Regardless of what is going on in your life, down the street, in Washington D.C., overseas or anywhere in the world:
GOD IS AWESOME!
I resigned from my full-time job about 3 months ago in mid-October. A great company I had been with for almost 5 years had allowed another company to take over my particular site. It had only been about 5 weeks since the takeover and my life had taken a 180 degree turn. I wanted out for various reasons, but mostly because I realized that this new company didn’t have any room for growth nor did they value their employees at all.
After much prayer and confirmation from God that is was the right decision to make, I turned in my notice. I didn’t have a new job lined up. In fact I was a single mom, with a son who had just started middle school and had all the usual bills to pay. I made a decent salary, but my Uber/Lyft hours were not going to replace that. I was confident in my savings that I would be okay for about six months or so, but the rest I just entrusted to God. I was burnt out, stressed, suffering from migraines, insomnia, spending less and less time with my son and hating my job more and more each day. Despite the fact that I wasn’t wealthy or didn’t have a substantial emergency savings set aside, my body, soul and spirit were all telling me that I needed a change. But like every major decision I make in life, I committed my situation to God to see in which direction my upcoming breakthrough was going to come from – staying the course a little longer or taking a leap of faith and giving it all up and leaving it with Him. You see, God being God, could have worked things out regardless of the path I was going to take. But it’s when we involve Him directly in our decision-making process that things tend to work out a bit easier and quicker than if we go it alone.
Although I had every reason to quit my job, I’ve learned from past mistakes never to make decisions (especially major decisions) based on my emotions. I wouldn’t put in my notice unless I had direct confirmation from God. The week prior to me submitting my resignation, something new happened everyday – whether it was an incident at work, a text from a friend, a show I watched on TV or something I read during my devotions – everyday God spoke to confirm that it was time for me to depart and start a new path. It’s funny how when you ask for His guidance, He answers – sometimes in several ways just in case we don’t get the message the first time!
My first two weeks off were bliss – a much-needed staycation! I hadn’t slept so good in months if I was being honest. No migraines; in fact not even little headaches. I was stress free, enjoying time with my kid and remembering how to laugh, relax and have fun. Amidst applying for jobs, I poured hours into hobbies and personal projects that I had started but that went undone for almost a year. I published my first online course, finally attended the real estate workshop I had been wanting to go to, completed writing half a book, and learned and cooked more new recipes than I had all year! Then I started to increase my Uber/Lyft hours to get some income flowing, which turned out to be great for meeting new people and having interesting conversations. Rejection emails were starting to come in for some of the jobs I was applying for and I honestly didn’t think I would get a new job before the new year set in. However, Christmas was coming and I needed to make sure my son didn’t miss a beat.
It had been about a month when a random phone call came from a contact at my previous company (the one before we were taken over) about a remote opportunity that would pay me my old salary and allow me to work hours that were convenient for me – and they wanted me to start the next week if I was up for it! Of course I accepted the position and my first few weeks through the end of the year were the most laid back weeks of training that I had ever had! I even got an opportunity to fly down to the main site in Dallas, TX for a week – 70 degree weather in December! Great company, co-workers, capability to work in my pjs, stress free, own schedule, nights and weekends free, time with my kid, and no decrease in my salary! Just in time for the holidays! God is amazing!
I’ve been at my new job for a little over 2 months now and its been about 90 days from the day I resigned from the old place. Earlier today, I started getting phone calls and text messages from old co-workers telling me they were just laid off. I found out that the company that took over had laid off 90% of their employees and were relocating to a significantly smaller work space. Then came the voice of God again in my ear – “I always know what is best for you”. Although at this point, I had already come to the realization that God had it all in control from the beginning, He was showing me an even broader piece of the picture. A reminder that everything happens for a reason and even if we don’t understand our circumstances, or are confused or frustrated by them at the time, that God knows what’s best because He sees the big picture of our lives.
It’s so vital that we incorporate Him into our plans, our decisions, our lives! And even more important that we actually listen to Him when He speaks to us. There is so much headache, pain, wasted time, effort and energy that we can all avoid by simply inviting God into the core of our lives and actually listening to His Voice. Sure I could have stayed at that job until the very end and been laid off with the rest. And God being my father certainly would have opened a door for another opportunity. But look at how much I would have lost in just those 3 months had I not listened to His voice and followed His direction from the beginning. I praise Him for the time off, the much needed rest, my personal accomplishments, the incredible time spent with my son, and my new work from home position which allows me so much freedom in a stress-free environment. Not to mention the fact that I would have missed out on that specific opportunity had I not been unemployed at the time!
His Word tells us that when we acknowledge Him in ALL our ways – bring Him into every aspect of our lives – He will direct our paths! It’s a GUARANTEE!……according to the mirror of His Word! It’s up to us to listen and obey when He speaks.
Happy Friday everybody!
Funny how we sometimes like to plan out every little detail of life. How we’re going to spend our day, our weekend. What we’re going to wear, and where we’re going to go and with whom. Or even if we’re staying in, we plan the shows we’re going to watch, and what desserts we’re going to indulge in. All our plans start to shape up and then it hits……a cold, an infection, a stomach virus, a migraine, or worse yet, the flu or pneumonia. Some sickness that sweeps us off our feet for a day, or two, maybe even a week or more. All plans come to a halt, as our bodies just don’t want to cooperate with our plans. For someone like myself, who likes to go a mile a minute and doesn’t like to waste time at all, a “sick day” can seem devastating! I don’t get to accomplish what I want. I fall behind in a project. I miss work (although for some this is not a bad thing). I have to postpone a fun activity. I get off track with my workout schedule. I don’t make it to church to teach my little ones. And just like that, what was supposed to be a 3 day weekend is wasted – see devastating!
This past week I have been mostly laid up in bed with a really bad cold/allergy turned sinus-infection. I honestly can’t remember my last “cold” – it had to have been at least 3-4 years ago. Apart from the occasional headache, stomach bug or half day allergy spell, I just haven’t been sick. So when this whole thing hit, it really knocked me down. All I could think of everyday was how much I wasn’t getting done or what I was missing. Then God spoke to me and reminded me, that it was okay and that He was still in control.
Me being sick for a week, wasn’t going to stop the world from running. In fact sometimes God sidelines us because He wants to get our attention. He wants to speak us when we’ve been too busy to listen. Sometimes our body just needs a break and being sick is the only way we’ll take one! Sometimes in our “planning” we get ahead of God, so he halts us temporarily to get us back on track with His plan. Whatever the case, being sick is not the end of the world. Now granted, it’s no fun either, but go through the process, medicate, rest, listen for His voice amidst it all and leave the everyday stuff to Him. Work and everything else will still be there once you’re better.
It’s been a challenging week, but I got more sleep than I have in a month, I’m 8 lbs. lighter, I am more enlightened spiritually, got an answer to a prayer, and the world around me is still here – parenting, my job, housework, bills and all! LOL
Remember: God is in everything – our good days, our great days, our bad days, and our sick days!
So often we harbor anger and resentment towards people that have hurt us. We even dwell on the fact that they never even said “I’m sorry”. But sometimes we need to take time to reflect on the people we have hurt and take time to apologize to them. And lets not forget those “subtle hurts” that we may have forgotten about or tried to pretend never happened – the ex we constantly lied to, the parent we never obeyed, the friend we stabbed in the back, the co-worker we constantly gossip about, the neighbor we never speak to, the degrading tone in which we constantly talk to our children, the relative we have simply ignored/cut off for something they did 10 years ago, the person we borrowed money from and never paid back.
As people hurt us (and they inevitably will), let us remember the pain we feel in those instances. Then let us pray that if/when we hurt others, that we remember our own pain, and then reach out to those we hurt, apologize and make it right.
Happy New Year Everybody!
It’s 2019, and I’ve been asking myself what does that mean or look like for me? I personally love New Year’s, because for me it represents a new start, a fresh beginning. It’s also a time of reflection to look back at the ups and downs of the previous year. But most of all, it’s a time to reflect on the fact that God brought me through it all, and I’m still standing.
Statistically, it is said that 80% of the people who make “New Year’s resolutions” fail by February! Not only is that sad, but I believe it’s directly aligned with the society we live in today. Simply put, we are lazy, unmotivated, undetermined, distracted and confused people, who constantly procrastinate, have little to no goals, and a lack of clear vision for the future – and yes, this includes those of us that are Christians as well.
We too, so often fall into a trap of just “existing” on earth, when God has placed us here for a purpose. I’m not writing to convince or influence anyone to make a list of resolutions. I’m writing to motivate and encourage having a vision that is aligned with the Word of God. A vision of where we want to be or go; of what we want to become; of what we want to accomplish. After all, the bible dictates who God wants us to be as believers. Our entire Christian journey is supposed to be about getting there. The problem is that most of us don’t want to align ourselves with God’s plan for us, so we result to simply having no vision at all when it comes to our spiritual growth.
This lack of vision on the spiritual side, so often coincides with a lack of vision in all other aspects of our lives: physical, mental, social, educational, financial, relational, etc. Other believers may even find themselves at the other end of the spectrum, where their entire vision focuses on all the other aspects of life, while the spiritual side gets little to no attention. Either scenario is detrimental.
God has called us as believers to grow in our relationship with Him and to become more Christlike. How do we do that? Well, like all things spiritual, it all starts with spending more time in His Word. It always baffles me how Christians want and expect so much from God and yet we do so little to cultivate our relationship with Him. The more time we spend in His Word, the more His Word can convict and change our hearts, attitudes, words, thoughts, desires, actions, and our goals to align with Him. I promise, in fact I guarantee, that everything else in our lives will begin to fall into place from there.
Whether you want to work on having a better attitude, lose weight, save money for a new car, get your master’s degree, buy a home, learn a foreign language, travel overseas, get married, or start your own business – whatever the goal may be (short or long term) – aligning ourselves, our goals, our lives, our everything, with God and His plan for us, is the best way to ensure success! In fact when you align your vision with God’s Word, God begins to work in ALL aspects of your life, in ways you could have never imagined!
My family and friends can attest to what God did for me in 2018 – far beyond what I envisioned, prayed for and set out to do via my list of goals! And now, I’m all the more motivated to continue to seek His face through His Word even more in 2019, because I know for a fact, that it will indeed be an even better year for me!……..and yours can be too!
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So often we try so hard to help others. Whether its by giving advice, writing a recommendation letter for a job, letting their kids carpool with yours to school, loaning them money in times of need, letting them sleep on your couch for a night or two, keeping them from literally beating the crap out of someone, taking them to AA meetings, making sure they have a ride to bible study, being an accountability partner to keep them out of trouble, or even bailing them out of jail – these are all great gestures and acts of love and kindness.
Sometimes these gestures are exactly what the recipient needs to keep them from making a bad choice, going off the deep end, ending up in prison or even committing suicide. But sadly, sometimes, these good gestures only yield temporary results that keep the recipient off the ledge for only a day or so. Then the next thing you know that same person does the exact opposite of what you advised them to do. They take your money, spend it on something completely different from what they said it was for and never pay you back. They start drinking again after 5 years of sobriety. They stop coming to bible study and church. They get fired after a week from the job you helped them get. They bash their neighbor’s head in and end up arrested.
Whatever the outcome may be, I am learning that in either scenario I am NOT God. My responsibility is to do what God has called me as a Christian to do – show love, in whatever way I can. So many years, especially in ministry, I used to try to “fix” so many people, solve their problems, answer their prayers, and patch up their lives. In short, I tried to be God. Although, He definitely uses us a vessels to accomplish His will and influence others’ lives, we have to remember that ultimately, He does the “fixing”, the “changing”, and the “problem-solving” in the world around us. We shouldn’t feel guilt, or pressure for that matter, to try and be God – not even for our family or closest friends.
I’ve even been guilty of changing my own personal goals and dreams just to allow myself to be a “savior” to others. God has recently taught me, that I should definitely help if and when I can, but that I should continue to walk in His plan for my own life in the process. The awesome thing about all this is that when we do “step aside” and allow God to work, time actually passes. Then you look back and see not only how God has worked in your own life but also in the life of the person you were originally trying to help. Its even more amazing when you realize that God works things out much better than anything you could have done.
As cliche, as it may sound – do what you can to help, pray, and then let go, and let God!
Don’t overcompensate by doing things for people, but balance it out by being there.
When you don’t know what to do, do what you know to do!
A situation may be out of your control, or maybe you’ve exhausted your resources, pursued every possible avenue, sought help everywhere you could, and you have no clue what step to take next.
All you can do is what you know to do: wake up each day, get up, read your bible, pray, and leave the rest with God. Sometimes all you can do is keep moving, as if its a normal day, all while putting your trust in the Lord. Not only is that sometimes all you can do, but its the absolute BEST thing to do!
This past Sunday, I gave my kids at church 10 minutes to write down the things that they were thankful or grateful for. I also participated in the exercise. Afterwards, we all shared our answers with the class and it was refreshing to not only hear them express gratitude for things in their lives, but to take those few minutes to express my gratitude as well.
Of course there were some common items across the lists such as: God, family, home, food, health, transportation and clothes. There was also gratitude expressed for things that make us happy like: Starbucks coffee, Xbox games, cheer leading, music, our favorite TV shows and bubble baths. Then there were also the things that tend to get overlooked: the maintenance team for your apartment complex, best friends, education, the weather, God’s protection, intelligence, challenges that make us stronger, and opportunities to help others.
So often, around the holiday season each year, we all pause to give a “lil bit of thanks” to God for all the things we are grateful for. The bible teaches that gratitude is not only a powerful thing, but in fact it is something that is a part of God’s will for our lives as Christians. Let us not only “give thanks” during the holiday season but rather remember to give a “lil bit of thanks” everyday! After all, God’s love is evident all day, every day, in everything, all around us. We never have to look far to see the goodness of God in our lives. So often we simply allow the “not so good things” going on to overshadow His greatness in our lives. Lets make it a point to take time daily to give thanks and focus on the wonderful things He is doing in our lives – no matter how big or small.
This morning I had one of my true “mirror moments”. You know one of those days where the reality of life just hits you all at once. You get a rush of negative thoughts that flood your brain and all of a sudden you feel like you’re alone, not in control, and that the worse is about to happen.
I was out Ubering and had to literally pull over to the side of the road and just burst into tears. Nothing bad or major had happened. It was just a whirlwind of things that I had been suppressing in my subconscious from the previous week: my son starting to grow up and dealing with all the new challenges that comes with that; my new real estate venture that I’m praying will come to fruition quickly; my blog and newly published online course that I was literally having to beg family and friends to support; my divorce process that hit a snag in the road; my paycheck that was delayed by a week.
Suddenly I just felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders and that I was all alone and no one cared. Thankfully I keep my pocket bible in my vehicle and immediately opened it up. The first verse I saw was:
Psalm 42:11 (CEV)
“Why am I discouraged? Why am I restless? I trust you! And I will praise you again because you help me, and you are my God.”
It was just enough of a reminder to get me to stop crying, wipe my tears and smile. Too often we have meltdown moments like these and too often we get “stuck” in those moments. Which turns moments into hours, days, weeks, or maybe even months.
I’m learning that I’m NEVER alone. Even on the toughest of days – when you feel like you have no support, friends won’t text or call you back, family goes M.I.A., you’re handling your problems and everyone else’s, work literally sucks, your children give you hell, or every thing in the world that could go wrong does go wrong – God is still there.
I’ll be the first to admit that being a single mom is by far the most challenging thing I‘ve ever had to do. But I’m grateful that when these moments of emotional breakdown, frustration, sadness, and even anger arise, that I quickly turn them into “mirror moments” by reflecting on the mirror of God’s Word. For it is then, and ONLY then, that God reminds me that I’m not in this by myself. In fact, he knew I was going to have the meltdown. He knew what was going to trigger the meltdown. But, most importantly He knew He would be with me through the meltdown and He sees my testimony coming down the road after I push through several meltdowns.
These past few weeks as I poured time into completing my first online course, I realized that one of the reasons it had taken me so long to finish it, was because I was trying to make it “perfect”. Then God spoke to me through various means – a friend, an episode of Shark Tank, a book I was reading, and then a confirmation through His Word: If we wait until things are “perfect” before we act, move or make a decision, we’ll never accomplish anything. Whether its writing a book, creating a course, starting a business, group or organization, launching a project, producing your first product, or simply taking a step out on faith about something God has called you to do…..we simply have to just go out and “do it”.
The first “version” of your work may not be perfect, but its a step in the right direction – a step that so many of us won’t take to begin with, because we are waiting on perfection. I honestly believe I could easily have delayed my online course for another year to perfect the audio, power point color, slide transition, grammar detail, font style and size, but God reminded me that it was the content – the message in the course itself – that He wanted me to get out to the masses. Rather than spending another minute working on the little, less important details, it was time to publish!
Will there be a need for some editing, revisions, and/or future upgrades? Absolutely! In fact there will be some corrections that I’ll end up doing that I wouldn’t have done otherwise if I hadn’t got the course published and released to the public so that I could get feedback and constructive criticism from my followers and supporters.
So for that project you’ve been working on for what seems like forever, or the goal that you wrote down but never even took the first step towards, that unfinished book you started writing and pushed to the side a year ago, that gym membership that you only used once, the women’s group you keep “talking” about starting, or that business that you dream about but haven’t even begun to start making a reality….just do it!
If you’re in the beginning phase – get started! Today!
If you’re in the middle – finish it! And don’t stop until you do!
If it’s pretty much a done deal and you’re simply scared to submit, publish or send it for approval because you don’t think its ready – DO IT!
This month of November 2018, I’m encouraging a “NOW” mentality. As the year is wrapping up and coming to an end, let’s end strong to go into the new year with momentum to tackle new things for ourselves, our families, and most of all for God! Let’s get it done!
Social media has had several “challenges” this past year – the Mannequin challenge, the Get Out Challenge, the Running Man challenge and so forth.
Then we’ve got all sorts of “challenges” in the workplace – diet and workout challenges, and weight loss competitions.
We’ve also got all kinds of “stress relief” activities available – yoga, tai-chi, meditation therapy, etc.
So many things to help us cope with the pressures of life. So many alternatives for stress relief and relaxation.
We rush to this class and that. We have special groups and social gatherings. The gym rats like myself will get up as early as 5 a.m. to workout for an hour or so. But when was the last time we challenged ourselves to consistently set aside some meditation time to read the Bible?
I’m challenging myself this month to have 30 consecutive days of “meditation” sessions with God, reading His Word.
Why? Because apart from my hectic everyday life of work, gym, church, parenting, stress, bills, annoying people and challenging circumstances, I need a spiritual boost in the midst of it all to keep me sane lol.
In case you forgot (like I sometimes do) – there is no better stress relief than the Word of God. Plus it has much longer lasting effects than any hour long yoga session ever could!
Why do we look down on people who struggle with things that we don’t? Do weaknesses have levels? Am I better if my issues are only in certain areas vs. others?
Galatians 6:1-5 (The Living Bible):
“Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command. If anyone thinks he is too great to stoop to this, he is fooling himself. He is really a nobody. Let everyone be sure that he is doing his very best, for then he will have the personal satisfaction of work well done and won’t need to compare himself with someone else. Each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!”
One of my many pet peeves is when people say they “can’t” do something. Not because they physically can’t or because something is truly preventing them from doing so, but because they simply won’t and refuse to try.
It bothers me even more so when Christians declare they can’t do something.
Now, most people who know me will tell you that I’m a very disciplined person and that if I set my mind to something or set a goal for myself that more often than not, I will get it done. However, I will tell you that none of that comes easily or even naturally for me. All my self-discipline and self-control comes from God. And the same Spirit that lives in me, lives in every person who professes to know God as Lord and Savior – His Word tells us so.
That being said, he declares that through His Spirit, we have and can exercise self-control/discipline in any aspect of our lives. So lets stop making excuses! Excuses for not following through on that diet, not going to the gym, not cutting back on drinking or smoking, not spending time with our kids, not saving money, not sticking to our budget, not going to church, etc.
Anything in your life that is physically within in your means to do it, that you want to work on, or get better at – lets set a goal to do so. Lets ask God to help us exercise more self control and discipline by the power of His Spirit – trust me, you won’t be able to do it alone, even if you tried!
Whether it’s those first few quiet minutes of your day when you first wake up, or that 15 minute walk you take on your break at work, or your favorite latte, or listening to your song of the week on the radio, giving your child a huge hug, texting a romantic message to your significant other, watching the sunset, taking a bubble bath, or having a glass of wine before bed – find and enjoy those moments of happiness throughout your day. Life is too short and the world is too full of chaos for us to overlook, miss out on and not enjoy the precious moments that God gives us each day!