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Showing posts from 2015

Doubt and Delays

Doubt has been overtaking the dreams and visions of so many people. It’s time to let it go! I was listening to someone I follow on Periscope and she talked about having two people she knew recently die. Sad yes, but listen to the point. Both individuals were between 30 and 34 years old. Wow! Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Yes, we hold on to dreams and we tell ourselves that we’ll move on them later. We don’t belief that we’re ready. We don’t believe we’re smart enough, fast enough, rich enough, etc. We’ll follow our dreams when we have more education, more money, more time, more partners, more, more, more. But the reality is that you may not have a chance to get more.

In Judges 6, Gideon is having a talk with the Lord after he received a directive from the Lord. Verse 15 reads, “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Gideon offers a reply to the Lord which immediately begins with the word “BUT.” “BUT”…

Come

Often times, God tells us to move and before we can really enjoy the move, our faith fails us. We become filled with so much fear that we doubt ourselves and God’s abilities. We see this displayed through Peter in Matthew 14:28-31. “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

We see that Peter specifically asks the Lord to show him a sign of who the Lord was. Soon after the Lord responded, Peter allowed doubt to overtake him. Yet still, the Lord remained faithful and was there to uplift Peter out of his weakened moment. What has God spoken into your life? What has God called you to do that you have not yet started? What steps have you taken towards your calling? Have you back tracked?…

Silence

Tossing and turning. Eyes open then closed. Noises that are distracting. No voices or visions. Just darkness.

Something doesn’t feel right. Something is trying to get attention. Uneasiness is all around.

What do you do in those moments when you are restless, and maybe even weary? You feel like you’ve done all the praying you can do. You’ve written on every page in your journal. You’ve burned the rubber off the bottom of your running shoes. You’ve eaten all the candy, sweets, and other snacks found in the kitchen. You’ve watched all the mindless tv that you could handle. You’re waiting to make your next move. Yet, you’re not quite sure what that move should be. Just continue to be still. Know that God is in complete and total control. In Horizontal Jesus, Tony Evans’ reminds us that “even when God is silent, He is not still.” Although there may not be any answers at the present moment. Trust God and know that He is still God. Accordingly, He is still moving in your life, on your behalf, …

Forgive Them

Most of my thoughts come to me while I’m in the shower. And it was then, as soon as I finished praying, that the thought entered. In that moment, I realized that someone failed to acknowledge a significant day in my life. That’s when the thought process began. How could he have forgotten? I guess we’re not important to him. Why did you expect him to remember? He hasn’t been consistent with special moments anyway for as long as you can remember. You’ve always given him the benefit of the doubt, so what’s different today? There was a moment that we shared over 10 years ago that made this occasion that much more significant. Didn’t he remember that?

The thoughts continued to flood my mind and eventually began to put a damper on my spirit. I tried to shake it off but I couldn’t. Before I knew it, the tears were streaming down my face and for the first few minutes, I couldn’t control or stop them. I began recounting the number of more recent incidents where I was left feeling insignificant …

What's Your Fear?

For God hath not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7. I remember when my husband first starting talking about getting a dog. I wanted to be supportive but I was unsure how I felt about it. I was deathly afraid of dogs and could hardly stand to be around them. People often asked me if I had been bitten by a dog and I’d always respond in the negative. Maybe I just had bag dreams about them growing up or watched the wrong movies. Whatever it was, it just rocked me to the core.

We started going to the Humane Society and spending short periods of times with dogs in a small room. We took the girls with us and they stole most of the attention so it worked. I started really warming up to the idea. I guess my husband thought I was completely open so one night he showed up with an American Pitbull. Maxx was 8 weeks old and was super small. It was Christmas Break during one of my law school years and I knew there was no way I could be left…

More with Less

In Judges chapter 6, we learn that the Israelites had been oppressed under the hands of the Midianites for seven years. Over the years, it wasn’t just the Midianites that took advantage of the Israelites. The Amalekites and other eastern people also invaded Israelite territory. The Israelites felt powerless. Then the Lord spoke.

I’m going to start reading at verse 12 and go through verse 15. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? He went on to say. But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Let’s look at these few verses in reverse order. You see in verse 15 that Gideon is having a…

Lock the Door!

Last night, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across the following post: “I keep trying to reopen doors that have been slammed in my face.” This post spoke volumes to me. As soon as I read it, it was like cymbals clinging together in my ear drum. It felt like there was a celebration of the fact that maybe I finally understood the lesson life was trying to teach me in this season.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 tells us, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away.”Life experiences have a way to draw us in. Often times, we totally embrace what God places before us. We give our all to a job, a ministry role, a relationship, etc. We embrace these things so completely that when God says that it’s time to move, we have a hard time letting go. Although some things and relationships will last, others are not intended to. We must remember that it’s ok to let go. Letting go is a r…

The Source

My heart was racing and my mind was running a mile a minute with thoughts and images. I needed things to slow down but they wouldn’t. I tried to rest my body and lay quietly in the dark. When that didn’t work, I tried to distract myself with Facebook. But I was not interested in that. So, I opened my bible app and looked for a reading plan. After reading scriptures and talking to God, peace began to surround me. I was able to drift off to sleep.
Then the morning came. I was totally distracted. I was moving on auto-pilot. I hungered for the Word, so I completed my bible study lesson for the day. Oh, the similarities between Haman and I in Esther 5:9-10. Haman was happy then enraged. Nevertheless, he held his composure and passed. Likewise, I chose to move forward and to take control of my actions and reactions. Every thought is not meant to be verbalized. God always delivers a word just for you at the exact moment that you need it. You just have to be open and willing to receive it.
The…

Sackcloth and Ashes

"When Mordecai learned of all that had been done, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out to the city wailing loudly and bitterly.” – Esther 4:1

In Esther Chapter 3, King Xerxes raised up Haman. As a result of his new stature, Haman commanded that everyone bow down to him. Mordecai, however, refused. Shortly thereafter, Haman convinced King Xerxes to enter a decree. After Mordecai learned of the decree that all Jews be killed by a specified date, his heart sank. He was brought to a moment of emotional and spiritual weakness due to his impending death. He knew this was a time that he didn’t have any answers on his own. Instead, this was a time for Mordecai to draw nearer to God. The sackcloth and ashes that Mordecai exchanged his clothes for were a symbol of apology and mourning.
God allows some things to happen as a way of opening our eyes. Have you ever had a situation in your life where God called you nearer to him? A time when your spirit was broken to th…

Success Takes Time

July is here! This means that we are now more than halfway through 2015. At the beginning of each calendar year, many of us set goals and affirmations for ourselves. Now that we are midway through the year, it’s time to reflect on the status of those goals and affirmations.What goals did you set for yourself at the beginning of this year? How many of those goals have you accomplished? It’s time to make your dreams a reality. Now is the time to take action.

In an interview with prima ballerina Misty Copeland, she shared that her only dream since she was 13 years old was to become a principle dancer with the American Ballet Theater. It took almost 20 years, but her dream came true. From her story I learned 1) all things are possible and 2) the theory of the compound effect is true. Author Darren Hardy wrote a book entitled The Compound Effect. As I listened to the audio book  yesterday, something clicked. I've heard it for several years but I didn’t take heed until now. The lesson f…

Obedience

Over the years, I have heard that most couples argue, and sometimes split up, due to finances. Sometimes, there is more month than money. There’s barely enough gas in the car to get to church, let alone any extra to tithe. The hot dogs and left-overs have been stretched as far as they can go. A close family member or friend finds themselves in a bond and needs a small loan. The rent or mortgage is past due and eviction or foreclosure is pending. The job market is slow and no one seems to be hiring.

Maybe finances aren’t the issue. God’s whisper says it’s time to let go. No more addiction. That “friend” is not really a friend. The affair should never have started and now has lasted too long. The developing relationship is unwholesome. Club nights are over. The past is over and God’s forgiveness prevails. God created mankind in His own image so there’s no more insecurity. God’s love surpasses all understanding so there is no loneliness.
What’s in your heart? Are you listening to the voic…

Commit Your Works

Yes! Yes! Yes! Have you ever found yourself as a YES person? The one who always has an affirmative response to a request. Can you take me to the mall to look for a new dress? Yes. Can you take me to get a haircut? Yes. Can you pick up a pack of chicken wings on your way home? Yes. Can you take the dog to get her shots? Yes. Can you lead the next bible study? Yes. Can you loan me $40? Yes. Can I come stay with you for a few weeks, until I get myself on me feet? Yes.

Have you ever wondered why you feel over-committed, overwhelmed and tired all the time? Although we often get asked to do some very important things, it’s more important that we do the things that God has called us to do. The trick is knowing when to say YES and when to say NO. Seek God’s guidance, especially as the seasons of life change. He will lead you in the path that He desires of you. Take only that path that allows you to give your Best Yes. Do not over-commit. Embrace Proverbs 16:3. “Commit thy works unto the Lord,…

Sea World

Over the last several years, my life has been a constant rotation of activity. There was always more work to be done. Another activity to plan. Another meeting to attend. More clothes to wash. More hair to comb. More. More. More. I saw time speeding up and moments slipping by. In spite of everything I had going on within and around me, I knew that I needed to make another commitment. I needed to commit time to my oldest daughter. So I did. I made the commitment to attend her 8th grade overnight trip to Sea World in Orlando, Florida. Nothing was going to stop me from going, not my job or any conflicting schedules.

When I received this picture from my daughter and saw the smile on her face as she thought about the trip, my tears began to dwell up. I knew that I made the right decision to commit to her. There are some moments that we will never get back. There are many awesome memories that we have yet to create. It’s important that we commit to the things and the people that are right an…

What's in Your Heart?

“I’m committed to being awesome today. Join me!” Had you ever had one of those days where you wake up in the morning and things don’t seem to be lining up? The days where your alarm clock doesn’t go off. Your children are cranky and moving like turtles. Your iron put a stain on your last clean shirt. You can’t find your car keys. To top it off, once you get everyone and everything out of the house and into the car, the car doesn’t crank up.

In spite of me having one of those starts to my day today, I am choosing to be awesome. Proverbs 23:7 tells us “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…” It all starts in the heart. So, what’s in your heart? Spend today thinking about the deep seeded things of your heart. Are you overflowing with love or anger? Are you maintaining with disappointment or joy? Are you filled with envy or contentment? Are you walking in fear or faith?

The thoughts and feelings that reside in your heart are the thoughts and feelings that will dictate your words and ac…

Push, Pull, and Tug

“Mom, guess what I had on my desk during my [Algebra End of Course] exam?” Then my oldest daughter pulled out a rock painted green with the words ‘Jesus my rock’ painted in orange. She went further to tell us that many of her middle school classmates asked her if they could use her rock. When one of her younger sisters asked whether she shared the rock, my oldest daughter replied, “Of course I shared my rock. I can’t deprive anybody of Jesus.” Moments like that make the pushing, pulling, tugging, and fighting well worth it. In Proverbs 22:6, we are urged to “Train up a child in the way he should go” with the promise that “when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Sometimes, this feels easier said than done. When the storms of life hit us from every direction, it is often hard to see the rainbow. I’ve often had moments when I wondered whether I was pushing too hard. Were my expectations too high for her? I wondered whether I was pulling my daughter in too many directions. Am I putt…

Whose You Are

My home is the “Greenhouse Effect.” With four females and a female dog, imagine how many hormones we nurture. A greenhouse is a controlled environment that nurtures the growth and development of things such as plants, vegetables and fruits. The environment is so controlled on the inside of a greenhouse that there is an impact on the outside surroundings. That impact is usually identified as a greenhouse effect. What this means in our home is that my husband and I make all efforts to provide a safe and nurturing home and familial environment for our children. Our goal is that when the girls transition out into the world on their own, that they will be well equipped to sustain themselves and to also be substantive and productive members of the overall society. We want to instill enough into them while they’re in our bubble that they can be a great asset to those outside our bubble.

In order to create our desired effect, we have to have a set foundation and desires for all children of th…

Who You Are

Beautiful. Kind. Brave. Confident. Attractive. Successful. Happy. Healthy. Joyful. Encouraging. Worthy. Loved. Handsome. Fit. Fulfilled. Positive. Secure. Respected. Nurtured. Articulate. Desirable. Blessed. Which of these adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Social media and some people around us have created an atmosphere where we don’t see many positive things about ourselves. Many of us constantly compare ourselves to others and ultimately resolve that we are not and cannot be many of those things.Be assured, that such thinking is a false reality.

“Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” - Psalm 45:11 We have already been given the resources to be all of those adjectives listed. The issue we often face is that we don’t believe those things for ourselves, so we spend much of our time pretending to be something or someone which we are not. What’s worse is that we spend too much time pretending to be something we are not meant to be. We have …

Tomorrow

“Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.” “Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.” – Exodus 8:9-10.

Have you ever gone out to run errands and while you were out you couldn’t resist going into the mall. While you were there you saw the perfect pair of shoes or the shirt you’ve been looking for in just the right color. You were tempted to buy them but something inside you said “tomorrow!” So, if you are anything like me, you did go back “tomorrow” to get the item that you passed on the day before. The problem is that by the time you got back to the store, the item was gone. You missed out! What else have you missed out on? We know people who missed out on job offers because they were going to submit the application “tomorrow.” What about the missed opportunity because we chose to follow up “tomorrow?” Let me give you another s…

Get Up!

I don’t know about you but I love my rest!So much so that I hit snooze on my alarm clock at least two times every morning. There is something so nice and peaceful about lying there with no agenda. It’s a great time to be one with your thoughts. Until that alarm buzzer sounds again and finally, we get up.

What does it mean to get up? The first thing that crosses my mind is a change in position. Generally, when we get up, we transition from a lying or sitting position to a standing position. We transition from a state of rest to a state of movement. Something jolts us into action. And we usually get up with a purpose or reason. We get up in the morning so that we can get to work or get the kids off to school. Some of us may get up to spend time with God or to go to gym to workout. We get up in the afternoon because we have a meeting to attend or dinner to cook and eat.There are a number of reasons why we get up. I can’t help but wonder what our deeply rooted motivations are that force us…

Yellow Brick Road

Lions. Tigers. And bears. Oh my! Dorothy was faced with quite a few unknowns back there on the yellow brick road. She didn’t know what was coming up against her along her travels. As hard as the journey may have been for her, she kept going. In spite of all the things, people, and situations that tried to block Dorothy from getting back home, Dorothy endured and made it all the way.

Have you ever had a moment where you feared the unknown? I certainly have! I found myself there recently. I was thinking about my career and the destination God has for me. I felt stumped. I felt anxious. It was one of those times in my life when I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t even have a glimpse of what was lurking around the corner for me. In that moment, I was filled with fear. I couldn’t shake the feeling off immediately. Something had a hold of me.

Then I heard a still small whisper. It was so clear. “Be still and know that I am God.” I, immediately, took a deep breath and repeated those words to my…

Incubators

My water broke at approximately 6:00am 33 days before my due date. After I took a shower, my sweet husband took me to the hospital. (Yep, I chose to take my time instead of moving with a sense of urgency). Once we got to the hospital, I remember telling the nurses that it was time for me to deliver and that I needed to push. They insisted that I needed to have an ultrasound. They wanted to see whether the twins were head down or breech and they wanted to get the twins’ measurements. I yelled that I didn’t have time for that. The little man finally said they were both head down and almost five pounds each. Finally, I was free to go give birth.

Baby girl A entered the world at 8:17am. Meanwhile, Baby girl B took her sweet ‘ole time and finally graced us with her presence at 8:32am. With God’s favor both of the twins were healthy. But there was one issue. Even after the grueling ultrasound, neither of them weighed four pounds, so neither of them could be released from the hospital. I then…

Preparing for the Race

I remember training for my first 10K run. It sounded so daunting, yet exciting at the same time. My husband would tell you that up to that point, I was allergic to exercise and healthy living. I would encourage him and the girls in their athletic adventures but I was not interested in joining them. But when the offer to experience something new came along, I quickly accepted. By nature, I don’t see myself as a quitter, so I knew I was all-in once I made the commitment. I had to prepare my mind and my body for any race day conditions. It started with my mind. I had to be mentally ready to endure whatever I was faced with on the day of the race. I started this process with setting a goal. Sure, I knew I would finish the race, but that wasn’t enough for me. I set a time for me to cross the finish line. My goal gave me something to work toward. My goal is what motivated me to get out of bed on mornings when I didn’t have anything planned. My goal is what motivated me to finish my practice …

It's All Good

What a day! There’s gymnastics practice three days per week for four hours each day. There’s synchronized swim team practice three days per week, sometimes four, for an hour and a half each day. Then there is track practice three days per week, soon to be five, for an hour to two hours each day.

These activities all occur after a full school day, with a few practices sprinkled into the weekend. They fit in between ministry meetings at church and follow-up leadership responsibilities such as planning events, sending emails, drafting agendas, etc. These activities also dictate the availability of quality time with each child and, of course, we can’t forget quality time with my husband. These activities don’t replace responsibilities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and other household chores.
Trying to describe this schedule to someone is exhausting but it really works. Every ounce of it makes sense and fits together just like pieces of a puzzle. Reflecting on the or…

Bearing Witness

And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

God’s grace truly prevailed and I was there as a witness. I once heard Christine Caine say “the miracle is in the breaking!” Soon thereafter, I was able to bear witness to a miracle that came from some breaking.
I read the file and learned that this young man and his siblings had been caught in the middle of a family battle for years. His biological mother was addicted to alcohol and was unable to take care of her children. Their home environment was unstable but luckily for them, they had a praying grandmother who would open up her home to them any time they needed her. As I read the file, I wondered how long the cycle would continue. Th…

Perfectly Positioned

I could hardly believe that the position I had my eye on became available at the exact same time that I starting looking into other job opportunities. Positions within that company rarely become available. The timing was perfect! It was just my luck. Or was it luck at all?
Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.
What are the chances that Pharaoh’s daughter would be at that spot of the Nile River bathing at the exact same time that Moses’ birth mother placed him in an ark sailing him down the River? It’s amazing how God ordains things. It was the perfect set up. Moses’ birth mother was able to take care of Moses for three months before Pharaoh knew that Moses was alive. Three months is a long time, especially when you consider …

No Coincidences

It was not a coincidence that you passed that test. You know the test. The one you didn’t spend any time studying for. Instead of taking out your books on the weekend before your exam, you decided to spend your time hanging out with friends, watching a movie, and just chilling.

It was not a coincidence that you were offered the job that you were not qualified for. You saw the job in the paper or someone mentioned to you that there was an opening, so you applied. When you read the description, you knew that you were missing some of the required years of experience or areas of expertise. Yet, there was something inside of you probing you to apply.
It was not a coincidence that your significant other asked you out on a date or accepted an offer from you. They knew the perfect moment to grab your attention, the perfect time to make their move. They knew just the right things to say to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
Whether it was one of these moments or not, there was most certainly …

Our Boxes

Happy New Year!!  I’m so glad to be back at writing. The last few months have been filled with learning opportunities that I am excited about sharing over the next several weeks. In our quest to find balance in our lives, I can’t imagine a better time of year to get things straight. It’s the start of a brand new calendar year and it’s the time when most of us make commitments to ourselves and our family members. Let’s make the commitment to finding balance in 2015. On this journey, be reminded of Proverbs 16:11, which states “Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making.” 

A few days ago, I was listening to a recording of Priscilla Shirer. Within the recording, she discussed the balance act that most people endure. She referenced a past conversation she had with Jill Brisco where she learned that true balance does not mean “juggling act.” She explained that most people think of a balanced life as if the various parts of our life are repres…