Unwavering Part 2

You have faith in your GPS. You put in your destination with a confidence that your GPS will get you to your desired location. Even after that one time your GPS took you on a trek into the unknown and rerouted you over and over only to end up in the middle of a suburban neighborhood and not the desired hip restaraunt you were hoping for, the very next journey you still trusted that GPS  and entered your desired destination point again. You hoped in that GPS to do what was required of it. 

As I was writing part one of unwavering, the words unwavering faith kept resonating in my spirit and I decided to dive deeper into that topic. Through prayer and study, God pointed out to me how quickly we trust in things, other people and even ourselves, but how do we trust God in the same way?
God calls us to have faith in Him.

Mark 11:22- And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”

The Greek word for faith is Pistis meaning trust, to believe, have faith or rely upon.

Let us look at the word unwavering: Steady or resolute- fixed, firm, constant, steadfast, enduring, abiding, unyielding, relentless, tireless.

I am one that must admit I have walked with Jesus as my savior since childhood, but I have not walked in unshakable faith. My doubts through crisis have risen up often.
So how do I continue to walk with Him when my doubts rise?
The answer I believe is to keep walking it out. Rely on Him, even when doubts try to rise. Believe in Him even when I do not see the results that I think I should see.

Unwavering means to be fixed, firm and constant, can’t that apply to our actions as well as our thoughts?  Even when I doubt with my thoughts, my heart is fixed on Him. I am firm in my belief that I can go to Him. I am constant in my cry out to Him. 

It IS okay to ask the Lord to help our unbelief. The very act of asking puts our faith into action. We are trusting Him to answer us. 

Mark 9: 23-24 Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Just like the GPS gives us instructions and we follow those instructions to get to our desired location. The Father gives us instructions to remain in Him. He teaches us how to walk, how to abide, how to grow, and how to reach our final destination (heaven). 

We can not please God without faith. 
Hebrews 11:6- And without faith, it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Faith is the requirement to walk with God, for in order to walk with Him we must trust in who He is,  we must believe in Him. His word is true and all that is written in the word is for our benefit. 

My final thought concerning unwavering faith is that faith is a choice. You consciously decide that you will believe in something or someone. 

 In my personal situation, my faith in God is absolutely merited. I have seen His work, I have experienced His comfort, His miracles, I have the very breath of His life in me.

Persistence is the key to walking out my faith and remaining in Him.
Luke 21:19- By your endurance, you will gain your lives.

So today I leave us with this… let us walk it out…Steady, resolute, fixed, constant, steadfast, enduring, abiding, unyielding, relentless and tireless.
Give a listen: Faith

Mountain (1)

 

Unwavering Part 1

Blog- Unwavering (1)

When I was a small child, I had a teacher write on my report card; “She is like a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower.”
For years, I looked at that as a positive, seeing a beautiful butterfly gracing everything with her presence as she touched her soft wings to it.

I laugh at this memory as I still dance around with my head in the clouds and a song in my heart.

However, self-evaluation recently allowed me to see myself with a teacher’s eyes.
She was saying in a polite way, ” I wish your child would land and complete her tasks before moving on to the next.”

There are times, I jump on my dream entirely too early. Then I get discouraged and I move on to something else. This is something I have known about myself always. I dream it way before it is time.

There is a treasure in knowing when you do not see fruit because you are planting on unhealthy soil and when your fruit just hasn’t bloomed yet.

I have sat alone in an empty building wanting to share my heart for joy in the mess, to other ladies and week after week for six weeks nobody came, my heart was broken so I gave up working in women’s ministry, even though that holds a huge part of my heart.
God will put a dream in my heart and I will jump on it, without preparing myself for the fact that it may look completely different than what I am believing for.

Out of insecurities and preservation, I move on. When I see no fruit with my own eyes, I give up.

But what if I had waited one more week, maybe someone that needed to hear how to ease anxiety and obtain joy would have walked through those doors.
Or perhaps, just by being willing and diligent I would have unlocked something new in the journey I had yet to see.

I have been writing this blog for some time, this is the most diligent work I have ever practiced in my life ( besides worship team), this is the only time I have remained unwavering. Yet, I was ready to pull the plug recently. I feel my ministry within this blog is non-existent as I can’t see it, and I ask the Lord, “Why do I continue this work if I don’t get anywhere?”

The Lord gently reminded me, “this blog is for you, and the work I am doing in you that is not complete. Keep being faithful, remain unwavering with this one.”

God has made promises to me. If you are listening he has promises for you. He has called us to remain faithful. Keep pursuing, keep hoping, be unwavering in your pursuit.

What dreams do you need to pursue and hold tightly to?
Even if it does not look like we expect, If He has called you to it, He is faithful to make sure you reap your harvest!

His faithfulness is unwavering. He knows the plans, the purposes and if He has placed a work for you in your heart, keep at it, don’t let the DREAMS flitter away.

 

 

Living in Thanksgiving

Living in Thanksgiving.jpg

We are getting ready to move from a home that has been a sanctuary in a dark time in our lives. The property around us is beautiful and we will be moving into town, where our views will not be acres of trees and greenery. I had always wanted to stay in one location and raise my children. We lost our home in the fall of the economy and this rental was our Godsend at just the right time and we have been able to spend the last six years here. So many great memories but the newest chapter of our lives as empty nesters has us moving.
It is in this transition that the Lord has shaken me in new ways to live in thankfulness.
He has me focusing not on what we ware leaving behind, but to be thankful in all that we are gaining.
Many times in the transition of life, I have looked at the have not’s instead of the what I have.
We are called to thank the Lord in all circumstances. When we walk out our lives living in thanksgiving, we walk in the plan of joy for our lives. Our sites are on all we have and not what we lack.
What if instead of a well of thanks for the big things in life, we walk in a well of thanks for everything in our life, big and little?
I can choose to rise each morning with thankfulness on my lips or walk in the negative.
It begins with the heart change. For out of our hearts our mouth will speak.
I want to be living in thanksgiving, not just a moment but a lifestyle.
I will rise and know I am blessed.
He is worthy of my thankful heart!
It is in the walking in it, that it becomes my everyday.
Living in Thanksgiving will become my habit, not my moment.

Thank you Jesus : Worship Song

Hope

44360648_10217396586811621_7015477418978705408_o Instagram:  awakened_arts

Romans 15:13- May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How do I hope when I am surrounded on all sides? When the darkness comes in and clouds my mind. I am tempted to succumb to my weakness and lack rather than rising in His strength. How do I overcome? It is not by might, but by His spirit. It is connecting to Him in Spirit by praise and worship. It is in surrender, for in losing my old self, He clothes me with new life. And so…

When HOPE and EXPECTATION rise in my spirit fear, anger, hurt, insecurity and all forms of darkness are shaken out of my sites. Joy and peace become my covering.
Trusting in the Lord is the key to my hope.

I will sing of His wondrous love that saved me from my self.
I will rejoice in His overwhelming grace that covers all my shortcomings.
I praise Him in the morning, His mercies are new each day.
I take my eyes off of my moment and look to my helper, my comfort, my strength.
My moment will pass, but He is ever constant, faithful with every breath I take.
A keeper of promises.
A healer of disease.
Mighty fortress in times of trouble.
Provider for my needs.
The Hope will rise and overflow from my soul.
For the God of all Hope has said it will be so.

With Everything~ Worship song for my day

 

 

Truth or just a Moment?

 

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In this season of rest, God has sweetly reminded me to look at the emotions that have plagued my every day.

Depression can cause such harsh, empty, hurtful thoughts. When in the midst of it all, we can begin to believe those thoughts. My spirit stirs to evaluate the thought that crosses my mind as it hits my heart and I can feel it in my gut. Is this thought truth or an emotion of the moment?

The enemy wants nothing more than to bog me down in my own thoughts. If he can hold me down with a lie and stir my emotions of despair, he has victory.

How can I know if a thought is a truth or just an emotion of the moment?

I must evaluate the thought according to what God’s word says about my situation or about me. I must look at the feelings that are stirring within me from a thought and ask, “do they bring despair or hope? Death or life?”

When God’s truth has the chance to minister to my emotion, my mind begins to line up with His truth as well. The hurtful emotion at the moment begins to clear and my mind is free to focus on what the Lord has on hand for me to accomplish rather than focusing on feelings of defeat.

I may not be an amazing artist, but I am HIS artist to use as He will.

I may not be the best singer, but I am HIS worshiper to use as He will.

I may not be the most beautiful, but I am HIS daughter and made in HIS image

I may not be the life of the party, but I am HIS companion and I hear His voice.
See how this works?  Look at the lie, identify it and address it with the truth.
Hey even if the thought has some truth in it I need to ask myself, “what is the truer truth?”

Go on, start asking yourself is this truth or the emotion of a moment?
You will begin to see light in the midst of darkness.

Psalm 25:5-

Guide me in your truth and teach me, For you are God my savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 

 

 

Not an easy topic but necessary

My heart hurts. I wrote a few years ago about a local mother that had committed suicide when she was reported missing. Then just this weekend we heard that another community member went missing, this time a young college student. He too, chose to take his own life. The reports in our community of the number of suicides are shocking to me. For one, we live in a small community and two there are so many hurting and desperate people. I also have a number of loved ones that have felt there was only one way out of the deep seeded pain within. Their hurts are going unanswered, either because they are not sharing which is very often the case or because nobody is listening.

I am going to speak of my own experience with life shattering depression. I had been through a very emotional ordeal, that I will leave at that. Then I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and a doctor gave me plenty of medications, medications that messed with my moods and the spiral began.

In the beginning of this battle, I had horrible anxiety. Anxiety that was deep in the soul. This anxiety was rooted from bitterness, anger, disappointment, finances, media and a number of chemical issues within my body. I was a christian woman and felt like my world was spinning out of control. All the promises that I was told, that God had for me, had went right out of my head. I did not share my state with anyone. I thought I could handle it on my own. I thought I was doing a bad job as a child of God, not being able to find my way to victory.

This last weekend before I knew of this young man’s suicide. I had shared at church something that was very evident in my life back in those days and in the lives of others that I have known. It was a word God wanted to share with my congregation.

Anxiety leads to isolation. Isolation leads to depression. Depression leads to destruction. Now let me be clear, I am not claiming to be a medical professional, I am simply a woman who saw a destructive path in my own life and it took a powerful shaking for me to wake up and see what I was doing. This was my pattern and a pattern of many I know personally. I even see it today and as much as I speak out, some are in a place that they can not listen.

This is how it all laid out for me. I was in my deepest state of anxiety and I began to isolate myself. I stayed in bed for months with the fibromyalgia flare no where under control. I began to withdraw from activities. First it was the worship team, then it was gatherings in our home, then I began to withdraw from family and friends and finally my husband and children.

I went so far as to cut people out of my life that I felt were not meeting my need at the time. Sending good-bye letters if you will. I did not tell them how deep my despair was, I just cut them out. I was hoping someone would grab me and not let me go, but nobody did. Either they were too busy or they really were hurt and did not understand where in the world this was coming from. They may have thought they were the only ones I was cutting off, but they were not, there were dozens. I did not even realize I was doing this to be honest. I was just blinded by where I was at.

Then after anxiety, lead to isolation, I was depressed… Seriously depressed! I wasn’t weepy like I always thought depression looked like. I was numb and if there was an emotion it was anger. I sat in that depression. I almost glorified it. I began to have the morbid thoughts that I dare not share with anyone. For I was a christian and I knew better, but I did not know how to pull myself out.

Finally after months and months of constant physical pain with the fibromyalgia and dealing with conventional medicine, I had decided to try a naturopath. My doctor was just giving me more and more pain pills and I had gotten so out of my mind on them that I knew I had to get off. I was not living any more. I was just existing.

So I went to this natural doctor and she basically fired me when I asked her what we could do at the moment. My finances were exhausted and I could not take a bunch of tests that insurance would not cover. I told her where I was at and was there anything we could start on to get me back on track. She said I was only after drugs and she would not work with me. I was done.

I didn’t talk much to Dan on the way home, when I was almost there I unleashed all the hurt and anger and desperation all came out in that moment. Then I went up the stairs and locked myself in the bathroom. That was the defining moment. I was going to do it. I was done and I did not want to live anymore. I cried out to God…. YOU PROMISED ME JOY!!! YOU SAID I HAD JOY TO THE FULL! WHERE IS IT?!?!

I tell you my spirit remembered all those truths as I cried out to God. He answered, “you have my joy at your finger tips, you need to find it.”

My brain for the first time in months was clear as a bell! I was letting my life, my joy be robbed from me. This is what began my  path to writing for joy. I felt lead to write out everything I saw, the question was, what was stealing my joy???

Well I see even clearer at this moment: Anxiety leads to isolation, leads to depression, leads to destruction. But at the time, God had to point out all the ways I was anxious, all the things I was letting in, all the ways that I was being robbed. I had to be proactive. Do I believe in medicine helping depression? Absolutely I do, the right ones. Do I believe having someone to talk to or a counselor can help? Yep I sure do.
But when you are at that place where nothing seemed to be left, self-examination was all I had. I had to choose to root it all out, I had to choose to lay myself down and cut out all the sore junk in my life and let God do the filling. I know my situation was a miracle. I know not all will hear so clearly what their answer is. But I pray, oh how I pray that this tidbit will help you see how someone who really seemed to have so much going for them, was lost in the nasty cycle of mental illness and how it took a great journey of pursuing joy to gain my life again.

If you are hurting, I pray you are not so lost in the darkness that you won’t reach out, try another time to find your victory. Please know that I would love to encourage and be an someone that cares. I have learned long ago though, that another person can not bring your path of healing to you. This just like anything in our life, is our own personal battle. Mine may not look like yours but there is hope. So many others have found hope. This is one way. What will your victory look like?

This is a hard topic, but one that needs to be discussed. Discuss it with your children ( we have middle schoolers committing suicide, even elementary students!!) Discuss it with your spouse, your mom or dad and even the stranger you meet on the street. If you see the opening to a heart that has reached its destruction, speak out! You may be the only voice that has a chance to be heard.

Blessings,
Shaey (Writing for Joy)

Why Do I Blog?

I am following a blog page called Faithful Bloggers. The page has a group writing project titled: “Why Do You Blog?”

Of course this writing project prompted my thinking. Why did I start this blog? What is my hope and goal for my blog?

Well of course in my fantasy world, my six consistent daily readers would turn into thousands. I would begin to figure out how to make an income with this blog so that being unable to work out of the home would not be a financial burden, and with many readers perhaps I would feel like I accomplish something with my efforts.

However, I have two real down to earth reasons for blogging:

1. Blogging is an outlet to see where I have been and where I am going.
Gone are the days of spending weeks in bed, depressed and consumed with pain. I began blogging to pursue joy in the midst of Fibromyalgia’s pain, fog and depression.

Since those beginning days,  I have a renewed hope, joy and peace. Daily depression is no longer a part of my life and the pain is no longer taking my life away from me. Yes, I have made adjustments but I am no longer bound by this illness to the point of being locked away. As I blog and put my jumbled crazy thoughts into writing, I can keep my mind focused on truth rather than the lies that the enemy would have me believe. Blogging puts things in proper perspective for me. I can see first hand what is on my mind as I write and have a heart check as I ‘preach’ to the choir.

2. I write for others that may be struggling on this journey of life at times as well. I have ran into so many well meaning Christian friends and family members that act like depression or illness was my fault and I had to snap out of it. I have heard hurtful things that were said to others in the midst of their depression. I was afraid to admit where I was at, for fear that they would try to speak me out of it without any real thought or instruction. I understand the struggle of depression, I understand the steps to victory and freedom, I understand it is a daily sometimes minute to minute, conscious decision to walk in your freedom and it doesn’t just go away on it’s own. Joy must be received, and pursued.  True joy, comes from the Lord and resides in you, regardless of the craziness that life may throw.
Just telling someone be happy, get over it,  or God gave you victory, when they are in the midst of the worst depression in their life, without the steps and directions on how to obtain victory, is not helpful.
I began a journey of pursuit on my own, as the Lord lead me and directed me. In the beginning, He showed me practical ways for joy, that anyone can obtain, even an unbeliever  As I progressed in my walk, He showed me the difference between joy and lack of depression that anyone can have, and the fullness of joy that only a child of God can have. I desire to bless and encourage others on their journeys to a complete healing of depression, fullness of GOD Joy.

 I am finding from a few letters of encouragement, that this journey I am on, has blessed others as well. I am not in this battle for my joy all alone, there are others that struggle and need to actively seek joy as well and even though I am not a theologian or doctor, I desire to share what has worked for me.

This is the heart of Writing For Joy in a nutshell. I do not know where the Lord will take this blog, but I know where He has taken me and I am truly blessed. Even if just one life has been changed, the Lord has done His work in me. His joy is fresh and new every morning. He is my reason.

Psalm 30:5
For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.