Update! Do you believe in Modern Day Miracles? I do!

A little over a month ago I asked this question here on this blog, because I knew I had been blessed to be in the presence of a miracle unfolding.   Although we knew it would take time for the culmination of this miracle to unfold, the reality of the miracle was sealed in my mind that day, because ONLY God could have orchestrated the details to occur in such supernatural succession, that it would have been foolish to doubt that His plan would succeed.  As the details surrounding this monumental event continued to unfold, more began to believe in the reality of this miracle.  God’s hand was in this, around this, before this and in front of this.  He had prepared the minds and the hearts of those He needed to move as quickly and decisively as He needed them too.

Being privy to details that only a few knew, my mind was blown at how God chose to bless the faithfulness of a couple, while rocking the worlds of those that surrounded them. I do not think that it was a coincidence that He chose to center this miracle in the presence of a core group that had the capacity to influence a multitude…He wanted us to see first hand, to be ‘eye-witnesses’ and share His story — GO, TELL — just like others did thousands of years ago when He walked on this earth, and even before and after. The God of the Bible is and has always been the God of today.  He can do in your life, what He has done in countless others…we just need to believe that He can.  He shows up, in the midst of our everyday Christianity to remind us that He can to exceedingly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21, NIV

This is not just a story of a baby, just like the miracle of Jesus is not just the story of a virgin birth.  God is preparing us for greater things, your experience and perhaps your participation in the things of God are limited only by the depth of your belief in what God is capable of – “according to his power that is at work within us…

He is able, are you able to believe?

Mental Health Awareness

mh

May is Mental Health Awareness month.  Over the last few decades our nation has drawn more attention to the fact that we need to provide equal care to our state of mind, at least as much as we give to every other part of our body.  There is an obvious line drawn in the sand when we consider the level of care that we give to our brain versus every other vital organ.  It’s almost as if the brain is an imaginary part of us, rather than the one organ that essentially dictates the manner and speed at which the remainder of our body operates…i.e. if our brain is not functioning properly we will feel the effects of that.  So I have to ask — what is the hesitation to go seek help?  Why is it that we shun the thought of medication for the brain when necessary, but we would rarely second guess approaching treating the heart in such a manner?

God has given us resources through His creation: tools, medicine, knowledge and practitioners — we need to use them to our benefit.   We do not need to live in silent pain.  So what does this mean?  This means if you are someone who continually battles with feelings of hopelessness, sadness or are just in a period of emotional transition that you just can’t seem to shake yourself out of – GO GET HELP.  Make an appointment to see a therapist today.   Your friends are wonderful, but you know that they are limited in their ability to provide the professional help that you need…when your vision is blurry do you call your friends to examine you? No you go to the optometrist – you get what I am saying right?

One of the most important things you can do if you are a friend to someone who chronically battles with symptoms of anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness, is to understand this – it is your responsibility to strongly encourage them to go seek professional help.  At minimum, you are pointing your friend towards the mental freedom they so desperately desire and as we’ve seen in recent days, you could be saving a life.  Please do not attempt to minimize their struggle.  Leave this to a professional to take the time to attentively sort out the details.  The reality is that the courage it took for them to share their pain is in short supply.  And the point in which they are reaching out is likely indicative of a much longer season of silent imprisonment burdened with emotional anguish and instability.

Finally, mental health needs to be maintained.  Making sure that we take time to rejuvenate our energy, clear negative influences off our plates and invest in others are some examples of ways that we can live healthier lives.  My mental health is maintained through taking time to gain insight about myself, by filtering the messages I choose to believe and aligning myself with my purpose.  In addition, I surround myself with like-minded people who are deep wells of laughter and wisdom and I am open to allowing them to speak truth into my life as needed.  I encourage you to take time to develop a healthy regimen to maintain your mental health as well, your mind will thank you for it.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO THE “MOMS” WHO STEP IN

Today I want to honor the “Moms” who step in.  This is a woman who may not have a child in her home, but still chooses to come alongside those who do.  This is an aunt, a best friend, a close neighbor, a woman from church, a close relative —a woman that chooses to lend a hand, an ear, emotional support, wisdom, a different perspective or simply a shoulder to lean on and an abundance of tissues to cry into when she knows another mom needs it.  She is the real MVP, because it is apparent, simply by the nature of her offering, that she does it out of pure love and compassion for a mother and her children.  I want you to know that YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS because your involvement is not out of obligation, but participation, in one of the greatest callings known to man and for this you are deeply cherished.   Many women could not be the mothers that they are today without your sacrifice.  So today — on “Mother’s Day,” I choose to highlight you, the women who have given selflessly from a strength, I likely have never experienced, to be a light in someone else’s life.

““Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.”  Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.” Proverbs 31:29-31 NIV

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

∼Joycy

Can Faith & Fear Coexist? Update!

Please join me in welcoming today’s response to this week’s question of the week from a fellow blogger Jennifer Salazar.Q&A


Not too long ago I found myself at the crossroads of a life changing decision that without a doubt was guided by God.  While gathering the courage to make this decision I realized that this was going to be a season where I needed to trust God like never before.  I needed to surrender to God and have the faith to let go and let God.

The same day I made the decision to walk on faith, fear became my intolerable companion.

During this process of spiritual growth I found myself asking if it was possible for faith and fear to coexist.  After thinking about it for a while I considered that the right answer was NO.

So at this point, not only did I have my intolerable companion fear, but shame (fear’s BFF) decided to join the party.

Why, when I was guided by God and decided to walk by faith, could fear still affect me so much?

I had to go deeper to understand what was going on and this is my conclusion:

Faith is the shield that God gave us to protect ourselves and to put an end to the enemy’s attacks.

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16 NIV

…and God didn’t give us a spirit of fear.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT

Yet it was clear to me that fear was a way to test my faith and when our faith is tested our perseverance is made stronger.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  James 1:3 NLT

So there is no room for shame.  All this is a process where God is teaching me to be more like Jesus.  Now I know that the minute faith kicks in fear leaves the room.  I have become certain that faith is a real power —that faith in God is the cure for all my fears.

These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:7

So the next time you are facing fear, remember that you are human and it is normal, lean on God’s power and understand that you too are working out your faith.
∼Jenny

Wow!! Thank you so much Jenny for the question this week and your response!!  One thing I learned through the process of contemplating this question is that faith is not hope.  Although hope is great, it comes with hesitation.  Faith is belief and I cannot believe and have fear (doubt) at the same time.  Thank you all who shared your thoughts and experiences – I look forward to connecting with you all later this week! 😉 Joycy

Good friends are hard to find and a treasure to keep

What makes a friend a good friend?  I have posed this question to the girls that I mentor.  Today I celebrate my best friend’s birthday and I will share with you why I choose to call her one of my favorites.  Christine blog

We met in middle school during a church event.  Now I could say that we connected because we were praying together or singing holy hymns in the choir :), but the real answer is that we connected because we stood out.  We were eleven and twelve and were actually part of a children’s choir (lol!), but there was something during that evening’s practice that seemed hokey.  We didn’t know each other, yet our knowing eyes met from across the room and we knew in that moment that we were on the same pageand we’ve been partners in adventure ever sinceAs a tribute to friendship, I am going to share with you why I cherish ours.

1. It is lasting.  Our friendship has spanned decades.  We have never attended the same schools, not always lived in the same states or even the same coast, yet we have always remained close friends throughout the years.  She has made herself accessible to me and I to her.

2. It is trustworthy.  I know without a doubt that I can trust Christine with anything, and I mean anything.  This not only speaks to the friendship that we have, but to her character.  She is trustworthy and operates at a level that is noble and honors God.  Nobody is perfect, but I need people in my life who seek after God’s best for their own.  Which bring me to the next quality…

3. It sharpens me.  I have been graciously blessed with many friends and great friendships, however, the ones I hold dearest are the friends who take the time to speak truth into my life.  I learn from them as much as I laugh with them.  They can be trusted to receive the full range of my emotions and speak the truth to me as it needs to be spoken…and not be fearful to do so.  This is the epitome of a true friend.  They weigh the risk of a temporary rift in harmony for the sake of God’s best for me and I love them for it.

4. It is honest.  I can be vulnerable, transparent and loved unconditionally, while knowing that my friend will tell me if I am off track.

5. It is encouraging.  For as long as I can remember, Christine has been my biggest cheerleader.  She believes the best in me and for me.  She encourages and expects me to conquer the world.  I have been incredibly blessed to have gleaned a few other pom-pom waving, megaphone blasting, hearts of gold along the way that have in their own way championed for my success as well.  The belief that my friends have had in me, have divinely pushed me out of my comfort zones in ways they may never know and for that I am eternally grateful.

Happy Birthday Christine!  I am incredibly proud of you and blessed to call you friend! Christine and I

Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Khalil Gibran

File a Restraining Order

Today’s post is connected to this week’s Question of the week: If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?

My son is one of the most creative, funniest, left of center, out-of-the-box thinkers that I know.  And I seriously do not say that because he is mine, anyone who knows him would say that same.

  Which brings me to this little gem I found in his backpack: letter2c

Yes, you read that correctly, he wrote (and served) a restraining order!  He’s in middle school and the son of a therapist, so maybe that gives a little explanation as to how he came up with this? lol! (Though I absolutely take zero credit :))  Raising Isaiah has been a wonderful adventure and I am grateful for the opportunity to lead himI will say that when I slow down and press in close enough, he has often taught me.

Now, I have blurred the names to protect the ‘innocent’- 🙂  But I wanted you to have a real visual as to what he did.  When I asked him why he “filed” a restraining order, he said he and a friend had continually asked the classmate to stop bothering them in class and he wouldn’t stop, so they took the next logical step 🙂 and drafted a restraining order, with witnesses and all!  He had a problem, he addressed it directly, that didn’t work and he took it to another level.  (He is friends with the ‘defendant’ in this case, but he just wasn’t going to tolerate the persistent irritation.)  He wasn’t content with the constant negativity that met him each day and he wasn’t going to allow it to become the norm.  We should all do the same – why do we allow our negative thoughts to drive our behavior and dictate our mood?

2 Corinthians 10:5, reads, “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.”  NIV

That is some pretty strong language there – demolish, take captive…God knew how difficult it was going to be to wrestle our thoughts to make them fall in line with His truth about His creationHis masterpieces.   He gave us directives, not suggestions.  He gives us His word to cling onto to remind us that we do not have to live captive to the lies we tell ourselves.  So today, on Isaiah’s birthday, I present to you the “Isaiah Challenge” and implore you to file a restraining order against the lies that bind.   The lies that tell you you are not good enough, that keep you wrestling with jealousy, that keep you pinned down by the memories of the mistakes of the past…that stifle your voice that prevent you from fully experiencing the freedom that you have been given through a relationship with Christ.  Tell those thoughts where they need to go and what they are and are not permitted to do.  Take back the control over your temperament and your feelings.  If you feel heavily weighed down by these thoughts I highly suggest that you seek out a Christian counselor in your area to help walk you through this process.  YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIVE THIS WAY.  Get your truth in order and serve the devil his papers today!

Why I had to get ‘offline’ to get ‘inline’

The days of social media have gotten us so “engaged” in each others’ lives…virtually engaged.  At the beginning of this year I came off most social media sites: facebook, instagram, etc.  I know—the majors.  I kept twitter mostly for work/educational purposes, but rarely viewed it.  As a result I had to continually remind my friends (my real ones) that if you want me to know something, “You’re going to have to tell me, not tag me.”  It’s wild that that is such an abnormal idea these days.  I fear for the millenials and beyond.

One common question I heard during this transition was, “Oh are you fasting?”  My response, “No, I am just off of social media and I feel better for it.”  My mind was clearer, I was focused on things that mattered; things that required my full attention.  I became more intentional to spend time with people in real life, to check on people in person – to engage in this new invention called “eye contact”.  Try it – it’s amazing! 🙂 I had to get “offline” to get back “inline”.  It became so draining, so dissatisfying! I needed to detox from the whole system of caring about likes (to be honest I really didn’t care about that part) and perusing others’ posts and profiles and get inline with making time for family, friends, proper rest and accomplishing goals instead.  For the purposes of this website I am back to using Facebook, but only to engage others —I login and log right back out.  I refuse to allow myself to sit idle anymore and allow time to fly by and have nothing of value to show for it; especially when I knew God had called me to greater things. Yikes. 

Social media does have its notable benefits, naturally, but I do challenge you all to assess your use of social media and find a healthy balance.  I found mine and am better off for it! Please share your tricks on how you manage your social media mania.

Thanks!  Joycy

by Prince Ea