Mistakes to Avoid with the Holy Spirit

Mistakes to Avoid with the Holy Spirit
When I was younger, I always envied those that seemed like they were close to God. There were moments when my pastor would come out of his prayer room and share what the Lord told him that morning. I wanted that sort of intimacy with Jesus for myself.  
Many Christians are discouraged when developing a deeper relationship with the Spirit of God because He can be such a mystery. It can feel like you’re just trying to grasp the wind. In the beginning of your journey, He may feel unpredictable and, sometimes, maybe even unreliable.
Yet, everyone who is a Christian has the blood right to be able to walk in close friendship with God. And as you do, you will inevitably realize that He is realer than the wind and more reliable than any human on earth.
However, there are some things to avoid as you begin to press in for a deeper relationship with Jesus. The following are the top mistakes people tend to make in allowing their flesh get in the way of what could be a deep and genuine friendship with God.

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Should I Love Myself?

Should I Love Myself?
I used to cringe when I heard the catchphrase “Love yourself!”
It just felt very typical to be in agreement with that saying, and it felt like it was used as an excuse to grant oneself an indulgent amount of liberties. It’s an Instagram post waiting to happen, with the millennial pink background and calligraphy and all.
That was, until, near the end of 2018, when the Lord showed me otherwise.
Truth be told, I have a very tumultuous emotional life. I have a high-stress lifestyle that requires too much coffee and too little sleep. In result, I get sick easily. My hormones are still balancing out from the 6 intense years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I get tension headaches on the regular. With all that being said, I asked the Lord what it would take to simply make things easier for 2019. I know, it’s not a grand prayer, but it was an honest one.
He said, “Love yourself.”
Upon hearing this, I was initially confused because I’m not one who typically dwells too deeply in self-hatred or crippling insecurities. So, why tell me to love myself?  
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The Supernatural Effect of Confidence

The Supernatural Effect of Confidence
Confidence.
When you hear the word, you can easily brush it off as daytime talk show material or a title to a self-help book.
In other words, it doesn’t seem like a spiritual thing to focus on.
But it is.
What does confidence have to do with the salvation of souls, healing, redemption, and all things revival?
Everything.
Because it has to do with faith. True confidence is displayed when faith is alive in ones’ heart. It’s a character trait of one who believes in the goodness and sufficiency of God.
Yet the concept of confidence scares many Christians. It almost feels safer to not be confident for fear of being prideful. There’s the worry that you’re wrong in some way. What if you don’t even have a right to be confident? What if you are, in fact, just as inadequate and underwhelming as you think you are? In that case, confidence feels like a lie.
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Miracles in the Mundane

Miracles in the Mundane
Everyone loves a good testimony —the miracles, the love encounters, the crazy coincidences that all point to God’s goodness.
Testimonies remind us that God is good. They remind us that God is real and working today.
Yet, sometimes we overlook the fact that testimonies are usually centered on a particular event or a moment. Although we are supposed to remember those moments (Deuteronomy 8), sometimes we can easily place them on a pedestal, without really understanding the implications for our everyday lives.
On Sunday mornings, you may have heard an amazing sermon about radical faith and were challenged to be more radical, wholehearted, excellent for the Kingdom of God. Yet, afterwards, you leave the sanctuary and you go to lunch. After your lunch, you go home, watch a few episodes of Netflix, and then you go to sleep to start the following week. And you don’t know what radical faith looks like afterwards.  
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Beautiful Failures

Beautiful Failures
My firstborn plays the piano. She started at the age of five, and she’s always loved the challenge of learning music. However, one day, I saw her fumbling over the keys during practice, and, although it was dinner time, she refused to leave her seat. I figured she just wanted to finish practicing and did not think much of it. But, by the time the rest of the kids were done with their dinners, Moriah silently closed her books and quietly left the piano to sit at the table. She whispered, “Okay, I’m done,” her face downcast and half-hidden behind her long, tangled hair.
I knew in my heart that something wasn’t right, so I took to her to a private place on the stairwell, and I brushed her hair back to see her face flushed and her eyes brimming with hot tears. In the midst of how hectic it got during mealtime, I did not realize that she was extremely stressed during her practice. I asked her what the matter was, and she just released a deep, sorrowful cry.
“It was too hard. I hate it when I make mistakes. I just hate it so much.”
I don’t know how a 7-year-old could have such high standards for herself. Yet, I was able to resonate with her pain, the pain of not seeing progress and only seeing failure.  
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How Chosen Do You Feel?

How Chosen Do You Feel?
I’ve always struggled with the idea of being chosen by God.
I know He saved me.
I know He has a seat for me in heaven.
Strangely enough, I used to believe that because of His charitable goodness, I could just be a recipient of God-given welfare, rather than be someone in His genuine favor. It’s easy to feel that God cared enough to save your life, just the way we allow a bug to live or place a fallen bird back in its nest. However, to feel that He favored me like you would favor your own child, that required a breakthrough of faith.
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How I Find Strength…

How I Find Strength…
I frequently get asked, “How do you do it?”
“It” being how I juggle being a wife, mother, pastor, and pastor’s wife.
In a certain season in my life, I was a full-time youth pastor, full-time grad school student, and a full-time mother, all the while trying to also be a supportive wife to a pastor with his own ministry as well. I was also pregnant for the majority of those years.  Admittedly, it was a lot of hats to wear for one person.
But contrary to popular belief, I’m not very strong.
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Is it well with your soul?

Is it well with your soul?
I’ve been a bit numb these days. I think we all have that in our spiritual walk time to time.
I think at this point in the game, I know what to do when I’m not “feeling it.” I just try harder. I shift my mindset. I make the right choices. I die to myself and take up my cross daily.
We are constantly taught that the spiritual way of life is one of peace and joy. But, let’s be real… sometimes it’s just easier to be indifferent. Perhaps, it’s because being indifferent is one step more acceptable than being angry, discouraged, or anxious.
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For the Christian Single Woman

For the Christian Single Woman
Being a single Christian woman is a confusing niche to be in these days.
You need to remain sanctified.
Yet, you also need to make yourself somewhat available.
You need to be “ready” — whatever that means these days.
You need to fend for yourself financially, emotionally…
All the while be prepared to submit yourself to the future spiritual head of your household.
You need to be independent… to one day also become dependent…
In your teenage years, if you grew up in the church, there’s sometimes the “no boys” policy, enforced by your youth pastor or your parents.
Then, all of a sudden, there’s a “not ready for boys” stage, because, girl, you have to get that career on track …
And before you know it… there’s a “where’s your man” expectation, screaming at you from the world, the church, and, for some, even your family…
To you, I say this:

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When Choosing Sacrifice…

When Choosing Sacrifice…
I don’t like pain.
I’m the type that would avoid any level of discomfort at all costs.
So, when I initially chose the life of ministry, I feared that the losses would be too heavy. Indeed, this included a fear that the humble circumstances would be too much to bear.
Nevertheless, I’ve been relatively spared up until now. Compared to the strife endured by the persecuted church around the world, I live a simple and easy life. We have a home. My children are receiving an excellent education. Both my husband and I have a steady paycheck, and we live the average, middle-class lifestyle in the suburbs of New Jersey. We get the occasional Starbucks drink.
Certainly, there is a cross to bear on a daily basis. Nothing comes easy in ministry. Yet, I haven’t quite fought to the literal point of bloodshed just yet. And to be honest, I did not want to. The idea of shaking things up was the last thing on my mind. Continue reading “When Choosing Sacrifice…”