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When You See An Overweight Person 

 

People who are overweight are carrying so much more than extra pounds. They carry shame. Guilt. Embarrassment. Hurt. There is this sense of having failed in a very real sense, and it can take an immense amount of courage to even step out into the light of day.

The reasons people become overweight may differ. I gained 25 lbs while counting calories and breastfeeding on top of the 45 lbs I had left over from my pregnancy. For another person, it may be that they lose weight while dieting, only to gain it back plus more.

I've heard others still who say that they don't know how to lose weight. Others have disabilities, and for them, moving around is very difficult. There are thyroid and hormonal issues, and for many of us, we put weight on very easily.

Perfect strangers often feel they have the liberty to speak about a struggle that is on display for all to see, and people online can post mean comments about pictures that we post. People measure our worth as a person based on the number on the scale, even though there is a human soul at the mercy of these verbal attacks.

 

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Not every battle we fight is this public, and most of us take pains to hide the things we are most sensitive about. Overweight people do not have this luxury. Shaming overweight people is an often socially accepted form of bullying, and it can drive a person to consider the unthinkable.

Shame has effects that go deep and that can cause people to feel worthless and unworthy of anything good.

We wouldn't think of shaming someone who overeats but whose body does not show it. When you see an overweight person, you are likely seeing someone who is in pain, both physically and emotionally.

You are seeing someone who tries more than others realize and who also needs to be accepted like everyone else. The struggle with health is no worse than the struggle with any other problem, and overweight people don't deserve the vitriol.

There are endless, unseen problems with clothing, especially pantyhose. You can go on  a search for a piece of clothing and end up going online to try to find the desired item. On some websites, I'm a 2X, and on another, I'm an XXXXXL.

I can't make this stuff up. 

I can't find a belt that fits.

But I'm grateful for retailers that carry attractive clothing in larger sizes. Even so, there are many times I have not wanted to appear in photos, as if I was not even part of a particular event or social. 

And in the world of documenting everything on social media, we, ourselves, can remain conspicuously absent. 

We become the ones always behind the camera, the ones telling everyone to smile. If we're not careful, years can roll by without our ever appearing in any of our own digital memories. 

Many of us use profile pictures from years ago, when we were a smaller size, or we use a picture of our cat. 

Many people have been taught that they're not living up to their full potential as people because of their pant size, and many still are waiting to lose the weight so that their life can 'begin'. 

This leads to wasted time and sitting on the sidelines, because you are not 'allowed' to participate in the theater of life. 

This leads to a person of size feeling they are invisible. 

Unable to be seen.

Unimportant.

Stupid even. 

If this is you, please know you are more than your pant size. God loves you so much He sent His son to die for you, and this is not a superficial love.  You are a daughter of the King and such behavior is beneath you. You are worth so much more, valued above rubies (Prov 31:10). 

 

Many people, in the guise of caring about the overweight person's physical health, completely overlook how their emotional health will be affected with the weight of their unkind words.

 

Be careful.

 

We're dealing with other people's souls.

 

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

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Other Posts You May Like:

Motherhood:The Secret Behind The Door

 

When God's Calling Brings Suffering

 

When You Are Not The #Blessed

 

The Biggest Surprise of Motherhood 

 

Motherhood.

It's a destination you can reach via the portal of pregnancy, childbirth, and a load of pain. We can also arrive there through other means that are no less painful for all those involved.

Separation.

Foster care.

Adoption.

I have done both, and for me, the pain was forgotten in an instant.

The term Motherhood is often loaded.

After months or years of waiting for courts and adoption papers to move, pregnancy sticks to turn colors, and babies to be brought forth squirming and opinionated into the world, the great, heavy door swings open and reveals the expanse privy to only those who have cared for a tiny human soul.

That is what this post is about: the surprises of motherhood.

As I have walked down the road that mothers travel, I have encountered the unexpected.

My days are a mixture of the unimaginably cute and the horrifyingly gross.

Motherhood is, at times, both the most unforgiving and also the most forgiving thing I've ever done.

It's punishing.

24 hours a day and seven days a week, you are on call.

 

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You miss meals.

You do with less sleep.

You work through illness, disappointment, and frustration.

Your own needs are on hold.

But at the same time, my mistakes are always forgiven. They are met with kisses and an upturned face that thinks I can do anything, and I am met with such unconditional love, I am sure I do not deserve it.

She thinks I can climb mountains, when I have trouble even climbing the stairs.

 Now that I have changed from the mothered to the mothering, and my vantage point is higher, I can see this so now clearly: our children do not know us.

I see that I did not and do not know my own mother, because it is so obvious that my baby does not know me.

Let me explain.

She knows kisses and cuddles and that I would slug through deserts carrying her on my back, slowly, of course. She knows I am fraught with something that keeps me mostly sedentary a great deal of the time. She knows I would do anything to make her laugh.

She, however, knows the mommy side of me. She doesn't know the individual and the person who I am, and it astounds me that this is the state of mothers and children everywhere who can be so close physically and emotionally all day long.

She doesn't know of my songs, even though she hears them. She doesn't know of my struggles, although she sees them. She doesn't know of the love that I have for her father that survived through a divorce, through our remarriage, and through the unthinkable. She doesn't know that Daddy and Mommy waited fifteen years for their miracle.

She doesn't know I play the violin.

She doesn't know that I write, and she knows nothing of my political advocacy. She knows not of my travels to another country where I was born, and she is not aware that I speak Spanish. My child has no knowledge that I cannot eat gluten and that I have a myriad of health concerns and allergies.

She doesn't know I am old.

My little one doesn't know of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations, and she does not know what motivates me. And if the truth were told, I do not know these things of my parents either.

I wish I did.

It makes me see that I do not know the reasons why my parents did as they did and that I cannot judge someone whom I do not know as an equal. Because they are mythic and superhuman to me, I cannot see them as people, and I never knew I would learn about myself and my views toward the previous generation by becoming a mother.

I thought I knew everything, and I wish I had given them more grace. I wish I had not held on to such bitterness for so long. Motherhood has taught me that there is always more to what we think we see, even when it is right in front of our faces.

That we can be so intimate with something, and yet, it is just only the iceberg's tip.

I am less quick to judge and more prone to forgive. I am slower with my finger-pointing, and I just want to understand. And for me, this is the most surprising thing about motherhood.

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa


Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

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When God's Call Brings Suffering

 

When Temptation is Beautiful

 

You Need Salvation

 

 

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Let There Be Light! 

 

 

Depression sits like a cloak about us, obscuring the rays of sun that might come streaming through the window. We cannot see, and we are left to grope about, searching for the right direction. It saps us of our energy, stealing whatever strength that we have for its own purposes. 

Just taking a shower can require herculean strength. 

Jesus does not hurt the already hurting but offers them His nail-scarred hand. He understands our human frailties. I am offering the FREE gift of a 78-page beautifully-designed and thoughtfully-crafted 15-day devotion, tailored to those with depression. It is intended to prove a balm for the painful condition of despondency, and it is yours when you subscribe below. 

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Can You Lose Your Salvation? 

In the wide world of Christianity, the topic of whether or not you can lose your salvation is controversial. There are those who believe that a person cannot know if they have been given eternal life, and there are others who think it must be kept through good works.

Some are of the opinion that secondary graces are needed to be born again, and other groups teach that people are elected or predestined to be of God’s chosen few. Without clarity on this issue, it is impossible to be an effective witness for Christ, as the good news of the gospel will not provide a sense of security or stability.

Firstly, you can know if you have been saved. 1 John 5:13 says:  ‘I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life’.

Let’s back up one verse to 1 John 5:12 that reads thus, ‘Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life’.

 

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In John 3:16, to paraphrase, it says that those who believe on Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life. In other verses, it makes clear that He died for the remission of our sins without which we cannot enter into heaven.

Reasons You Cannot Lose Your Salvation

So, let’s establish that you have trusted in Jesus to forgive you of your sins. Afterward, you may have continued to struggle with wrongdoing, or you may have done things of which you are deeply ashamed. Are you still saved?

Yes.

Let’s return to John 3:16 for a moment. In its entirety, it says the following: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life’.

What does everlasting mean?

Put simply, something that lasts forever. If you had this life for a brief moment but then lost it after doing something foolish, it would not have been temporary life. But we are given life eternal.

Filthy Rags

When you or do attempt to live good lives, the result is as written in Isaiah 64:6,

‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags’.

This means that no matter how hard we try, our own efforts will never be good enough.

It’s important to understand that if there had ever been a law that could have given life, it would have been the Mosaic Law. And yet, God still saw fit for Jesus to come to earth to take away the sins of the world.

He, alone, was the fulfillment of the commandments that we could never wholly keep, and these were as ordinances written against us. And yet, in Jesus, they are nailed to the cross, and His righteousness becomes our righteousness when we believe on Him. (2 Cor 5:21)

1 John 17 says, ‘But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin’.

1 John 1:19 says, ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness’.

We have access to God the Father through Jesus Christ, and the blood continually cleanses us from our sin. Is this a license to do whatever we want?

‘By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?’ Romans 6:2

Salvation is the work of God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 says, ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourself, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast’.

A free gift can neither be earned nor can it be unearned. It is given by faith, and even that faith is given through the strength of God.

In the Word, it talks about chastisement and discipline for those who refuse to live a godly life, as there are consequences for failing to walk worthily of the Lord.

Our security, however, is sealed until the day of redemption. Romans 8:9 says that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his’. (Romans 8:9)

When we are born again, we receive the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:30 says ‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption’.

We have been purchased by the blood of Jesus and sealed by His Spirit. Our salvation isn’t going anywhere. We also cannot lose it and regain it again as Hebrews 10:19 says ‘and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’.

One sacrifice, unlike ‘for this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship’.

The Bible also says that we are part of the body of Christ, meaning we are as permanently affixed as a ligament or a digit. John 10:28-29 says, ‘I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.'

Hebrews 13:5 says, ‘For He hath said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’

Romans 8:33 says, ‘Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect It is God that justifieth.’ Verse 35 ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ 38-40 ‘For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ 

Once you belong to Jesus, you can rest assured you are His forever.

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa


Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

Subscribe below, and I'll send you 3 free gifts!

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'Ruth Did Not Wait for Her Boaz', + 2 free albums.

'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

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Other Posts You May Like:

12 Signs You Are Saved

 

3 Words That Can Change Everything

 

How Churches Burn Out Their Best and Brightest

 

 

 

 

 

12 Signs You Are Saved 

 

For many, asking God to forgive his or her sins is a one-time event, but because the transition from an unsaved person to a child of God is literally invisible, it is common for people to struggle with knowing if they’ve truly been saved or not.

This can create a tremendous amount of anxiety, but thankfully the Bible gives us twelve ways we can know for sure that we have been saved.

Your Prayers Are Answered

Psalm 34:15 says, ‘The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry; the face of the Lord is against those who do evil’.

Put simply, before you become a Christian, your sins act as a barrier between you and God. If you can think back to a time, even if it has been a while, when you know you received an answer to your prayers, be glad, for it’s proof that you are saved.

You Have Been Disciplined

Nobody likes to be chastised, but it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Just like an earthly mother or father will correct his or her son or daughter, God does the same to us. Hebrews 12:6 says, ‘because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son’.

God may rebuke you with an unsettled lack of peace, a passage of scripture, a sermon, words from a trusted counselor, or unpleasant life circumstances. This isn’t to say that all bad things are the result of sin, but some absolutely are.

You Keep God’s Commands

Jesus said in John 15:14, ‘you are my friends if you do what I command’. If at no time you can remember earnestly wanting to please God, you may not have actually become a Christian. You can read this post to find out how to be saved without a doubt.

Though it is entirely possible for Christians to backslide, there will be a sense of nagging in your spirit, telling you to repent. You may have even ignored these signs for a time. Nevertheless, unbelievers don’t have these road signs, cautioning them to turn around.

Your Desires Are Changed

1 Peter 4:3-4 says, ‘For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you’.

Long story short: you no longer choose to be a drunkard, going to clubs, fooling around with different men, or whatever it is you used to do. If you find that absolutely nothing has changed within, you may have cause to believe you aren’t a Christian.

I want to note that nobody is going to be perfect, and that we all continue, to some degree, to sin. It isn’t about perfection but about a noticeable difference before and after our conversion.

You Are Hungry for God’s Word

If you find that you are never interested in reading the Bible, there may be a problem. 1 Peter 2:2 says, ‘like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation’.

1 John 2:14 indicates that there is a progression of spiritual maturity from children unto fathers, and this happens from feasting on the word. If you find yourself missing your quiet times and after some time, it does not feel right, it is likely because you are becoming spiritually malnourished, proving that you are a Christian.

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You Can Fellowship with Other Believers

We are commanded to not forsake the gathering of ourselves together, and the Bible says that those who hate their brothers and sisters continue to walk in darkness. If you find a common understanding and ability to, generally, fellowship with other believers, this is a sign you truly have been saved.

It does not mean that you’ll never be in disagreement with other Christians, but that as a rule, you are able to find commonality with them, as we share one faith, one Lord, and one baptism.

You Can Sense Him Guiding Your Life

Isaiah 30:21 says, ‘whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it’. If at one time or another, you sensed God guiding your path, that is because you are truly one of His own.

Reasons you may not currently experience this can be the presence of sin in your life, or simply because you are not engrossed in His word, or because His still small voice is crowded out with the busyness of life. Nevertheless, as a Christian, His direction is something you have access to as a result of your position.

You Can Understand the Bible

The Bible is God’s word to believers. It is impossible to comprehend it if you are reading it in the flesh. A great sign you have been born again is that you are able to grasp spiritual principles. This is because the Spirit dwells within you and helps you to perceive the truths nestled in the scripture.

It is a well-known lament from scholars versed in the Bible who are not Christians, that it is impossible to understand. The Bible will not be a light until your path unless you are one of God’s own.

You Have Peace

Since the fall of mankind when Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we have been born into sin. When you believe on Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, you immediately are reconciled onto God.

This means that no matter what happens in your life, you have an everlasting peace with God. Romans 5:1 says, ‘Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’.

This peace is actually there whether you feel it or not, and these various evidences of your salvation can demonstrate that this approved standing is something that actually does belong to you. Oftentimes, however, you will perceive this, as the Spirit bears witness to your soul. (1 John 5:6-10)

Spiritual Warfare

It’s often been said that those who don’t run into the devil are walking the same way. If you can point to persecutions in your life, trials, and troubles, these are part of the life of a born-again Christian.

1 Peter 4:12 says, ‘Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you’. If this describes your experience, take heart. 1 Peter 5:10 says, ‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered for a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast’.

You Can Bear Fruit

Children of God do not strive to produce works in the flesh, but they bear fruit much in the same way a tree will, naturally and in seasons.

These deeds come from God, himself, as Ephesians 2:10 says, ‘for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them’. if you’ve ever felt nudged to do something or are yearning to use your talents in a particular way, this is because God put these desires in you for His glory.

You Endure Pruning

This part hurts, but it is all a part of the Christian process. Every tree that bears fruit must have its branches clipped to ensure more growth. This is often painful, but it means that resources won’t be wasted on nonproductive shoots.

If you’ve lost friendships or have had to move away from things that you’ve loved, or had other difficulties, it can be because the husbandman wants to make sure you have sufficient energy to give to that which is most important. You can expect God to cut things back in your life so that you will be even more ready for good works, much like a tree must be pruned in order to be healthy.

These twelve signs can give you an overall picture of salvation, and it’s important that you examine each area, not for perfection, but for evidence of your conversion. As you mature as a believer, you will naturally see more growth, so there isn’t cause to worry if you lag behind in any way. God gave us these guideposts in His word so that we would be assured of our salvation and cease from worrying. The goal is that we eventually will move on to learning the deeper things of God, being sure that we are saved. 

Stay Gutsy, Rosa


Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

Subscribe below, and I'll send you 3 free gifts!

You'll get access to:

'Ruth Did Not Wait for Her Boaz', + 2 free albums.

'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

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3 Words That Can Change Everything 

What do fat-shaming, rape culture, and medical misdiagnoses have in common? 

The feedback given betwixt them is often shockingly similar. They can be subtle and can take a variety of different shapes and forms, but the meaning is loud and clear: we don't believe you. 

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Not being believed triggers a domino effect for many women, such as doubting herself, her own ability to judge things accurately, and her own experiences. It can lead to a loss of self confidence, and it can cause her to feel hopeless and depressed. 

A sense of mastery is important to one's mental health, and when a person cannot affect his or her environment, they learn that they are without a voice. 

Imagine a woman has a physical condition affecting her weight, and she is not believed when she says that she does not know why she is overweight. The real issue will now be compounded. 

Imagine a woman who has been violated and comes to people for support but is brushed aside. Her wounds will now go untreated, there will be added trauma, and a criminal will go free, possibly hurting other people. 

Imagine a woman who says she's no longer interested in the things she used to enjoy, and her words are immediately discounted. Her depression will go untreated, causing a myriad of other problems. 

Imagine a person with anxiety whose words are not heeded and the suffering she will go through, wondering if somehow her panic attacks are her own fault. 

 

How tragic that is in each scenario, but we have the power to fix it. 

In each church scandal, there was a moment when it was decided not to examine the facts of an issue but to look the other way when somebody came forward claiming abuse. 

On the secular stage, it took the trending hashtag #metoo to create a snowball effect to topple the likes of Harvey Weinstein and others. 

In either case, the results were devastating in terms of abuse. 

In the Old Testament, in Deuteronomy 22:23, it says, 

But if out in the country a man happens to meet a young woman pledged to be married and rapes her, only the man who has done this shall die.

This means that a woman would be listened to and believed. By this passage can also assume that there would be other evidence pointing to the commission of a crime as well. Examining, by the way, doesn't mean bullying or interrogating someone processing a painful event. 

So many Christians have taken the idea that such things are handled in-house, or in-church, because Paul said that the brethren were not to be suing one another. It must be noted that this regarding civil matters and not criminal, as nowhere is criminality condoned.  Paul also said in Romans 13:3, 

For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. 

And in Romans 13:4b, it says:

But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

The rate of false report regarding sexual assault has been found to be between 2% and 6%, a lower figure than other sorts of criminal behavior. The CDC also says that 1 in 3 women will have been the victim of sexual assault and that these figures are not representative of the total because of rampant under-reporting. 

Put simply, many women choose not to come forward because of the not unfounded fear that they will further accosted and not believed.

We have to balance the desire to prevent false accusations with the knowledge that the least of these must also be protected. 

Imagine the kind of world this would be when young girls and women are no longer used to being disbelieved, and as a result, they learn to trust their instincts and judgments. Imagine how much time will be saved in getting a correct diagnosis and in making sure predators are no longer able to help others to hurt other people. 

Imagine confidence instead of low-self esteem and dignity instead of shame. Imagine beauty instead of ashes and justice instead of scandal. Imaging adopting a trust and then verify mindset that protects everybody. Imagine what it would look like to not play the blame game.

Imagine not harassing trauma victims who are processing unimaginable circumstances. Imagine learning about what these responses look like to provide support. 

Saying, 'I don't believe you' creates a label of shame and says that the person is unreliable and maybe even stupid. 

Saying, 'I believe you' provides a sense of validation and helps him or her be seen as a person with importance and value. 

We should aim to be truthful and to find out the truth, because we serve a God who already knows which side judgment is to fall on. And if you're one of the ones who wasn't believed, understand that God truly sees and will be your avenger -- whether in this life or in the net.

The Bible says we are to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves and to seek justice for the oppressed. In order to do that, we must first listen, and when we hear what has been said, we must make the choice to utter the three words that can change everything: I believe you. 

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa


Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

Subscribe below to receive updates via email from Gutsy Christianity, and I'll send you 3 free gifts!

You'll get access to:

'Ruth Did Not Wait for Her Boaz', + 2 free albums.

'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

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I Trust No One Around My Child

 

Domestic Violence: An Elephant in Our Churches

 

How Churches Burn Out Their Best and Brightest 

There is often the misconception that those who are disassociated, distant, and weary of the church were flunkies or people who were never really that serious about God, but the opposite is often true: these are our best and brightest.

And we're driving them away. 

There is a famous case of burnout in the Bible, and though it was in the Old Testament, it serves as a wonderful model for how a person of God can be driven to the point where he or she has had enough.

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The person we'll be discussing today was Moses. He represents our best and brightest. He had a good education, but he has chosen to spend his life with the people of Israel, those in the lowest position, and to forsake the pleasures of Egypt. 

In a nutshell, he has given everything up to follow God.

He is the epitome of our serious Christian, the ones with the highest potential. 

He isn't 'playing church', and he follows God with every fibre of his being. This is serious business to him. He could have had it easy, and he may have even forsaken an inheritance that was filled with the finer things of Egypt. 

And yet, it isn't appreciated. 

In the desert, Korah led a rebellion against Moses and accused him of making himself a prince, but this wasn't true. His true character was assailed by Korah, as the Bible actually says he was the meekest man on earth. 

Today, churches sometimes oppose their best and brightest because they want the spotlight for themselves and because they are envious of what God is doing in the lives of these people. Bad blood can also develop, because the zeal of the sold-out ones makes the rest of the people look bad. 

Moses became angry when, after receiving the ten commandments, the people were found dancing and worshiping a golden calf that they had made, showing they weren't really serious about their holiness.

Our best and brightest often end up leaving because of the hypocrisy of church leaders and lukewarm believers, as following God was never a game for them. Our most zealous members are often broken over sin, doing their best to remove it from their lives and are grieved when sin is practiced openly in the church. 

Another reason we're losing our A-game Christians is because of exhaustion. Plain and simple, we wear them out. We weigh them down with too many tasks when we refuse to help and allow them to always do everything. We take advantage of their willingness to serve by not doing what we can do ourselves.

In Numbers 11:12, Moses says, 'Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?'

The people wore him out. 

Lack of support is another major cause of driving our all-stars away. Moses' father-in-law Jethro wisely counseled him to find 70 men to divide the task of judging the people, but many of our choicest brothers and sisters do not get the chance to delegate.

 

Rejection chases many of these ones away as well. When Moses attempted to moderate between two Israelites, they said to him plainly, "Who made you ruler and judge over us?" The message was clear. We don't want you.

This is likely why when God was calling Moses out of the bush that he was so reluctant to go back to the Israelite people. As he continued to give objections, it was clear he thought that they wouldn't believe him. 

Why? 

Because they'd rejected him. 

Our best and brightest know when we do not accept the calling on their life, and very often, the hurt becomes too much to bear, and as a result, they check out. 

In addition, they are needlessly torn down by the criticisms of others. The world is harsh, and when the church is just as harsh, and relationships are fractured, the tasks we thrust upon our most eager members becomes thankless, and it becomes too much. 

They drop out. 

In the Bible, Moses' siblings, Miriam and Aaron, were disputing among themselves that God had also led by them, implying that Moses thought too much of himself. They also were critical of Moses' Cushite wife. 

God heard this and was not pleased with them both, and He struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses pleaded on her behalf that she be cured, and after seven days, she was made clean. 

It is, unfortunately, not uncommon for those carrying out God's work to be criticized and to have their characters inpugned. Everything from clothing and music choices to sins they struggle with to how their work is carried out is generally fair game for online discussion. 

And it can be very painful. 

And Moses, at many junctures, seemed burned out. He was irritable and exhausted and at times impatient with the people. He bore up under a tremendous burden, however, and showed more patience than any man likely ever would. 

And, so, I propose this. Come alongside our weary warriors. Let them ask questions. Don't hold them to a standard of perfection. Love them unconditionally.

Don't turn tail when the next new hot shot  springs up, as it may not be of God anyway. Raise up people who will help carry their burden, and do not grumble under your breath or murmur that this person is leading everyone straight into the abyss.

Look for God's hand in all that these people are doing. Don't accuse them falsely, and above all, show them grace. Let them take breaks as Jesus did, and let them know they are appreciated. Forsake sin, and take living the Christian life seriously. 

Maybe then will we see an explosion of church growth instead of shuttering the doors.

Maybe then we won't keep losing our best and our brightest. 

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

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Other Posts You May Like:

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

 

There is No God-Shaped Hole

 

Your Tribe is Not Who You Think


There Is No God-Shaped Hole 

 

Christian speakers today fill their mouths with words expounding on the God-shaped hole residing somewhere in our gut that will be satiated once we find Jesus. It sounds nice, I suppose, but the trouble is that this God-shaped hole is pure fiction. 

We need someone to be honest, and so, I will go first. 

The void in my soul has been chasing me, desperate to be filled my entire life. And then I got saved. And I still had an aching, a longing that nothing seemed to keep at bay.

I've tried traveling, because my heart tells me it will be happy if only we visit the streets of Baltimore I used to frequent, so I get in the car and run my hands along the brick-walled alley ways, and yet still, my soul feels empty. 

I've sat at the dinner table, filling myself with buttered seafood and crusty bread or any other thing my palate desires, but it has only left me emptier than before I began.

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I've tried praying, writing, fasting, going to church services, because the preachers tell me the emptiness will leave me, drifting away like a smoke rings in the air if I only trust Jesus. 

But I've already trusted Jesus. 

But it didn't work to send the darkness away.

So, I ask Him to save me again.

And again.

And again.

The hole keeps asking to be fed, it beckons me like a starving dog. 

Why don't I have Jesus, I wonder?

Why can't I have Jesus?

Isn't the gospel for all who call upon the name of the Lord?

And yet, I have done that. Dozens and dozens of times, in fact. 

I can't tell anyone. They'll tell me contentment comes with knowing Jesus. And I wander on longing for the past and yet fearing hell will come for me at any moment since I can't seem to ever get saved. 

But now I know that this isn't true. And the truth is that they know it, too. 

Because now they're saying something like this: if nothing on earth satisfies us, it is because we are made for another world. Ahhh, changing the script, are we? 

Some are catching on to the fact that you can have heaven within you and still feel like hell, itching and burning in your skin. That's why they'll put fulfillment off on the horizon for another day, another time. 

Perhaps we should ditch the talk about feelings altogether, and I'll tell you why. 

Salvation is something we've packaged like a sales pitch. Got a void? Check! Want to feel better? Check! Get saved! Huh?

Salvation is the cure to the death sentence sin has placed around our necks. We stand convicted of crimes against God, and yet, He sent His Son as both the payment and the attorney arguing for our release. We accept the restitution He made, and we go off Scott free. 

There is nothing about feelings or voids or longings in the contract for your soul. And so we go on, saying a sinner's prayer but then hiding our tendency to wander away from God's throne in search of a Krispy Creme donut or pornography. And then we feel ashamed and like hypocrites, and we see, as no one around us seems to struggle, but the closer we get, the more we realize their masks are painted on better than ours will ever be. 

It's a facade, a game we're all playing, and I implore us to stop, please stop. Please tell the truth. You don't have a God-shaped hole. You have a need for salvation. Jesus is bigger than your feelings, and He didn't die so that you would feel better. He died so that you would live, and living is sometimes still hard. 

We should talk about grace instead. Oh, how He gives grace. That when your life is exploding with troubles with no end, you have a sense of peace that everything is alright and that the equation will somehow add up. It isn't a feeling. It is peace, and there is a vital distinction. 

In other words, you can have your salvation and still have depression, anxiety, and all the rest. It's because, as human beings, we are a conglomeration of neurons, firing synapses, memories, and recollections of bad jokes from old Seinfeld episodes. We are finite and made from the dust, and we. Are. Going. To Have. Troubles. 

Jesus even said as much. 

We're also trying to ease problems that may have their root cause in something else like trauma, bad diet, or neglect by accepting the gospel, as if getting saved is the end all to our crumbling humanity. 

We may need a doctor or a shrink or an exercise program, and sometimes, we need to ignore the pestering feelings of FOMO and longing for a mirage to stop feeling so driven. 

So, please, let's not sell Jesus short, and let's not turn believers into neurotics who think they cannot get saved enough to make the longing take a hike. 

Jesus is sweet, He is eternal, He is righteousness, He is our peace, our Savior, our friend, our everlasting redeemer. He is our comforter, our mighty counselor, and nothing short of the name that is above every other name. 

Let's be real enough to just tell the truth, and maybe, the world will want to listen.

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa  
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life if she's a Christian ? Subscribe, and I'll send you my post, Ruth Didn't Wait For Her Boaz.

 

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'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

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Other Posts You May Like:
God Helps Those Who Can't Help Themselves
Discrimination Distorts the Soul
Dear Christians, Please Stop Mimicking Gang Signs

Your Tribe is Not Who You Think 

 

Your tribe.

It's all some people can talk about these days. How we need to find our tribes, get in there and stay, snuggled up amid the glow of happy friend-talk. If only it were that simple.  

I have agonized over the issue of finding my tribe for some time now. Over and over again I have looked for my tribe, only to find disappointment as my constant bedfellow. The parameters of the tribe, as defined by popular culture, are the ones who 'get' you. I would still be a long time looking if God had not shown something to me. 

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It occurred to me that this idea of 'tribe' is something which may be a little misleading. If you're a Christian, you probably find that those with whom you spend your time are often not those who are most like you. And if those around you are similar to you, they probably still differ from you in significant ways. 

For example. I am a songwriter. I only know three other songwriters. My style and substance is quite different from that of the other three. I can't write sheet music (not that anyone can follow anyway).

I can barely play piano and I don't know how to play a horn. I write melodies straight out of the sky, as the good Lord provides them, whereas my other three friends do not.

We're different. Though we're the same. Kind of. 

And so it goes. Looking for those who are just like me is exhausting and has proven to be impossible. I've spent far too long envious of everyone else who, from appearances, would seem to have found their tribe. In the process I've ignored the tribe who is right in front of me. 

When we look at our bodies, we see odd groupings of parts jumbled together, hanging out with each other. Two eyeballs are there with a nose, a mouth and, hopefully, a full set of teeth. There's an ear on each side and a head of hair on top. The face is a tribe of different parts, not just 50 eyeballs hanging out together. 

If you'll notice, even the teeth who are grouped together are all different and serve a specific function. You don't just see molars hanging with each other; they are spaced out and sit with other teeth of different sizes and shapes.  

And God put them all together. In a tribe. 

Look at your hands. You have a group of fingers, but each one is so different. Your pointer is shorter than your middle finger and your pinkie is even shorter still. If you really had a hand full of thumbs you'd really be in a mess, and it just wouldn't make any sense.

Each hand is a tribe. 

Your organs are placed together and each perform very different functions. Still, they are needed by each other and work together for a single purpose, much like us. 

As far as I can see, our tribe is the group of people that God has placed together, for example, in the local church. There are people there who can build, sew, cook, bake, sing, play piano, compose music (me!), budget, plan, preach, watch children, decorate, design, draw, paint, choreograph and run sound.

If all the composers were only with the other composers, and if those who could draw only spent time with each other, who would watch the children or make mashed potatoes? 

The Bible says, 'If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.' 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

I want us all to fully give ourselves the permission to stop looking for this tribe of people who are exactly like us and to embrace our tribe as the body of Christ, those who believe in Him for salvation.

For there is no one truly like us anyway.

I think we confuse the idea of belonging with the idea of being understood. And there is a difference. You can belong in a tribe with all sorts of different sorts and be fine. You may not feel understood as you go about doing what you were created to do, but that nagging sense of being misunderstand can follow you even when you find people who are similar. 

Don't miss out on amazing friendships with different odd ducks, because you're busy looking for a group to understand you. 

Because I am a musician, I like to travel to places musicians hang out. Most are not Christian. I feel understood in my passions for melody and chord progressions, at times, but at the end of the day, I do not feel as deeply understood as I would like, because they don't share my faith.

While I love hanging with other musicians, I truly belong to the body of Christ even though I don't feel understood by them in many capacities. 

And even when groups of people get together, like at writers' conventions and the like, even then, each has a separate calling and a separate vein to which they are called. Each one is different like the fingers on our hands. Which means we don't have to be like everyone else and everyone else doesn't have to be like us. 

Instead we are blessed by others who fill in the gaps for where we lack and for whom we are called to do the same. I can find no better tribe than that. 

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

Subscribe below, and I'll send you 3 free gifts!

You'll get access to:

'Ruth Did Not Wait for Her Boaz', + 2 free albums.

'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

All 3 are yours when you subscribe by adding your email address to the prompt below....aaaand you'll get weekly updates from Gutsy Christianity. What are you waiting for?!? Subscribe today!

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Other Posts You May Like
Discrimination Distorts the Soul

 

God Helps Those Who Can't Help Themselves

 

There is No God-Shaped Hole

 

God Helps Those Who Can't Help Themselves 

We love to take credit for everything in America, and we also like to blame the less fortunate for their troubles. The truth is that everything we have comes from God. 

Our ability to believe in Him comes from Him.

Our knowledge of our need for Him comes from Him.

Our ability to do anything comes from Him. 

But that's okay, because He helps those who cannot help themselves.

Do you have a porn problem that you've tried everything to conquer? Are you lost in sin? 

He can save you.

Are you down and out? Could you really use a friend?

A try-hard religion will give you and only you the credit, and God doesn't want that. He gets the glory all for Himself. 

So often, I have felt like a loser of the faith, because I haven't conquered over my evil ways. I have fought the cursing habit I have, and I have lost. I can't stand up on stage and tell you how I grit my teeth and became a shiny, happy person who is a good example to others. 

I will not do that, because it isn't true. I cannot stand possibly hurting people with presenting a false image of Christianity.

We are bumpy, bruised-up messes of human flesh incapable of helping ourselves.  For every person proclaiming try-hard faith, a brother or sister is out there languishing in deep, dark depression, often comparing themselves to us and feeling they will never measure up. 

On top of their pain, there is heaped shame even though the Bible says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 

Our name-it-and-claim-it mentality puts all the emphasis on strength, and if you're not strong, well, you've messed up somehow. If you're hurting, you didn't try hard enough. You obviously did not HELP YOURSELF. 

What kind of a religion is that? 

I want to pause and mention that God does bless diligence. He absolutely does. Even so, diligence is not doing it yourself, because. you. can't. 

I'd like to say I am sorry to have to be the one to say it, but really, I am not. I have a Creator who saved me and sanctifies me and helps me in every facet of my life. My failings are my own, and I am done trying harder to make a difference so others will feel I am helping the Christian cause. 

Somebody wrote me a letter the other day citing the poor example of Christianity that I am giving to other people, because I won't hide my warts and pimples. A few days later, a friend of mine, desperately depressed, reached out to me for help. 

Me. Down-in-the-dumps-terribly-depressed me. She clearly had the wrong idea, as people sometimes do. She thinks our group of friends isn't struggling and couldn't possibly understand runaway thoughts that can drive a person crazy. I disabused her of that notion and told her that we are ALL struggling in one way or another. 

And quite honestly, it grieves me that I have to tell a fellow believer of the things beneath the surface plaguing the people with the perfect images. God help us, this is not what Christianity is about. We are helpless without Christ. 

But so many of us think Christianity is a club where we can show off our gold stars to anybody who will listen. My friend who is sliding ever deeper into depression thinks she is all alone when nothing could be further from the truth. To be honest, I fear for her life, and I know she is not the only one who is like this.

He didn't save us because of our power. He saved us because of His power. We had to agree with Him to get saved, but it was His glory, and His might. I am so weak and prone to failure that no one else can get the credit but Him. And for that, I am glad. 

If you are weak, poor, broken, depressed, let Him be your Help. Let Him be your strength. Let others see that He is with you there in the valley. So many of us act like He can't be with us unless the sunshine is on full-blast, but we do not have a fair-weather God. 

I've sat with people in physical or emotional distress who were clearly drawing comfort from their Savior, and it gives others comfort, pointing them toward Jesus. 

The question now is whether you're willing to give up your image, so He can help you. I promise you, it's worth it.

Stay Gutsy,

Rosa
Think a woman can't take an active role in her own life and pop the question? Think again!

 

Subscribe below, and I'll send you 3 free gifts!

You'll get access to:

'Ruth Did Not Wait for Her Boaz', + 2 free albums.

'Give Me a Song to Sing' - a folky country happy extravaganza (played on the radio!) and

'Salvation Songs' - a roots rock-inspired call to live for Jesus daily (also played on the radio!).

All 3 are yours when you subscribe by adding your email address to the prompt below....aaaand you'll get weekly updates from Gutsy Christianity. What are you waiting for?!? Subscribe today!

You can also join the Gutsy Community on facebook  and receive extra devotions not available on this blog! 

 Share to your social media channels using the share bar!

 

Other Posts You May Like:

Why We Can't Make America Great Again

  

Dear Christians, Stop Mimicking Gang Signs

 

Discrimination Distorts the Soul

  

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Rosa A. Hopkins

Radio Show Host. Writer of words. Teller of stories. Singer of songs. Dreamer of dreams. Owner of a shapeless hound. Musician. Recording Artist. Songwriter. Record Label Owner. Producer. Hater of Coffee. Lover. Friend. Mother. Not all at the same time though.

Ruth Didn't Wait for Her Boaz