For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6
Good morning beautiful people! I hope you are having an amazing day so far. I’m home, sitting on my bed, being a bum, lol, before I go take care of some business. I read a devotion in this book "Draw the Circle;" I read "The Circle Maker," a book on prayer and also got the 40-day prayer challenge that goes along with it. The devotion spoke of the importance of journaling. I am an avid journaler, lol, and I have been writing in journals probably since I could write. Afterwards, I grabbed my new journal to write (new journal, new journey), but God pressed on my heart to grab my journal from the last two years and to look through it.
Looking back in this way allowed me to see how God has grown me. And one entry in particular has truly moved my heart. I’ll share some of it with you.
On February 6, 2012, I wrote this:
"I wish I could leave and go into a place where I could recover from this, but I know that is unrealistic."
At the time, I was still recovering from my daddy’s death, dealing with some betrayal, dealing with a broken heart and simply attempting to heal from all my past relationships. I was still in Charleston.
Funny that I looked back today, because God did just that in moving me here. He answered a prayer that seemed unrealistic to me by moving me to New Orleans and allowing me to begin law school. He provided finances to help with the cost of school. He put me in a cocoon, so to speak, because I have not had a serious relationship and have spent time building and nurturing my relationship with Him. He healed my heart, empowered me to forgive, and showed me the things that mattered most. He has made me comfortable in my own skin, no longer bound by the words of others or their opinions. He taught me to trust Him and that I can rest in Him. Granted, I still have more work to do, but God truly answered my prayer. And before I looked in my journal, I didn’t remember even asking God for that.
He has truly brought me full circle–from this year being so busy that I could not get sad on my daddy’s death anniversary but was instead joyful and cried tears of joy! He has moved me from a place of complete dependence on my job as a means of survival to being willing to quit and resting in Him for provision. I have not worked a full 80 hours since last year. He has been just moving and blessing me in such major ways that I can’t explain…It is all God. All Him.
I invite you to reflect on your life. Reflect on how God has grown you, moved you from one place to another (both literally and spiritually), and just give Him a shout of praise for the progression. If you have not yet experienced this in some area of your life, you will come full circle because God wants us to be better men and women! He wants to grow us and develop us. He wants to mature us and make us better for His use. He wants to stretch us and manifest His glory in our lives. If you haven’t kicked the bucket and are reading this, you obviously still have plenty of time!
He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:8
Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him. Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said. Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Someday, like today for me, you will realize you have gotten to a point in your life where the moves that God has you making do not seem to make sense to others. And that’s okay, because your purpose is to trust and rest in God, fulfilling God’s will for your life. Today I was reminded of the stories of Joseph and Abraham as I realized that what God has me doing does not make sense to outsiders (this is the MAIN reason God had me learn to keep my mouth shut). I’m perfectly okay with it because I see how He has confirmed His word to me time and time again.
For some, it does not make sense to go back to the old office where I was thrown under the bus time after time, overlooked for my promotion, discriminated against, harassed and undervalued (hey it doesn’t make very much sense to me either lol hahaha). It does not make sense to stay in a technical job when I am in law school to ultimately change careers some day. It does not make sense to move back to South Carolina after I did everything I could to move to New Orleans. But that’s okay too.
I shared Joseph’s story first because he had to hold on to the dreams that God gave him even when his own family was jealous of him. Sometimes you will get to a point in your walk with God where you have to hold on to what He told/showed you even when others doubt and do not believe it. But Joseph experienced accusation and demotion–being accused of rape by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison after being sold into slavery by his own brothers. It was all part of God’s plan because at the right time, God elevated him to second in command only to Pharaoh! (see Genesis 41) The road may temporarily get lonely, but you are not crazy, keep your eyes on God and keep trusting Him.
Even more similar to my situation is Abraham’s own journey. In fact, before moving here, I taught bible study on Abraham’s great faith, and God has reminded me of it many times throughout my stay here. Genesis 12:1 states God’s decree to Abram (before God changed his name): The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you." Later in verse 4 Abram leaves for Canaan with the promise that God would make him a great nation among many other amazing blessings. He arrives, and takes the lesser land after he and his nephew Lot decide on splitting the land. Then in verse 10 Abram leaves– "Now there was a famine in the land, and Abram went down to Egypt to live there for a while because the famine was severe." To most it would seem crazy to uproot yourself and all your family and possessions from your family. But to leave the "promised land" is even crazier. Yet still, there was purpose in Abraham’s temporary departure. Abraham left Egypt more wealthy than he went!
In both of these radical faith situations, Joseph and Abraham had to be willing to trust God despite what others thought. It was their faith that paid off for them. God increased them at the appointed time and used the detours as part of the overall plan to elevate them to their destiny.
So I encourage myself today and I hope this blesses you…don’t give up when circumstances try to make you question the things God has revealed to you. Don’t give up when you are told you are confused or crazy. As long as it is God’s voice you are listening to, you will get to your promised land–whether it is actually a place, a person, or simply a place in Him.
The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”
I’m sharing this with y’all because he has an amazing testimony. This is my friend Marcus. He QUIT his job to follow his dream of connecting math with music. I honestly remember when he was thinking of going to grad school for a program that would connect his passions for math and music. Then last year he reached out to me and others to support him in this…I obeyed God and supported him because I saw God’s blessing on the vision he had. I had to see this as encouragement to myself because of my impending move and quitting my job…the uncertainty that awaits. It strengthened my faith because just like God used me and others to sow into him, He will do the same for me and for you. God will make a way and provide for you when you trust Him. So I wanted to pass it on. Don’t limit God, follow the dream He gave you–of course you must know Him and seek Him for the dream He has for you–because He will bless the dreams He has given you. It requires some radical faith–which apparently is only the size of a mustard seed, lol. You have to be willing to walk on water like Peter–keep your eyes on Jesus! Marcus quit his job at the end of May last year and went into this full time with only two schools, working the program alone. Now, his program has spread to 15 schools and he has a staff. Bottom line: don’t give up on your dreams, because as long as God ordained it and you keep Him first, its sure to manifest and be larger than you can imagine!!
David therefore sought God on behalf of the child. And David fasted and went in and lay all night on the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground, but he would not, nor did he eat food with them. On the seventh day the child died. And the servants of David were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they said, “Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spoke to him, and he did not listen to us. How then can we say to him the child is dead? He may do himself some harm.” 2 Samuel 12:16-18
Today is one of those truth moments y’all! I pray you are well and that you are remaining encouraged in this day and time!
When seasons change and the things we have prayed for manifest, we celebrate and shout! We look forward to the next prayer service, the next fast, or simply the next experience of God because He favored us with His answering of our prayer request in ways favorable to us.
But let’s be real, there are many times when the things we have prayed for don’t come into fruition. We pray and pray and that thing does not happen. We want it our way but God simply says no. Many refer to it as unanswered prayer, but I believe the absence of that thing is definitely God saying no. Whether God explicitly says no or denies you without what you think is a clear reply, what do you do in those situations?
If you look at David here, God had already told him that the child he and Bathsheba conceived in sin would die. He thought God would honor his fast and prayers and change his mind. David had gotten outside of God’s will and had sinned, and so there was a penalty here. Honestly, you will get a “no” from God when you have gotten off the appointed path He has planned for you and taken a detour on I Want It My Way Boulevard. You think that because He has said yes so many other times that this time will be just like the others…and when you don’t get what you have prayed for, you become bitter towards God. You get angry, you lose faith, and eventually you keep making additional detours, leading you further and further away from your destiny. Now, granted, a “no” is not to punish you, it just can mean that God has something better in mind. I’ve made my share of detours, but thank God for reeling me in and getting me back on track.
I’m going to share my testimony with a prayer answered no. So here goes.
For a few years now, I have known who I am supposed to marry. (Of course there is free will so this person may never step up, but I’m going to keep praying for him and trusting God for our appointed season…but that’s another devotion, another day lol.) Because things happened to cause me to give up waiting on him to come around, I have been dating others. One guy in particular had surfaced as my top choice and I was making plans in my head, like we women do lol. (Don’t you say you haven’t put his last name next to your first…I know you’re lying. Lol) I was thinking of telling him to consider that the distance will be shorter when I move and that I didn’t mind traveling to make it work with him. I had gotten so excited, because every time I saw him, he gave me everything I felt I wanted. So I prayed about him…well I did two things. First I prayed about all the guys I associated with, that God remove those who were not supposed to be there, and that I cut off any attachments preventing me from getting married. (Maybe this is a yes and NOT a “no,” lol) I also prayed about this guy…shocking to me, God was swift with that no, via a dream. The dream revealed that our relationship was to be solely platonic, and that I was actually to speak into and minister to him. I was supposed to lead him to the Word, a ‘new life’ in God, maybe even encourage a ministry to be birthed in him. I was not happy about that at all!! God threw salt all on the fire in my heart and threw a ocean wave on my plans lol.
I was all in my feelings about it too. I thought we would be perfect together and that we would have some pretty babies (yes I went there smh). Yeah, there were things that we had our differences on, but I had known him since college, so we had history. I pouted all last week about it, struggling with the fact that God did not have the same plans as me for me and this guy. To add insult to injury, God was crystal clear to remind me that the person He had previously revealed to me as my husband was, in fact, still going to be my husband (I’ll be honest, I still love him…but had settled for life without him in that role). Talk about feeling some type of way! I was really upset about it. I reached out to my prayer partners and had them all pray for me about it. I was really hoping God would change His mind, and let me have who I wanted or that I would get some peace with what I felt was a major loss. The spoiled brat behavior culminated last weekend when I made peace with the fact that God’s will was better than what I could plan or conjure up. I quickly got in line with His agenda and resumed prayers for my husband.
Much like David, I wanted things my way. I definitely did not go to David’s lengths of having Uriah killed to cover up his impregnating Bathsheba, but I prayed a senseless prayer when God had already spoken. (Now this is a distinction…yes God does have mercy–He had mercy on Hezekiah and gave him 15 extra years of life–but here and like David, I was outside of God’s will) I tried to convince God to change His mind to give me what I wanted, well who I wanted. I prayed about it, had been praying for him over the years off and on but God was clear that He had other plans.
I love this picture because I was her last week. I wanted who I wanted because I could not see how God could make the person He has revealed to me better for me. I couldn’t see it because my eyes were not looking from faith, but at past occurrences. Sometimes it isn’t always a “who”, but a thing, a lifestyle or a place that we want that is outside of God’s will.
Whenever you ask a question, and it is outside of God’s divine will for you, you always get a no. Don’t be stubborn and let that “no” lead you to rebellion–because you decide to do it anyway. Why, you ask? You will end up worse off than before. The beauty is that God’s grace and mercy are new every morning, so you can repent wholeheartedly and get back on track. BUT why get back on track, if you never leave His will? Don’t let a “no” set you back.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 1 Peter 1:6
I pray you are well and these words give you some encouragement. These last three months have been eventful to say the least. My time is nearing its end here in New Orleans and I’m grateful. I’ve learned the lessons (I hope) that I was supposed to learn, lightened my load and am leaving a lot behind here…physically, spiritually, and mentally. I’m grateful because God has kept me through it all.
I wanted to share this past Saturday how God has demonstrated His unfailing love for me time and time again, but especially in these months. This past Saturday was 4 years since my daddy went home to be with the Lord, and God kept me so busy with school and work that I could not get sad because I was alone. In fact, I was glad because my daddy wasn’t suffering anymore and how God has used it to heal me and my family. I was especially glad because God showed me that He wanted to hand-handle my healing process by keeping me alone. In that, I was able to press through the challenge of rewriting a significant part of that 30 page brief (in total 42 pages of blood, sweat, tears and a lack of sleep ) and also overcome my fear of speaking in front of others to give my oral argument. Focusing on that alone has kept me in a place that I had to trust God and overcome myself to get through. And all I could do is cry at the revelation of it.
I also now see that my medicines needed to be increased because of the great amount of physical stress I would be under from being sick and stressed with the demands of work and school. The more suppressed my immune system was, the less likely I would reject the kidney. I figured that out one day when I realized the effects all of this had on me. Stress and illness does the opposite. I wasn’t eating like I should, I wasn’t sleeping enough, and I was just worn down. I was sick a great portion of February, stressing out because I was sick and had gotten behind in the class that I had to write the brief and do the oral argument for…just plain tired and discouraged. Of course those medicines played a part in me being more susceptible to getting sick, but of course these things are sometimes counterintuitive.
So I had to learn to trust God in a new way…and like never before. I had to surrender to Him, and even now I’m having to surrender to some things I don’t particularly feel like doing or feel comfortable in doing. But its all for God’s glory. He showed me things about myself, mistakes I made in the past, that kept me from fully moving forward. And its beautiful because I feel like I’ve come full circle in such a short amount of time…now I can move forward and leave the baggage behind.
Well now I’m counting down, and the pressure has been on me these last few days to give up and question God because its out of my control. I’m in a place I have never been, and it honestly scared me. I’ll be quitting my job in May to move back to SC, and right now I don’t have anything to go back to. I don’t have an apartment located yet, I don’t have a job, and I haven’t been accepted to Charleston School of Law yet (haven’t submitted the application yet). I know I can’t doubt God because He has done too much for me. I was in a similar situation when I moved here, and He worked everything out that I had somewhere to go stay and worked it out that my job transferred me here.
I’ll admit, it has been rough at times here. Work issues took the cake, coupled with a difficult first year of law school, a mediocre first semester this second year (well mediocre to me), to now being told twice that I can’t come back to my job in Charleston. If you ask the faithless Marquita how she feels, she would say I’m losing it over here (lol). Yet, I’m not. I have my moments of fear rising, but they are quickly quelled by all the word of God in my heart. I see I had to spend the time teaching bible study before I left and my first year here so I could study the word for myself to teach others. Now I am relying on that same word to get me through.
God has His way of reassuring me, a whimsical way of leading me to the scriptures He wants me to see. Last mini testimony for this one, I promise. I was up watching movies on Saturday after hanging with my linesister (I love you Ashley!). So I watched The Wood, Being Mary Jane (the movie–I don’t watch TV so I decided I’d see what it was all about), and Turbo. After watching The Wood and seeing how Omar Epps’ character Mike still loved Alicia, I shed some tears for my own hopes of marriage some day. (I’m a self-professed crybaby so leave me be!) Then, in watching Being Mary Jane and her dissolute, hopeless story, I cried even more, having almost lost hope for a future of happiness with someone…because as life would paint it, successful black women don’t get married or they get taken advantage of in some way. Let’s not even approach the topic of women in ministry (tuh). I cried and wondered in my mind if that would be my fate. True enough, my family is no where like hers nor are my circumstances hers…so I know it was the enemy. Since I hate going to sleep sad, I decided to watch something else. I ended up watching Turbo. It was like God was speaking directly to me, showing me numbers (I checked the clock and randomly my account balances, don’t judge me, insomnia induced ADD) to get me to check certain scriptures…but I’m certain He had me watch that movie. Little Turbo the snail never gave up on his dreams, even when the person he loved the most discouraged him. So clear as day, I heard "don’t give up on your dreams. Keep your foundation in me. I love you. You will have those things that I promised you." Then I cried some more because I realized that the enemy was trying in whatever way he could to get me to doubt God. It also reminded me why I’m careful what I listen to and why I don’t watch TV–you have to protect your gates from the enemy!! But it encouraged me, that God would go to such a great length to reassure me. He even did the same for me yesterday with this stuff with work.
I guess I’m sharing all of this to encourage you. Don’t give up. Times may feel difficult right now, things may have you cornered, but God is still God. If He can be concerned about everything about little ole me, I know He has to love you the same. Luke 12:7– Why, even all the hairs on your head have been counted! Stop being afraid. You are worth more than a bunch of sparrows." So don’t give up! If God knows how many hairs we have–something so minute–He must be concerned with the greater issues we face. He is there, waiting for you to turn to Him and reach for Him. These things you are facing are temporary, and will soon end. Then you will celebrate. With that, I love you all. Be encouraged!
Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad–for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world. 1 Peter 4:12-13
Now the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will personally restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little. 1 Peter 5:10
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
I have some beautiful shoes I bought. They are taupe–more grey than taupe but still beautiful nonetheless. But I have gotten attached to them and several pairs of shoes like it. See, I like peep toe shoes with a closed heel. I don’t know why! But I think they look best on my feet. Until I got these shoes, and well another pair I already have but seldom wear. They are a little tight because the leather needs to give…they are not unbearably uncomfortable but there is a tightness that made me go back and forth about keeping them.
So God spoke to me about the shoes last night before bed. We often end up in the same situations over and over again without knowing. At first it’s cute, fun, and exciting. Then the same problems we had before in other situations start surfacing. We wonder where it went wrong…and we continue this behavior. Could be eating, dieting or dating but it’s a pattern nonetheless.
Hopefully you’re like me, you realize that particular cut of shoe isn’t for you (or maybe that designer!). You recognize the pattern and stop making the same mistakes: you learn from them after you have been in the fire one too many times, or you end up depressed, stressed and beat down. Recognizing the pattern is only half the battle. Go to a shoe specialist (okay I’m done with the shoes)–or The Chief Specialist, God–and analyze the problem. Pray and cry out to Him. Ask Him to search your heart and reveal you to yourself. Ask God to show you the dark areas that need to be illuminated, the wounds that need healing, and the things that need to be forgiven. And soon, the habit will be broken and you can go forward to live in the victory!
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God–truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4:21-24
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. (John 19:30 NLT)
Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. (2 Corinthians 8:11 NLT)
So I got peace about sharing some of my testimony from the last three months. So many lessons I’ve learned…so much clarity I’ve gained and all I can say outside of being sleepy right now is that I’m so grateful.
This morning as I went to sleep, body worn out and weary…I had peace because I had completed my 30 page brief. This time last week I had just given myself a pep talk after having a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment as I like to call it. I really have to say thank God for this first three months of this year. I knew ahead of time that things were going to get crazy…but all I could do is say thank you God and endure.
For a long time I thought life was unpredictable and that the things we faced were left up to chance. Then I grew up and starting seeking God as the pull in my heart for Him got stronger. Fast forward to now, and I can honestly tell you about 90% of the things I experienced so far this year, I anticipated.
And this morning, as I typed my last word in my revised and edited brief, down from the 36 pages I had initially wrote to the 30 page limit required by my school–the first words I thought and felt with everything within me were, "thank you God for getting me through this."
I have another journey of uncertainty lying ahead for me. I can’t say its a journey so much as an assignment. I don’t know all the details, but I know God will show them to me just like He did for me coming here to New Orleans. I’m sad to know I’ll be leaving the people I have grown to love (and hate–these New Orleans streets are bad on your cars man!) in less than two months. But I’m even happier to know that purpose awaits me.
I shared these scriptures because they hit my heart today as I thought of all the things I overcame in these last three months, let alone the nearly 2 years I have lived here. Only God could heal me and heal my heart. Only God could show me why I’ve made mistake after mistake…and still love me. Only God could get me through medical challenges amid law school pressures and working full-time doing development work. Only God. Why? He loves me. What for? He has a plan and purpose for me…and I can proudly say its finished (at least this part–I see the end!).
So many tears I’ve shed overcoming myself and my past. So many nights I’ve cried out…fought back tears in public places, all from awareness of God’s revelation and Him showing me myself in the least expected ways.
So imagine my joy today at the submission of that brief…it was much like a baby I bore. I labored late into the night literally several nights to fix errors, reorganize, and get it right. That has been my actual life process too…up late into the night praying to God for the why, the how, the when, receiving His revelation and direction and making changes to move forward. In the process I’ve been more myself than I have ever been, and I have gained contentment in this place.
I don’t know…but I just want you all to remain encouraged in these coming days. Once you get to that place in God you can rest and know that things will come but He has it all worked out for you. Do your part as instructed but rest in Him for the next step…embrace the journey, whatever leg of it you are on. Give God your concerns, your worries, your fears, and your talents…finish the race.
God will carry you through it. I love you guys…and maybe this makes no sense or has no flow…but I just felt the need to share it. Good night!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8 NLT)
Your own ears will hear him. Right behind you a voice will say, “This is the way you should go,” whether to the right or to the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NLT)
I stopped at pinkberry earlier today to treat myself to some peanut butter and chocolate frozen yogurt (which they no longer had 😭😔). As I pulled in, I saw a lady teaching another lady to use the visually impaired walking stick, the one that is white and red at the bottom.
The one being taught had a mask on to block out light (I’m assuming she isn’t completely blind yet). I assume that this also helps to strengthen her hearing to discern distances from on coming cars and the sound differences of the stick hitting concrete, grass, wood, etc. To teach her, the other lady followed behind her, giving her cues and instructions.
And it hit me. This is totally what God is doing for us if we listen. Life makes it difficult for us to completely trust God, albeit a god we cannot physically see or touch. He’s speaking, in that still, small voice or through scripture, or through dreams or through the man or woman of God where you attend weekly services, or through that introspective stranger, sent to you to deliver a message from God on high. As you listen, you get more comfortable, trusting your steps, using that walking stick to guide you safely into oncoming traffic. As you close your eyes to what you physically see and feel, your inner eyes are opened, your ears tune in, and your heart reaches out for God’s hand to lead you through the most tumultuous storms. So you learn, even through your mistakes, and you trust His voice. Then you arrive at this beautiful place, one you did not anticipate, clothed in His glory and splendor that you have gained along the way. You are ready to learn a new path, and God is right there to guide you.
God is everywhere all at the same time and He is speaking to you if you listen, waiting to guide you. It’s a true testament to your faith when you step away from the crowd and blindly follow Him. This journey has been amazing this far and I’m excited to learn more. I’ve had to do much more than I expected and some of it has hurt greatly but I’m so happy with who God is making me into. I love me for everything I am and everything that I am not. I’ve made mistakes and taken wrong turns but God has even been using those to bless me. My journey has led me from Atlanta to Charleston to New Orleans and soon back to Charleston, but I hear Him so clearly now. I’ve lost friends along the way but God has definitely replaced them with some true jewels. And the ultimate goal is to fulfill His divine will. So my charge to you today is to take that first scary step if you haven’t already done so. Step out blindly in faith and trust God. Seek His divine purpose and plan for your life. Seek Him in everything. You never know what He has waiting for you if you try Him out!
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. (Psalms 32:8 NLT)
**I initially wrote this on December 20th and I was reminded today to identify my Goliaths so that I can stand in faith, like David, that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God my Father, will prevail. I encourage you to do the same and approach everything you face in faith.
David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26
Heyyyy y’all!! I pray you all are blessed and well! Christmas is upon us, and I’ve been spending the last 3 weeks just in thanks, praise and worship during my days (outside of my laughing at the silly videos I see and working like a slave for both my finals and work) because God has been so good. He has gotten me through so much this year, and I am truly, truly grateful.
So I’ve been hearing about David a LOT. A devotion I read a few weeks ago, the scripture of the day last week and a song I’ve been listening to, and even again today with another devotion, the story of David and Goliath has been there for a reason. There is so much in the story of David’s life. How he was overlooked by his own father, how he was criticized by his brothers, he was a shepherd–dirty, smelly, and unkempt, how he was pursued in anger and jealousy by Saul after David killed Goliath and became the favorite of the people. There is so much! But this morning, I kept hearing, what is your Goliath? What is your Goliath?
So I ask you today what is your Goliath. Is it a person? A relationship? A mindset? Health issues and challenges? How you were raised? Things that happened during your childhood? Your job? A generational curse? Your supervisor and/or co-workers? Moving? What is it?
Looking at David, everyone second-guessed him. No one felt he had the strength to do it. He got Saul’s approval, who tried to put his armor on him. But even then, he took that off. (That is another lesson, whew.) But David had already been prepared. As a shepherd, David had gone to great lengths to protect his flock. The sheep trusted him, they followed him for their every need. It was just him and the sheep. In that isolation, several things happened: He came to know God and to respond to His voice, he had to endure some trying situations to protect them, he killed a lion and a bear, but more importantly, he had to make decisions for the well-being of others (here the sheep) which qualified him. It was these things that prepared David to kill Goliath, to elude Saul, and to ultimately become king over the children of Israel.
I know I don’t just speak for myself here. I know we have all gone through things that have prepared us for those circumstances we face. In the midst of the situation, you don’t realize how you have already been prepared for it. I was overcome with praise earlier, just thinking about how God prepared me for the Goliaths and Sauls I have faced so far in my life. Just to give you a testimony…here are some:
- pledging. Becoming a Delta prepared me for so much. I prayed and asked God if it was His will for me to become a member and I am so grateful that He used it to make me stronger, wiser, and dedicated. During that time, I had to overcome so many things within myself: mindsets, weaknesses, trusting others, putting others first all the time… It was the lessons I learned during that period that helped me to go through the most trying experience in my life at that time: my kidney diagnosis.
- kidney problems and lupus nephritis diagnosis. That diagnosis changed my life. But I refused to accept that God would not heal me. God’s way of healing me was through my transplant and its has almost been 5 years since that! I never had a true lupus flare up, my tests and serologies have all been negative ever since. I never had to do dialysis.
- the relationship from hell. No pun intended. In that relationship, I forced myself to love unconditionally, but more importantly it taught me to trust that I hear God’s voice. Everything within me told me not to stay in it, but I thought it was me. I thought I was being fearful and being scared because of my trust issues. I learned to trust God for who He has for me, instead of trying to force it with the wrong person. That relationship affected me in every area…and I’m so grateful it is over! God even showed me how I could have been the one to be abused…and how He kept me from it. Now I know that when it is my time, it will be nothing like that.
- bad financial decisions. Because I always tried to help everybody, I have made some decisions that were not so wise, one time in particular, I heard ‘Don’t Do This’, my stomach felt sick and everything…and I did it anyway. In turn, I was almost not able to get a car. But God made a way with that and I have been diligently climbing out of debt…soon to be out of the majority of my debt minus Sallie Mae of course.
- different situations at work. I had a co-worker tell me they were going to mentor me and help me get my promotion. Instead, I was thrown under the bus, ran over, and reversed over. That situation prepared me for what I went through here in New Orleans with work. I know I’ve been the product of discrimination both racially and gender-wise. I still haven’t been promoted, but I trust God and I know that He has taken care of me: I survived furloughs and a self-imposed pay cut this year and still have been able to travel and go home.
- my daddy’s death. That was the worst thing I have gone through but it prepared me for so many things. I think the biggest Goliath that came out of that was unforgiveness. To move forward I had to forgive; I’ve been working on that through writing this book…which manifested another Goliath–defeating the need to hide behind this face. Now I am not afraid to share my testimony and the things I have endured. I hid behind my smile because dealing with the things I experienced at the hands of others and as a result of my own choices hurt too much. I would preach these things at others but would seldom put them to practice.
- being molested and how that affected everything about me. I had so much anger about this. But this tied in with so much…the guilt, shame, and insecurity I felt, my distrust for my extended family (well, this became more apparent after my daddy’s death), even addressing the shroud of secrecy and how it keeps a person in a prison. But releasing those feelings through forgiveness and extending them grace has been a Goliath. I couldn’t even trust my memories, because I did not know what was real anymore. But with God I have overcome this. I am not afraid anymore.
Even the little situations have prepared me. Learning to speak up for myself immediately instead of brushing things under the rug or ignoring it, having to be bold and say some not so comfortable things to people, even living in crazyland away from all my family and close friends has prepared me for moving closer and learning to focus in so I can be successful. I have learned patience in being here–especially with desiring to get married and have children–that I can’t force it myself if I say I trust God. What is meant to be will be. I overcame the giants of shame, guilt, insecurity, judgmentalism, so much!! I really love myself for the first time…and I do not allow anything to keep me down. There is no thing that I cannot do, as long as I have God.
So again, today I ask you what is your Goliath. I ask you that and I ask you to identify the things you have overcome. Trust and know that the power is within you to overcome. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 tells us that in our weakness we are strong through the power of God. God will get you through. Ignore the naysayers, whether it be your enemies, your family, your friends. All you have to do is rest in Him and trust that He will get you through. Whether your Goliath is generational curses, the enemy’s thought injection, or not trusting that you can overcome your past…you can. I’m here to tell you that you can. Look back at what you have overcome. You may have gotten beat down in some situations but you are still here, so that means you have a victory to praise God for and a reason to celebrate. You will get through this and Goliath will be defeated. He cannot defy the Lord–he cannot steal God’s purpose and destiny for you unless you allow it.
I love you all…be blessed this holiday season as we celebrate Christ’s birth.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. 1 Samuel 17:50-51
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
I saw a post last week on success. It made me think about what being successful means to me. According to Websters, success is defined as favorable or desired outcome; also : the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. If you ask me how I define success, I would probably say that its achieving your goals, dreams, and heart’s desires, fulfilling your life’s purpose. I did not begin doing those things until after my transplant. I had goals before then yes, like graduating college and getting married. So you can easily see how I was attacked by discouragement even then: I got sick my junior year of college, threatening my graduation, and I am still not married.
That discouragement was something serious–because I allowed it to be serious. Now, it could not attack me with school, I was determined to finish no matter what. But when it came to getting married, and recently with everything in my life in general, it had me whipped to the point that I would not call on the name of Jesus to be freed from those thoughts. I sat there and had a pity party because things were not happening fast enough for me. Yep…that microwave effect again.
I was more comfortable wallowing in self-pity than shaking it off and getting back in the fight. So I sat that way, for a week recently. Angry. Bitter. Disinterested and discouraged. But I was ashamed of myself for feeling that way. I allowed the thoughts, those voices (again your mind is the battlefield) to influence me; I allowed myself to become discouraged in the pursuit of my dreams. I know I’m not alone here.
Too often nowadays, once a person is faced with some obstacle hindering their progress they give up. Now I will not attribute this lack of perseverance wholly to the microwave effect–because it isn’t just that, but an overall lack of faith. The residual side effect of never having to endure, be obedient or wait for things to manifest is that it creates a poor backbone. Want an example? Let’s look at King Saul.
In 1 Samuel 15, up until this point, Saul was victorious, prosperous and had found favor in the eyes of the Lord–God selected and anointed him to be king over all of Israel out of all the people. But God instructed him to do something very specific in battle against the Amalekites: to destroy all of the people, men, women, and children, their livestock and kill the king. But Saul disobeyed God, which served as a critical turning point in his life; he left the king alive along with the some of the livestock. Here again is that ‘going about things your own way’ attitude instead of following through and enduring. He failed his test which cost him everything. Because of this Saul was stripped of God’s favor, and David was anointed king in his place. Saul, instead of staying in a place of repentance, became vengeful towards David, and eventually died a very cruel death. Saul, who was the king of a united Israel, ended up living the rest of his natural life separate from God. Instead of the kingship continuing with Saul’s family, his rights were transferred to David and his family line. He allowed the evil thoughts in his head to keep him discouraged after his failure, instead of rebuking them and getting back in line. What’s worse, all of the success of his earlier years was overshadowed by the shame that followed.
Don’t be like Saul. Don’t get outside of God’s will and do what you want to appease the world. Don’t allow that setback, whether of your own doing or not, to permanently knock you out of life. Don’t even allow it to take root in your mind. Yes we all go through, whether trials and tribulations or temptation, because that is the nature of life. Don’t believe the person that says we aren’t going to experience difficulties, because we will. Life is seasonal, and just like we have Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring, we have seasons of rain and drought, abundance and difficulty, and storms and sunshine in our own lives. Be like Peter was when he stepped out of the boat–in faith and eyes focused on Jesus. Get back up and stop pouting! Just because a squall rolls up, don’t lose sight of the Lord and His promises. Speak to your storm and call forth your success in faith!
But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26