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Faith

Is it time yet, God?

 
 
Hi, friends!
 
So I was scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, and a meme caught my eye. I shared it on my author page because it resonated with me at the time. Thing is: I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind.
 
Here it is:
 
timepicforpost
 
Let that sink in.
 
We hear that God is never late. I believe it 100%.
 
But I’ve never considered that “God is never early.” That’s the part that has stuck with me.
 
I picture a timeline. If one point marks early and another point marks late, then there has to be a certain point on the timeline that is…
 

  • Right
  • Perfect
  • Exact
  • Precise
  • Dead-on

 
Think about the birth of Christ. Jesus didn’t come early to Earth. Neither did He come late. He came at the precise time. In the fullness of time.
 

 
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son. (Galatians 4:4)
 

 
When everything was as God wanted, Jesus made His entrance onto the stage called Earth. Nothing and no one could rush his birth. Nothing and no one could stop it from happening. Everything was as it should have been for His supernatural entrance.
 
 
Same with His death and resurrection.
 

 
He gave himself to pay for the sins of everyone. That was a witness given by God at just the right time. (1 Timothy 2:6).
 
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
 

 
And with the death of Lazarus (John 11:1-44). Although Jesus knew about Lazarus’ illness, He waited a while before visiting him. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead four days! Both of Lazarus’ sisters told him, “I wish you had been here! Then my brother would not have died.” Jesus replied, “Lazarus is dead. For your benefit, I am glad I was not there. Now you will believe.”
 
 
Friends, I’m going to be transparent here: I have several things I think God is late on in my life. But after seeing this meme, I wonder whether it’s still early for Him to shine. Is it still too early that we’ll think we figured things out on our own?
 
 
TimeYetGod
 
 
I feel like time is running out. But I know He is never late.
 
And now I know, He’s never early. He is on-time. Precise. Exact. Perfect.
 

 
The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ – eternal and glorious plans they are! – will have you put together and on your feet for good. (1 Peter 5:10)
 
Our suffering is light and temporary and is producing for us an eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
 
A thousand years to you are like one day; they are like yesterday, already gone, like a short hour in the night. (Psalm 90:4 2 Peter 3:8)
 

 
So … I wait. We wait. With hope and prayer and, many times, wavering faith.
 
And just when I think time is up…
 
 
 
Come alongside… Do you agree with God never being early? Why or why not? What are you waiting for? Does it feel like time is running out? How can you choose to believe that God will be on time? Please share with us in the box that says, “Leave a reply.” Remember you can reply anonymously.
 
 
 

Are you feelin’ it? You don’t have to.

 
Hi, friends!
 
It’s hard to encourage others when you yourself are discouraged. That’s where I’ve been lately.
 
Okaydiscouragedrev
 
Hey, this blog is about transparency, right? 😉
 
 
One thing I’m learning—sometimes, not very well—is that discouragement comes when I expect something and then don’t get it, when I long for something and it doesn’t come about. For most of us, wanting these things isn’t necessarily bad:
 
 

  • A job
  • A husband
  • A child
  • An improvement in health
  • A publishing contract (for my fellow writers out there!)

 
 
What to do?
 
 
It’s easy to tell someone to just put their eyes on Jesus. But when your bills stack higher than Mt. Everest, your biological clock is ticking, your health slides downward, or the publishing contract loses its way in the mail, it’s hard to get your eyes on anything other than what your heart desires.
 
 
That’s why I start with my heart.
 
 
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m a firm believer in acknowledging and processing my feelings. That’s how we heal and grow. It’s also how we experience the range of emotions God gave us. But if I stop there—with my heart, I will stay discouraged, maybe even dip into depression.
 
 
So I move from my heart to my mind, to what I know is true—even though I might not feel it.
 
 

  • I don’t feel loved, but I know God loves me (John 3:16).
  • I don’t feel like He’s listening, but I know He leans in close (Psalm 4:3).
  • I don’t feel like I have all I need, but I know He provides for me (Philippians 4:19).
  • I don’t feel like I have good things. But I know He gives me only the best (James 1:17).
  • I don’t feel like I’m going in the right direction. But I know He leads me (Psalm 143:10).
  • I don’t feel like I have anyone who stands up for me. But I know He protects me (Psalm 121:7).

 
 
It’s not “fake it ’til you make it.” It’s an “I don’t feel it. But I don’t have to because I know it!” Why?
 
 

Because I know my God. And I believe His word.

 
 
knowGodwordrev
 
 
See the difference? I’m not stuffing my feelings; I’m acknowledging them and reminding myself I don’t have to rely on them solely. I can rely on what—er, who—I know.
 
 
This is especially important for people who struggle with mental illness, especially depression, like me. Many times, I haven’t felt … anything. This is a daily thing for me. But it’s at those times, when I choose to rely on what I know about my God.
 
 
Start with your heart. And then move to your mind.
 
 
Don’t just feel it. Know it!
 
 
Come alongside… What are you not feeling lately? How can you know it? Share with us in the comments below.
 
 
 
 
 


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My Declaration of (In)Dependence

 
 

Happy 4th of July, everyone!

 
 
In the course of my life’s events, it became necessary for me to dissolve the emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual bands that connected themselves to me, and to receive the power of Almighty God which He freely offered me.
 

 
I now hold the truths of the Bible to be self-evident, that I am created in the image of God and that He has endowed me with certain inalienable rights. Among these are eternal life, earthly freedom, and the pursuit of Him, which leads to true happiness.
 
 

Such was my suffering, which led me to declare my independence:
 
 
 

For my 33 years, I struggled with whether I was truly saved. I had done all the “right” things in my Christian life—I had always been in church, but that’s all I remember. I had gone through seasons of certainty, where I said, “Yep, I’m good.” To seasons of uncertainty, “I’m not so sure.” Every time, I rationalized it away.
 
In 2009, I admitted I was not 100% certain I was saved. This troubled me more than ever, especially given all the growth and freedom I had experienced the previous five years in recovery. Still, I did not want to continue with this inner restlessness any longer. I wanted to be certain. I wanted to have the assurance and the memory that I had truly accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
 
On that Sunday afternoon, I realized that through all my life struggles, I had come to love God so much that it grieved my heart to even consider the possibility that He could look at me at the end of my days and say, “I don’t know you.” That thought alone was enough for me to take the biggest step in my recovery from codependency. I ignored all the self-criticism in those moments and the “What would people say?” Once and for all, I did it. I prayed to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior – at the age of 33, with my accountability partner by my side. I am now 100% certain that I will spend eternity with the Lover of my soul.
 
I believe that from the moment I was born to April 5th, 2009, God had been wooing me with his grace – that undeserved favor toward me, a sinner. On that day, I was finally at a place where I had come to love him more than anything. Swallowing my pride and making it official – no matter how foolish it might appear having grown up in the church – was my way of showing Him. The very next Sunday, I was proud and humbled to have my Pastor – Pastor Jay – baptize me as a public profession of my faith.
 

 
Therefore, I, Daphne Tarango, appealing to Almighty God in the name of my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, declare I am free and absolved from all allegiance to the enemy of my soul. All emotional, mental, physical, social, and spiritual connection between us is totally dissolved. I am a free person, and I pledge my life and my dependence to the One who came to set the captives free—Jesus, the Christ!
 
 

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). 

 
 
Come alongside… Tell us about the moment you declared your independence. What led you to make that decision?
 
 

7 Ways to Prevent–and Reverse–Relapse (Part 2 of 2)

In last week’s post, I introduced three of the seven ways we can prevent—and reverse—relapse in our recovery journeys.

 

 

7 Ways to Prevent and Reverse Relapse

Let’s recap…
 

 

R is for Reflect.

E is for Expose your triggers and plan your escape strategies.

L is for Look up and re-learn scripture passages.

 

 

I hope you’re already putting those into practice. I know I am!

 

 

 

Today, we’ll complete the acronym “RELAPSE” with the letters A, P, S, and E.

 

 

Here goes…

 

4. Activate your accountability partners

Our enemy wants us to stay silent and pretend all is okay. He wants us to keep our struggles to ourselves. Remember: Silence comes with a cost.

 

When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. (Psalm 32:3)

 

Silence pains us physically, emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually.

 

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone…. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble…. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

 

Accountability partners who struggle with similar issues can empathize with us, they can share what has worked for them, and they keep us on track with our recovery. They are there for us when we’re tempted to give in. Most importantly, they can pray for us.

 

If you haven’t talked to your accountability partner in a while, give him/her a call and catch up. If you don’t have an accountability partner, pray. Ask God to place someone on your heart and to lead you to the right person—someone of the same sex whom you can trust and share your struggles and victories—big and small.

 

 

5. Pray, pray, pray

We can do all of the above, and if we don’t pray to our Higher Power Jesus Christ, then we are still relying on our own power to get us through. Willpower will only get us so far. But listen to what prayer can do:

 

The Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays with groans too deep for words. (Romans 8:26)

 

“You will not succeed by your own power or strength. You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit,” says the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. (Zechariah 4:6)

 

Preventing—and reversing—relapse isn’t only a physical battle. It’s a spiritual battle for our daily freedom and, in many instances, our very lives. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons—weapons that only come from praying and spending time with God.

 

We do live in the world, but we do not fight in the same way the world fights. We fight with weapons that are different from those the world uses. Our weapons have power from God that can destroy the enemy’s strong places. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4)

 

We can destroy those strong places—those habits we keep gravitating toward—when we capture every sinful thought with our prayers and make them give up and obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

 

 

6. Share your story

What is your recovery story so far? Have you shared it? We can prevent relapse—and reverse it—when we share what God has done in our lives. It grows our faith, gives us hope to keep going, and increases the faith of those around us.

 

Many times, the best opportunities to share our stories come when we serve others—when we step outside of our own situations and focus on how we can help those who are also struggling. Each time we share our story with others, we take one more step to freedom and we help others to do the same.

 

Faith comes from listening to this message of good news — the Good News about Christ. (Romans 10:17)

 

They overcame because the Lamb gave his life’s blood for them [and] by giving witness about Jesus to others. (Revelation 12:11)

 

 

7. Evaluate regularly

I would love to say that if we do these things, we will never misstep, dear ones. But the reality is that we will make mistakes. The key to preventing—and reversing—relapse is to continue in our recovery marathon and to be intentional about evaluating our progress on a routine basis.

 

Ask God to reveal the habits that have snuck in and taken up residence in the hidden places of your heart and mind. Ask Him to show you the things in your life that He doesn’t like—and to help you live in the way that is always right (Psalm 139:23-24).

 

Remember: We started this marathon. Let’s finish it!

 

Strip down, start running–and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed–that exhilarating finish in and with God–he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (Hebrews 12:1-3)

 

 

Come alongside…What steps can you take today to prevent—or reverse—relapse?

 

Ooh, a Shortcut…. Not So Fast!

“Momma, momma, why can’t we just take the shortcut?” asked my four-year-old on the way to the doctor. He saw the doctor’s office in the distance and must’ve figured that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line—why not just take it?

 

“Because…”

Longwayrev

 

 

I maneuvered the twists and turns through the medical complex as I tried to think of an answer he could understand.

 

“Sometimes we have to take the long way to get where we’re going.”

 

“But it’s just right there.”

 

“I know. But sometimes we can’t take shortcuts. There might be things we need to see on the long way—maybe something we need to learn.” Like patience, I told myself.

 

Isn’t that like life? Sometimes we’re in a situation for much longer than we anticipated.

 

  • Singleness.
  • Illness.
  • Unemployment.
  • Any type of life transition.

 

Like my son, we might say, “Why can’t we just take a shortcut, Lord?” Or, “Why is this taking so long, Lord?” Or, “How long, Lord?”

 

We’ve all been there.

 

Today, I want to remind you about the Israelites.

 

When the king sent the people out of Egypt, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was the shortest way.

 

God said, “If they have to fight, they might change their minds and go back to Egypt.” So God led them through the desert toward the Red Sea.

 

The Israelites were dressed for fighting when they left the land of Egypt. The Lord showed them the way; during the day he went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud, and during the night he was in a pillar of fire to give them light.

 

In this way they could travel during the day or night. The pillar of cloud was always with them during the day, and the pillar of fire was always with them at night. (Exodus 13:17-22).

 

Dear one, God has a reason for taking you the “long” way. Be assured, that despite how long you’ve been in your situation, He is with you, and He will show you the way. He has not left you.

 

Sometimes it is frustrating to have to take the long route, but remember: We might not understand the road we travel, but we can rest that the Lord will direct our steps (Proverbs 20:24). He has good and perfect gifts in store for us (James 1:17).

 

 

Come alongside… What situation do you find yourself in today? How long have you been there? How can you trust God’s plan for you?

 


 

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Affiliate Disclosure

Daphne Tarango is a participant in affiliate programs with Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, DaySpring, Church Source, Hazelden, Christian Strong (via Conversant and ShareASale). These advertising services are designed to provide a means for sites like DaphneWrites.com to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to said merchants. Some images and articles may contain links to products on merchant sites. Should you choose to make purchases through those links, please understand that I will receive a small commission. Please do not feel like you need to use these links to make any purchases. The links are only for your convenience. Thank you.

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