Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

We must flood our darkness with light -- floodlights
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For many years, I struggled with a fear of the dark.

Not just as a child, but even well into my 20s.

You may have heard me mention growing up with three older brothers.

I credit many memories and life lessons to my brothers. I also give them credit for my nyctophobia (fear of the dark). Between the ages of about 7-11 my family lived in a house with a basement. My bedroom was upstairs, and the den where we watched tv was downstairs. Taking myself to bed was always an ordeal for me. I reluctantly scaled each step, knowing once I hit the top, one, two or three of my brothers would be waiting and lurking in the dark to scare me. They would pop out behind chairs or couches; out of a closet; from underneath a table. Whew! It was bad. Clearly this wouldn’t happen every night during that time. Gotta keep me guessing, right? If it happened too much, I would become desensitized and we couldn’t have that could we? Also, to keep me unnerved they would sometimes gravitate outside in the dark and appear with a flashlight on their face outside of my window. It was scary!!

To this day, I prefer to walk into rooms by turning on the lights and also keep lamps on unless I’m sleeping. But for the most part, nyctophobia is no longer an issue for me.

Maybe my experiences and overcoming my fear are why John 1:5 resonated to my core last summer when I heard it.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

I’ve matured enough to recognize that darkness isn’t a simple literal translation of no light. Darkness can also be pain; grief; illness; landing in a season of difficulty; financial hardship; shattered dreams; depression. Whatever you thought of while reading this is probably your definition and/or experience of darkness.

I feel there is so much darkness these days and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. It is pervasive. The devil is working, y’all. Darkness can get so heavy and weigh us down so expertly that it can become paralyzing.

My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. - Psalms 143:3 (NLT)

Am I the only one who feels as if you’re living in the grave sometimes? Again, if we aren’t strictly literal, darkness of many kinds keeps us in the tomb. As Bob Disher’s series has been reminding us: we are in spiritual warfare. And Satan has many of us right where he wants us. And isn’t it often easier to stay there, giving up and remaining in the dark?

No matter what, we must not give up!! God never gives up on us and there’s no way to know when our resurrection time is just around the corner.

Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. John 12:35 (NLT)

Jesus is our biggest light. But we can also find light in that which He leads us to. Think of what makes you light up. Maybe certain people (or groups of them) make you shine. Purposely find these people and be with them. A support system is essential to coming out of darkness. What about your favorite hobby or activity? Being outdoors. Helping others or giving of yourself. Maybe just putting distractions aside when you are with others. Any and all of that can be so illuminating for ourselves and those around us. Also, stop complaining and keep a positive outlook. Negativity creates more darkness in an already dark world.

If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. – Luke 11:36 (NLT)

I’m not really sure what helped me get past my fear of the dark. Wait. Yes, I am – God in His grace - took it from me. And the fact that I kept going up each step, every night despite the fear. With the help of Jesus, WE are what keeps the darkness away. He keeps us bright. Never stop fighting the battle of the dark. The world really needs a lot more floodlights these days.

Let your lights shine, Sisters!

<3 Angela

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Fighting words
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Recently a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post about where she finds her value, and it hit me pretty hard.  I was having a bad day when I read it, and I was pretty down.  It’s easy for me to get in that spiral of self-doubt and let inside chatter take over.  Where do I find my value?  Do I believe that I am who God says I am?

This is a hard question.  If I don’t believe it fully, I’m doing something wrong, right?  Where does that leave us when we get inside our heads and let the enemy creep in?  I’ve started a new medicine that makes me gain weight, and somehow that has really bothered me.  It seems like such a silly thing to be bothered by, but it’s where I am.  My weight is, for lack of a better term, weighing on me. 

But I’m told that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.  God didn’t mess up when he made me.  As a person who lives with mental health issues, I have to remind myself of this often. I’m not broken; I just have a different set of challenges. 

The first verse lots of people learn as children tells us that God SO LOVED the world that He gave His son.  I’ve been in church since I was a baby so there’s no way to count how many times I’ve heard that verse.  God SO LOVED me!  That changes everything.

1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”  Children of God!  How amazing is that?  But do we live like we believe that?

We’re told in Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.”  There’s just something about that one that I love.  The imagery of being rejoiced over with singing is so beautiful.

“I have called you by name; you are mine,” says Isaiah 43:1b. Ephesians 5:8 says, “You are no longer darkness, but light in my Son.  Walk as children of light.”

We’re called so many things. Light of the world. A witness and a worker.  A citizen of heaven.  Ambassador for my Son.  Chosen. Saint. Victorious.

So why do we forget all these things?  I don’t have an answer for why. But I do have the answer to combat the problem.  Put these words somewhere.  In your heart.  On your bathroom mirror.  In your journal.  In your car.  Somewhere, so that when the enemy creeps in, you’ve got a thing or two to say to him.  For me, it’s often music.  I like to get a song in my head to fight back.  My favorite is Voice of Truth by Casting Crowns:

 

 

But the waves are calling out my name

And they laugh at me

Reminding me of all the times

I’ve tried before and failed

The waves keep on telling me

Time and time again, “Boy you’ll never win,

“You’ll never win!”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story

The voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid.”

The voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”

Out of all the voices calling out to me

I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

 

Sometimes I just need that song.  Or a verse.  Or something to get me through the fight.  I’m talking to myself here when I say that the next time I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see or find something about myself that I don’t like, I’m going to say “Oh yeah?  Well I am fearfully and wonderfully made. So take that!”  I hope you will too.

Julie 

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Give Me Jesus


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The Devil (as told by Mary Marshall Hardison when she was 4 years old):

 

The Devil is tricky and he will steal your joy, but you don’t have to worry because Jesus kicked him out of heaven a long time ago.

Spiritual Warfare boiled down so a 4 year old is informed of the enemy but knows that Jesus is the one to go to fight him off. 

In Ephesians 6, Paul gives only one offensive weapon in his description of the full armor of God. 

It is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”. 

The devil can not withstand an assault of the Truth, or the name of Jesus.

 

My granddaughter does not give the devil a single thought because she has the child’s faith that he may be tricky and he can steal her joy, but Jesus…

But Jesus.  It all boils down to Jesus.

In his song “Give Me Jesus”, Fernando Ortega echoes Mary Marshall’s child’s faith:

 

            In the morning when I rise

            When I am alone

            When I come to die

            GIVE ME JESUS

            You can have all this world just

            GIVE ME JESUS

 

As adults we have collected spiritual bumps and bruises.

Lysa TerKuerst identifies us as “the hurting heart, the disappointed soul, the devastated dreamer”.  The ones that say “It’s not supposed to be this way”

We are on the spiritual battlefield, but as Beth Moore says, “we live our lives not simply according to what we know, but what we really believe”.

GIVE ME JESUS.

 The Breastplate of St. Patrick is a Celtic prayer for protection.  This is my surcey to you today as you leave and enter the battlefield of your life.

I arise today

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me.

God’s eye to see before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me.

God’s host to save me

  against snares of devils,

  against temptations and vices,

  against inclinations of nature,

  against everyone who shall wish me ill,

  afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

  against every knowledge that corrupts

  man’s body and soul.

Christ be with me,

Christ before me,

Christ behind me,

Christ beneath me,

Christ above me,

Christ on my right,

Christ on my left,

Christ where I lie down,

Christ where I sit down,

Christ where I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 I arise today

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

And may everyone say…”AMEN”.

lovingyougood…sd

 

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