Saturday, November 9, 2013

What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Or Misty, Newsflash, You Are Still A Sinner

While I do not consider myself an authority on everything Biblical, I do consider myself a person who sins.  It is on the basis of that in which I write this blog.  This is a blog I've been meaning to write, but I haven't had the right mindset and time to do it. 

I think that there are some misconceptions about people of faith that turn others off from the faith.  So, I'll start with some of those.

1) In order to come to Christ, your life must already be squeaky clean.
--- False.  Jesus died on the cross while everyone was still sinning.  In fact, they very people that sent him to the cross, were a portion of the people he died for (and by a portion, I mean that he died for everyone's sins.)

2) When you "become a Christian," your life should be sin-free.  You should never sin again, or else, you are a hypocrite.
--- False, but stay with me...  Everyone sins, and becoming a Christian will not stop you from sinning.  But, it does save you from the penalty for your sins... AND gives you the power to overcome sins that are controlling your life with the help of Jesus.

3) So, then you can just become a Christian, and do whatever you want?
--- Not really, and I'll explain why this choice is unwise.  This isn't the example of living by your faith.  But, let me explain why you will want to live by your faith.  Just try and stay with me for this:
When you get married, do you go into a loving marriage fully intending that you are going to cheat on your spouse?  Most people don't, because we marry for love.
The truth of Jesus is that he loves you.  He gave his life for you, and if you accept that love, do you not want to show him love in return?
The idea that you are going to make your best attempt to live a better life is actually a choice you make as a loving response.
Think about that feeling you have when you find someone you fall in love with at the very beginning.  Let's say your new love asks you to go on a date with them to see a ballet, but you hate the ballet.  Do you go to the ballet because you are so in love that you just wanna be with that person, or do you stay home knowing that this was your only chance at a date with that special person, and knowing that there may be some difficult consequences?
If you are really in love, you'd be so happy to go to the ballet.  This is similar to what happens when you choose to follow Christ. 

But wait, maybe you aren't there right now.  Maybe it all sounds strange and doesn't make much sense.  I have more answers. 

4) God does not want me.  I have done too many bad things.  I'm a lost cause.  And, I can't change my life.
--- FALSE. FALSE. FALSE. FALSE.
When you look at the stories in the Bible, what you actually see are a bunch of people who were very flawed.  God chose to use them to do great things.  Yes, they made mistakes, but God always forgives when the person is able to ask for forgiveness. 
Jesus met a lady getting water from a well.  She had a reputation around town for basically for being promiscuous.  Jesus went to her.  (He was seeking her out.)  He asked her for a drink of water, which was an act of equality and not one of judgement.  He knew of her sins, and he didn't care.  He revealed to her that he was the Christ.  Because he explained her circumstances to her without ever having met her, she knew that he was indeed the Christ.  All she did to respond was believe and tell many people. 

You see, God is not surprised by what we've done.  And, he still loves us and seeks us out.

5) I don't feel this love that you speak of from God.
--- If you've never trusted in him, you will never know.  My one challenge to anyone who has for some odd reason been led to read this is that you would do one very small thing and see what happens.  Perhaps you are skeptical that God is out there, or that he would even be interested in a person like you.  My word isn't good enough for you.  Hey, I'm okay with that.  I would ask that you would find out for yourself.  Just ask God to reveal himself to you this week in some way.  Then, open your eyes to what happens around you. 

This is what the Bible says in Jeremiah 29:13:
New International Version
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

6) Misty, Newsflash, You Are Still A Sinner
--- Yes, I am still a sinner.  My life will never be perfect.  But, here's my personal account of my Christian walk in a nutshell.  When I came back to Christ (after just living for myself for many years), I still had many sins that I felt were okay, and even justified.  But, I did know that for better or worse I needed Christ back in my life to help me through my daily struggles.  It took me years to realize that many of my hangups weren't actually good and positive in my life.  Christ never left me though my mistakes, but I did realize that my sins were leading me to places I didn't want to be.  So, through time, prayer, and growth, I was eventually able to overcome those particular sins that were dominating me.  No, it didn't happen overnight, and I didn't do it alone.  Like I said, Christ was there through it all.  There were some things that I able able to just drop right out of my life, and had Christ not been there, I'd have never been able to do that.  I don't know what kind of mess my life would be in right now had I not let those things go.  And, there are some sins that I still struggle with everyday like my temper.  I ask God to help me to be more calm and not get angry and yell.  These are the kinds of things everyone struggles with.  And, that's okay, because I am doing my best to right those wrongs, and God is transforming me into the person I actually want to become.  I will never be sin-free.  I will never have it all together, but there is one thing I can count on in my life, and that is the forgiveness and help of a God that truly loves me.

7) Okay, Wrap it Up
--- When you take even the tiniest step of faith, and ask God to reveal himself, it could lead to a life of blessings beyond your brightest dreams.  And, when you decide to accept God's gift of grace, admit that you need Jesus in your save you from your sins, and lead you though your life, you are accepting the keys to an eternal life spent with your creator, your heavenly father, the one who created love and is love.

This is what the Bible says in Romans 10:9:
New International Version
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

So, that's all I have for today.  I will leave you with this.  I am not a theologian. I'm not a Bible scholar.  I'm not a church leader.  I'm just a sinner who has seen God's love firsthand, and I am passionate about sharing it with others.

Questions?  Email me at paranoidokkida@aol.com. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Miscarriage: The Lord Is My Strength

I am currently recovering from a miscarriage.  I got a positive pregnancy test on July 30th.  I had my pregnancy confirmed through blood tests from my doctor's office.  I waited for my first prenatal visit, and everything was fine at that first visit.  The weekend following, I had the infamous discharge that I had seen before - the sign that a miscarriage may be imminent.  I went to the E.R., and they couldn't confirm a definite miscarriage, but the ultrasound showed that the baby was measuring smaller than it should for that time. 

I prayed for a miracle, but I also prayed for peace and God's will.  I prayed and prayed.  After another ultrasound that did show some progress.  Stil, it appeared that it wouldn't be enough progress unless I was one of the few exceptions to the rule.  I had another ultrasound scheduled for today, but over the weekend I miscarried naturally.  My doctor told me to go ahead and keep the ultrasound so we would know if everything passed.

This story is a sad one.  It's not even my first miscarriage.  I had 2 miscarriages back-to-back before I got pregnant with R, my precious baby girl.  And, I actually suffered the loss of her twin during that pregnancy.  So, altogether, I've lost 4, and I have 4. 

Well, in the past, I had to get on anti-depressants to help, and I really had a rough time.  This time, though, I went through it without any major breakdowns.  Of course, I was sad during the process, and I cried.  But, I am sitting here typing with peace and hope for the future. 

I will never know why this has happened, but I can rest in the peace of the Lord.  I prayed for His will and for peace.  So, I know that He has a bigger plan for my life.  He knows what is best for me.  He didn't deliver me from this, but perhaps He knows that this baby's days on earth would have been difficult.  I know that this child is there in heaven with the Lord, and this child is with my other children.  They are in the Lord's hands, and even though I am here, God is with me, too.  Okay, now I'm getting a bit teary-eyed.

Anyway, I trust that God knows best.  He has a plan, and though I cannot understand it now, I will someday.  I know that by trusting in God and what was done on the cross, I will someday meet my children.  And while I am here on earth, I hope that this blog will give even just one person peace and comfort when dealing with a loss. 

To those suffering now, know that prayer can draw you closer to the Lord, and He can give you peace through this difficult time.  If you are worried that you aren't worthy, you are wrong.  Jesus paid the price for us, and God is just waiting for you to reach out to Him.  I know that prayer can bring you through anything. 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
When I was driving to my final ultrasound today, I was listening to KLove.  They played 2 songs that gave me hope that I will include here.  I'd also like to share a scripture.

New International Version
The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.



Thursday, June 20, 2013

Sharing My Other Blog Update

I just updated my main blog, Broomsticks and Banana Splits, with a subject that also applies to this blog.  If interested, check it out here:
http://www.broomsticksandbananasplits.com/2013/06/are-we-having-any-more-kids.html

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Testimony On Answered Prayer

This blog is for believers and non-believers alike.  I've got some great info for everyone. 

I am writing this, because once again God has moved greatly in my life.  I need to give Him glory for this, because in my own strength, it wouldn't have happened. 

For a while, it has been on my mind that we need a larger place to live.  We had a great house already, for a great price, with super-awesome landlords (the lady was a hair-dresser and she even cut our boys' hair free.)  It was a great deal, but we needed more space and a few little things.  For instance, we had 2 showers, but no bathtub.  We needed a lot more storage space.  And, I really wanted a spot for the kids to do homeschool besides the kitchen table.

The background to this is important, too.  We believe in tithing, which is giving 10% of your income to the local church.  We believe that tithing is just 1) part of being obedient to God and 2) is a way for God to take over your finances, which will open you up to financial blessings in your life.  And, just for clarification to any non-believers who might be reading, we do NOT believe that tithing is a requirement for salvation.  You don't have to do it, but for us, it's a way of saying "Yes Lord, we believe that giving money to the church will not stop us from having everything we need.  On the contrary, we trust that You Lord, will bless our finances."  Long-story-short, He has.  I won't delve into all the details, but just keep that in mind for the context of this testimony.

Anyway, I knew that we had a little more money, and we were about to pay off some debts, which freed up some more money.  So, I started praying that we would find a better place for our needs, and I started looking around and searching ads.  I really didn't find anything that we needed that actually fit our budget.  On top of that, I was looking for something in a few specific areas, which made it even trickier.

But, I keep a prayer journal.  I try to write my prayers out daily, but I don't always make time.  I find that when I do make time, life goes more smoothly.  Anyway,  I pray often.  I use the A.C.T.S. form of praying.  It's not a specific prayer, it just guides me on important things to mention while I pray.  If you wanna learn more on that, it can be googled. 

One day, I said to myself, "I'm gonna just get really specific to God today about what I am looking for.  He can answer that prayer, or He can say no, but I'm gonna start praying for what I want and need and see what happens.  I'm gonna type out what I put in my prayer journal word-for-word:
"...Please help us find a 4 bedroom house with a place for our school, so that we can have more space for our family.  Please bless us with this and a location that is safe and fits our needs...."
In my head, I wanted a place either in the neighborhood behind the Cajundome or closer to Cecilia near Kyle's parents.  But, I really wanted that neighborhood the most for several reasons: it's close to Kyle's job, it's close to our church, I love the houses in the neighborhood, and it's still a much quicker drive for Kyle's Mom to make when she comes to babysit.  I didn't include that in the prayer, but that's what I hoped for. 

So, I am not sure if it was the next morning or 2 mornings after I prayed that when I decided to check the websites I'd been looking at for places to rent.  Anyway, I saw a brand new listing.  I found out later that I the listing had been up mere hours when I happened to see it.  The listing was in the budget I had set, in the neighborhood I wanted, and had everything I wanted in it.  It was a 4 bedroom, 2 full bath house with a huge (fully enclosed) patio room.  (I also need to add that a few months prior, I had been to a meeting of homeschool moms at someone's home.  She had a patio room set up for her school, and I thought, "oh I'd love to have something like this someday.") 

Once I saw it, after thinking how perfect it was, I thought, "we'll never get it."  We have a foreclosure in our history from 4 years ago, and I knew that the leasing agency did credit checks.  Also, the deposit was equal to the first months rent, which we didn't have.  So, my mother-in-law happened to come over to babysit that day and I told her about it and showed her the listing.  She said that if we needed, she could loan us the deposit until our tax refund came in.  So, that day, we printed out a rental application and filled it out.  I had just paid off some debt like a few days before, and I knew it wasn't going to show on our credit report yet, so I printed out a document that showed it had been paid.  I also included contact information to the guy from the credit counseling agency from which we had completed all of our debt payments a year earlier.

I went down to the office with all of the stuff and a check for the application fee.  Then, we had to wait.  It was their policy that they had to show the property before accepting an application for it, and there were still people living there.  I thought I was going to be able to see the property in a few days, but a week passed, and we heard nothing back.  Honestly, at that point, I just thought, "this is in God's hands.  I'm gonna wait on Him before I pursue any other leads."  I really felt like this was the right place, but I had done all I could, and it was completely out of my hands.  We heard from the agent and the house was still not ready to be shown, so we waited some more. 

Finally, about 3 weeks later, we got the call to come see the house.  We rushed to get the kids dressed and get down there.  Even seeing the house was rushed.  On top of that, the agent already had another guy in line to see the house right after us who was very interested.  We saw the house, and told her we still wanted it as long as we passed the application process.  In the midst of all of this, our taxes had come in.  We had the deposit money, and wouldn't need to borrow it.

A few days later, we got the call, and the house was ours.  We went back to see the house and were stunned at how much bigger it was than we had remembered in our previous rushed viewing.

Everything came together.  I got my my schoolroom, we got 4 bedrooms, 2 baths with bathtubs, a dishwasher, tons of storage space, a super-cool neighborhood, we're closer to Kyle's job, church, and Kyle's parents', and we absolutely LOVE this house.  Kyle said, "This is my favorite house out of all the houses I've ever lived in."  This is how God answers prayers when His time is right. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

God Provides!

Last night, we ran out of money (until the 15th) to get the last few items we needed at the grocery store. This morning, I was looking for a church outfit for JM, and I ran across some pants he has never worn from Goodwill - some Baby Gap khakis. He never has worn them, because they were too big in the waist. I happened to look and found that the waist was adjustable. So, I adjusted it and he put them on. A few minutes later, he came up to me and said: "Mom, I got some money from my pocket." Then he handed me 2 $10 bills and a $20 bill. There was $40 cash in the bottom of the pocket! I couldn't believe my eyes! Thank you God for providing for us once again!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Trials of Life PART A: The RSV Trial

This blog is really about the rough times in life.  Many people believe a few things that aren't true about our faith.  Some people think that the fact that God allows suffering is a justification for their unbelief.  Others think that once they become a Christian, they shouldn't have any trials of life.

I am going to briefly address those issues in my own understanding, but I would also like to share my insights on one of my own recent trials.  So, if you want to read about those issues, I'll address them in the part B of the blog (which is actually a separate blog.)


At the end of the year this year, our kids got colds.  It started with JM and went down the line.  I noticed my little baby boy having some mild symptoms on Christmas Eve.  I didn't know if I should be very concerned or not, but in the back of my mind, I remembered that I had heard many warnings about sick infants and the dangers of colds, which could really be RSV.  RSV is very common, but in infants under 12 weeks of age, it can be dangerous.  It being Christmas, I decided to wait it out. 

But, on the evening of the 26th, I noticed him coughing in an unusual manner.  Without hesitation, I made the decision to take him to the E.R.  They confirmed that he, like many other babies they had seen this season, had RSV.  They gave him a breathing treatment and waited to see how he would breathe after that.  His stomach was pulling tight were his little lungs were, he had a fever, and the quick breathing treatment didn't seem to do anything.  They decided to try a 1-hour breathing treatment before making any decisions.  By this time, it was around 1 am.  He didn't improve.

I heard a lady in the next E.R. room through the curtain.  Her little baby sounded worse than mine.  Her baby was coughing uncontrollably.  I silently prayed for both of our babies.  I could hear her call for the nurse to help, but there wasn't anything they could do except to acknowledge that coughing was a symptom and it was just going to continue through the course of the virus.

In the meantime, I had reached out to several family members to let them know what was happening and to start praying.  My parents were in Texas, and I had them on stand-by to drive over here.  Kyle was at home with the other kids, and Roslyn was pretty sick, too.  I was scared.  I continued to pray on and off as I sat on the bed holding him.

The E.R. doctor returned to see how he was doing and decide what to do next.  He watched him breathe and he decided that we needed to admit him into the hospital.  He told me that he would call my pediatrician and let him know and that they would put him on an I.V. and draw some blood soon.  Oh yeah, to top it all off, I wasn't allowed to nurse the baby since I had arrived, because he could choke on the milk. 

My parents were gonna get ready and leave to come over from Texas early in the morning.  I didn't sleep much, because the whole night I was on the bed holding him.  I did finally get the sidebar up on the bed and managed to get in a safe sleeping position.  If I had to guess, I probably got between 20 and 40 minutes of sleep that night.  They didn't have any rooms available for us to move to, so we were stuck there until something opened up.  I was told that would probably be at least a few more hours before a room opened up, most likely after the doctors made their morning rounds.

Kyle warned me that I probably shouldn't watch when they put the I.V. in, but I decided to take my chances and stay in there with him.  I just couldn't imagine leaving him there alone for that.  Little did I know, the I.V. was just the tip of the iceberg.  I made it though that and the initial bloodwork, but later the doctor ordered more bloodwork.  They spent between 15 and 20 minutes trying to find the vein.  I was holding him in my arms the whole time watching him cry and knowing I couldn't do anything to make it better.

The reality of the situation was that I had a really sick infant that was going through pain and there was nothing I could do about it.  Somewhere in all of this, the pediatrician came in, checked him out, and broke the news to me that he thought the baby would be better monitored in the pediatric I.C.U.  Life couldn't have been more real than it was in those moments.  I was well-aware that for my baby, this was a potentially life-threatening illness, and the situation was completely out of my control. 

All that I could do was cry and pray.  I was at the point that I was praying for him but myself as well.  I needed to have the strength to handle this so I could be there for him.  I also knew that God might choose to take his life from me.  That was something I didn't want to face.  But, I have come to the point in my faith that I realize God may have a reason for taking a life, and no matter what happens I know God is good and I have to trust Him and walk though it.  That, my friend, is MUCH easier to type than to experience. 

Regardless of the outcome, I was going to just hope for the best, pray, and trust in God to get me through it. 

In my darkest hours, I knew that He was there.  I know he heard my prayers and the prayers of many others who had been praying for us.  There were several churches praying for us, and many people reached out to me and told me they were praying, even people I had no idea would pray.

We got through it.  Baby A has since been released from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home.  I think he is all well now, but he has an appointment tomorrow to find out.  I am so thankful that God has healed him and brought our family through this.  I truly believe God uses these trials to strengthen our faith, draw us near to Him, and even bring others closer to Him.  Some of the people that prayed for Baby A were people I didn't even know had faith.  I can only make sense of this ordeal by thinking that maybe even just one person that prayed for Baby A needed that time of prayer for their own relationship with God.  Maybe God has been waiting for them to reach out to Him in some way so that their faith will grow. 

This blog, Remodeling My Life For Christ, is one small thing that I do to thank God for the work He has done in my life.  I know that even when times are tough, He is still working through those trials.

If you are interested in my take on the issues mentioned earlier on the trials of life, please read on to Part B: The Trials of Life PART B

The Trials of Life PART B

As I mentioned in the first part of this blog, many people believe a few things that aren't true about our faith.  Some people think that the fact that God allows suffering is a justification for their unbelief.  Others think that once they become a Christian, they shouldn't have any trials of life.

I am going to briefly address those issues in my own understanding in this part of the blog.


First of all, from a theological standpoint, suffering was not God's intent for our lives.  That was all changed in the garden of Eden, or the fall of man.  But, more than that, the Bible reveals to us that trials of life make us into stronger people and actually build our faith.  Here's a few verses on that:

Romans 5:3-5 ESV 

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

1 Peter 5:10 ESV 

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
You can read more about that on this helpful website I found with scriptures on suffering: http://www.openbible.info/topics/suffering

So, God can use these things in our lives to help us IF we choose to trust Him and see it through until we reach the other side.  That pretty-much negates the argument that Christians should not ever go through trials.

As far as the justification for disbelief, I think that you are going to need a better argument than that.  But, I will go ahead a provide an explanation to that anyway.  Going back to the story of the fall of man, you can say that God is a just God, because 1) he gave man a good world to live in along with free will to make his own choices 2) man chose to sin, and a just God has to punish sin in order to be just 3) in that story, God allows man to face the consequences of his actions, therefore, being just and fair (even though we don't like it.)  As a believer in Christ, God gives all of us a second chance to to escape the penalty of sin, which is death.  Whew!

Okay, that being said, the argument that because God allows suffering and trials as a means for disbelief is not sound argument because what you are really saying is you think he shouldn't allow suffering, therefore you don't like that, and you refuse to believe in Him.  Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  I'm not a fan of spiders, and they still exist.  I am sorry, but you have to admit, that is not a logical and truly valid argument.  I am aware that people have other reasons/arguments for not believing, but today I am only addressing that one.