When Those Doubts Creep Back In

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I had written that big blog series on the season of intense doubt and discouragement I went through.

I scheduled them on the blog.

They sat for a while.

And then one day I decided to re-read the posts.  As I was making my way through what I had written, my chest tightened.  My heart felt heavy.  My pulse quickened.  My mind raced.

What if I don’t really believe that?  What if I have a relapse?  What if I’m deceiving myself?  How do I know if I believe hard enough?

Guess what?  The Bible doesn’t say, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart so hard that joy never forsakes you, you will be saved.”   It doesn’t say, “If you believe hard enough that your doubts instantly forsake you.”

It says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

God does not have some sort of divine Believe-o-meter that He holds me up to each day.  Belief is not some sort of mystical feeling that I need to conjure up.  I still wrestle with how feelings and faith intertwine, but I am 100% confident that God’s love, grace, forgiveness, and mercy are not dependent on my feelings.

I share this to let you know that I do not have it all together.  But I also know that I can’t wait until I do have it all together.  Because you know what?  I never will.  I will never be perfect this side of heaven.  I might always have questions.  I might even always have doubts.  But I cannot wait to live my life until I am perfect or until I know I believe hard enough.

All I can do is walk each day, each moment, looking to Jesus.  I have taken courage from Paul’s words in Philippians 3, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.  Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.  But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”

Looking behind does no good.  As my Hebrews teacher in college said…..you can’t run the race looking behind you.  It does no good to look back and long for the “good years” of my spiritual life.  It does no good to fall down when I sin and stay there.  It does no good to turn around and stare at all my sins.  The race is in front of me.  The race is today.  The race is right now.

Yes, I will fall again.  I will sin.  I will doubt.  I will grow weary.  But I will not and can not wait until I am perfect to run the race.  If God has brought me this far….I know He will not abandon me now.

And if you are reading this….I would absolutely love your prayers!!!

-Bonnie

Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve
Part Thirteen Part Fourteen

Ways to Save Money

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I love finding fun ways to save money.  I am not a coupon clipper currently, but I do enjoy looking for opportunities to save money or find deals.  Here are a few of the things I have found!

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1. Rebate apps.  Using Ibotta, you can scroll through the dozens of rebate options, then scan your receipt after the shopping trip.  I have earned rebates on milk, onions, tomatoes, etc.  (Want to sign up?  Consider using my referral code.  Ibotta: iriiji)

2. Ebates.  I. love. Ebates.  Shop online and get a percentage back on your purchases.  It’s legit.  I’ve gotten several checks from them!  Use my link here to sign up.

2.  Walmart Savings Catcher.  I love this app.  I mostly use it for scanning in my receipts after a shopping trip.  Your receipt will be processed and if any lower prices are found at competitors stores, you get the difference!

3. Target’s Cartwheel app.  I haven’t used this one a ton, since I don’t shop at Target often.  But it has a lot of in-store coupons, which you add to your account.  When you get to the checkout counter at the store, have the cashier scan the barcode and your coupons will be applied to your order!

4.  The Dollar Tree!  I don’t know how much money we have saved here.  Two words: Greeting cards.  At Walmart you can spend $4 on a plain card….and the price goes up from there.  The Dollar Tree has a good selection of cards with sweet messages.  But you are only paying a dollar!

What are some of the tips and tricks you use to save money?

-Bonnie

From Around Blog Land

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Discipline Versus Punishment – On being God’s children

Why Admitting it’s Not Always Glitter, Sunshine, and Roses is an Important Message About Motherhood – Great post on motherhood and being real.

My Daughter Talks to Her Dad on Modesty – Food for thought with all the modesty wars on the internet.  Didn’t agree with it all but it was good to think about.

The Motherhood Days We Don’t Talk About But We Should – Goes hand in hand with the link two above this….

Infertility Etiquette – So, so good.

Top 5 Ways to Earn Money at Home

Do You Fit the Profile of the Average Christian Woman?

To the Mom or Dad Who Told Their Child Not to Stare at Mine – From the Mom of a little girl with a rare genetic syndrome.  Really good post!

 

Resources for the Depressed or Discouraged

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I began collecting some resources that were encouraging as I was going through everything and processing things.  I hope that these are encouraging to you as well!  (Note: I don’t necessarily endorse the authors overall.  These specific posts, books, or portions thereof were just very encouraging and helpful to me!)

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Blog Posts: 

The Myth of the Lukewarm Christian

Broken

How Does Jesus Love You?

Because You’re Mine

I Want a Break from God

Unlearning Christianity

Wretched Sinner

Because YOU are {HIS}!!!

Experiencing Grace

Dear God, Am I Good Enough for You Yet?

Crying at Bridal Showers: Lessons about Contentment and Perseverence

Is There Any Value in Experiencing Deep Shame?

What If I’m Not Meant to be Saved?

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Books:

Jesus > Religion: Why He Is So Much Better than Trying Harder, Doing More, and Being Good Enough by Jefferson Bethke

Spoken For: Embracing Who You Are and Whose You Are by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Bethke

When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper

Videos: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TwxRkQWNXE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p04kgE5cK5c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19utCxGDUdk

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Music:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_J34QyY0Pk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtnE_e1LylY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sL1DNipyurM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKL0QB-_ho0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXI0B4iMLuU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXI0B4iMLuU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egar8wxmzFM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IwtcwQwgdsA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1spkhp41ig4#t=220

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Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve

Do Apps Help You or Just Waste Your Time?

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For almost anything technologically related, there seem to be two solid sides.  As for the app question….I know people who think apps are a waste of time.  And I know other people who have tons of apps and love them.

I for one am somewhat in the middle.  I’m not an “app person” and I don’t like downloading a lot of things.  There have been several, though, that have been really helpful.

So without further ado….my personal most used apps!

Apps

1.  Of course, there are the basics, like the Facebook and Gmail apps.  Those are pretty well known, so I won’t go into detail.

2.  Netflix.  This one can be both helpful or a time waster. ;)

3.  Timehop.  I love this app, as it shows you “this day in history” over your years on Facebook.  Want to know what you posted 5 years ago today?  This app will show you.  Great way to re-live memories. :)

4.  Google Keep.  I use this app for grocery shopping.  It’s an easy way to list out what you need to buy, and you can easily check things off at the store.

5. Walmart Savings Catcher.  Probably my most used savings app.  It’s super easy to use and you can earn money back.  Scan in your Walmart receipt, they will compare prices, and if lower prices are found, you get the difference!

6.  Ibotta.  Another good savings app.  These are basically rebates. Scroll through and find the things you are interested in.  Once you get home, scan the barcode on the rebate items, then scan the receipt in, and you will get money back.  (Want to sign up?  Consider using my referral code: iriiji )

7. Woman Log.  This is a fantastic way to track everything related to your cycle.  Great especially if you are TTC, but even if you are not, it’s a good way to keep tabs on everything.  There is a free version and also a paid version that offers a couple extra features.  This is the only app I have spent money on!  I love it.

So what do you think?  Are apps a time waster or are they helpful?  Which apps do you use most often?

-Bonnie

My Life Has Been Transformed

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The message of Christianity is not ‘Worldliness is bad.’ It’s ‘Jesus is Lord.’ It’s not ‘Try not to sin.’ It’s ‘Think about Jesus.’

When you look to Jesus, you see that your urges to sin are suppressed on their own. When you look to Jesus, you see peace, love, joy, freedom, better than anything in the world. When you look to Jesus, you see you don’t need any worldly pseudo-religious substitutes for closeness to Him. When you look to Jesus, you see that in Him you are already dead to the world. When you look to Jesus, you see that in Him you are already alive. – Eric Pazdziora

And so now I am done.  I am done with religion.  I am done with trying.  I am done with analyzing.  I am done with doing my best.

I want Jesus.  I need Jesus.

The answer is not more introspection.  The answer is not to become more on fire.  The answer is not to read the Bible longer or to pray harder.  The answer is Jesus.  Look to Jesus.  Lean on Jesus.  Become encompassed by Jesus.

I want to not only forget the man-made rules I imposed on myself at various points in time, but I want to throw off the chains I have wrapped around myself.  The chains of guilt.  The chains of unworthiness.  The chains of lies.  The chains of fear.

After taking a break and just soaking in the truth that God brought to me, I have experienced several victories.

One night after a particularly difficult day, a Bible verse popped into my head.  This may not seem like much, but for me, it was huge.  I didn’t have to stop and try to think and pull up a mental Bible verse index card.  It popped into my head.  I wasn’t trying.  It was there.

And then, slowly, I began to want to read the Bible.  I have not jumped into a regimented “daily reading” plan yet, but I am rejoicing in those moments where it is an actual desire.  Not something I need to do to be a better Christian.

I started to pray.  Sometimes it was purposeful, when I chose to pray.  Sometimes it wasn’t, and prayers just formed themselves in my mind.

And I began to sing again.  I used to always sing…..but at some point, I’m not sure when, I stopped.  I have noticed over the past few months that my voice has come back.  Suddenly I’ll find myself singing hymns, old and new alike.

I have not finished learning my lesson.  I have not arrived at perfection.  I still have to speak truth to myself.  I still sometimes have that old familiar terror grip my chest.

But I am growing.  I am resting.  I can feel God wooing me to Himself.  I can feel my soul slowly but surely heal.

I have been reminded that I cannot do anything to make God love me more.  I can’t do anything that will make Him more pleased with me.

Why?  Because when He sees me….He sees Jesus’ blood.   Jesus truly paid it all.  I do not have that sin in black all over me.  I do not have those chains.  Jesus’ blood covered.  His blood cleansed.  His blood made pure.  His blood made whole.  That is what God sees when He looks at me.  He sees His child.  His redeemed.  His friend.  His own.

My sin?  It doesn’t make Him push me away.  It doesn’t make Him love me less.  He saw me in the midst of my unrepentant sin and He chose to touch my heart and draw me to Him.  He saved me out of sin.  Salvation is through God’s work alone.  Sanctification is through God’s work alone.

And for that I am thankful.  So, so thankful.

It took a lot for me to write this.  And then to share it publicly.  I truly hope that it has encouraged someone.  There is hope.  There is.  I would absolutely love to hear from you and pray for you.  If you want, you can leave a comment.  Or you can email me privately at lifewithyou1222 (at) gmail (dot) com.

God bless.

-Bonnie

Part One Part Two Part Three
Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine
Part Ten Part Eleven