I am excited to have my friend Jaclyn on the blog today! She and I went to high school together but live in different states now. Thanks to social media, I read a small part of her story when she shared a post not too long ago. I knew I wanted her to guest blog for us because she has a story women can resonate with...body image. I am thankful for her transparency and I pray it can help someone today! Please know you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need prayer!
When I was little, how much I weighed or what size pants I wore was never brought up. Who cared??
I was never called fat, always an average size. Because I started tumbling at the age of five and always stayed busy with some form of athletic sport, my bottom half was always on the larger size compared to my waist. It was in high school when I started to pay more attention to my weight and size. The models in clothing ads were much thinner than me (and of course taller, too). I was 5'1" and wore a size 6. I was no where near fat but the BMI chart said I was overweight.
After high school, I was determined to not gain the "Freshman 15." I wanted the opposite. I was going to be thin like society said I should be. Being an average size 6 was not good enough, and there the obsession began. I was obsessed with looking at myself in the mirror and judging my flaws around my waist, hips and thighs. I would turn this way and that way, suck in my stomach and would wish I was a size 0 or 2. Working out and eating low fat and fat-free was not doing the trick anymore.
There had to be something else.
That's when I started purging my food. It was wrong, but I justified it because I didn't do it all the time and not every meal. The truth of the matter was I was bulimic. I became more obsessed when I started working at a local gym part-time. I would get there an hour before the gym opened to workout and then stay after my shift to workout some more. It was working. By the end of the summer, I was a size 0/2. Just what I wanted. My friends were concerned. My family wondered. I just denied anything and said I had been working out a lot, which was true, but I kept the bulimia a secret.
When I moved to Louisville, Kentucky and my workouts became less and my eating habits were lax, I had to purge even more. It happened at every meal and then eventually became everything I ate. I would be in tears in the bathroom because it hurt to purge my food. In my apartment, I would cry while looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself I needed to stop. But I couldn't. I was gaining weight. I had to keep throwing up. I was now a size 4 and extremely unhealthy.
This went on for over 6 years. It wasn't until I met the man who is now my husband that I revealed my secret. When we started dating, I told him who I really was. I was bulimic. He was a smoker so we made a pact to face the things that were taking over our lives head on. I needed more than just his help to get me out of the pit. I needed prayers and God's help. I emailed my friend and family and confessed my secret and begged them for prayers to help me. It was a slow recovery, and I went through a lot of changes. I gained more weight, and my metabolism was gone. My body was hanging onto everything in fear it was going to go without food. My teeth were ruined, my esophagus scarred and I was no longer "thin", but I was getting better. It was a very long road to recovery but I had God on my side along with friends and family who cared about me. Prayers and God's love and grace were my strength and I realized that “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
It has taken years for my metabolism to begin to fully function like it should, which in turn caused me to struggle with my weight. Now I'm finally at a place where I no longer look at the number on the scale or my pant size. It's all about how I feel. Yes, I still look in the mirror and want to lose some inches, I'm human, but my ultimate goal is to just be healthy.
Now that I have kids, especially a daughter, I hope I can instill good healthy habits in them. I want them to see me eating whole foods and exercising because I want to be healthy, not skinny. Because of society and the pressures we put on ourselves, I can only pray that my kids don't go down the road I traveled. God made us all different, yet beautiful in His eyes. We just need to see the beauty within us.
I’m Jaclyn and from a really small town called Calvert City in Kentucky. I accepted Christ and was baptized when I was eighteen, after graduating high school. I moved to Louisville when I was twenty and never left! I married my best friend in 2006 and my last name changed for the 4th and final time. We have two amazing kiddos; Jackson who is eight and Evelyn who is four. They are full of life and keep us on our toes. I am the office manager for a local eye company called VisionFirst. Life is hard and marriage is hard but I am thankful for the love and grace that God gives us.
Good morning friends! I have had the privilege to spend a few days at our church’s high school camp and middle school camp the past two weeks. I have mentioned before that I have a deep love for music, especially music that draws me into the presence of my Savior!
I want to share one that I heard at camp with you today! “Holy Ground” by Passion.
In Exodus 3:5, when Moses saw the burning bush, God told Moses to take off his sandals because he was standing on Holy Ground. Holy Ground is rendered sacred by the presence of God, who is the very essence of holiness. In Exodus 33 when Moses was pleading for God to have mercy on the Israelites, he asked God to show him His glory. His glory is so powerful that He only allowed Moses to see a passing of it!
As believers, Holy Ground is no longer a place but, it’s the Holy Spirit living in and through us. His glory is revealed in Jesus whom we have a personal relationship with and He changes everything! May we worship our Lord in reverence and in awe. Worship is shown in many different ways, not just through music. I challenge you today to find your personal way to worship our Savior!
Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
In wonder and surrender we fall down
Show us Your glory
Show us Your glory
Let every burning heart be holy ground
Jesus, you change everything
Jesus, you change everything
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
Do you ever sit around and think about what happens after you die? Hang with me here, this isn’t a morbid post! I pray it’s a post that will bring joy and hope to those that have put their faith in Jesus, but also a wake up call to believers that our work here on earth is not done!
Although there are many Scriptures that talk about Heaven and Hell, the book of Revelation was instilled in me when I was in high school, so that’s where we will camp out today. I wish I could tell you that I know this book from front to back, but that’s sure not the case. Our Associate Pastor at our home church, Topper, taught our youth group every Sunday; and to this day, I am not sure I know anyone who knows Revelation better than he does. What I wouldn’t give to sit under him today, now that I am older and appreciate his wisdom on this book! I would love to one day be as knowledgable as him!
Revelation is so interesting to me! Hollywood couldn’t even attempt to make movies this good, and it’s the complete, inerrant Word of God. My husband and I went to Israel back in January and when I am asked what my favorite part was, my answer is...The Valley of Armageddon! That may seem odd to most people, but I know that’s where the very last battle will take place and that excites me!
So what is it about Revelation that is so intriguing to me? Well first off, it’s a book filled with HOPE and it’s the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who listen to its words and do what it says.
There are two things I want to look at today. The present and the future. But before we do that, we need to back up and start at the beginning.
Who is writing Revelation and how did this book come to be?
The apostle John, while in exile on the island of Patmos, received a vision from Christ. He is the only one of the original twelve disciples that was not killed for his faith. John was sent to Patmos by the Romans for his witness of Christ. Isn’t God creative on how He reveals His plan? God first revealed it to Christ, who in return revealed it to John.
God always has a unique way of uncovering His plan
I don’t have time to go into great detail about the entire book...that would take many blogs, but maybe one day that will happen! So, I am jumping to the end of Revelation and sharing my favorite Scriptures with you today.
“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolators and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”
In these Scriptures, we can see the HOPE and FUTURE we have as believers! We also see how we must live for Jesus now! When we talk about salvation, it’s very easy for us to just think about heaven, which is great expectation! But...we have a responsibility in the here and now as believers, to build His Kingdom here on earth. How can we live for Christ now?
In verse 15, Jesus says, “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolators and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
2. How living for the future affects our present:
In verse 12, Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon!”
In verse 14, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”
As much as I love to think about Heaven and standing in the presence of my Savior, I am burdened for those that don’t have this hope. It’s not a topic we like to talk about, but Hell is a very real place. I pray that we see the importance of having Jesus as Lord of our lives, right here and now as we live our lives day to day; and in our future home in Heaven. Who do you know that will not be joining you in Heaven if they were to die today? Is it you? The By Faith She girls would love to discuss this further with you and pray with you! You can email us at email@example.com.
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!
Remembering the things God has done in the past is an integral part of our faith building journey!
In Joshua 3, Joshua and the Israelites had just crossed the Jordan River. The Lord had worked amazing miracles to make it happen and that’s where we will pick up.
The Lord spoke to Joshua: Choose 12 men from the people, one man for each tribe, and command them: Take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.
Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan, and he said to the Israelites, “In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ you should tell your children, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.”
Read Joshua 3 & 4 for the full story!
Our Takeaway -
Try setting up your own "Gilgal" to remind you of all that God has done in your life.
You will need:
1. Smooth Stones you can write on
2. Paint Pen
3. Bowl or Plate to contain the Stones
Fill the bowl up with the stones. Make a list of miracles, blessings, or victories that God has brought you through in your life. If you have children try to include them in this part. Then write a word or two that helps remind you of each of these times on the stones. Leave some blank stones in the bowl for future triumphs that you will want to add.
I would love to hear your ideas for remembering God's faithfulness in your life. Please share!
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.
Untruths Which Can Unhinge Your Faith Series - Part 1
The conversation began hesitantly as one of the women asked, “How do you minister to a mom whose child has chosen to take his/her own life.” A collective moan arose from the circle of women as each of us wrestled with the weightiness of this topic.
The tragic death of a child is one thing, but when one’s child chooses to take his/her own life and commit suicide? Unfathomable. We quietly leaned in as she shared the mom’s sorrow. The “What ifs?” The “Whys?” We all grappled with what we’d say if we were in the same situation ministering to a mom with a shattered heart. Providentially, two untruths (lies) sifted to the surface and became the focal points of our discussion.
Lie #1 - Suicide is an unpardonable (unforgivable) sin.
This lie about "those who commit suicide are damned to hell forever" has pretty much planted itself as truth in the mind of many Bible believers. The evil one does not want us to know the truth, especially when grappling with life’s tough questions. How slimy of him to plant the lie that suicide is unforgivable.
- It empties the grieving of any hope of a glorious resurrection of the lost loved one.
- It causes us to question God and His goodness if there is no hope of seeing a loved one again because they chose to commit suicide.
- It creates a chasm between God and us in our thoughts and beliefs when we need to be leaning into Him most.
1. Truth exposes the lie.
Scripture states in Matthew 12:3, "Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven."
To the point, the only sin committed by humanity which will not be forgiven is to reject Christ as Lord and Savior. Henry Morris states, “The unforgivable sin of speaking against the Holy Spirit has been interpreted in various ways, but the true meaning cannot contradict other Scripture. It is unequivocally clear that the one unforgivable sin is permanently rejecting Christ.”
Yes, I believe suicide breaks the heart of God just like lust and envy and pride and gluttony does. But the act of taking one’s life does not permanently separate us from Him, only rejecting Christ as Lord does.
When Jesus was dying on the cross, He stated one of my favorite, full of hope sayings, “It is finished!” John 19:30 Because of that statement, God forgives my sins and your sins if we call Him Lord even if we choose to commit suicide.
By faith, I believe Christ’s death on the cross paid for all our sins including suicide.
2. Hope replaces the lie.
Renowned pastor Rick Warren and his wife Kay lost their son, Matthew, to suicide in 2013. Kay said, “Matthew’s body was buried in brokenness, but will be raised in strength.” That’s hope, my friend. That’s truth found in 1 Corinthians 15:43:
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
By faith, I believe Christ rising from the dead on the third day promises a glorious resurrection for those of us who call Christ Lord, despite our sin, because of the cross.
3. Jesus defeated the lie!
I want to show you a nugget from my morning reading of Christ's death in Matthew 27:52. After Christ gave up His spirit in verse 50, look at the cool events God orchestrated to show He kicked death in the teeth:
- The veil in the temple separating man from God was torn from top to bottom.
- The earth shook and the rocks split.
- The tombs were opened.
Yes, you read that correctly! The graves were opened. You know which ones: The ones of the saints, those who believed but died. Not all of them, but just enough to show God’s power over death!
I bet those raised again were sinners just like you and me with a myriad of physical and emotional issues. I don’t know nor do I claim that one might have committed suicide. All I’m pointing out here is God’s love for all of mankind and His power over death. The day Jesus died, God raised a group of believers to live again, just like Lazarus.
Remember my post about the demon-possessed man? Jesus crossed a sea to rescue one deranged, out of his mind, senseless man. That shows the heart of our Savior. Even those whose minds are sick are precious in His sight, including those who choose to end their life with suicide.
He is the God of hope who does not change nor does He lie Hebrews 6:17-19.
The only unforgivable sin is denying Jesus as Lord. The tragic choice of suicide has not nor will it ever separate us from the love of God. Remember 1 Corinthians 15:43. That is hope you can bank on, my friend. How kind He truly is.
Next week, I’ll uncover the other lie we discussed that day, Lie #2 - God never gives you more than you can handle.
How about you? What has been your thinking on suicide and eternal life? Do you know the only one who can give your life meaning and hope? Oh, friend, Jesus loves you and longs to have a relationship with you. If you don’t know Him personally or if you have questions, we would love to talk with you. Please send us a private Facebook message or feel free to comment here.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, deep talks, lively laughter, and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
I sat in the waiting room, at moments shaking, at other moments thinking I was going to be sick at my stomach...waiting. I had to wait over an hour. I was in a room full of women, all of us waiting for the results. Silence. I read Psalm 121 over and over and over until I thought, “Ok, just memorize it.” So I began to just memorize it.
Fear. Worry. Gripped by its icy, bony fingers.
What is your deepest fear?
“Fear, you say? Christians aren’t gripped by worry or fear.” We read verses such as Isaiah 41:10 “Fear thou not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” and we march boldly into tomorrow with no worries.
Or we could be honest.
We worry about money, death, our children, fear something happening to our children, our marriage, our job security, our aging parents...or health issues as we sit in a waiting room, gripped by fear, powerless to do anything about the impending outcome.
When the inevitable worries and fears come, and our world is shaken to the core, what do we do?
Jesus calls us to an unbelievable faith. If we are a Christ follower, then we must follow the ways of Christ. I know this sounds like a statement that would get a “Well, duh!” reaction from my middle school students, but think about it. Christ calls us to a simple life: we want to complicate it.
So here goes:
● First, I must be ok with the unknown.
As a Christ follower, I must admit and live by faith in Christ. This means that some days, most days, every day, I have no idea what will happen next. I must be ok with that.
This requires lots of prayer. “Lord, I cannot do this. Help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24). You are a Sovereign God, and your ways are not my ways. Teach me to have faith that starts childlike but will grow as you lead me and I continue to trust in you and you alone. God, when I start to lean towards my understanding of things and trust in myself and my own power, please jerk me back to you. That jerking may hurt, but help me, God. I am desperate.”
● Second, I must accept that I am part of a large master plan.
“Father, I am a glorious piece of a larger plan that is beautiful. Help my issue with pride, that makes everything about me. Nothing is about me. It’s all about you. Help me to be find contentment in that.”
● Third, I must be grateful.
That’s where my waiting room story picks back up.
Ladies came and went from the waiting room, all of us waiting for our name to be called, like some ominous lottery. And then someone spoke.
Light, casual conversation began. “I am so nervous that I can’t even speak,” I thought.
But as I was reading Psalm 121 over and over, the obvious began to kick in. “Why do I even continue to read this yet not trust in it as truth? God, help me. Free me, Lord for I am in bondage.”
“It’s not about you. Speak. Open your mouth. Are these ladies believers? Do they know the hope in Christ?”
So I began to speak. Weather, flu, schools, “I am a teacher”, and then God “lobbed me a softball”, an accurate reference to this moment as stated by my pastor Rodney Alexander.
The conversation turned to deeper matters. God allowed me opportunities to speak of His goodness, that attitude of gratitude that I am compelled to have, God’s ability to heal physically at any moment, all sorts of small tidbits of peace. I always walk away from these moments feeling that I never said enough, but remember, piece of a beautiful puzzle.
Something wonderful happened in that moment, besides the obvious golden opportunity to speak life and peace: I was no longer nervous. I realized that there was no way I could control the results that were coming any minute, but I could control what I did right now.
God is calling us to follow Him in every moment, every second. Those moments add up to a lifetime of following, blindly, obediently, trusting in a Sovereign, good God. The focus is off of me and on my King. Therein is peace.
The rest of the story: I was clear. The patient right before me was not.
I am grateful, trusting in the good and the bad to an Omnipotent God Who loves me.
“What time I am afraid, I will (by His will over mine, moment by moment, second by second) trust in thee.” Psalm 56:3
Kathy McBroom is a middle school English teacher who resides in Shepherdsville, Kentucky, ten minutes south of Louisville. Her husband Robert is the Missions’ and Assimilation Pastor at Little Flock Baptist Church. She is an author, blogger, bible teacher and has recently begun “Manic Monday” a group which can be found on Facebook. She and Robert have two daughters, Rachel and Hannah, who are also teachers. You can check out more of Kathy's great writing on her blog.
Six Ways to Diffuse Depression
The Glad Game. Have you ever heard of it? It took place in a cranky aunt's home located in a town of hard-hearted people. Seems almost impossible, doesn't it? But a very determined little orphan girl wasn't deterred. She introduced the game to any who would listen by saying, "No matter how bleak the situation, you can always find something to be glad about."
Everyone, from the town recluse to the orphan's aunt, was eventually affected by "The Glad Game." All because of one little orphan named Pollyanna. "The Glad Game" changed the fictitious town, yet more importantly, it changed the author, Eleanor H. Porter, who penned the story. She was quoted, “Oh yes, my relationship with Pollyanna is personal. She got me thru my childhood.”
When the dark blanket of depression descends, a Pollyanna approach to life is the farthest thing from our mind. But should it be? Should we find something positive even in the bleakest of circumstances?
Like we discussed in part 1, bouts of depression can swoop down upon us unaware! But we who suffer from depression are not without hope! We don’t always have to resort to the pill bottle or the counselor’s couch to see the light of day. While there are benefits to those, we can choose to play Pollyanna’s “The Glad Game” but rename it as “The Thankfulness Game.”
My friend, it is healthy and good to be actively engaged In overcoming depression.
Thankfulness. What's so powerful about being thankful? Dr. Daniel Amen, a clinical psychiatrist, scanned a woman’s brain two times, first when she was thankful, then when she was fearful. For the first scan, she dwelt on everything for which she was thankful. For the second scan, she meditated on all her fears of things which could go wrong.
The difference between the thankful brain and the non-thankful brain scans was stunning.
Her thankful brain lit up the areas of motor skill and thought coordination. This result makes sense. When we’re thankful, it adds a spring to our step and infuses hope into any situation and gives us the drive to push thru the hard things in life.
Proverbs 17:22 declares: "A joyful heart is good medicine!"
Her non-thankful brain showed a decrease in the areas of motor skill and thought coordination. Think about it, when we are fearful or down, our thoughts and actions become jumbled as if we’re walking through sludge. We're stunted from thriving.
Like Proverbs 17:22 warns: "A broken spirit dries up the bones."
Science proves the Bible!
Dr. Amen's brain scans prove Proverbs 17:22! Positive thoughts/thankful thoughts release endorphins - happy chemicals - which are stronger than morphine! "Being grateful for the wonderful things in your life literally helps you. . . “ (Dr. Daniel G. Amen, Making a Good Brain Great, p. 151) Read more about this in part one.
My friend, this is good news! Thankfulness can help heal a bout of depression!
Here are 6 ways we can play “The Thankfulness Game”?
1. Three things
When I'm in "the pit of despair," I make myself think of three things I'm thankful for. Why? Thankfulness is good medicine. I might be in my car or in my bed with the covers pulled over my head. No matter where I am, I can always mentally choose thankful thoughts of glee to sweep away the dark thoughts of "woe is me."
2. Thankfulness Journal
I have notebooks here, there, and everywhere to remind me to write thankful thoughts. It's not only fun, it’s life-giving to look back over the lists and see the faithful hand of God. Research shows the benefit of keeping a running list of thankful things:
“10 weeks later…participants in the gratitude group felt better about their lives as a whole and were a full 25 percent happier than the hassled group.” (Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. Huffington Post)
3. Thankfulness Pinterest Board
Growing up, the sweet lady across the street kept a scrapbook full of her favorite pictures and quotes. I used to spend hours during the dark days of winter looking thru them next to a crackling fire with a warm mug of cocoa at my side.
Pinterest is a modern day version of her scrapbook. Start a thankfulness board on Pinterest and pin thankfulness thoughts and verses which inspire you. Simply type in "thankfulness quotes" or "Thankful verses" in your search engine search bar and then click images. Pin one or two a day. Check it regularly.
4. Thankfulness Screensavers
Speaking of thankfulness quotes or verses images, save a pretty one as your screensaver. Each time you pick up your phone or power on your computer, it will remind you to be thankful.
5. Thankfulness Sharing
Social media has enough negativity. There are others out there who need the thankfulness treasures you are unearthing. Like a flower girl casting pedals, share a thankfulness quote or verse on your social media page regularly.
6. Thankfulness Accountability Partner
I have a couple of precious friends I make (yes, I have learned I need to bully my flesh.) myself tell when I'm under a cloud of depression. They know when I tell them I am down-hearted, they are to point me to what is true and good and beautiful. They even sometimes make me tell them three things I'm thankful for and check in during the day to be sure I'm not wallowing in my pit of despair.
Life is hard. Dark days descend without notice. But God is good. He's given us a remedy for depression: a thankful heart. A cheerful heart. A glad heart. Pollyanna was right, “there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.”
"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.
Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise."
How about you, my friend? What are some tricks of the trade you use to help fight the dark thoughts? Perhaps you're in the throes of a dark period. I'm sorry. That's hard. Let me know as I'd love to pray with you. But also, I challenge you to pick one of the 6 remedies listed above and faithfully implement them into your day. You can do this! I'm cheering you on!
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.