Life Doing Me

Psalm 62:1~ Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation.

“Life doing me” has become way to common for me.  Having been quarantined for the last few months, I have been able to do some self-reflection. Over this time, I must admit even before, I have been in search for something inside of me that has been lost. There is an uncertainty of when I lost it, but I realize that it is gone.  I have sat for hours talking to God asking Him what is it that I am missing. And, I have felt like He is not listening or is simply sick of me coming to Him with the same question…God what am I missing in my life?

It was not until this pandemic that I heard the answer I was searching for. It was on a day that I went for a walk.  I walk almost every day.  Yet, on this particular day when I decided to go for a walk, it wasn’t just my typical walk. I went on a walk with Christ. As I walked down the street, I felt His presence. I felt the cool breeze on my face, the smell of the fresh air. I saw how the trees were beginning to bloom and the animals ran free – like I imagine they did in the beginning.

I started to thank God for His many blessing and talking to Him about why this was happening at this time. He simply said I needed to sit everyone down and make them refocus. He asked me, “Shavon when was the last time you did this?” I replied, “Yesterday I went for a walk with my husband and kids.” He said, “No when was the last time you walked and talked with just me.” I continued to walk in silences, listening to the voice of God. He reminded me of all the many blessing He had brought me through even leading up to this point. I replied, “Yes, I remember, and I am forever grateful.” He said, “You have been asking what I am missing.”  He said, “The answer has always been with you. You just need to tap back into what you are called to do.”

He simply said, “You have allowed life to do you.” It was at that point that I had an awakening. Every obstacle that has been placed in front of me had consumed me, causing me to lose focus on what is important. I said to myself, you stopped writing and sharing weekly devotionals. You stopped sharing the gifts and talents given to you. You did this because you allowed yourself to believe you were not worthy enough or good enough to do the work. He said, “I knew you way before you knew yourself. I knew every victory and challenge you would face in this life. Each one is a building block for the person you are called to be.”

He said to me, “You should be living life and live into your purpose and not stray away. The enemy wants you to abandon your calling and be caught up in the chaos of life. Shavon stay the course live life and know I am with you always.”

 

Dear God,

Thank you for opening my eyes once again and allowing me to be witness to Your many blessings. Thank you for being patient. I pray to You Lord God that during this time I will continue to grow closer to You and really allow Your light to shine through me. In the name of Jesus I pray.

Amen

 

Today Sucks!

Proverbs 3:5-7 (NIV)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes;
    fear the Lord and shun evil.

Today sucks! I am trying to smile my way through these feelings that I have. Anxiety, grief, confusion, happiness, and loneliness to name a few are emotions that want to succumb me. My chests is tight. Every day I struggle to keep my kids and husband’s spirits up as we navigate through our new norm. The day consists of meetings for everyone and trying to find a quiet space in our home that feels like it is closing in on all of us. While we (my husband Drew and I) try to find the right answer for the many questions that pop up from our children i.e. Why is this happening? How long is this going to last? Will we ever get back to normal? Is God mad at us? What have we done wrong? What is the lesson we should learn in all of this? Yes, the questions continue in the midst of our personal and collective struggles as a family.
I know we are all in this together everyday brings about it’s own set of challenges. It sounds simple and reasonable. And, reasonable doesn’t always win. I have learned over the 54 days we have been quarantined together that God makes no mistakes. We have been able to spend more time with Him during this time. He has helped me find/discover what’s really important – God, family, and gratitude for what I have and in the past have taken for granted.  Also, it allows me to have clarity in understanding all the other worldly things that I/we were putting before God are really not that important.

 

Dear God,

Thank you for waking me up this morning and allow me to see another day. I know You had to sit me down to really discover what’s important and I’m grateful for that. Please continue to open my eyes during this time and stretch me in my faith.

Amen

 

Living Past Your Diagnosis

Jeremiah 33:6 (NKJV)
Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.
Have you ever been given a diagnosis about your health that literally stops you in your tracks? As the doctor is speaking to you its as if you are floating. Your mind begins to race and it feels like a piece of you is dying on the inside. You see lips moving, but the world around you freezes and silence enters the room. The flesh responds and tells us to believe and accept the diagnoses. But there is something inside that speaks to you and tells you to keep the faith.
This has happened twice in my life and both incidents really stick out. The first was when I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which as a child, I had know idea what it meant. I just knew my mother would take me to another school after my regular school day ended. As I got older I began to understand how dyslexia affected my life. It wasn’t really the disorder that was the problem it was how the world, my peers,and teachers treated and responded to me. Much of the time I was treated like I was incompetent and unable to read or write. It happened so often that I began to believe and live into my illness. It really wasn’t until my 30’s that I heard God’s voice telling me to ignore those comments and know that I am good enough and smart enough to live into his purpose and will for my life.
The second time was when I was diagnosed with MS. But this time I was determined to handle my diagnosis differently. It was a decision, a choice. I would not allow this disease to define me. Everyday I am choosing to live past my diagnosis. I like to believe that it’s God’s way of giving me a second chance. And, telling me to live to the fullest each day with purpose and intentionally.
You’re probably thinking what does that mean? What does it look like? My first response is don’t live into the diagnosis, live past it. Don’t let your disease define you. Yes, I may not move like I use to, but I still have breath. As long as I have breath I will seek, pray and praise God. I enjoy my husband, children, family friends, work in my church and community. I don’t have pity parties and won’t let others have one for me. I speak life into every step I take and every move I make. Don’t let your diagnosis or circumstance stop you or define you…keep living life because God still has work for you.

Dear God,
Thank you for give me a second chance and changing my outlook on life. I want to give you all the praise for continuing to show up in my life. Please order by steps and guide me to do your will today not mine as I go out into the world.
Amen

Lookin’ and Listenin’

Phillipans 4:7 (NIV) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

I find often when I am driving that’s when I really reflect on my life and spend a little time with God. Today as I was driving across town I started thinking about my grandfather. I was imagining him sitting on the porch in his favorite chair. I smiled as I began to think about what my grandfather would say when people would call him and ask what he was doing? He would often say, “oh, just sittin’ here lookin’ and listenin’.”
Growing up I would sometimes get the honor of sitting on the porch with my grandfather. In those quiet moments as we looked at God’s beauty taking in the sights and sounds of the neighborhood, I would often wonder what is my grandfather thinking about in these quiet moments. He came from the Delta of Mississippi where he was a sharecropper. He wanted something better for his family, so he moved to Iowa.
In Iowa he and my grandmother raised 11 children. I would look and at my grandfather and witness the joy and sometimes the pain of life. I would think is my grandpa sitting and reflecting on where God has brought him from or and where God is leading him to? I will never know. But I was able to see and feel God’s presence. My grandfather would sometimes begin to sing or hum. It was almost like that was the only way to share what he was feeling in that moment.
As I have grown older I find myself having lookin’ and listenin’ moments. I think about where God has brought me from and talk to him. I want to know where he wants to take me. I imagine God looking and listening at me as I live each day. So when I begin my day I ask God to lead me and guide me and I will follow according to His plan.

Dear God,
Thank you for being such a gracious and loving God. I want to give you all the praise on where you have brought me from. I ask that today as I take the time to look and listen to You that my heart and mind be open to receive your message.
AMEN

Who’s in your Bouquet?

2 Timothy 1:3-4 NIV – I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.


It wasn’t so long ago that we celebrated Mother’s Day. I received a lovely bouquet of flowers from my husband Drew. I could tell he hand selected each and every flower that went into the bouquet. When he presented me with the flowers a smile filled with joy appeared on his face.
As the days passed I was able to see, smell and relish in the beauty of the flowers. Each time I looked at them I was reminded of my husband and our relationship. One morning I realized some of the flowers were beginning to wilt away. I pruned and refreshed the water for those remaining. I sat at the dining room table looking at the beauty of the flowers remaining and looking at the petals that were fading and would soon be falling off. In those moments of mediation, reflection and sitting in the stillness I thought about the bouquet that God has presented me with. Instantly I was reminded of some of the people that had passed in previous months.
Each person that has walked into my life over the years is like a flower in a bouquet . Each have spirits of joy that make me smile, laugh and grow. They each hold a special place in my life and heart. I thought about how God might have felt when he began to put together my bouquet. The realization struck me that for some of the flowers/people who have touched me and gifted me I may not have ever told them how much I appreciate them.
I thought of my Aunt Lela, Uncle Greg, and my son’s barber Shay Each and every one of these people were like flowers in my bouquet . I did not tell them the last time I saw them or spoke with them how much I enjoyed them and how they impacted my life and my family’s life in such major ways. I was reminded of all we shared in both the good times and the bad times, the support they offered and the support I offered back. I had taken my bouquet of flowers of family and friends for granted.
Just like the bouquet of flowers that my husband presented me with people are only here for a moment in time and you don’t know when that flower will wilt or pass away. Each of these people I was blessed to speak to only hours or a couple of days before their passing. I never took the time to tell them thank you or how much they meant to me.
As I reflect on the colorful bouquets of people God has gifted me with, I will treat them like my beautiful bouquet of flowers. I no longer will just look at the flowers but I will begin to water them and smell them And enjoy them to the fullest, be thankful and grateful for the flowers that God has given me and continues to place in my life.

Dear God,
Thank you for being such a wonderful and understanding God. I ask that you be with me as I go through the week and that I will remember to take time to let someone know I appreciate them.

Marriage

Matthew 19:6 (NIV) 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

It’s spring again! The long winter with its blustery winds, mountains of snow and sparkling ice are lingering thoughts. We are in the midst of wedding season! I am reminded of the day I exchanged vows with my husband.
I remember our wedding day like it was yesterday. The sun was shining, the smell of bouquets of flowers was in the air and the sky was the perfect blue. The hustle and bustle that had taken place to get ready for this day was nowhere in my mind. As I walked down the isle with our son by my side I knew that I was embarking on a wonderful journey. The excitement and this unspeakable joy that was present as I looked into Drew’s eyes was and remains a powerful and comforting memory of what happens when God brings two people together. I knew this was going to be a blessing for us and our children.
As I began to say, “I, Shavon, take you Drew, to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance”, my spirit lit up inside of me and let me know that all was well. While we were celebrating on this glorious day with members of our families and friends I knew something else was occurring at the same time. The enemy was having a fit and trying to create a plan to destroy this union.
I am saying that because one thing I know is the devil does not want marriages to work. So, after we said our vows our journey truly began. We soon were challenged with health problems, sickness, outside forces trying to cause division in our family, and other things. These issues scared us both. But with our faith, commitment, and love to God and each other He kept us. Drew is my spiritual, emotional, and intellectual partner. Having those three core things has given us a solid foundation. Each day as we pray together to seek guidance, strength and wisdom we know our union is blessed. We will continue to live, laugh, love, and keep God at the center of our marriage.

Dear God,

Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do in our marriage. You are all-knowing, all-powerful, and we just want to lift you up and give you praise. Lord I pray that you continue to guide and protect our marriage. Allow us to be an example of you Lord being present in a marriage. We give you the glory!

Amen

Sticks and Stones

John 8:7 (NIV)
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

When you are growing up, you hear adults say all kinds of things in short metaphors. As a child I would often hear people say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” On hearing that I would say hmm-mm…

Trying to figure that out was really confusing. My experience was if someone hit you with anything, especially a stone that would hurt. And, some times people said things that weren’t nice and they hurt too. What a quandary. Yes, I would think and say to myself, “that was a very silly thing to tell me, because they both hurt.” Now, as a parent, I find myself repeating to my children that same silly saying. Every day, there is a constant barrage of sticks and stones being thrown.
Today however, the stones people throw are with their words. We as people are so quick to gather all the stones we can and throw them at each other. On a daily basis I watch so many people be publicly stoned. I have seen lives destroyed and families broken apart. All this because someone feels like it’s their job to tear someone down. Do we have the right to do this?
Free speech is a constitutional right. Yet, the way in which we dehumanize one another is saddening and sickening. As a Christian, a child of the most high God, how are we showing up? It is my belief that none of us have the right to throw stones at anyone and especially those of us who are Christians. The stones that we may want to throw at others, perhaps we should save them for ourselves. Why? If we think about it, you nor I are perfect.

Dear God,

Thank you for your continued grace and mercy. You keep forgiving me even when I have sinned. Please allow me to remember we don’t live in a perfect world and I am not perfect. Remind me to give my neighbor the same grace, just as you have shown and given me.

Amen