Faith, Authority and Healing, Pt. 2

We are continuing our series on healing. We started off going into hindrances to receiving our healing that included unforgiveness toward ourselves or others, bitterness, etc. We also started talking about how our faith needs to be activated for our healing to manifest. Now, we are continuing this discussion on how faith and our authority actually activate the Word of God to be performed in our healing and how the three work in unison.

Faith_Hoping

Just to review, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. We know that without faith it impossible to please God. Summing up Hebrews 11:1-6…

Now, we will be talking about our authority.

The dictionary defines authority as: The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.

The good news is that God has given us ALL power and authority! Throughout the Old and New Testament, God shows us the authority we have. Read Psalm 91 alone and it will encourage and equip you!

Luke 10:19“Now you understand that I have imparted to you all my authority to trample over his kingdom. You will trample upon every demon before you and overcome every power Satan possesses. Absolutely nothing will be able to harm you as you walk in this authority.”

We must get a revelation of the power and authority that has been given to us!  It is a gift and given to us upon salvation. Most of us are unaware that we have been given such authority. Most of us operate from our own ability and strength, but the Bible tells us in Ephesians 6:10 to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.

Here is a great example of a Roman Officer in the New Testament who understood his authority…

Matthew 8:8 (TPT) “But the Roman officer interjected, “Lord, who am I to have you come into my house? I understand your authority, for I too am a man who walks under authority and have authority over soldiers who serve under me. I can tell one to go and he’ll go, and another to come and he’ll come. I order my servants and they’ll do whatever I ask.”

What is so amazing is this man wasn’t a preacher, or one of the disciples that Jesus marveled at, but a soldier/officer.  If we truly begin to understand that we are Gods commanders/soldiers here on earth and have the power and right to command His word over all things, we truly would see His kingdom come on earth, as it is heaven.

Not even the enemy can resist a child of God who KNOWS their authority! Authority doesn’t just rest on the big and mighty and strong! Authority is WHO WE ARE as children of God!

When the enemy sees you, he should automatically see your faith and know he is under your feet!

We need to understand that there is a difference between knowing your authority and using it! You can have all the knowledge of God’s word but not use it. We can have head knowledge, but not have that truth cemented in our hearts…just knowing isn’t enough, but knowing and exercising it is where the difference is.

We can become fat Christians. We go to Church and get the Word, get fed and keep going, but that’s the extent of it. We don’t always do anything with it and just like eating – we feed ourselves, but we also need to exercise…we can’t keep the Word in us and not use it…we cannot be hearers only, but doers of the word.

Exercising authority strengthens our faith muscle. We have to have faith in the authority God has given us!

Faith_Mountains

Here are some scriptures about faith to help you:

Ephesians 6:16– “In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One!”

Romans 1:16-17– “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”

2 Corinthians 4:13– “We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says, “First I believed, then I spoke in faith.” So we also first believe then speak in faith.”

“To learn strong faith is to endure great trials. I have learned my faith by standing firm amid severe testings.” ~ George Mueller

There is so much more to be said about faith and authority, but hopefully this foundation will get you moving toward walking in that authority and exercising that faith muscle! Praying for you always!

Be blessed,

Michelle and Vanessa

Faith, Authority and Healing, Part 1

Faith2We have been discussing healing and going over the past couple of blogs how hindrances like bitterness and unforgiveness toward others and ourselves can stop the plan of God in our lives and for our healing. We are continuing today and stepping into how faith and our God-given authority will activate the Word of God in our lives and our situation.

Let’s just start at the beginning…

What is faith? Let’s look at just a little of the famous Faith Hall of Fame…

Hebrews 11:1– “Now faith brings our hopes into reality and becomes the foundation needed to acquire the things we long for. It is all the evidence required to prove what is still unseen. This testimony of faith is what previous generations were commended for. Faith empowers us to see that the universe was created and beautifully coordinatedby the power of God’s words! He spoke and the invisible realm gave birth to all that is seen.”

Hebrews 11:6– “ And without faith living within us it would be impossible to please God. For we come to God in faithknowing that he is real and that he rewards the faith of those who give all their passion and strength into seeking him.”

To have faith is to relinquish trust in oneself and to put that trust in another. That is so very hard to do because you don’t know if that person will let you down or walk out… That’s why we were never called to put faith in man, but in God alone.

Our Founding Pastor Deborah Cobrae parallels faith to our economic system. Money is what moves goods and services here on earth, BUT FAITH is what moves goods and services in the supernatural. They say money makes the world go round, but if you’re a believer, FAITH is what makes our world go round. You can’t do anything without faith!

Our Pastor, Jessica Roth says faith is the language of heaven! God only responds to the language of faith.

Now that we established a little foundation of what faith is, let’s move on to how that relates to your healing….

When it comes to healing, it cannot manifest without God’s Word being activated through faith and authority.

Where your faith is, that’s where your healing will be. You will have what your faith expects.

Let’s look at a few examples in the Word…

Read Matthew 9:18 –22

There are things going on here  – the man wanted Jesus to come lay hands on his daughter. He said “you can bring her back to life if you just come lay your hand on her

Second, the women with the issue of blood was desperate and she said “If I can only touch His robe, I will be healed.”

In these scenario’s, one man’s faith lied in Jesus coming to lay hands on his daughter. That’s where he believed her healing would come. The woman with the issue of blood only needed to touch the hem of His garment. Was her faith greater because it lied in touching the hem of His garment rather than Him coming to her and laying hands on her? No – that’s just where their faith was. Let’s look at another story.

Read Matthew 8:5-11

The roman officer came to Jesus for his sick servant and he said to Jesus “Just say the word from where you are and my servant will be healed.”

The Lord was astonished at this man’s faith and told him he hadn’t seen greater faith. This man didn’t even need Jesus to come to his servant side. His faith was in Jesus’s word and authority alone.

Where our faith is, is where our healing will be. We can’t compare our faith to others faith. We are all on our own journey of faith and at different levels.

If you are suffering a terminal illness and you believe chemotherapy is where your healing is, then take the chemo. If you believe that your healing is NOT going to chemo, then don’t go. Where you put your faith is where your healing will be!

If you believed God for your salvation, you can believe God for your healing. In fact, unbelief hinders healing! Let’s look at a story in Matthew 17:14-21…(READ)

Faith isn’t something we need more of. A lot of people tend to think they need more faith, we don’t need more, rather exercising the faith we have.

Faith is a muscle. If it isn’t exercised, of course it remains stagnant and we call that doubt…

Faith1

So then how do we grow our faith? Here are two ways:

First: We need to hear God’s Word

Romans 10:17– “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Second: We need to put the Word into action. The bible tells us not to be just hearers only.

James 1:22– “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

Think of a farmer. After he plants a seed, he has faith it will grow.

“If the farmer, without any definite promise can have faith in nature, why can’t the Christian have faith in the God of nature,” Robert V. Bosworth, Christ the Healer….

The Word waters our faith. We HAVE to be in the Word. Joshua 1:8 tells us to meditate on the Word day and night…

If we are not in our Word, we won’t even know how far our faith can get us and we definitely won’t have the ability to step into our authority! Watch out for our next blog on how to walk in your authority!! We pray this encouraged you and look forward to any comments or feedback you have! God Bless!

Michelle and Vanessa

 

Understanding our Make-Up; Toxic Thoughts

Today’s blog comes from a dear friend of ours! She is an amazing evangelist with an even greater testimony! Be encouraged as you read today’s blog on how to understand our make-up and how that relates to our thinking process, our souls and our thoughts! Thanks you, Deborah Martinez for your time and encouragement here!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Anxiety1It can be so freeing to our whole existence when we understand how we are made, we don’t have to be governed by our unhealthy thoughts or mood swings and emotional ups and downs. Our make up simply means, what we’re made of (our entire being).

First we need to understand that we are a triune being – spirit/soul/body
 *spirit = intuition, communion, conscience
       *soul = intellect, emotions, free will = mind
       *body = physical substance, what we can see.

We are a thinking being = you think, you choose, you create intrinsically – not a robot! With our mind we are able to think like God because when we were born of the Spirit, God’s Spirit came to dwell in us therefore we can choose with our mind, our mind changes our brain function as we fill our thoughts with the Word of God. Our mind is more powerful than our brain, healthy thoughts produce a healthy brain, which causes in affect a healthy lifestyle. That is why the word of God says in Romans 12:2 and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can live a life free of unhealthy thought patterns, which are called toxic thoughts, that can cause depression, physical and mental illnesses. It has been proven that there is no one beyond help through the power of God. He sent his son Jesus to give us Zoe life, His life, the God life(eternal life).

There are three different types of life that we actually live. There is the Bios life, this Greek word refers to the life of the physical body and is where we get the word biology. Then there is the Psuche life, the Greek word here refers to the psychological life of the human soul that is the mind the will and the emotions, this is where we get the word psychology. Lastly there is the Zoe life, here the Greek word refers to the uncreated, eternal life of God, the divine life uniquely possessed by God. Which means, the Spirit of God comes to live inside of us, we now therefore have the power to change the way we think and become healthy in our mind, soul and body.

It starts with choosing the life of God, Jesus offers us the eternal life of God  and we can say we receive it and still not live it. It has to do with what you feed your mind, it’s like our body, we can’t expect to eat junk food all the time and stay healthy, same thing with our mind we must replace wrong thinking (toxic thoughts) with Truth (the Word of God). As you begin the process of changing your thinking patterns, healthy cells are produced in your brain which promotes mental health. This obviously takes time and much effort, unfortunately many people choose to try and fix mental illness with medication, which has been proven to make matters worse. More than not there are no quick fixes. In my experience I have seen the Lord bring healing through a process of time. The first step is to admit you need help.

Anxiety2

Christian Psychologist and Nero Scientists have made surprising discoveries about the function of the brain, that have brought healing to our world today. For further information and help on how to heal from depression, anxiety, sleep deprivation or any other mental disorders you can research Dr. Caroline Leaf, through her work and study as a Christian Scientist she is helping many people learn how to become healthy mind, soul and body.

I pray this little insight was helpful and a blessing to all who read it.
In His Service,
Deborah Martinez

Healing Part 4: Walking in Unforgiveness


IMG_1171The last few blogs have been discussing forgiveness. We started this series to tap into how to be healed, mainly physical; however upon research and studying the Word of God, there are hindrances to receiving our healing and most of it deals with issues of the heart – unforgiveness, bitterness, fear…the list goes on. We discussed what unforgiveness and bitterness does to our soul in the last few blogs, and even went into the bondages of not forgiving yourself. Today, we are sharing what the Word says about forgiving ourselves and ultimately walking in freedom spiritually and physically!

In Psalms 32, King David is expressing his joy from being released from his great suffering. It’s actually divided up into 2 parts – verses 1-5 King David proclaims the joy of seeing his fault remitted by God and in verses 6 – 11, he shows his confidence in the fact that God is the guide on the right path. Let’s take a look:

***Read Psalms 32:1-11***

From the Psalms during the time of King David, believers were increasingly becoming aware of their own sins and found confession as a ray of hope. There was a particular pattern you can follow :

  1. The recognized their sins
  2. They realized their sin was rebellion against God
  3. They admitted their sins to God
  4. They trusted God’s willingness to forgive
  5. They accepted His forgiveness

Psalm 32 alone could be a whole new blog. Reading just verses 5-7 illustrate God’s willingness and grace to protect you from life’s storms when you confess to Him. Instead of hiding our sins from Him, when we confess, the opposite happens – HE becomes our hiding place!!! He can’t protect us if we are running from Him!

As Adam and Eve hid themselves when they realized they had sinned, we too hide in shame from ours,  BUT when we run TO Him, no matter the depth we have found ourselves in, HE promises to forgive and shelter us! God doesn’t hold us in condemnation, WE DO!

And if we can’t forgive others or ourselves, how can we even accept the forgiveness of God?

IMG_1172

***Read Matthew 18:21-25 in the Passion Translation***

Here are a few scriptures that guide us along the path of how to walk in forgiveness. Once you make that choice to forgive, you don’t just feel great and everything’s peachy! You most times will still FEEL the same!! You have to replace those negative and unhealthy thoughts with thoughts that are pure, holy, empowering… Meditate on scripture day and night, Joshua 1:8 tells us… You’re going to have to fill your mind and thoughts with the Word of God to dissipate all the negative thoughts, bitterness, anger and fear you have allowed in.

Philippians 4:8 – “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

God is a Father. He wants His children walking around in harmony, not division. When we don’t forgive ourselves, there is still a poison in us and it won’t take long for us to infect those around us, too.

IMG_1173

Some principles to help you on the path to forgiving yourself…

As you meditate on the Word, study scriptures that help you focus on praise and worship, accept and declare that you are a new creation in Christ – old things have passed away and all things are made new! That’s truth, not a feeling!

Hebrews 8:12– “For I will demonstrate my mercy to them and will forgive their evil deeds, and never remember again their sins.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 –18– “Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.”

Pray without ceasing and don’t depend on your own strength to forgive or walk this journey – you won’t be able to do it without God. We are fickle, wishy-washy human beings in our own strength BUT with the power of God infused through us, there’s nothing we can’t do! 2 Corinthians 12:9states that His strength is made PERFECT in our weakness!!!

IMG_1176-3

Philippians 3:13– “I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this, however I do have one compelling focus: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.”

Another way to help in forgiveness and dealing with our own pain is to take the focus off of ourselves and begin to help others. On our journey to healing, we are so focused on ourselves and so close to our situation that we need to step away and put our focus on helping others in their journey. Often times seeing the struggles of someone else and walking them through theirs ushers in our own healing too!

Scientific studies have actually proven that helping others while we ourselves are in pain help boost, motivate and encourage us! A recent study done in 2018 suggests one way our well-being can benefit from practicing pro-social behavior is: helping others regulate their emotions helps us regulate our own emotions, decreases symptoms of depression and ultimately, improves our emotional well-being.

Another recent study from Columbia University has revealed that when helping others navigate their stressful situations, we are enhancing our own emotion regulation skills, and thus, benefiting our own emotional well-being.

We all need one another. We are called to walk in unity, harmony and edify and uplift each other…not just when we are good, but mostly when things are tough! We need that encouragement and it unifies and uplifts our confidence and spirit man!

IMG_1174

A few scriptures to help along with that:

1 Thessalonians 5:14– “We appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, to instruct those who are not in their place of battle. Be skilled at gently encouraging those who feel themselves inadequate.  Be faithful to stand your ground. Help the weak to stand again. Be quick to demonstrate patience with everyone.”

Galatians 6:2-3– “Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. If you think you are too important to stoop down to help another, you are living in deception.”

James 5:16– “Confess and acknowledge how you have offended one anotherand then pray for one another to be instantly healed, for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer!”

Proverbs 27:17– “It takes a grinding wheel to sharpen a blade, and so one person sharpens the character of another.”

Romans 12:16– “Live happily together in a spirit of harmony, and be as mindful of another’s worth as you are your own. Don’t live with a lofty mind-set, thinking you are too important to serve others, but be willing to do menial tasks and identify with those who are humble minded. Don’t be smug or even think for a moment that you know it all.”There are tons more, but hopefully that gave you a good start! Next blog, we will be delving into faith and how faith is needed to activate the healing power of God in your life and body!

Stay tuned as we discuss the power of faith with regard to healing next week and how activating your faith can usher in your healing!

 

Healing, Part 3: Learning to Forgive Yourself

IMG_1167

In our last two blogs, we discussed the topic of healing with regard to forgiveness. We started this series wanting to discuss how to believe God for physical healing and what the Bible says about healing. After studying and researching on the topic, we realized there was so much more to it and it began with our heart and unforgiveness; how holding onto unforgiveness affects our emotions, thoughts, and even our physical bodies. When unforgiveness is left untouched, it grows and becomes a root of bitterness. The Word tells us that bitterness causes trouble and poisons the hearts of many.

So, last week we wrote about holding unforgiveness with others and now, we want to take it a step further and address unforgiveness with ourselves. It seems there is a tendency in most of us to hold ourselves more accountable than others, therefore making it a lot more difficult to forgive ourselves for things we have done or feelings we have harbored, than it is to forgive someone else. We often think that if we let ourselves off the hook, we are dismissing our behavior and may not deserve forgiveness. This kind of thinking only digs ourselves deeper in despair and the further in we go, we take the risk of hurting others again.

The Bible doesn’t specify scriptures that pertain to forgiving ourselves, yet if we hold the truths of the Word of God for ourselves as we do others, then we see that those same principles that apply to forgiving others, apply to us, as well…

We can be so hard on ourselves and have a very difficult time forgiving ourselves for our sins, but the Bible says we have ALL sinned! We were born into a fallible, sinful world upon birth.

Romans 3:23– “for we all have sinned and are in need of the glory of God…”

Knowing that we all fall short and are in need of God’s grace relieves us from guilt. We are not perfect but being perfected. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect, but remember that we go from glory to glory.

IMG_1168

We have to be careful with holding unforgiveness towards ourselves. We believe when we have a hard time forgiving ourselves it’s because we are carrying condemnation, guilt, and shame. These three things are a hindrance to forgiveness. We are going to take a look at what the bible says about these.

Condemnation

  • Condemnation is not the same as conviction. Conviction leads to repentance, whereas condemnation keeps us bound to our sin believing we deserve punishment.
  • If we truly believe the Word of God, that His mercy extends to even the most unspeakable of sins, then we have to walk in that and stop holding ourselves condemned.
  • Sometimes we think that as long as we forgive others, then that’s all we need to do. WE somehow believe that if we still hold that condemnation over ourselves, it won’t affect anyone else, yet it does. When you are in close relationship with anyone, their weaknesses and faults very much affect you too. Their behaviors subsequently affect your mood. We see it in marriage, we see it in friendship, any close relationship…If we are holding onto something, it will begin to hinder our relationships.
  • Drop a rock in a pond. You drop it in by itself and although it is carrying the weight, the ripple effect starts to pan out in circles around it, touching and affecting anything else in it’s path…Same goes with unforgiveness with oneself.

Guilt

Guilt is another hindrance to forgiveness. If we are not careful, guilt will keep us stuck in our sin and past.  It will keep us from forgiving ourselves because we can’t let go or forget.

  • Psalms 38:4 TPT – “I’m overwhelmed, swamped, and submerged beneath the heavy burden of my guilt. It clings to me and won’t let me go”
  • Cling in both the Greek and Hebrew mean to cleave to, to adhere and don’t let go! Don’t allow guilt to cling (adhere) to you! Let it go!
  • Here is a beautiful scripture to pray….
  • Psalms 51:1 TPT-“God give me mercy from your fountain of forgiveness! I know your abundant love is enough to wash away my guilt. Because your compassion is so great, take away this shameful guilt of sin. Forgive the full extent of my rebellious ways, and erase this deep stain in my conscience.”
  • Acts 13:9 TPT– “Everyone who believes in him is set free from sin and guilt….”
  • BUT the Bible also says that there’s a way out! Jesus died that we might be forgiven!
  • Jeremiah 31:34 – They’ll know me firsthand, the dull and the bright, the smart and the slow. I’ll wipe the slate clean for each of them.I’ll FORGET they ever sinned!”
  • God forgets our sins and that’s not to say He’s forgetful, rather He’s merciful and CHOOSES to look at us with eyes of mercy and purity through Jesus, rather than our actions…. WE are the ones who often choose to continue dwelling on the thoughts of our sins instead of His promises…
  • We can’t keep rehearsing our sin and allow the accuser to keep reminding us either.

Shame

  • Last, but not least – shame…. We have to be careful not to also carry shame. Shame keeps our focus on ourselves. We are ashamed and embarrassed of our sin, but shame will keep us from approaching God.
  • Shame makes us feel unworthy, humiliated, embarrassed and will hinder our relationship with God.
  • Psalms 34:5 TPT – “Gaze upon him, join your life with his, and joy will come. Your faces will glisten with glory. You’ll never wear that shamed-face again.”
  • Psalms 146:8 TPT – “You open the eyes of the blind and fully restore those bent over with shame.”

IMG_1169

Like we discussed in our last shows about forgiving others, it is a choice. It’s not an easy choice, BUT it is a choice, probably the hardest, yet most selfless one to make – to let go and let God! We see that pretty saying on cards and bookmarks and it sounds so reassuring, but have you ever had to actually DO that??? Letting go means releasing every part into the hands of God and trusting Him to restore.

1 Peter 5:7– “Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there, for he always tenderly cares for you…”

Psalm 103:10-12– “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Romans 8:1–3– “So now the case is closed. There remains no accusing voice of condemnation against those who are joined in life-union with Jesus, the anointed One.

The case is closed. stop keeping it open! Don’t open what’s been closed, forgiven, wiped clean!

Colossians 2:14 TPT – “He canceled out every legal violation we had on our record and the old arrest warrant that stood to indict us. He erased it all- our sins, our stained soul- he deleted it all and they cannot be retrieved!”

We all wish we could go back and undo our sins, but we don’t have to…Jesus did! It’s time to take the forgiveness He paid for us to have and walk in our freedom! We will continue this series on the next blog!

IMG_1170

The Pain of Unforgiveness, Part 2

IMG_1025We’re addressing a topic that isn’t exactly fun, BUT something we can’t keep ignoring if we are truly going to be a generation to rise up for the Kingdom of God. We can’t keep doing things the way we have. We can’t keep passing the sins of our past down to our children and expecting the next generation to fix our mess. Yes, we are talking about healing, but as we dig into how to receive healing, there is so much more we need to dissect in order to fully understand and even receive healing in our bodies.

As we discussed, there is a direct relation of physical sickness to a heart issue…

  • “Chronic unforgiveness causes stress. Every time people think of their transgressor, their body responds. Decreasing your unforgiveness cuts down on your health risk. Now, if you can forgive, that can actually strengthen your immune system.” Everett Worthington, PhD

We’re living in an interesting time. We seem to have it all, social media, technology running the world, everything handed to us in 30 minutes or less, but at what cost did we lose integrity, morals and Godly conviction? We are witnessing our nation more divided than it’s ever been, even the Church dividing on issues that should never be a question. Christians, stop supporting issues you KNOW are not Godly just to be politically correct and accepted!!!

Mental illness and suicide is higher than it’s ever been and if you look around, there are more sick people and commercials for medications than we’ve ever witnessed. I can’t watch TV for more than 30 minutes and not see at least 5-6 commercials for prescription drugs and each commercial takes about 90% of their time highlighting side effects worse than the ailment. What is going on with us? And if these meds are really working, why do we need more and more? The world has it right – there is a serious health epidemic going on, but the root isn’t our physical bodies, it’s our spirit! And the minute we stop and ask God what is going on and listen to Him, HE will speak! Problem is, we’re too busy! We want a quick fix! We don’t want to take the long road, even if the long road leads to permanent health- physically, spiritually and mentally. We have traded truth for so many lies and it’s cost us our own health and bondages forming in the generations after!

I love what Evangelist and our friend and mentor Cheryl Salem says, “Healing is a lifestyle. We can’t just live healed moments. We need to live healed lives.”

We may recognize there is a spiritual disconnect when we’re sick or struggling and we may go to the alter and receive our healing. I know I did that for years! I’d walk out of a healing service and claim my healing and then not too long after, I’d realize I was in the same place I was before. What happened? Did I lose it? This merry-go-round went on for decades!!! I’d go up for healing, claim it, go home and lose it. The problem wasn’t God’s inability to perform. It was my inability to receive. I love how Tom Barkey puts in his book, “Healing Grace…”

Tom Barkey, “Healing Grace”

“Does God want to heal everybody? Yes. Does everybody get healed? No. Why? WE can answer it with another question: Does God want everybody saved? Yes. Does everybody get saved? No. What stands in the way? The person,” Tom Barkey

The outcome of what you want is not based on what God is going to do! He already did it!!! He isn’t scheduled to go back to the cross. The Bible says “IT IS FINISHED!!” Who’s left here to make those changes?? YOU ARE!! You and the Holy Spirit, so get up and DO something! How big is your faith? How bad do you want to be healed? What are you willing to risk??? Are you willing to trust God to take you back to those broken places so you can be fully healed or are you content with temporary healed moments? YOU determine the outcome of your destiny!!

Another nugget from Cheryl, “The Church is just fat! We get the Word and fill ourselves up, but we don’t exercise it!” When will we stop being afraid to take the authority He left us to perform miracles, lay hands on others, see things we’ve never seen? It’s easy to go to Church, serve, lay hands on others and feel like we are doing the work of God, when WE in fact are not living that same Word over our own lives! It’s easy to tell someone else to trust God and allow Him to cleanse you and take you down those paths, but are YOU willing to do that for yourself??

Once you begin to study your Word, ask God what is hindering your healing? What is standing in the way? Most times it’s unforgiveness, bitterness, hurt, fear…These are all things that will hinder our blessings. We have all heard the saying, “Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Actually, we are dying inside. Unforgiveness that isn’t dealt with or pain that is left unhealed will grow and we become bitter and angry.

Hebrews 12:14-15 “In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.”

IMG_1035

No matter how many times we meditate on this truth, hear it in church, sing it, whatever, we STILL can’t seem to live it, and that’s this: Forgiveness is NOT for the other person. It’s for YOU!!!! If you TRULY believe that, you have made your first step in the process!

WE are the ones walking around depressed, spiritually lethargic, putting on masks, living a lie basically because we have bestowed the very power GOD gave US to that person. WE tie ourselves to them and then wonder why we can’t stop thinking about what they did! Honey-untie yourself!

Forgiveness is a choice. We have to willfully choose to forgive. It is not based off of feelings, because we will never feel like forgiving. If we did, this wouldn’t be so hard! Our flesh will scream at us! What’s really hard is that in reality, we do have a right to be mad! We have a right to not forgive! We were hurt! We were violated, we were abandoned, abused, cheated on, neglected…WE HAVE A RIGHT!!!! But what has that right gotten you?? Depression, anxiety, fear, bottles of anti-depressants that make you sleep your life away instead of walking in your calling and changing the world for God!! Ya, the enemy knows what he’s doing, unstabiliziing us one by one and we are falling for it left and right! And our kids are watching! They’re watching us pop pills, sleep all day, walk around like zombies because we are too lazy to get up and take authority! And we are passing this epidemic right on down to them!

And can you do this, go one step further? Pray for the person who hurt you! Pray blessings over them! Hurt people, hurt people. 9 times out of 10, the person who hurt you was hurt themselves and the line goes on and on, so YOU stop it! You’re responsible for what YOU do, not what they do! Take the load off yourself and let God deal with them!

Mark 11:25  And whenever you stand praying if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults. But if you will not release forgiveness, don’t expect your Father in heaven to release you from your misdeeds.”

So, if we want God to heal us and forgive us, it is ESSENTIAL that we extend that grace and forgiveness to others. He didn’t ask us if we feel like it or if we want to it even if they deserve it! He just told us to do it!

And we have to understand that forgiveness does not mean you are condoning what the person has done. It isn’t letting them off the hook. It is letting yourself off the hook. It’s releasing yourself from the person. If we hold onto unforgiveness, we are not allowing God in the situation. When we forgive, we release ourselves and allow God to deal with the person.

We shared this scripture in the last show, but it’s worth repeating…

Hebrews 12:14 “In every relationship be swift to choose peace over competition, and run swiftly toward holiness, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Watch over each other to make sure that no one misses the revelation of God’s grace. And make sure no one lives with a root of bitterness sprouting within them which will only cause trouble and poison the hearts of many.”

Forgiveness, like we said is a choice. You make that choice whether you feel it or not. You may not feel any different after you forgive and you may have to continue forgiving the person. Sometimes its not a once and done. God knows the heart. We can say, “Ok I forgive you,” but inwardly we really didn’t mean it.

Matthew 18:21-22 “Later Peter approached Jesus and said, “How many times do I have to forgive my fellow believer who keeps offending me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, Peter, but seventy times seven times!”

IMG_1026

 We are all imperfect people and we will be hurt and we will be the ones to hurt. We have to practice a life of forgiveness!

Colossians 3:13 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”

Ephesians 4:31-32 “Lay aside bitter words, temper tantrums, revenge, profanity, and insults. “But instead be kind and affectionate toward one another. Has God graciously forgiven you? Then graciously forgive one another in the depths of Christ’s love.”

Matthew 6:14 “And when you pray, make sure you forgive the faults of others so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you withhold forgiveness from others, your Father withholds forgiveness from you.”

Forgiveness and healing starts in the spirit before it can ever work in the flesh. We haven’t even touched on physical healing yet or how to exercise your faith and believe for healing once you’ve asked for forgiveness. There is so much more to share and we will continue discussing healing and forgiveness in the coming weeks.

IMG_1034-3

The Pain of Unforgiveness, Part 1

IMG_1024My sister and I have both been going through a very tumultuous process of healing recently that was a long time coming; not a physical healing, although that’s tied into it, but a spiritual, emotional healing. We think it’s timely, too because we have been seeing the unified Church in a season of healing and restoration, as well. In fact, we attended a healing service recently at The Rock Church with Evangelist Cheryl Salem and to see the Holy Spirit move in that place was something we hadn’t seen.

As we started studying, praying and finding scriptures on healing, something else began to stir in our spirits and we couldn’t get away from the topic of forgiveness and disappointment. How does that relate to healing? And yes, we are talking about any healing, including physical…

  • “Chronic unforgiveness causes stress. Every time people think of their transgressor, their body responds. Decreasing your unforgiveness cuts down on your health risk. Now, if you can forgive, that can actually strengthen your immune system.” Everett Worthington, PhD

We came across an article by Jane Glenn Haas titled, “The Ability to Help you Forgive; Holding onto a Grudge is Bad for the Immune System.” The article highlights the connection between chronic stress and health – especially from the standpoint of how an unforgiving attitude can impact have one’s health.

  • “Inwardly, the emotional wound affects deep vital processes. A psychological wound sets off mechanisms of the stress response…release of cortisol, adrenaline… (including) a slowdown in the immune system, which contributes to growth and spread of cancer.” David Servan-Schrieber, MD, AntiCancer
  • “We find that the endocrine system—and the hormone cortisol in particular—is closely linked with immune system: High levels of cortisol inhibit immune responses. Most diseases of abnormal immune function are remarkably linked to psychological stress.” Robert Scaer, MD, The Trauma Spectrum

Healing begins when we forgive. Forgiveness activates God to perform His Word to heal us. Healing can happen instantly, but for most it’s a process. When we talk about healing, we don’t just mean physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual. We see here that most physical sickness and pain relates to a heart issue, unforgiveness, bitterness, disappointment…we are not saying that God will not heal if we harbor unforgiveness, but it is a hindrance.

Let’s look at the Word…

Matthew 9:1-2 “Jesus got into the boat and returned to what was considered his hometown, Capernaum.Just then some people brought a paraplegic man to him, lying on a sleeping mat. When Jesus perceived the strong faith within their hearts, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, be encouraged, for your sins have been forgiven.”

The crazy thing here was that these people apparently brought this guy to Jesus to heal him. The obvious was he was paraplegic…the unobvious was that his concealed heart was sicker than his unconcealed physical body, and we know this was more important to God because the scripture goes on to say in verse 4:

“Jesus supernaturally perceived their thoughts, and said to them, “Why do you carry such evil in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Stand up and walk!’ But now, to convince you that the Son of Man has been given authority to forgive sins, I say to this man, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk home.’ Immediately the man sprang to his feet and left for home.

When the crowds witnessed this miracle, they were awestruck. They shouted praises to God because he had given such authority to human beings.”

There are two things going on here, well probably more than that, but let’s focus on two main keys. One, Jesus was more concerned with the sin in the man’s heart than He was with his physical ailment. It’s God’s will that we be whole. He doesn’t want us walking around limp, immobile and sick, so He knew in that moment that healing the sin in the man’s heart would set him free spiritually AND physically!

The second thing I think is important to address here is the last part, “They shouted praises to God because He had given such authority to human beings.” Wow! WE have the authority BY GOD to heal the sick, too!

John 14:12 “I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!” 

Jesus didn’t just go around performing miracles and then say, “Ok, gotta go! Good luck!” HE empowered US here on earth to perform and carry out even greater than what He did! But most of us don’t! We’re afraid, we don’t believe we can, we’re intimidated, we’re stuck on our Inability as opposed to HIS ability…So many reasons, or I should say excuses as to why we don’t see healing, restoration or redemption in our lives and in those around us…

We know from our own personal experiences that forgiving is one of the hardest things to do. I believe that most times, a lot of us aren’t even aware of the damage that resides in our souls. Sometimes we may react to something or respond to a situation and not realize that those responses are in relation to something from our past that hasn’t been healed.

IMG_1026And it doesn’t always necessarily mean “unforgiveness.” It can relate to disappointment, bitterness, anger, and anxiety. It can manifest through your spirit in many different ways for each of us. As we shared in our last shows on Fear and Mental Illness, mine (Michelle) was a lot of fear and depression, which is also sin as we are told we carry the mind of Christ and anything contrary to the Word of God is sin. Whatever the antagonist may be, it hinders our relationship with God, others and truly walking in the freedom God ordained for us to walk in.

Now, what do we do about the sin in our hearts, this unforgiveness, fear or whatever it is? We have to make a choice and that is by far the hardest part! It’s hard because we are comfortable living this way. We may feel physical pain or even more so, emotional pain, BUT we know it! We understand it. We feel justified!! Changing means DOING something you have NO idea what’s on the other side of or what it will take from you! You feel like it’s letting the other person off the hook, when in fact, it’s letting YOU off the hook to detach your pain from them. And this is where you have to take the authority over your demons and trust God to carry you each step of the way! Pull out those scriptures that tell you He will never leave you, nor forsake you!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Psalm 23:4 “Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear.  I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.”

Scripture never says He will take away those dark valleys or storms! He says NOT TO WORRY, THOUGH!!!! HE WILL GO THROUGH IT WITH YOU!!!! And you know what-you will be glad in the end He didn’t remove them because the warrior He is shaping you to be THROUGH those storms will NOT be who you are called to be without them!

A Look Back to 2018…

dynamic_duo“525,600 minutes…525,600 moments so dear…525,600 minutes – how do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. 525,600 minutes – how do you measure a year in life? How about love? Measure in love. Seasons of
love,” famous lyrics to one of my favorite Musicals, Rent.

How do you measure your life in a year – a moment, a sunset, a tear or a fight? If we could measure our spiritual journey in one word, it would be “Rebuilding,” but if we measured our personal journey through 2018, the word “loyalty” sums it up perfectly. We could go through each moment last year, moments we thought we’d never make it through, yet vows we made to God and vows me made to each other faced giants and stood the test of time these past 525,600 minutes.

We are going into our 3rdyear of this blog and our 2ndyear hosting Heart to Heart on HSBN.TV. It wasn’t something we thought about or were even looking to do, but God put it on our hearts and we said yes! Our blog wasn’t going to look like the average blog. We weren’t given the exciting task of chronicling the status quo of fashion, recipes, or make-up, but something very different, something almost intimidating. We were asked to document our journey through covenant friendship. So, we began this adventure with seas of unknown before us and instead of trying to just write it, we decided to just live it! Everything else came in time.

Doing this blog was never about popularity or numbers. It was a personal challenge for us to step out of our comfort zones and be obedient. Looking back to our very first blog to our blogs now, how much more transparent and personal we were able to be with our struggles and fears. In 2018, we shared our stories of growing up without fathers, and went into a series discussing depression, anxiety and suicide. Little did we know that our transparency was not only to help others, but that it would bring us both the healing we finally needed also!

Without this covenant, we wouldn’t be where we are today! We truly believe God is drawing us back to Him through Covenant relationships! It took a lot of mistakes, tearing down and rebuilding for us to get where we are now. We are so grateful for our followers and those that support us. We don’t take it lightly and pray that each of you prosper in all that God has called you to.

Every year, we attend several worship conferences, but 2018 has been by far the most remarkable when it comes to experiencing the move of the Holy Spirit and witnessing all that God is doing. We had the honor to serve and attend Evangelist Cheryl Salem’s first Women of the Nation Summit in Woodland Hills. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. To see a company of women with one purpose, one vision was such a beautiful sight. We were also able to attend the Holy Spirit Summit put on by Apostle Andrew and Ann Marie Bills, founders of the Holy Spirit Broadcast Network (HSBN) where we have also been hosting our show “Heart to Heart.” That conference was by far a Holy Spirit encounter for us like never before. The prophecies that were spoken over us are still marinating loudly in our Spirits, as hand in hand, we truly experienced heaven together. Thicker than blood…We also attended our home church’s conference, “Wonder,” that was definitely life changing in so many areas.

christmas_tree

Vanessa– I have been stretched more than ever in 2018, but I also have never grown more! It has truly been the toughest year but also the most rewarding. I personally have never in my life experienced the grace, love and mercy of God like never before because I found myself in a place where I needed it desperately. I learned no one is exempt from falling no matter how spiritually mature or strong we think we are.  Lessons I learned this year were always be on guard from the enemy no matter what, be continually in prayer especially in the spirit, prioritize, balance and boundaries. I have to thank two very important people in my life, my husband David and my best friend and sister Michelle. First I want to thank my amazing husband for the love and support he has given me through this process. This year God had to break me in areas and it was by far the hardest and most painful journey and process. My husband loved me through it and truly demonstrated the love of Christ that allowed me to know no matter what I was going to be ok. It gave me the freedom to do what I needed to make the changes God was showing me. I could not have done this without him! I have to thank my best friend and sister Michelle. When the bible tells us that iron sharpens iron, she truly sharpens me to be what God has called me to be. Greater than that, she has stuck closer than a sister and is truly thicker than blood to me! She fights for me and literally takes it on as if it were herself. This year we have had to face our biggest giants and every step of the way, she has fiercely covered me, shed tears with me, and prayed heaven down while we were in the trenches and pit. When we didn’t know how we were going to make it, we knew there was no option but to do everything necessary to push through.  She has taught me and shown me that no matter how big the giant, I don’t have to fight it alone; she will always fight with me. She does not realize how much I learn from her! She truly has shown me how to be a sister; I only grew up with brothers. Because of her, I have learned that my heart, feelings and opinion matter and not to be afraid to voice them. The greatest thing I learned from her this year is that I don’t always have to be strong. I don’t always have to keep all together, but to allow myself to ask for help. I could not have grown and become who I am with out her!

fourofus

Michelle– They say the choices you make in an instant are the ones that define your true character. Well, I sure hope not because most of the abrupt choices I made took a lot of time and a lot of grace to transform in my mind and in my heart. I look up and wonder sometimes how I got here, how in the midst of what I thought shattered me was in fact a beautiful breaking of strongholds, chains and decades of destructive thoughts. Mental illness was something a few degrees of separation from me, not something I admitted I was living with…until now. My husband wasn’t aware of my struggles with anxiety and depression, but somehow over the years quietly adjusted to a norm he wasn’t prepared for. For someone with any kind of mental illness, the highs are high and the lows are low and he gently rode the waves of uncertainty and obscurity by my side. His faithful vows cemented throughout the years proved a faith in action only my words ever attempted. In the throes of my continued cognizant inadequacies, he rendered me a sense of normalcy when I knew deep down, I was anything but. I thank my husband for longsuffering, for allowing me the freedom to figure out what was going on inside my mind and the love and grace to fix it with his selfless encouragement. “Not all strength is loud.”

It was a Wednesday in October. I was sitting in my car talking to my sister on the phone and battling yet another emotional roller coaster labeled anxiety. It was our norm. It had been my norm for over 30 years. But something happened in that one moment that changed everything. The sudden cry of my sister’s heart pierced me like an arrow and everything in me shook. In an instant, something I had lived my life being too afraid to do was staring me down like a deer in headlights. I saw my sister’s face and I ran toward the light-the light of my Father’s love, the light of my sister’s hand guiding me there. There will never be sufficient words to explain how someone can come into your life and you become worth it for them to stare death in the face, risking all they are! Not a physical death, but a spiritual death that was so much scarier. I knew friendship before, but I didn’t know sacrificial friendship the way God intended it until my sister; the kind of friendship where you risk your own life in the tunnels of another’s pit so they aren’t in there alone; the kind of friendship where you don’t just reach your hand down to help them out – you get down there with them and you come out together! But no matter how or what, you are never alone. Sissy, you carried parts of me that I never knew existed. I never thought I could become the person I am now and am continuing to become because you wouldn’t allow me to settle for mediocrity or accept who I saw myself as. Your selfless, unconditional, fierce and protective love tore down 30 years of steel walls in my heart and your faithful commitment to my blessing allowed you to endure the tumultuous terrain in the in-between. I’ve never known friendship like this. What we have surpasses that of the natural and you are living, breathing scripture to me, MORE than a Sister, MORE than a Best Friend. I am who I am because of you, Sissy!

Stepping into 2019, our hearts are filled with gratitude. We may face more trials, challenges and giants. In fact, we will. But our Master Guide into the steps of the future reminds us gently in Psalm 37:23 that, “The steps of the God-pursuing ones follow firmly in the footsteps of the Lord, and God delights in every step they take to follow him.”

new_yearseve

Whatever 2019 holds for you, we pray it is infused with mountain moving faith! Thank you again for your continued support and encouragement and we are thrilled to see what’s ahead for us all! Don’t forget to follow us at links below!

Love,

Vanessa and Michelle

Follow us @:

http://www.sunflowerandsunshine.com

HSBN.TV –  “Heart to Heart”

E-Mail: sunflowerandsunshine0506@gmail.com

Facebook: Sunflower and Sunshine Blog

Instagram: Sunflowersunshine0506

The Realities of Anxiety and Depression, Part 4

We are standing in the gap and praying for you that God would touch and heal any broken pieces. We hope that as you read our series on anxiety and depression, you realize you are not alone and that there is help! God did not call you to live this way and we are here to share our story and offer you hope.

Depression and Anxiety affects not just the person struggling with depression, but also the loved ones. We discussed on the last blog that 40-70% of caregivers for those struggling with depression end up falling into anxiety and depression themselves because caregivers need just as much attention and support too. My sister was transparent in sharing what this has been like for her and we hope this helps those of you who are just at the end of your rope!

Michelle – You can go online and find a number of websites and links that offer support and the lists of do’s and don’ts, what to say and not say to someone struggling with depression, but I have found that everyone is different. There were things that helped me and there were things that made it worse for me.

I think my sister and I literally had to figure this out along the way and learn as we went.

For me, things that I hated to hear were:

  • You’re too emotional
  • You’re so sensitive
  • That’s not what I said. You’re twisting my words

Pathway

Some of these phrases seem innocent and they probably are, but to someone who is already struggling to hear, see and think like a normal functioning person, it can literally be a matter of rising up in the moment or spiraling down quicker, and usually the latter succeeded.

Depression and Anxiety have been a struggle all my life, but I’m here now to say that without my sister, I would not be here.

There is something to be said about someone that completely sacrifices their lives and ways and “normalcy” to jump into your darkness and pull you out, even if it takes years!!

I knew my sister was in this for the long haul because her faith in my healing never wavered. She spoke to me as if I were already healed and it made the difference between life and death for me.

To go through something like this, words cannot express what it means to have a best friend that literally sticks closer than a sister. This girl literally laid her life down for me and I know that together we have learned so much about God, each other and ourselves. I know for me, my sister’s times of tough love forced me to fight my emotions and stand stronger. Her words that often pierced like a knife, were in fact sharpening my edges and her sporadic stern tone in certain situations toughened my skin right where I needed it. I didn’t “want” it, but God knew I needed it! He brought me exactly who He had planned to unlock the prison doors of my bondage. My sister remained faithful and never gave up, walked out or made me feel less than or inferior. I literally would not be here if it weren’t for my sister!

Light_Breaking

We refer to www.adaa.orgfor our resources on anxiety and depression, and here is a list of things you, as a caregiver can do to help your loved one struggling with depression and/or anxiety. My sister and I discussed this list together and also added our own personal thoughts. Discussing it together and sharing our hearts has made a huge difference in the healing process for us both!

  • Learn about the disorder. Understanding what your friend or relative is going through will help you give support, as well as keep your worry under control.
  • Encourage treatment. Offer to drive him to an appointment or attend a therapy session with her.
  • Realize and accept stressful periods. Modify your expectations of how your friend or relative should act and be sure to be extra supportive during difficult times.
  • Remember that everyone experiences anxiety differently. Be tolerant, supportive, and nonjudgmental. Respect his or her feelings even if you don’t understand exactly what your friend or relative is going through.
  • Be encouraging and don’t get discouraged. Give praise for even the smallest accomplishment. Stay positive.
  • Ask how you can help. Listen carefully to the response.
  • Talk to someone. Being supportive all the time is difficult, so make sure you have someone—a friend, family member, or counselor—to support you, too. This support system may be especially important if your friend or family member is not seeking treatment.

We will continue to share our hearts with regard to anxiety and depression as long as the Lord wills and if any of you need prayer or to share your personal stories, please feel free to contact us at any of the links below.

For more information on anxiety and depression, please visit www.adaa.org

You can also check us out at:
Facebook: Sunflower and Sunshine Blog

Instagram: Sunflowersunshine0506

E-Mail: Sunflowersunshine0506@gmail.com

HSBN.TV – Heart to Heart

The Realities of Anxiety and Depression, Part 3

We are continuing our series on Anxiety and Depression. One in four women struggle with depression and anxiety and fewer ever reach out for help. We discussed our personal story with this epidemic and how it has affected us both on our last blog. Depression doesn’t just affect the person struggling with it. It affects the loved ones just as much, as they experience their own set of feelings and emotions throughout the process.

40-70% of Caregivers of someone with depression show signs of depression themselves and approximately a quarter to half of these caregivers meet the diagnostic criteria for major depression and even begin to show signs of anxiety, too!

Anxiety and Depression don’t have to be your ending just because they were your beginning! While some mental illness, (and yes depression and anxiety are considered the most common mental illnesses in the US), is caused by a chemical imbalance, others can be a result of trauma, genetics, life events, all sorts of reasons…

Girl_Down

Michelle– I struggle with depression and anxiety and was pretty transparent on the last blog with how it affects me and what it means for those who love me, namely my sister.

Suicide rates have tripled in the last 2 decades among adults and doubled among children. 

This is a red flag for my sister and I and something we couldn’t continue to pass over in our own lives. As Christians, we know there is a better way for us because God’s Word says in John 10:10, that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. My sister and I have a different story – there isn’t just one of us dealing with this. There is one who struggles with depression and one who sticks close by in the trenches, too.

Vanessa I want to share how depression affects not only the one who suffers, but also those that are their support system. When you have someone close to you that suffers and you have to see and watch them struggle, it is almost unbearable. For me, it has been one of the toughest things to see my best friend, my sister struggle. It takes a tremendous toll on your energy. It wears you down emotionally, mentally and even physically. There will be moments of frustration, anger, guilt and breakdown. For me, I had many moments of frustration because I just didn’t understand. I didn’t understand how my sister’s mind, how she saw and interpreted things were different than mine. I had moments of anger because it seemed like it was always going to be this way, the same thing over and over again. I had moments of guilt because I felt it was my fault, that I always said the wrong thing or did something wrong that would set her off.

Dock2

I had moments of feeling completely helpless and no matter what I did or said helped.  I felt like I was walking on eggshells not knowing when something was going to affect her. There were times when I would just cry and think this is too hard and I don’t know if I can do it anymore. This is where if you don’t have God, you won’t be able to! This makes me think how many relationships whether marriage, even parent and child are strained or broken because it becomes too much. God has to be your source! Without God, I don’t know how anyone can make it through. That’s probably another reason why some just end up in mental institutions because they can’t be dealt with anymore, or end up homeless.

Through this journey I have learned so much. My sister and I always say it’s in the hardest moments in life that we learn and grow the most. Through the hardest moments, find the beauty and God because He is always there. What the enemy meant to take us both down or to walk away, our God turned it around for our good and His glory. It is only by the grace of God that we are here and able to share. God never left us, but was there through the hell all along!

God began to show me that I can’t be what only He can be and I can’t do what only He can do. He showed me that the more I tried and put pressure on myself to make sure my sister was ok, I wasn’t allowing God to work. I had to allow Him to be God! I didn’t need to try harder or do more to see my sister healed and whole. I have always struggled with being a fixer, a people pleaser, and avoid conflict at all cost. I did whatever necessary to make sure she was happy, to not hurt or offend her and not cause conflict. But God begin to deal with me through this journey and show me a new way. It was a way I was not use to and I had to begin to do things differently. It has been extremely hard, BUT GOD! I saw that if I kept doing things the way I was, it was not helping my sister or myself. It may have been comfortable, but it caused more damage than good. The more my sister and I began making changes, the more God was showing us tremendous growth. We have had to face our biggest fears and have now more than ever overcome them!

Through all of this, my sister knew my struggles. I shared with her what God was showing me and she was always encouraging me, pushing me and speaking life over me. She always reminded me that I had a voice and to use it even if it hurt her. She saw that by me always worrying about pleasing others; I lost myself and allowed others to control me. Even though she had her own struggles and giants she was facing, she has always been here for me. In my moments of frustration with her, she never walked away. She could have easily said “you’ll never get it,” and let me just deal on my own.

Sunflowers

 

She wasn’t aware, but through her healing journey, she was walking me through mine, as well.

The beautiful picture God was painting, were two women who chose to be covenant sisters; committed no matter our differences, failures or brokenness. We would be the hands and feet of Jesus to each other. We would love bigger, encourage one another, see the other the way God does and speak life over one another. We would witness each other step into all God has called us to be!

To those who are being a support system to someone who suffers with depression, anxiety or any kind of mental illness, here are a few things I learned along the way!

  • Don’t feel like you have to save them. Don’t take the burden of taking everything upon yourself. You will wear yourself out and find yourself in your own pit of despair.
  • Take care of your own emotional well-being. There may be moments where you need to have some time for yourself to just refresh.
  • See them through the eyes of Jesus. Separate the condition and see that is not them. It does not define them. I have always reminded my sister that the depression and anxiety isn’t who she is; it’s a thing that is on her, but not her.
  • They are not a project to be fixed! They are not a problem to be solved. You are not God!
  • Extend grace, love them. Encourage them, and most importantly speak life and the word of God over them. Do not give up on them! God doesn’t give up us!

I hope this helps and for more information on anxiety and depression, please visit www.adaa.org

You can also check us out at:
Facebook: Sunflower and Sunshine Blog

Instagram: Sunflowersunshine0506

E-Mail:Sunflowersunshine0506@gmail.com

HSBN.TV – Heart to Heart