When God?? Even Now…

Have you ever asked God when he was going to move in a situation that seems to be going on and on and on?

You know, I’ve been so focused on the fact that God has not moved in my life like I’ve prayed for him to; so aware of the dead situations in my life that I’ve forgotten to LIVE. I failed to be attentive to the things I should be doing in the midst of the process. I’ve procrastinated, been unfocused, been slothful; have given my time and attention to the wrong things… and people. I’ve allowed myself to be drained by unnecessary hindrances.

AND MOST OF ALL…. I sometimes forget that God is not slack concerning his promises. And you shouldn’t either. Even though some situations seem hopeless, I’m reminded of the death of Lazarus and reactions of his sisters Mary and Martha when Jesus finally reached Bethany. They were quick to let Jesus know if he had been there, Lazarus would be alive.

But Jesus reminded them that if they believed, they would see the glory of God. The miracle served the purpose of showing the timing of God. Lazarus was allowed to die so that Jesus’ power over death could be made known.

‘With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. ‘

Matthew 19:26

Bottom line, God is there, Even in the midst of whatever you’re dealing with. Even though the prayer hasn’t been answered; even though you’re tired of wondering when ‘it’ will happen. (Trust me, I’m reminding myself as well.) We have a promise that we should chase, more than looking at the situation… that he will never leave us, nor forsake us. If we shift our focus to HIM, sudden miracles will have room to manifest!

What are you believing God for? What has he told you to do that you have yet to complete? What are you waiting for? Get to it!

Speak Life? Yeah, Really!

One of the greatest take-aways  from Genesis 1 is that God didn’t wonder what could be possible; He spoke it into existence and it was. We see several instances where He or Jesus told someone to speak to something to get a specific result.

Manifest

 

Yesterday, I spoke to Hurricane Michael, to lights in the area, and truly believed that the power that works within me would produce. We didn’t lose power, but lights in our immediate area were restored shortly after the storm passed through. This morning, I spoke out loud while getting ready for work about having fruit with my breakfast. I stopped at Food Lion and brought said fruit but as I got off the elevator at the office, was told that ‘there is fruit in the kitchen’. Coincidental? Of course the naysayers will say it was. But the way my faith is set up…. Nah…

I said all that to say, our words have always had power. If you don’t believe it, start speaking life to your situation… Or look back at times where you have spoken death or negativity in your life and look at the pattern that produced…

IF you’re going to be bold enough to speak something into manifestation, believe that you will see it.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue AND they that love it (whichever you chose) shall eat the fruit thereof.” Prov 18:21

#seasonofmanifestation #SayItBeforeYouSeeIt #SpeakLife

So Conceited

Recently, a friend of mine joked at a comment I made about a blemish on my face.. I said I wanted my skin to look perfect, we laughed and I was told “You’re so conceited”. Although the statement was made as a joke, it took me back to a time where I really WAS conceited.

DictionaryConceited

While I was growing up, I was super spoiled, the only girl and the youngest. My dad placed me up on a pedestal and set me up to believe I was very important, a princess, black royalty; all things that a father should do; until you think you’re better than everyone else and come to expect that treatment from everyone, all the time. I got away with a lot, until my mom got fed up. 🙄 I played sides and did what I had to do to get my way. But when I was a teen mom, feeling disgraced, the sting of shame (See a previous blog (Black Sheep); When I was in college in an abusive relationship, or when I’ve gone through some of my hardest challenges as an adult in recent years, I used conceit as a blanket to disguise pain, grief and fear. I fronted as if all was well.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that the mask started coming off. I was tired of cycles in my life. As with any deep issue, the symptoms show before the root of the issue is exposed. I asked God to reveal some things about myself to me… It was not cute. But it helped me to face the things that kept me hiding behind masks of who I thought I had to be. I wanted people to think I had it together and that I was ok. I wanted people to think the very best of me, and looked for affirmation from others. I didn’t even consider that I was dealing with other broken people and that they could never affirm me. I presented myself well, but as we all know, all that glitters isn’t gold. Makeup only conceals the top layer of our skin. .

So how do you come back down from your pedestal? The bible says in Romans 12:16 ‘Be of the same mind one toward another. Set not your mind on high things, but condescend (to come down from, submit) to things that are lowly. Be not wise in your own conceits.’ ESV. Pride is a major issue for so many of us. We think we are able to deal with whatever we’re going through, because we are selfishly dealing with things on our own terms. But pride and conceit, makes you forget that you have a perfect God who can deal with any issue you face. You ultimately have to change the way you think. If we are admonished to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, It must be the key to every change that we need to make.

Trusting God, making him a priority and honoring him as number one in your life allows you to see things from His perspective. The Holy Spirit can open your eyes and help you get down from that high place.

Do you need to examine Pride in your life? Are you conceited?

Black Sheep

Black Sheep

The worst thing in the world is to be a part of a family that you feel like you’ve failed. That’s exactly where I found myself 28 years ago when I finally had to fess up to being pregnant. I was 16, a junior in High School. I had a plan, dreams, goals and in just a few months, those would be altered. I tried everything to make all of it go away. I met with someone from The Children’s Home Society, I tried abortion – couldn’t, I was told I was too close to the 20 week mark… I was a baby having a baby. Everyday all I could see was the utter disgust and disappointment of my biggest fan club, my parents. When you’re the only girl and youngest of a family with 3 boys, you likely have had life handed to you, the spoilage was REAL. But this was something I wasn’t cute enough to get out of; something I couldn’t pout my way out of. I messed up bad. I was absolutely the Black Sheep of the family.

The shame of my pregnancy nearly crushed me, so for a long time, I hid it from whomever I could. I continued to march in the band, work at Walmart Snack Bar (Hey.. this was the early 90’s). I even thought I would still have my ‘coming out’ and participate in the Debutante Ball… Not a chance. This and the rejection of family, friends and church people that had known me all my life was like the nail in a coffin. I felt like life was over. The thing about being a Black Sheep, is that you kinda stand out without really trying. You are either someone that people run from, or someone that people tried to get close to… Somehow, I was neither. I just didn’t fit, period. I’ve ALWAYS struggled with rejection and this was a beginning point, the root of it all.

Fast forward to present day, our oldest, the son of my youth is an awesome 27 year old young man, who wows me everyday with his words of wisdom, his weekly new music drops (He’s a rapper y’all: Check Him Out.) I’m so proud of who he is becoming. My parents, though disappointed, supported me through college and just life in general and I’m so grateful for that. But because I never dealt with the rejection and self hate, those things continued to plague me as time went on.

The Spirit of Rejection has destroyed so many lives and hold so many people captive. Until we realize that our worth is not about the things we’ve done, the challenges we’ve endured, not what people think of us, but WHO GOD SAYS WE ARE, we will not be able to fulfill God’s plan for our lives. I didn’t have a healthy grasp of this growing up. So It took me years to forgive myself and allow God to change my perception of myself. My being set apart was preparation for what God is currently doing in my life. I still feel left out at times; not chosen, not invited, not mentioned, overlooked… BUT GOD. I know there’s someone reading this that feels the exact same way. Don’t despair; He’s kept us hidden for such a time as this.

Romans 8: 15-16 says For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God”  The Strongman of Rejection can no longer overpower us! We no longer have to succumb to that dark power. God has accepted us through the blood of Jesus and we are HIS! Join me in casting down the lies the Spirit of Rejection tells us by:

  • Renouncing rejection. Know your identity. Study the Word of God for the Truth of who you are.
  • Asking God to help you get over the need to be accepted by people.
  • Stop seeking revenge on the people who have rejected you. God is our vindicator and he allows some rejection to keep you away from things and people you don’t need in your life. Every NO isn’t rejection!

I pray all Black Sheep will rise and be the incredible people that God created you to be. Be encouraged: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

When Nothing Else Matters

I love that Jesus had a human side. It lets me know that it’s Alright to allow myself to feel what I am dealing with. In this season of celebrating Resurrection, I’ve thought about the life of Jesus, his unfailing love and relentless pursuit of saving the lost and his ultimate sacrifice . At what point do we even consider sacrificing anything for someone else?

I think about the thoughts that Jesus may have been thinking right before he was taken to stand before the court and later be crucified. One account of the story is in Matthew 26. As Jesus sat in the garden of Gethsemane, he mentions that his soul was full of sorrow, to the point of death. He was in agony over what was to come. He begged his father God 3 times to let this cup pass from him; Give him a way out of the vicious death of the cross, Let there be another way to make all this happen… but each time in the end, his desire was to fulfill the WILL OF GOD. He said “if this cup cannot pass from me, nevertheless, Not MY will, but THY WILL be done.

I had to put myself in this story and relate it to my present life. How many times have I wanted to do something my way, or wanted something to go a certain way, and it just wasn’t going to happen? Jesus knew that he had to go forward because if he didn’t, scriptures would not be fulfilled. WHAT IF we had the mentality of actually wanting God’s will for our lives, and knowing something else – someone’s deliverance, someone’s destiny or OUR destiny would not be fulfilled until we submitted to the Will of God? Until we, who profess to be Christians, actually submit to God, we will never know the fullness of what God has for us. Nothing else matters until we give our all to God.

I thought to myself, I feel Jesus on wanting out because I wouldn’t want to suffer and die for people who have picked on me, rejected me, talked about me, betrayed me or didn’t acknowledge me. Listen, I can keep it real. People will make you want to to stay right in the flesh and act a whole fool. BUT GOD! I realized that more often than not, I have found myself doing just that… dying daily and being subject to the will of God, whether I wanted to or not. Not because I was so excited to serve and appeal to man, but because there is pure joy in serving and submitting to an amazing God.

 

Think about this: What have you done lately that shows your commitment to God? How have you presented yourself a living sacrifice? What if Jesus was as rebellious as we are? What if he did what he wanted to do and not what was purposed for him to do?

I pray that you will press deeper into God. When we trust him fully, we’ll see great things occur in our lives. God’s track record is good, and the fact that Jesus is STILL alive gives us unending hope.

I Don’t Like Waiting!

The Lord is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-wars, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

I’ve been looking back at several of my old journals; I do this frequently as they carry many prayer requests and just really me pouring my heart out on paper. What I noticed is that there are repeat seasons in my life, prayers that I seem to STILL be praying, things I still believe God for. And I won’t stop believing until the prayers are answered. I don’t know about you, but I HATE waiting.

Though I’ve gotten more patient is areas in my life, there are just some things that I admit I’m tired of praying for; A situation that just won’t get better, or isn’t my definition of better, family issues that seem to multiply, and on top of it all, being somewhat in the spotlight. UGHHH… I just get so frustrated.

But as I literally sit here and type this, listening to Worship Mob’s version of Good Good Father, I am reminded of how awesome God is. How amazing he is, even when we don’t feel as though he is moving in our lives. The verse that jumped out to me before I started typing was 2 Peter 3:9. God hasn’t forgotten what he promised us. God is not slow to answer prayer. His faithfulness is something we can’t fathom; he never lets us go, even though we stop wanting to hold on.

 

Listen, whatever you have prayed for, It’s on the way. Be encouraged and don’t let go. People have failed us, and we have been let down and full of frustration. BUT GOD!!!!! He is coming to heal you, He is coming to make a way out of no way, He is coming to comfort you, to provide for you. He’s coming to heal marriages, to bring your children home. He’s coming to provide jobs, to break strongholds, to destroy soul ties; He is coming to break up the fallow ground of your heart and replace it with a heart of stone! I decree those things and more over your life right now! Hold fast, believe it, and EXPECT IT!!!

 

What have you been waiting for God to do? I partner with you in prayer and believe God for your breakthrough!

 

Not So Merry Christmas

Bad Christmas

 

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2: 6-7

Bah Humbug!

… A few more days until Christmas. Every area of the city and even the rural areas are packed with people racing to fulfill the wishes of kids and adults alike; chasing the mighty Christmas gift. To some, this season is the culmination of a long awaited item, a full calendar of events of services, gatherings and a break from work and school. Meanwhile to others, it’s considered the worst time of the year.

I am one of those that fit in between all of the above. I love what the season stands for; the birth of Christ Jesus, the spirit of giving and normally joy and celebration. But there are so many of us, who are waiting for Monday, December 25th to be over! If a few people reading this would be honest, they’d admit they get a touch of the Grinch as well.

When I read today’s key verse (above), what stuck out to me was the fact that after they left to go back to pay taxes in Bethlehem, they had absolutely no place to go. Jesus was not born in a comfy birthing center, with all the comforts of home. Mary and Joseph had to make the best out of what became a desperate situation. So many people today are faced with dire situations and the holiday season seems to make matters worse. Not always lack of a home, a physical place, but the lack of a sense of belonging. Families are broken, there’s been a loss of loved ones, financial strain, the stress of accommodating others and an over active spirit of heaviness.

So what do you do when you don’t feel like being bothered by people during the season that is supposed to be family-ish; all about love, joy and hope?

  • Refocus. Think about the real reason for the season. Jesus came. Joy Came, Healing Came, Hope Came. Salvation came! Although it’s hard at times, we have to remember the awesome gift that God gave us in Jesus.
  • Come out of isolation. This is something I struggle with because when I close myself up in my room, I feel safe. I don’t have to be vulnerable. But I also am not facing my issues and surrounding myself with the people who are important to me. Embrace how you feel this Christmas season, BUT DON’T STAY THERE!
  • Reminisce on great times with family throughout your life. Some things may not be going the way you planned, loved ones may be gone or a great distance away, but hold the great memories dear. Think of every good thing in your life, even if it seems like there aren’t many. A grateful heart will turn your thoughts away from grief and hopelessness.

 

God, I want to encourage myself and someone reading this that we can get through this season. Because Jesus lives, we can face any day and tomorrow. I pray they receive presents that is a balm for brokenness; something intangible; something money can’t buy, something that heals hearts. I pray they are surrounded by people who love them, people that can help them celebrate not just the birth of Baby Jesus, but the birth of our Savior and Lord. God, thank you for miracles this Christmas. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

 

Lies You Tell!

10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily-armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 Amp

I spent a good part of my life believing that my past, my failures and what people said or thought about me dictated who I was. I’ve even spent time defending my character to those who have or are trying to hold the past over my head. But something that was said in Sunday’s morning service shifted something in my thinking… My husband said to all the women in church, ‘You have power’… He has said this before, but that day, in that moment, I had to deliberately face those words. I had a choice to make: Believe what was true about me according to what GOD said or slide backwards and believe what the enemy tried to continuously plant in my mind for so many years.

See, the struggle has always been real for me…  Self esteem issues most of my life and it’s taken me all these years to realize that even the enemy believes in the principle of sowing and reaping; he starts early in the life of those who are hearing the word and can possibly choose a life serving God. He drops seeds of deception in the form of doubt, guilt, shame, self hate and whatever else he use against us to keep us from believing the truth of God’s word about us. Then when we are deceived, he escorts us further away from the plans God has for our life.

When you continually hear something about yourself, you believe it right? But what happens when you start to hear something that contradicts everything else you ever heard? What happens when the one who created the devil, the one who created you makes sure you hear another story? The manufacturer is the best source of information about something he created. Only the maker has naming rights; It’s time to reject every label that doesn’t agree with what God called you! The best way to do this is to focus on those things that mirror the truth of God’s word. It’s not only our daily instructions for living, but it helps our minds regenerate so we can have the mind of Christ, so we no longer buy into the lies the enemy continues to throw our way.

Tamar Lies We live in a time when deceit is at an all time high. I was so caught up in the lies of the enemy, it caused me to lie about some details of my life because of my own insecurities. It made my trust in God waver, and almost cost me my life, my marriage and so many other things. BUT GOD!!

As I reflect on the reminder in Ephesians 6, I arm myself daily to combat the lies of the enemy. If you take nothing else away, remember this:

  • The TRUTH of God’s word stops the lies of the enemy in his tracks. Jesus shut the enemy down in Matthew 4 with the Word.
  • Speaking the Truth aligns you with what God has said. Checking what you hear against His Word also ensures that you have the right information. A counterfeit can always be tested against what’s real and true.
  • Having faith and trusting in what God has said about us and about his promises for us is a weapon against the lies of the enemy.

Your failure did not negate the purpose God has for your life.

Being deceived and falling into sin did not make you ineligible to be used by God

Your wavering faith does not intimidate God! He is waiting for you to believe he Loves you, to submit to him, to submit to the process, and receive all that he has for you.

 

Maybe this isn’t your struggle; maybe you’ve never lied or fallen for a lie. But I encourage you to get into the Word of God; speak it over your life, speak it over your family and everything pertaining to you. When you change what you hear, you change what you believe!

 

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:31-32

The Stunted Step, Thrown In Towels & Peace

You’re probably wondering about this crazy title and how these things could possibly be related. Stay with me, there’s a method to my madness…

Year around, we celebrate various holidays, birthdays, graduations and other milestones, etc. and it always makes my heart heavy knowing that there are people out there who are not as happy as some on those days. The truth of the matter is that life is not fun and happy for everyone. Stepparents are among those groups of people who don’t always feel like they have a blessed and highly favored life.

 The Stunted Step – Step Parenting is such a sticky topic, because in many cases, no one expects the step-parent to have feelings and be a real person. I can speak about this, because I am a step mom to 3 amazing young ladies. And while my life has not been the absolute worst when it comes to this, there have been enough challenges. I thank God for the relationship I’ve always had with them as well as their mom. I affectionately call her my Baby Momma. J  The fact that she’s allowed me to share in the lives of these young women, throughout their lives has been a true blessing.

Then there are the low moments. Moments I’ve never really shared with anyone, because I’m supposed to don a cape and be a super – everything right? Not so much. I’ve always struggled with rejection. If I were a superhero, that would definitely be my kryptonite. It’s because of this that family events are not always easy. It’s hard to find your place as a stepparent; It sometimes seems that you’re important only when something needs to be done, when money is needed or when one of the biological parents can’t do something… Like you’re a last resort. It’s very difficult, because in spite of when you’re actually acknowledged, you’ve been there the entire time; like a silent spectator, an invisible person, who barely exists. I call the Stepparent a ‘stunted step, because anytime something is isolated from a source or cut off,  the growth is slowed down or halted. And it makes a person feel inadequate. You take the good when you can and you pray through the bad. Some of the time, you’re going along to get along. Especially when your marriage takes a back seat. Bam, there it is. The thing that some Christian stepparents won’t say. I can only speak about my experiences, but I know someone else has experienced this type of pain. You can’t really get in where you fit in; because it seems like you’re the square in the midst of a bunch of perfect circles. You truly have to rely on the power of God to pull you through these moments.

Thrown Towel

Even still, I’m grateful for those experiences. But will anyone keep it real and agree that there are times when life is so cruel, when the people who ‘love’ you hurt you… on purpose. When things happen that aren’t your fault, but you’re blamed anyway.. When you just want to gather up every towel you have and just throw them all in??? You may have a perfect life, all is well, or things never get to a point when you want to give up; but for some of us, we contemplate giving up at least once a week! Or so it seems… Seriously though. I’ve learned that throwing in the towel leaves a bunch of what ifs, would could have, should have or would have happened questions. It resolves nothing and more than anything, the issues that you have are still there.. If you give up, If I give up, it’s like slapping God in the face and denying him the power to work in our lives.

I’m preaching to myself: Don’t give up.. It’s easier said than done. But it’s easier than you think. It’s taking a stand that you will allow God to have the issues, that you will let him be God. He knows how to fight the battle better than we ever could. And in the midst of it all, he’ll give you peace if you’ll receive it. As hard as it is to stop thinking about and focusing on the things that cause you the most pain, focusing on the love that God has for you can release the peace that God has for you.

I’m not just saying this; God promises this. ‘And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’. Philippians 4:7. Our inheritance doesn’t diminish because of what we go through, and when we fail to focus on who and whose we are, we lose the joy that comes with being in fellowship with God.

 

Stay connected.

 

 

 

Traffic Jams

Pandora and YouTube provided the musical backdrop of my trip and although I ran into road construction and slow moving traffic, I was still set to arrive at our regional meeting in time to check a few emails and greet colleagues I hadn’t seen in a while or have never met in person. And looking ahead, there it was… The second traffic slowdown; But this one was at least a mile of parked cars on I-485S… Dang it! GPS was  telling me that I had 13 more miles before my exit. OK God, I’m just trying to get to where I’m going, can you help move this along? As seconds pass, I’m calculating the time it will take and hoping I can beat time. After what seemed like forever, cars finally start to move. Slowly but surely, I get to where I’m going with only 5 minutes to spare.

It wasn’t until I was on my way home (rushing to meet another deadline, Rehearsal, LOL) and stuck in traffic again that I realized that I potentially missed God trying to get my attention that morning. That afternoon, I submitted to the slow and stopped traffic, and listened, paying attention to everything around me. It was not ironic that I had been listening to a message on the prophetic and hearing from God. So I listened.

How many times do we miss the prompting of God, His instruction, His encouragement, His rebuke and His tender whisper of love because we’re always busy rushing to the next thing? When is He and He only the next thing? There are times when we desperately want to hear anything he is saying to us; but sometimes we miss it completely. 

I encourage you to be still and listen. (I’m seriously talking to myself) Take advantage of moments he may be speaking to you, answering your prayers and providing next steps. Turn the TV completely off and put your phone or other devices down. He is always there, waiting for us to take a break from busyness to give him our full attention.

The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who [diligently] seek Him and require Him [as their greatest need] will praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!        Psalm 22:26 AMP