That blood sucking thing called gossip…

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I haven’t blogged in a while, but not for lack of things to say. I pretty much let life get in the way, and I will give about 15% to laziness. At this point, I sure wouldn’t say no to an accountability officer (eerrrrrm….any takers??).

Anyways, I would be lying if I said that I have spent half as much time (in the past couple months) with God as I am accustomed to. But that does not mean that He has not been trying to get my attention; whether it is through conversations, encounters, situations, sermons, music, devotionals, quiet times, observations et al.

But first, let me season the meat of the story before I dish out my point (s).

I have always had to deal with ‘talkers’, after all, that was once my part time gig outside of Fulltime School and work…😳…lol. ‘Talkers’ are folks that speak before they think. ‘Talkers’ are noisy gongs; their words have no depth and add no value. They speak words that I liken to weapons of destruction, missiles auto set to launch, with no regard for the aftermath. ‘Talkers’ gossip with no remorse, and frankly speaking, there is no logic behind this form of madness, it just simply is madness.

In the beginning stages of my walk with God, my mouth was a major topic of discussion. He would tell me that my mouth is not only for food (I am known to eat mountains…lool) and that it is definitely not for gossip. “Bridle your tongue, be wise about what you say; speak life not death” He would say. Hmmmm, breaking a habit is like being weaned off breast milk or maybe it is more like getting over an addiction …either way, it is a period of pruning. There will be resistance, ouches and relapses….but the light at the end of the tunnel is that it is a period that gives room for growth…deliberate growth. So, He began to train me to speak with purpose, and He would say “Michelle when you speak with purpose, your words are graced with authority, and the ability to uplift, build up and encourage.” As far as I am concerned, my God…I call Him Daddy… is the realest G, but He is tough when He needs to be.

That being said, my pruning period has been both uncomfortable and painful; and just when I think I am close to graduating, I am smacked with the reality that class is still in session. I have had a few slip ups, trying to rationalize gossip…because well…it is sweet! I would think, well if I am talking about their actions (i.e. what they did) and not their character (i.e. defaming their person) then I am not doing anything wrong. But off course, this was until Baba God flipped the script on me…and then I understood that in the jungle of gossip…it’s all blurred lines. There are no laws that separate the actions from the character. Both are lumped together, become a tangled mess and before you know it gossip has created a new monster version of you, and like a wild fire, your new version becomes how folks (that don’t know you) know you. It could even go as far as causing the folks that do know you to question the you that they know. So, how many people are you going to have an opportunity to speak with to rectify/reclaim/rebuild the you that you know, from the ashes of the fire?

Last night, I was reminded by a dear friend about a phrase my Pastor (Chris Oyakhilome) says often…”Never let someone else’s bad behaviour influence your good behaviour”. Well, I wish this reminder came hours before, when I did just that. For the life of me, I just could not summon up the strength to be the bigger person, whether it was by acknowledging the person with a hi, or by making the person feel welcome with a smile. The lens of my heart was zoomed in on hurt, and in that moment, the hurt/bitterness/dislike/irritation won. I proceeded to remove myself from whatever vicinity she was in and I consciously ignored her (better than a cat fight or a war of words I think #shrug). Gossip has painted for her a picture of a me that I have never met, and that picture has determined how she sees, relates to and talks about me. I was irritated that the source of the gossip lacked the boldness to speak ill of me to my face, but yet continues to extend her hands for hugs when she sees me. I was even more irritated that I could not just do the shoulder dust off, say hi, smile and carry on. It’s like high school all over again, except with supposedly grown/mature folks 😱.

Is it coincidence that just last week at mid-week service, my Pastor preached on character, and placed special emphasis on Love and Forgiveness? I mean I have heard many sermons on love and forgiveness, and it all sounds so flowery and pure, but putting it in practice is…wow. It is easy to love those that love you…not so much for those that don’t; those that have spoken ill of you, those that have hurt you, those that have denied you at points, those that have been fake et al. How do I love someone/anybody that makes it their life’s mission to reconfigure my person and distort the perceptions of others about me? It is neither fair, nor rationale. On the other hand, how can I say that I am born of God who is love, and not love? I went to bed with these thoughts swirling in my head, and woke up this morning with an urge to read 1 Corinthians.
4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful and endures through every circumstance.

Will I please everyone? NO
Will I be appealing to everyone? NO
Will everyone like me? NO
Will everyone want to be my friend? NO
Will everyone always have nice things to say about me? NO
Will everyone have my back? NO
But such is life.

Gossip usually stems from a place of insecurity. I am (You are) not defined by the language of this world or the words of another, except and until I (you) allow them to. I choose to love for the peace that comes with knowing that I am in God’s will. Love brings clarity and that is just what I desire in my life. Love is lending a hand to someone who just 2 months ago slept with your boyfriend or spoke ill of your family or stole from you and the list goes on. Do I have to go out of my way to seek/beg them to befriend me? NO, But do I have it in me to be of help when they are in need? YES. After all that was the very essence of Jesus on the cross. He died for a world of folks that hated, laughed at, beat, hurt, denied, and crucified Him. That is Selfless love…loving on purpose. I ask for extra grace for that everyday, because I now know that love is about God, seeing the beauty of God in an individual even though they neither see it themselves nor know of it.

Life is a journey and so is my Christian walk…I won’t learn it all in one day, and I doubt I will have learnt it all on my death bed at 90-ish. It won’t always come easy (and not everything will always make sense), I am human…so are you. But there is a grace (to deal & handle) allotted for each day and everything that comes with it. “It is not by power, nor by might, but by His spirit”, sayeth the Lord.

xoxo

PS: A big thank you to all the wonderful folks that encourage me to keep writing, God bless you😘

The “free” of gratitude

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I had an impromptu but much needed chill date with my darling AO
a couple weeks back. We both had a long work day, and we were very determined to do anything that required the least amount of energy. So we decided to order in, sip on cold water (because we were too lazy to do an LCBO run) and watch movies. But alas, the Rogers movie channel wasn’t having it, as it presented us an awfully poor selection of not so great movies…sigh. We eventually gave up, and AO kept her finger busy flipping through channels, and this is when we stumbled upon a program on OWN called “Life Story Project”. At first glance, we were like ‘erm no, cheesy….NEXT. But somehow, I guess AO’s finger got tired, our search ended right back on channel OWN.

I just love how God always finds the most interesting ways to get His point across to me. Short of writing in the sky, which would be pretty cool, He’s always talking, and I hear Him so clearly… when I’m not distracted.

So back to the show. The hosts randomly select/invite folks to seat with them on the purple chair to have a chat. What was interesting to me was the topic of conversation which just so happen to be “jealousy and gratitude.” As much as I did not want to watch the show, I found myself drawn to the people, their stories and the wisdom in their words. I had been talking to God days before about jealousy; how I knew it was not a fruit of His spirit, and how I desperately did not want it. I also talked to Him about those moments when it just kind of creeps up on me; moments were I get a jealous streak, and find myself going down the not so pleasant lane of the one-woman pity party, themed Why not me/why can’t I/why not now?

The host asked a simple question, what are you grateful for? And that got me thinking. If I focus on all the things I am grateful for, wouldn’t that translate to less time spent stewing in jealousy, lusting over the ‘stuff’ that others have? Hmmm.

On Tuesday this week, I was at my hairdressers, and I decided to entertain myself by reading magazines. Once again I stumbled upon the O magazine….eerily timely. I was about to drop the magazine when I came across an article that was pretty much an interview with Dr. Brene Brown. Prior to this, I had never heard of her. The article was super long, and I was in no mood for that, so I skimmed through instead. My eyes caught a response Dr. Brown gave to one of the many questions asked by Oprah. It said, “One of the things that happens in a scarcity culture is that we are all so busy chasing the extraordinary that we forget to stop and be grateful for the ordinary”. And then she went on to say “Capacity to experience joy requires actively practicing gratitude.” I had a light bulb moment! Actually, it was more like a siren moment, because many light bulbs went off at once! Needless to say, I read the article from beginning to end (okay, truth be told, I still skipped a few blocks here and there ☺).

What blows my mind is that a one time conversation with God, led to a series of answers in unlikely places, over the course of a month! What an awesome Father I have.

There is always something to complain about. Oh this traffic is pure hell! Well, how about someone across the world, or even in the same city who just lost a child, or just got raped, or just got diagnosed with cancer, or is on the verge of bankruptcy? In truth, on a scale of 0 – 10, your experience of hell (being stick in traffic as annoying as it is) is negative nothing compared to the listed examples. While sitting in that “hellish” traffic, you could be grateful that you have a car, or that you can put gas in the car, or that you have a home to go to, with warm food to eat and a comfortable bed to sleep on. You could be grateful that you are alive to see another day, that you are in good health, that you can jam to the music on the radio! I mean so much to be grateful for, if we just paused!

I have made up my mind to lean harder into moments of joy, and I wake up everyday ready to practice gratitude!

So from here on out my first thought as I open my eyes is, dear Father, I am grateful for this new day. I think that’s a pretty good start to my day!

What are you grateful for?

xoxo😘

The perfect start to my day is…what’s yours?

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I recently started a 15 day devotional with Darlene Zschech called Revealing Jesus, and Day 4 is titled First thing in the morning, and boy did it speak to me….here is what it says:

Does an athlete wake up a few minutes before an important competition, throw on a uniform, bounce into the parking lot moments before the meet or match is to begin, and then secure a victory? Well, not the successful ones, I’m sure. Watching swimmers and runners and other great athletes in the Olympics, I was reminded of their commitment to training, to constant preparation.

How about our spiritual lives? Do we share this same commitment to preparation? What comes first each day? Morning. When must our preparation to face the daily challenges and battles of life begin? Morning.

Even at the moment, in one of the busiest and somewhat challenging seasons of my own life, I’m so aware of His grace being sufficient for every day. The only time I find myself overwhelmed is when I have gone into the day without “looking up.” To continually be aware of God’s favor and presence in your every moment is one of the greatest treasures you’ll ever discover. That discovery happens when you “look up” in the morning and throughout the day, your attitude and expectations attuned to hearing God’s voice because that’s how you started your day.

Prepare for life first thing in the morning. Open your eyes, take a breath, and then thank God for it. With outstretched arms, ask God for wisdom, direction, and courage, that your life would be one of blessing, living as you were designed. I would love to think that the Enemy gets nervous when he knows I am waking up!

In the morning I will look up to you for guidance and strength, to express my love and gratitude to you, my Lord.

I had this bad habit of starting off my day by looking at my phone, blogs, Facebook and the news…and then God came after, but only if I remembered to include Him. I was not exactly conscious about what I was doing, I just did it because that’s what I was used to doing. First of all, I must have really thought I was sooooo important to expect to see a slew of text messages, bbms, emails et al., when I woke up 😒. How very, whats the word to use here, conceited? self centred? (Feel free to plug in…). Secondly, why would anyone in their right mind want to start of the day watching the news….there’s hardly ever any good news, it’s mostly grisly, unhappy, sad news that ends up leaving a bad taste in my mouth and a heaviness in my heart. So I inevitably carry that heaviness with me for the better part of the day, and I am ill equipped to deal with the challenges of the day because my mind is shrouded in fear, sadness, unease and worry. What a bad start to my day! These blogs that I used to be so eager to read, they didn’t add a dime to my bank account or value to my life…only that I was up to date on the latest gossip about some celebrity or person. I spent so much time creeping….yes creeping on these folks, that I had little time to take stock of my own life. I allowed myself become a trash can (sounds so harsh….sigh) for unworthy, rubbish, unnecessary information. Ah! I even started to feel bad about myself at points, wondering why I couldn’t be as pretty, or have expensive clothes like them, or a booty like this one or hair like that one…time I could have used building my own empire, or even just sleeping an extra 30mins-hr! 😣 Facebook! Oh my dayz Facebook! How many pictures could I possibly look at in the first hour of my day?

Anyways one fine morning, I decided to start my day with God, and *drumroll pleaseeeeee* I NEVER looked back. The few minutes (which grew into 30 minutes, then an hour and is still growing) I spent with Him put me in a state of peace, assuredness, preparedness and expectancy. I was dressed with His presence, conscious of His grace and sensitive to His voice. My day was so much more productive and enjoyable, and at night when I laid my head on my pillow, I drifted into sleep fulfilled. I have made this a habit, and it has served me well.

“I would love to think that the Enemy (devil and his cohorts) gets nervous when he knows I am waking up!” Darlene got me so excited with this sentence. Oh yes yes yes Darlene, ME TOO!

My phone (also known as crapberry….such a naughty phone….a breakup is imminent), facebook, the news, and now Instagram 😱….they’ll just have to wait until after I have sat at my Father’s feet, whenever I so choose to pay them mind.

Have a lovely day y’all and enjoy the sun!!!!!

xoxo

Ps: you can find this 15 day devotional in the YouVersion Holy Bible….and to learn more about the 365 day devotional go to http://www.revealing-Jesus.com 😘

Heart Check

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For the Lord sees not as man sees;

Take a minute to reflect on the people in your life. How many of them do you think are truly friends; have the best intentions for you, would vouch for you, would give you the clothes off their back if need be, would be a shoulder to cry on, would cheer you on, would celebrate you, would defend you, would be patient with you in those silent moments when you ache too much to think or talk?

Now, take another minute, and think about the people in your life that you would do those same things for.

For man looks on the outward appearance…

A smile hides a lot of things…feelings, emotions, and thoughts.
Smiles, as beautiful and welcoming as they are, can be deceptive. They can lure you into believing you are home until the same mouth that formed the smile throws daggers at you in form of words.

For the longest time,
I smiled to hide feelings
I smiled to conceal thoughts
I smiled because it was easier than crying
I smiled because I appeared strong
I smiled because I was told it was beautiful
I smiled for acceptance
I smiled for survival

…But the Lord looks on the heart 1 Samuel 16:7

It gets tiring putting up a face. With a new face for each person and each day, you run the risk of putting on the wrong face for the wrong person on the wrong day. You smile with people you would rather slap, hug people you would rather stab and help people you would rather see fall.
You may be able to deceive man, but God? You are not close to being that advanced. It’s only a matter of time before “fake” is made out.

If people could see my heart, would it be as appealing as my outward appearance? This question nagged at me for a while. So I decided to get to know my heart.
I sat down and penned all my insecurities and fears. Off course, once I opened up myself to the voice of insecurity, it was a floodgate. Very exhausting, but it needed to be done. Insecurities have a way of creating a new personality that feeds off putting down perceived competition. Whether it is that you think the next girl is prettier, has a better body, has nice designer clothes, is more loved by friends or has it more together, you either find ways to attach something negative to the person or play up a wrong he/she has done.

If I have nothing else, I need my heart to be both pure and honest. When I say you look lovely today, it is not a covert way of saying you need to fix your face, it truly means you look lovely today, no buts. When I say congratulations, I mean just congratulations, without a “but I wish it was me.” Seems so small, so trivial, but these things matter.

For they loved the approval and the praise and the glory that come from men [instead of and] more than the glory that comes from God. [They valued their credit with men more than their credit with God John 12:43

When you live for God, you are focused on running your own race. You are not distracted by “the others”. When you feed off and live for the praises of man, you zig-zag into the lanes of others because you have now made life a competition. To you, its a matter of who will get to the finish line first…I want to be noticed first. How very shortsighted. Have you ever thought about what happens after you reach the finish line of the next persons lane? What if what awaits you pales in comparison to what you would have gotten if you had remained on your own lane? Wouldn’t life be much simpler if you focused on your journey while being inspired by the accomplishments of others? Comparison breeds insecurities, aspiration breeds drive/motivation/focus.

Do I ever feel less than? Off course.
But only when I allow myself become distracted by playing the comparison game. When you are accepting of self, it is easier to love, easier to forgive, easier to be honest, easier to be happy, easier to compliment, easier to celebrate others, easier to aspire, easier to achieve, easier to bridle your tongue, easier to just be.

The first time (in my adult life) I remember having a hearty laugh, I knew. It rocked my insides, almost like I could feel my heart dancing, leaping for joy, because now it had life. It was re-connected to the rest of me.

I have made a habit of having heart check sessions. I always want to be at peace with my thoughts, words and action, so I have no qualms doing the work needed to maintain my peace.

What is the intent behind your actions? Why do you do the things that you do?

What is the state of your heart?

Do a heart check.

😘

Rihanna’s ‘adopted’ children

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There has been a lot of talk lately about the need for Rihanna to act more like a role model. Apparently, unbeknownst to her, she adopted the entire young female population on her rise to stardom. She has been criticized quit a bit for getting back with Chris Brown, not necessarily because they are worried about her safety, but more so because they are concerned about the message she is sending their teenage daughters. In all honesty, in her own words, “it is nobody’s business”, especially if the uproar is founded on ulterior motives. Unfortunately, people are quick to crucify. Pointing fingers at another, when really they are far from being devoid of mistakes and issues themselves. I liken trying to imagine what people do behind closed doors, hidden from prying eyes, waging fingers and inquisitive toms (media) to insanity, because I don’t think anyone’s mind can carry the weight of the tons of filth they may come to know, and remain sane.

Life is about choices, and Riri’s choices are just that, hers. I think it’s unfair for the media to pressure her into role modelling for anyone, and I think it is utterly stupid for mothers to expect badgirlriri to raise their daughters. If your daughters decide to follow her lead by acting out in ‘forbidden’ ways, then there obviously isn’t enough parenting in the household.

I don’t even understand why so much trust is placed in pop stars to be role models. Sure it’s good to dream and dream big and sure, it’s good to aspire to be someone great. But shouldn’t aspiration go beyond the glitz and glam? The RAD clothes and fancy rides, the partying and smoking up. Where’s the character in that? Your daughters are being told every day that sex sells, and they are buying it. They develop their views on love from fictional characters on tv series, that look perfect and unrealistic. Soon, they aspire to become replicas of their so called ‘role models’, denying self from taking shape.

Exactly what gives you the right to sit on your high horse, criticizing and judging? Rihanna has said she is unapologetic. She is living her life, and rightfully so. How about YOU be an active role model in your daughter’s life. How about YOU focus less on Rihanna’s bad ways and focus more on the young girl(s) in your household looking to YOU for direction. How about YOU loose your microwave mentality and instead of trying to fix your child in a day and in her teenage years, invest your time in her life from birth. How about YOU stop asking Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Amanda Bynes to raise your daughter(s). You don’t know the context or the story behind the story, but you sure seize the opportunity to point accusatory fingers. Is it therapeutical for you, because you get a few seconds to look away from your own life to the dirty laundry of another? These people do not owe you their lives.

I wish more people would spend more time with their noses deep in their Bibles instead of wrinkled in disgust and in a judgemental stance at someone else’s life and actions.

Proverbs 22:6 says “Teach your child to choose the right path and when they are older they will remain upon it.” This does NOT happen in a day. It takes time, effort, dedication, perseverance and patience. Yes! Raising a child means short circuiting your selfish tendencies and living outside of yourself to build up your child!

Ephesians 6:4 says “And now a word for you Fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” God is love and even when He instructs and disciplines, it is in LOVE. If you cannot comprehend or show love; contempt, frustrations and anger take the reigns and that does not make for a happy home.

Deuteronomy 4:9 says “But watch out! Be very careful never to forget what you have seen the Lord do for you. Do not let these things escape from your mind as long as you live. And be sure to pass them unto your children and grandchildren. Tell them especially about the day when you stood before your Lord your God at Mount Sinai where He told me, “summon the people before me, and I will instruct them” that way, they will learn to fear me as long as they live, and they will be able to teach my laws to their children.” What are you teaching your children, especially your daughters, who from an early age desire acceptance and affection? It goes beyond obeying laws. Teaching her about the love of a Father so kind and faithful is more important than shoving laws down her throat. Love has more staying power, and in being conscious of a Father who loves her, she is more inclined to seek His face in matters concerning her life, and less inclined to fulfil the lust of a lad that is on the fence of puberty or an old jigalo who preys and capitalizes on her innocence.

Deuteronomy 11:19 says “But do not let your heart turn away from the Lord to worship other gods. If you do, the Lords anger will burn against you. He will shut up the sky and hold back the rain, and your harvest will fail. Then you will quickly die in the good land the Lord is now giving you. So commit yourself completely to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands as a reminder and wear them on your forehead. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.” TIME TIME TIME! It is important to spend time with your children. That is the only way you can have an impact in their lives. Conversations are not one sided…as oppose to giving them a laundry list of commands accompanied with silence or rebuke, TALK to your children and LISTEN to them as well.

Don’t get me wrong, there are certain behaviours that I do not condone, but I’m not foolish to think that I am better than anyone else, for it truly is by His grace that I did not go down a certain path. God did not appoint you to be judge over anyone’s life, so come off your high horse and give your attention to building your own home. Do not create a liability out of an asset by giving her – your daughter -little or no attention, then turn around blaming the world when *ish hits the fan, as you run from pillar to post looking for remedies.

I do not have a daughter yet, but I am excited about meeting her soon. I unclasped the hold anxiety had over me where raising children were concerned once I realized that everything is by His grace. Not by my abilities but by His spirit.

So next time you see a news flash about a celeb gone wild, make a conscious effort to stop yourself from judging and playing the blame game, and instead spend a fraction of the time lifting him/her up in prayers. That’s a more useful way to spend your time.

Have a lovely day
xoxo 😘

Instagram…really?

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I woke up abruptly this morning with a heaviness in my heart, and after several failed attempts at falling back asleep, I decided to spend time with God. I locked myself up in a spare room, and I knelt by the bed. For 5 minutes, I was silent, because in all honesty, I didn’t know what to say; I wasn’t quite sure how to put into words how my heart felt. I started by speaking in tongues, and as I went on, the words came to me and I spoke my heart to Him. I know He already knew everything I was going to say, but for my sake, I had to release the heaviness, by voicing out my feelings. I didn’t get a pat on my back, nor did I feel a hug…but as I spoke, He spoke and the more He spoke, the more assured I became. I went into His presence tired and heavy, and I came out refreshed and energized. Yet, I wanted a confirmation. A sign that all I heard Him say was not just my conscience talking back to me. Afterwards, I spent some time responding to emails, and chatting with friends, then I went on Instagram, and what do you know, I got my confirmation. Staring me in the face was His word, and it said, Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT) It is not physically possible for a heart to smile, but mine did. This word was the endearing pat on the back and the hug that I needed.

God talks to His children in many ways. He is not cookie cutter, and will use different avenues to speak to different people. He doesn’t always speak in form of rumbling thunder, nor does He always speak through a mentor. We need not be heavily dependent on ‘mediums or others’ to hear from God. He says, My sheep know (listen-hear) my voice John 10:27.

We only have to be sensitive to Him….and listen…

Are you listening?

xoxo

A listening heart

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Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard [a rare perfume] that was very expensive, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. And the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3

I believe that one of the hardest things to do is look within. We think that the fear of what we might find somewhat justifies the delay of internal dissection. I have been studying the book of John for a few weeks now, and it is in itself a masterpiece, illustrating intimate moments in the life of Jesus Christ, while providing readers with a wealth of knowledge-truths-revelations. The above verse struck a cord with me, and as I sat with my eyes fixed on this verse, I felt emotions welling up on the inside. How often do I give God scraps, while expecting His best for me? How often do I compromise His truth for the benefit of fleshly desires and the world? How often do I make Him AN option instead of THE only option?

Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:39-42 NLT)

Mary always paid attention to Jesus, she was thirsty for Him, He had a special place in her heart…actually I can go as far as saying He owned her heart. She cared about what He said; for her , His words were food to her soul and her nourishment came from being in His presence. She was herself around Him, and distractions were not an option. That she paid attention to Him was for her benefit, as He made her the best version of herself.

I consider the moments (in the wee hours of the morning) I spend at my Father’s feet, having a heart to heart, listening to Him, and giving Him all of me, very precious. Besides being full in my spirit, facing the challenges of the day become a walk in the park. I carry His fragrance with me throughout the day, thus I smile easily, I laugh easily and I am not easily offended (which is major, considering some of the irritating encounters it seems one must have in a day). The bottom-line is that, my time with Him benefits me. Like Mary, He makes me a divinely refined version of me.

In my journey in/with Christ, I have allowed myself be distracted by things that have added no value to my life, and I can’t even account for the wasted time. I am no where near perfect, but I am conscious that He perfects all that concerns me. If only for His elaborate show of love (death and resurrection of Christ) for me, He deserves nothing less than my best, and He certainly deserves more than a hasty scheduled appointment in my day. He desires my heart, and my listening heart is what I give Him.

Have a blessed and happy Sunday! 😊☺😀

xoxo

The High Of Newness

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A new/brilliant idea, a new job, a new love, a new house, a new purchase, a new baby…anything new causes a high, until it becomes ‘old’, and the joy you once derived from it wears off. The new year for most has started on a high note, and resolutions and goals have been made while on this high. The question is, what is the life span of your high? Life has so much to offer when we do not allow the pressures of life suck the life (passion, vibrancy, strength) out of us. But truth be told, most things about life can be pretty routine, mundane and some would say dry. Anybody’s life no matter how grande has the potential to become routine and dull. Its a matter of perspective, and that is were inspiration and passion come into play.

Sometimes, it is IMPERATIVE to step outside of your comfort zone. Live in excitement by first being conscious (aware) of yourself. Learn about you, your gifts, talents et al. If you cannot sing, dance. If you cannot dance, tap your feet. If you cannot draw, paint. If you cannot paint, write. If you cannot write, talk. If you cannot clean, cook. If you cannot run, walk. If you cannot swim, sit in the hot tub. My point is there is always opportunity for gratification & growth. Learn something new about anything you so desire! Be productive, outside of your 9-5. Live a life of service…live OUTSIDE of yourself… meet a need or two or more! Live a life poured out!

In this new year, there will be days you will not want to get out of bed, from tiredness, frustrations, heartache or failures. In those moments, tell your heart to beat again. Tell your heart to laugh again. Tell your heart to love again. Tell your heart to live again. Do not look to external sources to fulfil you, stir it up from within. Your sufficiency is the Christ in you (Colossians 1:27). It’s only the 3rd day of 2013, and I have already had to speak to my heart a few times. I have already had talks with myself, to remind myself that everything that I do is to honour God, not man. Else, I will be permanently upset and frustrated.

My prayer for you in this new year is that you abide in love, joy and happiness. That you will live a life of purpose, leaving your footprint and having an impact. That you will have many reasons to laugh and be thankful. That you will enjoy the company of your family and friends. That the fruits of God’s spirit is manifested in your life and that you find favour with God and man. This year is a blessed year for you, even as you remain disciplined and consistent in achieving your goals and diligently seeking God.

Happy new year 😘☺💃😎

xoxo

Imperfect me, perfect Him

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Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and
Streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43: 18-19 NIV

How unfortunate it is to be held hostage by your past. Life is happening, the calendar dates are changing; days to months and months to years, yet you are aging in the same spot.
There is a proverb that says:
“You can’t keep the birds from flying over your head, but you sure can keep the birds from building a nest in your hair”.
Challenges are inevitable and mistakes are guaranteed. Admittedly, they are at varying levels for different individuals. But ultimately it is your response to the situation that determines the end result.

Everyone has a past, a secret or two they hope no one will ever come to know about. Some allow past ill decisions or failures to determine their future, and others find ways to turn the tables around in their favour. The difference is perception. I made the mistake of thinking I had to be perfect to seek God. This mindset was my captivity, and I was on a daily grind of trying to figure everything out on my own. I went from pillar to post in search of liberation. I was advised on “this and that” and then did “this and that”. Truth be told, I exhausted myself running around in circles, and that’s when I made the decision to let go of my pride and bolt into the arms of hope. I realized much later in my walk with God that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus would be pointless if I could attain perfection on my own. It does the heart good to know that God made allowances for every blunder I would ever make; past, present and future. Knowing that God is not interested in me impressing Him, is weight lifted off my shoulders. He looks at my heart, not the works of my hands. He is moved by my faith, reliance on His grace, and my trust (confidence) in Him, not by my VIP pity parties. The Bible very clearly states that we are saved by grace, through faith, not by works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8). I did not buy my salvation, it is a gift from God, unwrapped by my faith.

What I am trying to say to you today is, stop trying to live independent of God’s grace. It doesn’t matter the mistakes you have made, it doesn’t matter what you have done, God’s love is unconditional, all-forgiving and all-accepting. You only have to allow yourself be loved back to whole – the best version of you. Others may have given up on you, you may even have given up on yourself. But your imperfection is unmined gold and He wants to unearth the gem that you are. The cool thing is, He is not subject to the world clock, and is not affected by time zones. It may seem like you are either running out of time or out of time, but in God’s reality you are just on time. If you think you are a mess, trust me there is always one other person in a messier situation. Come, the tangled mess that you are and let Him undo you one crossed wire at a time. He always needs something to work with anyways.

There are honestly still moments when for reasons unknown, I feel the need to scold myself for the stupid and rash decisions I have made. They seemed sensible in the moment, but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. Unfortunately, the picture only got clearer after the fact.

Save yourself the misery, stop judging yourself and don’t sentence yourself to a lifetime of “blah”. There is no justice in that. People are oh so very quick to remind you of your mistakes or faults, but Mr. and Mrs peoples did not create you, their words may sting, but let them be like dust – no staying power.

Every new day brings hope. Every new day is an opportunity to be better. When you fall, don’t stay down and don’t think you have to hit some sort of reset button. Get up, dust off the dirt and continue on. Forgive yourself. Accept what God is offering you and live life.

xoxo

God broke the silence…

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God broke the silence…

…By speaking in the only way we could truly understand

*********This morning, I spent some time studying the book of John with the intention to complete of completing at least 2 chapters. But alas! I only made it to verse 34 of the 1st chapter. I must say, what a wealth of rhema (revelation)! Each verse is deserving of a spot light, so I felt justified in breathing in the unique fragrance of each verse as I slowly weaved myself into its rhythm. Even so, I still feel like I haven’t scratched the surface of all that these verses have to offer. The first few verses had my head in knots, referring to the word as ‘Him’; giving the word a personality and even characterizing the word as ‘light’ and ‘life’. In 5 verses, it seemed I journeyed from the past (beginning) to eternal, with words of prophecy removing the veil from what is still a mystery to some.

Any relationship starts with a first step, the initial contact. Subsequently, it really does take 2 to tango. The maintenance is dependent on ongoing communication and a pre-requisite is spending time together. This is how you learn about the person, and become familiar with their mannerisms, quirks et al. Familiarity breeds connection, and when you are connected to a person, you are more inclined to want to understand him/her. Every new nugget of knowledge about the person is a building block. God understood this and He desired a connection with His creation – the people on the earth. He wanted us to be able to relate to Him. In His infinite wisdom, and in a bid to break the silence, He spoke and “the word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” John 1:14.

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God wants a relationship with us, but is not in the slightest bit interested in playing hide and seek or peek-a-boo. He wants us to see and enjoy the fullness of Him, but He will only reveal Himself to the extent we allow Him to. For One who is so mighty, loving and merciful, He is not forceful. He created us as free willing agents, and has given us a choice…life or death. He has done His part, coming down to our level, in the form of man. He taught us who we are and showed us how to live. He expressed His love for all, showing that He deals with anyone that will reach out to Him. He fulfilled His purpose, and carrying the weight (sins) of the world, was humiliated, crucified, and buried. His resurrection was a grand show of victory and a reminder to His children that we are over-comers. How we respond to this is our decision. The rest is up to us.

Many must have labeled John insane and when I think of it, I may have been one of them. In a period when folks were confined to the allowances of the laws of Moses, he talked about liberty in the grace of the One who is to come. He dared to be different, and had no qualms facing persecution. I’m certain that as I read further, I will have more to say about this man called John.

But lest I digress..

Verses 10-11 made my heart ache…And to think that how I felt is probably a drop of water in an ocean to how Jesus must have felt…WoW! Can you imagine your own child not recognizing you, better yet, rejecting and disowning you? After 9 months of pregnancy, having morning sickness and throwing up, getting fat and feeling heavy, having swollen feet and being out of breathe, going into labour, sweating profusely, screaming in pain…child comes out and down the line rejects me? Even thinking about the possibility of being disrespected by ‘child’ makes my blood boil. I am a working progress, so help me God! Hmmmm, I doubt that anyone would willingly offer themselves up to walk a mile in Jesus’ gladiator sandals.

The entrance of His word gives light, and where there is light, darkness cannot prevail. The word in flesh overcame death, His word is life. Jesus (the word) is God’s first fruit, His best. The word is God’s pulsating heart.

I finally get it….

Jesus is the sum of all God wants to say.

Question: when was the last time you hung out with a friend? When was the last time you hung out with God?

xoxo🙂