Co-Parenting With Christ: "For the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you" ~ Deuteronomy 31:5-7


Uplifting, inspiring, and encouraging single mothers to embrace and enjoy the journey of single parenthood.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out With The Old In With The New

“Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIRV)

Every year at this time many people gather with friends and loved ones to celebrate as another year comes to a close and a new year begins. It is also a time when we reflect on the past year and think about all that went well in our lives and all that did not. Those of us that believe in Christ, give thanks for all He has done to keep us and see us through. Many of us also resolve to change and improve certain areas of our lives and remove all the negative that has been holding us back from reaching our full potential. It is definitely a great time to begin again, to do better and be better.

I am very thankful to be here waiting for the clock to strike midnight and say goodbye to 2011 and watch 2012 make its grand entrance. Like many other holidays, I enjoy the tradition of watching the festivities at Time Square in New York, Sparkling Cider toast with the kids, claiming financial favor and good luck with a healthy serving of Collard Greens and maybe a taste of Black Eyed Peas on New Years Day. The entertainment and rituals are fun and satisfying to the taste buds, but I have come to realize that we don’t have to wait until a new year begins to makes changes for the better and receive all that God has for us.

In the spiritual realm there is no time. There is only NOW. The past does not exist and the future may or may not come, therefore it does not exist either. All we have is the present moment that we have been given. And in that moment, every moment we are a new creation if we believe the Word of God. Who we may have been or what we may have done even a moment ago does not have to be who we are right now. I believe in Christ every moment of every day so with each breath that I am blessed to breathe I have an opportunity to declare, “The old is gone! The new has come!”

When the clock strikes midnight tonight many will hug, kiss, and toast to the traditional tune of “Auld Lang Syne”, which actually translates to “Days Gone By”. I will have bittersweet feelings when I hear the song. 2011 was a really good year for me. My family and I were blessed in so many ways. That’s not to say there were no obstacles along the way. But the triumphs definitely reigned over the trials. I had many gains and some losses. Through it all I knew that it was all part of God’s perfect plan for my life.

As the days go by in 2012, I resolve to live in the present moment, all that I truly have, and mindfully live each day as if it were my last. When I visit the past, it will only be for short while to reflect on what I’ve learned. When I venture into the future it will be just long enough for me to plant seeds of hope. I will accept and enjoy the present for the gift that it is, nothing more; nothing less.

To everyone that has taken time out to visit, read, and share this blog, I thank you for your support and hope that in some way my thoughts have uplifted, inspired, and encouraged you. I know that my experiences are similar to many single mothers, women, and men in general. I believe we all have a testimony to share and we can all learn from each other. Writing is my passion and making a difference in the lives of others is my purpose. I wish you all love, peace, blessing, and prosperity in 2012!
God Bless!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Change Challenges Us to Trust God

“Should we only accept Good from God and not adversity?” ~ Job 2:10 (HCSB)

When we experience things in life that we perceive to be good we have no problem giving God the glory, but for some reason when our experience is contrary to what we desire we typically can’t see God in it. This is especially true when we are impacted by changing circumstances.

When we get a new job or a promotion we sing praises and spread the good news about how great God is, how He showed up and showed out. But when we lose a job or have a change in our income our response is not usually very positive. The key to conquering change in any and every circumstance is having faith, trusting, and truly believing that God is our source.

“We bring nothing at birth, we take nothing with us at death. The LORD alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the Lord!” ~ Job 1:20 (CEV)

The purpose for every experience we have on earth is to bring us closer to God. When He blesses us, it is for His glory, when He allows things to be taken away that we are attached to it is also for His glory. In all circumstances we are to seek ways to use our experience to further build His Kingdom. Sometimes we have to lose what we thought was good to receive something better that God has prepared. As human beings we have a tendency to become complacent and comfortable. I believe God allows our circumstances to change to remin us that our plan is not his plan and in order for His plan to be executed we have to get moving.

“Without change there is no progress.” ~ John Wooden

When faced with adverse change we often seek to blame the person or persons responsible for the change. In doing so, we forget that God is behind the scenes orchestrating the events of our lives, the people involved are merely messengers communicating God’s spiritual direction to you on a physical human level.

In reaction to unanticipated change, our Ego sends us through a series of emotions ranging from fear, confusion, disappointment, and sometimes betrayal. In reality, the change we are experiencing is not about us. It is not even about the messenger. It is about God and His desire to get our attention and align us with His plan for our life. In prayer, we often ask God to show us the way but if His route and calculate distance between turns does not sync up with our internal navigation system we have a difficult time changing directions.

"For my thoughts are nothing like your thoughts," says the Lord, "And my ways are far beyond anything you can imagine." ~ Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)

The only thing constant in the world is change. Seasons change, people change, and circumstances change. Change represents renewal, a different way of doing things. When we fully grasp the concept that change is the only way for our purpose to be fulfilled and God's plan for our lives to manifest we will no longer be discouraged by the detour sign in the middle of the road. Instead we will eagerly anticipate the sights, sounds, and people that we may encounter along the road that we may not have otherwise traveled had God not challenged us with change.

Remember you are not alone...

Embrace and enjoy the journey!

God Bless!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Contentment is a Choice

“Don’t worry, be happy.” ~ Meher Baba

One of my biggest challenges as a Believer is accepting God’s Will for my life. I have never doubted that God Is, but it can be very difficult to live in the World and not be consumed by it. The World influences our desires and decisions. We tend to measure our satisfaction with life by what the World deems to be “good”. The status-quo is always changing and we are constantly in the pursuit of happiness almost as frequently as the World turns.

The search for happiness will be a never-ending cycle. Because the minute we think we’ve found happiness, our circumstances change and the search is on again. The reality is there is no need to look for something you already have. How many times have you looked all over the house for your keys and they were in your purse, where you’ve always put them? Pretty frustrating, right? The pursuit of happiness outside ourselves can be just as frustrating. We already have exactly what we need and should take note from the Apostle Paul and learn to be content whatever the circumstances.

“…For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:11 – 13 (TNIV)

I know all too well that this is easier said than done. This is a daily struggle for me. I have learned that the key to true happiness is understanding that God blesses us with life each day not for our own purpose but for His. It is for this reason that we must trust that He will not position us to fulfill His purpose without the necessary provisions.

“The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” ~ Psalm 84:11 (NLT)

I am reading an interesting book titled The Resolution for Women by Priscilla Shirer. In the book Priscilla writes, “Your God can be trusted to grant you the supply you need to excel at His purposes. So if you don’t have it – whatever it is – it’s because you don’t need it. You may want it, but it’s not necessary in order to accomplish what He knows is most important for your life today. Otherwise, He’d have given it to you.”

More often than not we don’t understand God’s purpose for our life. We measure our success using the World’s metric system which leaves us feeling inadequate or incomplete. It may be hard to comprehend that God’s purpose for our life does not require money, a fancy car, or name brand clothes. Are those things necessary to build His Kingdom? Of course we like them. They make us feel good. But are they necessary? Maybe, maybe not.

Priscilla also goes on to write, “Whatever He’s given or not given, He’s done for a specific reason – a reason known only to Him perhaps but one you can trust with full confidence, sight unseen. Every decision you need to make, every task you need to accomplish, every relationship you need to navigate, every element of daily life you need to traverse, God has already perfectly matched up with an equivalent-to-overflowing supply of His grace.”

“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed…” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:8

Contentment is a choice. We can choose to worry about what we do not have or we can choose to be satisfied whatever our circumstance may be. We must ask God daily for the strength to do what He would have us to do with what we already have according to His Will.

Remember you are not alone...

Embrace and enjoy the journey!

God Bless!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Let Go and Don't Hold On

Do not refuse to let them go. Do not keep holding them back.” ~ Exodus 9:2 (NIRV)

A few days ago I was having a discussion with a co-worker about raising young adult children. She was reflecting on her experience as a single mother and when her youngest son left home to attend college. She described it as a bittersweet experience that I could absolutely relate to. She said something that really made me think about how I have handled situations throughout my life when I needed to let go. She said, “Letting go is one thing, not holding on is really the hard part.”

Initially her comment confused me a little. It sounded like an oxymoron. How could I still be holding on if I had already let go? But as I thought about some of my past experiences, I realized that letting go of someone in your mind is very different than holding on to someone in your heart.

As I thought back to when my son left home a few months ago, it really began to make sense to me. Accepting the fact that he would no longer be coming home from school every day was the process of “letting go”. Understanding that I can no longer be emotionally involved, solving all of his problems or alleviating all of his concerns was the process of “not holding on”. It was a true detachment of the umbilical cord. Of course that doesn’t mean that I stop loving him or that I can no longer “be there” for him. I will always love him and be there for him, just in a different way.

This detachment process is similar in relationships. When the relationship has run its course we need to let go in our minds and stop holding on in our hearts. When I realized my relationship with my children’s Father had ended, it was out of sight out of mind. I believed I had let go. In my mind I had. He was free to do whatever with whomever. But in my heart, for many years after the relationship ended, I held on to the idea that maybe, just maybe things could be the way they were again. It wasn’t until I released him from my heart that I really felt free to move forward and so did he.

One way to tell if you have let go and aren’t holding on anymore is to examine if your actions line up with your words. My co-worker went on to tell me a story about the day she visited her son at his dorm room to deliver groceries for him and his roommates. Her intentions were good, but the help was unsolicited. Her son was appreciative of the delivery, but at the same time he was concerned that she was having a hard time letting go. As he walked her to her car, he told her how much he loved her and that he would be okay, not to worry. But he asked her not to come to his dorm unless invited. Her actions did not line up to what she had been telling herself and her son about her ability to let go and allow him to begin his journey.

Now that may seem extreme, and maybe we would never do something like that. But there are some ways that we have demonstrated to another person that we are still holding on in our hearts even though we've told them that we have let go and have move on.

This idea of trully letting go is another life lesson that is so much easier to teach than it is to apply. But scripture says that we are to let go and keep from holding on to what does not belong to us. When we refuse to let go AND continue to hold on, we can potentially limit our growth and the growth of who or what we are holding on to. The first step is admitting that you really haven't let go yet. Once you do this you will be able to free your mind, free your heart, and ultimately free yourself and those that may still be in your grasp.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Beauty Is As Beauty Does

But the LORD told him, "Samuel, don't think Eliab is the one just because he's tall and handsome. He isn't the one I've chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” ~ 1 Samuel 16:7 (CEV)

This morning I read a devotional titled, “What We See in Each Other”. The devotional highlighted the parable of the Lord choosing David to be King (1 Samuel 16). It really resonated with me and made me think about something my wise grandmother used to say, “Beauty is as beauty does”. This saying simplifies the reality that beauty should not be determined not by how we look but rather by what we do. What do our actions say about our heart?

As single women, we often wonder, “Where are all the good men”? Statistics say that they are either in jail, dead, homosexual, or they don't meet the criteria; tall, dark, and handsome with a chiseled six-pack. But statistics and often our desires are driven by social norms not spiritual truths. I believe there are available good men out there, but more often than not we tend to look for someone who appeals to our eyes, not someone who appeals to our heart.

We should use the same criteria to choose our King that the Lord used to choose King David. The scripture clearly points out that physical attributes (tall and handsome) weren’t enough to qualify to be chosen as King, it was the heart that mattered most. Samuel assumed that David’s older brother Eliab was the chosen one. Notice in the scripture the Lord says, “He isn’t the one I’ve chosen”. On the contrary, God chose David. David was actually small in stature but had a heart for God and because of that he was destined to accomplish great things.

As a Christian women, we should first examine our heart and our intentions. Then we should examine the heart and intentions of the men that come into our lives and ask the questions, “Do they have a heart for God?” and “Do their actions line up with the Word of God?” If not, that may be a pretty good indication that they are not who God has chosen to be King in our lives.

You see God knew the challenge that was to come for the new King. He knew that out of all of David’s brothers, he was the one who could accomplish what needed to be accomplished. God sees the entire picture. Just like in parable, God knows what we need, when we need it, before we ever know that we need it. So when he chooses our King, His selection will be based on the role that he will need the person play in our lives today, tomorrow, and in the years ahead.

“God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose.” ~ Revelation 17:17 (NIRV)

So don’t believe the hype, there are good men out there that are fit to be King. As Believers, we have to know that there are good men out there, in spite of what the world says. We also have to be open and willing to accept that the man for us may not come in the image that we imagine or the package we prefer. External beauty is one-dimensional, shallow, and limited in its impact; it is what it is. Internal beauty is multi-dimensional, deep, and unlimited in its potential; it is all that you need it to be.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Who Says A Good Man Is Hard To Find?

"Seek your happiness in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” ~ Psalm 37:4 (GNT)

I believe much of what God puts on my heart to write about is universal and can apply to anyone, male or female, married or single. But as a single mother, I am a passionate about helping other single mothers and believe it is part of my purpose to share some of what I have learned on my journey. Dating is something that has taken a back seat to raising my children. But now that they are older I am giving more thought to what being in a relationship is all about. So in today’s post I would like to recommend a book for single women that desire a relationship or someone that may be in a relationship but may not be sure if he is “The One”. The book is titled, “A Good Man is Hard to Find: Unless You Ask God to Be Head of Your Search Committee”, by Jo Lynne Pool.

The author writes about how women often focus on what they want in a man, not what they need. When I read the book, it made me think about the recruitment and hiring process at work. Our Recruiters are the head of the search committee. When searching for candidates, the Recruiters ask the hiring manager what they are looking for in a candidate. More specifically what are the “must haves” and “nice to haves”. It’s a simple strategy of “needs versus wants”. After pulling together a list of qualified candidates, the candidate that possesses most of what the hiring manager needs (must haves) is usually selected because needs typically trump wants. Sometimes they are lucky and get some of what they want (nice to haves) as icing on the cake.

Perhaps the old adage, “A good man is hard to find”, is only true because we haven’t executed the right strategy. We haven’t put the right "Recruiter" in charge of finding qualified candidates to fill this critical position in our lives.

An excerpt of the book reads: “God has mandated that he meet your basic needs. Unfortunately, this does not include your whims, fleeting desires, or fantasies. Sure it might be nice if he could be tall, smart, and handsome; buy you a nice big house; and gratify your urge to “shop til you drop”. However these pleasant attributes are not enough to make you happy with him over the long haul because they do not reflect your true needs.” Jo Lynne Pool goes on to write, “God will supply all your needs. When you truly need a husband, not just a sex partner or a friend, then He is faithful and prompt to supply all your needs. But your need, the sincere desire of your heart, must be there first. God answers prayers and meets needs. The need in your life for a husband must never be targeted as a need for a specific man. Instead of targeting a specific guy, leave that part up to the Lord. He already has the right man in mind for you. So let Him handle it.”

Scripture says that God will give us the desires of our heart however it is often misinterpreted that God will give us what we want. What we need tends to be internal (character qualities) while our wants are found externally (physical qualities). Matters of the heart are not external or on the surface level, they are much deeper. What your heart sincerely needs may not be visible, tangible, or easily recognizable, much like God. But as we really get to know God, we will better understand the difference between our needs and our wants. As we learn to follow His lead we will develop a heart like His. Then and only then will we know what we really need to fulfill His purpose for relationship and marriage.

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find: Unless You Ask God to Be Head of Your Search Committee” was a good read and an even better reference guide. I found it to be very insightful. It brought some clarity to what God has in mind for each and every one of us if we just let Him handle it. I kind of like the idea of getting my needs over my wants. I think I would enjoy cake without icing much more than I would icing without cake. I'm just saying...

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Monday, November 21, 2011

In Tithing We Trust

“Make an offering of ten percent, a tithe, of all the produce which grows in your fields year after year. Bring this into the Presence of God, your God, at the place he designates for worship.” ~ Deuteronomy 14:22 (MSG)

Throughout my journey to understand what it truly means to be a Christian, I have struggled with the concept of tithing. I have attended many churches of different religions that offer various teaching on tithing and what is required. After reading, studying, and some discussion with other Believers, I can honestly say that today I understand the purpose of tithing better than I ever have before.

Though the concept is clear, like many, I tend to err on the side of caution and try to do all I can with all that I have; the reality is it is still never enough and never will be. It is never enough because I am trying to all that I can instead of allowing God to do all He can. When we tithe, we trust.

Many of us get caught up in skepticism about what the church is doing with our tithe. That is not to be our worry. God will deal with those that have not been good stewards with what He has given them authority over. That includes us. We are also to be good stewards with the resources that we are given authority over. So before judging the man (or woman) in the pulpit, we should look at the man (or woman) in the mirror. How can we be better stewards?

On a side note, if you question what your church is doing with the money they receive from their members, you might want to re-evaluate why you joined that church in the first place? It might be time to find a new storehouse for you to worship and tithe.

I view tithing as part of the supernatural experience of being a Believer that allows us to “give” back to God, what He has already blessed us with. We may not be able to “see” exactly where our money is going; similarly we can’t “see” God, but when we lift our hands and hearts to Him in prayer we trust and believe that He can see us, hear us, and will answer us. Our relationship with God in both prayer and tithing is about trusting and believing in something greater than our human minds can truly comprehend.

Why the first 10 percent of our income? The definition of the word Tithe is: to give a tenth of. So it isn’t a number that unethical church leaders came up with. The theory has been in existence well before the 12th century and is mentioned throughout the bible, beginning with the book of Genesis. Some church leaders may put more emphasis on tithing than others, but our responsibility is to God not the church leaders. We should study the Word for ourselves and know what God expects of us as Believers.

More important than the amount of your tithe, I believe is the order that you place your tithe in relationship to everything else you spend your money on. God wants to be first in every area of our lives; not second, or third to our rent or car payment which you wouldn’t have if it weren’t for His provision.

Setting aside your tithe before you pay anything else demonstrates your obedience and trust in Him. This act of faith shows that you trust Him and believe that you have enough to do what needs to be done. When you rely on God, He will supply what you need. Not your wants, but your needs.

As a single parent, I have always felt like I didn’t have enough money left-over to tithe. That was part of my problem. I was trying to find something to give God after I had already used what He had given me. He really doesn’t want our left-over. He wants us to put Him first. But if I take it from the top, then the question becomes will I have enough to cover my expenses. Well that sounds like doubt and fear. There is no place for doubt and fear if I have faith, they can’t occupy the same space at the same time. So the real question when it comes to tithing is: Do I have faith and trust in God?

So if you are anything like me, always robbing Peter to pay Paul or Priscilla to pay Patty - whatever cliche' you've given to living from paycheck to paycheck, it might be a good idea to re-examine what position we are placing God in our finances. Chances are we are trying to force a dollar out of fifteen cents instead of letting God be God and supernaturally turn our fifteen cents into a dollar. We have to fully surrender to Him. I know this is easier said than done. Like many of you, I am a “Seeking Christian”, learning how to become more like Christ in obedience, trust, and faith. Will you join me on the journey? We can help each other learn along the way!

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey.

God Bless!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Simplicity in the Power of Prayer

“…For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” ~ Matthew 6:8 (NIV)

The subject of prayer is often one of great debate. Should prayers be long or should they be short? Are prayers better if they are scripted or free-styled? Are they better answered if they are specific or left to interpretation? The list of questions could go on. The concept of prayer varies according to religious practices and individual beliefs. After much study, research, and conversation, I have come to realize that the art of prayer is far less complicated than many of us imagine. Once we truly understand that this life we are blessed to live each day really isn’t about us, but ALL about Him, we will begin to recognize the simplicity in the power of prayer.

Why should we pray anyway? God instructs us too.

"Don't worry about anything. Instead, tell God about everything. Ask and pray. And Give thanks to Him." ~ Philiplians 4:6 (NIRV)

“Be full of joy all the time. Never stop praying. In everything give thanks. This is what God wants you to do because of Christ Jesus. Do not try to stop the work of the Holy Spirit.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 19 (NLV)

As I’ve learned more about the work of the Holy Spirit, I have learned that we should be careful not to pray controlling prayers that could ultimately contradict God’s will for our lives. While this may be easier said than done, it is important to realize that God’s will is going to be done no matter how fervently we may pray against it. When we pray for God to remove certain things or people from our lives, or not allow certain things to happen to us or those that we love, we are essentially making an attempt at imposing the outcomes we desire on God. It may be that very person or situation that is part of His divine plan, His will for your life.

When we try to control an outcome through prayer, it is almost like looking through your life through a peep hole, contemplating if you want to open the door and welcome what is on the other side or not. You are operating in the fear of "what if?". When we submit to God's will, we open the door without hesitation to "what is", welcoming the circumstances of your life in faith.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~ I Thessalonians 5:18 (ESV)

Joyce Meyer has said that, “We often pray for God to change our circumstances, when God actually uses are circumstances to change us.” I also believe that God uses our circumstances to change others around us. The people in our lives are often the best teachers, not the just ones we encounter in classrooms. It is through other's circumstances that we are often the most inspired and encouraged.

As believers we are to trust God and not rely on human logic or understanding.

“ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” ~ Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)

“We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are chosen to be a part of His plan.” ~ Romans 8:28 (NLV)

It is often said that prayer changes things, but I believe something even more powerful happens when prayer changes our perception of things.

“Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.” ~ Phillipians 4:7 (CEV)

How do we pray anway? While there is no one way to pray, it can be as as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1. Praise: praying is more about giving to God than asking God to give.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!” ~ Psalm 150:6 (ESV)

2. Release: once you let go and let God, do not take it back – leave it at the alter.

“God cares for you so turn all your worries to him” ~ I Peter 5:7 (CEV)

3. Accept: have faith and believe that the outcome is part of God’s plan.

“My Father, if this must happen to me, may whatever You want be done.” ~ Matthew 6:42 (NLV)

Now, that WAS easy. As we seek the Kingdom of God, and learn more about the Word of God we also learn that our prayers should not intend to change things but rather to ask God for help in changing our perception of things by giving us the peace and serenity to accept His will for our lives.

A simple prayer can be as complete as any other as long as it is an expression of appreciation, supplication, surrender, and total submission; asking God for nothing more than a renewed perspective, a sense of peace, and the power to persevere in His purpose.

Remember you are not alone...

Enjoy and embrace the journey!

God Bless!

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Are All Called To Serve

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” ~ 1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Today we observe Veteran’s Day in honor, remembrance, and recognition of the military veterans both living and dead that have served this great country. It is because of their hard work, dedication, and sacrifice that we enjoy and maintain our freedom as citizens of the United States. Though many of us have chosen not to enlist in the armed forces, we are not exempt from service. In fact, God calls each and every one of us to serve one another.

To prepare and equip us for a life of service, God has given each of us gifts. The challenge often times is figuring out what our gift(s) are.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy, in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently, if it is to show mercy do it cheerfully." ~ Romans 12:3 -8 (TNIV)

So how do you discover your spiritual gifts so that you may serve others?

1. Follow your heart: Look for areas which you feel most fulfilled.
2. What are you good at?: Look for areas which you seem to be the most effective.
3. What do people always ask you to do?: Look for those areas in which others affirm your abilities.
4. Pray about it: “Ask, and what you are asking for will be given to you. Look, and what you are looking for you will find. Knock, and the door you are knocking on will be opened to you.” ~ Matthew 7:7 (NLV)

Martin Luther King once said, "Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.... You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Reach into your soul. Stir up your gifts. Discover your passion. Find your purpose. Let God use you to be of service. If you are looking for ways to serve or give back visit There is always something we can do to help others. How will you be of service today?

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trusting God With Your Children

"Children, you belong to God…” ~ 1 John 4:4

The day that my young adult son moved out and left the nest, I really began to understand what it means to trust God with your children. For the first time, I no longer had direct influence on his day to day decisions and actions. Someone asked me if I cried the night he moved out, even to my surprise, I did not. I actually had a sense of peace and slept like a baby because I knew, understood, and accepted that this was a necessary part of his journey towards figuring out his purpose in life.

The high school experience definitely had its challenges for both of us. It took a lot of prayer and support from friends and family to get through some really difficult times, but God saw us through. Often times I would pray, and ask God to prevent him from experiencing certain things or from getting close to certain people. But as each year passed, I realized more and more that this was his life and his journey no matter what big plans I envisioned for his future. Who am I to decide what he should or should not experience on his path to self discovery?

Recently, I read a great book by Iris Delgado titled, “Satan, You Can’t Have My Children.” The author writes about the importance of covering our children in prayer but advises that, "Parents should avoid controlling prayers. Controlling prayers start by focusing on the negative and by asking God to change, sever, transform, stop, bind, and remove. They tend to bring upon the person a burden of guild and condemnation. Instead, we should thank God for our children and His awesome plan for their lives." She also notes, "when she sees a relationship develop that she feels in her spirit is not in God’s will for her children, she immediately enters into God’s presence, and thanks Him for his perfect plan for them." She encourages us to, "pray in faith and trust God to intervene in their lives." She challenges us, "Do not be moved by what we see, hear, or feel. Confess and declare all of those good things that we expect to see manifest in our children’s lives. Allow God to be God."

We often try to prevent our children from experiencing certain hurts, failures, and disappointments. But it may be the very experience that we are trying to prevent that is very necessary for our children to become who God has ultimately called them to become. Our children are not our own. They belong to God. As parents, we are on assignment. Our assignment is to raise them according to His word and release them.

“Bring up a child by teaching him the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it” ~ Proverbs 22:6 (NLV)

This doesn’t mean we stop parenting at some point. The parent-child covenant is never-ending. They will always need our support and encouragement. However, once our children become teenagers and begin making decisions for themselves, we begin to lose our starring roles in the story of their lives. It will be their life experiences that determine the theme, the plot, story structure, characters, setting, style, and tone of their story. At some point we will only be in limited scenes in the role of supporting cast. Later, we may even become Extra’s making cameo appearances as needed. Eventually, we might simply take a front row seat in the theater with our popcorn and become mere spectators, watching their story unfold and reveling in the beauty of all that God has done with and through our children.

Learn to truly trust God with your children. Trust that He has a perfect plan for them, just as He has for each and every one of us. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is also your God and your children's God. He is a promise keeper. We just have to trust Him.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Be Released From Financial Bondage

This morning I watched a sermon given by Kerry Shook on TBN about financial bondage. He offered 3 principles to apply that will help us free ourselves from financial bondage. This sermon really ministered to me. As a single mother, money management has always been a source of frustration for me. It seems like I never have enough money to cover all that I am responsible for. So I thought I’d share what I learned, with the hopes that we all can learn how to manage our money and resources better and release the shackles that bind us…one at a time.

Principle #1: Govern your money; do not let your money govern you.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” ~ Genesis 1:28 (NLT)

God gave us dominion over ALL things in the earth, including our finances and resources and He instructed us to govern them; to control and exercise continuous sovereign authority over them. We establish dominion and control over our money by staying in balance and making constant adjustments to maintain that balance. We also need to consider our income and outgo. If we are always in the red at the end of the month, we either need to increase our earnings or decrease our spending. We can’t be in balance financially if we are spending more than we earn.

Principle #2: Simplify and you’ll be more satisfied.

“He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” ~ John 15:2 (NLT)

“Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” ~ Isaiah 55:2 (NIV)

As we work at balancing our budget, we should consider eliminating the things that we spend our money on that does not “produce fruit” or add true value to our lives. Essentially these are the things that offer a low return on investment. Instead we should invest more in or “prune” the areas that are fruit bearing or adding value so that we may experience maximum return on investment.

Principle #3: Honor God in your giving, saving, and spending.

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first and best part of all your income. Then your barns will be full, and your vats will overflow with fresh wine” ~ Proverbs 3:9-10 (GW)

“Some people give freely and gain more; others refuse to give and end up with less.” Proverbs 11:24 (ERV)

Kerry Shook advised that we should, “Give God the first 10% back, not the leftovers. If God is not in first place in our finances we are not honoring God. Honor God in everything we do, our spending, saving, giving, budgeting, balancing, and simplifying.”

He went on to say that many of us are possessed by our possessions. If we can’t give something away, then it controls us. We are instructed to hold things loosely.
I know that I have had some expensive consequences as a result of not following the principles outlined above. Life is about sowing seeds and harvesting. By devine design, when you plant one seed today, the harvest will not be immediate, but the harvest will come later and greater. One seed produces plenty. In essence, the consequences from the way we manage our money may not be immediate, but there WILL be consequences eventually and more than likely the implications will be greater than the initial financial decision that we made. A great example of that in financial terms is the concept of principal plus interest.

Today is a great day to examine our finances. Are we are governing our money or allowing our money to govern us?
Click here to download a free Personal Monthly Budget template that we can use to help us balance our finances and make the necessary adjustments. Jesus came that we may have life more abundantly, but we must do our part. Let's exercise our God-given authority and be mindful of the seeds we plant so we harvest more of what really want and need and less of what we don't.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Golden Rule Should Never Be Broken

" So then, whatever you desire that others would do to and for you, even so do also to and for them, for this is (sums up) the Law..” ~ Matthew 7:12 (AMP)

The Golden Rule is a maxim or philosophy that many people use primarily to express how they would like to be treated. How often do we consider The Golden Rule when deciding how we treat others? It is important that this rule not be exercised as a double standard and only applied in certain situations.

I find it interesting that the notion of treating others as you would like to be treated is not only a spiritual principle, it is also scientific. It is a universal law and natural law that will be enforced whether we like it or not. Sir Issac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states that, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction”.

Oprah gave a good illustration of this on one of her shows. She recalled a line that Miss Celie said to Mister in the movie The Color Purple – “Everything you done to me already done to you.” When I saw that movie for the first time at 10 years-old, I could not comprehend the magnitude of reciprocity, even as a young adult I did not completely understand and apply it to my life, but thankfully now I fully get it.

After the show aired, a friend and I examined Newton’s Third Law of Motion; and attempted to break it down as it applied to Miss Celie’s line. Here is what we came up with. The exact (equal) energy (negative or positive) that we put out into the universe (thoughts, words, and actions) will come back to us (opposite - of it's intended direction). Imagine the motion of a boomerang.

The two most powerful words in Miss Celie’s line are, “already done”. You see, it is never a matter of if but when. The Law of Motion or reciprocity is already in progress the minute you have a thought, say a word, or take an action.

For those of us that have been mistreated it is human nature to want to see the person that mistreated you suffer. Because of the just God we serve we don't even have to think, say, or do anything to repay someone for what they have done to us. It is already done. Read what God says about revenge and retaliation.

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”
says the Lord. ~ Romans 12:19 (TNIV)

Scripture does not say it might be written, it has already has been written. His Word is the Truth, so justice will be done, it will just be a matter of time. That, my friend you can take to the bank!

To go a step further, we should consistently abide by The Golden Rule, regardless to how others may be treating us. This doesn’t mean be a doormat and allow people to mistreat you. Sometimes because of reasons beyond our own understanding and control, people may not have a clue how to treat others so we have to teach people how to treat us.

“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” ~ Matthew 7:12 (MSG)

For me, this means do not wait for others to treat you the way you want them to treat you before you decide to do right by them. Take initiative. Lead by example. Often in our relationships we apply The Golden Rule conditionally. God commands us to love one another unconditionally. No excuses. No exceptions.

The Golden Rule should never be broken simply because our future depends upon it. We must always be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions.

“…You will always harvest what you plant” ~ Galations 6:7 (NLT)

As we go about each and every day in this garden of life, let’s make a conscious effort to plant seeds of love, kindness, patience, consideration, and compassion for others, in return we will harvest the same.

Remember you are not alone.

Enjoy and embrace the journey…

God Bless!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Welcome The Strangers Among Us

“Don’t forget to welcome strangers. By doing that some people have welcomed angels without knowing it.” ~ Hebrews 13:2 (NIRV)

Yesterday my youngest son and stopped by a convenience store to pick up a few things after his basketball game. While walking the aisles we were analyzing the game; what he did well and what he could improve the next game. During the conversation, we were interrupted by an older gentleman whose appearance was a little unkempt. He looked like he could have been a transient and perhaps may have been on drugs at some point in his life. But out of simple courtesy and respect for another human being; regardless of his appearance, I welcomed the interruption.

The gentleman said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help hearing your conversation. Do you mind if I give him some advice?” I said, “Sure.” He started by asking my son a question. He said, “What do you think you could have done better in your game today?” My son said, “I should have made my lay-ups, but I thought I was fouled and the referee didn’t call it.” The gentleman said, “That is where you went wrong, he said your main focus should be to make the basket, don’t worry about what other people are doing or not doing.” He asked my son, “What do you want to do when you grow-up?” My son said, “Play professional basketball.” The gentleman said, “When my son was 8 years old, he told me he was going to play in the NBA. Guess what he is doing now? He is number 54 on the Detroit Pistons, Jason Maxiell.” My son’s eyes got bigger than they already are…totally surprised by his comment. The man went on to say, “I always told him to focus on what he needed to be doing at all times and never worry about what the next person is or isn’t doing.” He took his items to the check out and he was gone.

What a great lesson for an 11 year old; what a great lesson for us grown folks as well. Don’t be quick to judge. You never know who God’s messengers are. We should welcome those we don’t know because were are one in God's eyes and they might have a word for us from our Heavenly Father. One things I took away from the strangers message to my son was that we need to mind our own business and stay focused on accomplishing our goals whatever they are, regardless of what the next man or woman may or may not be doing. When we spend unnecessary energy focusing on others we lose momentum and slow down our own progress.

If a total stranger takes time out of their day to share a word of encouragement or wisdom and insight with someone they don’t even know and may never see again they could be an angel in disguise. When we welcome the strangers among us we may be welcoming a blessing from above.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learn the Lesson or Repeat the Class

“You all have a single teacher, and you are all classmates.” ~ Matthew 23:8 (MSG)

Have you ever wondered why you find yourself repeating the exact same life drama perhaps just with a different cast of characters? You seem to attract the same situations or the same type of people no matter how you try to avoid it. I have had recurring life experiences and often wonder why I keep having the experience. Finally, I had a revelation and realized that even though I managed to get through the experiences, I never actually learned the lesson God had intended for me to learn. And until I get it, really get it, I will keep being held back and forced to repeat the class.

“The Lord is trying to teach the people a lesson; he is trying to make them understand his teachings.” ~ Isaiah 28:9 (NCV)

As Christians, we are called to be Disciples but before we can teach we first need to learn. I believe God uses our life experiences as opportunities to challenge us to seek Him for wisdom, understanding, and instruction so that we can apply it to our lives and then share what we have learned with others.

“By now you should be teachers, but you need someone to teach you again the first lesson…” ~ (NCV)

Unfortunately, as human beings we are so driven by our Ego and what we want that we miss the lesson that God has for us. We have to first learn how to take ourselves out of it and realize that it is not about us. Every day that we are given the gift of life, it is not for our benefit but rather it is another opportunity for us to honor God with the life experiences we are been given. Contrary to what it may seem, even the most challenging situation with the most challenging person is a gift from God. These challenging situations ultimately press us to seek God first. When we finally learn the lesson, with God’s help and pass the class we will receive peace and a passing grade!

“But later, after we have learned our lesson from it, we will enjoy the peace that comes from doing what is right.” ~ Hebrews 12:11 (ERV)

“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything that we can understand.” ~ Phillipians 4:7 (NLT)

So if it feels like Déjà vu it probably is. More than likely we have been down that same road before. When it feels like we keep passing the same landmarks over and over again, that means it’s time to ask God for help. We need to constantly ask Him what we need to learn so we can move on to the next course.

Remember you are not alone.

Enjoy and embrace the journey...

God Bless!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fear Not....For God Is With You

“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound mind (sound judgment).” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)

Like many around the world, I have have a front row seat in Oprah’s Life Class for the past few weeks. Today’s lesson was on Fear or more specifically the importance of responding to the gut feeling we get when danger is imminent. Oprah and her guests shared some great safety tips on the show and the book titled, “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker was referenced throughout. I am a huge fan of Oprah’s and truly enjoy her teaching, but out of curiosity and a desire for further understanding on this topic I decided to explore what the Bible says about fear. Here are some of the scriptures I found:

“Don’t be afraid or terrified. The Lord God, my God will be with you.” ~ 1 Chronicles 28:20 (GW)

“….This is my command- be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT)

“Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will give you strength, and for sure I will help you.” ~ Isaiah 41:10 (NLV)

“…The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear.” ~ Hebrews 13:6 (NLT)

I believe that our innate abilities, our instinct or gut feeling are gifts from God. I do not believe that God has given us the spirit of fear. I also believe that the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. Some might refer to this gift as the sixth sense; an internal “feeling” that triggers us to make a choice or take action by exercising wisdom, discernment, and wise decision making.

Fear in and of itself has such a negative connotation that I would prefer not to give energy to the emotion. It can get complicated when we try to decipher good fear from bad fear. Fear can cause us to take action or it can paralyze us from doing something we need to do. Fear can become a way of life if we are not careful, not just something used when danger is imminent. So instead of trying to put fear in its proper place, I try to recognize when I am responding to something or someone in fear and replace that negative energy with faith.

Don't get me wrong, as an official Oprah-ite, I enjoyed the show and learned some great safety tips. I just believe that the notion that fear is a gift is counterintuitive to what the Word of God teaches about fear. The Bible teaches believers to overcome fear with faith. It is our faith in God that activates the Holy Spirit within us and gives us the wisdom, strength, and courage to respond during life’s most challenging moments. I believe that instinct or gut feeling described on the show is actually God speaking to us and providing us with instruction that is divinely designed to keep us safe or lead us to where He wants us to be.

Be confident, be courageous, be fearless and attack life's challenges (and dangers) with the powerful ammunition of faith.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

“God controls the timing of every event.” ~ Ecclesiastes 9:11 (NIRV)

While I was out and about riding in my car, running my Saturday errands, I meditated on how thankful I am for all that God has done for me. I just got paid and all my income has gone out. But I know that I am truly blessed to be of sound mind, spirit, and physical well being. And all of our needs are met.

I stopped by Chic Fil A to pick up lunch for my two boys and my nephew, I wasn’t really hungry so I wasn’t planning to get anything for myself. When I pulled up to the order speaker, I was greeted by one of the friendliest voices that I had heard in a long time. She competently took my order and told me that I’d get my total at the window. As I arrived at the pick-up window I was pleasantly greeted by a friendly gentleman with a bright smile. So far it had been a great customer experience. Was I really surprised? After all, I was at Chic Fil A, the fast-food restaurant chain that closes all locations on Sunday (the Lord's Day) so their employees can rest, spend time with their families, or at their places of worship. But it gets even better.

The person at the pick-up window asked what condiments I needed. Rare these days, right? He began to hand me the food before I handed him the money. So I asked him, “What is my total?” He said, “Actually today is your lucky day! You are the 100th customer so your order is free!” He picked up a red bell and started clanging it. Then his co-workers started clapping. It was quite a celebratory event, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

If you know anything about Chic Fil A, it is really no surprise that I was blessed at a restaurant whose business is about blessing others. An excerpt of their Corporate Purpose reads:

To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.
To have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.

Though I did feel a little lucky at first….I really don’t believe in luck. I believe that ALL things happen for a reason, in God’s perfect time. Sure in the natural it was a simple $20.00 chicken dinner. But in the supernatural, I believe it was God’s way of telling me, “I see you. I got you. Just keep doing what you’re doing.” I can honestly say that Chic Fil A not only talks the talk, they also walk the walk!


Open Your Heart So God Can Fill It

“Open your hearts to them. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all of your work. He will bless you in everything you do.” ~ Deuteronomy 15:10 (NIRV)

This scripture is often used as a reference for “giving”. It helps to illustrate God’s desire for us to tithe and serve others. It is also a great reference for how we think about relationships, because relationships are fundamentally about giving; giving and receiving. But in order to receive God’s best for you where relationships are concerned, you have to be willing to give your best to God. I once read something very profound, "Rather than placing yourself at the center of your relationships, all your energies and assets should be tools for worshipping him".

So how do we give our best to God? We take ourselves out of it. As a believer, nothing that we do can be about us. Everything we do must be done to honor God and the Kingdom in which we serve. We must die to self and live for God.

“He must become more important. I must become less important.” ~ John 3:30 (NIRV)

Jesus said to his disciples, “Those who want to come with me must say no to the things they want, pick up their crosses and follow me.” ~ Matthew 16:24 (GW)

What about our preferences? You ask. When we choose who we will “give” our time and energy to, based on our preferences, we give advantages to some over others. Here is what the Word of God says about preferences:

“Playing favorites is always a bad thing; you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.” ~ Proverbs 28:21 (MSG)

"God is not one to show partiality." ~ Acts 10:34 - 35 (NASB)

"God plays no favorites!" ~ Acts 10:34 - 35 (MSG)

"Whatever you did for them, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for Me." ~ Matthew 25:40 (GW)

So if not based on preference, how then do we choose? We make wise decisions by applying what we know the Word of God says.

“With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment.” ~ Proverbs 3:5

Something supernatural happens when we trust and delight in (give satisfaction to) Him.

“Find your delight in the Lord. Then he will give you everything your heart really wants.” ~ Psalm 37:4 (NIRV)

There are two key words in the above scripture; “delight” and “really”. To delight in the Lord means to be obedient to the Word of God and the word really translates to, “authentic” or “genuine”. God will give us everything our heart authentically and genuinely wants deeply at its core, not our shallow superficial desires that merely rest on the surface of our hearts; without penetration, substance, or true significance.
As we go through the process of dying to self, and learn who we really are and what God intended for our lives we come to know what God desires for us and those desires becomes our own.

“Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (GW)
Simply stated, when you know better, you do better, and you choose better. Know God, love God, love yourself! Give of yourself with the heart of God and receive His very best as he fills your heart with REAL love. Get out of your own way. Stop blocking God's blessings for your life.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Forgiveness Takes Fortitude and Faithfulness

"Love….keeps no record of wrongs.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

“God doesn’t keep a record of our sins” ~ Psalm 130:3 (NIV)

Recently I had some dialogue with a good friend of mine about forgiveness. The commentary was interesting and made me take an introspective look at my own personal experience and challenges with forgiveness.

What I do know is forgiveness is not easy. It takes a great deal of fortitude and faithfulness, just like any other change for the better. If you are starting a new exercise regimen, it may be painful and will require daily effort. No pain, no gain. If you can endure the short term pain, you will benefit from the long term results that you gain as a result of your daily effort. I kind of view forgiveness in the same way, it isn’t easy and people usually don’t want to do it. But when you do forgive, really forgive, you experience an inexplicable peace and freedom because you have released yourself from the bondage of your feelings.

What I had to learn about forgiveness is that just because I have forgiven someone doesn’t mean that I have to continue to engage in the same type of relationship with them. There is an old saying, “first time shame on you, second time shame on me”, which means the same behavior has happened more than once. Perhaps I didn’t do a good job teaching them how to treat me the first time it happened, or they really don’t care how I feel about how they are treating me. Either way I need to forgive them for what happened and decide on what level I will continue to interact with them going forward, if I interact with them at all.

More importantly I had to learn that forgiveness was really for me and not the person that offended me.

“God forgives us if we forgive others.” ~ Mark 11:25 (NIV)

“Forgive others as Christ forgave you.” ~ Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

The circle of life is about more than life and death, it is also about mercy and compassion.

Before I really understood the concept of forgiveness, I would often avoid the person and remove them from my life. But I noticed the same hurts and feelings that I experienced with that person would just show up in other areas of my life and with other people. It wasn’t until I was able to release that person AND forgive them that I fully received a level of peace that surpasses all understanding.

If we are to love others the way that Christ commanded us to, we must live a life of constant forgiveness. Even when someone cuts you off on the road, it's ok to have words for them, but those words should be God Bless you, not screw you.

If we are honest with ourselves we all fall short in one area or another, and He forgives us over and over again, even though we are not worthy. Let's make an effort to love like Christ and make forgiveness a routine part of our day. I know we will be glad we did!

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thinking Beyond the Next Generation

“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children.” ~ Proverbs 13:22 (NIV)

As a young mother, I never gave much thought to what my grandchildren’s life would be like. Now that I have a young adult child the reality of grandparenthood is no longer just a possibility, it is a probability. After all, my mother was 37 years old when she became a grandmother for the 1st time. Of course, I have communicated my desire for him to wait until he gets married; after he and his wife have lived a little, and have had an opportunity to establish themselves before even considering having children. My prayer is that he desires that for himself. But now that I am getting older I am beginning to think about the legacy that I will leave for the generation after next more than I ever have before.

I think it’s important to recognize that inheritance is not just about a trust account or life insurance beneficiaries. It is about more than leaving money or material things to someone. Inheritance and legacy have to do with attitudes, belief, conditions, and traits. As a parent, you can have a direct impact on the condition and quality of life for generations to come.

Around the time we were figuring out how we were going to pay for my son to attend college I came across the above scripture in Proverbs. When I read the verse I had a revelation. I realized that the sacrifices I make today can give my son an opportunity to get a college education which can ultimately impact his children, my grandchildren and their quality of life. This could potentially be more impactful than leaving money on the table for them to use as they see fit.

Money can be gone overnight, in a matter of minutes if you pay attention to the Stock Market lately. An education is something that can never be taken away. An education, if used to its full benefit, can give my son the knowledge and competitive edge that will enable him to provide a good life for his family. My support of his educational pursuits (financial and otherwise) also helps to set the standard for education in this family. It also sends the message to the next generation and beyond that a college education is more than important, it is paramount.

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation.” ~ Joel 1:3 (NIV)

This is just one example of how we can leave an inheritance to our children’s children. There are many ways we can impact future generations. Just keep in mind that the decisions we make today affect not only our tomorrow but also the tomorrows of generations to come. When we think about our legacy; the attitudes, ideas, beliefs, and conditions that we will leave behind, we should consider all the spaces on our family tree, especially the blank ones, our children’s children will occupy those spaces one day.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rejection Is God's Protection

"Rejected by men, but chosen by God” ~ 1 Peter 2:4 (NIV)

At some point everyone that has lived has experienced some form of rejection, whether it was a relationship that didn’t work out as we hoped or a job that we really wanted but did not get. Rejection is inevitable, but it is how you interpret and understand the rejection that makes all the difference. Even more important, it’s about what you learn from the experience that has obviously run its course.

Many years ago, I was trying to make sense of my failed relationship with my kid’s father. I sought out the help of a Counselor, hoping that she could help me understand what went wrong. I don’t remember alot of detail from our meetings, but there was one comment that she made that has stayed with me since then, “He did not choose you.” She said that if he wanted to be with me, he would. How’s that for a dose of rejection?

Up until that point, I never felt that I had been rejected; I just thought he needed time to realize what he was missing. But as I played her words back over and over again, I realized he was never coming back, and he never did. Hindsight being 20/20, I now understand that particular "rejection" was really a blessing in disguise.

Some years later, I heard someone say, “Rejection is God’s Protection.” All of a sudden, rejection didn’t seem like such a bad thing after all. I looked back over all the roads I’d traveled that stopped at a dead end, only for me to make a u-turn and begin again. I realized that the roads I had been traveling were only temporary in the grand scheme of things. If I hadn’t been forced to stop and regroup, I would have missed out on so many opportunities that God had for me along the way and certainly wouldn’t have grown into the woman I am today.

I now understand that the people we encounter along this journey are simply our tour guides that help us to understand where we are and direct us to where we need to go. They come into our lives for a reason, and sometimes only for a season. We have to know that when something doesn’t work out as we hoped or planned, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with us or that we are being punished for something we did wrong. It means that God has something greater in store. I really do believe that rejection is God’s way of getting our attention so we can lean on Him, trust Him, and be ready to receive and appreciate the blessings that he has in store for us.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God—those whom he has called according to his plan.” ~ Romans 8:28 (GWT)

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!

I Want To Know What Love Is

As I prepared to write this post for today, a tune from the popular 80’s band Foreigner played in my head. A verse from the chorus says, “I want to know what love is, I want you to show me.”

The Apostle Paul tells us what love is in 1 Corinthians 13 (4-7):

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, and endures through every circumstance.”

Love is action at its best. Love is something that you show, not simply something that you say. Love is the act of giving and receiving, contrary to the popular belief that love is a game of give and take. You might be wondering what is the difference between giving and taking versus giving and receiving. There is a big difference. I encourage you to browse the dictionary at: and explore the meanings.

The easiest way I can explain it is that when you receive something from someone it takes very little effort on your part. You open your hand and they place the object in your hand. It takes much more effort to take something from someone. Have you ever tried taking a piece of candy from a baby? Then you know exactly what I mean. The act of love should be effortless. Not without work, but certainly without force.

I am in the process of completing a year-long Bible Study on what it means to love. One of the exercises challenged me to read 1 Corinthians 13 (4-7) and replace the words “love” and “it” with my first name. The scripture took on a whole different meaning, much more personal. It was definitely a reality check of where I need to improve, learn more tolerance, and patience.

“Ricklyn is patient and kind. Ricklyn is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Ricklyn does not demand Ricklyn’s own way. Ricklyn is not irritable, and keeps no records of when Ricklyn has been wronged. Ricklyn is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Ricklyn never gives up, never loses faith, and endures through every circumstance.”

When my assignment here on earth as come to an end, I hope those that know me, those that I have said to have loved remembers me as described above. I know that I still have work to do. It is my goal to take every day as another opportunity to get better and exemplify the Apostle Paul’s description of love.

I encourage you to take the challenge. Read 1 Corinthians 13 (4-7) and replace the words “love” and “it” with your first name. See how loving you are and in what areas you can be more loving. Jesus said life’s greatest command is to love God with all you are and to love your neighbor as yourself. The question we must ask ourselves each day is: "Are we embracing a life of love?"

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Commitment Cultivates Change

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

At the beginning of 2011, I went on a personal journey to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers. I completely revamped my eating habits and incorporated exercise into my day; everyday. It was a truly a new day for me! Just like the lyrics Jennifer Hudson sang in the Weight Watchers commercial. Ultimately, I lost 20 lbs.

I did not achieve success simply because I started eating differently and began to exercise. I was successful because I committed to the daily process; the process of making wise choices, counting points, and writing down everything I consumed. I tracked breakfast, lunch, dinner, beverages, and snacks in between. I completely turned away from things like soda and candy because they are considered empty calories and were counterproductive to my efforts to lose weight and become healthier. I also scheduled time and committed to exercising everyday and even began counting the number of calories that I burned each day. It was definitely a process. My commitment to the process, cultivated the change that I wanted to see, the change that I wanted to become.

A Weight Watchers Leader that facilitated our group meetings would often say of the program, “When you kinda do it, it kinda works.” I thought this was a very profound statement because it can be applied to so many areas of our lives. Whether you have a goal to lose weight, go back to school, get a new job, or build better relationships with the people in your life, it begins with commitment. We have to commit and submit ourselves to the process. No commitment equals no change.

Merriam Webster has several definitions of the word “commitment”. The one that resonates with me the most is, “to carry into action deliberately”. Commitment is deliberate and intentional.

Since losing the 20 lbs, life has happened, my commitment waned, and I have gained some of the weight back. But the beautiful thing about life is that with each “new day” we are given, we are blessed with another opportunity to recommit ourselves to the process of changing for the better. I know that it can be done because I have experienced the reward and benefits of commitment first hand.

Let’s make today the day that we begin to take deliberate action. It may be something different for each and every one of us. Whatever the goal, let’s commit to keep each other uplifted, inspired, and encouraged along the way.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!