I’m excited to share with you the first “feature post” on Devotional Diva! FAITH Christian Jewelry is a family-owned and operated business that sells faith-promoting jewelry and gifts including Spirit and Truth, Bob Siemon, and many more. Since we’re all about sharing your story …
[Guest Post by La Micia Genova: I’m thrilled for you to “meet” La Micia today because, although our stories are different, La Micia and I both dealt with depression before God gave us our knights in shining armor. I’m all about princesses and fairy tales and this …
[Guest post by Ashley Linne: Sometimes I think, we as humans get wrapped up in ourselves and don’t stop to think about what a massive universe God has created. When we realize how small we are, it can be unsettling. But it can also give us to comfort to know that, even though we’re only one of His creations, we all have an identity in Christ.]
I’ve been asking God who I am for what seems like forever. Not just “What should I be when I grow up?” although that has been a very frequent topic of discussion between the two of us. Most of the time, though, the questions are more along the lines of “Do I matter? Is who I am loveable or even just acceptable?”
Finally, one night I felt He answered me clearly. That night, as I was nestled safely in my bed, He lovingly whispered, “It doesn’t matter who you are. I AM.”
When it comes to finding our identity in Christ, what matters most in that sentence is “Christ.” The truth is, no matter who I am, Christ is the same today as He was yesterday and a thousand years before that. He is. He is God. He is the One who walked on water, who raised the dead, who spoke through prophets, who spoke the very universe into existence. And I am a very, very miniscule part of that universe. In ten thousand years it won’t matter who I am. What will matter is who God is.
Even though I am merely a speck of dust in this vast expanse, God undeniably cares for me.
I don’t know that I’ll ever really understand how or why. Maybe that’s okay. If He cares for me, He cares for you and billions upon billions of other people too. If He spent an incomprehensible number of years creating His divine rescue plan and executing that plan through His Son at just the right moment, I have to believe that it wasn’t for nothing. He wouldn’t do that for a bunch of meaningless dust. He would do it for something He cherishes, for creations that somehow matter, even if they are small in the grand scheme of things. He would do that for the beings He intended to bear His likeness.
But the reality of life is that we’re going to experience things that threaten to twist us out of Christlikeness and pull the rug out from underneath our sense of security in Him. Being in Christ isn’t a guarantee that life will be easy. We’re going to get hurt, we’re going to lose things, we’re going to mess up.
And when that happens, we might be tempted to think it means God is mad at us or paying us back for something.
But please hear this: when you’re in Christ, you will suffer, but nothing you ever experience will be punishment (1 Thess. 5:9-10). Jesus absorbed all of God’s wrath against you on the cross (1 John 4:10). (Now, sometimes we will experience the consequences of sin, but being disciplined is very different than being punished.) Anything that comes at you will not just be coming at you, but at you in Christ. In Him, you can endure anything.
While our experiences certainly will affect us, rather than allowing our environments or our pasts to dictate who we are, we can rest in knowing we are eternally significant and loved in Christ. We are free to view ourselves in light of who He is, because we have died to ourselves and are alive in Him (Col. 3:1-4). We are free to identify ourselves simply as “in Christ,” knowing we have been filled with and marked by His Spirit who will never leave us (Eph. 1:13-14).
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to fall on my face and worship Him! It also makes me want to lead my life in a way that somehow reveals the glory of God to everyone around me. And in Him, I know that even though it may be a wild adventure and it probably won’t be easy, it is possible and worth it.
“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” Romans 8:16-19, NLT
Ashley Linne is a wife and mom who loves to write, sing, and travel. She is the author of Inseparable: Who I Am, Was, and Will Be in Christ. Ashley has a Master of Arts in Family Life Education from the Oxford Graduate School and studied at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She lives with her husband and son in Bellevue, WA.
[Guest Post by Jenee Day: I honestly used to think gossiping was okay, even though I was a Christian. As I got older, I realized, like Jenee, gossip is not a harmless sin. Here’s why.] Today I contributed to the destruction of a relationship. Contributed …
[Guest post by Takiela Bynum: Do you struggle with self-harm? Are you ready to take the scarless pledge? So glad God brought Takiela to Devotional Diva to share this!]
Some people cut for relief, I cut because I wanted to die.
She’d taken several pain killers to prevent her from feeling any pain. Besides, she needed a backup plan in case the other thing didn’t work out.
She located the vein, turned her head and quickly slid the razor across her flesh. She winced at the sharp sting. The warm ooze drizzled down her hand and left its trail on the hard wood floor. She climbed into bed and hoped for death to quietly greet her while she slept.
That was a dark day in my teen life, one I’ll probably never forget. The pain and hurt I endured left me hopeless. Numb from any feelings of hope and craving death.
I know what it’s like to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. Family issues, the kids at school, boy drama, grades, and the list goes on. Sometimes, life has a way of upgrading from bad to worse.
When in a hopeless state of mind, having hopeless thoughts and making hopeless decisions come with the territory (i.e. depression, cutting, suicide thoughts/attempts, etc.)
In actuality, although I didn’t realize it at the time, my hopeless disposition conveyed that even God is incapable of salvaging my mess of a life. It’s entirely too complicated for Him. From my view, things were the worst it could ever be and would always be this way – hopeless.
Ultimately, I shut out the only One who could bring me out.
Thank God His view is far beyond mine, His thoughts and ways soar high above my own. I was absolutely oblivious to God’s plan for my life. I desired death, but the Lord…abundant life. There is no way anyone would have convinced me that God had a plan for my life that was full of hope. I would have completely rejected the idea.
Since I was a little girl I’ve Ioved math. Why? Because to every problem there was an answer, each formula would provide an inevitable solution, simplifying the complex. I wanted answers to my life’s problems. Me plus life never equaled hope. Ever. However, Christ plus life always equals hope. Always. It took some time, but after many struggles here’s what I know, the Lord is my answer and He is neither simple nor complicated.
Can you relate to any of my struggles? Do you know anyone who self-harms? I’d like to invite you to join me in taking The Scarless Pledge right now!
Today let’s make a pledge, from this day forward we’re going “scarless!” We can’t do anything about the old scars but we can choose not to make new scars. Let’s put down our razors and pick up scarlet red eyeliner. When or if we ever get the urge to cut, use the red eyeliner. It’ll help remind you of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for you and it’ll also wash away…never leaving a scar.
I, (insert name here), being of sound mind and body, here do pledge to God and all who love me on this month (insert month here), of this day (insert day here), in this year (insert year here) to bury all self-harming ways, never to be exhumed again! In the sight of God and all witnesses, I promise if and/or when I get the urge to self-harm, I’ll replace my instrument of destruction with an instrument that represents hope, a scarlet red eyeliner pencil, instead. I will do this in remembrance of the blood Jesus shed on the cross for me, (insert name here). I am committed to the “scarless” pledge. With God nothing is impossible.
Find an accountability partner, someone who will help you commit to this pledge. Know that you have fans cheering you on and praying for you in heaven and all over the earth. Even though I’ll already be praying, if you’d like me to pray for a specific person/situation or if I can help in another way comment below publicly or email me privately (email@example.com).
Take the “scarless” pledge today!
Takiela Bynum, founder of Leading Young Women to Hope Ministries, is a speaker and author with a passion for any hurting women. She empowers and encourages young women to have hope in Christ, equipping them with the tools (word of God) necessary to live victoriously in spite of life’s tragedies. She tackles hard topics while pointing young women to the redemptive power of the cross. Find out more at www.TakielaBynum.com
To preface: this post has more bite than usual because it’s a topic I’m very passionate about: exclusivity.
Today is a special edition of Devotional Diva! This hiatus isn’t turning out to be much of a hiatus, is it? And we normally don’t even have posts on Mondays! Well, I just had to get this up today because this topic has been burning in my heart – and also because it coincides nicely with the publishing of my guest post on a pretty sweet blog called The Laundry Moms.
First of all, the post on TLM means a lot to me because it’s sort of a tribute to my mom. I’ve been working on it for weeks, and I wanted to make sure it came out around her birthday (Happy birthday, Mom!) It’s also a testament to the ways God works. My mom (guided by God I am sure) kept encouraging me to keep writing, and now here I am! That’s what the post is about. TLM contacted me back in June to do a guest post and I was really excited! I love getting my writing out there. It’s pretty cool to feel that I can make a difference with my writing – I mean, that’s really my whole goal.
I love how sharing can help so many people. I love that Devotional Diva’s mission is exactly that.
Devotional Diva is giving me the chance to share and help people, and not just on DD’s platform. I’m actually going to be sharing my testimony at a recovery center in Southern California in the coming weeks because of a connection I made through Devotional Diva. When I was invited to share my testimony for an online Christian summit, I thought it was a great opportunity to spread God’s glory even more! I got on the phone with the director to get more information about the summit. She said my powerful message would fit great with their mission. I figured it was a done deal. After explaining their “requirements,” she asked a couple casual questions about my blog stats and social media followers. That’s when she told me my numbers weren’t up to snuff, and she basically uninvited me. I shook it off, because it wasn’t any skin off my back. I’m going through Renee’s Faithbook of Jesus right now, and the night after that phone call, I was on Tuesday of week three. The message was about exclusivity:
“When Jesus rolled into town with his entourage, he wasn’t looking for some exclusive membership for the highest of society.”
Then it hit me. A Christian group excluded me from sharing God’s word and my testimony that they knew would inspire Christian women…because I didn’t have enough followers for their standards.
The director told me that if they didn’t have that requirement in some future event, then maybe I could participate. If the purpose of the summit was really to inspire Christian women, then you wouldn’t tell a person you invited to do it that they can’t because they don’t meet your social media standards.
Does the fact that I have less followers than some of the other speakers really make my testimony less powerful?
There is no exclusivity in being a Christian. Then why would we treat other Christians with exclusivity? I’ve seen this in so many other aspects of the Christian life — certain Bible studies or events only for the wives of pastors (as if our husband’s career has anything to do with our calling or ability to grow spiritually), the only opportunities for women in some churches being Sunday school teaching or childcare…there are so many exclusions. It’s so ridiculous to me! The things in life that bother me the most are injustice, judgment and things that are just illogical. Now I’m realizing that exclusion is really all of those things in a lot of cases. I’m going to spread God’s glory all over this earth no matter what. And I encourage you, no matter who you are, to do the same. You can check out more about becoming a guest poster on Devotional Diva on the Become a Diva page here. I’m so glad that The Laundry Moms included me. This way, my story can help more people!