Facing Yourself

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This morning, on my long drive into work, I asked myself a question that made me take pause and reevaluate exactly what I have been praying for and why I have been praying for it.

I asked myself, and I quote, “why do you want to be in a relationship? Why is that one of the desires of your heart? For real?”

Immediately, I started coming up with pre-planned answers in my head that I knew weren’t true but sounded good to the ear and would make sense if someone were to ask me that question in person. But then, I said to myself in a small whisper, “dig a little deeper…really examine this and actually tell yourself the truth this time.”

In that moment, I took a deep breath and faced myself. I knew innately that the reason I am searching so fervently is because I feel that there is something missing in my life that I believe another person can fill. That’s a stronghold, ladies and gentlemen. That is a fortified place of thought in my psyche that didn’t want to face the fact that I felt like there was something someone else could give me that I necessarily couldn’t give myself.

That is where so many of us go wrong. I realized in that moment that I am going to be real disappointed when this person doesn’t fill the place I was sooo convinced that he would fill.

The only person who can fill every part of me to overflowing is myself and the Holy Spirit.

It is not my future husband’s job to do it for me because that is just too heavy a load for one person to carry. I’m letting him off the hook to instead put the responsibility on myself to be everything I need someone else to be for me.

My singleness has been the most profound learning experience for me because it gave me time to really heal. I had so many self-inflicted and non-self-inflicted traumas that skewed and distorted my view of myself, the world, relationships, and men. I was so broken and I am so glad God didn’t permit for me to enter into a relationship because I would have squandered what He entrusted to me. That relationship would have been tumultuous at best because broken people do not have the capacity to build a foundation until they are put back together and solid.

I am solid now. I have a foundation that God helped me build for myself. I love this girl and she makes me proud every single day. I love who I am and who I am not. I don’t always feel this confident because there are days when you’re just not feeling it. But, I make sure to not allow myself to wallow especially when I am breathing and healthy.

But, to get to the point, here is why I want to be in a relationship: My heart’s desire is to have a co-laborer. Someone who gets me and my thoughts. They understand who I am and who I am not. They give me room to breathe while letting me know that they’re never too far away.

But, here’s the kicker.

I need to be all those things I stated above for myself first so that I can teach someone how to love me like that. People will not automatically know the kind of love you need, you have to show them and keep showing them because sometimes it will change and fluctuate with age. I must be my own co-laborer. I must get myself. I must understand who I am and who I am not. I have to give myself room to breathe while letting myself know that I’ve got me.

The love you give yourself is the most important aspect of every relationship you are in. The measure in which you love yourself is the measure in which you will be able to pour that love into others and have it reciprocated.

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Oh, You’re Trying to Vote, Vote!

Yes, yes I am! But, it has been such a confusing process!

Moment of Transparency: I have never voted. Ever. To be honest, I always had this misconception that my vote didn’t really matter so what was the point of actually taking the necessary steps to do it.

I was so wrong. Thank God for growth!

For anyone else out there just like me, I have compiled 5 easy steps to get you to that finish line of voting and not just registered.

Step 1: Register to vote! People have so many opinions on what is going on in the world but you can’t find them nowhere on USA.Gov’s list of registered voters. Online voter registration for mid-term elections ends on October 30th. Voting takes place on November 6th.

Fun Fact: You can register online or in person on the actual day but, online is easier: www.usa.gov

Step 2: Research political parties & candidates. Here is a list of websites to check out and my ratings for them.

An Okay Website: congress.gov (too confusing and way too much jargon, sorry not sorry)

The HOLY GRAIL Website: votesaveamerica.com

Sidebar: When I tell you, VoteSaveAmerica is the best website for people to effectively prepare to vote, I am not playing around. You can register to vote on there, you can see a FULL list of the candidates in your region and state, where they stand on current issues, their experience and so much more! I mean, this website is to voters what RateMyProfessor.com is to college students, EVERYTHING!

Step 3: Know the issues. Every state is different so you must know what issues directly impact you. For CT, where I live, one of our big issues involves taxes so, I made sure to pay close attention to what the candidates said regarding taxes. See what I mean?

Step 4: Find your polling place. Once again, for all that information, visit usa.gov

PS: I have included all direct links to make your life easier.

Step 5: Cast your ballot on November 6th! WooHoo! You did it! You have reached the finish line!

Remember: If the candidate of your choosing is not on the official ballot, you are allowed to write it in.

I hope these tips help you in some way! I wanted to create something that made it easier for those first-time voters like myself who had absolutely no clue where to start this process. See you at the polls on November 6th!

 

 

My Breathtaking Reward

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I have spent the better part of the past four years avoiding relationships. Now, to be fair I spent most of that time learning who I am and falling in love with the woman I became.

However….

That is not the only reason I steered clear of relationships for this long. The truth is…

I am petrified.

How did I come to this realization might you ask? I had a conversation with Jesus. Yep…If you ever want to have the truth smack you in the face, just have a conversation with Jesus and the hard, cold truth will not be too far behind.

I am petrified of opening myself up to a relationship because my heart is complete mush. Wheew! There! I said it. I am a sap, a hopeless romantic, a lover of love, whatever you call it, that’s what I am.

Now, this may not sound like groundbreaking news but if you knew me personally, you would see just how confounding that revelation is. I am not an emotional person (oxymoron, I know) but I’m really not. I am the one that remains calm in the face of chaos. I’m usually the level-headed person in the group to help my friends and family navigate life’s choppy waters.

But… (You knew there was a ‘but’ coming)

I am quickly realizing that there are different ranges when it comes to emotions and how they impact our lives. Emotions often fall into different categories and can be compared to a Richter Scale where different situations and circumstances invoke different levels of emotional response.

I realized that I am not emotional when it comes to things that do not require me to be vulnerable (solving problems, finding solutions, being level-headed). However, when it comes to real life relationships (not counting family & close friends), all bets are off. I am an emotional wreck. My emotional levels are at the very top of the Richter Scale because those emotions petrify me.

But you know what scares me the most? Here goes…

I am petrified of being in a relationship that does not bring honor to God’s kingdom. I need my relationship to be ordained by God on all fronts. My issue is that I don’t trust myself when it comes to my decision making faculties in relationships. I lost that trust a long time ago.

What I mean by that is, I spend more time overthinking the person’s actions and trying to figure out their angle than I do trusting the Holy Spirit to show me.

The difference now though is that I do have Jesus and the Holy Spirit. He is in my corner and He is the light at my feet so I’m no longer in the trenches alone. But, changing your belief system and mindset when it comes to a particular part of your life that has remained fixed for so long is extremely difficult. How do you change your fixed mindset to embrace a growth mindset?

Here’s how:

You jump in head first.

Because relationships and opening myself up to being vulnerable is so petrifying to me, I am using this as an opportunity to jump in head first. Due to the fact that it scares me, I am going to stand up in the face of that fear and deal with it head-on.

It is time to grow up and mature.

Fear is not real. It is just another tactic and scheme used to keep you from progressing and moving into a new phase. I’ve learned that on the other side of fear lies the most breathtaking rewards. 

I WILL get to the breathtaking reward portion of my promise and it all starts today!

Thank you Jesus.

Are you ready to jump in head-first too? Let’s jump in together. I can’t wait to see us fly.

The GOODNESS of the Lord

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I’ve been on this journey with Christ for a few years, which is nothing in comparison to some Christians who have been doing this for much longer. But, what I lack for in experience, I make up for in fervency and desperate pursuit.

I acknowledge that like a lot of things in life, the more familiar you are with something, the more desensitized you become to its impact and relevance. For example, when you first meet your wife or husband, the attraction is there and they can do absolutely no wrong. You love being around them and getting to know every single thing about them.

Fast forward to 10 years later…

The same fervency in which you pursued your spouse in the beginning of your courtship is no longer the same. You both become blunted to the very things that ignited your relationship and cemented it for the future. In fact, there are times you don’t even realize how far off track your relationship has gotten.

That is how some relationships are between God and some Christians. But, for me, this is all new to me…still. I’ve been on this journey for 4 years and I am still amazed every single day that I get to serve Christs’ Kingdom and actually have an inheritance. I am still amazed when God opens a door that had been closed off for years, then all of a sudden, there is a fresh wave of favor upon my life to open that door up and keep it that way. I am still amazed when I hear the Holy Spirit actually speak to me. I am simply…amazed.

What I have learned about the goodness of Jesus Christ when you make a covenant with Him is that, if you keep up your end of the bargain, He will keep His. Over a year ago, I made a covenant with God in my living room during a powerful time spent in prayer. I felt my life shift that day and I made a promise to myself that I would guard that covenant with my life! I think I’ve done a good job so far of keeping my word and following through.

My covenant with God is that if I am obedient to His will and His ways, I will have an open heaven over my life.

Quick sidebar/disclaimer: That covenant is not for the weak minded, undisciplined or the impatient.

Being obedient to God means stopping when everything in you is telling you to GO.

Being obedient to God means being in complete and utter sorrow and sadness but the minute you walk into His sanctuary, you give Him your all to the point that no one would even know the depth of your hardships and trials.

Being obedient to God means jumping headfirst and praying that you will sprout wings and be able to fly.

There are no guarantees when it comes to being obedient. Your default response and reaction to God when the Holy Spirit downloads, reveals and drops something in your spirit is to GO. You don’t stop going until the Holy Spirit tells you that it is time to rest your head.

My obedience has exponentially changed the entire trajectory of my life and destiny. This has happened in a lot of small ways and big ways as well. I have been radically changed because I was willing to yield to His will for my life. I no longer acknowledged what I wanted and conformed to what Christ wanted for me.

In exchange for my obedience, I am wealthy in wisdom, knowledge and my finances.

In exchange for my obedience, every single thing that I do succeeds. Every. Single. Thing.

In exchange for my obedience, my family structure is healthier now than it has been in the past 15 years.

In exchange for my obedience, my steps are always ordered and I never have to question what God needs me to do next. He directs me every step of the way.

In exchange for my obedience, I can walk into a car dealership, find the car I want and get approved for a loan from my credit union without having enough credit history to get approved in the first place. (This just happened this morning, by the way.)

The list goes on and on….

The GOODNESS of the Lord is showcased in every sphere of my life. His goodness oozes out of my pores because I carry Him with me like a second skin. I want every person that interacts with me to experience Jesus in some way. Because, my purpose is to be a beacon of light in a world that is so tainted by darkness and I aim to do just that.

How has the Lord been good to you lately? I want to hear some of your thoughts so, comment below!

A Mother’s Love

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day has always been a really tough day for me because I lost my mom at a very young age so, the day was always filled with people showering their mothers with love and appreciation while I sat back and wished for the impossible; “If only my mom was here and I could just wrap my arms around her…”

It’s fascinating the things that people take for granted like something as simple as hugging their mom is something that someone else only wishes they had.

Last year was the culmination of the pain of not having my mom around. I had the hardest, yet most cathartic Mothers Day and after 24 years, I finally got my healing and found peace in the middle of the storm.

It’s amazing what happens when you truly give your life to Christ. He really begins to pick up all of your broken pieces and then He creates a whole new masterpiece. A lot of the time, you don’t even realize you never fully healed from a situation until God shines a light on it and makes you face it head on. I thought I had healed from losing my mother in a tragic way but all I did was stop the bleeding. The wound never got a chance to heal properly and slowly but surely, I was bleeding out internally and I didn’t even know.

I was bleeding out because I never allowed myself to get close enough to people because the pain of losing someone I love was too much. So, I was a closed off and cold in relationships except with family and very close friends. I was bleeding out because I created an impenetrable fortress that kept my feelings and emotions from spilling out.

But then God came and he knocked that impenetrable wall down and showed me how much beauty there was in my brokenness and He gave me a safe place to just feel the pain, not just go through the motions.

At my church on Mother’s Day 2017, I finally let myself feel the pain, loss, anguish and complete desolation of losing my mother and as sobs wracked my body, through my blurry vision I saw the open arms of my pastor as she enveloped me in an embrace that had to have been sent straight from heaven as a seal from God saying that He GOT me.

As the sobs subsided and the tears began to dry up, there came this beautiful peace that washed over me like a warm, thick blanket and I found myself smiling. I smiled because another part of my testimony fell into place and I knew that there are many people out there who feel the depth of the pain that I felt and still feel from time to time, but God showed me how to find the peace in the middle of the storm.

This year, I was able to be a beacon of strength for someone else as they let themselves feel the pain of losing their mom and in that moment, I realized how God’s ways always come full circle. I had to go through the unimaginable pain of losing my mother because my testimony is one day going to help someone else find their healing in the midst of the storm. I would not wish losing a parent on anyone but I now understand that those who are strong enough to endure such a loss, have the responsibility to help others endure, overcome and heal as well.

You know what else is amazing?

For the first time in a really long time, I didn’t feel sad yesterday, I simply felt…Peace. And you wonder why I’m sold out for Jesus? Who else could have turned my pain into something where when I think about it, all I can feel is the peace that God infused into my very being the day I handed over that pain to him.

To all the people out there who lost their mothers, I feel your pain so profoundly because a mother’s love is irreplaceable but, I am here to tell you that if you trust God with your broken pieces, he will turn them into a whole new masterpiece.

Just. Trust. HIM.

It was the best decision I have ever made.

 

Stay on the Wall!

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Staying on the wall is a lot harder than it sounds. It is probably the hardest thing you will have to do in your journey with Christ. Staying on the wall makes surrendering your heart and will over to Jesus look like child’s play.

IT.IS.BRUTAL.

Have you ever had one of those weeks where from the minute you wake up until the minute you lay your head back down to sleep, you are being tested, pruned, purged, molded, gutted and back to being tested? Have you ever gone through days upon days of constant pruning and purging of your flesh? It is absolutely gut-wrenching and the most uncomfortable thing you will endure.

Transition seasons are very important seasons in the life of a believer but it is also one of the hardest. Your season of transition takes place between where you are now and where you are going. The in between area is where it gets really crazy.

I am in my in-between area right now and I only have one word to describe it: HELP!

In seasons of transition, you will find yourself in situations that test everything in you and the angels of God will be dispensed to judge the disposition of your heart and how you react to the hand you’ve been dealt. God is in a season of judgement and he has dispensed angels to judge, observe, discern and make declarations against the body of Christ.

We are in a season of reckoning that will produce many casualties and the body of Christ will receive a death blow because believers will be turning away from the truth of the word to explore other pastures.

This is not the season to be so callous.

This season is going to stretch us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine or fathom and it’s going to be extremely uncomfortable. But, God asks of only one thing from us as we travail through the forests, deserts and valleys and that is to STAY ON THE WALL.

When God spoke this to me this morning, I had a flash of every single person that is connected to me (My family, friends, covenant family, coworkers, onlookers, etc.) and I envisioned something my spiritual father said we have to do in life which involves holding my arms up above my head and staying in position. I realized that the minute I falter, everything that is connected to me will falter too.

You can’t afford to take your eyes off the wall. You can’t afford to take your eyes off of your assignment. You can’t afford to be moved to and fro by your emotions which are 99.99999% always biased and wrong.

YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO LEAVE THE WALL.

The lives of your family depends on it. The lives of your lineage depends on it. Your destiny and purpose depends on it. Anyone connected to you will feel the aftershocks of you walking away from the wall because it starts from the head down.

Here is my testimony:

I am a warrior in Christ and my faith is steeped in a belief system that is based on the truth of the word. I will not doubt God and I can’t afford to doubt myself because if “greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world-1 John 4:4″, when I doubt myself, aren’t I in turn doubting God?

I will win. I will prosper. My life is a victory lap! Speak to it! Speak it over your life!

I will not cross every “T” and dot every “I” but I will proclaim the glory of God from the fruit of my lips and I will stay on the wall.

The kingdom of God needs believers who are not easily shaken or moved from their seat of authority in Christ. Do we not realize how hard we fought to get that seat in the first place? The hell we had to go through? The season and climate that we are in can’t take another lukewarm believer. The kingdom needs fire and passion! That is the only way the will of God will be manifested in the Earth because he will have people whose passion for his kingdom opens up new realms in the heavens to bring light and life to regions and nations.

 STAY ON THE WALL!

The Beauty in Singleness

If you’re still here after reading the title then I know you’re ready to read what I have to say.

Singleness is often defined as lonely, unfulfilling, empty and just boring.

Here is my definition of singleness: Necessary, magical, illustrious, and life changing in so many good ways.

A lot of people want to be in relationships but do you have what it takes to be someone’s partner, like FOR REAL? Do you have what it takes to forgive the person you are with without grudges after they’ve hurt you or vice versa? Do you have what it takes to build a foundation that is saturated in trust, friendship, accountability and most importantly, compassion? Do you have what it takes?

Relation-ship.

Relation is defined as the way in which two or more objects or people are connected.

Ship is defined as a vessel that is used to carry what travels the world’s waters and other sufficiently deep waterways.

Relation-ship therefore is defined as a particular type of connection between two or more entities or phenomena that carries weight across deep waterways.( or in this case, situations and trials you will face together). It is a binding, usually continuous association between individuals wherein one has some influence on feelings or actions of the other.

Before you read on, I want you answer this question: Why are you single?

From your own perspective, jot it down on a piece of paper or simply come up with the answer in your mind.

For many single young Christians out there like myself who follow Christ, they are actively seeking a spouse. They want to be married. But, what most of them don’t realize is that they are already married…

Let me say that again just in case you missed that part: Youare already in a marriage if you are in covenant with God.

When you are in covenant with God, the same rules and stipulations apply to what would be expected in an earthly marriage. Here’s four examples of why:

1. Courtship: You still have to court God. No matter how long or deep your relationship with God is or has been, you have to actively seek him every day. That’s the same thing we do when we’re dating but the only difference is, the courting does not stop once the covenant is made. If anything, it’s just now really beginning.

2. Quality Time: You still have to spend quality time with God. One of the keys to any successful relationship or marriage is quality time. Spending time with God in a quiet place replenishes the covenant and fills both parties back up. The same goes for relationships today, we must spend quality time with our loved ones, it is imperative that we do so because it strengthens the covenant that we made with them.

3. Communication: You still have to communicate with God. A lot. The only way to gain revelation and understanding is through communication, which is why prayer is so important. God wants to be in constant communication with us, no matter how brief. Just like in a relationship, as you go throughout the day and you check in with your loved one just to let them know you’re thinking about them. The same thing applies here when it comes to communicating with God. Sometimes just checking in makes a world of difference.

4. Laying Your Life Down: You have to make a choice every day to lay your life down for God. It doesn’t work if you give your life to God one time and say “God knows how much I love him so it’s all good.” Actually, it’s not. Laying your life down means being willing to sacrifice your wants to fulfill the other person’s needs. Sacrifice is one of the major keys to a lasting relationship. In my opinion, it’s the most important because every single day, you are actively making a choice to love that person no matter what and to do what you can on your part to make sure it stays that way. That takes incredible commitment and dedication to do but it’s worth it. It’s not about what you can get from the relationship, it’s about what you can give to the relationship. What are you pouring out that is conducive to the longevity of your relationship? We must ask ourselves these questions daily.

All in all, there are many more examples but the ones above are meant to simply show all you singles out there that building a covenant relationship with God will teach you the true essence of marriage and the foundation it will have to be built on. So, instead of searching for a spouse, search to deepen your covenant with Him because you are already spoken for. In other words, when God brings your future spouse into your life, that’s Him making a sacrifice for you because He wants to make you happy. Now, He will have to share you with someone else when at one point in time, all your attention and devotion was on Him. If that’s not sacrifice, I don’t know what is.