Be Your Own Personal Therapist

“I just need to talk to someone!” This is a phrase I am all too familiar with as I have struggled through life. If there was just someone who would care and would listen to my problems I might find help.

I thrive when I am able to talk through the thoughts in my head. I draw strength by expressing my ideas outside of my thoughts. My ideas find shape and enhancement in this manner. There are not many others who have time to listen, while I sort through my mess. The idea of having a weekly meeting with a counselor sounds amazing, except that is unrealistic in my life.

There is a solution besides hiring a full-time counselor.

You can become your own filter. You can express your thoughts and allow them a voice that enables you to hear and sort through the good and the bad. The practice I am referring to is daily journaling.

Journaling works, because it is an outlet for negative and positive emotions. It relieves stress by freeing the mind of clutter. Journaling is an excellent way to clear your mind of excess thoughts and find clarity. Journaling is the way to be your own personal therapist.

 

4 ways to make journaling a successful part of your life

 

1. Choose a time.

Are you an early riser or a night owl? While I encourage early mornings, especially for those who work and have children, you know yourself better choose the time that is best for you. The two best times are early morning or before bedtime.

It is best to have a set time. Something that is done sporadically is not a habit and it is not going to be as helpful.

 

2. Choose a method.

There are different methods for journaling. You can journal your thoughts in the form of writing in a personal diary. You can also use a recording program on your mobile phone or computer and record and audible journal.

 

3. Choose the amount of time.

There really is no right or wrong answer to this point. The amount of time used needs to be tailored to fit your life. How much time do you have? What are your responsibilities? What other priorities do you have during the same time frame? Do you read the Bible, a devotional or other literature in this same time? Start somewhere simple. I suggest half a written page for beginners or three to five minutes for audio.

 

4. Choose the appropriate tools

This is a crucial point. It is vital to successfully implementing this habit that you like the tools and that they are easy to use. Is the book easy to access? Is it sturdy and built to last? Is the paper pleasant to the touch or irritating?

I know this point may seem odd and you may choose a plain notebook which is great if that works best for you. It needs to be a decision you make and know you can tolerate and enjoy. I know from experience if I do not like the tools, paper, pen, etc. I will not use them every day. Even if they are fancy or expensive.

 

My preferred method of journaling is writing out my prayers in the morning. This has tremendously boosted my prayer life. It helps me clearly speak to God in ways I had never before taken time. At the end of journaling my prayers, I feel so much closer to God, like I had connected. I could say the things I always wanted to say, but usually never reached.

Journaling my prayers has helped my relationship with God and clarity in my mind. I highly recommend journaling. It has been a life saver for my prayer life and thought life.

Question: How has (or could) journaling been beneficial to you in your journey, in life?

Christ’s Beauty In A Broken Girl

There are days that are not good, yet they are not always bad. They are just days. Days where survival is all that is accomplished and in the end all that is possible.

We have all had those days.

We have all loathed those days, while sometimes secretly longing for them.

The days were hair goes unfixed and makeup is ignored.

Where children are dirty and fine china is paper plates.

Are they hard or are they rest?

Sometimes, it is hard to tell. I cannot decide.

In the midst of the mundane routine of life, with all of its love, joy, hurt and pain, I wonder if it is all a scheme to chase me to Christ.

Is my messy life here to show the beauty of Christ’s work, in a broken girl?

Question: How is Christ’s beauty revealed in your life? Comment below!

If I Am Trusting God Why Am I Sad?

I pulled the comforter up around my face and tried to block the noise. While the baby slept, my older children watched a movie while I hid from the world, on the couch, in my cocoon of blankets. “Oh God, I just want to stay here. I do not ever want to get up again.” I stayed there for two hours until the baby cried and God said, “Mary, you have responsibilities.”

That morning my Papaw on my Dads side, had passed away. I did not think it would be so hard. I did not realize the crushing feeling my heart would feel. Two weeks earlier my Papaw on my Moms side had died. I made it through that funeral unscathed, but how could I do this again. How could I face death with all of its finality, all again so soon. My heart felt crushed. I could not breath. I wanted to stay in my hidden environment and never again face the world.

Over the next few weeks, I fought off the sadness. It was a deep sadness that seemed to engulf my entire being. I was trusting God and talking to Him about everything. I felt so close to Him. Why, then was my heart overwhelmed in sadness.

Surely, a Christian woman who has God, His Son, and the hope of heaven should be happy.

Is that what God wants from us, good happy women who never cause trouble or need His power to take the next breath.

Do you know that deep sadness? When your soul is crushed under the weight of sadness it carries.

Have you ever heard…

…you need to come into the doctor’s office to hear the test results

…they will not make it through the night

…the baby no longer has a heartbeat

…the pain cannot be helped

…there is no hope

…it is drugs and they have been using for quite some time

…there is no cure

…I do not love you

When life hits us in the face and takes our breath God wants to be the one to hold us.

He never expected us to be strong Christians who are never fazed by the hurts in life.

There is a time to weep and a time to mourn.

Each season is right and proper in its time.

As we embrace the pain, allowing the sadness to pour through our being, we can rest securely in the arms of a compassionate God who longs to hold us through our hurt.

We have a comforter. He cares. He has the strength to hold us when we cannot stand on our own.

Sadness and heartbreak is a season in life.

It is natural.

It will turn.

It may be winter, but spring will come in time.

“1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up

 that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace,

and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

(Ecclesiastes 3:1:8)”.

 

 

Question: What has God carried you through when you did not think you would survive? Comment below

Can I Have An Abundant life

What is life in Christ? How can it be abundant and beautiful? These are questions I have struggled with in my adult life. As I have walked through the joys of life and the troubles of life. When I was a young girl, I always thought life as an adult would be great especially if Christ were on my side. Boy was I blindsided, when I began to try and live an abundant life like I had always dreamed.

In the book of John, Jesus tells us that he came not only to give us life, but more abundant life (John 10:10). I know he came to give us eternal life, life that took away the curse and punishment of death. However, as he speaks of a more abundant life, what does he have in mind? What about the other verses that tell us about persecution and trouble (John 15:18-25). How can we live a live that is full of problems and pain and experience this abundant life? How do you accept this truth without joining the ranks of the health, wealth and prosperity Christians?

Here are 4 truths to embrace about Christ and His Promise of an abundant life.

1. He gave his life for our life. (John 15:11, 17-18)

We can believe His claim because He gave his life. He willingly laid his life down to take our place. We can clearly see his loving care in His actions towards His own.

 

2. He will not abandon. (John 15:12-13)

He promised not to leave us. He told us, there are those whose intentions were to kill and destroy, but that was not His intent. He proclaimed that he cared for us and would take care of us.

 

3. He knows his own. (John 15:3, 14)

We can rest and rejoice in the fact that Christ knows us by name (vs.3) and that He knows all about who we are and our needs. We are also given the promise that we can know Him intimately (vs.14).

 

4. He is enough for life. (John 15:3,9)

 

As Jesus is portraying a relationship between a Shepard and sheep, he tells us in verse 3 He leads us, that we can trust him to be there and lead us faithfully. Verse 9 is a bit more puzzling. What does it mean that we can go in and out to find pasture (vs.9)? How does that apply to us, since we are not sheep? A sheep would need to have safety and good pastures to thrive in its existence. In Christ, he is saying he is giving us safety and nourishment to thrive in our existence. Basically, we can live our life in Him and find everything we need, from protection, comfort, rest, nourishment, and shelter. He is enough for Life!

 

There will be problems in life. We were not promised health, wealth and prosperity. In these verses we read that He loving knows us and cares for us. We can have and abundant life full of peace, rest, and fulfillment in Christ. Trust in His care for you and live a truly abundant, beautiful life!

Are you living abundantly in Christ? Are you trusting in His care and provision? Are you resting in the fact that he knows you personally?

If you are not you can. He is the good Shepard that lay down His life for the sheep. In addition, he wants to be reunited with you. Come to Him today and find rest.

Question: What are you trusting God for today? Comment below.

“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).”

Seeking For Your God-Given Purpose

“God, I just want to do something for you,” I cried from a sincere heart. I longed for a God-given purpose, one for which I could passionately live. I wanted to know what Gods intentions were with me and what he had in store for my life. Why, did it appear that God was holding back from me? Why, did it feel like I had no purpose, when I desired one so strongly?

Maybe, you are as I was and you know you want something, but you just do not know what that would be. You know something is not in place, but for the life of you, you cannot figure out what would make things right.

God has a plan for you and he is not hiding it from you. It is not a secret! You read correctly, He never meant for His design for your life, to be a secret. He has never hid it from you. It is there before your eyes. You just cannot see it now. He will reveal it in His own time and his own way.

Here are 4 tips that will help you in this time of searching.

 

1. Keep doing what you know to do.

Do the things you know to do right now. Like take care of your daily responsibilities, family, home, and work. You have a ministry in your daily work even if it feels insignificant.

You may not feel like you have it all together today, but that is ok. There is a beauty in the process.

 

2. Do not give up.

Continue to ask God to show you your God-given purpose. Do not give up because it is not coming easy. Hold out and enjoy the journey.

 

3. Look at your interests.

Explore areas in which you are interested. Learn all you can. Begin by reading, studying, or participating in areas that concern you. Our purpose usually flows from our interests or concerns.

 

4. Do not commit too early.

I have to take this point to heart. I really like good ideas and can impulsively jump at a good chance, when it would be best to wait. Sometimes, the best action plan is to take time to have the idea assimilate in your mind. Continue to think and plan until you own it for yourself and know that it came from God. Waiting is better than rushing ahead of God.

 

These tips may not bring all the answers to your inner struggle, but they can help you relax, wait, and receive the most benefit from the journey.

 

Question for you to answer: If you could do anything for God, what would you do? Comment below

When God Abandons You

Have you ever looked to the stars and wondered where God was? Have you felt the emptiness of your soul and longed to feel anything from God? Have you ever questioned his existence or his involvement? Have you ever accused Him of being uncaring? Have you ever been so broken that your heart ached and longed to be comforted, but comfort never came? Have you struggled from the depths of a tortured soul, tired of crying out to a God who did not answer?

I have.

I was devastated when I learned that a loved one was caught using drugs. I watched helplessly as they spiraled into a place of despair. I grieved the loss of the person I knew. It hurt. I sat on my back porch one night, as this friend cried and asked me where was God? In the heart of this good Christian girl I was crying out to know where He was, also.

God I am not the one who went astray. Why are you silent? Where are you? Do you know what is happening to me and my family? Do you feel the sorrow and pain that is ripping at my soul?

Maybe you understand this kind of pain. Maybe you felt the grip it takes as it holds you in a paralyzed state? Maybe you have looked to the stars and screamed to God, looking for answers.

If you have you are not alone. In agony on the cross, Christ cried out to his father. He felt total separation from God, so that we would never have to experience separation. (Matthew 27:46)

Nevertheless, I hear you say, “How does that help when I am hurting and I feel separated from God?”

You may not like the answer, it is odd.

You cry, scream if you need to, and pour your broken heart out before God. You search for him and continue to ask him where he is? Then in the midst of your brokenness you turn your heart to Him and acknowledge that you know you are His and you are going to trust Him even if you do not feel him. You are going to Trust Him for who He is even if your heart is still breaking. Even if He does not miraculously fix the problems you want Him to solve.

This worked for me. I believe it can work for you. More importantly it worked for Christ. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus Christ cried out to His father and He ended his prayer with, “not my will, but thine, be done. (Luke 22:42)”

If Christ found comfort this way we can, also. It may not fully come today. Yet, we can rest in the peace from trusting Him in the middle of the pain.

What heartache are you struggling with today, that allows your soul no rest? What do you desire from God?

Comment below or send me an email I would love to pray for you today.

The Boring Christian Life

Are you bored with your Christian life? Do you go to church and come home the same? Do you look for the next big Christian experience? That just may be the thing you have been looking for to fix your problems.

The Christian experience is like a drug. It has highs and lows and can leave you always searching for the next fix. Something else that helps keep up the persona that everything is all right. Always looking for the next service, where you can smile, rejoice, and praise God or the next book to help you align yourself to be a better Christian.

At the closing of the services or the end of the book, you are still the same. You feel like a good Christian. You do the things a good Christian should do and you don’t sin very often. Nonetheless, you feel distant from God. You are never fully satisfied. In your heart, you know there is something lacking.

Religious involvement can never fully satisfy. The longing heart desires more than an emotional high. Continual searching for joyful moments is draining to the soul. The situation feels good while they last and disheartening when they depart.

If you are tired of this revolving pattern that leaves you unfulfilled, then let’s begin the escape of boring Christianity and experience Christ.

1.  Look for Christ in the silence
Sometimes we have to quiet our heart and get away from the crowd to see Christ.

“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:11-13)”

 

2.     Desire Him above excitement
Do you want Jesus more than you want the excitement of a service or interesting book? If we seek Him, He promises we will find Him!

“12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-14)”

 

3.     Acknowledge that finding Christ will result in needing to change
Do you want Christ and the change He will surely bring? He is not just a warm, happy feeling. He is about live change and changing us to be more like Him.

 “22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25)”

 

The Christian life is not a search for the next experience. It is a relationship with Christ, an intimate and close walk with Him, in which your life continually progresses to Christlikeness.

 

A Good Life Does Not Equal Spiritual Maturity

God came to give life and he gives life more abundantly. He did not come just so we could have a good life. He desires for us to become more like Christ and that leads to an abundant life he has provided in his Son. When we are living a good life that is not necessarily from God, it could be our circumstances or our upbringing. Christ offers a new way of living. The new way is giving up our way for his way. Sometimes that is in opposition to the good life. It can appear to be heading in a different direction than our idea of a good Christian life. God’s ways are not man’s ways.

God’s way is better.

God tells people to do strange things that are hard to understand.

He commands you to love your enemy.

Do good to those who hate you.

Love God more than you love your family.

Submit to each other in love, because of Christ.

God tells us that true Christianity is to provide the needs of widows and orphans.

He tells us to give of our limited resources to God who is supposed to have limitless resources.

God says not be joined with the world, yet stay with your unbelieving spouses if they choose to stay.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)”

God’s ways are abnormal. They do not fit man’s idea of judgment and fairness. We want things done now, God says wait. We want healing and God says in his time and in his way. We want to be right immediately and he says, “Ok, it is a long process let’s begin with one little thing and then another for the rest of your life.

Who will we believe? Will we stay with the things we understand? What we believe to be true about church and how a good Christian should live or will we fall before God acknowledging that we do not understand his ways; however we know they are right.

Spiritual growth comes from routinely putting down your way for Gods. In choosing Gods way for one issue leads to God showing you something different, this then leads to choosing your way or Gods way once again. All of this is a cycle of growth leading us closer and closer to being like Christ.

 

3 Ways To Escape The Trap Of Survival

As a young mother, I did not have the time to dream of the future. The notion of thinking about tomorrow was overwhelmed in daily responsibilities. There was always something more important, something or someone whose needs surpassed my own. To desire to be fulfilled was a selfish thing. It was more important to survive, then to thrive.
There are seasons when it is ok to live with a survival mentality, when it is important to care for another’s needs above your own needs. However, is it a sustaining approach to life? Can you maintain the look that everything is, ok? Can you continue to pretend that you are satisfied? When do you say it is ok to expect, ‘something more’ out of life? How do you find that something more, that does not lead to the negative aspects in Reba McEntire’s song, “Is There Life Out There”?

There are many stages of life besides early mothering that lead to simply surviving. You could be married, single or a widow. Caring for children or caring for parents. Whatever stage of life you are in you do not have to settle for just getting by. God has plans for you.

What are the signs that you are staying too long in this harmful way of life?
• Lack of learning new knowledge.
• There are little visible acts of self-care or excessive outward self-care.
• Responsibilities are done out of obligation.
• The main relationships in your life are troubled. (Marriage) (God) (Children)
• Resentment for your spouse or other women who do not have it as hard as you.
• Your appearance is neglected.
• Acting out of character, usually by stopping activities you normally would enjoy.
• Questioning the choices you made in life.
• Little care is given to spiritual growth.

Here are a few reasons it is harmful to continue in this survival mentality.
• It prohibits spiritual growth.
• It places maturity at a standstill.
• It can lead to depression.
• It could lead to ill treatment or abuse of the person or persons in your care.

Here are 3 ways to begin to escape the trap of survival.
1. Learn something new
This point may seem trite and maybe even make some people mad. It makes me mad. I get a little attitude and think things like, “is that all people think women can do bake cakes and scrapbook.” Nevertheless, for now we will all put aside our attitudes, me included, and look at the bigger picture. I believe in you that you can do bigger and better things, but sometimes we need to start somewhere. What’s wrong with a hobby anyway? This step is like jumper cables to bring life back to a lifeless heart.
Look for something new to learn. It can be a craft, or hobby. Think of photography, cake decorating, scrapbooking, or website design. It can be anything that stimulates your creativity, and if its fun that is even better.

2. Get out of isolation
Look for ways to step out of your comfort zone and get out among people. Go to the park. Join a Bible study. Ask someone from church out to lunch or over for supper. Do something you would have enjoyed before this time in your life. Call a friend or do something to serve someone else.

3. Look to the future
This point is sometimes difficult, especially when your day is filled with so many responsibilities. It is hard to look past today and see the horizon of tomorrow. It is even harder to have the courage to reach out with hope for the future.
Do not be afraid dream and think of your future. Talk to God about what he has available for you. Trust him for strength for today; while you trust him for enthusiasm for tomorrow.

What stage of life are you in today? What dream do you have for tomorrow? Comment below or shoot me and email. I would love to hear from you.

 

 

Do You Desire A Relationship With Christ

What are you looking for in your relationship with Christ? Do you feel distant and long for his presence? In what ways could your intimacy with Christ be enhanced? He is standing arms outstretched wanting you to come unto him. Is this what you desire? Could the connection between you and Christ be better?

Everyone is looking for something better, a better relationship, a better job, a better home. Our society is obsessed with having a better body or better income. There are so many get rich quick schemes and diet pills leaving people with debt and sick bodies.

 

The church is not exempt. We want good sermons and active children’s programs, with vibrant singing and entertaining pastors. We want the number of visitors and members to grow, and we wonder why our systems to supercharge growth do not produce results.

 

Our spiritual lives are the same. We want to feel close to God and have lives full of joy and peace. We will listen to sermons, singers, and speakers’ hoping someone has that magic pill to will solve the entire struggle with the disconnect between us and God. We rejoice and praise God at the moment then rapidly plummet back to the real world.

 

In all of these areas there is one thing in common an avid desire so strong that it turns into greed, a craving that begs to be filled with no wait and no hard work.

 

How does this affect good Christian’s who just want more of Christ that cannot be something bad? It is not greed, is it?

 

If this means wanting to be godly, without having a renewed mind, then maybe it is.

 

Wanting to be close to God without spending time with him without drawing near to him then maybe it is.

 

A relationship takes time. There is hard work put into relationships.

 

There are intense times.

 

There are fun times and pleasurable times.

 

Times that are full of laughter and times that are filled with tears.

 

Christ wants to give us all these things. He longs for a relationship with you. He wants a relationship with close intimacy, where he teaches you and helps you mature. Where he holds you when your heart is sad, and your tears are falling. Where you can run to him if you fall and he will lovingly pick you up. Where he can tell you when you are wrong, and you will listen and then change.

 

Relationships take effort. It takes two people who take the time to get to know each other, who spend time together.

 

Christ put effort into being able to have a relationship with you. What are you willing to do?