Thanks for visiting my blog! I pray that you get something out of my being transparent and that God will continue to use me even to speak to one!! Feel free to click follow or follow by email! Be blessed... and transparent!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Seasons Slump...

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 2 Corinthians 4:8

The sound of bells jingling, the smell of fresh pine, cinnamon and baking in the air. The cheerful sound of "ho ho ho, Meeeeeerry Christmaaaaas!!” coming from the bellies of those dressed as Old Saint Nick and others and the appearance of season's greetings filling the air. But something else fills the air during this supposed joyous time. Much like the dreaded seasonal flu sicknesses taking flight in the air, being passed quicker than the school yard notes about the newest fight happening after school... depression catches on when we least expect it, before we can even deflect its damaging symptoms. Some don't even know they are depressed yet daily push people away, grumble at the season’s greetings... and even get kicked off of flights for the anger associated with depression.

I was one of those people up until a few years ago. No, it wasn't when I surrendered that I was freed from this isolating sickness but when I REALIZED that I was silently succumbing to depression. Every year somewhere between the middle of November and the beginning of December I would begin to retreat to my room. Usually, I would have faithful visitors in my room in the persons of my three kids. We would sit and watch TV in my room, listen to music, and when they wanted go outside and play, I would usually watch them from my room. There was only one thing wrong with my sickness... I did not know I was sick. Friends and family would call me and ask several times a week, "Are you okay?" and follow up with the comment, "You sound empty." You see, I thought I was doing a great job of hiding the loneliness, the despair and the feelings of not being good enough that seemed to be confirmed every time I stepped out of the house (usually for church). I apparently had gotten so good at it that I didn't even know when depression came to visit. I knew all I wanted to do was sleep, I knew all I wanted to do was stay in the house, I even knew there were times when I couldn't force myself to eat for weeks on end, even though I made my kids. I liken it to having a large animal (let's go with hippopotamus size) on my back or around my neck yet never knowing it. Even the first year that I had surrendered my life, I tried to make amends for certain things and actions towards family and friends but quickly sank right back into my cold, dark dungeon of a cell when I didn't feel the apologies were good enough. I felt, once again, like a failure and the enemy was right there to, faithfully, greeting me with the all too familiar "I told you so's".

But the enemy wasn't even the problem at that point... I was. You see I was free, I just didn't realize it. I knew at the exact moment when I was supposed to surrender, I knew that I heard God say to me "If you let Me, I will love you." What I didn't know was that I wasn't just surrendering my broken heart from a tumultuous relationship, I was to surrender even my broken dreams, my broken spirit and the lies that I had been told for years that seemed to surface like old coffins when the ground opens up from years past. I was still depressed.... there I said it; I even contemplated suicide a few times. The very thing I thought would free me, salvation, seemed to thrust me further into depression because I just could not get it right! BUT GOD!!

In the past 5 years, He has been showing me time and time again that I am worthy of His love, His time, His faithfulness! Let's face it! I have messed up quite a bit in the past 5 years, yet He still loves me! And not because of me but because of Him! That is the straw that broke the depression camel's back! At first, I couldn't understand why God kept sending people to tell me that He loves me during some of the darkest times of my life. It felt like I was sinking in quagmire (quicksand, I just really wanted to type the other word) and people kept walking by as I was calling for help and saying "God wants you to know how much He loves you." I could not wrap my mind around this statement. I felt like even saying some of those times, "I don't care!! How is that going to help me??" But it was the constant knowledge that He loves me that cushioned each fall, each push from someone, each disappointment, each bump in the road.

Depression is a mild cold that you can sleep away or "sweat out" the fever. Depression is a killer, plain and not so simple. For those of us who are Christians, who live out His Word, we need to set the example to those who do not. We can't do that if we are not transparent about our struggles. They will not see that we are human just as they are if they only see our "Sunday best" and nose turned up to most things done in the world. They will not know that Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life or that He cares for us as Scripture says if we are not SHOWING that we need it from time to time ourselves. For 2015, I want to start THIS year long, possibly LIFELONG challenge. That we would LIVE out the footsteps of Christ, that we would show others, not just tell them, that we have troubles just like them. I will be the first. My name is Felicia and I have suffered with depression, feelings of worthlessness and have had thoughts of suicide. But that's NOT who I am!

Father, thank You for Your faithful pursuit of us, Your constant wayward children. My heart cries for those who have to deal with depression as I have. Lord, help Your children who have overcome to be a true beacon of Light for those still in the darkness. Help us not to be disgusted with their appearance and ways but only with the sin that entraps them. "Give us Your eyes so that we can see..-Brandon Heath" In Jesus precious name! Amen!

If you suffer with depression or even think you do, call your doctor immediately. Here is a list of symptoms:


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Transparent Image

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

As a young lady, I was always aware of my flaws. I was always looking into windows (makeshift mirrors), in mirrors and any reflection I could find of myself. Although many thought I was looking at perfection, and I didn't correct them, I was really looking at all the many things wrong with me. I was always looking so that I could find a way to correct it. At the age of 21, I believed the lie that I was fat and was always trying to lose weight. In reality, I weighed anywhere between 125-135lbs... soaking wet.  I was a stick, basically a black Twiggy with a butt and I had no idea. No matter the attention, no matter what people said, I was fat. This continued on up until I had my last child, had a mental break and went on an unintentional food fast for two weeks straight. At last! I was thin! I could wear things I had not in years, I could see my figure again, and I didn't feel fat and ugly anymore. But this was an illusion I was all too happy to believe.

Now, ten plus years later and 50lbs heavier than when I was 21, I look back on pictures of myself and think why did I listen to that lie? We, as women, tend to believe certain lies about our image, some lies are negative... and some are positive but they are all lies. What I am finding out about myself and my daughters is that we have to be comfortable in the flesh house God packed us in. Society will force anorexic looking young women down your throat and say this is what men want, this is the only way you will be accepted and we believe it. Department stores will quietly say the same thing by literally dividing the "juniors and misses" department from the "plus size" clothing. It's almost like an alienation of anyone over the size of 12... and even that is pushing it!

Here is the Truth that God wants you to know today. You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" by Him! He didn't make a mistake, He didn't accidentally add too much skin for you to be in and He most certainly does not look at you in disgust because you do not fit the mold of society. It's time for us to break that mold and be who we were meant to be and we can do that by moving past our focus on our outer image. For after all, if the inside is not cared for, it will soon ooze out and damage the shell. How do we do that you ask? How do we move past the insecurities and walk with our head high? I'm glad you asked!

When we surrender our lives to Christ, the Bible says we become NEW creations, the old is dead and new replaces it. That also goes for thoughts, habits and mindsets. Let's look at all three for a second or two with these two scriptures in mind: "Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30 and "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own," 1 Corinthians 6:19.

Thoughts, this is the first place attacked to get you distracted from the plans God has for you. If you think you are fat, ugly, not accepted, different, etc., that is what will be because you have accepted those thoughts that are not yours. This is why God's Word says to "take every thought captive" (2 Corinthians 10:5) which means to literally take the thought (not physically of course) tie it up, bring to Jesus and leave it there. You can do this by checking that thought at the door with His Word. If a thought comes that you are not good enough, check it at the door by looking in His Word for something similar. Where does it say, "you are not good enough" at... It does not, but it does say because of Jesus, you are! Look at verses like Isaiah 43:25 and John 3:16.

Habits, this is a hard one to break! Duh! Habits are thoughts that become actions and are formed when done over and over. Will you do something you are used to again after surrender? Of course! But as you dive into His Word, the desire should be dying within you and soon loose you so that you are free to be free! Habits can be what you do, what you wear, what you EAT, what you read, what you listen to and even what you say! What we put into our mouth must be worthy of the One living in us. Eating in moderation, not diets, is how we maintain our healthiness (along with exercise). We are called to keep our temples running right. If we are bogged down with junk food, fast food, and chemicals society is now saying is easier, cheaper and NOW, we cannot live correctly, we are committing a slow suicide (so to speak). Care for your body and it will take care of you! Habits are easy to form and hard to break but we must be conscious of our thoughts which will make us aware of the actions behind habits. Just remember Proverbs 3:5 and Isaiah 55:8 when beginning to face habits that are not like minded with Him. And don't try to break them yourself, the power word for this is SURRENDER. Surrender them to Him, be honest, ask forgiveness and let Him know what you are thinking, doing, eating and saying and that you want to be in line with His Word. He is faithful!

Mindsets, a mindset is another way of thinking but more damaging than thoughts and habits. A mindset is just that, a mind that is set in its ways. The Bible speaks on those who have other mindsets. They are called a "stiff-necked" people. Ouch! If your mindset is out of line with God, you indeed have a stiff neck! But God is a God of the impossible! Even stiff-necked people with their own mindsets can be surrendered and living for Him!

Notice that these three I listed are from within. Our true beauty, our real image starts from within. It doesn't matter if your outfit is "Pinterest worthy" when your heart is not temple worthy.

Father, forgive our ignorance in this area. We are forced to see at some point in our lives those who society wants us to model after. Guide our eyes to YOU, the only One we need to model our actions after and our body will fall into line with Your Word! In Jesus name! Amen!

If you are one who is struggling with self image, here are some links for you. They include healthy eating, godly fashion and even my up and coming forum just for this subject! YOU ARE WORTHY!!! NO MATTER WHAT THE MIRROR OR THE WORLD TELLS YOU, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!And the picture I added shows beauty at its most natural! we are ALL beautiful!!