“SHE BELIEVED SHE COULD, SO SHE DID!”

From what I have learned via the internet, this quote originated from the author, R. S. Grey. I don’t She-believed-she-could-so-she-didMknow much about her or her work but her quote grabbed me the moment I read it. So much so, that I’ve posted it several times, on various social media sites. I’ve used it as my cover and profile pictures a few times. And, I also have it posted around my home, in various colors and graphics.  

It’s a constant reminder, whatever dreams and visions God has given me, whatever goals I’ve set for myself, I must, first of all, believe that I can  achieve them. I’ve had more “setbacks” than I care to admit or remember at times, but no matter how many times I fall, I’m determined to get back up. I must brush myself off and keep it moving.  
Life is about learning lessons. And lessons rarely come by way of good situations. Not the life-changing lessons anyway. The lessons that make you so mad that you decide to get off your butt and do some things differently. 

Through trials and errors, I’ve developed a strategy for “getting bpause buttonack up.” I take the time to relish in the fall.  

Wait! What? Relish?

Simmer down! Let me explain.

Not relish in as if I’m delighted to have fallen. But relish in the fact that I have gained enough wisdom and life experiences to know that I need to pause a bit, and perform a self-check. Take it all in and really learn what the fall is about, especially if it’s something that I’ve fallen from a few times prior.

I then take the time to ponder what lessons need to be learned. Here’s the step many of us miss and/or choose to skip. So, let’s say that again. SLOWLY! TAKE. THE. TIME. TO. LEARN. THE. LESSONS!


Now, I can get up, brush myself off, and BEGIN APPLYING THE LESSONS TO MY LIFE! See, here’s something else we don’t do, well, not long enough anyway.

I know root wordwe all remember our sixth-grade grammar class. In that class, we learned that the suffix “-ing” means continuous or progressive. One definition of the root word “apply” is – to cause (force, pressure, etc.), to have an effect, or to be felt. Very befitting.

By adding “-ing”, we now have the word “applying” -to cause (force, pressure, etc.), to have an effect, or to be felt continuously or progressively.

In order to retain the lessons, to ensure that fewer falls will occur, and most of all, that the thing(s) I’m believing and working for will come to pass, it’s mandatory that I apply pressure, force, etc. continuously. I must progressively move towards my goals. This “applying” must have a positive effect on me, my goals, and all that is associated with them.  And it has to be FELT!  Can you just feel the force behiApplying Tipsnd that sentence? I sure can!

Yes, I am sure this is something that many of us already know, especially the grammar lesson, but knowing is not doing. And I think it preposterous to have a wealth of knowledge stored away in our brains and not use it. I mean really use it, continuously, progressively, until the desired goals are achieved.

This is definitely a post where I am talking to and encouraging myself as I hopefully do the same for my beloved readers. At the tender age of 47, I am still learning this. I beat myself up at least four times a year over things that I should have completed years ago. But I am done with that lifestyle. I have recruited some of my closest, and very honest, friends to hold me accountable. I also have to be accountable to myself. And because I am a woman who lives for her relationship with God, I rely on Him, first and foremost. He definitely holds me accountable. 

As I’ve mentioned before, I am sure many of you know this stuff already, but it’s always good to be reminded. It has been a joy sharing my new found action plan with you. I pray that every dream and vision God has ever given you comes to pass. Just be mindful that it can only happen if we fully participate. God is the Helper! He can only do His part if we continuously and progressively do ours. Now say this with me, I BELIEVE I CAN, AND I WILL!!! 

lifelessons

The Art of Recovery

1 Samuel 30 tells us that David and his men returned to Ziklag to find it burned1 Sam30.8 down. All their wives and children had been taken captive. They were distraught and begin to weep and cry out to God until they were exhausted (been there, done that!). To make matters worse, David’s men became bitter to the point of wanting to stone him. But then, (v.6 msg) “David strengthen himself with trust in his God.” He began to pray and the answer came, (v. 8b) “Go after them! Yes, you’ll catch them! Yes, you’ll make the rescue!” David obeyed!

Along the way, they met an Egyptian slave who had been left by his master. The one who raided David’s camp. After the master used the slave to get what he wanted, he left him sick and probably near death. But God had a plan for the Egyptian slave as well.  David’s men gave him food and drink. After learning who the slave belonged to, David asked him to lead him to the raiders. They arrived, finding the Amalekites eating and gorging on all that they’d stolen. They were just living it up off stolen merchandise…SMH! See, folks didn’t just get “ratchet” and foul in the 21st century, they’ve been around since biblical days.

“David pounced.” (v.17) (pounce-to make a sudden assault or approach). Real talk, I love this part! I am not violent but sometimes people will try you, especially when you are a Christian, but you have to show them that you are not a punk. And for those who want to throw “Jesus is love” in our faces, indeed He is, but name one instance in the bible where He acted cowardly. I’ll wait!

David fought them for two days until he’d recovered all that was stolen from his people. “Nothing and no one was missing…” NOTHING and NO ONE! God’s faithfulness! Let that marinate! They handled their business and were out of there. When David and his crew started back, they came across the men who were tired and didn’t complete the trip. When David saw them, he yelled, “SUCCESS!”

I’d say that he wanted them to join in the celebration of their victory. But because they didn’t help in the rescue, the “mean-spirited men” didn’t want them to have any of the plunder; only return to them their wives and children. But we know David to be a man after God’s heart (the reason he’s one of my favorites). He knew that none of it was theirs to keep. “Families don’t do this sort of thing! Oh no, my brothers!” (v.23) My heart longs for the day that all of God’s children get and begin to live out the truth that none of this stuff belongs to us. “You can’t act this way with what God gives us!” Now, let that sink in as well. He knew that God had kept them safe. He had already prepared the way for them to recover ALL.

prayer powerGod is about sharing. On that day, David made a rule in Israel, “Share and share alike—and it still is.” When he returned to Ziklag, David sent portions of the plunder to the elders and his neighbors, letting them know that it was a gift from God’s enemies.

There are a few good take-a-ways in this chapter. I like to call them “FAITH BUILDERS.” If you are a believer in Christ and find yourself in a situation that brings you to your knees, in tears and despair, cry if you must, but don’t stay there! Pull yourself together by remembering Who you belong to and the promises that He has made. Even when those closest to you want to stone and burn you at the stake, if you are unable to open your mouth and utter a word, let your spirit cry out to God in prayer. According to 1 John 5:14-15 we can become BOLD in His presence.  He has given us His permission!

I bet it’s safe to say that David didn’t give the mood of his men a second thought. He just knew that there was a fight to be had and that God had the answers. Not only did you pray but he prayed a specific and detailed prayer. “Then David prayed to God, Shall I go after these raiders? Can I catch them?” God answered immediately. “…Go after them! Yes, you’ll catch them! Yes, you’ll make the rescue!” Now, our answers may not return as specific as this but don’t let that deter you from being specific in your requests. I am crazy enough to believe that God can and will lay it out for me, just as plain as He did for David.

Next lesson, David obeyed God, immediately! Delayed obedience is disobedience, I’m just sayin’. Humans are so spoiled. We pray and want an answer right away but we are often slow to act on the answer–whatever the timeline. Please keep in mind, answers don’t always come immediately, as in this situation, but they will come. Pay attention and in due time, in one form or another, His answers will come.

David and his men set out for the Amalekites and ran right into a provision, the help theyfaith needed for a successful recovery. They had no idea that a slave of their enemy was in their path. I’m sure they didn’t think about anything except doing what God had told them to do, GO! We don’t always need to know the details. God has everything worked out and whatever we need to know, will be revealed to us in due time. Many people, even Christians, believe that this way of thinking is extreme and often irresponsible, but as a good friend of mine often says, “God is either ALL powerful or not powerful at all!” So with that revelation, I’ve learned to stop trying to figure Him out and just go with the truth, He is God! Something our human minds will never be able to fully comprehend.

The provision led them straight to the enemies’ camp. Just having a feast! Yeah, you talk about getting someone in fighting mode. Nothing like having permission from God to participate in a good beat down of the enemy. Brings to mind all the things the enemy has tried to steal from me. I spent more time brooding and being angry than I should have; I had to learn how to fight God’s way.

Sometimes He gives us permission to fight outwardly (maybe not physically like David and his crew did, unless your life is in danger). But more often than not,  He directs us to fight in the spirit (prayer, fasting, obedience, yes these are all spiritual fighting tools). Living this has been one of my greatest struggles. I use to think it was my job to get people back, tell them off, prove them wrong, etc. Now I mind my own business and meditate on one of my favorite scriptures, Exodus 14:14. Tremendous FREEDOM has been gained!

David got what he came for and left. He then went back and shared the success with those who were too tired to complete the journey. When God gives you instructions you have to complete the mission. As He did for David, He has already paved the way for you and me. And then there’s the sharing part. Yes, I know we don’t always want to help those who don’t help us or don’t seem to help themselves for that matter. But as David reminds us, “Families don’t do this sort of thing!” The one’s who stayed behind looked after the gear, they did their part. No matter what the disgruntled group thought, that was a part of God’s plan as well. It was equal share. Now, I don’t recommend just giving things away to those who are lazy and make mooching a full-time job; I do recommend, as in all things, remaining prayerful and Spirit-led. And sometimes you may find yourself sharing with those kinds of people anyway. Consider Psalms 24:1; you’ll always have what you need and then some.obedience our gift...

Even though David and his men were initially heartbroken by what they saw upon returning home, David knew enough about God to instantly turn to prayer. He prayed believing that God would answer. Not only did he have faith but he immediately acted on that faith by obeying what the Lord had instructed him to do. Because of this, David and his men were victorious in reclaiming all that the Amalekites had stolen.

When a noun takes ACTION!

If you are associated with me through Facebook as well as in real life you know that over the last eight years I’ve had many challenges. The times that I should have been solely concentrating on internal and external healing and just getting better, I was worrying about what people thought, how my life appeared, and how I was going to make this big “COMEBACK” that would basically shut the naysayers down. Yeah, that right there, a total waste of time and energy.

As a result of a sermon I’d heard in church one Sunday, I began to ponder the word

COMEBACK! Merriam-Webster gives these definitions:Comeback

  • a return to a former good position or condition
  • a return to being popular or fashionable
  • a new effort to win or succeed after being close to defeat or failure

Do any of these definitions actually fit my life back then? Or now? I began to think, “a return to a former good position or condition.” Nope! If I’m honest, which I always try to be, before things started to change in my life, I really wasn’t in a good position and certainly not in good condition. Of course, if you’d asked me this around mid-2007, I would have answered, YES! Because in my mind (and according to society), I was doing what a young professional in my age bracket should have been doing; working in the career field that I studied in college, preparing to become a first-time homeowner, furthering my education (mainly for status and money), and dating here and there. Now that I’ve grown and healed a bit, I know for sure that this definition of comeback does not apply.

2Corin5.17“A return to being popular or fashionable,” I laugh out loud as I read and type this definition. Nope! She was definitely neither of these things.

“A new effort to win or succeed after being close to defeat or failure,” of the three, this one would be the closest fit for my life. I could go in a few directions with this definition. But let me just say, had I not been close to “defeat or failure,” I shudder to think of what my life would be like today. Here’s the truth about defeat and failure, in the eyes of humans, it’s a travesty of life. But to the God who created humans, it’s the perfect opportunity to get our attention, bring us closer to Him and put us on the path of becoming who He created us to be.

At the beginning of my “eye situation”, I had many other issues but the loss of eyesight is
what was used to get my attention, I had no idea where God was going with this. I surely didn’t see it as a blessing, a means to heal me, and certainly not an opportunity to get me closer to Him and my true identity. Because I had yet to know His true character, I thought for sure He was nowhere in my situation.

I allowed people to get in my head and further break my spirit, “God is punishing you.” “You must not be living right.” “You are not a real (good) Christian.” But what “people” fail to understand is that ALL means ALL. And the word of God declares that ALL things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. Not my or those “people” but His purpose, for His glory.

So, how do I launch my COMEBACK? First, I had to realize that it’s not about proving anything to anyone. The new winning and success seen are for the sole purpose of glorifying God. While He’s being glorified, many lives will be touched and changed. And to the human eye, that would be seen as winning and success. That’s fine by me! I believe that everything that I’ve experienced was all a part of His plan. I welcome thbutterfly transforme well wishes and kind words. Hey, I’m human and we need that from time to time. But, I will not forget the true purpose of it all. A few days ago while I was brooding over something or another, I heard in my spirit, “The gift is not for you!” That put things right back in perspective.

Secondly, although all three definitions of comeback define a noun (a person, place, or thing) for me, it entails many verbs (action words). I have to continue to walk in faith and obedience even when what I see is contrary to the promises and will of God for my life. I must develop and grow in the things that I desire to achieve. I must constantly refresh and renew my mind, never allowing what the enemy brings to deter me from my destiny. I have to rebuild and restart relationships that were once thought to be dead and gone. This is one thing that many of us shy away from; but, oftentimes people need to experience your change for their own good. Mainly those who have written you off to be a lost cause. The new creature you’ve become will bear witness that the power of God is real.

I have to believe that I have been reborn and conduct myself accordingly. If not, all of this would have definitely been in vain, all the way back to the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. I have to develop a lifestyle of fasting, praying, and praise. The rebirth brings on a level of responsibility and accountability that must be maintained. I have to believe, cobroken peopleme what may, that God is for me and His is exactly who He says He is. Please believe, the enemy never lets up on his job. He’s foolish enough to keep at it even after the new creature has come forth. Never stop letting him know to whom you belong.

For awhile I thought I was a lone ranger in the things that I’ve faced. My story may not be exactly like anyone else’s but there are many who need to launch a “comeback” in their own lives. Start by evaluating your life, right before things started to go wrong. Where were you spiritually? Emotionally? What have you learned? How has it changed you? How can you share it with others? How can you help someone better their life? All of these are very important questions to ask yourself if you believe that your life has a purpose and God has a specific plan for you that will glorify Him.

It may sound a lot harder than it is. Just start right where you are and I guarantee you the Holy Spirit will be there to help you every step of the way.

Continued blessing and peace!

Phil1.6

What’s Leading You?

While I was finding my way to a new “normal” much of my inspiration came from some extraordinary Facebook posts. One day while in the midst of my emotional madness, this Healedone post vividly stood out to me; “If you’re leading with your pain, you’re not ready yet.” It was written in reference to marriage and relationships, but for me, it went far beyond that. It was a wake-up call of sorts. Resonating quite loudly…”Stephanie if you don’t get yourself together, you may just forfeit God’s promises and it will be no one’s fault but your own.”

“Lord, I hear you but I NEED HELP!”

This helped me see that every emotional meltdown, the dreaded roller coaster I couldn’t seem to get off of, the sleepless nights, the crying spells, the inability to focus, keep my mind on getting better, etc. were all results of me allowing my pain to lead. The pain of where I was living and hated so much being there, the pain of not having sufficient means to take care of myself, the pain of not feeling like an adult, the pain of being stuck, the pain of wanting to be noticed and loved a man, the pain of still sometimes hating to look at myself in the mirror, and so forth and so on.

I was led to these TRUTHS of who God is and how He sees me…
2Corin10.5His word cannot return unto Him void!

I am fearfully and wonderfully made!
His promises are Yes and Amen!
The vision is yet for an appointed time!
I will live to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
His strength is made perfect in my weakness!
He knew me before He formed me in my mother’s womb!
He wishes above all things that I prosper and be in good health even as my soul prospers!
He has a plan for my life, an expected end!

He will fight for me and I have only to me silent!

He is always good to me; my soul can be at peace!

He invites me to become bold and free in His presence!

He hears and answers my prayers!John8.36

He will never leave me nor forsake me!

He is my rock, my fortress, my deliverer!

 I’m sure many of you are familiar with these. I had to stop looking at what my physical eyes could see and begin to see things from a spiritual perspective. The change started by writing these things down, taping them around my apartment, as well as putting them on my phone. I began reading them every day, all day.

Whenever doubt, fair, anger, anxiety, and anything else that goes against the TRUTH came upon me, I replaced them with these words. I didn’t just read them, I spoke them out loud. I had to renew my mind by changing the way I thought and spoke. Which is why I am now, very careful about the thoughts lingering in my head as well as what comes out of my mouth. KNOW THIS~Once you have peace it must be maintained.

SURVIVAL 101~Two thoughts CANNOT occupy the same space at one time. If you’ve never tried it, you should. Think of something and then begin to speak your name out loud. Did the thought remain? More than likely, it didn’t. Put this into practice a few times a day and before long it will be second nature. When you’re fighting the battle of the mind and negative thoughts come, you will automatically start to speak things that are contrary to those thoughts.   Eyes see only...

Although I’d practiced this before, I had to make a firm decision to not forsake the commitment that I’d made. The enemy’s mission is and will always be to kill, steal, and destroy and he starts with our minds. One of my favorite bible teachers, Joyce Meyer says “where the mind goes, the man will follow.” If I wanted to truly live, I could no longer allow my mind to go to that place of pain. My life depended on it.

At this point I was so desperate for change and healing, I told God, “If things don’t change, this time, I want my next stop to be heaven.” And I meant that! But that wasn’t His plan for me. Even before forming me in my mother’s womb, He saw me just as I am today. I sit writing this whole, healed, delivered, and free. Sharing my journey with others so that they may learn to live free as well.

freeyourmindIf you are in the midst of a battle don’t continue to be led by your pain. Begin to learn the TRUTH according to the word of God. He has an awesome plan for your life. I’m a living witness that ALL things can work together for your good and His glory, but you have to do your part.

I wish you abundant love, peace, and grace!

NEW BEGINNINGS…

 

In the bible, the number eight represents a new beginning. This is the eighth year 8and eighth month of my transformation, my heart circumcision, this is my NEW BEGINNING! A number of things, both good and bad, have happened during this time. But they were all for the purpose of me gaining the heart of God and displaying godly character; for my good and His glory.

Not only am I a new creation in Christ, but many things in my life are becoming brand new; the restoration of some old relationships as well as the formation of new ones. Also, the manifestation of some things that I’ve been praying about and believing for for many many years.

Over the last two or three months God has been showing me how things will begin to manifest. Like many things in my life, they’ll come when I least expect them. My most recent lesson occurred one day last week. A prayer was answered within hours of asking. In this same situation, the Holy Spirit also reinforced the importance of my obedience.

A Black Woman Getting So Frustrated And Angry At Something

After praying earlier that morning, I was still a bit frustrated about some things, but soon I realized I just needed to reposition myself spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. First of all, I got out of my feelings and began to get my  misguided emotions in check. I had to become conscience of my words and thoughts and even the look on my face. Frowning and looking like I had eaten lemons for breakfast was not a good look.

I then felt I should rearrange my living space. I’m not really sure how or why but this helped me to get back to my place of joy and confidence in Christ; my place of contentment.

In order to remain in that space, I had to accept the fact that there was nothing I could do to change the things that were frustrating me and disrupting my life; however, I could change my feelings about them as well as my responses. And when I did, a few hours later, one of the things I’d prayed about and left at His feet) was answered a few hours later.

It literally left me speechless for a few minutes. I had to process it in my mind before words would actually come from my mouth. I sat in awe thinking, “Wait a minute God, didn’t I just talk to You about this this morning?!” The lady who was talking to me must have thought I was deaf and mute.amazing-word She repeated herself and gave me a look that said, “Did you hear me?” I was hesitant to respond because I had to gather my thoughts so that I could respond.

The word amazing is often thrown around but this is the kind of thing that is truly AMAZING to me. When a person shows up, knows nothing about me, but is used by God to show me that He hears me when I pray and is indeed faithful to answer my prayers.

1John5.14-15It was one of my favorite scriptures being played out in real life. 1John 5:14-15 (MSG) Not only do I pray this scripture every morning, I’ve also hidden it deep within my heart. I meditate on it throughout my day; especially when doubt and fear try to arise. I think this scripture is perfect for those of us who have fought being timid and afraid of many things, even being afraid to pray. The best advice I can give on that is, LEARN TO BE BOLD IN CHRIST! YOU HAVE HIS PERMISSION!!!

LESSON~No matter how long it takes, what I have to go through, and most importantly, what it looks like, I will continue in prayer, faith, and obedience. I will confess according to God’s word and His truth for my life, knowing that He does hear and in His timing, will answer my prayers.

From my perspective, my growth so far has been slow but #whatIvelearnedforsure God is intentional; His timing is perfect!  He knows exactly what I need and when it needs to arrive. I needed to see a manifestation of His faithfulness, up close and personal, on that day, and in a very short time span.

Things like this also make me appreciate being peculiar and “different.” Truth is, God doesn’t deal with everyone in the same way. I don’t know why, He just doesn’t. He does what pleases Him. But for those of us who are chosen to walk a different path, once we accept that path, responsibility and accountability are required. It must be protected, cherished and respected; not misused and neglected.

freedomENCOURAGEMENT 101~If you are struggling with accepting your life according to God’s plan for you, ask Him to help you release any fears and anxieties. You can slowly but surely learn to embrace your truth and not worry about what’s being said about you or done to you. Life became much more livable for me once I began to live free. I stopped trying to defend and explain something that I honestly don’t understand myself and just live it. It’s guaranteed that I don’t have to live it alone. Beides, God can show people much better than I could ever time them. You too, can enjoy this same freedom.

As always thanks for stopping by. May His love and peace reign abundantly in your life.

Stephanie