Be Back Soon.

Hey everyone, 

I'm still here. I wanted to check in with you. I hope you're doing well. I've stepped away from the blog just for a little bit. I'm in a season of listening to see what steps God wants me to take next. I don't believe in blogging just for show. I believe that people are assigned to me. 

While you're waiting on my return, feel free to post below or email me any prayer requests. Also, feel free to let me know what topics you would like me to discuss. 

Until next time...

Legacy.

This past weekend, my husband’s side of the family hosted a conference call regarding our wishes for end of life care. My uncle recommended that we set up a living will and some other important documents. It was kind of weird at first, but it made me consider the fact that our time here on earth will definitely come to an end one day. I also considered the reality of the legacy I want to leave here on earth.

So, I ask you as well: what do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered? Will people remember how rude and inconsiderate you were? How you were selfish and never helped anyone? How you were a work-a-holic and didn’t do anything meaningful with your life?

Or, do you want to be remembered as a ray of hope for everyone you meet? Do you want people to remember how you inspired them in your everyday life? What would you family say about you? Will you be remembered as a dedicated spouse, parent, daughter, sibling, etc.?

For me, I want to be the ray of hope for everyone I meet. I want people to know there is something different about me. I want my husband to shout to the world that his wife was devoted and a hard-worker. I just want to be remembered for making a difference.

We will leave this earth one day. I really need you to understand that. You do not have unlimited time to do whatever the day brings. I urge you to consider the legacy you’re leaving behind and the type of life you’re currently living.

 

What are your thoughts? Have you considered what you’d want your legacy to be?

Count It All Joy

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." -James 1:2-4 (ESV)


Do you find yourself in a trial of some sort?  Do you feel like its "always something"? I want to invite you to read and re-read the scripture above. 

James, the brother of Jesus, wrote these words to encourage believers. He wanted us to know exactly what to do as we're in the middle of a trial. What is it that you should do? COUNT IT ALL JOY- REJOICE! Rejoice knowing that the trials you are facing are pruning you for a firm, deep-rooted steadfastness. This steadfastness cannot be shaken. 

I am completing the She Reads Truth study on James (http://shereadstruth.com/2017/05/22/how-can-we-rejoice-in-suffering/) . Today was the first day of the study and it has already impacted me. My life seems to have been a series of trials lately. If I could even begin to tell you, you'd wonder how I'm still standing. 

I've learned that the solution to "getting through" these trials is to simply thank GOD that He's walking with us and that we're never alone. The troubles we face are doing something in us- helping us to become perfected in Christ. 

This week, take a moment to read James 1. I also recommend reading 1 Peter 1:6-7. 

Remember, as believers in Jesus, we are called to be SET APART. Let's live out God's Word as we bring others closer to knowing Him. LIVE out the truth you say you believe! It is not easy by any means, but the process is worth it. 

When you read the two scriptures, I'd love to know your thoughts! 

He Can Do It Again

Do you need a reminder of God’s faithfulness? Are you in a situation that is making it difficult for you to see His promises? I want to encourage you. If God did it before, He can do it again. The it is different for all of us. What do you believe God for? What is that thing you want more than anything? Have you surrendered it to God? Do you truly believe God is greater than that situation?

I was introduced to the amazingly BRILLIANT song Do It Again by Elevation Worship. I’ve listened to the words. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed. This song speaks volumes. It has built my confidence in the Creator of the Universe who cares even about the small things.

I’ve seen You move,

You move the mountains.

And I believe,

That You will do it again.

I want to remind you that God is faithful. GOD IS FAITHFUL. GOD IS FAITHFUL. He will not leave you. Have faith in Him. He is GOOD. 

Check out this beautiful acoustic version of the song:

My Journey Through Anxiety

I’ve been a little nervous about writing this post. I’ve been wanting to write this for a while, but my nerves got the best of me. I’ve procrastinated SO much and I’ve been heavily convicted because I haven’t been obedient in releasing this.

I want to define what anxiety and fear are because there is a difference. We often use them interchangeably. According to Merriam-Webster, anxiety is defined as apprehensive uneasiness or nervousness usually over something to come. Fear, on the other hand, is to be afraid of something. This could be because you feel threatened.

A few weeks ago, I attended a two-day conference catering to my high school girls at church. I co-lead a life-group of 11th graders. The leader of the conference asked me to share my experience about suffering from anxiety. Whew! I immediately had that anxious feeling. I mean, having to talk about my experience battling anxiety literally gave me anxiety at that point. “I know you can do it. Pray through it,” she assured me.

I was forced to sit and think through my journey. I vividly remember going through my teenage years as a serious perfectionist. I studied hard. I earned all As. If something proved hard for me, I would seriously stress out. I don’t exactly know where this spirit of anxiety came from, but boy, it is rough. While my peers seemed to be living a carefree life, I was thinking about my future. Now, there isn’t anything wrong with this, until the future I wanted started consuming me. I had a plan for my life: what I wanted to do when I grew up, where I wanted to attend college, the age I wanted to be married and have kids, etc. When I saw that these things were happening as I planned for them to, I stressed out. My face would break out, I’d get migranes, I’d feel sick.

It took me years to realize exactly what I was going through. My family would always say “there’s always something wrong with you. You need to stop being so hard on yourself and go with the flow. Suck it up and do what you have to do…” This proved to be easier said than done. I literally couldn’t turn it off. I was the oldest child and I felt like I had to prove myself. There were unfortunately several people in my family who thought I would fail (for several reasons…for a later post). I worked hard to prove myself and my abilities to everyone. I believe this made my anxiety increasingly worse. College came and my anxiety showed out. I thought I had somehow grown out of this cycle, but it only worsened.

Late last year, I ended up having two anxiety attacks within two days of each other at work. Man. I felt like I was dying. I literally couldn’t breathe! My heart rate was extremely high which is very unusual for me. That’s when it hit me. I knew something had to change. I could no longer live in a constant state of anxiety about what was to come. As much as I thought I was in complete control of everything, I just wasn’t.

As a Christian, I’ve devoted myself to following Christ. I had to go back to this truth and remember that I’ve decided to trust Him with every decision of my life. Below are some practical tips for what I’ve done and what I’m currently doing as I battle anxiety:

·  Remember Who I serve. When you become a Christian, you aren’t promised a perfect life; however, you are promised the Holy Spirit who walks with you every moment. ASK Him to help you and lead you. Then,

·  Don’t be afraid to see professional help. I’ve learned that this is a BIG misconception, especially in the Black community. We don’t think seeking professional help is necessary. I cannot reiterate this enough; SEEK HELP. You have nothing to lose.  Don’t miss this step.

·   Know that you’re not in this alone. There are many people who struggle from anxiety. It really does help to talk out what you’re going through. You’re able to help someone else while simultaneously walking through your struggle.

·  Take care of yourself. I’ve learned to do this recently. Take off work if you need to. Turn off the phone. Take a few hours of solitude. No one will take care of you like YOU will take care of you.

I pray this blessed you. I am still walking through my own journey, but the difference is I have relinquished a lot of control over my life. I am able to help others around me who battle anxiety and need HOPE. I trust the process.

Let me know if you do/did battle anxiety and what you’ve done or what you are doing to walk through it.

A (Personal) Call to Endurance

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted on the blog. If I can be completely transparent, I haven’t been inspired to say anything. I don’t want to post just for the sake of posting. My goal is to be completely intentional with everything I do here. It has been a packed month with lots of amazing things occurring, but I’ve been in an emotional rut. Allow me to explain….

            Lately, when I’ve approached The Lord in my quiet time, it seems like I’ve been going through the motions. I feel numb. I’m exhausted. I’d rather sleep. You see, I recently found out that my mother is battling cancer. It has been less than a year since my stepdad passed away from stage 4 cancer. Imagine how I felt when my mom gave us the news. I literally felt like a car had hit me. I didn’t even cry at first. I was completely frozen. Then the tears began to fall. I never thought I would hear those words from my mom. I was crushed to say the least. Since then, I’ve literally felt like I’ve been going through the motions of everyday life. I’ve been a little frustrated at the Lord.

            “Lord, I don’t understand! How could this happen? Cancer isn’t prevalent in our family. Our family is still coping and grieving from the loss of our daddy. I just don’t understand Lord. What if I lose my mom? How could I go on with life?” These and so many more thoughts ran through my mind. I was mad!

But….

            It was in the darkest moment, the stillness of night, when these words came to me: “For who can stop the Lord almighty?”. I was reminded who I’ve devoted my life to. I serve the Mighty God of the Universe. I am not left to walk through the darkness alone. I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to ENDURE. This earthly life is soooo temporary, whether you want to believe it or not. This is just a small part of the story. The challenges we face here on earth are often meant to build our character and teach us a lesson. This is part of the process.

Merriam-Webster defines endure as to undergo (as a hardship) especially without giving in. As I poured everything out to the Lord, I was led to revisit Hebrews 12:1-2(HCSB). To summarize these two powerful scriptures, we as believers are reminded to lay aside anything that hinders us from running the race of life. “Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Source and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne” (verse 2). 

Although I read these verses many times, I couldn’t help but gain a sense of peace because Jesus, the Perfect Son of God, endured more than I ever will; however, His eyes were focused on the call His Father has on His life. Wow.

I was challenged to first consider those things that are hindering me from running the race He’s called me to confidently. Then, I was reminded to stay in my own lane and keep my eyes on HIM. Not to get distracted from the main goal of eternity with Jesus.

Live your life intentionally, keeping your eyes on The Source. Let me know your experience of having to endure. Remember, you’re not in this alone.

 

 

When it feels like you’re just going through the motions.

Have you ever felt like you were just going through the motions? Waking up, going to work, coming home, going to bed, just to do the same thing again tomorrow? You felt like you didn’t have a purpose; like you were just living for someone else.

Well, I’ve been there. I still go through this. Feeling like I’m not good enough. Feeling like everyone else is doing great things except me. Feeling discouraged and purposeless. This is a defeated mindset. It took me a while to realize exactly what it was. I was living my life as a victim, allowing the circumstances I was facing to run me and have such a negative impact on how I was feeling. Now, life does happen and we do have “those days”; however, the issue is when we allow circumstances to dictate how we feel all the time.

I can admit I walked in a dry season and didn’t know exactly what I was supposed to be doing. I was comparing my life to others and so caught up in their lives to the point where I wasn’t minding my own business. I had no joy. I was literally waking up each morning, going to work, coming home, feeling sorry for myself, going to bed and waking up just to do it all over again. I got tired of going through the motions.

I’m so thankful for a husband who won’t sit back and allow me to keep feeling sorry for myself. He literally told me I needed to get over myself and realize how blessed I actually was. I’m not in need of anything. Every single one of my needs is met. I meditated on that truth. I surrounded myself around people who poured into me and stopped investing in friendships and anything else that drained me. I invested in myself.

If you feel like you’re just going through the motions, I want to offer you some encouragement:

1.    Cultivate gratitude!! Write a list of people and things you are thankful for. Remember, you are more fortunate than many people on this earth. As a Christian, I like to sit in solitude and talk to God, praising Him for how far He’s carried me. I also use this time to tell Him how I’m feeling, too. He cares.

2.    Consider the big picture. Take some time to ask God and yourself what is you were meant to do in life. We are all created for a specific purpose. Although each of our purposes may be different, they all involve serving other people. When you take your eyes off yourself and focus on serving others, you will get fulfillment and a sense of gratitude.

3.    Switch up your daily routine. Instead of going straight home from work, try working out, taking a walk, or taking a new route. We often get into a rut because we do the same thing over and over. Switch it up! This is your life. You are in control of what you do with your time.

4.    Find a new hobby. For me, I’m really trying to like exercising (lol). I’m not at the point where it’s a favorite, but I love the way it makes me feel. Consider community service or even doing something you’re interested in more often. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

5.   Invest in community. This is critical. We were not meant to live life alone. Pour into others. Also, be intentional and actually allow yourself to be poured into. You would be surprised what you can gain from others.

I want you to remember that you have more control over your life than you think. You don’t have to just sit idly and allow the circumstances of life to keep you down. Take ownership! Invest in yourself!

What about you? Do you have anything else you do when you feel like you’re going through the motions?

 

 

Top 6 Lessons I learned in 2016

Apparently, 2016 was a hard year for many people! But, we got through it. I'd like to think that means there is still a purpose that each of us needs to fulfill. 

As promised, here are the top 6 lessons I learned in 2016:

1.     The Lord and what He wants for my life MUST be first. Pursuing Him and His ways have to be a priority. Anything I try to do without seeking Him intentionally will fail!

2.     I have to communicate with my husband more effectively. Being that I am such an ambitious person, I tend to start new projects (I even applied for a graduate program… lol) without telling him until the last minute. Because I consider myself to be a Christ follower, and since I am committed to His ways, I have to trust my husband to lead me. Fortunately, Leland isn’t a dictator. He doesn’t try to run me! However, I want us to communicate about everything and I don’t want there to be any surprises.

3.     Everyone isn’t for me! Man… this will be another post. The main point: Some people can’t stand to see you actually doing better for yourself and working on your purpose. Some people just want to see you as miserable as them. They tend to think you're still the same person from years ago.... Nah, man.

4.     I have to make my health a priority. The past few years, I've has some minor health issues. Thank God for help! 

5.     It’s okay to rest. Don’t pay any mind to those people who claim “you can sleep when you die.” Oh, ok… It is CRITICAL for you to rest so you can truly put your best into your purpose and assignments. 

6.     I’m not getting any younger. I have to stop walking in fear and worrying about what others may say and think about what God has called me to. Everyone wont understand and it is really okay. I have to walk confidently in what I have been called to do.

What does intentional living look like here? Dwelling in God’s presence. Allowing Him to fill me up. Doing more things that stir my soul. Spending time with people who celebrate me. 

What about you? How was your 2016? What lessons did you learn? Leave a comment or contact me! I’d love to hear from you! 

The hardest year of my life: 2016 Reflection

Like most people, 2016 was a hard year for me. I was stressed and overwhelmed to the max (mainly because of the pressure I put on myself and the extra stuff I added to my own schedule). Most importantly, I lost my daddy. This man was my hero. Although he wasn’t my biological father, he’s been my daddy since I was 7 or so (more on this in another blog…). My daddy fought stage 4-pancreatic cancer for several years. He fought like a champ. He would go to work, which was nearly two hours away from our house, and work the best he could. Did I mention he was taking chemo treatments at this time? Although he was in pain most of the time, he would always say, “I know that I still have to take care of my family.” You can imagine the heartbreak we all has when he was rushed to the hospital the afternoon of April 30, 2016. I didn’t know that would be his last day with us. My two-year-old nephew saw everything. He saw the fire truck and emergency response team “put grandpa in the red truck”. Losing my daddy caused me the greatest pain I’ve faced in my life because of the legacy he left us. Now, eight months later, I don’t cry about it everyday anymore. I am able to remember him and laugh about the memories we shared. More importantly, I’m able to thank God for the way he raised us as his own. Words cannot express my gratitude. I’m still on a healing journey, but I’m grateful for my circle pouring into me.          

            Additionally, I struggled greatly with anxiety this past year to the point where I thought I was going to die (another post). My schedule was packed because I wanted to prove to myself and others that “I can do it all.” This was definitely a mistake. I WAS SO STRESSED OUT! Many people didn’t know because I put on a brave face. Never again. I learned so many lessons this year, and prayerfully, I will never have a year like it again.

--> Next time, I will post the top six lessons I learned in 2016!

What about you? How was your 2016? Leave me a comment below or email me. I'd love to hear from you! 

 

"Someone else is writing a blog?"

I know what you're thinking. "There are already so many other blogs out there! Why does she feel the need to start one??" Well, trust me, I tried to get away from it. The thought crossed my mind on multiple occasions, but I ignored it. I thought exactly what you probably did. BUT...

After attending my friend and mentor, Ty Lewis’ (@speakerofthehouse14) purpose party a few weeks ago, I  was so convicted about not doing what The Lord placed on my heart. So what other people have a blog? What if people don't read it? What if people talk about me? What if.....? Well, I firmly believe that everyone is called to certain people. After the hardest year of my life in 2016, I am committed to living intentionally. I’m tired of seeing the people around me walking around in circles without hope. I am committed to sharing what I know within my sphere of influence. I am committed to living out my purpose and ensuring that each of my daily decisions align with that purpose.

The vision of my blog is to provide a safe space for women to grow and have access to resources that lead them to a more intentional life. Women need to know it is perfectly okay not to be perfect. Women need to know it is perfectly okay NOT to have it all together. This truth, however, is not an excuse to ignore the areas we need to work on. Hopefully you’re down for the ride. If so, welcome aboard!