, when I don’t see your hand working. Help me be more like your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Posted in Living BOLD, The Bible

Toxic Relationships

Are you someone who wonders, “How did I get into this relationship in the first place?”

Some relationships are like that, because they are toxic.

Recently, I have been observing current and past relationships in which one spouse dominates the other, in a toxic way.

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Submission

In the Christian community, men like to through the word submission around to mean many different things.

What it is actually talking about is “humble obedience” on the part of the married woman, in the marriage. It is a choice she makes, not a weapon for the man to use against her.

I know there is the stigma only men are abusive, and women can be too. But this post is directly talking about three real-life examples I have recently observed.

With that said, I do believe submission is important in a marriage, but not to the point of killing the essence of who God created the wife to be.

Her unique beauty, gifts, passions, goals, etc. She is just as much a magnificent creation of God, and should be treated as such.

What the Bible Says…

God calls husbands to lay down their lives for their wives, just as Christ has done for the church (Eph. 5:25). This puts submission into it’s true intent, to submit to Christ, and to each other (Eph. 5:21), as Christ did for us, as the body of Christ.

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.

Ephesians 5:15-30 ESV

Now that we have looked at what God says in His word about this, let’s get to the heart of the issue.

Why Toxic?

Toxic relationships exist because of one thing – sin. Pride, selfishness, power struggle, pornography, abuse, neglect, gossip, refusing to meet the needs of your spouse or family, for your own selfish gain, etc.

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The list of sins is endless, and so is the number of toxic relationships out there.

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If you are in a toxic relationship, whether it be a dating or married relationship, you are not alone. But you are not doing yourself or your spouse any favors by staying quiet about it.

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Whether it be verbal, mental, emotional, physical, sexual abuse, or neglect, it is toxic.

Abuse is NEVER Okay

God never wants people to get hurt, even if they have made a covenant with one another in marriage.

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Abuse should never be tolerated, and is never deserved by the victim. If you are made to feel like everything is your fault – you are in a toxic relationship. Please get help before it turns into more severe abuse.

Don’t let yourself be isolated!!!!!

This is the first step controlling abusers take before they really show their true colors. That way, the victim doesn’t feel like they have a way out – which isn’t true, but the abuser wants them to believe it whole-heartedly.

Keep your friends close and your family! If they disapprove of your relationship, there is probably a good reason for it.

LISTEN!!!!! Don’t tune them out!!!!!

The three examples I am referring to, (two currently married, one now divorced) wouldn’t listen. They rushed into their marriages, allowed themselves to be isolated, and have kept silent…suffering in silence…

Real-Life Story

Let me tell you another story. There was a lady I used to know, from Mexico. She was married and had two sons. For years, she suffered abuse from her husband, and eventually fled to the U.S.A., with her sons, for safety.

However, she never divorced. She stayed separated for seven years. Do you know what God did? He restored their marriage! The husband became a Christian and their marriage was restored, and she forgave him.

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This is possible, but no, this does not happen for everyone.

I include this real-life example, because so many people are quick to divorce, because they crave another relationship to fill the void of the last one.

God does address these issues, yes.

Your Challenge

But I challenge you to heal first, to pursue peace and healing from our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Don’t be a martyr of abuse.

Don’t let your low self-esteem, fear of what may happen, and feelings of failure keep you in a toxic relationship.

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#MeToo #relationships #TheHaven

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, The Bible

Pressing into the Stress

If you couldn’t tell by my previous two posts, stress must be the theme lately.

Is anyone else feeling the pressure of the impending school year inevitably approaching?

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Rowdy kids, who are tired of being home, stressed out moms – about to burst – and the dads who end up picking up the shrapnel when they get home from long days of work.

So what do you do, when all you can feel is the paralyzing stress of parenting, and life itself?

Press in. Press in? Yes, press into the stress.

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Think of a diamond. Without pressure, a diamond would not reach it’s full potential, it would stay a lump of coal.

How do you do that?

Well, first pray.

Only God can help release your stress so you can function, change your situation for the better, and protect you from your temptations to fall into unhealthy coping techniques or act out of anger or frazzled attitudes.

Second, take a moment to breathe and think.

If it is stress with your kids, ask yourself, “What do they really need right now?” Think of what they are lacking that is making them upset.

Don’t focus on how fair their punishment is for acting that way – focus on loving them unconditionally and showing them grace.

If you don’t show them grace, don’t expect them to learn it.

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For example…

My second daughter is such a challenge for me. She is so intense, full out meltdowns, screaming until she gets her way (or falls asleep – which is rare), and hurting everyone around her.

You know she needs when she does that? Snuggles and hugs! Yeah, I was surprised too. When she doesn’t feel secure, she lashes out physically, because she needs her physical needs met.

Third, lean on your support system.

If you have a spouse, let them give you a break, without blaming them for being gone or feeling guilty for needing a break.

If you are a single parent, lean on your family and friends, and even your church family. They are there to help you regroup, and in turn, be a better parent/person yourself.

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Lastly,

…pressing into the stress usually means not letting the stress conquer you or keep you from fulfilling your purpose/potential.

Don’t undermine the role of spiritual warfare in your life.

For example…

Every time my husband needs to be gone for ministry or family, etc., my kids go bonkers!

It doesn’t matter what fun activities I have planned to distract them or bribe them with (totally didn’t think I’d bribe my kids…mommy shame…), they will not relax until he comes home.

So what is a frazzled mom to do? Press in. Press into the peace and strength that Jesus gives me, remember I love my children more than they stress me out, and not forget my husband is fulfilling his purpose.

The enemy wants me to explode, so my kids are hurt and my husband is hindered. Not today Satan!

Always remember who the real enemy is here…

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Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

Ephesians 6:11-18a ESV

Claim the victory in Christ and press into God’s Word and the Holy Spirit. Take up your sword and shield – always be ready to fight the real enemy!

#stress #VictoryInChrist #TheHaven

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, The Bible

Trapped in a Bottle

Do you ever feel like you are a shaken pop bottle, about to explode? I mean, so crammed full of emotion, you are about to burst?

So many times, it begins with one main stress.

This stress could be anything from an ongoing project you’ve been working on, and can’t wait to get done, to a difficult relationship with a friend or family member.

When this stress refuses to disappear, lingering for what may seem like a lifetime, there’s more.

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The car dies.

Your kids throw the biggest temper tantrum, to date.

Your boss gives you “constructive criticism,” but really means you messed up big time.

You get that call, a family member is in the hospital.

You and your spouse get into an argument.

Stress, stress stress…shake, shake, fizz!

Pretty soon, the stress and pressure turn into numbness, absent-mindedness, and major fatigue.

Now, what is little, becomes huge! What is petty, becomes pinnacle. You holding everything in, becomes an explosion…usually causing the most innocent of casualties.

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So why do we do this? I know I am not the only one, who periodically goes through these cycles of bottled up emotion.

Lack of trust. That’s it? Yes, it’s that simple.

In these times, at least personally speaking, I struggle the most when I lack trust in God.

In these times, my heart is distant, rebellious, and prideful, but most of all fearful. So much so, I try to take control of my circumstances, to find some sort of security.

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When I stop looking to God for my peace, wisdom, provision, and guidance, my bottle sure get’s shaken up ten times faster!

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I am the first to admit I’m still learning this trust lesson.

Things will be “all good,” and my “I’ll take it from here” attitude rises to the surface. I hope someday, I will finally have this lesson down.

For now, I must recommit my mind, body, and soul to God. I must recommit my time, energy, and resources to God’s will and work, not mine.

When I stop relying on God for help in every aspect of my life, I am stealing His throne, His glory, and His role in my life.

How dare I think I can outdo God! Whoa!!

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Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV
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God, I pray you forgive me for trying to take control of my life, on my own, and not trust you with it. You are a perfect, loving, good, and faithful God, who is trustworthy.

Please forgive me for not living Your will, and not fully depending on You as my Savior and Lord. You don’t need a sidekick, you need a servant. I love you and am so thankful to be called your child. Amen.

#stress #trust #TheHaven

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, The Bible

Stress Management, God’s Way

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Are you stressed? Are you stressed about being stressed out? You’re not alone.

Everyone experiences stress many times throughout their lives. However, it is how we manage our stress that makes the biggest impact on us and those around us.

Not all stress is bad.

There is such a thing as “good stress,” such as getting married, having a baby, family coming to visit, the nerves right before a big performance, etc.

Yet, if we don’t go to God with our stress, we lose out. We fail to find peace, live fulfilling lives, and lose out on the joy God intends for us to have, every single day.

Joy

Joy is a choice, peaceful is a way of being, and both contribute to a life worth enjoying.

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Joy is a choice. No matter what is happening around you, you have a choice to see it in a positive light or negative.

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There is always good and bad in everything, except God. God is always good, whether or not we see Him that way all the time.

Another way of saying it, “Do you look at the glass as half empty or as half full?”

Impact of Stress

If we don’t go to God with stressful situations, or the stressful people causing them (including ourselves), we can cause unmeasurable damage to our relationships, to our productivity, and even to our own bodies.

Migraines, stomach aches, tight and sore muscles…the list goes on.

Stress Management

So how can we destress or successfully achieve stress management?

Go to God. Stop trying to fix it on your own.

No man-made stress technique can out pacify or calm His eternal, perfect peace.

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“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV

Stressful People Cause Stress

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Some of you may be thinking, how can I live stress free and peaceful, when I have people in my life who purposely and frequently cause chaos?

Simple, but not easy. Choose joy, and if necessary, distance yourself from them, for a time.

Pray for wisdom how to handle the situation and what to say. Remember God is with you, and only He can fix it.

“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.”

Proverbs 12:20 ESV

Jesus Carries Our Burdens

Lastly, we have to lay down our burdens at Jesus’ feet. Only He can carry them.

We were never meant to carry the world on our shoulders. If that were so, we’d have much larger shoulders, haha.

On a more serious note, if we don’t humble ourselves, meaning actually admit we need God’s help and ask for it, we never reach our full potential. We never get to enjoy the “peace that surpasses all understanding” or the everlasting joy of the Lord.

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.

So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.

It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

Proverbs 3:1-8 ESV

Don’t miss out on all God has to offer you this side of Heaven. Let go and let God. Amen.

#stress #trustGod #peace

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

The Value of Kindness

For those of you with more than one child, have you ever wondered if your kids will ever stop fighting?

Will there be a day when they no longer compete over who is the best or who deserves the first turn? Then this is the article for you.

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M.O.P.S.

Last year, I attended an insightful M.O.P.S. meeting. One of our mentor moms had us list all the characteristics we want our children to have as adults.

Then, she pointed out children aren’t born with those characteristics, they have to be actively taught and nurtured.

Our Family

We have four children, 5 years old and younger.

Since fighting ensues in our house a hundred times an hour, we prayed together for God to show us how to help them grow into kind, loving, compassionate, giving, and forgiving adults.

My husband and I have focused on instilling kindness in our children and in their relationships with others.

For example, when they do something hurtful or disobedient, we tell them, “That was not kind, please say you are sorry.

This may sound super simple, and yet, it must be followed by our example of kindness, or our words mean nothing to them.

By showing kindness, through words and actions consistently, you will be amazed at the impact it will have on your kids, for the rest of their lives.

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What a Difference

I have noticed a significant difference in their behavior. They will say, “That’s not kind.” Other times, they say, “Hey, we could share with them, and that would make them happy, because we are being kind!

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What a heart-warming gesture!

I promise, no matter how unruly your kids are now, it doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Invest in your kids hearts, and invest with love and kindness.

Pray for God to show you how.

#kindness #TheHaven #siblings