Self Mutilation & Destructive Habits Part 1

There are so many destructive things we can do to our bodies and souls. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we are heading down a destructive path or what we are doing is destructive. Many things can be destructive.

Physical Destruction can be; cutting, hitting yourself, throwing yourself against a wall, punching things, burning yourself, ingesting poisonous substances or other objects that should not be ingested, drugs, intentionally preventing wounds from healing, sticking objects into your skin, pulling out your hair on your scalp, or other areas, anorexia, bulimia, overeating and anything else where harm is done to your body as a form of emotional release. Other forms may not be as obvious like, driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, prescriptions meds or over the counter meds, having unprotected sex and fighting.

All of the above can be dangerous if you don’t get help. I understand what it is like to have these feelings. People don’t talk about this kind of stuff very much. I want to get this out in the open and let others know you’re not alone. Self Mutilation is very common among adolescent girls and young women. The most common self mutilation is cutting. Most girls who self mutilate will cut their thighs, stomach or arms.

A common misconception about self mutilation is that the people, who do it, do it for attention. That is not true in most cases. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was harming myself. I was embarrassed that harming myself was a release for pain. The problem with harming yourself is that the release is only temporary. It can lead to bigger problems like accidentally going too far with the harm. You can cut yourself too deeply and end up dying. I ended up messing up my knee so badly I had to be in physical therapy and on crutches. Not telling someone could set you up for failure. It can make you feel worthless

Other common misconceptions about self mutilation are; people who do it are crazy & dangerous, want to die and if the wounds are bad -it’s not serious.

None of those are true. If you are self mutilating, you are not crazy! Most people who self injure find a release that words cannot give. Most do not want to die. No matter how big or small the wound, self mutilating is serious. If you are hurting yourself or you know someone who is, please get help.

When I ended up in physical therapy, I realized that enough was enough. I had to stop this. I stopped physically abusing myself. I didn’t confide in anyone because I was too afraid of what they would think of me. I should have gone to someone I trusted, like a guidance counselor, teacher or youth leader. All those people are there to help you. Instead I started on a road to eating disorders. I wouldn’t eat for a while, and then I would get so hungry I would overeat and feel bad about eating too much, so I would throw up. Everything was done in secret. No one I was friends with knew about anything that was going on with me. I kept it all to myself. My parents and grandparents didn’t know anything about it either. I was so concerned with looking good so people would like me I lost myself. I became the addiction. Eventually the anorexia and bulimia turned into just overeating. I would eat whatever I wanted not giving a thought to my health or well being.

Luckily for me college changed a lot for me. I chose to eat healthy and take the stairs when I could and walk everywhere. I still would indulge in chocolate cake or chips & pop every once in a while but I didn’t need it every day. Unfortunately while in college I went through a bad break up in 2009 and it brought up a lot of my old problems. I stopped eating. I got down to 120lbs. I am 5’ 7 ½” I should weigh anywhere from 140-150. I was about 20 lbs underweight. I decided that it was okay because it was better than being overweight. What made me stop eating was I hate that every time I would eat it would make me sick. The stress was overwhelming and I didn’t know how to deal with it. Instead of keeping my feelings inside, I let them out but not in a good way. I was one of those girls who said way too much on Facebook. I said a lot of things I can never take back. Instead of going to God and talking to him and my friends, I told everyone.

All of my behavior was destructive and left me in a state of confusion and my anger took over. My eating habits grew worse and so did my health. I couldn’t sleep at night and started taking sleeping pills/antidepressants. I ended up almost overdosing because the prescription was too strong. I woke up screaming and puking. My Mom came in my room and I couldn’t even tell her my name or go to the bathroom by myself. She started to call 911 but luckily I started waking up and I knew what my name was finally. The next morning I flushed the pills down the toilet and vowed I’d never take anything like that again. I started eating and exercising in late 2009. I found out I liked Zumba. I still didn’t get that you should eat healthy because it makes you feel better. I didn’t know you can’t out exercise a bad diet. I found a good friend, Kyle, who I could trust and talk to about anything. We would talk for hours and hours. I never knew he liked me and didn’t think he would date me because he was my ex’s friend. We both secretly liked each other for a long time. I ended up dating someone else and we stopped talking. I missed talking to Kyle and thought of him a lot.

In January of 2010, Kyle and I started hanging out as friends. In March we started dating. We got engaged in July and married in November. We originally planned to get married in June of 2011 but my Grandma Nickels was diagnosed with cancer and opted out of chemo. My Dad told me that if I wanted her at my wedding I needed to have it before the end of the year.

Since my wedding was moved up and I was trying to finish school, a lot of stress was added on me. I began to overeat. I still fit in my wedding dress, but I knew I had gained some weight. Looking at my wedding pictures I realized how much weight I gained and it made me depressed. Kyle and I had a very hard 1st year of marriage. Kyle’s job fell through and he went without a job for a while. My Grandma Nickels died in June of 2011, our car broke down and the repairs were beyond our budget. Kyle got a job at Sears and worked odd hours. My Grandpa Wagoner died in November of 2011 and my Mom became primary care giver of my Grandma. I tried to help her where I could but I fell short. I got depressed because Kyle and I weren’t getting along. I became defensive and so did he. My problems of the past of feeling not good enough came back. I accused him of going to this church to see a girl which wasn’t true. I thought because I had gained weight that he didn’t want me anymore. We almost split. Thankfully we had two good Godly people in our life to talk to us and help us see that all these bad things were happening because Satan wanted to destroy us and we were letting him. All my life Satan has tried to destroy me and my light for God. I’ve been a self mutilator, had eating disorders, depression and I listened to the lies from the mirror and let my confidence be ruined.  God can still use me and he can use my past to help others. I am proud to say I survived and am glad to look back to see how far God has truly brought me. I am learning to love myself and my body.

If you struggle with any of the things I’ve mentioned above about self mutilating please get help. Talk to someone who you trust. Sometimes a church leader or a teacher may be easier to talk to because they are removed from your situation. Remember you are not alone. Loving yourself and who you are isn’t easy. Say something nice to yourself out loud in the mirror every day. When I do, I have a better day.

 

If you need help and don’t know who to talk to about self mutilation, you can call S.A.F.E. 1-800-366-8288.

If you are struggling with a crisis and contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.

 

I got a lot of my information from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm

They have ways to cope and give information that can be helpful in overcoming.

 

Below are verses that have helped me out during all of the things I went through:

1 Corinthians 3:16 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

 1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

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Light of the World

My heart has been heavy since yesterday at church. We had several kids in junior church share what it is like to be picked on and to grow up without fathers and mothers. Listening to some of the horrible things these kids have gone through breaks my heart. It also reaffirms my calling for this blog. Life doesn’t always deal the best cards. Life can be cruel and very hard. We have a God who can take on the burdens of our lives and heal our broken hearts. We have to remember that no matter what people say about us or what happens in life, if we are Christians, we are advocates of Christ. How we handle situations can make or break others thoughts about Christians. I’ve been guilty of flying off the handle when someone has been mean to me or says something mean to me. I have to remember that most people who make fun of others and are bullies are the most insecure and unhappy people.

Matthew 5:3-16 “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. 13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Those verses talk about a lot of good stuff. Verses 10 & 11 say Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Persecute to harass or punish in a manner designed to injure, grieve, or afflict; specifically : to cause to suffer because of belief; to annoy with persistent or urgent approaches (as attacks, pleas, or importunities)

Revile to subject to verbal abuse; to use abusive language

Jesus says that those who get made fun of or are harassed, punished, or suffer for his name sake are blessed and theirs is the kingdom of God. It’s not easy to remember when you are being made fun of or pushed around that God is on your side and that you are blessed. I have learned that the best thing you can do when you get made fun of or pushed around, is to pray for the person who is bothering you and to forgive them. That is not easy to do trust me. I have learned that when you carry around anger and hate for someone else it eats you alive. Being angry and hating someone doesn’t do anything but hurt you.
 
Matthew 5 is full of a lot of good stuff! Verse 43-46 “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do the same?”
 
What does Jesus say in the verses above? Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. This is not easy. Remember that as a Christian, your reward is in Heaven and is a greater reward than any reward on earth. Focus on God. Let him be your guide. Pray for those who make fun of you and pick on you. As I have gotten older, I have started feeling sorry for people who make fun of me and are mean to me. I wonder what has happened to them in life that has made them that way. The more you pray for the people who make fun of you the easy it is to endure it.
 
If someone is bullying you at school and physically abusing you or mentally abusing you, please talk to a teacher, guidance counselor, pastor, parent or someone else you trust. I don’t want any child or person to be hurt. Another thing you can do is to tell the person bothering you to stop. If that doesn’t work and they continue or it gets worse, you need to get an adult involved.

Love in Christ,
Iva Mae

Rejoice & Eat Zucchini Bread!

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

This morning when I got up it was pouring the rain. I instantly was in a bad mood. I thought about all the errands we had to do this morning. I decided that I wasn’t going to let the weather bother me because we need the rain. I also remembered the verse above and decided to be glad and rejoice because today is the Lord’s day. Every day is. If not for rain I wouldn’t have a garden. Sometimes the best thing you can for yourself is change your attitude. It can make a world of difference. I made my favorite pancakes for breakfast and drank my favorite coffee.  After breakfast, we went to the Title Agency and to the License Bureau in a town over. After that we had to go to 2 different banks in 2 different towns.

Everything ended up being fine and went quickly and smoothly. I got back and used some Zucchini from our garden to make a healthier version of my Grandma Wagoner’s Zucchini Bread. I was so excited to bake and to use some Zucchini from my garden. The recipe is below. My Grandma’s recipe is also and went quickly and smoothly. I got back and used some Zucchini to make a healthier version of my Grandma Wagoner’s Zucchini Bread. I was so excited to bake and to use some Zucchini from my garden. The recipe is below. My Grandma’s recipe used white flour, vegetable oil and sugar.

HEALTHY ZUCCHINI BREAD

Ingredients:

-3 eggs

-3 tsp. vanilla

-1 cup of coconut oil or applesauce (I used coconut oil because that is what I had on hand.)

-2-2 ½ cups of truvia or sweetner of your choice (48-60 packets)

-2 cups of pureed zucchini (I used 1 large zucchini and froze what I didn’t need)

-3 cups sifted whole wheat flour

-1/2 tsp. baking powder

-1 tsp. salt

-1 tsp. baking soda

-3 heaping tsp. cinnamon

-1 cup of chopped pecans or walnuts

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Directions:

Wash and cut zucchini into 1-2 inch pieces. Add about 4-6 oz of water to a blender. Turn the blender on and open top and add pieces of zucchini until all the zucchini has been pureed.

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Beat together eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, and truvia.

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Once it has been well blended, add in pureed zucchini.

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 Beat the zucchini, eggs, vanilla, coconut oil and truvia on low-med speed until well blended.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cinnamon.

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 Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture. Beat on low/med until all is well mixed.

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Once well blended chop nuts and blend into bread mixture.

Grease 2 loaf pans.

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 Add bread mixture to pans and bake for approximately 1 hour or until done in the middle.

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I AM BEAUTIFUL

Today I did something a little bit crazy.  At first I didn’t want to do it! I thought it was a bit silly, but I did it anyways. I told myself this morning that I was beautiful, smart, kind and important. I wrote in RED lipstick on my mirror… “I am beautiful!” When I woke up I wasn’t feeling very beautiful. I’ve heard a few people say recently they don’t feel beautiful or feel down after comparing themselves to someone else. So I decided to make today’s post about that! Hope it helps someone!

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Sunday night on the way home from dinner with a couple of our good friends, we saw this brand new Mustang. The girl in the passenger seat had bleach blonde hair and was very pretty. At first I felt inferior. Then I really looked at her face and saw her expression. It was one of those I am better than you looks. She was laughing at my husband and I. I realized right then and there that I was prettier than she was. Who she was inside was ugly. She may have been pretty on the outside but she was ugly where it counts.

When we glance in the mirror we instantly criticize ourselves. We find every flaw. Mirrors can be good. They reflect light and can help you make sure you don’t have broccoli in your teeth. Mirrors can also be bad. They can give you a false vision of yourself that can make you feel ugly, fat, stupid, worthless, not good enough and undeserving.

I chose Lies From The Mirror as the name of this blog because I was sick and tired of feeling and thinking those nasty things above and seeing others feel that way as well! I often lack confidence. I am afraid that people will judge me based on if I had time to put make up on this morning or not. I worry that people will choose not to like me before they know me. It’s sad, but a lot of people do judge others based on appearances only.

Lies from the mirror are lies from the devil. I chose a cracked mirror for the background because we need to shatter those lies and stand up and say I AM BEAUTIFUL!!! I am a princess! A royal heir to THE KING of KINGS! I am a daughter of God. I am good enough! I recently read the book The Help. Abileen tells Mae Mobley every day, “You is kind, you is good and you is important.” Abileen knew the importance of making sure that Mae Mobley knew she was more than what her Momma or the mirror said.

What if we started saying that to ourselves, our children, our family and friends? We could change the world and break the image our minds see in the mirror!

Check out this video of this little girl who knows how to talk to the mirror! http://youtu.be/qR3rK0kZFkg

 

 

My Heart

I wanted to share with you why I wanted to do this blog. I struggled so much as a young girl and it carried over into my adulthood. One of the only things I remember from Kindergarten is being made fun of. I remember exactly what was said to me and where I was. We all were sitting in the floor listening to a story. The little girl next to me said, “You look like boy! You’re wearing jeans!!” She laughed and it made me cry. I didn’t understand why she decided to be mean to me when I was nice to everyone. After that day it took me a long time before I would wear jeans again.

Later in Elementary School, I had a teacher that didn’t care for me for some reason and put me in the slow readers class. We were given little stories to read and had to highlight words we didn’t know. I would constantly get in trouble because I wouldn’t have anything highlighted. I was a good reader and I knew what all the words meant. Eventually I started highlighting words so I wouldn’t get in trouble.

I liked a little boy in my class one year in my class. I told him I liked him and he laughed and said he liked another girl who was pretty. Why would he ever like me? This is where my confidence started to leave me. I started to believe that I was ugly. The other girls were prettier. They had nice clothes and hair. I thought about myself and how I looked and this is one of the first times I looked in the mirror I didn’t like what I saw. I was gangly, I had a huge gap in between my two front teeth. I had bangs and my hair wasn’t blonde or brunette it was somewhere in between. I decided that I wasn’t pretty like the other girls. My self worth was fading. It doesn’t help when you get picked last or not picked at all for square dancing or teams. It really doesn’t help when everyone on the team decides they will lose because you got put on their team.

All through school kids picked on me and made fun of me. I have even had a teacher pick on me so other kids wouldn’t talk to me. She made up lies and told everyone that I had an illness. A lot of kids wouldn’t have anything to do with me. That same year I was paired up with the most popular girl in school for pen pals with an elderly woman at a nursing home. The other girl invited the woman to her house for dinner and brought a gift for her the day we went to visit the nursing home. The old lady made it very obvious to me that she didn’t care for me. She wouldn’t talk to me and ignored me the entire time. I felt that I must be the worst person alive. I didn’t understand why people didn’t like me. I began to wonder why on earth God would create a person like me. My family loved me but I thought they had to so it didn’t help my confidence.

The devil had a hay day. I didn’t understand it then, but he would whisper things in my mind when I looked in the mirror. I saw someone who wasn’t good enough, someone who wasn’t pretty, someone who wasn’t loved. I saw a joke. It’s amazing how young you are when the devil starts trying to destroy someone.

Middle School didn’t get any easier for me. I started to hate myself so much. Kids can be so mean. I had a few friends but not a lot. I started staying home from school because I didn’t want to have to face kids in school who didn’t like me. I begged to be home schooled or go to another school. In Middle School the boys called me hairy because I wasn’t allowed to shave my legs. Some of the guys made fun of me because I couldn’t play sports. In one gym class one kid made fun of me so much I got sick from crying. The hate for myself starting growing. I started self mutalating. I would bang my knees up against the wall or bath tub because I though I deserved to feel pain. It became my escape. I ended up hurting myself bad enough a few times that I ended up on crutches. Most kids were nice to me and offered to help me get from class to class. I hated myself but I hated that I hurt myself in secret. I would lie and say I feel down. A lot of kids thought I was faking my injuries. It upset me but I didn’t want them to know the real reason so I stayed quiet. By 7th grade I had put all that behind me and I had a lot of friends. We all accepted each other for who we were.

I stopped hurting myself physically but started depriving myself of food. If I thought I ate too much I’d go throw it up in the bathroom at school. Near 8th grade I was a size 0. I wanted to stay that tiny. Everyone said I was skinny and they were jealous. I thought I’d finally achieved something and finally had a reason to feel good about myself. In between 8th and 9th grade, I moved to a size 5. I still struggled with eating all throughout high school. I had a love hate relationship with food. I wanted to eat what everyone else was but I didn’t want to get fat. What I didn’t know at the time, is that when you don’t eat, your body goes into starvation mode. It stores fat. I gained weight instead of losing it. It made the situation worse. I didn’t realize exercise and eating right were necessary in being healthy and being at a healthy weight.

I began eating more and was a little heavy my junior year. I thinned out by the end of my junior year. I was so excited to be a senior! I was having some trouble with my ankle and went to the doctor. It turned out that I had a tumor right above my ankle on my fibula. I went through a lot that summer. My best friend Tiffany was right by my side and helped me through everything. God was by my side and if it weren’t for Him and my faith, I’d have never gotten through anything. In June of 2004 I had a biopsy of the tumor on my leg. The results came back and it was cancer. I had osteosarcoma. I was ready to go through whatever God wanted but I was still scared. I was anointed at church and I believed that God could heal me. I got so close to God. I knew that He would bring me through. I went to see my cancer doctor and he began to tell me all the things I would have to go through. They would remove my fibula from my ankle to my hip. I would have to miss my entire senior year with therapy and chemo. If that didn’t take care of the cancer cells I would have to have an amputation. It was so much to hear. I was upset, as any 17 year old girl would be. We walked through the hospital and I saw all these children who were in wheel chairs. They couldn’t walk and never had been able to. They were so happy. I got so mad at myself for being so selfish. I realized that if I had to have an amputation, I would at least be able to know what sand through my toes feels like and grass. Those kids never had that opportunity. I left the hospital that day with a newfound strength and appreciation. No matter what happened, God would take care of me and I would be okay.

On July 7, 2004 we received a call from my doctor. He said they had my biopsy sent off to a hospital in New York and they couldn’t find any cancer cells! I was cancer free! I still had to have the tumor removed and be in a cast for the summer. I didn’t care! As long as I could go to church camp, I didn’t care. I got my cast off the second day of school in my senior year. I gained a lot of weight from not being able to walk for an entire summer. By the end of Senior year I was in size 12’s from a 7 and I weighed 170lbs instead of 150. The summer after I graduated high school I lost a lot of weight. It continued in my first year of college. I started eating better and using the stairs to go everywhere. My first non babysitting job was a runner at a law firm. I was able to walk everywhere in the city to deliver and pick up things. I was healthy and happy.

After a bad break up I didn’t eat. I didn’t even realize that I wasn’t eating. When I did eat, I would get sick. I got down to 120lbs. I was too skinny and I was able to fit into a 6. Eventually I began eating again. I started dating my husband. We went to McDonald’s a lot. I started gaining weight but it didn’t hit me as to why. I was working full time and taking evening classes and then eating dinner at 10PM. I was heading towards a very unhealthy path. When my husband and I got married in 2010, I was the heaviest I had ever been. I was 175-180lbs. Out first year of marriage was tough. My Grandma Nickels passed away June 8, 2011. 5 months later my Grandpa Wagoner died on November 8, 2011. Our car broke down, my husband’s job situation fell through and I turned to eating. By June of 2012, I weighed 190-195lbs. At my heaviest I was 195. I was miserable and heart broken. I had no clue now I got so big. My friend introduced me to a 24 day challenge from Advocare and I started losing weight. It helped me realize what I was putting in my mouth every day. I was eating junk and my body hated me for it. This past June 2013, I weighed 150. I as so proud of myself! My goal is to be 140-145lbs and in an 8.

I have realized on my journey that I needed God. I got saved at 6 but in 2012 the devil started making me doubt that I’d ever said the salvation prayer. I struggled for a long time with it. Finally one reading the bible God spoke to me and said if you have a doubt, then take care of it. I prayed that prayer and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved. I haven’t looked back since.

I have realized that you cannot eat junk and be healthy and I have realized that comparing yourself to others gives you no satisfaction. Compare yourself to yourself and to what God wants you to be. I still struggle with the comparing thing all the time. I’m getting better. I put it all out there for others to see. Writing this was very hard for me. I cried a lot and had to stop several times. I knew my story needed to be heard.

I wanted to start this blog because I knew other girls have gone through this or are going through this and they need to know they are not alone! I will try to post something every day. 😊

Love in Christ,

Iva Mae 💜

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I stole this picture from my beautiful cousin Katie.

Purpose – Jesus Knows My Name

I’m glad that I have a savior who knows me when I don’t know myself. He knows my name, the number of hairs I have on my head and he knows my purpose. My Grandma has Alzheimer’s. She has lost who she is, but Jesus knows her and that’s what counts. She asked Jesus into her heart a long time ago. She worked hard taking care of the money for our church. She played the piano for the church and played the piano for The New Jerusalem Quartet. Her purpose was to be a wife, a mother to 3 children, a piano player, a book-keeper, a baker, a grandmother and most importantly a servant of God.

I’ve always struggled with my purpose. I know that God creates each of us with a purpose. I know as a Christian that my purpose is to spread the Gospel of Jesus and help those who are seeking Jesus and those who don’t know they need to seek Jesus, find Him. I’ve asked God, how can I serve you and carry out my purpose? What is my purpose? Can I still reach people after all the sins I’ve done? I don’t know if anyone else has ever felt this way. I’ve felt so low and unable to do God’s will because of past sins. Those negative feelings are lies from the devil. He sticks that nasty little finger in our minds and starts stirring up all these ideas so that we will be distracted from what God wants us to do. He enjoys seeing us feel unable, unworthy and afraid. He wants us to think we have no purpose. He has come to steal, kill and destroy.

John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus says he has come so we can have life AND that we may have it more abundantly. He loves us. He had a design and plan for our life before we were even born. Jeremiah 29:11 KJV “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 says it. God knows the plans he has for us. He created us. Everyone was born with a purpose. No one born is a mistake. Have you ever thought, I’d be better off if I’d never been born? I think at one point or another that thought has crossed all of our minds. It makes me think about, It’s a Wonderful Life. The character John gets to see what the world would be like without him. He sees how the town changes and how the people are negatively affected by him not being alive. He realizes that he has a purpose. He had a reason to be born.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

God knew you and who you were going to be before you were born. He designed you with a purpose. So many of us never carry out our purpose. I challenge you to seek God’s purpose for you. Ask him and really listen. Read and pray every day. Trust God to supply you with what you need for your calling and your purpose.

Love in Christ,

Iva

Paths

Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

As a little girl I can remember going to the park with my Mamaw & Papaw Nickels. They had 7-8 grand kids and a dog walking the paths with them. I would watch them and their steps and try to walk the same as them and try to step in the same spots they stepped. I looked up to them and wanted to follow their every move. Kids tend to mock everything their parents and grandparents do.

As we get older we follow other people too. From the time we go to school to when we graduate there is this pressure to follow the crowd. It is even present in adulthood! Everyone wants to be liked, so we beg our parents for certain brands of clothes and shoes. I know I did. In the 4th grade I begged my parents for a pair of Adidas shoes. They were expensive and cost my parents a few items they needed but I didn’t care. You weren’t cool if you didn’t have the shoes. I’ve even gone as far as doing everything as someone else even when I didn’t really want to because she said if you didn’t, then you couldn’t be her friend.

I look back on my life and think about all the times I’ve followed the wrong people down the wrong paths. It’s easy to do when you spend all your time looking down and around instead of up. I’ve looked at outward things, like clothes, shoes, the way I look and how much I weighed as what defines me and what path to follow. I should have been looking inside knowing that what is inside matters more than what’s outside. I should have been looking to God.

I’ve said all that to say, let’s take a stand. Be who you are and know that God made you the way you are for a reason. Trying to be someone else will lead you down the wrong path. Seek out what paths you should take. Pray and read the bible. They will be your map to your path! Let Jesus be your guide.

All of my life I’ve wondered what God wanted me to be. I’ve wondered why I didn’t look better or why I was so tall. Sunday evening I decided to surrender ALL to God.We had a wonderful missionary speak about when she gave God her ALL. I prayed that God would use me and my husband as his vessels. I wanted to do His will for my life. I wanted to give ALL of me to Him. My husband and I prayed together. We have both been praying and asking God to reveal what His calling was for us. Sunday night at our church camp my husband and I got our answer. He announced his call to preach. I always felt that God had big plans for my husband and myself. The devil fought us so much when we first got married. He did everything he could to tare us down. Thankfully we clung to our savior, held on and stood out ground. We’ve been married for almost 3 years now. I’m glad I chose Jesus as my savior and allowed him to direct my paths. If not I wouldn’t have married the right man and wouldn’t have been able to do God’s calling on my life. We can finally do what God has called us to do and I couldn’t be more excited.

I’ve prayed about this blog a lot. God kept telling me that I needed to do it. I decided Sunday night I was going to start it no matter what. I have a desire to help others. I know it’s hard to give God your ALL, but it is worth it. You will be happier and healthier by obeying God and letting him be your guide in life.

Love in Christ,

Iva Mae

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