Simple Guide: Who is Ruth in The Bible?

My daughter’s favourite story in the bible is the story of Ruth. The story has everything: adventure, romance, and intrigue. What this story also has is a change of what Ruth was before, In Moab, and what she was after, in Bethlehem. In today’s post, I am sharing a simple guide: Who is Ruth in the Bible?

My daughter’s favourite story in the Bible is the story of Ruth. The story has everything: adventure, romance, and intrigue. What this story also has is a change of what Ruth was before, In Moab, and what she was after, in Bethlehem. In today’s post, I am sharing a simple guide: Who is Ruth in the Bible?

a picture of a peice of wheat. Next to the picture are the words who is Ruth in the Bible?

Who is Ruth in The Bible?

We first meet Ruth in the first couple of verses of the book of Ruth. 

In those verses, Ruth 1:1-5, we learn that Ruth

  • Lived in Moab and was a Moabite (she did not leave Judah, but was from Moab) 
  • Married a man from Judah who had left and moved to Judah
  • Her husband died, and she was now a widow 

Ruth was a Moabite

One of the first things we learn about Ruth is that she lived in Moab. Since she lived there, we can assume that she is from Moab or from an area surrounding it. 

The key thing to remember here is that She is not from Israel or Judah and has no connection to Israel. 

Why is this important? 

This minor detail about Ruth is extremely important. 

  1. They did not encourage Jews to marry non-Israelites 

From scripture, we know God does not permit Israel to marry outside of Israel.

1 Kings 11:2 They were from nations about which the LORD had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love.

We know from this verse, and many examples of intermarriage in the bible, that this verse is true. 

Even though intermarriage with a Moabite was not forbidden, it was cautioned against. 

Read more about Intermarriage and Jews here

  1. Exclusion From the Assembly

In the Old Testament, there are a few scriptures that talk about Moabites not being able to enter the assembly of the Lord. 

  • Deuteronomy 23:2-3  2 No one born of a forbidden marriage [b] nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. 3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation.

According to the enduring word commentary, the assembly is probably referring to “the nation gathered before the LORD in worship, such as when they were gathered at Mount Sinai.. And maybe were barred not from the religious life of Israel, but from the political life of the nation. 

Some of these laws are not very clear and it’s hard to know whether they meant these passages for individual people or for the general nation. 

But these laws and traditions were set in people’s minds and hearts and any inclusion of a Moabite into a town would have been hard for people to accept. 

Israelites would have held prejudice against people from Moab. 

Summary of Ruth’s Old Identity

Even though Ruth was an amazing woman, she would have been seen as an alien from a country who had married one of their men (even though they discouraged it). 

Because of where she came from, Israel would not legitimize any of her children. Meaning that none of her children (for 10 generations) would be recognized as fully Jewish and would have been excluded from gatherings. 

Ruth had no way of changing her lineage or where she was from. Looking at where she was from and knowing Jewish law and tradition, one would guess that her mover to Bethlehem would not go well and that she would not amount too much. 

But God had a different plan. 

The Story of Ruth

Ruth’s identity in Christ changes when she comes to Bethlehem. Once she gets to this unknown country, we see God’s intervention and care for her.

1. Ruth makes use of the Law of the Land 

Once Ruth and Naomi get to Bethlehem, they have nothing. They have no home, no money and no way to provide for themselves. 

Naomi remembers Jewish law and tradition and encourages Ruth to glean from the land of Boaz. 

Ruth 2:1-3 There was a relative of Naomi’s husband, a man of great wealth, of the family of Elimelech. His name was Boaz. 2 So Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Please let me go to the field, and glean heads of grain after him in whose sight I may find favor.”And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” 3 Then she left, and went and gleaned in the field after the reapers. And she happened to come to the part of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.

Even though Ruth was a stranger in the land, she could still access God’s provision for her. 

God has always loved the stranger, and the downtrodden and made sure to provide for them in the law. 

Leviticus 19: 9 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest.

Ruth had no family and no other way to provide for her. But even so, being in Bethlehem made it possible for her to gather enough harvest to feed herself and Naomi. 

Had they left to go to another city- one outside of Israel- these provisions may not have been there and they could have starved. 

2. Ruth is welcomed by a well-renowned man

Ruth 2:8-16 So Boaz said to Ruth, “My daughter, listen to me. Don’t go and glean in another field and don’t go away from here. Stay here with the women who work for me. 9 Watch the field where the men are harvesting, and follow along after the women. I have told the men not to lay a hand on you. And whenever you are thirsty, go and get a drink from the water jars the men have filled.”

10 At this, she bowed down with her face to the ground. She asked him, “Why have I found such favor in your eyes that you notice me—a foreigner?”

11 Boaz replied, “I’ve been told all about what you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband—how you left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. 12 May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

13 “May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant—though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

14 At mealtime, Boaz said to her, “Come over here. Have some bread and dip it in the wine vinegar.”

When she sat down with the harvesters, he offered her some roasted grain. She ate all she wanted and had some left over. 15 As she got up to glean, Boaz gave orders to his men, “Let her gather among the sheaves and don’t reprimand her. 16 Even pull out some stalks for her from the bundles and leave them for her to pick up, and don’t rebuke her.”

After reading this passage, we find out that Boaz is the owner of the fields. Not only does he allow Ruth to glean there, he asks his men to make sure she gets extra. He also welcomes her to join the others and gives her food to eat. 

This is generous hospitality. The law required Boaz to let Ruth glean, but he went a few steps farther. 

He provided more than he needed to. 

This passage also hints that Boaz knew other fields may not be as safe and wants to protect Ruth. He knows his men would not harm her and he wants to make sure that she can do her work. 

This part of the story reminds me of the story of the good samaritan. Both men went beyond what they needed to, to take care of a stranger. 

Reading this part makes me question how hospital I am to people and how willing I am to share what I have with others. Even those people I don’t know and may not agree with. 

3. Ruth marries a man of Israel

The book of Ruth is known as a romantic book and a true love story. But the reality might not be so close to that. 

Ruth would probably have been in her mid-20s and Boaz would have probably been in his 50s. 

Boaz would have married out of duty and Ruth, being a woman, would have married out of a need for provision and security. 

This type of marriage was common in the OT and it was part of Jewish customs for widows to be taken care of by their closest relatives. 

The OT is full of laws and regulations to help people live good life. It was the job of the closest relative to marry a widowed woman. 

Deuteronomy 25:5-10 5 “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the widow of the dead man shall not be married to a stranger outside the family; her husband’s brother shall go in to her, take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. 6 And it shall be that the firstborn son which she bears will succeed to the name of his dead brother, that his name may not be blotted out of Israel.

7 But if the man does not want to take his brother’s wife, then let his brother’s wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, ‘My husband’s brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband’s brother.’ 8 Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, ‘I do not want to take her,’

9 then his brother’s wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove his sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, ‘So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother’s house.’ 10 And his name shall be called in Israel, ‘The house of him who had his sandal removed.’

In Ruth chapter 4, we see Boaz marries Ruth. Boaz was doing what he should do and followed all the traditions of the land. 

Sorry if that bursts your romantic bubble. 

But even though this book may not be as romantic as thought, it’s still an amazing book. 

Ruth is a stranger in the land and therefore is not encouraged to be married to a man of Israel. But God overlooks all of that and still provides Ruth with a marriage to an honourable man. 

Boaz always seems to do the right thing and is extremely generous. 

Boaz overlooks where she comes from and goes off Ruth’s reputation. 

In Ruth 2:11, we read that Boaz has heard what Ruth has done for her mother-in-law. I am sure her arrival in town made all the ladies of the town talk. 

4. Ruth becomes part of the Lineage of Jesus

One thing I find amazing about this book is that God takes a Moabite and elevates her to be part of the lineage of Jesus. 

According to Deuteronomy 23:2-3, no one born of a forbidden marriage nor any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. 3 No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation.

In Matthew chapter 1:1-17,   The book of the genealogy [a] of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. 4 Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. 5 Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, 6 and Jesse begot David the king. ….17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until Christ are fourteen generations.

Ruth was the mother of Obed who was the grandfather of King David. We know that David is a key person in the lineage of Jesus. 

Even though Ruth was not a “legitimate” Jew, there are enough generations between her and the birth of Jesus that no one could take the law and say that Jesus was not Messiah because He was an illegitimate heir. 

I find it amazing that God legitimizes Ruth by giving her this amazing legacy. 

Her faith in God and trust in His provision made her part of this bigger story. 

Summary of Ruth’s Identity in Christ:

Once Ruth comes to Bethlehem, she is careful to listen to her mother in Law and follow the customs of the land. Her hard work and trust soon pay off. 

It’s hard to know how long she was in the land before she met Boaz, but this story would have happened over one planting/harvesting season (at least). 

Ruth starts as widowed with no prospects and soon married a wealthy man who is respected by the community. 

Not only that, but someone who should not have been “allowed” to marry a Jew or even produce legitimate airs becomes part of the lineage of Jesus. 

Ruth’s identity in Christ is now complete. She is no longer an outsider, but one that many people would look to for encouragement and direction.

4 Things we can learn from Ruth’s identity in Christ 

1. God has always taken care of His people and He always will. 

In the OT, God incorporated laws to provide for the needy. In the NT, Jesus reminds us that we are not to worry about what we should eat. 

Matthew 6:26-30 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [a] cubit to his [b] stature? 28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [c] arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

If God can provide for the birds and the lilies, then He will also provide for us. 

It may not look pretty. It was hard work gleaning in the field, but God provides. 

2. God always intended for Salvation to be offered to everyone 

When you read the OT, it’s clear that God has chosen the nation of Israel for Himself. He separates them from the world and blesses them. People who are not part of Israel are not given the same blessings. So there are some promises in the OT that are only for Jews and not for everyone. 

But, one thing that is for everyone is salvation. 

It was always God’s plan to offer salvation to all. 

1 Timothy 2:4-6 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time

3. Small acts of trust have large (good) consequences 

Ruth watched Naomi and saw her faith in action. The only thing Ruth knew about God was what she learned from Naomi. 

Our walk with God can have a huge impact on the lives of others. We can turn people to God by what we do and say. 

In the same way, Ruth acted in faith by doing what Naomi asked her to do. Her simple trust led her to Boaz and started her journey into an amazing inheritance. 

As a mom, I sometimes get discouraged with how “little” I do to share my faith with others. But then I remember my heritage. There are at least 4 generations of Christians before me. 

I think about that one person who trusted God and raised their children knowing God. They had no way of knowing that their life of obedience would lead to me growing up in a Christian home and trusting God for myself. 

Just the fact that I raised my children to know God could affect generations after me. 

It’s hard to know what minor acts of faith can lead to. But each time we obey God, we bring Him joy. Knowing that is enough for me. 

4. Our past does not define us 

 Ruth’s identity in Christ was not based on her past, but on God’s intervention in her life.

So often people let their past define who they are. But, with God- none of that matters. 

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

This verse clearly spells out that heritage, gender and status do not define our position in Christ. 

In Christ, we are all one, and we are together. 

Conclusion

By our standards, Ruth would have become a nobody. But God’s standards and plans are beyond our own. 

God chose Ruth to be part of the lineage of Jesus to show that all are welcome into His kingdom.  Our family’s history, our nation’s history does not keep us from God’s grace. 

All that He asks is that you come. 

In the comments below, share your thoughts about Who is Ruth in the Bible?

6 of the best “who I am in Christ” PDFs

One of the best ways to read scripture regularly is to have verses on the walls of your house. That way, when you are washing dishes, or watching your kids play in the living room, there will always be scripture you can look at when you need refreshment. To continue my blog series about our identity in Christ, I want to share 6 of the best “who I am in Christ” PDFs You Really Should Know About.

A picture of a woman looking at the title. 6 of the best who I am in Christ PDFs you really should know about.

This post was written by Chyna Nicole. To learn more about her, please read her bio at the end of the post. Thank you Chyna for writing this post.

Chyna’s Story

I can remember the day like it was yesterday when I first gave my life to Christ.

Young, in my early teens, not fully understanding the decision I was making, but feeling an unsettling in my stomach. With each sensation, I kept feeling the need to get up and go down to the altar. That day was the most important day where I made the most important decision of my life.

But what was I supposed to do after that?

For years, I went around with minimal support trying to figure out who I was and what getting saved truly meant.

But I wasn’t going to speak up and ask anyone, I believed that I was supposed to just know.

Have you ever felt like that before?

So, I took things into my own hands. This started a long journey, but I finally got the answer to the question that has been weighing heavy on my heart for over 15 years: Who Am I in Christ?

Identity in Christ

In the bible, there are many scriptures focused on the identity that was given to us during the Garden of Eden, post-resurrection, and everything in between. My favourite study is in Ephesians 2. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 I have been saved by grace through faith in Christ.

However, when you are new in Christ, finding where to go in the bible to find out who you are can be a search in itself.

I tend to rely on old, faithful (Google) for my quick searches. But when I feel guilty regarding my “millennial tendencies”, I take the time to search the concordance for scriptures of topics I want to learn more about.

Whatever method you take or if you skip all the above options and go to the Pastor, know that there are many resources to help you get a full grasp on your identity in Christ. 

My Secret Tool

Despite the wasted time over the years, being tossed back and forth, trying on every identity I came across ( sounds a lot like the wilderness and the Israelites). 

It’s so important for you to study, meditate on, and know who you are according to God because your identity shapes the way you experience the world and how you handle the advances of the enemy. 

When I dived wholeheartedly into knowing who I am in Christ, I used my trusty search engine called Pinterest.

Pinterest is a great resource for blog posts and shopping items.

Pinterest is also a great place to obtain useful PDFs to give you visual reminders in hand for a better understanding of scripture. 

That is why I took the time to create a list of 6 of the best Who I am in Christ PDFs for you to save you the time I used to look for answers.

6 of the best “who I am in Christ” PDFs

Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to most of these who I am in Christ PDFs. These are all resource options that you will need to click on through clicking the links.

The truth you will receive from these resources will increase your confidence in your faith but also help you maintain your posture when difficult things come your way. Take a look!

1. 24 Affirmation Cards: Who I am?

One of my favourite who I am in Christ PDFs is these 24 affirmation cards.

I seem to always forget what the bible says about who I am and how God feels about me. To help me out, I have created 24 Affirmation cards to print out and put up in your house. These are meant to have around you so you never forget what the bible says.

2. You are not alone

The next who I am in Christ PDFs is by Katie at My Joy in Chaos.

Her printable is cute, chic, but gets to the point of what our identity is in Christ. Including easy-to-read cards that help remind you you are not a failure

Subscribe to receive it but it’s well worth it. I even like the scripture reference included, which is helpful if you’re really new in Christ.

3. Qualities in Christ Printable

If you’re anything like me and want to see reminders all over your house to help you remember who you are in Christ, this next printable is for you. SincerelyEllieMay at Etsy makes gorgeous printable that you would want to hang around your home.

All her printables are focused on the qualities and attributes that are associated with having your identity in Christ and a relationship with God.

Posted above is my favourite of hers and they only cost you 5 dollars for a digital download, which is definitely affordable.

Identity in Christ Blog Posts

4. Belonging in Christ Printable

Another gorgeous who I am in Christ PDF is this Identity in Christ printable from Inkblots of Hope.

They have a strong understanding of the issues plaguing our church right now which is an identity crisis. 

With this printable, there are scriptures included with each title to help with a deeper study into the Word regarding a specific description.

They have tons of printables on the website that will help provide a visual reminder of what you study and learn from the Word.

5. Impact in Christ Printable

I love this beautiful, who I am in Christ PDF created by Joy In My Kitchen. This printable reminds you of your identity in Christ. It is a great tool to help you walk with authority in your identity.

This printable was created with the idea that if you meditate on these qualifiers, you will know how to restore your joy anytime you are faced with difficult times and emotions. 

Another perk with this printable is that if you print it on card stock, you will have built-in note cards for each truth.

I love a quote that she says in the post, “ The key to joy and contentment in any situation is this: Remembering your true identity!”

6.Confession in Christ Printable

Last, but not least, Erin at Raise Your Sword created two who I am in Christ PDFs. Each is full of bible verses and reminders to help us know who we are and challenge us to never forget it.

In her blog posts, Erin talks about the various tactics that are in play to distract us from walking in the identity we were created to have.

My favourite printable is the Whose You Are Reminder which is focused on the scriptures.

Her printables are free but they just require a subscription for access to her assortment of awesome resources to support you on your journey in Christ. Check them out!

Bonus

I encourage you all to check out these unique printables whether you know who you are in Christ or barely starting out.

Writing this post helped me realize that there are so many resources to help us along the way on our Christian journey. 

Once you are solid in your identity in Christ, stop by my blog at Made New Mama to get another helpful printable focused on developing affirmations for what you are believing for in your life with Christ. You can access this printable here.

In the comments below, share with us your favourite who I am in Christ PDFs.

What Does God See When He Looks At Me

What Does God see when He looks at me. This is one of those questions that I honestly can’t unpack with a single sentence. Click to read my answer.

To continue my blog series on our Identity in Christ, I have another guest blogger. Lo Tanner is passionate about sharing the gospel with everyone. To learn more about her, please read her bio at the end of this post. Today, she answers the question: What does God see when He looks at me?

What does God see when He looks at me

What does God see when He looks at me

What Does God see when He looks at me? This is one of those questions that I honestly can’t unpack with a single sentence. Not without withholding some vital information; information that can shape how you see God, how you see yourself, and how you view the gospel.

The gospel changes a lot of things; our identity is on the top of that list. So let’s unpack this.

Let’s talk about how the gospel affects what God sees when He looks at you and me.

1. Picture Perfect

It was only a few months ago that I laid in our county hospital recovering from the birth of our youngest son. It was the fastest labour I had ever experienced. It lasted only four hours from the time my water broke to the time he was born.

Want to know what my first thoughts were when I felt his smooth skin, and saw that precious face and lifted him to my chest?

I thought: He’s PERFECT.

Can you guess who had similar thoughts when He created mankind?

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:27

“Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good…” Genesis 1:31

In the beginning, God looked at us and He saw good.

He saw His creation, so beautiful and pristine that when He looked at it, He saw himself.

Can you imagine that proud Papa moment?

I get glimpses of it every now and then with our boys. They just can’t help but resemble their father. I believe it was the same way the day God created man. The creation (you and I) couldn’t help but resemble our Creator. And to God that was good. But something changed.

2. I Need of A Savior

“Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil…” (see Genesis 3:22)

Sin entered the world.

How? Through deception and disobedience.

You can read this portion of the story in full in Genesis chapter three.

But long story short, sin entered the world and man who had only ever known good and perfect, was introduced to evil.

From that moment forward God saw us differently. When God looked at man He saw our sin. And while Satan would like you to think this is where it ends; he’s wrong.

Sin may be what we fell into, but it’s not where we stay. It is not who we are.

Top Verses: How God sees us

  • “…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” (see Romans 5:20)

When God looks at us He sees our mistakes and imperfections, but instead of letting us drown in them, He has made provisions to cover us.

  • God sees our sin, but through His conviction He points us to His love. “Love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8
  • God sees our weakness, but He carries us in His strength. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’ “ Isaiah 41:10
  • And while the enemy calls us out and accuses us; God calls us up and forgives us.

How can He do this? Because of the cross.

How the Cross Changed How God Sees Us

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Do you know what I take to heart from this verse? That God looked at man and thought we were worth dying for.

He looked at you and saw someone He loved.

Sometimes that’s hard for me to wrap my head around.

You’ve heard the saying, “hurt people, hurt people.”

I love how God shatters that.

He completely crumbles it up and throws it out the window in the greatest act of humility ever brought to our attention.

  • Our sin hurt God, but instead of dishing out hurt He sent His Son to redeem us.
  • Our sin hurt Jesus, but instead of protecting Himself He still willingly went to the cross.

Jesus’ death and resurrection gave us an opportunity to walk in newness; to put on a new identity.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Now when God looks, He sees someone who is forgiven. He sees a whole new you.

A New Creation

Since walking with Jesus, you and I have taken on entirely new identities.

Now when God sees us, He sees us as HIS; His very own sons and daughters.

About the time I was in second or third grade, our family adopted two of the sweetest little gals to ever grace this planet. The day of the adoption ceremony the judge called each of us kids up to the little podium to ask us questions and feel out how we felt about expanding our family.

Prior to speaking with each of us, the judge spoke to our parents. He said (paraphrasing, of course) “You realize that when we sign these papers these girls are legally your daughters. There will be no distinction between them and the children you birthed. They are all on a level playing field, no one having any sort of advantage over the other.” Their position as members of our family was sealed.

I believe God showers us with that same kind of love and has given us that same invitation.

He invites us all to become a part of His family and to be sealed by His Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 1:3-5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.

This is who you are now.

And not only does God see you for who you are in Him now, He sees who you were before Him and He sees who you are becoming.

Your God-given Identity

God’s truth transforms us. So when we come to Jesus, believe in Him and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord – we change.

We learn from Ephesians 5:8 that we were once darkness but have now been transformed into children of light.

There is a vast difference between light and darkness. To go from one to the other requires us to change.

Prodigal Children

As a result of sin, we became like prodigal sons and daughters (see Luke 15:11-32 to learn more on this).

Even so, Jesus made a way for us to come back home to the Father.

And now God is welcoming you, his daughter, back into His loving arms.

You are entering into His newness.

Seeing Yourself as God sees you

  • Freedom (Romans 6:22 and John 8:36)
  • A daughter redeemed (Ephesians 1:7)
  • His child (John 1:12)
  • His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10)
  • A citizen of His kingdom (Ephesians 2:19 and Philippians 3:20)
  • His righteousness (see Romans 3:21-22 and 2 Corinthians 5:21). Not because of our perfection; but because of His grace and willingness to call us out of sin and see us as “blameless”.
  • Joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  • A friend (John 15:15)
  • His fruits and character (John 15:5 and Galatians 5:22-23)
  • A conqueror (Romans 8:37)

Would you believe the list gets longer?

God wasn’t kidding when He said you’re a new creation. He is literally piecing together a whole new you; where you are made in His image and likeness.

What if I don’t see what God sees?

This is the point in the conversation where people typically start to struggle.

We start to wonder how can all this be true if we don’t feel it.

I get it.

There are days when I look at me and see things I don’t like. Pride, impatience, lack of empathy. I snap at my kids. I get frustrated with my husband. Some days I even feel frustrated with God. Does that change how God sees me?

The answer is no.

Why, not?

Because when we walk with Christ our identity isn’t based on who we are, but who God is and what He declares over us.

He has begun a new work in you and I. Day after day He continues to sanctify us and He won’t stop until He is done.

…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6

Sanctification (leaving the old and becoming Christ-like) is a life-long journey and a daily discipline.

We may not see ourselves in the fullness of each of these traits now, but we can be confident that this is what God is cultivating in us.

Just like Abraham was called a Father of many nations before it was brought to fruition (see Romans 4:17-22) you can trust that God is calling each of these declarations in you; doing a work that only He can do.

It’s easy to want to point at all the good God brings into our life and take credit for it; to think to ourselves, “I’m a good person,” and try to wear that crown. But the truth is, God isn’t fooled.

God sees right past the mask.

There is no hiding who we are from Him.

The reason I brought you through your identity by walking through the gospel is so that you could see and better understand the transformation that takes place in us when Jesus becomes the Lord of our lives.

I want to share with you that hope.

Because without the gospel we are left hopeless and broken.

But with it; WITH JESUS, we are made whole, we are uplifted, we are anchored and hope-filled.

What If I’m Not Living for God?

You may ask yourself: What id I’m not living for God? Does that Change How He Sees Me?

Maybe you’re reading this post as someone who has yet to begin a personal relationship with Jesus and you’re wondering what God sees when He looks at you.

I’m just going to say it and pray you never doubt these words.

God looks at you and sees someone He loves, someone He desires to be close with, someone in need of a Savior.

He is so so eager to bring you into more.

When God sees you He sees someone worth saving.

The only question now is, will you accept His invitation?

If you’re curious about God and want to discover who He is, or you simply want to grow in the faith you already have, I invite you to join our Bible study group on Facebook!

There, we provide free Bible study tools and lessons on discipleship as well as free Bible reading plan that allows us to really dig into the Bible and get to know the God who inspired it. Join us here!

In the comments below, let me know what you think God sees when He looks at you.

How to come to Jesus like a child

Parenting has given me just a small glimpse into how God feels for us and (maybe) His motivation behind some of His actions or non-actions towards us. Today, I want to share 5 ways we can come to Jesus like a child. 

Jesus loved children. This is clear when children wanted to approach Him and the disciples tried to stop them. 

Luke 18:16 NKJV “But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.”

God wants us to come to Jesus like a child.

How children greet Others 

Have you ever watched a child greet someone they love?

They are so excited and have no inhibition.  They just climb into anyone’s lap, run to greet someone and hug without hesitation. 

Watching children greet others and how kids treat their parents gives us great insight into how we can come to Jesus like a child. 

5 ways we can come to Jesus Like a child

1. Home base

Watching children has taught me a lot. When my children play, they often will come to me for a snuggle and show me some love then go off and play. After a while of playing, they come back for another hug or kiss.  It can sometimes be annoying, but it shows me that I am home base to them.

My 3-year-old likes to check in with me every couple of minutes. He reports on what he is doing, where he is going and how he is feeling.

When he has been crying for a while and his mood changes, he says: I’m happy now. He always makes sure I know what’s up with his life. 

This is how should be us with God. To come to Jesus like a child, we need to treat God like my children treat me.

God needs to be our home base, someone we “check” in with regularly throughout the day. 

Just like my son, who has physical access to me throughout the day, we have access to God all day every day.

Even though we do not see God, His spirit is in us and He is all around us. We have access to Him whenever we need 

The Bible says: 

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

We access God through prayer. The Bible encourages us to pray without ceasing. 

‭‭I Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

2. Seek Comfort 

Not only should God be our home base, but we should go to God for comfort. 

When my kids get sick or hurt they come to mom for comfort. There is something about getting sick that makes us long for our mothers.  Even when my husband is home and he is capable and willing to help them in their pain, they still want Mom.

To come to Jesus like a child means we come to Him when we are hurt and need comfort.

In today’s world, there’s a lot of sickness, pain, fear and the list goes on and on. It would be easy to seek comfort in money, work, drugs,  control and other things. 

But God does not want us to go anywhere else for comfort. He wants us to go to Him. 

Jesus says: 

Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”


‭‭

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3. Seek help

Just as God wants us to go to Him for comfort, He wants us to seek Him for help. 

When my children need help for anything, they come to me. They come to me when they need something to eat and drink. They come to me when they need help changing clothes, going to bed, brushing their teeth and the list goes on forever.

A child’s constant need for me is one of the things that makes parenthood so tiring. Even though this is one of the things that drives me nuts about being a parent, I would not want my kids going to anyone else for help.

To come to Christ like a child means that we should ALWAYS turn to God when we need any sort of help. The world has lots of advice to offer. The advice the world gives makes sense and is sometimes easy to follow, but God does not want us to follow the world, He wants us to seek Him. 

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”

‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭3:18-19‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ “

It’s ok to ask people for advice, but always make sure that your actions are based on what the bible says and not what others think. 

Other Blog Posts

4. He understands me

My son just started using sentences a few months ago. Before that, he hardly spoke a word. But, just because he did not speak does not mean I didn’t understand him. From birth, I have been able to understand what he wants and when he wants it. 

I know my son and so I can anticipate his needs. Because I understand him, he can trust me and comes to me. 

To come to Jesus like a child means that He understands us even when others might not.

The bible says that God knows us better then we know ourselves. 

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:1-4‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.”

Since God made us and knows us then it only makes sense that we go to Him because he understands us. 

5. Simple trust 

Young Children trust adults. I know that’s a general statement and it’s not always true. But young children don’t ask why adults are in charge, and they simply trust that what we say is true. 

As we become older, we lose our simple trust of others. We ask too many questions and try to find a way around the rules. 

To come to Jesus like a child means that we simply trust Him. God wants us to simply trust that His words are true and that He will guide us to good things. 

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬ “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”

When we follow God, He will direct us. We don’t need to know where we are going or why. 

Final Thoughts

Being a parent is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I sometimes feel tired and unsure. But through loving my kids, I have been able to learn how God wants us to come to Him.

God is the perfect father. He will never leave us or lead us astray and He will always love us.

Next time your child looks to you for help (even if it’s for the millionth time), let it remind you that God wants us to look to Him like our children look to us. 

Never forget that He invites us all to come to Him. 

Will you come? 

In the comments below, share how you come to Jesus like a child.

7 Simple Ways to improve your mental health

As a young adult, I watched as mental health affected the marriage and life of family members. I wondered how anyone could marry someone that had mental health issues. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would do exactly that. 14 years ago, I married my best friend. Little did I know how mental health would affect our marriage and what was coming around the corner?  Today, I want to share with you 7 ways to improve your mental health. 

My Husband’s story

Before I share 7 ways to improve your mental health, I want to share a bit of my husband’s story. 

In the fall of 2011, my husband experienced his first severe panic attack. We didn’t know what it was or what had caused it. 

Friends invited my husband and me to a birthday party. That same day, my husband had made a slight error at work. While at the party, my husband couldn’t keep himself from worrying about the mistake he made. 

That worry soon became panic, and he started having a hard time breathing. 

Thankfully, a friend noticed my husband’s behaviour and sat him down. Our friend had recently recovered from his own mental health crisis and so knew that my husband needed help. 

Our friend not only helped my husband out of his panic attack, but he was the one to tell us what this was and insisted on connecting my husband to a counsellor. 

Direct Intervention

Because of that discussion, we started our road to recovery. 

I am convinced that it was God who caused my husband to have a panic attack at that party so that our friend could see and intervene. 

I truly believe that without that party, there would have been a completely different ending to this story. 

God had heard my prayers and sent us help exactly when we needed it. 

I share this with you so you know that God hears. He loves you and wants to help you. If you are too stubborn (like me) to seek help on your own, then I urge you to pray. 

You may not know what you are praying for, and you may not like how The Lord answers, but God hears, and He loves you very much. 

7 simple ways to improve your mental health 

If you’re like me, the idea of facing mental health in your marriage, or any other relationship seems scary.

But it doesn’t have to be.

There are things you can do to improve your mental health and ways you can be ready to face it. 

1. Educate Yourself 

My husband and I grew up in the 80s when mental health was still taboo and misunderstood. Because of that, schools and our parents never taught us about mental health and what it may look like. 

This was also a time when mental health was never discussed in church. People mostly faced these issues with quick remarks about not having enough faith and to not worry about tomorrow. Neither of these solutions seemed to “fix” our issue. 

What I have realized is that the first step to overcoming mental health is to educate yourself. 

To know what mental health looks like, it’s important to know what mental health is. 

Some knowledge will come through personal experience. You can also learn about mental health by talking to people you know about mental health and reading as much as you can about it. 

Thankfully, today, we live in a society that knows more about mental health and has created more support for it. 

I have even found that more Christians are willing to discuss their struggles. 

All these positive changes make it so much easier to learn about mental health and prepare us for when we may be facing it. Either with our own struggles or with the struggles of people we love. 

2. Notice Red Flags

When I first met my husband, I learned pretty quickly that he did not do well under pressure. 

When we got married, I soon learned that he would sometimes feel unwell, not willing to go out and be with people, and would sometimes get irritated. 

These are all pretty common in all of our lives, and so I thought little of them. 

What I didn’t realize was that they were all signals he wasn’t doing well and that his mental health was going down the wrong track. 

When someone has mental health problems, it shows in their behaviour and mood. If you aren’t looking clearly, then you may not realize it.

The best example I can give is remembering your children when they were babies. 

When a baby is hungry, it cries. When it’s tired, it cries. 

Adults are just like babies. When their body or mind feels stress and anxiety, it sends out signals. 

There are many signs of anxiety a person may give. 

Knowing what anxiety looks like will help you pinpoint symptoms and their root cause. 

That way, you can treat the cause, and not the symptoms. 

Catching symptoms early can help you and your loved ones face chronic anxiety and seek the help you need. 

A picture of 2 couples walking in a fall forest. The picture shows how each couple has the women on the back on the man. Below the picture are the words, 7 simple ways to improve your mental health, www.onedeterminedlife.com

3. Seek treatment that works for you 

When my husband first started his mental health journey, he was under the care of a counsellor. We soon learned that this route would not work for us. 

It was a starting point, one that led us to seek medical help. Thankfully, our doctor diagnosed my husband quickly and prescribed medication that worked extremely well for him. 

For every case of mental health, there seems to be a different treatment. 

There are a variety of treatment options and it’s important to seek the one that works for you. 

For us, that included medication and lifestyle changes.

There is no shame in seeking alternative routes or seeking help that may differ from others. I am not a medical expert, so I will not go into treatment options or details. 

If you think you are struggling with mental health, please seek the help of a professional. Starting with a therapist or a doctor is a good idea.  

4. Avoid triggers

Anxiety triggers can disrupt our peace and well-being, making it essential to develop strategies to avoid or minimize their impact on our lives.

By identifying and managing these triggers proactively, we can create a healthier and more serene environment for ourselves. In this blog post, we will explore practical techniques and lifestyle adjustments that can help you navigate through anxiety triggers with confidence and maintain a greater sense of calm.

The best way to avoid any anxiety is to stay away from any triggers.

 

5. Recognize Mental illness as an illness

In our society, mental illness is often misunderstood or dismissed as something less significant than physical illness.

However, it’s crucial to recognize and acknowledge that mental illness is a legitimate illness that can have a profound impact on an individual’s well-being.

Many people still hold outdated beliefs that mental health struggles are a sign of weakness or simply a result of personal flaws. By recognizing mental illness as an illness, we can debunk these misconceptions and promote a more compassionate and understanding society.

Just like physical illnesses, mental illnesses require a professional diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing care. Recognizing mental illness as an illness is a crucial step toward achieving parity between physical and mental health. It emphasizes the need for equal access to resources, support, and treatment options for individuals facing mental health challenges.

6. Having a Godly Perspective

In times of anxiety and uncertainty, seeking solace in our faith can provide comfort and guidance. The Bible offers profound wisdom and encouragement for those facing anxiety, reminding us of God’s presence, love, and care.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible offers comfort, guidance, and hope for those facing anxiety. By embracing the biblical perspective, we can find solace in God’s presence, trust in His sovereignty, and experience His peace that surpasses all understanding.

Let us draw near to God, seek His wisdom, and allow His Word to transform our anxious hearts into vessels of faith, hope, and peace.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 1:7,

7. Look for the blessing

Living with anxiety can be challenging, but even in the midst of our struggles, there are hidden blessings to be found. Although anxiety may seem like a burden, it can also serve as a catalyst for personal growth, resilience, and a deeper reliance on God.

While anxiety presents challenges, it also offers hidden blessings and opportunities for growth. By shifting our perspective and actively seeking the blessings within our anxiety, we can cultivate empathy, resilience, self-awareness, gratitude, spiritual growth, and a commitment to self-care.

Remember, we are not defined by our anxiety but by how we respond to it.

Embrace the blessings that emerge from your journey and allow them to guide you toward a life filled with purpose, growth, and a deeper connection with yourself and with God.

How to talk to kids when bad things happen

It seems like every time I turn on the news, it’s bad. As an adult, it’s hard for me to understand why all this bad stuff is going on. Trying to talk to my kids about them or trying to explain them to my kids seems like an impossible task. Today I want to share how to talk to your kids when bad things happen.

It seems like every time I turn on the news, it’s bad. As an adult, it’s hard for me to understand why all this bad stuff is going on. Trying to talk to my kids about them or trying to explain them to my kids seems like an impossible task. Today I want to share how to talk to your kids when bad things happen.

A picture of a dad holding his daughter. he is wearing a backwards cap and is standing in a field. They both have big smiles on their faces. Above th picture are the words: How to talk to kids when bad things happen. Below the picture are the words: www.onedeterminedlife.com

As a parent, I want to protect my child from all forms of evil but I don’t want to shield them to the point they don’t know how to process these sorts of events.

If you’re having a hard time navigating this subject then I hope this blog can help you.

Before we try and talk to our kids about the bad things happening all around us, there are a few ways we can protect our children.

2 ways we can protect our children

Set limits

The best way we can protect our children from everything going on around us is by limiting what we watch and what we talk about.

1. In what you watch

Due to the amount of bad news and the details news outlets tell the news, we stopped watching the news about a year ago. We still read the highlights and know what is going on, but we stopped watching the news. Not just for ourselves but our kids.

I believe that it’s important to be informed. But being informed does not mean that we need to watch every minute of a news report or read every opinion of an event.

When something happens, I usually find a reputable news source and read the article about the event. I try to find a balanced piece that reflects many angles to what happened.

With 24-hour news channels, it’s easy to take a story and see every single sad story, gory detail and any piece of news we want. But as viewers, we don’t need to watch every one of these things to get a picture of what happened.

By limiting what we watch, we can control what we know.

2. In what you talk about

When bad things happen, it’s easy to talk about the events everywhere we are. I think talking about events is good. We should not shy away from it. But I think we can limit the amount we talk about.

When sharing things with our kids, they don’t need to know every detail. We can just tell them the basics and then answer questions they may have.

How to talk to kids when bad things happen

As a parent, I have learned that I can try and protect my kids from bad things around them, but I can’t keep everything away from them. Life is full of bad and hard things.

So, knowing that we can’t keep all harm away from our kids, we can do these 8 things when we talk to kids when bad things happen.

1. Be prepared

I am sometimes niece and think, if we don’t talk about events at home then they won’t know what’s going on.

I know, naive!

My children go to public school. So news items we might not discuss at home may be discussed in the classroom or on the playground.

They will be exposed

Even if you homeschool your kids, unless your children live in a bunker and have no contact with media or other people, then they will be exposed to stories about bad things happening.

As parents, it’s important to be ready for hard conversations. Knowing that our kids may have questions about world events helps us be ready for those conversations.

2. Know your child

Each child is different. My kids are all 3 years apart. So when we talk to our 8 8-year-old tell her things in a way she understands vs how we would talk about the same events to my 5-year-old or 2 years old.

Knowing our kids guides parents in how much to let them watch and what to talk about.

My eldest daughter has some anxiety. We are not 100% sure of all her anxiety triggers. Due to that, we don’t always go into specific details about events and always watch the way she responds.

She is the type that may not be scared when we tell her, but she may think about something for a week, a month and show symptoms later due to what she heard earlier. This makes our job s bit harder. But, we know this about our daughter and it helps us when we do talk to her about events.

Knowing our daughter means that we still follow the advice below, but then we watch her. We know she takes a while to process and may not show signs of anxiety right away, but she may show signs of anxiety later on that are related to something we talked about earlier.

Your kids may be different. The best thing you can do before you talk to your child is to know them. You are the best judge of what your child can understand and what they are ready for.

3. Trust yourself

You know your child better than anybody else. You know what you have watched as a family, what you have talked about and how they deal with fear and other situations.

The best way you can talk to your child is to trust your instincts about who they are and what they are ready for.

4. Be honest

I have a general rule with my kids: always tell the truth. I try as best as I can to not lie to my children.

When something happens that they need to know about, I sit them down and tell them.

For example, my cousin recently died of cancer. As soon as I knew and I knew my husband and other family members knew, I told the kids. I called my 8-year-old and 5-year-old and I sat them down. As soon as they sat down I said: Do you remember my Cousin and how we have been praying for him because he is sick? (Wait for answer) He died today and is now with Jesus.

I try not to beat around the bush or tell them more than they need to know.

This does not mean I tell them everything. But, when they do ask questions, I answer them as best I can.

Unless they ask specific questions, there is no reason to tell them more or even talk about it further.

5. Answer all questions

I don’t know about you, but my kids are really inquisitive. If there is something they want to know, they ask. When they do ask us questions, we answer them to the best of our ability. If we don’t know the answer, then we find it.

Again, kids don’t need to know every specific detail so be sure to only answer what your kids are asking.

This reminds me of a clip from the west wing.

6. Share your feelings

When you talk to kids when bad things happen, it’s ok to be sad and even afraid. As adults, it’s important to express those feelings and to not shy away from them.

By expressing our feelings we are teaching our kids that’s ok to have feelings and we teach them how to express them.

When kids see us afraid or sad they know they are not alone and may have an easier time sharing how they feel.

Kids may not know what fear feels like or what sadness looks like. By talking about feelings and expressing them openly, then kids learn what their feeling are and that it’s ok to express them.

7. Direct them to God’s word

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t always know why something happens or even how to deal with it.

The best thing I can do it to lead my kids to someone who does have all the answers.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.” Isaiah‬ ‭55:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

To get some more guidance as to what to say, read the following posts

Why do bad things happen to good people

Where is God in times of trouble

8. Pray

When bad things happen, it’s important for us to show our kids how we deal with our questions, fear etc. For me, I process everything through prayer.

So, when my kids come to me with any issue, we pray about it.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NKJV ‬‬

In the comments below please share how you talk to your kids when bad things happen.

4 ways to tame your tongue

Words can be used to build up or to destroy. They are extremely powerful. Today, I want to share 4 ways to tame your tongue.

Today, I am so happy to have worked with Amber, she shares with us something that we can all relate to.  Learn more about Amber at the bottom of this blog post. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

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Her words hadn’t meant to hurt me but, in all actuality, they were like a knife cutting into all of my most vulnerable places. I had been silently grappling with the same questions and ponderings she was asking me for months – but somehow someone else asking me these same things threatened to break me in two. She, who was talking to me, has a beautiful heart. She wasn’t for a minute trying to break me – she was trying to understand me and encourage me.

James 3:5 The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes frear boasts. Cconsider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

We can all relate

We can all point to instances in our lives when our words tore someone down, or when someone’s words tore us down and we wanted to tame your tongue. Hopefully, we are more quick to recall times when other people have used their words to encourage us.

In today’s world, it may not be anything we say that hurts people, it may be the words we write. In an era of social media, it is a lot easier to say things we would never say to someone’s face because we can hide behind a screen.

When we read verses about the tongue, let’s use those same ideas and apply them to what we write.

4 ways to tame your tongue

1. Check our heart

Words need to be intentional before we even open our mouths (or put our fingers on the keys). We need to pray that what comes out would glorify God. We may have the best of intentions but if it is not subject to God’s glory, it will fail – every single time.

Something that may sound encouraging in our ears comes across as hurtful to the receiver. So then, how can we make sure we are using our words to truly build another up?

2. Pray

The most important thing we can do is to pray and ask God to use our words to help and not to hurt. We can pray that we would get out of the way and allow God to work.

I have had times where I was more concerned about being the person that gives my friend the perfect word, than praying and making sure what I was saying would actually be helpful.

God wants to work through us, but it’s important that we rid ourselves of pride first.

3. Listen

We are so quick to talk but the Bible actually tells us to be slow to speak

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry

 I strongly believe much of the above problem would be fixed if we just took the time to really listen to each other. Actively listening does not mean we are only halfway listening.

Instead of thinking about our response will be –listen to what they are saying. Practice not forming a response until your friend is done talking. It is only then that we will hear fully and be able to respond with wisdom.

Ecclesiastes 5:2 says

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

Asking questions will help us to better understand where the friend is coming from. May I encourage you to ask questions that aren’t going to do further damage to that friend?

Say for instance your friend had a miscarriage. Asking her why it happened will only hurt her more. However, asking “I don’t understand the pain you are walking through, never have gone through it myself, can you help me to better understand how you are feeling and what (if anything) I can do to help?” will open up a healing door for your friend.  

4. Tame your tongue- Remember the golden rule

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37, 39‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’…And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

We must keep in mind how we would want to be talked to if we were going through the same circumstance.

Ask yourself “is what I am trying to say true, noble, helpful? Will it encourage or discourage?” These questions will further help our response to be given in wisdom.

A final thought I want to share is we need to be careful to avoid the “snare of offence”. It seems like everyone is offended by something these days. If our friend unintentionally hurts us with their words, let us not set up a tent in the land of offence.

There is no need to camp there. Forgive your friend just as Christ has forgiven you and move on. If you feel it would help you to talk to your friend and let them know their words hurt you, do so but please don’t stay offended.

Choose your words carefully, aim to bless and not to harm!

In the comments below, share ways that help you tame your tongue. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

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6 Tips for Finding a new church

8 years ago my husband and I moved from Ottawa to Edmonton. Due to this, we needed to find a new church. Our goal was to find a church that we could see ourselves attending for a long time and becoming part of that church. Finding a new church can seem intimidating. In this post, I am going to share with you 6 tips for finding a new church. 

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6 Tips for Finding a New Church

1. Don’t make the decision alone 

In my 37 years of living, I have been a member of  6 churches. Some churches, I only attended for a year and others for much longer. 

Each church was a different experience and it gave me a well-rounded view of how different churches work and my experience has helped me know exactly what I want in a church. 

Changing churches can be a big decision. Each time I have attended a new church- it was with the guidance of my parents or working with my husband to know what was best for our family. 

I have never picked a church on my own and I am very happy about that. 

Finding a new church with someone you trust to help you in your church hunt is a good idea. 

If you are thinking of looking for a new church then I highly suggest that you look for guidance from people you trust. 

Get a referral: 

If you have been a Christian for a while, then you probably know other Christians. Chances are that you know someone who has lived and gone to a church in the area you are looking for. 

When finding a new church, take some time and ask people you know for a recommendation. 

There are 3 places you can get Directions for finding a new church: 

1. Your Friends 

When my husband and I moved to Edmonton, the only connection we had to the city was my brother-in-law who does not go to church. So, it felt like we had to church hunt with no help from friends. 

But, it turns out that we did know someone who had gone to church in Edmonton. 

As we prepared to move, it became known around our church that we were moving to Edmonton. One of our friends had travelled to Alberta a few summers prior. She had attended a church there and had a good experience. 

Since we knew her and her relationship with The Lord- we knew we could trust her recommendation. So we put that church on the top of our list and had somewhere to start. 

Friends are a great place to start when you are finding a new church. They may have attended a different church or know someone who attended somewhere else. 

As I get older, I realize how small Christian circles are. 

If you stay in a similar denomination- then chances are that you can find someone you know to recommend to you a similar church in the area you are moving to. 

2. From your pastor or Elder: 

Maybe you are a new Christian or you don’t know many Christians that you can turn to for help. In that case, I recommend that you seek guidance from your pastor or Elder.

As leaders in the church, these people have many connections with Christians from different churches and may even be able to connect you to a church in the area you are moving to as a place for you to start. 

When finding a new church, leaders that you respect can be a great help to you.

3. Ask God

I probably should have put this first as prayer is the most important thing you can do when you are finding a new church. 

Isaiah 48:17 ESV / Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.

God loves you and wants you to come to Him and ask for directions. When we do, His word promises us that He will show us the way. 

2. Ask yourself Hard questions 

If you are thinking about finding a new church, there are a few questions you have to ask yourself first.

  1. Why am I looking for a new church? 

This is a crucial question to ask yourself. Maybe you have no choice because you are moving to a different city. 

But if you are not moving, it’s important to question why you are looking for a new church. 

Click here to read good reasons to leave a church. 

2. What is the most important thing for you to find in a church 

Before you decide what churches to visit, it’s important that you know what you are looking for. 

When we moved to Edmonton we wanted a church that was in a similar denomination as we were leaving, was family-friendly, had the breaking of bread service and was welcoming. We were also looking for a church that had an elder and deacon board and that was not run by one pastor. 

When finding a new church, it’s important that you know what type of church you are looking for.

Some Criteria to consider 

Before you start finding a new church, make a list of things you want in a church. 

To help you start, I have made a list of things that may or may not be important to you.

This is just a list. You can add to it, or take some things away. 

  • Bible-believing 
  • Welcoming 
  • Do they have a Children’s program?
  • How is the church run? Does the church have pastors, elders, deacons, etc? How do they all work together?
  • What denomination you are looking for? Are you going to stay in the same denomination or try something new?
  • Types of services and service times  
  • Does the church have opportunities for you to serve and get involved? 
  • Does the church have small groups you can be part of– what time and where
  • Does the church have a women’s ministry? 
  • Does the church have a men’s ministry?
  • Is the church mission focused?
  • Is the church outreach focused?
  • Where is the church located? How far are you willing to travel? 

Every single church will do things differently and will NOT BE PERFECT. The perfect church will only exist in heaven. 

We have some friends who have relocated to a different city and have not been able to find a church that had everything on their list. 

So, they had to pear the list down and focus on the top criteria that were important to them. 

3. Do some research 

People are not the only way you can get information about a church. There are some other things you can do to find a church in your area. 

Google is your Friend 

I love Google products and I am so happy about the amount of information you can find through the power of the internet. 

When my husband and I were getting ready to move to Edmonton, we started our church hunt with a simple Google search. 

We knew what church denomination we were looking for so we googled: bible church in Edmonton. 

The search results gave us a list for us to start looking into. 

If you are living in a particular area of town and want a church in your neighbourhood then you can start your Google search using google maps. Map your location and then look into churches in your area. 

While living in Edmonton, my husband and I were interested in maybe attending a church in the neighbourhood we were living in. We felt that we might have Christian neighbours and not even know it. 

So, we did a simple Google search and found a neighbourhood church that was meeting across the street from where we lived. Even though we did not decide to go to that church, we were happy to meet fellow believers that lived so close to us.

Read, read, read

Once you have a list of churches that you are interested in, you can read a few resources to know if that church is worth a visit. 

  • Bible: this may seem obvious, but the first thing you should read is the bible. The Bible has many verses about the function of the church. It is important that you know what a bible believing church is vs one that claims it preaches God— when in actuality it does not. For more about what the bible says about the church, click here. 
  • Website: These days, most churches have websites. When looking at churches to visit, I highly recommend that you read their website. There, there should be a statement of faith and some history or information about what the church is and what they believe. They might even have a list of ministries and links to other resources. 
  • Listen: One of the things I look for in a church is biblical teaching. One way to find out what a church preaches is to listen to sermons. As mentioned above, most churches have websites. On their websites, you may also find links to sermons. Listening to the sermons is a great way to learn how many people teach, who teaches, and what they teach about. 

Visit the church

The best way to know what a church is like is to actually go and visit a church. Websites and tapped sermons can only tell you so much about a church. They can’t tell you if the people are friendly or if the church actually practices what their website says. 

Before you visit a church, be aware that one visit may not be enough. I know that our church, every Sunday is not exactly alike. It may take a few weeks to be able to tell whether or not the church will be a good fit.  

But, if you know what you are looking for, then it may only take one visit to know if that church is one you feel God is leading you to. 

4. Pray!

I know that I have already talked about prayer, but, I am adding it again because it’s that important. 

God wants us to be in fellowship together. 

Hebrews 10:25 (NASB)
not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

God also wants us to come to Him with all of our needs– including asking for wisdom and direction. 

When we turn to God and ask for help, He will direct us to where He wants us to be. 

So whether you are thinking of changing church in the same city or you are moving to a new area– cover all of it in prayer. 

When you come to God– He will give you peace as to what church you should be at.  

5. Be Open to His leading 

When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted to leave the church I was attending. I even knew exactly what church I wanted to visit first. But, before doing anything I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and prayed. 

When I prayed, I felt The Lord asking me to stay. Every single time I came to The Lord about this- I knew He was asking me to stay. 

It was not the answer I was looking for, but it was the answer I got. I obeyed The Lord and stayed. In staying, The Lord blessed me by showing me His hand in the leading of the church. I had a front-row seat in watching God move people in His time for His glory. 

God knows you and knows the church. He knows how He wanted to use you and He will lead you to where He wants you to be.

It may not be where you expect, but it will always be a blessing to you to obey The Lord. 

6. Be ready for change

When I was living in Ottawa, I went to the same church for more than 20 years. 

The people there had watched me grow up and were like family. 

When we moved to Edmonton, I knew that my church experience would be different. 

People would not know me and it would take time to have new people feel like family. 

Also, even when churches are in the same denomination, they may do things differently. 

People don’t like change. We like what we know and it can be uncomfortable to be in a new church who do things in a different way than you used to. 

But it’s important not to let these small differences take our focus off what matters– finding a new church home. 

Some Final Thoughts

Starting the hunt for a church can be intimidating. Most cities have multiple churches to choose from.

To help make your church hunt easier, make sure to follow the 6 steps listed above.

Don’t forget that God is always with you and will guide you in finding a new church.

In the comments below, share what you look for in a church.

Please share this post with others. Thank you!

A picture of a white church with a brown roof. This church has a steeple with a cross at the top. The church is located in a field in winter. Above the picture are the words: 6 tips for finding a new church. Below the picture are the words: www.onedeterminedlife.com
A picture of a a man kneeling inside a church. He has his eyes closed with clasped hands close to his face. Above the picture are the words: 6 tips for finding a new church. Below the picture are the words: www.onedeterminedlife.com

9 Ways to Express Anger

9 ways to express your ANGER without sinning or hurting those around you. ANGER is natural and good to express but only when you EXPRESS YOUR ANGER in a healthy way. Learn to CONTROL YOUR ANGER , read some ANGER QUOTES and some ANGER MANAGEMENT activities #christianliving, #wordofGod, #anger, #angermanagement, #angermangementstrategies

Growing up, I had a lot of anger. As a Christian, I felt that it was sinful to feel anger and to express anger. So, instead of expressing how I felt  I would stuff it in. In this post, I will share with you 9 ways to express anger.

a side profile of a women's face that shows anger. Click to read 9 ways to express anger

The problem with stuffing my feelings is that there is only so much room for all the emotions I was feeling and it was inevitable that I would explode. 

My explosions were full of screaming at my family and throwing things violently. 

I knew that my actions were sinful but I had a hard time knowing anger.

After some reading, I realized that anger itself is not sinful but that the way we choose to express anger can be sinful.

The Bible says


““Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26‬ ‭NKJV


a night sky with the words Be Angry and so not sin over it.

Freedom to be angry

God shows anger and so did Jesus. Since God is perfect and can’t sin He must have expressed His anger without sinning. Since God Himself can express His emotions, then so can we?

Once I had figured out that I could express anger, it gave me so much freedom. I hated lashing out and hurting the people around me and wanted to ding a better way. 

2 ways to express anger without sinning

I think the best way to express anger and any other emotions is to get stop bottling emotions and to find healthy ways to express our feelings.

1. Confront

The Bible is very clear that if we feel hurt or sinned against then we  to seek that person out and talk to them.



Moreover, if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:15‬ ‭NKJV

a couple sitting next to eachother outside. Backs facing the camera with these words on top: If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.

The best way to express anger is to clear the air with the person we are angry at and get on the same page.

In the heat of the moment, it’s probably best not to say what’s on your mind. If you are in a situation where someone is making you angry, step away and don’t respond right away.

It’s best to take a break, calm down, pray about it and then seek that person out. If you respond in anger then things will only get worse.

2. Let it out

The best way to express our anger is to let it out. I have learned the hard way that keeping emotions in is not healthy. The emotions add up and soon we can’t control what comes out of our mouths. 

So, if you don’t want to blow up then it’s best to find ways to express how we feel when we feel it. 

Most Recent Blog Posts

7 Healthy Ways to express anger

1. Yell

The best way for me to express anger is to yell.

I like a good fight or argument and when I am frustrated there’s nothing better than to have a good fight.

Unfortunately, not many people can have a fight without getting hurt or ruining a relationship.

When I first got married, I soon realized that my husband does not like confrontation and will not engage in an argument.

So, I had to find a solution. Thankfully, my younger sister is similar to me. She likes a good argument but married a non-confrontational guy. What were we to do? One day, my sister called me up and we ended up in a good fight. After she said: thanks, I really needed to fight. I laughed and we both moved on. We expressed some frustration and were able to do so without hurting each other.

I know that my situation is unique and most people don’t have people they can do that with.

If you like to yell and scream then do so. Just not at another person. Yell in a pillow, outside, or alone in your car. These will satisfy your need to yell and no one will get hurt (except for maybe your voice).

2. Punch something (not someone)

When I was younger, all I wanted to do when I was angry was hit something. Sometimes my emotions would get the best of me and I would be physical towards my sibling. Other times  I would go into my room and rip paper and hit my pillow.

One of the ways I express anger was by hitting my pillow was never satisfying. I always wanted something better to hit.

What I really wanted was a punching bag. Now that my kids are getting older, I might just get one. Not just for me, but for them as well.

Punching a bag gets out frustrations and spends energy. It feels productive and is very helpful.

3. Put on some music

I love music! and listen to it all the time. Music helps me express anger by expressing what I can’t in my own words.

There are some music that I listen to when I am angry or upset that helps me express what I am feeling and get me out of that feeling. 

When in doubt, put some music on.

  • Click to hear some of my go-to songs.  (warning: these are not Christian songs and are a bit unconventional but they do the trick) 

4. Eat something sweet

One way I express anger is by eating something sweet. I can’t always do this because if I ate something sweet every time I felt mad or frustrated I would be the size of a house.

But, I do have a stash of chocolate in the house. When I am feeling overwhelmed and frustrated, the best way to feel those things is to just dig in and eat some junk food.

For me, it’s sweets. I have a friend that dips into the peanut butter.

Whatever your go-to is, don’t feel guilty about just having a bite. Chocolate has some magical powers to help heal all anger. But be careful to not indulge too much or make food a crutch. It’s a delicate balance and one I seem to always be walking.

5. Exercise

Since my go-to comfort food is chocolate, it might be best to find a healthier form of therapy.

The healthiest way to express anger is to use all my pent-up energy and exercise.

I have never caught the exercise bug. I wish I enjoyed it and used it as a coping mechanism. It is something I am trying to add to my day since I know there are many benefits, but I just can’t seem to figure it out.

Tell me in the comments the best forms of exercise that help you release some anger. 

6. Clean

There are some people out there that express anger by stress cleaning or clean to relax or express anger. I wish I was one of these people. Their houses are always clean and their emotions make them more productive.

Getting up from the couch and doing something is a great way to use some of the energy you have from being mad.

Instead of taking out your anger on a person, you can hit the floor with the broom or dust aggressively.

7. Make something

The next best thing to a punching bag is a batch of dough. If you are a baker, there is something about kneading dough that is extremely satisfying and may help you express anger. Cooking uses all the senses and is extremely therapeutic.

The best part is that you usually end up with an edible finished product. Not only does cooking help express emotions, but it can be externally productive.

There are many s that you can make that will help express anger and help release some of the energy you have from anger or frustration. Look at what you love to do and ways you can express yourself when you do it. 

In the comments below tell me some things you do to express anger in a healthy way.

Please share this blog post with others. Thank you.

Master the Art of Communication to Build a Strong Marriage

Are difficult conversations causing tension in your relationship? Do you want to strengthen your communication skills and build a deeper connection with your spouse? Continue to read as I share with you the Art of Communication to Build a Strong Marriage.

Listen in as I have a captivating conversation with communication expert, Ann Visser, who shares her personal story of communication challenges in her own marriage. Her insights will leave you craving more and eager to transform your own relationship through effective communication.

Communication is the foundation of any successful relationship, and this is particularly true in marriage. However, many couples struggle with effective communication, leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional distance.

**This blog post contains affiliate links, please see my disclosure policy**

Listen to the episode:

Timestamps:

[00:01:57] Meet Ann Visser
[00:05:36] Neglected communication and conflict led to distance.
[00:11:58] Create healthy conflict, and communicate to build trust.
[00:19:38] Three C’s: Check emotions, communicate, and curiosity.
[00:23:51] Patience and communication are key to relationship success.
[00:41:13] Daily and yearly habits maintain a marriage.
[00:44:48] Avoid relationship mind games
[00:49:02] Marital system changes are needed for child discipline

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Master the Art of Communication to Build a Strong Marriage

Meet Ann

Ann Visser is a certified John Maxwell coach, speaker, and trainer with over 20 years of experience in equipping individuals and organizations to communicate effectively. She is also the co-founder of For Better Forever, which focuses on communication and leadership skills for couples. Ann has worked with young people, teaching them how to avoid falling for a jerk and find good people to be with for a lifetime. She has also travelled to Paraguay to teach values-based leadership skills to students and supported inmates in a local jail and a recovery home for addicts to change from the inside out.

In this podcast episode, we focus on Ann’s insights on communication in marriage, particularly the challenges that couples face and how to overcome them.

Common Communication Challenges in Marriage

One of the most common challenges that couples face in communication is avoiding conflict. Many couples believe that avoiding conflict is the key to a happy marriage, but this is a misconception. Avoiding conflict creates emotional distance and can lead to resentment and frustration. Ann shares her personal experience of how avoiding conflict created a distance in her marriage:

“We also avoided conflict. And this, these two things, not communicating and avoiding conflict, created an emotional space at a distance in our marriage. It kind of snuck up on us. It didn’t happen right away. It kind of snuck up on us. And so all of a sudden we kind of like, it was like, I woke up one day and was like, wait a minute, I don’t know who you are anymore.”

Another challenge that couples face in communication is not knowing how to communicate effectively about their feelings and needs. Many couples assume that their partner should know what they want or need without having to say it explicitly. However, this assumption often leads to misunderstandings and unmet expectations. Ann shares her experience of feeling alone and like a single mom raising her kids when her husband was busy with farming:

“I often felt alone, like I was a single mom raising these kids when he had his very busy seasons.”

This feeling of loneliness and unmet needs can create emotional distance and resentment in a marriage.

Additionally, couples often struggle with vulnerability and trust. They may fear being judged or rejected by their partner, leading them to withhold information or feelings. Ann explains that trust can fluctuate, and it’s essential to create a safe space for vulnerability:

“Trust is something that kind of moves. It’s a bit on, it’s on a slider. And so you hurt me a little bit today, and my trust kind of falls, or I’m reminded of something way back when, and my trust plummets. Because I’m not sure I can trust you. So I’m not going to be vulnerable with you.”

2 simple Tips for Overcoming Communication Challenges in Marriage

To overcome communication challenges in marriage, couples need to learn how to communicate effectively and openly about their feelings and needs.

This requires vulnerability and honesty, which can be difficult for some couples. However, getting help is the bravest and best thing a couple can do for their marriage:

“We’re going to get the help that we need in order to get well. And I tell my people, it’s the bravest and best thing you can do in the world is to get help. And I think we all need it at some point.”

Getting help can come in many forms, such as counselling, coaching, or attending workshops or retreats. The important thing is to recognize that communication is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice and guidance.

A picture of a couple sitting on a couch facing each other talking. Under the picture are the words mater the art of communication to build a strong marriage. www.onedeterminedlife.com

1. Be an Active & Empathetic Listener

One effective way to improve communication in marriage is to learn how to listen actively and empathetically.

Active listening means paying attention to what your partner is saying without interrupting or judging them.

Empathetic listening means trying to understand your partner’s perspective and feelings without necessarily agreeing with them.

The importance of listening in communication:

“Listening is the most important thing in communication. And we need to listen with our hearts and our ears. We need to be present and focused on what our partner is saying, rather than thinking about our response or what we want to say next.”

2. Learn to express your feelings

Another way to improve communication in marriage is to learn how to express your feelings and needs in a clear and respectful way. This means using “I” statements instead of “you” statements and avoiding blame or criticism. Ann emphasizes the importance of expressing yourself honestly:

“It’s important to express your feelings and needs in a clear and respectful way. This means using “I” statements instead of “you” statements and avoiding blame or criticism. For example, instead of saying ‘You never listen to me,’ say ‘I feel unheard when we talk.'”

It’s so important to be self-aware and have emotional regulation in communication. When emotions run high, it can be challenging to communicate effectively. Ann shares her personal experience of learning how to regulate her emotions:

“I have learned how to regulate my emotions. So when I’m feeling upset or angry, I can take a step back, take a deep breath, and respond in a calm and respectful way. This has been a game-changer for our marriage.”

Related Blog Posts

How to Create a Healthy Communication Environment

In addition to learning communication skills, couples need to create a healthy communication environment in their marriage.

1. Establish Routines that promote good communication

This means establishing routines and habits that promote open and honest communication. Ann and her husband have developed daily, weekly, and yearly habits that help them stay connected:

“We have rhythms and routines that help us stay connected. For example, we have a daily prayer time and coffee together in the morning, and we have a weekly date night where we go out and do something fun together. We also take an annual marriage retreat to reflect on our relationship and set goals for the future.”

2. Set Boundaries in your communication

Creating a healthy communication environment also involves setting boundaries and respecting each other’s needs and preferences. Ann emphasizes the importance of boundaries in communication:

“Boundaries are important in communication. It’s important to know your limits and to communicate them to your partner. For example, if you need some alone time to recharge, it’s okay to say that and to ask your partner to respect that.”

Strengthen Your Connection Through Effective Communication

Effective communication is essential for a healthy and fulfilling marriage. When couples learn how to communicate openly and honestly, they can build trust and intimacy, resolve conflicts, and strengthen their connection.

However, when communication breaks down, it can lead to emotional distance, resentment, and even divorce.

By learning how to listen actively, express themselves clearly, regulate their emotions, and create a healthy communication environment, couples can overcome the common challenges of communication in marriage and build a strong and lasting relationship.

Conclusion

Communication is the foundation of any successful marriage. However, many couples struggle with effective communication, leading to misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional distance.

By learning how to communicate openly and honestly, couples can build trust and intimacy, resolve conflicts, and strengthen their connection.

By creating a healthy communication environment, couples can establish routines and habits that promote open and honest communication, set boundaries, and respect each other’s needs and preferences.

The future outlook for communication in marriage is promising, as more couples recognize the importance of effective communication and seek help to improve their skills.

In the comments below, share your tips on communicating with your spouse.

Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace

If you’re in the workplace, you know how tricky it can be to share your faith. That’s exactly what I’m going to talk about with my guest, Paige Clark. Paige will share her experiences and insights on being a Christian witness amidst the challenges and opportunities that come up in professional settings. For many of us, our work environment can be a space where faith often takes a back seat, overshadowed by the demands of daily tasks and corporate culture. Continue to read as I share with you Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace.

And don’t worry if you’re listening to this and you’re not in the workplace, this conversation is still relevant because the truths we share can be applied to any scenario we have an encounter with non-Christian people.

So stick around as we share the ways in which we can bring our faith into our work lives and serve as a positive influence on those around us.

Listen to the episode:

Timestamps:

00:00- Integrating Faith and Professional Responsibilities
03:53- Faith in the Workplace
07:01- Responding to Controversial Lifestyle Pictures
08:48- The Benefits of Working in a Company That Aligns with Your Values
08:51- Exploring the Line Between Gossip and Being Informed 
11:56- Showing Jesus Through Everyday Actions
18:44- Exploring the Power of the Holy Spirit in the Workplace and Beyond
18:46 Finding Balance and Blessing in Your Career
22:16- How God Can Use Us in Our Current Situations
23:25- Finding Identity in Christ, Not in Career
29:39- The Quiet Quitting Movement
29:42- Work-Life Balance and Setting Boundaries

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Practical Ways to Honour God in the Workplace

Meet Paige Clark

I live in Arizona, in a suburb outside of Phoenix. I’ve lived here for now 10 years, and am originally from California. For my job, I like to say I have many hats. When people ask me what I do, I say how long do you have? Because then I can tell you everything that I actually do.

But for my regular full-time job, I work in marketing as a social media manager for a tech company. I also teach marketing on the side, have one-on-one clients, and I’m also a writer.

I publish a magazine every quarter, and I have a podcast.

Today we’re actually talking about faith in the workplace. I’m sure you’ve noticed this, but more and more it’s hard to be to show your faith just because of the circumstances we live in this day and age.

Navigating Workplace Culture as a Christian

Can you talk maybe a little bit about how Christians can live out their faith while balancing the culture of a workplace that really tries to discourage Christians to show their faith?

I think it depends on a few things. Do you work from home or do you work from the office? Do you commute? Do you not commute? How long is your commute? And what industry do you work in?

Because the answer to that question changes radically depending on what industry you work with, which is crazy.

My first job was at a Christian university, so it was very much accepted to demonstrate my faith. And then I entered the tech space, it was hard.

It’s becoming more and more prevalent. It’s not necessarily a corporate attitude, but it’s more so the prevalence.

It’s more of the individual attitude where you get put into situations and you’re thinking, OK how does God want me to respond to this? What is the Christian way to respond to this problem?

I ran into this issue and I still don’t have the right answer. I had a colleague of mine ask me if I wanted to see pictures of their controversial lifestyle. It put me in a really awkward situation because friendly Paige say, of course, let’s see what you did this weekend. I want to know all about it.

But then also I struggle with this part of me that is also very grounded in my faith and I go, OK how would Jesus respond in this situation? How is Jesus asking me to respond in this situation?

I don’t know the right answer. I never got an answer on that and maybe the answer is going to come some other day.

But through this experience, God has helped me take a minute and ask God for wisdom.

I can say: God, I don’t know what the right answer is here and I’m not going to say anything until you show up and you tell me what to do and that might result in me not saying anything at all.

A picture of a woman sitting on the ground with her legs crossed with a laptop on her lap. She is looking up and has a huge smile on her face. Under the picture are the words, Practicle ways to honour God is the workplace. www.onedeterminedlife.com

Christian culture depends on the company you work for


Being able to share your faith at work really does depend on the industry, but also the company you work for.

My husband is a marketing director and he really likes his company because they’re family based company.

Even though maybe his pay is a little bit lower, he doesn’t have to worry that he’s going to be pointed out as a Christian and affect his ability to work well in the company.

So for him, that’s a huge benefit because he doesn’t have to face these scenarios every day. Ones where he might worry he’s going to lose his job because of the way he handles these sorts of things.

His values align a little bit more with this company. But that wasn’t necessarily something he was looking for when he started the job. It’s just something that he’s learned as he’s been on the job.

But it’s one of the reasons why he stays is because he really loves it and they do really treat him really well. But he also doesn’t have that fear of showing his faith more at work.

So it’s understanding that there is going to be a cost if we decide to stay somewhere or leave somewhere.

So for my husband, He can be with a different company that would probably pay him twice as much as he is being paid now, but the cost would be his freedom and his faith versus his current cost. But for him, it’s worth it because of that freedom.

It’s not just about what you say, but how you act

Faith isn’t so just about what you say in the workplace, but how you act. One thing that I talk about on the podcast, is gossip.

I think I was very ill-prepared for the workplace and the gossip that happens in the workplace.

I would argue to say gossip in the workplace is worse than gossip in high school.

We need to critically ask these questions and be aware of what is going on and then go to God about it because ultimately the Bible says do not gossip, watch your tongue.

But what does that mean in the workplace? What is the line between gossiping and being informed?

These types of scenarios bring up many blurry lines there.

But in the workplace, it’s not so much about what you say, it’s about how you act. If people know you as the gossiper in the workplace, they might see that and might not see Jesus. And I think that when we are able to just show Jesus, I think that changes people’s approach to us a lot more.

If you are spending time with the Lord and you’re pursuing him and your relationship with him, then those things will naturally flow out.

Because I remember at one job – I’d be around my coworkers and they would swear and right away they’d look at me and say, oh, I’m so sorry. And I never said anything about their swearing.

But, I think they realized just by being around me, what my values were. I did have to say swearing makes me feel uncomfortable or I don’t like it.

And so I think there are some things that we just naturally do, that people sense and observe that we don’t necessarily need to be loud about. We can just naturally let it flow out of us and then people do see the difference.

A picture of a woman sitting at a desk in an office, working on her computer.

Balancing Faith and Perception

And I struggle with balancing that line between being holy and other people thinking that I had an attitude of being “holier than thou”.

In College, I had some friends that thought I was snobbish because of my faith. So they started hiding things from me.

Some of my best friends lied to me about stuff because they felt that they couldn’t come to me with those things.

And so it’s hard for me because I want my humanity to show, but I also want Jesus to show up even more.

And at work, do I cuss every now and then? Yeah, that’s just authentically me. But then how can I show up in love and in Jesus and be included in the conversations where Jesus needs to show up?

When people talk with me, when people are with me, I want them to feel heard and see where they’re at.

And then it’s just those real indications of how we act and how we show Jesus through those situations.

For some people, it’s having to cross on your cubicle or saying- I’ll be praying for you.

The Delicate Balance of Sharing Your Faith

I always like to drop little Nuggets. When people ask me- what are you doing this weekend?

I have two options for how I can answer that. I can say I’m volunteering or I’m volunteering at my church.

Those land very differently. And sometimes I found myself kind really comfortable doing that.

Because I would be self-censoring that. It’s not trying to brag, I’m not trying to show off. My co-worker asked me what I’m doing. For me, every other week I’m volunteering.

It’s letting people know that if they have questions about the church or if they need prayer about something, they can come to me about that if they need to.

And I think it’s so situational, and I think that’s partly why it’s hard to have very specific answers because it can depend on the environment or even the person that you’re talking to.

Each person at your work might have different standards or they might approach something really differently.

We are the only Jesus they see

One of the things I try to do is be different than what people think they think Christians are. — stick with me.

My brother-in-law and his wife aren’t saved. The only thing they know about Christianity is what they see in the news. And Christians don’t look good in the news these days.

So, I try to give them a different picture of what Christianity is.

And it’s not standing on my soapbox. It’s not shoving it down the throat.

It’s showing kindness, generosity, support, and all those things.

These should all be naturally flowing out of me because of my relationship with Christ.

What is a “good witness”

When I was younger, I thought I knew what it meant to be a good witness. I thought it mean all these things that just add up to good works.

But the older I get, the more I realized that my witness is about getting to know God, and being in a relationship with him, and letting it naturally flow out of me.

I don’t necessarily need to try and do it.

But then, I also need to be intentional in those conversations to say the words church or I’ll pray for you.

Those things help grow those relationships to then maybe have a discussion in the future. I want to make that relationship positive.

A picture of Anne Markey facing the camera. Next to her picture are the words, My witness is about getting to know God, being in a relationship with Him, and letting it naturally flow out of me.

Getting to know your neighbours

Another example- I live in a brand new community and so everyone in the community, nine times out of 10, they’re from out of state. They didn’t move from Arizona to another spot in Arizona. They moved from a different state, Nebraska, Ohio, and Minnesota, just to name a few.

They’re new and they’re not connected. Most of them don’t have family here. And so things that I’m doing is dropping little bread crumbs to let them know who I am and what I’m about.

And so that shows up for Easter when I shared my church’s information and I said, if you’re looking for a place to go to Easter, you’re welcome here.

I think it just shows people what I’m about. I’m just merely opening the door. And I think that if we’re dropping those bread crumbs, people are able to come and eat when they’re ready.

We are different

One of the things my daughter noticed is the difference between her and somebody who doesn’t follow the Lord in Jr. High because it is so completely evident.

It’s the same thing in the workplace. Since we’re full of the Holy Spirit, I think people sense it.

Tw that we’re different even without us saying or doing anything, just because their inner spirit knows that our spirits aren’t the same.

My husband and I joke around because we try to take different scenarios to know more non-Christians and see if we can encourage them.

The example that we think about is: before we had our eldest child, we went to prenatal classes. We assumed some participants in the class would be non-Christians. We decided we wanted to be intentional and see if we could make relationships with different couples.

And of course, the one couple we felt more connected to, we learned a few weeks later that they were Christian. To me, this shows how our spirit knows their spirit. It’s not because they even said anything or they did anything. It’s just that we share The Holy Spirit and we could sense it in each other.

No wonder we got along – we’re family.

A picture of a woman sitting at a desk in an office, working on her computer.

Should work be a mission field?

One other thing I want to say about faith in the workplace is I feel like there’s this misunderstanding that in order to practice your faith and be a good servant of the Lord, you need to step into using work as a ministry, and that is the furthest thing from the truth.

What I’m learning, especially through the conversations about faith in the workplace, is that God can have you in the position you’re in so that He can give you blessings in other areas of your life.

So it’s not so much so that you have to be in the absolute perfect situation but being able to do more with your time, do more with your money, or be home more.

Certain jobs may give you the ability to work from home and have more time with your family, and your church. It may give you more vacation time.

I’ll give you an example.

When I was in my first job I was commuting 80 miles round trip a day. So it was about an hour and a half each way of a drive. It was killer. It nearly killed my body and my soul like it was terrible.

What happened when I was doing that though was I had zero energy to pour out myself into my church community. I didn’t want to go anywhere on Sunday because I spent. On Saturday and Sunday because I didn’t want to go out of the house because of my long hours.

I wanted to be in my beautiful house. I didn’t want to be in the world because I’d been in the world for the past five days.

Then, when I moved jobs, my job was closer to my house. This magic thing happened, and I suddenly had enough energy and enough vibrancy for other areas of my life.

And it wasn’t necessarily that that job was the end all be all. It was fulfilling for what it was, but it wasn’t my ultimate calling.

What it did was allow me to grow closer to my husband, allowed me to settle us a little bit more in our house. It allowed me to get more plugged in with my church community. It allowed me to know my neighbours a little bit more.

The new job allowed me to have blessings in other areas of my life, and it wasn’t just about my job.

God can use you wherever you’re at, but also He may have you where you’re at, so you get blessings in other areas of your life.

A picture of Paige Clark facing the camera. Next to her picture are the words, God can have you in the position you're in so that He can give you blessings in other areas of your life

Our jobs don’t need to be our ministry

I have this discussion a lot with my husband as well. He has been in some jobs when they weren’t fulfilling and they were hard. In those times, he was more engaged in church.

But he has the opposite problem now where he really loves his work and so he doesn’t have tons of time for ministry, but he really does feel that the Lord is using this job for him to make a positive impact in that job.

I think it can be either or even both. Tb itself doesn’t necessarily need to be ministry.

We can just live our Christian lives and whatever comes in will come out naturally. The blessings will be in other areas or the Lord’s placed you in that position to be that Christian influence.

Not every single thing we do needs to be a ministry.

The tendency to over-spiritualize things

There’s the tendency to over-spiritualize things. I think that what we should do and what we actually do are probably very different.

But we should always go to God with our request and seek His guidance in our path and life.

I also believe that God is incredibly sovereign and He is going to make His way happen whether or not you choose to take the job, and whether or not you decide to step out in boldness.

Yes, he’s calling you to do that. And yes, you should do that when the Holy Spirit is moving you. But I think that there might be shame or guilt around.

Doing or not doing something because we might not have a clear answer. Does God want me in Job A or Job B? God is still sovereign and there’s nothing you can do to screw up God’s plan.

It’s about How you do a job

My husband and I worked with our youth group ministry for a couple of years. And so we would get to know these kids in high school.

And so you would see them in grade 11/12 thinking about what to do next.

Most of these kids wanted to know what to do. What program should I apply for? What should I be when I grow up?

As graduation came closer their anxiety would increase.

And I would say to them: no offence, but whether you become a doctor, lawyer, nurse, or Carpenter. It’s not about what job you have, it’s about how you’re doing that job for Him (God).

Just giving them that peace, their anxiety went down because it then no longer about making “the wrong choice”.

It just became about whatever choice you make, do it for the Lord.

Do everything for The Lord

And that is such a good reminder for any situation that we’re in.

Whether we do job A or job B. If we’re not getting a specific direction, then it’s not about the job anymore. It’s about how we’re doing that job right.

And one other big thing I learned in these conversations is just to do your job with excellence.

We are meant to reflect Jesus in this world. We’re here to give our all.

Finding Identity in Christ, Not in Career

And I want to draw a really distinct line: just because we give something our all doesn’t mean it is our all.

I find a lot of people have this mindset towards their work that it’s always about what your next step was.

What’s your next step? What ladder are you going to climb? What’s your next goal? What’s your career goal?

My career goals have nothing to do with this job, sorry. This is not why God put me on this earth. And I find it might just be corporate culture. It might be the company culture that you’re at that makes you cling to this idea of always having to be thinking of what’s next.

But my identity is not wrapped in that. My identity is in Christ. My identity is Christ alone, and my career aspirations are whatever he wants for me and my career.

When we started this at the top of the podcast, you asked me what I do. Well, I have my nine-to-five. Do I enjoy it? Yeah, I love my job, love my team. Is it what I’m meant to do on this earth? No, not at all. It’s to support my family and get a paycheck and to be able to have a roof over my head. And that’s OK.

For anyone who needs to hear this, that is okay to collect a paycheck from work.

Do I still do my job with excellence? Yes, do I still put all my effort into my job? Yes.

Do I get my value from my job? No, I get my value from the one who sets my value.

A picture of Paige Clark facing the camera. Next to the picture are the words,  My career goals have nothing to do with this job, sorry. This is not why God put me on this earth. And I find it might just be corporate culture. It might be the company culture that you're at that makes you cling to this idea of always having to be thinking of what's next.

The Impact of Job Loss on Your Identity

I think that’s such a good reminder because my husband actually has lost his job more than a few times. In that process, it’s easy to see how you can completely lose yourself in your work and the identity you have in that job.

Losing your job can be hard because it’s such a big part of your life. So if you’re if your identity is in what you do- then if you lose that.

Once you lose that, it’s so easy to lose faith and lose direction and even any of those things because of where your identity is.

I talk about this not just in our jobs, but as a mom, and as a wife. If my identity is in my children- when they leave, I’m gonna be lost.

So I work on having my identity in Christ, because everything around me may change, but God doesn’t. He is the only thing that is permanent.

That mindset shift isn’t just helping to have a good work-life balance, but it also protects you in case you lose that job or it’s time to move on. Then you don’t spiral because your identity isn’t wrapped up in it. It’s such a good way to protect yourself spiritually and emotionally in all those different areas.

A picture of a women sitting at her desk in front of her computer. She has a phone in her hand and is looking at the camera with a huge smile on her face.

The Purpose of the Quiet Quitting Movement

You saw this conversation come up a lot with the whole “quiet quitting” movement.

For those who might not recognize that term, quiet quitting is not about people just abruptly quitting their jobs, but rather it’s the idea of this generation who will only go until expectations are met.

For example:

If their job is from nine to five, they’re out at 5 PM. They’re not checking their email or Slack or anything like that. They’re done at five.

On the other side, there are those who believe that you need to push harder and be more dedicated, going the extra mile, and striving for excellence.

These two opposing views created a divide, with some asserting their independence while others insisted on excelling at work.

As I observed this, I found myself in a position where I didn’t have to have a strong opinion about these matters because

  • God’s opinion is my opinion, and I don’t have to have an opinion about everything, which is part of the quiet quitting movement.
  • I realized there is a middle ground—a balance between doing your job with excellence and not allowing it to consume your entire life.

In an ideal scenario, this movement aimed to address toxic workplaces where people weren’t responding in a healthy way.

Advice for people starting a new job

If anyone is about to start a new job, I would give this advice: set your boundaries early and firmly.

If you don’t establish those boundaries from the beginning, others will assume they don’t exist.

So, if your boundary is, for example, not checking your phone from 6 PM to 7 AM, communicate that boundary clearly.

It’s okay to express these personal boundaries and limitations. Just say, “Hey, I have set this boundary for myself.”

Of course, it depends on the nature of the job, but if you establish and reinforce your boundaries consistently, people will respect them, and you can move forward in that way.

A picture of a women sitting at a table outside. There is a computer on the table and the women is talking on the phone while writing in a notepad.

Following The Lord’s example

I think sometimes as Christians, we feel obligated to be all things to all people, to always be kind and say yes because we think it’s the only way to serve the Lord well.

Guilt often plays into this dynamic.

However, if we examine Scripture closely, even Jesus himself had boundaries. He would separate himself from the crowd to spend time with the Lord and find rest.

Despite his followers sometimes not honouring those boundaries, He still took deliberate steps to separate himself.

What happened with COVID and technology is that when you’re always at home with tools like Teams, Slack, and Messenger, people feel like they have access to you because you’re working from home. It becomes easy to work all the time and remain connected.

But learning the balance between work and personal life, and setting those boundaries, doesn’t mean we’re going against our faith if we decline to answer an email at 8 PM.

It doesn’t make us bad Christians because we have healthy boundaries.

We can still give our all to our jobs while maintaining those boundaries.

Finding this balance is challenging because, as you said, it depends on the job and the work we do.

But ultimately, it comes down to why we do it, how we do it, and who it’s for. I feel like this is a topic we could discuss all day, but we’ve already been here for a while.

Connect with Paige

So you’ve mentioned your podcast a little bit, but if people want to know more about kind of what you share and what you do, where can people find you?

People can find me on my website. On all social channels or you can subscribe to my podcast.

Thank you so much and if you enjoy the show. Please share this podcast with a few of your Christian friends so that we can get bigger and more impactful guests on the show.

Thank you so much for joining me and I’ll catch you next week on the next episode.

Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Life is full of ups and downs, and there are moments when we find ourselves facing immense challenges and difficulties. It is during times of struggle that we often yearn for a glimmer of hope to guide us through the darkness. In the midst of our trials, one constant source of unwavering support and strength is our faith in God. Continue to read as I share how to find hope during times of struggle.

The episode:

Timestamps

00:00- Exploring Faith and Resilience: A Conversation with Carmen James”
02:15- Reflection on Growing Up in the Nazarene Church and Finding Faith in Adulthood
_:__:__ Reflection on Finding Faith After a Difficult Marriage and Cancer Diagnosis
09:36- Rediscovering God’s Priorities
_:__:__ Finding Faith in the Face of Cancer
14:10- Faith, Hope, and Overcoming Cancer
19:57- Exploring Faith-Based Support During Cancer Journey
25:58- Faith and Overcoming Adversity
30:39- The Power of Scripture in Healing and Encouragement
36:27-  A Reflection on Faith and Miracles
38:38- Trusting the Lord and Cancer Treatment
40:28- Experiencing God’s Presence During Cancer Treatment

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Hope During Times of Struggle: How to Rely on God

Have you ever noticed that spiritual growth only comes through trials?? I know for me, the times I grow the most in my walk with God is when I’m facing hard things. This is also true for my guest today.

Her name is Carmen, and in this episode, Carmen shares her journey through battling cancer and the profound lessons she learned along the way. Carmen’s story is one of resilience, faith, and the incredible power of community.

Throughout her trials, she discovered a deep trust in God that carried her through the darkest moments. In today’s conversation, we delve into her experiences, the transformative healing she underwent, and the role that prayer played in her journey.

Carmen’s story proves that even in the face of unimaginable difficulties, it is possible to find strength, joy, and purpose.

Carmen’s journey reminds us that our greatest battles can become the catalysts for profound personal growth and transformation. Join me as we dive into Carmen’s inspiring tale, exploring the invaluable lessons she has learned and the wisdom she gained from her encounters with both darkness and light.

So continue reading as we discover how unwavering faith in God can help us navigate the unknown and embrace the healing journey with grace.

Meet Carmen

I was born and raised in the Nazarene church. I grew up in a very strict home. We went to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night.

My dad was very big into our church, and very much lived out. His faith has been a tremendous role model for me through the years.

But like a lot of kids, I didn’t grow up loving church. When I went off to college and was obviously out on my own. You know at that age you you’re just exploring the world. You’re out from underneath your parent’s roof and their rules. And my rules at that point didn’t include church and I really started to drift.

Church was not a priority. A relationship with God was not a priority.

I wasn’t in the word of God. I could give lip service because I’d had years of going to church, but going to church is not the same thing as being in a real relationship with the Lord.

And so I got into young adulthood and married, and he was Catholic.

I made that conversion to Catholicism, did that for about 10 years, and learned a lot, but it just wasn’t for me. After our divorce, I continued in the Catholic Church for a very short time and my second husband’s father was well shall we say an atheist.

And so that presented a lot of challenges in our marriage and how I wanted to raise the kids. And I often found myself going to church alone and trying to take three small kids by myself and it was a real struggle and I gave up. I gave in.

And that marriage ended 10 years later.

And so at that point, I was in a space where I felt like I need to get back to church. And so I went back to more of a Protestant church like I was raised in and fell in love and started taking my children because I wanted my children to have that base right.

The person who I’m married to now was not going to church at that time and I just didn’t let that deter me. But what I found over the years was it did start to impact me.

A picture of Anne Markey and Carmen James. Above their names and pictures are the words, Hope during struggle. How to rely on God to thrive amidst cancer diagnosis.

The Importance of being equally yoked

We’re told in the Bible to be very careful about being unequally yoked.

I truly believe that people become like the five people that we spend the most time with. And that impacted me and I found myself again, once again drifting away from church.

So Long story short, five, 5 and a half years ago I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma stage 3, which is a blood cancer.

For those of you who know nothing about that disease, that illness, that type of cancer, you hear the words incurable when you sit with that oncologist. And that dropped me to my knees. It was a big wake-up call because God had been pursuing me.

Jesus had been pursuing me, and the bells and whistles were going off on the dashboard of life.

I was just choosing to ignore and live my life the way I wanted to live on my terms. And that diagnosis brought everything to a screeching halt. It literally.

My world crashed. It was turned upside down.

In that moment, I realized that I was not in control and that someone else was calling the shots for real and had delivered me something to which I wouldn’t be able to figure a way out.

Because I’m a firstborn. A type A personality, very driven, a control freak if you will, up to that point. And this diagnosis would be the one that I would find myself on my knees begging the good Lord.

The word of God does not return empty

I love hearing testimonies of how as a kid you got to know the Lord and that it wasn’t wasted. Yes, you drifted a little bit, but because of that solid foundation, you went back to it.

I know that as a mom I always worry about whether or not we are teaching them the right things.

But it’s just an encouragement to remember that training our children in The Lord can produce fruit now and/or in the long rung.

Even if they make wrong choices, it’s not wasted. God can still redeem it and can still use it and can still, bring them back.

A Father’s example

The interesting thing behind this is my dad was diagnosed with the same cancer 12 years prior and so I watched my dad walk in faith, never wavered, and really took a hard-line position that he was going to do the aggressive chemo route and that he was going to stand in faith and believe for his healing, believe for his miracle.

He was not willing to claim the word incurable because my dad believed that The Lord is the great physician and if He wants to heal me He will. And if He doesn’t heal me here, He will heal me on the other side.

So it rocked our world when we got the news that Dad was sick and we were shocked. When this sort of thing happens, you start to ask: How did we get here and were there signs that we missed along the way?

At one point I was heartbroken and scared that I would lose my dad. And my dad said, Carmen, I’m going to tell you something right now. Don’t cry. Don’t waste your tears. I’m good. My eternity is secure. And I’m good. If the good Lord calls me home today, I’m good. Waste no tears. I’ve lived a great life.

Do I want to go in this moment? No. But it’s up to God and we have no control. So I will do my part and I will do the treatment.

But if the answer is still no and he takes me home, we’re good. We’re at peace.

And I remember thinking – wow, I’m not at peace and I’m not good with this.

And I wondered why would my God do this to my dad. He was so active in his church and volunteered and, he was always the first one to jump up and volunteer.

When the church was raising money for a project, my dad would stand up and commit thousands of dollars. And I would look at my mom and she would have this like look of horror on her face because she was like, we don’t have that money. She didn’t know where that was coming from, but that was what I learned. Faith and action. And I’m thankful for that. Because as I walked that journey with Dad, little did I know 12 years later, that was going to be me.

Carmen’s Cancer Journey

I underwent the same aggressive chemotherapy that my dad did. I lost all my hair. I was deathly ill.

At that time, I was an entrepreneur trying to run a book of business. So I have no guaranteed paycheck.

I needed to work and I was scared to death. I also recognized that God has already prepped the stage. And I already had a great example of faith.

Now did that great example make it super easy for me to go through that process? 100 % no.

In fact, I had to work through the stages of grief. I had to take my own journey in it and let it play out.

In the 1st 24 to 48 hours of reality really sinking him for me, I remember sitting at the kitchen table. My husband came home from work and sat there bawling. And my husband like, what’s going on?

And I’m like, I am just so angry at God right now. Look what happened to my dad. And now it’s happening to me and this isn’t fair. And why me? And you know the whole- what did I do to deserve this?

I had this anger that just spewed out at me and I remember who I needed to get that out.

I needed to work through that and process all of that if I was going to move forward. And I let the dust settle and I didn’t linger there.

I would say within a day or two I was out of that pit and I was like going to rise up and kick cancer to the door.

Using the pain for glory

But what I would say is there were moments in the six months of chemo and being very sick and trying to hold on to my business. I never ever blamed God, but there were moments when I didn’t see how any good can come from this.

Here’s what I know today, 5 and a half years– I received a phone call that my dad would battle cancer again.

I could not believe what I was hearing and that was hard. But I was like, oh, my gosh, we just, it just feels like we came up for air and we’re going to get hooked under yet again.

Praise God he would come through for my dad yet again. My dad is still here, he’s in his eighties, and he has now beat cancer twice. And what I have come to realize is 2 of the clients in my Virtual Wellness coaching program have found out that they have cancer as they’ve been a part of my program.

And I have one right now who’s about to battle breast cancer for the second time. We have Bible study on Monday nights over Zoom and this particular client has been very active in my Bible study. She nearly lost her husband last year. She’s been through so much. So as a tribe, we call ourselves a tribe. We’re devastated by the news. But we’re not going into battle asking for the victory. We are going into battle proclaiming the victory.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings to God

The Bible tells us the story of when Lot lost everything. He had these extreme emotions.

And so we see it in scripture.

But then when it comes to our own personal journey and we have these feelings of anger and feelings of things being unfair, I find that most Christians get really uncomfortable with those feelings.

Because you’re not allowed to be angry with Go. I’ve always felt like you like its OK, be angry but go to God with that anger. Express it and get it out on the table. Tell Him.

And so I love that you shared that you share how it’s messy. Our feelings and our faith aren’t always linear, and kind of get muddied up.

But I love that you were able to move. Out of that, into a space where you know you were trusting God through the process and then being able to use that experience to then encourage others.

God trusts us with the story

God trusts us with the story, right? He can’t trust everyone with incurable cancer.

He can’t trust everyone with breast cancer for the second time. But He’s entrusted us because He knows. That we will use that story and He will use it for our good in His glory if we allow it.

And I have been very open, very vulnerable, very raw, very real with my clients about this entire journey, very transparent.

One of the Bible verses that early on in my cancer journey really stuck out for me is from the book of Esther. And that the verse about perhaps, perhaps you were creative for such a time as this.

And in the moment I remember thinking, well, that really sucks. You mean to tell me that’s what this is all going to boil down to, that I was created for this? I mean, what good is going to come from this? What I can tell you is what I’m so passionate about. God has made it very real, the calling on my life. And who and what is my mission field?

And these women that I get to do life with and I get to be their Wellness coach. That’s my assigned mission field.

And I have watched God move inside my client’s lives. I have watched God show up.

When COVID hit, I was in a gym as a personal trainer. So basically all I did was give people great workouts. When COVID hit, I had a choice. At that moment, I prayed about it and I had a certification as a Wellness coach. But I had not used that certification.

God opened the door for me to be able to have an income, to still be able to have a job, because I could move my clients online, turn my business upside down, and go from just personal training to giving my clients workout, faith-based spiritual component, a nutrition component, a stress management component.

We talk about sleep. We talk about work-life balance, which is where I found myself when I had the cancer diagnosis. I wasn’t living in alignment with God’s priorities and there was no number work, life, balance. It was all about work.

My clients get to see me walk that out in real-time. And it’s one thing to sing a song about faith, you know, I’m always reminded of that song, Oceans.

That was such a popular song at the time I was diagnosed with cancer. I know that song because I would sing it and sob. That was my victory song, if you will because I felt like God was taking me into the deep where my feet wouldn’t touch on purpose so that I would become so dependent on him.

And when we’re never called to the deep, we don’t know the definition of faith. We can sing about it till the cows come.

But when you’re fate, when your feet don’t touch the bottom of that ocean and you have to lean on him and not yourself, that is the game changer.

Trials test your faith

I grew up in a Christian home and I thought I had faith. When you face those hard things, it’s the rubber hitting the road.

And this is when you have to decide: is this real?

And I remember for myself, it’s like I could spend all my time angry or frustrated or questioning or anything like that. But if I really believe that God is who He says He is.

I have to choose to trust.

And so it’s always these points where you have that choice.

You have the choice to say no, I don’t know what God is doing, but I trust Him.

Or it’s really a whole bunch of baloney.

But I know that it’s in those hard moments where you see Him so much stronger. That builds your faith.

Why is it the hard things that help us grow? I don’t actually want to go through all those things.

But then on the other side, it’s seeing how the Lord carried me through. He helped me grow. I understand so much more. And so there are these benefits, even though it’s sometimes a circus or a gong show or just a lot of ridiculousness.

We are the proof of God’s existence

If we’re not entrusted with the story and we don’t live it out, how will others really even know God exists?

Because if we can just be cured by modern medicine, which I know God uses medicine why am I doing this if we can just do it without him.

No one’s ever going to believe that He exists or that He is sovereign and that He is in control and He has the bigger picture.

We are the miracles.

When people say to me, I’ve never seen a miracle, I tell them “you’re looking at one”.

God knew that His strong-willed child needed something that would reguire me to need Him.

In the Bible, wasn’t it Paul who had the thorn in the flesh and He kept going back and asked God to remove it. Please remove this. Please take it. And God’s like, no, I’m not taking that away.

Why? Because it creates dependent on him.

Midset is life changing

I’ve learned a lot about mindset. I’ve learned a lot about the battlefield of the mind because that’s where the battle is won or lost.

In most things in life and the enemy very early on. When I was not rooted and grounded in the word of God, when I did not know my identity in Christ, when I did not understand love, not your life, even unto death.

I’m not here for me. I’m not here to just get married and have kids and be glam on run a business and make money and go on vacation.

I’m here to serve him.

He’s not here to serve me.

Standing of the Word of God

I love how practical scripture can be and how it becomes so real in certain circumstances.

When I was younger, I would read scripture and ask, what do you mean? I would think, this makes no sense, and how is this possible?

And then you go through an experience, it clarifies to truth of The Bible.
We know that the word of God can come in and give us life.

How did Scripture help you in your journey?

I’ve shared this story before on a couple of other podcasts. At the time that I was diagnosed with cancer.

I was in a gym, and the gentleman who owned the gym that I was renting space from, he’s a Christian. He’s now an associate pastor at a local church. 1 morning I was sick that morning. I didn’t feel like I look good. and he met me at the door and put his arm around me and he spoke scripture over me and he prayed over me and he did that more than once.

It was a game-changer for me. He was the reason I started going back to church.

God does put the right people in the right places for us. And encourages us.

He was the reason that I got back in my Bible, that I really got back in a relationship with the Lord because he ministered to me every day and he believed in me and he spoke life over me when others were not.

God puts the right people in place

When you hear incurable and people aren’t educated, sometimes they say things that mean and they’re devastating.

He was that one person that would speak the word of God, pray the word of God, and stand in the gap. And it was amazing and I’m thankful for that because. That was life-giving, life-changing.

That was God who put that person right there when I needed them the most. And I really have prayed that God would give me those same opportunities to pay that forward for others to be the one who speaks. Life stands in the gap, intercedes and walks out of the difficult.

And I was so thankful that God put him there.

The Peace of God will wash over you

We read about, you know, and the peace of God will wash over you. And that was going through my mind when you were saying that it doesn’t even necessarily need to be a specific scripture, just the opening of God’s word and speaking it out loud and speaking it over people can bring people peace.

I think sometimes people want to do this, but ask what scripture and you can get hung up on, What do I say? What do I do. Instead of just being, saying- I’m just going to speak whatever words, whatever scripture the Lord tells me to and let God bring the peace.

It’s not about magic words

I was that person early on who I googled healing scriptures. And I’m obsessed. I printed them all off. I started putting them on index cards.

I started trying to memorize them because that was me trying to take control. That was me thinking there must be this magic formula that by praying the right words or memorizing enough scripture that God was going to love me enough that He’s going to come through.

It was never about that.

The other thing that I’ve really learned since then is we don’t have to pray some big, laborious, perfect prayer when it comes to healing because it isn’t about that.

It’s about do we believe, Do we have faith? Do we understand our identity in Christ? And who God is and what He’s capable of.

But then also recognizing there are no perfect words and it doesn’t matter how much we memorize or we could drone on in prayer for 20 minutes. If there’s healing, it’s because God’s organs that God gets the glory. God does the healing.

It isn’t because 10 people laid hands on you and prayed over you. Even though we realizethe Bible tal ks about that. I’m not negating that. I’m simply saying sometimes we get hung up on that.

We worry, did I say the right words. We worry that if we say the wrong words they don’t get healed.

We can also think wedon’t have the magic scripture to give you.

At the end of it all, God knows our hearts. He knows.

It’s not about OUR faith

I want the formula. I want The Lord to just tell me what specific steps do I need to take so that my kids get saved. Lord, tell me the specific steps I need so that …fill in the blank.

You can have the most amount of faith and say all the right things and do all the right things and the Lord still chooses not to intervene.

I remember this instant in the last year at our church. Within the span of one week, two different girls got diagnosed with the same cancer.

The church gathered around both and poured the oil and prayed and laid hands on them both. And one was healed miraculously. She went to hernext appointment and it was gone.

And then the other one walked through the cancer journey.

And I wondered why this one and not this one?

And I know the mom must have been thinking the same thing and it was kind of hard to watch.

We did all the same things, and the results were very different.

But they both walked the road that the Lord had put in front of them. And both of them gave the glory to God.

And thankfully, the second one is now in remission.

That tought me that it’s not about what we do, and what we say. It’s about the Lord. And it doesn’t take a magic verse. It’s just trusting the Lord for His plan, even if we don’t know what that is or agree with it.

Praying through the pain

Carmen had six months of treatment and the oncologist said we’re going to do something called our CHOP. And for anybody who’s been through cancer, you know our CHOP is literally the most aggressive cancer protocol out on the market today and it’s.

It, you know, it knocks you. I mean, I would literally get home and I spend the next 24 hours literally beside the toilet on the bathroom floor, face down, like help me survive, like just get me through the next 24 hours. It was debilitating.

In those moments, I did pray a lot.

I had this one moment when I was walking the hospital floor, I rounded that corner with an IV pole and in the blink of an eye I saw that sun setting and I felt the Lord put his arm around me. And I knew at that minute He was walking that hall with me. His presence was so real.

I just knew he was right there beside me and we would get through it one way or the other. We were going to get through this. I mean, I didn’t know if the kid, if the chemo would work, but I knew he was there. I absolutely knew He was present.

Struggles can take various forms – whether it’s battling an illness, facing financial hardship, navigating through broken relationships, or dealing with the loss of a loved one.

It is during these moments that our faith can be tested and our hope can waver.

However, by seeking a deeper connection with God, we can find solace and renewal even in the midst of adversity.

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