Welcome to this little piece on encouragement for daily life through the scriptures. This post is to help you strengthen your faith. I share stories about little parts of my life and how I have overcome some of the obstacles I had gone through. So if you’re ready for a little encouragement, let’s get started.
Start Your Day With Strength (Joy)
Start your day with strength?
You will see what I mean as we go along in this blog post.
There have been times when my energy felt so low. Have you ever felt this? It was hard for me to get myself together, as they say.
In 2013, I was suffering from a severe case of hidradenitis suppurativa. It is an autoimmune disease that basically attacks the sweat glands with inflammation causing boils under the arms and the groin. Relief only comes when a boil bursts open spontaneously or are lanced by a doctor. There is no bacteria within the fluid, however medical professionals feel it is necessary to continually prescribe antibiotics. Once the boils have broken open it causes skin to remain open, never really healing because of the inflammation. It creates a vicious cycle of a boil forming and bursting open. It’s horrible. I thought I was dying.
Doctors and researchers say there is no cure. I suffered with grief because of this sickness. I couldn’t dance anymore. It was also becoming extremely difficult to take care of my family because of the severe pain in my joints and skin. I began to develop what I call “mystery pain” due to this illness.
I went through a lot emotionally during this time. I had postpartum depression on top of dealing the depressing effects this disease can have on a person. I had plenty of family and friends praying for me. It took a year for me to get back on my feet, but I needed to find joy again because I wasn’t totally healed.
I fasted and prayed to really work towards dealing with this new, negative attitude that I had towards everything in life.
How I Reclaimed My Joy
I discovered joy again in small increments. Although I could not do all of the modern and contemporary dance moves I used to do. I did what my body allowed me to do.
Dancing had given me so much joy. I searched for the moments that used to give me so much joy and returned to them. Sometimes it was a funny movie or listening to a certain song. I also prayed that God would fill my heart with joy again. My prayers were answered.
The latter part of the scripture in Nehemiah says that the joy of the Lord is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). I affirmed the strength that God gives through joy. I affirmed joy back into my life.
So…at the beginning of this post I urged you to start your day with strength. I really mean, start your day with joy.
The Heart that Forgives is the Heart that Heals
I know it’s tough to forgive.
However, holding on to hurt and anger will get you nowhere.
Unforgiveness will mess with your health. It can ruin relationships with other friends and family.
Jesus told us that we had to forgive 70 times 7 in one day (Matthew 18: 21-22). That is a lot when you do the math! There will be times that we have to continue to forgive someone over and over. One example may be a spouse. We might have to forgive our spouse again and again for not doing a particular household job.
Forgiveness can come in layers. You will know when you have forgiven when the memory of the situation doesn’t hurt you or you don’t feel anxiety when you are around that person.
But what if my spouse cheated on me repeatedly? Forgive then make the choice to not let infidelity hurt you. If you want to leave then leave. Staying in a situation like that is not healthy for you. Plus forgiveness doesn’t always mean to reconcile.
Forgiveness Can Come in Layers
Often times forgiveness can come in layers. That is why I believe that you have to forgive a person so many times. Also, the hurt doesn’t always go away so easily, especially when they have hurt you deeply.
If there is one thing you should remember about forgiveness is that it frees you. It is the starting point to healing your heart and healing your life.
The first part of forgiveness means you have to be honest enough to know within yourself whether you want to forgive or hold on to unforgiveness.
Some people may feel justified in holding on to an offense because the sin against them was horrible. This can be especially true for those that have been victims of violent crimes or if their loved one was murdered.
So if you are truly ready to forgive it’s time you start the process. This particular book has helped me when I felt I could forgive what many calls unforgivable.
Take Courage Along in Your Journey
Someone once told me to learn to find joy in the journey.
I agree. You will need strength (joy) to walk on your road, but you will also need courage to put one foot in front of the other. You will need courage when you don’t know where your journey will lead.
I’ve been on some roads that have shaken me in my life. I had the awesome experience of going to college. I had really big plans to become a pediatric brain surgeon. Once I entered college I realized I didn’t want to be a doctor at all.
I can recall my first year in college being very unsettling for me. I struggled with my grades in math, I didn’t have friends, and I was on academic probation.
I even heard the N word in my presence without a blink of an eye. Imagine being the only black young woman in a class and as soon as the professor said the N word…many of the students turn to you to see what you are going to do.
The pre-medical journey I thought I would be on turned out to be something different. I continued on in my college career with the help of my mom and my favorite scripture I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I began to envision myself at the end of my journey, on to having a great career in International Studies.
After I finished college a new journey began.
I had one failed marriage and became a single mom.
I got married again and had 2 more children.
I lost my good paying administrative career as an analyst, now I’m a homeschool mom that write blogs.
As you can see the journey of life can take us many places. I accomplished a lot. The journey I’m on as homeschool mom and blogger is very different from my family and peers. I had to have to courage to stand up to critics who didn’t value the life I live on many occassions.
All of my education is not a waste. I’m better at math and I teach what I learn to my children. I have a wealth of knowledge and experience to them. My goal is to raise children how love God and have the space to pursue their passions.
Anything you have invested in is not wasted.
Whatever path life has you on remember to have joy but most of all have courage.
Joshua 1:9 says that we should be strong and good courage because the Lord is with us. Take that scripture as encouragement on your journey.
How to Think on Purpose
Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8).
I love this particular verse because it tells you to think on purpose. I know it can be hard to think about positive things when the world is so negative.
We are bombarded with negative images everywhere–the news, social media, and movies. It’s no wonder there are more individuals that have a negative outlook on life. Their life is negative and so is the world around them.
Many Believers are in this mode of negative thinking. They live day to day in fear. They struggle with negative affirmations that put upon them by someone else from their past and it is affecting their adult life.
I got tired of looking at all of the negative reports everywhere. I stopped watching the news consistently. Some people may not agree with what I have done because they want to stay up to date on what is happening in the world. I chose not to watch because many of the stories are exaggerated with certain words in order to increase ratings.
I got tired of negative thoughts I was entertaining about myself. Mostly it was the thoughts of not being good enough or perfect enough as a mom and wife. I was comparing myself to other wives and moms that appeared to have it all together. They wrote perfect articles about how to have it all with a clean house.
How to Think With Intention
In the beginning I mentioned the scripture on what you should be thinking about. Find one beautiful thing you can think about. A song or picture of a place you want to visit one day.
Put it on the lock screen of your phone. I have a picture of my last baby on a swing. It brings such beautiful memories and I smile every time I see it.
If you have a lot of negative chatter replaying in your mind over and over you do an exercise to observe it objectively.
Since a negative thought or feeling is usually a lie then you write it down and list the truth of who you are in Christ right afterward. List a scripture if applicable.
Cross off the negative thought. And you’re left with the truth. That is the truth you should be using to positively affirm yourself.
How to Say No and Create a Regrouping Plan for Your Family
It is not God’s will for you to say yes to everything.
It is not his will for you to live in moments where you are too busy to regroup.
Resting and spending time with family is important for your well-being.
My family makes an intentional effort to use Friday nights through Saturday evenings to rest, hangout, and have fun. We are sort of weekend warriors. It’s our reward for working hard during the weekdays.
We start Fridays with dinner together and talking about the week. We also dance, sing, and do a little Bible study.
I’m usually too tired from homeschooling and other weekly activities to stay up sometimes. I fall asleep on the couch while everyone else is having fun (sometimes).
These times are very special to me. I purposely set aside this time for my family. I reject all other offers because we need this time as a family.
What if I said yes to every request. What if I tried to make everyone happy by saying yes all the time. I would miss out on making great memories with my family.
You don’t have to do it like we do it in our house. However, you can make time to regroup with your family as well. Doing this will be refreshing for you spiritually and naturally. Your family will appreciate true uninterrupted attention.
Create Your Own Regrouping Plan For Your Family
If you have signed up to receive the journal to follow along with the encouragement series then you can make your notes there. You can also grab a pen and paper.
What projects or work can you put aside for the weekend? List them.
What important things do you have to handle during the week? (Meals, children’s activities, special projects, or work)
What things are less than important but can be set aside for one day? Set a date and time to finish these tasks.
What things can you delegate to someone else for help? (Children if age appropriate, spouse, friend, family, or hire help).
This is some of the little nuggets of wisdom I have gained from my life. If anything, take what works for you from this post and see if you can apply it to your life. If you have found this helpful in any way be sure to share with someone else that might need it.