I am coming to realize the inner depths of my soul. The things that are not pure are literally
being exposed and the thing is, I asked for this. I asked the Lord to come into my life and
remove everything that was not from Him. I knew that sin would be removed but, I did not know
if my heart knew that it would be an uncomfortable experience. That my sin would be exposed
to the light. I would be seen for who I really am. Recently the issue has been brought up due to
a terrible decision I made. I have confessed it to the Lord and now I am more worried about
others opinions of me and being exposed for the sinner I am. I am in the season in my life that if
I am not in the right mindset I can easily believe that I am not worthy. Fall 2017 I transferred to a
new university after graduating from a junior college. I was so happy to start my life in a new
town and finish off my schooling. I moved out my small hometown and moved to the city of
Houston. I thought everything was going go easy and that everything would fall into place
because this is what God wanted for me. As soon as started attending classes at this school I
learned that this was going to be a battle. I spent most of that semester crying in my dorm,
praying for a miracle because I realized I could not afford it. The end of semester comes around
and I am short some money and God provides some money that I misplace two years ago. I
walk into the office at the school to pay off this money and they tell me “umm… you owe this
amount”. The amount was bigger than I expected. I could not produce this money working two
jobs on campus. When I tell you I broke mentally, my mind went into shock. I felt my heart break
I mean I felt it within me. This situation was truly painful. My roommate found me an hour later
crying under my bed praying because, I did not know what to do. I questioned everything. I did
not know why I was brought to this school. Why I allow myself to make friends here when I
would have to leave. Why I allowed myself to have a crush who goes to that school and most
importantly if I really heard from God that this was the place for me.
I was in a weird transition in life that I could not run back to my hometown because I had
no where to stay and I could not stay at the school I once attend. It still hurts writing this. I ended
up not going back Spring 2018 but I went back to campus every Thursday for bible study.
Ashamed of my circumstance I did not tell truth about my circumstance to people when they
asked me. I lied because I was afraid I would be seen as a nobody. I was afraid that I was not
worthy to be in these peoples presence. That I was overall dumb for trying. It is wild the lies that
our placed in our hearts and what we believe. A verse that has truly help me during this time in
my life is Deuteronomy 4:29-31.
But from there you will search for the Lord your God, and you will find him when
you seek him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these
things have happened to you, in the future you will return to the Lord your God and obey
him. He will not leave you, destroy you, or forget the covenant with your father that he
swore to them by oath, because the Lord your God is a compassionate God.
I have confessed to God for the lies that I told people in an attempt to cover my shame but I am
scared to let them know the wrong I have done because I want to be accepted. Overall my
problem is that I want to be accepted and I fear rejection. I do not want to be seen for my
shortcoming. I want to be seen for Emmanuelle. Somehow I forgot in my brokenness God will
use it for His kingdom. I want to be look at and seen for the good in me, knowing it is from God
because I am not good. The only reason why anyone would think I am good is because God
has qualified me. Right now I am trying to teach my heart to understand that. My worth should
come from God and God alone. I truly hope that the people I have done wrong truly forgive me
but, if not I am not defined by that. For those who struggle with acceptance I pray your heart is
rooted in Christ. Everything will be okay. God is a compassionate God, and He has not forgotten
Written by : Emmanuelle
Burnout. It happens all the time. Especially when you are one of the core members of a church plant. I have my hand in many sections of the church and it is starting to catch up to me, almost 9 ½ months later.
I used to have two different spots on my universities campus where I went to encounter God. One was right on campus and the other was a 10-minute drive off of campus and up a mountain. One was more convenient than the other, but the one that was less convenient was the one where I encountered God the most. There is something to say about this.
Being a Christian should not be about convenience. Christianity shouldn’t be sharing the love of Christ when we feel like or, or when it doesn’t conflict with our schedule. Christianity is allowing time for the unexpected to happen, and actually pray for the unexpected, don’t dread it occurring.
You see, I experienced burnout because I wasn’t spending the needed time with my Prince of Peace, with the One who can keep me from getting burnt out. I now have a new spot back at home, where it is just like the old one, but you can see so many more mountains, and all you have to do is drive up there. The only issue is that it is a good 25-minute drive from my home, that is out of the way and inconvenient. But you know, I have been telling myself for weeks now that I was going to go up there and spend some time getting closer and seeking out the wonder I had in God before I lost it in all the to-do lists of being a leader in the church. It wasn’t until I reached the point of being burnt out that God insisted that I meet Him at the top of that mountain.
When I was up there, I brought along my prayer challenge book that has a section for almost any situation that you will go through. I went to the section on “Rest and Return” and the bible verse that went with that sections was Isaiah 30:15 which says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.’” That verse is so true. God gives us everything we need, but we sit here and decide that it would be easier if we just tried to do everything ourselves. We stop relying on God and that is when we lose our peace.
When we have time set apart to be quiet with God is when we get our strength to do all the work that we are needed to do. And it is when we are setting time to be quiet with God that we also find confidence when we know where our strength comes from and the peace that comes from that. We cannot let the business and the buzz of what is going on in the world around us distract us from what really matters. Which is our relationship with God. There is nothing else in the world that can give you the same type of peace that is beyond all understanding.
Written by: Jesse Burnette
When I found out that the blog topic for this month is friendship, I honestly got so excited. Godly friendship and biblical community is something I am extremely passionate about because I’ve seen firsthand the importance of the both of them. I’ve walked through seasons of life without genuine community, but I’ve also been so lucky to be surrounded by some incredible people of God who know me, love me, and point me to Jesus in everything they do. These people have played such a pivotal role in my walk with Christ and I want to encourage you to find people who will do the same for you.
Here are just a few reasons why godly friendships are so important:
You may be thinking, “I want these types of friends, but I don’t know how to find them!” Trust me, I’ve been there, and I know they’re not easy to find. But I know this, God will bring you biblical community and Christ-centered friendships, but we must do our part in the process.
PRAY: Pray for opportunities to find Christian friends. Ask the Lord to show you where to look. Seek the Lord’s wisdom in finding these people and He will be faithful to answer your prayers.
PLACE YOURSELF IN COMMUNITY: Most likely, godly friends aren’t just going to show up at your doorstep one day. Although, God is a God of miracles, so never say never! BUT, we must be bold enough to place ourselves in community. Put yourself out there. Go to that event, attend that bible study, do all that you can to surround yourself with other Christians, and Jesus will do the rest.
Written by: McKenna
Think about a community. A community filled with friends. Friends of a different backgrounds
and upbringings. Despite their differences the love of God is moving creating genuine joy. These
people have your heart because God is with each one of y’all. Now think about that same
community being struck by affliction. Pain, anger, and sorrow is trying to take place were joy
once was. This is how I feel right now about some of my friendships. People I truly love our
suffering and I am seeing how God is moving.
Currently in a few of my friendship I have found that God is asking me to be present.The enemy
is trying to rip away their identity away. Recently in one of my friend groups, a fellow
acquaintance has passed away due to suicide. So many of my friends are left heartbroken.
Questioning the reason behind it all and why life was rip away from us. I have found that I have
no answer to their questions. I can’t find the right words. All I can do is be there as they grieve.
When I feel the pain of one situation sinking in another sinks in. One of my best friends family is
preparing for the lost of a loved one because the doctors have given a couple weeks to her
Two verses that The Lord has shown to me is Philemon 1:12 and Psalm 25:14
Philemon 1:12 says “I am sending him back to you I am sending my very own heart.”
I feel like this is exactly where my heart is and what my heart is feeling. Whenever affliction occurs tell The Lord these words that loved one that friend is your heart and you are giving it all over to God. My heart has and is crying out to My Heavenly Father. I am asking him to show himself. I am
crying out to Him and I know He hears me. I have seen these couple weeks that he is showing
himself in comfort of the Holy Spirit. Life will be hard, It will try to break us. That is one reason
why God wants us to have community/friendships.
Psalms 25:14 says “The friendship of Jehovah is with them that fear him; and He will show them his covenant.”
This psalm is how we should walk in our faith and show it in our friendships.
When we see pain in our friends and experience empathy we should remember God’s promises
and know our gifts. That helping hand, Loving hug,Comforting voice, The words you needed to
here, or maybe just being present in these times. We have a God who will deliver them. When
life is given a time frame always say BUT GOD. God is in control.
Let us be a symbol of His hope in the brokeness. Do not let pain define your life because, God
has something good for you. In the pain take comfort in God. Find a community or friendship
that can uplift you and hold your hand during the hard times. Remember Philemon 1:12 “ I am
sending him back to you I am sending my very own heart” . That is your heart is pure and God
sees that. I believe God will show himself to you in these times just press on. Remember the
truth of your identity. You are loved,chosen,set apart, and redeemed. The enemy hates those
facts and will try to steal your joy. Psalms 25:14 says” The friendship of Jehovah is with them
that fear him; and He will show them his covenant.” God will always keep his promises. You are
blessed and will be blessed. Speak these truths in your life daily
Written by : Emmanuelle
The words read failed in the right-hand corner of the paper. “You are a failure” You always fail at these things. You are worthless.” These thoughts rang in my head as I stared at the sheet of paper in my hand. I had just taken a four-hour exam that held my future. This has got to be a mistake. How in the world did I fail? I studied half a year for this. I folded the paper quickly and shoved it in my purse. I stepped onto the elevator and the thoughts continued. “Everyone knows you were taking this test today, you can’t tell them you failed. They are forever going to see you as a failure. You will never amount to anything.” I reached my car and collapsed in the seat. How did this happen? I just threw my entire future away, by failing this test. I had just failed my licensing examination and I had no clue how I was going to move forward. I called my parents and told them the news while sobbing. I ugly cried all the way home.
Failure is something I had not experienced in a long time. I was furious. I was furious with myself and furious with God. I could not believe he would allow me to fail this. I prayed so hard and studied harder than ever. For once in my life, I felt like God had failed me. It pains me to even write those words but that is truly how I felt. I had never been so upset. This was my future and I felt like I was following where God wanted me. Not to mention I paid a lot of money for the examination. Days went by and I began to distance myself from the Lord. I stopped attending my young adult group and paying attention in church.
One day, God spoke to me and he whispered gently, “I am going to use this failure.” It was painful to hear but this verse came to mind. “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” Hebrews 13:5. I had memorized this verse long ago when my grandfather shared this verse with me when he was going through cancer treatment. With that simple whisper “ I am going to use this failure.” I began to adjust the way I had been thinking. I realized I had bought into the lie the enemy had told me “You are a failure and God failed you.” Yes, I did fail, but my worth is not based in my performance on an exam, even a national one. God did not fail me. He was with me every step of the way and he has something better for me. I want to encourage you if you are in a time where you feel like you completely blew it. God is not finished with you yet. He has not left you. He is walking with you in this time. Remember he will never fail you and will never leave you. I challenge you to memorize this verse and every time you feel defeated or doubt God’s faithfulness pray this and repeat it over and over until you truly believe it with your whole heart.
How God is using my failure/ lessons learned:
These are a couple of things I have learned from my failure. I challenge you to reflect on your failure and see how God is using it. God has a purpose for everything and every struggle we go through. So, take this failure and let God use it for his glory!
Written by: Rebeccah McCully
Failure. It is something we all deal with and can be incredibly devastating, even debilitating at times. There were times in my life where I felt like the Linkin Park song, “In the End” was my anthem. I felt like I would try to do better, try to succeed even harder just for nothing to happen and all of my efforts to amount to nothing.
If you know my story, you know that I struggled with an eating disorder as well as a few anxiety disorders. At the time, I felt that these were my greatest failures. I wasn’t doing well in school, I was thinking about dropping out of college, I almost quit my job because of this—I had truly felt that I had failed not only myself, but my family, and most importantly my God. I truly believed that God was letting me suffer as punishment for not being a good enough Christian, or not trusting Him fully.
I remember one Sunday in church, we began talking about this concept of the “wilderness”. When we are walking through the wilderness in life, we are looking everywhere but to God for answers. We need to stop and look to Him to be our light and our path. This struck a chord with me and that day I decided to stop trying to dig my way through the wilderness but to stop and look to God to be my protector and guide my path as I was on my way out of this very dark and scary place.
I began counseling and seeking wisdom from professionals, it was there that I remembered that God takes our darkest moments and redeems them as a means of making His perfection, grace, and mercy known to the world. He did just that! My recovery wasn’t linear, please hear me on that. I still have days where I feel like I am stumbling over stray branches or taking wrong turns. There are still days that are hard. However, I am remembering that the Lord is consistently taking that time of “failure” and turning it into a time of incredible redemption and faith. Every time you take two steps forward, praise Him. When you take a step back, praise Him. When you go rolling backwards down the hill, still praise Him. He is making a way for you and using every failure as a means of bringing glory to Himself in the period of redemption.
“Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19b
I used to be shy about my story. I didn’t want to tell people out of fear - fear of rejection, fear of being made fun of, and fear that they would look at me differently. But over the course of the past several years, the Lord has taken that fear and whispered this simple reminder: “Carrie, I am going to take your mess and turn it into a ministry. Share what you overcame.” Sometimes it’s still a tug-of-war battle with God and I. I still get nervous, but he always washes that away. And as I type, and fingers still tremble a little bit, my heart still races a little bit faster, and I still get the urge to hit the backspace and erase what I’ve written so far.
When I was in early high school, I began to experiment with self-injury. In middle school, a boy cut himself in front of me, and I was curious. At that point in life, I struggled with self-worth, depression, and numbness. I needed to feel something, so I sat in my room and tried cutting for the first time. What started as a one-time thing turned into an addiction I carried with me for years. I came to college with the addiction and I just thought of it as something that would be there for the rest of my life. It was my normal.
But victory stories are the best stories. Stories of people in that rock bottom, climbing to the top, overcoming struggles, trials, weakness. Overcoming to become something new and something great.
That’s you. That’s me. That’s us.
Jesus came to give you that victory story. Jesus died to give you that victory story. Jesus came back to give you that victory story. I say we claim it again. It’s time throw off the shame, the guilt, the fear. Let’s share.
My story of overcoming was (and is) a long story. It was a process I had to go through for a while. It wasn’t overnight, and let’s begin with saying that’s okay. Your story doesn’t have to be a story that is instantaneous, it can take time.
I sit here and write now, free from that bondage. A survivor. An overcomer. And that’s all great. But how?
I had to get help.
I think a big part of overcoming is being vulnerable and honest. I had to speak up, with my trembling voice and say, “Here is where I am and I need help.” And I’ll tell you, it was terrifying. I told my parents and my closest friends. I started to see a counselor. I surrounded myself with people who spoke truth into my life. On the days I couldn’t get out of bed, I was encouraged and prayed for. And the Lord began to move in ways I could see.
I didn’t feel relief, freedom, or healing until I opened up. And community is such an important reminder that we need people to rally around us, encourage us, and cheer us on. There were days I tried to pray, but I didn’t know how. There were days I didn’t want to cut, but I didn’t know differently. And those people - my cheerleaders - talked me down, prayed over me, and showed me there was more to my story.
Do you believe that? You should, you wholeheartedly should.
Your story matters. So it’s worth overcoming. Every person plays a part, and every person will have a different story of victory - yours matters. Maybe your healing process looks differently than mine or your friends (I like to think of us as friends, is that ok?), but know it is intricately designed, perfect for you, fit for you, made by the God who made you and loves you.
As I stand on the other side, free and having overcoming, I will tell you one thing – it is so incredibly worth it.
Sisters, it’s time to overcome.
Written By: Carrie
Overcoming is kind of a tough idea for me to tackle when I really start to think about it. The first thing that comes to mind is an image of someone who just climbed to the tippy top of a huge mountain. I’m not exactly sure why that’s what I think of, but I do think it makes for an accurate metaphor.
Have you ever faced something in your own life that felt like a huge mountain in the middle of your path? You’re going along smoothly, and then boom. There’s a mountain and you can’t continue smoothly down that road like you expected. Maybe you were broken up with, or you didn’t get into the college you dreamed of attending, or you are diagnosed with a significant disease, or any number of other challenges.
While this mountain metaphor is great and all, sometimes we face hard things that don’t look like mountains at all. Sometimes they’re almost invisible. You view yourself very negatively, or you battle perfectionist tendencies, or you face a crisis of belief. These kinds of challenges don’t always attract as much attention, but they can be just as much of a struggle to overcome.
I’ve had a tough time finishing this post, because once I would reach this point I’d start to type about a struggle in my past that I’ve overcome through Christ. However, what I found was that the things I struggled with in the past still pop up from time to time. Maybe not quite as much, but they are still a struggle for sure. When this happens, I tend to get discouraged. I think to myself, “I overcame this already. How are these feelings coming back again?” On this side of heaven, our struggles will never fully disappear, because we live in a fallen world full of sin. Through God’s grace we can fight against our struggles and not be beaten down by them. He fills us with power and strength to persevere, and allows us not to be enslaved to our struggles. However, temptation and pain will never fully end until we reach heaven. At first that thought seems a little discouraging to me, but look deeper. There’s a promise full of hope. What that means, is that in heaven every single one of our challenges will be gone! And until then, God will strengthen us to face them, but we do not have to completely obliterate them in our own strength. I find encouragement and hope and peace in knowing that I don’t need to fight against my struggles in my own strength, and be discouraged when I’m not strong enough to beat them. Christ has already overcome all of our challenges. We cling to Him in that hope now, and one day we will be brought to glory with Him and our mountains will all disappear in the blink of an eye.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Written By: Emily
I have had a hard time getting my thoughts together on this theme of overcomer. Not because I have never had to deal with hard stuff and not because God hasn’t helped me overcome, but because so many of the issue’s I have dealt with haven’t been 100% cured. I kept asking myself, what am I cured of? And that’s not the point. The definition of overcomer is “to prevail over (opposition, debility, temptations, etc.)” It doesn’t say prevail once and for all. It’s not being cured of something, never to have to deal with it again. I have heard people say they quit smoking and never craved a cigarette again or they quit drinking and never wanted another drink. For the most of us though, God has brought us through a tough time AND he continues to be your strength because the struggles come again. At least, that’s the case for me. Often times I think that God wants us to learn from Him and lean on Him in the tough times and then continue to learn and lean in the better times as well. I know with my struggles I have to rely on Him and keep my eyes on Him daily because I know the devil knows just where to attack and I have to be ready.
I’ve struggled on and off for a lot of years with depression and more recently anxiety. Right now things are great but that wasn’t the case even just a few weeks ago. Depression and anxiety are something that literally just seem to come out of nowhere for me. Often times there are no triggers, and they don’t show up just when times are tough and hard. It’s a weakness that the devil knows just how to use, so I am in a constant battle. I wish I could say that God has completely cured me but the truth is, he hasn’t. And I’m ok with that. I know he uses my struggles for his glory. I know that in my tough and dark times I have someone more powerful than I could ever be fighting my battles. I know I have someone holding up my head. Psalm 3:3 says, “But you, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.” If I didn’t have struggles, would I keep my focus on God or would it stray because life was so easy?
The Bible makes it very clear that we are always in a battle. He also speaks very plainly about the attacks of the devil. In 1 Peter 5:8, Peter says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” We have an enemy that is looking for the weaknesses in our lives, our struggles, our temptations, our addictions. BUT in John 10:10 Jesus says, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.” We have a way to continue to have an abundant life in the midst of the messes life can bring! It’s Jesus!
First it is having a relationship with him. Let him be King of Kings and Lord of Lord in your life! Second, keep him as the top priority in all you do. Keep your eyes focused on him, learn his word and talk with him ALWAYS, in the good times and bad. Third, have people in your life who will encourage you and turn you back to Jesus when you get off track. When the struggles of life get you overwhelmed, you need someone to help point you back in the right direction. And remember, you are an overcomer! The one who overcame sin and death is fighting for you and loves you! He is your shield, your glory and the one who will always lift your head!
Written By: Heather
Fear is defined as “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger” (Miriam Webster)” This definition is something that has lingered in my life for countless years and sometimes still does. Recently this month, I have had two areas of my life trigger fear from my health to financial security. In both instances for about 3-4 hours I struggled with fear. You’re probably thinking well then why are you talking about overcoming fear if you still struggle with it?
Good question, fear I believe is something that we will struggle with over our lifetime. Fear is an emotion that is normal to experience, the problem really with fear is that it can be gripping. It can grip you to the core of your heart and make you question the sovereignty of God. Overcoming fear is not suppressing the emotion of fear. Overcoming fear is a heart change. Overcoming fear is trusting in Christ so much that no matter what comes your way you know Christ is with you. Overcoming fear is knowing in the depths of your heart God is sovereign over all. In the book of 1 Timothy it talks about the type of spirit Christ has given us.
1 Timothy 1: 7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
To overcome fear is to grab ahold of those fearful thoughts and remind yourself that Christ is your source of strength. I challenge you to write this verse down on an index card put it on your mirror and memorize it. When hard things come your way quote this verse and know God is with you. To overcome fear and to trust Christ with your whole heart is the best feeling. You feel free, relieved, and deeply loved by your heavenly Father. So, stop living behind the bars of fear and live in the freedom of trusting the Almighty God.
Written by: Rebeccah