Miserable Christians

Webster Dictionary defines miserable as wretchedly unhappy and uncomfortable. Wretchedly, yikes.  While this word seems so horrible when defined, so many Christians deal with the feeling of being miserable.

Paul states in 1 Timothy 6:6-10, “ But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

When we examine this text, we see that having godliness (being a Christian) with contentment is what moves us from the state of misery.  I was visiting a church in Montgomery, AL with my sister and the preacher stated that if you battle depression you are selfish……when he stated that, I nearly went through the pew.  I had never been told by anyone that my depression was because I was selfish.  As I sat there, every moment of depression I had experienced flashed before me and I realized that the decision to be a miserable Christian was all because I was only thinking about myself.  I then began to think, how does it feel for a 13 year old girl to have a Mother who lays around ALL day long, waddling in self-pity.   That has to be horrible.  I grew up in a home where my Mom smiled and sang songs all day long, I never knew she experienced pain until my 20’s.  I thought everyday of her life was sunshine, but what I failed to realize is that she had far greater struggles and problems than I have but she choose to gain greatness by being godly and content.  Let’s see what Webster Dictionary defines contentment as.  Contentment is a state of happiness and satisfaction, gratification, and fulfillment.  Wow, it says nothing about everything going in my favor, having a great partner, having extreme riches, having a platform, having children, having your dream home, having a degree, no it says none of these things that our depression tells us we should have in order to come out of our misery.  It says we just have to be satisfied! Not complacent, but satisfied and grateful!

Philippians 4:4-8 states, “ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

These scriptures above leaves us no room to complain.  We should always rejoice and live in the moment.  Therefore, we will be able to pray and petition God so that our next moments will be better. If no more than better thinking.  I challenge you right now to get out a piece of paper and write down 50 things that you are grateful for.  It will begin to renew your mind and give you the peace that you need.  I know that some seasons are so tough that it seems as if you are about to suffocate, but it is in those moments that you must begin to cling to the word of God.  I pray that everyone who reads this and battles with depression begins to understand that there is a remedy for Miserable Christians….it’s called contentment.

Blessings to all!

xoxoxo

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Solidified Liquids

I had it all together.  I had read and studied the word, declared with my mouth that I was victorious, listened and followed the direction of God, and spent countless hours giving selfless of myself and my talents to up building the kingdom…….only to end up disappointed in GOD.  Did I really just say that? Did I just admit that in my sanctimonious state, I became disappointed with GOD.  As I lay in the bed this morning I opened up the internet browser on my phone to an article my daughter had searched on the similarities of solids and liquids.  As I was reading the article, God began to deal with me concerning my relationship with him.  You see solids and liquids both consist of particles that are held close together and are not easily compressed.  Because of this limited free space between the particles, both solids and liquids are called condensed phases.  However, the difference in the arrangement of the particles of solids and liquids is related to their kinetic energy—- adding heat to a solid can increase its kinetic energy and CHANGE its phase to a liquid.  The liquid is then able to slide past one another, making it possible for liquids to flow and take shape of their containers.  Solids differ in that they do not flow with ease due to their particles being fixed in a ridge volume shape.  Yeah, Yeah, I know you didn’t stop by to hear a Science lesson, but let’s take a moment to examine things.  Where did the façade of disappointment begin?  Aha, there lies the problem. The opening statement of this dynamic blog J reveals the problem.   “….I had it all together” I was SOLID.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 states, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people”

Wow! SOLID….I was held together by ungratefulness, no self-control, being rash, conceited, and a lover of pleasure rather than a lover of God.  Going through the motions of sanctimonious behavior, but denying the power.  The power of struggle.  You see solids can easily be confused with liquids because both are held close together and are not easily compressed.  Liquids are held together by the fruit of the spirit and have the attributes of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self- control.  Only when the heat is applied do we begin to see the attributes of the spirit or the attributes of being solid in one’s own strength.  My friend’s trouble is not applied to your life for God to see if you will stand, it’s applied for you to get to know yourself.

Psalm 139 1-4 states, “You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.  Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.”

I always wondered how people became “seasoned” Christians and were able to live through all kinds of disappointments and still have trust in God.  I am beginning to see.  The more trouble I have been through, the more God has revealed to me areas where my salvation needs to be worked out.  It’s easy to say you have been delivered from something that you have never encountered a test from throughout your salvation.   I am currently in my wilderness season where the heat is turned up and I am learning to allow God to uproot the secret sins of my life.  My misery is for my ministry.  How can I move to my next level of promotion if I cannot handle the portion I am given now?  It is in these moments of disappointments where we become a witness to others about the saving grace of God.  It is in these moments where we can declare as Job 13:15 states, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him”.  I encourage each of you who are experiencing rejection, disappointment, and stagnation to remember Hebrews 10:36, “For you have need for endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.” Be encouraged! God will break your heart, to blow your mind.

xoxoxo

Go HEART for Jesus!

Have you ever been awaken to days in which you are mentally and emotionally paralyzed by the fear of the unknown? When all your understanding leads you to believe ……WAIT, there lies the problem. Proverbs 3:5 states “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Aha! Major conviction! We tend to “trust” in God with all of our heart when all of our understanding lines up with what we are desiring. 1 Corinthians 2:9 states, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” Therefore, you cannot understand what you have never seen, heard, nor thought of…. Which brings us to having to rely on God’s understanding through faith. Romans 10:17 states “so then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So let’s examine Hebrews 10:22-25 to understand the condition our heart must be in to trust in God.

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.”

Could it be that we do not trust God with our whole heart because we are still holding on to the unnecessary gripping guilt of our past and the pain that attaches? Whether it be sins of commission or sins of omission (Sometimes what we fail or omit to do causes us more remorse than the acts of sins we actually committed. ) It leads us to wonder are we actually believing as 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” So how can we be reassured?

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Wait a minute, so while we are struggling with trusting God, we have to hold unwaveringly to the hope we profess and continue to encourage others to trust God? Yep! Luke 6:38 sums it up nicely: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over. Most of the time we equate this verse to giving of financial resources, while this verse holds true to financial giving, it can also be translated to giving of encouragement to others. In the moment the word of God goes out of your mouth to offer encouragement to others, it has a boomerang effect of encouraging you as well.

I encourage you on today to allow God to work on the issues of your spiritual heart so that you can begin to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;”

The Beginning: Life as an [Un]ordinary Teenager

How did I end up being a Teen Mother? We see the horrible statistics of low income single parent homes being the producers of teen parents.  But what happens when a sheltered girl from a Christian two-parent stable home, with tons of nurturing and love finds herself holding the title of Teen Mom.  Let’s rewind in time to the summer before my Senior year of high school.  I was excited to embark on my journey into adulthood and college life!  I had great grades and had already received one scholarship my high school Junior year.  I was ready to leave my hometown and live the college life. A university in a nearby state would more than likely be my college of choice.  I had just finished my first 3 semester hours of college that summer at local community college, and I was ready for the excitement of Senior Year: Homecoming, hanging with my classmates on Friday nights, Senior Breakfast, Senior Skip Day, Prom, and Graduation.  Senior pictures had been taken! Oh, how exciting! I was free as a bird and ready to tackle Senior year, the year of accomplishment.  August passed, September came and here comes along the guy who had broken my heart (at least I thought at the time) the year before.  My parents did not agree with me dating him, but they let me make choices for myself.  So he came and hung out at my house a couple of times and then we went out on a date.  That October night would change my life FOREVER.  November came and passed.  December came and my body began to change.  Breakfast began to make me sick (especially grits), my hands were cramping, and I was so tired each day.  My Mother asked casually one morning as I ran to the toilet with morning sickness, “Are you pregnant?”  I thought, no, not me.  I’m not one of those girls who was abandoned by her Father and looking for validation.  I lived in a happy, nurturing home.  As the weeks began to pass, it became more apparent that something was wrong.  A pregnancy test was purchased for me and my sister sat with me as I took the test.  I prayed as the results were coming in on the test. The results finally showed that I was pregnant.  I cried and cried for days.  What would my friends and teachers think? Plus, the father of the child had already broken up with me.  I was devastated and so disappointed in myself.  My parents were a great support.  My Mother held me and said it would be alright.  I went to school the next day as if my life was the same.  My parents set an appointment for me at the Health Department to confirm I was pregnant.  They were able to confirm.  I began my journey into Teenage Pregnancy.  As people began to find out, they were shocked.  The time came to break the news to my child’s father.  He was speechless and would not tell his parents.  Therefore, I decided to call his Mother.  As I began to tell her, she called her son in the background and he stated to her that it was not his baby and he had used protection.  If I was not already devastated, this made me feel like my life was over.  As time passed, so many of my friends were so supportive and all my teachers accommodated my excessive bathroom visits. I was determined to succeed.  I placed my mind on school and success.  I went to scholarship interviews even though I was pregnant.  Why? Because I was so determined to go to college.  No one offered me a scholarship, but it was understandable; I was a pregnant teenager, a real risky investment (so they thought).  I lived my Senior Year as a regular teenager as much as possible.  I attended and participated in everything my parents would allow me.  But I did not get to attend prom.  I cried that whole night.  I was determined to NEVER miss out on anything again in my life.  Little did I know how determined I was at the time.  I know my Mother was praying for me.  I cried myself to sleep every night, cried every day after school, and woke up in the middle of the night and cried.

As the months passed, I began to grow from 105 lbs to 135 lbs.  The doctor stated that my baby would not be bigger than 6 lbs.  I would sit in the waiting room and feel so ashamed; seeing all of the pregnant married women, happy to be giving life.  But I continued to live the life that I had positioned myself for.  Graduation came and I walked across the field 7 months pregnant.  A few weeks later I started Summer college courses at a local Community College.  I finished just in time to birth my child.  After 14 hours of labor and natural child birth, I was able to hold a 7lb 6oz healthy baby girl.  She was perfect, innocent, and longing to be loved.  Something that I was not ready to give, but something my parents were willing to encourage me to do.  She was a good baby.  I would lay her on the bed and study aloud with her just lying there.  She was born for the life that she would live.  As the months passed and I was unable to do the things my friends at college were doing, I began to hate my daughter. I still managed to care for her, but she knew her Mother did not love her.  She longed for my attention and affection and I only gave her the attention I was required to give. The days turned into months and I was officially a Mother.  My daughter’s father was not providing for her financially or emotionally.  I felt so rejected and as if no one would ever want to date me.  But in the midst of all of the emotional trials, I continued to work hard in school. Then the shocking news came that my Mother would be unable to babysit my daughter during the day, soon after she turned 3 months old.  Here I was in the middle of a semester in college and had nowhere for my daughter to go.  I was not saved or in communication with God, but I began to pray for guidance.  I wanted to succeed so badly.  I wanted to be educated.  God directed me to an at home babysitter.  She was great with my daughter and charged reasonable rates.   I thought that my life was over, but little did I know this was all a part of the plan to keep me motivated and determined.

Glory in your Suffering

Romans 5:3-5 states, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Wow! That is a mouthful. We so often pray for the strength to endure our Christian race and to become better Christians, but are we rejoicing when all we have is hope to cling to? Pain is inevitable. It is where the catalyst of Christian success lies. Matthew 25:23, states “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” I thank God, today, for each of my struggles because it is where I collided with true joy and happiness.  No every day is not a day that I wake up thankful that I struggle with the pain of rejection and loneliness.  I have to remind myself many days that pain is inevitable and apart of the Christian race.  So when I have days that I think it will be impossible to face life, I pull out this handwritten letter that I wrote to a once discouraged and faint person.

Dear Dorothy,

Today I declare and decree that you are the head and not the tail.  You are wonderfully made to praise and honor God.  Your life is awesome.  You have a great relationship with Christ that is growing daily.  Your faith shall not and will not waiver.  Bless the Lord for all that he has done.  Marriage will never complete you.  You long to marry and God longs for you to become complete in him.  He already has destined you for marriage, but he wants to mold you into being complete before you are allowed to be the favor of the husband he has for you.  I pray that you begin to identify the purpose God has for you.  Your purpose is enveloped in your dry season.  In this season you grow for your season of harvest.  Get a joyful spirit so you can reap.  Keep Isaiah 43:18-19 in your spirit.  Let go of the past.  Renew your mind daily.  Be transformed by the Word! Feed your spirit man so you will be full when temptations come.  Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.  You SHALL live and not die!

Dorothy

As I begin this series of blogs that defines how I journeyed through Ziklag (1 Samuel 30), I pray that my testimony helps someone to endure the hard times.  There is sweet victory on the other side of pain.  Be encouraged!