Gains by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

            Paul is a genius.  In chapter 3 of Philippians and into chapter 4 he’s taking into account everything he knows, has, and experiences he’s been through. He does everything from comparing his knowledge to dung/rubbish, to saying he’s not the best at everything, but one thing he’s really good at is forgetting what’s behind him, and straining for what’s ahead.  It got me thinking about how we all react to losing something or someone in our lives. Offense can set in or simple life changes can draw people a part.  Staffing adjustments, downsizing or poor performance can lead to layoffs.  Inflation, health issues, economic crises or a dozen other things can play into a poor financial situation.  Constant bickering, growing kids, the stresses of life can put members of a family at odds.  How do we handle it when we lose something? How are we adjusting to life once everything changes? Forget about it and count it as a loss.

It’s not to say forget about it because it wasn’t valuable or even useful, but rather let it go because as one quote said, “There are far better things ahead than those left behind.” (Unknown) We tend to focus on what we’ve lost instead of what we’ve gained.  The guy walks away from the relationship and ultimately breaks your heart.  You sit around and think of all the good times, how much you liked/loved him and analyze to death how perfect you all were together.  Instead, you should thank God that it ended. Yes, I said it, thank the good Lord that He loved you enough to get you out of something that, in time, you’ll see wasn’t the best thing for you anyway.  The same goes with a job, a financial status change, and any other scenario where you experienced some of abrupt loss or change.

Focus on the positive.  Trust that God is sovereign and not only saw this coming, but also allowed it to happen.  Even more than allowing it, He’s made provision for you to get through it.  Yes, you lost your job but what did you gain? You’ve gained the freedom to pursue your real dream perhaps, or an open door to a better opportunity than what you had before.  Yes he broke up with you and obliterated your heart in the process, but what did you gain? You’ve gained insight into yourself, and into that other person after all, why would you want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be with you anyway? Think of it as a blessing, not a loss.  Now you are free to be discovered by someone who actually wants you in his life.  Cheers to you! I know this sounds counter to our way of thinking, but I believe that’s a little bit of what Paul said he has perfected. Letting go of what’s already done, it’s over, it threatened to end you but it didn’t, you thought you wouldn’t make it, but you have!

Look forward to what lies ahead.  Ultimately our main focus and goal is the Grand Prize, which is Jesus Christ, but in the meantime appreciate the small “gains” you get to experience day to day. So the next time you are tempted to slump into depression after making your laundry list of what you’ve seemingly lost, stop and insert all that you have gained.  It is guaranteed to change the way you see the obstacles that life tries to throw your way.  It will all work out for your good anyway.  There are far better things ahead!  #Gains

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[a] for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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A Decade Ago by Bombi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was 29. I had just one child and she was only 5 years old. I was living out my last years as a resident of Arizona. I was in a much different place mentally, physically, spiritually, and I can tell you I was a mess. I remember not believing in myself. I didn’t believe that I could be strong or beautiful or fully capable of living out life. I was struggling to be a good mom to Avery and juggling so many bad habits and hang ups that it exhausts me to even recall it. I was drowning in a sea of anxiety, stress, drama, and depression. My body and mind were so weak, my spirit was broken, and my faith was barely there. Friends and family would try to speak life into me, but I thought they were trying to pity me or be nice. I was in a place I never planned on being and I hated it.

A decade ago God had me in His hands. He had me covered so well, yet I couldn’t fully see it. God was providing the strength and all that I needed to make it through, but I couldn’t fully grasp it. A lot can happen in 10 years, like living in a place I never knew I would, or now having the son I longed for, and an amazing husband who knows what, “I love you,” truly means. He shows it to me everyday. I can now look in the mirror and accept the woman looking back with gratitude. 10 years ago I never planned on even being able to look back on anything. But humbly, here I am, and I love it.

I don’t know where you are in your life. You could be living out a bad year or a bad decade yourself. But when you’ve dedicated your life to God and surrendered to Him, then your life is in His hands. It might not look like He’s in control, but He more than is. It might look like you don’t have a place to call home, or a friend to call upon, or a promise to even pray for, but God has you in His hands. You might look in the mirror and feel shame because you see a person that you don’t know anymore and it scares you. But God is growing you. He’s pruning you. He’s watching you, He’s keeping you. He knows exactly where you will be 10, 20, 30 years from now. He knows what time it is, even if you can’t even tell what life season you’re in. He’s ever loving and interceding for you with a love so powerful that nothing and I mean NO THING can separate you from. You might not even love yourself yet, but His love will fully persuade you that you are more than your habits, hang-ups, and circumstances. You’re so much more, because through His love, you’ll find that you are even more than a conqueror.

Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rejection by Bombi

Rejection. By a show of hands, I’d like to see anyone who loves it. Truly, rejection is one of my least favorite things to experience ever. Yet as long as I’m alive I’m going to get rejected and even give some rejection. I know rejection can happen on a daily, from the small to the big.

Then there’s the deeper ways of being rejected. Like a child hearing horrendous abusive words like, “I wish you were never born.” Or even finding out you’ve been cheated on. Rejection is one of those potent serums that once it’s been ingested, well no two people react the same. The kind of make you or break you stuff. The kind of stuff that makes you feel like a lonely afterthought. The kind of hurt that puts thoughts into your head like, “Why try again, I’ll just get rejected!”

Then there’s someone who I think about that is perfect in every way. Always does the right thing. Always brings joy. Always shows up. Always forgives. I mean the most perfect being that’s ever been. How could anyone not want to be around or in this person’s life? And you know what? Even that person got and still gets rejected every single day. It’s a big part of their history. One minute they are getting welcomed into town with a celebration and palms being placed at their feet, and the next those same people are wishing the man dead. Harsh. Yes that man is Jesus. I often think about all the stuff He went through and even what He experiences daily. All the getting despised and being rejected. It can make my head spin. So when I read in Jeremiah 1:5 where it says:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew [a] you,
 before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”​It just hits my heart so hard with so much powerful love. ​Because this is proof that God will and wants to do the exact opposite of what everyone else has or may do to us. He thinks so much of us that we are the furthest thing from an afterthought that could ever be. In fact before we even existed, He had and has amazing plans for us. He has plans that our parents couldn’t even dream or plan up. If you don’t know this love and if you’re tired of feeling like everyone rejects you, I invite you to get to know the man who not only knows how you feel, but will heal the wounds of rejection. He has such plans for you. The last thing He ever wants to do is reject you. If you already know Him, then let this be a reminder that before you ever planned on counting on Him, He already planned on making and loving you.

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

 

Photo Credit:© Jose Antonio Sánchez Reyes | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Secret About Your Strength by Kenika

African American woman in street wear walking out of an elevator.

Think back to the last time you said, “I can’t take this anymore,” “I give up,” or simply felt the urge to walk away.  Now think about the dozens of times you’ve probably said that in previous years.  Would you like to know something I’ve discovered that is so powerful? You never gave up.  You never quit. You never walked away.  No matter how close you were to the proverbial edge, you didn’t plummet over it.  That means you are stronger than you think you are.

Even in your weakest moments, you still managed to overcome. At the height of your emotions, you were capable enough to maintain.  I’ve personally felt guilty and weak in quitting moments.  It took the gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to show me the mystery treasure buried within the obstacles I was facing.  I’m still here.  I’m still believing God for His plans for my life, I haven’t run out of juice and I’m continuing in this race with everything I’ve got.  We are so much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.  Not with strength of our own of course, but the strength we possess via the One we carry inside of us.  Jesus is great, and Jesus is living in us making us great.  He is strong, He is mighty, He is confident and we can pull from the deepest reservoir of power the universe will ever know.

You are stronger than you think.  I’m not saying that to be redundant, I’m saying it so that it sinks in.  You can do this, because you’ve already done it before.  The last time you thought you were going to lose it, you didn’t, you made it, and you will make it again.  Trouble is a much a guarantee as paying taxes to the U.S. government this season!  But instead of bracing yourself for disaster, remind yourself to be strong. As strong as you were the last time you faced something similar.  With Jesus Christ, the Greatest Overcomer of all time, you are an overcomer whether you feel like it or not. Draw from the strength that resides in the depths of who you are.  You won’t break, you won’t be destroyed, you will continue on and you will make it!

Photo Credit:© Jameswimsel | Dreamstime Stock Photos