Spirit

Don't Forget Your Armor

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It all started on a hot Thursday morning in the life of a somewhat normal woman. She woke up with a hundred things to do that morning just like every other day. Today, however, she had taken the day off from work and was excited about walking around the mall alone, going to have lunch alone, and find a quiet corner of a coffee shop to read. It had been so long since she had time to herself. She usually spent every day off she had at home cleaning and doing laundry. She was so incredibly excited! She got her child ready for school and was getting ready to drop her off. 

As she was heading out the door, her mother appeared and wanted to take boxes to storage. This was, of course, fine because it had been put off often and really needed to be done. She would be a little later getting started, but it would be okay because things needed to be done. She moved all the boxes and then dropped off her child. She decided to come back home and get ready so she could be on her way. She was hungry, and something was unsettled in her spirit. The feeling like she knew there was something terrible was going to happen but couldn’t figure what or why she really had this feeling. The woman ate breakfast talked with her mom about her plans. Her mom was going wait on a plumber and was debating mowing the yard. The woman got up changed out some laundry and started washing dishes. Busy work again, she thought, but it has to be done, so I will do some. She started to cry and wondered Why am I doing this again? This will be the last day I have for months, and I should do what I want to do! Her tears came down harder. I am so angry I wanted to leave for the day and do fun things again. Her mother noticed her tears, “What is wrong?” she asked her daughter. She could no longer contain her emotions and disappointment any longer and started to scream, “Why does it matter? Does it matter that I wanted to spend a day alone? Maybe get my hair done the way I had been talking about for months? Nothing matters anymore!” she shouted at her mom. 

In truth, it was not her mother's fault at all. She felt worthless and like no one cared at all for her and what she wanted in life. Her world came crashing down within 20 minutes because she lost her identity. She screamed out in pain and frustration how could this be happening again. 

I am fine everything was fine.

I find when everything in my life seems fine it usually means something in my life is about to go terribly wrong.  Questions are swirling around in my head I am not addressing. There are situations I have let sit on the back burner of my mind until they are boiling. This is kind of what my life was like a few months ago. Within a few hours of things not going right, my life started to spin around my selfishness instead of my God. 

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I had turned over my child of God badge and just stood there letting the turmoil consume me. I was falling deeper into this hole of self-doubt. I know it was not right for me to let it get that far. It was not until I started to ask for prayer that things would begin to change. Remember who your enemy is… it is not you but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 NKJV). I had left part of my armor of God at my bedside. I surely won’t need it today since I am getting to do what I want. How foolish I was to try to get through a day without all of my armor.

In the bible it says, 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:13-19 NKJV). There are many times when I have thought maybe my ways are better than Gods way. And it never fails to see Him helping me pick up my messes when I have been too stubborn to listen to Him.

How did the day end? Better after I was reminded in my chaos to pray the Word of God over me. My focus came back to Jesus and every single beautiful thing He has done for me. For Him to die for me was true enough, but the Father continues to bless me daily. The Holy Spirit is still within me, even on the days I mess up. Also on the days, I have a meltdown. My advice is don’t leave your bed without your armor, in fact, don’t sleep without it.

~Esme







The Outline

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For September, I had pretty much taken a break from my book. I had decided to do Story A Day again, and in doing so, I found an awesome writing community. I have missed them so much already this week. I had been experimenting with parts of my novel such as dialogue and trying to think of scenes differently. So while I was on my mini-break also because my character had ended up in places, I was not sure they should be. I am thinking of starting the whole book over.  

The story is not leading down the path I want it to anymore. One minute we are all good things were sunshine and roses, then people are hunting each other down and characters I did not plan on are showing up out of the woodwork literally! There is an explanation and an answer, I had no plan or guidance to get me to the right place. I am good at talking circles and going on adventures when I write things, but when I speak, I am generally linear. Well, some of you may disagree. Lol. I decided to pants my book, which means I fly by the seat of my pants, and it just goes whatever way the wind blows. If I had done outlining then I would probably be closer to my final destination instead of standing still at the moment. Yes, in this case, I should have listened to my mother. It is okay though because it is a process and one that I love!

This October I decided to follow through with an outlining guide because I want to finish the first draft of my book. I have been researching, and since I have found not having an outline got me in a mess, I will be attempting to plan this year. I found an author by the name of Kristen Martin through one of my you-tubing adventures and decided to use her course to outline my book. She is someone fun to watch on youtube and is a self-published author getting it done. The course has not been overly complicated as it is a self-study and it has links to the various videos. It did make me really think about what I was trying to say with my book and has been giving me a more precise outline of where to go. It lasts for the four weeks of October and then I will start Nanowrimo on November first starting my novel over again is the thought at this point. 

I do enjoy this planning part a lot and hope I will enjoy the rewrite just as much giving my characters a do-over in actions and names. It is strange to me still how things can happen in a book you didn’t expect. I just hope one day by readers will find it just as exciting. 

I encourage you to write the books and do the creative things you never thought you were good at. You will mess up and fail as I have done. However, it is so freeing to do something I love and to enjoy it. I wish this passion had been as active in my early years, but the outline for my life was not as defined as I thought it would be then. 

I think it is why we should have an outline for life or goals. I have always had a few goals floating around in my head. It took me a long way to get where I am.  However, I had always found myself more satisfied when I had a plan for my life even if it changes. At times we all need guidance from God the ultimate plan maker for our lives! So get some paper or an app and start making plans to be creative in your life. Let the artsy person out!

~Esme

Faith in the Middle of Fear

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Faith and fear are two opposing forces that were not meant to go together like bread and butter. However, they can have the effect of forcing the other one out. When there is so much fear in your life, you are always waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I see people walking in fear a lot lately. People are walking in fear of financial situations, divorce, death, presidential candidates, or the terrorists’ attacks plaguing our world. Perhaps every one of those has touched your life profoundly. 

Fear is defined as the following according to Merriam-Webster:

    an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid

    a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful

In case you were wondering we are not focusing on the second definition. To have fear for God in this way of wonder is excellent, but too often no one gets past the first definition. I wonder though how you get to the second part of the description when you in awe and wonder of God instead of stuck in the first part. I will tell you! Faith. When you put faith in the middle of fear you get to the point of respect of the Father. Respecting God might seem simple, but it does take work on our part.

When our fears about our life become more significant than our faith, we fall into trouble. So, as most of you know, I am a single parent, and everywhere there are couples. Sometimes the fear of being alone for the rest of my life scares the blue blazes out of me. Really it does. When I let my fear speak it says will I ever find someone? Then it will start to carve into me deeper with thoughts of I am good enough and will anyone ever love me? Until I am finally in the, no one will ever love me, and I will be this way for the rest of my life. I am fat, my life sucks, and even the silly little things in my life feel like this huge problems. For me, fear moves into frustration about my current situation, which then leads to anger about anything out of place or not going the way I want it. Now, these types of fear thoughts are annoying in my head, self-centered, and mostly ridiculous because I now have faith in Jesus.


Faith comes into my situation now and says SHUT UP FEAR! I am not listening to those voices anymore. 


My faith brings out my patience for the plans God has for my life, and the love I have for everything in my life.  Faith becomes my hope in crazy situations and problems in life. Do I get asked often how do you do it? The simple answer is my faith in Jesus. Jesus is so real to me, so tangible, and His presence is with me all the time. Especially on those days when the world starts to crash on me Jesus is there. In those times when I mess it all up and when those whispers of fear start knocking on the door of my mind. What I love now is I have a choice before I open the door to my fear and you do too. Right before I open the door my hand is on doorknob I ask Jesus to come into my situation. I can take my hand off the knob and walk away from my fears. I have decided my God is bigger than those fears, and you must know I didn’t get it right the first time. When I was messing things up not getting it right, I was willing to take the chance for God’s purpose in my life. I stepped out into what He had for me even if it was just Him and I forever. What a forever and happily ever after!


When I transform fear by putting faith in the middle of my fears, look below what can happen.

fear

: an unpleasant emotion caused by being aware of danger: a feeling of being afraid

 

faith

    :allegiance to duty or a person

   : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2): belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust

    :something that is believed especially with strong conviction

fear:

:a feeling of respect and wonder for something very powerful

“I am not afraid of tomorrow, for I have seen yesterday and I love today.”— William Allen White.png

Faith in the middle of our fears changes lives. Walk with hope at your core with your eyes on Jesus throughout the day because when your terror comes knocking you know, you don’t have to open the door anymore.

~Esme

Learning to Pray

When I in my early twenties I had my first experience with God. It was truly amazing to be introduced to God and begin to understand who God was, but within a couple years most of my fire had been put out by the world again. I have gone through stages in my life when I have learned more about God and His overall being. The first was my introduction to Him, my second time was focused on reading His love letter (The Bible), and the most recent time I decided to give it my all. 

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I was no longer unsure of His devotion or love to me.  Finally, I knew I didn’t want to continue my life without Him. His words were, and they changed me. I felt safe with Him by my side every day which led to a lot of conversations. Even though I didn’t understand prayer completely, I talked to God. He was always nice and listened. Sometimes He spoke back. There were days He was silent.

In our relationship there have been ups and downs because of the world I live in. However, not once has He ever rejected me. He has never turned away. Even when I have been impossible and shouting at Him, He stays. He holds me and loves me regardless. How in love with Him I have become. It is a sweetness to my spirit and life.  But still, I had not really learned how to pray.

It wasn’t until I came across a couple who showed me what worship really was that I was then introduced to another couple to show me what prayer was. To see a true worshiper of the almighty God is lovely. They hold nothing back immediately you can see it is all Gods everything in those moments are devoted to Him. I get chills just thinking about it. It was no mistake I met these people, and God was sure I got the message. He crossed our paths more than once until we got the point. 


They showed me how to worship with everything and that I could begin to share things in my life. Important God moments. This couple displayed the love of God in what they did.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5_16-18.png

Then I met the couple who would teach me about prayer. These two people were not at all what I expect nor was I to them I assume. I was a broken woman, full of tears, and scared to open up about something. I had been deeply hurt by religious people over the years. However, the following months they befriended me and kept inviting me to their home for prayer. They reminded me of my Jesus that I had been spending so much time with. They too showed me His love and freedom there was in knowing I was indeed a child of God. 

The first time I heard the woman pray I opened my eyes, and I looked at her like a strange being I had never seen before. I stood there in the circle holding hands with strangers shocked at how powerful she sounded and her husband followed in suit. I wanted to pray as they did. Things happened when they prayed mountains moved.

The more time I spent there, it was not so much about the how they prayed but that they did. Prayer was practiced like driving a car or riding a bike. It was not recited. Prayers were always from the heart and how the spirit led. It is true you become like the people you hang around because before I knew it, I was praying like them. Things began to change in my life and the people around me.  Praying the promises of God over your life is one of the most useful things to do. God’s word is so powerful when it is buried in my heart. Now I have a base for prayer God has helped guide in it. Don’t give up on prayer it does change things really it changes everything.

I love this one.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)

~Esme

He Said Fear Not

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I have dealt with a lot of fears in my life. I was terrified of flying before I did it, and swimming until I learned how to do it. I didn’t know how to do any type of public speaking until I was talking in front of the whole high school. In fact writing, this blog has been a fear of mine too. 

This blog has been a fear because I have not made it a habit of letting anyone inside my head. My thoughts have been my own for years and rarely shared. I had always liked to hear about other people more because it would give me a more authentic understanding of who they are. 

The only time I ever shared my writings were in classrooms in college. I was never praised for my ideas or my work. There was usually something utterly wrong about the whole story or poem. I only really had one supporter throughout my college career. I am not sure I even really knew what writing was then. 

When I came back to God just a few years ago, I felt Him calling me to write a blog. I had been moved to write again since I had moved, but I seemed paralyzed once again by fear. I was just writing for myself, but I still couldn’t find the courage to finish anything. It has taken me so long to build my faith to trust and believe in Him even though I don’t see the results of what He is doing right now. 

I have let fear control me and push me into directions of my life I should not have gone. There were so many long and dark roads I was led down by fear, and it gave me memories I would rather forget. Fears of disappointing those I love, fear of failure, and fear of just general things in life.

I had a weekend away, at a conference and the women did not speak about fear, but it came up over and over. Doubt we wouldn’t have a room to sleep in, fear of getting robbed, fear of bugs, fear of driving cars over large bodies of water, fear of getting shot, fear the passion for things wouldn’t come back and fear that would miss what God was saying to us. I wanted to cry at the gripping fear had. 

I can say fear is NOT of God. 

Did you hear that? 

Fear IS NOT OF GOD.

So, please stop being afraid about who may find out about your past and stop being scared how you are going to make it in the future.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1_7 (NKJV).png

I was happy to find there were so many references about fear in Bible stating do not fear, fear not, and do not be afraid. You would think we would pick up on this not being fearful thing, but there is day after day in our face. 

I have found though that living and learning are very different things.  I can learn about something in such great depth it can be like I have lived it. When I am working on a character in my books I have to know the ends and outs of who they are in order to make them real to my readers. I look at lessons in life in much that same way. 

I have been overcoming fear on many different levels in the last month. I have found listening to worship music had helped. I discovered I need to questions the fears when they come up because many times they are not logical. When my world seems to be crashing down the only way I have found to walk through my fear is the Word of God being prayed by me over me. I usually just speak out the scripture myself in my prayer times through out the day. I build my faith on these words and believe Him because His Word is true. As you walk throughout your life and you start to feel fear on its way pray a couple of my favorite verses.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.  2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

(God speaking) ‘According to the word that I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt, so My Spirit remains among you; do not fear!’  Haggai 2:5 (NKJV)

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8 (NKJV)

~Esme

Quiet Time With God

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These last two months have been about purposeful isolation this year. I had been very busy with work, a relationship, my child, and various organizations this year and I was ready for some rest. I had been through a lot of heartbreak and long hours. I had gotten to the point in my life I had crowded out the very things I felt were important to me. So, after a long deliberation, I decided to take time off to quite myself.



It has been lonely at times when I spend so much time alone at home. I found myself often sitting down on the couch thinking that filling myself with Netflix shows would somehow make me change. I suppose if you have known me for any amount of time the first thing to do would have been to blame me for not calling someone. There might have been whispers that I was not doing well and depressed because I wanted to be alone. I would totally understand that because people have been quick to judge me due to my past. There are many people in my life that have not seen that I do enjoy being alone from time to time. Oh my! It must mean I love to be a hermit, and never talk to anyone. No. It means I get my energy from alone time, which has been harder to find time for as a single parent.

There are times I have really enjoyed being around people in general and I have missed many friends. It seems as though ever since my birthday almost two months ago I have been voiding people in general to have more quiet time.

I have been reflecting on times in the past when I took time off from my social life I was doing whatever I could to fill the time. It made me realize these empty feelings I have deep inside of me, these voids that nothing could fill had been there for a long time. When I have been busy I don’t notice these voids as much. I have been a Christian for a long time but I wondered if God was really enough for me and if He was then why was I plagued with these doubts and emptiness. I have seen God do miracles but then I was still doubting what He was going to do for me.

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One of the first things I did when I dedicated my life to God was find a community because I needed people to encourage me on so many life changes. When I had this fellowship and community of believers it was amazing. I could talk openly about God and things I did not understand. They helped lift me up and we all prayed together. I was sharing about what I have seen God do and where I thought walking with Jesus would take us next. I had never wanted to willingly trade them or be away from them for long periods of time, however, life happened. I was drawn away from them and I had to figure some things out on my own about God.

In the time I had away from the community I have learned a lot about myself and even more about God this time. I realized there was still jealousy in me and feelings of abandonment. I thought my faith was so strong and I would be fine on my own. I hadn’t realized how much I was relying on my community for answers and prayers. Like I said before the community can be amazing, but sometimes (no I am not speaking for anyone else) it stunted my growth in the Spirit. Instead of listening when God was whispering to me I said, “Maybe later.” Instead of writing when He asked me to months ago I said, “I will soon.”

So in turn, I had been placed in this place were the only person I can hear is God. It was a humbling experience. There were still times I had said, “God I got this.” I still needed Him to get through my day though. By the end of the day in my stubbornness, I had given back all the troubles and problems I was trying to carry around alone. When I had community it was easier to buckle the bag of worries and problems around me and keep going anyway. When all the while God was there saying, “I will carry it all for you if you let me.”

This year it has been different. I quickly shut off the Netflix and enjoyed the silence that surrounded me. I was able during those times to completely put all of my focus on God and I would not allow anything else into my mind. I am not perfect and I know I don’t know everything. I am glad this year I took this time off to have a vacation with God.

He is still peeling back the layers of me and getting out all those things that don’t belong to Him. I am His masterpiece and process is wonderful and painful at the same time. God has shown up to say, “Though I am quiet I am still right here.”

I hope others would be encouraged to take time with God and not by doing so many things be just allowing yourself to listen to Him. I know not everyone can take off a lot of time but even if it is 5 minutes in the morning or 10 minutes right before bed, it is better than nothing.

-Esme

Open up Let the Light in

I was a girl who exhausted myself by trying to be the perfect child in every way to be less trouble for my parents. They always seemed to have their hands full with life. I just wanted to make things easy.  It had not crossed my mind to works for God and because I didn’t see Him as a visible being for most of my life. I didn’t even know how to please God aside from going to church. 

I wondered what it would be like to let the God into my life. I was curious what it would be like to devote myself to something so completely that nothing could move me or shake me. I have seen the world of religion from both a personal standpoint and an academic study. I have seen people so devoted to God and they never seemed to grow weary. They just kept going and doing for God. I had admired them from afar most of my life because I didn’t really understand why they did so much for God. I couldn’t see the motivation behind it unless it was to get into heaven. I thought that if I believed Jesus was my Savior and asked for forgiveness I would end up in heaven but without having to do all those things. 

So why did all these people do these works? 

In my opinion, there are some people out there who are doing good works for God to please other people, to show they are “good”, or because it is the trendy thing to do. I have found that doing works for these reasons usually causes burnout and sometimes for the person to walk away from God. I have seen this happen to many people because they are still in the world mindset of needing to do things as opposed to first having a relationship with God. 

Before I became a believer I didn’t understand doing works and getting nothing out of it. I know it was a selfish mindset but why would I do things for others when they were doing nothing for me. I was in the mind frame of the world. I could see how people abused each other and tore them down. I was not willing to sacrifice my sanity or others. Yet, I was a people pleaser….yes I know this makes no sense.  

Now, that I am a follower of Christ and I have really given my life over to Him my mind and especially my motivations have changed. I haven’t done things because I have to but because I love Him. I do things out of love for Him. It is a lot like any other friendship or love relationship. You buy them dinner because you love them, money doesn’t matter because you love them, and you do special things for them just to see them smile. 

If I didn’t let God’s love and Holy Spirit in my whole life, how was I ever going to give to other people outside of my comfort zone? Even with love and the Holy Spirit if I wasn't really spending time with the Lord then I would expect to get burnt out as a believer.

There can be so much darkness and tragedy in the world and we need time with God. We all have choices we can either listen to the darkness or we can look for the light. I wonder how many different people have just given into a life of darkness or this is as good as it gets. I know for a long time I had lost hope that my life would get better. 

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Sometimes we resist and say no not this time, or I have got this now.  There are many times when I have given it all to God and tried to take some of it back. I wanted to work out my own problems and I could manage my finances better than He could. I wanted to date this guy I thought was so great and right here in front of me. Every single one of those times it ended in more pain and more complications than I was in before I started.

So is letting God in so simple? I suppose this can be answered in three different ways. Yes, no, and I have not idea what you are talking about. God is the light and the light of the world. It is easy to let God in if you want Him, but usually you have to come to a point where you are done living your life for yourself. It is easy if you have reached the bottom. If you are tired of the pain and exhaustion that is overwhelming you. Jesus is right there waiting with open arms.

God is good. His mercy endures forever. God’s grace is there before you even ask for it. He is waiting for you to notice Him. You are the apple of His eye. Open up let the light in.

-Esme