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!

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 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!

It seems I learned 911 for nothing! lolkeeper.jpg

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.

Life Lesson: True Acceptance

28052_10151376596112152_794027248_n I still have so much more to experience in life. I have plenty more mistakes, failures, and moments to live through. I definitely look forward to moments of clarity, growth, strength and success. So far, I’ve learned that allowing fear to keep you from living is a waste of time. Fear is a paralyzing, crippling monster that can keep you locked up for years.

When I was younger, I was always scared that I would never amount to anything and my entire life would go by unnoticed and unaccomplished. I compared myself to others and just settled for ordinary and average because I didn’t feel I could be placed in any other category. After years of feeling low, I eventually got tired and got the strength to fight my way out of it.

There were so many missed opportunities, failed friendships, and happy moments that I will never be able to get back. Instead of regretting the past, I push onward. I don’t want to recover what I already lost but gain new moments and new accomplishments. I no longer want to sing the same old sad song.

Learning that lesson opened my heart and mind to possibilities. Not to mention, the lessons that would follow were easily learned because I wasn’t so shielded. I used to be a vault – never opening up for things to come in or out. I was defensive because I was scared of getting hurt. Putting myself out there was uncomfortable and awkward. I used to convince myself that being a complete shut-in was my “personality” and how I was “made.” I soon learned they were lies! Lies from every insecurity and doubt I fed.

I was great at hiding too. To everyone else I was fine. I was a pretty young lady who rarely had to bite her tongue. I was respected, admired, and well-liked. No one ever knew about all the green monsters under my bed and skeletons in my closet. No one knew that I daily entertained fear, resentment, insecurities, and damaging criticism. If only the Grammys offered awards for hiding.IMG126

I refuse to take a chance because I was always looking over my shoulder. I’m older and now my refusals consist of no longer being ashamed of my shortcomings, failures, and often times foolish actions. Now when I say I’m confident it’s because I really am. I learned to be content with who I am and who I’m not. I learned to be satisfied with what I do have and what I don’t.

Now when I look in the mirror I see greatness, power, and success. I rarely compare myself to others because I understand the love that was built into me. I’m no longer an easy prey to weight and insecurities because my perfection is supplied through Jesus Christ. Everything I have learned and overcome has taught me to focus. To never be bothered with things that destroy me but only with things that challenge me to be better.

 

Moment of Truth: Facing My Feelings

He’s gone. God give me strength. #Wife #Husband #NationalGuard

I wasn’t planning on sharing this on my blog. I’m trying not to lie, but I’m having a hard time being open about this. This has brought a lot of mixed emotions. On the outside, I am cool, confident and secure. On the inside, I’m nervous, worried, and anxious.

January 4, 2016, my husband left me.  He left to complete his basic training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina. I’m so proud of my best friend because he has been trying for so long to join. The past two years have really challenged the both of us, our marriage and our spirituality. I remember when he first told me he was signing up for the military while we were engaged. I was shocked. I always thought he would be a regular joe. A man who clocked in and out every day. I was obviously happy on the outside, and knowing my husband, he knew I wasn’t entirely eager on the inside. A couple of months after we got married, he found out that he was horribly deceived. He signed up just like everyone else, filled out the application, paperwork, and forms. He completed physicals and drills, only to be told lies. One minute he was in the army and the next he wasn’t.

I still don’t know what happened, how he got the boot and why. Although I was disappointed on the outside, I was relieved on the inside. But, my husband was wrecked. He was disappointed that all his hard work was in vain. He was humiliated; after telling so many family and friends of his next big adventure.  Being publicly humiliated, left with empty pockets made him feel so small. I was so frustrated and sad for him because he was a victim, yet some treated him like a villain. It was a battle I couldn’t win for him. It was difficult watching him struggle. He had questions, he was hurt, and he looked alone.

As horrible as the past two years have been, I am so grateful that it made me fall down on my knees and pray. All the bad, inconveniences, and deceit the past year made me depend on his Word like never before. It wasn’t easy watching my best friend be gutted like a fish, so helpless to vulnerability. My husband went through so much back-stabbing, gossipers, betrayals, liars, and two face crooks. I saw sides of him that made my heart ache.

So, when my husband told me again that he was signing up for the military. Can you imagine my face? An eruption of emotions bellowed from me. I was confused that he wanted to risk the everything again for nothing but uncertainties. I was insulted that he would risk our relationship to try another attempt at failure. Not to mention, it would now mean leaving me alone with our daughter. I kind of came off as unsupportive and as you get to know me, I a very supportive, loving friend and wife. Just, after the roller coaster of the disappointment last time, I really didn’t want to get on the ride again. He kept telling me over and over that this time will be different. So, I bit my tongue and held two thumbs up and made sure to hold back my tears until everyone went to sleep.

DSCN1316I’m trying not to lie, my prayers were a little conflicted. I would tell my husband that I’m praying for him to get in, but behind closed doors, I would tell God to belay that prayer and bless him to stay home. I just didn’t want to sign up and watch my husband go through the same horror. Can you blame me? I would ask God over and over, moan and groan, and lament for another story for my husband. One that didn’t require him leaving.

As romantic the idea of being married to a soldier might be, it takes a huge commitment. As honorable as the position is, I don’t take it lightly and appreciate every military family because of it. It’s not an easy task. Once he learned of his departure date, it was sealed. My husband was packing up to be a soldier. It’s been a couple days since he left and I’m cool. Taking it a breath at a time. My worst fear is that he comes back home broken and disappointed again. If you are married, then you know how challenging it can be to hold up a broken man. So, it’s out of my hands and all I have left to do is pray.

Life Lesson: My Voice Has Power

I’ve shared before how much I love writing and how writing gives me a voice. But, my writing isn’t just for me but for you and importantly for God. What I say and how I say it has power. In the Bible, Proverbs 18:21 says that what we say can either bring death or life. I know it’s pretty drastic but really think when you compliment someone you brighten their day and when you say something negative it can bring them down.

As a believer in Christ, it’s only that I desire to affect people positively with my words too! I want nothing more than my words to comfort, encourage, and empower you. Obviously, you want to hear something comforting and familiar. I love reading articles or stories about people that have been where I’ve been. Stories that allow me to release my emotional baggage, calm down and refresh are powerful. Comfort brings loved ones together. If you ever found yourself nodding to something you heard because it touched you, that’s what I want my words to do.

Encouraging words keep the fight strong in us! Without an encouraging quote or motivational story, we ALL would have given up a long time ago. Those times when the sky is dark and no one is around to help, it’s uplifting to stumble across words to a song or a poem. Stories like that let me know that there is so much fighting for. My story and your story is worth fighting for and sharing!

My favorite thing to do is empower! Empowering others make me happy. When I see an empowered chick walking down the street in her heels I got no choice but to compliment because she is walking in her power (and I want those shoes!). I love coming across sites and blogs that empower me to dream of great dreams and light bulb ideas. I feel pumped and sorta invincible because I’m in that mindset that I won’t let anything stop me from accomplishing greatness.

I want to see you soar and see you accomplish your dreams. I hope that whatever blog post I post or link I share pushes you to try harder and work harder to accomplish it. I write because it could open the door for someone else to do something incredibly. I want to remind you that you can make it. I want to encourage you that when you are tired, don’t quit! I want to comfort you because I’ve been mad, disappointed, hurt and you can overcome just like me.I hope that sharing my story and my life will see that you really can do and be anything you want to despite your circumstances or your past.

Life Lesson: Having Strength Against Opposition

  IMG_1683 “Our fight is not against people on earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.” (ERV) Ephesians 6:12

This scripture reminded me of a time when my husband was extremely stressed and worried. Struggling where money was going to come from and where it was going to go. Stressed about the well-being of his family, their safety and happiness. Although he didn’t want to show it, he was tense. He was scared that he wasn’t going to make it, wasn’t going to be “a man” and that I would leave (he should know better). Countless of arguments about others, him worrying what others think, what others would say and do. It would make me furious! Now I’m no man, but I can only imagine handling all the pressure and weight of being the head of the household. Even though I love him and try to be there to help, I can’t always fight his battles.

I never could understand why people paid so much attention and worry over people who can’t give or take anything away. And even if they could, God is literally the only one who can snatch it right back! I’ve never really carried opinions of others so heavily, especially when I was confident in God, what he told me, and the dreams and passions he placed in me. My husband, on the other hand, has always been a little more attentive of other opinions.

For all wives, you know the last thing you want in your marriage is a distracted, overwhelmed, stressed man. You need your man focused on God, family, work (paying bills). It bothers me when someone got the nerve to mess with my man! (Lol) The fight we really should be focused on is the war against everything not like God!

Worrying about enemies, co-workers, horrible bosses, in-laws, parents, church folk– allowing everyone to take away your peace, joy, and faith….your focus on the vision, your destiny, all so you can appease to others who plainly can’t put you in heaven or hell. That’s why they do it, just so your focus on God and your goals aren’t top priority. How you going to move forward while looking back? You see why I was frustrated? The fight isn’t against others, but against Satan!

 29309_422351732151_3645403_nAs long as God knows what I’m doing and how I’m working hard to make him pleased – everyone else can just sit and watch. My reputation doesn’t mean nothing when the most important person isn’t saying, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21-23; Luke 19:17) I’m pretty sure none of us were birthed to impress others. Wear your struggles proudly, it ‘s what makes you the man or woman of God that he will use to bring others to Christ. Don’t be ashamed about struggling, everyone is just some are better at hiding it. Struggling births victoryhow else are you going to win?

Don’t get sore about how you started and where you are right now in finances, social status, work, or school but stay focused on how the rest of your journey will go. Ups and downs are inevitable, learn to jump on Paul’s bandwagon and rejoice in the midst of trials (Romans 5:3-10; 1 Peter 1:6-9). Suffering and sometimes being embarrassed builds character and appreciation – makes you humbly dependent on God. So don’t fret over others who don’t realize that the process you’re in is going to propel you to greatness. I can’t think of one person in the Bible without a flaw, hang-up, horrible past, addiction, criminal record, bad reputation that weren’t used by God. Don’t worry if some or none might not understand, agree, or support. You might get a million no’s from everyone else, but the only yes you need is from God. Don’t let anyone stop you! Have a made up mind to fight your way out of your situation and if you gotta look crazy in order to make it well get to looking crazy.

Life Lesson: God’s Will Be Done

394531_10151147151827152_529677312_nI love to plan or rather I love being in control.  I rarely make a decision without thinking it through – optioning whether a good outcome or bad outcome will end. So, I hate it when things don’t go as planned. It is infuriating to make a list or schedule to only deviate from it entirely. If I don’t plan for it I usually don’t do it. When plans fail I lose control.

When I was younger, I always dreamed of being a fabulous lawyer. Like Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show –just with no kids! I was ambitious, driven, determined, and headstrong to work hard to accomplish my goals. That was the plan. Somehow I fell in love (couldn’t fight it), got married, and realized I drifted so far away from the “plan” that…well you get the idea. I presumed I could still charge the mountain and earned that law degree! I got pregnant and my priorities changed – the plan was absolutely gone! My plan vanished and so did my sense of control. What’s worse, I felt like my identity disappeared as well. For so long, I had my heart and mind fixated on a goal that everything I did was centered on it. Every move I made was centered to achieving that which God didn’t approve, didn’t confirm and didn’t plan for my life at all.

I was at a crossroad. One path leading to my selfish desires and dreams that lead me farther from God. The other path leading me to my destiny, purpose and God’s absolute certain fate – total victory! I was sad to sacrifice my dream of becoming a lawyer. I felt empty and barren. I didn’t realize that being empty meant that I have room to be filled to the point of overflow. Now, reflecting on my decisions I realized that obviously my plan was a little flawed. Nowhere in my “plan” did I fit Jesus Christ. Obviously, I wanted fortune, great opportunities, success, security but I didn’t plan for God to shine. So, I started to honestly consider God’s feelings and what he wanted me to do regarding my career (and pretty much anything else).

After much debate, (a little worry and doubt) I stopped planning (well I still plan just not as much). I felt I was being led to switch majors and start working toward a business degree. I was extremely apprehensive because this time, I wasn’t relying on my own understanding but on God’s. It challenged me to get closer to him and spend more time with him. I saw new opportunities and doors opening that I never thought of. More importantly, I was working at achieving something that pleased God and made him center stage in my life. If I didn’t surrender my will over, I wouldn’t even have started this blog.

I’m happy that my plan went down the drain because I have a new passion that keeps me closer to God. I got back to writing which was long overdue, I feel inspired, energized, and purposeful. Most importantly, I’m confident I’m on the path to growing towards my destiny. I don’t need to know the “what-ifs” and “whys” God didn’t allow my plan to continue. I’m absolutely certain that God’s plan and purpose are the ultimate good. If I allow God to work in my life, I’m always better off. God is truly working in me. He is helping me to do what pleases him and he gives me the power (and words) to do it (Philippians 2:13).