An Anxious Christian

God has been pushing me to share this for months, and I keep putting it off. I’ve said over and over to Him, no one wants to hear about this but He keeps whispering that someone does. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried arguing with God, but I have and it doesn’t typically turn out in my favor so here it goes. (Ps, whoever this is for, I’m here.)

I’ve dealt with anxiety my whole life. The fear I had over talking to people, the inability to even order my own food at a restaurant or the simple task of making phone calls for myself. Anything like that, if you put me in that type of situation tears would soon come and I didn’t know why. I would sit in my room and hyperventilate and cry to the point of being sick. I remember my first real panic attack vividly, trying to write it now I can feel it. My parents are divorced and I don’t have a relationship with my dad, this is the last actual conversation I had with him actually, without getting into that it fueled the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had while I was driving home. If you’ve never had one nor dealt with anxiety, it’s all-consuming. It consumes your entire head, it makes it to where you can’t breathe, you can’t see straight. It’s like your trapped and you can’t get yourself out. At the time, I didn’t know where to go. I didn’t have the best relationship with God so I didn’t turn there. I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t want to face it that something wasn’t right with me. I went to the doctor hoping for a quick fix in the form of Lexapro and being told that there’s a good possibility I would need these pills to function my entire life. But that’s not all, the funny part? Usually anxiety doesn’t come on its own, it brings its friend depression. I spent my entire senior year of highschool and the majority of my freshman year of college fighting this. I missed every day I possibly could my senior year to get out of having to talk to people. I did awful in classes because I just didn’t care anymore. I started drinking more, trying to date and find a guy who could make all the emotions go away. I kept saying to myself, if I do this or this it’ll fix it; if I can just get the right medicine it’ll fix it. I’ll get better. But that’s not how it works. Those pills aren’t your forever, God is. I was running to all the wrong answers when I had the One right there with me all along.

It took a long time for me to realize the battle I was fighting wasn’t my own. The emotions that I felt weren’t something I could overcome by myself. Nothing I could possibly do on my own would help. I remember the night I finally stopped trying and told God to fix me. Screaming actually, telling Him I didn’t care how He did it, I just knew I couldn’t keep going like that. I begged Him to fix whatever it was in me that was wrong because in my head He could never use someone as screwed up as I was.

I think He laughed a little when He heard that one. God loves to use all the stuff that we think is messy to spread the gospel. He doesn’t look down at us and think “oh she’s not perfect, she obviously cannot share My word.” “Nope, not him either. I mean look at what all goes on in his head, he’s not good enough.” God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, because Jesus is. That’s the constant, no matter what kind of things are going on, God is constant. He’s there, He’s the security in the midst of the chaos.

What I’m saying is, having your own issues doesn’t make you unusable. It doesn’t make you less. Being on antidepressants? That doesn’t make you a bad Christian. You can choose how you let it affect you. Take those issues to the Cross. Give God your problems. Dig into the word and equip yourself so that when you start to feel that all-consuming storm of emotions you can use God as your shelter.
Remind yourself that It IS finished, and this battle is not your own.

Scriptures to remember:

Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, with passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Matthew 6:25-27 (NIV)

…O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ Or ‘What shall we drink?’ Or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:30-34

I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. Psalms 34:4

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Home: 7,885 Miles Away

Have you ever felt instantly at home somewhere completely different? Somewhere so far away and out of your comfort zone you could not possibly feel safe and content, but you do. I felt that as soon as I hit the ground in the Entebbe airport. Thinking about it now physically hurts because I miss my Ugandan family so much, but I take comfort in knowing that the Lord will bring me back there again. I’ve been trying to form the words to write this for weeks but thinking about all that I witnessed there makes me cry everytime.

Africa has always been on my mind, I’ve always felt like I was supposed to be there with no clue why. This past June I got to finally live out my calling and serve at Sonrise Ministries, and let me tell you I will never be the same.

Joy,

Joy is a the first word that comes to mind when I think about the people I met in my short time in Uganda. Everywhere I went I was greeted with smiling faces. Pure joy is something even the largest language barrier cannot hide. I saw joy in so many forms. The joy on the face of a village child as they run at you giggling and screaming, “Mzungo, Mzungo!” (Mzungo: White person) The joy on the kids faces pulling each other on am homemade sled in the red dirt. The joy on the families faces in the village when you do the simplest thing for them. The kind of joy that puts what we express in America to shame. The kind of joy that I miss everyday.

I fell in love with everything about this place. I went there hoping to bless these people but I came home so much more blessed.

Mudhuts, Twins and Zidia.

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One of the serve projects I got to be apart of was repairing the home of a widow. She lived in a mud hut that was in shambles, this is where I met Zidia. When the others were working on her home, I met a woman who had gave birth to twins recently.. I held these sweet babies and got to talk to the mother, she was 22, (two years older than me) and she gave birth at home, having no idea she was pregnant with twins, y’all I cannot even begin to fathom how scared she must have been but she looked at both of these babies with so much love. This is about the time sweet Zidia becomes a part of my story. As I was sitting with these women and babies a small child crawled over from a hut nearby. Speaking to these women, I learned this sweet baby was 11 years old and had never walked. She was in an old torn up t-shirt, with nothing else. Meeting this baby broke me, seeing the lack of hope that she faced in this world, and yet her story isn’t over yet.. One of the sweet girls on the team we worked with was so affected by Zidia she took “giving the shirt off your back” literal. She took her t-shirt and we put Zidia in it and she started giggling and smiling bigger than any child I have ever seen. I will never forget that. We got to visit with Zidia and her family again before I left, and through the help of our sweet friends in Uganda, she has been to the hospital once about her legs, she received a walker and will prayerfully have surgery one day. The GoFundMe for Zidias medical bills is: 

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One of the mornings we were Aunties in the baby home, while the real aunties were treated to breakfast at Java with the Georgia team, and y’all I don’t know how those ladies do it. These kids may be small, but they know when their Aunties are gone and that they can push their limits. These babies get bathed THREE times a day, and do two-mile walks before nap time. I think I was more ready for nap time than they were. The cleaning that is done in the baby home is insane, they don’t use mops they scrub the floors on their hands and knees 3 or 4 times until its spotless in Every. Single. Room. I was exhausted after one bedroom, and they do it MULTIPLE times a day. Meal time at the baby home is an experience itself, and once you’re a part of it you’ll understand why bath time and cleaning are so important. I have so much respect for these ladies, I for sure was struggling trying to be them for the day.

David. 

When you get to the children’s home it can be overwhelming, there’s so many kids and its hard to make a difference and connect with all of them. Sometimes, a child just picks you. Thats how it was with David. He is the sweetest child I have ever met. At the beginning of my trip we did homework club with the kids at the children’s home. We read, and worked on writing letters and our names. This is where I met David, I don’t know what it was but as soon as we got started in the homework club this little boy would not leave my side, and I’m so grateful he didn’t. I never thought I would come home and miss a child so much. Everytime he was remotely close, he would find me before I even realized he was there. It kind of makes me think of how the Lord does to us, even when we don’t know He’s there He makes it known to us. Unconditional love. David

Gratitude. 

I have never experienced gratitude like I did in the short time I was in Uganda. Village children would bow at your feet and grab your hand over the smallest piece of candy. Elderly Ugandans in the villages would give up their wooden seats so that we may sit down and share the good news with them, trying to give us the small amount of food they had just so we would know how thankful they were. Puts things in the US to shame. I pray that I carry a little bit of that gratitude with me everyday now.

Dance Parties. 

You’ve never had a dance party until you have a Ugandan dance party. I got to experience this TWICE in the two weeks I spent there, one night with all the Mirembe girls, those girls love some dance music. I was out of breath within minutes of dancing with them. The second time was spent at Evelyn’s Bachelorette party. Hearing the love and advice showered over sweet Evelyn before her wedding to Timothy was amazing, they all came together to make sure she was as prepared as she could be and that she knew how loved she was. I came out of that bachelorette party feeling like I could get married tomorrow after all the advice those women shared.

If I kept talking about all the things I was a part of in Uganda, I would be writing forever and I just don’t think my heart can take that right now.

If you ever get the chance for overseas missions, Go. It will change your life in ways you never thought possible, you’ll come home sick for the place you left. I cannot wait to be back.

 

 

If you want to get involved with Sonrise there are many ways through prayer and financial contributions. Many children still lack full sponsorships, they start out at $30, full sponsorships going up to $120. You can learn more at: 

To the girl who feels like an outsider

I’ve been there. I’ve felt that loneliness, how you can be in a room full of people and yet feel alone and not say a word. Felt that feeling where it seems like everyone is a part of a “group” but you.  When I finally stopped living for the world and started living for the King, I pretty much dropped everyone. I stopped talking to anyone I partied and drank with, anyone who knew me from the way I was living. For awhile I felt like it was just me. Me and Jesus against the world. 

 Sweet girl, I can’t even explain to you how long I prayed for friends. Prayed for people who wanted to live life the way I wanted to. I prayed I’d stop feeling so awkward and have a group to fit in.I prayed so long that it felt like I’d always be that girl in the room. 

But I was wrong. The Lord is good, and He provides more than you can even imagine. He doesn’t want us to feel lonely, honestly were never fully alone. He’s always there. Sometimes, those seasons of loneliness are when you’re supposed to cling to the Lord even tighter. Pray even harder. Have even more faith than you thought possible. You’ve got to believe that there’s more, that He hears you.

Keep praying, keep praying that Godly people will be placed in your life. Pray that God would guide you through the loneliness. That He would make you feel loved when you feel like an outsider. Pray that you would become the friend to others that you need for yourself. I promise, those prayers will be answered. If you would of told me this time last year that I would be in the place I am now I would of thought you were crazy. But God has you, He has your best interest at heart. Trust him and if you ever need a friend, let me know.

Break Throughs & Blessings

Can I be completely honest for a second? I’ve been in a pretty crappy season as of late. One of those seasons where you can barely keep your head above the water. Where you push the Lord away. I’ve been told the enemy can sense when blessings are coming your way, when you’re so close to that break through you can taste it. The devil sees when all things are going right for you and the kingdom and he absolutely hates it. He tries every way imaginable to get in the way. Honestly, for the last two months I haven’t wanted to go to church. I haven’t wanted to do small groups. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything for the kingdom. I let the enemy creep his way in, I let myself slip into this fog, I let myself feel alone. But you know what? God never left. I may of isolated myself, but He did not. I may of not wanted to go to church, but He wanted me to be there. He never stopped whispering to me, no matter how hard I tried not to listen. He never stopped, and He never will.

See, one day you’ll wake up and that season you’ve struggled through won’t be so hard. You’ll want to do the things. You’ll want to lead. You’ll want to walk in your calling. You’ll want to do whatever you can to be in the presence of our sweet Abba, and He’ll be in the same place as He’s always been, right there with you. We may stray away, but God stays tethered to us.

Keep pushing through, there’s blessings and break throughs ahead.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

When God Seems Distant

Have you ever been in a season where you’re crazy busy? So busy that even God starts to get put on the back burner? You feel like you’re on an island and God is in the middle of the ocean. I don’t know about you but I have, pretty recently actually and quite honestly. It sucks. You feel completely alone, but God is right there, I promise.

See, God never leaves. He’s unfailing and always with you, waiting for you to cry out to Him. For weeks I felt so, so alone. The devil had my head so clouded that I did not even realize how far I had gotten. One night it just clicked, I realized I do not have to beg Him to come back when He never left.

But how do you get so far away?

  1. What has been your number one priority?

Work, school, life in general.. SOmetimes we get faced with so much we forget to focus on the One who controls it all, and we let the situation control us.

2. How do you spend your time?

How do you nurture earthly relationships? Time. You spend time talking and just being in their presence to get to know someone. You focus on them so your relationship can grow. Do you nurture your relationship with God?

         3. Are you focusing on the struggle or the Father?

Sometimes we truly have a one track mind. Our minds become completely wrapped up in what we’re facing, and for some reason, we think we have to face it all alone. We distance ourselves from God when the only way to truly overcome is by trusting God and His process.

Consider these things and then curl back up to our sweet Abba.

Thank you Lord. Thank you for loving me through all circumstances. Through the highs and the lows, when I’m close and when I’m far away. Thank you for it all. 

L.A. Stole Part of my Heart

I’m sure of it.

This past week, I went to Los Angeles to bless others; but I ended up the one being blessed. I saw more gratitude and pure joy in one week there than I’ve seen in my entire almost twenty years here.

In a city where you’re either rich or not, the ones who lacked everything materialistic poured into me. I witnessed neighborhoods coming together to  help us serve them. These wonderful people did not just sit around and wait for us to serve them like I probably would have in their position. No, they helped us. Some of them made sure all the others in their communities were served and had enough food before the thought of going through the food line for themselves even crossed their minds; never even knowing if there would be enough left over for them.

I was blessed to not only serve them materialistically and physically, but spiritually. They were so grateful for prayers. One woman, Natalie, asked us to pray over her. When asked what she needed prayers for, she didn’t ask for money or a house. Nothing materialistic. This sweet woman just wanted some food, that’s it. Can you even imagine being on the streets and that being all you hoped and prayed for?

All of these amazing people, who when we looked at them with worldly eyes had nothing, actually had everything with our sweet Jesus. They have such large faith that even though they’re out on the streets, hungry and homeless, they still believe that our God is good. I want their faith, their joy, their gratefulness. I’m so blessed and yet sometimes my faith struggles. I complain, I think way too much about materialistic things. I just want to be more like my sweet friends in L.A.

My prayer is that I would bring back with me a little of their gratefulness and joy. That somehow my faith would grow like theirs and I could continue to look at people, not with worldly eyes but with eyes like Jesus. I would have never imagined being there such a short time would have such an impact on me, but the city and its’ people stole my heart and I cannot wait to be back.img_7803

Identity Night

Tonight I attended a women’s conference at my church called Identity Night. I went in with no expectations other than a nice night at church; never expecting it to really affect me.  But I was so wrong, it’s funny that it’s normally in those moments when God moves the real mountains.

God reached out to me in that room full of women tonight. See, I have always kind of held Christian twenty-something women to this standard I deep down felt I could never reach. They were all basically perfect. All gorgeous, they could talk to ANYONE about ANYTHING, always surrounded by tons of friends, and then there was me. In my head I had to be the only one who didn’t have this whole life thing figured out, I had to be the only one who was struggling. This past year, God has began a great work in me tearing down walls, but it wasn’t until tonight that I really realized how wrong I was about it all.

This feeling of complete inadequacy had made me become so introverted and isolated. See, it isn’t not that I don’t have friends, I do. But for the most part, they’re not deep relationships. I haven’t poured into them, I have hidden behind the walls I ‘ve allowed the enemy to help me build, I haven’t really tried, bought into the lie that isolating myself is so much easier and better. I’ve said ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ in church, but that’s where it ended. So wrong. Because honestly, what’s church without community? I could worship anywhere, but God wants us to come together as believers and have fellowship.

God made us for relationships. First and foremost with Him, but also with our fellow man. We all need someone. Someone to confide in, to share our struggles with, to do life with. Someone who can hold you accountable and notice when you’ve fallen, a person who can not try and solve all your problems on their own, but someone who will get on their face in prayer and help you run straight back to God.

Guys, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone. Peek out from behind those walls, reach out to someone. Do not let the lies of the enemy cause you to do life alone. God never created you to try and do it all alone; find your people.

A sweet friendship refreshes the soul. Proverbs 27:9

Also, a HUGE thank you to all of the wonderful women at Desperation Church who served and helped make this night happen. You are all amazing, and I love you all.

 

Seventy Times Seven

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you,not just seven times, but seventy-seven times! Matthew 18:21-22

Unforgiveness, something that ruins friendships, marriages, and even complete lives. Unforgiveness is something we harbor in our hearts, holding it in our hearts until it cannot be held anymore and permeates our entire lives.

Carrying unforgiveness is like wearing glasses with blinders, you become blind to the good and only focus on your hurt. The funny thing about unforgiveness though, is that it doesn’t hurt anyone but you. The person who caused your hurt may not even ever know you harbor this toward them, in the same sense that this feeling doesn’t hurt the perpetrator, it radically changes the one who carries it.

This is a burden we were never meant to carry. Jesus died for us to be forgiven by our Father, what makes us think that we are just in carrying unforgiveness toward others when the one whom we sin to daily forgives us every time? For some reason in the world we are lead to believe we should love and forgive our neighbors and hate our enemies. How does that make sense? By doing that, we are just as guilty of sin as the one who hurt us.

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Through the Spirit we are granted those things, do you see anywhere in there “unforgiveness”? I didn’t think so. It’s tough, believe me I know. But when we forgive others for our sins it gives a small glimpse into the Father’s love for us. Forgiveness is what has given us eternal life.

I won’t lie, forgiveness doesn’t come easy; it’s something I still struggle with. I carried unforgiveness for so long against my dad but you will never have true joy if you’re holding on to this burden.

Pray. Pray for yourself, pray for others. These prayers can start off small. Pray for God’s guidance, pray for Him to teach you how to pray the big prayers. Pray for change, not for the situation to change, but for you to change.  Dig deep into the word daily, so that you start seeing Him everywhere.

  • But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:15
  • Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it. Proverbs 11:27
  •  Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

Identity Theft

When you’re not firm in your identity with Christ it can be so easy for the enemy to slip in. See, where we mess up is that we begin finding our worth and identity in the world. Some may find it in that next compliment from a guy, others find it in the next shot they take. These things, while making you feel good in the moment don’t last.

Like a thief in the night, the devil can slowly take away your identity. Not all at once, but slowly. When you let your guard down, one thing here, maybe compromise your morals a little bit there, nothing too crazy. You’ll say no next time. The more and more you let the little things become ok the harder it’ll be to say no the big things. Things you’d think ‘never in a million years would I do that’. Things like drugs, sex, partying, lying. Who knows your sin, the devil attacks in all different ways. One day you’ll look in the mirror and won’t even recognize the person staring back at you. Even the voices in your head will seem unrecognizable. Instead of the sweet, tender whisper of God all you can hear now is the screaming of your insecurities. It’s like falling into a seemingly bottomless pit; your actions keep building and building until the next thing you know you’ve reached rock bottom, wounded and broken.

When you’re not firm in your identity with Christ it can be so easy for the enemy to slip in. See, where we mess up is that we begin finding our worth and identity in the world. Some may find it in that next compliment from a guy, others find it in the next shot they take. These things, while making you feel good in the moment don’t last. That guy? Nine times out of ten he’ll leave. Alcohol? The buzz won’t last and tomorrow you’ll be stuck with a hangover. But you know who will never leave? Our sweet Abba. There is a great fullness that comes with God, and this feeling isn’t temporary. It wont disappear when life gets tough. It’s easy to get caught up in the world and begin to try filling yourself up with tis pleasures, however, doing that is like trying to fill a bottle with holes in it; no matter how much you put in it will eventually run out ending up empty. God is the opposite though, His love will fill you long after your cup is full. With God’s love, your cup will overflow.

Sweet friends, I pray that God reveals to you any place in your life where you aren’t firm in your identity. That He would build you up so that with Him, the enemy won’t stand a chance.

 

Now, you’re probably wondering. How do I become more firm in my identity? Here’s some ideas.

  • Dig into your bible. When you really dig deep into the Word, it begins to affect all areas of your life. Surround yourself with truth and you’ll begin to see it everywhere. I saw somewhere the other day “A proverb a day keeps satan away”.
  • Forget who the world says you are, and remember who God says you are. In Christ, you are beloved, chosen, redeemed, victorious, and an overcomer just to name a few. Remember that.
  • Pray. Just talk to God, ask Him to begin creating in you a firmer identity. Ask Him to help you. He’s there, waiting on you, you just have to call out to Him.

Do these things daily and I promise things will drastically change.

God Bless my Anxious Heart (And 7 Verses to Overcome it)

For some reason, in today’s culture we think we have to be constantly in control of everything. But we forget we aren’t, God is. Sweet friend, we have got to learn how to fully put all of our trust in God and give up that fear that has manifested itself in the form of anxiety.

I’m an anxious person, I don’t remember a time in my life where I haven’t been. I stress about things before there are even things to stress about. This is seriously one of my biggest struggles but it’s also something I’ve been fervently praying about and working on. See, when we hold onto stress and create an anxious heart we aren’t putting all of our trust in God. Merriam-Webster has this definition for stress:

  • fear or nervousness about what might happen.

What might happen. Why do we get so worried about what might happen when we have zero control over the situation and the one who does has our best interest on His mind? For some reason, in today’s culture we think we have to be constantly in control of everything. But we forget we aren’t, God is. Sweet friend, we have got to learn how to fully put all of our trust in God and give up that fear that has manifested itself in the form of anxiety.

I know, easier said than done but here are 10 verses that help me overcome in times of stress.

  1. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27 This is one of my favorites, it kind of puts it in perspective for me. Worrying is not going to add anymore time to my life. Worrying won’t even change the outcome of the situation, I can only control my emotions of the here and now.  
  2.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14 This is an amazing reminder, no matter what we do, we will not change the outcome. God doesn’t ask us to fight for ourselves, He only asks us to be still.
  3. Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25 Have you ever noticed how when you’re stressed out about one thing it feels like you just keep getting hit with more? It’s because anxiety literally makes you heavy, it’s a burden we were never meant to carry. Having anxiety and stress in our hearts changes our perspective and makes it seem like the world’s a lot darker than it actually is.
  4. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 Give it all to God. God knows your heart and mine, He just wants us to cry out to Him. When you truly give it all to Abba, He will guard your heart and give you a kind of peace that your anxious heart can only dream of. 
  5. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:19  Another sweet reminder of our Abba’s love. Even in the deepest pits of despair, God’s love is greater. Take heart in that.
  6. I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1-2 Lastly, God hears you. He always hears your cries to Him. Even when it seems He’s left you in the dark, He hasn’t. He is working on something far greater than you could ever understand in this moment. 

I pray that next time you feel that first sting of anxiety that you would call upon the Lord for guidance. He’ll get you through it, I promise.