Life Lesson: When Quitting Is No Longer An Option

In the past, when bad days would happen I would let myself believe that quitting was better than fighting and living for tomorrow. When a disappointment or setback would occur, I would suffer a dramatic low that I never thought I could come back from. For so long, nonstop I allowed this destructive behavior to determine my outlook on life both present and future. This way of thinking allowed deep roots to form in my life that made it almost impossible to see myself as victorious. I would convince myself over and over how tomorrow wouldn’t come, opportunities wouldn’t happen and I would always be drowning in sorrow. Why was that? Truth is, giving up always seems easier than sticking it out. As far back as I could remember, I’ve relied on my emotions, those raw deep feelings to be the driving force in my life. I allowed those raw deep feelings lead me to a prison of suspension. I had begun to feel caged in by my doubts, fears, and worries. I allowed them to overshadow my purpose, destiny, and drive.

But when I had enough of the “just getting by” lifestyle I was leading I finally made a change. I choose life. Please believe when I say it’s hard choosing life because it involves a lot of dead weight and dead things to be killed off. When you choose life, you have to get rid of everything, your mindset, behavior and your will in order to be transformed.

It took a lot of crying, a lot of waiting, of a lot of falling and fighting to get back up, but with every loss I struggled with I now see it was all gains that will always outweigh.  To the moments in my life where I was confused, frustrated, and bitter it’s not replaced with confidence, assurance, and a bittersweet victory.

The lesson I had to learn was there is a true way to giving up in so to really win and that’s to give up to Jesus Christ. That surrendering your heart, mind, and soul to Him was the only way to have total victory. To dig so deep into the Word of God that you lose yourself guarantees that you find him and you’re true self.

Looking back on each and every time I wanted to quit, each and every time I stopped swinging and let my head hung long that was the time God reached down, placed His hands on me and prayed for me. Don’t ever think for one second that while you’re fighting this fight, while you are struggling to get through that you are the only one. No, if your family, your friends, or even the saints don’t know trust and believe God knows. He sees you in that abusive relationship, He sees you at the doctor’s office trying to get a cure, He sees you at work dealing with that boss and He is stretching out His hand praying for you. Truly, no weapon, no amount of defeat can keep you from what God has destined for you to have. I am a living witness!

For years I thought I wasn’t going to make it, I let the devil make me believe that victory wouldn’t be mine but I’m writing from the comfort of my home to tell you it’s time to spring forth. It’s time to rise up and walk! All you have to do is say,  “In the name of Jesus Christ” and it gives an invitation for your Father in Heaven to fight on your behalf. You haven’t lost the fight, there is still a chance for you to overcome. It’s time to make up your mind that quitting is no longer an option!

Becoming A Woman With Purpose: Part 1

I’m still amazed at what God has placed on my heart in regards to starting a blog that reveals how important learning is a part of growing and maturing. As a mother, I recognize the importance of confidence, endurance, and laughter when caring for a child. I would not have been able to love and care for my daughter without the Word of God and the HolyGhost in my life. When envisioning this blog I dreamed of providing wisdom received through my experiences and encouraging words that will get every mother and parent through the day, specifically the tough ones. These five verses positioned me into the mindset of purposeful living that has changed my approach to situations in my life. The next five blog posts are dedicated to every single verse and I pray it changes your perspective in your situation.

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Two years ago I was blessed with the gift and responsibility of caring and guiding my daughter. Though I didn’t understand what it meant to be a mother, I was ready and eager to learn. I quickly tapped into my maternal instincts and began a journey that I cherish every single day. After the initial months of me fumbling and walking in my insecurities, I started to realize that I didn’t just birth a child, but the birthing of a confident, hardworking mother in me. One of my quickest habits that I formed was I was all talk and no action. I would acclaim to how many dreams and goals I would impart in my life for the benefit of my family but I was slow in action to fulfill them. When I stumbled across this verse I instantly felt a slap to the face from God.

When my daughter was born into this world, all of these dreams, visions, and goals came with her. Not just the ones that are linked to her destiny that she has yet to fulfill, but mine as well. I thought that becoming a parent would strip me away from my desires and dreams in order to focus on my child. I was wrong. Instead, God allowed new dreams, new desires to form inside me and this verse told me to stop dreaming and start doing. I love the message version because it’s plain and simple: when you don’t work, you don’t get paid, and you don’t bring home the bread. Or in “mother” terms, if you don’t work, you don’t get paid and you won’t afford those diapers and wipes. This verse applies beyond the typical work scenario. If you don’t work on your marriage, you won’t get the benefits of a healthy marriage. If you don’t clean and manage your household efficiently, then you are inviting chaos in your world. Accepting this verse was a big pill to swallow but living by it has brought success that I would’ve never achieved if I didn’t see becoming a mother as a blessing instead of a burden.

It also revealed that I can’t be frustrated at my circumstances when I’m not willing to roll my sleeves up and work through it. Blame it on my femininity but when I get overwhelmed and overworked I instantly get dramatic. My emotions, facial expressions, and hand gestures go from level one to level ten! I began to cry the sad song and doubt that change will ever come. I cry out, having a pity party and run a hole in the floor pacing back and forth worrying. This wise verse puts my emotional tantrums in check. I realized that when I do the work that my success is sure to come. It would be crazy for someone to work and work tirelessly at a job and never receive a paycheck.  But God promises us that when we put the hard work in, the tears, sweat, and pain will pay off. So if whatever stage of life you are in, if you are a struggling mother like sometimes I still find myself at or you manage to overcome it all just know that your hard work will bring you the bread of life!

When You’re Making it Up as You Go Along

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In the early stages of my motherhood journey, I was overcome with anxiety, paranoia, and insecurities. I’m not going to lie — it was an emotional time in my life and I struggled with handling it without feeling inadequate. Becoming a mom, no matter what age or stage in life is an intimidating thing. I don’t know who raises the bar to perfection, but there it is always staring you in the face, reminding you how you never quite make it.

When you give into that lie it distorts your capabilities of being a good mother. Whatever level you personally deem good parenting or mothering you should aim for it every day. Don’t compete with other parents but compete with yourself. What I mean is if you were patient with your child yesterday, just aim to be a little more patient with them the next day. Competition with others to make yourself feel on top isn’t really winning and your child loses in the end. Don’t feel the need to meet a status quo invented by others based on their personal experience with their children. That’s not what being a loving parent is all about.

Yes, you should always be inspired by the stories of the woman before us who have done the impossible for their sons and daughters. Embrace the testimonies of the woman who have cried, sobbed and fought for theirs just like you are now. You should invite strength, wisdom, and experience in your soul but don’t disregard your own strength, wisdom, and experience. It’s what you’ve gone through and overcome that’s made you the parent you are today. The most important lesson for me about motherhood is to never second-guess myself when it comes to how I treat my family. Walking in confidence isn’t easy but it helps to understand that even though you have those days when you are just making it up as you go along, each and every day will come together in the end and works out so long as you have faith that your parenting, all your hard work, and efforts will pay off.

 

LifeLesson: Live in the Moment

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As a mother, I’m always faced with the challenge to get things done off my to-do list and I always bypass the chance to just live in the moment. I’m so accustomed to wanting each and every day to be productive and successful that I don’t stop and appreciate the little things. I hate to say it but I’ve developed a bad adult behavior that emphasizes more on tasks, chores, and checklists as a priority rather than the person I do it all for; my kid.

Before I wake up in the morning, usually our daughter has made her way back into our bedroom. She climbs over me strategically making space in the middle of us. It’s gotten to the point where on cue, whether I’m half sleep or not I scooch over and tap my husband to move so she doesn’t get squished. All three of us would lay in bed snuggled uncomfortably for another hour before the rush of commands hit us for the day.  Sadly that’s one of the briefest moments my family connection before the day begins and technically it doesn’t count since some of us are still counting sheep.

It’s crazy how quickly we fall into a sort of a routine without even realizing it. My husband and I will fuss over who does what. I nag him to make all the beds and depending on who has to go to work first cook and clean. Come to think of it, with all the hustle and bustle we are pretty tired by 11 and I do mean am! I could accredit to how things were much simpler when she was a baby but no matter how old our children get it shouldn’t diminish our willingness to just take the time and have quality moments together.

Looking back on just the last couple months, it’s been filled with us walking around like mindless drones instead of real human beings. But sadly once you start the rhythm it’s hard to get out of the flow. The same pattern follows and the more I allow it, the harder it is to break away.

Case in point:

Every night I get my daughter ready for bed and like any tired parent you want them all cleaned up, in their jammies, teeth brushed and story read before 11 and I do mean pm! I must admit that by the time I kiss her goodnight for the twentieth time and take the big sigh of relief that everything’s done I never know what to do with myself. Should I stay up late watching tv? Eat more dinner or dessert? Write? Read? When I start to finally enjoy the moment of stillness I instantly start to ache for more family time with my daughter and husband. Part of me wants her to go to bed as early as I can and the other part wants to stay up to watch old 90’s TV sitcom shows.

The fact of the matter, I’ve been struggling with balance and setting my priorities in place so they no longer clash for a while. There is so much to do, so much to get done, so much to accomplish, but allowing it to overrule you diminishes the quality of life we are all blessed to have. It’s difficult to put down the clipboard and run away from routine freely. How can you have quality life moments without the quantity of life’s responsibility over-piling?

It starts with taking a death breath. Release the pent up energy, take a sip of water and realize just exactly where you are. Ask yourself do you really need to be fussing in the supermarket like this over Cheerios and chips? Should you be wasting a joyous car ride fussing over what hasn’t been done yet? What about at dinner, why act surprised at the food all over the floor? Parenting is a never-ending roller-coaster ride. But why should your emotions be?

Take a moment before you start and really list the absolutes that you are going to focus on. Don’t give any time or attention to details that take you away from that list. Close your eyes and imagine what you want to get done today and then start making a plan for getting those done. Permit yourself moments that recharge your love, kindness, and strength. For me, it’s reading my Bible, listening to music, and actually going to the bathroom alone. Whatever you need to keep your energy high for the day, do it.

And if you have a busy toddler like myself, then don’t stress do those things together. Incorporate your kids to clean when you clean. Get your child to find all the mismatch shoes while you fold the towels. Have them sing for you while you clean the bathroom. Every task, every chore, involve them in it. Invite them into your routine and it will definitely bring the family connection you’ve been missing.

I learned that saying, “sit” over and over again will exhaust me and leave me unsatisfied. Plus, it will never get her to sit. So, throw the rule book out the window every now and then. If you are paying bills, then have them sitting right next to you and maybe they will pay a bill or two. If you are praying, don’t lock them out but bring them in and take your time. Every moment of the day should not only be spent succeeding but also loving the ones you do it all for.

The Adventures of Elizabeth: I Have SuperParents

Hi!

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My mom and dad are super!

What exactly makes them super?

Well…

Her kisses make the booboo’s go away.

She always gives me the pretty band-aids.

Daddy keeps us safe.

His back rubs help me to go to sleep.

Mommy always picks the best outfits and pretties my hair.

Sometimes daddy does my hair too (but not as nice as mom)

They both have a magical way of keeping a smile on my face.

She can cook and serves me yummy treats.

Dad can eat.

He can tickle me until I snort.

Daddy’s tickling fingers make me laugh like a hyena.

She teaches me cool songs to sing.

And daddy gives me crazy dance moves.

She can see from the back of her head.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t get away with nothing.

And pictures…

Mommy loves taking pictures with me.

I laugh, play, eat, and sleep all because of my super parents.

They love me so much.

I’m their Lily.

And their my mommy & daddy.

 

 

 

 

 

How To Maintain Your Faith Every Day

Every day is filled with moments that can make or break our faith in God. We all have moments that can inspire us to better ourselves, moments of spiritual inspiration, and even those painful moments we desperately try to pray and fast away. It’s always easy to strengthen our faith in our walk with Christ when things are great. Who can doubt God when all their bills are paid and their loved ones are safe from sickness and harm?

It makes sense to smile back to God when he is smiling down on us with new employment opportunities and healthy relationships. But what about when God decides to take away the smiles and hugs and rain down life storms of troubles? How do you maintain your faith then?

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It’s been said over and over that life is too precious to waste and to live every moment of it with purpose and success. But the question is how should we live it? How do we get to a place where nothing can keep us down? Every day we should take a moment to focus on building a strong, resilient confidence in God. Without God, none of us could be here today. Having total trust in Him makes the ride worth enduring. Here are three ways to keep your faith strong every day.

  1. Stop entertaining your doubts.

Before you can do all things through Christ that strengthens you like the Bible says you have to stop entertaining your doubts. Yes, there will be some days when it seems like every dream of yours is coming true. And then the other days are filled with gray clouds that block out the light of hope and peace. Focusing on how bad a situation is won’t strengthen your faith but diminish it. Your perspective will determine how strong your faith is. If all you see are failures then that’s exactly what you will get. But if you take a moment and see all the wonderful things in your life like loved ones, a job, a roof over your head then you are growing and increasing your faith. With a right mindset, you can achieve it all. If all you do is complain then you will never reach your solution. Having faith is like a seed that can birth blessings, while doubt is a seed that can birth pain. It’s time to destroy your doubts by walking by faith and not by sight.

2. Live with a grateful attitude.

Too many times we find ourselves singing the “woe is me” song instead of living our lives seeing the world with gratefulness and thanks. When God thought about the world, he envisioined each and every one of us in it. He created us for a time and purpose with flaws, setbacks and rainy days. He saw every aspect of our lives, the good and bad as a blessing, not a curse. Yet you consider all the bad circumstances and disappointments as a bad thing. God orchestrates everything and he knows and sees the beauty in everything. Why can’t you? To strengthen your faith every day you have to start looking at your life through the eyes of God’s. Don’t give in to the temptation to complain about a negative situation or problem but actively find the good in it. Be intentional about being grateful and it will brighten your day and someone else’s. When you choose to be grateful no matter what it creates hope. When others see that hope it gives them the boost of encouragement they need to keep on going.

3. Don’t fight it but embrace it.

Did you know that your struggles in life aren’t just to benefit you but to make others strong too? Every bad day, setback and problem birth strength inside of us to keep fighting the good fight. It challenges us to grow and improve and learn. If we don’t embrace our bad days like we do the good ones we won’t win and neither will the next person. Embracing problems doesn’t mean you’ve given up but the complete opposite that you won’t quit. When you choose to embrace it you arrive at a place where no one can duplicate. You have wisdom, strength and enough sensitivity to care for the problems of others and help them get through. Embrace your bad days and strengthen your faith by standing tall in the Word of God. Every day you should fill your soul up with songs and scriptures that keep you motivated and focused.

Keeping your faith maintained every day is a lot of work. You have to keep praying, fasting and crying out to God. You have to keep going to church no matter how discouraged you might be or feel. Stay encouraged and know that you are not alone. You are not the only one going through so take comfort. It’s as easy as turning on your TV for a good laugh. Open up your Bible and let God speak to you. Put on a gospel song and sing your troubles away. Or,  you can even put on an inspirational movie or two. A great place to find amazing God-centered movies is Pure Flix. It’s a great resource to maintain your day-to-day faith too. They have a wide variety of Christian movies for faith-based families and are even currently offering a free one-month trial.

Don’t be passive about strengthening your faith because it’s your faith that will get you through.

Life Lesson: You Are Diamonds

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My message for mothers and woman today is don’t cheapen yourself on the account of others. I can’t tell you how important it is as a wife and mother to know your self-worth. Having a high standard of self-worth produces high self-esteem, confidence, and self-respect that is too precious to trade in or exchange. A confident woman doesn’t allow abusive relationships to define their self-worth. A self-respecting wife won’t force herself to die in her marriage but find ways to thrive with or without her spouse. A confident mom lives, breathes and nurtures her children with power and strength because she fears nothing.

Living like a diamond forces life to back off and let you shine. Life of an assured woman means not stopping at the no’s and you can’t’s that’s always being thrown in your face. Having confidence in how God created you births tenacity and a persevering spirit that can overcome anything. Having confident isn’t about being puffed up or arrogant but being content with the gifts, strengths, and flaws that God has given each of us to work with. I’m certainly not here to promote bragging or pride but to share with you the freedom in being a strong diamond of a gal.

So I hope after my elaborate introduction you’re asking yourself, “Well, how do I live a diamond?”

  1. By accepting that God loves you.

If you don’t believe God is real, that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again then there isn’t much I can do for you. True confidence doesn’t appear within ourselves but it comes from the almighty Creator. The big G-O-D himself made us his top priority and wanted us to have nothing short of the best. Believing is just the beginning. You have to live, breathe, sleep and eat with the truth that God values us all. Why would you not accept all that love? Realize that God loves you permanently!

2. Living with love in your heart for others.

You want that confidence in your walk, that glow of the holy spirit upon your life you have to live your life through the lenses of love. Everything you go through — He loves me — so it has to work out. Even when friends, family, and strangers try to deter you from believing — act in love. Having a rich, quality lifestyle doesn’t just come from working hard on behalf of yourself but going the extra mile for someone else. Luke 6:31 and 35 say to do to others what you want to be given to you. If you want love in life then love others freely without looking for anything in return.

3. Saying goodbye to insecurities by reading the Word of God.

This is the best way to feed your faith and starve your doubts. If you’ve been dealing with insecurities, baggage from the past and past pain then open a Bible! There are scriptures after scriptures that will boost your soul into the confident, God-fearing woman you are destined to be. Philippians 1:6 will tell you that he started something great inside you and he won’t stop until it’s completed. And if you are reading this with doubt in your heart, just know that you aren’t confident that Proverbs 3:26 says that God will be your confidence and he will keep you.

And the amazing part of this…there is so much more. Unlock all that God is waiting to give in your life. Live with assurance that God desires you, he wants the best for and he hates to see his diamond get scuffed up or damaged. Celebrate your one-of-a-kind design and witness God accomplish great things in your life. Don’t shy away from all that God is calling for you to have.

 

Month of Motherhood: You Are A Masterpiece

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Yay! It’s finally here….almost here I should say: Mother’s Day! The coveted day where all things mom and motherhood gets it’s deserved recognition. Even though moms should automatically get the breakfast in bed and the bouquet of flowers every day we understand that trying to wine and dine us for our mothering feats will take forever.

I’m so happy to be one of the millions of woman known for being fearless, loving and strong. Whether you are a stay-at-home mom always packing lunches for the kids or the hard-working mother that slays in the boardroom — I want this month to be filled with posts encouraging you, strengthing you, and reminding you how amazing it is to be a mom!  And not to exclude all the amazing woman — those aunties, sisters, cousins, babysitters, singles.. you have kids or none at all this is your month to shine too! So for all my mothers, it’s the month of Motherhood and for all non-moms, it’s the Month of Womanhood!

I’m devoting a blog post every week to reminding mothers and woman in general that no matter what, no matter who….you are an original masterpiece! That’s right, Ephesians 2:10 says,

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Whether you agree or not, all of our stories began with the Word of God, with God thinking about us and creating us. He didn’t just create us, he envisioned us a life for us filled with opportunities, victories, hardship, and His love. God didn’t hastily throw us and all our uniqueness at the last minute. He didn’t rush and guess at our potential, strength, weaknesses, and capabilities. He took the time, energy and commitment to creating a work of art that’s more valuable than any amount of bad days, horrible relationships or dead-end end jobs that try to take away the treasure he placed within us.

I am valuable because he made my life worth it when He died on the cross. He refused to give up one me and you when he rose from the grave three days later. He went above and beyond because we are His masterpiece. Live like a masterpiece, carry with you that passion and drive he gave you. Don’t ever let life diminish your resolve to rise up. God knows who we really are and who we can truly become. Embrace it!

 

MarriedLife: Does It Matter If I Look Good?

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Who doesn’t want to look their best?

You’d be surprised!

Whenever you first begin something in life you put your good foot forward. Whether it’s a job interview or picture day at school or the first date. But after you landed the job, got the girl or boy of your dreams is it required for you to continually keep your best foot forward? Is the same requirement for women to look their best enforced for men?

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Yes, it matters!  When my wife looks good it lets me know that she has class, that she cares about her self-worth and she is mature. Before I got married, I desired to be with a woman that was mature, beautiful and respectful in her appearance and behavior. When my wife doesn’t look good it makes me believe she doesn’t care and that she essentially gave up on life. I find it very unattractive whenever my wife doesn’t have her hair done and isn’t put together and glamoured up. I believe in spending time and money on my wife so she could look her best and feel her best. Whenever my wife is smelling good and looking good it lets me know how she feels on the inside. I believe our outward appearances reflect our inner selves. Maintaining our appearance gives us a glimpse of your character, beliefs, and morals in life. When you respect yourself you can respect others.

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Even if you can’t afford designer clothes and brand name labels, you should take effort into making yourself look good and feel good. I love to dress up not for the sake of pleasing others or my husband but so I can be comfortable in my skin and who I am. So if I’m wearing a dress and heels one day and then ripped jeans and a pair of wedges another it doesn’t mean I have less confidence. I want to see men and woman dressing like the confident person they are and can be. If I wasn’t married, I wouldn’t pay any attention to a guy who didn’t have is pants pulled up, a nice haircut and some nice shoes. That doesn’t make me a “goal digger” but a person with standards. Sometimes my husband doesn’t dress up like I want him to. I nudge and nudge but when he does I revel in how handsome my husband is. I love seeing him in a nice suit and a tie or even nice jeans and tee, it lets me know he is happy with his family and life.

LifeLesson: Having The Right Perspective Changes Everything

 

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Handling life’s problems can bring the best and worst of times. Hands down it develops genuine character in you that you will appreciate for years to comes. It births wisdom, compassion, integrity, strength, and understanding to weather more life storms.  But, I can personally tell you how difficult it is to believe that you’ll make it on top. Yes, a problem is a problem no matter how you spin it. But what makes a problem turn into a solution: your outlook, your determination not to give up, and your faith in God.

When I was younger, stress would always be a boost of determination for me. If I was stressing about school, it would push me to focus more and increase my discipline in my studies. If I was worried about not making the cut then it would push me harder to reach my goals. But, now I’m a little older, have more responsibility and the weight of being a wife and mother can be…stressful.

Life can be really messy. With every step you take toward your future, it can sometimes involve unexpected twists and turns that can lead you farther away from your goals or keep you at a standstill. It’s so easy to forget about all the good in our lives when bad stuff come. It’ doesn’t matter what causes it, just that we want it all to be solved and over now. Whenever you focus on the bad instead of the good, it wipes away the possibilities of hope and you end up with a perfect recipe for giving up.

Personally, I hate it when my back is against the wall, I can’t see no way out and I’m overwhelmed because it instantly sprouts doubt. My life is no longer that of a 13-year-old girl worrying about my grades and chores. So, neither should my perspective. I can no longer think, create, or analyze situations based on the results of my past. Time eventually revealed this to me after years of me going around in circles with certain issues in my life that just wouldn’t change. It wouldn’t change because I refused to change my mindset.

I was too stubborn and fearful to renew my mind. Romans 12:2 told me in order to understand what God wants for my life I have to stop doing what others say and change my thinking that brings me closer to Christ. I felt like that wasn’t necessary to overcome obstacles and bad days. I deceived myself to believe that doing the bare minimum would still bring me success. Then, when my way failed, I had the nerve to cry out to God and ask him why I wasn’t successful, why I wasn’t happy. He told me through Philippians 4:8 that thinking about myself and what I want won’t even bring me close to a fulfilled life. That I have to think on the truth, on lovely things, and to have thoughts that give God honor and praise. After learning the hard way one too many times I eventually caved, and time went by and I felt a newness in my heart and mind. But, I wasn’t done. Things began to turn around for me but I started to get impatient, frustrated and worried. I would wonder if I was ever going to get to the top if I was ever going to be satisfied and quickly my bad thinking habits began. But, God told me, vividly and repeatedly that I can’t be anxious about anything but pray continually with supplication, thanksgiving and have faith that God will hear my requests, give me his peace and guard my heart and mind (Philippians 4:6-7).

That was one of the hardest parts of this journey. Even now, it’s still something I daily struggle to maintain. I had to learn to truly have a relationship with God, surrender my thoughts and allow him to protect my heart. Sometimes when I think back on those hard moments I shake my head in disbelief at how difficult I was. Now that I see how much better it is to trust God in all my ways and to lean on his understanding I feel like so much of my time has been wasted. But then, I stop and realize that thinking about the time wasted instead of all the time I still have, opportunities I still have to gain is finally living life with clear, healthy, godly perspective. I have to remind myself of how loving God was and is to me to wait for me to finally get it together and realize that having the right perspective through Him will change everything.