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.

Your Word is Your Bond

“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”

— Maria Razumich-Zec

 

Simply put…If you don’t have your word, then what the heck do you have? That’s what I told a friend of mine the other day. I am a woman of my word. My word defines who I am and my character. If there is anything you would ever want to know, just ask. I’m honest. I’m grown and I’m authentic. I would rather be known for my  ability to tell the truth than to be a known liar.

In navigating my friendships and relationships with people, I realized that the only thing that I can do is be honorable. Keep my word because it matters. Not one of my friends can ever say that I’m not reliable, disingenuous or flaky. If I don’t want to do something…I just won’t do it. I don’t let people bully me into doing something I don’t want to do and I don’t feel guilty if I can’t make everything. No matter how hard I try, I learned that I will miss some things and that’s okay.

So, what does it look like to me when you keep your word? That you’re a person that I can trust. That you care about me and my feelings. That you are special enough where I can let this guard down around my heart and try to get to know you. Why? Because you can keep your word. Your word is your bond. The bond that strengthens our friendship.

It’s not hard. There’s no magical formula to keeping your word. There will always be situations where that can’t be possible. It’s okay. Let the other person know what’s going on as soon as you can. Many communication problems can be resolved when people actually take the time and communicate with one another. Honoring your word will always get you the two most important things from me: trust and respect.

Trust

I don’t trust people easily. Never have. Probably never will. But, I can learn to trust people. God has blessed me with so many phenomenal men and women in my life that I can’t imagine how I ever survived not knowing them. We take time out to call, text, eat, visit and catch up with each other. I value that quality time and I trust them to always be there for me should I ever need them and I promise to do the same. We trust each other and that trust is solidified each time we act upon something that we said that we would do. Whether it be call back, get together or write a letter of recommendation for graduate school, we trust that what we say we are going to do will be done.

Respect

I respect people who keep their word and vice versa. My friends respect that I will do everything that I said I will do. So does my family. That respect is an integral part of my character and integrity. I don’t tell you that I’m going to do something and then not do it. I will follow through. Things that irk me and help me lose respect for people: people that say that they are going to call and don’t; people that say that they are going to do something and don’t and people who say that they will be there and don’t. You see how a little “slip of your mind” can cause me to lose respect for you? Just be about your word. Technological advances allow for people to send a text and say “Got busy, can’t make it. Call you later okay?” See, now how hard is that? Remember to be respectful to people and their time. Time is something that we can’t get back if it is wasted.

keep your word once given copy

Remember, to keep your word once it is given. Honor your friendships and relationships with people. Be authentic. If you can’t do something, it’s okay to send a text or call to say that you can’t make it. If you get distracted or busy, call the person immediately and explain your oversight. If you forget and need to cancel on someone, be honest and let them know. It takes a minute to gain someone’s trust, but an eternity to earn it back after you lose it.

Trust me on this one.

 

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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When You Don’t Understand

“Life’s not about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about Learning To Dance In The Rain.~ Vivian Greene

In my last post, I talked about loving the scary and trying to embrace your reactions when faced with scary situations or uncertain times.  I wanted to follow-up with my own testimony as to how it is working out for me…


Recently, I’ve made some decisions in my life that have been difficult, heartbreaking and gut wrenching to the core. I’ve tried to overcome these “scary situations” by putting on a brave face, crying, praying and trying to accept the decisions and pain of my choices.  I’m weathering the storm in my own self-imposed isolated valley of death (primarily because this is what it feels like to me).  I have felt alone and desolate in this valley and I’m struggling to get out of it.  It’s not a physical valley, but rather a mental one that I can’t seem to climb up.  I have been praying day in and day out for guidance on how to get over, under, around and through my situation with no success.  Now, hear me when I say this… I stay prayed up and I know that God has not forgotten me, but patience has never been my strong suit.  Even after being a mother for five years, I’m not a patient person.  I want the pain to end.  I want to know that God will just fix it now.  But, he hasn’t and I just realized why it’s okay that He hasn’t.

I’ve let my situation and my circumstances try to define me and how I handle my storm and move forward.  I can’t do this on my own and I know that God will not forsake me and he hasn’t forgotten me.  He sees all and knows all and He knows that I’m crying out in pain and I need Him.  My spiritual friend and pastor reminded me that I need to be still and be in prayer.  He told me that I’m doing and saying too much.  I responded, “I know, but it’s easier said than done.” He said, “I know, but God hears and heals all.”

But, let me try and testify to you for a minute on how God reminds me that He is still in control.  Literally, after I got off the phone with my pastor, I got on my knees crying and praying for God to send me a healing and got no response.  This was Wednesday night.  I felt dejected, exhausted and alone.  I climbed into bed and tried to unsuccessfully to get some sleep.  My spirit was restless and so was I yesterday, but when I tell you that God showed me a sign and I started to testify at work.  I went into the bathroom to cry and say thank you Jesus.  I get it.  I understand.  It happened when I was listening to Pandora on my cell phone and Smokie Norful’s “I understand” came on the radio.  I got it.  Read the lyrics below and you will too…

Sometimes I feel like giving up
It seems like my best, just ain’t good enough
Lord if you hear me, I’m calling you
Do you see, do you care,
All about what I’m goin’ through?

And then He said, 
One more day, One more step
See, I’m preparing you, oh, for Myself
And when you can’t hear My voice, please, trust My plan
I am the Lord, I see you, and, yes, I understand

But, sometimes I feel like I’m all alone
I’m just like a stranger so far from home
I feel like I’ve done all that I can do
Please Lord, give me strength
I’m just tryin’ to make it through
And that’s when he told me

(One more day) One more step, yeah
(One more step) Oh my child, I’m preparing you for Myself
And when you can’t hear My voice
Please just trust My plan
I am the Lord, I see you, and, yes, I understand

Oh, He knows just how much we can bear
And in the time of trouble He promised
He would always be there
Oh, I understand (I understand)
The Lord is telling you, yes, I understand
I am the Lord, I see you, and, yes, I understand

This is what he says…I am the Lord and I changeth not
I won’t forget nor have I forgot
You see everything works according to My plan
I am God, trust Me, I got the whole world in My hands

Oh, one more day, one more step
I’m preparing you, all for myself
I’m getting you ready, 
And if you can’t hear My voice, 
If you can’t hear me speaking, oh
Just trust My plan
Yeah, I’m the Lord, I love you, I see you and I understand

I’m the Lord, I see you and yes I understand
I am the Lord. I see everything you’re going through, yes
Every problem, every trial, every burden, every situation
I understand, I won’t leave you
Yeah, Yeah, I understand
understand

It was if God was saying to me, I see you and all you’re going through and I understand because I promised that I would always be here for you.  He reminded me that he was preparing me. Wow! God is an awesome God and I’m blessed because of His promise to keep me in his arms and protect me from all harm.  He reminded me that when I’m in trouble He understands and will always be there for me.  

I’ve heard this song many times before, but I needed to remember that even when I can’t hear Him, I needed to trust his plan.  What plans?  I don’t know, but I know that it will start with me getting out of this valley and drawing closer to Him.  My life is not perfect.  I’m a sinner and sometimes I fall short in remembering that God’s grace applies to me too.  I will get through this in His time, not mine.  So, if you are a prayer warrior or believe that people need good wishes/luck, please add me to that list as I go through this journey.  I know that I will be battered, bruised and broken, but I promise that I will get up and I will survive because it is in God’s plan and will for me.  I understand.