I Just Want to Be Happy!

However, most of us try to figure out how to be happy on our own. We use what we know from our beliefs, mindsets, and experiences. If you grew up in a negative, hurtful, or abusive environment, you might have come to believe happiness is rare, circumstantial, and short-lived. Some of you may also believe you were not meant to or deserve to be happy from the messages and treatment you received from others.

All your messages, beliefs, and experiences have combined throughout your life to create your unique definition and understanding of happiness. Then it is filtered through your personality and tendency to be optimistic or pessimistic.

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What is the Love Chapter?

Without knowing God’s true meaning, I interpreted this chapter through the imperfect lens of my broken love experiences. My misguided understanding of love twisted my mindset. I saw love as me giving my all, while my spouse enjoyed it. I didn’t have equal expectations for the way he treated me. In this mindset, I saw the success or failure of my marriage as my sole responsibility. My one-sided and love-starved mindset and misunderstanding of God’s design for love and marriage made me vulnerable to become a victim of domestic abuse.

The primary trap for me was the illusion that my husband loved me, especially since I felt love-starved. The reason I stayed and kept trying to make my marriage work was my commitment to God in my marriage vows. I knew I had to give God and my husband my all. With my twisted understanding of love, I continued to be abused for thirteen years.

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What is Your Recipe for Love?

I never realized God created the perfect recipe, design, and aspects of love until I was in my thirties. No one ever told me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if no one told you. After several abusive marriages ending in divorce, I began to study the life of Jesus. He showed me his love is not a feeling. His pure love “is” the substance of all of God’s goodness and it “does” everything to honor Him, others, and yourself. Just as I needed the right ingredients to successfully bake mom’s cake recipe, I needed to know Christ’s recipe for love to live in each aspect.
Christ’s characteristics, words, and actions helped me understand what my thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions will look like when I love as he does. It also revealed what a marriage looks like in his design with gentleness, kindness, and selflessness. His love revealed the flaws I had unknowingly created in my definition of love.

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Who is Accountable for Blowing Up?

My mindset led me to accept it was “normal” for a woman to expect to be punished if she provoked her husband’s anger. The enemy loves to twist a strand of truth with rationalizations, excuses, and entitlement in your mind to justify why someone who professes to love you, would hurt you. I didn’t realize that my marriage focused on making my husband happy to avoid making him mad, instead of love. At this point in my life, I didn’t know about God’s design of love and marriage.

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Cutting Through the Confusion of Love

One of the hardest things for me to accept and practice was the reality that this list was meant for me to follow and it is also the standards for which I was to receive love from others. God’s second commandment for me to love others as I love myself placed the loving relationship between two people on equal standards.

Abuse is NEVER Pure Love

Jesus NEVER allowed anyone to abuse him until he gave himself to be the sacrifice for our sins. Being Christ-like is to imitate him. We are not called to let people abuse us but to love us in the pure substance of Christ’s love living in and flowing through us.

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You Have an Umbrella of Protection

There have been many times growing up when I wished I could have pulled out my umbrella to shield myself from the storms of life. Unlike my fun in the rain as a little girl, real-life challenges have proven to be anything but fun. They also seem to come in their timing and not by your choice. As a young adult, when I faced challenges, I tried to protect myself and to find my own solutions while praying for God to help me.

However, as I have grown in a deeper understanding of Christ through our evolving relationship, I realize he is my shield of protection. He needs to be the first thing I cling to and not my thoughts or plans. Jesus himself told us we would face trials on this broken earth in our imperfect bodies. Our trials help us see the depth of our faith and what we need to work on in partnership with him. When I dwell with Jesus and allow him to direct my steps, I can rest at peace in his provision, protection, and abounding love in the midst of life’s storms. Living in faith doesn’t mean that a storm will go away unless Jesus chooses to calm my storm. It means Jesus is my umbrella and I am never alone. As I hold on to him, he keeps my sight clear and focused on his love and solutions as we walk through the storms of life together.

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What Does it Mean to Know Jesus?

My revelation of knowing and trusting Jesus lives in me frees me to stop focusing on how I will live my day; to how Jesus and I, will live our day. I know my union with Christ isn’t some thought I choose to believe or proclaim, it is now my spiritual DNA. Once you KNOW there is no separation from Jesus; Christ becomes the point of origin for all your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Your motive in and through Christ is to come from his pure love.

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Who is the Superhero Living in You?

You may not be able to call down a thunderbolt from the sky or to shrink to the size of an ant or to deflect bullets from your bracelets of gold. However, you may have the superpower of friendliness, to talk to anyone because they feel comfortable with you. You may have the superpower of a generous heart, continually finding ways to bless people. You may have the superpower of laughter, making people laugh where ever you go. All of these are an example of specific superpowers most of us don’t even recognize. What would your life look like if you recognized and lived in your superpowers every day? How would your mind, relationships, and life change?

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Create Your Fresh Beginning

You cannot run before you roll over or crawl and you cannot skip the steps of healing. You will need to cross the paradigm bridge from where you are to your fresh beginning of living in Christ’s design of love. Your healing will be much like a chick breaking out of its shell or a butterfly breaking free from its cocoon.

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How Do You Handle Change?

If you struggle to embrace or adapt to change, I encourage you to investigate what makes you uncomfortable. As long as you are alive, you’ll never be free from change or challenges.

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