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Saturday, November 4

Authentic Faith: How To Maintain a Relationship With God When Life Sucks

I honestly didn't realize that when I wrote in my post on Sunday that I would cover how I handle pain and maintaining a relationship with God at the same time, that life would throw me so much rubbish to try to prevent me from posting this.

They say things happen in threes and in this case, three major life-shattering events have taken place around me that has shattered my world and thrown me into so much excruciating pain that I currently feel like a shell of a person.

I'm not broken, but I am pretty close to it.

One thing that this happening to me does, is put me more in touch with pain again, it's not a memory it is something I am going through right now so as I write this today, I can honestly say that the things I suggest to keep a relationship with God strong, are the things I am doing right now.

I know I am usually open about my life and the like but honestly, I need a little time to heal and work out exactly how to word things, if I even ever do decide to share on my site what's been happening. I am going to keep specific details to myself for now, but we do all go through pain and so I still think that what I am about to share is worth it.

Brace yourself, I am about to get my sword out. There is going to be a lot of bible verses in this post!

Let's start with John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

Satan exists.

He is the father of lies and one of his favorite tricks is to convince us that he is nothing more than a figment of imagination. He is NOT the opposite of God. He was defeated when Jesus died for us, but since he know's he is going down, Satan's main goal is to take as many people with him, just to spite God. It's not even about us.

Jesus on the other hand, loves us unconditionally, He seeks to give us an abundant life, make us whole and reunite us with God the father. Salvation is a process, not a destination. As I covered last post, we are unique and as such so is our path in life and in faith.

Step 1 in maintaining a relationship with God when you are hurting is to be real with yourself about where you are right now in this moment, even if you don't like it.

I once told Jesus, because of the pain of an traumatic event in my life that I loved Him but I was angry with His father. That was fine because God can work with that. Being real about my anger, gave me the ability to keep the conversation between myself and Jesus alive. Jesus doesn't just love us for the good bits of us, He loves the ugly in us too and even that dark side that we all have, is no surprise to Him. He died so that we may have life, He is our ultimate hope and it is because of Him that we can have the next thing you need in order to keep that relationship with God alive when you are hurting.


(NLT) Nehemia 8:10 And Nehemiah continued, "Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don't be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!"

Joy is very precious, it is not an emotion, it goes deeper than that. Joy gives us the ability to smile when inside we feel like crying, it gives us the strength to breath, when the best we can do is just get through the day.

Satan wants to steal your hope, and your joy. Jesus gives us the joy we need to stand when we feel weak. You would be surprised at how many times I have had people say I look really happy, but then they are shocked when I say, that actually I am really hurting right now, it is only the Joy of Jesus that allows me cope with the pain of my circumstances.

Step 2 in maintaining a relationship with God when life sucks is throw yourself on Jesus, and allow his Joy to be your strength.

Once you have the strength to get through the day, you will also find that you have enough strength to get your armor on.

'Step 3 The armor of God is very important, and you should put yours on every day. Fact is, even if we are on the wining side, we are still in war and every good soldier knows that before you can help someone else you have to first take care of yourself.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NIV)1Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

How this may look for you (aside from reading the bible and spending a little time each day talking to God) may be different from how it looks for me.

For me, I find it super important to remember that taking care of me, means taking care of all of me,so that means my mind, body, emotions, soul and spirit combined.

So how this works is:
  • I listen to music that soothes my soul.
  • I eat something, drink water and get plenty of sleep.
  • I spend a few minutes each morning talking to God.
  • I happen to love baths, so especially when I am hurting I make an exrta effort to pamper myself...even if my day is super busy and I can only mange 20 minutes to spare.
  • If I can, I try to play some games or watch something to let me escape the pain for a little bit.
  • Ultimately, I remember that time is a healer, as is Christ and as I work with Him, I will find my healing in time and I rest in the fact that God can use this.

Nothing is ever wasted.

There is beauty beneath the scars and just like myrrh, the more I am (unwillingly, I am not a masochist) crushed the sweeter I will let what remains be.

It hurts yes, but signing up for the Christian life is not suppose to be easy.

Jesus overcame though, and so can we.

When you are going through something painful, as well meaning as much of what I have written may be, it may not seam like enough. So finally, I want to give you the number one key.

Step 4.Remember that Jesus is the good Shepherd and we are His sheep.

Trust the shepherd and rest in His arms, they are more than strong enough to see you through anything. Healing journeys are often painful, messy and much of may seam unnecessary, but if you choose to rest in the arms of Jesus, just like a little lamb in the shepherds hands, you will in time find healing and your story will be powerful.

Dear friend, you are so very precious to God, His love is unconditional so mater what your world looks like right now, you can find rest for your soul.

Just come to Him.  (Matthew 11:28)

I am more than happy to stand in prayer with you if you message me, or further explain any of my points. My desire is to see you shine bright because you can. Nothing more, nothing less.
Catch you next time.

I'm taking some time off for the Christmas season in name of needing to take care of myself right now so I will see you next year (unless I manage to get around to a surprise Christmas post that is)

Love Hayley


Friday, November 3

Authentic Faith:Sit Down Darling, Sometimes You Don't Need To Stand

I strongly believe that a big part of chasing fulfillment rather than happiness is relating to a higher power. In my case that higher power is God or more accurately Jesus Christ. I am as a friend of mine likes to put it " not a normal Christian but a CHRISTian none the less"  

This is going to be a personal post because  this is the best and only way to truly be authentic while writing about this topic. 

Let's get to it! 

October 3rd 2016 marks 25 years since I left my dolls and ran down stairs to ask Jesus in my heart.  I grew up in a Christian family, but my very first steps in faith were taken at just 3 years old.
Since then, I have learned a lot about this whole being a Christian/Walking with God thing. I've thought a lot about what to write about in relation to faith, and the only thing that seems fitting is to make a very clear point about some things that has been on my heart for a long while now.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling - Philippians 2:12 (NLT)

Growing up, this was the verse my mum used most to explain the importance of being responsible for the results of my faith and how I grow. This along with seeking out the origins of all things( and another scriptural advise given by my dad that I will talk about next post), is something that will always be a guiding voice for me.

Working out one's own salvation is a very personal thing. While there are foundations to stand on within the faith, I do believe that God created us all different and therefore our individual walk with God will be unique to us. With that said, the pace of our walk is a very individual thing and if I may, I would like to remind any other believers out there that everyone has the right to walk with God at their own pace. He knows what is best for each person and is incredibly patient with us. 

For people in the struggle of faith stage, the struggle is necessary. Faith that has been shaken, can no longer be shaken. Some of us go to some pretty dark places during our search for God and you know what? That's okay.

God doesn't love us any less because we fall in the gutter once in a while and just because you did something sinful, Jesus is not going to fall off His throne! 

It is a sad reality that well-meaning Christians make other believers feel awful because they are not as far along the narrow path as  the culture would have them be.

Sheep bite and spiritual abuse is a very real thing....

....and that right there is what this post is going to be about. 

So to start, let me be clear everything I am about to say is from experience, and wow do I have a lot of it. You see, I am a church-hopper. ( Yes thank you 50% of my readers leaving right now without hearing me out on what I mean by this, on the grounds of this hopefully see you next post)

I've already got a post defending Church-hopping but just quickly, what I mean by this is that I grew up jumping from church to church, (for some very good reasons) and now that getting church is up to me, I still haven't found a church that I can call home, largely because I am still dealing with some very real and painful wounds from my past church experiences.

I almost hesitate to write this post because the last thing I want to do is put someone off Christianity because of the fact that spiritual abuse happens. One thing I have got to make really clear here is that you do NOT have to go to church to be a Christian, and God is all about love, it is just unfortunately a  minority of misguided people that make Him look bad at church by hurting others (although I am sure most do it unintentionally)

Getting hurt at church is such a damaging thing. It can cause many people to walk away from God altogether, and many of those that keep their faith even after such hurt, don't go back to church at all.

As I have said already, sheep can bite!

What really doesn't help though, is when someone has been hurt by a church and then other people tell them that walking away is "doing what Satan wants" or that since we know offences will come, they need to be the bigger person and forgive. When someone has made up their mind that leaving a church is best for them, others really should just let them go gracefully. It is between them and God. 

Why is that so hard to understand??

What really tickles me is that in any other area of our lives we wouldn't put up with this. If we felt uncomfortable somewhere we would leave, guilt and consequences be damned! With church though, we tend to let the guilt sink in and stay in a situation we feel is hurting us, a lot longer than we should and this isn't good for anyone. 

I just want to throw it out there that if you feel uncomfortable or hurt by the way a church and/or its members are treating you, you have the right to leave ....and you should! 

If you are of an age where you need your parents/guardians permission to leave church, talk it over with them, explain why you want to leave, be respectful and very clear.
It can be a really hard place to be between churches, it is very easy to get branded a church-hopper and you often have to deal with a lot of misunderstandings. It can be lonely and painful, and guilt can cause us to think we really should be in church which doesn't help.

What is really important to remember though, is that Jesus has been in the worldliness, He gets it. He can and will heal you if you are willing to work through some things with Him.
You absolutely DO NOT have to forgive until you are ready to, and even then forgiveness does not mean you let people hurt you again, you can set boundaries. We are told to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23

You may not even want to read your bible for a little while, and that again is okay. There are many other ways to grow your faith, and God is able to speak in ways you wouldn't necessarily expect.

When you are hurting, please take extra care of your heart. 

I know this is controversial but sometime's Jesus can call us aside to heal awhile before moving  on to a new church and there is NOTHING wrong with you if you feel the need for this. God still loves you and has a plan for your life, you are not off track , you exactly where you need to be for this season.

Everything happens in God's perfect timing. Everything. 

In tomorrow's post, I want to give some tips on how to keep a relationship with God alive, while you are healing, be it from spiritual abuse or otherwise. When we are hurt, trusting and even loving God can become really hard. It is not impossible though. I am sure that what I have to share will resonate with some of you.
Until then,

Take care

Love Hayley


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