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.

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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’m Scared

I get scared sometimes. I think back to all the times I’ve hid my true self, my feelings or my insecurities in an effort to put on a brave face for everyone else and how that has somehow held me back all these years. I get scared. I am sometimes too afraid to tell someone how I feel about something because I don’t want to seem argumentative. But, if it’s how I feel, does it matter?

I’ve been exploring and self-evaluating my life a lot lately and I realized that I’m a scaredy cat. I get afraid to reveal the real me and let folks in. My friend gave me a great piece of advice last week when he said, “You can’t go through life being afraid to let folks in and keeping pieces of the real you hidden. Life is about taking the plunge and just wading through the water and see where it goes.” (It was probably less poetic because he is a man, but you get the gist right?). I do hide the real me and don’t like to let people in. I’m guarded. I’m closed off when in unfamiliar territories. Especially those that deal with the heart.

So, I wait. I try to analyze, micro-analyze every problem and situation so that I can’t see the forest for the big tree in my vision. I am a runner. I justify my running away as a part of life. It’s me. If things get to complicated or too emotional, I’m out. I don’t want to get hurt. So, I shield myself, my heart, my mind from folks who just want to get to know the real me. But, the real me is too sensitive for this world. She’s not someone use to sharing pieces of her soul.

Until now. I have bared more of my soul in the last year than I ever have. I’ve let my guard down (that 100 foot barbed wire wall around my heart) and started letting people see the real me. Nothing fancy. Just a glimpse of who I am. I had to. God said it’s time. It’s time to let the wall down and share. But, I keep dragging my feet. Slowly because I’m afraid. I don’t  want my heart to get broken. I don’t want to be uncomfortable.

But, you have to be uncomfortable to grow. I need to face my fears no matter how scared I am. I remember my pastor preaching about growing in the valley with the myrtle trees and I am reminded that life is just that. Growing in uncomfortable places and situations.

I’m terrified, but I know that I need to move forward and grow. Just grow.  Whether it’s my branches that spread to support the leaves in my life or my roots that grow deep in the ground, I need to grow. Growth is good. I’m not saying that it won’t be hard and I will continue to guard my heart, but I can’t move forward if I’m too afraid to jump.  I may get hurt, but I will learn. I will grow. I will survive.

oak-tree

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.