Gaining the Unexpected

Today I had the thought, I’m not going to write anything today, but as I was going through my daily study, the message resonated in me to share with you all today. Today, I read about when waiting meets the unexpected. I’m not sure if I have mentioned what I am currently reading, but it is titled “Wait and See: Finding Peace in God’s Pauses and Plans” and the author is Wendy Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this book to you, it is blessing me in ways I never expected. So, in the insight portion, Pope asks the question, “Who has God unexpectedly brought into your life to help you as you wait?”

Well, at first, I thought, I just decided I was in a season of waiting a week ago, and no one has really come into my life to help me with this time as of yet. But, the more I thought about it, I realized, I have been in a season of waiting for longer than a week; I just cognitively  decided to be “actively” waiting within the past week. I began to think more about my life over the past year and a half, and I quickly realized that YES the Lord has indeed placed someone new in my life to help me as I wait.

I really hope she does not get upset with me for sharing her with the world, but the person the Lord placed into my life started as just my boss. I was her assistant, Leticia Morales. We have talked about this before, and I honestly think the Lord placed us in each others lives at the perfect time. She was going through her issues, and I was being placed into her store and I was struggling with finding my confidence again. I have known who Leticia was for many years, we’ve worked for the same company for almost 10 years and had mutual friends, however, I never actually knew her on a personal level. I hesitantly walked into her store and we sat down and talked. Over the days, weeks, and months, we grew a new friendship, and kind of became each others rocks through some difficult times in each of our lives.

I value this woman, and she has become my hero over the past year. Many of you know, and others don’t, but my birth father passed away in March. After he passed, I lost my joy for a little bit. I put on a brave face for everyone around me and went on with my life until I sat across the desk from Leticia and bawled my eyes out, and was more emotionally raw with her than I have been with another person in a long time, and she let me feel. She did not judge me, she did not give me any meaningless words to try to make me feel better, she just let me feel. That was the day that I realized, she is more than just my boss, this woman is my friend, and she has an amazing heart. We share our faith with each other, and that is such an awesome feeling to be working side by side with someone who shares the same beliefs with you and you are able to talk about it freely and listen to worship music while completing inventory counts.

Around 4 months ago, my dear friend was diagnosed with cancer and started going through treatment. Throughout this season of her life, her spirit has shown stronger than any other time in her life. I called her one day, just to check on her, and she said you know, I’m not going to complain because this is part of the process that I have to go through to get through this, and the Lord is taking care of me. Those words shook me deeply, because she could have complained and cried and told me all the things that she was actually feeling, but she responded positively. Right then and there, I saw the strength that was inside of this woman. Also, in the midst of all of this, I called her with my problems, and she gave me such an encouraging word that continues to resonate with me.

God placed Leticia in my life and I did not even know it was part of his plan. Before I even recognized I was in my season of waiting He was preparing me. She has been her true self and carried herself with such grace and dignity when facing the biggest giants of her adult life. I am so blessed to be able to know her and call her my friend!

Waiting…

So, I’ve been reading all over social media today this particular quote “Regardless who wins the election tonight, tomorrow God will still be on the throne.” This is very true, whoever becomes our president tomorrow, does not change who we as Christians serve. It does not change our salvation, and it does not determine our blessings. However, tonight as I am sittings watching the news tonight and waiting impatiently to see who our next leader will be I can’t help but think, this is the ultimate symbol of waiting.

We oftentimes wait to see God move in our lives and we wait impatiently. We want to know what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen, and how it will happen. Although, by the end of the night, we will have an answer to the leader of our country, we should be aware that this journey did not just start today. These people have been on the trail for days, months, and years to get to this ultimate destination. In our lives, waiting on the Lord, is the same concept. Yes we want immediate gratification, but the Lord tells us that we must be still and wait for His perfect timing. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in prayer for everything…let your request be known to God.”

I’ve never though about what it truly means to be still. Yes, life is hectic, we constantly have things going on that interrupt the stillness, but I’ve never actually took time to think about being still in the Lord. It actually means taking time out of the day and embracing the quiet. Seeking His word and listening for His voice. When life gets too loud and the nonsense starts to creep in and take over, we need to know where to seek refuge. Times like today, we need to seek refuge in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding.
Waiting on God is NOT wasting time; it’s training time. It is our time to not doubt and complain, but it is our time to build our foundation and build our trust in Him.

Lord, help me to hear Your voice clearly. Help me to quiet all the noise and distractions and really get to know You on a more personal level. Lord help me to continually seek refuge in You and not in the world. Help me to be pleasing in Your sight.

My Foundation

I was raised in the church and  introduced to the Lord at an early age. You see, I come from a family of worshippers and preachers; a family who has been blessed with hearts for the Lord. This has been manifested through preaching, teaching, and singing. My entire life, my mother has been the choir director, which means, the whole family sang in the choir regardless if you had the gift of singing or not. And BIG surprise, I was not given that gift. Many times I remind myself that the Bible says, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord…serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (Psalm 100:1-2). So I sing joyfully, but not always beautifully or even in the right key.

Many of my earliest memories are in the church, sitting right next to my sister, in front of our nana, as she belted out this bigger than life voice. My mother would be on the piano, and my granddaddy would be in the front pew along with the other deacons of the church. Occasionally, my dad would join us, and he too would be in the choir stand with us. We never missed a Sunday at church. Growing up in a black Baptist church meant their was always something going on: Sunday service, second service, Wednesday bible study, choir practice, visiting neighboring churches for evening service, pastor appreciation day, vacation bible school, summer revival, and the list can go on and on. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at church hearing about the Lord.

When I was 12, my nana told me it was time for me to “join” the church and get baptized. See, in our church, once you turned 12, if you weren’t baptized you could no longer serve in the church ministries. I remember, I cried because I was scared and did not feel I was “ready” to take the big plunge in the baptismal pool. At 34 I understand what my 12 year old self did not, and that is where that fear came from. It was a lack of understanding exactly what it meant to be baptized and accept the Lord as my personal savior; to enter into a true relationship with Him. However, when the “doors of the church were opened,” and the invitation was extended to come forward if you felt like the Lord was calling you into a personal relationship, I hesitantly walked forward next to my sister and sat in the chairs, and we joined the church together officially. We did it because it was what expected of us. It has taken almost 20 years for me to actually understand what it means to have a true relationship with the Lord. What it actually means to know and accept Him as my personal savior.Walking up to the alter, sitting in a chair and finally being baptized is not what make you saved; yes it is an outward confession, or part of the process, but if you don’t know that the Lord died for our sins and confess that He is Lord, then all it is is an outward show.

I was a teenager when I actually learned what it meant to have a relationship with God; what it truly means to accept Him into my life, and I was in my 20s when I spent hours pleading to the Lord to hold my hand and to heal my broken body and spirit and I gave him 100% trust into the Lord to take control because I no longer could make it on my own. And, praise the Lord, He brought me through. Here’s the thing, at this point in my life, I know the Lord, I’ve accepted Him into my heart, I trust that He is good, but I’ve held back a little bit of me from Him because of some irrational fear that I would lose something. I know it sounds ridiculous, just writing this it seems so irrational. As a follower of Christ, my identity is in God. I have lived just enough in the world that I have had fun without losing my salvation, but if I’m perfectly honest I’ve lived in shades of gray, and the Lord ask us to be black or white, hot or cold. Revelation 3:16 tells us very clearly that the Lord doesn’t want some of us, He wants all of us. For the past two months I’ve felt the Lord making moves inside of me, changing my heart and calling me to stop living in the gray area. I’ve been vocal about feeling like I’m in my season and that I’m ready for whatever the Lord has in store for me, but in order to receive His many blessing, I have to see black or white. I have to stop living for myself and start living 100% for the Lord. I need to feed my spirit and walk in faith. Today I choose to walk in faith!

Continue to be blessed!!!!

Sharing My Heart

Typically, I get on my blog when I feel like I have something worth saying. It might not be worth much to many, but it something that I feel the need to get out there. Sometimes, I just have a lot on my heart or my mind and I just need to get it out. Over the past few days, I have been struggling with what my future looks like, and questioning what my tomorrow looks like. With that in mind, it has me thinking about how I want to proceed tomorrow in order to make it different from today or even yesterday. I have really been taking time to seek the Lord over the past few days, and seeking Him earnestly for answers. I am currently reading “Wait and See” by Wendy Pope, and I am learning so many things about being in a season of waiting. Not only a season of waiting, but a season of change. I have been going through changes in my life both mentally and within my employment, and I do not feel stability in that area. I am seeking the Lord, to help me figure out some hard questions. I am believing that He will lead me to where I want to be. This could be tomorrow, or this could be 10 years from now.

Tonight, I want to share my heart with all of you. I want to let you know that I desire to grow in Christ and receive everything that He has in store for me. I question, what does that look like? I am learning that this means being quiet and listening for His voice. This means, going against everything within me to not jump head first in, but wait for confirmation on the next step I need to be taking.

It has been on my heart to start writing again, and I have been doing that at least once or twice a week. I have written my version of poetry, I have written journal entries, and I have written a blog post that I will be sharing with you at some point.

I want to invite you all to go on this journey with me. This journey of discovery. This journey of truly seeking the Lord. Not just seeking His hands, but actually seeking His face. I want you to come with me through this season of waiting and learning. This season of growing stronger in my relationship in Christ. This season that I am currently in.  I was talking with my sister the other day, and I told her, this is my season, the Lord is about to make big moves for my good, and I am ready to receive it. Please keep me in prayer during this time. Keep me lifted up whenever I cross your minds, and I will be doing that same for each of you. Let’s get ready to take advantage of what God has for us, because I have a feeling it’s going to be good.

Be blessed everyone, Love you all!!!!!!!

Bittersweet

Today is a bittersweet day, it has been 8 years since the hardest day of my entire life. On July 10, 2008 I suffered a tragic miscarriage. I don’t talk much about it, I don’t share my story too often, because it is something I carry extremely close to my heart. I will never forget what it felt like to find out I was going to be a mom, what it was like to go to the doctor and see my babies first photograph, to hear the heartbeat, but…alas, I was never able to hear my babies heartbeat.  

In the beginning, I struggled with understanding of why this happened to me? What did I do wrong in the 4 months that I carried this precious gift that it was taken away from me? From the first day that I knew I would be a mother I fell in love, and I couldn’t wait to hold that special gift in my arms; however, it was not meant to be. It took some time for me to heal from the deep sorrow and hurt, both physical and mental, but my Father in heaven held on to me tightly. Many nights, alone in my room I cried and prayed for understanding, for comfort, and He eventually gave it to me. Not necessarily the understanding, because, not even the doctor could fully understand what went wrong, but the comfort and healing slowly came. The sadness slipped away. 

No, I will never forget the child that I carried, I will never know if it was a boy or a girl, but I know that I will one day see my baby in heaven. I have comfort in knowing that, and look forward to that day. 

During that time, I also learned what true friendship was. My friends, huddled around me, and loved on me so hard in the following days and months. They prayed for me, spent time just sitting with me, and let me know they were there whenever I needed them. So, yes it is a bittersweet day, but I can remember the positives that also came from that loss. There is a beauty in brokenness, and that is when our Father can truly reach out and hold onto us and show us what unconditional love is. Today, I will not mourn over my loss, but instead rejoice in knowing that although I never will see my first child on this earth, one day I will hold him or her in my arms and let him or her know how much their mother loved them from day one and every day after. 

It’s More Than Just a #Hashtag

More times than not, I read articles online, on Facebook, see news reports about issues happening in our world, and like so many others, I stay silent. I keep my thoughts and opinions to myself, because I don’t want to offend others, or have to defend my opinion. However, the time for silence needs to end. I can honestly say, at this point in time, it’s scary being a black person in America. As much as people want to scream and holler that racism does not exist, there are more and more examples that tell me otherwise. Black men and women are being murdered every single day, and the masses are Telling us, no this is not a problem. IT IS A PROBLEM!!!!! Let’s wake up and look around, people are being murdered in the streets at such an alarming rate, and it’s becoming increasingly hard to pretend that it is not happening. 

I had a long conversation with my sister tonight, and we talked in depth about the Black Lives Matter movement, if that is what you want to call it, and I told her, I am scared to become a mother because my children will have to grow up in a world where they need to fear simple privileges such as driving down the street. I also told her, as long as the white people don’t see a problem with what is going on, then nothing is going to change.

Now let’s not get anything twisted, when I say the white people, I do not mean every white person in the world, but the majority of the people who are against black lives matter are not of color. I am not racist or prejudice in any manner, my best friend is a white girl from Indiana, and she, more than anyone I know, understands why black lives matter. It’s as simple as this, I as a black woman, do not have the same privilege as a white man or woman. As much as people say they don’t see color they only see people, it’s not true. You can ask any black person if they walk into a room full of people, if the first thing they notice is how many other black people are in the crowd; especially if it is in a city or state where “we” are the minority.  The resounding answer will be yes. As a black person, from a young age we are taught that we are different solely based on the color of our skin. Does that make us less than? Of course not, but, we always know we are different. And now, society is telling us we are expendable, that our lives are not as important as someone who isn’t black, and it has got to change. 

I’m not going to go on and on and call out names of the individuals who have lost their lives, because we already know. It is now a running commentary that we are all one police stop away from being a hashtag, and as ridiculous as that sounds, it’s true. We can’t continue to excuse these heinous acts with ridiculous rhetoric, oh, well he looked suspicious, or he should have behaved like this. Just a few months ago, I was driving to Dallas with my white friend and I was pulled over for going 4 miles over the speed limit on the interstate. Now, I was going with the flow of traffic, but I was singled out for whatever reason, maybe my car stood out more because of the color. The officer pulled me over, requested I turn off my vehicle, and then step away from my car. Myfirst thought was not that I was being targeted based on my skin color, but instead, that I needed to do everything that this officer asked me to do to avoid any trouble, or a ticket. I was blessed enough to get off with a warning, but my friend was livid. She questioned, why did he make you get out, why did he request you walk away from the car? He didn’t want me to hear what he was saying to you. Praise the Lord, the officer that stopped me was level headed, and I did not question his authority, but many others are not treated  similarly, they are not even given the opportunity to step away from their vehicles. Officers are shooting first and then asking questions later. We can no longer be silent. We need to stand together, and stand for what is right. 

My heart is so heavy right now, for the people who have lost loved ones, as well as for the state of the world we live in. It is time for us to fall on our faces and pray for the world. These are scary times, and as with many things, it is going to get worse before it gets better. As I told my sister tonight, we should not be shocked by what is going on in the world, because we live in a fallen world. We live in a world where sin is now glorified, so we should not be surprised by the disasters state  around, but does that mean we are numb to it? Not at all! 

We need to come together and let our voices be heard, and say that Black Live Matter is more than just a hashtag, but instead a reality. We are no longer slaves without names or homes, we are people who should have the same rights as the person standing next to us. This has got to end, but until the world recognzes there really is a problem,  we will continue to spin our wheels, and get nowhere. 

Chronicles of an Oily Girl

So…it’s been almost a month since I started using doTerra essential oils, and I’m still in love with these oils. I’m now known as the oil girl to my coworkers and my family. Everyday I learn something new about the amazing benefits of essential oils. It has literally taken over my life. As of today, I’ve used oils to get rid of ants, clean my bathroom, address poor eating habits, address overeating habits, sleep better at night, clear up acne scars.  I could probably name a few more, and I find myself daily saying, “there’s an oil for that!” Which sounds super cliché, but so true. 

Last night I sat down with a couple of ladies who have been using oils for awhile now, and I left super excited about my future with essential oils. The possibilities are endless! Sometimes I feel like those jokes that people share about vegans and cross fitters, where they say that is all they talk about, being vegan or doing cross fit. Well, I realize, based on that analogy, that when you are involved in something that you truly believe in, then you talk about it. You talk about how it has changed you, how it makes you feel, and how much you love it! 

I am using oils everyday at work, and now my coworkers ask, “did you bring your oil today?” Or “do you have anything for…” And I’m like, ” as a matter of fact I do!”  Essential oils have brought a new excitement to my life, and I am eager to share it with everyone. To share the awesome benefits of living an oily life!