What Living In the Spirit Looks Like

I spent last night apart from my son. My husband and I wanted to spend time with each other and also catch up on tasks that we were dragging  behind. We decided it would be best for our son to spend the night with my mother-in-law. As I began preparing for the night, doubt emerged from unseen places. What if something happens to him and I’m not there to comfort him? What if he doesn’t want to come back  to me? Am I even a good mother? These questions left me feeling anxious and uncertain about my decision. I knew it was important for my husband and I to have undivided quality time together. I also knew that I needed to be rejuvenated and recharged so that I could continue being the mother Josiah needs. As I began praying, I was led to Psalm 1.

“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭1:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Lord reassured me that as long as I walk in His ways and I plant myself underneath Him, I will be prosperous as a mother. He will give providence over the life of my son. It’s so important to cast our cares unto the Lord because He truly and deeply loves us. (1 Peter 5:7) He desires for us to trust Him in all  areas of our lives. As I surrender my emotions,  I am able to be led by the Spirit.

Now I can’t say that being led by the spirit is easy. It does not FEEL good. If you are like me, then life is filtered through emotions. Emotions are healthy and allow for self expression; but when they are not controlled they can overwhelm us and keep us apart from God.

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

A life led by the spirit is full of conflict! It involves serious meditation and reflection of the word. It demands us to go against what feels normal. I did not feel peace as I packed my son’s overnight bag. I did not feel peace on the car ride to my mom-in-law’s house. Peace came to me after I kissed him goodbye. In spite of how I felt I pressed into God. This simple event shaped my understanding of living in the Spirit. I wrestled with my flesh and spoke the victory I have  already acquired  over my life.

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There is great reward to a life led by the Spirit. We are assured life and peace. We can enter into rest. I could have dwelled in my emotions and allow worry to hang over me. If I allowed my emotions to control me then  I would not have been able to laugh and indulge in fruitful conversation with my husband.  I would have missed my chance to enjoy time for myself.  Most importantly I would have missed time in the presence of God. Being led by the Spirit opens us to His presence.

I pray that you and I daily choose spirit over flesh. As we deny ourselves and lift Christ up,our ultimate goal of eternal life becomes clear.

May you live in the Spirit and be rewarded with His joy and peace.

 

A Message From an Ex-People Pleaser

 

Although I identify  as an ex-people pleaser, how others perceive  me still plagues my mind. I wrestle with perfecting myself in the eyes of human beings rather than believing who I am through Jesus Christ.

I have always tried to sound politically correct. My words are dipped in sugar to ensure they don’t ignite controversy. I am drawn to acceptance and can be easily crushed if I find that people  do not approve of me. I marinate for hours on words I fnd offensive. These shackles have been very hard to break free from. It just seems no matter how much I pray and rebuke these thoughts, I still see myself through the lenses of others.

In the midst of this battle, I have stumbled upon these verses.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

  • My struggle is not with people but rather Satan. Satan has made it his mission to undo what God has already established upon my life. He has planted lies into my heart and I have entertained their company.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭NIV
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  • Even with my flaws, there is greatness within me. God knows me better than anyone else. He has looked at me and said I am good just as I am. I am perfect because Christ is perfect and dwells within me. I should be encouraged to make myself better so that I may be a temple pure and worthy  of the Lord’s presence.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬”

  • In the midst of struggling with self acceptance God has deemed me perfect and is working towards completing that perfection in me . The more I dive into the word of God, the easier it will become to see myself through Christ. He has overlooked my flaws and chose to die for me while I was deep in sin.

“So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭12:10-11‬

  • As a believer of a Jesus Christ, I am an enemy to this world. I will receive retaliation and should expect opposition.

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him,”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:29‬ ‭NIV

  • Jesus told his disciples that they will suffer on account of him. This world does not care for Jesus because it is ruled by Satan. Satan knows he has lost the battle and wants to bring down as many people as he can. He does not want us to find joy,peace and rest.

Daily I seek the Lord and He has shown himself faithful. I do believe there will be a time when I will pass this test. In the mean time I will sing praises to God and rejoice in my victory. In my weakness the greatness of God is seen!

To God be all the glory!

My World is Safe in the Hands of God

img_0508Lastnight Josiah had one of his crying spells. Lately he has been waking up more frequently throughout the night. I am troubled because he is also teething so I know he is dealing with a lot of discomfort.

As my husband tried to put him back to sleep, I remained in our bedroom and began praying. I prayed for the armor of God to surround Josiah and my husband. I requested the angels to surround every inch of our house. I asked God to rain peace so that Josiah could fall asleep. Slowly my prayers transitioned to cries of praise. I felt songs surface up and I began to thank God. The lines “I’m not afraid, my world is safe in your hands” from Israel Houghton’s song  “You Hold My World” flowed from my mouth and tears started streaming down my face. I felt a shift in my spirit. I became confident that the Lord would bring peace into our house. As Josiah’s cries became louder,my praise got stronger.

This was my first time experiencing praise this way. I did not realize I was praying in fear until I felt a push to just praise. It was difficult at first because I was focused on Josiah. But as my mind shifted to the wonder of God I felt my feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). God had already answered my prayer. I had to receive it. To receive it I had to give praise.

“Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.

Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭128:1-2, 4‬ ‭NIV
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Praise is the receipt for your prayers. It is confirmation that the Lord has heard us and is working in the atmosphere. It is crucial to praise God in our personal walk with Him because it seals our faith. Praise diverts attention from our issues to the splendor of the king. How amazing is the glory of God! I’ve wasted so many prayers begging God to be with me when he has always been there. It’s like crying for food when the plate is sitting in front of you.

I am excited for the blessings I will gain access to because my mind has been renewed. Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!

May you all receive the grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. It is already yours. Just use the key of praise to access it.

Motivation for Times of Difficulty

I’ve seen the true nature of God while battling the storms of life. My need for Him has been birthed from my deepest sorrow.Whenever I feel troubled or distant from God, I recognize it as an opportunity to dive into the word and fall before the Lord. In our weaknesses we are made strong in Christ. I have found peace in times of uncertainty.

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God allows moments of weeping and sorrow because it is the place where we surrender. When I realize that God is trying to reach me, I become adamant about spending time with the Him. I do not want God to feel as if I only need Him when things are going wrong. I don’t only want to know God when I have no where else to go.

“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭27:5‬ ‭NIV

In these times I speak truth into my life.  I encourage you to speak the goodness of the Lord over your life .

I surrender Myself to you Lord. I am weak and so ashamed but you overwhelm me with your love. I entrust my life to you and accept peace and joy. The ground I step on will be shaken but not moved. I will see the goodness of the Lord. For my God is mighty. His love is everlasting. Fill this vessel so that I may hold your treasures. 

Rest

I am someone who determines my success by what is around me. If I have a clean kitchen, and food prepared for my husband that makes me a great wife. If my son is booger free and has on both socks and shoes then I am a great mother. This mindset has put unrealistic expectations on myself. If my success is determined by those things I have listed, then I only obtain success on certain days of the week. Imagine how guilty I felt taking a nap knowing the kitchen looked like a war zone. Although I needed to rest because I was feeling under the weather, I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

“for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their [Israelites] example of disobedience.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭4:10-11‬ ‭NIV

God doesn’t want us to place our trust in what we can do. We have to trust in Him. As His children we are already designed to be wonderful because we belong to God. Even as I type this out I feel so blessed and humbled to know that I am a great wife/mother because God has created me to be great. He assures us these struggles on earth are temporary and do not compare to the eternal joy awaiting us in heaven.

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Fear of failure is an insult to God. He says our burdens will be light as long as we lift them up to him. He promises to protect us and has already given us victory. It is not okay to dwell in fear because it does not bear fruit of the Holy Spirit.

When the Israelites saw that pharoah and his army were chasing them they became angry with Moses and God. They wanted to trade freedom for shackles because they were afraid. Fear makes you think crazy things.

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:13-14‬ ‭NIV
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Even in the midst of their fear,God gave them a way out. He parted the Red Sea and made sure the pharaoh and his army could never come after them again. God doesn’t want fear in our relationship. Fear means we do not believe in God and His power. Restore the joy of salvation! Think back to when you first accepted Jesus and the freedom you felt. Stop putting the shackles back on!

God has revealed to me that I always had a back up plan in case He didn’t come through (which has NEVER happened). When I feel like God is taking too long I start doing things myself. When I don’t look to him, I start comparing myself with other women’s success. I enslave myself to work so that I can prove my worth.

Rest in his grace. Pray. Take a nap. Go for a walk. Read your word. Pray. Tell a corny joke. Read the Word of God.Pray.

Be great because that is what you are. You are strong,beautiful and brave. Trust in the power of God and not yours. We serve an unlimited God. Let go and let God.

 

Eternity

For a while I have struggled to understand the joy of eternity. I use to be afraid  of eternal life because I could not understand how it could go on without ending. Life on earth has a beginning and an end. Everything on earth will face the end of time. But God reassures us that through Him we will live forever and ever and ever and ever etc.

I was searching for satisfaction in the things of this world. After graduating college I was consumed with getting into my career and making a certain amount of money. I believed that this would bring me happiness . I was very independent in college. I worked three jobs and provided for myself. As my independence heightened my dependence on God decreased. I was worshipping, praying and reading my word but I was not living a life by faith. I did not depend on God for my needs. I relied heavily on my own strengths.

It was not until I didn’t get into the masters program of my choice that I hit rock bottom. I struggled greatly with my identity because I thought I could provide everything for myself. When I did not get the job I desired I was filled with sorrow. I no longer knew who I was and did not know where my future was heading. That scared me. I had a plan for myself and it failed. At this point I resorted to plan Z aka God.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.””
‭‭John‬ ‭6:27‬ ‭NIV
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I have learned that by myself I fail miserably. I cannot give myself happiness or find it in a career. As I began diving into the word and truly seeking God, the idea of eternity kept showing itself. He wants us to remember that what we see with our eyes will not always be here.I have total joy being a wife and a mother; but I understand that I do not know how long my husband and son will be with me. I have to trust in the Lord. He is eternal. He will ALWAYS be present. He will never leave or forsake Us. We have been guaranteed a spot in Heaven. Isn’t that dope? You have a secured place that you did not have to RSVP for.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.””
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have found peace in the most uncanny place. I am currently a stay at home mom.  My CEO/director is a 7 month old who keeps me pretty busy.  I do not believe I could have found this kind of joy working a 9-5. I am still job hunting but I am living my success story now. God has been to good for me not to be full of joy.

Remember to seek first the kingdom and all things will be given to you. He promises to provide for your wants and needs. He will give you peace while in the eye of a storm. He will open doors and create routes to remind us that in Him, we are complete. Aside from him we are doomed to fail.

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May the peace and joy of God overwhelm you.

 

 

Being Transparent

“From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

I believe in the power of testimony. It is so important to share our journey with Christ with both believers and non believers. It is our testimony that draws people to God.

There is a greater purpose to my testimony. This is why I started this blog. I know I must share my success and failures with others so that they can learn and be better. It isn’t an easy task for me to do. I’m ashamed to admit but I once was a people  pleaser. I did anything to get away from conflict. I wanted so much for people to like me that I dumbed myself down in public for the entertainment of others.

I believed it was a small price to pay in order to be accepted. I felt worse about myself as I tried to be who I thought was “cool”. This prevented me from knowing myself and now at 26, I feel like I’m just getting to know who I am. As exciting as this new journey has been, I wish it didn’t begin so late.

After I accepted Jesus as my personal savior I had a fire that I couldn’t contain. There was so much I wanted to share. I wanted to be an open book with other Christians because I believe that’s what helps us grow stronger in our faith. I didn’t receive the feedback I expected and for a while I shut myself down. I chose to stop sharing because I thought I was being too transparent.

It wasn’t until God showed me  John 4 that I realized it is my testimony he wants me to share. The woman at the well went to share  the good news of Jesus to anyone she could find.  She even exposed herself, (she was someone who slept with several men), because she found freedom in Christ. God wants us to live in our freedom. He wants us to remove the shackles that prevents us from being real with ourselves and with others.

Yes people will talk about me and not like what I share, but that is a small price to pay for the greater glory of God. I pray whoever reads this may be be blessed and compelled to do the same. Come out from hiding and stand tall as the beautiful creation you are!

God loves you.