Keep Going

I thought I shared this a long time ago, but I found this draft yesterday. I was almost upset about it, but I trust that God’s timing is perfect and someone needs to see this now.

Life really came full circle for me yesterday. I sometimes over think this “blogging thing” and won’t share things because I feel like they’re not “developed enough” or are still in draft form. Yesterday, one of my good friends sent me a text about how much her friends enjoy and are encouraged by my posts. I can’t tell you how much that blessed me. Lately, I’ve been telling myself that it’s not about reaching hundreds/thousands. It’s about reaching that ONE. If there’s one hurting/lost person that reads one of my posts and is inspired to keep going and trust God, my purpose is fulfilled. That’s the legacy I want to leave behind.

I shared this as a Facebook post last year. I thought it deserved a place on the blog, so here it is. No matter where you find yourself this Good Friday, Be encouraged. Keep going! Your life matters. Your purpose matters and it won’t be fulfilled if you quit now. You just never know the impact your life’s witness can have on someone else.

My original post: Today was one of those trying days. So, like any mature adult :-), I called my mom for some encouragement. Only to find out:

1. One of my high school classmates stopped her today in my hometown Wal-Mart to tell her how much they are encouraged by my Facebook posts and how I accomplished EVERY thing I said I was going to do back when we were in school. (Faith and works!)

2. My mom has been reading my old blogs AND said they’re an encouragement to her. That BLEW me away. My mommy is THE ultimate encourager. I just wanted to cry. (Mind you, my mom is not a person that goes online much at all. I didn’t even know that my mom knew that I had a blog. I never mentioned it to her because she’s never online.).

God knew I needed THAT today. It’s easy to feel as if you’re just making a drop in the bucket or to wonder if your efforts really make a difference, but then God sends those reminders to let you know you’re on the right track! You may not be where you want to be, but KEEP GOING and, God willing, you will get there!

The world needs more encouragers and people committed to making a difference in this world. That’s why I’m here. From now on, I’m fully embracing the quote in this featured image. I’m not worrying about what anyone may think. I’m focused on the one that I can inspire.

Galatians 6:9
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

‪#‎thankful‬ ‪#‎encouraged‬ ‪#‎onamission‬ ‪#‎iPress‬

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God is IN CONTROL!

There is NOTHING in your life that’s too hard for God. I’m reminding myself that this morning and want to share that word with you. There is NOTHING– not your job, your health, or your other roles/responsibilities that can present a challenge that God is unable to handle. If/when you feel overwhelmed, take a step a back and speak a word of faith over your situation.

My power verses this morning:

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

2 Timothy 1:7
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

There Remaineth a REST

Matthew 11_28

I have the feeling today’s going to be a GREAT DAY! Perspective matters so, so much. This morning, my mind keeps going to the declaration my Bishop made of 2015 as the year of REST. It’s hard to feel like you’re “resting” when you’re as busy as I am–I’m working on improving my health and fitness and working out for 1-2 hours every day is a  major commitment on top of family, church and work, but its so necessary to reach a place of TOTAL health and that’s my overall goal.

At the same time, I’m learning to REST in the peace of God in the midst of my busy schedule– If I was not as busy as I am, I wouldn’t be as focused on pursuing peace, so there’s another lesson in adopting the proper perspective.

My power verses for this morning are Matthew 11:28-30 (New Living Translation)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Here’s a song I love, by Donald Lawrence called There Remaineth a Rest.  I hope the lyrics encourage you today.  Remember–  God’s REST is promised.  It’s a finished work– just because you aren’t “there yet” doesn’t mean you can’t take on His rest.  Keep walking in obedience and carry your burdens to Him.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Donald Lawrence– There Remaineth a Rest

There remaineth a rest, a rest
For the people of God
A promise, a finished work
And we must guard it with our hearts
Everything you will ever need
Was provided at Calvary
There remaineth a rest, there is a rest
There remaineth a rest, there is a rest
A Rest, the finished work of the Lord

Hold On: Testimony Tuesday

Some of my most contemplative moments are when I’m on a plane…. which is pretty often when you work as a consultant.

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This song came on during my flight home and I had to hold back the tears. Holding on is HARD work. Especially when you can’t see where you’re going next and you don’t understand why you’re going through what you’re going through. If you’re in a similar place, I hope this post encourages you….

I’ve been in a season of serious growth. One day a few weeks ago, I was at home with my Husboo and he sensed something was wrong with me and asked what was going on/how he could help and I just cried. Nothing was “wrong” per se, in fact, things were going REALLY well (by general standards– Recognition at work, new assignments, expanding responsibility), but I feel a weight in my spirit. I KNEW something was coming. Call it an “attack” a “test” whatever– I understood that this next level would be HEAVY and HEAVY it has been.

Today, someone asked my thoughts on flying and if I ever feel nervous. Long ago, I reasoned that if I’m flying and there’s turbulence God is going to carry me through it and the plane will land or it’s just my time to go. That may sound morbid, but it’s a thought that brings me a lot of peace EVERY time I fly.

I considered that example against the thought of “holding on.” The enemy will try to convince us that holding on during those periods when life just feels overwhelming is a position of weakness, but it’s actually a position of STRENGTH. There IS strength in your surrender. When you realize that you CAN’T but God can, EVERYTHING changes. When you keep holding on,  you eventually look up and see JUST how God brought you through!

Keep holding on!

And keep encouraging yourself, even when it feels impossible to do so. I have worship playlists that I play on my good and bad days. When you make those lists in advance, you can just press play on the hard days. I made this playlist when I still lived in Mississippi, away from my husband, family and friends and listened to it daily. An added benefit of this particular playlist is that I can remember listening to this song during MONTHS of (what seemed like) endless job searching, so it’s encouraging but also serves as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and how He made a way for me. If He did it before, He CAN do it again!

Seeds of Faith Scriptures:

Psalms 116:6 NLT
The lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and he saved me.

Matthew 11:28 NLT
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

2 Corinthians 5:4-7 NLT
While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing.

Philippians 2:16 NLT
Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless.

2 Chronicles 20:17 NLT
But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the lord ’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the lord is with you!”

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 NLT

If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Blessed, Broken and Given

Sometimes you do the right thing and end up getting hurt.

Tonight, I went to the bathroom, used the last of the tissue and thought I was doing the right thing by going to replace the roll (instead of being lazy and doing it later).

I grab a roll. Realize it’s the last one in the package and then I tell myself to do the “right thing” again….only to bump my tooth on the countertop while trying to reach the empty wrapper. It’s slightly chipped, but thankfully I’m not in any pain!

Initially, I was in shock. I cried a little. Started to think that doing the “right thing” isn’t all it was cracked up to be (unintended pun there). I was tempted to feel as if my efforts were in vain. I was trying, in the smallest way, to be a good wife. I didn’t want my husband to wake up and not have any tissue to use. ESPECIALLY since I always ask him to remember to replace the roll–what would I look like if I don’t practice what I preach!?!?

BUT THEN I REMEMBERED–ALL THINGS work TOGETHER for MY GOOD. Clearly God has somewhere I need to be tomorrow morning and it’s not at my desk.

We’re often tempted to see a problem, where God sees a possibility/protection.

Challenge yourself to shift your thinking. The next time something catches you off guard, instead of asking “Why me?” or “Why this?,” Let Romans 8 COME ALIVE in your spirit and say to God, “I’m EXCITED to see what you’re about to do with this!”

My tooth may be “broken,” but my spirit is not. This experience made me think back to a devotional I shared with my praise club group. I pray it blesses you this morning….

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Alright ladies, 

I hope you are all doing well this morning.  I’ll be my usual transparent self and share with you all that this was a VERY hard post for me to write.  This took me down memory lane and challenged me to really look deeper into myself and try to unpack what this 2 year phase in Mississippi has taught me.  I was actually asked to appear on a blog hosted by one of my friends and this post was created for that.

I began writing this weeks ago and I sat on it– trying to collect my thoughts and wanting to make sure that the overall message made sense.  All that being said, I share my testimony with you with the hope that it will encourage you and strengthen you on this journey.  

Blessed, Broken, and Given

Back in 2010, I prayed that God would use me in a mighty way and that my next career move would not be one based on money or prestige, but that God would send me to the place where I could do a good work and walk in my purpose.  I prayed one day, and heard the Holy Spirit so clearly say, “What if you have to go to Utah?” and I thought—“Oh, that’s weird, but ok.”  

I didn’t end up in Utah—instead I finished Grad School and was selected for a Policy Fellowship that placed me in Jackson, Mississippi—a place where I knew nothing and no one.  I stepped out on faith and left my family and friends and everything that “made sense” in NC and went where God was taking me. The first week here my car was flooded, the movers disappeared somewhere between NC and Mississippi with my belongings and I was in the middle of my biggest blessing but feeling the lowest I’d ever felt in life. 

I made up my mind that I was going to speak life and faith over my situations and time and time again, I’ve seen God move—random checks coming in the mail, family/friends sending me a note or gift that came right on time to lift my spirits.  The trials continued, but I embraced this phase of my life as my “Job (the person, not the thing) experience”—It hurt, but I learned to stop questioning God and to focus on being obedient and continuing to pursue Him above ALL ELSE! 

What I never expected, was the way my story would move others and inspire them in their walk with God.  At one point, I refused to post anything negative about my life, because it was already enough to live it—I didn’t need it all over social media.  I had an associate (now turned close friend) who was so inspired by my posts that I became a part of her decision to give her life to Christ.  Another one of my friends became one of my biggest encouragers.  Even more mind-blowing was seeing my baby sister and other friends/associates become BOLD in their walk with Christ and sharing their faith on social media – only to hear them say that I was their inspiration.  What the devil meant for bad was turning out for good and lives were being saved (Genesis 50:20)! 

The key takeaway from this is that in life there is a “blessing” and there is a “breaking”—but in the breaking our power and anointing comes.  Our greatest example of this is Jesus in his suffering and trials leading up to his crucifixion – but HE ROSE with all POWER in his hands because He was obedient to God’s will for His life.  Don’t let yourself become so overwhelmed by what you are going through that you miss the place that God is trying to take you to.  Your sufferings work toward a greater glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Jesus picked up his cross and carried it, and as believers we have to do the same (Matthew 16:24). 

I’ve embraced the breaking—but I don’t say that lightly, because it was and continues to be a PROCESS.  But I press (Philippians 3:14) – And I encourage you to embrace “the press” as well! 

 

The lyrics below inspired me and led to this post.  I encourage you to listen to the song yourself and meditate on the lyrics as well. 

Blessed, Broken and Given (CeCe Winans)

My life has been BLESSED far more than I could ever imagine.

I’ve been touched by God’s grace more than I’ll ever know!

So let me be BROKEN through the suffering and the sorrow,

Let me feel what you felt when you were broken for me.

 

After my blessing, and after my breaking

Let me be GIVEN to bring sight to all men.

When I’ve been blessed and

When I’ve been broken

Then after I’ve been given–

Lord bless me, Lord break me, again and again”

 

Scriptures to meditate on:


John 15:2

He CUTS OFF every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he PRUNES so that it will be EVEN MORE fruitful.

 

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but CHRIST WHO LIVES IN ME. And the life I now live in the flesh I live BY FAITH in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NIV)

 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

 

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)

 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV) Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?

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