Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Dear perfectionism, you suck.

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Dear Perfectionism,

You suck. You hurt. You lie. You steal. You kill. You destroy.

dictionary.com defines it as this: “a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.”

Perfectionism is a deadly play ground to step into. It’s demands upon ones self and others. It is filled with unreasonable expectations, that can never be attained here on earth.

The areas that perfectionism often attacks in my opinion would be…(This being more specifically geared to women. Since that is the audience we most reach.)

Our Relationships. Everyone is always setting a standard. Actually no, these standards have already been set! They are not even personal standards, these are worldly standards feeding perfectionists with garbage. Because we all know everyone wants the “title” of being the insta-worthy looking couple and to be honest, it is literally something I have even personally tried to attain. To look a certain way as a couple, to act a certain way, and to be married in a PERFECT amount of time, etc. It adds so much unnecessary stress to you and your partner.

Our Bodies. The lies that people can speak at times can be deeply wounding to a persons heart who is struggling with perfectionism but, isn’t winning in the area of physical body perfectionism. The media, the movies, the expectations and the standards that are placed on women of “what we should look like” , “what we should dress like” , “what we should act like.” Its disgusting and sickening to me. All of the things that they are promoting are 100% against what a lady should act like. It hurts me.

Our families. Have you ever lived with one? A perfectionist, I mean? Well, my family has (ME!) and I have heard many times that I can cause extra stress and expectations that are, like I said before unattainable in this life. Perfectionism makes it hard to be around a person, hard to talk to them and even hard to want to be around them…cause of the high stress they “give” off so to say.

Our ministry. Something I have struggled with as I began my journey as a Pastor, was perfectionism. Trying to have the most well-behaved students, best curriculum, amazing leaders, incredible relationships built with ALL of the students, etc. Now I am not saying that these few things listed above aren’t attainable…just maybe not all the time. My mentor once told me, in ministry lets say you are running a kids programs and the games sucked, worship was awful (the kids were running around and not listening) and come to lesson time there isn’t much difference there either. But then, small groups come and you have an incredible 20 minutes with your students, thats okay! Not everything has to be perfect for God to show up. Because God likes messy, He’s there in the thick of it. God hates perfectionism because its a chaos filled, vicious cycle of lies that hurts His children.

Our everyday life. Here is an honest and transparent thought of mine. Perfectionism hurts me every single day. Want to know why? Because…If I don’t lose that pound I want to lose, I call myself failure. If my homemade christmas cards aren’t turning out like I wanted them to, I call myself failure. If I am not there for every person that ‘needs’ me and I say the forbidden word of “NO” , I call myself a failure. Folks, I don’t know if you can see what I am saying but, perfectionism attacks from every angle, its always in the act. Its here to steal, kill, and destroy our joy as Christians.

Moving Forward: My takeaway for today would be this. Don’t open the door of your heart to perfectionism any longer. Don’t allow this “vicious turmoil filled thing” to cause unrest and anxious feelings in your life. Live your life to the fullest because God wants you to, not because the world wants you to. When perfectionism is caught in the act of your life, drop to your knees and kick the devil in the face and tell him with a smile on your face “you’re not welcome here anymore.”

 

 

Slaying perfectionism one post at a time.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

An unedited, transparent chat. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Where do I even begin my friends? It has been quiet some time since I have just sat and waited on the Lord and wrote my thoughts down. So here I am today. NO-editing. This is it. 5-10 minutes of straight writing and like I mentioned above 0% editing will be done to this piece.

For a moment, I would like to be real with you all. For the past little while, I have been emotionally very unsettled. Not just hormonally….because we all know that happens. #LadiesDays but, unsettled spiritually too.

I have had a few days where I am just wandering in the wilderness, so to say. A few days of anxiousness, fear, anger, and very uncollected thoughts. Days of desperate cravings for something of stablilty to settle the many extra “things” raging inside me.

Although, I like to seem like I have it all together all the time. I don’t.                              “Type A personality, people-pleasing, super woman who can do all and be all everywhere and never say NO”, that is me in a transparent nutshell.

I do not have it all together and I beat myself up continuously about it. I call myself a failure. I look at my many flaws, before I look at the body I am blessed with. I look at the accomplishments of others and I degrade myself. I look at others success and I create unattainable goals. I am sick health-wise…and yes, I sure do like hiding it. Because it “looks” better. I feel terribly sick most everyday but, not many would really know it.

Struggle after struggle seems to be surfacing in this season of my life.

These struggles have lead to moments where I have questioned God’s will, and questioned His plans completely.

“God, why don’t I feel content?” “Why do I always need new, change, and excitement…why cant I be founded in you and that just be enough?” “Why am I feeling so unsettled?” “Why cant I have it all together…I am serving you and I feel like I am in your perfect will…Why GOD??”

To be frank, these were the prayers….I mean statements, that had in my waring chat with God this morning.

I live a life with high stress. I am feeling hurt…for no apparent reason. I am angry because of our world and the evil things that its about. I am anxious about future endeavours and yes, I’ll say it again….I don’t have it “all together” and that frustrates me to the core of my being.

I call myself failure, instead of treasured daughter.

I call myself fat, instead of beautiful.

I set unattainable goals that can’t be met.

I make promises and sometimes don’t keep them.

I expect more from myself than anyone else.

I can never say No.

I am a hot-mess express.

I am a work in progress. In a testimony building part of my journey.

Although, in the past 10 minutes of writing this I have not found the peace that I desire…I cling to this: “Come to me all who are weary and are burdened and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28

Thank you for allowing me to ramble in my moments of transparency.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

Sunday Mornings. 

Written By: Kerrington Sweeney

Growing up Sunday mornings were always jam packed for us as The Sweeney Family…with my Father head of the sound team at our church, my mother singing on the worship team and the head of her kids department, it kept us very busy as a family.

Even as kids we were right beside our parents helping and serving in so many areas of the church. “The Sweeney’s” were always on a ministry schedule some way, some shape or form…there was only about 1-3 Sundays a year, all 5 of us met our schedules up and were in church together and were not serving in ministry some where in the church or community.

I vividly remember seeing other families sitting all together in their ‘rows’ (creatures of habit, that we all are…haha!) at church at the Sunday morning gatherings, worshipping together and listening to the sermon ALL together. I don’t have that many memories as a child for our family all together in the same row. With my parents always serving, as well as us kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t of had my child-hood any different, through the busyness and chaos of those Sunday mornings, it bestowed in me, to serve and then be fed. Engraved in me, to pour your heart out and then to receive. Released in me, to work very hard and then you will be blessed.

My Sunday mornings now are a bit different from when I was a child. Now running the entire kids ministry department at my home church. Sunday mornings still consist of serving, but the stresses are different and not always as “fun” as you’d hope.

Even since before dating my boyfriend, I have always admired couples that serve in the church together at a young age. (Still absolutely, SO love that!) Since the beginning of our relationship… almost a year and a half ago, we have never had the chance to serve on a Sunday morning together. With both of us serving in several areas at each our of own churches.

Wishing I was serving beside “my man” at his church. Ministry split-up in a relationship isn’t easy. Its actually really hard. Especially when we both run several areas of ministry at our churches and want to help each other out. It serves its many challenges and sometimes many tears like today.

This morning, as I am sitting here in my office just finished preparation for more kids min programs. The vicious cycle of thoughts continue to surround me, “Oh I wish, we could serve together like other couples do…or even go to the same church especially on Sunday Mornings.”

Even though, I know for a fact that my future Sunday mornings will never be spent together in the same row as a family. Knowing us, Joshua and I will both be busy in ministry. Through all of this I have learnt, that I don’t need everyone in the same row to feel “complete”. I know that I don’t need a time where I can sit with ALL of my family together…I need Jesus period. No extras.

I can look to Him in those moments where I am sitting in the lonely row or when I need His presence and peace in the busyness of ministry on a Sunday morning.

Sisters, All I need is, Him.

Praying that your coming Sunday morning is bright and blessed. If you remember only one thing from this post remember this…All you need is Him to feel complete.

Until Next Time,

~Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

When I was camera shy…?

Written By: A very insecure girl.

Let’s take a walk together down memory lane…

When I was young, I loved having my photo taken, but when this comes to mind I remember a certain time in my life where I loved it even more…That was year 6 of my little life. I loved getting dressed up in fancy outfits, taking hours in the bathroom doing my hair a certain-perfect way, lathering my face with fake kids make-up and putting on my hot pink plastic high-heels that had a large, fake diamond on the front of them.

Although, with every step was squeaky sounds coming from my feet below as I walked on our 90 year old, original hard wood flooring in our bunagolo styled home. To the great amounts of pain and loss of feeling that my poor feet were experiencing…this was an invigorating time for a 6 year old.

I would walk ever so carefully in my heels to find my Mum and have her take photos of me with our family’s non-digital, non-seeing the picture till its developed camera, in our sun shine filled living room and cozy covered porch.

I felt alive when these photos were being taken. I felt beautiful. Like everything was simply perfect.

Now fast forward 13 years. There I was getting my make up and hair done. Sitting waiting to have my photos taken with my love for our 1 year anniversary.

(This should have been another invigorating experience…yet that entire day I have never felt so sick, nauseous, and nervous before in my life.)

After a couple hours of pampering, I was ready. In my beautiful dress that I had bought for this special occasion, wearing my boots that my Grandparents had bought me, make up done, and hair just right.

My love arrived to our home, I was upstairs doing some finishing touches. I heard him come in the front doors, I was beyond excited to see him, yet I couldn’t walk down the set of stairs before me. I was so nervous.

I had to have him come up the stairs to me, because I was having such a hard time facing him. Shaking inside as I heard the creaking sounds as he walked up the stairs…He looked at me and smiled like he always does. He said that I looked beautiful.

I was trying so hard to understand why I was feeling this way, I mean this wasn’t our first photo shoot. I loved getting photos taken of me, my whole life and then, it came to me… as we were driving to the location where we were getting the pictures taken.

This was the first photo shoot since I had gained 63 of the most ugliest pounds from my medication. I was camera shy. I was scared.

Feeling terrified of what I would look like on camera, we began.

All through the shoot I continued to be nervous. With every pose, thoughts swirling around in my weary heart,  “What do my legs look like?”, “What does my stomach look like?”, “What about my arms…do they look like legs?”

This vicious cycle went on, the entire time.

Then the photos were revealed to us in less than 1 weeks time and I was amazed. Even though I have gained lots and I was nervous. They turned out amazing.

Sisters, no matter your size NEVER, I repkerjosh2017-17.jpgeat never be camera shy. God created you. Yes, YOU!!! He even created me knowing that I would gain weight rapidly and hate my body through it. He knew that I would be nervous, because He knows it all. Never forget…ANY size. You’re beautiful.

Until Next Time,

~An insecure girl, who knows she’s secure in her Heavenly Father’s arms. (Kerrington)

Heather Brooks Photography.

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

The ever-changing plans, of our constant Saviour.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Sisters, have you been in a place in your life where the going gets tough? Where your emotions run like wild fire? Where there is one too many unanswered questions or uncertainties? BUT you’re doing everything right and following God’s word to a tee?

Yup, I have SOO been there…And I sincerely hope and pray that this blog-post serves as an encouragement to you, on your journey of serving the Lord wholeheartedly. Today’s topic is…God’s Will. Oh my…what a complex thing that truly is.

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye, yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Learning to see and hear the subtle signs of the Holy Spirit’s leading and listening to His directions is crucial, especially in the day and hour we live in.

Here’s a definition of “God’s will” from The Bible Study Tools website. “…as vast as his entire plan for creation, and from the standpoint of objective content, it seems to be settled and unchanging. Old and New Testament writers can thus refer to God’s will as if its existence is accepted by all. But though it may seem to have the character of a broad blueprint, in practical applications it is expressed in specific terms. God’s will can also be viewed from its active side as his conscious “deciding,” “willing,” and “choosing” to do something…”

3 specific areas of this definition above, are what I would like to dig into and discuss today, with you my sisters.

  1. It’s settled and unchanging. 
  2. It’s existence is accepted by all.
  3. It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications.  

It’s settled and unchanging: It says various times throughout the Bible that Our God, is never changing…here are a few examples below:

Settled definition: “steady or secure style of life.” 

Unchanging definition: “not changing; remaining the same.” 

Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.” 

Malachi 3:6 says “For I the Lord do not change…”

Numbers 23:19 says “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Isaiah 40:8 says “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” 

2 Timothy 2:13 says “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” 

All these verses explain to us that God’s will is never changing. Its settled. Yesterday, today and forever. He never changes. Although we as humans, lie and sometimes don’t always keep our promises and change our minds…God always keeps His promises and never changes His mind. He stands faithful forever and in those moments where we are faithless. Oh yes…we of little faith, He remains Faithful, for he cannot deny himself.

No matter how many uncertainties and unknown paths come your way. God’s will is settled and unchanging for you, my sisters.

It’s existence is accepted by all: This category doesn’t have scriptures to relate to, but in the culture we live in, I thought this category was neat. How many times do you hear in movies “Oh, its JUST providence…” or coincidence somethings happen. I know that I have heard these statements countless times. But did you know that this statement is subtly saying

“Oh, its God’s will…”

When I thought this through, I was amazed. Non-Christian people saying this, don’t even completely understand that ‘Just Providence’ is really ‘God’s will’ in their lives. God’s will is accepted by all whether they realize it or not.

It seems to have a character of a blue-print, in practical applications:

How many of you dear sisters know how to read a blue print?

I would say probably 90% of you have no clue how to, 5% have done it before and the other 5% know how to. If you aren’t trained in blue-print reading, it’s hard to sometimes understand what the blue-print is saying…it’s difficult to understand the messages its trying to say, what the little words and letters the blue-print writer is tying to say to it’s readers.

God’s will at times, is just like a blue-print. Its hard to understand, its unclear at times…The Lord sending messages to us that we don’t yet understand. Seasons of life where you question “God, are you still there?” God’s will although to the human-eye may seem like a complicated, hard-to-understand blue-print. Our Heavenly Father always has practical applications for your life to help begin the process to better understand the messages on YOUR life blue-print. Sometimes it takes awhile to understand the applications and other times its a drastic eye-opening experience that you see God’s will for your life.

So sisters, if you remember one thing, remember this…

“God’s will is ever-changing to the human eye,

yet our Lord and Saviour is always constant.” 

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}, {Faith}, {Life}, {Love}, {Worth}

One Simple Act.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Have you ever had a long, rough week? A week where it seems that everything is going wrong. Feels like everyone is working against you and then it starts thundering and raining outside. Yup, I have been there.

Depressing for sure. A week like that happens way too often.

I had a week just like this one awhile back. Dealing with drama, hearing rude comments being said straight to my face, and in all honesty, being completely blunt here…nasty things wanted to climb out of this Children’s Pastors mouth. It was one of THOSE weeks.

I still remember the moment that changed my week for good…with one simple act.

It was a youth night at the church, where my boyfriend serves in ministry. I was taking some moments to pray and worship in the sanctuary before the students arrival to the youth group. Pouring my heart out to God about how terrible my week was and how tired I was with dealing with people, with issues, and with drama. I was almost in tears with the amount of heaviness that was on this weary woman’s heart. My soul felt weakened.

Heard a little noise and quickly turned and seen out of the corner of my eye, one of my girl-students standing at the end of the pew I was sitting in. She had a bouquet of spring flowers hand-picked from her very own garden, a smile as wide as the Pacific Ocean and such a proud twinkle in her eye.

She gently handed me the bouquet of slightly, wilting home-garden, grown flowers and said these exact words:

“These are for you! Hope you’re having a great week.”

Sisters, this 12 year old girl changed the course of the rest of my entire week. I felt loved, appreciated and purpose-filled. NO…Not because she gave me flowers but, because I knew that me being even just there, was impacting her in a small way.

This my dear sisters, was one simple act. Which was infused with encouragement for my weary soul. Her facial expression will forever be engraved in my mind…she was so proud.

How many times have you thought to do “One Simple Act” and simply didn’t because you didn’t think it would make a difference? If you remember when think today, remember this: “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.” 

Keeping the “simple acts” in mind, a story I heard a preacher once share, was close to something along these lines of what I can remember.

“A girl questioning her faith, feeling like she was a mistake and why she even existed on this earth, came to church one night to youth and she prayed these words to God…

“If you’re real you will show me in a tangible way tonight. Someone will give me a bouquet of all yellow flowers with only 1 purple flower in the middle of it..then I will know that you are God and I won’t kill myself when I go home later.” 

The night went on at youth group and still no flowers. It was just about to end at the program, when one of the church congregational members walked in and said in a very exuberant voice to the Youth Pastor, “I have to give something to a girl who is going to kill herself tonight…she needs to know that she is loved, forgiven and accepted by the Lord himself.”

The youth pastor in shock and utter amusement (Thinking “what is this lady doing??”) he hands her the microphone out of his hand. She announced loudly, her statement she heard from God and the room stays silent, no one says anything.

She begins feeling a little nervous and thinks “Am I sure that what I heard was from God?” Then she says in a little more timid, nervous voice “……Did someone ask God for a bouquet of yellow flowers, with one single purple flower in the middle?”

A loud sob, comes from the back left corner of the room and sure enough there she was. A girl who needed a tangible reminder from her Heavenly Father, to make sure she knew she was loved, cherished, accepted and treasured in His eyes.”

Now although, my personal experience wasn’t as drastic as this one was but, God truly works in mysterious ways even through people to send tangible simple acts, sent as reminders to God’s children of His daily faithfulness.

Sisters, are there other women in your life that you know could use some encouragement in a “One Simple Act” kind of way?

We all know someone who needs extra love and grace. Why not stop whatever you are doing right now and encourage someone. Make them feel loved and appreciated for everything they do in your life.

Sisters, remember this “Simple Acts lead by the Lord…make BIG differences.”

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

Kerrington's Posts, {Beauty}

Stretch marks and all….I am still beautiful.

Written By: Pastor Kerrington Sweeney

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 

With everything I have walked through this past year, the last thing that I wanted to happen was…for me to “lose my beauty” or I guess how culture would describe beauty that is. To calm my immune system of the havoc that was taking place, I was prescribed a medicine that often can make you gain large amounts of weight very fast.

I still remember the day that reality came crashing in on me, like a giant tidal wave.

It was a Sunday Afternoon, I was just about to change into a fancy dress for an event that my boyfriend and I were attending that evening…I had it laid out on the end of my bed like I would normally.

That morning before church, I just had grabbed the dress, laid it out and didn’t think anything of it. I mean why would I? Its in MY own closest…it obviously fits me. Right? …….WRONG!!!

Slipped the dress on, asked my sister to zip up the back.

First try, couldn’t get it up. Thought to myself… “Don’t worry, this dress always has a hard time with the zipper.” I encouraged my sister to try again. No budge. Thought to myself again “Hmmm…Stand very tall Kerrington! You can do this, you’ll get this beautiful dress on.” Last try…nothing.

And BOOM just like that… It hit me. I wasn’t the cute little size anymore. I took the dress off and threw it on the floor, that was a dress that in the past had made me feel very beautiful. Just like that, the drop of the dress I felt like I had lost all my beauty. Tears started streaming down my face as I sat on the end of my bed. “Fat, Ugly, and Huge”…these were the words I heard going through my mind on a vicious cycle.

49 ugly pounds I have gained and continue to gain to this day, somedays harder than others…when the clothes just don’t fit right anymore it hurts, when I shop in the larger section in the stores, it hurts.

When I hear the comments like “Wow. Your face looks fuller recently!!” It hurts. When sometimes I have a harder time getting off the floor with the kids, it hurts.

A more recent painful reminder, was just about over a month ago, I looked down as I was putting a shirt on and I had seen some hair-thin lines on my stomach and upper thighs. Thinking it was dirt or something I quickly tried washing them away with a wet cloth…no matter how hard I scrubbed…they just didn’t go away. I wasn’t too sure at the time what they were, till I asked my mom.

And BOOM. It hit me again. She said: “They’re stretch marks peanut, don’t worry though…its okay!”

I asked directly after that, “Will they go away with some time?” Her response is what made my weary heart sink into a vault of defeat.

“Nope, they are there for good.” 

Oh my heart. I felt like my body was ruined forever and  I had lost all hope of ever being beautiful again. I hated this. I just couldn’t fathom it all. “Hadn’t I been through enough?” I thought.

What brings joy to my heart though, is that with all of these physical changes happening to my body ever so quickly, this never changed anything between my boyfriend and I. He still always called me beautiful, no matter what.

This was such a comfort to me, every doctors appointment that I would step on that dreaded scale and see the numbers ever rising…I could still be confident knowing that stepping on to it, even if the numbers had drastically changed again…that I knew that he still thought I was beautiful.

One meanings of my name is “Beautiful” and at times I thought that I had truly lost that. I thought that with the drop of that dress, that I had lost any chance of ever being beautiful. Well ladies, I was wrong, even when I thought my arms looked like legs, when my face was fuller than what people were use to seeing, or when those little marks that I thought were dirt just wouldn’t scrub away or ever go away…

I am STILL beautiful. 

It has taken me awhile to get to this point where I can share all of this so vulnerably but, I know that there is so many of us women who struggle with self-worth that I want to share these stories to maybe encourage someone when they fit their rock bottom.

Sisters in Christ, you are loved, you are treasures of the most high God, and you are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Until Next Time,

~Pastor Kerrington

Guest-Writers, {Beauty}

{Beauty} He Makes All Things Beautiful

Written By: Patricia Underwood

As a nurse, we call them “frequent flyers”. It may sound disrespectful, but we honestly don’t mean to be. It’s a code term for a patient that frequently visits the facility. In the PACU (post-anesthesia care unit), I wouldn’t have thought this would be a common occurrence, because really~ who PLANS to have surgery frequently?! It wasn’t long into my field change in nursing from being a cardiac nurse of 13 years to PACU nursing that I quickly discovered a bizarre, yet tragically sad problem. An epidemic really.

Mental illness.

Sure, I had seen it in several “forms” multiple times throughout my years in nursing, but never to the degree as I’ve seen in the PACU. Without getting into too many potentially disturbing details, some people have such a difficult time coping with life that they harm themselves to the point that requires surgery. They are usually very open and honest about their reasons, once asked. I can’t pretend to understand exactly what they have gone through or what they are dealing with in their hearts or heads that leads them to thinking THAT is the only “answer” to somehow lessening the internal pain they are experiencing.

But, the sad truth is, for various reasons, it’s been my experience that most nurses find caring for these patients after surgery is extremely challenging. I would even go as far to say that many nurses dread the post-operative period with the patient. I believe it mostly has to do with the nurse’s own insecurity with how to approach and communicate with the patient. A lot of these patients are being treated for at least a couple different mental illnesses, so their behavior and attitudes could be affected by their medications, complicating the entire experience.

Matthew 25:40 (NLT)
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

It would be fair to say that of all the patients to care for in the recovery room, a patient with mental illness (especially one that self-harms to this extent) would be the “least of these”. He/she would be like the leper that is forbidden from coming into the crowd of people. They’d be the one that the disciples would advise Jesus to ignore.

Yet, Jesus sees the Beautiful inside. 
He sees their heart.

1 Samuel 16:7 (NLT)
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I believe a huge part of what patient’s with mental illness feel is a total loss of self-control. And can I just be honest here?! Haven’t we all felt that to one degree or another? I can’t say that I have always reacted the best in those situations myself. I may not have decided to self-harm, but indirectly, I’m sure the ways I “handled” those times in my life weren’t always the healthiest.

I once had such “frequent flyer” patient with mental illness. I remembered him clearly from the last time he had surgery. After he woke up from his last surgery, he became confused and combative during the post-operative period. He actually physically assaulted one of our male nurses and sent that nurse to the emergency room to be evaluated for a broken jaw! Several months passed and the patient was back for a similar surgery. This time, I was going to be his nurse in the recovery room. I prayed for God’s protection as this young man woke up from surgery and prayed that God would give me a calm demeanor for this man.

Not only did his post-operative period go perfectly, but God softened this young man’s heart and caused him to open up to me and share with me a beautiful piece of it that I believe he hasn’t shared with very many other people. This young man writes song lyrics! He keeps a journal of all the lyrics he’s ever written and had it with him. He mentioned it and I was immediately intrigued. Perhaps because I showed interest (maybe one of the first people to ever show genuine interest) he chose to share it with me.

I opened his simple 49-cent journal to see pages upon pages upon pages of lyrics, written in the most beautiful handwriting. It was obvious that such pride was taken when he wrote each line.

As I was flipping through his lyric journal, I felt like I was taking glimpses into his heart. I didn’t want to read the words because I felt like that was something too private, but I told him that I thought he had an amazing gift and I hope he continues to write!! I love how God uses even something that the world sees as “ugly” and can completely use and transform it into something so beautiful!! I pray this young man will be able to see God’s handiwork in his life (Ephesians 2:10 NIV) and see that He has been working all things for his good (Romans 8:28).

It was a privilege to care for this gentle soul that day. God reminded me that patients are more than their diagnosis and that they all need tender, loving care in their most vulnerable times of pain~ which often times is deeper than the physical level.

Until Next Time,
Tricia 

 

Guest-Writers, {Beauty}

{Beauty} More and More of You.

Written By: Hannah Kittle

I’d like to start by asking a few questions.  How many of us feel like we’re walking on a tightrope?  Do you ever feel like you’re spiritually and emotionally dead?  How does it feel when you don’t feel like your needs are being satisfied by your friends, family, or even God?  I can honestly say that I can answer “yes” on a regular basis to these questions.

One song that has really blessed me is Selah’s “More and More of You”.  It is an amazing song where the singer is crying out to God, asking Him to “fill us with Your fire, give us Your desires, Hold us close to You…give us revelation, Your healing visitation…”

How often I have cried those same words in my heart.  In my life, there have been times where I have been at my absolute lowest.  I have felt like I can’t feel anything emotionally.  I don’t feel good enough.  I don’t feel like I can measure up to the expectations that my friends, my family and God has for me.  There have been days where I just collapse and melt into a pool of tears as I cry out to God and simply just ask Him to fill me and make me whole again.

Something that He has been teaching me is to use my loneliness and emptiness to drive me closer to Him.  In order to “fill (me) with Your fire, give (me) Your desires, hold (me) close to You,” He needs to be able to empty me of myself and desires so that I can truly know what it’s like to be filled with God.

In my devotions, I am reading a delightful book called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  It’s written from the perspective of God talking to His child.  In it I read, “I want you to be all Mine.  I am weaning you from other dependencies.  Your security rests in Me alone- not in other people, not in circumstances.  Depending only on Me may feel like walking on a tightrope, but there is a safety net underneath: The everlasting arms.”

I can say that I have felt like I was on a tightrope so many times.  I have trusted in friends that I thought would be there for forever and always.  However God had other plans and removed those relationships.  I have relied on my skills of preparation and speaking to best serve my team and I in mock trial only to come to my final competition and be so exhausted and unfocused that it was all I could do in my own strength to put one foot in front of the other to walk to the next room that I had to be in.

God is weaning us from our “needs” which are really just things that our flesh wants.  “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spiritthe things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)  We have to make a choice to have “enough of getting everything we want. “  We need to be “weary of living this life just for us.”

Isaiah 66:2 says, “For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spiritAnd who trembles at My word.”  We need to have a broken, humble, and contrite spirit before God.  We need to ask God to “forgive us for seeking Your hand and not Your face.”  We need to ask God to “Come and empty us, Father…”  We need to tell Him that “we are desperate in this place.”

God is a God of love.  He loves to bless His people.  We need to acknowledge God for Who He is and be grateful and thankful for everything He’s given us.  God truly has “given us so much more than we deserve.”  He delivers “us by the power of (His) Word.”

When our prayer is answered or people see Christ in us and give us credit, we must immediately give credit to Whom it is due.    We’re supposed to be “giving (Him) the honor that is (His).”  We need to thank God for His love.  His love and the sacrifice that He made at Calvary; “this is what we are living for.”   2 Corinthians 9:15 says, “Thank God for His indescribable gift.”

God’s gift is the ultimate gift.  It is the greatest gift the world has ever seen or will see.  By that gift, mankind has a future, a chance to be restored to a right relationship with God.   The song details some of God’s blessings, “The love that covers us” as well as “the Savior’s mercy.”  Selah describes, “The blood makes us spotless white, “ like it says in Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. “

We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and constantly be asking God to fill us with His power alone.  As Sarah Young says in Jesus Calling, “Strive to trust Me in more and more areas of your life…Trust is like a staff you can lean on, as you journey uphill with Me.  If you are trusting in Me consistently, the staff will bear as much of your weight as needed.  Lean on, trust, and be confident in Me with all your heart and mind.”  (Jesus Calling, Sarah Young page 33)

~ Hannah

More and More of You by Selah:
Selah on YouTube

Guest-Writers, {Beauty}

{Beauty} Do You Feel Disqualified?

Written By: Angela Howard

Do you ever feel disqualified?  Have you experienced failure, heartbreak, or committed a sin that left you wondering if you should be benched, banned or declared ineligible for service?  I have.  It’s defeat at its highest and it’s likely a distortion of the truth.

I’m not good enough.
Why would God choose me?
When will I ever be free from sin?
I’ll never make the cut.
My hard work is all for nothing.

It’s easy to notice that this destructive internal dialogue is totally self-focused.  It’s all about shame, a little dose of self-pity and a whole lot of self-sufficiency.  It’s pretty hard to find the good news of Jesus under the weight of all that garbage.  And grace?  Well, you’ll be hard pressed to remember that truth.

Last week I felt like a scarlet letter had been stamped on my favourite sweater.  I was sure that big fat red letters were superimposed on my life: YOU’RE DISQUALIFIED.  With the title came an overpowering grief over my perceived shortcomings and a sense of profound disappointment.  I couldn’t help but to think of David as he penned Psalm 40.  He was probably overwhelmed by his sin or the consequences of his sin.  He cries out to the Lord in deep sorrow, but his experience is quite different from the above litany of questions and despair that I listed.  Let’s see what David said…

I waited patiently for the LORD to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the LORD.
Oh, the joys of those who trust the LORD,
who have no confidence in the proud
or in those who worship idols.
O LORD my God, you have performed many wonders for us.
Your plans for us are too numerous to list.
You have no equal.
If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds,
I would never come to the end of them. Psalm 40:1-5 (NLT)

David teaches us that when we are overwhelmed and feeling disqualified we can make some powerful choices that will change everything!

We can… (action steps)

Wait on God
Praise God
Trust in God
Show Gratitude to God

God will… (His promises)

Lift us Out of Despair
Steady us on Solid Ground
Give us a New Song
Give us Joy

I have to admit that this is sounding a lot better than wallowing in self-pity and diving deep into hopelessness.  If you are feeling disqualified you’re not alone and this is not the end of your journey.  God is the author of new beginnings and He has a plan for you today!

God is the author of new beginnings and He has a plan for you today! – Angela Howard Click To Tweet

Which of the above action steps will you choose today?  I’d love to hear from you!  Comment below or start a conversation on social media.

Can I ask you a quick favour?  If today’s post has impacted you would you share it on your social media sites?  When you do, it helps me get my blog in front of more wonderful people just like you!  I’d be very grateful.

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