The one thing needed in order to heal!

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this blog, because it covers a touchy subject. I just knew if I gave it the title, “The Importance of Honesty” then most people would pass by it. I didn’t want to give it that title because this blog is about much more than that. Honesty is just the beginning, but without honesty there can be no moving forward. Everyone thinks that if they are not being honesty then they are dishonest. It’s the way our society looks at everything. Black and white, right and wrong, honest or dishonest. The truth is that everyone looks at black and white differently, as I talked about in another blog. Most importantly is to know there is also a gray area. The gray area has been defined as riding the fence, tempting the Holy Spirit, living without thought to consequence. What if I give you a different perspective and let you decide for yourself? If honesty is the one ingredient needed before we can do any healing, and dishonesty is the opposite, then what is the gray area?

First, let me make clear how I view black, white and gray areas. I have lived in the black and white world most all my life. What I found was that no matter how good I was, no matter how honest I could be, or how right and perfect, I could never measure up. I could never be in the white area. You see, I am a sinner. I was born a sinner, and I will continue to be a sinner. I cannot be perfect. The only thing I can be is forgiven (Romans 3:23, John 3:16). So, if black is hell and a place that I have not confessed my sin or the stay of my sinful nature, and white is heaven the place where I am made complete, whole and righteous, then forgiven by grace for me is the gray! It’s not that I live on the fence. I live knowing I am a working progress, forgiven by God’s grace, and the ultimate goal is to refine me until I am complete and whole. I live in an area that not only sees the good and the bad, but also know that it is the heart and the motif behind why a person does what they do that matters and not a list of dos and don’ts (1 Samuel 16:7). So how does honesty fall into the black, white and gray area?

I believe complete honesty is a working progress. The reason for this is the one gray area that we are all guilty of. That gray area is called denial. The first step to any problem we face, is the denial that a problem even exists. I can say that I have had times when I truly believed with all my heart that I was in a good place, and nothing was wrong. Instead, as life happened and I became more aware of my circumstance, I could see that it was not true. Denial is not the end of the road, the black area that we cannot come back from. Denial is the gray area, the first step we all take on the road to healing. Whether trauma, fear, hard times, storms, and chaos evolve in our life to show us where are feet are planted on our road; we must first stop denying our circumstance and the impact it is having on our lives. We must stop denying that we are stuck or not on the right path. We must acknowledge whether the road we are on is headed up the mountain with honesty, growth and freedom from our circumstance. Or, we are stuck in a black and white, stagnant pond full of quicksand and mosquitos. Drowning in our shame, guilt and denial of who and what we have become. Once we can stop denying, then honesty has the power to run freely. The power to pull us up out of that sinking sand and set us on a path of true redemption and growth.

There are many reasons that we live in great denial. Shame, pride, bad coping skills, negative perspective, hurt, pain, embarrassment, stubbornness, mislead information, false teachings, or just plain old rejection of the truth. These each carry strong emotions that have the power to keep us near the pond. The most importantly thing we can do is realize the power it has on us that keeps us stuck and that there is freedom waiting for us if we can let go and move past it. Admitting you are in denial is not weakness, it is strength. Yes, it is hard and sometimes we are so consumed by emotions we cannot see that we are stuck in denial. Yet, God grace is sufficient and will carry us until we can see through the fog surrounding the pond that we are lingering at. When that glimpse of understanding comes that we are in denial, the fog clears just enough for us to see the path up the mountain. That path starts with honesty about our denial. Once we make that step to acknowledge that we have been in denial then freedom and growth can follow. The bible says John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The truth is Jesus and what he has done for us, as well as the truth in his word. When we face hard times, if we admit we are facing hard times, then search out the truth on how to handle those hard times. Then we have the power through Jesus Christ to live free. Free from the demons that denial plagues us with, free from the consequences of sin, free to be honest about all our sorrows and mistakes.

We are all living in some state of denial. The fact that you almost denied that statement is proof! What are you denying in your life today? What truths do you need to face that will get you unstuck and give you the freedom to be honest? I am telling you, once your honest, there is no stopping the power that God can instill in you to persevere and grow you to be complete and whole! Here is a list of things you may be living in denial from and some of these things I have personally dealt with myself, so know that you are not alone.

  • Suffering, or have suffered, from Physical, emotional, mental, sexual Abuse.
  • Feel you have been neglected by those you say they love you the most.
  • Controlling Desires or lust have overtaken your life.
  • Feel as though you are in the midst of Temptations or trials.
  • What your Strengths and weaknesses are.
  • Misunderstanding of who God is.
  • Misunderstanding of what God expects of you.
  • Dealing with Addictions such as smoking, alcohol, drugs, sex, or gambling, and you don’t have it under control.
  • Dependency on things to make you feel better, like eating, spending money, belittle others, over exercising, etc.
  • That your strong desire to help others may also be tied up with you feeling good about yourself or making yourself look good to others.
  • That you are a people pleaser.
  • That you are depressed and or anxious.
  • That you have a negative point of view.
  • That you need God or are not living as close to him as you could.
  • That you are letting the world and its enticing moments of fun control you.
  • That you are struggling and need help.

Once you face the truth and you are honest, then you can take the steps needed to heal. Without honesty you will stay where you are. What are some things that you have lived in denial over or have seen others struggle with, I would love to hear your comments and personal stories?

Count It All Joy

The trials of life are not just all consuming, but leave lasting marks on our souls. How we deal and process these trials sets the tone for how our bodies and minds automatically deal with it. This process of dealing is called coping skills. We develop these coping skills usually as a child. As hard times and difficult experiences come, we take on ways to help ourselves deal. Usually, these coping skills are not always healthy. A lot of the times it depends on the role models we have in our life and how they deal with trials. We adapt our role models coping skills and run with it. There is no blame to be found in doing this, it’s our natural human response. Some people resort to drowning out their sorrows in drugs or alcohol and not dealing with tough emotions. Some people go on shopping sprees and lots of vacations to induce feel good endorphins. Some take on loads of work to avoid relationships or any change that they cannot control. A lot of people get angry and lash out. They are bitter, resentful, and linger in a state of despair. No matter what, the one thing we all have in common is that we all have trials and we all have different or even multiple ways of dealing with them.

My personnel struggle with trials all began with the coping skills I took on in face of adversity as a child. I would lash out and rearrange my room at first, because anger is something I seen and thought was how to deal. When this was not satisfying and did not resolve anything for me, I then turned to fantasy. I would go into my mind and dream of the perfect world and the perfect people and a safe place for me to escape and feel wanted and loved. I could not do this during the daytime or in crowds so then I took on smoking. If I got a little stressed, I reached for my pack of cigs and escaped to the nearest smoking section. Later, I took on avoidance and withdrawal. I would do everything to avoid conflict. I took on the responsibility of everyone’s feelings and did everything I could to control how they reacted. I became more withdrawn, afraid to voice any opinion or struggle. The fear of what others thought of me and facing more conflict controlled me. Thirty-five years later it all caught up with me and I was drowning in a sea full of fear and avoidance. I had nowhere else to go, but through. I had to face all the hurt, all the pain, all the trauma of life’s trials. Then I met a man named James and my life changed.

I met James by accident one day. I was having a really tough day. I was constantly wrestling a thought in my mind and could not for the life of me figure out the answer. The thought was, “How do people keep going, when they are in so much physical and emotional pain? What is the secret?” I knew of many people who suffered great physical tragedies and no matter the state they were in, they found a way to cope and found new meaning to life. They found joy again and I just knew if I could figure out their secret, I too could obtain that joy myself. I could learn to live a new and improved life with healthy coping skills. So, in the midst of my research, James appeared and he helped me find one of many coping strategies that would change my life.  James was a carpenter’s son. He is a common man and lived a common life. James did not believe in Jesus until the later years of his life. This was crazy to me because he grew up within such a God-fearing home. A home so surrounded with the plan of God and salvation for all. Once James surrendered to the possibilities of Jesus and his purpose, James’s life took on new meaning and He shared this one phrase that changed my life as well as his. “COUNT IT ALL JOY”

What?! Are you telling me that this is the secret to dealing with hardship? To count the hardships in my life as a joyful experience? At first, I was in denial. Trust me, there is nothing joyful about suffering abuse, neglect, and physical and mental ailments. Then James explained it to me in a way that I could not argue with and it opened my eyes to a new way of seeing things. He said to me, “Keri, count it all joy when you find yourself in the midst of a trial. This trial is a testing of where your faith stands and can produce more patience to help you push through your trials and not avoid them. So, grow your patience by pushing through this hard time. If you need guidance then just ask God and he will give you wisdom freely as long as you hold to your faith and do not waiver. Trust that He has a reason for this and it will help you in the long run!

James opened my eyes that hard times and obstacles are meant to be a stumbling block from Satan, but God has made a way for us to grow in the midst of it. We can grow our faith, patience, perseverance, and most of all our trust that when we come to the end of this trial, and an end will come, that we will see the hand of God in it. We will be stronger in mind, body, and spirit. I believe I can trust James. James is not only Jesus’ half-brother, but was a witness to Jesus’ resurrection and a martyr of the faith. If he held to the faith and found joy in the midst of struggles…, could it not work for us too?

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers’ temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. James 1:2-6

If James does not impress you then maybe you can take Paul’s word for it…

Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. Romans 5:1-5

God’s Gifts During Struggle

Struggle, struggle, struggle. I am beginning to think this is my middle name. Not only am I struggling to feel joy, but I am struggling to come up with anything to write about. I just don’t feel the spirit leading me in that way. I also think I have so much going-on I am definitely compartmentalizing my mind and my activities. Market days are ahead and I am low on inventory. Low is actually an understatement. I don’t have anything! Trying to work around sickness, church, family time, family members with covid, and more personal sickness. To me, household chores are consuming enough. Then you add on a craft business and wham! I am thinking, “What are you doing?” Not to mention my book and my blog, and another book sitting in the files of the computer waiting for attention and the holy spirit to guide me forward. In the midst of all this I feel overwhelmed, I feel pressure, I feel a need to perform at my best. The one thing I am trying to concentrate on instead is gratefulness.

I am so blessed beyond what I deserve, but I am constantly getting overwhelmed and lost in the sickness and pressures of life. Everyday I never know what to expect, and this expectation scares me. Will I be hurting today, or sick to my stomach? Will I be depressed and not motivated, or anxious and can’t sit still? These are just a couple examples of the questions I constantly roll over in my mind as I open my eyes to face the day. Every day, I try to push them aside and concentrate on the blessings I have. Trying to stir up some emotion. Any emotion, to feel something other than the all-consuming dread of what I may face today that is not pleasant. As I do this day after day, I realize that counting my blessing isn’t the problem. Being thankful is not the problem. What if the problem might be understanding the goodness of God? In the midst of all my pain, suffering, and blessings how can I grasp the concept that God is good all the time? How can I reach up and grasp hope without crashing when my hopes don’t come to fruition? These are the true questions that are keeping my focus in the midst of my struggling.

As I search for answers, I have found there are a couple of core beliefs that I have mixed up in my mind. I believe these core beliefs are part of my problem. The first one is, if God truly loved me, he would not be giving me this trial, and if he truly cared he would deliver me from it. Second one is, if I don’t control my sickness, I am not going to live that long and it will be my fault. So, with these beliefs, I dig into my bible and look for validation in it. Is this way of thinking accurate to how things are and how God is? These are the verses that brought clarity to me.

James 1:13-14 Let no man say when he is tempted (facing a trial), I am tempted of (from) God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he drawn away of his own lust (desires), and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I am going to break down my scenario using this verse. Its like solving a riddle using the word of God as a guide.

Tempted/ facing a trial- My trial is my multiple sicknesses. I don’t like to talk about my health issues, but I would like to give you a glimpse of how it can be all consuming for me. I struggle with Ulcerative colitis, Interstitial cystitis, Migraines, Sjogrens syndrome, Complex post traumatic stress disorder, depression, chronic thrush, and insomnia. Everything I eat can either make these worse or better, yet each illness has its own diet to follow. By the time I get done crossing off the list of things I can’t eat, I am left with very little that won’t sustain me. Trust me I have tried! Not only am I struggling with pain and other annoying issues with each illness, every time I eat, I face the fear of the consequence it may have.

Drawn away of his own lust- My lust or my desire is to not be sick. To not face the struggle that illness can play in my life every day. To avoid pain, fatigue, starvation, anxiety, and depression. To look for a cure and to find the right diet that will be healing and sustain me without symptoms. To take responsibility for my health and gain some control of it all.

Lust hath conceived- When I fall into the role of trying to control, I am neck deep in my lust/desire to not be sick and even deeper in the trap of avoidance. Avoid food, avoid situations, avoid people, avoid anything that will make my illnesses increase in intensity. The trap of avoidance is an all-consuming pit of despair and leaves you feeling hopeless. The more control I think I have, the more faith I put in myself, in the next medicine, in the next doctor’s visit, leaves me in a never ending roller coaster of emotions.

Bringeth forth sin- The sin, I believe, is the dwelling on the problem and a solution. Dwelling on the avoidance, dwelling on my diet, dwelling on my suffering and pain. The funny thing is when I looked for the definition for dwelling this is what came up: A place where someone lives. A house or structure in which someone lives. Where your attention and focus are directed. Not only am I constantly making my bed in the midst of my struggle, but I am constantly focused and have my attention there.

And sin when it is finished bringeth forth death- sin without repentance bringeth forth death. I believe that when you ask for forgiveness of your sins and acknowledge God as the giver of life and Jesus as the sacrifice for sin, then your soul is sealed and there is nothing that can take you away from God and your place in heaven; but I also believe that Satan’s goal for all people is to pull their focus away from God, away from growing in him, away from witnessing what God has done for them. Most importantly he wants you to question God and doubt his ways. Especially as a non-believer looking for answers. As I get stuck in my desire for control and my entire focus is on my circumstance, then my focus is not on God or our relationship. My focus is on me and only me. My desire for relief becomes so strong and consuming it takes up every spare moment I have. I struggle to get past the noise in my head and truly focus on my relationship with God and what he can do for me instead of the fleshly pain I am in. I especially get lost in it when I continue to struggle day after day and God does not seem to answer my prayers.

Every Good and perfect gift comes from above- God’s good and perfect gift from above is not the same good and perfect gift we think it is. We think that Gods good and perfect gifts are answered prayers, health, financial stability, spiritual feeling of wholeness, and consistent joy. These are the things I always thought were true. It brings me back to those core beliefs I have. If God loves me, he would not give me this trial and if you cared he would deliver me. Verse 13 states… Let no man say when he is tempted (facing a trial), I am tempted of (from) God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man… Trials do not come from God. Trials come from living in this sinful world and dealing with our own personal desires. Satan knows our desires and he has the power to place obstacles, thoughts, and people in our path to deter us and lead us astray. Yet, inside the trial and circumstance, God has a good and perfect gift that I never understood until now.

What is this good and perfect gift you ask? The gifts we receive from God our not necessary to sustain our physical desires, but to fill our emotional and spiritual needs. Gods main focus is the salvation and spiritual growth of our souls. Everything God does is for our benefit in these areas. Satan’s goal is to use all his power to attack you and distract this from happening. When we are consumed with our struggle, we see the pain and daily grind of pushing through it, while God sees the growth in character and fruits it is producing. What is also amazing is the other great gifts God has given us to help us through these difficult times.

His son as a sacrifice for our sins- John 3:16

His word the Bible that has 8,810 promises directed to man and speaks to us-Psalm 119:105

A church family and others to pray and help us gain perspective-John 4:12

An abundance of mercy that is new every morning- Lamentations 3:22-23

The Holy Spirit as a comforter so we are not alone- John 14:26

A heavenly home to look forward to- John 14:1-6

Through trials comes hope of deliverance and growth- James 1:2-4

Endless forgiveness-Psalm 103:10-14

An abundance of Gods grace and strength in the midst of our weakness- 2 Corinthians 12:9

The list goes on and on, but these are just a few to know the love that God has for you is real and the gifts he wants for you are everlasting. Just think about that. God’s gifts are everlasting and will sustain us! His gifts are everything we need to make it through this world. The only thing we needed is for us to trust and believe in them.

A Break from the Noise

I woke up today feeling well rested and blessed for the day before me. I said my morning prayers and somewhere in the midst my mind started to wander. My mind often wanders. Its my struggle that I deal with, especially during prayer time. As my mind began wandering, I started thinking about the day ahead. The things I hoped to get done. The feelings of joy that come with some of the activities, began to wash over me. The more I thought about what I was going to do, the more oppressed I became. The joy started to fade quickly and an overwhelming sense of dread started to creep in. Those things that I enjoy doing became more of a list I will never get done. Before I knew it, I was neck deep in a mind full of task I could not get completed. A sense of failure came over me and the day looked depressing and lonely. I did it again! I told myself I would not do this and here I am drowning in the pressure to get everything done today and feeling hopeless. I was stuck! Stuck in my mind of this cycle of dread. Every time I tried to bring my mind back to the moment it would wander back to the list of things to do. It was at the forefront of my mind and it was not budging. I had to break this cycle of thoughts! I had to get a break from the noise!

I remembered hearing a quote the day before and an idea came to mind! That would be a great meditation exercise to reset my mind. To bring my focus back on the things that God wants me to do today and not on the list of tasks to complete. The thought was, “being in the circle of God.” What does that look like? Well let’s paint the picture and find out and see how it develops.

I will play this on a podcast so you can close your eyes and just follow along, but if you don’t have access to the podcast then I will picture it in words as you read.

“Standing in the presence of God”

I walk up to the gates of what looks like an arena. There are two angels standing on either side of the gate entrance. Their wings are bigger than they are and pointed at the top as they slightly bow forward a foot above their heads. Their halos are iridescent. As they turn their heads you can get a glimpse of the shimmer that the halo is there. The halo is not meant to draw attention or mark any significance in their stature. It’s just a small glow to let you know who they are. The sense of who they are brings you peace, but what really makes you relax is the look on their faces. Their faces are white with a hint of pigment. So soft and smooth without blemish. Their eyes are kind and their lips are small, yet the warmth of a smile seems to be their constant facial expression. The look they give you is so warm and inviting it gives you a sense of peace. A peace that says you belong here, you are safe here, you can rest here for awhile and nothing else matters as much as this moment in time. Their arms outstretch and beckon you to enter the gate of the arena. As you step forward you see the arena has no top and a light so bright and beautiful radiates out the top in all directions. It gives off a sense of power, yet not a power to fear, but a power that brings on a sense of awe and respect. That this place is reverent. Holy. Worthy of respect, and worthy of you to enter. As you walk through the gates, the gates remain open behind you. Your eyes travel around to get the lay of the land. An arena about 30 ft in height and 30 ft in diameter surround you. The base of the arena is a circle surrounded by a wall about 6 ft high. Above that 6ft wall is a ledge where there are seats. Only one row of seats surrounds the arena. These seats are seats like you have never seen before. They have tall backs with arms. They look comfortable yet very prestigious. Almost like those chairs you see at the front of the church for the pastor, but as you look closer, they are made of carved wood with beautiful designs and gems and crystals of all kinds are imbedded in the back, arms and legs of each chair. Each with their own unique design and flare. They have a cushion in the seat area that looks soft and inviting. The color of the cushions is a color never seen before by man. As you look around again you notice the seats are full. Full of men and women. You don’t know how you know this, but you know each and every person sitting in them. Moses, Enoch, and Noah are on your left side. Along with Esther, Deborah, and Bathsheba. On the other side is Peter, David and Paul, as well as Jonah, John the Baptist, and Mary the mother of Jesus. The stories of each person flash before your eyes and gives you a sense that you know these people. They are talking among themselves and smiling down on you. There are many more there you know, but you concentrate on the feeling it brings you to be in their Prescence. A feeling that you have always known these people comes over you and feel like you belong and are among kindred spirits. Then very softly there is a voice that comes from above and says, “Welcome to the circle of God’s love.” Everyone goes quiet and the look of anticipation comes over their faces. The look of love and respect, yet a look that says they feel blessed to be there in that moment. All their eyes turn and focus to the end of the area that it straight ahead of you. Opposite from the gate where I came in. You notice then there is a throne like you have never seen. It is so much bigger than all the other chairs in the arena. It is made of pure gold and is exquisite in design and size. To the right-hand side, your left, is another chair the same size as all the rest yet made of gold like the large throne. A man walks up and sits in the chair. He has a smile on his face so big. He looks like he is trying to reign in his excitement he is so happy. He continues to smile at you and your level of comfort and ease takes on a whole new level. You are wanted here. You belong here. You are worthy to be here. Then with a sound of trumpets everyone stands up and a pillar of light comes in from behind the throne and sits. Everyone sits after he does and the excitement in the room is contagious. Everyone is happy, every one is excited, but what comes across in their body language is this is their favorite time and place to be. What comes next is so amazing that it brings joy to the bystanders that are watching from above.

The white pillar of glowing light sits warmly in the throne and a sense of warmth comes over you. It starts in your heart and slowly spreads out into the limbs of your body. Your chest gets warm then your stomach, your neck and pelvis, your arms, legs, and finally your head. They are filled with a warmth that can only be described as a deep sense of love. A love so deep you feel a freedom that is indescribable. No guilt, no shame, no pain exists here. You feel light as air, as almost you are floating above the floor of the arena. Nothing else matters, but this moment. Then the white pillar leans forward and his face becomes clear. A face so calming and serene a tear comes to your eyes. All the thoughts and fears you ever had slowly slip away as you focus on this man, this God in front of you. Your God. His eyes are full of acceptance, his posture is full of care and concern. The realization of being in God’s presence causes the tears to fall freely. As your tears fall, you feel a sense of relief. A sense of calmness, a sense of belonging. The God before you says, “welcome my child.” Sitting next to him on the right side in the similar throne is Jesus. You didn’t recognize him before, but you do now. With every tear you cry, he is crying too. As you look down, a band of angles surrounds you with bottles, catching your tears as they fall. You look to David and he has a look on his face that says, “see, I told ya.” A family. A deep sense of family comes over you and that is what consumes you. All these people are like family and you belong to them and they to you. This is a safe place, your place. Your focus comes back to God and he is smiling down on you as you take it all in. He can see your thoughts and feel your emotions. He is patient and kind and is in no hurry as you absorb the magnitude of your circumstance. Then he speaks calmly and with such grace and love, another tear falls to the angels with their bottles. “Welcome to my circle of love, my beloved child. I am so happy you are here. This circle represents the deepest aspects of my love. These people here are all recipients of my love. They each have received love from me in different ways, and in different parts of their life. The stories of my love for them I have given to you to bring comfort, joy, and peace to know there is no depth I will not go to make sure you know that I love you. Also, for you to know in all things I will forgive you, comfort you, grow you, and strengthen you. My child, you are so important to me, and I cherish the time we spend together in pray and in my words. Today, this day, is not just your day, it is not just your pressure, it is ours. I am with you where ever you go. I am there to share your load, I am there to help guide you and choose a path, I am there to hold you up when you feel weak, and I am there to guard and protect you when things in life come at you that may be too much. Today, I promise to love you no matter what comes, I promise to love you no matter how much you accomplish. My darling child, today is just a day. Tomorrow will come and the day after that. There is plenty of time to get things done. There is plenty of opportunity to get things accomplished. Today, whatever we do together will be enough. Today, just you being present with me is enough. Today I want you to know, I am with you. Today, I want you to know I care for what you care for, I feel for what you feel for. Today, you are enough and whatever you can give is enough. My dearest child, I got you! I have your time, I have your task, I have your responsibilities and I have your worries and fears. Today I want you to know I will make sure you get it all done, because in my time it is enough. Today, just take one step in front of the other and I will be there to show you, guide you, and give you peace to know together we are enough.”

Now open your eyes. Do you feel the presence of God? He is with you, he will guide your next move, he will help you through this day. Now you just take a step and see what adventure He has in stored and not what your mind tells you must be done.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
To Everything there is a season. A
time to every purpose under the 
Heavens...

What’s the Purpose of Being Still?

These past couple weeks life has been a complete roller coaster. My anxiety and depression are all over the place as well as uncertainty and a lack of hope and purpose. I guess I have been second guessing everything I have been doing. When I really stop and try to see what this all stems from, it comes from a place of control. You see, if I can control what is going on around me, then I can control the depression, the anxiety, the physical pain that comes with a flare of one of my many medical conditions. If I can just gain the upper hand, then I can somehow maneuver through what ever may come. Then the truth hits and before you know it, I am in the middle of the valley, drowning in a mud puddle of uncertainty on which way to move forward. No matter how much control I think I have, the reality is that I have none. I have no control over what may come jumping out of me when I finally emerge from the puddle, I am in. I eventually am gonna have to make a move. I can’t stay here forever, but which way to I go? Then A small voice comes in and says, be still and know. The thing is I don’t know!!!! I don’t know anything right now except the hurt and pain. The overwhelming emotions that leave me crying at the drop of a single look or word from someone has me consumed. How can I be still and know?

To be still means to stop and pray right? Stop and pray. I can do that, but what if its more than that. What if I stop and pray and don’t plan? Don’t do anything? Don’t plan the next step. Don’t worry about making sure everyone is happy. Don’t worry about the dishes, the laundry, the grocery list. Just stop everything and be still until God says something to me. Just pray and wait. Is that even a logical step to take? My family expects to have their clothes cleaned for work tomorrow, their dinner ready when they get home. Maybe to be still means to stop all expectation, to stop all control of making others happy and just stop. Just pray, wait and see who comes through the door. Wait and see who calls and checks on you today. Who comes to you to vent or talk. What if today, you just be still and do nothing!

Nothing, is a big word! Doing nothing can be scary at times. I have ADD and doing nothing is not an easy thing for me to do. I am always moving, cleaning, checking off a list of things that need to be done. To do nothing is not easy for me, but what if that is just what my body and mind need me to do to slow down my emotional side. Let everything just come to a stop until you know the next move to make. To stop all the chaos in your mind so you can hear God speak to you! The drive for control is so strong, that it drowns out the voice of reason within me. The hard part to see is the humility it is gonna take to admit that I need to do it. I may not be able to control everything around me, but I can control my prayer life and my stillness.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I ask you today to forgive me of all my sins and wipe my slate clean. Forgive me for trying to control everything and help me Lord to be still. Calm my body and my spirit. Show me the next step to take and have confidence to know it is your will and not mine. Help quiet my mind Lord and be okay with letting things go today until I can hear your loving spirit again. I ask these things in Jesus name. Amen.

Do you have Comfort, or are you filled with Comfort?

Comfort comes in many forms

On most given days, you will find me running around doing multiple projects, chores, and errands. I struggle with the desire to feel accomplished. To have the feeling, that I spent my day with great purpose; but at the end of the day, it is a never-ending pit that cannot be filled. I get caught in this trap so often. This trap that my day is only successful as long as I can show progress. Running on a high of emotions that come with being productive. Then after a night of rest, the morning comes and the high of emotion from the previous day is gone, and I start the cycle over. The cycle of being productive to obtain that feeling of great accomplishment that is only temporary.

There are several issues that come with this cycle. First, it requires me to spend a great amount of time in my head. Thinking, planning, and organizing my time to be the most productive. Always knowing the next step in front of me. Second, it consumes my entire day, week, month. Third, it leaves no room for any other joy in my life. No free time, no vacations, no spur of the moment visits or phone calls to others. Lastly, it leaves no time for the Lord. No time to spend with him in word and prayer, and no time to listen and be filled with the comforter to help guide me in my day. What do you mean “The Comforter”? That is a great question. Did you know the comforter is also called the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit? Jesus made a promise that when he ascended into heaven, he would send a comforter to us…

John 14:16-18 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

What I love about these verses, is we not only have the promise from Jesus of the comforter, but we have the knowledge of what the comforter will do for us. The comforter, the Holy Spirit will come to us upon our belief in God as found also in John 7:39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) We will have him forever and he will dwell with us forever. Then we also see that the Holy Spirit has the ability to teach us all things, and bring all to remembrance. What? That is a two-fold deal right there. So, what does that mean?

It means that upon belief in the Lord we will have the comforter with us forever, but if you have the comforter and add studying God’s word, prayer and worship you can be filled with the comforter.

John 16:7-14 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

To have the spirit is the promise of salvation by Jesus himself, but to be filled with the spirit is an opportunity of honor and responsibility as believers in Christ. We are baptized in the spirit as a symbolism of having the spirit, but the promise of being filled gives us the access to the power of God. That access is presented to us in the form of God word. Through His word he can guide us, speak to us, and show us His love and plan for our lives. It is up to us to take the time to read, study, and pray and worship. By doing this we all have the chance to be filled with the Comforter (Spirit).

So, today my goal is to get out of my head, stop planning for productivity, and sit for awhile with the Lord and be filled with the spirit through studying his word, prayer and worship with music and song as I go throughout my day. It is a better feeling to be filled with the spirit so I can listen and let him guide my day, than it is to chase that feeling of productivity that will fade with the sun.

What is complex post traumatic stress disorder?

Good days are possible!

First, I must say that I am not a medical professional and if you suspect you may be suffering from PTSD and CPTSD please seek medical help. This article is to take a peek at the terminology and my own personal trauma and struggles.

Complex PTSD is a new term in the medical field and one you do not hear much about. I think as my generation and the ones behind me mature, it will become more commonly used and talked about. We associate PTSD with combat warriors that have come home from war after experiencing a traumatic event. It is easy for us to understand if the traumatic event involves some kind of physical affliction, but the truth is it most commonly appears in those without external blemish or scar. To understand this, we must first understand there are 4 different bodies that make up our one. In my book I describe these and touch on them, but today I am just going to touch a little on them. They are:

Physical Body

Mental Body

Spiritual Body

Emotional Body

Each of these bodies represent us as a whole. I believe they are intertwined and when healing the body, we must treat all areas and not just one. Our medical field and insurance companies are not set up this way. To get help in all areas at the same time cost a fortune, takes applications and multiple physicians and often people do not get the help they need to heal. For PTSD sufferers, I believe the trauma they have experience affects the mental body due to a threat to the physical body of ourselves or others we are close to. A continued state of arousal to protect the physical body messes with our Mental stability while triggering an emotional response. I call it survival mode. PTSD is used to describe those who have suffered one life altering event, while Complex PTSD is used to describe those who have suffered a series of life altering events that have occurred over an extended period of time. Those life altering events keep you in a heightened state of survival mode. Fear of what will come next, constantly being proactive to avoid the next round of mental threat or physical blow to your person. While at the same time keeping your emotional body under control. Sounds very complicated right?

In my personal experience I could never understand why my anxiety and depression appeared when it did in my life. Let alone extreme panic episodes where my body felt like it was so out of control. Why at this time in my life was this happening? Some call it a “midlife crisis”, others call it a “mental break down.” For me I call it my “had enough alarm.” My body simply had enough trauma that it was overwhelmed and could not deal with any more. I learned that my bucket was overflowed. My body had dealt with so much that my mind could not take on anymore. The series of things I experienced in my life and the order in which they arrived, left me in a state of constant survival mode. Everything triggered me. I never realized it before this happened, but I always sit in the corner of a room with my back to the wall. Loud noises and especially yelling or arguing triggered my defenses as well as my severe need to put walls up and not trust anyone. I trusted no one and had a right not to. I had been hurt over and over again. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

First, it started with sexual abuse as a child. When that person was finally out of reach, in enter this smooth-talking teenage guy who gave me the attention and affection I so strongly needed. Until my naivety with men and relationships found me pregnant at the age of 14. 14 and pregnant and I was trapped. I was told that this man would be in my life forever and I had to make the best of it. So, I did. Within a month of finding out I was pregnant; he was living with me and I made the best of it. Little did me or my family know that path we would go down from that day forward. To make the story short. I loved him dearly and I think at one time he loved me too, but something changed in him. He became very mean and emotionally abusive. He started drinking all the time and I found myself at 15 and 16 taking him to bars and being his DD. (Yes, there are bars in the backwoods that will allow teenagers in.) We fought constantly as well as with my parents. He would leave and come back a total of 13 times in our relationship. He dated almost every one of my friends till I had very few people I could trust or count on. He told me I was a tramp, and no one would want me when he got done with me. That I was used goods. That I was stupid and ugly. Most of all he said that no one liked me, and no one could stand me. They all just put up with me because they had to. That he was only with me to get what he could from me. I believed him. I believed it all. When he told me that last statement, I found my exiting backbone and proceeded to the closes exit. On my way out the door, he would threaten my families lives, my child’s safety in my arms, and my reputation in the community. It became a toxic relationship to me and threatened my security and mental well being. Little did I know at the age of 16 how this man that I had loved so dearly, could impact my life and mental health indefinitely.

From there I finally gained some independence. I worked to graduate from High school as well as take some college courses while holding down a manager job for a local fast-food chain. I finally felt like I had some control over my choices and circumstances. I met my husband at the age of 18 and got married to him at the age of 20. He was a breath of fresh air. I had found someone who truly loved me and support me. I would not realize the extent until late in life, but God gave him to me and His timing was impeccable, but I never did stop looking over my back. I Never knew when chaos would come around the corner and destroy what happiness I had. Even when me ex finally signed his parental rights away. I still worried he would enter and turn it all upside down. Then at the age of 22 and the birth of my second child my life took another turn. Illness.

At the age of 15 I struggled with a heart arrythmia that was brought on due to stress. A Benign condition that I dint’ know was benign until 23 years later. Then I was diagnosed with cystic acne and had nickel size pockets of infection appear on my face. Then at the age 22 I became pregnant with my youngest son and was extremely sick for the whole 9 months. When he was 5 months old, I was diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis. I spent 10 years struggling with the disease that later became ulcerative colitis as well as IBS. Then came migraines, then Interstitial cystitis, with minor bouts of depression creeping in. Then I struggled with Gastritis and GERD with a sore throat I could not get to go away. Six years struggling with this sore throat, and finding a doctor that would believe it was not all in my head, I was finally diagnosed with a positive blood test for Sjogren’s Syndrome. But my victory was not accepted well. During this six year I had my tonsils removed, my gallbladder removed, had to leave my job, and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. But that’s not all folks. I also had an extreme flare of endometriosis which led to 3 more surgeries in six months. Exploratory surgery for diagnosis, a complete hysterectomy and later a pelvic mass that enveloped one of my tubes that went from my kidney to my bladder. Six weeks post op I mentally crashed. You see, just before my last surgery my doctors pulled me off all depression and anxiety medications to let my body detox because I was struggling to find a medicine that would help with my depression. I tried out-patient group therapy, but I was too far gone at that point. The trauma of all these threats to my physical body played its toll on my mental stability and I finally checked myself into the hospital for help. From there I was diagnosed with insomnia, unspecified panic disorder, major depression disorder, and later Complex PTSD.

My body will attack itself without warning. The wonder gift of multiple autoimmune disorders. The food I eat, the environment I’m in, and the stress I experience. They all have an influence whether or not I will experience any physical pain today. The more I try to avoid the physical pain the more anxious I become. Sometimes I will be eating and become extremely nauseous and start shaking, because my subconscious brain is triggered by knowing that food alone will make me sick today. Sometimes it can be a group of people that are loud, or the threat of a stomach bug or another migraine. Years of not being in control. Years of physical pain. Years of traumatic experience and medical diagnosis left me with a beautiful mixed up brain and a diagnosis of Complex PTSD.

I never thought it could happen but I do have better days than not. It is absolutely amazing how much a person can go through both physically, mentally, and emotionally and still come out on top. This is where my spiritual body comes into play. The spiritual body is where my core belief systems lies. With lots of class on coping skills and counseling, as well as bible studying, I have a foundation that I can put my trust and faith in. Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.” Before I was wandering around struggling to trust, and a mind so confused by the chaos and mixed up core beliefs, I could not move forward. Today I find myself repeating three verse. These verses are my heart and soul of what I strive to keep my faith in every day. As well as Philippians 4:13:

Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that loves God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

1 Peter 5:10 “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, establish, and strengthen, settle you.”

These are the truths I hold dear and make my foundation. It gives me hope. Hope to embrace the struggle, hope it will not be forever, hope there is a purpose in it. One of the biggest truths for me to accept is that I will struggle with this all my life. The goal is not to avoid it or cure it, but to accept it as part of who I am and learn to live with it. Not as a burden on my back, but as a strengthening tool necessary for my next steps in life. Right now, that next step is to share with you and let you know there is hope and you are not alone. To Edify you and instill you with love and hope for a brighter day that is ahead. With God you are strong enough to live with your trauma and let it raise you up with purpose.

What truths do you hold onto that help you in your struggle this day? I would love to hear them!

Perfection is my Enemy

Be perfect, be normal, be regular. These are statements we all hear on a daily basis. An expectation to be perfect and act perfect and make perfect decisions and choices. The pressure to never make a mistake, because if we do, we are judged and put in a box that says, “weak, unworthy, unlovable.”

Most of all is the expectation to be perfect as a Christian. Perfect as a witness for God. Perfect as a virtuous woman. Does anyone else feel this way? Maybe you’re a man and you feel the pressure to be the perfect spiritual leader in your house, the perfect deacon at church, or the perfect witness on your job sight. Why do we do this? Because we have a core belief that the Bible says once you’re a believer in God you must be perfect all the time. Especially as a confessed believer, because if you don’t the fear of making a mistake will lead others astray, kill your witness, or keep you from God’s forgiveness. Well, in my searching of the Bible I have found this core belief to not be so accurate. As well as my personal experience with forgiveness.

I got pregnant at the age of 14. One of the most unforgiveable, unworthy things a young lady can ever do. By getting pregnant I was looked upon very negatively by most all people. I was judged without anyone ever trying to get to know me. I was called a whore, a promiscuous girl, a tramp. I lost friendships and was dissuaded from participating in anything biblically related. Instead of being tagged with a scarlet “A” on my chest, I felt like I carried a scarlet “P”. As though I had a disease that could be caught. Most importantly, with the tag on my chest I could walk into a room and everyone could participate in the only cure for my transgressions. That cure was judgment and isolation. One action, one choice, one vulnerable moment and I was put into a box. The box that says, “weak, unworthy, unlovable.” Not by the unconfessed sinners of my life. Oh no! I became a knew person in their eyes, but to the eyes of my fellow believers I was trash.

My so-called perfect image was lost forever and I would spend many hours, weeks and days trying to gain forgiveness. The only way to forgiveness and acceptance was to regain my perfect status. To be perfect all the time, and make no unforgivable choices from that day forward. Well, that was a bust. It wasn’t long and before I knew it, I would make another choice, and another that would be deemed as wrong. It wasn’t an action as big as getting pregnant, but it was how I handled the trauma and life altering events in my life that everyone disagreed on how I should handle it. There was no perfect solution, and no matter what I did someone would get hurt. Until…

Until I made a decision one dark night in the woods, holding my 3-month-old son, running from the chaos that had become my life. Every decision was going to be a mistake no matter what way I looked at it. I knew if I was going to give this dear child a life of love and acceptance something had to change. That something was me. From that night forward I chose to take one step closer to God. To make God the Lord of my life, not just the Lord of my soul. I was saved at the age of 9. My salvation did not keep me from making many imperfect decisions. But my salvation did allow me to be forgiven. It did allow me the right to call upon my heavenly father and have a direct relationship with him.

Till this day I still struggle with perfectionism. I think it is something I will always struggle with. When my life took another turn a few years ago all the trauma and life experience I went through caught up with me. I experience major bouts of depression and overwhelming anxiety. With this struggle I made another decision to get as close to God as I could, no matter the cost. I did this by reading His word and searching for truth. Truth to what he really sees as perfection. What His expectations of me really were. And I found these verses with a few more.

Hebrews 13:20-21 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect  (Thoroughly complete) in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Psalm 19:30-32 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock save our God? It is God that girdeth me with strength an maketh my way perfect (my life, my journey, without spot, and complete).

God’s blood alone makes me perfect. With me accepting His sacrifice of his son and choosing to live my best life as a Christian, God works his will. God doesn’t say we need to be perfect. God says He is perfect and if we trust in him, he will give us the strength to battle this life and through our journey He will make our lives complete and perfect. It takes a journey. A lifetime of learning. It takes time in your life to grow and complete you. The potter is patient and willing to keep trying no matter how many times we flatten out and fail to stand. All the experiences, the imperfections, the judgement from others has grown me and my relationship with the Lord. It has caused me to search for answers and with that search has come a life not worried so much about being perfect. Let face it, there is no way I will ever be perfect in everyone’s eyes. The more I try the more I fail. Instead of wasting my time trying to be perfect, I will spend my time living like I am loved and forgiven. So, in order to be perfect in God’s eyes I will move forward in my relationship with him. First to be humble and honest for my choices and who I am as a person. Once I became honest, the Lord was able to move in my life in ways I never thought possible. I am free to be me! Flaws and all, and as I grow in my relationship with God, everything just comes together. I can’t explain how, but I can encourage and support you in your journey to lay perfection aside and embrace this wonderful freedom you can have in Christ.

P.S. Notice I didn't use the word mistake, but imperfect choices. I do not believe my son was a mistake and will never use that title to describe him. Both of my children are a blessing from God. Through trusting me with their lives and upbringing it has brought me closer to Him and shown me how much love plays an impact our our lives in the most beautiful ways. At the age of 38 I had a complete hysterectomy due to sever endometriosis. My doctor said it was the worse case she had seen in 10 years and couldn't have had more children if I wanted them. He gave me a blessing when I didn't know I would have wanted or needed it. God is good all the time!

Thou shall not Fear?

As a person dealing with mental health issues, I often find teachings of the bible as a “you should do this and you should do that” or else you’re not a Christian. When I am faced with should and should nots, I feel a pressure to conform or else. Often times I find that preachers and teachers use a fear approach to get those to convert to God’s ways. In my struggle with depression and anxiety the people that have used fear are all about control. I am not saying that those who use fear don’t have the right motives behind what they are doing, but what I think is important to know is when you are dealing with people who suffer with constant fear already, adding more fear only alienates you more from being able to help them.

The Bible has 365 references that say, “do not fear”. One for each day of the year. Yet, the Bible also says to, “fear the Lord”. At first, I found this to be contradictor to each other. What is it that God is really trying to say? If you want my honesty, here it is…fearing God with every decision I make and every turn that I take has often led me to become a pile of shaking, nausea, don’t want to leave the house, and don’t want any responsibility in making any decisions kind of mess. Because the truth is, I do fear the Lord. I fear if I don’t act a certain way, I will lose my witness. If I don’t behave a certain way, God will take me out of this world and define me as useless. I fear if I teach and misquote anything, then I am wrong and God will be angry and will punish me with some life altering event to teach me a lesson. I fear if I can’t use my talents, God will take them away from me. I fear if I am not a good enough mother, wife, daughter, Christian, (virtuous women) I will suffer great lose and heartache and go to hell. These are things I have heard in sermons all my life and hear in everyday conversations about people who have suffering on a daily basis. It is all their fault because they have not feared and listened. They should have done this or should have done that. Another great truth is I cannot live this way and leave my house, let alone my bedroom. The constant fear and pressure to conform and act a particular way is not a reality I can or want to live in. So, how do I move forward?

First, I gain new ground, new perspective. When I read and study my Bible fear is not a tactic, I believe, God wants us to use to control others or ourselves. To control how we think, how fast we move toward a decision, how we should operate our daily lives. This I am most certain of, because if this was how God wanted my life to be controlled then it would come with great joy and happiness, because I know that when I am in God’s will, then I am experiencing true joy in my life. If I am not experiencing that joy and happiness then what I am doing and how I am processing is not in God’s will. So, what is the opposite of fear? LOVE! That is right, love is the opposite of fear. Not faith, not performance, not a should and should not list, but love.

1 John 4:8 “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

I encourage you to go read the whole chapter of 1 John 4, and see how important love is to God. I believe that it is the most important thing to God. But these two verses stuck out to me. You see if God is love, and perfect love casteth out fear, then we can know that God does not desire us to live in fear of Him, but in awe of His love! God does not want us to fear what this life holds for use, because His love is stronger than anything else we may experience or go through. Ya’ll love is the key!

God create you! He loves you as you are. There are not stipulations to His love. It is free and all we have to do is accept it and believe it. Think about the love you have for someone. I think of the love I have for my children. There is not a battle I would not walk through, a sickness I would not take from them, time I would not give up to spend with them, sacrifices I would not make to let them know how much I love them. Now multiply that by 100. This is what God’s love would do for you. It will sacrifice his only son to be crucified for your wrong doings, it will never leave you nor forsake you no matter what, he will never hide from you, he will never forget you. Just like Elisha he will send out an army to rescue you from your darkest night. There is no distance He will not come to help you. God’s love is a love we cannot comprehend and will never find in this world.

I have seen the quote on pictures and key chains and such that say “faith over fear”, or “let your faith be bigger than your fear” and to be honest this makes my blood boil a little. Because it insinuates that if we only have enough faith then we would not be experiencing fear. It gives blame, where blame is not needed. All the amount of faith required for us to have is a mustard seed. The truth is we will experience fear in our life the same as we will experience anger, sadness, and happiness. It is part of our world that we live in and this world is not a fear free environment. What we can have hope in is that love is bigger than any fear we have. God’s love for us, his sacrifice of his only son, puts love at the top of the leader board in success. Love does not give us a do and do not list, or a should and should not list or else. Love does not say if only you do this or that then you deserve to be loved. Love is a free gift. A free gift we get from God and a free gift we give to others. So today go out and love that person who is struggling with mental health issues. Love yourself for the struggle you are facing. Let God’s love carry you through your moments of fear. Let your Love and God’s love for you be bigger than your fear! Love takes time and patience. The result, unlike fear, is a long-lasting result that produces joy. Most importantly hope! To fear God does not mean to be scared of Him and His power. To fear God is to be in awe of Him and the Love He has for us!

I Will Rescue You

by Lauren Daigle

What is Meditation really about?

When I think about meditation, I think of a man sitting in ceremonial robes, cross legged, on a bunch of pillows with his hands on his knees, eyes closed, and making a constant noise of a low hum. “How is this helping him at all?” I say to myself. “He looks like an idiot.” At least that is what I have grown up thinking because in our culture it is not something we consider normal. Normal. That word literally makes me start to sweat and a slight tremor creeps up from somewhere deep inside. I take a deep breath, close my eyes and concentrate. Concentrate on my breathing, and not on the fact that normal is not something I can live up to.

You see, meditation is not about an action to show everyone that we have it all together or we are in control. It’s is also not about a religious ceremony or tradition. Meditation is about training our minds to slow down and think of only one thing at a time. To concentrate on the moment we are living in, and not on the things around us that we cannot control. It is also about making our body and muscles relax. To cast off the burden of being normal and embrace the person God intended us to be. I can’t tell you how many times a day I have to stop and close my eyes and just relax all my muscles. My husband is constantly telling me to stop frowning. Because I am so in my head that every muscle in my face is contracted and tense. I wish I wasn’t this way, but the fact is that I am. I have spent countless hours trying to control this about me with no avail. So instead, I will accept it and take time through out my day to just slow everything down and give my mind a break. A break. I have found there is nothing more important than to give my mind permission to take a break. The expectation we live in to constantly be in control and have it all together makes our minds constantly working in high gear with no brakes in sight. When I close my eyes to rest at night, my mind still goes wide open, because without any breaks in the day it has learned to never rest. If God rested on the 7th day of creation, then why is it that we won’t take the time to rest also. The man upstairs left us a pattern to follow for a reason. If we would have been trained as children to slow down and take a mental break, we would not think of it as such a foreign idea. Our bodies would already be used to it and the struggle to place this in our daily schedules would not feel impossible. So, starting today I will take a break for my mind. I will meditate. Meditate on 5 things I can see, 4 things I can hear, 3 things I can smell, 2 things I can feel, and I verse to set me back on my way. Before I know it, I will have 10 minutes of not thinking about my worries, my anxiety, my troubles, or what I can control. If I am tense all over, I will meditate on relaxing my muscles starting with my feet, and working my way up. Or, I will set a timer and just concentrate on my breathing. My favorite is to count all my blessings. The options for meditating or endless. Needing meditation is not about being weak, but about taking a break and renewing your mind. It is smart, and it gives us strength to endure our next few hours until we meditate again. A time to get out of our heads and into the moment. Before you know it you will have trained your brain to concentrate in positive areas of your life and the days won’t look so grim.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good (benefit), and acceptable (agreeable), and perfect (growth in mental and moral character), will of God.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Tell me what meditations work for you?