Jealousy – 3 Part Blog Series

Part 1 – STOP Comparing Yourself to Others 

This blog series is going to make some people uncomfortable. And that’s okay. 

Let me start by saying: I’m not perfect. I personally have dealt with jealousy. I’ve really had to pray to God to help me stop comparing myself to other people in the past. It was something I struggled with, especially in middle school and high school. 

Growing up, I was a part of the UPCI (United Pentecostal Church International) Christian denomination. And because of the standards, it was tough.  I was always the only one in school wearing skirts below my knees and sleeves below my elbows. I couldn’t wear jewelry despite having my ears pierced, and couldn’t wear makeup either. I couldn’t wear certain things, I couldn’t watch certain things, and I couldn’t go certain places. I didn’t have many friends because of the sheltered life that I was living.  

I was too different, and didn’t have many real friends. I couldn’t do, have, or wear things that “normal” people my age did. 

Even at my church, I frequently felt left out because I was one of the only minority teens there. I felt far less than pretty compared to the girls at the church. My singing voice wasn’t (and probably still isn’t) as strong as the other girls. I didn’t have any real talent like most of them did. All of the girls in my youth group were piano and guitar players, and had beautiful singing voices. The girls also had long, beautiful hair unlike my short, coarse hair. Being one of 2 black girls in my youth group really broke me down. I promise I asked God at least a hundred times, “why couldn’t you make me white? Why do I have to be black and ugly? Why can’t I have pretty long hair? Why do I have to be so different from everyone else?”

Why couldn’t I do and have everything that everyone else did? While it may seem very trivial, it wasn’t for me. 

I found myself comparing myself to every girl I encountered, at school and even at church youth gatherings. I was so unhappy with myself in every possible way. Depression sunk in very quickly. I prayed that God would take my life. Being a Christian, I knew I couldn’t even think about committing suicide. But that didn’t stop me from begging God to just take me. I was miserable.

(more on this in a later post)

Way, way later I learned that I was so unhappy because I couldn’t stop comparing myself to everyone around me. This jealousy was rooted within me so badly. I literally made my own self miserable. 

I eventually had to give it up to God. I prayed daily that God would uproot these feelings of jealousy. I meditated daily on being grateful for all that I had. My eyes began to open and the spirit of jealousy was lifted off of me by His grace.

In a lot of ways, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others. Often we find ourselves comparing our social statuses, relationships, and physical wealth. In the society we live in, we are made to believe various different “lies” portrayed, mainly by the media. We are supposed to look a certain way, dress a certain way, talk a certain way, own x y and z, and do x y and z in order to be seen as “good enough.” These are the standards that society has created, and it’s not hard to believe these lies, even as Christian women and men. 

We’ve all been there before. I’ve been there before. If you’ve never compared yourself to anyone, then you must be a perfect individual, and we all know that perfection doesn’t exist. 

The important thing is that we don’t stay there, because this can lead to jealousy and worse, envy. The spirit of jealousy is not something to be toyed with.

Why/How Does Jealousy Form?

More often than not, comparing yourself stems from feeling inadequate or inferior to those around you. It’s also a form of insecurity.

Like the devil, comparison is a liar. The enemy whispers in our ears telling us that we are not enough. He tells us that we deserve the things that other people have, and that they don’t. He makes us feel insecure, especially when we are at our weakest. He finds us when we are vulnerable and it can cause us to feel less-than.

Allowing these feelings to fester can end up developing into a spirit of jealousy. Being jealous can also stem from being self-righteous, entertaining the idea that you deserve something more than someone else does. 

When we compare, we weigh the differences between what someone else has and what we have. We begin to ask the questions “Why do they have that, but I don’t?” “Why did God bless them with that, but didn’t bless us?”And as silly as it sounds, “Why did God make her so pretty but made me so ___?” 

These are jealous questions, and jealousy is very dangerous. We are liable to do things that we would never think of doing, when we are jealous. 

2 (Deadly) Examples of Jealousy in the Bible

1. Cain and Abel – Death

One of the most well-known instances of jealousy in the Bible was the story of Cain and Abel. Both, sons of Adam and Eve, were to give sacrifices unto God. Cain decided to give God some of his fruits, while Abel gave some of the fat from the firstborns of his flock. God was pleased with Abel’s sacrifice.

It was strongly implied in the scripture that Abel had given a greater, more valuable sacrifice to God than Cain had.

Cain became very jealous of Abel because God was so pleased with him. His jealousy led to the very first murder recorded in the Bible – He killed his brother Abel. Cain had the opportunity to be chosen and accepted by God had he simply gave a better offering.

Instead of putting more effort into his offering, Cain decided to kill his brother because of his jealousy toward him.

Often times we become jealous of other people for what they have, when the same blessings that they have can be achieved when we focus on bettering ourselves for God.

This situation is comparable to being jealous of a friend who is achieving great grades in school. Instead of spending more time completing good school work and studying, you choose to harp on jealousy of that person. The precious time and energy spent on being jealous could’ve been spent on being productive and bettering yourself.

2. David and King Saul

Saul was the very anointed and very favored King of Israel, who was appointed by God Himself. God’s spirit was in him. Yet Saul still became jealous of David. 

 “David had killed Goliath, the battle was over, and the Israelite army set out for home. As the army went along, women came out of each Israelite town to welcome King Saul. They were singing happy songs and dancing to the music of tambourines and harps.  They sang:

Saul has killed

    a thousand enemies;

David has killed

    ten thousand enemies!

This song made Saul very angry, and he thought, ‘They are saying that David has killed ten times more enemies than I ever did. Next they will want to make him king.’ Saul never again trusted David.” – 1 Samuel 18:6-9

Saul was so consumed with how everyone else portrayed David, that he forgot who God made him and called him to be. He allowed jealousy to fester in his heart. David spent years of his life before becoming king, running from Saul, who was trying to kill him. Saul exiled him as he ran for his life.

Lessons Learned

In both instances, the beginning feelings of jealousy could’ve been dealt with had they reached out to God. He equips us with what’s needed to overcome anything that we are struggling with. If you find yourself dealing with jealous feelings, please give it to God. Don’t let those feelings build up. 

Saul and Cain hurt David and Abel not because of what they did, but because they were chosen by God. God has created each of us in His image, with different talents, and different purposes. We should never be jealous of what God has chosen someone else for. We are each special in the Kingdom of God.

Comparison is a Liar

“Do your own work well, and then you will have something to be proud of. But don’t compare yourself with others.” Galatians 6:4 (CEV)

Comparison can rob us of the life we deserve. We spend so much time getting caught up in what he has, or what she has. We begin to think that what we have is not enough. We think that what we’ve done is not enough. It steals your joy by distracting you from the person you are, making you feel less than what you are.

It’s important that we try to remind ourselves (every day if we have to) of the things that we are blessed with. We should always strive to have hearts of thanksgiving for what God has done for us. It’s a slap in the face when we are jealous because it shows that we are unappreciative of what He’s done for us.

So, instead of comparing ourselves and being jealous of what other people have, let’s be happy and joyful for what we DO have. Remember, as he said in Job 1:21, “We bring nothing at birth;
we take nothing with us at death. The Lord alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the Lord!”

The dangers of jealous is a blog post coming up next.

Surviving the Holidays When You’ve Lost Someone

For most people, the holidays are a time to celebrate. It’s a time where you get to be with family that you may not normally see all the time, and it’s a time to make memories and share laughs. 

For others, it can be a reminder of loved ones they’ve lost. Whether it’s a mother, son, or cousin, it can be hard to get through the holidays when those loved ones are on our minds. 

I personally am someone who will be “surviving” the holidays. What should’ve been a wonderful time of the year, is now going to be the hardest times of my life. 2019 has been rough and I pray that nothing but good things are coming in our future. 

While I will be celebrating my birthday, I’ll also be mourning the loss of our daughter Aaliyah who was due on the same day. We should be sharing a birthday together, but sadly that is no longer our reality. God has called her home to be with Him. 

But it isn’t over. I refuse to let that steal my joy this holiday season, and you shouldn’t let your circumstances steal yours either. 

Here are some ways that you can survive the holidays after losing someone you love. 

First, the Joy of the Lord

Being one of God’s children means that we get to experience strength and joy in the Lord. He knows the troubles we face, and He also knows how to equip us to get through them. Though we have suffered, God still gives us the strength to carry through. With Him, we learn to find joy in the midst of our sorrows. 

One of my favorite scriptures about this comes from 1 Thessalonians 1:6 (CEV): “So when you accepted the message, you followed our example and the example of the Lord. You suffered, but the Holy Spirit made you glad.”

Another scripture that I lean on is John 16:22 (CEV). “You are now very sad. But later I will see you, and you will be so happy that no one will be able to change the way you feel.” The KJV says “no one will take your joy from you.” 

When we lean on the Lord for peace and strength, He fulfills our every need. This holiday season, I am choosing love and joy. I’m choosing the redirect every negative, sad, helpless emotion that I’ve felt in 2019, into something positive. I gave my sorrows to the Lord and He restored me. 

I won’t say that the losses don’t affect me at all anymore. I am still human, and I still “feel.” But when I start to feel those emotions creeping back on me, I make sure to pray to God that He will give me peace beyond my own understanding (Phillipians 4:7). Without peace, there is no joy. 

This Season, Make Sure of These 5 Things: 

1. Surround yourself with people who support and love you

This is a given. This holiday season, make sure you’re around people who you know love and support you. 

Subsequently, if you just feel like being alone, that’s okay too! Don’t feel pressured to spend your time with people whom you don’t want to spend time with. Being alone sometimes is okay too. 

Don’t confuse being alone with isolating yourself, as there is a difference. Being alone can be healthy, but isolating yourself can cause more issues in the long run. 

2. Remove yourself from triggering situations

Don’t you ever feel like you HAVE to do something. Learn to say no. Don’t want to go somewhere? Say no. Don’t want to hang out with so and so? Then say no. One thing I’ve learned to do is to only go places and do things that are best for my emotional well being. No one else is going to be a bigger advocate for yourself. 

And remind yourself, if you need to, that it’s okay. Even if other people don’t understand, it is okay. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone. Advocate, unapologetically, for yourself. 

3. Take it day by day

Time really does heal all wounds. Though it may feel like wounds are being reopened during the holidays, don’t let it. Focus on today. Take it step by step, one foot in front of the other.

4. Be good to yourself

Lastly, if you’re feeling particularly down one day, make sure you do something for yourself. For the ladies, if you want to have a spa day, have one! Get your nails done, get your hair done, go shopping (and make sure you make a budget)! If you like painting, go out to a Michaels or Hobby Lobby and buy some new materials and supplies. 

5. Create new traditions in memory of your loved one(s).

That’s what we will be doing this year. I will not go into the details of what we will do, but we plan on doing something special in loving memory of Aaliyah. I never want to forget that I would’ve shared a birthday with my beautiful daughter. 

Make an effort to create a tradition that honors your loved one. Though it may hurt a little in retrospect, I promise you will feel so good about it in the end. Whether it’s just a Christmas tree ornament, a short poem read out loud with the family, or a small, at home ceremony, there are so many ways you can honor your loved ones.  

We will see them again some day! 

I have a lot of peace in knowing that I will see my babies again one day. The same goes for you and your loved ones! Though it feels like forever away, you will see your loved ones again. Right now, they are resting peacefully with the Lord and that’s okay! Though we miss them, it is not as if we won’t ever see them again. I find a lot of peace in this and I hope you do. 

I truly hope that you have a wonderful holiday, in spite of. Feel free to comment below if you ever need anyone to talk to. 

Why I Pray For My Husband

Why I Pray For Him

One of the best things you can do for your husband, is pray for him.

In the bible, a husband is defined as a man in a legal marriage. When a man and a woman marry, they are bound together as one. (CEV) Genesis 2:24: “That’s why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.”

Let’s first define what a husband is.

“House Band”

The term “husband” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words which mean “house band.” These words imply a rope, or strip of metal, that is used to bind houses together. Husbands usually take the brunt of everyday life in a marriage. They “hold it down.” They make sure that the house is always in order.

This role comes with a lot of stresses including ensuring order, being a leader, and knowing how to make decisions that are in the best interests of the family. He also sets the standard for the household. The household follows the house band.

God intended for a husband to love his wife unconditionally. The husband “binds” his household with love. He “binds” his household spiritually, constantly making decisions that are best for the family spiritually.

The stresses of every day life can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining for our husbands. This is why it’s important to lift them up in daily prayer.

How I Pray For Him

When I first begin to pray each day, I first thank God for the many things He has blessed us with. I make sure that I give ample amount of thanks to God for blessing me with a loving, caring husband. I thank Him for the relationship He has allowed us to build with each other. I feel that giving thanks for the man God has sent you is very important.

I pray that God would strengthen my husband, especially when he is feeling the opposite. God is our strength, and I pray this over my husband because I know that the role of being a leader and the amount of responsibility that comes with it can leave him feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

I pray that God would equip him with what’s needed to fight spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare is real. Attacks from the enemy are real. Our husbands need us to cover them in prayer them on a daily basis. Prayer needs to be proactive, and not just done when things start to go wrong. We should always be on the offensive.

I pray a protection prayer over him. I pray that God would protect him physically and spiritually. My favorite verses to pray for his protection are Psalm 59:1, Psalm 91, and Isaiah 41:10.

I pray for his peace. We can truly have joy only when we have God’s peace. My husband’s peace is not only important for himself, but for this household. For me personally, I can’t be happy if my husband is unhappy. If he’s not operating peacefully, I won’t operate peacefully. I pray every day that God would renew his strength and his peace. A verse I use to pray peace over him is Philippians 4:7 which says that God will give us a peace beyond our own understanding.

Lastly, I pray for unity, peace, and strength in our marriage. We aim to build a strong foundation in which we can build a family upon. We want our marriage to be unbreakable by outside forces. We a stronger together as one, and that’s what I frequently ask God to do in our marriage – to help us operate as one unit, especially as we begin to bring children into this world. We want to set an example for our future children.

Our home is a place of peace and refuge. My husband is a key factor in making sure we have a stable, loving, and peaceful household. We should always aim to keep our husband’s lifted up in prayer.

When you feel like you’ve lost it all – Story of Job

Disclaimer – I am most obviously not a preacher, and I am not a teacher. What I am is a Christian lady who has gone through some stuff. I am writing this with hopes of helping someone who has felt like they’ve lost it all, realize that God is still on your side.

In the past, I’ve felt like my life was literally over. As dramatic as it may sound, it didn’t seem dramatic to me. Anyone who has gone through the loss of a child, especially multiple times, will tell you that the feeling is like no other.

After the first loss, it took me some time to realize that it wasn’t necessarily God’s fault that it happened. I was finally getting back to my prayer life and reading my bible. Eventually, I came across the book of Job. I read the entire 40+ chapter book in just 3 days. Everything he was going through, every ounce of pain he felt, every complaint to God, I recognized and identified with.

You see, Job didn’t just lose his children though. He lost everything. He lost his business, he lost his farm animals, he lost his servants, he lost his health, and then, he lost his reputation.

One by one, the messengers came through and told Job that something terrible had happened. Each time it felt like the bad news was over, more bad news came. And that’s exactly how 2019 had felt for me. As soon as we thought things couldn’t be worse, they got worse. We got a lot of bad news this year. In February, our baby didn’t have a heartbeat. In July, my water broke prematurely. In October, our 3rd baby didn’t grow properly, likely due to a chromosomal issue. We never got to see or hear a heartbeat on that baby.

Business had a rocky start this year as well. Finances were hit hard when we were buying our house. We were so close to not being able to buy our house, but thankfully, God did come through.

Reading Job really humbled me. I’m not one to appreciate when someone compares my struggles to the struggles of another, but reading this did force me to take a step back and really look at how horrible things could’ve been for us. At the end of the day, I still have my husband and all of the other many things God has blessed us with.

There was one part in Job that really stuck with me. “Don’t talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well.” This was in response to his wife telling him to curse God and die.

Job maintained his “integrity” as his wife called it. He never once fell out with or cursed God because he knew that God was still with him. Job teaches us that if we can accept the goodness of God and His blessings, then we must also accept that bad. Jesus suffered for all of our sins, why shouldn’t we also suffer?

What I sometimes have to remind myself is that none of this is God’s fault. The enemy is the one with the plan to kill, steal, and destroy. I remind myself that God grieves with me as I go through this. He is crying with and for me. He doesn’t want any of this to happen to us.

Instead of pulling away from God during this time, I use these situations to draw closer to Him. He is my strength, He is my shoulder to lean on.

My encouragement to anyone that is going through this is to remember that it is not over. I know what it looks like, and I know what it feels like. But it is not over. God has the final say and He will win this war for you. He will make a fool out of the enemy. Put your trust in Him and He will literally carry you through this.

I imagine being completely, physically crippled and being carried on a cot to my destination. God is carrying the cot. I am emotionally crippled, and God is carrying me to my victory.

My babies have gone to be with the Lord

This post may make some people uncomfortable, and that’s okay. I do this in efforts to keep the memories of our beautiful babies alive.

At just 21 year old, the loss of 3 babies has been nothing short of heartbreaking. I’ve often beat myself down about being so young and “in my prime,” yet being unable to successfully bring a baby into this world. It’s not a great feeling at all.

The first time we lost a baby, I let a lot of self-hatred and negativity build up within me. I questioned God often, struggling to understand why He could possibly let this happen to use. We had been trying for 7 months, granted it was off and on. It wasn’t until January 2019 when I really got serious and started tracking cycles. It was also the first time we had gotten pregnant.

I’ll be honest, I was very naive. We both were. We had never experienced this type of loss, and we always figured that the most daunting task of trying to conceive (TTC) would be actually getting pregnant. Never would we have imagined that at our ages we would lose a baby. How could we? We are in our prime, young, and healthy.

That “naivity” if you will, is what got us into a lot of trouble. We were shell shocked when we were told in the ER that we were having an inevitable miscarriage. I had bleeding a lot, but still remained hopeful that God wouldn’t fail us. That God would make everything okay.

When He didn’t, I nearly lost myself. I shut down. I asked Him many times, “Why us?” Why did we have to go through losing a baby? Why aren’t we going to be able to see our first baby take his/her first steps? Why are we going to miss out on taking him/her to their first day of school? So many questions I asked, and of course, no answers in return.

I lost my faith. I couldn’t understand why He would allow this to happen.

Then, I started to read about Job in the bible. One afternoon, God said to satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” And that’s when it all began.

Satan began attacking him left and right. He was a faithful man who feared God. He did no wrong, and yet he lost everything he had.

He was wrongfully accused by his friends of having done wrong, having sinned. Job was a righteous man, and he knew that he did no wrong in the eyes of God. His friends continued to attack his character, but Job knew that this wasn’t happening to him because God was punishing him. God was testing him. God knew Job’s heart, and knew that He wouldn’t stray no matter what satan threw at him.

Obviously, God was right. Job never strayed. And in the end, God blessed him double because of it.

What I’ve gathered from our losses is that God tested us.

I believe that God will restore all that we have lost. He will restore the joy that we once had when we were naive to loss. He will renew and restore our faith. He will restore what the enemy has stolen from us.

He has not forsaken us. He is where He has always been – watching over and protecting us. The weapons against us were formed, but they have not, and will not prosper.