It Gets Better

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1 John 4:4  – You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Have you ever thought back on your life and wondered how you got through it all.  Especially thinking about life as you were growing up.  From kindergarten on, life was at times filled with difficult things. 

I remember as a child I thought life is just not fair on so many occasions.  At times I was happier than I could ever imagine and there were those times when I was hurt, sad, angry and in despair.

As a mother I often see myself in my children.  I can relate to some of the issues they face. Things like being teased, trying to fit in, or just simply not understanding some of life’s many challenges.  When they come to me with sadness, anger, hurt and tears – I see a reflection of me.  I always stop, take the time and listen to them.  Their sorrow is real.

After listening, I tell them if I could go back in time I would tell my younger self – life gets better. As you take each issue that life throws your way you get stronger and wiser. My son asked, “what would you tell yourself now mommy.”  I responded with. “I would tell myself  don’t lose sight of your true passion.”  I let them know that even as a child and as they grow up,”with God all things are possible.”

Dear God,

Thank you for always seeing me through life’s many challenges. I  ask that I will not lose sight of the reason I am here on this earth. Also please give me the words to say when encouraging my children and others.

Amen

Breaking the Addiction

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV):  No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

Addiction…the sound of it makes you conjure up images, people, things you have seen, believed.  When you think of addiction what is the first thing you think of? Do you have an image of another person, yourself…  Most people may have thoughts of drugs or alcohol. But there are so many other types of addictions.

It’s easy to think of what seems to be most prevalent or should I say most talked about.  How about sex, shopping, food, smoking, TV, cars, sports, gaming, video/electronics and lately even an addiction to Facebook.  One of the things I and others do is pass judgement or point the finger.  I know you don’t do that, but every now and then I run into folks who harshly judge those who suffer from addiction.

We tend to look at them and with a less than compassionate tone think or say “what’s wrong with him or her.”  Instead we should be asking the question “what happened to him or her to get them to that point?”  We all have things that might haunt us and show up in our lives. Sometimes it is those “things” that make us look for solace, peace or satisfaction.  You might think how do I know about any of this.  Well, I used to be one of the people who had an addiction to shopping.

Yes, I would shop with money and sometimes without a dime.  I had a card.  I had a problem is what I had.  I dealt with life challenges by spending money.  I shopped in and out of season.  I shopped until I got tired or until the stores closed.  I would buy things for myself.  It was always the sale that would put me in a position to not have to spend full price later.   It was always the thing that didn’t cost so much for one of my children, a family member or a friend.  It was a beautiful thing as long as I was out and about shopping.

When I got home and sat still long enough to think the day over.  I realized I walked into my house and the same issue that hung over me when I left was still there.  Unfortunately it was not by itself, I had spent so much money that I got double for my troubles. I would ask myself, “why did you spend all of that money?”

I found that no item of clothing was going to take away the issue. I might look good in the outfit, but I was hurting on the inside. It took a while but I began to pray.  I needed something inside to be healed.  I needed an answer.  When I began to walk and talk with God my burdens my addiction began to be broken. It seemed that one day I was in the valley and before long I got off my knees from praying and I truly was set free.  I felt free from worrying about the issues of my life.  I knew that everything would be alright in God’s time not mine.  I knew that I was wonderfully made for something greater than what I had become.  I wanted to live, walk and talk in the purpose that God had for me.

I know that other people might struggle with other addictions and it is easier said than done. But this one thing I know for sure – if God be for you who can be against you?

 

Dear God,

I just want to say thank You for saving me. I just want to pray for those who might be struggling with breaking an addiction. That You will wrap Your loving arms around them and lead them to support and resources to help break their addiction.

Amen

Praise Him

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Psalm 150:6 “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

Praise is what they do…that’s what I thought about adults in the church as a child.  Growing up I would hear women and men talk about the goodness of God and what he’s done for them. I thought now why are they talking so much and who needs to know.  They called it testifying.

As I heard those testimonials people would weep, cry out loud and sometimes do a little dance.  At times I would even see people run around the church screaming about what God has brought them through or how good God is.  The reality is – it wasn’t just at church. I would see my mother, grandparents, and other family members having the same reaction at home. Just think people at home praising God. It would happen based on a conversation at the dinner table, listening to a song or singing (which we always did a lot of) as a family.

Now, praise is what I do!  As I’ve grown older I find myself doing the same things.  Now my children are looking at me saying “Mom what’s going on? Why are you shouting and crying?  Who did something to you?”  But when you see the goodness of God work in your life and other people’s lives all you can do sometimes is scream Hallelujah!  Too, I might even break out into my dance to praise and worship Him.

I often tell them if you can shout and go crazy when your team makes a touch down, makes the basket or scores the point passing the goalie that is good. It shows that your team has had an opportunity to take the lead or catch up. In the end they may even have a victory of winning the game. But realize it is a game.  One of many you will have in life.

As I speak to them, I want them to know there is nothing in this life that comes even close to the victories you can have in Christ Jesus. I want them to know that every breath that they take, step that they make, wiggle in their wobble is all because of Him.  As they mature and grow they see me, their grandmother, aunts and uncles continue to shout and praise God at what may be the weirdest times.  As they experience God in their lives I pray that they have that same reaction for God.  As they think and see what God will have brought them through and what he’s done in their life I am sure they will praise Him in their own special way.

What am I saying, just like you don’t care when people look at you weird when you’re shouting at a game, you shouldn’t care when the Holy Spirit consumes you and you just feel like dancing. Praise is what we are required to do and it is what I do.  The word of God says in Psalms 35:28 And my tongue shall speak of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long.  To God be the glory for He is worthy of all praise and worship!

 

Dear God,
Thank you for waking me up today and giving me the spirit of celebration. I truly feel blessed and am shouting hallelujah for the things that You have brought me through. I know You didn’t have to, but You did. My prayer is that I will continue to praise you and that my praise will be infectious to others. That I will never be ashamed of my testimony and that I will share about the goodness of You all my life.
Amen

 

 

You Never Know

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Matthew 25:35 KJV – “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:”

I had an experience as a young child that has had a lasting impact and I will never forget it.  Years ago I fed people who were hungry in the park with my mother and sister on Sunday’s. We would go to church and then quickly leave to prepare for service in the park. We would have a church service.
 
On Saturday my mom would plan and prepare food for those she knew would be coming to the park on Sunday.  It was important to her for the food to be nutritious and good.   You could see that for many they needed a hot Sunday meal. That was always the best part of Sunday for me.  I could see the smiles on people’s faces and the relationships that were built in Christ.  It was powerful to see people Sunday after Sunday giving their life to Christ. It’s an image permanently placed on my memory wall.   
 
I was always told to treat people the way you want to be treated, because you never know where you could end up. I’m only saying that because just like I saw people in the park, some of whom, didn’t have a home I found myself in the very same place in my life. My mother had gotten blacklisted and couldn’t get a job and we lost everything that I knew of or thought mattered. We were only homeless for a couple of months but it felt like a lifetime to me.  During that time it was just me and my mother.  We had each other.
 
Our relationship with Christ grew stronger and our relationship as mother and daughter grew even stronger. There were moments when I wanted to cry but I didn’t want to feel that in front of my mom. I wanted to be strong and be a support to my mother. I had seen her sacrifice so much for me and my siblings.  Struggling to make ends meet as a single mom and make it in a city where being single is not always that easy. 
 
She put God first and then family. She always told me to pray my way through stuff and that’s what we did. People never knew what the smile on my face really hid.  I had a secret.  They didn’t know my story.  They didn’t know how hard it was and what I was going through.  But, God knew. I had my Lord and Savior right there comforting me. 
 
When I no longer had my home, my room, my bed, I had my God.  So when you are out helping people that you view as less fortunate remember this please; do it from a humble place, a gracious place, a loving place.  A place where they see God through you. And know, that they will not always be in that situation. And be mindful, that things could change and you could be in there very shoes.

Dear God,
Thank you for the grace and mercy You continue to show me each and every day. As I go through this day please allow me to show your love and kindness through my actions towards others. I pray that I will step out of  my comfort zone and help someone in need. 
Amen

Why Me?

 

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Romans 8:28 (NIV) – “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I have been through some tough times in my life. As a child I had numerous health challenges that have continued to manifest as I have grown into an adult.  My family is really close and there are a lot of us. Death of family members has been a constant reminder of the importance of life.  I have had many other challenges, a broken marriage, loss of job, and the list could go on. There are times I find myself wondering “why” and asking God why me? I know I am not the only one who has trials and tribulations.  However, when its you, it’s hard to think differently.  

Often as people get to know me and hear about my life they respond by saying, “so much at such a young age,”  Others have said, “God must have some great work for you to do” or “He knows that you are strong.”  There was a time when I wasn’t able to receive that message. As I have grown more mature and wiser in my faith walk with Christ I now can share my testimony and say “But God!” instead of “why me”? 

Because I realize if it wasn’t for God and his grace and mercy – my life could and would be a different story. As I look back I can see that each time I went through the trial – He was there.  Every time I cried a tear – at the mention of His name I felt the comforter rock me. When the burden felt to heavy, I learned how to pray and leave it there at the altar.  Yes, I know that I can lean and depend on my God!  There truly is nothing you can say that will take me away from my God. He is merciful and His love endures forever!  

I want my journey to inspire others.  My strength is not my own.  Truly, I could not do this without Him.  So when you feel yourself facing tough issues and you begin asking God why me? Just know he isn’t finished with you yet and remember He is the burden bearer.

Dear God,
Thank you for the grace and mercy You have shown me. I come to You with an open heart and mind as I face challenging times. I just ask that you allow me to remember that.  Too, give me the courage and conviction to share my testimony of your goodness  with others.

Amen

Roller-coaster of Life

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Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

 
I remember my very first roller coaster ride.  I told my mom with a lot of confidence that I could do it all by myself.  I didn’t need or want her to ride with me.  I got in the line, gave my ticket, sat with someone I didn’t know, my belt was checked to see if it was secure, the door closed and we began to lurch away.  What a ride!  I was ready to stop after the first high peak, and surely after the many dips.  So, I can say I have never been one to enjoy roller coasters. 
 
The uneasiness in my stomach and the nervousness felt when approaching each and every peak, that is not for me.  As I have grown and matured I have found there is only one roller coaster I don’t mind,  and that is life’s roller coaster.   You know I have had a different experience since I came to know and be in relationship with my heavenly Father.   I have come to know the manufacturer of life’s roller coaster and He designed something just for me.  
 
So, when I get on the ride Jesus Christ is right their taking my ticket and making sure my seat belt is fastened securely. When I approached the first peak of life as an adult, I looked to my right and Jesus was right there on the ride by my side making sure that I was safe and secure.  To my great joy He is always there with arms open as I sway and lean in and out on this roller coaster of life.  Each day I begin and end with him.  He takes my ticket in prayer and throughout the day as I whisper and sometimes shout His name, He is there.  At the end of our roller coaster He is right there. 
 
Now just imagine what it’s like when you are on life’s roller coaster without Jesus Christ?  It’s not as fun nor is it exciting.  If you want to really enjoy the ride/journey of life, get in line with Jesus, take the ticket and be guaranteed of the best and greatest ride on the roller coaster of life that only He can give you! 

 

Dear God,

I just want to give You all the praise and glory for being with me each and every day.  I know at times it’s  scary for me, but I am comforted to know that You are with me. I ask that You give me the strength, the courage, and wisdom to continue on this roller coaster of life.

Amen

 

Words Have Power

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Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

The things we say…think about it. We all have done it at some point either spoken life or death into a situation or person.  As I have gotten older I now realize how powerful the words I choose to use are.  Now I think about it.  Looking back I know I have beat myself up with the words I have said about me and the situations I have faced. 

Often I find myself reminding my children to watch what they are saying.  I remind them, because the words that come out of their mouth have much more power than they could ever imagine. Even a child can speak words of how good they are, how smart they are, how they will ace the test, be friends with the bully, cheer up the child who is sad, say something kind to their sister or brother rather than the usual tension and exchange that can happen with young siblings. 

As they walk in life they can change their vocabulary and speak words that will bring prosperity, joy, healing, and hope into their lives, amidst the chaos they face in this world today. So, think about it, what are the words you say when you’re talking about yourself? What are the words you say when you talk about your spouse? What are the words you say when you talk to and about your children? What are the words you use each day? Think about it will the words you use usher in life or death? I challenge you to join me starting today.  What will you say about yourself, what is the one good thing you say about a situation or a person you encounter today that may be causing you a bit of grief?  Life happens but you have power – use it!  

Dear God,

Thank you for another glorious day and a chance to spread a good word. I ask that when I am feeling defeated, that you give me the power to continue to speak life over my situation.

Amen