The quickest way to become an ineffective Christian is to keep looking back and living in the past. Remember Lot’s wife? She was told to not look back, to flee, but the temptation to look back on a city that could no longer serve her turned her into a pillar of salt. She was left unable to move or go forward. Don’t allow yourself to meet the same fate as Lot’s wife! Be the salt of the earth by trusting God and resisting the urge to live a life that you’ve shed. Don’t allow your resistance to change to affect who God created you to become! Check out the newest post at my author site.
Check out my new post at cherewilliams.com
In the very heated climate, we currently live in it’s easy to get sucked into the, “breaking news,” frenzy, but are breaking news and the media become the modern day golden calf idol for Christians?
There are two powerful darts that aim to shoot us down, snatch away dreams and inject poison into our hopes and tries to deflate our faith. Those darts are fear and discouragement. Have you ever got shot in the gut by one of these darts? Most of us experience the unpleasant effects of fear or discouragement when we are burning up to do God’s work. When we are on purpose and intentionally trying to live out God’s will for our life, that when the darts come flying out of nowhere.
You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Some of you are probably licking your wounds as you read these words. Maybe it was just a few weeks ago that you had boundless energy to do God’s work. The path in front of you felt familiar because God had planted the seeds in your heart, to carry out his will and you felt fulfilled because that’s exactly what you were doing, then all of a sudden bam! You’re hit with a wave of fear, intimidation, pessimism and a stream of negative thoughts that scream how unworthy and ill-equipped you are to be on this path. After the fear gets cozy it ushers in discouragement. All the confidence and enthusiasm you were bursting with is slowly drained by the poisonous dart that has intentionally found its way to you.
Fear and discouragement are the heavy artillery used by the enemy to derail you and extinguish the fire you have as a follower of Christ. If you’ve been under attack you know how debilitating and paralyzing it is to your spirit. So, how do you loosen the grip of the enemy’s hold in your life?
Just as God commanded Joshua to be strong and courageous he commands us to do the same. How can we do this when we can barely see above the fear that’s clouding our vision and the discouragement that invading our heart? We can only do it through the assurance that God is with us always. If God who is all-powerful, omniscient, never-changing, who is limitless in possibility is always with us then fear and discouragement are already defeated. The Lord is our shield protecting us from the darts of the enemy. Through our faith and assurance, our courage and strength are born. We can be encouraged by the knowledge of the scriptures that assure us that God has our back.
When I’m in my groove and on my path of purpose a huge mistake I make that gives the enemy a clear shot is when I become self-reliant. The courage and strength I experience in the beginning are born from Christ, but then that old prideful self-appears and foolishly I start to rely on my own abilities, skills, and strength, placing my protective shield in a corner. The enemy is crafty! When he sees I’ve taken off my armor he will take full advantage of my unprotected state, target my weaknesses and vulnerabilities with a full-on attack. Suddenly I’ve veered off course. I’m deflated, doubtful and feel like a balloon that’s been popped. All that zeal for God is replaced with a hesitancy to go forward. Ladies this isn’t what God wants for us!
The key to strength and courage is allowing it to pour in through Christ. Let him fill you with his blessed assurance, let him wipe away the tears of discouragement and resuscitate you with a heart of encouragement! You have nothing to fear as long as you continue to be rooted in Christ. We don’t have to be strong on our own, we can’t! We need the Lord of infinite power to permeate our life to be a force field against the darts of the enemy so that we can become the masterpiece the potter had always planned!
I get bored with the same old New Year’s resolutions. You know, save money, lose weight, exercise, get organized, etc. They are all worthy goals and worth pursuing, but this year my goal is to simply smell good. No, I don’t have a hygiene problem, so if you happen to see me, please give me a hug! I promise there is no BO! Yesterday, I was catching up on some sermons from our church since we were away on vacation and my minister spoke of smelling good as Christians, based off of Corinthians 2:14-15,”But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” This scripture made me pause and reflect upon my own aroma. How often do I give off a pleasing aroma to my family, friends, strangers, neighbors, and church family? I also asked myself how often do I just stink? Or was I inconsistent in the aroma I was giving off to others which is just as bad as stinking!
Very hesitantly I had to admit that sometimes I was stinky. I didn’t mean to be smelly, but there were days that I allowed the stinky flesh to take over instead of allowing the sweet-smelling spirit of Jesus persevere, which is always regrettable. Regardless of any other goals, I hope to pursue, none is really more important than representing the love of Jesus. I want to be held captive by Christ’s triumphal procession and not held captive by my own ego. I realized the opportunities and assignments I missed to spread the pleasing aroma of Christ and how that doesn’t fit with God’s purpose for my life. I’ve spent some time thinking about when I have smelled good as a follower of Jesus and the joy it brought to others and I want more of that! I want others to look at me and see me as different, as a woman who loves Christ, who smells sweet and spreads that aroma in all circumstances.
My prayer is for God to reveal to me when I’m stinking and help me to choose the sweetness of his aroma. In a world that gives us plenty of situations to be downright smelly and I know I have a challenge in front of me. Out of the many goals of New Year’s past, this one means the most. I believe it is kingdom work that is life-changing. If I hope to maximize my God-given time on earth in a way that is pleasing to my Father, some pretty tough self-examination of my actions are needed, which require me to look at how my life is or isn’t glorifying God and to be consistent and honest with myself and God. If I want to spread the sweet aroma that Corinthians speaks about my life has to be less about me and my desires and more about Christ’s desires for me as his servant. So, I’m looking forward to seeking God more diligently, diving into his Word more intently, and trusting fully in the Holy Spirit and hopefully, I’ll start smelling better every day!
Last night my sweet girl had a 101.2 temperature, she was achy and downright miserable. You know what happens to your momma’s heart when your child is sick. Waves of helplessness wash over you and if you could switch bodies to take away their pain you’d do it in a millisecond. After I gave her a dose of medicine, I laid in bed next to her feverish body, hyper-aware of every twitch, murmur, and move she made. That’s what we moms do right? We stick right by our kid’s side. Do you think I cared about getting a good night sleep or catching whatever bug it was she had? Absolutely not! Why? Because I love her with every breath of my body. My heart and will always cause me to reach out and draw her into my arms.
It made me think about when we’re sick and how God reacts to us, specifically, when we’re sin-sick. That type of sick caused by sin. You know what I’m talking about right? When we’re stuck in sin it makes us sick. It could be physically, spiritually or emotionally sick or all three, but it’s bad. The thing about sin is it tricks you. It doesn’t make you sick at first, but soon, you start feeling a little off. Deep down you know what’s happening, but hey sin feels good right? So, that nagging feeling is easy to shrug off, but eventually, that sin infection life spreads causing all kind of havoc. Sin-sickness effects our heart, our mind, and our spirit with unexpected side-effects.
When I’m sin-sick I tend to pull away from God. Why? Because I’m ashamed, embarrassed, and disappointed in myself. The enemy’s voice is telling me I’m useless, pathetic, weak and will never amount to anything. Sound familiar? It’s a loud voice you can’t miss it because it’s persistent and convincing. Being sin-sick is serious and when we isolate or pull away from God who is our medicine it only gets worse and is prolonged. So why do we do pull away? I believe there are a number of reasons, but I believe the common causes are a few factors:
- Denial, anger, sadness, and embarrassment that we still fall for sin’s old tricks.
- Shame that we are not as spiritually mature as we thought we were.
- We don’t want to face God because we feel like we let him down (as if he doesn’t already know what we did:)
- Simply, we aren’t ready to stop the sin because it feels good, it has become a habit, or we feel like we’re in too deep to stop cold turkey.
When God’s child is sin-sick He’s like us mommas in that God tries to pull us closer to Him even when we are pulling away. His desire is to cover us with his incomparable love and heal us from the sin that’s at the core of our illness. When my daughter is sick all I want to do is hold her, it’s an automatic reaction just like getting her well is my top priority. Nothing matters, not my job, my to-do list, my house, nothing but the restoration of her health is on the agenda.That’s how God looks at us when we’re sick. We are God’s priority. He doesn’t want us to remain sin-sick, to suffer in disobedience, or to hide behind a shame that we don’t have to carry.
The Lord wants to see us restored to a place that allows us to glorify Him. So many of us continue to suffer from sin-sickness because the enemy has cornered us in our most vulnerable state. When we fall into sin the enemy has an open door to bombard us with lies. His schemes are easier to carry out because we are spiritually weakened. Sin compromises our strength just like the flu knocks us on our back. It chips away at the spiritual immunity that protects us. Sin is loud and it will do its best to drown out the Holy Spirit.
If you are suffering from some sin-sickness right now, please let God be your refuge. Don’t isolate, run, or allow shame to keep you from accepting your healing. Let him love on you and restore you back to the spiritual health that he always intended for you to live in. Think about how big your momma’s heart is and how your heart aches when your child is sick. When you’re sick God’s heart is aching for you too and He wants nothing more than to be your healer and to deliver you from the sin infection that is attacking your spirit. God wants you to know you are not your sin, you are his child, uniquely and beautifully created to glorify Him and live a life free of shame and bondage. Don’t allow sin-sickness to draw you away from God, instead allow it pull you closer to his loving arms.
I’ve had women approach me and say, “you seem really happy,” or “you make being a single mom seem not so bad.” In fact for the most part I am happy. I’m content and I got my groove down as far as the single mom part goes. It doesn’t mean I don’t experience my share of struggles and trials. I’m just like every other woman who is raising children, because let’s face it whether you are a single mom, married mom, whatever your status is…parenting is serious and sometimes scary business and we all got the scars to prove it! For me, arrving at a place of contentment was and is an intentional journey that I work on because I refused to accept a story that didn’t fit the life I was living, so I changed it.
I can genuinely say that I do feel complete and so does my daughter. She doesn’t feel like she’ from a broken family or a statistic. She feels loved, secure and part of a family regardless of the size. When I first became a single mom I worried about creating a sense of family in our home and at times I allowed outsiders to shape the narrative of my life instead of creating my own. What a disservice we do to ourselves and our kids when we permit others to tell us what’s going to happen in our lives. What’s dangerous is when we start believing them and our actions and thoughts begin to reflect this preconceived notion of what is most likely going to happen to us as ‘single parents.’ If you’re struggling with insecurity about being a single parent, ask yourself if you’re creating the narrative you desire for your life or are you allowing the whispers of naysayers and to take root and wrap itself around your family.
Only you are responsible for creating the narrative of our life. You are planting the seeds of what you want to cultivate in your garden. If you believe your family is broken then it is! If you believe your children are lacking, they will be! If you rely on feeling whole by your marital status instead of on your relationship with God then you will always feel a void, regardless if you’re single or in a relationship. You are the storyteller of your life so don’t leave it in the hands of another narrator or in the shadows of the past.
A major stumbling block for single moms is refusing to let go of a life that no longer fits who they are instead of embracing what remains. They keep trying to breathe air into it and in turn they get breath sucked out of them. Trying to relive an old story never works. It’s like quick sand, every step you take sinks you further in, putting a halt to your progress to move forward until it eventually suffocates you. God doesn’t want you to sink, he’s reaching out his hand to pull you out of the quick sand of an old story because he wants you to rise to the purpose he has in store for you as a woman, a mother and a child of God. He wants your narrative to be based on his truth for you not in the lies of Satan.
God can redeem and restore any situation. Do you think God looks at you and your family as being incomplete? I don’t believe that for a minute. God doesn’t work that way! Step into the narrative God has for your life. Let your story be filled with pages of grace, determination, endurance, love, forgiveness, laughter, family and purpose.
How do you perceive your story? Are you relying on someone else to write the pages? Do you have confidence in who you are as a mom? Are you happy with the family dynamic you’re choosing to create? If you aren’t then change the narrative, it’s your choice. Speak to yourself differently, create another vision for your life, and think about years from now when you look back, will you say your time was well spent or did you spend a lot of time trying to live up to a narrative that was never yours in the first place? If you live in a place of I can’t instead of I can then you won’t.
I believe from the bottom of my heart that God has a purpose for you, but your narrative has to match what a child of God deserves. It isn’t always easy because you have to change your thought and belief pattern, but it is possible. Maybe it requires healing, forgiveness, or something only God can do, but go to him in prayer and ask him to change your story. God is listening! Know that you are capable of creating the life you desire in God’s will, but how you view and speak of yourself and your family will determine if you get the life you want or you settle for less. We only live once, live well!