Hello Midnight

I’m up…

These days have been a little blurry but beautiful. I recently became a mommy of two– life has changed for me. I have a precious daughter who is a year and a half and a charming son who is almost three weeks old. To give you a bit of insight my days are full of emotional break downs wherever I turn. If it’s not my daughter wanting to be held, then its my son wanting to be fed. And if its not their emotions getting the best of them, then its mine getting the best of me.

Talk about lifestyle changes!

Tonight I just wanted to focus on ‘self.’ My days and nights are constantly cut short, my little ones crave attention and my husband deserves it. Though I love spending time with them I’ve realized that at times I just need moments to myself. Moments to daydream, to journal, to sing, to rest, to pray, to read, to break out of this life routine. But having that luxury  may require a little less sleep.

Hello Midnight.

There is a scripture in the Bible that talks about Jesus sending the crowds away and going up to a mountain by Himself to pray [Matthew 14:23]. On nights like these I am reminded of the importance in spending time alone. Solitude makes room for reflection, realization, and restoration. I have found that if I take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to myself my attitude instantly changes. There is something about being alone[with God] that recharges me.

I wonder how Jesus felt after days of ministering to people. Teaching for hours and tending to the needs of individuals nonstop. Plus trying to dodge the Pharisee that continually challenged His teachings and threatened His life. I know this sounds insane but Jesus ministry  totally reflects the #momlife. Minus the threatening of the Pharisee part. Children are incredibly needy and they require round the clock care. Majority of the time I forget to brush my teeth and eat. My survival is dependent on coffee and Jesus.

I have found that my strength comes in moments like these. Though I am up past my bed time and I may not sleep tonight. I needed this–this moment. This solitude. This quiet time with God. To clear my mind of everything that happened today and reboot for tomorrow’s adventure.

Whatever your ‘great escape’ is, take it. Go there often and make sure to invite God. He will help declutter the overwhelming infestation of senseless thoughts. Rebooting you to the very best you there is. I guarantee it. For Jesus, it was going up to the mountain. For me its writing and reading, for you it can be drinking a hot cup of coffee or listening to instrumental music.Whatever it is, get there.

Matthew 14:23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.

 

 

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Shall I live by faith?

Trusting in someone who is unseen makes no logical sense…

I have walked in this faith since 2011, and each day I find myself clinging to it all the more. I was there in the place where I didn’t believe God was as ‘real’ as you and me.  He seemed so far, to big, untouchable. I questioned His existence and wondered if He really cared about me. I recited prayers that were meaningless at the moment.

Was this God, this Jesus real?

In 2011, God made His presence real in my life. I ended a long-term relationship with a guy I thought I would marry. My life had been vested in this relationship. It was my whole world. It was all I knew. Aimlessly, I jumped into a life of  sex and drinking attempting to mend my every insecurity. I knew nothing about myself. I had absolutely no self-worth. I had no mind of my own and I let others influence my every decision. My nights would be full of empty friendships and conversations we will never remember and my mornings full of shameful tears. I hated myself more than ever.

How could I have stooped so low?

It was in my lowest that Gods love grasped a grip of me; I remember sitting in my car screaming and crying after a night spent with someone I barely  knew. I told God that I didn’t want to live this life and if He was as real as people said He was that I needed to be saved. I didn’t want to be the person I was becoming. And as quickly as I had confessed with my lips that I needed to change my life He came in and took complete hold of my heart.

Believing in an unseen God is illogical. It doesn’t make sense. It seems fake. Untrue. It’s hard to wrap our minds around. It’s incomprehensible. But believing is hope, a chance, a leap, it’s a risk that you will not regret taking. Believing in Jesus is finding freedom to a once shackled heart. Its throwing comparisons out the window and recklessly loving yourself. Its finding wholeness in a broken world. Its loving others through the mess and madness. Its forgiveness. Its friendship. Its genuine and unrestricted  love.

The process of change was not easy. I had to separate myself from the group of friends I was hanging around with. It wasn’t just for a short while it was years of delayed communication. During my time of separation, I had to reshape my identity. I had to find myself. I had to love myself. I had to forgive myself. And lastly, I had to promise myself that I would only look back to remember the places I was taken out of.

Here I am today, my life never perfect but my trust, hope, and faith placed in a perfect God.

The Bible says that there is evidence of God everywhere but we fail to acknowledge proof of His existence. Let us become a generation that acknowledges God for who He truly is. There is nothing to wrong that you have done that God’s grace doesn’t cover. If you’re questioning His reality the best way to see if He is real is to give Him a chance to show you He is. I guarantee you He will make himself known in your life. God is unrestricted.

If you have any questions about my journey, my faith, or if you simply want to reach out comment on this post or send me a direct message via Facebook.

Romans 1:20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. 

This One is for You

Insecurity is the worst. It has the ability to completely shut you down. It removes every ounce of confidence you’ve ever had in yourself and pins you into a dark corner. It’s uncomfortable and will eventually bring you to ruins. 

I know how I got there…completely insecure. Insecurities  that were built on lies, disappointments, and fear. I felt that what I had previously dedicated my life to was pointless and purposeless. Every ounce of hope that I had was gone. My “purpose” gone.

If you know me then you know that my heart has always been towards helping others. I can boast about the ways that I have extended a helping hand but that would be completely and horribly wrong of me to do. Why? Because my ability to help others is reflective on God’s willingness to help me.

I lost sight of my perspective. After years of walking in line with my purpose I grew tired. My life was changing quicker than anticipated and the weight of responsibility took over my life. I was completely and utterly stressed out. And to top it off the level of support that I had went from a ten to a negative ten. I had nothing and was fighting these  mind battles on my own. The more I fought the more I lost and the weaker I became. In my mind I could hear the laughter of others while I shed tears. I was broken.

I had stopped it all. All communication was on hold. I built a huge fence around my heart locking the gates and making sure that no longer would anyone enter the confines of my secret place. I tossed the key and called it quits.

Routine. My life assumed as normal. I created a perfect lifestyle routine that only included my husband and my daughter. I made sure that it was only them. Why? Because they are family and they are pretty much obligated to be in my life. Family is a safety net. A security blanket. Family is comfort.  Family is easy. Family is forgivable.

You may be asking why this act of routine was so wrong? My answer to you is this, it makes you weaker. Weaker because now your view on others shifts. No longer is your trust easily extended or your heart easily offered. Your communication with others is short and cold. Your relational skills deteriorate and the chance of you extending forgiveness to someone other than your family becomes almost impossible.

Building this fence of protection worked against me. My insecurities flourished in the confines of my secret place. And I lost myself.

People. It wasn’t until I got around people that I started to find healing. These people that so graciously opened up their home to us and simply extended friendship and truth. Truth that doesn’t always reveal strength but walks through weaknesses. Relationships that aren’t built on expectations but on love. Friendships that challenge to sharpen and not to harm. Conversations that resonate giving clarity to a once blurred vision.  It was People.

The bible talks about Gods goodness leading us into repentance [Romans 2:4] . In this season I can see that scripture verse coming to life through people. It was through people that I started to gain ground on every insecurity. I began to build strength in the areas of my life that I felt weak in. And God demonstrated himself to me as “relational.”

We the People have the ability to steward others into good health. Our lives are constantly fluctuating. Like a rollercoaster on repeat. Constant ups and downs filled with whiplash and headaches but one thing that keeps us sane is relationships.

As I broke free I pray with a hopeful heart that this post would somehow inspire you to grab hold of what God is offering you today.

The After Thought

We have heard many times that scripture speaks to us differently depending on our need. It’s hard to believe that the Bible (a book) is the living Word of God and that it can actually help. I know I questioned that in my past. But I have come into agreement with many others when they say the Bible is “alive.”

This past year (2017) my family and I had to make many decisions. Some harder than others. When making decisions, questions always linger. Did I make the right decision? Should I have done it differently? What if that wouldn’t have happened? Should I have chosen a different option?  How can I make it better? Will it change? Is there an opportunity?

As we made decision after decision these questions would pop in my head. Many times frustrating me because I knew that what we (my husband and I) had agreed on was truly the best decision.

I sat many times and had conversations with God, always venting. He’s a great listener! After pouring out my heart I would sit in the quietness of my home and open my bible. I would just say, “Father, speak to me please. I need your help.” I would not question if he would answer me or not because I know he will. I would just read. Sometimes the topic would seem off but as I thought more about what God was saying I realized that he was trying to mend a different part of me before moving on to my current situation or need.

In the book of Mark, the very first chapter, Jesus makes a life changing decision. He chooses to be baptized by John. Immediately as he (Jesus) comes up out of the water a voice from Heaven says: You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased and delighted!” –This is how I instantly feel when I know I have made a God pleasing decision. I know with certainty that God is pleased.

But look at what happens next:

Mark 1:12 (AMP) Immediately the [Holy] Spirit forced Him out into the wilderness.

Jesus, after making a Godly decision was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness. (Wilderness can be viewed as a pathless area full of confusion and temptations) That happens to us so often, doesn’t it? We make a decision for the good, the better, the right and we feel instantly the weight of trail and temptation that comes about. Those questions bring about confusion and insecurity.

What I love most about this passage is the concluding part of the scripture verse.

and the angels ministered continually to Him.

The angels guided Him and helped Him as he was tempted by the devil. The devil would bring about lingering questions, “Did God really say?” “If you are?” and so forth. These questions were there to challenge Jesus in his mind but He responded to the devil with the scripture (truth).

Our decisions may not always have an immediate picture perfect result. And what is attached with your decision may be trialsome. There will be consequences whether good or bad but if you know that God is pleased with your decision and you are secure than just stand firm.

Jesus stood firm in what he believed and because of every “wrongful” decision that he made (according to the Pharisees) we today are able to have a personal relationship with him and we have the opportunity to dwell with him for all eternity. His decision contradicted everything that the law had perviously taught so it was hard for others to accept this new law. But Jesus did not waiver from any decision though at times it was hard. He knew exactly what he was created for. He was made to be our Savior.

While times may get tough and the decisions may require sacrafice just be joyful in hope, patient in afflection and faithful in prayer (Romans 12:12). God will work all things out for the good (Romans 8:28). Sometimes all it takes is time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recovery

This weekend in Chicago it’s been “cold wet,” really cold and wet outside. For people who walk to work in the city it’s very unpleasant.  Unfortunately, during this season I am part of that mass number. On days like these I have to look forward to soaked shoes, stinky socks, smeared make up, and frizzy hair.

With each step I find me giving myself a pep talk convincing myself not to shed tears. I walk with my head down so no one can see my overwhelming emotions. My thoughts run wild as I think of every reason why the day is going horribly wrong, but at the same time that it could be worse.

Talk about mind battles…

Anyway thats besides the point but, it is a huge reason on why I am writing this today.

Weather inspires me.

On my wet walk to work I thought of this scripture:

Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.

I don’t think I have ever loved this scripture more than I do now. The way I understood it now brought so much clarity.

Jesus heals every sickness and every disease.

But how? And doesn’t Jesus say in John 14:12 that we will do the same works and greater? Ok, wait a minute this is 2017! Now, I am not saying that I don’t believe that this is possible today. In fact, I know it is but Jesus taught me something new. 

I felt the Holy Spirit say, “I was able to heal every sickness and every disease because I was fully whole.” 

Okay? Jesus, we know but how does this apply to my new aged self?

Holy Spirit: “In order for you to heal others you must be made whole in the area in which you want to heal someone in.” “If you are broken… you will release brokeness.” “If you are sick, you will cause sickness.” “If you feel rejected you will release rejection onto others.” “If you are insecure you will make others insecure around you.” “If you are angry, you will cause others to be angry.” “If you are uncomfortable others will too become uncomfortable.”

Ahhhh, I got you Jesus!

Holy Spirit: “Now be made whole.” “If you are free, you will bring freedom!” If you are healed, you will heal others.” “If you have been rescued by me you will lead people to me.” “If you trust, others will trust.” “Now again I say unto you, ‘Be made whole.”

I understand now.

Jesus conquered sickness and disease. They were under his feet. During the forty days after his baptism he was tempted in every way possible but still did not fall into temptation. Again, Jesus was fully whole in every weakness that the flesh attracts.

The bible says that Jesus was made just as man; he hurt, cried, felt, and bled just like each and every one of us do. Which means, He didn’t use His crazy super powers. What Jesus did have, was ‘The Father.’

John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

We have the very same access as Jesus had when he was alive as a man. The problem lies in our brokenness. We cannot help others in the areas that we are weak in. Its not possible. Its like a drug addict trying to convince someone to stop using drugs. Where is the victory in that? The drug addict is still entangled leaving absolutely no evidence that the drug is conquerable.

Just like a person would go to the doctor/hospital when he or she is ill. You too must go to a safe place for healing if you are broken. Your healing is needed for others to receive their healing.

Sometimes you need to ‘rehabilitate’ in a remote area somewhere far from your norm. Do it, I truly believe that those gateways are best for recovery.

So in conclusion: Go get your healing…

 

 

 

 

 

Modern day Abram

I don’t know why I feel so strongly to share with you this particular story about one of my greatest friends. But I do know that the word of God says that we increase in faith by hearing (Romans 10:17).

I think of her as a modern day Abram. Her story just like ours was written before the beginning of time. Slowly being laid out and becoming a beautiful tapestry right before our very eyes. I don’t know the fullness of her story and even if I did, I would rather her share. But what I do know about her is that she is called.

I met her at church, she was 14 years old at the time. Quiet and secluded would be the best words to describe her. Her innocence radiated through our church walls and when she led worship the Spirit of God pierced the hearts of those who heard her sing. Every church service she would sit in her assigned seat and put her earphones on. The music brust through the speakers and tuned out everything that would distract her. Later I learned that the earphones were a tactic used to avoid people and conversations. As time passed and our friendship began to blossom, I understood why seclusion had become her very best friend and why the fear of relationships held her captive. I knew then I couldn’t give up on her. 

One day after we had coffee and a short bible study we stumbled across a conversation that shifted everything. She told me about how she felt led by God to travel across the country to attend ministry school. 

Genesis 12:1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native [born in or belonging to since childhood] country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.”

I really believe the hardest things to do in life are those that require chance. It’s in those moments that we are asked to take a leap of faith when we don’t know who will be there to catch us. Its when what we’ve planned out doesn’t happen and what’s in front of us doesn’t make sense. 

That’s when we are truly tested. 

Just like Abram she left. And now, as she is currently walking in God’s will she has encountered many hardships and difficulties. She knows what it is to live with little just as she knows what it was to have much. She has been tried in her emotions and fought wars in her mind. She has shed countless tears and gathered herself mending broken pieces. She left all that was familiar to follow the will of God.

 At this very moment her trust is fully reliant on what God wants to do through her. 

In the midst of trials we find hope. In midst of trials we cling to trust.

Romans 8:28 God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. 

She is currently attending Bethel School of Ministry in Redding, California. Walking in a hope that God will do what He said He would do for her. And just like that she continues to believe.

In closing, the bible states in Numbers 23:19 that God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. And if he has ever spoken to you He will not fail to act. At times the circumstances in our lives may be displeasing, uncomfortable, and trailing. Times may not always make sense or align to what we believe is supposed to take place in our present. In seasons God may require us to have courage or strength. Maybe He is asking us to have a disciplined heart, stewardship, obedience, or steadfastness. Who knows? Only you.  God will tell you what He desires in your life and He will give you the promised end. 

 As you see now, we are the result of Abrams [Abrahams] obedience. But when you read in Genesis you find that Abram encountered many difficulties when he submitted to the call of God over his life. Just remember your current act of obedience will transform not only your life but the lives of those to come.

When we walk in obedience we automatically begin to change history. Though we don’t see it in the moment, it begins the moment we actively move in the will of God. Some things are evident and others leave evidence…

Set it Free

Lately I have been battling for relationships. My trust has been held captive as I try to set it free. The prison doors are firm and hard to pry open. But there I stand with an elite army behind me. I prepare to fight the internal war brought by the weakness of my flesh. The Commander then gives the sign and I feel a jolt in my Spirit. My strength comes from the Father and He empowers me to press forward. I tighten the band of truth around my waist that allows me to take courage. I place the breastplate of righteousness on my chest creating a upright posture of my heart. I then bend down and strap the sandals of peace upon my feet, that I may walk firm footed even while tribulation comes my way. In my left hand I hold my shield, the shield of faith that will protect me from the flaming arrows. My helmet placed securely that keeps me covered in His graceful salvation and finally my right hand steady as His Word becomes my sword…

The floors begin to tremble and the prison doors fly open and “trust” is now set free.

Trusting someone and believing that they are reliable, good, honest, and genuine can appear sketchy, but it is done with an unreasonable hope. It’s an anticipation that when you impart a piece of your heart, that small little fragment will be cherished.

I believe that God displays this affection so beautifully toward us each and every day. That small fragment of His heart that He gave us is Jesus… And with great unreasonable hope the Lord trusts us with that fragment, that piece of His heart, He trust us with His very own Son.

Relationships are a mirror image of Jesus. And as we continue to walk in this life God will gives us chances to build lifelong relationships. I truly believe that he delights in unity. Applying the Armor of God on a daily basis will help position our hearts to receive the very best of someone. And Even in the midst of a broken relationships we can position our hearts to see the greatness in a person hence building an unbreakable bond with that particular individual.

Let me break it down:

As I wake up I have the knowledge that I will be at war with my mind (flesh).
So I pray and hear the voice of my Commander (Jesus).
He strengthens my spirit and empowers me to take on the day.
I am charged and ready!
I posture my heart upright seeing the very best in everyone.
I have peace even in the midst of trouble because I am confident that God is with me wherever I go.
My faith keeps me protected from the mind monsters that attack me daily.
And the word of God becomes my sword that slices and breaks down everything that does not come from heaven.

Don’t allow yourself to keep “trust” captive set it free today and see the blessing in relationships that will knock at your door. God is fully faithful he will keep you protected.  No longer will you let fear overtake you in your relationship. Instead freedom will allow you to create a garden of trust that in season will harvest a life long crop [relationship].

Allow this message to build you, encourage you, and transform you!