Jealousy Isn’t Sexy

imageJealousy isn’t one of those “sexy” sins. I am more likely to go up to someone and confess, “I’ve been impatient with you,” or “I struggle to trust you.” But rare is the day I go up to someone and confess, “I’m jealous of you.” It’s one of those secret-sins that we don’t like to confess and we masquearade in the names of “insecurity” or “poor self image.” But if we call it what it is….it is ugly, a sin and a soul-cancer. We don’t HAVE to be a jealous people – because we are made in the image of a non-jealous God. Guys, we are better than this! Here is a formula I’ve used over the years to help me attack, jealousy, head-on:

1) Show myself the TRUTH about jealousy: Proverbs 27:4, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.” James 4:2, “You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.” And 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is not jealous.”
2) Confess my jealousy to God, He died on the cross for this sin and He arose for its victory!
3) The bible says: “You don’t have because you don’t ask.” So commit to asking God daily: “Please help me STOP jealous thoughts before they become full-on feelings!”
4) Intentionally cheer for the one you’re jealous of. It’s hard for jealousy and kindness to coexist in the same heart. Kill it with kindness.

Don’t be jelly, it isn’t sexy! I hope this helps someone today. ❤️

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I Thought of Another Reason Not To Quit

imageOver the course of my years on this third rock from the sun, I’ve had many chances to quit. And there’s explanations for all of them–for why I didn’t. But there is one reason I hadn’t thought of until tonight: I can’t quit because then someone else could. Yes, my quitting could be contagious. There are those who quit on their marriages, quit on their parenting, quit on their jobs, quit on their mission. And if all of us quit, all at the same time, for all the same justifications–the world would stop running. Let the quitters, quit. But you stay! Stand back up again. Get out of bed. Fight forward. Come back. Someone needs you because someone else quit on them. Be the NON-quitter in someone’s life.  Jesus Christ, inside your weary heart, is a Comeback-King. If he didn’t let death quit on him, He’s not gonna let life quit on you. I hope this encourages someone today!

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16 Year Anniversay Since Being Locked Up

photoToday it occurred to me that this month marks sixteen years since I was mandatorily locked up in a psych ward for an attempted suicide in a public place. To the majority, this probably doesn’t seem like a typical day to commemorate. But lemme tell ya–it’s a day I’ll never forget! I hope you’ll take a moment to join me in a celebration…1) I give thanks that since July 2000, I haven’t returned to the psych-ward. A 16-year (and-running) answer to prayer! Never stop praying!
2) I give thanks that although I still fight battles in my mind, God never leaves us alone to fight them.
3) I give thanks that Raul Palacios hasn’t been forced to stay with “crazy”–but for sixteen years–has chosen to.
4) I give thanks that God MAKES ALL THINGS NEW. At 26, I was a washed-up, tired, misunderstood, lifeless, locked-up, burned out, unstable, stained, scarred, depressed, anxious Christian. Even though I’m much older, I am still waking up to NEW mental-mercies every morning.

Thanks for letting me commemorate this day. One shout-out to anyone fighting a mental battle today: Stay on the battlefield. God is fighting for you. Don’t give up. You got this. You ARE gonna do great things.

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God Got Over It, Why Can’t I?

imageHe forgives all my sins and heals all my distresses.” (Psalm 103:3)  We all know money is hard to come by. So one of the greatest feelings in the world is when you owe money, and out of nowhere are told, “Don’t worry about it, it’s been taken care of.”  That’s the BEST because when pardon is made for something difficult to attain, it is wonderfully liberating.  If my alma mater called to inform me that I didn’t need to pay back my student loans, I would surely accept!  Conversely, Raul would freak if I insisted on holding onto the debt and refusing their offer. Friends, since I was born, I’ve been sinning (accumulating debt) and my sin-debt is in the squillions! I could never pay for it, nor pay it back.  But the bible says I can let it go because there is no sin I’ve done that my Savior did not pay for. Jesus paid for all my sins on his cross.  When He sees me holding onto them, it must truly grieve Him. It’s as if the brutal sacrifice of his life was in vain.  As a Christ-follower, if I took the chance to believe that Jesus is my Savior, why can’t I take the chance to receive His forgiveness for my sins? What good does it do to hold onto ANY sin?  And what GOOD IT DOES DO to let it go! God inspired the Psalmist to write, “He forgives ALL my sins...”  Jesus didn’t die with a disclamier.  He didn’t suffer with accrural. He died for all sins for all sinners.  And then He rose.  If He is in your heart, He has paid for your screw-up’s. Ask for forgiveness. Know you’re forgiven. And let it go.

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My Dark; His Light

IMG_0271The nighttime sky can be overwhelmingly dark, but there are still stars that twinkle it with light. It is pitch black in your room at night, but there is still a light from your mobile device. It’s scary for your kids to sleep in their rooms at night, but not if there is a nightlight. Oh what we’ll do to bring light to things. Because until we do, they are dark–and unless we’re sleeping, we prefer light. The same can be said about our lives and what we’ll do to light it. No matter how many “stars” we gather to shine onto our lives (i.e., the “good” things we do), there are still dark spaces between them: our thoughts nobody sees, our words not everyone hears, our actions when no one is looking. As imperfect people these spaces of darkness are inevitable; but as God-followers, we know, unacceptable. What do we do? We need a source of light that is perfect, powerful and endless. We need a never-melting candle. We need a flashlight with invincible batteries. We need something more powerful and more endless than our “dark” could ever be. We need God. The bible says, “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. “ (I John 1:5) If you have God in your life, though it gets dark around you, God is still shining within you. When you asked Him to move into your life, He moved in with His eternal light. And nobody and nothing can snuff it out. Today, don’t be discouraged by your dark, be encouraged by His light.

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Stained-Glass or Shattered-Glass Perspective?

One of the best verses in the bible is Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everytimagehing to work together for the good of those who love God…” Before I met Raul, I saw life through shattered-glass eyes. I saw the world, myself, and others through broken prisms. The cup wasn’t just half-empty it was “almost gone.” The grass wasn’t greener on the other side, it was brown. Life wasn’t a bowl full of cherries, it was a bowl of rotten eggs. But when I met Raul, I noticed that he didn’t see through the same eyes I did. Even though we could be looking at the same unfortunate event, he’d see it differently than me. Instead of seeing the world through shattered glass, Raul saw things through stained glass. Stained glass is stunning. If you’ve ever seen historical cathedrals, the stained glass in them will take your breath away. Why does Raul see things through stained glass eyes? Because at the beginning of his faith, he took Romans 8:28, literally! He truly believed (and still believes) that God works ALL things together for those who love him. Raul has taught me that if God is in it, we can look for the good in it. Not just in some things, but in ALL things. God is not an exaggerator. He’s not an embellisher. When he said “ALL things” in Romans 8, He meant it. When we become a Christ-follower, we become a new creature (Ephesians 4:24) and with that, comes a new set of eyes. Raul embraced his new eyes right away! For some, like me, it takes some time to adust to them. I know we all have eyes, but I hope we see through the stained glass of God’s love, and not the shattered glass of our finiteness. Life looks different, I’m glad Raul showed me.

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Truly Praying for Orlando

“Love never fails.”
1 Corinthians 13:8

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Don’t Stop Praying, God Hasn’t Stopped Listening

“I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.”
Psalm 17:6

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Our Trash, His Treasure

One time on a trip to NYC, I went to an artisan flea-market. It was incredible to see the trash others had disposed, become treasure by the artists who found it. Pictured here is a ring I bought made out of a vintage typewriter “H” key. I bougimageht it because it was a cool piece of art “treasure.” But I also bought it to serve as a reminder that I’m God’s treasure. Longggggggg before I was born, He created me, named me, destined me and called me to my mom’s belly, to be his treasure to Earth and someday, Heaven. Now in my lifetime, I’ve had three people speak trash over me. (Note: actions may speak louder than words, but words can hurt longer than actions.) In their influence, they spoke against my potential and redemption. But GOD said (and STILL says), “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten.” So when I look at this trash-to-treasure ring, I’m reminded that people can speak “trash” over us, but it doesn’t matter…because before they were ever around…God declared us treasure! And in the words of the great theologian, MC Hammer: You can’t touch that!

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Broken Flowers; Broken People

photo 3Awhile back, Raul gave me the gift of a Magnolia tree. Nature is one of my love languages, so I was highly anticipating its bloom. When it finally bloomed, I ran across the yard to sniff its smellyness and take its picture. I took ahold of the stem to get a close up, when my #ManHands broke it. I couldn’t believe it. I had waited for this, and when it finally arrived, it broke. There’s a blog in this. We wait for someone: a spouse, a child, a best friend. And then we finally get it. And then it breaks. The spouse isn’t who we thought he/she was. The child isn’t growing up to be who we prayed he/she would be. The friend who promised “BFF,” forsakes it when he/she gets jealous and walks away. Here’s what I’ve learned: Life hurts. Relationships break. God heals. It is very important to know that God heals. Does God heal the relationship? Not always. My flower can’t grow back into its broken stem. But God DOES heal every heart that has Him in it. I think that’s why this has been my life-verse: “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed,” Because it promises that our heart can be pressed on all sides by brokenness. But God will not let us be crushed beyond a new bloom. I hope this encourages someone today.

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