Before & After

21 Apr

There was a person that I used to be. That person was a cheater, liar, mean and hateful, spiteful and vengeful, and all kinds of other things. I was not a good anything. I was going through life selfishly worrying about what I needed.

Enter Christ, stage left.

I came to Christ at a very low point in my life. And since getting a new start by becoming a Christian and putting all my faith into Jesus, I have been able to walk a new path.

Yet, some still doubt my change. They believe that who I am is still who I was. I was made new in Christ. I am not that girl who hurt people. I am not that girl who intentionally is bad. I still make mistakes. I still trip up and falter on the path I’m on. I’m human. I’m allowed to. By God’s good grace and mercy I am able to repent and truly try to walk faithfully again.

There are times when the devil will approach me in human form, trying to bring my past back up. Trying to say, God remembers all your mistakes, all your dirt, and all you’ve ever done.

Devil, you may try to use people to remind me of who I was, but God will let them see who I am now. The devil is a liar and will try to confuse your thoughts to make you think you’re not worthy. He will use people to make you think that the dark spots in your life are there permanently, or hidden underneath a certain false facade. But you better know, like I know, we are made clean in the blood of Christ. He didn’t die for us that we may be depressed about our circumstances. We are not to dwell on who we were. Sure, we don’t forget where we came from, but rejoice in the new person you are in Christ.

When the world wants to remind you of a past that isn’t perfect, remember this:

God made you perfect. Perfect for your purpose. He is still molding you. He is the potter. You are the clay. Remember that you don’t live for the world. You live for God. You don’t live for the people who want to trip you up on what you once were. Be reminded and comforted that the Lord has cast your sins as far from the east is from the west. Your sins are forgotten and you are forgiven by God. People may not forgive you, but are they the ones who are blessing you abundantly? Are they pouring out blessings from the Windows of heaven for all you do for God’s kingdom? No, right?

So pick your head up, child. You are loved by an awesome, merciful God. He’s the one you need to please. You can talk to people about how you’ve changed but nothing speaks louder than actions. Don’t waste your breath trying to convince unbelievers of who you are in Christ. Just live right, live for God and glorify Him in all you do.

I’m glad you knew the person I was back then and all that I was. You can and will see the difference in who I am now. And even if you don’t, I know who I am in Christ who strengthens me, and I don’t need your approval. I am a kings daughter. His approval is all I need ever again… the rest will follow accordingly.

So if you think it hurts to tell me who I was, well, it just reminds how far I’ve come in my walk… and I laugh and smile because I’m truly filled with joy.

Don’t let anyone steal your joy. You are blessed and fearfully and wonderfully made by God. That’s enough to know that the opinion of men is the least of your worries.

God bless you all, and be encouraged that God is amazing and can do great things with even the least of us.

Athena ❤

I Have Enough.

17 Apr

This morning, I woke up and picked up my phone. Scrolled through emails and opened up a daily devotional I have that comes in every morning.

It was about having enough. Knowing what you already have is enough. Sometimes we sit in our house and it’s not so new anymore. She focused on her carpet in this instance… my carpet could desperately use a cleaning and I do think about how nice it would be to have new carpet or a bigger house or better furniture… but that’s not the point of writing this.

I can look on Instagram and Facebook and see my friends getting flowers from their boyfriends or their boyfriends posting #womancrushwednesday photos of them and think, “Hmm, my boyfriend hasn’t done that in a really long time.”

My boyfriend hasn’t bought me flowers in a long time. I think the last time was Mother’s Day. But then I start to feel sad, and not enough because some other girl is getting flowers and I haven’t. Or he doesn’t plaster me all over his social media praising my name all over to shout to the world his adoration of me (second to God, of course) and I get discouraged… maybe I’m not pretty enough. Maybe he doesn’t look at me like that anymore.

Honestly, my boyfriend has never been the one to be over-the-top on expressions of love outwardly on a public platform. He’s a private guy, so I know this and I don’t get why I sometimes feel like “woe is me” over stuff I’m used to.

I have enough.

God provided me with a man who focuses on our priorities, not plastering things all over social media. He gets business taken care of. I don’t ever have to worry if he’s coming home after work or if he’s out involved in some nonsense.

He loves me. Some days, our relationship gets tested, but we I communicate and get him to open up about stuff if something seems off in the home. We don’t hide anything.

So what if that guy gives her flowers every day, I have a man who takes care of my children as his own especially when I have to work late. So what if they went on a fancy vacation, I have a great home and we do other events and fun stuff. Vacations will come eventually. So what if they look happy, we don’t know what they can be struggling with. We don’t know if that girl trusts that man completely and effortlessly.

We see exes and get sad, like that should have been me. No. If it was supposed to be you, it would have worked out. Maybe God had to take that out of your way to get you on the right path. Maybe it wasn’t for you. We get so caught up on someone else’s happiness that we forget why we got out of it in the first place. He didn’t want to be a step-dad, or she wouldn’t give up her drinking and club-going lifestyle.

We see our enemies living successful lives, but we don’t know how they got there. We don’t know who they walked all over, who they cut off to get where they are.

What I do know is, I have enough. I have exactly what God has provided me and I am happy in my life. Sure, flowers would be nice once in a while, but I’m really not a flower person. My boyfriend knows me. And I’m sure if he knows how to surprise me it would be a stationary related-gift (hint hint). Or jewelry… I’ll take jewelry. Or a new bible. But he knows how to get to me.

My house may not be a mansion, but its my home with my kids and my future fiancee. It is what we built together as a team. For me to think that this is not enough is to diminish all that he does for us. To say that he isn’t enough and that’s just not true. Some days, we go through the motions. Busy days, kids homework, dinner, laundry, bible study, bedtime routines. But when I lay my head down at night, I know I am in great hands with the man I’m choosing to spend the rest of my life with.

Don’t let the shoulda-coulda-woulda’s make you feel like your life isn’t enough. It is. So long as you change your perspective.

Maybe it’s just time to rent a carpet cleaner and get that carpet back in shape. Maybe it’s time to congratulate the ex on his new relationship (in your heart, not in person… that’s a whole other blog) or maybe be thankful you don’t have that job the other successful person has because you know that it truly is work you’re not even cut out for.

Be thankful for your life. God gave you this life.

You didn’t marry the wrong guy. You didn’t buy the wrong house. You didn’t choose the wrong career. Look at all your experience as a positive tool to help you through your next step in God’s process.

I have enough. You have enough. Don’t look at someone else’s circumstances and think you have less. The devil is a liar and he will make you think it’s all nice and shiny, but it isn’t. Don’t give up on your enough because of a difficult circumstance. Fight harder to make it all that you thought it would be when you chose it. Clean the carpet. Rekindle the romance. Take pride in your dead end job. Do it for the glory of God. It’ll change your attitude dramatically.

You are enough. God made you enough. Trust it.

God bless you all until next time and always,

Athena ❤

A Brief Thanks!

17 Apr

Hey ladies and gentlemen! Thanks for stopping by again for another dose of my writing. I truly do want to take a moment to stop and thank you for taking time out of your lives to read some of my musings. It means the world to me that you find some entertainment, hope, or even advice in my writings.

Please take the time to drop a comment or even a note on any of my blogs for encouragement and even some help. Thank you all so very much for your continued support on my little blog, my love of writing, and a desire to share with the world what I’ve learned in my life.

Nothing is ever wasted. My experiences can help others and I truly want to be a blessing to anyone who stops by.

God bless you all,

Athena ❤

Sometimes, No is a Good Thing

16 Apr

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you could cry when you didn’t get it?

Like, when you are a little one and you want a piece of cake, but mommy says no? You know, you don’t care that it will ruin your appetite for dinner, or you already had a piece earlier. It’s not important that mommy doesn’t want you to be unhealthy and allow you to eat whatever is not good for you, but you want cake! And you must have it NOW.

We don’t appreciate what our parents do for us when we are that young. I am constantly saying no to my children to things that they do not need. Or what can hurt them. I say yes when it is merited, but when I say no it’s because there is a very good and sane reason for why they shouldn’t have it.

God is the same way.

I have wanted things in my life that could have led me down terrible paths. But God said, “No, my dear child. That is not for you.” Did I want to listen? Of course not. And when I would stray from his direction I’d find out why it wasn’t for me. I spent a long time not listening to God and it led me down some crooked paths that took me longer to get here to where I am now.

God saying no is not Him telling you that you don’t deserve it. It’s not God telling you that you are not worthy of that thing you desire. It is God telling you, it just is not for you because He has something destined for you. Most of the time, what He has is so much better for you. Like, you getting a hamburger when there was a steak waiting for you instead.

Maybe, just maybe, if I would have listened to my instinct (Holy Spirit’s deep desire in me to lead me in the right direction) I might have avoided the mountain I walked around. I would have avoided that dry desert filled with vipers, thirst, and hunger. I would have avoided many years of trying to make something that wasn’t meant for me work. I could have spared myself and many others so much trouble, had I just followed the instinct that things would be better elsewhere.

God told me no to certain things, certain relationships. God told me no long before I knew He was, but I was lost and didn’t listen. I was lost and didn’t hear Him.

Have you ever felt like something inside you was telling you NOT to do something? Have you thought about maybe, just maybe, this instinct tugging at my heart is a NO I just don’t want to accept? I have spent my whole life ignoring the no’s in my heart and making mistake after mistake.

Sometimes, NO is a good thing. Sometimes, NO is the right answer. I’ve applied to jobs that didn’t work out. God knew I wanted this job, but was it in line with the purpose he set for me? Probably not… but I thanked God anyway. Turns out, the hours were unforgiving and did not leave flexibility for me to be with my children. That friendship I thought I couldn’t live without, was dragging me down and holding me back.

Have some patience to know that God is working behind the scenes on the NO to make it time for a YES to something even greater in your life. That NO can save your life. Save you time, Save your energy. Save you from heartache. Just save you from what isn’t meant for you.

Take the no’s of life in stride. Shrug your shoulders, raise your hands, say thanks to God and then just wait. It’s not your time. Sometimes, sitting back and watching as what your NO reveals that it really wasn’t what you thought it was makes you even more grateful.

Thanks God for saying no to me when I thought I needed something. Turns out it looked better than it really was and you saved me from walking through another desert, and around a mountain for a long time for not listening. You are an awesome God.

Let no be an answer you can accept, ladies and gentlemen. Sometimes, it’s the best answer… you just may not know it yet.

…But God…

14 Apr

Ever have a “but God” moment? I don’t mean a whiny, “but God, why do I have to?” I mean the kind where you think a sentence is over and then God just intersects Himself and places a comma instead of a period?

Man, I have had some “but God” moments.

Sat in the bathroom about to take my life, but God… Ready to quit my job, but God…
Didn’t have any food in the fridge, but God…

You never really understand how God steps into a situation that you think is final and turns into a moment and He changes it into something great.

God stepped in last year and presented Himself into our lives.

Things were going horrible, but God…

God never lets my circumstances last longer than they have to. There are things in the bible that shows you that God can take someone at their lowest, a complete sinner and turn them into something great.

My “but God” moments have brought me this far. I have gone from abuse, abortion, being molested, raped, drug addiction, sexual addiction, alcoholism, suicide attempts, rejections, heartaches, bad relationships, good relationship I wasn’t ready for, and things that could have put me in jail to this Christian woman…

But God… my Lord.

Things that should have ended me long ago, but God kept me here. God saw my struggles and brought me out. He allowed me to see I needed to move on closer to Him. I didn’t know it when I moved… I had no idea how He ordained my steps to bring me to this very moment.

But God delivered me from my old life.
But God helped me find him in the small things.
But God gave me a choice to follow in the life He sacrificed Jesus for me to have.
But God…

Ever have a “but God” moment? The kind where you thought, “that’s it. This is all there is. I’ll never be whole. It will never change. I’m stuck”? Then suddenly it just turns around and something good comes in and just changes your whole circumstance?

My life is full of “but God” moments, and I take none of them for granted. I accept that He has worked in my life to bring me to a better place. I also know there are more.

I can feel stagnant today in some aspect of my life, but God… He will change it. He will bring me to my purpose, as I allow Him to guide me.

What was your “but God” moment? The one that made you realize that this isn’t all there is? The one where everything suddenly went well from what could have truly gone worse?

Do not dwell on your past traumas, dwell on how you God (typo but fitting, I meant got) past them. Was it a but God moment?

God will never let anything you go through be wasted. He uses it to change the period to a comma, interject Himself into that incomplete sentence and throws the whole book into another direction.

Let your but God moments be your focus on how good He truly is.

Enjoy the rest of your day, my lovelies! Hugs, kisses, and blessings!

– Athena ♥

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