Lessons Learned and Farewell

Jason Blackeye
Jason Blackeye

I have been getting the feeling for a while now that my time as a blogger has been coming to a close. In this blog post I’d like to discuss my reasons for closing this chapter of my life and lessons I have learned along the way. First, let me explain my reasoning for starting a blog. In the past, I was the type of person who would get involved in every single political or religious debate on social media. I would see something I disagreed with and automatically assumed I had to make my way into the argument. I often felt as though no one truly listened to my side and would argue with me just for the sake of arguing. I felt like I wasn’t heard or others would spin the argument around so fast that I couldn’t make my point. Thus, Glittering Faith was born. This blog was my outlet and way to let others hear my argument without being pummeled into the ground before I could finish a thought. The blog was created so my voice could be heard.

My perception has changed on quite a few things since I began blogging. One thing I’ve learned is: it isn’t what I have to say; it is more about what I do and what I hear. It is about what others have to say. Often times, we simply want to say what is on our minds and not listen to the other party. We just assume nothing they say makes sense if we disagree with one point they’ve already made. I’ve learned what makes the biggest difference is how people view me living my life and often, more importantly, what they don’t hear me saying. There are plenty of times I am stuck in difficult situations where the first thing I’d like to do is give someone a piece of my mind. Maybe the other person is being rude or difficult and all I can think of are harsh words and insulting responses. People notice when I don’t respond that way. It makes an impact whether I notice it or not. The Bible tells us even a fool seems intelligent when he keeps his mouth shut (Proverbs 17:28). Recently, I find myself choosing to close my mouth more and more. Sometimes I can even think of a kind and decent way to respond or handle the situation if I can convince myself to be calm enough to speak to whoever I feel is being rude to me. Responding with gentleness truly is something that has to be practiced over time.

Something I have learned about arguments and debates is no one will listen to me if I am angry or simply letting my emotions run the show. As a matter of fact, people usually won’t listen to anyone if they don’t know that person well or if they aren’t someone they look up to. Usually people are more willing to contemplate differing opinions if the other person is someone they are close to, for example a friend, relative, mentor, someone seen as more experienced in a certain area of expertise. People don’t listen to finger-pointing strangers. (People don’t even listen to finger-pointing relatives.)  People don’t listen to condescension. People don’t listen to judgement or high-and-mighty bragging. People don’t listen to know-it-alls.

Does this mean we shouldn’t debate with anyone about anything? No, I don’t believe that. I believe it has to do with the approach more than anything. Jesus was a humble person. He crafted relationships with others as a way to guide them and they leaned on one another for support. When someone came to him and asked a question, he gave them something to think about. He didn’t simply tell them what to think; he made the people think for themselves.

I’ve personally never been the type of person who found it “easy” to open up to or meet new people. I’m reserved, shy, introverted, and private which makes it hard for me to talk to and relate to people in general. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember even if I haven’t always seemed that way. This, in large part, is a reason why I decided to create this blog. I could never, let me repeat NEVER, see myself as someone who approached random people to talk about Jesus. Countless radio sermons almost had me convinced I was a very lousy Christian for not knocking on doors and witnessing to people. I have come to the conclusion that people are meant to “witness” in varying ways. Some may find it easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store. Some may not. God made each of us differently. I simply cannot conquer “small talk” or chit chat. I love deep conversations about thoughts and ideas, what someone thinks their purpose is, or the way they view the world. My mind goes blank when I attempt to talk about the weather or “how someone’s job is going.” I’ve tried it, but I’m not very good at it. I am designed in such a way that I crave deep relationships and that usually ends up being with just a few people. I can count on one hand how many people truly know me, not just the outer layer of me, but all of me. Those are the people I share my secrets with and give advice to when they ask for it (and vice versa). I can influence their lives and they (who I would say are all much more extroverted than I am) will in turn influence others. Whether you are someone speaking from a microphone or someone who has a very small circle, each and every one of us has our own way to influence and minister to those around us. There is no “one size fits all.” Not everyone is meant to be a Lysa Terkeurst or Beth Moore in order to make a difference. Some of us are just meant to be a Kyla J (or an Ashley, Kim, Jessica, or whoever you are reading this right now.) It isn’t necessary to have a “big voice” in order to make a big difference.

I have learned many lessons during my blogging journey and I do not think this is the end for me in terms of writing. I see other writing projects in my future, near or far I can’t say for certain. I’ve always loved to write as a means to express myself. I believe certain journeys are only meant to last a season and can end up being a completely different journey than what we originally thought. This journey began with me having many things to say and has ended with me choosing which things not to say. This journey leaves me with little desire to get things off my chest, to vent, to argue. It leaves me with a desire to LIVE and be the best living, breathing example I can possibly be.

With all my love and best wishes to you all,

– Kyla

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Queasy Stomachs and Goliaths

photo by felix russell-saw
photo by felix russell-saw

Sometimes God calls us to do things that aren’t glamorous. The certain things we each may be led to do may actually make you feel as though you’re going to vomit. I can say that from personal experience because I just went through one of the biggest trials of my life. I had to help someone I love dearly to cope and get through one of the toughest decisions of their life and deal with the aftermath as well. My loved one has had to deal with the consequences of someone else’s terrible decisions. We are all affected by each other’s actions (or inactions), aren’t we? If you really think about it, we are. No decision or action affects just the one making it. It is a ripple effect. Others around us are harmed or nurtured by our choices.

Human nature gives us anxiety, depression, nervous stomachs, and feelings of incompetence. Sometimes when God calls us to do something, the easier thing to do would be to run away.. To hide.. To cower.. To allow someone else to deal with a problem you were directed to solve. It’s always easier to let the responsibility fall on someone else’s shoulders. But then again, if we always wait for someone else to handle a problem we know we should deal with, nothing would ever get solved.

There is an account of a man named Jonah in the Bible. Most of us recall him as the man that was swallowed whole by a large fish and survived. The part that I’d like to focus on however is

Jonah 1:1-3

The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

And Jonah 4:1-4

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah was angry at the Lord for telling him to preach to people Jonah knew were evil. Jonah didn’t want to preach to these people. He wanted them to perish in their sins.

My reason for mentioning Jonah is to demonstrate that others before us, others we may consider “one of the greats,” have also done things the Lord prompted them to do but would’ve actually rather died. Jonah was very human and this showed in his actions. How many times would we rather “flee from the Lord,” or flee from life altogether rather than do the thing we ought to do?

Doing the right thing may be as simple as studying for a test instead of cheating or as nerve-wracking as stopping a drunk girl from being raped at a party you shouldn’t even be at.

What if I’m next?…

It may be as easy as telling the truth when your friend asks for your opinion or as scary as coming forward as a witness to a crime.

What if they shoot me because I took the stand?…

It may be swift like when you vote against a bill that could introduce sin against humanity or it may be something drawn out and time consuming – something that has the tendency to keep you awake at night.

What if this never goes away?…

I wish I could be as bold and confident as David in 1 Samuel 17 :

32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”

The truth is I am not as bold and confident as David. I do have a little faith and I believe that little amount is enough to get me through. It is enough to allow me to hear God’s nudging.

There are so many times we resort to the old “The world has gone to pot! What’s the use?! There’s no point in trying anymore!” Oh, but there is! There is still hope. The world, although it may be rampant with heartache and misery, can still be saved a little at a time. If we can make a difference by standing up for only one person, why not do it? If we can still our nervous stomachs in order to stand up for what’s right and stop one evil person, why not do it? Although the world is rampant with evil, and some of it resulting from our own inaction, why not decide to start acting now? It may be “too late” for some but it is not too late for others. Our time is now.

Which direction will you take?

 

 

 

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Exploring Tolerance

photo by clem onojeghuo
photo by clem onojeghuo

Time and time again, since I started my walk with God I have felt belittled or as though I were disdainfully looked upon by a few other church goers. Whether it was the fact that I looked or dressed in a manner that was different from their preferences or the fact that I simply didn’t feel the same convictions as they did, one thing was clear: they thought I was wrong and they wanted me to see it their way.

Here are a few ways I knew that:

  1. I never received compliments about my appearance unless there was something about it that they preferred.
  2. The things about my appearance that were found to be unappealing to the other person would get stared at or a comment would be made about how “different” it seemed to them.
  3. I was constantly asked to do certain things their way or asked to go to their specific type of church (even though I may have politely declined or found a way to excuse myself from those things in the past).

These are the main three things I can think of that have happened repetitiously.

One day I spoke to my husband in frustration. I looked at him in exasperation and said, “Why can’t they just TOLERATE me and accept the fact that we will probably NEVER see these things eye to eye.” As soon as those words left my mouth, I sat there with those words reverberating in my skull. I wanted to be tolerated. I, as a Christian, simply wanted to be tolerated by other Christians.

No wonder the gay community hates us.

We cannot even tolerate each other.

If I, as a church-going, bible reading, Christ-themed blogger feels the pangs of intolerance, I can’t imagine how gays, lesbians, atheists, etc. feel. Although I still believe homosexuality isn’t what God intended for us and Christ is the only way to Heaven, I also believe many of us, as Christians, need to reevaluate ourselves. We need to take a look in the mirror so to speak. I can now sit here and think back on earlier times in my faith when I may have come off a bit too strong. I would get on Facebook and get RIGHT in the middle of religious and political debates. After all, I was a Christian. I KNEW the way; They didn’t and I NEEDED to tell them all about it even if they explained to me they’d heard it before but didn’t accept this or that as truth. I thought if only I were to push a little harder I might succeed in forcing them to swallow my comments whole and they would magically come to accept my view. I approached this in a very stubborn and prideful manner. I see my fault now.

Have you ever wanted to buy a puppy which constantly, aggressively barked at you? If I had to choose from the litter, I would more than likely choose the puppy that wagged his tail or excitedly yipped at the site of me. People can be like puppies. We can be obnoxious, ill-trained, aggressive and loud or we can be mellow, easy to please, eager to listen to his master’s woes, and excited to be of use to someone who calls on us.

One of the verses I would always point out to is Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” This was my excuse for pointing out to others where they were wrong and how they could fix it. I was wrong. The gospel is simply the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. The story of Jesus is what gets people’s attention. The story of a Savior who sacrificed himself for others is what lures a wandering heart in. Love calls people closer so that they may hear what you have to say. I know for certain if anyone were to approach me and immediately began to scold me for various things they perceived I was doing wrong, I would shake my head in disbelief. I would think, “Who is this person? They don’t know the first thing about me.” The sad thing is this isn’t a fragment of my imagination. How many times do we outright or subtly approach others (or comment on their Facebook post) with the intention of pointing out their flaws all while insinuating we know all the answers?

I don’t have the right to pick apart someone else’s life. I don’t have the right to point my finger at others. I definitely don’t have the right to force my beliefs on anyone. Jesus calls to us and it is always our choice to follow him or not. No matter how much I wish everyone would accept Jesus and believe the Bible in its entirety, that isn’t the reality. Sometimes people simply say No.

A person must come willingly or not at all. Hellfire-and-brimstone preaching methods only lead to contempt of God and all other authority. Peer pressure only leads to idolatry of mankind and the desire to fit in with others. Shunning leads to severed or domineering relationships – in the first case the person realized he or she will never belong and so they simply cut ties. In the second case, the person gives in to the other and believes the only way they can have a lasting relationship is if they always give in or agree with the other. In today’s world this is called a manipulative and abusive relationship.

The longer I replay my past (and very unsuccessful) conversations in my head the more my mind wanders toward 1 Peter 3:4 – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

and

1 Peter 2:12 – Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Gentle, quiet, see. The more I study the bible, the more I realize my example to others has much more to do with them seeing my actions and how I live rather than what I have to say. This brings to mind a story someone once told me. *Anna told me she walked into a particular workplace and as usual, she was smiling and cheerful. As she entered the workplace, Anna joyfully sang, “Gooood Morning!” As soon as she said this, she heard an irritated grumble from one worker and a blank stare from another. The one that simply looked at Anna asked her, “How do you stay so happy all the time?” Anna quietly but sincerely said, “Lots of prayer.” Without a doubt in my mind, a seed was planted in that woman’s mind that day. Anna didn’t bark or nag or belittle. Anna simply lived a God-filled life.

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Choking on Perfection

body imageHave you ever felt invisible yet on display at the same time? I do. I have for the majority of my life. Appearances have always been a low- key struggle of mine. I feel as though I have managed to battle within myself while seeming unbothered on the surface. Since I was young I became hyper-aware of my body – each curve, dimple, crease, each imperfection. At a young age, I began to feel invisible to others in the sense that I didn’t matter, at least I felt that my feelings did not matter. Jokes and sneers about my weight made me feel as though my body were on display at the meat market for comparison among other fresh cuts.

I wrote a blog post some time ago about my battles with eating disorders, but since then, I’ve decided to change my perspective. When I wrote that post, I still viewed myself so much as a victim. Although I would say being at the wrong end of jokes did make me a victim of bullying, I am no longer a victim. Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her book Uninvited : It’s impossible to hold up the banners of victim and victory at the same time. This quote settled into the back of my mind and sprouted a new bloom. A flower of optimism sprang forth. There is so much truth in that one little sentence. I cannot be a victorious warrior… an overcomer, if I still let myself sing the song of a victim, a slow, low cry radiating throughout my being. Victim makes my head hang low, carrying doubt and insecurities. Victory makes me see with new eyes and lessons learned in tow. A victor carries in her pocket progress and self worth. Love from her redeemer. Hope from her savior. Dignity from her sculptor. My God crafted me with his hands. He made me in a way that my husband adores and finds attractive. Everything I seem to hate about myself, my husband seems to love.

I have been a victim to starving myself, crash diets, the newest fad that sang promises of results but only made me ill. I was a victim to bulimia during the earlier years of adolescence. I have been a victim to a life of negative thinking.

I’ve accepted this as a part of my life. I believe I will struggle with this for years to come. One thing I can do is be proactive. I can slap down negative thoughts whenever they start to creep in. I can remind myself perfection is a fantasy and it is perfectly acceptable to look simply human. Human, not airbrushed figurine. My newest approach to food is viewing it simply as nutrition. Nutrition sustains me, not taste, not calories… simply nutrition. Is the food I am about to eat going to benefit my body? Is it going to give me essential vitamins that I need to function? I have come to believe this is the best approach to living a healthy lifestyle. If I view my relationship with food as a means to keep me healthy and give me nourishment then I won’t fall prey to “quick fixes.” I also won’t fall completely off the wagon. God took care in sculpting me. How disrespectful of me to harm the body God gave me either by extreme deprivation or giving in to gluttony. There has to be a balance, an inner peace to strive towards. Scripture tells us the body is a temple. He wants us to treat it well.

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The Art of an Apology

I’m sorry for what I said earlier. You made me say it.  I shouldn’t have raised my voice. But you were getting on my nerves. I’m sorry for giving you the cold shoulder. You really pushed me to my limit.  I’m sorry for being selfish and not consulting you, but you never let me choose. I’m sorry your feelings were hurt, but you shouldn’t be so easily offended. I’m sorry for the lies I told, but I knew you wouldn’t understand. I’m sorry for not paying attention to you, but I’ve heard this story a million times.

The art of an apology could be shorthanded and careless. It could be drawn out and full of falter. It could be full of possibilities if said well. The art of an apology could be painted many ways, but the art of an apology said well  can only be mastered in one way.

An apology said well doesn’t include passive aggression, manipulative blame games, or victimizing.

Apologizing is never meant to get my way or to make me feel better. What is the real reason we tell someone we are sorry? An apology is meant to express remorse toward the person offended. In a way, my apologizing can benefit me. It can make my husband or friend like me again after I hurt their feelings. It can save the relationship I have with them, but ultimately it isn’t for me. It is for them.

1 Cor.13:4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

When I give an apology, it should be true and heartfelt. The only motive should be to make amends for my wrongdoing. It shouldn’t involve turning the tables to lay the blame on the other person, attempting to make me look like less of a “bad guy.” The truth is we are all bad guys. Not one of us are good  (Rom.3:10). We like to paint ourselves as the image of God without the sin, but we are all full of sin. Though we may bear God’s likeness, we are not God. We are humans. We fail. We stumble. However, it doesn’t always have to leave us in a devastating crumble. We can make amends for our mistakes and allow our lives to be woven back together by the beautiful fabric of forgiveness. Life can be an utter mess; I came to accept this truth unwillingly but eventually. The fact that life is troublesome doesn’t necessarily mean life is ruined.

It means it is a journey.

Will you live it well?

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When God Seems Silent

If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you more than likely know a familiar feeling. There’s a certain thing (or maybe several certain things) that you have been praying to God about and you feel at a loss. Why? Because it seems as though God isn’t there anymore or simply isn’t listening. He seems silent –  a deafening silence.

You have no doubt He is still very much real but your certain situation doesn’t seem to be getting any better. “Why not? I have prayed day and night. Yet, I can’t see the light at the end. Everything is dim.”

Here are a few answers to this question:

  • There is a sin pattern you continue to act on. The Bible says to get rid of our “old self” and put on our “new self.” (Ephesians 4:19-24) This means we should no longer continue our old sin patterns and expect to have a smooth sailing relationship with God. Here is an example: A woman caught her husband cheating on her. After much repentance from the husband, she decided to work things out with him. They decide to go to marriage counseling and he promises not to have sex outside of their marriage. The husband remains faithful to his wife from that point forward and begins to earn her trust back.

How do you think this situation would have ended up if the husband told his wife, “I’m sorry you had to find out about that. I’m sorry it hurt your feelings, but I am still going to continue doing what I am doing. I am going to sleep with my mistress whenever I want and still come home to you.” This marriage would have ended.

It seems very simple when we apply this concept to our everyday lives and human relationships, but for some reason we tend to treat God a bit differently. Please allow me to stress the point that this does not mean God expects us to be PERFECT. We are human and can only act as humans. We will make mistakes. However, making a mistake from time to time and continually making a sinful decision is not the same thing. One translates : Oops! That thing I did was bad and I won’t do it again. I don’t want to disappoint (person) by doing it anymore. The other says: I like doing this thing and I won’t stop regardless of the consequences. I don’t care.

  • You have hatred in your heart. The Love Chapter (1 Cor. 13) quickly explains that if we do not have love, everything we do is pointless. We can memorize Bible verses, give money to Charity, do all of the “religious things” but without love, our actions are worthless. This doesn’t mean we can’t be angry at someone. If someone treats you or someone you love unjustly, you have every right to feel upset about it. Even God himself gets angry. It becomes sin when anger over a certain situation morphs into hatred towards that person.
  • This one is very simple: You prayed to God for something and he said no. No matter how much Christian culture sometimes wants us to believe God gives you whatever you want, whenever you want, the truth is at times he simply declines. God isn’t a genie; He is our Heavenly father. Sometimes dads say no.
  • It isn’t the right time. God’s timing is perfect. He always works everything together for our good. We want things right now, with no delay, but God has his own plans for our lives. At times like these, I have to pray for patience and the ability to find contentment in the moment.

I hope the reasons above help you reflect on your own life. The list could quite possibly be longer, but these are the things I was able to think of based on my own experiences and knowledge of the Bible.

I hope you have a

Happy New Year!

 

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Who I Am and Who I Pretend To Be

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If I had a dime for every time I told someone I was fine, and I wasn’t, I would be a millionaire. When you feel like your heart has been trampled on, self-preservation by power and control can be the easiest thing to grasp. Building fortified walls and moats and trenches can seem like the best way to cling onto an ounce of dignity. May I tell you how well it has served me thus far? In reality, this method leaves me with a shiny exterior shell, but on the inside, I’m left hollow.

My struggles have left me senseless time and time again, since early adolescence. Disappointments send me reeling back to not so good days when I felt the world was too bleak to bear. Times of old become times of new. Past, present and future become the same – a hard lump in my throat and a pity-cloud overhead.

“No man is an island…”
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
I’ve been inspired by a Christian friend of mine who seems to have no problem opening up about her struggles with depression. She has opened up about how terrible she feels on a consistent basis. The fact that she admitted to these struggles without pause is what shocked me the most. Without walls to fortify the façade, people can see her in her weak moments. People can see that she is vulnerable. Our culture often sees exposing of weak moments to mean the person as a whole is weak. I’m learning this isn’t true. The ability to bear your weakness actually takes courage, as well as genuineness because is frees you from the temptation to appear perfect – something none of us can be. None of us can obtain perfection, but yet we try so hard to appear that we already are perfect.

Many people attempt to sell Christianity as a “mend all,” a ticket to an easy life. Although Jesus can mend any broken heart and give us daily assurance, he never guarantees us an easy, pain-free life. Even though our Lord is perfect, you and I are not. We are humans living in a fallen world, tempted to stumble and fall into detrimental thinking patterns.

There is a Native American parable I often think about: There is a grandfather who tells his grandson there is a war between two wolves going on inside him. There is an evil wolf which represents things such as greed, arrogance, anger, self pity, superiority, pride, resentment, etc. There is also a good wolf which represents joy, peace, love, compassion, empathy, generosity, truth, faith, humility, etc. The man’s grandson asks him which wolf will win. The grandfather’s reply is, “Whichever I feed the most.”

Doesn’t this ring true in Christianity? We are flesh, fully capable and prone to sin, but yet the holy spirit dwells within us. Whichever we listen to and nurture the most will eventually win us over. Our thoughts have the power to control everything about our perspective. We are deceived to believe our identity rests in:
– our status, so we chase careers and feel worthless is we are not in a certain position by a certain age
– our appearance, so we spend much of our time becoming a magazine photo and wanting more even after that is achieved
– our friendships, so we feel we aren’t worthy when someone decides our company isn’t good enough or someone lets us down
These are only a few examples. The truth is our identity is in Christ. He defines us and he values us no matter what our circumstances or status convince us to believe. Part of the power of Christ is actually allowing ourselves to believe it. He can move mountains for us and mend broken hearts, but first we have to stop building walls and step aside.

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Election Day

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New York Liberty by Tasja

If you are like me, the past political year has put you on an emotional roller coaster. If you are like me, you believe that your faith influences every single thing you do. Your faith is not separate from your everyday life: interactions with others, the way you conduct your business, even the way you vote.

What I am not going to do is tell you who to vote for. By this point, I believe everyone is tired of being told how to vote and who to vote for.  A short scroll through Facebook will show anyone how aggressive this election year has gotten. If you criticize something about one presidential candidate, someone will automatically assume you are voting for the opposing candidate. If you state your beliefs about why you are supporting one candidate you are sure to receive a string of aggravated comments  from supporters of the opposing side. I will tell you that I used to be the world’s worst at getting involved in what I like to call “Facebook Wars.” I thought that if I could just repeat my views and values enough times, if I could just argue it the right way, my Facebook friends would understand why I believed what I did and why I supported a certain candidate. It took some time but I eventually came to understand the fact that the majority of people weren’t going to listen to me and try to understand my point of view unless they had a personal relationship with them. In other words: Maybe 2% of my social media friend list.

Don’t misunderstand me and think I am trying to persuade you to never voice your political opinions. I actually think our spiritual leaders should tackle this topic much more than they do. The point I am trying to make is that it takes tact. If you have passion but no tact, you aren’t going to be able to fluently convey your message. Others will only see you as another opinionated piranha. They will shut their ears and turn their noses. This is really a very natural reaction.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are many Christians who are refusing to vote. The first reason I’ve heard is they claim Christians have no place in the political arena. “Politicians are snakes.” “Politics are worldly, so we should stay out of it.” If all Christians voiced their beliefs by casting their vote at the ballot box, this country would be in a VERY different state than it is today. Do you remember the story of Jesus and the coin? He said to them,“Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Luke 20:25   Jesus paid taxes. Taxes are worldly.  Caesar is worldly. Yet, Jesus did it. Why? Romans 13:1 says: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. We are to obey authority unless it opposes God’s law. If presented with a case in which you have to choose between man’s law and God’s law, always choose God. This message is taught to us anytime there is mention of persecution in scripture. Jesus’ example with the taxes shows us that although we are set apart from the world, we aren’t excluded from the world. We don’t live on an island set physically apart from the rest of everyone else. We are affected by what our elected officials decide while in office.  

The second reason I have heard for “sitting out” on election day is that neither of the candidates are their first choice. Neither of these candidates were my first choice. Second or third. At all. I see many flaws with both of them, but I see one as much more evil than the other. “I can’t vote for either of them. They’re both evil.” I will always choose to vote for less evil than more of it. Candidates will always have a difference on something that is debated within the culture. This is when we need to let our voices be heard. 

I mentioned earlier that I’m not here to tell you who to vote for. My purpose for starting this blog was never to advance a political party or endorse a presidential candidate. I endorse God and his values. I read my Bible to educate myself on how HE feels about the issues of the day. How does God feel about life, marriage, political correctness, debt, relying on government for our needs versus relying on Him, etc.? The Bible gives us answers to all of these. On election day, I will cast a vote for the candidate I feel stands closer to Jesus than the other. We can’t vote for Jesus, but we can try to get as close as possible.

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The Struggle of Postpartum Depression

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I asked a dear friend, who has been struggling with Postpartum Depression to write on the topic for me. Since becoming friends with her, my eyes have been opened to brand new type of depression – a depression many don’t see or expect. I most certainly did not expect it from this friend; she is the most bubbly, outgoing person you could ever know. I gave her a few prompts to get her started and she poured her heart into them. These are her words:


Postpartum depression is a sneaky little thing that creeps in, sucking every bit of joy and life out of you during what should be one of the happiest times of your life. It is pure evil and a living nightmare that not many people have a clear understanding of until you’ve lived through that isolated darkness. I cannot explain why it chooses to attack one mother and not the next. It can happen to any mother, Christians and non-Christians. I honestly believe, from personal experience, that postpartum depression is total evil and straight from the enemy himself, Satan. I believe he plants the seed, our minds run away with it, and we begin to drown, barely able to stay afloat most days.


To the husband of the wife who is going through postpartum depression and/or anxiety:

do not think or call her crazy now that her once bubbly, positive and stable personality is now a tangled web of emotions ranging from screaming, crying, angry outbursts to complete silence on some days. She’s confused and trying so hard to fight this war going on inside of her. She does not understand who she is anymore – it isn’t a day by day fight; no, it’s a minute by minute battle. She feels isolated, all alone. She does not feel loved by anyone, not even by you some days. You show it – you tell her to cheer up or you try helping out with chores and with the new baby. You hold her while she cries. You listen to her scream. Nothing helps, or so it seems. But she sees and she understands.

Don’t give up on her.

Don’t get frustrated whenever she doesn’t seem to reciprocate the love – she’s still fighting, even as the months go by. She may not have much of a motherly side some days – some days she may not even want to hold or feed the new baby – she wants to so bad, but fear is in the way. Fear that she will hurt the baby or something will happen to the baby and she won’t be able to help the baby. Encourage her though – she yearns for that bond with her baby so bad. Encourage her to face her fears and tell her she is doing a great job and is an awesome mother. Pick up the slack when the fear is too much for her to face. You may feel neglected by her, physically and emotionally. Intimacy is probably obsolete in your marriage right now. She does love you though, more than ever. Tell her she’s a good wife regardless. Pray for her and with her. Pray out loud and mean it. Help her search for Bible verses dealing with anxiety and read them together and out loud daily. Read articles on postpartum depression and educate yourself. If months go by and still no improvement, take a stand and lovingly encourage her to seek professional help- you may save her life by doing so.  


To the friends of the woman with postpartum depression:

do not forget her or take offense whenever she shuts herself off from everyone – she still loves you and longs for your visit, phone call, and/or text more than ever during this time. She may not return calls or texts because she is afraid you will see what a mess she is right now and how she is failing at being a mom because that is how the enemy has convinced her of handling the situation. She is weak and she is lonely, so keep trying. Don’t give up. She needs you now more than ever. Consider stopping by her house for a surprise visit – I promise she will not care, even if she has hated surprise visits in the past. She won’t care how she looks or how her house looks, she will just be overjoyed to see you. Offer to hold the baby while she gets a shower or does a little housework. Offer to stay awhile. Offer a prayer. Tell her what has been happening in your life to get her mind off of her own life for a little while. Consider stopping by once a week to check in. Check in daily with calls or texts – you may save her life by doing so. 


Finally, to myself:

You are doing a great job! It has been almost eleven months now. You recently celebrated your second wedding anniversary and that is a miracle in itself. At one time you both considered giving up on one another because of postpartum depression pulling you apart. You and your husband have a bond like no other now because you both stuck together regardless of how bad it got – you two went through a very real Hell on Earth. You now have a happy, healthy almost eleven month old baby boy and it is because of God equipping you  that he is the happy, healthy baby that he is. You have learned that you cannot fight this war alone. When you relied on yourself to get through postpartum depression, you wanted to run away and hide, and even die most days.

When you finally decided to let go and let God be in control, He lifted you up. He has shown you that your days are not over and that you have an amazing life ahead of you with your family.

He has shown you that you are an amazing mother and wife and you finally believe it. You have finally started hearing God again. You feel His presence again. He has torn down the blinds that the enemy had over your eyes. It hasn’t been easy, and it is still a daily battle, but look at the progress you have made and are continuing to make. You have got this – I have got this! To God be the glory- thank you, Father, for a second chance at life-  You saved my life!

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