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.

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: Learn From The Past, Grow Toward The Future

year-in-reviewAs I finally turn the page on 2016, I’m amazed at how light and free I feel. Every New Year brings an opportunity to embrace change and total transformation. Whether you choose to welcome it or not is entirely up to you. It can be scary moving forward into uncertainty and leaving familiar behind. But all the life lessons I learned in 2016, I now understand that what God has for me can’t be denied to me. I know with confidence that nothing can force something into my life without God’s permission. It took the whole 2016 year to accept this because for a long time I always doubted if I could make it to today.

For almost three years I was in a very confused and painful place. I was dealing with a painful disappointment, a long separation, and a constant feeling that I would never heal, never be set free. I was terrified of what was to come of the future because everything behind me was so painful and disappointing. It was like a never ending storm cloud constantly following me. I had to learn the hard way that worrying, stressing, and panicking wasn’t going to get me what I desired. The more I focused on my problems, the greater my problems seemed.

invite-god-inThe second I invited God in and kept him was when my heart healed, my way of thinking improved and my situation changed. The more Word I received the more healing I got too. I’m at the place where I understand why I went through all that I went through this year. Granted, it didn’t make going through it any better, just it brought a complete acceptance in my spirit that I was fighting for so long. This 2017 I am living to embrace everything no matter what it is. I can hold hands with destiny without worry. I can say I’m loved by God and not doubt it.

I’m done clinging on to the pain because despite how bad things got, growth, perseverance, and faith came from those bad experiences. With every rise and downfall of 2016, it planted a seed of strength, wisdom, and victory that I am just now seeing in me. 2016 was a year full of fighting, crying, and praying for my blessing. In the struggle of it all, I discovered who I am in Christ and who God is to me. Our relationship has definitely grown in 2016.

God allowed ways to be made in my life that I’m still in awe of. Incredible things happened that I could’ve never accomplished on my own. Life began to not just feel different, but I was different. My biggest life lesson of 2016 is to never stop falling in love with Jesus Christ. To stay in love with him no matter what. Fall in love with Him everyday despite how life is. He is a committed, devoted, ride-or-die kind of God that makes the journey sweeter. Sometimes it’s going to be unpredictable or confusing. But with Christ, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

unfailing-loveBy accepting and trusting in Him, he covered me with His love, his assurance, and grace. From there, troubles came and it didn’t knock me down to the ground. My relationship with God and how I viewed my problems changed for the better. I learned to look past the problem, circumstances, and draw near to God. Every time I stayed in his presence I was transformed. Don’t miss your opportunity to be transformed by the lessons you’ve learned in 2016. Take in the process because it’s the very thing that will change your life forever.

In 2016 I learned to stop carrying the past in order to move forward. I’ve learned that death is a gift. Death is unavoidable. Death forces us to stop and change. It reminds us that all things must come to end so new things can begin. Whether I liked it or not, I had a lot of moments where I had to die. Whether it was putting my selfish habits to rest, ceasing my negative behavior, or changing how I respond to situations. I’ve learned that people and things are just that and nothing more. I can’t live my life counting solely on who I have in my life and what I have. No, I have to have confidence in God alone.

In 2017 I’m giving all that I have to God. I will no longer allow what has happened to determine my tomorrows. I believe life is all about giving it all you got. What better way than to give your all to God. I learned that when I give God all of me that’s when I can expect the most unexpected blessings to occur in my life. The more I focused on myself, the further I  was away from God’s plan for me. In this moment, looking back I see and feel so much growth. I fought to become who I am. I fought to have days where I can smile. And what makes me smile the hardest is that God fought right beside me. I realize that every step of the way He was right beside me. Whether I held his hand or ran away, he was there keeping me.

This lets me know that in 2017 that He will still be right there alongside me. Who I was at the start of 2016 is not who I intend to be in 2017. When I look in the mirror I see a stronger, sassier, improved version of myself. It’s an indescribable feeling that no amount of bad could hold me back. It’s a new year, a new day, and a new me!

Life Lesson: Trust Your Instincts

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When I was younger I always believed when I became a mother I would do all the right things for my baby. I would love him/her, cuddle, play, and make sure he/she is a healthy, strong baby. Like most little girls I had tons of practice with adorable, almost life-like baby dolls. I prided myself on how none of my baby dolls had a missing arm or leg. My  beliefs about motherhood were very black and white. If you didn’t dress your baby well then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t give your baby medicine when they got sick then you was a bad mother. If you didn’t feed your baby right then you were a bad mother. If your baby wasn’t happy or smiled a lot then you was a bad mother.

Since then, my views on motherhood have drastically changed. Now that I’m grown and a mother myself, I realize that there are many ways to provide for your child. For one, I didn’t always buy my baby designer clothes like I thought. After the first couple weeks of onesies soaked with throw up, milk stains, and messy diapers I decided to shop frugally. I set out budgets where my baby could have affordable outfits that lasted longer than a month without breaking the bank. I learned that giving baby medicine can actually harm the baby rather than help. As painful as it is, it’s sometimes better to have your child endure that cold or fever so their body can get stronger and fight off more infections. My child-like beliefs were filled with hope but no sense of reality. I remember when our daughter caught her first high-temperature fever all I wanted to do was make her pain go away. But, with regular feeding times, an outfit change and patience, I saw how quickly her body was fighting off the virus all on its own.

One thing I learned from being a wife and mother is to trust my instincts. When I was pregnant those nine months I tried my best to plan, prepare, and equip myself for motherhood. I gained knowledge, facts, and techniques so when my child arrives I will be prepared. I downloaded apps, watched videos, and podcasts to familiarize myself with being a good parent. I wanted to be the type of mother that nurtured every aspect of my child’s life so they can pretty much be perfect. I quickly learned that all the parenting books, pamphlets, and articles can only do so much.

With motherhood comes many struggles. You have to decide what cleaning products to use, what baby formula, and the type of doctor you want your child to have. Being a mom requires a lot of big decision-making. I remember after those hours in labor when they finally handed her to me I was overwhelmed with so much peace. It didn’t really occur to me what being her mother would require. It wasn’t until she got hungry that I realized I had to make a decision.

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With all my preparation, I still hesitated. All that prepping went out the hospital window. I was suddenly a blank canvas holding a blank canvas. I felt like an artist with colors of all shades and hues with no clue to do. I honestly thought about feeding my daughter formula from birth to better suit my needs. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced with pumps and engorged breasts but holding her in her fragile state made me realize how I so badly wanted to give her the best.

The nurse smiled and proceeded to help our daughter latch. It was awkward at first, but a couple of tries later she was eating like she was starving. I was amazed that my breast even had milk. It’s a miracle what the body can do. I felt like a mother bird feeding her little birds. I felt so accomplishment and complete. It wasn’t until it was time for me to come home that the feeling of pride slowly washed away.

My biggest struggle with breastfeeding was as she continued to grow so did her appetite and my breast didn’t always accommodate her feeding needs. The first couple of weeks were nice and breezy. She would eat almost 6 to 8 times a day. Her feeding times started off short and sweet. I would usually pump milk in the morning and at night just in case if I had to go somewhere or I was really tired. I would always pump after I feed her too so my milk production could increase. For nearly six months all I did was pump and let her suck.

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It didn’t take long before she would drink from both breasts at a time. Her appetite increased and I had to make the hard decision that breastfeeding until she was 10 months wasn’t the life for me. I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I started to stop feeding her from the breast, just pump and put baby cereal in the bottle. It gave her satisfaction until she hit the another growth curve. I eventually decided to start her on baby formula indefinitely. I slowly started to wean her off of breast milk. I would breastfeed at night, pump out the  extra milk and give her formula with cereal during the day. I would cry sometimes with frustration when my breasts didn’t give her enough milk. But, I saw how satisfied she was with baby formula and got over my personal feelings.

Breastfeeding can sometimes be tricky. There are thousands of different reasons why your child doesn’t respond positively to your breasts. But be reassured that there are a thousand different solutions. Whether you breastfeed your child or provide them with formula alternatives don’t ever second-guess your instincts. There were so days where I struggled with her latching and other days I couldn’t get her off. But have peace of mind whenever you see your baby happy and laughing that you are doing a great job.

So hesitate to deviate from the plan especially if it could help you and your baby better. Always be willing to ask your doctor for help in any area for your child and take the time to reach out to other mothers for support.

Learn about the breastfeeding and formula options from The Honest Company.

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Life Lesson: You Can’t Have It All Without Christ

CHRIST IS ALL.jpgIt’s officially crazy holiday shopping season. Thanksgiving has come and gone and the spirit of spend, spend, spend is upon us. My email inbox is flooded with deals, deals, and more deals. Each email I get is tugging me to go shop here and spend this. Each offer is nice and inviting but once I really take a moment away from the rustling and bustling of holiday hustle I realize how much of a black hole the holiday season can be. I also realize I need to start unsubscribing from some emails…

Growing up my parents never place great emphasis on the typical Christmas celebration of Santa Claus, elves, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Though we entertained ourselves on those snowy days with wonderful Hallmark and family movies about spreading cheer and giving, their primary goal was to give us the true gift that Christ gave us.

I’m pretty confident that everyone knows the Birth of Jesus Christ. It’s a story that never gets old. Mary and Joseph do the unthinkable and start on a journey leading them to the King of Kings. Most people probably thought they were crazy! I for one can’t imagine trying to spend the first year of my marriage preparing for a baby. Most newlyweds are still trying to get situated and pick a family toothpaste. All of their sacrifices allowed them to be honored as the parents of the King of the World. They didn’t have much, in fact, when he was born he was in kind of a bind. Mary had to deliver Jesus in a barn filled with random smells, various animals, and not a single Christmas tree or decorated stocking.

Yet, what they lacked in careers, home, lifestyle, and finances, Jesus Christ made up for it. It’s not Christmas because the wise man came with gifts, the shepherds came to awe, and the drummer boy played. It’s Christmas because of Jesus Christ being born.

So, this holiday season I’m unsure of which direction I should go in regards to gift shopping. I started this post thinking I couldn’t have it all. I thought after scrolling through my favorite stores online, seeing all the great sales, discounts and realizing that everything my eyes sees and wants my pockets can’t guarantee. But now, after reminiscing about Jesus’s birth my eyes are opened and I know that I can have it all!

I have it all the moment I gave my life to Jesus Christ. The moment he was born in a manager by a virgin was when I could have it all. I could have joy, peace, freedom, love, victory, life abundantly. So, though I might only buy a couple of items from a store or two, I refuse to let that change how I view how blessed I am.

 

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.