Category Archives: Help

Just Keep Swimming…

JustKeepSwimming

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

I hope you’ve watched the movie, Finding Nemo and if you haven’t, go watch it … right after you finish reading this ;)

When I started this blog back in August 2011, I wondered if there really was a purpose?  I felt a strong desire to write but who would read it?

Would anyone really care what I had to say?

Would my life really matter to others?

Could my experiences actually help others?

Could I really help someone through a blog?

Would this actually make an impact on anyone’s life?

Even today, I find myself asking these questions over and over.  My blog isn’t viewed by many.  In fact, probably only a handful read it regularly.  I’ve poured two years of my life into writing here (not always very regular, mind you!).  But the answer to the question, “Would this actually make an impact in anyone’s life?” is most definitely, YES!

If nothing else, it’s impacting my own life!  It’s keeping me in God’s word.  It’s making me think and it’s helping me to step out of my comfort zone, to learn to embrace new things and new challenges and preparing me for greater things to come!

I don’t always get to hear how my stories, trials, triumphs have helped others, but this blog has very much had an impact in my own life.  I know God is using me.  Perhaps this is how he is preparing me to write a book.  Perhaps these are the stories he’s having me collect so that some day, I can speak them with my voice.  I know he is growing me.

The most encouragement though is when someone shares how God is working in them through my blog.  If you have a story, please share it!  It’s very much an encouragement for me to hear how God is working in your life.

Last week, I posted about perception here and here.

And then someone shared this story…

“I read your blog about perception and darkness.  I read it several times but wasn’t really getting what you were saying.  I opened my Bible to the verse you had mentioned “…If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”  Matthew 6:23.  I read it a few times but still, it just wasn’t getting through.  Then I read the verses before and after…

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

Immediately, it was clear to me that God was not speaking to me about the darkness.  He was using your blog, your story, to lead me exactly where I needed to be.  I needed to hear about treasures.  I needed to hear about money.  God was speaking to me, through you.

Later in the day, I sat with my daughter to read her devotional book.  We had struggled for weeks to make very much progress in this particular book and when I opened the page to today’s lesson, I said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”  It was the exact verses from above.  That was just confirmation that God was speaking to me and he did all of that through you.

Had you never taken the time to share your thoughts, I would not have searched for that in my Bible.  Had you not taken the time to share your heart, I would have missed out on a lesson that God had for me.  Keep on keeping on!”

A few days later, this same person called to add to her story.  She had prepared for a prayer meeting with a group of ladies but the date got changed.  The next prayer brought her right back to these verses.  Once again, God was teaching her and by this point, it was so clear to her, maybe not the lesson he’s trying to teach, but he that he is very much trying to teach her something.

And that my friends, is why I sit here amazed.  I am just a girl who is more broken and messed up than most and yet God chooses to use me.  Being able to see that my brokenness can and does have an impact on someone else is the most amazing blessing ever.  I am so thankful that God has given me eyes to see his blessings in my life and the blessings in others!

I hope you will share your stories!  Remember, you may never know who you’ve had an impact on or how your story has changed their lives but I can assure you, your story can change lives.  God can work in you and on others through you if you let him.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  2 Peter 2:9

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Phantom Verses (Part 2)

This is part two in this series.  You can view part one here.

“This too shall pass.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“To thine ownself be true.”

“Money is the root of all evil.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

You’ve heard these verses, right?  You’ve probably heard these many times and perhaps you’ve even said them yourself a time or two.  Can you reference them in the Bible?

While they may sound good and come with good intentions, the problem is these are either not in the Bible at all or key words are missing, changing the actual meaning.  They are not actual scriptures.

“Money is the root of all evil.”

Before you argue with me that this is an actual verse in the Bible, reread it…

“Money is the root of all evil.”

Now, read this… 

1 Timothy 6:10
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

“For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

There is a very clear difference from the actual verse and the often misquoted one.  Money, the physical having of riches or wealth is not evil.  Many wealthy people do wonderful things to help others with their money.  They make donations, they share, they help others, they make wise investments and plan for their futures, etc.  There are endless possibilities with our money and ways to use it.  Money itself is not wrong or evil.  The love of money, the obsession or worship of money, is where the problem lies.  When we hold onto money, when we put it’s value before the value of others, before our love for God, before our concern for each other, we fall into a very dangerous place.

Even a lack of money can become evil when we obsess over it and become jealous of what others have.  We need to remember that we all have our blessings and we all have our struggles.  Just because someone else has a big house doesn’t make everything in their world perfect.  And to the opposite, just because someone may have a small house, doesn’t make their world any less beautiful.  Learning to be content with whatever we have in life is where we will find true happiness.

When we allow money and greed to take over our lives, to control us, then we succumb to its evil. 

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

And this one, is probably the most disturbing and most misconstrued.  

Proverbs 13:24
24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

This verse is not a permission slip to beat our children.  Sure, as parents, we are entrusted to teach and grow our children into responsible, caring, compassionate, strong, loving adults.  Contrary to some peoples beliefs, this can be done without physical violence.  Each child is different.  We should get to know our children and figure out how we can communicate and teach them best.

The NIV Life Application Study Bible says “Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives.  Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.  It is an act of love.  Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise;  they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else!” 

The author of a popular Christian parenting book would have us believe this verse is instruction that spanking is the ONLY way to discipline our children.  He also says we should spank them often and repeatedly until they become “sweet”.  I won’t go any further into his ridiculous discipline suggestions, nor will I ever recommend his book.  Unfortunately, there are many churches and parents who have bought into his very questionable techniques or as some reviewers say, “suggestions of abuse”.

I am certainly not here to tell anyone how to parent their child and I do wholeheartedly believe that each child responds in their own way.  Having three children of my own, I can clearly see how some things work with one child that may not work with another.  While I have popped my children before, it’s certainly not something I am proud of or would encourage any other parent to partake in.  

Ephesians 5:4
4 Parents, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Mark 10:14 (an example of Jesus’ love for the children)
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  

Colossians 3:21
21 Parents, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Matthew 18:6
“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

Children are trusting by nature.  They trust the adults in their lives to take care of them, to love them, to keep them safe.  When we fail to control ourselves and in turn bring pain and suffering to the children, that trust is shaken.  God holds us accountable for how our actions affect their ability to trust.  Jesus warned that anyone who turns little children away from faith will receive severe punishment.

Jesus showed instruction, acceptance and love to those he encountered.  We can learn ways to guide and teach our children without crippling their spirits or shattering their trust.  After all, don’t we want what is best for them?  Don’t we want them to know they are loved?  Twisting God’s word to justify hitting them won’t grow their trust, but it just might fuel their anger and make parenting even harder!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Phantom Verses (Part 1)

PhantomVerses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is part one in a two part series.  Stay tuned for part two tomorrow

“This too shall pass.”

“God helps those who help themselves.”

“To thine ownself be true.”

“Money is the root of all evil.”

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

You’ve heard these verses, right?  You’ve probably heard these many times and perhaps you’ve even said them yourself a time or two.  Can you reference them in the Bible?

While they may sound good and come with good intentions, the problem is these are either not in the Bible at all or key words are missing, changing the actual meaning.  They are not actual scriptures.

“This too shall pass.”

This is often used in times of trials, discomfort, anguish.  People say it as an encouragement that this suffering will end and peace will come.  It actually came from a poem by Lanta Wilson Smith.

There are a couple verses that people seem to use to reference this quote:

2 Peter 3:10-11  

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
While you could possibly gather a statement of “this too shall pass” from those verses, it is not an actual verse in the Bible.
“God helps those who help themselves.”
This is often referred to as Hezekiah 5:1 or Hezekiah 6:1 which is not even a book in the Bible.
This particular phrase is quite contradictory with the Bible.  
 Jeremiah 17:5
This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
who draws strength from mere flesh
and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

Prov 28:26
26 Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

We are actually told not to trust in any man but to trust in the Lord.  We are fools to think we must fix ourselves or that we shouldn’t seek and accept help.  In fact, many verses in the Bible refer to seeking the Lord, or guide us to come to Him in our time of need.

Deuteronomy 4:29
29 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.

Jeremiah 29:12-14
12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Isaiah 55:6-7
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

“To thine ownself be true.” 

This is actually a line from Shakespeare – Hamlet.  While this may certainly sound good in today’s time, it is not actual scripture, but often misquoted as such.  Especially here in America, we have a “look out for number one” mentality.  We are always trying to gain, move forward, step in front of, win.  This is what the Bible actually says…

Mark 8:34-36
34 …”Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?”

Jesus wants us to to choose to follow him rather than lead a life of sin and self-satisfaction.  He wants us to stop trying to control everything and put our trust in Him.  He wants us to let go of our self-centered ways and look for ways to seek and honor Him.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

31 Days | Day 10 – Her Coat

So the sweet things our kids do always melt my heart.  The compassion and love they have just amazes me.  Sadly, it seems to fade over the years but I hope it’s something they will grow in and regain.

Yesterday, while looking for a coat, Olivia said, “You can wear my coat!”  I asked her if she really thought I could and she said, “Yes, and it’s pretty too!”

I am most definitely too big for her coat, but how thoughtful was she?  She was ready and willing to provide me with warmth – and pretty to top it off!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

31 Days | Day 2 – Yard work

Just the other day, while eating lunch and discussing the plans for the rest of the day, I asked Tony if he wanted Noah, our twelve year old, to help with the massive clean up efforts of acorns in our yard.  He agreed it would be a great physical thing for Noah to do and when Noah heard the conversation, he chimed in, “Well, today’s gonna suck!”.

Needless to say, that did not improve his day in the least.  This is the beginnings of a teenager.  We have had our fair share of drama with Noah but the attitude that has reared it’s ugly self lately is so hard to stomach.  This was a great opportunity to remind him just how hard his dad works to supply us with all our needs and wants and how little he has done to help with that as well as how he needs to put in some effort and help his dad.

In the end, he had a great time.  This morning, I asked him if he was proud of all the hard work he’d done yesterday and he of course replied, “Yes, I enjoyed it!”.  I said back to him, “So your day didn’t suck after all, huh?”

And while that may not have been the best choice of words, sometimes you just have to meet them on their level (though at the right times!).

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Proverbs 22:6

View the rest of this series here.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com