The Storm’s Blissful Lesson

The Storm’s Blissful Lesson

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You know those rainstorms that are wind, rain, thunder, lightning and everything in between.  You can’t see where you are. Speeding up can lead to uncontrollable hydroplaning. Even familiar routes are difficult to travel to.

Doesn’t that sound like life?

The storms of life can throw us for a loop. A friend once said people are either in a storm, about to enter a storm, or have left a storm.  We all have a storm.

It is easy to succumb to the storm and fall into despair. I have had my fair shares of storms. It feels unbearable.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.-Psalm 34:17-20

Though it is easy to throw in the towel, DON’T!

Though it storms, the rain will stop, the clouds will appear, the loud clashing of lightning and thunder will be silenced, and then sunlight.

For every rainstorm, there is sunshine.

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With any storm, God can overcome it. Jesus silenced the winds and the storms at His command (Matthew 8:23-27). Nothing is too hard for God.

What you and I cannot do is control our situations. Sometimes life is out of our reach. Things happen that are unexpected, from left field,  unplanned, and abrupt. And sometimes with as much preparation you do, you still fall short. But God can and is in control. 

With the storm, there is provision, safety, and sanity that God provides. He does not lead you where He will not provide for you. He knows what you can handle even though you think you can’t handle it.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.-Philippians 4:19

God will bring you out of the storm into the sunshine. I can’t assure that life will be exactly what you expected but all storms will strengthen you and your testimony.

So hold on even though it’s raining, God will give you the umbrella (i.e. provision) and the direction.

I leave with this: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.-2 Corinthians 12:9

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Wherever you fall short, God will fill in the gaps.

The storm is temporary.

It will pass.

God will bring you out of whatever tried to end you or break you. 

The sunshine will come. 

 

Blissfully,

Bianca

Mental Health As A Christian

Mental Health As A Christian

Mental health is real and it does not discriminate.

My Own Struggles

In my own life, I have dealt with depression and anxiety. Before, I always thought that Christians are supposed to be happy. God is in our life so everything is fine. Even when things get bad, Christians don’t fall into that pit of despair. Mental health is for crazy, unkept, people who are in strait jackets in mental institutions.

In my prior thinking, this was my thought process as a teen and young adult even though  I was depressed and did not want to admit it.

Depression is not the same XYZ formula. It comes in different ways in different forms.

I lived putting up a happy, Christian, church-face mask to the world. I was happy on the outside but depressed and crumbling on the inside. I buried my burdens and insecurities deep within and dug myself into a pit of despair. I felt worthless and alone. Even though I could dig my way out, I would go back to digging deeper and deeper in despair.

As a teen, after church, I would try to sleep the day away. Not much of an appetite. I lost weight. I would pretend everything was ok.  But I would not admit that I was depressed.

There were boiling points in my life where my depression was seen and I had to face myself. Whether I was confronted by my family, friends, or mentors, my struggles were revealed and I could not hide it. I was found out.

The “Remedy”

Pray it away…just pray about it and you will be fine.

Well I would do that but then I would still feel depressed. I was still in my pit. I was still hiding from people. I would fake it till I made it. Just pretend everything was fine…(but I wasn’t).

Like I said, I did not want to seem “crazy” cause Christians weren’t supposed to be that way. Wrong thought process…

How I Do Function

Yes, I still pray but I pray differently. I pray for relief and comfort, some reassurance from God. I still read the Bible for counsel, relief, and comfort. I still seek Godly counsel and fellowship with other believers.

I had to learn to talk about my problems. Talking it out helps. Easier said than done but still it helps. I have received counsel from my pastor. During law school, I did see a counselor to talk out my stresses and insecurities. I would try to talk it out with my family (not easy but I get brave enough to talk to them).

List positive affirmations to myself. When I post scripture or encouragements on social media or when I blog, it’s therapy for me. I remind myself:  Bianca, you are not perfect and you don’t need to be. You are not a disappointment. There are good things in your life. Count the blessings you have. I know they exist in your life. Don’t forget that.

Sometimes I have had to remove myself from situations or people because that can cause stress. In my sophomore year of college, I had a major meltdown because I was overly stressed, depressed, and just failing. As a result, I took a semester off, went to a junior college, and lived at home until my junior year. I had to take a step back and clear my mind. I was not in a healthy place spiritually, emotionally, or academically.

Some sort of medical help may be necessary. I had a chemical imbalance so I needed to take something to balance me. Nothing to be ashamed of. I function like a human.

An outlet can be therapy. I started painting to help me. It is a wonderful escape to be active and make something beautiful in the process.

I am in no way saying this is easy. I do not have it figured out. I have to fight to love myself and value myself enough to face each day. I know I have tools and resources to keep going but sometimes I am not fine.

It’s ok to seek help. It’s ok to feel bad. But try to find an outlet. You are not alone in this world. Know that it’s ok to seek help…even Christians too.

I believe Jesus knows that we hurt and He hurts for us. I believe Jesus has gifted individuals with the ability to counsel and encourage in life situations. Jesus is the ultimate Counselor but He calls people to be His hands and feet. God created medicine for a reason and some people need it. God made resources for a reason.

Biblical Outlet

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.-1 Corinthians 10:13

There is a way to endure with Jesus. There have been dark moments where all I had was myself and I could have hurt myself, but there was a still small voice telling me to hold on. When I could not sleep, I felt someone wrap their arms around me. When in my despair,  I felt angels surrounding me. Something was in the room but I did not know what. Nothing scary but I know it’s God.

Sometimes I function and survive because I am holding on the hem of Jesus’s garment. Even if it is a thread, I know I can never go wrong with turning to Jesus.

My Go-To Psalm is Psalm 121:

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forevermore.

Hold on to Jesus. He won’t let you go. Even in the darkness moments, He is there. You may not feel like He is but He is. Even if you don’t love Jesus or believe in Jesus, He is still watching over you. He still wants you.

To Close

There is no perfect solution. There is nothing to be ashamed of. We are all human. As Christians, we are still human. We all fall short. God is the Ultimate Counselor and Sustainer. And God created ways to be at peace.  I still struggle my insecurities but fight each day the best I can. It’s ok to not be ok. Remember this:

You are not alone.

Hold on.

You will make it.

I believe and have faith in you. 

Blissfully,

Bianca

As A Woman In the Local Church

As A Woman In the Local Church

I did not see in the Bible that women are second class citizens in the body of Christ.

So then, why it is such a power trip?

I have been in churches where women serve as sisters with their brothers in Christ. I have been in churches where the “rules” are archaic. It’s like a woman serving outside her duties (i.e. women’s ministry and children) is destroying the headship of man (ugh…give me a break).

I don’t think it is. Women are more than teaching children and women, having tea together, sitting pretty and silent while the “man” does God’s work. We have other skills. We may not be gifted in everything but we are gifted in some things.

Biblical Women of Service 

Not just the Proverbs 31 woman…There are women in the early church who were in involved. Here are some:

Phoebe: I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.-Romans 16:1-2

Priscilla and Aquila: Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus.  In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches.-Romans 16:3-4

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt.  He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.-Acts 18:24-26

Mary (not mother of Jesus): Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. -Romans 16:7

Junia: Greet Andronicus (husband)  and Junia (wife), my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.-Romans 16:8

Active. Teaching People. Preaching. Prisoners. Hard Workers. Risk-takers for the Gospel.

No delicacy there. These women were sisters for the kingdom respected by their brothers serving alongside them.

Spiritual Gifts And Roles

I know what you are thinking: 1 Timothy 2:8-12

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.  I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.

I used to hate this verse because some Christian men would twist this verse to say women should not preach but be quiet and submit. A woman who does not follow through is not of God. I have to remember that God’s Words are not to hinder and belittle but are for a greater purpose. But look at the verse again through The Message version Bible:

Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it. I don’t let women take over and tell the men what to do. They should study to be quiet and obedient along with everyone else.

Work and pray with humility. Doing something beautiful for God and being beautiful doing it. Not to overstep for power but be obedient to God’s word. God may call us to have a quiet spirit, to be wise, and to discern. But God may call us to something greater. It all depends on Him. We don’t always need to talk but don’t always need to be silent if God gives us a Word to share.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.  There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.-2 Corinthians 12:4-11

Different strokes for different folks. God made each of us with distinct gifts. Not every man is not meant to be a preacher. Not every woman is meant to do women’s ministry and teach children.  I am not discounting women who are called to women’s ministry and children’s ministry. You all do great work for the Kingdom but not every woman is gifted in that. Respect our talents no matter what our gifts are. There is no male role or female role. God gives each gift from the same source and for the same reason. There are some people in the Church who are not called to certain gifts. Nothing is man-designed but God-ordained.

Christian Men…Not All but Some 

A vivid memory I had was in a Sunday school class where the male teacher said “Feminism is a sin. A sin of the world to disrespect men and their authority”

Ummm…excuse me. I bravely took him on. And yup..I got weird looks from our group. 

I was raised to respect and be respected. My dad is one of the rare ones. He wanted his  daughters to be strong women of God who were smart, well-spoken, educated, and respectful to authority. I never heard my dad say “Women can’t do that. You are better silent. That’s what men do.” My dad was comfortable as a Man of God to value his skills and  the skills of his wife  to serve in her God-given capacities. The same goes for his son and daughters.

My dad encourages me with these words: “You are a human being and a helper but you are not to be abused and mistreated.”

On the opposite end, I have encountered “Christian men” who are sexists, who believe women should be silent and do as they are told, who feel disrespected when a woman stands up to them, and who twist the Bible to demean and degrade women. There were moments in my life where I did not want to marry Christian men. I did not want to be disrespected a marriage. I even wanted to give up on Church because I did not fit into the archaic sexism.

But I reminded of Galatians 2:28: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. There is no superior gender but a Superior Savior we all follow. My brother in Christ should respect me as his sister in Christ. Working to be lights in the world and winning others for Christ. There is an equality in the body of Christ even though we are different.

So that is what I do. I respect my brother but I deserve respect too.

For Example

My mom, not a women’s ministry-nursery lady, but God has given her the gift of medical knowledge and care to many. Not to be biased (but I am), my mom is a dynamite woman. She is strong, kind, and warm. She is well-spoken and bold. She is also wise and meek.  She is a light to all she meets. She is respectful. No sticking it to man but she demands respect.

To Close

I can’t fix every Christian man to respect me the way God sees me. There will be men who are archaic, insecure dinosaurs who treat women as second class citizens. And there is some who are my brothers who I work alongside for the Kingdom. It can’t be helped (all are sinners).

But here is some encouragement for both parties:

To my Christian sisters, know who you are and whose you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made for a purpose. You are not second but first. God has gifted you with talents and abilities for His glory. We don’t all need to be the same. God will call us to be meek or speak but we are not lesser than.

To my Christian brothers, respect us. We are all striving for the same goal: To bring glory and honor to God. Sharpen us, encourage us, challenge us but don’t look down on us. We are His workmanship too.

So that’s all I got.

Blissfully,

Bianca

 

 

A Gentle Reminder

A Gentle Reminder

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.-Galatians 2:20

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I am not my own. When I gave my life to Christ, I did not know the depth of the commitment I chose. As I got older, God has shown me how being a Christian is not a title  that makes me better than someone else. It means that I am living for Jesus. Christ is the one who guides my steps, who convicts me through the Holy Spirit, and who is the hope I live for.

In whatever I do, God is using me for a bigger purpose than myself. It goes the same for you. You never know how God can use you and me in a day. You may not see the benefits today or tomorrow. Years can pass before I hear that someone was impacted because of something I did. Sometimes I do not remember…lol. But heaven was watching and glad. So

As a Christ-follower, you are an ambassador of Christ. You are not just you. You have purpose to live for a higher calling. It will not be perfect and easy. You and I will not get it perfect. But God has called us to be His hands and feet. We are commanded to serve and love as God loves us.

So live for Him.

Blissfully,

Bianca

The Parts of My Belief

The Parts of My Belief

So I want to share some of my convictions and set apart way. These are my convictions as a 28 year old Christ follower. This is a “no preaching” matter. I just want to set some things straight.

With my lifestyle, I remember this verse:  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;-1 Corinthians 6:19″ I am not my own. I was made and brought with a price. So I try to honor God with how I live.

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  1. Sex and Relationships

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.-Genesis 2:24

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.-Hebrews 13:4

Yes, I am one of those. I am waiting for marriage. To me, sex is not man-made but God-designed. God made it for a special time in a special way. I am willing to wait and save myself for the person God designed for me . And once I am married, I can share that part of me with him.

Yeah, I know…weird to most. I have been told:  That sounds like a fairytale or unrealistic. Nobody thinks like that. You don’t even know what you like? Won’t it be awkward doing it on your wedding night? But what if your husband is not good in bed…all that waiting for nothing.”

Yup…people are cruel. But it does not matter what people think. God knows what I like and what I need. I don’t want to give pieces of me to men that don’t deserve it in the first place. My heart could not deal with the heartbreak.

I know…I have weeded out a good bit of the male population. That’s fine. I am not their type anyways.

God loves and cherishes me. I love me and respect me. So I will not settle and it is not up for discussion. I’m waiting.

2. Drinking

Mhmm…I know. Jesus drank in the Bible. It is one of the first miracles of the Bible. But here is where I cross the line.

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.-Proverbs 20:1

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit-Ephesians 5:17

I have seen alcohol destroy people and lives. I may occasionally enjoy a glass of wine but I only have one. I never want to lose control where I am not thinking straight or can’t make decisions for myself. Yes, Jesus made it but it’s all about how you use it.

3. Clubbing

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!—  assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,  and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.-Ephesians 4:17-24

So I never desired it. Parents never did it. I don’t feel like I would be comfortable there because it is not in my nature. I am called to live set apart and that means to me that I don’t go to certain places like bars and lounges. A restaurant that has a bar is fine but that’s it. And if you try to invite me to one, I will politely decline.

Am I still tempted anyways? Of course, I am human. But God does not give me more than I can bear. I can always find a way out through Him.

Like I said, these are the ones I am questioned about the most. I have strong convictions about them. Not every person is the same. We are all a work in progress.  God convicts us all in different ways on different subjects.  We will not be perfect until He comes back.

Not preaching but saying that I encourage you to keep trying and ask God to help you. He will do it but you must be committed to Him first. You can do it. I believe in you and He believes in you too.  

Blissfully,

Bianca