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About Asheritah Ciuciu

Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Comfort Food: Overcoming Food Addiction with the Word of God. Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.

Asheritah Ciuciu

Asheritah Ciuciu
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Asheritah Ciuciu is the author of Unwrapping the Names of Jesus and Comfort Food: Overcoming Food Addiction with the Word of God. Asheritah grew up in Romania as a missionary kid and then studied English and Women's Ministry at Cedarville University in Ohio. Her passion is helping women find joy in Jesus through a deeper walk with God, and she shares vulnerably from her own life experiences on OneThingAlone.com. She is married to Flaviu, a web programmer and artist, and together they raise their spunky daughter in northeast Ohio.

6 Simple Ways to Practice Stillness in God’s Presence

I’ve recently received several emails from readers with variations of this question:

I want to be still in God’s presence, but it’s so hard! I can’t seem to stop the buzzing thoughts in my head, and it’s frustrating!

or

I like the idea of spending 5 minutes in stillness before God, but I cannot just not think about anything. Any time I try to quiet my mind, I start singing a song or thinking of a Bible verse. Am I doing it wrong?

There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to worship God when we’re coming to Him with open and sincere hearts. And I think different methods will work in different seasons of life. I know for me, personally, it was hard to quiet my mind enough to find stillness, but it’s something I cherish now.

I think it’s important to remember that the goal is not a zen-like meditative state where our minds disconnect from our bodies. That’s not in any way biblical. Rather, the goal is to allow the peace of God to rule in our minds and hearts by submitting all we are to Him, and allowing His stillness to refresh our souls. In this fast-paced world, we rarely get to experience stillness and peace, but so many Scriptures speak to the importance of resting in God’s presence.

Here are some ideas that might help:

Begin with a few minutes of praise and prayer.

Recite verses about God’s goodness, sing praise songs that lift your heart toward heaven and orient your mind on God. Then pour out your heart and tell God about all the things going on in your life, and lay them at the feet of Jesus. Picture yourself physically taking one burden after another, and with both hands placing them at His feet, and letting them lay there. Then rest.

Meditate on a passage.

When I have a hard time quieting my mind, I like to meditate on Psalm 46:10 (“Be still and know that I am God”). Focus on one word at a time, letting your mind linger on that one word for a few seconds before moving on to the next word. (Here’s another passage you may find helpful.) Gradually increase the time frame between each word, until you’ve reached the end and your mind is at rest.6 steps to being still in God's presence

Use your imagination.

I find it helpful to imagine God seated on His throne, using passages like Revelation 4-6 to inform my imagination. As I see Him high and lifted up, I kneel down and bow my face to the ground, picturing myself in the heavenly throne room, joining the angels and the elders in singing “Holy, Holy, Holy” and then being still in His presence. Other times I imagine myself crawling into Abba Father’s lap and laying my head on His shoulder, much like my two-year-old does when she just needs a hug.

Jot down distracting thoughts.

Sometimes, when I’m trying to quiet down my mind, I start to remember all sorts of things like birthday gift ideas, spring cleaning tasks, and meal plans. If that happens to you, grab the pen, write it down, and then return your attention to the Lord. Release those thoughts, knowing you can come back to them later.

 

Recite a prayer of stillness.

Asking God to help calm your mind like Jesus calmed the storming sea. Acknowledge your racing thoughts and ask the Holy Spirit to rule over them and help your mind rest in His presence. Here’s a prayer for stillness I wrote a few months ago that I still use today.

Start small.

Begin with 30 seconds or a minute of stillness. Then build up to 5 or 10 minutes. It’s in this place of quiet communion that we quiet ourselves enough to hear what the Spirit would say to us in His still, small voice, words that we often miss in the rush of everyday life. And while 30 seconds may not seem like much, as you begin to incorporate this practice of stillness into your spiritual life, you’ll find it gets easier as the years go by.

The greatest blessing connected with stillness is that we can hear eternity; we can hear the voice of the Eternal One as He speaks to our conscience. (O. Hallesby)

Those are some of the ways I’ve begun to practice stillness and rest in my quiet time. I’ve found such refreshment and joy in just a few moments of stillness with God, and as a busy mom, that’s what often helps me get through the rest of my chaotic day.

I hope these suggestions help. What methods have you used that have helped you be still before God?


This post originally appeared on OneThingAlone.com. Get all One Thing Alone blog posts by email and a free eCourse called "Quiet Time for Busy Women" - click here.

Join Asheritah on her blog, One Thing Alone, on Twitter and on Facebook


30 Best Bible Verses for Pregnancy and Delivery

My husband and I were expecting our second child any day and I was completely on edge about it. There are so many things that can go wrong during pregnancy and delivery, and fear was about getting the best of me. 

But as I discovered with my first child, labor and delivery can also be an intimate time of worship as we partner with God in the birthing process to deliver our little babies into this world. And that’s what I want. God has given us the unique privilege of participating in the process of bringing our children into the world!

Rather than allow doubts and fears to clutch us in their deathly grip, we can fill our minds with God’s Truth and allow His peace and strength to wash over us, carrying us from one contraction to the next, experiencing His grace as we surrender into His care. And when we meet out little bundles of joy, we can celebrate God’s victory and provision as we wonder at the miracle of creation.

Below I’ve compiled the 30 best Bible verses to help me relax and trust God during the delivery of my second baby. I plan to record these verses over an instrumental background (like this relaxing sound track) so I can listen to them during contractions. You can also write them on notecards to stick around the house in the weeks leading up to labor. Or have your husband read them to you during delivery.

If you know someone who’s expecting a baby, this would be a great creative way to love a new mom! Simply record or write down the verses, and surprise her with a practical and powerful gift. I only wish I would have thought of this weeks ago to have my dear ones record verses in time for our baby girl’s arrival. How sweet would it be to hear my mom, MIL, aunt, mentors, and friends powerfully speaking the truth of these verses over me in labor!

This list is quite exhaustive and some of the passages are long, so feel free to pick just the verses that comfort you. And let me know in the comments below what other Bible passages have helped YOU in your pregnancy, labor and delivery!

 

Praising God for the Wonder of Pregnancy

Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. (Isaiah 46:3-4)

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)

Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession. (James 1:17-18)

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. (Psalm 127:3-4)

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:13-18)

Yes, you have been with me from birth; from my mother’s womb you have cared for me. No wonder I am always praising you! (Psalm 71:6)

Worshipping God for What He Has Done

I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. […] I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. (Psalm 63:4-8)

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. TheLord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (Psalm 46)Search no more! The ultimate list of Bible Verses to overcome fear in pregnancy and delivery

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. OLord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them. (Psalm 40:1-5)

But may all who search for you be filled with joy and gladness in you. May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!” As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts. You are my helper and my savior. O my God, do not delay. (Psalm 40:16-17)

Overcoming Fear & Anxiety

Don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken! (Jeremiah 1:8)

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:31-34)

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (1 Peter 5:7)

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine. When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. (Isaiah 43:1-3)

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)

Surrendering to God

Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (Psalm 55:22)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in theLord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4)

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. (Psalm 84:11-12)

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11, NIV)

Claiming God’s Strength & Endurance

We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the Father. (Colossians 1:11-12)

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:29-31)

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10)

I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights. (Habakkuk 3:18-19)

And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (1 John 5:14-15)

What Bible verses have you used to relax and trust God in your pregnancy, labor, and delivery? I’d love to hear your additions in the comments below!

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This post originally appeared on OneThingAlone.com. Get all One Thing Alone blog posts by email and a free eCourse called "Quiet Time for Busy Women" - click here.

Join Asheritah on her blog, One Thing Alone, on Twitter and on Facebook


Lies We Believe: “I’ll Never Overcome Food Addiction”

Some days, you don’t even want to try.

You don’t feel like meal planning or practicing self-control or choosing the salad over fries. You may be discouraged a recent slip-up or the tight fit of your skinny jeans.

It’s easy to believe that this food addiction that has haunted you for so long is just part of you, that it’s here to stay, that nothing you can do will make it go away.

And in your mind, you begin to believe: “I’ll never overcome this food addiction!”

So we choose the easy way out.

  • It’s easier to stay in bed, blinds closed, shutting out the world than venturing out there and failing.
  • It’s easier to skip quiet time altogether than to endure another session of closed doors and prayers hitting the ceiling.
  • It’s easier to grab a candy bar and call it a meal.

But we are called to do hard things, to deny ourselves, to take up our crosses, and to follow Jesus. We’re called to press on even when it seems hopeless, and to keep pressing on until we begin to see results.

Don’t let fear, uncertainty, or doubt keep you from doing great things. It is in those moments of weakness, those episodes of “I-can’ts” that we experience the grace of the One who can.

One of the verses that has encouraged me tremendously on my journey has been Galatians 6:9:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

It’s so easy to give in to our cravings and just give up. We’re tempted to believe that this is too great of a hurdle for us to overcome, too deep-rooted of an issue for God to resolve.

When this enters our minds like a snake slithering around our necks, threatening to suffocate us, let us fling it to the gates of Hades with the truth that “The Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in [us]” (Romans 8:11); “Nothing is impossible for God!” (Luke 1:37).

We will overcome, not because of our strength or our faithfulness but because of the One who lives in us.

So push back those covers and declare God’s love and power over the day that awaits you.

Continue to come before Him with humility and expectation, asking Him to draw you deeper into His presence.

Keep fighting that food addiction with God’s comforting presence and His Word, speaking His victory over your life.

Don’t give up. Don’t let your weariness keep you from the reward that’s waiting for you. It might be a few months out or it may be just around the corner, but God will set you free if you keep seeking Him. You don’t know when, but God does, so rest in His strength and keep on keeping on.

Let’s Get Practical

How can you live out this Truth? Here are some ides to get you started:

  1. Memorize Galatians 6:9, Romans 8:11, Luke 1:37, and/or Philippians 4:13. Here’s a pack of Bible memory cards on overcoming food addiction to get you started.
  2. Continue living in obedience even when you don’t feel like it. Create a healthy eating plan and stick with it. Don’t base your eating choices on feelings; base them on what you know is true.
  3. Get accountability. Find a friend who’s on this journey with you and encourage one another when you’re feeling down. Practice telling each other the lies that you’ve believed and send each other encouraging Bible verses throughout the week.

As we exchange the enemy’s lies for God’s Truth, the Holy Spirit will begin to transform our thought processes and our behaviors. So let us put to death the part of us that clings to sin and walk in the freedom of Jesus Christ, and we will experience real comfort in God, not food.


This post originally appeared on OneThingAlone.com. Get all One Thing Alone blog posts by email and a free eCourse called "Quiet Time for Busy Women" - click here.

Join Asheritah on her blog, One Thing Alone, on Twitter and on Facebook