A Year of Transformation

road to horizon

I often say that 2016 has been a year of transformation for me. As I’ve pressed on to discover my purpose, I began to see how much God was transforming me. The more I spent time in his presence, the more I was becoming who he has created me to be.

I am in no way perfect but I am also not the same woman I was last year. Some of the things I did last year don’t interest me anymore but I’m also still not where I feel like I need to be. God has given me a vision but He hasn’t yet shown me how it will come to fruition.

He has pruned me this year and brought me back to alignment. He has reminded me that he is and should always be the center of my life.

With any pruning season, there will be a time of harvest. A time where the reason for all of the pruning, will be brought to life. I don’t know if it will come in 2017 but what I have confidence in knowing that it is on its way.

God has showed me so much faithfulness in the midst of all he’s been doing within me. As much as I wanted 2016 to be the year of walking into my purpose, it has been the year of developing me to be the woman needed to open the door.

I’m so grateful for this year and excited for what’s to come in 2017.

I’d invite you to read my post that was recently published in Thought Catalog to hear more about my thoughts on this year.

I pray that you prepare for 2017 to be your best year yet.

Many blessings to you and Happy New Year!

Mary, did you know?

Manger at night under fog

“Mary, did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM”

Today I was preparing my Christmas playlist and I couldn’t help but stop on “Mary, did you know?” I love the truth of this song to remind us of all that Jesus did and is doing but most importantly who he is. The Great I AM

This inspired me to re-read Luke 1 and learned even more about Mary. When the angel, Gabriel, came and gave her the news that she had received favor from God and would birth Jesus, Mary needed clarification on how this could happen as she was a virgin.

And sweet Mary who I can only assume was still a little perplexed but declared “Let it be to me, according to your Word.”

How beautiful was her faithfulness.

I can’t imagine the many questions that ran through her mind but yet she stood on the promise that something unimaginable was about to happen and she was going to be used to bring it forth.

I wish I could say that I’m like Mary who immediately receives a word and stands on it. But I’m not there yet. I receive a word and then ask for confirmation over and over again. Maybe the devil tries to get to you as well

“Did God really say….” is the devil’s oldest trick which dates back to Genesis when Adam and Eve were in the garden. And we all know how that story panned out.

The devil wants to keep you and I from receiving God’s best for our lives. I can’t imagine how things would have been if Mary questioned the word she was given because it was confusing to her. I can’t imagine how the angel would have handled it, if Mary would have responded like Zechariah “How can I be sure this  will happen? I’m an old man now” (Luke 1:18). But instead she responded with the need of a little more clarification “But how can this happen, I am a virgin.” (Luke 1:34). I visually see a young woman who wanted to understand what was about to happen to her but even through it all, she believed.

I’m so inspired by her faith and  her confidence to allow God to have his way with her. If more of us would realize that we are the Lord’s servant, I believe that we would receive so much more fulfillment in life. I pray that we will strive to be more like Mary so that regardless of what God imprints on our hearts that we will have the confidence to go forth with the word he gave to us. Regardless of what he asks us to do, I pray that one day, we can confidently and faithfully declare “let it be to me, according to your word.”

The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Mustard seed - symbol of faith

 “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”-Matthew 13:31-32.

I was thinking deeply about this parable and its significance.  I had to look up what a mustard seed really looks like. I had this vision of it being small but I didn’t realize how small it really was. The visual representation of the mustard seed made the scripture that much more powerful. Isn’t it beautiful to know the significance of something that started as a dot basically and it grows to be one of the largest plants?

Jesus tells us that if we would just have faith the size of this mustard seed than nothing would be impossible (Matthew 17:20).

If we would truly believe exactly what he says about us, we wouldn’t worry about our current circumstances because we’d understand that the God we serve is truly for us.

Jesus just asks for a little bit of our help. If we’d commit to doing our part, I believe he’ll commit and complete his part. Whatever God has placed on your heart to do, I honestly believe that he wants to see it come true but he also wants to see us working and having the faith to believe that he will bring it to pass.

To me, this means preparation. It’s hard to believe for a job if you’re not applying. It’s hard to believe for a full scholarship if you haven’t maintained the grades to be competitive. But if you are preparing and having faith that God will provide, I believe he will. Maybe you feel small and insignificant; I believe that if you have the faith then God can one day make you into a confident leader. He says that the last will be first (Matthew 20:16).

It is my prayer that whatever it is you are seeking, you’ll have the faith the size of this mustard seed to know that what may start as something small, can become something so fruitful and in return, it will be a testimony for others. Start doing your part today and begin to wait in expectancy for God to do his part.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”-Zechariah 4:10.

Whatever God has placed on your heart, I hope you are making preparations to receive it.

What I Learned From Nehemiah

Book of Nehemiah

Last Sunday, we touched on the book of Nehemiah. Since I wasn’t as familiar with his story, I felt moved to study who he was and oh did he inspire me.

Nehemiah was the king’s cup-bearer which meant that his job was to serve drinks at the royal table.

He had heard that the wall of Jerusalem had been torn down and it caused him to weep….fast and pray.

Why is the wall important? The wall represented protection from their enemies. Therefore those who had returned to Jerusalem were not safe. Without this wall, they were defenseless and could be exposed to their enemies.

Nehemiah saw a need in the city and couldn’t just be a bystander, he needed to do something about it; so he cried out to God.

“Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me”-Nehemiah 1:11

And the king granted his request to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city where his ancestors had died. Nehemiah worked diligently for his people. His enemies did not like what they saw, so they crafted a plan to try to get Nehemiah and his team to stop. But we read of Nehemiah’s determination:

“The God of heaven will help us succeed.”-Nehemiah 2:20

Even though there was much work to be done, he needed to restructure his team due to the enemies’ attempt to construct a plan against them, so now only half worked while the other half were on guard (4:15-16).

His enemies tried to distract him but he proclaimed “I am engaged in a great work, so I can’t come.”(6:3)

Because his enemies were trying to get to him, it made Nehemiah work with greater determination (6:9).

After 52 days, the wall was built with the help of God. The people of Jerusalem were now better protected. And the enemies were frightened because they knew Nehemiah had the help of God by his side (6:16).

I am so inspired by Nehemiah’s diligence. He didn’t allow himself to get distracted from the task at hand. He worked to make things better for the people he loved.

I believe with all of my heart that God is with each of you. I believe that he wants to empower you to build up his kingdom but it will take determination. I know that distraction can make us procrastinate the tasks at hand but there are some people waiting on you to complete the work that God has assigned for you to do.

How beautiful would the world be, if we had more Nehemiah’s who would stand up for the cause and pray for the favor to see it come to pass? Lord, change the heart of our leaders so that more people can go and help others.

I think many times, fear keeps us from what we are really called to do on earth but then distraction is close by. You see the devil will try to use people and things to keep you from fulfilling your purpose but God needs more people like Nehemiah to be unshakeable and declare that they are doing great work and cannot shift gears.

I pray that whatever God has placed on your heart that you work on it diligently until you see it come to pass. It is my hope that you don’t allow fear or distraction to keep you from God’s will. People are counting on you to take position and help them so that they can in return help someone else.

God Sees the Heart

God is Love

I have always considered myself to be one who enjoys the new testament stories so much more than those stories in the old testament but lately, some of my best quiet times have shown a new appreciation to what I once never took the time to comprehend. Yesterday was no different as I studied 1 Samuel.

Specifically, it was 1 Samuel 16 and 17 that really stirred my heart. Before chapter 16, Saul had been the king of Israel. I love how the previous chapters mentioned how God changed his heart but later he disobeyed God to the point where he no longer could hold this position which meant it was time to appoint a new king.

God sent Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the next king. So Samuel obeyed. The scripture tells us that when he saw Jesse’s first son, Eliab, he immediately thought based on the outward appearance that he looked like he was the one that the Lord would choose but he was wrong.

The Lord said: “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.“-1 Samuel 16:7

Samuel saw the other sons and they didn’t seem fit either but then he asked for Jesse’s youngest son who was busy watching the sheep and goats which shows how Jesse didn’t even consider him initially but as soon as he came up, the Lord spoke to Samuel, “This is the one; anoint him.” -1 Samuel 16:12

David, a young boy, who wasn’t even considered by man to be ready but the Lord knew his heart. He went on to defeat Goliath even though others initially discounted him.

The story of David’s heart shows how people can easily disregard you because of your youth or appearance but because his heart was right, David was able to see himself the way God sees him. He was able to silence the voice of others in order to conquer the job that needed to get done.

I’m comforted to know that I serve a God who looks beyond the eyes of man. For him, it’s more than looks, strong personalities, he sees your heart.

I’d like to encourage you to focus more on having a pure and cheerful heart than on being outwardly adorned. God wants to use those whose heart is right for him.

Don’t ever allow the opinions of others (or even yourself) to keep you from fulfilling your purpose. What if David would have allowed the perceptions of other people to keep him from facing the giant? David had confidence in knowing that God was with him so he could not fail.

I want confidence like David that regardless of how many may discredit me, I am confident of the task I’ve been assigned. But even more, I want the ability to see people the way that God sees them. To be able to look beyond their outward appearance and focus on what matters most…..their heart.

Quiet Time

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I can not express to you how important it is to be spend time with God. He tells us to “seek first His kingdom and all things will be given to you”-Matthew 6:33. Whatever you may be going through, my friend, it is important that you allow God to move in your life.

In order to seek His kingdom, you have to get in His presence. In order for Him to speak, you have to know Him for yourself. You can only know Him by spending time with Him. fBelow is an outline of how I utilize my quiet time.

  1. Find a time of the day that you are the most alert-I like to spend time with Him in the morning before I leave for work. I don’t want to leave the house without being in His presence. Maybe for you, the evening works better. Whenever you are the most alert, you should devote time to be in His presence.
  2. Study a chapter/verse-Maybe you are struggling with a particular area such as worry, find the verses of worry and take time to understand what the Lord says about that subject. Make an effort to learn a new verse a week (or whatever timeframe you need to really get that verse in your heart).
  3. Pray-Allot time to pray over that verse and how it is applicable in your life. God wants to meet you exactly where you are.
  4. Be still-This is by far the one that has taken the most practice on my end but it is so important. In order for God to speak to you, you have to be still. Quiet your mind for a moment after prayer and truly allow Him to comfort you during this time. It may be hard at first but it is important in your walk with Him.

I have made this a routine in my life. Yes, there are certain days where I try to skip over a step to rush and get my day started but honestly I do not feel complete. God wants us to devote time with him, uninterrupted (phones off, TV off and away from any distractions).

It is my hope that we all get to a point where we feel incomplete without being in His presence. Before you run to your friend for help or act in your own will, seek Him first.