And then God

Are you struggling with saying yes to God? I haven’t told this story in a long time, but I feel deep within my spirit that someone needs to hear it. Maybe it’s you.

Three years ago I was sitting on my floor folding laundry – minding my own business – and God came at me. He came at me with something that I thought was absolutely nuts.

He told me to start a non-profit.

A business.

A what?

That thought had never crossed my mind. It was not a dream I had ever dreamt.

I told Him I couldn’t.

I told Him I wouldn’t.

I told Him no.

And I didn’t tell a soul.

Now y’all know how close I am with my sisters, right? I tell them everything. But not this.

Uh-uh.

No way.

Nope.

I wasn’t about to speak this into existence.

And then we wrestled. For three long weeks. I wrestled with God. I bet you can guess who won.

Rays of Sunshine Inc has been running smoothly for three years now. I wish I knew the number of kids we’ve helped, but I don’t. I just know it’s a lot. And I know it’s exactly what God made me for.

This dream I didn’t dream.

This thing I wasn’t equipped to do.

And then God.

So listen up – if God is telling you to do something – just do it. Don’t waste time. Don’t wrestle. Don’t say no.

It’s time to live out the life you didn’t know you would. It’s time to live out His dreams for you.

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14

Who are you?

Who are you?  

Have you really sat down and pondered this question? When someone asks “Who are you” what do you say?

 A lot of us will say something like: I am a Christian, Child of God, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, granddaughter, teacher, and friend. Even though these tell the many hats we wear and who we are in these hats – they do not really tell us who we are.

For most of my life, through high school and beyond, I struggled with who I was. I never saw myself with value or of worth. In high school I really tried to be invisible and didn’t want people to notice or “see me”.  I felt like I would not be of worth to them as a friend or person; therefore, I shut myself away from people. When you think you have no value as a human being you tend to shut down and not live life.

This is the value I saw in myself. “I’m ugly, not worthy, dumb, not smart, etc….” When you dwell on these things they take root in your life and you believe them and can’t see past them. These words were like a tape running over and over in my mind.

In 1995 I accepted Christ and only then did I begin to see my life as valuable and that I mattered to people. I saw that I mattered to Christ and that He died for me, so maybe I could matter to others.

All the years of the negative had to be rooted out, and I had to regrow the positive. One verse that helps me know who I am is Ephesians 1:3-7.

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He [a]made us accepted in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

There are 6 key words that stand out in the passage. Blessed, Chosen, Adopted, Accepted, Redeemed, and Forgiven.

I am Blessed through Christ with every spiritual blessing.

I am Chosen by Christ.

I am Adopted and receive the inheritance by being a Child of God,

I am Accepted just as I am by the work of Christ on the cross.

I am Redeemed. Christ paid the ransom for me and plucked me out of the miry clay.

I am Forgiven. God’s limitless grace is given to me.

So now instead of the ugly tape that runs through my mind – this tape runs instead. I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven,

So know when you are asked who you are you say: I am blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed, and forgiven.

Be blessed.

“Afterward, a Jewish religious leader named Simon asked Jesus to his home for dinner. Jesus accepted the invitation. When he went to Simon’s home, he took his place at the table. In the neighborhood there was an immoral woman of the streets, known to all to be a prostitute. When she heard about Jesus being in Simon’s house, she took an exquisite flask made from alabaster, filled it with the most expensive perfume, went right into the home of the Jewish religious leader, and knelt at the feet of Jesus in front of all the guests. Broken and weeping, she covered his feet with the tears that fell from her face. She kept crying and drying his feet with her long hair. Over and over she kissed Jesus’ feet. Then she opened her flask and anointed his feet with her costly perfume as an act of worship. When Simon saw what was happening, he thought, “This man can’t be a true prophet. If he were really a prophet, he would know what kind of sinful woman is touching him.” Jesus said, “Simon, I have a word for you.” “Go ahead, Teacher. I want to hear it,” he answered. “It’s a story about two men who were deeply in debt. One owed the bank one hundred thousand dollars, and the other only owed ten thousand dollars. When it was obvious that neither of them would be able to repay their debts, the kind banker graciously wrote off the debts and forgave them all that they owed. Tell me, Simon, which of the two debtors would be the most thankful? Which one would love the banker most?” Simon answered, “I suppose it would be the one with the greatest debt forgiven.” “You’re right,” Jesus agreed. Then he spoke to Simon about the woman still weeping at his feet. “Don’t you see this woman kneeling here? She is doing for me what you didn’t bother to do. When I entered your home as your guest, you didn’t think about offering me water to wash the dust off my feet. Yet she came into your home and washed my feet with her many tears and then dried my feet with her hair. You didn’t even welcome me into your home with the customary kiss of greeting, but from the moment I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. You didn’t take the time to anoint my head with fragrant oil, but she anointed my head and feet with the finest perfume. She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.” Then Jesus said to the woman at his feet, “All your sins are forgiven.” All the dinner guests said among themselves, “Who is the one who can even forgive sins?” Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith in me has given you life. Now you may leave and walk in the ways of peace.”” Luke 7:36-50 TPT

• The woman had caught a glimpse of Jesus.

• It’s easy to pour out our love when we’ve caught a glimpse of Who He is!

• When we know how much we’re loved, when we know how much we’ve been forgiven, it’s EASY to waste it all!

• Knowing the level of forgiveness we’re walking in gives us access to be close to Jesus.

• Knowing how forgiven she was, broke the wall of shame & brought her face to face with the King.

• The Father is excitedly waiting on you in the secret place. He can’t wait to be with you!

• Her lavish costly devotion brought her close.

• Pure & true worship should & will cost you something. It’ll cost time, or friends, or sleep, or hobbies, etc.

• Worship is giving God glory. Worship is loving Him for who He is.

• Those who know they’re loved & forgiven can push past the mockery of others & get close to the King.

• “When the disciples saw this, they were offended. “What a total waste!” they grumbled.” Matthew 26:8 TPT

• Not everyone will appreciate your worship and love to Jesus.

• Some people will see you giving your whole life, your whole yes to Him, as foolish & as a waste. They won’t understand because they’ve not encountered Him like you have.

• Don’t hold it against them! Bless them & be an example.

• Let your life or worship to God be defined by His pleasure & not by other’s mockery.

• “Every single moment you are thinking of me! How precious and wonderful to consider that you cherish me constantly in your every thought! O God, your desires toward me are more than the grains of sand on every shore! When I awake each morning, you’re still with me.” Psalms 139:17-18 TPT”

• Because she knew how He felt about her, his voice & opinion of her outweighed the mockery of others.

• Now I want you to ask the Father this question: “Father, what do You say about my worship to You?” Write down His response.

• Be blessed!

Conviction

Welp, I got mad at my pastor a few Sundays ago. He was just stepping on my toes left and right. Every once in awhile he would even stomp.

Rude.

Just joking. Bet I got your attention, though. I’m not mad. I’m actually glad.

Here’s the thing – when it comes down to it – it wasn’t really my pastor that was stepping on my toes. It was the word of God. I’m thankful for a pastor that is in tune with God. I’m thankful for a pastor that seeks God’s guidance through His word. And you should be, too.

Don’t let conviction convince you that your sin is cause to be mad at anyone but yourself. Instead, I hope that through conviction you gain confidence. Confidence to do the right thing. Confidence to stop whatever mess you’re messing in. Confidence to call out to God for help.

Don’t be mad at your pastor because he is speaking the truth.

Pray for your pastor.

Pray for his wife.

He’s got one of the toughest jobs in the world.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18

We don’t

Sometimes it feels like my prayers go straight to God’s voicemail instead of Him picking up and answering right away. I have concluded this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He always hears my concerns and desires, but it takes some humility on my part to realize that He has something better in mind. 

 

We don’t always know what God is doing behind the scenes. God’s history reveals that He is going to answer those prayers in a way that you never even imagined. The Lord loves you and cares for you. Admittedly, it takes a great amount of faith to trust Him during those times we feel unseen and ignored. Keep praying through the silence; God is moving in mighty ways that are beyond our human comprehension. 

 

Seek comfort in the truth that our Heavenly Father is sovereign, the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness, and that Jesus sympathizes with us. The King of Heaven wants to use each and every one of us for His greater purpose.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Not the one

You know what the devil loves?

Drama.

Oh, don’t you know he loves him some drama. And he loves to get one of God’s girls all wrapped up in it.

Division.

Animosity.

Straight up ugliness.

All of his favorite things rolled into one fun-filled package. It’s like a birthday present wrapped in sequins.

Don’t go to his party.

Don’t throw his party.

Don’t tell others about his party.

But just know this – when you uninvite yourself to that party – you will be uninvited from all kinds of parties. And by parties I mean conversations.

People will realize you’re not the one.

You’re not the one to gossip.

You’re not the one to degrade others.

You’re not the one to spew ugliness.

I hope you’re ok with that.

I hope you’re not the one.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29

Just because.

This past Sunday morning it rained. While it was raining the sun was shining so bright.

I thought about this for a while that day.

And I applied it to my life. In what ways was it raining, but God still shined.

Just because you are having a bad day, it doesn’t mean God isn’t working.

Just because you feel far from God, it doesn’t mean He isn’t showing Himself to others through you.

Just because you can’t see God in the world around you, it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

God still works even when it doesn’t work with you.

He still shines even when it’s raining.

He gives you strength even when you might feel weak.

You find that strength in His Word.

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 hand. “

John 1:5

“ the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Shine

The bank account is busting and so are the stress levels.

School just needs to start – IYKYK. Am I right?

But in the midst of all the things, don’t forget about THE thing – and that’s shining for Jesus.

This year I pray that you shine:

▪️Big

▪️Bold

▪️Bright

I pray that your own kiddos, your students, and your friends feel that Jesus glow radiating out of every pore of your existence.

I pray you don’t grow weary.

I pray you run that race, girl.

I pray you run hard.

I pray.

It’s gonna be hard.

It’s gonna be exhausting.

But man will it be worth it.

Here’s to the 22-23 school year. ☀️

“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

Galatians 6:9

Be intentional

Intentionally praying. Are you doing it?

I know I wasn’t for a long time. Sometimes we pray out of habit because we know it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes we just pray on a schedule because life gets too busy. Sometimes we just don’t pray at all.

The struggle is real.

A few months ago the words “be intentional” came over me while praying. These words have really stuck with me.

Was I being intentional with my prayers and my day to day life? The answer was no. Now I try to be intentional with everything I do.

From my social life to my work life. I challenge you to be intentional. I challenge you to really know what you are praying – to really know how you are spending your days honoring God.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

Airplanes

I recently heard something interesting about airplanes that I’ve never EVER heard before. At any given moment, an airplane may have to go off its intended flight path…Not WAY off from what the original path looked like, but some variance in the original plan is to be expected.

There are all kinds of reasons for this deviation – weather, turbulence, wind, air traffic, to avoid a specific airspace…whatever the reason, some shift in their flight plan is to be expected because of all the things that could possibly happen on the way to their destination…all the things that could affect their ability to stay exactly on course they planned.

.

The main thing is, of course, that the pilot and the plane both know where the plane will take off and where it will land, but getting there to that final destination may look differently than originally anticipated.

The pilot and the plane know the starting point and the ending point.

They know their home base and their destination.

Regardless of the groundwork done by the pilot.

Regardless of the directions from the air traffic controller.

Regardless of the information set in the GPS of the plane.

The plane may have to take a different route to get to the destination than they intended.

Sound familiar?

I’d say this flight plan scenario is a whole lot like life.

We make plans,

We plan our future,

And even plan our days minute by minute, but they don’t always go like we’d thought they would.

In fact, I’m going to take a wild guess and say that around 99.5% of the time, things don’t go as any of us want/intend them to go. This could be something as simple as spilling something on your brand new dress on the first day of school OR it could be something as big as a health scare.

The only reassuring part of this whole thing is that plans HAVE been made for each of our lives.

A path has been set…just not by us. By God.

Proverbs 16:9 – The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:1 – The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

What exactly does this mean for us?

It means plan away, set that path, set goals and even achieve them..but be prepared – things may not turn out quite like you thought they would.

Sometimes, it means things go in a very different direction than we anticipated they would.

Sometimes it means we’re disappointed, surprised, and even frustrated.

Sometimes it means we just flat out don’t get what we want, but –

SOMEtimes, it means we get so much more than we ever imagined possible that we’re literally in awe.

Sometimes miracles happen.

Sometimes things we least expect in life come together for us.

Many fruits of the spirit come into play when our life is being directed by God and Godly things –

A whole lot of patience, an extreme amount of faithfulness, and a HUGE amount of self control. Trust the process is always a phrase that comes to mind when thinking of God’s plans and his time compared to our own.

Now getting there is another story. Although you don’t know what this life will look like or the steps you’ll take to be all that God intended you to be, he does. You may have twists and turns you never expected, you may have to experience things you’d rather not, you may even have to do things you never imagined in a million years you’d do, but regardless, if you can be still long enough to listen and follow his lead, you’ll get there.

Just know that unlike the path of that airplane, your path is not directed by the weather or a restricted airspace – your path is directed by the one who knows YOU,

the one who knows what’s BEST for you,

the one who is protecting from sights unseen and events unknown by you,

and the one who loves you more than anything in the world – so trust him.

Even when it doesn’t go like you planned.

God knows where you started, and God knows where you’re going…and even if you don’t know how you’re getting there,

He does.