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.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
– John 5:6
In honor of bringing in the new year this past Sunday, I had the youth I teach do a praise report for 2016. They had to think of good things God had done in their lives for 2016. Oftentimes, we focus on all things that go wrong that we leave no room to see the blessings. It was important for them to reflect on the goodness of God in their lives because it would set up the atmosphere for 2017. It would enable them to believe God for even greater things in this year before us. So, for my praise report I wrote how I was graced with the privilege of teaching the youth. Had it not been for God orchestrating events in my life, I wouldn’t have this beautiful opportunity to teach them. I wouldn’t have been apart of what God is doing in their lives individually and as a youth ministry. It has been a tremendous blessing to say the least.
As a youth ministry, I recently brought them through a teaching series titled, “Meeting God in different seasons in different ways”. For one particular lesson, they learned about “The God who heals”. During Jesus’ ministry on earth, He healed countless people from a myriad of diseases, blindness, ailments, possessions, and spiritual unbelief. As I studied the aspects of healing, I realized how much we have control over our own healing. Let me explain. . .
In John 5:1-9, Jesus is in Jerusalem near a healing pool called Bethesda. While He was there, He noticed a man who had been an invalid for 38 years. Now it’s important to note this man was paralyzed in some way for a full 38 years, yet the first question Jesus asks him is, “Do you want to get well?”. When we are in a certain state for a period of time, we become conditioned to being that way. We become accustomed to living with the aches and pains, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. It becomes our normal. So the first aspect of healing is to actually Choose healing. We have to choose to want to get well. The second aspect is to realize only Jesus can heal you. In John 5:7, the invalid says he has no one to help him into the pool. He comes to the realization that only Jesus can help him because no one else has been able to.
The third aspect is to believe in the healing. In Matthew 9:28, Jesus is in his hometown of Capernaum and He comes across two blind men. As they are following Him, Jesus goes indoors and asks them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” Healing isn’t a question of whether Jesus can heal or not, Jesus is healer. But it is a question of “Do you believe?” You need to believe to be healed. You have to believe in the healing even before it comes.
The last aspect of healing is being aware of what you need healed. In Matthew 20:32, Jesus comes across two blind men as well and the first question He asks is, “What do you want me to do for you?” In order for healing to begin, you need to be aware of your need for healing. Awareness is powerful because it means you are no longer blind to your wounds.
I want you to pay attention to the fact in all these stories of healing, Jesus asks the person in need of healing a question. Sometimes we go to God asking Him what to do but because we aren’t expecting a question, we misinterpret God’s answer for silence. Sometimes God speaks in questions too. So as you go forward, remember the acronym: CRBA.
- Choose healing
2. Realize only Jesus can heal
3. Believe in the healing
4. Awareness of what you need healed
An open letter from me to you:
When I began Project Healing in November of 2014, I had no idea what God had in mind. All I knew is I had this God-given dream birthed in my heart and I needed to take action. I needed to share what God had done in my life in hopes of you too being infected with the healing bug. Project Healing was birthed because of tears found in open wounds, failed friendships, and broken relationships. But more because of transformation and healing. So while I haven’t made time to write newsletters as frequently, you are all in my prayers.
Entering 2017, my prayer is that you, yes you, realize your God-given potential and more-so your God-given dreams. I pray you would take courage and follow Jesus into the unknown. I pray you would see God’s hand in your life because I assure you, He is there. I pray when you hear His voice, you would not harden your heart. I pray you would grow in love and be stretched in wisdom. I pray you would bring every little thing that fills you with guilt and embarrassment to the foot of the cross and not to the pit of shame. But most of all, I pray you would be healed from the very thing(s) that may be stopping you from entering freely into the love of God.
As always, with love and tons of blessings,
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“That same day Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, took their censers, put hot coals and incense in them, and offered “strange” fire to God – something God had not commanded. Fire blazed out from God and consumed them – they died in Gods presence.” – Leviticus 10:1-2 MSG
The bible says Aaron’s sons offered up strange fire to God in the context of a holy and sacred offering. They tried to mix holy with unholy and God consumed them; they died the same way they tried to cheat God. The moment you try to bring in an unholy thing into the holy things of God, you automatically negate the sacredness of a holy act. For example, the bible speaks on meditation; to meditate on the word of God but if you begin to practice yoga as a means of meditation, you are bringing “strange fire” into a sacred act. You cannot do yoga and expect it to be a good offering to the Lord because it is a spiritual practice that has its origin in offering incense to other gods.
In the same way, you cannot incorporate practices from other religions into your relationship with the Lord. It is strange fire that is an abomination to the Lord. While God is all loving, it’s important to be aware of your practices and habits. If it is not biblical or biblically supported, you should always bring it to the foot of the cross.
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
This is a dangerous prayer. David was so bold when he asked God to search him. I’m in a season of God revealing to me things within me that need work; things that do not lead to the way everlasting and it’s hard. You feel bare and naked. You feel exposed. But here David is giving God access because without that invitation, God is not going to force His way in. God is patient and has given you free will for a reason. So if you don’t give Him access to search you, healing won’t happen. Now God doesn’t need to search you, He already knows your heart. But David is saying, “Okay God, you can come in. I invite you in to help me, to mold me, and ultimately to heal me.”
Because the moment you give God that invitation, you are on the road to healing. You are on the road to wholeness. David says, “Lead me in the way everlasting.” What he’s saying is that he can’t get himself to wholeness. Another yoga class or deep breathing exercise is not gonna get him on the right path. Another bible study class or life group isn’t going to open the door to fulfillment. Another diet or self help book isn’t going to set him on the straight and narrow. But Jesus is. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the light.” These things might help but you need to allow God to search you so that He can heal you from the inside out.
Jesus can bring light where there is darkness. He can set you on the right road when you are lost. He can guide you out of the lies and into the truth. And the truth is, we all need work. I know I do! We are all a project only God can take on and bring to full completion. The bible says God brings every good work He begins in us to completion; you know why? Because He loves you, He cares for you, and He’s concerned about the smallest details of your life. He wants you healed that others may be Healed too. The way everlasting is to say “Hey, Jesus, come on in. There’s more than enough room for you.”
1. Visit the Empire State Building & take a selfie with my city ✔️
Being a born and bred New Yorker, you don’t do the typical touristy things. You don’t ride the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building & you don’t take the next boat leaving for the Statue of Liberty. But I’ve always loved to be a tourist in my own city. So yesterday I got to check off number one from my list of goals. I got to go to the very top of the Empire State Building with my friend & her son & the view was so incredible. Gods mind is so limitless to have been able to give people the knowledge to create such a complex city.
“for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:16 NIV
So I thought I’d share some of my adventure from last night because I even got to catch the sunset!
“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” – Matthew 6:27 NIV
I think what Jesus is trying to say is to be present in the moment. Let yourself be in the here and now without overwhelming yourself with the possibilities of tomorrow. Sometimes you have to gain a new and different perspective in order to appreciate the view. That’s exactly what I did last night; I was able to not worry about anything and bask in the stillness of the breathtaking views. Because sometimes we are so caught up in the hustle and bustle of day to day life that we forget to just be in the moment.
As always, be encouraged, be blessed, and be empowered! 🙂
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. 🙂