Journey Back To Her: Finding the Girl I Once Was| By Jasmine Beard

I am on a journey back to find her. The girl I once was. Maybe you can relate to this…

Once upon a time, I was a young fifteen year old girl who tasted Jesus for the first time. I ran into the arms of my Heavenly Father for everything and wanted nothing more in life other than to see people run to their Father’s arms as well.

I remember the days following my salvation, seeing the world in a totally new light. The world seemed brighter than it once had been before.

But Somewhere along the way, I lost her. I lost that girl who had the ability to see the brightness in the world that outshines the darkness. Maybe that’s adulthood for you or maturity, but I find as a 26-year-old woman that I do not see life as brightly as I once did when I first gave my life to Christ.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:5 (NLT)

The world at times just looks dim. I am now aware of the world’s problems, I am aware of the church’s problems, I am aware of my personal problems in a way that sometimes clouds my once singular focus of simply seeing Jesus in the midst of a dark world.

When I gave my life to Christ, He was the picture. He was everything and nothing else was crammed into the big picture that I saw Him in. It was all about Him and connecting with Him and connecting others to His heart.

I miss that fifteen year old girl. She was overzealous and a bit prideful at times, but she got what was important. She did not let the world’s darkness cloud her view of the world. She did not allow people’s judgements or opinions to cloud her focus, and she did not let world systems or politics cloud her mind. She did not care about climbing the corporate ladder or about buying a house by age 30. She simply abided in Jesus and enjoyed Him.

I am on a journey back. A journey back to find that girl. I think she could teach this woman a thing or two about simplicity.

The simplicity of the gospel.

Jesus makes it plain in Matthew 22:36-40 (NLT) , it says, 

 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” 

The gospel is plain and simple and beautifully laid out in scripture. We must love God with every fiber of our beings, and love our neighbor in the same way we love ourselves.

SO simple. Yet, as humans, we complicate it, or we allow the world to cloud our views of what is truly important.

Today, I want to encourage you to strip the things that cloud your mind. Maybe it is religious habits, politics, worry, anxiety, or comparison. Whatever it is, let it go and look to lock eyes with God like you once did when you first got saved.

It really is that simple.

“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22 (NKJV)

I’ll leave you with this song. 

Joy Comes in the Morning| By Gabby Jones

Feeling stuck in life is not the easiest place to be. You begin questioning yourself and questioning where God wants you, but you cannot seem to put two and two together. Do not be discouraged in this season, but let God continue to shape what He has for you. God does not have you between a rock and a hard place. He is preparing you for this next season coming up.

After graduating college in 2017, God was throwing open door after open door for me, and I was having a great time walking through each of them. At the time, my friend and mentor Amber seemed to be clear from cancer, a guy was pursuing me, and I had some amazing friends. However, it all came to a crash by the end of the year. My beautiful Amber passed away from breast cancer, the guy decided not to continue his pursuit, and I lost a great friendship to confusing and unfortunate circumstances. Life did not pause for me, but I did stop. I stopped embracing everything God had for me.

For a year after that, I sank low in depression and just wanted the world to stop so I could mourn the many losses I had in such a short amount of time. God was still beside me, but I could not fathom how He would let so many things fall apart after He opened so many doors beforehand. In those moments, I just wanted to close those doors and stay in my bed forever. I had enough energy each day to get out of bed, go to work, and come home to lay in bed again. I did not make any effort to ask God to remove me from depression, but my spirit was crying out. 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18‭-‬19 (NIV)

In December of 2018, God asked me what my heart wanted, and He broke through my depression and tears and made my heart beat again. I felt alive, and I felt like I could finally breathe. After God broke depression off of my life, I was ready to take on the world, but that did not happen. Months passed by, and I began to realize how much I was not doing with my life. My personality had gone from extrovert to barely leaving the house, I stopped serving in the many areas I was in, and my friend circle was smaller than it had ever been. I was no longer who I was.

When these truths hit me, I began crying out to God. I wanted to feel the Joy of the Lord again. I wanted to be the Gabby I was before tragedy overtook my heart, but that is not what God has planned for me. God has a new and fresh perspective for me, and He does not need the old Gabby to fulfill it. He needs who I am now. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

I was still wrestling with feeling stuck, up until a few weeks ago when I realized something; I was the reason I felt grey! I had begun to take a step back from God, and all the while, I was questioning why He was not there! I was feeling the pressure of depression because I decided to not seek God for His joy. God revealed this to me, and I began worshipping who He was and what He had done for me.  I felt his joy rain down on my life again. 

If you are feeling stuck in this season, I encourage you to hold on and continue praying that God will reveal His will to you. This is not an easy season, but God promised to be there with you no matter what. Keep seeking the face of God as He brings you out of this season into something new. Keep seeking His joy in your sadness, His peace in your chaos, and His love in your loneliness.

“Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord .” Psalm 27:14 (NIV)

Dealing with Depression During the Holidays| By Jasmine Beard

From our family to yours MERRY CHRISTMAS!

‘Tis the season for family, yuletide carols, loneliness and depression. What?! Unfortunately, here at Unveiling Eden, we know that the holidays can be an exciting time for some, but also a dreaded season for others- especially if a person does not have family, friends or a significant other to celebrate with.

If you are feeling or dealing with depression this Holiday Season, we want you to know that you are not alone. We want to encourage you to share with someone how you are feeling. Often times, when we share our emotions with just one individual the weight of our feelings can be easier to bare.

Also, if you can push through the crippling effects of depression for a moment and give back, we believe your spirits will be uplifted this Holiday Season. Whether, it be volunteering at a homeless shelter, Christmas caroling at a nursing home, or by simply calling someone who doesn’t have loved ones. We know when we take our eyes off our circumstances and focuses on the needs of others, it can at times change our own perspective.

Lastly, we’d like to encourage you to read and meditate on the word of God. His word is full of promises and encouragement that He has purposed for all of us. Take the scriptures down below as a gift from us to you, and a gift from God to you, as well.

Psalm 30:11 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Deuteronomy 31:8 

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Isaiah 40:31 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:13 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

John 16:33 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 11:28 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Also check out our latest video discussing this very topic.

Do You Even Know Me?| By Tori Savoy

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Marriage is one of those things that’s beautiful and ugly all in one. It has a way of exposing your true character and teaching you lessons you never realized you needed. Marriage is a representation of the covenant we share with God and just about every struggle and every victory can be related back to our walk with God.

This is something I have found true in my own marriage.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only wife who has been guilty of being upset because their husband was not listening to them or was not taking part in conversation.

Our minds are wired to relate intimacy to the emotional connections that happen through conversation. We want our husband to listen to our long story or allow us to vent about our days while responding in a way that shows he is genuinely interested. Words are our intimacy, and when we do not get it, we feel alone and less than as if we are no longer interesting to our husband.

How does this relate to our relationship with Jesus? EVERYTHING!

As I was upset over this very thing one day, God showed me this is exactly how I treat Him. When I neglect to talk with Him and listen to what He is trying to say to me, He feels neglected. It causes my relationship with Him to become disconnected.

A relationship with both man and God requires spiritual and emotional intimacy. This is why prayer life is so important.

Matthew 7:22-23 says “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

‭‭In our marriage, it takes work and intimacy to know one another. Saying you are married is one thing and knowing your spouse is another. Have you ever told your husband, “Do you even know me anymore?”

As I sat sulking to myself over this very question, God reached down to me and said “Do you even know ME?”

Sadly, my answer was not one to be proud of.

You see, God doesn’t want us to just claim to be a Christian, but wants us to pursue an intimate relationship with Him.

God is begging for your attention and wants you to seek intimacy with him through your prayer life. Just as you desire that intimacy with your husband.

Think back to when you and your husband or significant other had first met. All you both wanted to do was get to know one another. Me and my husband spent hours on the phone talking about anything and everything.

The same thing happens when we first become saved. But just as a romantic relationship requires us to continue to work at communicating and igniting that spark, our relationship with God must be pursued daily.

I challenge you to dig deeper into a relationship with God and truly desire to know Him and his love in a fuller capacity.

“I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.” ‭‭Hosea‬ ‭2:19-20

 

I Refuse: When Life Tries To Steal Your Joy| By Tori Savoy

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“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace;” Isaiah 55:12

Joy. It is a feeling that seems so simple, yet the pressures of life somehow seem to complicate it.

How many times have you begun a day with the intention of having a joyful attitude? But then, you get stuck in traffic, arrive late at work, deal with an angry customer, spill food on your brand new blouse, forget an appointment you have, and anything else to spoil your day. Now joy is the last word in your vocabulary, and your attitude is stuck sour.

When me and my husband were dating, I went through a rough time in my life. Being happy did not come easy with the hussle and bussle of college, a full-time job, and the dwindling relationships I was dealing with. However, one day he said something that stuck with me.

“God has given you joy. Refuse to let the Devil take it.”

In that moment, I realized that joy is gift. And just like Christmas or birthday gifts, this gift is free regardless of where my life is at the time.

Our joy should not be dependent upon our surroundings because our source of joy is God, not the world and certainly not the Devil. However, the Devil will try to use the things of this world to steal this great gift we have been given. He knows that nothing can stand in our way if we learn to have joy in tribulation.

God’s word says to “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice” (Phil 4:4 ESV).

It does not say rejoice when life is splendid. It says to rejoice ALWAYS. Even when it seems as if life is completely against you.

There’s a song we use to sing at my church until we could not sing anymore. The lyrics state “I refuse, I won’t let nobody steal my joy!”

So I challenge you. Don’t let anybody or any circumstance steal the joy that Jesus has given to you as a free gift. You wouldn’t take your most treasured Christmas gift and throw it in the trash just because you had a string of bad “gifts”. So why throw away the precious gift of joy God has for you? Remember, although sorrow lasts for the night, joy comes in the morning.

Now.| By Jasmine Beard

It’s been nine years now since I gave my life to Christ. These years have been great, they have not only come with triumphs, but trials as well.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve never had a depressed thought again, that I’ve never questioned God’s love for me, and that I’ve trusted God in every area of my life, but that would be false.

Matthew 5:45 NKJV says,

“… For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.”

You see life is hard for the believer and the unbeliever. The only difference with a believer is that they don’t walk through this roller coaster we call life alone.

In high school my relationship with God was filled with mostly triumphs. I had trials, but all failed into comparison to the new found peace I found in Christ.

When college started, I found myself miles away from my best friend and without a church home. Life was so uncertain. Life as I once knew it was changing again. Real life was beginning, and real life is where our faith can be truly tested.

I was no longer with all the people I grew up with. I had new found independence from my parents and was surrounded by all types of people from different backgrounds.  When I finally found a new church home, I felt welcomed, but so alone. I didn’t have the familiarity of my other church friends, leaders, or pastors. While I smiled at the new church, I was silently falling back into depression and isolating myself from others.

I would leave church service early and go to a local park and cry. From my childhood, I had always dealt a bit with rejection. That spirit of rejection began to magnify when I isolated myself and began to listen to the lies Satan whispered in my ear.

“They don’t like you.”

“You’re weird.”

“You’ll never fit in.”

“You’re all alone.”

I began to cry out to God. I began to say those very lies to God.

I would say,

“Jesus I feel so alone.”

“Why isn’t my family here with me?”

“I don’t fit in here.”

“Nobody loves me.”

To those lies, He would respond in truth.

“You are not alone.”

“You are loved.”

“I am here with you.”

When the Holy Spirit would whisper that truth to me, I found comfort and peace in His words. As I began to stand on the truth of the Holy Spirit, the word of God got louder, and the lies from Satan began to silence.

That is one example of a trial I endured and walked through. Some trials in my life have been smaller than this one, but most much larger. However,the size of the trial fails in comparison to the size of my God.

I have since graduated college and continue to attend that same church. The same church that I once felt so alone in, I can now call the people there my family. My mother has given her life to Christ, and I have since seen God do great things in and around my life.

I am not defined by the trials I have walked through. By walking with Christ, my trials do not overtake me. I overtake my trials by walking through them with Christ guiding my every step.

Psalm 119:105 NKJV

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

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