Conquering the Giants

From my devotional today – How has Satan attempted to work his way into your heart and your thinking? How does this affect your view of your circumstances? 
I’ve been realizing that whenever I get to a place of victory my mind immediately goes to the next thing I need to do to “be better”. I listen to and for awhile I tend to believe the lies that I’m not good enough and I won’t make it. That’s how the enemy gets into my heart and thinking. When I listen to the lies and look at my circumstances through the lens of lies and fears – my circumstances seem like a giant and as if I’ll never get over these hurdles or mountains. Today I went on a hike and since my knee injury last year I haven’t been able to do that, I tackled and conquered not only a 6.4 mile hike but also my fear of heights, fears that after today I’m sensing is disappearing. I finished the hike and soon as I was heading down hill my mind wandered to all the things I need to do once I get to the bottom of this mountain; I need a bath/shower cuz I’m wet and smelly and I hate being wet and smelly, I need to do my chores at home, I need to fill out these forms for college…I need I need I need. God guided me in speaking truths over myself and to reject the lies and embrace the truth; that he is with me and I should be proud of accomplishing what I’ve done. There’s so much I can put in this of what God showed me but the main thing I got from my devotional is that Jesus is my giant slayer, he’s slaying these giants in my life one by one and he’s gonna continue to help me to slay even more. I can be healthy in many ways and I don’t have to dwell on the lies that I can’t or won’t make it. 
Devotional : Goliath Must Fall 

Dear Younger Me

I went searching for peace, not just any peace but silence yet a word from God. I’m learning more about myself and the uniqueness that makes me, me. Nature calms me down; whether it be looking at birds flying or a duck sticking its head under water and at times just going for a walk brings me serenity. Although I love peace as everyone else does, sometimes my view of peace is not the correct view – I at times think peace can only come about when everything looks and feels dandy and so I’m at peace. The last place I expected to find peace was in the middle of the chaos and what looked like a tornado on the street. I went to this street and the first thing I said out loud was “lawks! what a piece a mess!”, then I told myself that I need to leave quickly cuz I’ll definitely not find peace here. As I got to the middle of the mess, I felt the need to sit, not that I was tired, but I sensed I needed to sit there – so I did. I sat there, looking at the mess and I felt peace. I heard that still small voice, the voice I’ve been searching for in all the prettiness and smooth looking pavement, only to find it amongst the trash flying about and cracked holes in the ground. Similar to the messy street is my life; unmanageable, chaotic and messy but by the grace of God it’s not my identity and it’s not who I am. I asked my Lord what’s the significance of the dried up leaves in this story of my life and at first I thought of dried bones and the prophet Ezekiel but I think God wanted me to take something else from it, something that felt more positive to me – not saying dried bones coming to life isn’t positive but this was at another level for me. Those dried leaves represent the old me; the old pains and way I’d do life, everything that made up the fake me, they were falling off and being thrown away by God. “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” – Joel 2:25 this passage has new meaning for me now, I didn’t see how beauty or growth could come from death and pain but somehow it’s rising. That little girl who went to bed with tears in her eyes while trying to be strong for others around her, had no idea it would or could ever get better. I’d pray day after day to this God my parents told me about until I gave up hope on him and the situation getting better, what kind of a God allows abuse and sits silent as his daughter cries out to him for help? Why did he even allow it in the first place? I don’t know all the answers but I do know that the God my parents told me about heard my every cry, he might not have shown up the way I expected or thought I needed, but he showed up every single day and every moment without me even calling him. He said he’d help and he did, he’s helping right now by changing those wrongs done to me and wrongs I witnessed by giving me a voice I thought I didn’t have. What the enemy meant for evil, God has meant for good and he’s turning my pain into life and beauty. The strength I had no idea I had as a little girl has kept me alive, I hid my feelings and tears because it wasn’t safe but now I find it freeing to cry – the one thing I was scared to do, I now find such peace doing. I read in Exodus recently and for the first time I saw Moses’ birth story to be God’s story of remaking and turning things around from death to life. I realized that the source of death, the place and way Moses should’ve died by human and evil’s standards became the place where he was found, rescued, saved, drawn out of and given life. The enemy and Pharaoh wanted him dead but God had a much bigger plan for this little boy, he not only wanted Moses to be alive and to be found but he wanted to use him to set his people free from slavery and bondage. Moses being born in a race that was looked down upon by the leader of that day didn’t stop what God had planned for him, being a Hebrew boy wasn’t going to stand in the way of God’s plan, being adopted and thrown away in a basket on the River Nile didn’t disqualify him from the calling God placed on his life – God saw him and knew from day one that he would be used for great things no matter what was done to him or what he did to others. He restored what the locusts had eaten in Moses’ life as well as the Israelites who were enslaved for what looks to be over 400 years and he still does that today. I wish the younger me knew things would get better, but I guess if I did I wouldn’t have prayed and I wouldn’t have done dumb things that brought me to God, I wouldn’t have used the strength God has given to me if I knew tomorrow would be okay, I learnt to fight because I wanted to survive and that I did. Recently I’ve been thanking my younger self for being so brave, courageous and such a fighter, those qualities in me kept me going and still keeps me going, but it all started with that little girl who’d be so scared she’d bite all her nails off till they’d bleed and become sore and fall asleep with her thumb in her mouth. I thank God for using those qualities in me during that time, I see it now as another training experience that lasted longer than I’d hoped but to become a master at anything I need to fully train and that training will keep going because I’m always learning new things and climbing new mountains. 

I am Yours

” I am yours”

Those words spring up a well of emotion within me, I don’t consciously sit and think about how much i’d love to hear the words spoken to and about me but I guess somewhere in me, is a girl who longs to be someone’s one and only. Which girl doesn’t? It wasn’t until early 2016 that I realized there is someone who sees me as their one and only, someone who says “she is mine”, “she belongs to me, she is my beloved and I am hers”. I felt loved for the very first time and I didn’t have to undress to receive this love, this love was always there but I didn’t always receive it because I didn’t see it as something to receive. 2016 was the year I felt part of his love, the part I allowed myself to feel.It wasn’t until January of 2017, when it seemed like my world fell apartthat I realized he was still there and he cares. He sees my beauty when i’m at my worst, when I wake up and have my hair looking all beast like, he smiles and says “there’s my love, the one I’vechosen”. He looks at me and sees a beautiful sunrise, sunset, rainbow, waves rushing upon the shore, birds flying high and a curvy mountain all rolled into one and he smiles. He holds my hand and wipes my tears as I cry, he never tells me to stop crying or even asks why i’m crying, he just allows me to feel withoutjudgment. I’ve spent years trying to find love, acceptance, happiness and worth from everyone and everything – from women, men, parents, peers, family, through drinking, smoking, whatever it might be and nothing worked. I couldn’t find anything to clog or fix that gaping hole in my heart and so I kept searching, I kept finding new ways to feel and escape pain until I met HIM. It took me a while to believe he could actually love me because underneath all that desire to be loved is the lie that I don’t deserve it, that i’m trash and unworthy of being someone’s one and only. I fought his love, I ran away from it, I denied it and I threw it in his face numerous time; until an overwhelming love showed up that I could no longer fight or deny. His love showed up and even though I was scared and at times still am, I accept it, I receive it and I embrace it as truth. I am no different than the others he’s loved, I don’t deserve it any more than they do but the love I receive from my King is unique to only me. His love for me tells me i’m special, that i’m worthy to be someone’s beloved and chosen one. His love doesn’t say how I should act or who I should become in order to keep his love, it tells me i’m loved as I am and all I need to do is rest in it. I’ve never met love as real and kind as this, I’ve heard others speak about it but never have I felt real love. Love, as much as its desired, is a scary thing to achieve and hold onto. Loving someone says I might get hurt but you’re worth the risk. Loving him felt the same at first, what if he hurts me like all the others? He showed me time and time again that he’s not like the others and he will never hurt me. I’m learning to let go of my fears and grab a hold of his love that has overtaken me because who can truly love me like my heavenly father; the one who created me and knows everything about me? Definitely not mankind or the bottom of a Heineken bottle. He’s seen me at my worst yesterday, today, tomorrow and he still loves me. How could I pass up on an unconditional love so strong as that? My God, my knight in shining armor, my Prince loves me and calls me his and this is where I want to be for all eternity; in his love. In his love I am free, I am loved, I am safe and I know everything will be okay. I am okay being me because I know being me is enough.

 

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear,…” – 1 John 4:18

 

 

 

Rebirth

“You are standing, just wait till you get there. ” 

Sometimes I hear God speaking or showing me things when I’m half awake and half asleep, I’ve not heard from him in that way for quite some time but this morning – just when I needed to hear it, I saw it right before me with my eyes closed but my vision clear I saw those words I placed in quotations. I’ve had some really hard days and sometimes I felt like I was drowning or falling beneath the cracks of my home. I’ve been struggling with wanting to fix everyone and everything as well as relying on God to be the glue instead of myself. My brain says I’m good, that everything is going to work out because I genuinely believe that but my heart is hurting, my back hurts from carrying the burden and load of others which I was never meant to carry. At times there’s an internal tug of war that goes on within my mind and heart, the tug towards unhealthy thinking or way of life and the tug towards my true self, the part of me that God wants me to hold onto. Sometimes I don’t know which is which and it causes anxiety in me when I try to be my true self but question who that might be. Something in me screams to just run away, in the past, it would be to escape physically, now I hear that voice telling me to run away emotionally and mentally – don’t sit, don’t stay, just ignore everything that’s going on inside. As I listen to Diamonds by Hawk Nelson, I realize just how much pressure it takes to produce diamonds, if those rocks had feelings they’d scream but in the end, they become shiny, beautiful and worth alot o dough. I’m in that process right now, in many ways im screaming but i’m also waiting expectantly for that diamond and butterfly to show up in me. I watched Moana this morning and it made me see again how similar I am to her, the way she repeats who she is out loud, she even says her name with such pride and confidence and what she will do, not only what SHE will do but what Maui will also do “I am Moana of Motunui. You will board my boat and restore the heart to Te Fiti.”…. “I am Moana of Motunui. I will board my boat and restore the heart to Te Fiti.”  Its amazing what happens when you know who you truly are, when I say my name out loud and the truths about who I am, it gives me the confidence to walk boldly because when I know who I am, no one can tell me otherwise.  Every morning I look in the mirror and I say the most honest words to myself, I say ” I’m a beautiful strong black woman” and I thank God for making me a woman. I say those words not because I believe them oh so much and its a way to boost my ego but because I struggle with the truths of who I am, so I chant these truths each day and I can see those truths more clearly as my identity now. I say out loud who I am once those lies come in and I try not to focus on the “who i’m not” claims – I say I am beautiful, I am not gay, I am a woman, I am whole, I am complete, I am enough, I am smart, I am capable, I am Royalty, I am a daughter of the Most High King, I am set a part, I am free, I am a child of God, I am the head and not the tail, I am victorious, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, I am loved, I am wanted, I am seen, I am chosen etc. For so long I have devoured and digested the lies spoken over me and now i’m chewing, and living on the truths of who I am – similar to Moana. In the middle of writing this, I realized I was writing what I wasn’t feeling, I was writing from pain and confusion till I said out loud “but I’m not feeling this way”, I changed it around and landed on that Moana speech which is where I think I am now – embracing my true identity and not being afraid to speak it out loud. Before, I would be kicking and screaming, but I think now that I believe God is for me and not against me, I’m embracing this transformation. As the waves and winds come I can choose to trust that even the wind and waves obey him. I can choose the truth that while this process is confusing at times or it’s painful, that God is still with me in the boat and on the waves as I step out, I can choose to trust that he will work out all things as I surrender to his will and that he won’t leave or forsake me as it gets tough. I can keep standing and wait till I get there.

鳶休

Tree of Life

I sat quietly this morning to find the truths behind the lies of who I am. I regularly do this because I get so caught up in the lies that I forget who I really am sometimes. A list of things came up, most things I have to write and remind myself regularly – one thing stood out from the crowd of truths and I felt the need to write about that. I saw a tree and the phrase “Tree of life” came to mind, I thought that’s not for me, Jesus is the tree of life! While that is true, Jesus says we’re the branch and that’s what I heard as I thought of the tree of life, I am a branch on Jesus’ tree that brings about life. I have my role to play, my own unique part that is special and different to every one else’s. God reminding me that I am his branch, reminds me that I am important…leaves and fruits spring out of me and it has nothing to do with me but where my root and soil comes from. The roots and soil gets all the water, the living water and that spreads to me, if I don’t have a strong root firmly fitted in that soil then I’d be dead. Jesus is everything that makes me strong, he’s the root, the soil, the vine, the living water and because of all of that I can bare fruit. I’m no longer a dried up, cursed fig tree but growing into a beautiful tall oak tree of righteousness. Jesus gave me visions the other day for comfort of us both sitting under a fig tree and he’s teaching me the way of life, how to guard my heart and all that. I remember asking him ” why are we meeting under a fig tree, didn’t you curse this tree for not bearing fruit?” His response was so kind and gentle, he told me that I was like that fig tree, cursed and dried up, not baring any fruit but I’m not that way anymore. Now I am blessed, bearing good fruit and he’s breathing life into me to bring me to life similar to the tree we’ve been sitting under. We are cursed no more! I am at home under that fig tree, sometimes we just sit there and that is enough because Jesus has become my home. I praise God for what he’s doing in me because left without him I’d be a mess, with him I’m becoming a beautiful message. 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Fathers glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” ( John 15 : 1-8)

The Process

I don’t really know where I am going with this, as it’s been for many things I’ve written that turned out to help me in the end. The last thing I wrote here was a vague yet very emotional release of a decision God brought me to make on that day. I officially became a leader at Celebrate Recovery (CR) on Feb 7, 2016 and while I shared my decision on Jan 7, 2017 that I’d be stepping down, it wasn’t official until yesterday, Feb 21, 2017. It’s funny how God is very specific and intentional, even with dates. Until now I didn’t even realize the date I received my orange lanyard at the CR leadership meeting was also the 7th. So, the step study started on Sep 7, 2016 – my sponsor confronted me about my denial on Jan 4th 2017, we met with the training coach on Jan 6th, I prayed about and shared my decision with them on Jan 7th and the new step study leaders will start us through book 3 on Mar 7th. The 21st might not have any other significance except that it’s my birth date. All that to say, God cares; even the tiniest detail possible; he sees, he knows and he cares. Today I felt sad for awhile, I was in my head a lot and I sat for 15 seconds. I remember as I hit start on the microwave and sat to talk to God – I even said, this isn’t enough time for you to respond but why am I sad?…Please show me. He didn’t show me at that exact moment but it was enough time for me to say “God I need you please help me” and so he did. He showed me that while i’m feeling relief and peace now that the step study ladies know, it’s also a stepping stone for me to go deeper and process all this. As I wrote that I had to stop and think, a stepping stone means i’m going higher – so why go higher to go deeper? Some things just work that way, sometimes I have to go deeper to go higher and this time its the other way around. I’m going higher to Christ and that woman he’s calling me to be so I have to die to myself and with that I need my heavenly father’s hands. Realizing that I still need to process this at another level makes sense, I knew deep down that announcing it to the women wouldn’t be the end, sure I’d feel peace but in some ways the work is just beginning. Now I get to talk about this in my open share group, before I couldn’t do that because the women didn’t know at that time. Now it’s time for me to process it with a group of safe people who love me and know what i’m going through to some extent. Now I get to walk this road with Jesus at a different level and know that he wouldn’t reveal this to me, or ask me to take this road unless i’d be okay in the end. Similar to the creation, God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th, God is remaking me. He is breathing life into me and bringing to life those dry bones, he is taking my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh. He is handcrafting me to look like the original masterpiece he created me to be – the Rembrandt, the creation, HIS BELOVED. Like a caterpillar shedding her skin and then rebirthing into a beautiful colorful butterfly, that day will come when I will soar as I am meant to, I will shine as bright as he intends, I will be as beautiful as he already knows me to be and on that day I will know even more than I do now, that I am free and I am his beautiful creation. I thank God, that day is coming.