Frustration against other Christians.

The title of this blog may already sound self-righteous to some and maybe to an extent there is a hint of some self-righteousness, but let me explain my heart. When I get mad at other Christians who knowingly and willingly and carelessly give into sin and act like it’s “no big deal”, that concerns me. Yes, let’s examine the plank in my eye. I know I have sin and my sin is a constant battle, but it bothers me. It saddens my heart to know how sinful I am and when I learn from my mistakes… I make them again. I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite right now because like I said, my heart is not there and I’m not judging these other Christians… but my heart breaks for them. 

My favorite verse of all time is James 1:22-25Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”

We remember that we’re Christians at church on Sundays, at Bible studies throughout the week, around Christian friends, or even family members. That light switch can be easily be turned off when we fit God in a box and only use Him as needed, especially in certain crisis’. Our faith needs to speak for itself… James 2:14-18 says “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

It goes back to the James 1 Scripture I gave, we deceive ourselves so easily. Sadly, I don’t think some Christians realize they are being deceived and that this deception comes from Satan. The fact they have no clue either shows a hardened heart or they’ve given into the lie that God is satisfied with their sin, therefore abusing His grace. Satan likes it when we pat ourselves on the back after feeling convicted at church, but where’s the action accompanied by that conviction? 

Sin always comes back as a reflection of a SELFISH heart. We act like we’red owed something when in fact we’re owed NOTHING. God doesn’t need to give or do anything for you. Pardon my language, but if you’re a little butt-hurt because something doesn’t go your way… get over yourself. God is working at something deeper in your heart and life and if you can’t face that, you need to realize you are better with God than without Him. We act like such babies sometimes. 

I just needed to vent because a simple Facebook status would not suffice… plus I feel that here I have a larger audience who cares for my opinion on these things. Am I the only one who gets frustrated at this stuff? Let me reiterate the fact I know I am just as messed up, we all need accountability. I’m not saying I’m a better person or Christian because my works mean nothing to Jesus – He paid it all on the cross and I cannot add to that or earn it. 

20 things you can do to add a little joy into your life.

dino This isn’t going to be my typical lengthy blog where I rant and rant… I feel like there’s so many bad days, bad things, bad people, bad pains, just flat out bad crap that can get to us. There’s little things that always make me feel good and make me realize life isn’t so bad (despite all the stuff going on). I’m going to list some things that make me happy, they’re simple, but effective. Feel free to comment below the things that make you happy. Hopefully some of these things will inspire you in some way.

1.) Getting a manicure or pedicure. Changing up the color of your polish can make a girl feel good. I love me some glitter!

2.) Shaving your legs, well shaving everything! lol Release the beast.

3.) Facial, exfoliate and wear a good clay mask that will shrink those pores (my favorite one is the Mint Julep by Queen Helene).

4.) Move around the furniture in your room or house. It makes the space feel new!

5.) Go through all of your clothes, even the undies and toss aside the things you don’t wear anymore. If it’s just sitting there, it can either be gifted or donated. Either way, it gives you an excuse to go out and buy more stuff right? lol

6.) Now go through all of your makeup. You probably have products that have been sitting around foreverrr and they need to be thrown away or re-gift them to a friend. Again, this will give you the excuse to buy more makeup.

7.) Listen to music that brings back memories, so for me that would be anything from middle school to high school. *currently listening to the Mandy Moore station on Pandora*

8.) Wash your makeup brushes. I don’t do this enough, but when I do, I feel so accomplished.

9.) Always try new body washes, I hate having to use the same products over and over again.  I need new because it’s exciting. Switch up the scents or brands. Same goes with perfume, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, body sprays, etc.

10.) A good chick flick. I typically don’t watch these kind of movies because it’s not my thing… but once in awhile when the husband is at work I’ll go in total girl mode and cry my eyes out to something or repeatedly shout “AWWWW!”

11.) Buy new bed sheets. You don’t need to redecorate your whole room, just a simple change of your comforter can set a different mood for your room.

12.) Re-purpose a piece of clothing, if there’s a shirt you don’t wear much, experiment and cut it into something new. YouTube has a ton of tutorials on transforming t-shirts.

13.) Don’t buy new purses, if you’re someone who keeps your old purses, recycle through them. They’ve always felt brand new to me when I re-worn them.

14.) Selfies. Yes, people bash the idea of them… but playing around your camera phone when you feel dolled up isn’t a bad thing. If it’s funny or cute, post it. Think of it as a mini photo-shoot.

15.) Get some sun. Lay out for 15 – 30 minutes with some SPF. I always feel thinner if I have a little color on my skin.

16.) Trim your hair or your bangs. Cutting off those dead ends makes your hair feel and look healthier.

17.) Light a candle.

18.) Wear a piece of jewelry you don’t normally wear. For me that would be a cute toe ring, they make me feel so decorated haha.

19.) Read a good book and finish it. All too often we start books and never finish them. Accomplishment is the best feeling ever and learning a thing or two never hurt either.

20.) And last but not least, my most favorite thing to unwind with and the most simple is… a nice hot shower. There’s nothing more relaxing than to feel clean and to smell good.

Not so bold and unashamed of the Gospel.

A lot of Christians, including myself, like to quote Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” We wholeheartedly believe this and this may be true for us to a certain extent, but we have to remember who these words were coming from at the time. Paul, the author of Romans and of many books in the Bible proclaimed the Gospel in a hostile time. To be baptized and to say Jesus was God was a one way ticket to prison or execution. Living in America we can’t quite grasp the severity of proclaiming Jesus as Lord and Savior because there is no persecution other than being told we’re bigoted and judgmental. Paul writes these words while he is in prison, believed to have been waist high in human waste. The state of his living was not good, but this man meant his words. He lived these words out, hence the horrible conditions he was in.

My pastor this morning emphasized the importance of the Gospel, the Word of God, it has power. It saves and changes lives and it is by hearing the Word that people open their eyes to the reality of their sin. Wearing crosses whether tattooed or by jewelry, going to church, or wearing t-shirts that say we “<3 God” doesn’t hold any power like the Word can. People need to hear the Word of God, Jesus was the Word and we think just by living for God that people can read us. Yes, we are a light separated from this dark world, but because we are the light we need to shine truth on God’s Word. People are in darkness and on their way to hell because we’re too afraid to speak up. We want the approval of man to the point we neglect Jesus’s lasts words and mission to go make more disciples. Will we offend people? Yes. Will we annoy them? Yes. Will we push certain people away from us? Yes. Could we lose our friends? Yes. The things that will happen to us on this earth don’t even compare to what these people will suffer for eternity – separation from God.

Francis Chan’s book Multiply touches base with the fact that Christians will walk away from church services with conviction and almost pat themselves on the back for feeling bad. It’s like that’s what we’re looking for, when we leave church are we moved with emotion? It seems like that’s our only goal. We should be moved to action, we should be out there getting our hands dirty. Satan has us where he wants us, complacent Christians who feel conviction, but do nothing about it. We’re not a threat to Satan. I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning I want Satan to be like “Oh no, there’s that woman of God!” I want him to feel threatened.

With my uncle being laid up in ICU after heart surgery, practically on his death bed, my dad has raised hands held high in prayer over my uncle. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was in front of working nurses, people who are trying to help on my uncle get back to health. I have been so moved by my father’s faith and him being unashamed in public prayer. I feel so ashamed of myself, Jesus is risen and I’m afraid to proclaim that to people? Do I read my Bible every day and pray? Yes. To the world’s standards my walk with God is good, but I know that is far from the truth. I need to trust in Jesus despite my circumstances and walk out in faith knowing that His Word, when preached, will not return void.

We all have seasons Jesus needs to walk us through and I’m not telling you to look for sin, but if you’ve been complacent… ask the Lord to challenge you and break you of the things you’re putting your trust in.

^^ Please take the time to watch this video by Kari Jobe called “Forever”. It is such a beautiful song! So much truth.

Stress and trusting in God.

Pray More

I talked to my sister not long ago about this and how we say we have faith, but our attitudes express otherwise. You can pray every day, read your Bible, and say “Yes Jesus, I trust Your will for my life!” but then when you come back to reality you start snapping at people. Whenever I start being mean and having an ‘attitude’ it’s because I’m stressed out and worried about a million things. It’s like being in a constant state of being ‘unnerved’. At this point of my mindset, my faith is circumstantial because if something rubs me the wrong way I’m going to fly off my wagon (whatever that means LOL! – I was born in a country household).

I will admit I can be a bit OCD about things, if even one or two things are out-of-place in the house, I need to clean them, right then, right now. The same thing applies when I have a to-do list. In the next few weeks I have so much stuff going on and all I can think of “Is everything going to be okay?” I get anxious about it. I think where I’m trying to get healthy, now adding a bunch of dental work on top of that, and now doing a million things at my church, I feel overwhelmed. If I’m being honest, my stress, although it’s a sin in and of itself, turns into an even bigger sin. I start nitpicking at things and I’m not content. I have to constantly apologize for things, just ask my husband and he will tell you. I don’t like being like that and I don’t know about you, but I feel alone when things start piling up. That I need to ‘carry this burden’. I can’t expect anyone else to help. I’m so quick to do my freak out dance that I forget I have God who helps me carry those burdens. I’m not meant to do it on my own. I also need to realize that I need to go to my husband more often because when I told him the things laying on my heart yesterday I just wept on his shoulder. He reassured me everything was going to be okay and I believed him. God’s Word reassures us that everything is going to be okay too and we need to believe that as well. We need to take God’s Word for face value.

No wonder some of us have anxiety, we try handling things that are out of our control. I caught myself yesterday just needing to take a break and breathe. I could feel my chest getting tightened up it was that bad. I wonder how many times I’m going to have to learn this lesson from God. Trust me girlfriend or you guys out there, when you think you’ve got your walk with God under control and you have it down to a T, you don’t. Our faith can be shaken, but let’s not be moved. At the end of the day, all we have is the Savior. When everything falls apart, when everyone fails you, God will still be on His throne in His perfect righteousness. We have to stop looking down and at our situations and look up – our hope should be in heaven. If you feel like you’re playing ‘catch up’ in life, you’re not the only one. I’m there too and I feel like I’m always behind in this world that is always moving forward.

It just dawned on me now that when I had told my sister I had been stressing, she reminded me my worth was in Christ. I thought to myself at the time… “Okay, well what does that have to do with stress?” It has everything to do with it, because the things we stress out about is the things we usually find our worth or value in. We find success in these things going well, whether it’s a relationship or job, we worry about the status – where is it going? We go back to being circumstantial. If you lose your job, if they cut your hours back, if your relationship is failing, if you have no friends, if you don’t know what you want to do with your life, it’s okay. You know why? Because our worth isn’t in those things. Those things change. I’m preaching to myself here and I’m crying as I type this because I always need to be reminded of these truths.

If you need prayer for anything, please comment below. I will leave this blog with a prayer that whoever reads this will find hope again if that’s what you needed today. May God bless you for His glory and remember to trust in Him.

Learning to be content while single

falone

I feel like I could go on and on about this topic because people between the ages of 16-30 think if they’re not in a serious relationship or married in their early years, they’re going to die alone. I get that people experience loneliness, trust me, I’ve been there. However, if you’ve been single for a certain period of time, instead of complaining, learn to be content in this season of your life. There’s a time and place for everything and nothing ever seems to satisfy us unless we “have it now!”.

Especially speaking to my Christians out there, why do you ignore the promises of God in Philippians 4:12-13, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And what about Philippians 2:14 “Do all things without complaining…”? The best thing about our relationship with God is leaning on His strength and His Spirit to live the life we could not live in our own efforts. Our flesh constantly opposes the things of God, we seek to live for ourselves. We lean on our understanding of things when yet again Scripture says… Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Don’t trust your heart (because it’s your flesh) and don’t trust your circumstances (because they constantly change), trust in God.

It makes sense that if you were in need and someone offered you help, you would take it right? If you sat there crying and complaining the entire time and ignored that help, of course you’re going to feel miserable. In fact, you look flat-out silly. God offers us help, but if we reject that then we won’t experience that contentment His Spirit has to offer. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” – Galatians 5:22. If we pray and we ask in faith for peace and patience, do you not think God will give it to you? Galatians 2:20 says we’ve been crucified with Christ and it’s His Spirit that lives in us. We have the Holy Spirit. Do you realize the implications of what that means? Seriously, take a minute to fathom the fact that God chooses to dwell in you as His holy temple. We miss so many opportunities in life to grow and gain wisdom because we grumble through our storms until things get better and we’re ‘happy’ again.

Do you realize what that’s saying about us? About you? That your happiness is circumstantial. “I’ll be happy if I have…. this!” What about when you have that first argument? What about when that person lets you down? Your walk with God should be your strong foundation for everything, even down to the worry you have in an actual relationship wondering if he/she is cheating on you or lusting after others. I was reading in the book of John today and Jesus was telling the Pharisees that He had the power to lay down His own life and take it up again. If our God can conquer death, why do we doubt that He can give us joy? Why do we doubt that He won’t provide for us? Maybe your faith needs some growing. Maybe you need to be reminded how powerful our God is because the last time I checked, He can do anything. Don’t limit God to earthly things.

Pray for contentment. Pray to have a bigger faith. Be honest with God. You can’t expect the desire to come upon you one morning, we need to be intentional about our walk with God.

Losing weight.

Strong

Before I start explaining myself, I’ll just re-post my Facebook status from this morning: “I’m not in any way bragging on myself, but my thyroid condition caused me to gain 30 lbs in like 2 years. Since being on medication last year I had dropped 10lbs, since I got my blood tests back I’ve been eating healthier and with some light walking, I’m 8 ounces a way from losing another 10 and its only been 2 months. So as of last year I’ve lost 20lbs. It may not seem like a lot to some people, but it means a lot to me. I’m doing it the slow healthy way, trying to make a lifestyle change and not “diet”. I want this to last and to most importantly make me healthier. I could care less about being skinny, I’ve got a wonderful husband who loves me and The Lord who thinks I’m beautiful no matter what. My worth is not in numbers on a scale or what my pants size is. Praying for humbleness ❤ . Thank you God!!”

If you’ve ever struggled with weight, whether it’s due to a health issue or that’s just always how it’s always been for you, I’ve been on both sides. I grew up always struggling with my weight until I got into high school, then I lost it all. I was by no means “skinny” but I was at my smallest weight and being 5’10 tall helped too. I considered myself average, but my teenage insecure self would pick apart her looks. I look back now and wonder why I was never content with myself. Maybe it’s because when you’re in high school you’re constantly around girls to compare yourself to. Now that I’m married and have the Lord, I loved myself more than ever even at my highest weight. I was content for the most part, that was until it effected my health. Thyroids can already work a wonder on your health, but the weight it brought with it didn’t help either. Two months ago after I got my test results back from my blood work I had that harsh realization that something needed to change.

Losing weight is not just a physical thing, but a mental one as well. It’s not easy. Quite frankly it’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do because I’m having to reprogram my mind to know what’s a healthy portion. I’ve lost almost 10 lbs on my own besides what the medication has already helped with, but I still have a long way to go. I told myself when I lose 25lbs I’m going to purchase my first Coach purse. Then after I lose another 25 I want to get all new clothes and hopefully plan to have children. It’s going to be a process, I didn’t put on the weight overnight and it won’t go away overnight either.

Some of the things I’ve done so far to lose weight:

– Drink only water (it was hard at first but now the desire to have other things is gone)

– If I have a craving, then I’ll eat it or drink it. My doctor said the worst thing you can do is deprive yourself because you’ll resent eating better.

– Walk at least 1-3 days a week for 25 minutes to 30 minutes

– Eating Cheerios for breakfast (the multi-grain is my favorite)

– Eating only whole-wheat or multi-grain bread

– Staying away from fried foods (esp. french fries, fried chicken)

– Trying to not eat things with more than 30% fat calories

– Actually portioning my food

– Eating more fruits and vegetables, especially at buffets

– Take vitamins (which we should all do because in all of our diets, we’re not getting enough vitamins like we should be)

^^ Every little bit helps. I’m sure I’ll be adding to the list over time, I still haven’t given up my mayonnaise lol. That will be a hard one, I’ve tried the reduced fat and it’s sickening to me. Either way, you don’t have to deprive yourself to be healthier. If you put your mind to something and pray about it, you can do it. I definitely give glory to God because I couldn’t do this in my own strength. So thank you Lord!

My thoughts as of lately.

God's grace

I’m sure everyone is getting tired of hearing about the Paula Deen situation, but it quite frankly stirs an anger in me because this world doesn’t know how to give grace. Despite where you lean on the situation, if you screwed up would you want people to forgive you? At the end of the day, people can kiss my b-u-t-t if they don’t like what I have to say. I don’t live my life to please anyone, nor do I need to explain myself, lime light or not. We’re accountable before God, not man. A big difference between man and God is that God can look at our deepest darkest more horrible sins and still forgive us. Man  on the other hand will knit-pick the heck out of the tiniest things and magnify them and hold them over our heads. Big difference. God>Man. Just saying.

Moving on… :).

On the bright side of things, I’ve been in my Bible again reading the book of John. I had to watch myself the other day because I tried to speed through my readings to make up for lost times. That’s a big no-no because after I read it I was like… “What did I just read…? O_o” If you’re just trying to read to cross it off your list, then your heart is in the wrong place. Soak it all in, even if that means only reading a little bit a day.

Well, I’m going to go relive my childhood through watching The Little Rascals on ABC Family :]. Have a blessed night everyone and don’t forget to tell people you love them.

– Ashley