Everybody Has One.

No, I’m not talking about butts, I’m talking about *gasp* addictions. That’s right. I believe that everyone has some sort of addiction whether you call it that or not. We are addicted to our phones, our computers, our Instagrams, our jobs. We are addicted to alcohol, pills, porn, sex. I think that our culture, and our Christianity has given us a skewed view on what addiction truly means.

I had an eye-opening talk with a good friend recently about how our growing up the church has somewhat hindered our worldview. We were both raised to keep private matters private. To not talk about our problems and to not trust those outside of our home with things like addiction because they might judge us or get the wrong idea about who we are. Sometimes even to the point of not discussing our problems within the safety of our own homes. I do agree with this to a point, I think that if it isn’t your problem then it isn’t yours to tell, but if you have something that needs to be worked on, there is absolutely nothing wrong and in fact, everything right, with sharing with those who can encourage and help you with your problems.

The Bible encourages us to lean upon one another, to confess our sins, pray for one another, to ask for the big “H” word- HELP. We cannot conquer our addictions alone. I have struggled for years with addictions that no one has been aware of. I have problems that I don’t think I would have the strength to work through without the love and support and prayers of my Christian brothers and sisters. James tells us to “confess our sins to one another and pray for one another because the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” I don’t know about you, but knowing that someone who loves me and cares for me and believes in the power of the Lord is praying for me and supporting me is a pretty big thing.

It is not our job to decide what is going to condemn someone else to hell. It is not our job to judge someone because their belief system is different than ours. It is our job to love one another, pray for one another, support one another, and show others Jesus. We need to ensure that in our everyday life we don’t let our addictions become our identities, but to own up to our struggles and use that to help others find the love and support that they need.

Having an addiction does not make you weak, getting help makes you strong. Asking for help does not make you weak, trusting other people means you are surrounded by love.

My name is Molly and I have an addiction. I choose to fight my addiction, to ask for support, to pray for myself and others who struggle. I choose to work at it and not to let my addiction consume me. I choose to trust in the Lord and know that he is good. I choose to love others who struggle. I choose to let God take control.

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Bring on the wrinkles.

Recently, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking about death and dying. I don’t say this to be morbid or sad, but death is a way of life and I think that death is something we do need to think about sometimes. In our culture, aging, growing old, dying, are all taught to be feared. Our physical death is taught to be a bad thing. For a long time, I bought into this whole thing. I thought that people who accepted or looked forward to aging and dying were more than a little crazy. However, recently, I have begun to view it a little differently.

I’ll address the simplest point first. I cannot wait to get old, to have wrinkles, maybe not the whole losing my teeth part, but getting old in beautiful. I believe that growing old is a beautiful thing. Laughter lines and crows feet let myself and others see that I have smiled and loved and laughed with others. Gnarled hands show that I have worked. Stretch marks and scars show that I have changed and that I’ve been hurt, but that I have the ability to heal.

Some are not given the opportunity to grow old. Some people, children, parents, die what we believe to be too soon. I don’t know about you, but I realized a while ago that I have learned the most and been impacted the most by people who have lived their lives to the fullest and left this life too soon.

When I was in high school, a young man in his early 20s died in a sort of freak accident. His mother attends church with me so I went with my family and church family to sing at his funeral and offer condolences. I was in awe of all the young and older people who attended this man’s funeral because he had touched their lives positively in some way. There were so many people there to celebrate his life and his love, that there was not enough room in the church for all of us to sit. This was the day I began to view not only death, but how I was living my life a little differently.

When asked if I’m okay with death, I can finally say that yes, I am. Death is no longer a frightening thing for me. Do I want more time on this earth to be with family and friends, and live out my life? Yes of course, but my next life is so much bigger and more satisfying than my physical life here. So while we are here, we need to live our lives for Christ and be secure in our futures. We need to love our family and friends and show others that there is no fear in living a long, wrinkled life it means we are living life to its fullest for Him.

Strong Relationships

I am a firm believer that God puts people in our lives to model how we should live. One of the most important things we are taught is how to love others. I have been extra blessed to have beautiful, strong marriages displayed to me to study and learn from.

I was extremely lucky to have known my great-grandparents for a substantial part of my life. They are the longest married couple I have known. My great-grandmother passed away when I was a junior in high school and my great-grandfather passed away when I was in college. Not may people get to say that they had a strong relationship with a great-grandparent into their twenties. My grandma and grandpa Shirley were two of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. When my grandma Shirley died, my great-grandparents had been married for 76 years. Imagine that, 76 years married to the same human being. Sharing a home, growing your family and faith together, it is all the most intimate form of friendship you could ever hope for. A local station did a news story on them for their 75th wedding anniversary and when they asked my grandpa what made their marriage work he replied with the following statements:

“Love one another and work with one another and keep going, that’s what keeps it together.”

“We loved one another and we was good to one another and showed one another we loved one another and that’s the main thing…just live one day at a time.”

In addition to this example, my dad’s parents have been married for 60 years and my parents just celebrated their 25th. I am surrounded by beautiful examples of love. The common thread through all of these strong marriages I see is that they strive to place God at the forefront of all they do and all the choices they make together. My great-grandparents and grandparents were married in their teens, my father was 35 when he and my mom were married, and I know that both of these extremes (by today’s standards) were what was right for the specific individual. God didn’t see fit to put the right person in the other’s life until they were emotionally, mentally, and most importantly, spiritually, ready to share their lives with one another.

I think that a problem with a lot of people today is that they rush into a relationship with too much too fast. We are a culture that feeds on instant gratification but a worthy relationship, whether romantically or not, has to be a relationship that is worked at. Anything worth having is not going to come easily and I think that a lot of young people want the physical part of the relationship so quickly that they forget that their mental well-being should come before that physical want and their spiritual well-being should come first in all of this. In all of the strong marriages and relationships that I have seen, the members don’t put their physical wants above their mental and spiritual necessities. We need to ensure that we are focusing on strong, durable, lasting, quality relationships instead of the cheap and easy relationships that the world shows us we should have.

Looking at these relationships I have learned to be content where I am. I am not yet in a place where I require a romantic relationship. I am growing my friendships and strengthening my own spiritual foundation so that when and if God thinks I’m ready to take on a whole other human being’s set of problems and sins and love, I will be ready for a strong relationship rooted in the Lord.

Building a Strong Foundation: Strength in Singleness

You may have noticed the reds and pinks and hearts that have slowly seeped into the seams of our society recently. I have been single a LONG TIME and I have a lot of thoughts and feelings about Valentine’s Day and relationships so I am going to take a few days leading up to Valentine’s Day to share these thoughts and feelings with you. I hope that you can gain something from my study in being single.

Anyone who has spent any time around me knows that I tend to joke about my singleness. My key phrase when I do something weird (which is often) is “…and that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend.” For a while I was extremely insecure in my singleness. When I was in college, it felt like everyone had a significant other, and I know now that wasn’t true, but it really felt like it at the time.

The closer I got to graduation and moving on to the next phase of my life, the more my contentment in not having a significant other grew. I realized sometime around applying to graduate school and getting rejected (another story alltogether), that I didn’t NEED a boyfriend. I realized that I have so many opportunities to serve as a single woman and so many unique opportunities for life in general.

People always talk about their “other half” like we have to have another person to be complete. I’m just going to say it. I think that is crap. Do I want someone to come home to at the end of a long day? Yes. Do I want someone to start a family with? Definitely. Do I need another half of a human being to become a complete human being myself? Absolutely not, I am not half of a person or any less of a person because I don’t have a man in my life.

I have learned through experience and study how I can be complete in Christ without a man. I often tell people who ask about my love life, or lack thereof, that I don’t have the time or effort for a man right now and I truly believe it. Right now, as a single woman, I am learning how to serve God on my own.

One of my favorite books in the Bible is James and I especially love James 1. Verses 2 and 3 are the beginning of my main hold on verse, it says “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” but this verse is followed by what I believe to be the most impactful of this pasage, v. 4 “And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” It is right there in that passage, through the testing of my faith, which happens every day that I step out my door or make the decision not to sin, I am being completed by my faith and steadfastness in the Lord, not another human I find on this earth.

Now if I do find a man we will become one and at that point I do become part of a whole but not because I was half before, but because by both of us being complete in the Spirit, we find one another and help each other grow in love and in the Lord. The time I have on my own should be used to build up and strengthen my spiritual foundation so that when/if the day comes, we need only to lean upon and lead one another.

 

Too Blessed to Be Stressed

I was asked a few months ago to give a lesson to a group of middle and high school girls at a lock-in at my church. The theme was #Blessed and I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about because I realize that a lot of what I’ve gone through in my few additional years over them are things that they are probably going through right now.

I struggle with anxiety and depression. This struggle is an ongoing battle that I am constantly fighting for control of my life with. As I have received help for this, I have learned that what sets off my anxiety and what I am often stressing out about are things I seem to have no control over.

Control is a HUGE thing for me. I have what people like to refer to as a “strong personality.” I mean, let’s be real, I’ll just say it, I’m a control freak. I have an EXTREMELY hard time accepting the fact that I am never truly in control.

Those stressed-out, freaked-out, out-of-control moments are the devil wedging himself in where he doesn’t belong. The devil likes to put thoughts in our head that make us question our worth based off of what we actually do. One of the verses that proves to be extra hard for me to follow through on is Psalm 46:10, which is the familiar verse that tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” I don’t know about you, but I constantly need to be reminded to still my mind.

We need to make sure that we are stopping to recognize that God is control. We have ETERNAL LIFE through him. Which is really one of the coolest things. Through God we are strong and able. Isaiah 40:30&31 tells us “Even though youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who WAIT UPON THE LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

We are so blessed by our God. We are blessed for all of eternity. So why worry about the little things that are happening in our day, our week, our year? It doesn’t matter in the long run. It’s not a direct line to our salvation. God is.

 

 

 

Strength in Action

So I was recently told that I think too much. I think too much about my future, others’ opinions, the fact that I overthink everything…and this blog was no different. I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember. It’s on my bucket list to publish a book one day. But I realized, I need to start small rather than do nothing at all. So I began to THINK (whoah, big surprise) about what I can talk about, what I know. I had a friend suggest I begin a blog and so here we are.

So my next big overthinking moment…what do I name my blog? This only took me an hour once I began setting up my account. I changed my theme 7 times in the first two hours, not to mention how many color palettes I went through. While I’m being honest I might as well let it be known I will probably change my theme again in the near future once everything is up and running. SO…here goes (because I promise there is a point to my rambling).

Actions say a lot about us as a person. I know that I am not the only person who overthinks and overanalyzes every little uncontrollable thing in my life. We are taught to micromanage and learn to have everything planned out at a young age. However, there are so many things that I CAN control and that I CAN use to the benefit of the Kingdom that I think we must act upon. All the time I spent thinking about if I wanted to start this or if I wanted to write or if I wanted to not was all time I could have been spending on showing others God or learning more about Him.

I think a big problem with Christians, and I am most definitely guilty of this, is that we spend so much time brainstorming and planning how we are going to evangelize and reach out and teach others about what God has done for us that we don’t ever actually do anything. All talk and no action makes for a weak Christian walk. If we think about asking a friend to church but don’t, what good is that? If I think about not lying but continue to lie, what good is that? If I think about reading my Bible more but don’t, what good is that?

We have to be intentional and purposeful in our actions in general but most assuredly towards others because if we say we are Christians but never show others Christ, what good is that?