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!

Moment of Truth: Did You Think It Would Be Easy?

I’m not going to lie, I thought it would be. I was hoping I would jump out and start flying. I was naïve to think because I’m saved and I have God on my side that everything will magically work. The scriptures say, “Everything will work for my good.”(Romans 8:28) I literally thought everything except me would work and I would reap all the benefits. Growing up has taught me that even though God is on my side, I still have a part to do.

Bad habits are hard to quit! When I got married and had a baby I believed that life would only get better. I have a great man who loves me and a beautiful daughter that I’m proud of. I thought because I was saved and he was saved that we would always enjoy marital bliss. I didn’t disregard the work but I didn’t acknowledge how hard it would be. To be honest, I don’t know what I was thinking. Marriage comes with ups and downs. Marriage comes with good and bad.

So, a couple of days ago Dave and I were arguing. To be honest, we usually argue so it’s not a surprise. I don’t even remember what it was about or who started it. Sometimes arguing with my husband is irritating and other times are just hilarious. You know when you are in the heat of the moment and you’re so angry you speak before you think. Your words come out but don’t sound right and the person you’re arguing with looks at you crazy like, “What in the world you talking about?” I have been there so many times with my husband and every time we find a way to work it out.

Whenever Dave and I fuss or argue about something my mind instantly reverts back to Hosea and Gomer. In the bible, there is a book called Hosea that talks about this incredible love story between God, Israel, Hosea, and Gomer. At that time Israel was in chaos, doing her thing, being big and bad. God was heartbroken and fed up with their mess and told them that they’re going to suffer for their actions. God used the life and marriage of Hosea to demonstrate and prophesy what will happen to Israel. Most importantly, he used this man and wife as an example of how much he still loves them. Incredible right! Gomer started out as a faithful wife and mother but lost her love for her husband. She started to have promiscuous sex with other men, bore children by these affairs and eventually ran off with the man she deemed her “soul mate.” She embarrassed Hosea, broke his heart and ran over it until it was in a million pieces.

But, here’s the twist: When Hosea heard his wife got dumped, had debt, and was currently on the slave market for slave his response was crazy. I mean, most people would have laughed bitterly, screamed out, “that’s what she deserves;” but instead he ran to her, paid her debt, cleaned her up, and took his baby home.

Now, I’m not saying my husband drives me crazy enough to cheat. But whenever friction is between Dave and me, my mind automatically goes to Hosea and Gomer. I don’t know if Hosea and Gomer had similar marital problems or not. I’m not even sure how they communicated, but it warms my heart whenever I argue with David because it challenges me to love him unconditionally. It’s hard for us to love someone unconditionally because we were fashioned to favor conditions. As long as he treats me right then I will love and respect him. As long as she gives me booty then I will treat her like a queen. It is very hard to love someone flaws and all, mistakes and lies without expecting anything in return.

One particular day I was looking up new scriptures to help me better love my spouse and I was led to Hosea and Gomer. I read the entire book and was blow away at the dramatic, awe-inspiring love. I mean I was surprised at the intensity of their love. You think you only see it in movies, but right before my eyes, God was showing me how much he loves me. Only God can love me unconditionally. No matter how many times I mess up, fall, lie, act selfish, ignore him, treat him and others wrong, he is always waiting to run and clean me up and take me home. My God loves me so much that he will even throw in some conditions just to make me think that I’m doing something to earn his love. You don’t believe me! In the bible, the Lord tells Israel that if you keep my commandments that He will be with him forever (Leviticus 26)! God already promised them over and over that he is their God, he is their guide, their king but he holds them accountable. God doesn’t want fake, forced love but the real thing (John 15). Even though we could never earn his love, he sets it up so we can still receive his love. That is amazing.

The BirthPlace of Something Amazing…

IMG_0308When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, I was angry. It started with a youth service at my church that I will never forget. The service was uplifting and tremendous as always. She preached, young people cried out to God, answers were received, hearts were filled, and lives were changed. Though my life was still a mess I felt like I was beginning to accept the things I couldn’t change. It wasn’t until after service that broke me. I was excited about all the young people that were told of the insurmountable things they would be doing for the Lord. I was standing there waiting amongst saints talking and the preacher walked by me. She greeted some of the mothers and then whispered in my ear that I would get pregnant and have a child.

No one noticed or heard what just happened. I looked at her and laughed and she smiled and walked away greeting more saints. Immediately I dismissed it. I kept reminding myself, “I’ve only been married 1 year and I didn’t accomplish anything.” In fact, I was super careful so that wouldn’t happen and we weren’t in the place to bring life in this world.   I was furious as to why God would let the preacher tell me this and have all the other young people ministered in a different way. What really bothered me was I didn’t want a baby but what everyone else had. I didn’t hear of anyone else being told their lives would get ruined. I wanted a supernatural, spiritual calling or anointing like the rest of them.

So I dismissed it, ignored it and pushed it aside. I knew for a fact God wouldn’t allow me to have a child especially after everything I went through and was still working through. Little did I know, a couple weeks after that I was pregnant.  Now looking back I feel so bad for rejecting God’s plan. I felt bad for calling him and the servant he used a liar. Though I didn’ realize it but when I refused what she told me I was negating everything she told and preached to everyone else at the service. I was blatantly calling God a liar, his Word false, and his messenger a fake.

From that moment on everything I was harboring about the past was forced to be thrown away. I was scared that I wasn’t ready to be a mother. No one can fully be prepared for motherhood. But I tried to bury my negativity and try my best to make good out of an unexpected situation. But, it was only the beginning the journey God had prepared for me.

To my surprise, nothing went as how I planned in the pregnancy. I barely had maternity clothes, only went to one doctor visit (we didn’t have insurance so try not to judge) and the time was ticking. It wouldn’t be long before our child was here and I felt even more burdened because nothing was how I imagined. I kept flashing back to my wedding (another story for another day) and I doubt that I was strong enough to handle another round of disappointment.

Through all my emotions, worry and doubt, when the time arrived for labor I was overwhelmed with peace and calmness. The day before my initial due date was when I started feeling cramps and I couldn’t sleep. Finally at 6 am I told my mom that I think I needed to go to the hospital, my husband came and we got there at 7 am. In the midst of all the pain and nervousness I was surprisingly calm, cool and collective. I don’t know about other women in labor, but I was expecting to be dramatic, in pain and agony, screaming for drugs. I actually had a smile on face through it all. Hours later, our gorgeous baby girl arrived and everything felt right. I was complete, happy, and had absolute no care that my hoo-haw underwent the most painful process known to woman (not man because obviously men can’t have children). She was here, resting on my chest, content and satisfied and so was I.

IMG_1012As my motherhood began, I was happy and excited to be a parent and start this crazy journey but something was missing. And it wasn’t the post-partum depression talking, I was frustrated because I was still craving for something more. I couldn’t satisfy it, didn’t know what or how to feed it, I just knew my soul was hungry (and I thought I was done craving and good thing cause I lost almost all the weight). Months and months went by and I expressed my dissatisfaction everywhere I went.  My family, husband, baby, everyone suffered the wrath of discontentment I was harboring.

I was praying, pleading, searching, asking God (and Google) what do I need to do to have fulfillment, what do I need in order to get rid of this frustration. I started journaling and it helped. I was able to write down my thoughts and feelings that I wasn’t proud of sharing, that I felt ashamed of having. Whenever I was mad I was able to go straight to my flower notebook and my ballpoint pen and I always felt better even though my problems weren’t solved. Talking to God always put a smile on my face – he is the only one that can fix everything.

afterfocus_1347380822623Somehow my heart was still missing something. I still didn’t know what my purpose, my destiny was and how to find out about it. Then, I ran across Elaine Mingus blog and it awakened a secret desire I didn’t know I had (thanks girlfriend!). Her testimony was and is inspiring! I’ve always loved to write, I believe I sound way smarter on paper anyway. I didn’t have any clue about blogging, but I decided if my heart skipped a beat at the thought of creating a blog where I can creatively and spiritually release everything unto God and others why not give it a try. Next thing I know, I’m writing and I can’t stop. I can’t believe I’ve shared so much about myself already. I keep rereading this over and over, contemplating if I want to make it sweet and simple, minus all the green monster parts but somehow I’m not afraid to really be who God created me to be. To be honest, I kind of don’t want this post to end, but to forever run on and on talking about how much I love God, what he has done for me all my life, how I live – the good and bad, what my destiny and purpose is….but I guess that is what blogging truly is.