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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
1 Corinthians 7:17 – But as God has distributed to each one, as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all the churches.
We all receive calls that we sometimes just don’t want to answer. There are the calls we receive from a bill collector, a friend, a family member that we don’t respond to for a lot of reasons. Then, there is the call we receive from God. Yea, I know you have been there. I know I am not the only one.
It’s not unusual for us to not take calls from family members and bill collectors to avoid a conversation we don’t want to have. Sometimes there may be consequences. The call from God is something that we as humans tend avoid for a longer time and with certainty there are consequences. We can come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid the calling God has on our life. I know I’m guilty of that. I’ve ran from what God has called me to do for years.
Why, because I wasn’t feeling secure in myself. I couldn’t see what God saw in me. I only saw my many flaws and short comings. God would tell me to walk up and pray for a person. Shame, uncertainty and fear would not let me move. I would freeze in my tracks. I didn’t feel equipped to do the work. We have read multiple accounts in the bible where someone was called and hesitated.
Questioning God is not unusual. Abraham was called twice by God. Once when in Ur of the Chaldee’s and a year later In Haran. Moses didn’t think he could speak to Pharaoh, He saw first-hand the power of God with the burning bush and still he had questions. When instructed to go to Pharaoh he asked “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelite’s out of Egypt (Exodus 3:11). Yet, in the end he responded to the call.
Questioning God and putting on the brakes for the calling of your life is not uncommon. What I know is that the plans God has for us always lead to our good.
I just want to say thank you for the many blessings I have received. Without You I would not have the strength to walk boldly into my calling. I want to pray for those who maybe struggling with answering the call You have on their life. That they be surrounded with the love and support to use their gifts to serve You.
Ephesians 6:12 – For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
This week’s chain of events have not only shook up the world, but at times shook up the homes in which we live. When I learned Alton Sterling was killed in Baton Rouge, LA it made me instantly sad. This was before I saw the manner in which he lost his life. Then the very next day to find out Philando Castile was killed. I became angry. I couldn’t believe it was happening again and all in the same week. As I watched the news in utter surprise my eyes began to fill up with tears of sadness and anger. My heart ached for the families of those two men and others who were close them.
As a mother I began to think of our three sons and daughter. We have raised them to be kind to everyone. Since they were old enough to ask questions about what they see and experience we’ve talked about being a citizen here and what it means as they get older to be law abiding citizens. Yet, when I saw the police officer pointing his gun at an already dying man, I began to lose hope for our nation and what our children may experience as they get older. I looked at my husband who is Caucasian and thought he’s never been stopped by law enforcement because of the color of his skin. In that moment it became apparent to me that it’s on me to explain to our children what it takes to survive in our country as an African American.
I am so frustrated! Why, because I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and my kids have asked and will be asking me why do police officers kill us and treat us differently? They have asked does daddy ever have to go through this? For a split second, I forgot my husband and I were on the same team and share a similar world view. We have built our house on love and communication. Yet, there was a period of time during those two days seeing the manner in which the two men lost their lives it was hard for me to see past his skin color. I felt like he could not understand where my emotions lied.
To my disbelief I then witnessed the events leading to the loss of life of police officers in Dallas. I began to cry out to God in prayer asking what would He have me/us to do? Instantly I heard a voice say, “love your neighbor.” I live near the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul. My family and I frequently walk throughout the neighborhood. As we took a walk the next day, we were passing St. Paul police officers supervising the protest in the late morning. We stopped and had conversations with them, and I could see that beneath their uniforms they are just like us – Parents, spouses, community members – they were also concerned about the situation our country is facing. There reasons were in-twined with the work they do and they life they live outside of work. We talked, thanked them for what they do, gave them our vote of confidence, they were willing to listen and eager to be understood.
It is important for me to say this. Those who have taken the oath to protect and serve do the work I can not do. I am not equipped to face that challenge. To say I will take the bullet so another, a total stranger can live…can’t do it. Yes, I will do it for my children. Let’s celebrate and thank police officers for their courage and conviction. Let’s not let the 2% cause us to place judgement on the 98% remaining. In the same way let’s do this for people who like like me. We are all made and created by the same God.
I just come to You humbly and graciously giving You all the praise and the glory in our nations time of sorrow. We all are hurting right now and looking for answers. I just ask Lord that You continue to put in our hearts a spirit of love, as we enter very tough conversations with one another. That we will continue to give each other grace just like You have given us. I ask that You be with the family and friends of those who have lost love one’s to senseless killing. As we enter this week God please give us the courage we need to put on the full armor of God and that a hedge of protection will cover each and everyone of us.
Ephesians 6:11-18 – 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.
If I can be totally honest, writing this week’s blog has been very difficult for me. I had no idea how impacted I have been by the mass murder in Orlando, FL. The lives lost, the impact on their loved ones and the city of Orlando. I ask myself did they get to say I love you, I am sorry if I have offended you and just so many more things to have closure on. The finality of death closes the open opportunities we have to love each other. Yes, I am speaking to situations in my own life.
My thoughts are on the personal conflicts going on in my very own family. I’ve watched my husband for years try to be the best father that he can be to our oldest son. I have also watched how the enemy has come after that father-son relationship. Even to the point of using family members that feel like they’re helping, but are only making it harder for him to be a part of his sons life.
As his wife it’s been hard to watch him try to mask the hurt and sadness. It’s like the enemy is coming after him and the relationship with his son from every angle. There are a myriad of things occurring that could break him down as a father, man, and as a son/child of God. Being strong in his faith is constantly being challenged.
My words to him is that tomorrow is not guaranteed so cherish the time that you have with your son and allow God to do the rest of the work. The battle he is facing is not his but it is the Lord’s.
This I know for sure – he can be of good courage because there is nothing to hard for God.
I come to you Father with a heavy heart and I want to turn it over to you. Please be with my family, the Orlando families and friends as they look for peace. Also, I pray for fathers who are no longer with us because of senseless acts and for their children who no longer have their father with them. Father God, I ask that the children and loved ones of those who have lost a father will stand boldly and strongly with your help. In the matchless name of Jesus I pray. Amen
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
It’s very interesting how our society is so plugged in to electronics and social-media. It affects the young and old. Our sons can have a total meltdown when their tablet or Nintendo 3ds is taken away or when it needs to be charged. Sometimes my husband and I are no better. If we can’t find our cell phones it’s like somebody just cut off our arm or took our best friend away.
The other day my 2 year old helped me realize that my family has a serious issue with being plugged in. It was 6 o’clock in morning and I was awakened by his screaming. He couldn’t turn on my iPad to watch a movie. I thought “this is ridiculous.” But then I started to ask myself if God feels like the parent of a screaming two year old when we don’t plug into Him and into his word on a daily basis. We then expect for God to give us what we ask for in our prayers.
My challenge to you is to unplug from social media, electronics, and your cell phone for 30 minutes or even an hour each day to just plug into God.
Thank You for another beautiful day. I am filled with joy as I take this time just to spend it with You. I pray this week that when I want to check my social media or watch television that I am reminded of You and Your love for me. Help me to spend time with You. Allow me to be productive, invest in my family and actively love others.