Why NetFlix Had To Go

I did not expect it to be so hard for me to cancel my NetFlix account. I kept going back and forth on doing it. I argued with myself that the amount I was paying was not really that important. But it was a needed sacrifice.

In embracing the word Plans for this year, means I actually have to make them. To look ahead and think about how I would hope for this year to look. Part of that is to become financially stable.

My relationship with money has often been tenuous. My stubbornness in not taking heed my father attempted to teach me has affected much of my adult life. As money comes it, it goes right out.

I just haven’t thought of money as something to care for, just as something that existed to provide for me.When in truth money is a means for me to worship God. When I don’t budget or plan wisely, I am really being sinful. I’m saying I choose to not honor God with what he gives me to steward.

That my trust lies elsewhere. Dealing with money is emotional, personal and often a symptom of larger heart issues. Money is mentioned in the Bible numerous times.

This means I need to take a hard look at my finances. An unflinching look. To see where the money goes, how to make better decisions. My hope at the end of this year is to be in a better place than I am now.

By canceling my NetFlix account I am taking a step forward. I also realized that my viewing and binge watching was also eating into my reading and writing time.

 

How To Pray For Singles

This is a repost

Lately, something has been bugging me about praying for the marriages in our churches. Not just because it is yet another reminder of my singleness. A question formed in my mind, Why aren’t singles in the church as specifically prayed for? I don’t believe that this is because we are thought of as less than marrieds. This may have more to do with the mentality towards singleness. Even from those of us in the midst of it. That somehow our lives and struggles are not as important as those who are married. Or that this state of being is more private to be prayed about so publicly.

It is of course important to pray for marriage. It is hard, challenging, full of trials and blessings.  It is a beautiful example of Christ’s love for us.

But so is singleness. Being a single in the church today is more of the norm than not. A pew poll from 2012 found that this group is in fact growing. For a number of reasons people are waiting longer to get married. Or are recovering from past relationships. Or like me have never been in a relationship.

In fact most churches are having to adjust how to minister to us.

Which is why it is just as important to remember to pray for us. Singleness can be challenging, full of trials and blessings. Pray not only for our potential, future marriages but also for our lives right now.

The majority of us are searching for our spouse. Pray that we be discerning in pursuing a spouse .  Pray for us as we try online dating and get to know new people. Pray for us as we pursue our dreams and establish ourselves. Keep in mind too not necessarily all of us are looking for that in our lives. Marriage, like college may not be for everyone.

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Hope in the Midst of Grief

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My mother died when I was thirteen. I
remember thinking that I should be crying but no tears came. Those came later, during the funeral and later during the burial. So began my journey in grieving.

My grandfather died a few years later after a battle with thyroid cancer. Then at sixteen my estranged birth father succumbed to lung cancer.

I walled myself off emotionally, physically numbing my pain with food.

I did not know God. To be honest, I did not want to know Him. I was too busy finding comfort in being angry. And listening to my Cranberries CD over and over. This was the nineties and their music spoke to my soul. In fact I still have those songs seared into my brain.

I was lost in a world of pain and grief.
Then I started to get to know God. I began to unravel all those years of pain and grief.

This year has been tough. I have personally been to at least three funerals. The difference between grieving now and back then is simply hope. I have have hope in a Savior who makes all things whole.

Hope as we hurt.
Hope as we question.
Hope as we learn.

I have had the privilege to witness God working in this with members of my church. First to see them fully trust in what God has in store. Not their plans but trusting in His. Second Glorifying our Lord in the midst of their pain. Of being willing to allow our church family to gather around them, instead of folding inward.

To mourn together.
To rejoice in the promise of the Resurrection as a family.

Grief will always be a part of my life. But what has changed is my hope and trust in my Lord and Savior. To understand the greater story beyond my own plans and desires. That in the midst of such pain can also be such Joy.

This scripture at the top keeps coming to mind in this season. His plans are greater than my own.

One Light In The Darkness

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I have had this blog for just over two years. In that time, I hope at least, that my story and posts have been helpful.
Helpful and encouraging to those looking to become healthy, explore story and explore other topics such as faith and singleness.

I want to do more. For a while it has been on my heart to help those trapped in the vicious cycle of sex trafficking.
But I was stuck in how to do this and how to do it well. Bringing awareness is a first step, by helping to bring more understanding to this struggle.

What I discovered is that I can use my words, this blog to bring the truth of what is happening. I have signed up to blog for the Exodus Road. An organization that I have been following for sometime now. They are working to eradicate sex trafficking in South East Asia.

Once a month I will share information, facts and triumphs. My hope in doing this is to bring awareness and give voice to the voiceless. From time to time there will be fundraising efforts or simply to ask that you too share this blog.

I have much to learn about sex trafficking and I ask for grace as I venture into this new endeavor.

You can follow their efforts on Instagram @theexodusroad
Twitter@theexodusroad
And like their page on Facebook.

Pray for all those involved in the front lines of this issue.

Mid Week Motivator- One Step Then Another

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It just takes a step. One step to begin a new journey. One step, then another and another.

My first step was at a park on a sunny January afternoon nearly three years ago. More steps that soon followed, that lead to changes in my lifestyle and health. Keep going, keep taking those steps. Push through the set backs and hard days.

The rewards that await you begin with one step.

Are you ready to take that first step?

Growing in Grief

Grief is something I have dealt with throughout my life. Not always well or at times even at all. Let’s face it, grief is rather ungraceful isn’t it? Last week I wrote a post in honor of my mommy who passed away twenty-two years ago. After losing her, my grandfather Pops, passed away after a battle with an ephesigial tumor two years later. Then when I was sixteen my birth father succumbed to lung cancer. It was a lot of loss in a short period of time. My relationships with all three people were so different and therefore was too my grief.

 

I also was a teenager trying to figure out who I was in the midst of it. Not to mention being part of a family who dealt with grieving so differently from each other. I went into myself. Eating and cutting myself off from allowing people getting too close to me. In my grief I became an angry, overweight, unhappy mess. My aunt found a therapist whom I did not like. I do not think it was her so much but more so I was not ready for therapy. At this time in my life I did not know Jesus. In fact I blamed him and had walked away from anything to do with God. I wanted no part of it. Shortly after my mommy passed away we stopped attending church.

 

I can only speak of my own grief journey. One that I am still on all these years later. It was once I understood that I could not carry the weight of this grief alone. I needed Jesus. As my relationship with Christ grew, the ache that my heart carried became less. The discovery that in the midst of pain and grief, Jesus is right there with me. In the anger aimed at Him. He is there. In the sadness, He is there.

He is also there in moments of love and laughter. He is there in the midst of joy.

 

Yes, Joy. There is still joy even in the journey of grief. Grief is indeed a journey. It is not a straight line to it. Not everyone checks off all the stages of grief one after another. There can be moments of laughter shortly after death. There can be bouts of sadness and reflection years after someone is gone.

 

Grief is an unpredictable animal. Rearing its head in my life in the most inopportune times. When I am feeling good and happy. Suddenly, I will look at the calendar and realize that it is once again the anniversary of mommy’s death. Or going through my paperwork and coming across my copies of their death certificates. Documents that clearly spell out how it came to be that they are no longer around. It is a rather cold summation of the end of a life. Boxes neatly filled out or checked off. Doctor’s signature at the bottom. Now it sits in my file cabinet. Taken out from time to time in middle of a cleaning session or needing some kind of information.

 

It brings up all sorts of questions, what if they had not died and were still around? Who would I have been if they had not died? How different would my life had been? Would I be the person who God intended for me to become if they had not died?

 

These are all fair questions. Ones that are not to meant to be answered. The truth is there are so many scenarios and all of them hypothetical. They are gone. I pray that they knew the Lord and hope to see them again. I cannot live my life in the land of what ifs. I have to live in the here and now. Sometimes that means leaning into the pain. Other times it is remembering a small, sweet moment and smiling.

 

Part of grieving is telling their stories. Family gatherings often retread the old family stories. Stories that we have heard throughout our lifetimes. That with each retelling change ever so slightly. Telling these stories is part of the joy, the remembering, even feeling the loss a bit more than usual. This is healing.

 

In this time in my life, grief is more bittersweet. There is so much that was missed. My sisters and I grew up. My niece only knows Grandma Joyce from old photos and stories. My sister Michelle got married with out our mother being there to fuss over her. In grieving I acknowledge that they are missed. That they are still part of my heart. The one’s we lose are no longer with us to hug and kiss. To talk with and laugh with. They are however part of the story of who I am today. Both in their lives and in their deaths. It has all shaped me.

 

Through it all Jesus carries me, strengthens me and above all loves in in the messiness of grieving. Lean into Jesus, lean into the grief, allow it to wash over you. There is no shortcut through this, no pill that will make it all better. It is simply there. It is messy, hard and painful but you can get through the darkest days to those not so dark days. Followed by even lighter days until one day it just does not hurt as much. There will always be an ache for those who have been lost but there will also be joy. There is is so much joy! I have so much joy in my own life while remembering the ones no longer with me. It is possible.