Do You Believe?

“Do you believe?” A question that represents the most important part of our lives. What you believe is a way of life and what/who you choose to put your faith in is the leader of your life. As human beings, it is so easy to cheat, to steal, to lust, etc. The world around us is so full of lies that it is torturing us mentally, emotionally, and physically every day. It was John that said,

“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father  is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

All of our life we get pushed by those who came before us. Do this, do that. This is the order you live your life. This is how you dress and act. If you listen, you’ll end up unhappy and in a life you never wanted. However, if you don’t listen you’ll still end up that way. What does that tell you? There is only one voice that matters when it comes to your well-being. That voice does not belong to anyone that is around you, nor does it belong to anyone that is of the world.

It’s that soft breeze that comes through the trees and cools you on a hot summer day. The refreshing water that flows around your body and makes you clean. It’s the voice that can cause hurricanes, move the ground through an earthquake, and sweep everything bane up with a tornado. This incredible voice belongs to someone who is so indescribable that no human, angel, or demon can fathom it. He goes by the name of God.

God created you and because he loved YOU so much, he came to earth and walked with us. He taught us, he loved us, he saved us. He shed his blood so that we would all love the opportunity to come to him and have no worries, no sadness, no torture.  So knowing that someone who is so infinite loves you, what is your belief system? Who do you allow to lead your life? Is it a savior, or is it yourself?

In the movie “Do You Believe” Twelve people face challenges in their lives where they have to make a choice between their will or God’s. Fortunately enough God wanted all their souls and what God wants, he gets. From putting everything they’ve worked for on the line to helping their enemy and even facing death, these twelve people went through it all.

I filled with so much emotion as I watched this that I started questioning my faith. What do I believe? How do I believe it? And I realized that I had become like the church of Ephesus: I’d forgotten my first love. I had put my video games, me relationship, and my job before God. I had forgotten that my life only goes according to plan when I put his will above my own. All I am and all I have has come from my creator: God. It was through Jesus that my life changed. When he isn’t in my line of vision I go back to being who I was before and that isn’t cool.

I had become like the church of Laodicea: I was lukewarm and I didn’t want to believe it. I’d stopped praying, and when I did pray it was to ask for something. I wasn’t praising him and wouldn’t listen to anyone who tried to talk to me about it because I had become so prideful that I believed my faith was too strong to break. I was a Pharisee and I knew it needed to change.

If you need to feel God’s love, if you want to feel appreciation for God, or if you need a wake-up call. If you need a reason to keep going this movie is the one to see because you will not walk away unchanged. I pray that no one will walk away untouched. I pray that every heart turns and becomes more compassionate, more loving, more generous, and more merciful when it’s watched and I pray that you lift your eyes and your hands to the heavens and just say, “Jesus, I believe.”

Is God Real?

Is there a creator of this perfect design that we live in, or do we exist because of a random event? Were we planned, or were we just an accident? If there is a god, who is he? What is he about? Where is he?

During the last couple of weeks, I wasn’t sure what to write about. Nothing was getting on my nerves and I wasn’t finding anything cool that I wanted to share. However, today during my dad’s sermon I got the urge to write a blog about God’s existence. Normally I wouldn’t think anything of it, but this time was different because He wasn’t leading me to scripture, he wasn’t leading me to quotes or any biblical history at all. He was telling me to write what I know.

And it dawned on me. When I first got saved, I knew very little about the Bible. I knew that God made the world, Noah had an ark, Moses freed the Jews, Jesus died on the cross and that one day He would come back. So the way that I saw to people was through telling them what God had done in my life. Over the last couple of years, I’ve shied away from telling my story and used more scripture and history which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, sometimes I forget that the correct proof we have of God’s existence is what He has done for us. So here it is. This is my proof.

There are two types of people: those who get saved as easily as hearing a conversation in a restaurant or seeing a bible track (those tiny pamphlets that people leave in random places). Then there are people like me: hard-headed and stubborn. To admit you can’t do it by yourself, you have to fall apart.

I grew up in a family that was sort of everywhere in faith. Mom’s side enforced Jesus and Church where my dad’s side believed but didn’t enforce it as an actual way of life. My mom instilled Christian morals and a how-to guide on walking like Jesus in me when I was really young, and when I moved in with my dad I started to forget about all that stuff. God became background noise until, eventually, He didn’t exist to me at all. “I don’t know” was always my answer when asked about my faith.

When I turned sixteen I discovered paganism and was completely taken by it. I loved how creative and different it was, and I had never felt so spiritual in my life. It was finally something that I could lean on. Symbols and their meanings were something I studied. I also knew the names and powers of stones, runes, and different plants and herbs. I meditated while chanting the names of gods, I went into the woods and did rituals, I called upon the powers of the elements and deities, and I praised them. Pentagrams and talismans were things I wore every day. “Witch” is what I called myself.

There are people who will swear up and down to me that magic isn’t real, but 10 out of 10 times I will swear up and down to them that it is because I have experienced it. It changed me. I had real power that no one else could experience the way I could. Lives and relationships changed because of me and I found it funny.

Right after I graduated high school I started seeing this guy that was not good for me and my life turned upside down. He got into my head by becoming the guy he knew I wanted, but he only pretended. After he got my heart, he controlled everything. My head, my heart, my body, my money, my social media, when I could go somewhere, who I go with, who I talk to. I wasn’t allowed to eat (he stayed at my job to make sure I didn’t eat there) or sleep (if I fell asleep he’d wake me up every hour). He made horrible comments to me that degraded me as not only a woman but as a human being. I was nothing to him and he made sure that I knew it.

He told me that no one would ever love me like he loved me. I was too crazy, I talked too much, and I didn’t know what I was doing. His control was something I needed so that I didn’t do anything wrong. I was lucky that he loved me. In just four months my confidence didn’t exist, I was nearing anorexia and so sick with depression that I was basically just a vegetable that stared off into space. My brain physically felt fried.

I still remember the night that I got down on my knees. There wasn’t a candle or chanting. I didn’t do anything fancy. I said, “I don’t know what faith is right and what faith is wrong. Whoever is up there, I need help because I don’t know what to do. I’ve lost everything that is me.” Then the most incredible series of events started happening. The next night, my best friend randomly decided to come see if I was working that day for no reason other than he thought about me. I hadn’t seen him in over a month because of the tight leash I was on. After the conversation we had that night, I could feel my attitude coming back. It was just enough for me to remember what life was like before having an abusive boyfriend.

A couple of days later, we were out taking a walk and he made a vulgar comment to me and instead of cowering and taking it, I punched him in the face and just walked away. He did nothing. There were a couple more occasions that proved to me that he was more afraid of me than I was of him. When I realized he tore me down and ruined my life because he felt small compared to me, I got mad. This anger didn’t go away. Finally, the tables turned and he couldn’t touch me mentally, emotionally, or physically.

After awhile, I left him (which is a story I could tell by itself). The next month I was having to deal with stalking, harassment, and threatening phone calls and text messages which all ended in a restraining order. But just because I saved myself from that relationship, didn’t mean it was over. I couldn’t run from my own thoughts and he had done a number to my head.

I still remember when Stephen picked me up the night I left him. We went to a restaurant and I when I looked in the mirror I didn’t recognize myself. I didn’t feel like it was my body or my brain. When I went into my house and looked at my room it felt weird. It was like I was intruding on the old me’s personal space. My books, my clothes, my posters…none of it felt like it was mine. The next day I deep cleaned and rearranged my room. I was no longer that person.

For three months after I struggled with my thoughts. I looked through pictures, memory books, old journals and pieces of writing. Anything I could to remember what I was like before that relationship. I was angry at him, at myself, at the world. When I was alone I would sit on the floor or on my bed staring into space, convulsing because the thoughts were too much, the visuals of torture and murder wouldn’t leave my mind. I filled with sorrow and hate. I hated everyone and everything and I especially hated him. It was a long three months.

March 7, 2013, is a day that I am very proud of. My mom was back in Florida and remarried. While I was feeling all of that pain, I was also seeing Christianity for what it really was. That day I asked my mom if we could watch bible movies and she was ecstatic. We ended that day with The Passion of the Christ and that night I asked Jesus into my heart because I felt so alone. I had tried to move on, but I just couldn’t do it by myself.

In that moment, my life had changed. I felt a warmth around me like I was being held. All those awful thoughts and images went away and I didn’t feel sorrow, or hate, or anger. I was different the day after God showed me the person he needed me to be.

I still struggled in relationships with my family, friends, and boyfriends. But now I am completely healed. I use my story to mentor others and it has been really helpful. I don’t regret that relationship. In fact, it’s one of my best ones in my opinion. I am such a different person because of it and I love the new me. I learned how to love and be loved and how to forgive and be forgiven, among many other lessons. For example, I’ve been with this cutie for almost two years and thank God every day for giving me someone who is so wonderful to me. We have our moments, but I don’t remember how I lived without him.

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“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. or those God foresaw he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:28-29

There is no way to describe God in words. He is infinite and is there with you where ever you are no matter what you are doing. God is always giving love and wisdom to His people regardless of if they deserve it. He doesn’t wish for anything bad to happen, and He doesn’t make those things happen either. He begs us to not do anything hurtful to ourselves or other people and guides our lives hoping that we will let Him.

"Success doesn't start with what others can do for you or if your talent will be discovered. It starts with you and what you'll do with your talent.