Motivational Monday Moment – 1/23/17

Today’s Motivational Monday Moment came to me over the last week. The word for today is faith. Faith as a noun is belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion. I was reminded to keep my faith last week.

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It was a rough week. While the view was beautiful. The road’s seemed impassable. The battle was long and uphill and I saw no break in the rough terrain.

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Everywhere I looked, I encountered more problems than resolutions and more pain than peace. I was really going through it. I began to question. Question was I good enough? Could I finish this race?

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I began to bemoan my situation. Why me O’ Lord? Why me? Why have thou forsaken me? Why do I have to endure the trials and tribulations of life on a consistent basis?

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I began to bargain…Lord, if you just let me catch a break I promise to be better. I promise to do more. I promise to…

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I began to be selfish. I allowed my own trials and tribulations to distract me from God’s will. I was being distracted. I was tried, tested and had failed because I had allowed my faith to become smaller than my situation. I knew better.

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I had to refocus my faith. My faith was being tested. There were going to be situations and trials that were determined to knock me off my path, but I would be steadfast and unmovable. I needed to get a hold onto my life and center my faith. All was not lost. I am not alone. I couldn’t sit here in wallow in my pity about my circumstance. I had to kneel in prayer. To go to the one who was the keeper of my spirit.

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To seek guidance. To know that all was not lost. To know that joy cometh in the morning. I can’t act like I don’t have problems because I do. But, I serve a God that is bigger than my problems. I just had to remember that.

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No time to sit here and bemoan my lot in life. I need to get back the pep in my step and hold my head up high. This race is not over. I will keep the faith. I will keep pushing and I will keep believing because I am not meant to be a victim, rather I’m meant to be a victor.

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I can’t lose my faith. We can’t lose our faith. Don’t worry about this post election drama. Don’t worry about things that seem out of control at the moment. You and I serve a mighty God. We’ve experienced both the best and worst of times and you know what? We will survive.

Not Bound By My Background

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou

 

I entitled my post today based off a sermon my pastor preached a few weeks ago entitled “But By the Grace of God I am what I am”. One of the points that he was making in his sermon was about not being bound by my background. He spoke about this in relation to Paul and how Paul is not the only one with a shady background. But, he said that the favor of God is significant in the life of the believer. The message had been resonating in my spirit for the last few weeks and I can’t seem to get it out. I guess that means I need to focus on it right?

So, I did. I started thinking about my past and how I’m not bound my background no matter who tries to hold me hostage to my past. Like Paul and I suppose many of you reading this now, I had to remember that I have God’s favor and he is not holding my past hostage and using it to destroy me in my future. That’s what I had to remember because I’ve been having a heck of a time “co-parenting” with my son’s father lately and I realized that one of the things he was doing was trying to bound me to my background.

Have you ever had someone try to use your past as a weapon against you in your future? By using your fears, insecurities, experiences and/or bad decisions in your face as fact of the person you are and who’ve you become? I have and you know what? I ain’t worried. I know that’s not grammatically correct, but in this instance I need you to understand where I’m coming from because it is about to get real.

No one is perfect. No one. Only one man was perfect and none of us have ever come close so we need to stop worrying about being perfect and just live our best lives. Seeking to do His will. The bible is full of situations in which Jesus used the undesirable to spread the word. He showed favor and these people realized it. I realize it.

You know when I realized it? When I had suffered abuse at the hands of man and all my walls were built up to protect my heart, God protected my spirit. The enemy didn’t win. Was my life rough? Yes. Am I better having lived and survived the experiences. Yes. Is God through with me? No.

I have often spoke of how we need to encourage ourselves in order to get through difficult situations where people are trying to persecute you. Sometimes that is all you can do is to pray, submit and give it to God. I won’t let those who don’t believe in God’s favor persecute me for my past. Because those persecutors are not perfect. They have a past like me and many times it is worse. The great thing I want you to remember is that your past is just that…your past.

You can’t erase it. You can’t forget it. You may have had no control over the events that happened in your past. But, you can choose not to relive it. Don’t be bound by your background. Know that you are blessed and highly favored.

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A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3 (NRSV)

Everything Has Its Time

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

I’ve been going through a rough patch over the last few days. It started before my birthday last week and continued through yesterday. My issue is simply not wanting to do what I know I should do. See I know Ecclesiastes 3. I have been taught this for many years. Understanding that there is a time for everything.

But, what if we don’t want to do what we know we should do when that time comes? Are we angering God? Are we being disobedient? Over the last few months I’ve been applying, speaking and meditating on the fact that God brings people into your life for a reason, season or lifetime. What happens when that reason or season is up? How do we deal with it?

I have a confession…I’m not good at letting go of the things and people I love the most. It’s hard for me. I want to hold on and try to repair things to the point that I’m probably doing more harm than good. I guess another way to look at it is what if God is telling me it is time to let go. Why can’t I do it?

A few years ago, I attended one of Tyler Perry’s stage plays and it was good. If you’ve ever seen Tyler Perry live you will know that he tends to go off script a lot. But, it’s a good thing. Because I believe that God is using him to send a message to someone in need. On this particular night sitting in my floor seats at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, Tyler went off script. He said something that has stuck with me until this day…

Sometimes the very things that ya’ll are trying to keep together, God himself is trying to tear apart. – Tyler Perry

Wow! Deep huh? I thought so too. But, I guess it makes sense when you think about Ecclesiastes. There is a time for everything. Shoot, even Chris Brown sang about it, “There is never a right time to say good-bye.” So, why with all these people telling us that there is a time and more importantly the Bible telling us that there is a time for everything, why do I struggle with letting go?

I think it is quite simply that I don’t want relationships to end. If I let you into my circle I never want that bond to end. You are my friend forever. I am fiercely loyal to you.  I will be forever bonded to you and always be there. I will treat you like I want to be treated. With love and respect. I will always have your back.

Until I can’t anymore. Until it gets so painful that I can’t function. Until God reminds me through his Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) approach that there is a time for everything and I must trust Him when he tells me it is time. It’s harvest time and I must harvest the field of my life.

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I’m a Conqueror

I woke up this morning excited. I have been sick for the last week and a half and it felt good to be out and about and even back at work. I was pumped. Yes, I have some things that are going on. Some worries I’m working through. Some concerns that are on my mind, but I was thankful for another day. I woke up feeling like superwoman. I told myself, “Girl, today is a new day. Yesterday was the past and today is a gift. Be present in the moment and know that no matter what happens today you are incredibly blessed and highly favored.”

Even when it doesn’t seem like it, I need to remember that I am a conqueror and this too shall pass. So, my #motivationalmonday message is based off one of my favorite chapters in the bible: Romans. Romans 8:34-39 which reads:

“Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.[a] 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

So, I want to tell you the same thing. You’re a conqueror. Nothing we can do will separate us from the love of Christ. Trust me (I’ve done some things I thought would separate me and He still loves me).

Listen to Estelle’s song “Conqueror” and tell me that you are not inspired. No matter who is counting you out. Estelle sings “I’d rather stand tall than live on my knees because I’m a conqueror and I won’t accept defeat.”

Neither should you. God has already determined that you will win, so love, know that it will happen.

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.

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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

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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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