It’s Cleanup Season

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Happy Spring everyone! This is the time of year that we generally get busy with Spring Cleaning which is generally comprised of cleaning the clutter in our homes and making things tidy for this long-awaited season of sunshine, warmer weather, and rain that will eventually bring forth beautiful flowers. As I began to do some of the same in my home the thought crossed my mind that when it comes to personal and spiritual development, any season is a good time to do some cleaning. In 2012, God blessed me with an awesome opportunity to be a co-author in a book called “Cheers! To Your Success: Women on the Rise and Owning their Destiny” along with a phenomenal group of women. The title of my story was: Humbled and stripped to be raised and clothed for service. The basis of the message that God had me to share detailed the stretching period that I was experiencing at that time in my journey. Despite having experienced a devastating loss, I was diligently trying to move forward in walking in my purpose without addressing some “hidden things” that were gradually pulling me down. Slowly but surely things that I thought I had gotten over or been delivered from, and some I didn’t want to let go of came floating to the surface and negatively impacting my life. It was a very challenging time, but God saw me through it. God is always faithful even when we are not, Amen!

The lesson that I wanted to share from that growing period of my life was that it is extremely important to face the giants that have taken root in our lives. Not in your own strength but through the Grace and guidance of God. Each of us has one, or two, or three giants (but whose counting) that we must confront in order to freely and successfully move forward and “Own our Destiny”. Just like a tree whose roots have grown so thick and so strong underground that they start to damage the septic/plumbing system of a home, so be it the same with the internal struggles, strongholds, and habits that we conceal (without knowing most of the time) and try to overlook or bury them until we can no longer stop the residue from seeping through. . Unfortunately, no matter how hard we may try, eventually all the messy, stinky and frustrating stuff will rise to the surface for all to see. I believe that God uses the events of these testing and proving times to empower us so that when we are faced with challenges in the future, we are equipped to confront those things that attempt to pull us back when we are about to embark upon a breakthrough.
If you are reading this, I just want you to know that I believe in you and your success. I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you the potential roadblocks that will try to trip you up as you move forward. Don’t allow the giants in your life to keep you stuck or place you in a position of always being knocked down and defeated. Refuse to continue to settle for anything but the best, choose to forgive those who didn’t do what you thought they should do or those who treated you wrong, Purpose to not compromise for anything that doesn’t line up with your moral beliefs and values, turn your back on struggle, bitterness, jealousy, being in debt, or what mommy or daddy didn’t do and believe God for better days.
No matter the season, anytime is a good time to stand your ground, face those giants, and pull down and bury every stronghold in your life through the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. It’s been two years and I’ve been knee deep in my own personal Clean up Season. I’ve been able to create a dumpster full of ugly stuff that I’ve been able to throw away with God’s help and strength to make way for all the new blessings, opportunities, and new mindset some of which are already here and more that’s coming my way! A builder doesn’t begin pouring the concrete to set the foundation for a building until he has performed an excavation (clearing) of the land, neither should we when it comes to laying the foundation for our lives. Bottom Line: We will always be growing and learning and life will always present an opportunity to call forth a CLEAN UP SEASON and it won’t always be during the spring!

Remember: “Attempting to move forward into the new without honestly seeking to be set free from the emotional bondage and strongholds of your past is like trying to run a marathon with cement bricks for shoes!” – Author: Debrayta Salley; Excerpt from “Cheers! To Your Success: Women on the Rise and Owning Their Destiny”

Super Size Your Faith

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I recently completed reading the book “Take It by Force” written by Judy Jacobs. The content of this book is so Anointed that the extreme level of faith displayed in various testimonies just leaps off the pages and will cause your spirit to burn for more of life than you may be experiencing in the present. It will encourage you to seek to diligently go forward in radical faith and take back everything that the enemy may have claimed for himself from your life, members of your family, and anyone else that may be connected to you. You will even have a stronger desire to seek to reach goals that until now may have seemed impossible or too challenging to achieve. I highly recommend this read for anyone who is ready to go to the next level in your faith. Of course, the stories and lessons in the Bible are our primary source for empowerment and encouragement but I also believe that “We are overcome by the word of our testimony” and that of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am also a firm believer in sharing resources that can add value to the lives of others. Aside from that, my main reason for writing this blog was to encourage you to not only settle for mustard seed faith, but to begin to walk in Violent Faith and rise above the things that may attempt to have you fearful or miserable even. As a Child of God, we are commanded to be content in whatever state that we are in, but not to become complacent when the position is stale, stagnant, undesirable, or unhealthy.

As we grow in the faith and in our relationship with God we will have more and more experiences that will test our level of faith and to prove us for assignment. Depending on where we stand in our level of faith we will either stand firm and rise up or buckle down and shut up when challenges come our way. I’ve personally been on both sides of the fence and in the times when I chose to “shut up”; I was forcing myself to stay in a place of discontentment when God had so much more waiting for me. The bible does say that “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there, and it will move”- Matthew 17:20, It also says that “Faith without works is dead” – James 2:14-26, According to your faith be it done to you- Mark 9:29”, and The Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence and the violent TAKE IT BY FORCE – Mark 11:12! The common theme I see here is that it is going to take some action on our part. Let’s not forget that when we partner with God, Nothing is Impossible and anything can happen.

Bottom line is that in this faith walk, there are going to be times when we will be challenged to “Step out of our comfort zone. There will be times when “In order to get different results, you have to do something different.” We may not feel like it, don’t think we have the strength to do so, and can’t see where it will make a difference, BUT, it is our level of faith in God and movement as a result that is going to have a direct impact on how we progress. There are things that God wants to make happen in our lives, but our level of faith may be holding us hostage where we are. Yes! You can have it and God can do it, but you must SUPERSIZE YOUR FAITH and Take the life God meant for you BY FORCE!

Eliminating Stress, Judgement & Negativity by a Change in Perception

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Have you ever had a conversation or interaction with someone and by the end of it, you or the other individual walked away disappointed or taken aback by what you thought you heard the other person say? This has ruined the stability of many relationships. It’s even more common in this day and age because we have so many methods of communication including those that are not always the best or personable option for communicating like Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, texting, etc.). I’ve observed in many instances where something that was shared by one person was misinterpreted by someone reading it and as a result, they either responded negatively, or in judgment of the other person, or the message/viewpoint being shared. A lot of times this is due to the perception of the individual who is interpreting what has been shared or the thought not being shared in a clear and concise way. It is natural for us to breakdown information in our own way because we are each shaped by our own experiences and opinions; however, we must be careful not to let judgment lead us in translating the actions or thoughts of others. I believe that when dealing with others we must first have a change in perception by purposefully believing that there is always positive intention unless we learn otherwise. Phillipians 2:1-4 (Message) reads: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, – then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word Perception is defined as “the way you think or understand someone or something.” I came across a great quote using the word: “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” – Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception. If we see things only from our point of view, then we risk falling into judgment. If we have a question about the intent, but never ask the person for an explanation, then we lose out on an opportunity for effective sharing and the opportunity to learn from a teachable moment. We owe it to ourselves and one another to build effective relationships by being open and allow for free speech and individual experience. Society as a whole as well as the media/news do a super job of its own of reporting the tragic and negative stories and spinning their viewpoint so why would we bring that same mentality into our day to day relationships? Life brings with it enough stress so why add to it that which is unnecessary or based on false perception? Don’t internalize what doesn’t build you up – everything is not for everybody. I try my best to live by a wisdom nugget that I learned some years ago and while it works for me the majority of the time: “Chew up the meat, spit out the bones”, and might I add – keep it moving.

Dear Lord: Please help me from this moment forward to commit to: (1) respecting another persons’ space for thought/opinion. (2) Not allow someone else’s opinion to affect my mood or response in a negative way. (3) Be open to always being receptive to new learning opportunities and correctly translating what is being shared. A change in perception will empower me to eliminate unnecessary judgment and negativity from my mind and personal space. This is my Prayer and Declaration – In Jesus Name!

This is the Appointed Time

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Greetings and Happy New Year to You and Your Families!

I pray that your year thus far has been all that dreamed and purposed it to be. Yes, I know I’m a whole month late, but I have a good reason why I’m just getting around to writing this months’ blog post. I’ve been spending most of my free time this year planning and tending to various goals, working on a writing project, and tending to personal family matters. I’d like to thank you for following my blog and/or taking the time out of your busy schedule to read it – I really appreciate your support and pray that what I share here is a blessing to someone. Thank you.
My year thus far has been a great time of reflection, revelation, as well as rest. God reminded me that another year had passed and I still hadn’t completed some of the things that he had instructed me to do for quite some time. Does this sound familiar to you? All I could say is Yes Lord and Oooooch! He let me know that this was the Appointed Time for these tasks to take precedence over any other good ideas that I may have turned my attention to because these particular tasks were God ideas or desires that he placed within me that must be birthed in order to help those who have or are having like experiences get delivered and set free! I wanted to take some time to share my journey thus far with my writing project for two reasons: (1) To encourage someone else to never give up on their dreams no matter how long it takes and (2) Give you a hint about what you can expect from my upcoming book. I am so excited and to be truthful have a little fear about the level of transparency that I will be sharing about my personal journey in this book, but I am confident that God has mandated me to do so as it will help others who have a need to be set free from the “hidden or unspoken things” that we wrestle with in silence and as a result, they tend to hold us hostage from being able to pursue our best lives. This project has been at work in the spirit for over ten years and in the natural for over three years now. Although I’ve actually been physically writing it for the past two years, no matter how much I tried to force myself to complete various chapters’, I was never able to get far very far. You see, sometimes no matter how much we try to force a thing, if it is not in God’s Divine Timing, it will not work. The focus of my book is based on my journey as a young and adult woman – the triumphs, the tragedies, the good and bad choices, and the wisdom gained from each experience. Over the past few years, I have had some very interesting and challenging experiences that had to be included within the project; hence, the reason why it could not be completed until now – The Appointed Time! So if there is a goal that you have been trying to accomplish, do not be discouraged. Persevere and continue to do your part and when the time comes things will begin to flow and align without incident. It Shall Come To Pass – At the Appointed Time!

Thank you in advance for traveling with me along this new journey, for holding me up in prayer, and for your support once the final product is made available for purchase. I am humbled that God would choose me to take my mess and make it into a message. As a private person, this has been a stretching process for me, but God did not allow me to survive some of the things I have to keep it to myself and whether you realize it or not, the same applies to you. Despite everything that you have been through, you’re still here and it’s for a purpose!

God Bless

Love, Honor, and Respect with Boundaries

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I recently viewed an episode of a reality show that I don’t usually watch due to the media reports of the current story line and found myself fussing at the TV screen because I couldn’t believe the way that it was playing out. Now granted, I’m not sure if the antics being displayed were written into the story line or a true representation of the mother’s behavior but nevertheless, I was very disappointed. Here is a young lady who has her own home, career, and child who has to be in her late thirties or early forties sitting quietly and even leaving the room at one point while her mother was disrespecting her fiancée tremendously. She did not bite her lip at all about feeling that he has an ulterior motive concerning her grown-up child. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that there are times when parents can see things that we cannot and we should Honor them by taking their views into consideration but to allow disrespect is completely unacceptable. I applaud this gentleman who sat there and strongly listened to the outright defamation of character sent his way. He could have certainly gotten to the point where he couldn’t take anymore and started acting out in defense of himself; however, he respectfully shared his true intentions repeatedly and in my opinion stood up for himself in a very tasteful way. He also did something else that I felt was upstanding and that was – let his future “hopeful” wife know that she has to do something about her mother and the way that she treats him. In regards to the mom, apparently, this is a behavioral pattern that she has displayed for some time when it comes to those who are becoming too close for comfort to her little girl. I had to calm myself down because I was giving my two cents of an opinion to the lead character through the screen just like everyone else in the media – lol. That’s when the teachable moment came to me!
Effective relationships are the most vital aspect of our existence in this world and as a result, we must know how to respect and nurture them and one of the best ways to start is by Setting Boundaries! Regardless of the nature of the relationship (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Friend, etc., etc.) in order for it to be an effective two-way interaction, there must be boundaries set at the onset. As an individual who didn’t always understand the importance of setting boundaries in relationships myself, I was able to identify some possible reasons why the young lady was holding so tightly to her belief that if she addressed her mother about the issue she would be disrespectful towards her. Two possible reasons why she has allowed or enabled her mother to have such an influence (whether positive or negative) in her life/ relationships:
• Self- Doubt – I believe that it is possible that this young lady may have unknowingly lost confidence in her ability to make “sound” relationship decisions. Despite her high level of confidence in other life areas, due to the failure of past romantic relationships, she may feel deep down inside that she may make the wrong decision by marrying the young man so she subconsciously allows the disruptive behavior of her mother. Fear of the unknown and the possibility of failing may have her hostage.

• Co-Dependency – In considering the fact that this is something that frequently occurs between her and her mother, it leads me to believe that there may be some level of co-dependency within the relationship. “Co-Dependency is a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who has a need to control another.”

No matter which case this particular situation my fall under, the bottom line is that the situation is out of control and is unhealthy. At a time in her life where she should be happy, excited and joyfully planning her wedding, she is caught in the crossfire of dialogue between her mother and her fiancée. This is no way to begin a union. The bible clearly states in Genesis 2:24– “Therefore shall a man (woman) leave his (her) father and mother, and shall cleave unto his (her) wife (husband) and they shall become one flesh.” Considering this, I believe that individual and couples counseling would be great for the couple and it may even be time for mother and daughter to go to counseling as well. Lord knows an open session with Iyanla Vanzant would be beneficial to everyone involved here. I truly hope and pray that everything works out for the couple as they genuinely appear to love one another and given all that this young lady has been through, she deserves to have a blessed relationship. I am not a licensed counselor or psychologist; however, I believe some of the things I have experienced have equipped me to offer wisdom and guidance and if there was one thing that I could say to them or to anyone else finding themselves in a similar situation, I would share the following:

Boundaries communicated in a loving, clear, and respectful way are NOT a show of disrespect!

No Greater Love!

no_greater_loveDuring a recent conversation with a dear friend who is in the last stretch of her studies to officially become a Clinical Psychologist, God blessed me with a revelation. First let me say that this was initially just a conversation amongst two friends but when your purpose is the essence of who you are and you have accepted that, it will show up in any conversation that you attempt to have, even when you don’t want it to –LOL. I truly just wanted to have a simple conversation with my friend and it turned into a mini intense counseling session that I eventually had to end in order to get back to work.

Now let’s get back to my revelation. In Gary Chapman’s Best Selling book, The Five Love Languages include:
(1) Words of Affirmation (2) Acts of Services (3) Receiving Gifts (4) Quality Time (5) Phylisical Touch. Discover your Love Language(s) by clicking here: http://www.5lovelanguages.com/profile/.

My friend brought to my attention that one of my Love Languages is: Words of Affirmation. I never even considered this in the past, but as I moved from dismissing her initial observation (tell the truth and shame the devil), God showed me that she was so correct in her analysis. She observed that this particular language means a lot to me and that I tend to seek it more so from others than I do from God. She indicated that “it’s not that you don’t hear from God, you just prefer to hear it spoken to you from people.” Oh my, my, my and ouch! Lord, please forgive me! As I sit here processing this, I can’t help but to feel convicted as this would mean that I put others before God when he is the head and sustainer of my life and the most important relationship that I have. The same way that it isn’t healthy for two individuals in a committed relationship to seek affirmation, et al from those outside of their union, the same applies with our relationship with God. Don’t get me wrong, our individual languages have a very important place in our lives because they identify who we are and provide guidance to those who want to Love us as we need and desire to be loved, but there has to be a balance. When we don’t, we risk putting our hope in man’s “Love” or the lack of for us instead of the stable, consistent, unconditional love that God provides to us – He Is Love! In Jeremiah 31:3 (Message), the word of the Lord reads: “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!
Moral of this story: It is not fair to God for us to approach him with an “Oh and you too Willona” attitude (fellow fans of the show Good Times will appreciate this statement). We are human beings here on earth and we need each other to support, and encourage one another; however, our biggest fan, consistent supporter, and greatest encourager is and will always be The Lord!
Dear Lord, starting today, I will place more emphasis on your love for me. I will cherish and be strengthened by the words that you have spoken over me, the way you serve my every need, the gifts that you have placed inside of me to serve others, the gentleness and of your touch, and the restoration I receive when I spend quality time with you. I acknowledge and believe in my heart that There is No Greater Love!

Don’t Bury the Hurt, Pain, or Dissapointment! Dig it up and Release It!

I remember many years ago I heard a loud scream come from the room of my roommate at the time and I went running to see what what was going on with her. Much to my surprise she calmly said ” Oh nothing just letting out some frustrations”. I asked if she was sure, she said yes, but I still walked away concerned and prayed. To this day I’m not sure if she ever told me what was going on, but now I completely understand the importance of letting out whatever is frustrating or ailing you. I spent a lot of years of my life holding in what needed to be released out of fear of others seeing it as complaining, being bound or stuck, or possibly being misunderstood etc. Side note: Trust me that is not a wise decision. I believe that this is one of the reasons we have so much violence and anger in our land. We don’t effectively deal with the things that we are truly able to change if we just put in a little effort. Don’t bury your disappointment, hurt, or pain, release it through prayer, planning, and action!
If you are hurting or frustrated- scream. If you are not satisfied in that relationship- acknowledge it and either get counseling or take action to move forward , if that job no longer supports your desires, purpose or ambitions- start your job search, business plan , etc.  Resist the urge to dress up your hurt or dissatisfaction in order to satisfy others. It doesn’t make sense to fake a smile on the outside while hurting inside, stressed physically,  or crying yourself to sleep at night or anytime you are alone.
The bible says that there is a time for mourning and a time for dancing. So (Mourn)  be free to acknowledge where you are and then “Get up, pick up your mat and walk” (John 5:8) or should I say DANCE! The Chains will only begin to break when you start pressing through the dirt and  releasing anything that is trying to keep you from living a full and joyful life! I Dare you to RELEASE IT!