My greatest hearts desire is to impact the world with a message of hope. Endowing the reader with a deep reservoir of joy and an absolute personal resolve that whatever life throws at you – you can and will overcome, you will rise again to enjoy the mountaintops of joy and breathe in the atmosphere of hope!
The heartbeat of Beautiful, Courageous You can be summed up in a quote by Helen Keller, born blind and deaf faced great adversities, she writes I would rather be walking in the dark with a friend than in the light on my own. There is great reward in living in such a way that the focus is not on what you can get but rather on what you can give.
My desire behind the book is very much, coming alongside the reader, as a friend and walking with you until you are in a place of peace, joy and health.
The first chapter is about my journey through grief and severe depression then the following 29 chapters are all about the reader. With my background in Health Science I have covered healing for the body on a very practical level. Topics include; Nutrition, exercise, medication, natural therapies and many more…. Healing the soul covers the mind, will and emotions with some powerful exercises, hints and tips for managing stress and anxiety. Healing the spirit is a thorough and deep understanding of the unseen realm and how we can heal our bodies by addressing issues such as unforgiveness, anger, resentment and judgement etc.
There’s no escaping this layer of affliction called ‘life’, there comes a point in time however, when you must decide to either allow the darkness to overtake your life and become a victim of your circumstances or you can choose to courageously move against your fears, face every situation and determine to push on knowing that God is with you, His presence within us is our assurance that we can live in peace.
His peace is not just for getting through the tough times, but He has promised us perfect peace and contentment all the days of our lives. Where do we find this peace, this lasting cure for fear? In his book “The Sheperd’s Rod; Volume XV11”, Bobby Conner puts it like this: “This is the pattern we need to learn: As we turn our inner focus, our will, to Christ and place our affections on Him, adjusting our thoughts to the Word, we will discover abiding peace.” The Sheperds Rod: Volume XVII page 60
Although the scriptures admonish us to keep our minds on that which is Truth, this is easier said than done. In light of birthing our stillborn baby boy , my relationship with God became, fractured, to say the least, I knew I was supposed to face up to my fears with faith but instead of facing up to them I was overtaken by fear about ‘everything’!.
As days and weeks passed I slipped into a deep depression and eventually my faith was all but gone. As I write in view of hindsight I can see where the situation that I thought was going to swallow me up has become my greatest victory, the truth has set my anxious heart free, for indeed Jesus stated that we shall know the truth and the truth will set us free (John 8:32) Let me encourage you, whatever you are facing that threatens to overcome you, you will get through this and be an even more magnificent you… a beautiful, strong reflection of His Glory. YOU are an overcomer The Message version puts it like this:
Every God-begotten person conquers the world’s ways. The conquering power that brings the world to its knees is our faith. The person who wins out over the world’s ways is simply the one who believes Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5;5)
Now tune into Mandisa’s smash hit ‘Overcomer’ and start doin some ‘overcoming’ 😉 x
Writing for this blog has been elusive for the past few months, life’s like that sometimes… elusive, indefinable and mysterious. As life’s circumstances have flooded in I found myself swept away, adrift in a sea of worry and anxiety dumbfounded with not much to say about anything. There was the issue… I had nothing to say, instead I just let life’s blows back me into a corner feeling beaten and defeated.
I panicked ‘God no I can’t be depressed again’, ‘I have been healed, delivered and set free’, I affirmed myself… then I heard the Lord say ‘speak to your circumstances’! ‘The circumstances are your reality but they are not Truth’!
Oh boy did I open my mouth and speak! Here I was shouting and bouncing around like a shadow boxer, my mind grew fierce with determination as I declared ‘no weapon formed against me shall prosper’ (Isaiah 54:17) , ‘God has a good plan for my life, plans to prosper me and give me a future and a hope’ (Jeremiah 29:11) and ‘Lord you promised that you will keep me in perfect peace as my mind is stayed on you’ (Isaiah 26:3) the more I declared scripture, that which was overwhelming and vying for my attention dimmed to a dull shadow in the Light of Truth.
Our words carry creative power, Romans 4:17 implores us to ‘call those things that are not as though they already were’. However, when we are exhausted, distracted and not made time to ‘come away’ with Him it’s easy to speak negative and talk about all that is wrong in our lives. Lesson learned… keep my eyes on Him, my mind on His promises, and be ready to spring into action speaking the Word at the onset of a downward spiral. Needless to say I am ready to ‘get back in the ring’ and this time I will stand until the final round’. 😉
During my journey of recovery from depression, I would often reflect on the story of Elijah written in the book of 1 Kings. Here we read the how this great man of God was running away to hide from Jezebel:
“ But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (see 19: 3-5)
It is clear from the context that Elijah was exhausted – mentally and physically. I believe he had not been eating or resting, that he was running on a spiritual high (sound familiar?)
Elijah had great victories, revived a widow’s son, called down fire from heaven and then finds himself running scared from a girl! This irrational response is not too dissimilar to the first signs of depression, as his body was exhausted so to his mind became irrational, ‘Lord take my life’ is suicidal thinking!. He had already stood against greater odds than one woman and yet he was fearful and perceived the threat irrationally.
How did God respond to Elijah? He cared for his natural needs: “Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.” (see 1 Kings 19:5-8)
The primary need that the Lord saw was the need for the body to recover strength: to sleep, to eat, to drink. Elijah had a nature – a human nature, just like our own. Therefore, if exhaustion and lack of nutrition can cause Elijah to have a flat day, then it can happen to us because we have the same nature, a human nature that requires adequate rest and nourishment.
When our body is depleted, our soul will follow with irrational thoughts, anger, irritability, insomnia etc., and of course depression which, by consequence, we will feel spiritually depleted. The same connection is true in a vice versa situation, for example what we allow our thought life to meditate on will determine our emotional condition and ultimately affect our physical bodies. Randy Clark writes; “When our will reflects His, our emotions receive the best medicine possible. An alignment takes place that gives permission for the body to experience health. A healthy spirit makes for a healthy soul. A healthy soul makes it much more likely that we will enjoy physical health too.” ”. (The Essential Guide to Healing pg, 179)
Often, we fail to recognise a ‘misalignment’ between our body, soul and spirit, as life gets busier we can fall into the trap of neglecting our physical needs, as Elijah did, we fall into an emotional demise and then find ourselves asking ‘how did I get here’? Today, take a moment to consider areas that are misaligned in your life… maybe it’s a check on your thoughts? What are you meditating on? How’s your nutrition? Do you have healthy boundaries in place with regards to negative influences? Self care is not selfish… it is essential, so, like Elijah, you may go ” in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights…” x
What a lovely surprise and thank you so much, Ellie from New Creation Ministries for the unexpected nomination of Super Sweet Blogger Award! Ellie is a wealth of inspiration and encouragement check her out at;http://newcreationsministries.wordpress.com
So as expected, I am to follow all the simple rules for this award and with that goes the pleasure of nominating 13 other sweet bloggers.
Rules for this Blog Award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Answer five ‘Super Sweet’ questions, listed below.
3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award Icon in your blog post. (simple, copy image above)
4. Nominate a baker’s dozen, so cute (!) 13 other deserving bloggers.
5. Notify your Super Sweet nominees on their blog.
My Five Super Sweet Questions for this Award: (You Answer the Same One’s)
1. Cookies or Cake?
Cookies… with a cuppa
2. Chocolate or Vanilla?
Chocolate… very dark 🙂
3. Favorite Sweet Treat?
Dark Lindt chocolate ball… or ‘balls’
4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most?
Once the kids are in bed… peace & quite = treaty time!
5. Sweet Nick Name?
Ducky… my blonde hair as a kid, teamed with wearing yellow made me look like a little duck (apparently)
The biblical term for thoughts which are negative is referred to as a stronghold, an area in which we are held in bondage (in prison) due to a certain way of thinking . For example a daily negative thought pattern for me, when suffering depression, would run like this: “life is not worth living, I am worthless and I will never be happy again”. This train of thought would play over and over in my mind keeping me oppressed, depressed and in bondage, a prisoner held captive by my thoughts.
You may be experiencing this battle with a negative thought life right at this moment, maybe you have strongholds in your mind, scripts you have been playing for years and you’re not even sure how they got there. Let me encourage you, God is on your side He will not forsake you.
There is a war going on and your mind is the battlefield but here’s the thing, as Satan attempts to build strongholds in your mind rest assured we have all the weapons we need to tear down the strongholds. Strongholds in the mind are, in essence, deceptive lies and false beliefs. The Bible has promised you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). I believe what Jesus was saying is that the truth (God’s word) is our primary weapon for tearing down strongholds. Consider it this way, the opposite to a lie is truth, therefore the more time you spend immersed in truth (reading the Bible, hearing Biblical teaching) the light of God is shed upon the darkness, the lies in your mind.
Without question the truth will dispel the darkness, that my friend, is the power of God’s word! Take a simple example of walking into a dark room, we switch the light on and the dark is gone instantly, light and dark cannot coexist and so it is with truth and a lie so go ahead ‘switch some lights on’ disempower Satan’s ability to influence your thoughts. X
Faith and doubt are not opposite’s, in fact they’re often part of the same journey. When we wrestle with doubts, not just our own but those of our friends, family and strangers we eventually come to a position of stronger faith well able to provide answers to the sceptics and at the same time having a deeper understanding of those who doubt.
In his book ‘The Reason for God’, pastor and author, Timothy Keller suggests we look at doubt in a radical new way, as such that we see doubt as normal and perhaps welcome our doubts as building block to a stronger foundation of faith: “A faith without some doubt is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenceless against either the experience of a tragedy or the probing questions of a smart sceptic”.
Keller implores believers to look for reasons behind their faith, failing to do so, he writes: “A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she has failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection”. Personally, my faith has been lukewarm for most of my adult life, up until I experienced the tragedy of losing my children, faith for me was something I had inherited, a set of beliefs that were passed on.
Amidst great pain and sorrow my faith did ‘collapse overnight’ I carried doubt and unbelief for at least two years and believed my doubts were an abomination to God. I was certain God would not heal me from depression so long as I was consumed with doubts about who He was and the promises in His word, doubt, I considered, was sin… isn’t it? Not according to Jesus.
Let me introduce you to my favourite disciple, Thomas, also known as ‘doubting Thomas’ his story resonates with many of us that have battled with reasoning, doubt and unbelief.
Now, Thomas, for whatever reason we do not know, was missing when Jesus first appeared, notice in the following verses the grace of Jesus as He was faithful to accommodate Thomas, even in his unbelief.
“ 24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”” John 24 -27 NKJV
In the end it was his doubt, his desire to know Jesus for himself, was what brought Thomas to his faith.
So we see here faith and doubt are not opposites, it is possible to have faith with doubt, to believe with unbelief. Faith and indifference are more opposite than faith and doubt. Doubt is often a key part of the journey of faith. It’s a detour, if you will, along the path of faith. I assure you when you find yourself taking a ‘doubt detour’you’re certainly not alone and most importantly you must know and believe it’s not an indication of you being a bad Christian or a disbeliever. God will bless and honour the very little faith you do have no matter how weak or how small.
Most of us find difficulty in believing our prayers or more so even just making time for prayer. Life is busy, we hurry through our prayers (when we remember to pray), our minds drift to thoughts of what’s for dinner etc. our focus is scattered and everywhere but on God.
Prayer is simply conversation with God, no set time or location and minimal effort required and yet so many believers struggle with taking time to talk with God.
Max Lucado expressed our struggle with prayer as: “… you’d think we were wrestling a greased pig”. Prayer is an effective and powerful tool and the enemy knows this, he pulls all stocks in an effort to hinder your commitment to prayer. Our adversary knows what happens when we pray, “We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4 MSG)
Lucado writes: “…Satan seeks to interrupt our prayers. Our battle with prayer is not entirely our fault. The devil knows the stories; he witnessed the angel in Peter’s cell …” be encouraged to pick up your ‘God-tools’ and watch as the enemy cowers, Lucado continues “Satan is not troubled when Max writes books or prepares sermons, but his knobbly knees tremble when Max prays. Satan does not stutter or stumble when you walk through church doors or attend committee meetings.
Demons aren’t flustered when you read this book. But the walls of hell shake when one person with an honest heart and faithful confession says, “Oh, God how great thou art.” Satan keeps you and me from prayer. He tries to position himself between us and God. But he scampers like a spooked dog when we move forward. So let’s do”.
When you pray… be rest assured God already knows what you need. He has a divine purpose for every situation you face, so instead of crying out save me or bless me, may I encourage you to move beyond fear-based praying, disarm your self-interests and enter into a prayer life based on love, for His love will never fail you. Love-based prayers assert trust in a Heavenly Father that is Sovereign and always has your best interest at the centre of His heart…now you go, wrestle those greased pigs! x
God wants to heal you from depression, anxiety, shame, addiction and whatever else holds you captive, He wants you to dream again, to dream big and fulfil the God-given purpose you were created for! As the New Year approaches may I urge you to establish a vision for your life that captures your heart and imagination, something so big that you become purpose-driven. For this to happen you must first confront your captors, those past hurts, habits, and unforgiveness must be dealt with before you can launch out into a new life of complete freedom and joy, ready to dream again, to truly live again!. Doing this requires courage, plenty of it! Author Bob Gass writes: “On the heels of every dream there’s a demon of doubt. No sooner is your dream conceived than your mind is suddenly filled with all the reasons why it may not work…” Your inner dialogue may go something like this:, receiving prayer ‘doesn’t really work’, going to a counselor ‘may be a waste of time’, I have been this way for so long now I doubt anything will ever change… this is ‘just the way I am’… “ and there will be folks around you who’ll be quick to confirm those fears. In spite of doubt and fear, you must forge ahead and dream; otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life fulfilling the dreams of others”. It is time to stand firm and declare you will not stay this way, break free from the shackles of fear, God has more for you than you have been settling for. ‘Rise up; this matter is in your hands… take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4
If you’ve ever tried to ‘just forget it’ move on, ‘let it go’, you will know that it is very difficult to switch off from the pain associated to hurtful memories. For many years I tried to wipe away painful memories through a season of being bulimic, drinking too much alcohol, hypnotherapy, sessions with new age practitioners calling upon the Universe as if it was some magic genie that would wipe away the past!
All attempts I made to be complete and happy were futile until I came to the complete end of myself, I’d hit rock bottom and from there I found myself running back to the arms of Jesus. In my quite times with Jesus, reading His Word and in prayer, I have learned of His affection for me, His perspective of me and His interpretation of who I am… when you take hold of a Heavenly perspective of yourself it changes everything!
You are His beloved, He delights in you and longs to see you set free; “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32 (NKJV).
In these clear-cut words Jesus revealed that the key to freedom lies in knowing Him, knowing what His word says about you and your life. Our earthly reference to love cannot be compared to God’s love for us, the gospel of John defines what love is; “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us”.1 John 3:16 (NKJV). Jesus is saying to you today, you are worth dying for, your worth is priceless, you are loved. Earthly, human love is fickle, people are always falling in and falling out of love but the love of Jesus endures forever. Amazing, awesome… word’s fail to capture the profound expression of God’s love for us, the wonder for me is how would my life change, what sort of person would I be, if I could grasp, I mean truly believed the scripture testimony of God’s extravagant love for me?
Brennan Manning tells the story of an old Irish priest who, on a walking tour of a rural parish, sees an old peasant kneeling by the side of the road, praying. Impressed, the priest says to the man, “You must be very close to God.” The peasant looks up from his prayers, thinks a moment, and then smiles, “Yes, he’s very fond of me.”
My prayer for you is that you will allow God to take your past hurts, be healed of them so as you can really begin to live. In spite of what others say and think about you, may you gain a heavenly perspective of just how amazing and wonderfully loved you are… and yes, He is very fond of YOU x