Order My Steps

One of my favorite songs is this old gospel song called “Order My Steps”. Every time I hear it, my eyes well with tears because it reminds me that I need God to order my steps. My tongue can sometimes be used to do harm instead of good. So, I’m constantly asking for Him to lead me.  I want to walk worthy. Don’t you?

Here are the lyrics:

Order my steps in Your word dear Lord,
lead me, guide me everyday,
send Your anointing, Father I pray;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Humbly, I ask Thee to teach me Your will,
while You are working, help me be still,
Satan is busy, God is real;
order my steps in Your word,
please, order my steps in Your word.

Bridle my tongue let my words edify,
let the words of my mouth be acceptable in Thy sight,
take charge of my thoughts both day and night;
order my steps in Your word,
please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Order my steps in Your word.
Order my tongue in Your word.
Guide my feet in Your word.
Wash my heart in Your word.
Show me how to walk in Your word.
Show me how to talk in Your word.
When I need a brand new song to sing,
show me how to let Your praises ring,
in your word (2x),

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

I want to walk worthy,
my calling to fulfill.
Please order my steps Lord,
and I’ll do Your blessed will.
The world is ever changing,
but You are still the same;
if You order my steps, I’ll praise Your name.

Please order my steps in Your word,
Please order my steps in Your word.

Let’s ask God to order our steps in our decisions. No matter how inconsequential they may seem. Let’s ask for His will to be done.

Be blessed loves!

Year 2: Day 137 – A Gallon Of Tears

I needed to share this today. Incredible and encouraging, I love this.

The 365 Poetry Project: Year 3

A gallon of tears cannot be traded in
for any promise that they served a purpose.
The scars that we bear are no guarantee
that necessary surgery ever took place.

He has not condemned us to suffer.

But my God is a father who permits his kids
to forge ahead any stubborn way we choose
and all my heartache, I know,
I have brought upon myself.

But my God is, more, a father who loves his kids,
who holds my hand through every dark night.
Every gallon of tears, he dries;
every scar I bear, he heals.

And what greater offering could I give
than to let my father set the path before me,
since the path that I had chosen only ever has brought me
heartache, tears, and scars?

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I Get it Okay

I’m anemic. I’ve been dealing with anemia most of my life, but never to the point that it has gotten as bad as it has now. I’m exhausted (severely fatigued) and barely able to perform my day-to-day tasks. So on Monday, I called my doctor and left a voice mail about the new medication he’s put me on and how it’s affecting my anemia (which has been mild up until this point). The nurse called me back and said the side effects of the medication are normal, but that I need to get on Iron supplements immediately. She said that she would leave a note for the doctor who was making rounds that day and would call me tomorrow. No problem.

On Tuesday, I went to the local CVS to get some supplements ASAP like the nurse said to try to get this constant fatigue under control. I am so tired that it feels like there is not enough hours in the day and I can barely drive the 14 miles to work. I took two pills yesterday and then received an email from my doctor recommending that I get a biopsy and that he’s contacted the scheduling coordinators in the office so that I can get on the schedule. Hold up! What? For real? Why?

No reason mentioned as to why I should go for this invasive procedure when I was told by the nurse that my side effects that are worsening my anemic self are normal. Whose running whom? I was hot. I decided to not respond to his email at this point because I needed to craft a perfect snarky response to send to him.

Here were some of my response choices:

Response #1

Dr. *Blank*:

Have you lost your dang mind? Why in the heck would you send me an email and mention the word biopsy and me getting one? Do you think that is appropriate? Were you sniffing the gas when you did your rounds today? I think you need to call me ASAP because I’m ready to drive over to your office now with my anemic self and demand a face-to-face consultation.

Call me now!

Response #2

Dr. *Blank*:

Umm, I’m gonna take negative on the biopsy for $200. Why? Because you didn’t explain why I would need a biopsy, the risk of said biopsy or even talk to me like I’m an actual breathing patient. I’m getting weak writing this because if you haven’t heard, my anemia is making me pass out.

Call me now man!

Response #3

Dr. *Blank*:

Wow! You were so thoughtful when I was breeding and carrying and actual human being in my womb, but now since I’m not you’re acting like I’m a menopausal “Stepford Wife” with no real opinion. Why would you suggest a biopsy in email and think that I would agree to such an invasive procedure without a phone call or a face-to-face consultation? Don’t you understand that I’m a feminist and even though you were there when I gave birth to my king, women run this world! You would know that if you were paying attention. I can’t talk to you anymore and I would like one of the other women doctors in the practice to call me ASAP because they apparently have graduated medical school and understand my rights as a woman and a human being. I bid you farewell and would like the higher species in the practice to contact me from now on.

 

As you can see, I was going through it right? But, the gist of the matter was that I was not going to get a biopsy or any other invasive procedure without talking to the person who wants to do it. I went home that night and in my severely anemic and weakened state began to research my condition and learned that according to The Mayo Clinic (a really important clinic) that I have 7 out of the 10 symptoms. Here is the list of symptoms:

Anemia symptoms vary depending on the cause of your anemia but may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive problems
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headache

Yep, I was depressed. I swore I started seeing stars at that moment. I just
climbed my frail and anemic body under the covers and started to try to motivate myself to keep up the good fight. I searched the internet to try and find songs to encourage and inspire me because hey I’m dramatic. I found this list of 31 inspiring songs and realized one of my favorite artists was among them…Kelly Clarkson. I decided “Ode to my Anemia” and chose to listen to this song on repeat:

Yep, what doesn’t kill me will make me stronger! No Anemia, I will not die. I will fight! I will get healthy and I will survive. (I was going through it the other night).

The next morning, I called a good friend of mine to update him on my condition. He is in the ministry and he listened to my dramatic monologue on how the anemia was trying to take me out, but I wasn’t letting it. He never interrupted. That’s what friends do right? Listen. Well, when I finished he said, “I’m really sorry you’re going through this and you’ve consulted the internet, but have you gone to God with this?” I was hot.

Why was I hot? Because here he was trying to tell me what I should do about my medical condition and he doesn’t have a medical degree. Men, I tell you! I went off. I said, “Look, God is too busy to worry about me and my anemic self. He’s focused on bigger issues and bigger prayers. Like my prayer for Ebola, but thank you for your concern.” He was offended. He said, “Wow! It amazes me how people who are faithful to God don’t realize that God wants you to come to him in all things.” He said, “I never expected to hear that from you.”

Well, I was fit to be tied. Much arguing, overtalking and I gotta get ready for work statements and we ended the call. I went about my day talking with the office nurse who was making notes to send back to the doctor (still no call from the man himself) and then I said I need to write about this. I looked up what my friend said about God wanting me to come to him for everything and realized…he was right. I was wrong. It says so in Luke 16:10 (KJV) “ He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

I felt horrible. I was not going to God with my severe anemia because I wanted him to focus on Ebola and I thought this was too small for him. But, I should have known better. All things should be brought to him and he will decide what he’s too busy for. I owe my friend an apology, which I probably won’t give him due to my anemia being so severe that I am entitled a pass (hey cognitive problems okay). More important than my not giving an apology is the fact that I learned that I must go to God with everything.

Getting My Praise On

Last week, I was going through a mini-crisis with the 117% increase in my car insurance next month. I was devastated. I literally went through the 5 stages of grief at the amount of increase. I was crying and falling out all over the place. But, people told me to “get a grip” because I’m the most faithful person that they know. I was offended. My going through the stages didn’t mean that I am without faith. It meant that I was utterly human and fallible. Don’t judge me.

Sometimes we need to go through the stages to get to the praise. Some people don’t but I do. I am not alone. It is not a sign that I am not faithful. On the contrary, it shows that I need to work through a crisis and analyze it from all angles. So, let me tell you what happened at each of my stages so that you can realize how completely normal I am.

Denial and Isolation Stage

This was the first stage. I literally couldn’t believe the amount that I was seeing on my renewal notice. I assumed this is a mistake.

How could you remove the responsible driver discount? I mean two accidents in one year, I get it, but they were small and no one died. Why is this happening to me? No one knows what I’m going through. God, I hate my life. It sucks to be me.

Anger Stage

How could they increase my dang insurance this much? How am I supposed to live? You obviously don’t want me as a client, so kick rocks. I will find someone else. I have had a great driving record for the last 21 years and this is the kind of foolishness that I get? Well, screw you big insurance company! You’re always trying to stick it to the little person. I’m going to talk to my elected officials about Tikeetha’s law to put a percentage increase in place so that insurance companies can’t increase your car insurance over a certain limit without tickets or money paid out in excess of $10,000. Now, where is my congressman’s number? I need to write the Insurance Commissioner about this ASAP.

Bargaining

Okay, I know that this is more than my car note and I can’t afford this amount. I am one step from the poverty line. I can’t get a second job. I’m in a custody battle and my ex will go for full custody if I can’t pick up my son during our scheduled time. I would rather die than be without my baby. I asked my sister, “Do you think people will judge me if I become a prostitute?” My sister responded, “No, judgement, but have you thought about stripping first? Why jump to prostitution? Baby steps okay?” I can’t afford this. Ugh! I need a soup kitchen line because this is where I will be eating from now on.

Depression

I hate my life. Why oh why didn’t I just stay in my beautiful Corolla? Why did I get seduced by the beautiful body of “Blue Magic”. She’s a gorgeous sports car, but am I really that responsible? Apparently not and no one can empathize with the financial burden I am dealing with. I want to crawl under my covers and jump off a tall building in my mind because I can’t handle this.

I couldn’t stop crying in this stage. Everything affected me. Everyone who couldn’t understand was my enemy.

Acceptance

Okay, this is happening and I need to figure out what I’m going to do. I can’t afford the premium and I know that there is a lesson I must learn and I need to fix my mind and call the insurance company because their suggested increase is still the cheapest. These insurance companies suck! I need to switch fields and open up an insurance company because that is where all the money is going. But, let me get it together and call the insurance company…

Me: Hi, I’m calling about policy number 123-455-5789

IA: Hi, I have your policy, how can I help you?

Me: (Burst out crying) Ma’m I can’t afford the increase. I need my car to drive to work and get my child back and forth to school, but I don’t want to become a prostitute. I have a 6 year old son. Do you know how hard it is being a single parent? What will his friends think?

IA: (Extremely sympathetic) I understand your concern. Let me look and see what I can recommend to get your policy lower.

Me: (Sniffling) Thank you.

IA: We can increase your deductible to $1,000 and that will take $300 off your yearly premium.

Me: Okay. I hope no one hits me or that they total my car out.

IA: That’s still a lot. We can run your credit as part of your renewal and that may lower your premium.

Me: Okay, do it.

IA: Good news, it lowered your premium another $900 a year.

Me: Okay.

IA: I know it’s still expensive, but try to bundle your insurance with us and it could save you another 10% a year. I know it’s not much, but it may be worth it.

Me: Yes, 10% is definitely worth it. Thank you for all of your assistance and I’m sorry for crying.

IA: It’s okay, I would definitely be doing the same thing in your situation. I couldn’t afford this.

Me: But, God. I guess it’s time for me to get my praise on.

IA: Amen. You have a good day.

So, I got some money off and the increase is now $5.00 less than my car note a month. Something is better than nothing and I am thankful that she could do that. I have extreme faith that God will never give me more than I can bear and that He won’t let my baby starve or have me living in the streets or prostituting to make ends meet.

Sometimes I need to go through the stages before I get to the point of accepting that He has me and He always will. Don’t question the fact that I go through the stages as a lack of faith. It’s not. It’s a sign of my authenticity. Because, God knew where I would end up at the end of my 5 stages. Right where I was supposed to be. On my knees…praying, praising and thanking Him for his continued support and love over my life.

prayer-in-field

Yep, I am officially depressed

So, this is what happened. Last year in November I bought a 2012 Nissan Maxima. I was excited. My first grown up purchase. Well, two months later I was living in the hotel (multiple pipe bursts in my kitchen with flooding) and I pulled my beautiful baby out the hotel garage and scraped the driver’s side door on the yellow concrete posts. Ugh. The damage to my car was $2,900. I had to get it fixed. I just got the car. So, I paid the $500 deductible and got “Blue Magic” fixed.

I resounded to pay attention and not get distracted by life because I couldn’t afford another expensive lesson. Well, in June of this year, I went down the wrong way of a roundabout. I realized it and began to back-up when I was hit by another driver who couldn’t see me. Damage to both cars, but no injuries and I thankfully didn’t get a ticket. God was watching after me on that one because I was praying that the officer’s would have mercy and make it affordable. I sat there in shock and realized I can’t afford to keep paying these dang deductibles. I hadn’t had the car a year. What was happening?

My mom didn’t make me feel better. Her response, “Kee, you need to be careful and pay attention.” Like a petulant child, I yelled “I know mom and you ‘re not helping. I’m already depressed. I laid in bed crying.” I said, “I didn’t tell you that when you got into your two accidents within a month of each other.” She said, “No, but I told myself.” She reminded me to count my blessings that I didn’t get a ticket.

As I’ve been sharing I’m exceptionally happy. I said it out loud. I didn’t just write it, but I woke up and thanked God for his continued blessings over my life. But, I always knew that something would happen because I was happy. I didn’t know what form the happiness thief would take, but I knew it was coming. Would I be prepared? Would I crumble? Would it be that bad that it would destroy me? All the questions that I kept pushing out my mind. I wasn’t going to “think it” into existence.

I just went with the flow and enjoyed the moment. Then it happened. I was checking my emails on my Ipad this morning before work and got the renewal information from my car insurance company. My insurance was increasing by 117%. I sat there dumbfounded with tears in my eyes. All these thoughts ran through my mind:

  • I can’t afford this.
  • That is more than my car note.
  • How will I be able to live?
  • OMG, I want to die
  • I would be better off selling my car and paying off the balance and buying a vehicle outright

20141001_152740

I was freaking out. It was way too early to start calling folks and asking them to pray, encourage and remind me that I will be okay. I was already planning on how I would pack up my spot and move back home with my mom with a defeated attitude. I was lost. I was officially one step up from being in a crack den or on the streets or living in Blue Magic. Yes, Blue Magic is roomy and all, but I couldn’t bring my baby to living in our car while trying to get bootleg wi-fi so he can watch Disney Jr. and Netflix on his Ipad. (I told you I was having a mental breakdown).

I called my best friend who said, “Wow! Call around. Stop freaking out! You have 6 weeks to find another insurance company. Do your research.” I sniffled, “Okay, thank you. I will do it.” I hopped in the shower and got dressed and headed into work. I prayed to God that Blue Magic and I will not have to live in a seedy part of town dodging bullets. I went about my normal routine and arrived at work 15 minutes early. I started trying to get insurance quotes to see if I can get a cheaper rate.

I sent a text to my other best friend to let him know and seek his counsel. He replied, “It’ll be okay. You’ll find something. It was your two accidents in one year and the fact that you were at fault for both and your car is considered a sports car because of the horse power. It’s going to be expensive, but you will have to budget and make some adjustments.” I sat there listening to him with tears streaming down my face, “This is one of the worst days of my life. Definitely the worst day in the last 15 months. I can’t breathe.” “Stop overreacting please. I will help you” he replied.

As I sat at work frustrated I decided to go see my good friend to get her advice and perspective. I had already received quotes that were more than $300 over what my current insurance company was going to charge me. I was spiraling downhill fast. She said, “Don’t let this get you down. I am claiming it. You will be saved from this situation. We are not going to give the happiness thief satisfaction in seeing you defeated.” I just put my head down on the table and sighed.

I went into my office after lunch still consumed with this travesty of injustice on my mind and in my spirit. I checked my emails and read my devotional from Bible Gateway called “His Princess Today”. I got too busy to read it yesterday so I opened it up and this is what it said:

Come to Me

I saw you before you were born. Even then you were on My mind, My daughter. I knew you were coming, and I did everything possible to express My love to you and extend My invitation to you. Now that you are Mine, I want you to continue to come to Me. Come to Me when you feel strong and when you feel weary. Come to Me when you are rejoicing and when your spirit is crushed. I ask you to come not only to give you rest, but also because there is so much more I want to teach you. There is more of Me I want to reveal to you. You see, I did not create you for this fallen world. I created you for Paradise, but the curse of sin tore us apart. I’ve conquered sin and death for you through the death of My son, so come to Me… and live.

Love,
Your King who is waiting

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and
carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you,
because I am humble and gentle,
and you will find rest for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28–29

I realized that I went to everyone with my problem (that I could think of without disturbing) but the one who could truly put peace in my heart and remind me that He will carry my burden. My burden is heavy. I told you yesterday I grew up poor and I was determined not to go back to the poor house and God was reminding me that His yoke is easy and I should take that. Wow! I sat there with tears in my eyes apologizing for my selfishness and realizing that HE NEVER FAILS!

Yep, I am officially depressed, but you know what? I will get through this because it is a temporary setback. Sometimes we all need a reminder to stop going to everyone first. Go to Him first. My grandma used to say, “Trouble don’t last always” but I know that my God is a burden bearer and he can carry this burden too.

Be blessed my loves!

Truth: Success is Possible

“I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.”

― Abraham Lincoln

I love this quote. I think it sort of captures how I feel. I am afraid of success. Not failure. I think the possibility of disappointing those that love and believe in me sort of keeps me from stretching beyond my comfort zone. I’ve heard for years, how I’m good at this or good at that, but what if my friends are just being overly generous because of their love for me? Would I be a disappointment if I actually was a success? Think about all the one hit wonders and how they thought they would become a multi-million dollar franchise only to flop on their next album.

It’s pressure to be on top and more pressure to stay on top. So, what do you do? If you’re me, you stall, drag your feet and believe that maybe you shouldn’t do what your heart, voice and spirit are telling you to do. You delay yourself in the “what if” stage. Who’s guilty of that? Me! I am so guilty of thinking what if. What if I’m really not as good as my friends think? What if no one likes my stuff? What if I can’t pull off that big presentation? What if I stumble over my words and fumble the entire speech? What if…

What if’s hold you back from understanding your true potential because instead of pushing forward to your destiny and utilizing the best you, YOU get caught up in a trap of your own disbelief. You question whether or not what is happening is real or should it be real. You question whether or not you can actually change your environment or get out of your own way because so many people have tried and failed to do so. You actually hold up and hold hostage your gift out of fear.

Sound familiar? It’s my story. I’m not alone though. Hollywood has made many movies where people actually do the same thing and then have a moment of clarity and want to change. Think “Baby Boy – 2001”. Wasn’t Jody a grown man who was in essence a baby boy? Fear of growing up had stalled his ability to be a man and take care of his responsibilities. How about my all time favorite movie “Purple Rain – 1984”? Wasn’t the Kid’s whole issue was fear of failing because his dad never got his “big break” and his family life was jacked up? Let’s not forget the movie, “Cocktail – 1988” which is where I fell in love with Tom Cruise. The main character, Brian, had high aspirations, but gets sidetracked in foolery and then hesitates to believe that he can actually accomplish his goals. The main underlying theme in all these films is simple: Fear.

Fear of success, failure, standing out, etc. They feared something. We all do. We fear being happy so we sabotage our relationships. We fear abandonment, so we don’t form close bonds with anyone out of fear that they will leave. We fear love, so we block ourselves off from people and become guarded so no one can break down that wall. We fear success because standing out in a crowd and having people shower accolades on you is scary.

My fear is your fear. It’s hard because I have faith and faith and fear can’t coexist right? You have to choose. So, I’m choosing my faith. I’m remembering like it says in Hebrews 11:6 (NRSV) “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” I believe. Faith of a mustard seed right? I need to remember that. From this day forward I am taking my life back and claiming this…I will not fear my own strength or success because I have faith. Faith that God will have my back.

Still not convinced how God can do it? Well, how about this powerful quote from Marianne Williamson.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Be blessed and remember this my loves…

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Chaos & Comfort for Ferguson

I awoke to find chaos had occurred in a small town called Ferguson, Missouri where a policeman shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. He was 18. Still in his teens. Not able to buy alcohol, but still legal. As tears streamed down my face and I ached for the young man I never met, I said a prayer for peace. Peace in that town. Peace in the family. Peace in the police department. Peace for humanity.

I can’t imagine what that family is going through at this moment. I am saddened to think “what if”. What if it had been my son? What if it had been someone I know? My church school students? My friend’s son? What words of comfort could I offer to help them through this difficult time? What words of comfort could I offer to other parents who raise black boys? I stumbled over the words to write that could offer a semblance of hope in a difficult time. Another young man was murdered and we are left to wonder why? Was he armed? No. It was this picture that broke my heart.

RIP Michael Brown
RIP Michael Brown

I believe in an officer’s right to protect and serve. I believe that in order to do their jobs sometimes they have to make difficult judgement calls in life threatening situations. I believe in safety. But, I also believe that there are bad people out there that want to wage a war against our youth. I believe that bad people work in all fields hidden in society where we are left wondering their true intentions. They wear a mask of anonymity and we always question it when situations like this occur. What is their real motive?

We will never know. Because it seems as though it is open season on our young black men. I am scared. I am scared for my son. I am scared for my beautiful black boys in my church school class. I am scared for the many nameless young men out here who will never grow up and be able to legally buy alcohol, graduate from college, vote or get married. Your life has ended and there is no excuse, but I will pray for peace for you, your family and your community. Violence begets violence and no one should ever think “Kill the Police” is a good idea.

Be patient my loves and know that we have a justice system. Although flawed in some areas, I know that God will have the final say in all that we do. Prayer is essential in this time and I want you to know that I found some words to comfort you in the chaos:

Revelation 21:4 (KJV):
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.