The Power of Words

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21

Your tongue has power. The power to bolster, praise, uplift, encourage, and give life. It has the power to educate, rebuke, correct, and challenge. It also has the power to belittle, maim, crush, demean, wound, and scar.

I hadn’t really realized power of words until I began to learn of my husband’s past and the inner war that ensued from the moment he was told these six words from his father:

“You are a piece of shit.”

Sorry for the bad language. But, sadly, this is the reality of what happened and I wouldn’t be doing it justice if I sugar-coated it and made it fluffy. It wasn’t fluffy. It was painful.

Unfortunately, it didn’t stop after that sentence was spoken, but was followed by an assortment of other terrible things his parents have told him from his teenage years beyond.

I wish I could express the depths of his struggle clearly, but I know that even I only get a glimpse of his inner turmoil when he bears his soul to me. He has to live with those thoughts floating around in his mind, and the enemy capitalizes on this at every turn and in every situation possible. What seems like a simple mistake to me, can make Ethan feel like an utter failure. Sometimes it takes him days to recover and pull himself out of the pit of lies.

Wounds inflicted by words run so deep. They attack the very fiber of our beings, they imbed into our hearts and minds like leeches sapping away our joy, and they cause us to question the most integral and essential part of ourselves – our identity.

It is absolutely heartbreaking to witness this amazing man, this man who would die defending the weak, who has chosen to take in and father a child not his own, a man who bends over backwards to help friends and family in need, a man with such raw talent and strength, struggle to view himself as anything but those six words he heard. Instead, he struggles with feelings of worthlessness, self-doubt, self-hatred, and inferiority.

Ethan has heard some truly awful things over the years, but the one that lingers and keeps resurfacing is the initial blow. The point when he felt like he had lost the love and approval of his parents, and he heard what he believes to be their “true” opinion of him.

That’s the power of words for you, and the enemy uses them as a weapon.

I pray with him and for him. I try my absolute best to immerse him in love and compassion and share the love God has for him whenever I feel prompted. But this wound is one that only Jesus can heal, and it will be in His timing. I trust Him. I trust that He loves Ethan even more than I do, and I have made my peace with the fact that the time has not yet come.

I am writing this because it absolutely crushes me to hear people labeling themselves, their children, their friends, their family members, and sometimes so casually.

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” -Proverbs 12:18

While we don’t typically hear of the types of cruel words that Ethan heard, the labels we give others, especially parent to child, can be powerful and have massive consequences, either positive or negative.

I think the label I hear the most often is “control freak.”

In our culture, this has become a laughable or applauded title to obtain. One to adopt with pride.

But let’s consider what comes with this label.

When we say that we are a “control freak” we are limiting our true identity in Christ. One that is centered around FREEDOM and JOY and PEACE despite hardship and things not going as we hoped. As a Child of God – which is our truest identity – we should be focused, first, on loving the Lord and, second, on loving others. Our desire to control people, things, and events lessens our ability to love unconditionally, trust the Lord, and rest.

The enemy WANTS us to believe that we are not free – that we cannot have happiness, peace, or rest until x, y, and z are just so. THAT IS NOT FROM GOD. He can bring us joy, peace, and rest DESPITE things not being anything like x, y, and z.

The enemy WANTS you to chase after this illusive idol that is “control” because he knows you will never grasp it. He knows you will come up short and that it will cause the reaction unique to you, whether that be anger, fear, worry, sadness, hopelessness, depression, or anxiety.

The enemy WANTS you to question whether God has your best interest at heart. He WANTS you to think that your plan is best, because he definitely doesn’t want God taking the reigns in your life. That’s when the miraculous happens. That’s where real power comes from! And he can’t have that.

The enemy WANTS you to relive the most painful moments of your past and get stuck on them. He doesn’t want you to be free. He doesn’t want you to be able to move forward. He wants you in the pit of lies and misery with him. Words are one of the weapons he uses.

The enemy WANTS to keep you from discovering and living in you God-given identity and rise up to being the person you were created to be. The enemy wants to drown you in pain and lies, because when we are drowning, it is hard to even save ourselves let alone others.

So, dear friends, I pray that you take heed with your tongue. Get that thing on a leash and don’t let it run wild. Don’t let it leave a wake of destruction behind it. Don’t let it limit you or others. Don’t let it speak lies into existence about your identity or the identity of others.

”Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29

If Emmy is misbehaving, I refrain from her she is “A bad girl” or even that she’s being a bad girl, I instead tell her “You better shape up or you’re getting a punishment.”

When Ethan has hurt my feelings, I refrain from tell him he’s “a jerk” or that he’s being a jerk, I tell him “when you said x, it really hurt me.”

It’s also more to the point. You’re aren’t going for blood, you’re seeking resolution. Don’t go for the jugular, attack the issue.

On the flip side, telling Emmy that she is a leader, that she is smart, that she is generous … those are amazing gifts that I can give her as a parent. They are a verbalization of the unique gifts I have seen rising out of her and I want her to know that they are awesome!

When I tell her or Ethan that they were created intentionally, uniquely, and with purpose… those are promises of God that I can use to edify my family and remind them of the Truth.

Let’s call out the GIFTS in others, let’s reject false labels, whether self-imposed or other-imposed. Let’s live in the light and freedom of Christ so that we can continue to become the person God created us to be. Let’s call out the buds of greatness we see in each other so they can continue to grow!

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An Update: Being a Submissive & Respectful Wife – 4 years in – The REAL Secret

Here is my number one, life-altering, marriage-saving bit of advice:

Seek the Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Stay with me, now.

I realized about a year ago that I was putting unrealistic expectations on my husband to fill my deepest longings and be my source of joy. This caused so much disappointment and bitterness in me that I had lost almost all feelings for my husband. I literally said to God one day, “I have love in my heart for him, but I am not in love with him.”

Our marriage had suffered so so deeply from so many unhealthy arguments stemming from so many unmet expectations. It got to a point where I honestly thought that there was no salvaging our relationship. We both did, and we both admitted it openly.

Yeesh…

The reason we got to that point is that Ethan was never meant to fill my deepest longings and be my source of joyONLY JESUS CAN DO THAT.

So there is it. My words of wisdom.

Seek Jesus with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Ask the Lord to renew and strengthen your love for Jesus, to rekindle it and to set your heart on fire for Him. Ask Him to be your primary source of love and joy, and then watch your marriage flourish, because He will give you the ability to love, forgive, and serve like you never thought possible.

Seeking Jesus FIRST is what really allowed me to start loving Ethan unconditionally.

Doing this freed Ethan from my crushing hopes and expectations. It freed him to be what he is: a broken human being with his own struggles and flaws. He no longer had to be the perfect husband and father all of the time at the risk of me falling to pieces or facing a long and soul-crushing argument with little hope of resolution.

When Jesus is our source contentment and joy, He helps us to love and forgive as He does. We are able to give grace more easily and freely.

Rather than harboring anger and bitterness, the Lord has filled my heart so much that I can actually comfort him and we can quickly and calmly resolve our disagreements. We have reached a level of transparency and honesty and trust that I never ever thought would be possible in our marriage. And I know that is because we have gotten to a point where forgiveness and grace flows freely in our home.

This change did not happen over night, but it did begin with one single prayer of surrender and a renewal of my vow to Jesus – that HE would be my strength, my joy, my peace, my purpose, and my passion. And then it continued as I put Jesus back on the throne of my heart each day, making more and more effort to know Him.

Through the overflowing and never-ending outpouring of love from the Father, I can then pour out and be a blessing to my husband.

Seek the Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength. Being a submissive and respectful wife will naturally follow.

 

 

For the wife of an unbeliever, this is just as or perhaps even more crucial for you. They may not be seeking the Lord, but YOU can. You are responsible for your relationship with Jesus. You alone. You can be a light and a blessing to your spouse. You can minister to them through showing them the unconditional love of Christ in action. That is quite the calling! If you’d like a book with some more encouragement and wisdom, I highly recommend “Spiritual Mismatch: Hope for Christians Married to Someone Who Doesn’t Know God” by Lee and Leslie Strobel. It’s a phenomenal book and has been a great help to me and many I know personally.

Spiritual Battle[s] – emphasis on the [s]

We may wonder why certain struggles, sins, and battles repeatedly pop up in our path. We may get extremely frustrated and disheartened, thinking that we’ve failed somehow by not defeating it permanently or fully. But as of today, I have a new perspective.

I was thinking over a conversation me and a friend just had about that seemingly ever-present mother’s guilt, and of course then also all the other battles I face, sometimes on a daily basis, that I just can’t seem to have victory over permanently, as I would like to. The same feelings of guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and doubt all came flooding in because of my “weakness.”

Then the thought occurred to me that maybe some battles just fall into the category of “on-going,” and that a repeated battle is not indicative of weakness or failure.

I do believe that some things, once healed, are done. For good. A temptation here or there may crop up, but are quickly doused because of that gift of healing God gave you.

But I believe some are not so quickly felled. Some, we must keep fighting. But needing to fight that battle again does not mean we have already lost or that we are hopeless.

Thinking of it in this way is quite freeing for me. There have been so many days where the fact that I had to fight that temptation again or capture those horrible thoughts again or even confess my struggle and repent again was grounds for defeat and all of those terrible feelings that come with it. Like the battle was already lost just because I had to enter the ring in the first place, even if it ended in victory.

1 Peter 5 came to mind:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

I realized that having the mindset of “I beat that already” puts me off my guard. It causes me to drop my sword.

But if the enemy is like a prowling lion seeking out his prey, I cannot stand around sword-less just because I won some fights in the past.

As someone once told me, “We’ve got to pick up our swords and keep ’em bloody.” The battles will keep coming. Whether it’s a familiar foe or a new challenger, we have to have our swords at the ready. We have to arm ourselves with the Truth. The Truth about who we are, but more importantly whose we are.

We are the children of the Almighty God. The God that cannot be defeated. As 1 Peter 5 continues,

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Why Christianity is not a cop-out. Or a crutch.

I heard it again this weekend…

“Christianity is just a man-made philosophy that helps people cope with the fact that they will die, ceasing to exist, and that life actually is purposeless.”

Oh, friend, how far from the truth you are.

To the untrained (shallow) eye, you see people with joy and peace, even in the midst of suffering, which seems to clearly indicate that they have self-medicated with this false  idea to trick their minds into feeling that peace and/or joy. You think they are absolutely silly, or maybe even stupid, to stoop to that level of foolishness to make themselves feel better rather than face the “cold hard truth.” You see a weakling that probably hasn’t even suffered as much as you have and that clearly doesn’t have the mental or emotional fortitude that you yourself poses. They stub their toe and they reach for their crutch and mutter their Christian-isms under their breath to soothe themselves back into their surreal stupor.

But the truth is, the Christian is not suffering as you are. Not anymore. And that makes you angry. They do not feel dead and empty inside, because they are not weighed down by the mistakes of their past, they are not held down by shame or the voice in their head that tells them they are nothing. You rationalize that they are being fooled, when in fact, you are. You are being tricked into thinking that you will be able to numb that pain and emptiness by something this world has to offer.

That something will surely bring you happiness or enough pleasure to last, right? Or you tell yourself that someday when you achieve x, y, and z, you will feel good about yourself, your life, your legacy. But you have been fooled. Those things will leave you wanting, because those things were not made to satisfy your soul, which is where the turmoil and suffering really lies.

You are suffering and you cannot seem to make it go away no matter what you try. There is an emptiness there, a dissatisfaction, and nothing can seem to fill that hole.

See the Christian is not free from suffering. In fact, they have willingly signed up for more than you think. But they have also accepted the cure handed to them, that which can fully satisfy and make all suffering worthwhile, for a greater purpose than themselves.

So do no think that because Christians are not sitting in darkness as you are, that we have taken a crutch or are free from pain. Rather, you have chosen to sit stubbornly in your self-induced pain, while we have exchanged ours for a cross to bear.

It never EVER says anywhere in the Bible that following Jesus will be easy. When Jesus instructs us pick up our cross and follow him, it was not a light-hearted comment. It was a challenge. He was asking, “Do you truly know where this path leads?”

That is… scary. Difficult. Painful. There are people being beheaded for professing Jesus as Lord. There are people being shunned, mocked, persecuted by friends, family, entire communities, for believing Jesus is the Messiah.

How, by any stretch of the imagination, is that a crutch? A cop-out? An easy road?

Seriously. How?

But when you come to know the God that loves you so deeply, that made every part of your being, that saw every evil thing you did or thought or said, but that still loves you and has given you the key to heaven’s gate through Jesus… It is worth the fight. Jesus promises it will be worth it.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” – Romans 8:18

And it is a fight.

Jesus also promises He will be right next to us the entire way we carry our cross. The Beatitudes are not for those who are doing well, they are for those who are suffering as they walk in their faith and trust in Jesus.

When people say “Christianity is a crutch,” I want to say, “No, its more like walking through a dungeon full of blind, sick and injured people that you love, who are  focused on trying to numb their pain with all the wrong medicines (which only make them more sick). In your hand you hold the key out of the dungeon. You extend it out to people imploringly, sometimes begging them to take it, to let you help them escape, only to have them lash out and hurl proclamations of self-righteousness, indigence, and insults at you in fear, mockery, anger, and even hatred. Oh yeah, and then also the jailer is gunning after you, aiming at the target on your back because you’re trying to free his prisoners.”

That’s not super fun.

Not at all, really.

And that calling is not something a follower of Jesus can escape. We are called to share the Good News. The news that there is One who has given everything to save them, that loves them so deeply, that so badly wants them with Him for eternity, that He took the punishment that was rightfully theirs. He took the bullet. He took the beating. He took on hell to give them heaven.

 

And the life Christians are called to is entirely upside-down. The polar opposite of what comes easily.

We are called to love God first. With all of our mind, heart, soul, and strength. Compare that to the person who is their own god. It’s pretty easy to live a selfish and self-indulgent life. It is how our flesh is wired. It’s natural, instinctual. It takes the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to flip that upside down and love God more than ourselves. To accept that your life is not your own to live as you please, that your way is actually not the best way, to seek God’s will before your own. That is the opposite of how people are wired.

Second, we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus says the “as ourselves” to give us a gauge, because we are naturally and effortlessly lovers of self, as we have established. Even the people that sit in the pit of self-hatred are consumed with themselves, and in a very unhealthy way, are thinking of themselves before all others. It takes the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to flip that self-obsession upside down and love others just as much. It takes a supernatural act to soften a selfish heart and open blind eyes in order to see the importance and needs of those around us – those that are hurting, that are cast out, rejected, broken-hearted, and struggling. Especially to the point of actually doing something about it.

Being a follower of Jesus is not a crutch. It is a calling to a difficult and even dangerous, but worthwhile, challenge with great reward and everything to lose.

5 Promises for the Persecuted

 

 

The Perfect Parable for a Dating Analogy

The Parable of the Weeds

24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

(Matthew 13:24-30)

The weeds referred to here are tares, a kind of darnel. The most common of its species. It is as tall as wheat and resembles wheat in appearance. They are in fact almost completely identical up to the point where they are mature enough to bare their seeds.

But that point of maturation is long down the road, when its roots have grown deep and have become difficult to pull without doing damage to, or even destroying, the true wheat around it.

The seeds of these darnel are black in color. They are poisonous – causing sleepiness, nausea, convulsions, and even death.

When reading commentary on these verses, I couldn’t help but think of how many traps I fell into while dating. I can’t help but think of all my brothers and sisters in Christ that may be in danger of being lead astray by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I can’t help but think of all my brothers and sisters out there who may be in that spot of uncertainty, where there have been some red flags (enough of them, if they’re being honest with themselves), that are just afraid to let go…

Dating is such a difficult and even dangerous time. I so badly wish I could go back in time and re-do some conversations and stretches of my past, now that I have accepted the wisdom and guidance of the Lord.

Sadly, I cannot.

But for you reading, it may not be too late.

Dating is dangerous because people can easily hide behind mask. Dating is when people are the absolute best versions of themselves, or the version of themselves that they know you hope them to be. They even make promises based on that false self. Some make them in hopes of someday becoming the mask they wear.  Others make promises to secure whatever it is they are hoping for… Another date. A kiss. Sex. Marriage… Whatever their end goal is.

Some people wear their masks their whole lives, unable to accept that they are broken and in need of a Savior. They hide behind their jobs, their stuff, their beauty, their brains, they humor… Anything to keep from really examining the state of their heart and what it would look like to be honest with themselves and with others.

Brothers and sisters, they may be able to fool us and even themselves, but they can never fool the Lord.

The Lord knows the true heart of each human being. He knows their motives. He sees the path they are headed for. God is not bound by time as we are. He is in the past, present, and future constantly.

I implore you guys to take your relationship to the cross. Seek the face of Jesus. Ask Him for guidance and wisdom. Ask Him to make it clear to you what He wants for you.

Remember that every single thing He does for you is out of love for you and those around you. Remember that if He does happen to tell you or show you that that person is not for you, that He has something better in mind. Much better, as He always does.

Remember that if you take that leap of faith and trust Him with your relationship, even to the point of ending it, that He will be there, as close as your breath, to comfort and sustain you.

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

(Matthew 5:3-12)

Remember that no human being on earth can ever love you as much as Christ. Remember that no human being on earth is worth more than Jesus. Remember that no human being on earth can ever give you the true and lasting joy, peace, identity, and purpose that He can.

Remember, you can trust Him.

 

More resources and great articles:

https://relevantmagazine.com/article/missionary-dating-isnt-just-unbiblical-its-selfish/

https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/the-golden-rule-in-christian-dating

http://frankpowell.me/principles-christian-dating-transform-lives-eternities

http://www1.cbn.com/singles/five-red-flags-christians-blinded-romance

When guilt, regret, and shame come knocking…

Sometimes I forget.

I forget that I am a new creation.

I forget that through the blood of Christ, I am made clean.

My blemishes washed away entirely. Not even a scar remains.

No evidence of my life before Jesus is visible in God’s eyes. He looks at me and sees Jesus, because I am hidden in Him. Pure. Holy. Unblemished. Sinless.

 

All because I believe.

I believe Jesus is who He said He was – the son of God, capable of bestowing true forgiveness.

I believe He died for my sins, my shame, my guilt, my regret, my immoral decisions, my selfishness, and my flesh that I am constantly at war with.

Today, I am reminding myself.

But I am not reminding myself of who I am in Christ, but simply of who Christ is.

I have been struggling with such guilt and shame over my past lately. I will get random flashes of my worst decisions in my mind’s eye. To battle it, I have been trying to remind myself who I am in Christ. Of who I am now rather than focusing on who I once was…

But even that is not enough to free me. Because then I see the sins that I struggle with in the present, even as a new creation, constantly reminding me that I, myself, am flawed, imperfect, and desperately in need of a Savior.

No. I have to take my eyes entirely off of myself and focus my eyes on what God sees in me. And that is Jesus. I need to focus only on my Savior.

Without Him, I would be dead in my sins – the sins of my past, the sins of my present, and the sins of my future.

To God be all the glory. For nothing I ever do could earn his forgiveness, and nothing I have ever done or ever will do could separate me from His love.

Praise God that my salvation is not dependent on me living a life worthy of Him, because I simply cannot ever reach that bar. Try as I might.

But because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I am forgiven and made worthy and righteous.

I do not need to dwell on my past.

I am choosing not to dwell on my past.

Today I am choosing to fix my eyes on the Jesus. Who He is.

Because when God looks at me, He does not compare who I am now to who I once was.

He simply sees Jesus.

Praise God! He loves us so that He made a way for us to enter His presence. He made a way for us to walk with Him all our days on this earth if we so choose. Praise God that He loves us so much that He saw our iniquities and sought to reconcile it for us, knowing we could never do so of our own strength.

He loves us, brothers and sisters.

If ever you doubt it, you need only look at Jesus. Look at what He has done for you.

Do not let satan attack you with your past or present. He is only trying to separate you from the love of God. To distract you from your Kingdom work. To make you feel unworthy, powerless, and shameful. A person hiding in the dark cannot bring others into the light.

We do not need to wallow, hide, or punish ourselves. And we certainly do not have to allow the enemy to punish us. After all, the enemy cannot judge us for our sins. He cannot judge at all. God has not given him that authority. But he can accuse. He can mislead. He can distract. He can divert. But only as far as we allow.

Because we, who have accepted Christ, can be hidden in Him. We can wear His righteousness. We can live in power and authority over our accusers (Luke 10).

If we fix our eyes on our Savior and tear them away from ourselves, we can live in freedom. We can rest in Him.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. [2 Corinthians 4:18]

 

An awesome read:

https://www.gotquestions.org/how-does-God-see-me.html

Before you get an abortion, read this.

 

This topic of abortion is weighing so heavily on my heart. And that is because I now know 4 different couples who have chosen this path instead of life. And now I watch them suffer, and it is all heartbreaking.

I know how much I still struggle with the promiscuity of my past… the shame and regret… and how those decisions, which pale in comparison to the seriousness of the decision to end a life, make me struggle with self hatred. I cannot imagine the depth of their pain. It makes my heart ache for them.

One of them has happened in my own family, and we are the only ones he has told about it, because he fears the response of the rest of his family. He and his girlfriend at the time decided to go that route, out of fear and shame. Fear that they weren’t ready, fear that they couldn’t support it financially, ashamed that they would have a child out of wedlock… This list goes on and on.

They have since broken up, the strain on their relationship becoming too much to bear, the immense guilt resurfacing just by being together, their anger at themselves exploding out in angry fights… He is deep in depression. I am now praying that he does not take his own life, as Ethan has said he has said some things that hint towards him contemplating suicide. It is so terrifying and heartbreaking to witness.

Another of our friends shared the same secret. This friend also said he now sees me very differently. He now admires me for going the “harder” route and is now living with the most intense regret of his life.

But he has no idea. Having a child is tough financially, and it’s more work (gotta feed ’em, ya know?)… But that little girl has brought me so much joy and added such depth to my life. She changed how I see everything and everyone. Parents out there know exactly what I am talking about. She gave me something to be better for. Every day, she wakes up, totters over to me with messy hair and sleepy eyes, she smiles sleepily at me, she gives me a hug, and she tells me how much she loves me. That doesn’t sound so bad, huh?

And there are difficult moments, for sure. It is difficult when our bank account is overdrawn. It is difficult when she is misbehaving. It is difficult when I have to wake up with her in the middle of the night because she had a very realistic dream about sitting on a potty. It was difficult telling people that I was pregnant and unmarried at 19 and was carrying the child of a man whose commitment level was questionable. It was difficult to have people look down on me for being irresponsible.

But that taught me not to cower under a critical eye. It taught me to pull my shoulders back, set my jaw, and decide that I was going to be a good mom. That I was going to do everything I could to give my baby a good life. And now I get to enjoy the fruit of that decision. I’ve got a beautiful little girl that I love with all my heart. I get to hear her belly laugh, get to watch her grow and learn, get to hear her thoughts about Jesus, get to praise God for every step she takes towards Him, get to help raise her to be a good person and then watch her be kind. And she has taught me more about unconditional love and grace than possibly anyone, as she had readily forgiven me for my mistakes and immediately hugged me, smiling, and telling me that she loves me. It is truly an amazing journey.

I truly believe that I did not take the harder route. They have.

Money can always be made. Your life plan may alter, but I truly believe it will NOT be for the worst. Money is not everything. College is great, but it’s also a debt generator (student loans have made my life 100x harder than my daughter. My husband got paid twice as much as I am being paid now, and he does not have a degree (now he is opening his own business), I know a couple that started and own 5 successful businesses, no college experience, the list goes on). Careers are great for money, but they will not fulfill you. Parties are fun, but they will not bring you the joy of a meaningful relationship, like the one between parent and child.

It is easy to walk into a Planned Parenthood and get an abortion, but life afterwords is far from it.

It is one of the greatest lies of the enemy that we face today – that abortion will save you from a difficult path. That your life is easier without another life to worry about.

But the reality is, you will have to battle a deep regret and remorse for an indefinite amount of time, perhaps your entire life. Your mind will randomly stray to that moment in time when you had the procedure or took that pill, and you will think about how old your child would be, wonder what they would look like, what their personality would be like, wonder what your life would look like with them by your side. You will look at other children and struggle to smile because of the sadness. You will struggle with self-hatred, because you have made a choice so selfish in hopes of making your own life easier, but the cost was ending a life.

I am not saying this stuff to make people feel bad, I am writing exactly what those that I know have told me they now feel and what they now struggle with. If you’d like to read more testimonies of the after-affects of abortion, click here.

If you have had an abortion and you are struggling with depression, please seek help. Do not isolate yourself. Dive deeper into church, try to find a small group setting to jump into (recommendation: Rachel’s Vineyard & Celebrate Recovery), find a safe space to talk about your struggles. Seek counseling (preferably Christian, as they can lead you to the Truth, which can lead to true healing). And whatever you do, do not let that decision separate you from the love of the Lord. God love you unconditionally. Truly. Do not let the enemy win. Do not let the enemy tell you you are too far gone. The darkness is as light to the Lord. He wants to save you.Read why.

I know it is scary to have a child when you feel unprepared. But you WILL BE a good parent. God will provide, for He is FAITHFUL. And even married people (also have many married couple friends pregnant right now) who have been TRYING to get pregnant struggle with the same fears – that they will not be a good parent, that they will struggle financially, etc. You are not alone!!! Having a baby is a big deal, but it is AMAZING. You can do it, because Jesus will be right by your side the ENTIRE time. And He’s really all you need.