Hard Places

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Crying

The year 2017 was particularly difficult for me. I had gone through some difficult moments where I had found myself curled up in a ball sobbing, why me and why this again. I’ve had moments of feeling that my life is completely out of my control and I had literally no idea what to expect from one moment to the next.

And it is absolutely 100% true, life is that crazy, none of us know with certainty what to honestly expect from one year to the next, from one month to the next, from one day to the next from one minute to the next yet the reality of that fact does not cross our mind, we take everything for granted, every single day.  But the reality is anything can happen to anyone at anytime. Most of us if we’re lucky our life is basic and routine for many many years, nothing major happens and then we die. For some people that is their life or at least it would seem that way from the outside looking in.

But, any one of us can be one phone call away, one car ride away, one doctor visit away, one email away, one conversation away, one outing away from a life changing event and that is a very scary thought. It’s also a thought that can make one feel absolutely helpless in the middle of circumstances and absolutely hopeless about their future when something totally unexpected and tragic hits you out of seemingly nowhere.

The kind of tragic thing that knocks you off your feet and leaves you weak and gasping for air, you know, hard places. And if you’ve already been knocked off your feet gasping for air and then they kick you when you’re down, then welcome to my 2017.

dazed and confused

Was I the only one who had a rough 2017? Probably not, so this post is for all of us. When I came to grips with the fact that everything is completely beyond my control and I am literally at the mercy of this world here’s what I discovered; God is in hard places even and especially places you didn’t expect to find him.

Genesis 28:16  New American Standard Bible (NASB)
16 “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

A very good friend of mine gave birth to a beautiful baby boy recently only to find out he will be a special needs child. I was shocked at the news and immediately saddened, but you know what I told her, “God don’t make no mistakes.”  That child was created just for her to fit into her life to fill a space and provide beauty and lessons and light that only that baby boy can. We may not like a lot of the things that happen in our lives but if we pay attention, listen and most importantly embrace it, its been given to us for a unique and higher purpose.

child is a gift

The same it is with my 2017. We (meaning me) spend a lot of time running from our circumstances trying to fix  them immediately when instead we should embrace them and spend time to look around to see the purpose behind what we are experiencing. Life is not rainbows, and butterflies and sunshine for all of us besides there’s a lot of things rainbows, and butterflies and sunshine cannot teach us. Life is tough sometimes and the skills of determination, perseverance and resourcefulness that we need to be successful in life are most often forged in the fires of these totally unexpected and tragic situations.

What I’ve experienced in 2017 has changed me.  Its changed the way I do things, the way I think, its changed me! Sometimes hard places can bring us to good places of change if we let them. 2017 is over, we are now well into 2018 and my saga continues.

gods protection

So if you are in a hard place, you are not alone, i’m with you but more importantly God the creator of the universe who loves you with an everlasting love is with you and keeping that knowledge in the forefront of your mind while you are in your hard place will make all the difference.

On this Resurrection Day, just as Christ has risen, let us rise too, let’s overcome even and especially in these hard places.

Relatable Song: Hills and Valleys by Tauren Wells

 

 

 

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Purpose

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years-that-ask-questions

 

As 2016 comes to a close and 2017 is quickly approaching I pause to reflect on what was, what is, and what I hope is to come…I write a list of what I want to accomplish during the year 2017. I didn’t do this in 2015 in preparation for 2016, or did I…I might have but this time feels different, more purposeful. 2016 had unexpected painful moments of loss and frustration but there were also surprisingly pleasant moments that were better than I could have ever hoped for, but isn’t that what every year consists of?

help people.jpg

As 2016 is coming to a close I am deciding that I want to live life more on purpose and with purpose because I am becoming increasingly aware of how short and fragile life can be. As I strive for that goal, I struggle to determine what that should look like for me. Could one’s purpose be something so simple as “to help people”? Could one’s life purpose be that vague? That general? I have always felt like one’s purpose was something unique, direct and specific. I feel like “help people” is what I’ve done my whole life, sometimes willingly with pleasure and sometimes overwhelmingly and with resentment but that has been my whole life, helping others. People like me, they confide in me, they ask me for sound advice. Meanwhile I don’t trust anyone (but God!), yes I have friends and family but I dare not confide in anyone about anything for fear of being judged, ridiculed, misunderstood, whatever is going on with me, I suffer silently, tears streaming down my face while laying in the dark and I try mostly to figure it out on my own (and with much prayer). Yet everyone everywhere I go sees me as a leader, I don’t set out to do this, it just happens. It’s like I have an invisible banner that everyone can see but me. So I mostly spend my time trying to live up to this role because I realize that I am talented in some ways that people need and so always, every time I can, I help.

why-am-i-here

I’m at a great place now in my career where I feel settled and I have never ever felt settled I have always been looking for the next best thing. But now, in this season, work is good, it pays the bills well, but I know that’s not all I’m here for, this cannot be all there is, I have to identify and pursue my real purpose, my real passion, my real reason for living and I intent to start in 2017.  I want to do more, give more, be more, so for 2017 I’m chasing purpose. Cliché, yeah kinda, but it’s true for me right now.

the-purpose-of-life-is-a-life-of-purpose

What are YOU doing in 2017? We ALL have a purpose, what’s yours? I know that life is busy. We all have a lot going on, a variety of demands tugging at each of us all the time. But what kind of life are we living if we do not enjoy it, if we are not fulfilling our purpose? So as 2016 comes to a close and 2017 is quickly approaching I encourage everyone to put some thought into it, into your life and how you want to live it, because this life, your life -it will be over for all of us before we know it.

Live with Purpose.jpg

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Relatable Song: Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets

Not Perfect…

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not perfect

My life is changing. I think I’m growing up or something. About time, in a sense. Even though I aspire to be forever young I am starting to mature in some ways and at my age I should be.  It is no surprise to me that I’m not perfect, we all know no one is perfect.  However, what I am actually realizing is that there are some aspects of me that I need to change for the benefit of myself and everyone around me that for a long time I actually didn’t think warranted change.  One of my main goals this year is self-improvements so here we go!

The main change I feel that I need to make first and right now is my relationship with Anger. Yes, I am one of those. Now I don’t think that I need anger management, I haven’t busted the windows out of anyone’s car, I haven’t smashed dishes or punched walls or anything like that, when I get angry my weapon is my words (makes sense I’m a writer).  The point is I always felt entitled to my anger because in my mind it’s an authentic feeling, if something or someone pisses me off am I not allowed to demonstrate that I am mad?! Not to mention I’m not the only one like this, I get my fiery anger from my dad and my older brother shares this trait too, if you make them mad you will hear about it verbally. So to me in my mind, my reactions are normal.

Anger is never

Lately I’m becoming more aware of it and I’m starting to feel that maybe this anger is not necessarily a good thing. I’m also reading a few books now for growth and improvement purposes and these may be impacting this decision as well indirectly.  So I decided to look at why I get angry to see if I can get to the bottom of this and overcome it. I think that the reason for my anger stems from my desire to have control.  I’m a very structured and organized individual by nature, that’s just how I am and how I live my life, I am not controlling by any means but I do like when things go according to plan, my plan.  There are times when things do not go according to my plan and quite honestly it can make me furious especially when it is due to someone else’s doing.  I take time to meticulously plan my day and my life, why can’t others do the same instead of imposing their lack of planning or thoughtlessness on me and wreaking havoc in my life.  This is how I think.

im so angry

Fortunately or unfortunately the world, my world, is filled with friends, family and strangers alike who all at some point interact with me in a way that goes contrary to the plan that I had for my day. Most times I handle it in stride and it doesn’t bother me at all and some days I get pretty angry about it especially if it causes an unexpected inconvenience to me in any way, shape or form.

I am realizing that it is in my best interest to be more flexible in everything and make more efforts to control my temper. Life always comes at you with some crazy plot twist so I should just accept that this is how it is and embrace it because resistance is certainly futile with this. So I’m working on letting go of wanting to control circumstances around me based on how I expected things to go in my mind and embracing a new mindset. I’m trying to go with the flow to some degree, it’s very freeing.

blessed are the flexible

What-screws-us-up-most-

For the people who know me best, my fiery angry side is no secret to them and has been a part of me from ever since I can remember. So this is now a new part of my journey to be less angry and more accommodating, period. I also came across something on Pinterest (you know that awesome black hole of endless information that eats up so much of our time) that really spoke to me. It was very specific and came directly from Philippians 1:27. It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that my actions as a Christian are always being watched by everyone around me and also by God. So, that challenged me even more to conduct myself better, no matter what. Challenge Accepted!

whatever happens

 

your life may be the only bible

So these days I aspire to be better, I will never be perfect, no one will, but I do aspire to be better one step at a time and one day at a time. Yes, there will be days that I fail, frankly I failed this morning stuck in traffic on my way to work, did I mention that I am also impatient at times which doesn’t help my anger any at all.  But even when I fail, I will keep trying, that’s the new plan.  Instead of giving into anger I want to exhibit the fruits of the spirit and have better control of my thoughts and my actions regardless of what is happening around me.

anger is poison

 

Maybe anger isn’t an issue for you, and if not good for you! Anger is bad for you mentally, physically emotionally and spiritually.  However, if you are prone to anger issues see if you can get to the bottom of why, there are a whole variety of reasons for why one is angry.  And maybe you’re not angry but maybe you are something else that is also not good for you or those around you…jealous, bitter, a complainer, a procrastinator, makes repeated bad decisions, …I don’t know your issue, but everybody has something, as stated earlier no one is perfect.  Whatever your issue is, why not decide to change it? Changing this will only make you better and who doesn’t want to be better. Change is hard, but with God all things are possible, so you go ahead and make the necessary efforts and then just trust God to help you make the changes you need to in your life. He is in the transformation business and he will complete the work in you that he has begun, you need only believe that it is possible, do your best and trust God to do the rest.

good better best

Prayer for God’s help with changing:

” Heavenly Father, I need to make some changes in my life.  I seem to be constantly struggling with (insert your issue here) and it is affecting me and those around me negatively. I want to do better, I want to be better, please help me, equip me, guide me and lead me.  I know that with God all things are possible and so I am praying to you and trusting you to help me to make the necessary positive changes in my life.  Please free me from anyone or anything that will hinder me from making these positive changes. Empower me and strengthen me to think better, do better and be better. Thank you for being with me and for me, thank you for helping me as I aspire to accomplish these positive changes in my life for my betterment and the benefit of those around me, in Jesus mighty name I pray. Amen.”

Need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or want more information about it? Click here.

Relatable song (click link below to listen):

Shoulders by King and Country

Relatable scripture:

Philippians 4:1321st Century King James Version (KJ21)

13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:8New International Version (NIV)

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

 

Suicide – I don’t wanna live!

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permanent solution to temporary problem

I’m not an everyday blogger. I only write when I have something deep, profound and worthwhile to say. That was my intention when I created my blog to make a difference with my words and my stories, to make an impact, to inspire, to help and to show people that wherever they are they are not alone.  That was the purpose.

Suicide statistics

So, being completely honest here suicide has crossed my mind at one time or another in my life. And if we are all completely honest we can agree that this is a fact for most of us.  Well, most recently someone I know committed suicide and I was absolutely heartbroken for her.  I cried immediately when I got the news.  It was a young woman, in her mid to late twenties, with a precious three year old daughter so on the surface it would seem that she had so much to live for but in her mind clearly there was nothing to live for. I thought to myself when I got the news, how could this happen?!  We all go through stressful times, painful times, difficult times, we all entertain the thought but at what moment do we decide, I’m doing this! I wish I could talk to her, I wanted to understand why she felt like this was her only option, I wanted answers, but I would never have any.  She was gone for good and now those of us that knew her were sitting around talking about going to the memorial service to pay our last respects. Everyone who heard the news was shocked. I’m assuming that’s the case though in most suicides.  This madness has to stop!

Suicide 1

People that we know and interact with sometimes even daily are hurting and suffering knowingly or unknowingly to us. They should not be deceived into thinking that suicide is the answer to all their problems because it’s NOT! All suicide does is give you a MUCH bigger problem!

See I believe in heaven and hell, I believe the commandments of the Most High God are to be obeyed including the commandment that states do not murder (which includes murder of oneself). Now obviously obeying all the commandments are difficult at times.  Some sins are easier to avoid than others, no one is perfect but we each have to try our best, because yes sometimes life is hard, but that’s LIFE!

As long as there is life there is hope, so every single day that we are alive we get a chance to do better, to be better, a chance for change. Nothing lasts forever, good times don’t last forever and neither do bad times. Life is cyclical, we have to take things in stride, that’s how you survive, you accept that there will be ups and downs and you work through it, the sun will shine again. It’s never going to be dark forever regardless of what it feels like right now.

It devastated me to think that at that moment when she took her life, that she opened her eyes only to wake up in hell where she would burn for all eternity in the lake of fire with the Prince of Darkness and his tormenting demons. Now I know, I know, I believe the bible and everyone does not believe the bible, I get it. So if I’m wrong about what I believe I just die and go into a hole in the ground to be worm food or I go off to purgatory or I’m reincarnated or whatever doctrine that has been fed to the masses that turns out to be right would then occur.  BUT if the bible turns out to be true after all and there is really life after death well then there is just heaven or hell!  And that’s an awful way to find out you were wrong all along to just wake up in hell after you die.  The greatest trick the devil has ever played on this world is how strongly he has convinced them that he doesn’t exist.

Satans names

With that said, I’ve placed my bet on Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. Not just because the odds are in my favor, but because I’ve tried it for myself and know it’s absolutely real. And it’s not about religion, or which church you go to, or how many times you go to church.  It’s all about your personal relationship with the creator of the universe who you can only get into relationship with through your acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  Click HERE for more on that if you are interested.  (Also, besides suicide, death can come suddenly for any of us from many unexpected accidents, be ye ready!)

Anyway, I’m coming down off my pulpit to focus on the issue at hand.  Suicide is stealing thousands of lives a year and must be stopped. I urge everyone who reads this post to please check in with your friends, family and loved ones, physically and verbally let them know that they are not alone, they are loved, they are supported and that hard times don’t last forever.  So many people around us are suffering silently while the spirit of suicide seduces them into taking their own life convincing them that death has got to be better.  No one should feel like death is their only choice or that death is better, because it’s simply not true.

The scariest monsters

Here’s a prayer that you can pray if you have been feeling suicidal lately:

“Lord Jesus, I come to you now because I need help.  I feel like the things I am going through are choking the life out of me.  I really don’t want to die, I want to live, but it’s been so hard lately.  Please help me to see the good in life and not just the bad.  Help me to feel your hope and not feel despair.  Fill me with your atmosphere of light, love and peace, remove every spirit of suicide and darkness from my life, give me freedom, strength, your guidance and direction, come into my life and save me, because I need your help!  Please Lord Jesus forgive me for my sins and deliver me from these feelings of darkness, heaviness, guilt and shame, in Jesus mighty name I pray, amen.”

Resist the devil

I truly believe that if you pray this prayer and you believe you will notice a change in your life and things will begin to get better. The only way to know whether or not God is real is to try him. Just try him, there’s nothing to lose.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please get help contact the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or check out their website at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or go to the nearest local church and ask for help. Believe me when I say this no one wants you dead, there are people that want to help you and there is so much to live for, your life could improve next week, next month or even tomorrow, anything is possible, please don’t give up!

Suicide Hotline Info

I pray peace, blessings, and love upon everyone who reads this post because yes life is hard sometimes but it’s still a beautiful experience worth fighting for.

Relatable Songs (click each below to listen):

Grace Wins by Matthew West

He Is With Us by Love & The Outcome

Relatable Scriptures:

John 10:10-29  English Standard Version (ESV)

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Psalm 14  King James Version (KJV)

14 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.

The Best Writing

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My best writing comes from my deepest, darkest, most painful experiences.  From having gone through something fierce and arriving on the other side of it.  The real pain and emotions of what I am feeling, flowing out onto paper.  Some things you never forget. Some things change your life forever.  Yet, even when the pain is old, I can still recall it fresh in all it’s honesty and vulnerability, that transparency… that’s what makes it good!
Ms. Meraki

Leap of Faith (Just Do It!)

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leap-of-faith

Ever did something crazy?!

Like really crazy…like a leap of faith?

But you did it because inside you felt like you had no choice, even if this didn’t seem to make complete logical sense you felt compelled to do it because you felt the calling to from deep within your soul.

I didn’t just take a leap of faith, I took two. I got married and I quit my very successful lucrative job, with no other job lined up in the hopes of pursing an idea, a dream of mine for my own business. Even though they were both leaps of faith, they were both well thought out before I took action.

Leaps of faith take courage. Fear is real, but like they say, you know what’s scarier than fear, regret and unfortunately too many people learn that after the fact.

faith bigger than fear

So I started a new chapter of my life on many levels and it caused me to reflect on why so many people neglect to do the same.

What would you do if you knew you would not fail? What is your dream? Your goal? Your passion? Why aren’t you pursuing it? What’s stopping you? And what are you doing about it? If you have a dream or goal you should spend every day of your life working towards it. Life and health isn’t guaranteed to any of us. Tomorrow may never come for some of us. The only thing we have is today and the time we have right now.

nothing is guaranteed

So many people get to the end of their life and missed an opportunity to pursue what they were meant to do. Of course there are distractions and obstacles but if you want it, you work for it, you make time for it and you make it happen.  Stay driven, stay motivated, this is your dream! Why wouldn’t you do everything in your power to make it work?

So, Go ahead! Get started, right now.  Write down where you are, write down where you want to be, and write down what needs to happen to get you there and then get going! It’s not that simple but you know what it kind of is and if anything it’s a really good start especially if you’ve done nothing yet.

go-for-it-now-the-future-is-promised-to-no-one

Scripture:

Romans 8:28  New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him

Relatable Song: Walk by Faith by Jeremy Camp (click here to listen)

Your Lazarus Situation (It’s Never Too Late…)

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its never too lateJohn chapter 11 – The Death of Lazarus . (Click here to read full story)
John chapter eleven states that Lazarus had gotten sick and died. On top of that he had been dead AND buried for four days and even then Jesus went to him and brought him back to life.

Do you have a situation in your life that has been pronounced dead by you or someone else? A relationship, a business, a health issue, a dream, a goal…something that seems to have died with absolutely no hope of resurrection ever again?

That is your Lazarus situation and I’m here to tell you that whether your Lazarus has been dead for 4 days, 4 weeks or 4 years God has the power to bring your Lazarus back to life. You see I am facing a Lazarus situation now in my own life and I didn’t realize it until recently when one day as I prayed to God telling him that it’s obviously too late, that there’s no way that it can happen now that this story was brought back to my memory. 

The key to overcoming your Lazarus situation is you have to believe that God can do this for you.

In the story, John chapter 11 verse 40 it says “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”.

believe

 

faith knowing God will

The bible clearly states in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 6 that without faith it is impossible to please God.

Even though your situation in the natural to our eyes may seem to have died, even though you feel hopeless, discouraged and defeated.  Even though you are in the midst of mourning the loss of your Lazarus, please know that if YOU believe then your Lazarus can rise, can be resurrected so that God can be glorified through your situation.

faith seeing light with heart

I urge you, whatever it is that you feel has died, don’t despair and DO NOT give up hope. Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.  In the story Lazarus’s sister believed, that’s it, that’s all she had to do and Jesus went to where Lazarus was and made it happen.  Just like that he can also come right where you are to your situation too!

Believe.  Have faith. Give God a chance to show you what he can do, for you.

have faith and succeed

Scripture:

John 11:43-44New International Version (NIV)

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

 

Relatable Song: “Hope In Front of Me” by Danny Gokey (click here to listen)

 

The Love Story

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heart on fire

love is

In the spirit of the upcoming Valentine’s Day, I decided to finally open The Love Story page.

Three years ago I made a single decision one night to go somewhere I wouldn’t usually go, with people I wouldn’t ordinarily be with.  That single decision, at the time unknown to me, would take me on a journey and change the course of my life forever. You can read all about it here.

For those of you looking for love, real true deep love, it can happen, it does happen, it will happen and oftentimes when you least expect it.

Relatable Song: (Click on link below)

God Gave Me You by Blake Shelton