Just A Normal Day

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A few days ago I went to a local retail outlet to use up a gift card that was given to me for Christmas. After many hours (I was childless this particular day – Thanks hubby!) of browsing and trying on clothes I wound up with a couple of kitchen pots and perfume. As I neared the register I saw a situation that didn’t seem “right”. There was a woman kneeling down on the floor and her face/eyes were red where she had obviously been crying. As my brain processed this information I saw a small child in a stroller in front of her that looked … dead. The kid looked straight up dead. I froze and just stared at him.

It’s a very unfamiliar and strange sight to see what looks like a dead child in a retail store on a “normal” day.

I continued to walk near the register to carry on with my evening and purchase my items (everyone else seemed to continue on with their journey as well) and it truly wasn’t any of my business so I bypassed the mother on the floor and made it to the cashier. The only thing I could say was, “Is he okay?”, the cashier shrugged in a very “I have no clue” kind of way and told me my total for my purchase.

As I was standing at the register I continued to stare at the little boy and thought to myself, what the heck are we doing?!?! Why are we all just carrying on like everything is normal??? This is not normal! Just then the paramedics showed up and I could over hear them talking to the mom. The little boy’s name was Isaac and he was three years old. Apparently he had a seizure. As I was leaving I heard one of the paramedics say to him, “Hey Isaac, hey buddy. It’s okay, buddy.” I could see the child’s head moving so I knew he was alive (thank God!)!

As I left the store I walked to my car … numb.

I got in my car, shut the door, put my face in my hands and started crying and praying out to God.

I thanked God that the little boy was alive and I immediately thought about how that woman was at the store with her 3 year old son, just a normal day, and then something unexpected interrupted her life. At that moment nothing else mattered… at all! Any thing that she once thought mattered or spent a lot of time on just didn’t matter. Her weight and body image – didn’t matter, her advancement in her career – didn’t matter, how clean her house is – didn’t matter. All the crazy little things we can sometimes obsess over just didn’t matter anymore. Just another normal day turned into a nightmare.

I wanted to share this story because I think we all can learn something from staring death in the face. We obsess over a lot of things that frankly just don’t matter in the end. Don’t get me wrong because I’m all about healthy living and exercise. I actually KNOW they aid in recovering from anxiety and depression and preventing further anxiety and depression – so that’s all good. I also think job promotions are amazing! There is nothing like seeing your hard work pay off with a nice title and a nice salary. I also believe in being organized. I don’t know about you but I function a lot better when things are clean, neat, and in their place. I’m saying if we obsess more over these little things in life than we do Jesus we are missing the point.

I’m guilty! A couple of years ago as I was walking out of anxiety and depression I changed my food and exercise completely. After a couple of weeks I started to feel good – really good! I started writing out exercise plans and menus for the week. I started prepping food and spending HOURS on food preparation alone. I kept a journal of when was the last time I ate, what I ate, and what I needed to eat next. I added weight lifting and it was so much fun! I started seeing my body transform completely. I felt empowered and believe it or not … sexy! I loved the way my body started to look. I would flex my biceps in front of my husband and say, “That’s right! I’m a beast!” It was so much fun. The problem was that I became obsessed. It takes hard work and dedication to make changes in your body and that’s all good but what it shouldn’t do is become your idol. I spent more time on my body and preparation for body transformation than I did with The Lord. Although I was feeling good I started to lose my guard over my mind. Thankfully conviction set me straight but I’m telling you this so you can know that I get it and I relate to you.

Balance. We need to balance the things in our life. God must ALWAYS be first in our lives.

Over the past week Sway (my youngest child) has been dealing with some congestion. Last night it got pretty rough so we took him to the Emergency Room just to be safe. He seemed to keep having trouble catching his breath so we just wanted to have a doctor check him out. As we were preparing to go to the ER I could feel myself starting to panic. I hate when something is wrong with one of my kids. My face and chest turned bright red from the blood flow and heightened blood pressure. I could mentally feel myself spiraling into a dark place. Sway didn’t even have a fever and he was still in good spirits. He actually seemed completely normal besides a hoarse cry and congestion in his sinuses. I was freaking out over the fact that we were taking him to the ER and WHAT IF something was really wrong with him? As my mind was running in its own made up direction (fear), I stopped, took a breath, and took the thoughts captive. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like your mind has calmed down, in fact a lot of times it keeps racing down its own path of fear and the unknown. It’s an anxiety attack waiting to happen but if you can (and you can) dig deep and take the thoughts captive, stand firm in the truth that you know and believe, you’ll grab hold of enough strength and courage to trust God for the next moment.

The enemy loves panic. When we panic we lose our marbles! We don’t think clearly and we hurt ourselves or someone else. My husband had this Survival App on his phone once and I remember reading about if you are lost in the woods the most important thing is to stay calm. You would think the most important thing would be to find water, build a fire, find shelter … something like that but it’s actually to stay calm and don’t panic. The person who panics is the one who makes irrational decisions and gets himself killed or someone else killed.

When I used to experience panic attacks while I was undergoing anxiety and depression (read my story here: http://poynterjourney.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/hello-world/) my immediate thought was that I needed to run away FAST! If I was in a car, stuck in traffic I literally thought about getting out of my car and running away. There was a need to run and get away as quick as possible. Fight or flight – we run from what is causing us danger but when it’s your mind where do you go?!!? The scripture tells us to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Start practicing taking your thoughts captive. Start with simple things and go from there. When you hear the thought “you look ugly today.”, take that thought captive by saying “No! That’s a lie. I do not look ugly today.” and start thinking about what you’re thinking about. Our minds are filled with junk and we listen – start taking it captive.

It’s hard to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ if you don’t know Jesus. How do you know and BELIEVE the Truth if you don’t know what scripture means and you don’t know who Jesus is? Too often we are saying we believe in God and then don’t know the first thing about Him. Do you trust someone you don’t know? I know I don’t! I don’t let strangers speak into my life (unless they confirm a Word from God or affirm me) but I don’t trust people I don’t know simply because I don’t know them… so why would I trust God if I don’t know Him? You don’t!

We make it a lot more difficult than what it is. My advice, start with going to church and reading a Bible that you understand. The New International Version is a great version. Start in John and see where God leads you from there. Get to know your Savior and it will become easier to make your thoughts line up with Him and to trust and believe Him.

We can’t keep running off of the fuel of this world. It’s temporary and it’s tiring. This world can’t offer you any hope only Jesus can give you hope and hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5).

What can start as a normal day can wind up being the worst day of our lives. I’m not saying you have to hold it together with a fake smile and say, “Oh, God is good and I’m not going to be upset.” That’s phony! It’s okay to be sad and down but we can’t stay there! We can’t lose our focus when bad things hit us. We can’t lose our hope when God seems to be taking TOO long to answer our prayer. We put on our armor, we dig our heels in, and we stand firm knowing that God is faithful even when we feel like we can’t stand any longer.

Receive God’s grace for today… it’s sufficient. Don’t get too lost in tomorrow because God’s grace hasn’t met you at tomorrow it has only met you at today.

Press forward. You are loved beyond measure!

Be free,

April

You Need to Know

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Stepping out into the ministry of Healed Whole New has put me in connection with people all over the world that are suffering from anxiety and depression … CHRISTIANS who are suffering daily.

In a recent conversation one of the sweet new friends said to me, “I feel like I’m at a point where living is too painful.”

Can I just tell you again that the devil is a liar!!! He HATES you. He wants to destroy you and everyone around you. He divides relationships, he tears marriages a part, he tries to destroy your children, he tries to make you feel worthless, shameful, guilty, unloved, and every other BAD thing! The devil has NO POWER! None. Zip. Nada.

The only power he has is that which YOU give him.

I played this same game with him and let him run my thoughts, feelings, and emotions for way too long. I considered killing myself. When you’re in the bottom of the pit, why not?!?!?! Who cares?!?! So many days I thought, “Just put me out of my misery ALREADY!!” I didn’t care if I had a child or a husband… the enemy can get you so far out there that you just don’t care anymore you just want to escape. Where do you go when you can’t run from your thoughts? Where do you go when you can’t outrun a panic attack?

When the enemy toys with me now it really pisses me off … not because he’s toying with me but because I LET him. I know the TRUTH! I know God! I have power to open my mouth and speak and things will happen in the name of Jesus. Chains loosen, bondage is broken, strongholds cease, prison doors open.

The devil plays dirty. What do you expect? He prowls around looking for someone to devour. He watches where we drop our guards, he knows what our triggers are, he knows when we’ve gone day after day without reading our Bibles, he knows when we’ve pulled away from church and other Believers and aren’t being filled up. He’s watching. Just because he hasn’t attacked yet doesn’t mean he’s not sitting on your back porch chillin’… Then BOOM! All of a sudden you’re hit so hard you can’t sort through what’s truth and what’s not. This makes you ball up in a corner with your hands over your head trying to protect yourself. Stand up! Rise up! Take those thoughts captive and press forward. God’s got you! Walk with Him daily, trust Him daily, seek Him daily (sometimes by the second) and keep pressing forward, one day at a time.

Don’t let the enemy steal from you anymore and stop acting like he doesn’t exist! If you don’t believe in spiritual warfare and you’re fighting people instead of praying against the darkness that the devil brings, you’re losing the battle because you’re fighting the wrong thing.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5
New International Version (NIV)
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

You are already free in Jesus! You have already won in Jesus! You have everything you need in Jesus!

This is so strong on my heart today! This is not to glorify the devil but to bring attention to a very real thing that people deal with constantly. God is faithful and He will not delay! Don’t let the devil punk you around today. He’s petty! He’s a counterfeit to all that God is – you have God on your side and guess what? God wins. We win. YOU win!!!! Be encouraged!

Isaiah 35:4 say to those with fearful hearts,
“Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you.”

Love you a ton!!!!

-April

Refining Fire

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When you decide to change it’s not easy.  Why do you think so many people stay the same way with their bad characteristics and traits?  It’s because change is hard… or so you think.

Take it a from me, a person who has changed DRASTICALLY over the past few years.  It’s not that change is hard it’s that change is uncomfortable.  In order to change there are things in your heart that have to be revealed to you and who likes to know the bad things about themselves?

A friend of mine, who is also a pastor, said the other day, “If you want to see how you are, record yourself for a day and then listen back to it.  You might be surprised at what you find.”

Hes’ right! My daughter got a LeapPad Ultra for her birthday and she loves the voice recorder.  We were sitting on the couch last night listening to some of her recordings and I found quite a surprise.  We sat and listened to her singing Part of That World exactly the way Ariel sings it, we listened to her made up language that she calls Spanish.  Then we listened to her having a conversation with her brother and out of nowhere you hear a person that sounds like me SCREAM, “TRINITYYYYYYYYY!  DO WHAT I TOLD YOU TO DO NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”

I was so embarrassed. Obviously I had asked her to do something (probably NUMEROUS times) and I looked up and saw her still playing with her LeapPad and yelled at her.  I honestly hardly recognized the voice coming from the recording.  It was awful. I made her delete it immediately and laughed as I told her, “Get rid of that!! DELETE!  I don’t want anyone to know me like that.”  I may not want anyone to know the ugly parts of me that need to be changed (like adding a little more patience and kindness to myself) but they still need to be changed.  How can you change though, if you don’t know that there is something that needs to be corrected?

Pray! Ask God to show you and He will. Trust me. He will.  Also think back about recurring comments in your life.  Not that all opinions can be trusted but a lot of times if more than one person has mentioned the same thing about you, whether friend or foe, there may be some truth to what they are saying.

Most of us already know though.  We know what needs to be changed we just make excuses for the way we are and the struggles we have.  There is no excuse though.

It’s your journey.  You are the one walking it out.  I can tell you from experience that change is uncomfortable but look at it more like refining fire.  Once you take that thing to God to help you work through before you know it you’re overcoming! you’re not reacting the same as you would back in the day to situations that used to get under your skin.  CHANGE happens and you’re better because of it.

Don’t let anyone rush you or speak negativity over you as you’re changing.  You’re a work in progress, we all are!

Be refined even if it hurts.  You’re a masterpiece in the making!

Be free,

April

Speak Life – Video blog by Carly Thomson

Guest Video Blog by Carly Thomson, Founder of Pure Heart Ministries and author of “Truth Seekers: The Princess and The Door”.

Carly Thomson

Carly Thomson was born on the Central Coast of Australia, in 1982. From that point on, Carly, whose name means strong one, would climb many a mountain to chase after many an adventure.
At the age of 26 she married the love of her life and began her much-awaited dream of teaching.
Carly loves to work with girls. She loves to challenge their mindsets and broaden their knowledge of the word of God. To teach and train the girls to stand firm as set apart daughters of the Most High God. To look beyond themselves to the brokenness around them and see what the bible tells them about how they can help.
She loves the imagination and has been known to transform an entire classroom into an interactive scene that depicts the very topic of study, simply to immerse the students within the learning experience.
Carly has just completed a diploma in Professional Children’s Writing at the Australian College. From there has authored, “Truth Seekers: The Princess and The Door”. This is the first book in a series of Christian short novels for tweenage girls.
Right now, Carly is the mother of two gorgeous little boys and often finds herself caught up in imaginative play around castles, cars, dinosaurs and pirates! She is currently completing her Masters Degree in Christian Studies, works with tweenage girls in her local church and is working on the next book in the Truth Seekers series.

About Pure Heart Ministries:

Pure Heart Ministries are passionate about seeing girls walk confidently, knowing their value and purpose in Jesus. We desire to see all our girls in relationship with their creator, knowing Him and His great love for them. We seek to teach and train them up in His Word, in Worship and through Prayer.

Contact Carly:
Email: carly@pureheartm.com
Website: www.pureheartm.com
Twitter:@PureHM
Instagram: @pureheartministries
You can purchase a hard copy or e-book of Carly’s book, “Truth Seekers: The Princess and The Door” from:
www.amazon.com
www.christianbook.com
www.barnesandnobel.com