What Giving Birth Taught Me About God

Natasha image

Giving birth was the most painful, yet beautiful experience of my life (besides my wedding night). God granted all my prayers: that I’d have our baby at the birth center, my husband would be there through it all, that I’d have a Christian midwife, that she’d be available for my birth, that baby would come before his due date, that I would have the pretty sea-themed room, that I’d have a speedy labor—but one He denied: a pain-free delivery.

Six hours is definitely a short labor, especially for a first time mom, but with diarrhea speeding up contractions, coupled with vomiting, I was definitely in serious pain and quite weak by the time it was time to push. And O, did I have to push. It took an hour for our 9lb 1oz, 22 inch long baby boy to enter the world, and with each failed attempt, I grew more and more discouraged. In my mind, I begged God to let him come out already. I was so tired, so discouraged, just wanting the pain and pushing to end already. It took five different birthing positions and several tries. I asked God why He was doing this to me. The baby’s head had been crowning for some time and I was beat. But God’s grace was sufficient for me, and His strength was made perfect in my weakness. Finally, on February 19th at 1:21am, Arrow Jotham Sapienza made it through the birth canal and into my arms.

A day or two after I gave birth, before entering my time of praise and prayer, I read/prayed this passage over myself and Jonathan:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭3‬:‭14-19‬ NKJV)

I began my intimate time with the Father by thanking Him, and as I was thanking Him, these words flowed from my heart:

Father, I thank You for the pain. I thank You for the opportunity to be conformed to Your suffering.

I confessed that though that was six hours of intermittent agony, Christ suffered far worse for more than nine hours (and the pain was consistent). During my labor, I was just focused on me; my suffering, but Christ was looking forward to the joy set before Him. He was focused on the Father and on saving us. His love for God and for mankind was what kept Him going.

God answered my Ephesians prayer, and He used my temporary suffering to teach me a beautiful and invaluable lesson: a greater understanding of His love.

My pain was nothing compared to His, but to get a tiny taste of what it was like is an honor and a privilege because now I grasp just a little more how great Christ’s love really is.

My prayer is that God willing, next time around I’ll be thinking of the joy set before me: a child that will be dedicated to God, my gift to Him for all He’s done for me, rather than focusing on myself. [Yes, I plan on going all-natural again at the birthing center. I absolutely love that place! They love you and baby and treat the birthing process like it’s something sacred. And giving birth is. God said the purpose of marriage is to produce godly offspring].

I don’t know what you’re suffering through, but may you likewise come to this place:

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭2-5‬ NKJV)

May our understanding of God’s love continue to grow so that we can become complete in Him.

Praying for you,

Natasha

How God Revived My Downcast Soul Within Three Minutes

Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God. (‭Psalms‬ ‭43‬:‭5‬ NKJV)

I experienced this exact thing a half hour ago. My soul was downcast. I felt so discouraged. I went into the baby’s room, sat before the Lord, and turned on Enter The Worship Circle’s, “You are so good to me.” Though throughout this song I was crying as much as I was singing, Christ’s love was strengthening me. During the next song by the same group, “Those who trust,” I was no longer weeping. His Spirit enveloped me. He wrapped His caring arms around me, and as always, I was encouraged by my God, my Father, my Husband, and my Friend.

When you’re down, may you remember to praise Him because no matter what you’re going through, He is faithful, He loves you. He never changes and He never fails. As you begin to focus on the truth of who Christ is and praise Him accordingly, I promise you too will be encouraged and renewed as I am now.

Praying for you,

Natasha

We Aren’t Supposed To Recount The Evil People Do In Secret

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭11-12‬ NKJV)

Notice how it says we shouldn’t even speak about the things that the ungodly do in private because talking about it in itself is shameful. But then how do we expose them? By the light of Christ in us; by being different, by being like Him. And when one receives the Light of the world, they are convicted by the Holy Spirit of just how evil their previous actions were:

But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭13-14‬ NKJV)

These verses convicted me this morning because I have spoken about the evil things evil people do. And sometimes I’ll pray for them, but not always. Praying for the light of Christ to penetrate their darkness should always be my prayer when I’m confronted by the evil of others.

So this is my prayer:

Father, please purify me completely. Please help me abide in You. Please help me not to waste my words, but to be wise and guard my tongue. May my speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt. May I not gossip or even speak about evil things people do in secret, but expose it with the purity and love of your light shining through me. May you, in Your mercy, reveal the truth to those in darkness and may they be drawn near by your love and repent that they may be saved. In Jesus’ name, amen.

I encourage you, the next time you see or hear about the evil someone or a group of people are doing, instead of recounting their evil to someone else, expose it by the purity of your own life, by walking like Jesus, and pray for their salvation.

May we walk as children of the light everyday and make the most of the time given to us, because the days are indeed evil.

I love you and I’m praying for you daily,

Natasha

Question: What do you guys think about the fact that he says the things they do in secret? Do you think this means if someone is doing evil in public, it’s okay to speak about it? I think of the times Paul warned the church of someone who was a false prophet and briefly touching on the evils they were doing. What are your thoughts on this?

I’m 8 Days Away From My Due Date

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I’m set to deliver me and sir Jonathan’s first child on February 21st. If I write all the ways God has provided, and all the prayers He’s answered, this post would be at least 10,000 words long. But here are some:

-Jonathan got a second job for a Christian ministry
-I didn’t have morning sickness
-We got blessed with three baby showers
-We have all the essentials; strollers, car seat, bassinet, baby clothes, diapers, baby wipes to last months, pediatrician who’s five minutes away
-All the nursery wants/needs have been gifted to us; changing table, crib (eventually), crib mattress, lamp, crib mobile, sheets, the cute forest animal-themed decorations we wanted
-We haven’t paid for anything for baby out of pocket, not even my prenatal visits
-We got blessed with a new, quality brand-name mattress (ours has been marked in several places by two different dogs and was causing me pain)
-We were working toward getting out of debt and had $500 left that we owed Jonathan’s dad and then randomly received an unexpected check for $500 in the mail. We’re now debt-free
-Jonathan was approved for not one, but six weeks off paid from his higher paying, longer-hours job to bond with baby

God truly is our provider. He has certainly blessed us incredibly and answered so many prayers. I’m blown away by His love and provision, and by His great care for His daughter and son. All the details He paid attention to, even giving unnecessary blessings. He has fiercely protected me and the baby from enemy attacks, and though I’ve become extra clumsy thanks to the increase in hormones, I haven’t fallen once in my entire pregnancy. Every time I stumbled (which was often), His angels caught me.

I just wanted to encourage you all to pray about everything that concerns you, casting your anxieties on Him because He truly does care for you—practically beyond comprehension.

It’s so vital for us to grasp the depth of His love for us and how much we do not deserve it. As we pray for that revelation, we will be compelled to truly surrender all to Him, to live for Him and obey Him because we genuinely love Him and are so grateful for all He has graciously done for us.

I pray a greater understanding of Christ’s love and worthiness to be worshipped is revealed to you that you may offer up your life—the life He’s loaned to you—for nothing but His glory.

Grace and love to you,

Natasha

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Inspiration Vs. Divine Power

Just because someone is inspiring, does not mean God is the one behind the inspiration.

Someone may inspire you, but inspiring you to do or be what?

There’s many inspirational speakers; some are new age, some are Christian, some are Buddhist, and some are atheist.

As born-again followers of Christ, we should not seek to merely inspire, but rather, to transform and equip by the power of the Holy Spirit. I can inspire someone to do or say something, yet it wasn’t Christ in me doing the inspiring, but myself.

We must be very careful what we are inspiring others to do. You can “be positive” and encourage a non-believer to go after his dreams, but what if those dreams are shallow, or used to promote and advance immoral messages that cause many to sin?

What we want to do instead is first be filled with the Holy Spirit so we ourselves are inspired and empowered by Him to direct people in the right direction: toward Christ. But how do we get filled with His power?

First, we must surrender.

If there is anything we have yet to repent of, we deal with that first. We stop ignoring, we stop justifying, we stop quenching the Holy Spirit and put that sin to death like the bible commands. That could mean completely cutting off a relationship, stopping your pursuit of riches, or no longer flirting (remember how high God’s standards are: let there not be a hint of sexual immorality among you; Ephesians 5:3-5).

Once our sin(s) are repented of, we diligently seek Christ.

For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.” (‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭16‬:‭9‬ HCSB)

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭22‬:‭36-38‬ NKJV)

The Father sent His only begotten Son to earth for thirty-three years and He was brutally beaten and crucified for you. He died for you. He gave everything for you. Do you think He will be satisfied with a portion of your heart, and a religious routine? Jesus wants completely devoted followers. It’s all or nothing. You either understand and agree that He is totally worthy of your full love and dedication for all that He did for you while you were still sinning against Him, or you don’t agree with that and continue on your own path that will inevitably lead to death and destruction. There is no middle-ground. Jesus told the Laodicean church in Revelation that because they were lukewarm for Him, and not cold or hot, He was going to vomit them from His mouth. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be vomited from Christ’s mouth. I want to be embraced by Him, always enraptured by His love.

If you do these two things: repent and really seek to know and love Christ, you will be led and empowered by Him and will be able—by His Spirit—to inspire others to draw closer to Him.

Love and grace to you,

Natasha

Abortion And The Human Heart

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As I pondered how in the world human beings can support abortion, this verse flooded my mind:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah‬ ‭17‬:‭9‬)

Apart from having Christ reign in our hearts through His Holy Spirit, they are desperately wicked. The passionate cries of pro-choicers is a living example of that fact. These women chant and rave, yell and swear for the right to murder a poor, helpless child as he grows tenderly inside his mother’s womb.

I saw a video of an ultrasound displaying a live abortion to a baby at 12 weeks (when most abortions are committed), and his heart began racing and he literally started jolting in an effort to move away from the sharp steel tools stabbing at his amniotic sac. When the tools penetrated and began dismembering the child, his mouth opened like a silent scream! Limb by limb, he was scrambled to bits like an egg with only a floating head remaining which the abortionist used a clamping device to remove from the mother.

I read one article where a pregnant abortionist confessed that as she pulled off the baby’s leg she was killing, her own baby kicked for the first time.

To know you are brutally murdering a helpless child, but still justify it is an astounding testimony to how depraved the human heart is without Christ’s love living within it and transforming it.

I pray that more and more women and men as well recognize their desperate need for a Savior. That in God’s holy eyes we are all wicked and need the blood of His Son to be cleansed and forgiven. No one is even close to good enough for heaven, only Christ Jesus Himself was worthy. He did not know sin, yet became sin for us and died in our place. His crucifixion is what we deserved. But in His incredible love, He paid the price for our punishment. And what does God require? We forsake our evil ways and thoughts and choose to surrender to His Son, who loved us and gave Himself for us so we can be forgiven and receive eternal life.

Why anyone would reject this vital offer is because of the verse I shared: our hearts are deceitful and wicked. Whoever rejects Christ has deceived themselves into thinking they do not need Him. And for you, I pray God’s mercy and revelation that your blinded eyes may be opened to His truth so you can be set free from the devil’s chains that are binding you.

With love,

Natasha

Christians Don’t Have A Right To Be Offended

Originally posted on BetterThanPrinceCharming:

Earlier this morning I sent a few sisters a Scripture from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:

Abundant peace belongs to those who love Your instruction; nothing makes them stumble. (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭165‬)

Later on, I decided to read from this devotional I’ve had for years, but never finished, and just started reading again a few days ago. And wouldn’t you know, Psalms 119:165 is today’s verse, but in the King James Version:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (‭Psalms‬ ‭119‬:‭165‬ KJV)

The author of the devotional writes about how much better we take it if a friend or stranger criticizes us, but if our husbands mention any slight imperfection, or wound us, or try to iron-sharpen-iron us we get very hurt and offended. Then she says this profound little nugget of truth:

We who have been forgiven by a holy God have no right…

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Are You Ready To Meet God?

Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; The LORD shall swallow them up in His wrath, And the fire shall devour them. Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, And their descendants from among the sons of men. For they intended evil against You; They devised a plot which they are not able to perform. Therefore You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your arrows on Your string toward their faces. (‭Psalms‬ ‭21‬:‭8-12‬ NKJV)

Yahweh, the proven Creator of this universe, will have a face-to-face meeting with us all. We were born by His permission, into His world, and remain breathing now by His will. Like wind to a burning wick, He can blow the very life out of our hearts and we will die, only to stand before the Consuming Fire of whom we must give an account.

Are you ready for this personal encounter? Are you prepared to be judged by Him?

I tell you now, not one person on this earth can ready themselves any other way than that way which God has provided: His Son.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (‭John‬ ‭14‬:‭6‬)

Man is without excuse. There is an abundance of historical evidence that Christ indeed proved Himself to be the Son of God by His perfectly moral life, His miracles and resurrection from the dead, and the billions of lives He’s transformed since then. If anyone doubts this fact, He can merely ask the Lord to reveal the truth, and He will to those who genuinely desire Him. For though many accept that there is indeed a Creator, they reject Him in their minds and hearts, and do not desire Him to be their Father and Master. In their grave foolishness, they deem their ways better than His, and so they cling to their sin and deny God until they inevitably meet Him and face the eternal condemnation for which they brought upon themselves by denying God’s plan for forgiveness and redemption.

I don’t want you to be one of those who all their life assumed they’ll get into heaven on good merit, not realizing they’ve broken the commandments of God over and over and over and have never been truly forgiven of them because they’ve never surrendered to the One who never once broke a commandment; the only perfect One who can forgive sin since He overcame it when He walked this earth in human flesh. Jesus Christ alone is worthy of heaven. He alone has never broken God’s law, therefore when He died, He did not die for merely the worst of sinners, but the bible says He died for the entire world.

Do not trust in yourself to get you to heaven. Jesus has made the path clear: Himself. Come to Him for forgiveness and salvation. Trust in Him as your Savior and Lord, give your heart to Him, change your mind about what you believe is right and renew it by seeing what God commands in the Bible.

May you be set free from every sin and hurt and come to know the One who loved you so much He allowed Himself to be beaten, ridiculed, and pinned to a cross for your forgiveness to be made possible.

If you have any questions on beginning a surrendered relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, feel free to email me at BetterThanPrinceCharming(at)gmail.com

Love and grace to you,

Natasha

I’m A Christian, But I’m Stuck In Sin. Help!

Many Christians are struggling with a cycle of sin because they have yet to know the truth.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (‭John‬ ‭8‬:‭31-36‬ NKJV)

Notice Jesus is clearly speaking of being free from sin.

Many, however, are biting the bait cast at them from satan, whom Jesus called “the father of lies,” who speaks nothing but lies. We forget our old self has died and we have been “born again” not of flesh, but of the Holy Spirit (John 3:6-8). In other words, Christ has made us a new creation by pouring out His very own Spirit into our hearts after we trusted our lives to Him. Therefore, as the Apostle Paul said, it is no longer we who live, but Christ lives in us.

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (‭Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭1-11‬ NKJV)

There is no denying that this incredibly freeing passage is telling us we have died to sin and therefore are no longer slaves to it. It even affirms that we have been freed from it (verse 7). It’s not an elusive promise. This is practical and is speaking of the now, of every Christian’s current state in Christ. He is not speaking of when we resurrect; he’s using past tense verbiage to show we have already died to sin. That promise has been fulfilled. But in order to live it out, we must believe it. And in order to believe it, we must first win the battle in our minds:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NKJV)

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ… (‭II Corinthians‬ ‭10‬:‭4-5‬ NKJV)

We can only be transformed if we first renew our minds. But notice from 2 Corinthians that it’s a battle. We have to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. So when the devil tells us we want to watch porn, we slice that lie in half with the truth, just like Jesus used truth to fight the devil on the mountain. We say, out loud, “Get behind me, Satan, for Christ has made me a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). My old lustful self has died (Romans 6:2). I’ve crucified those passions to His cross (Galatians 5:24). It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20).”

We need to know the Scriptures, for we aren’t battling flesh and blood. The bible says in Romans 6:6 that the body of sin has been done away with. Now we are waging war in the spirit. Jesus told His disciples the devil is subject to us (Luke 10:19-20). But Jesus did warn us to be careful that we aren’t deceived. Satan is crafty, the best liar there is. If we don’t know the truth, how in the world can we fight off his lies?

Too many are falling—and many to their spiritual demise—because they’re distracted by school, or work, or a relationship, and though they may pump iron at the gym, they are not training themselves spiritually.

If you are struggling with the lies of lust, don’t ignore them. Fight them! Renew your mind! Memorize Scripture that speaks against those lies. Your victory has been given to you by what Christ did 2,000 years ago, but you must receive it! Christ isn’t about raising up lazy children. He tests the heart. Do you really want to overcome sin and follow Me? Then pick up your sword and fight. That’s real faith; it’s active, it participates, it’s diligent. And only those who show such heart overcome.

So who will you be? The soldier that’s so wounded he falls to the ground and gets trampled by the enemy, or the soldier who is fighting valiantly, shredding his foes to pieces through faith by the power of the Holy Spirit?

As always, the choice is yours.

His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ … Therefore, brothers, make every effort to confirm your calling and election, because if you do these things you will never stumble. For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly supplied to you. (‭2 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭3-8, 10-11‬ HCSB)

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭5‬:‭8-10‬ NKJV)

Don’t Give Up On What You Know God Has Called You To Do

My writing ministry had me growing weary. I’ve been working on this YA fantasy novel for around four years now, and I just want it to be published already.

I was planning on self-publishing via eBook and raising the funds through Indie Gogo. However, after a sister in Christ challenged me—”Did God tell you to self-publish at this exact time”—I prayed. I sought more counsel and realized I should keep trying to get traditionally published.

At first I was discouraged. I cried, just wanting this book off my hands already, but then I prayed and began to worship. Within no more than ten minutes, God had encouraged me, and I was fine. Mind you, when I worshiped, I wasn’t, “feeling it.” I was still hurt, but I denied myself, denied my emotions, and chose to praise and thank God despite; out of obedience to His Word which commands us to give thanks in all circumstances.

When you repent—change your mind and agree with God—despite your circumstances and feelings, the Holy Spirit does a work in you and causes you to walk like His Son. I didn’t change my attitude, God through the Holy Spirit did, for the Word tells us, “It is God who works in you both to will and do for His good pleasure.”

When we choose to give God thanks, even when we don’t feel like it, our focus shifts from our problems to our problem solver, and He changes us by His grace.

This morning, I happened to read this:

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭6‬:‭10-12‬ NKJV)

Yet again, our great Savior encouraged me. I won’t give up on this book. I’ve dedicated it to Him for His glory and purposes. I believe He will use it.

Don’t give up either. Whatever you commit to the Lord for His good usage is not a labor of vanity. As long as you work diligently and as excellently as you can, knowing you’re serving the Lord, He will bless and use your efforts far beyond what you can ask, think, or imagine.

Keep fighting on. Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, and in Christ we are more than conquerors.

Grace to you,

Natasha