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!

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!

 

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.

Moment of Truth: Forever In Debt, Paying It With Praise

My most recent moment of truth left me with massive bags under my eyes. I’ve been frozen for a while now and I am finally beginning to thaw out. The past couple of months has been filled with glorious ups and dramatic downs. It’s been difficult keeping up with the exciting new changes in my life. Personally, I feel like I’m not doing this blog post justice because of all that has happened for us can only be expressed through tears of joy.

My husband is finally home from basic training. I’m so proud that he endured, sacrificed, and worked tirelessly to provide a future for us. While he was away, my daughter and I moved into our first apartment. It was a scary, yet exhilarating change. We endured being confined in my parent’s house for nearly two years and after what felt like forever, God finally gave us the green light to move forward. We spent the end of our summer moving in and getting settled. I made constant trips back and forth from stores trying to decorate my blessing with a passion I thought I would never have again. We love our new home and appreciate it because of how long we had to wait to get it.  Sometimes it feels to good to be true but every day I fight off the past of having nothing and embrace having something of our own.overnight

We managed to accomplish three years worth of dreams, desires, and goals in one summer. For a long time, I was worried if I would ever get to the day where my life was filled with accomplishment, prosperity, and peace. With all the sweat, tears, and pain we went through to get it I’m still learning that success comes through Christ, through faith, and hard work.

My life has felt pretty intense with all that has happened. All my prayers and cries to God were answered and I’m living with my husband and child happily. Hearing Elizabeth laugh uncontrollably because daddy is acting silly brings me to tears. I’m reminded of the past three years where nothing was going right for us, everything was turned against us and our endeavors for a better life. Door after door was closed in our faces followed by betrayals, lies, disappointments, and sorrow. Yet, I’m here, sitting on my living room floor experiencing a day I’ve been begging for since forever.

I don’t mean to get emotional, but I’m so thankful that God loved me so much to refuse me the option of failing. I was tempted way too many times to count to just quit and throw in the towel. It’s been a gritty, sweaty, disgusting, vulnerable three years for me and you have no idea how refreshingly good my days are. I wish I could paint a picture of how much bitterness, sadness, disappointment, and sorrow I was carrying inside. I was at a point where the gloves were off and it was either do or die.

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I realize now that God broke me down so low that I only had enough energy to wait on Him. During those three years, I wasted energy that should’ve been used to get closer to God rather than trying to solve my problems. Without no fight in me, that’s exactly what I finally did. I honestly, didn’t have a choice. It was either wait on God to swoop in right on his time and fix everything or risk ruining my situation, my family, and myself from bad to worse. I realized if my situation got any worse it wouldn’t be by my hand. I made a resolve to keep fighting but fighting with God in front of me, beside me, behind me, and in me. I didn’t know how or when but that I would get what I was asking for and God didn’t let me down.

Now that that season of testing is over (for now), I can see the purpose behind it all. What comes to my mind is when Jesus gave us the ultimate gift of dying on the cross (Matthew 27:32-56). He too had to get gritty, sweaty, disgusting and vulnerable before the World could get better. Before any of us could have a shot at redemption, freedom, victory, salvation, and a better life he had to set us free from the eternal consequences of sin. The task required him to get his hands dirty, his feet dirty, his face smudged with countless tears and sorrow. He had to walk amongst dead things, things that showed no hope for life or growth. Every day through his walk closer to the cross he had to die daily to finally be awakened with freedom. Through his painful, bloody season he overcame the darkness with light so we can have a better life. So I can have a normal Tuesday where I can sit calmly and watch my husband and child laugh with contagious joy.moment-of-truth

No pain, no gain is more than a cute saying for motivation. It’s a guarantee that dreams and goals can be received only with the equal amount of hard and painful work. I believe the bigger the dream, the heavier the workload load. The bigger the prayer, the longer I need to stay on my knees, stay in His Word, and dwell in His Spirit. The price of my dreams coming true cost me three years of struggle, of setbacks, and tears so that I can one day afford it. The only way I could afford it is because of Jesus Christ. The cost of Jesus Christ dying on the cross to save mankind involved a heavy debt that no one could afford to pay but Him. He covered the worst possible, highly unimaginable bill that could never be accomplished by me or you.

So in this moment, after reflecting back on every gray morning, every dark night, all I need to be doing, should’ve have been doing from the beginning, in the midst of it all is belch out, “Thank you, Lord!” All this struggle, all the waiting, the fight for my blessing birthed in me a grateful heart. Life isn’t going to always be fair, but despite it all, good or bad I constantly owe God a praise. The storm and rain fostered a real appreciation for all that God has done.

Most importantly, it shows me that Christ understands it all. Three years of struggle have changed me to have a heart filled with thanksgiving and understanding. If I only had good days, I would never appreciate them. I would never understand what Christ did for me, nor would I have a tenderness for someone else who is going through tough times. Bad days challenge me to focus off myself so I can be in a place to help someone else. I can be in a place where I’m leaning on Christ instead of my resources. It might sound crazy but going through bad days are the sure way to get to your good ones.

 

 

Life Lesson: Have Faith

 

FAITH IN GOD.pngSome might say that Christianity is just another religion. Some might ridicule and talk negatively about how Christians are hypocrites, lunatics, and judgmental Jesus loving freaks. My purpose isn’t to argue what others say, but to share what God says and what the Word of God says.

I’ve been blessed to have been born and raised in a God loving, church going home. Not a lot of people (young or old) can say that. Some are from broken homes with only one parent, no parents, no family or friends to rely on. Yet, amongst all the possibilities, I was given the opportunity to be raised in a family of eight taught on believing in Jesus Christ.

From birth, I was raised to believe that God made the whole universe (Genesis 1:1-31; Colossians 1:16; Isaiah 45:12). I was taught to have faith and believe the Almighty God was to take care of his people. I believe that God is good no matter what happens. I believe Jesus Christ was born from a virgin, here to save mankind. He died on the cross, conquered death, hell, and the grave and three days later he arose. Some might say that’s crazy but to each their own. I was taught that my faith should always be bigger than my fears and doubts.

 

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Though it took some growing up, I got serious about my faith when I turned 11 years old. I got baptized and years later I got the holy ghost. I remember when I thought I had the holy ghost I was scared. I didn’t want to fake having the holy ghost and deceive myself. I was petrified because I didn’t want to mock God in any way.  For months I constantly checked, gave myself tests and wondered if I truly had the holy ghost. After months and months of keeping it quiet, I realized that I had it after all. How? When I was no longer terrified about the rapture but instead I looked forward to it because I felt steady and strong.

Before I was scared out of my mind about missing the rapture. I would have dreams about me getting left behind and my family would go to heaven without me. Whenever someone brought up something about the rapture or Revelation I felt overcome with conviction and fear. God was patient, loving and guided me to assurance through his Word and hearing the Word of God at church. I was calm and a growing assurance within made me strong in my faith that I was a child of God.

 

From that point on, I grew up learning and growing in Christ. I was passionate about the Word of God. I’d stay up hours and hours reading and studying the Bible. I wanted to know everything from cover to cover. But as I grew, I allowed things and life to get in the way of my love for God. It’s no joke how easy you can drift to worrying about school, bills, friends (so-called friends), parties, events, boyfriends, husbands, and kids, and then you don’t even realize how far away you’ve moved from God.

It wasn’t until I leisurely went to the library and rented the novel, “Left Behind” by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. It’s funny because I know the story, I’ve seen the movies and I was pushed to take this book out anyway. Page by page without me even knowing God was getting my attention on matters I too gleefully ignored. I was led from the book to watch the movie Left Behind (the version with Nicholas Cage) on Netflix. That same familiar feeling came swooping in before the movie ended.

 

CONVICTION.jpgI instantly knew that I’ve drifted away from God.  I’ve backslidden and departed from my first love. It’s crazy how far a person can drift before they realize how deep they are in the water. I couldn’t watch the movie without the feeling of uncertainty and fear creep over me. Can I confidently say that if the rapture took place that I would make it? The fact that I had to question it, obviously meant no. When the movie was over, I had to admit to myself that I got distracted. My priority for God was no longer my top priority.

The movie was over and God finally got through to me. Or rather, I was open to listening finally.  I prayed and asked for forgiveness. God must’ve have tried to get my attention countless times and I was caught up in life. I’ve abused his love, kindness, and favor in my life for things that are nothing compared to how awesome he is. I realized I had to turn away from my lazy, selfish habits and refocus myself to chasing after Him. I asked God to guide me, lead me, and speak to me at how I can begin walking closer to Him. Then it hit me!

For weeks, I’ve been trying to start a “My Faith” and “My Marriage” segment to my blog. I didn’t know how to start or when to start and what to write about. After realizing, admitting, and repenting to God for ignoring him and following my own heart I saw an opportunity. I’ve been wanting to share my faith with others but quickly got swept away from life and responsibilities.  I pushed aside God all because I didn’t come up with something on my own. I should know better that what God has planned in his own timely is always better than my own.

Though I’m not happy that I drifted away, I’m grateful my eyes have been opened and reminded about what’s truly important. It’s better to grow in grace instead of out of it. But, good or bad God knows just what to do to direct us on the right path. I don’t want to ever forget, never neglect the one thing that has kept me steady. God has loved me unconditionally and he has always been there for me. There are times when I was alone, was betrayed, was pushed aside and he always comforted. It was foolish of me to push aside my first love because he truly first loved me.

 

Life Leson: God Takes Care Of Me

Growing up has been a pleasure, even in this crazy world because of one thing…Jesus Christ.

God has loved me through it all, has healed me so many times and kept me from danger, harm, people with no good agendas and much more and I am grateful.

Like seriously….

I’ve never been bullied because of God…

I’ve never been violated, abused or attacked because of God….

I’ve always felt safe even in the face of danger…

Because of God!

Never been involved with the police.

Never got arrested.

I never had to call the police, but God!

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My life has been so sweet only because of him.

Never been in a school fight.

Never been in a food fight.

No detention for this one!

Never been suspended.

Never skipped school.

Never got robbed or jumped!

Never got fired from a job!

God has always kept me…

No tattoos!

Never been drunk.

Never had sex until I got married.

Never been dumped lol (except that one time but I got him back and married him)

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Even now, when I struggle and tough times come I make it through because of Him.

He has made my journey smooth even when storms rolled in.

My heavy days were truly my light days.

His love has protected, shielded, guided, and fought for me.

He has carried me my entire life.

I can say nothing bad about God because he has always been amazing to me.

Even those times when he didn’t let me have my way….

Even when I didn’t want to give him that same love and respect back.

Even when I was consumed with everything bad and nothing good…

God has always taken care of me.