I think the hardest thing for me was learning to love myself. I’m 27 & God is showing me how to do this. He’s showing me the ins and outs of my heart & it’s been an adventure to say the least. The kind that is breathtaking but takes time to get to that beautiful mountain top view. He’s teaching me who I am. He’s showing me myself through His eyes. He’s demonstrating how to have healthy boundaries and even healthier relationships. I’m learning loving yourself takes intention. It takes purpose. It’s the same way when you love someone else. It’s not by accident or by mistake. You have to choose everyday to learn who you are. Loving yourself isn’t an overnight success. It’s a life long process of learning what it means to be comfortable in your own skin, in your words, in hearing the sound of your own laughter, and allowing yourself to feel all of those feelings that encompass your emotions. It’s a daily decision of picking up your cross and learning what that cross entails. It’s learning to meet yourself exactly where you are. Loving yourself is the greatest lesson you’ll ever learn because you are heavenly royalty. Spread love the Christ way.
6:45 AM alarm nudges me awake. So I wake up. Shower. Pray. Make lunch. Get ready. And rush out the door. This is my Monday through Friday morning schedule. 10 times out of 10, I’m always running late. But the odd thing is, before this job, I was an on-time punctual kinda girl. At the onset of this job, I was that girl. The kind that shows up bright eyed and fresh faced half an hour early with a smile on my face. The kind that sings through the Monday morning blues and laughs through the Thursday afternoon anticipation. But something shifted the more time I spent at this office and while I am filled with gratitude to have had this job, my morning glow has faded. I’ve become that always-rushing-to-work typical New Yorker. And I hate it.
I hate rushing past the freshly bloomed tulips on the corner. I hate looking down at the concrete as my feet hit the pavement. I hate missing the clear blue skies after a rainy yesterday. I hate missing the faces waiting for the infamous G train. I hate ignoring the guy drawing on the train or the girl painting her face with concealer with a dog between her feet. I hate not being in the moment.
As I was quickly walking down to the train this morning at the exact time I had to be at work, my head was full of thoughts. My round eyes caught the sight of the orange and yellow tulips but I didn’t take it in. My legs were doing a fast dance with the rain as if I were competing in a salsa show. And my brain was full to the brim with thought after thought and it was exhausting. The kind of exhausted that grabs you after you’ve jogged 5 miles on an 85 degree sunny morning.
In a split second, I had the most challenging thought I’ve had in a while. I felt Jesus ask me, “What if I were walking with you right now?” Just like that, I slowed down and pictured Jesus walking to the right of me. God challenged me in that moment to be in the here-and-now; in the present. And as I became intentional about walking with Jesus, I felt such peace. There is something powerful about walking with a friend and allowing yourself to be in the moment. You see and hear things differently. You experience life in a whole new light.
I walked down the stairs into the subway station and I saw the girl with the lavender hair. I heard the conductors voice loud and clear, “Next stop, metropolitan avenue.” I saw the rain drops quickly falling. I was in the present not threatened by my every thought. In that moment, all that mattered was I was walking with Jesus. When Jesus was with His disciples, He walked with them. They talked and walked. They laughed and walked. They walked together. They were doing life together as they walked. They were all in the moment, in the here-and-now, in the present. They didn’t allow life’s demands to cloud their relationship with the Lord. They were intentional about spending time with Jesus. In the same way, we have to be intentional. We have to make time at this time, right now.
If there is one thing I’ve learned from group therapy, which is a requirement for my group therapy class; it’s how powerful it is to bask in the moment. In the moment is where working through happens. In the here-and-now is where you can feel what you feel. In the present is where you have the potential for growth, for healing, for love.
My question to you today is: if you were walking with Jesus, would that change your pace?
- “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
This year has been difficult to say the least. It’s been full of tough decisions, taking leaps of faith, and things I have no control over. From death, cancer, to trusting God to do what only He can do; One thing that has remained constant is the peace I feel in my heart. Through the chaos of life this year and its sadnesses too, I have truly had a peace that surpasses all understanding. I’m learning if a decision you have to make is of God, you will have peace.
If you keep your mind and heart focused on the things above, on Jesus Christ, peace will guard your heart no matter the waves that threaten to overwhelm you. This peace comes as a direct result of having a relationship with Christ Jesus. The peace God gives isn’t like the peace the world gives. His peace is perfect and is constant. It does not mean you won’t mourn or cry but it does mean you won’t respond to your emotions first. With the peace of God, you’ll respond to His voice before anything.
- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
John 14:27 NIV
- “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
- “From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”
Psalm 61:2 NIV
I want to take this time to extend my heart felt thank you’s to everyone who donated to my Cuba missions trip that I will be leaving for this Saturday. And also to everyone that has prayed and is praying. I am so blown away by everyone’s kindness and generosity. Because of my family, friends, and even strangers, I went over my $950 goal so thank you so much. I’ve learned many things during these past few months but there are three I’d love to share with you in this newsletter.
- The first thing I’ve learned is: God is faithful – More than a few months ago, when this trip was just a small thought on my heart, I had a God given dream. In that dream, my father was giving me a $700 bill in my right hand. Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a $700 bill. As the weeks went on, I thought maybe my dad would be generous and give me some money but I was thinking far too small. When I decided to make the gofundme account, I was extremely humbled because I don’t ever ask for money. On the contrary, I’m usually the one paying for friends when we’re out to dinner or the movies. So taking that leap of faith was difficult. Nonetheless I did it and one night after prayer my sister texts me and says to check my gofundme account. Faithfully enough, my donations went up to a total of $755. I’ve learned what the bible says is true; Gods word never returns to him void. Whatever God says will always be accomplished. God was and is still faithful.
- The second thing I’ve learned is: You have to be in need for God to provide – I’ve realized being in a position of need sets the atmosphere for God to provide and fill that need. If you don’t have a need larger than yourself, you don’t need God’s intervention. It isn’t a fun place to be but how else will you see God move unless you need a miracle to be performed in your life? There needs to be a lack of something in order for it to be supplied in abundance.
- The third thing I’ve learned is: The center does not mean comfort – I used to think the moment I got everything I wanted, I’d be the happiest girl in the world without any cares. But I was very wrong. I’ve learned being in the center of God’s will does not mean comfort-ability. You may be exactly where God wants you but that means you are filling a need greater than yourself. Being in the center of God’s will means being stretched, refined, and poured out for others to be built up. The moment I entered the center of Gods will meant achieving the purpose of Gods intentions for my life.
When I asked God if He really called me to this missions trip, I was reminded of Isaiah 43:1. It says, “I have called you by name; you are mine.” Just as God called me to Cuba, I know God has called you to do that thing you’ve been putting off. It may be to start school again, to accept that proposal, to take that trip, to leave your current job, say yes to starting that organization; whatever it is, God has called you by name. And the moment you say yes, it won’t be easy because anything worth doing will be difficult, but you are Gods and He will lead you and teach you along the way. . .
A few months ago, I was faced with a really tough decision. I had applied to be a sociotherapist in a foster care agency for behaviorally challenged children and teens. More often than not, these kids are on psychiatric medications so it’s a really demanding position. But it was one of my dream jobs. My parents had been foster parents growing up so I knew the challenges these children faced in the system. I wanted to help them, to be a support system for them, & to motivate their families into positive change and growth. I prayed for these kids even before I got the job. I prayed for their freedom & their growth. I even prayed for their families & their futures. And I got the job! But now I was faced with the decision if I should take the position. . .
Here I was, newly graduated from college with a bachelors degree in psychology, in school for my masters in mental health counseling, with a job that didn’t pay all that well, & I was struggling to decide whether or not to jump on this amazing opportunity. I wrestled in prayer but for some reason I knew I couldn’t take it.
So one day as I was waiting for the bus, I saw a pamphlet on the floor. It was a windy day & oddly enough that piece of paper did not fly away. So I walked over to it & I saw these verses on the paper:
“Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.” – Psalms 107:23-24 NKJV
Immediately I thought about the job. But that’s not all I thought about. My heart welled up & I thought of that missions trip I had been researching for months. & now I was torn. What did God want me to do?
I wish I could say I took the job but I didn’t. I declined the position & started to pray over the missions trip. And amazingly enough, God opened a door & now I know what those verses meant. God was speaking His promise into existence. God was saying, “I know you’re scared. I know you’ve never done this. I know you’ve never even taken a flight alone. And I know this would be stepping out of your comfort zone but it’s only in stepping out that you will see my glory.”
When we step out in faith, we choose to say that we don’t know what will happen but because God does, you’re gonna do it. When you step out in faith you choose to go down where there is no light & be the light. When you step out in faith, you might not know who you need to speak to but God does, so you rest in that. When you step out in faith, you walk through the open door to see Gods miracles first hand.
I am so excited to say I’ll be going on my first missions trip to Cuba in August! I won’t know anyone but I choose to step out into the middle of the ocean & let Jesus be my lifejacket. So I ask that you’d all keep me in prayer! 🙂
As always, be encouraged , be empowered, and be blessed!
The day I put that ring on my finger, something changed. I didn’t really feel different. But something wasn’t the same. I somehow knew I didn’t belong to me anymore. I knew I belonged to you. So as I walked out onto Fulton street, there was an unspoken vow that filled the misty air. There was a forever promise that enveloped my every move.I don’t think it happened right away because I stumbled for a while but you caught me each time. And although that ring has lost its crystals and I no longer wear it, that promise still stands.
That rainy day, I promised to never lose myself to another man. I promised to always find myself in you. And I promised to keep myself completely pure until marriage. Some people call it a promise ring and others call it a purity ring. I’m not sure I have a specific name for it. All I know is I am yours, you are mine, and I’m caught up in your love. And while the world tells me there’s something wrong with being single, and that there has to be something wrong with me because I’m still single at 26, you tell me you are enough. I’m still learning how to let you be enough God, but I’m sure there is no other love that can fill me up like yours can. And to be quite honest, if I’m meant to be single, then today I shall be single. So I trust in you Lord. Because in you, there is no fear, no questioning, and no insecurity. In you is where I find my true love story. You are enough.
As I was waiting for the infamous G train this morning on my way to work, I started reading “IF” by Mark Batterson. Now Mark Batterson is one of my favorite authors and I’ve read about 5 books of his. You can see which ones here. He’s one of those humorous inspirational kinda writers that really cause you to reevaluate where you are in life. Not the “You gotta change your life or else” but more like he challenges you to focus on the things that matter spiritually and relation-ally. So as I’m reading, I stop myself, close the book, and grab my phone (Typical New Yorker thing to do). And I wrote out this question, “What would happen if I did everything I wanted to do for 31 days?”
To be honest, I always start bucket lists and goals but hardly follow through. Am I the only one who does this? But this time, I’ve vowed to pray through each thing and put it in Gods hands. Because the truth is, when you put something into God’s hands, he will oversupply and over-multiply. I mean, let’s face it, God is a multiplying God that gives abundantly. He takes the little we have and feeds the multitudes. So here I am, waiting for a train that’s half an hour late during rush hour, and I have an “AHA” moment. And because I live in New York City, the City of dreams come true where the buildings touch the sky and the lights never go out; I have decided to do 31 things for the entire month of May. Things I’ve always wanted to do but have never done that make me feel like a tourist in my own city.
Although my list of goals isn’t nearly halfway done, here it is:
- Visit the empire state building and take a selfie with my city
- Have a girls “life giving” picnic at Brooklyn bridge park
- Take a ballet class
- Find the coolest graffiti street and take a picture
- Visit the botanical gardens with my family
- Catch a show at BAM
- Catch a show at Carnegie Hall
- Visit the statue of liberty
- Visit the MOMA
- Visit the transit museum
- Paint a canvas with my nieces
- Write a chapter of my book in my favorite cafe
- Walk all of central park with a friend
I’ll be updating my list and posting my progress but I think it would be really awesome if you joined me too. Maybe you can make your own list and vow to stick to it regardless of how you feel.
As always, be encouraged. Be empowered. And be blessed. 🙂