Receiving Help

I grew up believing receiving help was a sign of weakness and unintelligence. So I never asked for help. I dealt with my problems on my own and never turned to anyone for guidance, from asking for help on an assignment to asking for help in my personal problems or situations. I dealt with them all alone. So it took me down a dark spiral of depression. It was hard to get out of bed, it was hard to put one foot in front of the other, it was hard to even look at other people. It was hard to do life. I would put a mask on and tell everyone I was okay but on the inside I was so broken. I couldn’t tell anyone that I was struggling because that means I’m not perfect and if I’m not perfect then I’m dumb and if I’m dumb I am weak and I can’t be seen as weak because then no one will accept me or love me.
So I buried my feelings, the hurt, the broken pieces of me under a rug. I didn’t want anyone to see me less than perfect. But the more things got shoved inside the more of who I am began to diminish. I started defining myself by my failures and not my accomplishments. I started doubting everything. My personality was jaded by my inability to tell people what was really going on, so I began to just keep my mouth shut, so it wouldn’t slip out. 

Eventually it got to a point where I couldn’t handle it. I found coping mechanisms through alcohol. It was that temporary feeling of joy. I was so happy. I partied almost every weekend of college and by my senior year, it was every other day. It was bad but in the moment it felt good.

In 2012 though my life changed for forever. I had started my first full time job, I had my first real boyfriend, I had lost over 100lbs, life was so good. I couldn’t have been more happier. But the broken pieces of me was still inside me. I still cried myself to sleep some nights. But I remember distinctly on a July morning I had closed my tear filled eyes and said these words, “God, if you are real. I need your help. If you are real, why am I feeling this way? Why do I have everything I want but still feel alone.” It was my first prayer I had prayed for myself. It was the first time asking for genuine help. 

That September, God led me to my church home where I met Jesus. He became the One I gave my life to. My life changed the moment I open my mouth and asked for help; the moment I surrendered to the fact I can’t do it by myself. I found true joy. I found true love. And I keep working towards digging up the pieces I buried deep inside to become the woman God designed me to be. 

Asking for help is not weakness, it’s strength because it’s admitting you don’t have life figured out. It’s admitting that you have weaknesses and flaws that you cannot seem to figure out and that’s okay. God has provided not only the profession of counseling for us to go to but he gave us His Son to be our counselor. We all need help. We all need  Jesus because we all are imperfect and we are born into a sin filled world.  

Check out this clip on Jesus being the Wonderful Counselor from Pastor Tally Wilgis at Captivate Church: https://youtu.be/VoYjRfX34Wg

Redeemed Life

We are called to lived a redeemed life not a condemned life. 

Yet so many of us live inside ourselves and in our own little world. We start thinking God forgot about us, that God isn’t for us, that God doesn’t care about us. 

We begin to idolize this world and everything in it including ourselves. We put our needs and wants above others. We begin to think we are more important than everyone around us. We start knowingly sinning again and instead of immediately reprenting and turning away we begin to to tell ourselves “It’s okay, Jesus will forgive me.” It becomes a cycle.

When we do this, we will feel abandoned by God. We will feel like God isn’t for us. We begin to rely on ourselves and our “feelings” to define the relationship with God. We allow our earthly standards define the word “relationship”.

We can’t define it. It is way above our understanding. God has been our sideline since the beginning of time. He has been cheering us on since before our name was ever mentioned. God didn’t leave us. God didn’t abandon us. God is for us and will never be against us. Through every hill and every valley he is there. He is with us every step we take and every breathe breathed. 

So if we sit here and live as if we are of this world than we will live a condemned life. We will live like there is no hope, no light, no freedom. We will live as if Jesus never walked this earth and died for us. We will live for ourselves. 

But God calls us out of bondage, guilt, and shame. He calls us to follow him, so that we live our lives for him not for ourselves. We are to be the light, and tell people about the hope and love found in Jesus. We are to showcase Jesus and put him on display. We are to live a redeemed life because Jesus redeemed us. 

God will never abandon his children, even if you feel as though he has. God will forever love us even more than we can ever love him. Live as though Jesus is alive and active because he is, He lives in us. 

Dwelling in the Past 

20 years ago my life was altered. It was shattered into tiny pieces, some getting lost along the way. My Poppop died 20 years ago after a battle with leukemia.

I remember where I was when I heard the news, alone. I was downstairs trying to hold it together. I swollowed the sadness and held it in, even though I wanted to just run away or even die myself.  My life was ruined. I was only 10 years old. 
You see I walked the journey with him. I held his hand has he fought the cancer. I went to most doctor visits and always was there with him in and out of the hospital. If no one was allowed to go, I was the exception. Yet, I couldn’t save him. I couldn’t fight it for him as much as I wanted to. 

I saw every up when the cancer would go into remission and he acted like himself again. I got so hopeful every time. And every time I would be heartbroken when I saw him getting worse. I remember being so angry at God for not healing him. 

I saw every low when his flesh became so pale, his skin so cold. I remember seeing the look on his face when he knew we would never see each other again. I remember that last hug he gave. I didn’t want to let go. 

Poppop died a few days after I last saw him. We were taken out of town to see other family. Honestly, it probably was on purpose so we didn’t see him die literally before our eyes. 

I still remember thinking his death was my fault. I took the blame and shame onto myself. “If only I…” just kept repeating in my head even though I knew I couldn’t stop the cancer.

Today I went back to a place where he underwent his cancer treatments. It was a very freeing experience. I wasn’t there for mourning, I wasn’t there to have the memories flood. I was there for a friend. I was there because it’s where God brought her to undergo observation and where God ultimately led me to. It’s no coincidence that God brought me back to where I lost myself over 20 yeas ago.  

God always has a plan, even if the outcome isn’t in our best interest. My Poppop might have died. I might have lost myself in that and defined myself by that, but it makes me no less of the person I am today because of that.  

I wouldn’t be who I am if I never went through the storm. So I can sit here and try to say a part of me died that day but really it was God ultimately using that to define my path and my story.  God’s not done with me. He’s not done with you. 

Meeting you at the point

In Genesis 22, Abraham was to sacrifice his son after God told him to do so. But the beauty is when they go to altar, God showed up. God had Abraham free his son and provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. God met Abraham in the place after he placed a calling on him and Abraham was following through.

God will meet you where he called you, just not on your timing. I’ve been struggling with faith, I’ve been struggling on whether this life is what God has called me to do, I’ve been struggling with connection with God, I’ve been struggling with a relationship with God. It’s been rough. It’s been battles with the enemy, internal struggles and some very dark days. God promises me he will never leave me nor forsake me. He promises he will always love me and he is working all things for good for those who love him.
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear the goodness of God. It was as if I put myself in this box and the enemy decided to trap me in there and tried convinced me that God had forgotten me, and repeatedly told me if he truly called me then I wouldn’t be going through this pain. But all this time, God was out there telling me to hold on because I had to endure this moment to get to where God wanted me but I couldn’t hear him over the words of the enemy. I was right where the enemy wanted me, trapped in my own thoughts.

But I was set free. You see there was this moment I had to pull over and allow tears to just flow down my face and be broken before God. At this very point was the point at which God met me. I yelled. I screamed at God. But a peace had come over me. It was in that moment that I knew I was free and all I had to do was let go. 
God will meet you where he wants you. Today I walked into church with more happiness and joy than any Sunday over the last few months. I got to serve Jesus today and for that I am thankful. 

God’s Grace is Sufficient

Part of me doesn’t want to write this. Then another part tells me, I really need to and then I battle with why do I need to, no one needs to know…

I take this struggle and I mask it. I don’t want people to see because I’m ashamed of who it makes me or rather who I classify myself as with it.

Lately, I’ve been in, still am, in a deep depression. I have no motivation, ambition, willpower, love of my jobs or life, confidence, or anything. When I’m in this I tend to believe silence is better than talking. So I isolate.  

In isolation negative thoughts  over power any good. They dictate my value and my worth. I have sat in tears. I’ve laid in bed barely being able to move. Yet I refuse to let anyone close enough to know what’s going on. Then I convince myself no one cares. Yet I refuse to open my mouth. I refuse to let anyone inside. I refuse to show my weak side.

I think I can deal with it. I think I can make it on my own.  It’s like I’m in a pit but it’s too tall to get out without help, but yet I keep jumping attempting to reach the top to get out and I just exhaust myself. So with every failed attempt I just isolate into the corner of the pit more and more. I beat myself up calling myself a failure and worthless even though I will always fail by myself.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10 talks about Paul’s thorn in his side. After Paul begging the Lord to remove it, the Lord said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 9a) It goes on to Paul’s response of acceptance, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (v. 9b)

You see I can jump and jump and get nowhere. I can exude all my energy on my own effort. I can allow myself to accept my failures, my inabilities, my feelings. I can pretend this depression is not there. I can pretend that this thorn in my side by covering it up and masking it. But the Lord doesn’t want that. The Lord wants me to uncover it, to face it so that His grace can cover it.

Paul talks about boasting in weakness, why? Because like the Lord said, “my power is made perfect in weakness” meaning that I will never be cured of depression, regardless of medication, it will always be a battle, the thorn will always be there. But the question in the end is what is stronger? The Lord’s grace or my depression?  If I battle depression with the Lord, I am strong but if I battle with myself and isolate myself, I am weak. 

We are not meant to do life alone. We are not meant to battle things alone. We are not meant to isolate ourselves. Yet we all do it from time to time. 

The Lord is with us. God doesn’t abandon His children nor does He forsake them. We all have battles of different kinds. We all have thorns in the side. But we shouldn’t bask in it and just accept it. The enemy is sneaky and conniving. He will use your battles to keep you away from God. So don’t be silent. Don’t keep everyone out. Allow others in. Allow God in. Allow God to cover you with grace. Allow God to give you strength in your weakness.

Depression is real and it’s hard. If you battle it, seek help from others. Seek counseling. Seek medical help. You are not weak because you can’t battle it alone. You are strong because you admit where you are weak. 

Desperation of love

By now everyone knows I grew up in a dysfunctional family, though I believe everyone’s family is dysfunctional in some way. But it scarred me, it scarred my heart. The only love that I was able witness love  from a parent to a child. I saw hate and despair as child between a mothers and fathers eyes, not love.

So naturally I craved love. I wanted to experience love. I wanted to know what it was like.  So I immediately at the age of 14 decided to go online into chat-rooms and start a relationship with someone ONLINE. First off, I lied about my age, weight, and appearance. It was the person I WANTED to be. Blonde hair, blue eyes, athletic, and skinny. It ended badly. It ended me attached to a screen and keyboard just wanting to be with a person who had no idea who I was or what I was about.  I fell into a deep depression after we “broke-up”. I wanted to die, I was in so much agony. Whereas I can laugh at it now because it was childish, back then it was so real. It was my life.  My life was on the edge of ending because I someone decided they didn’t want to love me, I saw myself as worthless, disgusting, overweight teen, who never would be able to be loved ever again.

After college my life was settled down. Instead of trying to  become friends with people I settled for the idea of I am okay with just my family. So I latched onto my family. I latched on to the aspect of them taking care of me. I latched onto the idea of never having to stand on my own two-feet. I latched onto the idea that dating online again was okay. At the age of 25 my life got complicated. I started being desperate for love again. I started going back into the free “online dating”. This time I was me, but desperately me. I wanted to be with anyone who showed me “love”. So I met a few random men offline. That was a mistake. All of that was a mistake.

I decided to pay for online dating. Nothing, I got no one. No one wanted to be with this pathetic girl who was desperate for love. No one wanted to be with this girl who didn’t have her life together. I didn’t know who I was, how could I expect someone to love me when I didn’t love myself? It starts with me.  I began crying at night, calling out to the God wanting help, I wasn’t even a Christian then. I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew I saw it in movies, my mom used to pray with me at night, this was what I supposed to do.  I was desperate for love. I wanted pure love, no strings attached, no ‘you have to do this’ to love me.

As God started softening my heart without me knowing it, I got invited to my current church. I realized the love I was praying for was His love. I didn’t know who I was, He knows who I am, He knew what I was searching for.  Whenever I start to feel lonely, whenever I start to feel as though I need someone by my side to be with me, to make me feel worthy and loved,  I slip to my past and do the online dating again, but then I realized as I pray, I as I dig into the scripture I realized that I am okay. I am okay where I am. I am more than okay with just the love the Lord has for me. I found a community, a church that loves me, I found friends that I never knew I could be friends with. I found the love that Jesus wants me to have. I don’t need the love of a significant other to make me happy, to make me feel worthy. I can do that for myself for I am worthy because God tells me I am. I am a princess who deserves everything.

 

 

Sinful Coffee

So I gave up coffee for a week. Ok so it’s only a week, but here’s what I have learned.

I complained of the idea of giving up coffee, I had every excuse in the bag. But I didn’t plan on giving up coffee. I figured I can let go of something else that wasn’t as abundant in my life. I was on my way to work last Monday morning and I just felt like I didn’t need to stop for coffee that I could make coffee at work. Then, the coffee maker at work was broken! So I sighed and I said a prayer that was so simple. “If it is your will, God, if you really think this will help, let it be done. Amen”

That day I wasn’t stressed, wasn’t even really tired. I turned to water. The next day was the most stressful day of the month. The end of the month. It meant deadlines were sooner, more paperwork. The works. But I still didn’t give up, even after the headaches started rolling in. By the end of the week I realized my ups and my downs throughout the day were because of my continuous crashes of caffeine, not my actual being tired.

It’s like sin, sin can make you feel great but by end of the sin, you will be down seeking your next sin to get involved with. And I know you will be kicking and screaming like a little child of even the idea of giving up some sin, but in the end it’s all worth it. With Gods help it can be done. Even if you don’t think you can live without.

Jesus, the perfect man,died for our sins, so that we may live. But if you are a Christian living in continuous sin, the thing Jesus died for, then how can you embrace God with a fully loving heart? You can’t. How can you live a sinful life if you are suppose to be Christ like? It doesn’t go together. I am not saying you won’t sin because you will and if you say you don’t, you are probably lying and therefore sinning. We are enslaved to sin. Sin gets you no where in life. Embrace God and leave the sin behind.

No matter where you are in life, if you think that God put it on your heart to do it. Then do it give up the sin and Stop complaining.