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.

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!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Truly Trusting God During Tough Times

"Tell me, what do you have in your house?” ~ 2 Kings 4 (NCV)

Since I began my spiritual journey the story of the Widow and the Oil has been one of my favorite parables in the Bible. Little did I know, one day the widow’s story would become my own.

The Widow’s husband left her with an insurmountable amount of debt that she could not afford to pay. As a result, the creditor was threatening to take her two sons as slaves. God sent the prophet Elisha to help her. He asked her what she had in her house. She said, “Nothing at all, except a flask of oil.” Elisha told her to bottle up the oil. Once she completed that task Elisha told her to sell the oil to pay off the debt and to keep what was left for herself and her sons.

In my opinion, this story is a great example of being obedient and truly trusting God. She completed the exercise of bottling the oil before she actually knew what the next step would be or even how it would change her circumstances.

Recently, I was going through a tough time. I was in-between jobs and my oldest son had just started college. He did not qualify for financial aid and my expenses far exceeded my income. My rent was due, and I had no idea how I was going to pay it. I knew by the grace of God things would work themselves out, I just could not see how. I just had to have faith.

As Believers, we often feel that we are operating in faith, but sometimes what we call “having faith” is actually hoping for a particular outcome without taking the necessary action and being obedient. We think that if we believe hard enough and wait on God our situation will change. But I once heard someone say, “Do what you can do, and God will do the rest.” So I went into prayer and began to ask God what I needed to do.

The answer I received actually came in the form of a question, “What do you have in your house?” For a minute, I was confused. I wasn't sure what that meant. Soon, the story of the Widow and the Oil soon came to mind. No, I didn’t have any oil. But I did have other resources that I had been blessed with.

As I began to take inventory of what I had in my house, I realized that I had more than I have ever needed. Some things I had in multiple quantities, some things I hadn’t used in forever. More importantly, I realized that none of what I possessed in my house was truly mine. It all belonged to God. I had been given stewardship over these items for a period of time. Now it was time for me to release them and make them available for someone else’s benefit. It was in this moment I really understood why we should NEVER become attached to things.

I posted several items on The boys’ bedroom set was the first item that sold. The set was 5 years old and still in pretty good condition. I received a couple of offers from potential buyers, but I decided to sell to the person with the lowest bid because she was a single mother with two children, a woman after my own heart. When they came to pick up the set, her kids were so happy to be getting a “new” bedroom set. Even though she was helping me out by buying the set, I knew that she and her kids had been blessed. It really was a win win situation. Soon after all of the other items also sold. I was able to pay my rent in full.

I didn’t know for sure that I would raise the funds to meet my financial obligation, but having faith is about taking the necessary steps no matter what the outcome may be. I was obedient to what I felt God was telling me to do. I knew that I had more than what I truly needed. I also knew that whatever I released could one day be replaced.

So if you ever find yourself in a tough time, I encourage you to truly trust God with the radical faith and action of the Widow. If you don’t know where your “next” is going to come from I challenge you to ask yourself, “What do I have in my house?” Chances are you already have exactly what you need. You just haven’t taken inventory. How radical is your faith? Truly trusting God means being obedient and taking action, even if that means letting go of certain people, particular places, and yes....some of our things!

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey…

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letter To My Soul Mate

To my Soul Mate; wherever you are....

The Word of God will bring us together. Not only will we be in the same Book (His Book), we will be in the same chapter, on the same page, in the same sentence. I will be the subject and you will be the predicate. Without each other our purpose will be incomplete.

"Therefore, do not let anyone separate what God has joined together." ~ Matthew 19:6 (GWT)

Until we meet, God Bless...


Monday, October 17, 2011

Don't Let Your Preference Take You On A Detour From Your Purpose

“This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.” ~ Matthew 6:7 (The Message)

Our preferences are primarily determined by what we are familiar and comfortable with. Whether it is the clothes we wear, the people we choose to date, or the jobs we work. We determine our preferences based on our own limited experience and understanding. And if we are not careful, our preferences can take us on a detour from God’s plan and purpose for our lives.

As an HR professional, I often provide career coaching to individuals that have a desire to advance in their careers. Unfortunately, they often limit their possibilities because they are adamant about what they don’t want to do or what they simply will not do. In fact, I met with someone just the other day that told me he would rather take his chances and be out of a job than to be transferred into a different job at his company. I tried to help him to see the possibilities. But he was very closed-minded and pessimistic about the entire situation. He could not comprehend that transitioning into a different job, may have been the catalyst for God to move him into his purpose.

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding” ~ Proverbs 3:5 (Amp)

It is also important for us to realize that God not only uses our careers or professions for our purpose, He also uses relationships. There are people that we are supposed to partner up with on the journey, whether for our growth or theirs. Some people will come into your life for short term seasonal assignments others will have a more permanent place in your life. But more often than not we prevent or delay God’s purpose from manifesting because we create road blocks based on our preferences. We often miss our exit for the next lesson because we aren't paying attention to the signs along the way.

Experts say that when you are looking for Mr. Right you should make a list. If we entertain the exercise we usually create a list based on preferences; both physical and character traits that are often familiar or comfortable. Some of us also list character traits that we have never experienced, but desire in a significant other. We usually make the mistake of expecting these “new” character traits to show up in the type of men that we are used to, that we prefer. We typically want what is "good to" us, not what is "good for" us.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. In the case of relationships, we walk the line of insanity when we keep getting involved with the same type of person, yet we expect a different, often better experience.

More likely than not, the person that God has for you at this point in time will be very different than what you are used to. I believe God does this so that we can stretch beyond our limited understanding, familiarity, and comfort level. This type of stretching requires obedience and complete trust in God. This is the only way to receive God’s best for your life. This is how God ensures that you are prepared to step into your partnership purpose. And remember…every person that you meet is not intended to be your husband, or even your boyfriend. But if they’ve come into your life, it is for a purpose bigger than you can comprehend or imagine.

So whether it is a job or a relationship, it is so important to keep our ego driven preferences in check and allow God to do a new thing in our lives.

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare” ~ Isaiah 42:9 (ESV)

Our preferences often get in the way of our purpose. When we use a GPS system to help us navigate our way to a destination, we enter the address and trust that the GPS system will take us where we need to go. We do have the option to request our preference to go the shortest route or avoid highways and tolls. But once our route is calculated we put our car in drive, listen to the voice, make turns as instructed, until we arrive at our final destination. If we want to arrive at our life's purpose, on time, with minimal recalculations along the way, we need to use our Spiritual GPS (God's Positioning System) so we can stay on the right road to our destiny.

I do believe that God takes our preferences into consideration, because He knows the desires of our heart. But He knew the plans He had for our lives before we we born and developed our preferences. So remain open and trust that God knows what is best for you.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Our Children Are Like Mirrors

Excerpt from God's Little Devotional Book (pages 214-215):

Our children are like mirrors - they reflect our attitudes in life.

"The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them." ~ Proverbs 20:7 (NLT)

No matter how beautiful, intelligent, talented, or athletic a child may be...there's no substitute for a child having a positive, loving attitude toward others! The foremost architect of that attitude is not going to be a teacher or pastor, but the parents.

Be careful in the attitudes you "feed" your children daily. They become the diet of your child's mind, just as food becomes the diet of your child's body. Don't feed your children junk ideas, sour opinions, rotten theology, poison feelings, or wilted enthusiasm. Instead feed your children with the best of ideas, expressions of feeling, and opinions you have!

Open God's Gift

"To one He gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability…” ~ Matthew 25:15 (NASB)

How would you feel if you gave someone a gift, something that you knew that they needed, but they never opened it, and therefore never put it to use? I think I would be a little disappointed and probably consider them to be ungrateful.
I believe that God feels the same way about us.

God has given us many gifts; our lives, our children, and our finances just to name a few. We are called to be good stewards of the many gifts that we have been given. More importantly we are supposed to be faithful with these gifts and use them to bring glory and honor to the Kingdom of God. He has also given us talent as a gift. Talent is our natural God-given ability. We are to use our talent(s) first and foremost to serve Him, then to serve others, ultimately serving ourselves.

If you have not opened your gift yet, do not worry, there is no “use it or lose it” policy here. What God has given you cannot be taken away, it cannot be revoked. It will be there for you use when you decide to open it.

“For the gifts and the calling of God is irrevocable.” ~ Romans 11:29 (NASB)

When researching this topic I was surprised to learn that there are approximately 40 definitions of the simple 4 – letter word “Open”, according to Merriam Webster online. I would encourage you look up the word and explore the meanings for yourself. But the meaning that resonated with me the most was: “available to follow or make use of”. This hit home for me because I recognized that I had a gift, the ability to write, when I was a little girl. I discovered this probably around the 3rd grade, but for many years I never truly made use of it.

Over the years I have always written for various occasions and was often called on by family and friends to write things for them. But what I didn’t realize until very recently was that this was a God given gift that I had not fully opened, because I was not using it for the purpose it was intended; to glorify Him and serve others.

“Be sure to give the Lord the best portions of the gifts given to you.” ~ Numbers 18:29 (NLT)

If you are not familiar with the parable of the talents in the Bible, I would recommend reading it so you can learn more about what God desires for us to do with the gifts and talents that he has given us. That story can be found in Matthew 25:15. It is a great read.

My vision for this blog is that it becomes a vehicle for me to honor God with one of the many talents that God has given me, the ability to write. Before I began my journey to truly “know” God, my voice had been mute. I have always had something that I wanted to say, something that I wanted to write, but I could never find the words. Once I committed and submitted myself to discovering God’s purpose for my life, sharing my testimony, the words began to flow with ease. Finally, I had opened God’s gift.

“For I will give you wisdom in what to say and I will help you say it.” ~ Luke 21:15 (NLT)

It is my hope that the words that appear on this blog website uplift, inspire, and encourages others. A friend of mine often uses the phrase “be blessed by being a blessing”. The by-product of honoring God, and serving others, is that you will also be blessed. It is also my hope that when I stand before God to give an account for what I've done with ALL that He has given to me, I will hear Him say, "Well done, my good and faithful servant." ~ Matthew 25:23 (NLT)

If you have not discovered your talent, the gift that God has given you, go back to that time and place when you were a child on Christmas Eve. Remember when you could not sleep because you were so anxious to tear open the gifts and see what your parents had given you? Your Father, God also has also given you a gift. A talent, that is wrapped neatly, sealed with a bow, and tucked away deep inside your heart. He is waiting for you to open it. I encourage you to open it. Do not rest until you open it. In fact, I dare you to open it and see what’s inside. Your spirit will begin to find peace when you discover how you can use what God has given you to make a difference and be a blessing to someone else. It’s never too late.

Remember you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey….

God Bless!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go

“In your heart you plan your life. But the Lord decides where your steps will take you” ~ Proverbs 16:9 (NIRV)

In February 2006, one of my mentors gave me a book by Dr. Seuss titled “Oh The Places You’ll Go”. At that time, I had no idea that I was about to embark on a life changing journey that would teach me about faith and trusting God. But apparently my mentor did. How prophetic!

In April of that same year, the boys and I visited my grandmother in Texas. During the long road trip back home, I decided that I was ready for a change and that the boys and I would leave Long Beach, CA and relocate to Dallas, TX. When I made the decision, I had no clue how my plan would pan out. But I was determined.

I was working for a company in Irvine that had an office in Dallas, but they didn’t have any positions currently available. It was important to me that we moved during the summer so the boys would have time to transition and get ready to attend their new schools. Timing was of the utmost importance. After some weeks of applying for jobs at other company’s in Dallas to no avail, I began to get discouraged. It seemed almost impossible to move to Dallas without first securing a job.

One of my co-workers gave me some really good advice. She told me to stop worrying about finding a job, and focus on the move itself. She said let God take care of how the move with come to fruition, in the meantime, research schools for the boys and communities to live in. And perhaps the most radical leap of faith of all, she suggested that I start packing. I questioned her, “Packing? I don’t even know where I’m going to be living or working and you think I should start packing?” She said, “Absolutely, and watch what God will do!”

I took her advice and starting doing some research on the internet and began packing up my apartment. I had made up my mind that I would trust God and move to Dallas job or no job and cross that bridge when I came to it. Ironically, the day the movers arrived to put my things in storage; I received a phone call for a job that I had applied for in Dallas. The company flew me to Dallas a few days later to interview for the position and I was offered the job on the spot, with a higher salary and all relocation expenses covered. Look at God! We moved to Dallas in July 2006, just in time for the boys to prepare for school.

This experience taught me that once we decide what we want for our lives and act in faith, God will take care of the rest.

Five years later, I am still very happy with my decision to move to Dallas. The change of lifestyle and scenery has helped me to grow and mature as a woman and it has been beneficial for my children. I have also been blessed with some great career opportunities. Of course, the journey has not been without its challenges. But if I had not trusted God to order my steps, my plan may have never come to fruition and I would have never known all of the places I could go.

Though Dr. Seuss’ book “Oh The Places You’ll Go” is written with the youth in mind, it is a great read for adults too. It addresses the Great Balancing Act (life itself, and the ups and downs it presents) while encouraging us to find personal fulfillment and the success that lies within us. When you know in your heart that you want to accomplish something, tell God your plans, act in faith and let Him be your guide. are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Love By Choice, Not By Chance

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart” ~ Psalm 37:4 (AMP)

Some time ago I asked a single friend of mine if she wanted to ever get married. Her response was, “if it happens, it happens”. It almost sounded as if she were rolling dice, playing a game of Black Jack, or Russian roulette with her love life. This conversation really made me think about my situation so I began to examine areas of my life to see if I live an intentional life of choice or a life left up to chance.

For the most part, I believe I do live intentionally. Whenever I have a goal to accomplish I think positively. When I interview for a job, I name it and claim it in advance. When my children set out to do something, I always encourage them by telling them, “consider it done”. After all the Bible says to speak of things that are not, as if they are.

“I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe you have received it, it will be yours” ~ Mark 11:24 (NLT)

However, where relationships are concerned, I haven’t always lived intentionally. I think deep down inside, I’ve always wanted to love and be loved, but I have allowed my fear of disappointment and failure to keep me from receiving God’s best for me. The thought of going through another useless situation was overwhelming to me, and it almost seemed easier to just let the chips fall where they may.

As my relationship with Christ began to develop, I learned that there are no useless situations for those that believe in Him.

“God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him” ~ Romans 8:28 (NASB)

I realized that I have to be open to what God has for me, if I really want to grow. I began to understand that every man that I meet is not intended to be my boyfriend or my husband. The true purpose for our encounter with the men that come into our lives is to help us learn about ourselves and prepare us for the “right relationship”. Kathy Freston, author of the book, The One, says that the mirror of relationships show us where we need to grow, and guides us forward. She also says that whether relationships manifest as joyful or heart-rending, they are a portal through which we access our spiritual potential.

This is where we have to trust God, and know that when someone comes into your life it is by His divine choice, or will for your life and not by chance.

“Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.” ~ Proverbs 3-5 (AMP)

Webster defines choice as the act or power of choosing and defines chance as something that happens unpredictably without discernible human intention. I don’t know about you, but I don't want to play the odds when it comes to something that will significantly impact my life and my children’s life – whether or not I get married.

If you know deep in your heart that you want to get married someday be bold about it. Do not let the fear of reliving your past disappointments limit the possibilities for a future filled with love and purpose. Fight that fear with the faith that God will give you the desires of your heart. But in order for Him to do His part you have to do your part. Live intentionally, open your heart, open your mind, and choose to love again. Don't play Black Jack or Russian roulette with your love life. Put your money on God where the odds are always for you and not against you. are not alone. We are all in this together, with Christ as our provider, our strength, and our guide.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Put Your Needs Before The Needs Of Others

If you have ever traveled by airplane you have heard a safety presentation script similar to this:

“If oxygen is needed in an emergency, an oxygen mask will be released from above you. Place the mask over your mouth and nose and tighten the strap. Pull down on the hose to start the oxygen flowing. Make sure you put on your mask first before assisting others such as children.”

I recently took a flight from Dallas to Miami and as I listened to and watched the flight attendant give the safety presentation I reflected on my role as a mother. Most people that know me would probably say that I always put my kids first and I fall somewhere towards the bottom of my list of priorities. This is not necessarily a bad thing, our children are important to us but when you think about it in the case of an airplane emergency it absolutely makes sense to put yourself first. How can you assist others if you have not planned for your safety first? Putting your needs before the need of others applies not only in the area of safety, but in all areas of your life.

While it may sound selfish or even counterintuitive to put your needs before the needs of others, it's actually a very loving thing to do. Because if you don't take care of yourself, it will be very difficult to effectively take care of the needs of others.

Our primary need is a relationship with God, so that should be your #1 priority.

“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33 (NASB)

For a single mother, puttinng yourself first probably sounds good in theory, but may seem difficult to put into practice because we often feel stretched, emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially. If you don't have a healthy balance in these areas it will be difficult to teach your children how to have balance in these areas.

If we follow the instruction of Matthew 6:33 and put God first by reading the Bible, praying every day, and living your life according to Word of God the rest will fall into place.

Here are some examples of how and why we should put ourselves first:

  • Emotionally – some of us end up being the “rock” for others but we neglect our own hurts, habits, and hang-ups. Seek help and support when you need it.

  • Mentally – we all need to be challenged and stimulated, if we aren’t learning new things or pushing ourselves to go to a new level, life can begin to lack meaning. Read, take a class, or explore career options.

  • Physically – if you are running on fumes and not getting enough rest you may need to give yourself a bed time. Inadequate sleep can affect us in many ways, like being overweight or unenergetic. Exercise is also key, a 20 minute walk a day can make a big difference in your physical well-being.

  • Financially – most single mothers operate on a tight budget and limited resources. I know this is a tough area for me. I am raising two boys and it always seems that I have more living expenses than income. But we have to get creative, save a little for a rainy day, and treat ourselves as often as we can.

Putting your needs before others won't always be easy. You have to make a conscious effort to do it daily. It has been a constant challenge for me because whenever my boys needed or wanted something I would squeeze what I could and make it happen. Whenever I had spare time, I spent it doing what they wanted to do or facilitating their extracurricular activities. When I look back, sometimes they were affected because I wasn’t always at my best emotionally, mentally, physically, or financially. And remember as parents, we set the stage for how they will live their lives as adults.

So have you put your oxygen mask on today? Are you getting what you need to effectively provide for the needs of your children and the other important people in your life?

If you have some tips or creative ideas for putting yourself first in spite of the challenges that being a single mother can bring, we’d love to hear about it! Click on the “comment” link. Sharing is caring!

Remember….you are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey!

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Does Your Child Know Their Father?

“I want to know Him” ~ Philippians 3:10 (NLV)

After reading the title of this blog post you might be saying to yourself, “Of course my child knows their Father!” In fact, you might even have the DNA results to prove it. But in spite of what the title might suggest, this is not a casting call for the Maury Povich show. What I am really asking you to think about is how well does your child know their Father…God?

To illustrate a point, I am going to put a twist on a popular old adage, “Mama’s baby, Daddy’s maybe, but a child of God for sure.” From conception to birth there is never a question of maternity, with the rare exception of a switcheroo at birth, or the unusual case of a mother abandoning her newborn child. But there is often a question of paternity. Though I’m no expert, my understanding is that even positive DNA test results are never 100%; at best there is a 99.9% probability. So while we may know biologically who provided the X or Y chromosome that consequently determined the sex of our child, we know unequivocally who our child’s spiritual Father is. There is no probability, it is a fact. But do we take the time to ensure that our children have a relationship with the Father that will always be there for them, the One that will NEVER leave them or forsake them?

Let me be clear, the purpose of this exercise is not to bash our children’s earthly fathers, or negate their efforts. There are some really good fathers out there. In fact, as mothers, we sometimes we fall short and miss the mark. Parents are simply conduits, mere vessels. That's why we need to teach our children who their Source truly is, without fail.

"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me” ~ Psalm 27:10 (NKJV)

When my teenage son began to have challenges with peer pressure, dating, and high school drama, he tried working through issues on his own, with my help of course. But I realized that while he knew about God, he did not know God, and therefore did not know how to surrender his problems and concerns to Him. He carried them and they weighed heavy on his heart. The reality is, I really didn't know how to surrender my own problems and concerns, so in essence he was a reflection of me. I didn't know my Father.

“Be still and know that I AM God” ~ Psalm 46:10 (NKJV)

Looking back, I realized that I had spent 18 years facilitating and encouraging a relationship between my son and his father. Unfortunately, during some of the most difficult times of his life his father just was not there for him, for whatever the reason. If I had known then, what I know now, I would have spent more of my time and energy helping my son to establish a relationship with his spiritual Father. But as Maya Angelou said, when you know better, you do better. As I began to know my Father, I consistently prayed and let Him know my desire for my oldest son to know Him, to have a relationship with Him. My prayers were answered just a few weeks ago, when he made the decision to dedicate his life to Christ and to begin establishing a relationship with Him.

Today, I am making it a priority for my youngest son to know his spiritual Father and the importance of having a relationship with Him. It will be a continuous work in progress, but I can already see the difference in his growth and spiritual development.
Since embarking on my spiritual journey, I've learned that my relationship with my Father God, is like no other. I love both of my parents dearly, but they can’t be to me what God can. So again, I ask the question, “Does your child know their Father? Do YOU know your Father?" If not, today is the day that you can begin fostering your relationship with Him and your child's relationship with Him, no matter how old either of you are. It's never too late. are not alone.

Embrace and enjoy the journey...

God Bless...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Your Plan vs. God's Purpose

"Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose that will stand." ~ Proverbs 19:21

When I was pregnant with my oldest child, I decided not to find out what the sex was during the Sonogram. I wanted to be surprised but really hoped to have a little girl. Looking back I think that I wanted a girl because I assumed it would be easier for me than raising a boy. I didn't know very much about boys. Puppy love didn't teach me a whole lot. I didn't have any brothers, and my father wasn't in the picture. I think I was simply afraid of the unknown.

I knew I could relate to a little girl, I had been one myself right? I could comb her hair and dress her up in cute clothes. I could teach her everything I knew and she could apply it to her life. I envisioned having a little miniature me running around.

I was surprised alright. I gave birth to a bouncing baby boy on July 16, 1993. Here is where my coursework on what it means to be a man began. Seven years later, I was pregnant with my second child. This time I didn't want to wait for any surprises and asked the Sonographer to identify the sex of the baby. Another boy...I was tad bit disappointed and had secretly hoped there was a mistake. I didn't even tell anyone in my family the results. Sonograms aren't 100% accurate, are they? Well in this case it was absolutely correct. On April 13, 2000, my youngest son was born.

Don't get me wrong. I love my boys! They have been a joy to raise. I just didn't think I would be good with boys. I wanted what I thought would be easy and comfortable for me.

This is where God's purpose for my life was revealed. God wants us to grow. In order for us to grow we need to be challenged and stretched beyond our comfort zone. He used an area where I was under developed and developed me. If it were up to me and my plan, I would have had two girls. Hindsight being 20/20, I realize I would have missed out on so much. I have learned so much from raising boys and have experienced things that I never imagined I would. My biggest aha moment, was learning that boys have feelings, need nurturing, and need to be validated in much of the same way that girls do. Raising boys has also helped me to relate to men in general, differently. The experience also helped me to become a better woman.

"But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations." ~ Psalm 33:11 (NIV)

I believe that God allowed my disappointment with the men in my life, to be used as a catalyst for change, to hopefully break the cycle of dysfunction by instilling positive character traits in my boys, so that they can take their proper place in society for the generation to come. God's purpose and will for your life always prevails.

Embrace and enjoy the journey......

God Bless!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Parenting by The Book

"Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do.” ~ (Exodus 18:17 ,The Message)

How many times have you heard mothers say, “I am doing the best that I know how to do, children do not come with a book or an instruction manual?” I know I have said it, my mother said it, and her mother may have said it a time or two as well.

Of course in the literal sense, when your children are born the doctor does not cut the umbilical cord, remove the placenta, and then hand you a how-to book. It is nothing like when you buy furniture from Ikea complete with the instruction manual and Allen wrench. But do you think that God would bless us and entrust us with His children without providing the necessary resources and information to raise them properly? There is a reference guide, a book, an instructional manual that everyone should be very familiar with – the Bible.

As I set out on my spiritual journey to better understand the Word of God, I had an amazing revelation that everything I have ever needed or wanted to know about life is in this very book. I wish had known about this “book” 18 years ago when my oldest son was born. I wish I had REALLY known. I knew of the Bible, but I had always related the Bible to the religious experience of going to church, but I did not know that it held the instructions for how we are suppose to live and ultimately raise our children to live.

I have always been an avid reader and sought out information from various authors that had written spiritually inspired books on parenting, and I learned some good tips from those books. But they usually focus on a specific area of parenting or child development. The Bible is a “one stop shop” so to speak for instructions on how to live spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially which directly impacts the wellbeing and future of our children. The Bible also teaches us the consequences that occur when we do not live according to the Word of God.

“God said…how long are you going to disobey my commands and not follow my instructions.” ~ (Exodus 28:29, The Message)

“…..And you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles.” ~ (Matthew 21:42, The Message)

Oprah Winfrey often talks about her aha moments where things were revealed to her. I had an aha moment of my own when I discovered that the Bible is the best parenting book and instruction manual ever printed. If life is truly like a box of chocolates, I want to make sure I am prepared for whatever challenges may come my way or my children’s way. So from this day forward I will parent by The Book, The Good Book, The Best Book that has ever been written - The Bible. I hope you will too! :)

Remember, you are not alone...He will never leave you or forsake you.

Embrace and enjoy the journey….