Are You Making A Significant Impact?

So twice this past week I got insomnia. The second was the worst because I literally didn’t sleep at all. I pulled an all-nighter, just awake in bed, and finally I just gave up and went to the living room.

I think I’ve been looking too much at likes on Instagram; checking my goodreads page for my book to see if I got any new reviews and if people are liking it; checking my blog, seeing if people are liking any of my posts; checking my Wattpad to see how many reads my stories are getting and if anyone has voted for it, etc., etc., etc. That sleepless morning, the thought hit me in prayer that I’m believing I’m not significant or being useful for God if I am not doing this online thing or my books etc.

My mind and heart need renewal because what would I do without the internet? What did the godly women of old do? Submitted to their husbands, loved them and their children, and took care of their household. Period. Seriously. Wow.

I’ve bought the lie that if I’m not doing all the other things then I’m not making an impact for the kingdom; that being a faithful wife and mother is not enough.

After praying about it, God reminded me of the passage we named Arrow after, a passage I had forgotten…

“Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

Psalms 127:3-5 NKJV

Maybe that’s you: you believe that you must be this or that and do this or that to be significant and make an impact for the kingdom. But all you have to do is choose to love Jesus and others. It doesn’t matter what you did in the past, God removes your sins from you as far as the east is from the west. What matters now is what you choose to do today. That is why, “God’s tender mercies are new each morning.”

Every morning is another chance to walk in God’s will. And the beautiful thing is that it’s simple: Love. Choose to love.

And love takes sacrifice. Choose to deny yourself and love those around you. That is all God asks you to do. Love Him. And love others. He doesn’t ask or expect anything more than that; He doesn’t care about riches or how well you can speak or quote scripture. He only cares about if you are loving Him and others.

I don’t care how much you serve or what ministry you lead in. At the end of the day, if you just choose to love God by obeying His command to love others, firstly being your spouse and children if you have those, then God is pleased.

Loving Him and others is extremely significant to Him. In fact, it is the fulfillment of the whole law. Even if you didn’t know every rule God has ever given, if you love Him and others, the Scriptures say you’ve fulfilled the entire law.

I pray in Jesus’ name we come back to that simple truth. Yes, it can sound childlike and not super deep and mystical, but that’s just how God wanted it: He made His will so simple that yes, even a child can grasp it.

Love you.

-Natasha

Is Christianity the Most Beautiful Religion?

Christianity is soooo beautifully simple AND practical!

If one were to just read the book of Matthew or John to see what Jesus said and did, or read one of Paul’s letters to the early church, Colossians, or Philippians, you’d see how…different Christianity is from other religions which are huge on either mystical, elusive, and abstract concepts and thoughts, or food-chain, climb-the-ladder type exaltation of participants, or severe bodily rejection and repetitious, ritualistic behaviors.

But not Biblical Christianity. Not the Christianity you find when you read the New Testament. The admonition and commands on how we ought to love one another and what that looks like practically are just so easy to grasp and refreshing and totally sensical and observable.

Indeed, it’s not like, dare I say, reincarnation, a mystical, never before observed idea. Even Christianity’s claims of resurrection from the dead has been observed time and again throughout history with people praying in Jesus’ name for life to return to someone who died and then it does.

So all this to say, I love the whole of Christianity, of what its Founder, Jesus, teaches. If there is anything more beautiful, more good for mankind, please, show me. It is for such teachings as these that I am totally unashamed to say I follow Jesus and His ways as recorded in the Bible:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” –‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:12-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Don’t worry about what people may think if you proclaim to be a Christian. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Our God is so good and wonderful. Get to know Him better so your confidence in that fact can be assured and you can more boldly share His love unabashedly with others. At the end of the day, it isn’t about whether or not someone likes you, it’s whether or not you loved Jesus and that person despite.

blog_love_natasha

To Serve [In Church] Or Not To Serve…?

You go to church services on Sundays, maybe on a weekday as well–or more. You like the people there, you have some friends there, you like your pastor and the music so one day, you decide you should serve. So you do.

Question:

1.) When serving–or after the fact–do you find yourself wiped, frustrated, grumbling, or complaining about your experience?

OR:

2.) During and after the fact, you feel good, you enjoyed it, and can recall good experiences and can dare say you’re starting to–or already do–love it?

There’s usually two kinds of reactions to serving in your local church:

A) You feel used or frustrated, but you also feel obligated to serve because, well, it’s just what you should do, isn’t it?

B) You love the people in your church and find it a joy to help them out.

Check it:

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.-Philippians 2:1-8

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.-Philippians 2:14-18

Ask yourself: Which kind of volunteer am I and why am I this way? I’d say this, if we aren’t the joyful one, doing it from love, we aren’t walking in love…And maybe that’s because we haven’t truly trusted in Christ and thus, we don’t really have His Holy Spirit living in our hearts, who makes us more loving and Christ-like. Or, we’ve allowed the devil’s lies, who is the author of division in the church, to creep in and embitter us, when once we really did love and enjoying serving, but overtime we started looking down on others or thinking they were taking advantage or not appreciative of what we do.

We as Christians aren’t perfect. It’s why Paul wrote that if anyone has an offense against another to forgive each other as God in Christ has forgiven us. Besides, we do it not because we deserve it, but because we love Jesus and He desires us to use the gifts He gave us to strengthen and serve and build up His church which ultimately is serving Him. If you really think someone is mistreating you, first pray about it. Ask God if this notion is true, or if it’s a lie from satan, or your own misunderstanding. Ask Him to make it known to you. And if afterwards, you still believe the person(s) are being mean or wrong, confront them about it–in a gentle manner. Share how you feel, don’t hold it in, or bring it up to a higher authority. Be honest in your confession of how you feel and what you see and experience. Sometimes it’s just perspective, or sometimes someone really is being out of line and needs correction.

Always remember the above passage, re-read it and really consider it. Jesus and a real love for Him and others should be what compels us to serve–nothing else. And if there is a different reason, we have to confess that our heart isn’t in the right place, and ask God, in Jesus’ name, to forgive us and help us get to that place, that we may shine as lights in this world.

blog_love_natasha

What You Hope and Dream For Doesn’t Really Matter in Light of…

Christian, what matters more than what God will do for us in this temporal life is what He’s already done for us in eternity.

We may be desiring and hoping God does some things in this earthly realm; we want a certain job or opportunity; we want a degree of success; we want a husband, a family; but if those things never happen, can we remember and trust that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God on a throne, and awaits to embrace us forevermore? That He Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes and we will NEVER have to worry or experience pain again? Evil people won’t be able to harm us anymore, disappointments will no longer exist, unfulfilled hopes won’t matter at all because we are living and seeing things so amazing they’re indescribable with human words.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
    nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.- 1 Corinthians 2:9-10

So instead of longing and hoping for something that’s temporary, something that won’t last forever, why not focus more on what’s already been given to us, on the incredible blessings and eternal promises we already possess?

Not familiar with what those things are? Get into your Bible. Read the book of Ephesians and check out all the “spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms” that God the Father through Christ Jesus has blessed us with. It’s awesome and really blows away any earthly hopes we can come up with.

My prayer is that we begin to want earthly hopes and dreams less and less, and rejoice in the eternal gifts and inheritance we received once we gave our hearts and minds–our lives–to Jesus. But there is no rejoicing if you’re unaware of what you have. So go on and begin discovering today. ❤

Fat Shaming Vs. Beauty Vs. Reality

Hey precious ladies. First, let me say being cruel or unkind or mocking someone because of their appearance is foolish and, well, mean. God via the Bible has lots to say about kindness and the words we speak.

I’ve seen plenty of what I believe to be beautiful plus-sized women who look great and healthy. Call them, “curvy” or “voluptuous,” they’re not “skinny” and that’s totally okay!

But just as there are some who are unhealthily skinny, there are some who are unhealthily overweight.

For example: I have a grandmother who is obese. She was always “big-boned” which was fine. I believe she lived a healthy life in her earlier years. But then she got remarried after divorcing my grandfather…

Her second husband, “Liked fat women,” so he encouraged her to eat up and eventually, she became 200+ lbs–and the number has climbed and climbed. Nine years ago, she almost died from a blood clot which had to do with her weight and immobility. Currently, my grandmother is basically bedridden. With swollen legs, very heavy and hard to move, getting out of bed is a serious workout and she’s fallen more often because of muscle weakness (again, laying in bed means no real exercise of her limbs and without strengthening by means of use, eventually, our bodies grow frail).

She’s been eating better, thanks to my sister who cares for her and has been trying to help her lose weight so she’s more healthy and mobile. But there are people in the family who say to let her be because she’s happy. In reality, she’s quite the opposite, and though eating junk-food and however much food she desires momentarily releases happy chemicals, doesn’t mean she is truly happy and if anything, it sure is a cheap happiness in comparison to the simple but greater happiness of being able to move around and do necessary things like walk to the restroom, bathe, and not be bed-bound. She’s terrified of falling and has grown all the more bound to her bed because of it.

Many Americans are what doctors call “obese” or unhealthily overweight. You don’t even have to be visibly that “fat” in order to have clogged arteries, diabetes, and the like, but the point is that, at a certain point, “fat” can be more easily defined as unhealthy or potentially unhealthy and when a person is medically obese, encouraging them to stay that way, applauding it, etc. isn’t helpful, but harmful…

How many young people suffer from asthma and diabetes, or die prematurely from a heart attack because of fat build up? Again, I’m not for mocking anyone, but I am for being lovingly honest and offering solutions to what sometimes is just ignorance of how unhealthy certain stuff really is, and the addictive chemicals and whatnot in those foods that keep you coming back for more, or often, over-eating stems from deep, unresolved issues so encouraging the person to continue being unhealthily overweight is also encouraging them to ignore the deeper reasons as to why they’re placing their comfort in food.

Now we can offer help and support without openly embarrassing someone. We should be able to voice any concerns if it’s done so with the genuine intent of helping another person. I appreciate those who are honest with me about my issues and sins and offer advice and help me get through. No one is perfect, but man, the honest words and assistance of others can be such a blessing.

So yes, let us be kind to one another, but let us also offer support and help those whose weight has gotten to the point of being problematic to their health, rather than encourage them to continue embracing an unhealthy lifestyle. Not everyone desires to be helped, but we still love them anyway. Our love shouldn’t be dependent upon a person taking our advice or not, love is unconditional, but it also gently speaks the truth.

blog_love_natasha

What are your thoughts on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment. ❤