Breaking Cycles of Dysfunction in Relationships (Single and Following Jesus Series Part IX)

Have you been in a cycle of repeated bad relationships or you see your friends in those same dysfunctional relationships? Today is a day of breaking free.

I have asked the same questions about friendships or casual relationships, “Why is this type of person attracted to me? They have no qualities that match up.” That may seem harsh yet let me give some examples for clarity.

My nature is encouraging, supportive, and I pursue kindness. I want to see you win. I will be the most vocal cheerleader for you.

I wondered why those who were negative, critical, mean spirited, unsupportive, and hateful were drawn to me and why they turned their negativity on me.

I am going to tell you why. Are you ready?

1. Opposites Sometimes Do Attract.

You may be giving and attract a taker. You may be kind and attract someone rude. It is not always true that we attract who we are. You may be loving and attract someone critical, rude, mean.

2. Poor Boundaries.

People treat us the way we let them treat us. Some see meekness (strength under control) as weakness. If we do not set a boundary, “You may not treat me that way, you may not talk to me that way, no this is not okay,” then we invite disrespect. It’s a conversation that must start early, not months into the relationship.

I had a lady tell me once (long ago), “I know no matter how bad I treat you, you will always be there for me.” I thought to myself, “What kind of crazy have I signed up for.”

Loving someone does not mean you let them treat you poorly. That is called enabling. It is a form of codependency. Some think God is this way. He is not. His love does not change. He is not cheering when we misbehave. God sets boundaries-“If you do this, this is the result.” God allows natural consequences. He does not remove every consequence this side of heaven.

So with this lady, I pulled back from being her default when she had no boyfriend, the person who answered her calls in crisis. I removed myself from being a doormat under the umbrella of false love.

More examples:

I have an associate who is negative. This person loves to complain and focus on what is wrong. It drains me. I told the person this week, “I would love when we talk for it to be about something positive, goals, good things. What’s going right? There is enough crazy in the world, let’s be the change we wish to see.” I set a boundary. Please keep your constant complaining in your yard. Do I love this person, yes. Do I want to listen to hours of doom, gloom, negativity, gossip, he said/she said…no. I am not a garbage can.

I had a gentleman pursuing me who always wanted to wait until the last minute to set dates. I told him I would appreciate advance notice (not all the time-yet it was considerate to give others notice); texting me Friday afternoon to meet Friday night is a no go for constant meet ups. I set a boundary. He did not listen. So often he’d texted on Friday or Saturday afternoon and I was busy.

My female friend said it was a game to see if I was seeing other people. I am an adult. I only play games with actual children. Some may have thought that was cute. I did not. Maybe if we were a couple and had been dating awhile, yet not for someone I do not know well this was a no go and setting dates signifies value. Yes, be spontaneous…Also take the time to plan something. Gentlemen say, “I would love to see you Friday night, do you have plans?” That conversation happens before Friday. I am not clearing every weekend hoping a guy messages me. I have things to do.

If you make yourself so available to everyone, they will treat you like you have no value. If you do not value your time, value yourself, why should they? I am not saying play hard to get nor play games. I am saying if you do not respect and value your own time, others will not either.

Place God at the center. Would God want me treated this way? If not, why are you allowing it? How much time do I need to invest in this relationship? How much of my heart can they steward well? God knows.

If you have poor or low boundaries, then you will find disorder and dysfunction and poor treatment.

3. Quick to Trust and Dismissing Relational Red Flags.

I consider myself trustworthy. Therefore, I give people the benefit of the doubt. I have learned to pay attention. Watch people. Watch how they treat people. Watch how they talk about others. Do they tell everyone else’s business? They are not trustworthy with your business. Do they only show up when they need something? You are most likely a convenience. Do you make all the effort? You are in a one sided relationship. If they destroy others, do not think they will not do it to you.

Many times red flags are ignored under the, “I am a loving Christian.” Okay, be a loving Christian with wisdom. Wisdom says, “Bad company corrupts good character.” Wisdom says, “How can two be joined unless they agree?” Wisdom says, “Do not make partners with an angry person.” These are all in the Bible right along with love your neighbor. You can love someone without dating them, being close friends, being business or ministry partners, or marrying them.

One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou is as follows, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Unless they want to change or God changes them, that is what you are dealing with in a partner or friend.

4. You Are Pulling All the Relational Weight

I love giving. I love giving with no expectation of return. Yet there is wisdom required in giving as well. Too much time spent together, too much closeness without commitment, too much investment without any investment back is a set up for dysfunction.

Jesus loves perfectly and in exchange for our freedom He gave His life. When we enter into covenant, God asks for our life. Please understand God is not just giving, giving, giving and expecting nothing. He asks for our entire lives. It’s a bigger commitment than an earthly marriage.

This thought that selfless giving is to lead to one sided relationships is not covenant love. Relationships were designed to be give and take. If one person is doing all the work, it’s not love. Both people are to pursue the best interests of the other.

I have seen overgiving lead to abuse; it attracts narcissists and abusive people. Why? They thrive on taking. Selfless givers with no boundaries are easy targets.

A person who loves you will want to bless you too.

I have met so many people angry because they trusted too quickly, fell in love with the idea of someone, ignored red flags, and were burned poorly in a relationship. If you pay attention, people show you who they are. Their mouth speaks what their heart is full of and their actions, if you watch closely, manifest their heart and how they feel about you.

Placing God at the center can save us loads of heartache.

God help me to choose the right associates, friends, confidants, mate. Help me to set godly boundaries and respect those of others. I want to be the best friend I can be to someone and want that in return. Help me to not only be a blessing, but to cease settling for less than what you would offer. Break every cycle of dysfunction in my life and relationships. The common denominator is me. Show me what I am allowing or the poor or low boundaries. Help me to stay centered in you and have the best relationships possible. God help me to be healthy in my soul and attract and maintain relationships with healthy people. Jesus break cycles of dysfunction and it starts with me. Change me so I guard my heart and live out of wisdom and love! In Jesus powerful name.

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Live in Reality (Single & Following Jesus Series Part VII)

Aloha friends.

Today I wanted to chat about living in reality and being realistic.

We live in a world of reality tv which does not always represent reality. We live in a world that promotes fantasy (what feels good to you, act that out).

God invites us into reality with Him. Why? God’s reality is rooted in truth, His wisdom, and holiness.

Fantasy is often rooted in seduction, lust, and deception.

Imagination is God given and can be holy; fantasy is normally rooted in pretending.

God invites us into His truth and holiness. Believing God’s truth sets us free. Believing the devil leads to bondage.

Culture vs. God’s Kingdom:

You see movies of two people falling instantly in love then bed together. They sleep together and live happily ever after right? They do not show you the people dumped after a one night stand, the pregnancies and abortions after one night stands, the sexually transmitted diseases contracted, the new demonic spirits transferred between two people, the tears on the soul, nor the decreased ability to bond to another person after casual sex. The devil never talks to people about negative consequences of stepping outside God’s boundaries. He presents something that seems good, will bring temporary pleasure, yet will not bring lasting joy and satisfaction.

The same goes with pornography. It was not until recently studies popped up showing the detriment of this activity. Fantasy in this area leads to lack of genuine love, decreased genuine intimacy with a real human, and is often the gateway for more illicit choices. Many who later participate in human trafficking (buying slaves or engaging in prostitution/abuse) started with pornography; it devalues humans and reduces them to objects instead of people.

What is Reality?

Reality is God highly values all people and they are not objects to be used for pleasure, they are people to be loved.

Godly love involves commitment, protection, and stewarding the heart of another person well. It is a love that says, “I want to honor you so I am willing to do things God’s way. I will safe guard this relationship so it brings God glory and honors you. I will not take from you without committing to you, for that is stealing what I am unwilling to cherish for life. I want to steward the gifts you are offering me of your time, resources, body, heart, and life. I want to be in covenant with you which is bound by a commitment to sacrificial, unselfish, God given love.”

Let’s talk about another form of fantasy. It happens when people start planning their marriage before their first date or idolizing someone they just met. Why is this dangerous? The person you may end up marrying may not be that person you made up in your head or the person sitting across from you at coffee. Pursuing a fantasy relationship (the made up one in the head) leads to gross disappointment when facing reality.

The made up John may cook, clean, leave roses and romantic cards. The real life John may just take out the trash.

I have seen way too many people fall in love with the idea or marriage or the idea of a person and end up grossly disappointed with reality.

Reality is until that person says, “I do,” they are not your spouse. In your head you can paint a wild, vivid fantasy that amounts to nothing. Why? Until they say, “I do,” they can still choose to walk away from the situation.

Reality is what that person shows you is what you are dealing with and have to take home. People are not projects. I have heard so many women say they will change their husband only to find out they (their spouse) has zero desire to change. They envisioned John the romantic. The reality is they got John the couch potato. In their fantasy they would marry John and make him like the Señor Suave in their head. Reality was John had zero desire to be what the fantasy was so he refused. I still tell people to pray God shows you before you say, “I do,” what you are dealing with in a partner.

Reality is marriage requires work. It as painted as an every day, all day love fest. Yet get some couples as friends who have been married awhile. They will tell you that it requires some work. Get more than just your parents who may withhold some of the deep challenges.

Reality is treating that other person like a brother or sister in the Lord or friend until their is a level of commitment. Giving yourself away, being too available/vulnerable, not setting great boundaries (including emotional/physical), and treating someone not your spouse like a spouse is the set up for heartache. We were not intended to bond with dozens of people then break up. God set up bonding and intimacy so we could form life long bonds. If you take two pieces of paper and glue them together then rip them apart, there is tearing. Neither piece remains whole.

Reality is being single is not a curse nor indication of being inferior/rejected. Jesus had no earthly wife. Paul had no wife. Mother Teresa had no husband. I would not say any of these people were cursed, without purpose, nor inferior beings. They went about doing the will of the Father. Desiring marriage is not a bad thing. Thinking it somehow improves your worth is a bad thing.

I do not know the exact map of my life nor the map of others. I do know God is good. Time can be wasted worrying or stressing over what is not happening verses enjoying who God is. In the presence of God is fullness of joy. I do know fantasy robs us of experiencing the joy of the Lord.

Papa God, for anyone who reads this that is caught up in fantasy instead of reality, I ask for your Holy Spirit to wash over them from the tops of their heads to the soles of their feet. I bind any and all seducing spirits and spirits of lust. I ask you would loose your love, peace, joy, and power. Reveal every lie they have come into agreement with that is blocking freedom. Every idol come crashing down. Holy Spirit of truth permeate every part of their being. Every addiction be bound. I ask you Lord for total freedom, inner healing, and deliverance by the power of your anointing. I decree and declare freedom from living outside Godly reality. In Jesus powerful name. Amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin

Response to Why Are You Still Single? (Single & Following Jesus Part V)


Aloha friends, 

So one of the frequent questions given to singles is “Why are you single?” It might be followed by a, “You are so beautiful/handsome. You are such a great person,” or a “Let me set you up with my (coworker, friend, this person I know, or a complete stranger).” 

Sometimes the person is unbelieveably rude and says something like, “I am so glad I found someone,” or “You better get moving the clock is ticking.” 

I had a lady tell me once she could never be me because I did not have anyone. Well, she was soon single. Her husband was caught cheating. As a matter of fact every woman who has looked down on me for being single ended up divorced/betrayed. No, I did not wish bad things on them. 

Their comments do not bother me. Why? I truly like who I am. With or without a mate, I like myself. A partner is not a means to validate my self worth. 

Some pity you. Some judge you. Some try to set you up on awful blind dates. Some assume all you do is think about marriage. There are healthy ways to deal. 

How do you deal? 

Well, offense is an option or a snarky comment. Don’t let the spirit of slap get you. 😉


The high road is understanding being single is not a curse nor will marriage fix everything. Marriage adds responsibilities, involves compromise, and is best suited for two people ready to attempt to love unselfishly. 

Paul stated very clearly that the married person focuses on their spouse while the single person has undivided focus on God. 

I really want to get married, what do I do? 

I enjoy being single, except at weddings and around certain people. Then I wish I had a fake spouse to bypass the akwardness. 🙂 Yet I know it is a great desire in the hearts of many. So here are some tidbits. 

1. Get comfy with who you are

Confidence attracts great things. 

Being single can cause some insecurity for some-the world is wondering why no one has chosen you. You may wonder this too. Yet know there are plenty of people married to the wrong person or in hellish marriages because they were impatient. They post like it’s bliss on Social Media, yet know of several faking the funk per say. 

The right thing for a person at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. 

2. Know God cares about the desires of your heart and His abilities trump a biological clock. 

I know people who married later in life and have amazing marriages. They had kids over 40, had the income to support those kids, and were mature enough to handle the marriage. When God gives gifts, they are custom. Custom gifts are not always quick or immediate. One can go create an Ishmael situation or wait on God/seek God for Issac. 

But my biological clock is like a time bomb! 

Abraham and Sarah are prime examples of God’s ability to defy biology. God created the body. God can do what people say cannot be done. I know most do not want their story to be that of Abraham and Issac. I simply wanted to encourage you that God is not limited. 

The desires of a person’s heart placed in the hands of God is the safest place they can be. 

3. Ask why you want to be married?

Selfishness is the thief of love, God love. If marriage is a means to fit in, fill a void, forgo lonliness, or deal with lust-those are the wrong motives. 

Marriage amplifies who a person is. Any issues hidden come bubbling up. What if that spouse get’s disfigured, can not meet physical needs, gets an illness…what then? What if for better or worse becomes the worse? If the objective is not to unselfishly love and honor someone for life, well relational breakdown occurs. 

4. Pray

There are people who say pray for your future spouse. I am not opposed to this. I truly think some of the greatest prayers are below…

Lord help me to find contentment in you alone. 

Lord purify my heart and help me to walk in purity. 

Lord show me how to love like you. 

Lord prepare me for what you have for me. 

Lord help me to guard my heart. 

Lord help me to steward others hearts well. 

Lord give me wisdom and increased discernment. 

Lord fill all the voids with you. 

Lord heal my soul. 

Lord protect me from the wrong choices. 

Lord hold my heart and do not let me give it to the wrong person. 

Lord prepare the person you have for me. Cause our paths to cross at the perfect time. 

Lord help me to find my identity in you. 

Lord strengthen me where I am weak.


Final thoughts…

People are getting married later in life. I hear from ladies that Christian men do not pursue them. I hear from Christian guys they are clueless how to date or have been repeadily rejected. So this leaves an interesting dynamic for those desiring children. Some opt for online dating. I have seen this work out great for many and not so great for a few. Some pray and hope God sends someone. Some give up all together. 

I will say that God is good and withholds nothing good. God’s timing is not always ours. Yet I have seen over and over the faithfulness of God. May knowing God be the aim. Those who seek first the Kingdom will gain so much more. The greatest gift is God! 

Praying for you! God wants His very best for you, for all of us. 

Love, 

Erin Lamb 

Give Me or Prepare Me? (Relationship Series)

  
I’ve heard so many people cry out, “God send me this amazing person.” Yet I’ve not heard as many pray, “God prepare me for this amazing person. What do they need?”

God is a gift giver and loves to give good gifts to His children. He tells us… 

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above; it comes down from the Father of lights [the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens], in whom there is no variation [no rising or setting] or shadow cast by His turning [for He is perfect and never changes],~James 1:17 (Amplified). 

Are you preparing for what you are asking Him for? Becoming the type of person you’d  want to be with? 

How Does One Prepare? 

1. Putting God First; Seeking Him Above All Things 

If intimacy with God is sought before a mate, there’s a higher probability of maintaining proper focus and healthy identity. 

Marriage is one of the acceptable idols in our culture and the church. Identity in marital status is seen everywhere. Marriage is seen as validation when God is supposed to be the One who defines who a person is. 

Seeking a spouse to fill a need only God can fill is actually idolatry. He’s the Source of eternal love, identity, security, peace, joy, hope. A spouse is to compliment, not complete or replace God. 

No spouse can be God. He has no equals. He cannot be replaced with a human being. Even married couples are supposed to seek Him first before each other. Meaning personal relationship with God doesn’t end because someone said “I do.”

2. Pursue Soul Healing 

Brokenness attracts brokenness. Marriage does not fix brokenness it amplifies it. If there are issues in the soul (fear, insecurity, depression, lust, selfishness, poor spending habits, addiction, anger, low self esteem), it’s a great time before marriage to allow God to work on those things. 

One of my frequent prayers is, “God purge my soul of anything that isn’t like You! I want nothing in common with darkness.” He has been and is working out His character in my life and healing my soul. 

3. Serve

Say what? Yes I said serve. A child of God is called to be a servant. Leaders are servants. It’s easy to serve someone when there is personal gain. What happens when they have nothing to offer? 

Science has shown that chemicals and hormones play a role in connecting people. These do not last, once they wear off…that’s when many people say they are no longer “in love.” The passion and chemistry that was helped along by hormones has diminished. 

If the mentality is, “This person will make me feel good, help me, support me…” What happens when they can’t? Then there’s discontentment or searching for someone else who can fulfill a need. 

We can always serve. Psychologists have shown the one who gives is the one who eventually grows to love. They are invested. Consumers don’t stay in love for they have nothing invested. Hence the Bible telling us to give, and do nothing out of selfish ambition. Love gives. It’s a good lesson to learn before “I do.” It’s for life. 

I had a lady tell me once she needed a really hot husband who could make her happy. I said, “What if he gets sick and can’t do anything for you,” she responded, “I don’t think I could stay with him.” 

Our culture promotes selfishness. It’s not Christlike. Jesus was and is a servant. 

Selfishness differs from self care. We are to take care of ourselves: rest, eat healthy, take breaks, set boundaries, and fuel our spirit/body/soul good things. 

4. Pray For That Future Person  

Why not? If marriage is your desire, praying for your future spouse is an investment. Everyone needs prayer. There’s a great book on the market called Heavenly Union. Great for already married couples too! Highly recommend. It’s only $6.99 for Kindle. The prayers are scripture prayers. 

Heavenly Union: Decrees for a Heavenly Marriage
5. Save Some Money and Pay Off Debt 

I’m not saying this is a requirement. Just wouldn’t it be nice to go in with something? I read somewhere that the average American wedding was ~30,000. There are some starting their lives together in significant debt: loans, credit cards. 

I admit I have student loans and a house loan. These will take a while to pay off. Yet I’m doing what I can to invest in God’s Kingdom and save. 

Sample budget. 

  • God first: 10%
  • Bills (house, utilities, food/gas…)
  • Offerings: 3 to 5%
  • Blessing others: 5 to 10% 
  • Savings/Retirement: 15 to 20%

I could bump up my savings and not give offerings or bless people, yet that doesn’t fit my core value of generosity. I’ve found that being a blessing to others never leaves me with less than I need. God always sends it back, multiplied! 

There’s overgiving, make sure you’re paying your bills and using wisdom. Yet don’t be afraid to give and save. 

Money causes many arguments in relationships. Learning how to budget and manage it is a good skill to have. I’m still learning too, so much! I don’t like to spend, I like to save and invest. Seeking wisdom on investing so God gets more return. It’s His money, we are stewards. 

Highly recommend Dave Ramsey’s resources. 

Dave Ramsey Financial Freedom Website
Lastly, prayer for you. 

Papa God I ask for all the singles desiring marriage that You would prepare them and their future spouse for each other. I ask for souls to be healed, identies rooted in You, wisdom in choosing a spouse, freedom from choosing out of loneliness/need/fear/lust or selfish reasons. I ask for a deeper revelation of Your great love! In Jesus powerful name. Amen. 

Seek Wholeness of Soul (Relationship Series) 

  
Two halves don’t make a whole person, and two severely broken people don’t have a healthy relationship. A healthy relationship requires at least one healthy person. 

I had a lady tell me I didn’t know anything about marriage because I’m not married. Jesus was never married. Apostle Paul was unmarried. Many of the passages on marriage conduct were written by Paul. 

I’ve watched healthy and unhealthy marriages, and helped married couples (mainly the wife) and seen God restore marriages. 

Disclaimer: I am not trying to give anyone marriage advice. Nope.

I wasn’t trying to give her marriage advice either. My statement was in regards to keeping God first, as humans cannot meet all our needs. 

She grew angry as her husband was the greatest priority above everyone and everything. This ended in devastation. I tried to warn, not preach. Yet every one makes their own choices and she gets to try again with another hubbie. There’s love, mercy, and abounding grace… 

So as I write, please know I don’t think I’m the expert, nor am I trying to tell you what to do. There’s freedom in Christ and everyone must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. 

Today, I wanted to talked about wholeness of soul. 

What is the soul? It’s your mind, will, heart, emotions. It’s separate but connected to your spirit. 

The spirit of a person is made perfect at conversion, the soul is being sanctified over time with God.  The spirit of a born again believer can be on fire for God and the soul sick or a hot mess. 

Have you seen the movie Inside Out by Pixar? Love and recommend. Our soul can be like sadness or fear and our spirit flooded with joy. 

  
There’s joy dragging sadness around! Photo courtesy of Pixar. 

I’m not stating we will never feel fear or sadness if we are healthy. Nope. When we are consumed with perpetual fear or sadness or insecurity, therein lies the problem. 

Over the years I’ve done lots of study on the soul, inner healing, overcoming trauma, deliverance, and bringing health to the soul. 

I’ve found through research and the word of God that a sick or wounded soul affects the entire being (physical and spiritual). It also deeply impacts relationships and intimacy with others.

James 1:21 tells us to “receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls” The word “save” means “to save one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health.” 

Quote is from Soul Decrees by Katie Souza. Use the Word of God to heal the soul. 

Some soul conditions are deemed normal but they cause problems in relationships: 

  • Insecurity
  • Excessive fear and worry
  • Low self worth, self hatred
  • Jealousy
  • Bitterness/unforgiveness
  • Unresolved anger/rage
  • Lust 
  • Soul depression/oppression (not all depression is medical-some is in the soul)
  • Desire to control or manipulate

The soul needs TLC. Over time we are exposed to so much pain, rejection, hurt, loss, grief, and over time you notice children lose some of their joy and sense of wonder. So much is deposited on the soul. Our natural, purest state is love, peace, and joy. 

Life lessons: 

I dated the same guy through high school and most of college. I wish I knew then what I know now. We both suffered some pretty big traumas in life that neither of us knew how to heal. This made things challenging. At the time you forgave people and grieved. I had no clue and didn’t until recently on how to heal the soul. 

This guy wanted to get married. I declined. It wasn’t the easiest thing to do, when you’ve known someone for 9 years. Yet it wasn’t right and God told me no. I will spare you details. Just know a yes would not have been good. No Bueno! 

Looking back from then until today, so many things have changed in my soul. Even the past week with my fellowship group we have been doing several different methods of soul healing and inner healing. 

I can not imagine walking into marriage with the guy from my past or even today without addressing soul wounds. Our soul is wounded by trauma, prolonged sickness (our own or close family members), death of a loved one, persecution, being sinned against, our own sin, rejection, etc… 

If we are struggling in our soul, many times we will attract those with similar issues or who reinforce our issues. 

I hear ladies say, “I seem to keep attracting the same type of guy and he breaks my heart.” That’s an indicator for me to check the soul. 

It’s good to be healthy in spirit, soul, and body. God desires that our soul prospers and is in health. 

Some Resources for You: 

Books: 

  • Soul Decrees by Katie Souza
  • Breaking Free by Beth Moore (book and video series available at Lifeway)

There are so many resources I will maybe do a separate post reviewing them for you. 

Inner healing is powerful. Once the soul is healed and it’s a process, the rest of the body flourishes. The goal isn’t perfection. The goal is pursuing wholeness because intimacy does not diminish issues, it highlights them. 

Healing the soul also improves friendships and family relationships. 

Papa God I thank You for Your unconditional love and ability to heal our souls. Every wound or issue in our soul, I ask that it would receive Your cleansing. Healing and restoration be imparted to every part of our being. In Jesus powerful name, amen. 

Love, 

Erin 

The Comforter (Holy Spirit Series Part 8)

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God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted,~Matthew 5:4.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;~John 14:16.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed,~Isaiah 61:1.

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. It’s one of the most beautiful attributes of His character. He fulfills this role so well.

God knew we would need comforting. Jesus said, “In the world you will have trouble, but take heart I have already overcome the world.”

One of the beautiful things about a relationship with God is knowing He promises to meet every need, including our need to be comforted. He’s not distant, cold, unfeeling, or without concern for the things that concern us. What matters to us, touches His heart. He bottles our tears.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,~Psalm 56:8.

God is emotional. He’s emotional about you.

I had an adult I respected tell me when I was a young adult, “God isn’t moved by your tears, He’s moved by your faith.” During that period of my life, I cried quite a bit. Being a preteen was challenging for many reasons. This adult taught me not to feel. I got to a point I couldn’t cry. I felt happy or angry. Nothing else. I learned to be very tough.

It wasn’t until I hit my twenties that I could cry. I just didn’t feel sorrow. During that time my mum died. I’ve never cried more in my life. During that time, waves of worship would invade my heart. I would just worship for hours. God brought a deep comfort I cannot explain. Though I had friends and family, none of them could reach the places God could. When everyone else went back to life, God was there 24/7.

I grew to know God in profound ways during that season. When I look back over my life, or rehearse the stories, etc…I could cry for days. Then there’s God. He’s standing in the midst of every loss, betrayal, pain, seasons of sickness, near death experience,…

What is troubling or grieving you this week?

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His comfort. Surrender every burden to Him. You may cry! He’s not offended or put off by your tears.

God is able my friends to sustain you through the most horrific pain. He’s strong enough! I promise He’s strong enough.

Lastly I will say, God promises to turn your mourning into dancing. He promises to give you joy for pain and sorrow!!! I can say with 100% confidence He keeps His promises. After spending many years suffering-I have overwhelming joy. I wake up some days dancing! I enjoy God. I enjoy being with Him. I enjoy knowing Him. He’s my Lord. He’s also my closest friend.

I have had people call my joy facade, or it annoys them. God is joy. Joy is part of the fruit of His Spirt. There’s plenty to be thankful for. God has blessed me with tremendous joy! Something I never thought possible. I’m young, yet feel I’ve lived 100 years. And through it all I can say, “It is well with my soul.

My friends, I’m praying God floods you with comfort and joy! No matter what you face, God is able. Your Comforter will never leave or forsake you.

Love in Christ,

Erin

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Encounter (Holy Spirit Series Part 7)

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There are so many wonderful things I could say about the Holy Spirit. Tonight I wanted to share more testimonies that will hopefully fuel your faith.

I gave my life to Jesus when I was 7 years old. My parents are pastors. So, I grew up hearing about Jesus and watching them live like Jesus. I saw them open our home to the poor, widows, orphans, and even those who had done horrible things to them. I watched my parents love the man who murdered their oldest son and never served a day in jail for the crime. I didn’t know at the time that their love was a display of one the Holy Spirit’s greatest works-agape love.

My first realization of His work in my life came on Easter when I was 7. I was watching the Easter movie about Jesus. When it came time for Him to go to the cross, I recall being overwhelmed with sorrow and love. I wept. This man gave His life to save mine. The Holy Spirit was so at work that day! I didn’t want to live another day without Him!

Like many Christians I thought God only spoke to special people, like pastors. 😉 Yet, there was this hunger in me for Him that couldn’t be quenched. There were so many things I couldn’t understand, like walking in a place and being able to know if it was good or bad. My mom said I had an uncanny knack of knowing spiritual atmospheres. Later learned it is the gift of discerning spirits.

It wasn’t until college I begin to hear God speak to me. A still voice would bring scriptures to mind, line by line. I had to look them up because my memory was never excellent at memorizing scripture. I began to journal, date, and log those versus. I still have some of those journals. He moved from speaking scripture to providing wisdom, and insight. I keep a journal with me at all times to document what He’s speaking.

Knowing (Prompted to Pray):

One night at a Sunday night worship gathering I was caught up in worship (meaning really into it). I was joyful, excited, and happy. At one point sorrow hit me so profound I felt as if I wanted to die. This was so strange. I began to cry big crocodile tears. I excused myself to the restroom. I begin to pray. I didn’t know what else to do. After awhile the grief lifted. Days later I was talking to a friend and she confessed she was going to take her own life. She said Sunday night she had it all planned. A light bulb went off for me. I asked what time? She said that evening. It was the exact time I was hit with grief. She said something like a wave of God’s love hit her and she couldn’t go through with it.

Healed in a Moment/Delivered in a Minute:

I told you last post about being trapped in my car under water. Well, after that incident, I had awful panic attacks in enclosed spaces. Mainly in my car. I would have to get out of the situation as quickly as possible, or otherwise be overcome with fear. I went to my pastor at the time for prayer. He wanted me to go to counseling. I’m not against counseling. I’m pro take it to God first. I left church discouraged. I drove around worshipping and talking to God. I told The Lord , “I never want to feel this way again. I know You can fix this.” It was in a moment that I felt extreme warmth surge through my body. Fear was gone. I didn’t have anyone pray for me or lay hands on me. God did a complete work in one minute.

He did the same thing for my heart. Years before that awful car accident, I had a bad reaction to medication during a routine surgery and almost died. The outcome was a healthy teenager came out on heart meds and seeing specialists. I told God I knew He healed. Jesus paid for healing. I’m happy to say my heart is healthy!!!! This happened with me and God. One moment changed my life, one act of faith.

There are people who travel all over to see miracle workers or “super” spiritual people. The Miracle Worker is God alone. The Spirit of God is in every born again believer. He doesn’t come in percentages and is fully God. There are so many breakthroughs that can happen with just you and God. I’m an ordinary person who has suffered quite a bit and seen God bring miracle after miracle! I’m thankful for every person who refused to help or could not help because it’s taught me to rely fully on God. Yes, we need people too. God is everything. He is my everything. The Holy Spirit is all powerful. So, I encourage you to fan the flame of your love for God! Get into the secret place with Him. Get to know Him for yourself. Know the Author of the Book (the Bible). Encounter Him. Let Him encounter you!

Greater is He who is in you than in the entire world!~1 John 4:4.

Love in Christ,

Erin