Identity · Life

Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

“God, Why me?”  A question we often ask ourselves.  A question I used to hate God over. “Why God? Why did I have to go through that?”  The thought that God is all powerful and all knowing yet, He won’t save a child from a terrible situation.  This turns most away from God.  However, in my case, it was the cornerstone that brought me to God.  I want to share with you my answer.

“Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?”

First of all, you are not a good person.  We have all fallen short from the glory of God.  We are all sinners, and we were born into sin.  We are all “bad” people.  The Kindergarten teacher in me would like to change this to say; Our flesh is weak, and we make some bad choices.  So lets change the question;

“Why do bad things happen to people?” 

I don’t know.  I  can’t give you the exact answer.  I have had this question so many times: Why did my grandma have to die so young?  Why did that boy forced himself on me?  Why did they leave me?  Why was horrible sexual acts done to me when I was a child?  I don’t know all the answers to even my questions.  I know this is not the answer you wanted to hear, but this is the only answer anyone can give thats not God.  However I do know that all of these horrible things led me to where I am now.  All of these horrible things made me who I am.  These things are the very things that have grown my faith and brought me to know the love of God.

God did not do these awful things, but yes he could have intervened.  He could have sent legions of angels down to protect me from that boy.  He could have healed my grandma on her death bed.  He could have protected me when I was child.  Yes, I know who God is and I know he could have done miraculous things to get me out of EVERY circumstance.  But as my Father, he knew I would have to overcome those battle to win my future battles.  The not knowing and thinking God did this to us is one of hardest things for many to overcome.  I have heard it before, “If your God is God then why would he do this?”  I know.  I have asked him many times myself, but what I have come to realize is that we won’t ever see the victory from the battle, if we get stuck in the battlefield.  The battlefield is this victim mentality of the “whys” and “hows”.  Stop.  Nothing can change what has happened.  I wish I could change it for you and myself, but I can’t.  Yes, this world is awful and full of sin with sinful and bad people and ultimately bad things will happen.  However,  the bad things were NOT put on you by God.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming from the Father,”  Pain, circumstance, problems, trouble is not from God.  God is good and perfect and only brings good gifts. We may not see or understand what he is up too but, He has a plan for your battles.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  So are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty.  But it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”      – Isaiah 55: 8-11

“I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.    -Jeremiah 29:11-14

Have hope in yours battles. Get up and walk off the battlefield.  God has a bigger and greater story planed for you.  You are chosen and precious child of God.  You are victorious!

Life

The Call

The enemy will tell you what can’t be done, and all the reasons why you can’t do them.  The fact is: God used unqualified people to do extraordinary things. 

What if the desire to accomplish something bigger than ourselves was put there by God.  The stirring for more was placed to drive us forward into a deeper and wider relationship with God.  That crazy seed of thought that was bigger than yourself… What if that was God?  

The what if is what keeps your feet firmly planted where they always have been.  The fact is: all the what ifs do not accomplish anything.  They keep you grounded to the world.  “I don’t have money, social status, influence, I am a woman.”  The list of lies goes on and one.  They are lies to keep you in a box of small.  Do not let seeds of doubt grow over the seeds that God has placed in you and for you. We spend so much time trying to discern the things God has for us that we get stuck waiting and missing the very things that God has planned for us.  Maybe all we have to do is be obedient with what God has already given us.  Obey and let God worry about all the details.

 

 

Life

Soul Detox: Its All In My Mind

The last time I wrote I left you with a challenge;  To examine your heart and body and fully reject what is interrupting the life you want to live.  Since I last wrote, I have lost 6 of the 15 pounds I have gained during my vacation.  The first 5 is always pretty easy,  but this is where the hard part begins.  On my diet I gave up what was easy for me.  I chose to not eat out and planned healthier meals at home.  Decrease my carb and sugar intake.  The normal diet things.  However  I have let my mind ruin my results.  

“Thought is the sculptor who can create the person

you want to be.” – Henry David Thoreau

My mind has controlled my success.  I lay in bed looking at the pile of workout clothes I laid out the night before.  I already made the plan in my mind that I would wake up early and go to the gym.  But as I lay in bed my mind begins its deceit.  “You can just walk Bella instead.”,  “Just go back to bed, you can just work around the house today.”  These thoughts do not seem bad, but they are twisting my good plan for myself.  The one that will help take off the 9 pounds I have let.

How many times does are own thoughts destroy and or impact the good things God has in store for us?

“For as [a person] thinks in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.””  – Jeremiah 17: 9-10

“Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life” – Proverbs 4:23

As a christian I am fully aware of the battle between flesh (earthy desires) and spirit (heavenly desires).  But I believe I have become lazy in my everyday thoughts.  What if the everyday little things I do impacts this “battle” the bible refers too.  What if  by not taking control of my everyday thoughts I am allowing the “flesh” to grow stronger, and inturn I  am allowing the enemy of my soul to have control over the little everyday things which can lead to big things?  What if one negative thought can plant a seed that impacts the very plan God has for me?

What if controlling my mind to do something small like working out, overtime impacts the big plans God has for me.

“One who is faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large  ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”  – Luke 16:10 

God, help me have control over the little.  My mind is weak and it impacts my heart.  I want the everyday little things to glorify you.  I want to be faithful in the little.  God I want to know your thoughts of me.  Help me this week gain control over my mind.  May this word bless me, but another to grow closer in you.  Amen. 

 

Soul Detox

Life

Body & Soul Detox

I just got back from my first cruise on the Carnival Breeze.  I went to three different countries; Grand Cayman Islands, Mexico, and Jamaica. Processed with VSCO with a5 preset Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would ever see an ocean so blue, vast, and never ending.  I snorkeled  with stingrays at Grand Cayman,  saw the diversity of Jamaica, and laid on the beach in Cozumel.  The excursions were wonderful!  The cruise itself had an amazing view, service, shows, activities, and food.  Overall I loved my first cruise experience all but the motion sickness and the 15 pounds I gained.  Ahh!  Yes, you heard me, 15 pounds!  Usually on vacation I am used to gaining a couple pounds give or take, but I have never gained this much so fast.  At 28, I find I gain weight quicker and it is getting harder and harder to lose.  It is time for some serious DETOX!

 

Detox by definition, is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.  I need this, but not just a detox of my body, but in my soul.  I feel the older I get the harder it is to change unhealthy behaviors and or habits.  It is easier to feel stuck and stagnant with myself and the Godly relationship I crave.  I want to be better, healthier.  I want to detox my life.   I know I am not the only one that feels this way.  Everyone wants to be a better version of themselves.  No one wants to be over weight or feel stagnant in their relationships, or even feel stuck in unhealthy habits that you always want to change but never do.   I’m convinced that no one wants to feel trapped by an unhealthy lifestyle that has the potential to harm themselves and those they love most.  However like myself,  I can physically see that my body needs to change,  but what of my spiritual healthy?  I want this passionate and consistant relationship with God.  I want to please him, and I believe in him, but there is something amiss that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe, I need to detox my body and soul.

 

Day 1: Cleaning Out  IMG_2386

  • Whats holding me back from reaching this pinnacle relationship with God?
  • Whats is hurting my personal relationships? 
  • What is holding me back from losing weight? 

Its hard that the answer to all of these is myself.  I am selfish, lazy, and I am filled with excuses.  We live in a culture that focuses on I, that we lose sight of Him.  “We become scarred and desensitized to whats right and wrong, good and evil, life-giving and life-draining, we lose sight of our first love.” (Groeschel, 2012, p.13).   Everything matters.  Everything we do, everywhere we go, Everything we say should reflect our love and commitment to Christ.  Everything matters, just like a physical diet.  What we put in our bodies reflects what comes out.  Everything we allow our minds to think and see and how we focus our time effects our heart and our lives.  Everything matters and impacts the growth we so desperately want.

Now what?

When I start a diet I have to rid myself and cleanse my body of harmful toxins that will effect my cravings.  I started my physical diet Monday.  I started clean eating.  I started clean myself of all the crap I’ve put into my body during that amazing vacation.  The same needs to be done with my soul.  I don’t like what Ive been putting into my mind, heart, and life and it has effected my relationship with my first love, and my second.  I want to be better.  I want a better relationship with God.  I want more.  The more I yearn for as always been God and can only be filled by God.

Only God can restore and detoxify our soul.  I most start with repentance.

 

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me

Amen.

-Psalm 51:2, 7, 10, 12

 

Don’t stop until you are who you want to be.

Love, Caitlyn

 

Soul Detox  The Challenge : Join me in reading

Soul Detox by Criag Groeschel

Life

Truth

All day people will tell you who they think you are. They have an image of you, labels that they will try to stick on you. But you have always been more than their words, and more than their labels. You have always been more than what even you think you are. The truth is you don’t even know the real potential God has for you, because you have set limitations from what people have said about you. Fact is, God is the only opinion you will ever need. He has created you and knows you more than you know yourself. You are His daughter and son and that is all you will ever need!!

“He found him in a desert land, and in the hvowling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,”

Deuteronomy 32:10-11

Life

I Am A Teacher In Oklahoma

Today is Day 8 of the teacher walkout in Oklahoma.  The easier part in all of this, would be to go back to school.  I work in Mustang, Oklahoma and everyday that we use after our built in snow days will have to be made up.  I receive salary pay that is spread out through 12 months so I can get paid during the summer when school is not in session.  I am only paid for the my contract hours worked and no more.
AB870DFD-8B2D-4A63-A36D-DFD9210A04DF.JPGI work two jobs and I also bake cakes on the side.  With all of this my Husband’s salary would still be considered our primary income.  Before I was married I lived with my mom, because I could not support a house and car payment with my teacher salary.  I tell you this to give you a sense of my life as an Oklahoma teacher.
Now on Day 8, Mustang has relinquished all of their snow days.  Today is marked as day that will have to be made up so I can get paid and our school can receive funding.  Today it would have been easier to just go back to school.  To go back into my classroom of 25 Kindergarteners, but I chose not to give up for something I stand for.  Yesterday like many days before I went to the capitol to rally for Education.  I stood with thousands of educators, students, supporters, and parents to rally in hope of  more funding for our schools.  The turnout and support has been overwhelming, but witnessing the lack of concern from the senate or the house diminished my hopes.  The house voted to not even hear the three bills up for education.  As they continue to “wait us out” there is no change.
leg
I am tired and disappointed.  As negative thoughts weigh heavy in my mind and that of many educators, somehow a spark of resiliency starts to kindle down deep.  Resilience is one of the many qualities of an Oklahoma teacher.  
God pressed on me this weekend, “I will never fall or fail you. If you know why you’re standing, you cannot fall.” 
I know why I stand,
I stand for the past.
I stand for the future.
I stand for the present.
I stand for the 25 Kindergarteners I have in my classroom.
I stand for the programs, supplies, technology that they don’t have.
I stand for the growing number of students that have been crammed into my classroom over the years.
I stand for my mom, a teacher of 22 years with a masters.  That had to teach 20 years to reach 40,000.
I stand for the years I watched her work.  A single mom of three;  She worked two to three jobs to support us.
My mom wanted a different career when she started, but she chose this career for us, for them.
I stand here as a teacher because of her passion for kids, because of the lives I saw her change.
I stand for my own future kids that I can’t afford to have on a teachers salary.
I stand here for God, He has placed a calling and passion for children.
I stand because I can’t imagine another profession.
I stand here for you, for teachers, who feel like they can’t stand.
I stand for the oppression that has crippled education in our state!!
I know why I stand,
Just try to move me.  My feet has been placed on the Rock.  It cannot be shaken.
If you know why you are standing you cannot fall!!
Identity · Life

Be Humble

I saw a quote from Daniel Radcliffe, He was being interviewed on Larry King about the final Harry Potter movie, and his role in these epic films:  “I always knew that anyone who was given this role would have the same fame.  It was never about me.  It was about this franchise.  I was simply a part of something bigger.” 

I thought of my part in God’s story.  Our part.  I thought of the fact that my restlessness with my role in God’s story has left me complacent.  Ive put more emphasis on my role than the bigger picture.  Within my own restless heart my words often start with, “My calling” or  “My dream.”  Yes,  I believe God is the dream maker and he stirs our hearts and calls us, but I believe sometimes we get so caught up in what our role is that we forget to chase the one thing that fulfills are very dreams and calling.  A complete shift in our mindset needs to take place before we will ever be fulfilled.  It has never been about me or you.  It is about God.  God is the only one that can tame our restless hearts.  The seeking for more can only be found in the ‘bigger picture’, God.  One thing I know without a doubt is my personal fulfillment is only found when I am involved in something bigger then myself, something for the good of others.

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”  – Proverbs 16:9 ESV

God, I pray for humility.  Help me humble myself to your will.  I can establish my own plan but your plans will all ways prevail.  Help me focus on the big picture and instead of trying to plan out my role.  God you are my  big plan.  Anyone that reads this I ask that you direct their paths and establish your plans in them. Help grow us into beautiful servants of your ministry.  Amen

Life

God is in your Boat

Peace by definition means, “freedom from war”,  Think about that for a minute.  Worry, stress, anxiety, fear…none of these things are from God.  They are from the enemy, an enemy that is in a battle for your soul.  A war is raging and God offers you Peace.

Read Mark 4:35-41, I love this verse, Jesus wakes up, calms the storms with just a word, and then calls the disciples out.  “Why are you such cowards?  Don’t you have any faith at all?”  Looking at this situation as an on looker, You honestly think the disciples are dumb dumbs.  The son of the living God is in your boat!  Your not going to drown. But how many times have we been in a storm, and all we can think is “I’m going to drown, don’t you care God?”  The whole time he is looking down saying, “I’m in your boat, dumb dumb.”

Peace is not the absence of conflict or trouble, but rather a calm understanding inside that lets you know that God is in control no matter what the circumstances around you may be.  It is easy to look around and be worried or anxious about the bad things that you see.  The bible tells us that not to worry (Matt 6:25-34), but instead talk to God about the worries you have, and He will give you peace that passes all understanding.

Amen.

Featured photo credz to Luca Bravo!

Life · New Years Resolution

You Will Need More Than Willpower to Conquer that New Year’s Resolution

It’s a New Year with a fresh start!  I can start eating better.  I can read my bible more!  I can spend more time with family.  I can be better than I was last year… This is always the New Years mentality.  I find the New Year even giving me a surge of determination.  With this new sense of drive, I find myself asking, why?

Why do I wait for passing year for a “fresh start”?  I  always have that option no matter the time of year.  I find that this fresh start has always been possible.  A fresh start or A New Year’s Resolutions is always possible with God.  I find that no matter how great the resolution,  I will always fail.  I’m human.  My own willpower will never be enough.  I believe if I want my resolution to last it needs to have something more then my human willpower backing it up.  Lets face the facts,  My willpower will only last me so far into this new year, and the minute things start getting hard willpower checks out.  Willpower is fueled by my mind, will, and emotions.  If I really don’t want to go to the gym my mind will give plenty of excuses not to go.  “I just ate.”  “My knee is killing me.” “I think chasing  Little Johnny on the playground counted as cardio.”  The mind is deceitful above all things.  Fact is I am instructed to be spirit-led, not willpower-led (Meyer, 2007).  My soul’s (mind, will, emotions) determination can only drive me so far, but I’m going to need God’s Spirit to get me to my goal.  Zechariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.”  #spiritpower

So instead of the normal New Year’s hype determining my motivation,  I’ll rely on God’s Power to drive me through the long months ahead.  Jesus did say in John 15:5, “Apart from me you can do nothing.”

God, I need you.  I need you in this year to come.  I need your spirit to guide and grow me into the woman you are calling me to be.  My soul is weak without  you.  Help me beat my flesh in 2018.  Be my willpower!  Help me to fix my eyes on you in my weakness.  

 

This inspired me this week.  On the bible app Joyce Meyer has a 14 day devotional from her book, New Day, New You.  I am really enjoying it!  Check it out!!