Life can be challenging. Everyone on this earth has struggles, trials and setbacks. Since it is a new year many of us are trying new things that we hope will improve our lives. Whether it is exercising more or relaxing more or spending more time with your family or reading the Bible more, we want to make changes that put us in a better place or state of mind. I would like to share with you some of the teaching that has helped me improve spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
When I was in the worst shape of my life, I began to study God’s word with Beth Moore. That woman helped me in my relationship with God more than anyone else had been able to do before. She is real. She tells it like it is. She showed me how much God wanted a relationship with me. She showed me how she had broken free of so many things in her life. She was also abused as a child, so she was able to speak to my heart like no one had been able to do so before her. She has been one of the most influential woman in my life because she was able to help me understand so many things. If you ever have a chance to do a Bible study of hers, do it!
Beth also introduced me to journaling. She talked about the importance of writing things down. At the same time, my counselor was telling me to do the same thing. I wouldn’t have this blog today if I wouldn’t have journaled about my life. Journaling has been my way to deal with my life. I would write about my feelings, what I was learning, scripture I found, how my life was going, etc. For me, journaling became a type of therapy. It still is. When I write, I feel like I am sharing my life with God. And as I am writing, I can hear Him speaking to me. I have found intimacy with Him through journaling so that is why I recommend it.
There are so many scriptures that I have learned, but one of the main ones I learned in “Breaking Free” by Beth Moore is Isaiah 61:1-3. “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, at the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” That my friends, is what God wants to do in us!
Another woman who has helped me in my faith is Priscilla Shirer. I will never forget this concept that she taught me. “My friend, whatever you treasure in life—your kids, your marriage, the money you have made, the car you are driving, or the lifestyle that God has blessed you with—remember to hold it loosely so that it doesn’t hurt when God has to pry your fingers open to take it away. Don’t clutch it tightly. Always remember that your possessions are not truly yours. God gives them to us on loan to manage until He comes again.” She is referring to Matthew 6:21 when Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will also be.” Now, there is nothing wrong with having great kids or a great marriage or having money or material possessions. But, I have to be very careful not to make anyone or anything more important in my life than God. Because when I do, I am putting them above God and that is not where they are supposed to be. Because I am a pleaser, it has been so easy for me to put my relationships before God. It is a daily struggle for me. I have to go to Him every morning and spend time with Him and make Him the most important person in my life. My husband and kids have to be second and third. I am a much better wife and Mom when I put the Lord first.
I can’t emphasize this next concept enough. If you are searching for answers or needing help with issues, please seek authors, counselors or pastors who have good sound biblical teaching or training. You need to look for people who point you to scripture and truth. In order to heal, I have had to read so many books and do many studies. I have found many women (because I am one) and men who have been able to help me on my journey. If you are searching for authors to learn from or studies to do, there are many to choose from. I would love to share with you who has helped me. You can message me and I will list them for you. God has blessed me with wonderful teaching. Each author has helped me in a different way.
Another author I am going to mention is Ann Voskamp. That woman has a way of saying things. The first book I read that she wrote was “1,000 Gifts”. She taught me to look for my own 1,000 gifts and in that process it made me aware of what God was giving me and doing in my life on a daily basis. I tried to write down three things every day in a notebook. Looking for those things really changed my attitude and helped me look for the positive in my life. It took me over a year to get to 1,000, but I was so glad I did it! I highly recommend looking for gifts to anyone who is trying to change their outlook on life.
R.T. Kendall is the man who taught me how to forgive. He wrote a book called “Total Forgiveness”. I cannot tell you how much that book helped me to forgive my father. I think I underlined at least 3/4 of that book. At the time, I was mad at God for giving me a father who hurt me. I was mad at myself for allowing my father to continue to hurt me and I was mad that I had to forgive! I guess you could say that I was mad at my heavenly father, my earthly father and myself all at the same time! That’s a lot of anger for a body to hold inside. Kendall states, “The bondage wasn’t worth holding on to my unforgiveness. The absence of seeing Jesus’ face wasn’t worth it. The lack of peace wasn’t worth it. But getting that old peace back (I had forgotten what it was like) was worth it all. God is a jealous God and won’t let us enjoy this inner peace if we have an unforgiving spirit.” Forgiveness isn’t easy, but it is necessary and God commands us to do it. If you are struggling in this area, I highly recommend this book.
The point of me writing all of this to you is to tell you there are so many great resources out there to help you with whatever you are struggling with. I knew I needed help, so I grabbed as many things as I could so I could get better. The picture I posted for my blog is most of the material I have read or studied in the last fifteen years. Everything I have read or studied helped me learn and grow. Each author helped me look at things with different eyes. Each person helped me learn scripture and principles to live by. It has been a journey and I am grateful for it. These studies and books pointed me to scripture that has been my life line. The Bible is the most important book I have read. I have written down verses and carried them with me on the days I had extreme anxiousness. Whenever I needed help, the Bible had a verse for me to cling to. God uses His word to help us in times of trouble.
There have been a lot of tears but also a lot of joy! So when I was trying to think of a name for my blog it was easy to name it journey2joy. I really want to help you if you are struggling with life. Please message me if you are looking for a book to read or a study to do. Chances are I have read it or studied it. Thank you so much for going along with me on this journey! Until next time…..