Overcoming My Miscarriage

Dear World Changer,

We’ve been doing an “Overcoming” Series lately. Some of these posts have been about overcoming past events, and some, like this one, is learning how to overcome while you’re still walking through it.

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One month ago Kyle and I lost a baby.

It was devastating as we looked at the ultrasound and didn’t see a heartbeat. We were so excited to be parents. Every decision we had to make, we had this little babe in mind.

I told Kyle by writing “I’m pregnant” on a pizza.

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We told our parents with signs and Starbucks mugs.

 

We told our IntenCity leaders and close friends.

I’ve learned recently how many families suffer in silence when they miscarry. They tell you to wait 3 months before sharing the news for this reason. But more than anything, I’m glad we told a lot of people. I’m glad there were people to be excited with us and to mourn with us. And like any other situation whether it’s a miscarriage, going through a parents divorce, bullying, depression, anxiety…you should never suffer in silence.

We’ve learned a lot through this. A lot about ourselves, about faith, about healing. We shared this with our youth a few weeks ago and if you want to hear the “live” version, head over to IntenCity Youth’s podcast on iTunes.

We (Kyle and I), don’t share this for the “I’m sorry’s,” or the attention, or any other reason than we just want to be role models. And being a role model doesn’t mean JUST being an example in good times, but it’s being an example in the rough parts of life too. And we haven’t handled it perfectly. Not at all. But when I was younger, I would have died for someone to model how to cling to Jesus when life sucks. Because when I looked around me, when life threw a curve ball most turned to drugs and alcohol.

I don’t want to see a Christian go through good things, I want to see a Christian go through bad stuff because that really shows how tight you are with Jesus. And being tight with Jesus doesn’t mean you handle things perfectly, but it means that as you’re walking through the journey imperfectly, you’re walking with Him.

So here’s what a miscarriage has taught me.

Peace is a Thing…A Great Thing 

So often people pray that you’d have peace through sucky stuff, but rarely do we say “I accept that peace.”

I see a common pattern in how God works through cancer, divorce, death, feeling like our dreams have fallen apart etc.

It’s that a lot of the time, he calms you before He stops the circumstance.

I mean, could you imagine if He just babied us and stopped everything and attended to our every need right away? We wouldn’t grow. We wouldn’t get stronger. All through Bible College I heard the phrase “God cares more about your character than your comfort.” And boy does that ring true! And I’m glad He does. He really is a good good father.

Ever heard the term “storm” for rough seasons of life? Well, God gives peace while it’s still raining. 2 days after the ultrasound tech told us there was no heartbeat we were sitting in the doctor’s office to discuss options on how to get the baby out. And peace filled that room. Peace filled our hearts. And peace doesn’t mean you’re not crying or hurting or broken. But peace is this trust in God that you know everything is going to be okay and that He’s working behind the scenes to make everything come together for your good and you can’t see it at first but you know it’s there.

God gives peace that goes beyond our understanding. What that means it that you’re going to feel peace when it doesn’t make sense to have peace. Your world is crashing down yet you’re calm. And that’s a blessing. And I’ll say it again and again…I accept that peace.

Get Your Hopes Up

God brought me back to the story of when Jesus walks on water and Peter asked if he could walk on water too.

Peter asked Jesus “If this is really you Jesus, let me walk on water too.” And as he stepped out of the boat he saw 2 options. He saw the giant waves that could cause him to drown, and he saw Jesus. And seeing 2 options of how this could go (drowning or Jesus saving) caused doubt and that made him begin to sink.

 

We need to see one way…Jesus.

 

4 days after we got told we were miscarrying I got called into the doctor’s office immediately. My doctor looks at me and said “I’ve never seen this before, I’m 99% sure you’ve miscarried but there is this small chance your baby is alive.”

And at that moment, I had a decision to make.

Now most of you know my past. I’ve been a part of the stats since I was a kid.

I was in the 50% of kids whose parents divorce

I was the One in 20 who will experience death of a parent

I was in the 50% of families that are blended families

I was the 1 in 6 who get sexually assaulted

 

And so I just figured I would be the 20% of pregnancies that end in miscarriage.

 

***But you can’t base your theology off of your experience***

 

I was seeing 2 ways instead of one. I was seeing my baby dead and I was seeing Jesus. All my life it just seemed like if something bad was going to happen, it was coming MY way. So as a kid, I made the decision to never get my hopes up, then I would never be disappointed, and I would never have to grieve again.

I didn’t want to get disappointed. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that this baby was alive. I even told my doctor “I have zero hopes.” I didn’t want to believe in a miracle then have to grieve all over again. But I pushed myself to just see Jesus. To have the faith the size of a mustard seed and to get my hopes up (to be honest, it felt like my faith was a quarter of a mustard seed). But I prayed every 30 seconds that God would breathe life into this child. I got my hopes up.

Because faith is a RISK.

Next day it was confirmed that the baby had been dead for 3 weeks. It was a miscarriage. And I had to grieve all over again. But getting our hopes up wasn’t for nothing. It brought us to a new depth with Jesus, a new faith level.

Remember the woman in the Bible who was bleeding for 12 years? She had tried everything. She spent ALL she had on doctor’s visits getting her hopes up that she would be healed. Nothing worked. She heard Jesus was in town. I bet she had to make the decision, do I get my hopes up? There’s going to be a huge crowd, will I even get close enough? Will I even get to see him? Do I want to go through the disappointment of not being healed again?

But she got her hopes up. She fought through the crowds and crowds of people. This type of disease made you an outcast in the town. I bet she got nasty comments and hurtful glares as she ran to Jesus.

All she did was touch the edge of Jesus’ cloak and she was healed. That was worth getting her hopes up. And Jesus said, your FAITH has healed you.

Her story and mine are different. Both worth it. I got my hopes up in Jesus, he didn’t heal my baby, but he did heal Kyle and I’s heart and continues to do so.

I’ve learned not to discount the small miracles. We only see miracles one way, and if it doesn’t happen that ONE way, we don’t say it’s a miracle. But there are ALWAYS small little miracles happening. The doctors thought there was a cancer that caused the baby to die which would mean a lot of testing and doctors appointments for me. I got the results two week ago, and it was a normal pregnancy! Be grateful for the small miracles.

Your situation has to look impossible to know it was a miracle.

If you look at all the miracles in the Bible, each looked impossible. People who had lived with diseases all their lives who were so much considered outcasts that they weren’t even allowed in the town.

There was the little girl who was pronounced dead, Lazarus who was pronounced dead and even put in grave clothes!

We always think “God you showed up late, why didn’t you come WAY before this.” But it has to look impossible for us to know it’s a miracle. He is always right on time. And because of the impossibility of the situation, Jesus’ name was brought everywhere. People started to say, truly you are God!

Sit with grief

As a kid, I was the type of person that wanted to do everything perfect. So when I lost my Dad or went through anything else, I would just numb myself and act sad for “the right amount of time”, then get okay at the “right time;” the time that everyone told me. WRONG WAY of doing things!

Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve. I used to think in my head, “stop telling me how I’m doing everything wrong, it’s not like I practiced loosing my Dad.”

And recently someone very wise (shoutouts to Pastor Shelley), told me, “sit with grief.” So this time around. We sat with grief. I picture grief like one of these guys (don’t make fun)

Inside-Out-Collage

And you need to sit with grief in your bedroom, living room, wherever. You need to cry to grief, yell at grief, ask the why questions. And eventually grief will get out of your bedroom or living room and it won’t be there anymore. But if you numb yourself to grief and ignore it, grief will always be there. And it will start to look like anger and bitterness in you.

And everyone needs to sit with grief for however long you need too. Don’t worry about people pleasing, this is YOUR life, YOUR future. Deal with grief right.

Bear each other’s burdens

Never go through something alone. We’re not built for that. We need people. And it doesn’t mean that everyone on your Facebook needs to know, but SOMEONE needs to know!

Like I mentioned above, I am so thankful people knew about this.

And because people knew, we didn’t cook a meal for over a week, flowers and chocolate were brought to our house, gifts were brought to our house, family came over and cleaned and ran errands for us.

And although it’s been one of the toughest months of our lives, it’s been easier. We’ve felt like Moses. When Moses and his army were in war with the Amalekites Moses had to keep his arms raised, he had to hold the staff. And when his arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and they each held an arm up for him, making it easier. They took some of the weight. That’s what it feels like when we bear each other’s burdens. We NEED each other! Never suffer in silence. Don’t keep things hidden and in secret, been there and done that! And the hurt and pain lasts longer.

There has to come a time when you LET GO

It’s crazy how quickly you get attached to an unborn baby. I was SO attached! For 9 weeks I had been pregnant. I had this embryo that went everywhere with me. And when it was time for surgery, I looked at Kyle and said “I don’t want them to take the baby out. Like I’m attached to this baby. It’s mine. I didn’t want it gone.”

And it painted this picture that we get attached to our storms.

But the sooner you let go, the sooner you can move on. The sooner that baby came out, the sooner I could get healthy again.

Jesus died so we could be free. Free from the burden of losing a child, or losing a parent, of the effects of divorce, of our sin, our shame and regret. Letting go comes at different stages for everybody, but it has to come. You have a purpose, God has this huge plan for your life and you can’t do it while holding onto your past.

Turn around

Remember the story of the 10 lepers?

There were 10 people with leprosy. And this disease made you an outcast in society, so much so, that they weren’t allowed inside the town so they stood outside the gates.

Jesus came by one day. And those 10 lepers stood outside the gate yelling and begging for Jesus to heal them. And he did. Jesus said “Show yourselves to the priest, you are healed.” And as they all walked away, only ONE leper turned around to thank Jesus.

Picture the one thing in your life that you really need a miracle for, or need healing from, or that one family member. And for years and years and years you’ve been praying for that. You beg God every 5 minutes and then one day, that miracle, that healing comes. And you never thank the God who did it. Imagine how that feels?

We need to turn around and be grateful. Even if the miracle doesn’t come like mine, I was taught by God to turn around for the health I’m in – a lot of stuff could have gone wrong but it didn’t. I thanked him for my husband, for the roof over my head, for our jobs, for food.

We have a lot going for us. Turn on the news for 2 seconds and you’ll realize how much we have to be thankful for.

A Friday night (Youth) or a Sunday morning shouldn’t be the only time we thank Him. TURN AROUND

Lord I will Still Love you

Even if the healing, or the miracle doesn’t come, will you still say “Lord I will still love you?”

If you lose all your money…

If you don’t get into the school you want…

If you get diagnosed with a disease or disability…

If you lose the people you love in your life…

Will you still say, Lord I love you.

I tell our youth this all the time. Jesus needs to be more than JUST Saviour, he needs to be LORD over your life.

Yes Jesus is Saviour, but that’s not all He is. If He’s only Saviour, than to you He can fail. If you only come to Him to ask for something (save me, do this for me, redeem this, give a miracle) and He doesn’t do it, He’s failed in your eyes. But when He is also LORD over your life, He can never fail because you KNOW he’s working everything together for your good whether it looks that way or not. Whether the miracle comes or not. Whether you get healed or not. He wants more than just “do this and do that.” He wants this personal relationship, this deep connection.

Put your life in his hands. Make Him LORD over your life, not just Saviour.

 

The cover picture for this post was a photo shoot Kyle and I did not too long ago. It was supposed to be the shoot where we would announce our pregnancy. But instead, it’s a reminder that my God is good. It’s a testimony that we’re okay. Okay enough to still do the shoot. Okay because we trust in God and His plans. And okay, because when our baby first opened their eyes, they saw Jesus.

What a perfect life for that child. And one day, we’ll get to meet our little treasure in Heaven.

Pastor Natasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Pride

“I don’t struggle with pride. Maybe other people do, but pride has never been a problem for me.”

 Remember when you were in grade 8 and you felt like you were at the top of the food chain? “I’m graduating this year! Goodbye, suckers! Muahaha.”

Remember how you felt when you entered grade 9? “Look at those grade 8’s…they think they’re all that!”

And then grade 10… “Puny grade 9’s! They know nothing!”

… and so on!

And it doesn’t just end after highschool. I’ve recently found myself falling into the mentality that “I have a kid now: no one else understands life at all until they have kids!”

THIS IS PRIDE. When we put ourselves above someone else in any way, it is pride. Who gives you the strength to get through school? Who gives you family? Who gives you gifts and talents, intelligence, and a brain? Who gives you breath in your lungs and allows you to live another day?

Is not everything God’s? So then we should live like it!

If this is you, and it was certainly me, I’m here to tell you that EVERYONE struggles with pride.

In my last blog I talked about overcoming fear, and in this blog, I want to share with you some insight on GOOD fear; the Fear of the Lord. In other words, when we acknowledge, respect, and revere God, it keeps us from falling into sin.

“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;

through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.” Proverbs 16:6

“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD, and humility comes before honor.” Proverbs 15:33
Let’s take a look in the bible:

 

Ever heard of King Nebuchadnezzar? He was King of Babylon when Israel was defeated and captured. He was the one who had a strange dream that only Daniel was able to interpret. And he was the one who threw “Rack, Shack, and Benny” into a fiery furnace for not bowing down to the idol. After all this he knew that God was the One True God, and yet he still took pride in believing that he had built up Babylon and that its majesty should glorify himself. But then he had another dream and Daniel interpreted that one as well. And it came true one day when King Nebuchadnezzar stood on his rooftop and proclaimed “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

Immediately Nebuchadnezzar was driven away from people to live with wild animals and eat grass like an ox for 7 years! And at the end of that time, Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes toward heaven, and his sanity was restored. Then he praised God and honored and glorified him and was restored as King. (Read the full story in Daniel 4)

Now fast forward to when Nebuchadnezzar is dead and his son, Belshazzar is now King. King Belshazzar worshipped the gods of silver and gold and partied a lot. Even though he knew all that his Father Nebuchadnezzar went through, he became full of pride just like his father had, and did not acknowledge that GOD was the one who allowed him to be in power and that GOD was ultimately King over ALL nations. One night he had a party – and this particular party was happening WHILE there were armies outside the walls of Babylon preparing to attack. Belshazzar knew this but put too much confidence in the protection of the city walls. (He had the attitude of entitlement, since he did not have to fight for the kingdom but inherited it from his dad. This is another form of pride.) So God sent a warning to King Belshazzar by writing on the wall of the palace. Nobody could explain the meaning, and guess who he had to call to interpret….. Daniel! And still Belshazzar in all his pride acts like he doesn’t even know who Daniel is! “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah?”

Uh, rude! Daniel was his father’s Chief Advisor, how does he NOT know who Daniel is?!

But Daniel interprets the writing anyways, which, to sum it up, basically tells Belshazzar that God has his days numbered and they’re up, and that the Babylonian kingdom will be divided.

And what happens? King Belshazzar continues to party! And later that night, the Medes and Persians attack and capture Babylon, and they kill Belshazzar. (Read the full story in Daniel 5)

So here we have two stories of pride. Father and son stories.

The father’s story teaches us that pride cannot be dealt with on our own. Only God can humble us, and if we are willing to listen to Him, he will restore us.

The son’s story shows us that pride, not dealt with, comes before a fall, as it says in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

To sum it all up, here are 3 steps on how to Overcome Pride:

 

  1. Fear God – acknowledge and revere his power and authority over ALL CREATION. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORDestablishes his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

 

  1. Confess Pride – “However, you must confess that you have done wrong, and that you have rebelled against the LORD your God. You must confess that you have given yourself to foreign gods under every green tree, and have not obeyed my commands,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 3:13

 

  1. Learn humility – Janet Chismar says it well: It is our nature to be proud and it is God’s nature in us that brings humility. Committing to a lifestyle of daily dying to ourselves and living through Him is the foundation for true humility.

“Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”’ Luke 9:23

Miriam

Overcoming Fear

Dear World Changer,

Fall is such a busy season, for everyone, for many different reasons! For many it’s the beginning of a new school year, along with preparing for upcoming holidays such as thanksgiving and Christmas! (Woops, I said the “C” word :P) And many of us really don’t want to be thinking that far ahead. But I just LOVE fall. It’s my favourite season; the colours of the trees, the smell of the crisp air, the warm drinks and desserts, and of course, the cuddles! Not only do I love the way it looks and feels, I also love what it represents: a new season! However, there are many negative things that come with a new season; the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection… the common denominator being FEAR.

How can we be ready to do what God is calling us to do if we let our fear hold us back?

I mean, there’s so much to fear in life, right? What do others think of me? Will I say the right thing? Will I do the right thing? If I mess up, will it ruin my life? Where will I end up? Will I make enough money? Will I be happy? Do people even care about me? How do I make a difference?

It’s overwhelming. Fear is the sole reason for all of our worries, and we’ve become so accustomed to feeling worry and fear that we actually believe it is okay because everyone fears and worries, and how can we not?

Well, I’m not a bible scholar or a seminary graduate of any kind, nor do I consider myself perfect. But today I do hope to share with you some insight for how to overcome the natural human tendency to fear. And as I remind you of these things, I am also reminding myself. For it is seldom that I go even a day without consciously realizing I’m stuck in my negative thoughts of worry.

First of all, we can be sure that God did not create us to worry. In the beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, everything was as it should be, and our relationship with God was flawless. It even talks of them walking WITH God through the garden! However, when the Devil (or serpent) tempted Eve and then Adam to sin, their eyes were opened to their nakedness and they hid from God out of FEAR. (Genesis 1-3) So from this we see that fear came from sin and that it was not meant to be.

It was fear of the ‘giants’ that caused the Israelites to wander in the desert for 40 years instead of entering into the promised land. (Numbers 13:17-14:35)

It was fear that caused Peter to begin to sink when he was already walking on the water toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33)

It was worry that caused people to sin because they would put too much emphasis on the things they didn’t have or the things they needed rather than trusting that God will provide. (Luke 12:22-34)

Sin causes fear and fear causes sin. And we begin to reap the consequences of our actions, such as not being at peace, struggling with anxiety, getting physically sick from stress, and even such things as depression if we dwell too long on the things that we should not!

 

So how do we stop ourselves??

 

Here is one of my favourite passages of scripture on overcoming fear: (I know it’s long but please read the whole thing, it will be such a blessing!)

Psalm 91
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

 

This is amazing imagery! God is our Protector no matter what we’re going through! If that doesn’t give you confidence – that Jesus always has your back – I don’t know what does!

Not only does this passage give us a vivid explanation on how He will deliver us, it also is quite clear on what we can do to keep our thoughts from wandering to fearful and worrisome thoughts: Calling on Him! We are to admit aloud that we need Him and constantly remind ourselves of His promises.
So here are more of His promises:

 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

“Fear not, for  I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

“[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

 

“The weapons we fight with are the not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

Therefore, make every effort to attain self-control, control of the mind and of the spirit and of the body, memorizing scripture, and calling on God to keep yourself from fear, anxiety, and worry. Learn to be content in any and every situation that you may be focused on praising His name rather than worrying about what’s coming next.

 

Overcoming fear is a constant journey but it makes change and transitions so much easier when we trust in God to take care of all of our needs. Oh how the world would look so different if no one ever worried.  I pray this for you and for me today and always, that we may be the change and all would see our peace and joy. I know that “my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19)

 

“To God our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)

 

Miriam

 

Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

Dear World Changer,

I was the kid in school who would never raise my hand to answer a question or even ask a question, I was afraid to be called on in class because that meant I would have to speak in front of a the class and potentially make a fool of myself, so I thought. After I would get a mark back from a school presentation comments by teachers included “give more eye contact to the audience” or “speak louder”, this lowered my mark and my confidence.

I was always quickly labeled as the shy, quiet, but sweet girl. After a while I allowed this “label” to define my worth, that whatever I would say or do was not worthy, therefore kept my feelings and thoughts to myself. I would often compare myself to others “why can’t I be as funny and outgoing as she is” or “how can I be as pretty as she is”. I remember I would come home sometimes and cry because I was honestly socially drained. I literally asked God is there something wrong with me but realized I was asking the wrong question instead God how can you use me in the situation I am in?

After many years comparing myself to others and trying to be somebody I was not only left me going in a downward spiral. I woke up one day and realized that being quite and more in the background was my personality and it is not a “bad thing” it is how God created me and has given me the gift of patience and being quiet which enables me to be a good listener.

When we think negatively about ourselves or have self -doubt we are actually criticizing one of God’s creations. When we preserve ourselves in God’s eyes it will change our attitude and actions. When I began to look through the lens of God my confidence boosted and actions took place.

In ladders years of high school I got the chance to be the back stage manager of the school plays, where I learned many skills and had a blast getting to know the actors and crew. I was definitely not the one to be in the spotlight but managing the stage was a huge responsibility.

I developed a passion for children. I may have been shy with my peers but when talking with children my confidence grows.

I began to open up and be transparent with people, which led to a best friend who I now get to call my husband.

Of course I continuously work in strengthening my weaknesses for example public speaking and verbal communication but I had to learn not to let the “labels” and the lies get me off track with my relationship with God and consume my thought life because that only blinds me from the opportunities God wants to use me in. I think its good to admit your low- self -esteem days but bring it to the feet of Jesus and allow him to strengthen you. I did not get to the place I am overnight it took self-discipline to change my attitude and thought life towards how I perceived myself. It took humility to humble myself before God. This is a continuous battle I face, I still face it but I know what scriptures to run to now and the discipline I need to turn the situation around.

I felt compelled in sharing a few tips in how to cope with low self-esteem and know you are not alone when dealing with this.

Coping with low self- esteem tips

 Understanding the source

Make note of confidence-damaging sources. For example social media, comments others make, and negative thought life. By identifying the sources of confident boosters and confident downers allows you to take action in how to deal the “bad” sources.

Taking care of yourself

It is important to take care of yourself for you are a precious temple of God.

By exercising, getting proper sleep, and eating healthy.

Limit social media use and how you use social media

How others portray you on social media sites/apps does not define you!

It is easy to end up spending an hour on social media sites like Instagram, comparing yourself to others. We sometimes don’t intentionally go in looking for the best dressed on your feed but it begins to leak in subconsciously. Take time to “detox” and unplug from constant online interactions.

Change of mindset by naming the lies and proclaiming the truth!

This is key in overcoming low self-esteem! Write down negative thoughts you may have and right next to it write the truth that is in scripture or a positive thought.

For example “I am not worthy” instead “I am worthy”. Below are only a few scriptures that proclaim truth about who we are in Christ.

 

 

“ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

 

“So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

 

“Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you I will give nations in exchange for you” Isaiah 43:4

 

By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise also. 1Corinthians 6:14

 

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- his good, pleasing will. Romans 12:2

 

“Yet all who did receive him, to those who believe in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12

 

“No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and believed that I came from God” John 16:27

 

“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14

 

 

Overall stay true to yourself and your identity as a child of God. Remember we are ambassadors on this earth representing the Kingdom of God 2 Corinthians 5:20.

Remember like I said before you are NOT ALONE, each of your big sisters has a story and I am sure many of you have stories of hitting a low point. Lets unite together as sisters in Christ and fight this battle, by encouraging, praying, and loving one another.

 

“Don’t let anybody dull your sparkle”

 

With Love,

Maddy

Overcoming Anxiety

Dear World Changer,

We are starting an OVERCOMING series on the blog! We’re touching on topics such as overcoming anxiety, overcoming eating disorders, overcoming depression, overcoming low self-esteem and so on! Your leaders have SLAYED these topics and I am beyond excited to share all the wisdom with you!

Here’s the first of our series….overcoming anxiety written by our own Jenny!

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Let’s talk about that feeling. That feeling of intense fear, that latches on to our hearts and our minds. It can’t be talked away, won’t be shaken off, and is heavier than a ton of bricks. It sits on our chests, in our guts, completely psycho-analyzing any and every situation that we encounter.

I’m talking about anxiety.

I wrote the following post within the past year, on my own blog, as I reflected on my own personal struggle with anxiety. For about 8 to10 years, I was crippled by anxiety. It showed up over a variety of areas, but was mainly surrounding my future. I’m talking anywhere from days in the future, to years in the future. If I hadn’t experienced it yet, it was going to be something that daunted me. Anxiety limited my life, my boldness, to the point where I started missing out on the excitement and beauty that life had to offer.

For me, this changed completely on the first night of youth convention back in May 2016. Jesus showed up to me in a fresh new way, as the Prince of Peace, and I experienced full breaking off of my anxiousness. I want to share with you, World Changer, four things that I learned about the true character of anxiety, as well as what the Lord taught me about maintaining and thriving in a peace that passes all understanding!

Four Characteristics of Anxiety…

  1. Anxiety is IRRATIONAL

It is lacking in truth, value, and goodness, yet has an amazingly strong grip. Yes, it can be based on, or stemming from, something that has occurred in our lives, but it is an aggressive, magnified, twisted version of that truth. Another thing that I found aggravated the anxiety I faced was THE Truth. Our battle is not against any mere human in this world, but against the devil and his demons. And the devil knows that Word. Think about it. If he didn’t, how could he get us to stumble? How could he twist anything to deceive us into sinful living? How did he know the Truth when he tempted Jesus in the desert? The devil is the master of twisting truth until we are so confused we believe him. For me, this was related to fellowship. Something Jesus practiced and desires for us is fellowship. Coming together, breaking bread, sharing both time and thought. It is a beautiful thing, and something we should practice and followers of Christ. But, the devil saw something that happened in my life when I was fellowshipping, and knew that Jesus wants me to connect, and so he went after my peace when it came to fellowship. I would often become paralyzed when the opportunity for fellowship and connection arose. It got to the point, however, that I became angry at the devil for the foothold he had in my life, and I believe that anger helped get me to the point where I wanted none of the anxiety any more. And believe me, get that “Shackles” by MaryMary playing, have yourself a little “stomp on the devil” party every now and again, and you’ll feel pretty free!

  1. Anxiety is PERSONAL

If someone has encountered/ is encountering anxiety, I am able to empathize with their battle, but when it comes to the struggles they are specifically facing, I may not be able to understand/ make sense of their specific struggle. Because just like humans, anxiety is unique. I have felt, and have talked to people who also experienced, the guilt, confusion, shame, and embarrassment that comes when you don’t understand why you are anxious about something that everyone else seems cool with. Like why am I anxious about socializing with people over a meal? I shouldn’t be. I must be weird or deeply broken in some way. NO. Get out of that cycle. It is not true and it leads to destruction. Yes, people may not be anxious about something that you are anxious about, and yes, maybe your anxiety is irrational, but you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. Speaking from personal experience, stuffing down anxiety only works for so long. After a while, you will realize you have missed out on a ton, or have fallen so deeply into letting yourself be fearful that your heart is nothing but clenched and scared at all times. Your story, your struggle, is going to help someone. I promise. Mine has, and I only consider myself to be free for a year!

  1. Anxiety is COMFORTABLE

Moral Revolution, an amazing organization pursuing purity in our generation, says it best:

“The process of getting free often seems harder than slavery, which is why so many people stay in bondage.”

-Moral Revolution

In a weird way, the iron grip that anxiety possesses in lives becomes a resting place, a source of comfort, even if your soul is weary and your heart is distressed. Relying on excuses and “the norm” is often easier than stepping into freedom and LIFE. I can tell you, thoughts would go through my head like: “What if more is expected of me?” “What if I get sick?” “What if life without anxiety is scary?” . But all those “what ifs” were simply excuses, because given the option of the known normal or the unknown freedom, I wanted nothing else but to stay in the known, even if it was slowly breaking my soul. Let me tell you, that the moment you decide to throw off the lie that the freedom waiting on the other side of your comfort zone is worse than the anxiety, your life will open up. Peace will flood in, opportunity will sprout, and joy will flourish. Not to say you won’t have moments of the old habits, because they will be hard to break, but your prison cell (let’s just call it for what it is) will become more and more distant every single day.

  1. Anxiety is NOT YOU

It is so easy, when you have been battling something for so long, to identify as your struggle. To say “I am anxious” rather than “I am struggling/battling/walking through anxiety”. Because you are not, at your core, anxiety. You are you. You are His. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You were together by a caring Father, created with purpose, for a purpose. And to identify as your struggle is to give the devil too much credit. I saw a video recently on Facebook that talked about depression, but I equated what the person was saying to anxiety. He compared us to the sky, and [anxiety] to clouds. Even though clouds are in the sky, can at times cover the sky, and pass through the sky, the clouds are NOT the sky. In the same way, anxiety can come and go. It can stay for what seems like forever, or creep back in after a long period of clarity, but it always comes and goes. You are NOT what you face. If you allow it, what you face can refine, strengthen, and change you for the better, but it will never BE you.

 

Now, I mentioned earlier that the Lord taught me about how peace, pure and true and lasting peace, is something that needs to be maintained. If you are someone who wants to overcome your struggle with anxiety once and for all, you need to be prepared and willing to work for your peace daily. The apostle Paul, the dude who wrote some of the most epic books of the bible, says in Romans 7 that “there is another power within [us] that is at war with [our] minds”. He is acknowledging that there is a battle for the throne of our minds. Will we continually choose to place the Lord, and all the goodness He has for us, to reside there? Or will we become tired of pursuing Jesus, and allow anxiety and fear to take control once again?

Here are some ways to continually maintain an atmosphere of peace in your mind:

  1. DAILY give praise to the Lord

If you are continually, on a daily basis, choosing to praise and look to Jesus, the anxiety that is trying to eat up your focus and attention will fade. Choosing to take time to make HIM the center of your all will allow His presence to invade your heart. And that is glorious!

  1. Get His Word in your heart

You want to be able to speak against the voices and lies of your anxiety? Declare Truth! And the only way you can do that is by memorizing His Word. Whether this means memorizing a verse a week, or writing verses on sticky notes and putting them on your mirror, or setting your lock screen as a verse, simply make sure you are in the Word (reading your bible) and surrounded by the Word.

  1. Write down the big stuff

If you’ve been at IntenCity for long, you will know that journaling is highly recommended by PK, Pastor Natasha, and all of the leaders. We view journaling as a way to remind ourselves of where God has walked with us, what He has promised us, and where He said He’d take us. To have a physical record of what has actually occurred allows us to combat the lies of the devil when he tries to tell us something hasn’t actually happened. It is kind of like the modern version of creating an altar, like they used to do in the Old Testament when God would show up. Write down your “altars” (the day you were set free, the first time you do something you couldn’t while bound up in fear….) and return to them to praise the Lord and declare the Truth of who He is and what He has done in your life!

Sweet one, you were fashioned and designed with greatness in mind. We don’t call you “World Changer” for nothing! But you will never fully step into ALL that the Lord has planned for YOU unless you allow Him to fully free you from ALL your anxiety. Trust me, as a sister who has walked through the same battle you are walking through, a life of peace and freedom is SO worth it. Don’t let the devil convince you that staying comfortable in anxiety is worth it. He is a liar, a robber, and he seeks ONLY to destroy you.

World Changer, the devil desires to keep you bound because he acknowledges that if you become free, you will be unstoppable. Become unstoppable today. Walk into God’s presence with you hands open, lay your anxieties at His feet, and let Him replace them with His incredible peace.

Beautiful one, you were made to be a WARRIOR, not a WORRIER. Walk into the freedom that is yours!

And we, your sisters, are cheering you on.

Much love,

Jenny

I Am Insecure

Dear World Changer,

“I AM INSECURE!” She shouted from the mountain top. She had enough. She finally broke. Her journey up the mountain brought so much to light. She had so much time to herself to think, and boy did she think lots. It all started when she moved for the fifth time in her life. She was so ready to take on the world back then, just as she was when she was young. Nothing scared her; she had no fear. She didn’t care what others thought and she was always her own person. She figured that’s probably why people liked her so much: she was confident and spunky. But when she moved this time, things slowly changed. People still liked her, but there seemed to be more and more that didn’t, or just didn’t care to get to know her. And somehow she let that get to her. Of all the years prior, moving from city to city, country to country, being bullied in elementary school and having but 4 good friends and considered unpopular, you’d think she’d be able to take this on, just like she did then. Ignore the hurt feelings and continue being confident. After all, that is why she did so well in life. She was content, joyful, and successful. She was good at making very good friends, good at getting good grades, good at just about anything she put her mind to. So what changed?

Perhaps it was because she was living away from home for the first time. Her family was a huge support and a huge confidence builder for her. Without them she didn’t have the same encouragement.

Or perhaps it was because she didn’t have someone that she really connected with. Her best friend was miles away, and a phone call once a month just wasn’t enough.

Or perhaps it was because of the way others treated her over and over that just finally got to her.

Whatever the reason, it shouldn’t have mattered anyways. She should have just stayed strong.

She remembered how close she grew to God over the next few years through her insecurities. Perhaps even because of her insecurities. But the insecurities did not go away. She felt scared all too often; afraid to share her feelings, afraid to grow relationships. Every friend she seemed to get closer with, she would begin to doubt their motives. “What if they’re only my friend because…” And the reasons would be stupid, but she would believe them anyway. She started to believe that everyone already had friends and wouldn’t want another. She started to believe she talked too much or wasn’t cool enough or was too awkward in some situations, or just wasn’t funny enough. And the more she believed it, the truer it became. She became less funny, more awkward, less talkative, and less herself. She cried out to God in times of sadness and frustration, but she didn’t even realize it was her own insecurities causing it. She blamed it on others and the circumstances.

Stresses of life built on top of her insecurities and she continued to blame the circumstances. She pretended that she was still herself; pretended she was confident. “People like me when I’m confident” she would remember and smile. “Look confident.” On the outside, she still looked and seemed the same. She pretended she was still her own person, but on the inside her negative thoughts continued to swirl in her mind. She cared too much about what others thought and sought out their approval. It took over her own free-spirited nature and sooner than she knew, she was completely trapped in her own insecurities. She had built up a wall around herself and closed herself into a box.

Finally, she had enough. She realized she had walls around and she realized it was her own thoughts and insecurities. They had beaten her down for too long and finally she knew she had to take responsibility for it. But how to get out? There were no doors or windows. She cried out to God.

She thought back to when she would pray alone in her room for God to send a friend. And He did -a friend that prayed with her and built her up. And before long, He sent another friend –a friend that became a life-long friend. And that friend built her up too. God was there. He was giving her a way out. He had been there the whole time. It took a while for her to see, but God had answered her prayers every time.

And finally when she realized she could do it on her own no longer, she cried out to God from the stuffy cell she had built up around herself and said “I see it’s me! It’s my own insecurities! Lead me to freedom!”

That day she started on her journey up the mountain. Each step was more difficult but she got higher with each one. Never did she take a step down. Never did she take a step at the same height as her other foot. It was always the higher footing that she chose. It was hard and treacherous, but she was closer to the top because of it. With each step she admitted a fault. With each step she admitted insecurity. With each step she relied on God. She talked with Him along the way and He told her things she never heard before and showed her things she never saw before. She climbed above her circumstances, above her insecurities, and most importantly, above her own wants and desires. By the time she got to the top, she could see that nothing was about her, anyways. She looked out at the breathtaking view. The trees were like toothpicks, the ocean was but a pond, and the cityscape across the way was like little toy blocks. Everything was so miniscule and seemingly unimportant. What was important was the bigger picture! The way all the smaller parts came together made the view so much more beautiful than each smaller part on their own.

She cried out “I AM INSECURE!!” at the top of her lungs, and it felt good to let it go. She refused to hide her baggage anymore. And once the words left her mouth, she felt an indescribable peace. No longer could anything hold her down, because God had freed her and redefined her.

And so, before heading back down the mountain, she took one more deep breath of the freshest air she’d ever breathed, and, staring out over the most beautiful scene she had ever witnessed, she shouted with joy, “I AM FREEEEEE!!!””

-Miriam

BLOOM

Dear World Changer…

I wanted to be hopeful. I wanted to let joy and excitement invade my heart. But I was hesitant. I felt fear and allowed it to hinder my pursuit of hope. Because what if this was just a glimpse of what could be and not the real deal? Better to keep hope under wraps so my already vulnerable heart is protected from shattering again, right?

That was a lie I truly believed with every part of my being until one winter morning. The morning that felt like spring.

I awoke early to a dark room that made me feel tired and drained before my day had even begun. Without looking, I knew there was a pile of snow on the roof outside my window. All winter long the pile grew until it was a mountain that I couldn’t see over. I knew what to expect outside of my warm dark room so I almost didn’t pull back the curtain. But then I changed my mind and decided to open it up anyway. I was shocked to suddenly be standing in a room flooded with bright and natural sunlight. It had been so long since my space had been showered with sunshine. At some point during that cold and cloudy winter I had simply stopped opening the curtain and instead spent my mornings allowing my heart to soak up all the gloom from my light denied bedroom. But that morning as I simply stood in the brightness, I could hear the snow melting and see droplets of water falling just beyond the glass in front of me. While I reached to flip the lock on the window my logical brain was shouting, “Hey crazy girl! Why would you shatter the perfect illusion of a beautiful day by exposing yourself to a sure blast of icy cold air?!” But my vulnerable heart was completely enthralled by the bright sunlight and led me to crack the window despite the screaming in my head. I was again surprised as my expectations were shattered with the first wisp of warm air (well, warm for early March in Ottawa ha!) that gently blew through. I felt all bubbly inside as I stared out my window and thought, “Spring is coming!” But even before I could fully process that wonderful idea my mind was invaded by another thought that quickly travelled to the depths of my heart, “Don’t get too excited. There’s another snow storm expected by the end of the week.” Suddenly the bubbly feeling was gone and I no longer had the energy to go about my day. The hope had been snatched away just like I knew it would be. I sat down in defeat and wondered why I would let this happen to me again.

That’s when I heard it. This beautiful sound had been there all along, had actually been there for days, but I did not pay attention until that moment. The birds were singing outside my window. Their song came in through the opening with the sunshine and infused the space with hope again. That morning I was reminded that even if my roof took another dump of snow and my window remained locked due to more freezing weather, spring would still be coming. I knew that nothing was going to change that. Cold weather may delay the start of spring but eventually it will come. That realization sparked me back to life that morning as hope was restored and I was energized to continue on with my day. I ditched my winter parka for a lighter jacket and put on my cool girl shades. I even rolled down the car window for my dog in the back seat. I had a good day. And you know what? By the time I left work that afternoon the sun was nowhere to be found among the fog and rain that engulfed me as I walked across the parking lot. But my hope was not defeated in that seemingly gloomy moment. Because spring was still coming.

What ‘spring’ are you waiting for? Hope is fragile and flimsy if we don’t proactively protect it. The Bible says, “A hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Proverbs 13:12). Hope is beautiful and motivating but if it is not strong enough then we are susceptible to great pain. The fear of pain leads many of us to tear down the seeds of hope before they have a chance to take root and to block out any possibility of hope in the future. But our vulnerable human hearts desperately need hope. We need to tie our hope to the One who will never fail us. We need to draw from his never ending supply of courage to help us create space in our hearts for hope to bloom. Because hope is the breath of fresh air and the song of the birds that we all need during our winter season.

So, what spring season are you looking forward to? My prayer is that you don’t let the fear of disappointment and a sick heart and deferred hope hinder you from living a life of light and love. I pray that you are brave today and allow hope to bloom inside your heart so you can see the power and beauty of its radiance shining in you and through you. I pray that you shatter expectations today by making a choice to strengthen your hope instead of sheltering your heart. Delays are inevitable. I guarantee at some point in this journey you will see another snow fall before you feel the warm sunshine again. But I also guarantee you will see your victory. Do not give up today. Do not let go of victory to sit down in defeated hope. Take courage and listen for the song of the birds. Spring is still coming.

Praying for you always,

Charity xo

Behind the Smile

Dear World Changer,

You know, it’s funny how God works, His timing and all. Currently I’m finishing up my last year of bible college – AKA graduation is WEEKS away 😀 That aside, this week I was working on a paper for my Pauline Literature class and sure enough, God had something deeper than just an assignment for my grad check list. The focus of the readings and paper was on 2 Corinthians when Paul writes of a “Thorn in his flesh”. If you haven’t read Paul’s letters, well you should. They are Real. Raw. Emotion-filled and Spirit-gripping.

On the night when I tried to finish the assignment my stomach began to act up more than it had in a while. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve battled with stomach issues for over 7 years now. There have been seasons of greater health and great endurance, but on the flip side, many seasons of heart-felt, tear-filled pleas of grace – when the agony is too much to bear… with some season to the point that if I gave in to all the pain I would experience, I would’ve never left my house. Those moments, of complete downright frustration have surely given me a greater perspective on “you never know what’s going on behind the scenes in someone’s life”. I mean, anyone can put on a pretty smile or fake enthusiasm for the task at hand – can they not?

It’s the happening behind the scenes, the moments when the pain is too much to bear or fathom, these ones that most of us don’t see. The tears of hurt, the tears of pain, the tears for relief in whatever situation one faces. This week Paul reminded me of this. He may have had that “thorn,” yet he persevered and his life spoke of it. Paul may have faced hardship and yet, he learned the extent of God’s grace, the need and power of prayer, the depths of God’s love for him. Perhaps none of those would have been a reality had he given in. If he had thrown the towel in and gave up on His faith in the one who created Him.

I’m glad he didn’t.

In 2 Timothy 4:7 Paul says: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” – words I too wish to say someday. Did I fight and persevere despite my circumstances? Did I keep my faith and trust IN him even when I didn’t feel like it? Will people say that I finished the race (my life) well when the day comes that I enter eternity with Christ? I hope so. I hope it’s a yes, yes, and yes.

Whatever you face today, know that everybody has a behind the scenes. But also know that everybody has a choice. A choice to trust. A choice to persevere. A choice to choose peace over fear. Wherever you stand today, be reminded that even Paul, a man who impacted the lives of SO many, he too faced hardship. It doesn’t always make sense, but the “sense” is not for us to understand. It’s the opportunity to grasp, like Paul, the extent of God’s grace, the need and power of prayer, and the depths of God’s love for us.

Stand tall my friend. God cares about your every “behind the scenes” struggle.

JENNIFER

XOXO