No matter what you are facing or what you have been through, recover well. Don’t look like what you’ve been through. God wants you to come out of the fire shining like pure gold. He wants to make your time in the fire valuable like diamonds. Recover well. When you speak more fervently about what you’ve been through than how you made it through, you continue to give your circumstances more power than your Sustainer. Talk like a winner. Walk like a winner. Dress like a winner. Recover well. Sometimes God takes you through to bring you out! Come out better. Come out stronger. Come out wiser. Recover well.
I’m gaining a new perspective of God being my father, which brings tears to my eyes. You see, I didn’t grow up with a consistent father figure. His inconsistencies and not being there when I really needed him has left me with a deep desire for security from a father/male figure my entire life. I just want to feel taken care of and feel that what I can’t do on my own, somebody cares enough about me to recognize my needs and step in to help me without me even asking. This has been an ongoing need and battle in my life.
Throughout my life, I attributed my perspective of my human father as that of my spiritual father, emotionally disconnected from my true needs and desires. I knew God loved me, but didn’t think He really cared about my needs or desires. Presently, not only is God showing me He loves me, but He loves me so much, it is His pleasure to not only provide my needs, give me some things that I want, but also make dreams come true for me! I am experiencing a powerful kind of love at age 39 I have wanted my entire life. Watching God make dreams come true in my life, dreams I didn’t even know I still wanted, is overwhelmingly joyful.
My message in this is simple…God loves you deeply. He will move mountains for you. He will rebuke sickness and death for you. He will perform miracles just for you. Receive not only His deep love for you, receive His true commitment to you and your well-being.
**If you are reading this and are struggling to connect with God, reach out to me for support and prayer. I’m here for you.**
I’m skilled at several things which makes it challenging to define my craft. What I’m realizing is my craft is to create. I love to look at images of home decor styles and create the look in reality. I love creating new experiences for others that expands their ability to dream for themselves. I love to create new, innovative learning experiences for our son. I create an atmosphere of support as I lead others to total wellness through my fitness programs. I create genuine spiritual encounters as I lead in ministry. I love to create new vegan dishes as I lead our family to better health. I create unity as I intentionally build positive connections with people from different cultural backgrounds. I create new behaviors and new mindsets as I provide mental health therapy. I create businesses that meet needs. I create art with my written words. I create realities from dreams. What’s your craft?
Come together. Help one another. Share ideas. Share a vision. Accomplish goals. Build strength. Accomplish the impossible. Get ‘er done!
These are all the phrases that come to my mind when I think of the word collaborate. I had an impromptu collaborative conversation on yesterday that I think….just may have changed the pace of my dreams. The dreams/visions I have just got accelerated because of some ideas and support I received I didn’t know I had. And now, the manifestation of those dreams will show up sooner than expected.
When you connect yourself with the right person or group, your collaborative efforts can actually benefit every player involved. Sometimes the right collaborative team takes time and sometimes you may have to erase and start again and again until you find the right fit. But when you do, success is inevitable.
It takes 200 muscles to take a single step forward…
For this month, I have shared the benefits of physical exercise with my group fitness class. One fact I shared with them on last week was, “It takes 200 muscles to take a single step forward.” This fact put a lot of things in perspective for me and I think for others as well. I actually had them guess how many muscles it takes, and the guesses where all under 10. The look of shock that hit their faces as they learned it actually takes 200 muscles to take a single step forward demonstrated a valuable life learning moment.
200 muscles! I pondered this fact myself and immediately began to feel very accomplished. I believe this fact not only relates to the physical, but to the mental and spiritual aspects of life as well. I reflected on all the “steps I have taken forward” without realizing the value and impact that “one step forward” has had on my life. I did that! I went for it! I moved! I took risks. I went for my dreams. I lunged towards my purpose. I dove into the unknown. I followed my heart. I overcame fear time and time again. I obeyed. I won!
Did you know oftentimes God is only looking for that single step forward? I know the first step is usually the hardest. I know the first step is sometimes like lifting lead. I know the first step requires a lot of effort, sacrifice, and will power. But…the first step breaks barriers, moves mountains, and gives you the motivation to keep going. The first step is the most important step. The first step in the right direction signifies the beginning of a new phase in life. Think about the excitement in seeing a baby take their very first step. If you are a parent, this is by far one of the most exciting memories of parenthood.
I’m encouraging you to move. It’s amazing how after you have taken the first step, the next steps automatically become easier.
I remember being afraid of thunderstorms. As the house shook and the windows rattled after a strong crack of lighting followed by that deep rumble of thunder, I would feel my body tense. I would imagine the thoughts of God as He orchestrated the show of His power on the Earth. I would always imagine God being angry, upset at something or someone. In my mind, these emotions matched the intensity of the raging storm.
On this week, I am exploring weather with my preschool son. We discussed The Water Cycle and on yesterday he wanted to just sit, listen, and watch out of the window as a storm was passing by. We listened for different sounds. He watched water collect on our lawn and discussed what would happen to the water after the sun came out. He also grabbed his Cat in the Hat book, as in the story, a brother and sister were also sitting in front of a window on a rainy day wishing for something to do. I also asked my young son, “Are you afraid of storms?” He replied, “No, the sun is behind the clouds.” He then preceded to pretend he was the sun and I was the clouds/storm fighting each other to come out. According to him, the sun was always the “superhero” (winner).
My spirit was stirred. First, I noticed how calm I was as this storm was passing by. I didn’t think twice about God being angry. I thought about what I wanted to model for my child as a parent, and after studying The Water Cycle, I thought about storms being just that….part of a process. I imagined God being as calm through the storm as He is on cloudless days. I thought about the fact that stormy days were necessary and served a purpose on the Earth. I thought about the flowers and trees that needed the storm to live and grow. I thought about the collection of rain water and the life it brought to animals and humans after the storm. I realized God was still in control and His protection was still secure, even through the most treacherous storms.
So it is in the spirit, whatever storms may rage in your life, trust and know God is in control and storms do not last always. Storms show up in your life for a divine purpose and leave at a divinely appointed time. The more you focus on God’s power in your life, the quicker the storm seems to pass.
“O Lord God of hosts, who is mighty as you are, O Lord, with your faithfulness all around you? 9 You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.”
Pslam 89: 8-9 (KJV)
“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Psalm 107: 29
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8: 26
As stated by our young son, the sun always wins. Troubles do not last always. Joy really does come in the morning. You may not know which morning, but wake up expecting every morning to be the morning your storm will cease. Every season in life has a purpose. Rejoice in the Lord always. Thank Him for the storms and the sunny days of life. Whatever state you find yourself in, be content and watch God work!
“I just want to be happy.” You rarely hear someone say “I just want to be content.” In my soul searching work, I have come to understand the difference between being content versus being happy. Most of us chase happiness and use this as a measure to accept our current circumstances or not. We often tell ourselves, “If I’m not happy, then this is not for me.” Wake up call…you were not created for your own happiness. God calls us even higher than happiness…its called contentment.
Contentment is defined as the “quality or state of being satisfied with one’s possessions, status, or situation.” Contentment is an attitude. Happiness is an emotion. In this, attitudes are more of fixed assets, whereas, emotions are liabilities and risks. A fixed asset means something is tangible, sure, and lasts a lifetime. Emotions are fleeting, wavering, and inconsistent. I think of happiness like a wave, up and down, in and out. One minute you are happy, the next minute you are spewing anger, bitterness, or resentment. Only in certain circumstances, when the conditions of life align to your wants and desires, do you feel happy. I believe this is one reason some people are in and out with God. For some, this may be the only relationship in life that is not based on their own happiness. Instead, contentment is required to make the relationship truly satisfying and successful.
Contentment does not mean you don’t have desires. Contentment doesn’t mean you don’t still have problems or pressures. Contentment doesn’t mean you are happy, necessarily. Contentment means you intentionally accept your circumstances, as they are, and you purposefully shift your attitude to gratitude. Contentment promotes happiness. Here’s the revelation…God delights in providing a contented heart its true desires.
In my own life, some of my circumstances are in contrast to my desires. I don’t experience the feeling of happiness every day, but what I have found is a place of peace, wholeness, and satisfaction knowing that whatever the state that I am in, God is in control and has my best interest at heart. Having a contented heart alleviates worry about my future. I find myself with greater appreciation of what I have and in greater expectation of what is to come.
If you want to make great gains in life in your circumstances, emotions, and relationships; if you want to move the heart of God, seek contentment and not happiness. If you choose to be content, I guarantee you, you will be happy!
I Plead the Fifth. Pleading the Fifth means to refuse to answer questions for fear of incriminating yourself. I have been working really hard lately to keep my mouth closed! Not so much towards other people, but towards myself. I am practicing not cursing my own words, and more importantly not cursing God’s Word over my life by complaining and speaking doubt.
It’s challenging. I do not remember the day I realized that I was delaying my own blessings by releasing certain words from my mouth, but it has truly been a shift in thinking, feeling, and my spiritual behavior. If God says I have the “power to move mountains”, I can no longer say “I’m powerless”. If God says “I will be wealthy”, I can no longer say, “I can’t ever get out of this debt.” If God says, “a turn around is about to take place in your life”, I can no longer say, “nothing ever changes.”
These are all real examples of the conversations I’ve had with God, and with the enemy. The moment God releases a Word from His mouth about you, is the very moment you have to choose to Plead the Fifth. It is not only your constitutional right, but your spiritual weapon to receive all that God has for you. The enemy hears what God says about you and immediately springs into action to discount, destroy, and delay the Word God spoke over your life. Here’s where we go wrong, God releases a Word and the enemy immediately springs into action against what was spoken. When we hear the release of God’s Word over our lives, we sit back and try to process and qualify ourselves with what God says about us and do not immediately spring into action. Instead, we stand in disbelief, telling God he has the wrong person, trying to figure out how it will happen, etc. We don’t immediately spring into action to guard our hearts and minds against evil talk and evil thoughts concerning the Word of God. Many of us say things such as, “I don’t want to do that.” “I’m too old/young/not smart enough to do that.” “That is too much responsibility.” “What would people say?” “I didn’t ask for all of that, God.” Meanwhile, the enemy has already taken the lead in our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
The wonderful news, God holds our position through our transition, one of my favorite quotes. He loves us so much He does not take back His Word concerning us and our future. God’s Word cannot return to Him void! There may be some delays, but never denials, unless we choose to forfeit our own blessings.
The Bible says in Proverbs 4: 23-27 (MSG), “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” So, the next time you receive a Word from the Lord concerning your life, choose to Plead the Fifth. Intentionally choose not to speak against the Word. Don’t disqualify yourself, don’t try and figure it out. Just receive and expect God’s Word to come to pass, no questions asked.
Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalms 23:6 (NIV)
We are living in a society where many of us are defined by the number of social media friends and followers. Honestly speaking, I do not think there is anything wrong with this, unless a person is only defined by these parameters. I think there are many people that do not know who they are or only feel valuable and special when someone comments, post a reaction, or “likes” their page or posts. This level of dependence on what others think or feel based on how they interact with you on social media may mask low self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-love.
I get it. I too have had fleeting moments of watching my followers and wondering why certain material gets more likes and followers more than material I produce, which is intentionally shared to uplift, encourage, and empower. These moments lasted only a short while until I allowed the Holy Spirit to speak to me…”Stop counting your followers, you only need two.” Of course, I was taken aback by this response and wondered, “What two followers are the most important ones to have (as I am scanning my friends list)?” And then the Holy Spirit said, “Goodness and Mercy (love)”. My emotions and spirit were immediately comforted and empowered to keep following the leading of the Holy Spirit with every written word I shared on social media, knowing that God was pleased with my work.
I’m not sure why I was inspired to share this post with others. I believe there are some out there that “people watch” on social media and are emotionally anguished when certain goals are not met. I also believe there are some that define their success solely by the number of followers they receive. Still, there are others that post material on social media because they are seeking to find their purpose, to have an impact (good or bad), or to be noticed. This is the audience I’m hoping to encourage. God defines your purpose, not people. God’s work in and through you are what will make you famous, not feedback from others. In 1 Chronicles 4, Jabez prays, “‘Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.’ And God granted his request.” When God guides your words and your work, his Goodness and Love are the only followers you need to create opportunities, open doors, and blow your name on the wind! I too, hope to grow my audience, but not at the expense of God’s plan for my life and in the way He would have me walk in my purpose. Sometimes, too, you just have not yet reached your season.
Commit daily to checking your followers, Goodness and Love. Ask yourself, “Am I doing God’s will for my life?” “Am I allowing Him to guide my words, thoughts, and actions?” “Am I making a positive impact on the lives of people?” I guarantee, just like Jabez, if you surrender to His will, your territory (followers) will be enlarged and His blessings will flow abundantly!
I keep getting the feeling something great is about to happen. In my years of experience just living life, whenever there is death, birth immediately comes. For example, I cannot tell you the countless times I have experienced family deaths and soon after, someone is also preparing for birth. It’s as if God designed the two to go hand in hand. Interestingly, sometimes life shows up first, as an indication you just “died” to something and entered a new season. Personally, I have been in a “dead” season in my life where my fight has seemed hopeless. Just this past weekend, I found out I am preparing for life (birth) and within a few days, it hit me. I just “died” to something! My season just shifted! God just opened doors! Hallelujah! Now, I am expecting blessings to show up one by one. I am expecting the fulfillment of prophetic words spoken years ago. I am living in expectation!
In my recent post Life Resurrected, I discussed Jesus being the overcomer of (all) death through his life that was resurrected. As I’m pondering this phenomenon, it is not just physical death that precedes birth or life, it can be death in any form. For instance, it can be death of a poor relationship, death to negative thinking, financial death, dying to oneself, death of a season in your life, etc. In all these instances of death, in some way or form, birth or life follows. This was the ultimate plan of God. There is hope. In this, no matter what may appear “dead” or “dying” in your life, a birthing (of something) is simultaneously taking place. Your dying circumstances will not overtake you, but bring new life-breathing opportunities. Keep hoping, believing, and expecting life to show up! New opportunities, new open doors, new relationships, and new life transformation moments are on the way.
As an activist, I am continuing the fight for racial equality and civil rights in my local area, I expect growth and progress. Justice, unity, and equality are not “dead” beliefs (as I once thought), but with the right approach, achievable realities. Endurance in the fight brings victory.
What appears “dead” in your life? I want to encourage you. Let’s continue the discussion.