Dreams Achieved…

howiachievedmydreams

I was thinking about when I decided to retire from a company I had worked for more than 25 years. I then thought about when I first interviewed with them; how I waited excitedly to see if I would get a job offer, and the exhilaration I felt as I opened the mailbox years ago and found the anticipated offer letter. When I opened it, there it was! The letter offered me a position as a college management trainee starting at $18,000 annually. Boy, that was big money back then, and I felt like the luckiest person in the world to be selected. No one in my family that I knew of had worked for an international company. No one had held a white-collar management job. I had arrived!

Through the years, I was very fortunate. I worked hard and smart, tried to be a good team member, and made it my goal to please my bosses. I rose through the organization to levels I wanted but did not really know how to navigate. Thank God for those who helped me along the way.

There are so many life experiences that shaped how I view the world. The story I just shared was a positive one that I will treasure forever. However, there were other experiences throughout my life that could have derailed my dreams. There were people along the way, who criticized, subtly belittled me, and in some cases, ignored me altogether. There were challenges that could have caused me to lay down and not get up again; circumstances that would make others give up. I did not. It’s not that I did not because I was so strong; I did not give up because of my faith, people who encouraged me, and sheer determination and grit. I remember being embarrassed by a situation early on in my career, I went home on my lunch break, cried my eyes out, finally got the nerve to return to work, and my boss was standing at the back door. He looked at me, said, “you ok?” I said yes. He smiled and I knew he believed in me and the “you ok?” was all I needed to hear. I knew I would.

What does any of this have to do with you? Everything! I meet so many people who just cannot handle difficult situations. They cannot get over criticisms, and they get stuck questioning whether they are good enough or capable of doing the things they dream of. When they can, if they would stop and see the thing they are dealing with is only temporary.

obstaclesdontblockthepath

Many of the challenges we face are designed to help us grow. Yes, that’s how I see it now and if anyone had helped me see that sooner, I would have gotten over a lot of hurts early on. This is why I share these experiences with you. I want you to learn how to navigate challenges in a positive way. You can achieve the things you dream of but dreams don’t generally happen on a bed of roses. Long-term marriages do not succeed without both people having to deal with a lot of stuff from each other. Career success does not just happen (at least, not for most), it happens for those who can take the good with the bad and strive in both environments. Financial success doesn’t happen without sacrificing and being willing to stick with your process for the long-term. Think about it, if you invest, you go through downturns in the economy and you go through upturns in the economy.

If you want to have positive things happen in your life, look at every situation you face as temporary. The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

The next time you are challenged, remind yourself that we go through seasons. Keep the faith. Tomorrow things will be different.

Live Your Life!

live your life

Recently I was thinking about all that had occurred during 2020. I indeed can find a lot to look back on with dread. Like you, I can regret all the things that took place, whether personal grief, political anxiety, or professional and career halts due to the pandemic. I can complain, or I can be thankful for what did not happen. There were times during the year that I must confess; I did not know what to do. I just took one day at a time, refused to let fear control me, kept trying to do my responsible part, and continued to live my life..

As we end the first month of the new year, I think about things that I have said to myself since I was young. I think about the books I have written, and what has struck me most was the title of one of those books: It’s Your Life, Own It. No blame. No Excuses is one that I reflect on most because never has a title meant more to me this past year.

At the beginning of 2020, a few months before the pandemic hit, I knew that 2020 would be a year of change for me. I loved my job but not the environment. I realized no matter how much I tried; my values did not align with others. I decided that I could stay and become more miserable every day or leave at a good place on my own terms. I decided to do the latter, even though I did not know what I would do next. By the way, I had just sold my house and moved into a lease that would keep me in the area for one year. Almost immediately after I resigned, I went home, and the state went into lockdown. So, talk about uncertainty and second-guessing myself. During that month in quarantine, I read a lot, played on the Internet, and rested. Also, during that month, my mind played games with me—did I make the right decision? What now? Maybe I should have given it more time, etc. Do you know what I did when that would happen? I would remind myself that I had prayed about my life, I had thoroughly thought through my decision, I had made a decision, and I had to own it—the end.

Whew! Doing what I did could be somewhat disturbing and certainly anxiety-ridden for anyone. However, what could I have done about the decision I had already made? I could not reverse it, so I had to live with it. I could do one or two things: sit and sweat it, dread what I had done, and worry about a choice I had made. Thereby ensuring I would live in a state of negativity each day. Or I could embrace my decision. I could look to the future, believe that I had done the right thing, and be open to what was next. Thereby ensuring that I would probably attract positive things to myself. The latter is what happened.

Amid a lockdown, the most perfectly suited position just showed up. In the middle of quarantine, opportunities were still there. At least three came my way, and I chose the perfect one.

just live

I share my story not to brag on me, but to help you see that your life is yours and attitude means everything. Do not allow what the crowd may say about the economy, stop you. Do not let what your family may tell you about your limitations limit you. Please do not allow what you tell yourself about how others see or treat you, become your self-talk. Believe that your future is yours. Trust that you have what it takes and take the steps you need to achieve what you desire.

Never forget God along your life’s journey. I have never stopped believing that He has a plan and purpose for me. It would be best if you did not forget that either.

The Future!

Looking Forward to the Future!

I read an article where a person who considers himself a loner and homebody talked about when the pandemic put everyone in lock-down; he thought to himself, “Hey, I got this. I am good at being alone. I can read books into the night; I can get the many renovations around my house done, and I can sit at the fireplace and imagine.” He said he really believed that, and the first 6 months left him convinced that we are not designed to go without human contact. This short description does not capture all that he shared—which was candidly honest, and I felt, authentic. 

I thought about his more detailed column and agreed to a certain extent. Although 2020 was a challenging year, I cannot believe that the future holds the same as last year. I am hopeful. As I sit and think about all that went on in 2020. I will not indulge in speaking about how awful it was. I certainly had my share of the harmful noise. Social media or television reported doom and gloom. I ultimately stopped watching and went over to Amazon Prime, Hulu, or Netflix, to enjoy movies or some series that made me think or laugh.  

As we enter 2021, I am excited about what is in store for me, and for you, this year!  

So, what are you looking forward to this year? What would make the future so much better than last year? For one thing, we have a vaccine for COVID. Another is the hope of restrictions being lifted. Yet another, maybe the hope of interacting more with people we may have avoided before the pandemic. I bet I will be more intentional about spending time with people rather than opting to sit at home on the weekends like I once did regularly. I will take every opportunity to see family inside the United States as readily as I would jump on a flight to Europe. Although I can’t imagine not jumping on a flight to Europe, ever!  Whatever you are looking forward to in the New Year, I hope you experience it.

Maya Angelou said, “the future looks so bright, it hurts my eyes.” I have heard Oprah repeat that phrase repeatedly too. Never have I agreed more with the statement than now.  I think it is because I look to the future with an optimistic eye.  I also look to the future with scripture that rests in the back of my mind. The scripture is found in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, says God. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE.” This scripture is my life scripture. It has always been one that I have relied upon.  Today, more than ever, I will be bold enough to look forward rather than backward because I will believe God’s promise to give me, and you, hope, and a future.  

Who Can Dwell?

I was recently reading the Psalms and got caught up in dissecting one statement made by King David in Psalm 15. The very first verse asks God, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” Immediately, my mind said, “No one.” I kept on thinking that no one is worthy to be in His presence. But, I also thought about Jesus and this month that’s been set aside to celebrate His birth. How wonderful it is that Jesus came to this earth, as a baby lying in a manger, unassuming, yet anointed and chosen by God to be the Messiah, our Savior.

As I reflected on Baby Jesus, I thought of all the occurred prior to His birth. If you know the stories, you know that his mother, Mary, was a virgin. You know that his earthly father, Joseph, was a good man that did not want her humiliated once it was revealed that she was pregnant. You know that both Mary and Joseph on separate occasions were visited by an angel telling them what God had planned.

Just recently, I read a couple of severely critical posts on social media that called these stories just that, stories. I guess the stories are strange and just not believable to those who do not have faith. I believe in Christ’s birth. I believe in his 33 years on earth and I believe in His death and resurrection. I believe through faith. Now, I want to go back to that a scripture that started all of this—Psalm 15, where David asks, ” Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?” David goes on to tell us who. I want to take a different approach to answering those questions. Now that Jesus has come, it is through Him that we can sit in God’s presence. It is because of that baby that was born in Bethlehem, that we, if we believe, can have full access to God. Jesus came to bridge that gap between us and God. I am so thankful for that.

As we celebrate His birth in December, let us not get caught up in when He was actually born or where. What we should do is rejoice that the King is born. Matthew and Luke both record accounts of Jesus’ birth, Wise men followed a star to find Jesus, the King of the Jews. In Matthew 2:10, we are told these wise men rejoiced with exceeding joy. In Philippians 4:4, Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!” I rejoice because He is born. I also rejoice because I can enter the presence of God because of the Blood of Jesus.

We truly have reason to rejoice!

Reflect Christ & Love Wins…

reflectChrist
Can you believe that the year is almost over? I don’t know if the year has flown by for you or slowed down. It seems like it was just a month ago when we were told we would have to take precautions because of some virus that may soon impact our organization. At first, I remember thinking it was blown out of proportion due to other things going on in the organization. I think that may have been the end of February. Besides, I had plans. My wedding anniversary was coming up in March. I had decided to leave a job I loved in anticipation of what God had in store for me next. I had plans!


If only I had known that the world was about to change and there would be nothing I could do about it. Well, the world did change. A shift occurred almost a week after leaving my old organization to sit it out for a while. Not only did I go home, everybody ended up going home and staying there for months. During that time, people experienced trauma also. Companies had to shut down businesses, learn how to teach their kids at home, spend money to work from home, some lost jobs because of shutdowns, and the ultimate trauma happened when we found out that this virus was deadly.
If there was ever a time that we could complain, it was undoubtedly during this season. I don’t have to remind anyone of all the craziness of 2020. The virus, killing people of color, and the racial protests all happened this year. When I watched the news, I feared we were about to experience some of the same demonstrations and riots I saw on television from the 1960s. I don’t know about you, but I could not help but think what had our world come to?

Many times throughout the last months, I have prayed regularly for the USA. In fact, I don’t think I have ever prayed for a country so much than this year. The world, I have thought repeatedly, has gone wild. Why? What triggered the hate and fighting? What caused the absolute worst to come out in us? Are we really that divided? What grew even scarier to me as I watched myself evaluating the attitudes and actions of people I have cared for many years. People who worked together, worshipped together, played together, and cared for each other seemed to turn on each other. To my surprise, none of us stopped and said, this is enough. God did not make us like this. Stop the madness. No, instead, lines were drawn, and it became us versus them.


What I have asked myself is this: Would God be pleased with what He sees in you? Would He recognize His Son in your actions? When I stopped and carefully evaluated my thinking and, ultimately, my efforts, I have repented and asked for forgiveness on several occasions. During September and October, I believe God gave me Galatians 5:22-23 to focus my attention. Each week, I began to read about and consider scriptures that tied directly to one of the Fruits of the Spirit and discuss it with my staff. Also, during October, a full week was dedicated to a conference that focused on Luke 10.

Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, Galatians+5_22-23forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” I believe the reason this scripture has been one to stick to through dark days is so we remember God has called us out of that darkness and expects us to live as a shining example for others to see. We are supposed to live for Him. The Word of God tells us in Matthew 7:19-20, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, they will know us by our fruit.”


Amid the chaos, Christians, we are standard-bearers for Christ. Even when we want to scream and yell and insist on our way, we need to return to the scriptures and find the strength to do what Jesus would do and exercise self-control. In the end, I believe, Love wins. I think about Galatians and the very first fruit listed in Love. Why? I think it is because when we act in Love, God can transform hearts, including our own. Self-control is another fruit that can keep us out of many problems if we would quiet down, walk away, and simply pray.love-wins-cursive_u-l-f8ek710


There is too much I can write on this subject, but I will stop here and say, I believe, in the end, Love wins. I don’t have to fight with those I disagree with and don’t have to associate with them either. I have been charged to pray for them. That’s what I will do, and I hope they will pray for me

Praise Him in the Hard Times…

It is so easy to lose focus right now. The Pandemic and all the things that go with it; working from home, teaching your kids at home, and balancing a full-time job all presents challenges. Also, there is racial strife and political tensions. For sure, 2020 has beedon't be afraidn a year that none of us could have predicted.

I was listening to a Pastor who had me raising my hands and praising God. He caused me to look deeply at Mark 5. Thinking of Mark 5, my attention turned to the famous story regarding the woman with the blood issue was healed after many years of being ill. I thought about how she had probably decided that she was not worthy of anything good in life. I wonder if she had written any life of happiness would ever be hers. I think of her desperation to touch Jesus, may have been a final act. Maybe she thought, what the heck, and just reached out and took a chance. That act of faith caused Jesus to heal her. Jesus met her desperation.

Keep in mind that Jesus was on His way somewhere else. He wasn’t supposed to be taking His precious time with a person who no one knew. She wasn’t a prominent person. In fact, He was with a prominent person, a synagogue leader, a CEO, who was taking Jesus to see his sick daughter. Wasn’t this guy much more important than this person?

As I listened and pondered the scriptures, all I could think about was how important that woman was to Jesus. After years of disappointments and let-downs, eventually, Jesus showed up. Amid people pushing and pulling and crowding her out, Jesus passing by got her motivated enough to reach out for him.

A desperate prayer

Now, think about the high-level synagogue leader. What about him? He was desperate too. He probably wanted Jesus to hurry through the crowd to get to his daughter. The girl is deathly ill, and if Jesus did not get there soon, she would be gone! I am sure he was exasperated when Jesus stopped and interacted with this woman. Oh, my and when Jesus finally finished, it was too late! The news came that his daughter had died. Wouldn’t you be upset with Jesus? I would.

As I looked at both of the people in this story, I saw myself. I recalled the days when I was desperate, and no one helped. I remember being overlooked, and those less qualified kept getting promoted over me. I was upset that Jesus didn’t step in and override those in authority who forgot me. After the initial shock and embarrassment of being sidelined, I kept reliving the disappointing experience in my head and many times feeling humiliated. That experience is probably closely related to the woman who had seen tons of doctors. No one did anything to help her.

Then there is Jairus, the synagogue leader. He was the authority in charge. He had control over people and processes. Yet, he had to wait on Jesus. He had

don't be afraidno control over what Jesus would do or when He would do it. Jesus took His time going to Jairus’ home, and his daughter died. Jairus had to be so upset with Jesus. He had to have questioned why Jesus did not care about him or his situation enough to hurry to get there.
That’s been me! I bet it’s also you. Haven’t you called for Jesus to hurry up and come to help you, and He stayed? Have you pleaded if He didn’t do something soon, you would be destroyed? Have you prayed and prayed about how you had been treated at work, and if Jesus did not intervene, your career would die? If He did not help you, heal your illness, your marriage, or your children, your life would be over? Of course, you have.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I know that right now is the time to look at the words of Jesus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” I cannot recount how many times I had to tell myself to stop fretting and to believe. When promotions escaped me, I had to say that it wasn’t for me; He had something better. When I was ill and did not think I would live, I had to tell myself not to be afraid; God had more life for me to live. When I felt desperation, humiliation, and shame, God gently reminded me that He was in control. He told me to hold my head up because I could trust that He would never leave me or forsake me.

He did not forsake the woman with the 12-year blood disease. He did not leave Jairus with deep regret and resentment. He did not leave me, and He will not leave you.When we feel stressed because of restrictions brought on because of the Pandemic, when jobs are lost and stressors set in, when you feel forgotten and feel that no one sees you or cares, Jesus does. He knows what to do about the Pandemic and all the other things upsetting our world. He knows, and He cares. Just trust and believe. Don’t forget to praise Him in the hard times.

Is it Your Time?

If you are on any social media platform, if you listen or read the news or talk to people in general, I am sure you are just as confused, confounded, and perhaps a little worried about what is going on in the world today.

I am a professional, and I have been just about all of my adult life. From the early days in government

The Time is Now - Clock stock illustration. Illustration of ...

to now, as a leader of a social services organization. Things have changed in our world, but things have also remained the same and, in some cases, declined.

At the beginning of the year, we were so hopeful, looking forward to what this year would bring. Like many of you, I established goals at the end of 2019, getting ready to take on the world in 2020. I traveled so much in 2019. I had a blast going from New York to Dallas and back to California and Paris! I looked forward to 2020 because January would kick off my year in Yaounde, Cameroon. What an exciting time I would have there. And it was.

You could not have prepared me for what was about to happen after that trip. I came back to California, got ready to move out of the house we had sold in December, started the move, realized that I needed to make a new start, and resigned my job in March. Days after I had decided to do that, COVID showed up. A couple of months later, we found ourselves in the middle of a significant civil rights issue again. As I said, some things change, and some things remain the same.

One thing that the pandemic has done for me is that it has allowed me to stop, recalibrate, read, reflect, and think about what I am suppose to do in the middle of the mess in which we find ourselves. My niece sent me a book by Sister Joan Chittister, The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage. I began to read that book and just as the Holy Spirit had caused me to reflect and make a move earlier in the year, this book only confirmed what I believe God was getting me ready to do. Sister Joan challenged me to look at my spirituality—something I have been doing for quite some time now.

In last month’s blog, I mentioned that I found myself sitting back and saying nothing when questionable things were going on around me. Once I left my previous job and accepted a position at this new place, I could sense almost immediately that the last year was preparation for today. This job is what God had been preparing me for my entire life! It is here where what I believe and what I do meet each other, and the two will impact me, those around me, the communities where we serve, and society at large.

Since joining my organization, several quality, honorable, and high character executives followed. They, like me, see themselves as being put on this earth to make a difference. We see our roles very differently, but we take them very seriously. We have a heart for people and processes that makes sense. Nothing will keep us from doing good work, God’s work.

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In a time when we can focus a tremendous amount of negative energy, or experience fear, because of what has impacted our lives over the last several months, we need not forget that God called us for such a time as this. My question to you is, do you believe that God called you to be where you are right now for a specific purpose? Could it be that you are supposed to be sitting and waiting? Preparing yourself for the next thing? Could it be that you are suppose to be leading and not following the crowd? Could it be that you are to be interceding for others and not gossiping or talking bad about them? Could it be that you have taken your life for granted, and He stopped you so that you could appreciate all that He has done for you? I had to say “yes” to many of these questions. How about you?

The time is now. The time is now to focus on God and not ourselves. What would Jesus do if He was here today? Would He still visit the homes of those who are not considered worthy? Would Jesus feed the 5000 today? Would He heal? Would He restore? Would He help those who cannot help themselves? Would He point out injustices, cruelties, disparities? I think so. Does He call us to be like Him? He said to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men…” (Matthew 4:18-22). So yes, I believe He calls us to be like Him.

When I took the step of faith from what was known and comfortable to doing and trusting, He placed me where I could indeed do what Jesus would do. Do I claim to be equal to Jesus? No. However, I do claim to be a child of the King, and I believe and know that to those He calls, He will equip.#cll

Times like these…

What do I say about the last months?  I say God may be shaking things up. At the least, He is allowing things to be shaken up.  I think back at the end of 2019 and remember how uncertain things looked for me.  I was thinking about changing jobs; quite frankly, I had enough of what I saw as dysfunction and my part in seeing people mistreated, devalued, and outright humiliated by others.  I remember saying to my husband, I know I make a good amount of money, but I cannot continue to sit by and watch it.  I am complicit.

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One day the senior leaders met and, although a senior executive also, one associate said, “why do we allow this to happen? Why do we sit back and let it happen?” The person did not have a clue how much she said forced me into action.  I had prayed repeatedly, asking God to change the heart of the person who created so much fear and uncertainty, but no answer. I can promise you that I prayed over the decisions being made for more than six months.  Finally, at the beginning of the year, I had the opportunity to travel to Africa, and while gone, I again got to see things from a distance. Again, I just prayed.  During the time I prayed, I also tried to offer reason and a more inclusive and rational approach to the situations I was witnessing.  Then in February, things seemed to settle down, but on the first of March, they started up again.  I recall it was right before my 38th wedding anniversary. I had enough and submitted my resignation; I did this approximately one week before all hell broke out and Bam! COVID-19 entered the scene and what would become a new way of living for months.

During the week I was home, I started seeking God more and spending early mornings in the backyard communing with Him. I remember the weight I felt lifted after I had taken the step to resign and trust God for the next thing.  Within a week of that decision, I had at least three serious opportunities present itself to me.  One of the three spoke to what I believe to be my purpose, but certainly, it was my passion.  When I read about the organization and saw their mission, vision, and core values’ statements, I was overly excited and felt God was saying to me, “Didn’t I tell you to trust me? Didn’t I promise that I was going to give you the desires of your heart? Didn’t I tell you that what others meant for evil, I would turn it to your ?” All I could say was, Yes, Lord.  

Out of the three opportunities, all invited me back for second interviews, and I had serious opportunities before me.  The one that won is the one that I know God purposed and designed specifically for me.  

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God has been speaking to you about speaking up about some unjust situation, and you chose to remain quiet.  Perhaps you have participated in systemic racism by using some stereotypes to keep others out of the club. Maybe you have not, however, you know people who make racial or religious comments (as I sat quietly and watch this happen at my previous organization) and laughed just about being included. Or you have spoken up but then experienced the wrath of the one holding power.  You were labeled as not loyal or too sensitive or too whatever. Maybe, God has heard your prayers, and He has allowed a shake-up!

We wonder what has happened in the world. What has happened is a wakeup call. Regardless of what is happening, God has a plan for it all.  COVID-19 stopped us dead in our busy tracks.  George Floyd’s death, as tragic as it is, I believe God is still in control and has used it to wake up America and the world.  If nothing else, perhaps we will stop and not just look at inequalities in society as someone else’s problem, but a challenge for all humankind. 

Do I believe good will come out of all the chaos? I do. It is in times like these; God can be God. He shows us just how much He cares for the minor and major things that affect us all.  It is in these times if we are interested, we can ask God to show us what He wants from us to do.  If our hearts are dark, we can ask Him to change it. When our minds are closed, we can ask Him to open it. If we do not understand each other, we can seek to understand rather than to be understood. Whether we like it or not, there is an awakening happening throughout the world.  We can choose to be a part of the solution or commit never to be a part of this world’s continued cycle.  People are not the same. We see things differently because of different lived experiences. 

At the organization I left, it was my choice due to misaligned values. Others saw and commented on the same things I saw but chose to stay. Who is right? I suppose it depends on how one rationalizes what one will accept or will not. I would venture to say that many of the people I left behind are good people, but I am a good person too. I see things differently than my counterparts. I say this also as I end this article in the face of a racially divided country and world.  

For Believers, just know, Racism exists, and we will never agree that it does not. I will not remain quiet when I see injustices. Proverbs 31: 8-9 says, Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love.”—Nelson Mandela

Wait on the Lord…

In my early years, I did everything to achieve my goals. I always felt destined to be great, so I was going to do everything possible to attain that greatness. As the years pass, I find that I am not as aggressive as I was in earlier years, but I am still a go-getter. However, recently, I was wondering why, in this stage of my life, do I always go after goals I had dreamed of when I was younger.

I have concluded that what I have been saying for years about God calling me to something greater, is really what I believe. I have always said that I think God created me for something bigger, but I wondered, as the years passed and some things happened, and some didn’t, that maybe I “thought” I was destined for something bigger, but I was wrong. I thought God told me that I was going to achieve certain things, but He didn’t, and the things I thought came from Him were all my ideas.

This brings me to the topic I want to discuss this month, trust your instincts, keep striving and wait on the Lord. Just because God hasn’t done what you thought He would do in your timeframe, doesn’t mean that He won’t.

When we pray and ask God for something, believing that we are asking in faith, considering that He will answer our prayers, we expect that He will do it right away. When He doesn’t, year after year, we finally say to ourselves that He won’t. Or we say, it probably wasn’t His will for me. Or we question whether something we claimed as a promise was ever really a promise at all.

Recently, I listened to a sermon about David. The speaker took me back to 1 Samuel 16, when David was first called by God. I loved how he brought David’s calling into perspective for me. I have read my Bible many, many times. I know the stories of David, inside and out, but this time, I really reflected on how long it took for David to get what God had promised. If you remember, David was called and anointed by Samuel as the future King of Israel. Yet, once David was anointed, he didn’t go right to the throne. In fact, David went back to his sheep. Many things happened before David became King. Most of all, David continued serving; he served his father, his brothers, and his sheep. He continued playing and practicing with his slingshot (polishing his craft) and one day, as he took food to the “real” soldiers, he had the opportunity to meet a part of his destiny, Goliath! Where others were fearful and weary, David was perhaps a little naive, yet courageous. You know the story, David killed Goliath with that slingshot. Fast forward, 1 Samuel 24, the reigning King Saul, was getting worse mentally and trying to kill David, but David, who could have killed him, spared him. I won’t preach because the many things that happened to David along the way to the throne, are hills and valleys, frustrations and pain, ups and downs, but God still did what He had anointed David to do. Also, remember, how long David waited. Look at all the things he went through before he took the throne.

When I reflect on my life, I think about how I had to face the hills and valleys. I think about the jobs I have held, and how angry, sad, or disappointed, I became when someone did not give me what I felt I had earned. I recall the highs when someone would notice my value and reward it too. I know how let-downs feel. But let me share another perspective when you let go and trust. The farther you move away from the disappointment, you can look at it more objectively. What I found, looking back 10 or 15 years, is that what I wanted to be was much smaller than what God wanted for me. Going through the lows, prepared me for the highs. Waiting, also allowed me to develop and cultivate my skills, getting ready for something I never imagined years before.

I wanted what I wanted, which would have amounted to crumbs compared to what He finally gave me. I tell you this because if you are about to give up, don’t. Wait on the Lord. He will exalt you in due season if you remain faithful. He never reneges on His promises. They may be later than we want but trust His timing. It is perfect.

Reflect & Connect…

There has never been a time in my life where I have witnessed so much despair. Isolation might bring out the very worst in some of us when it could help us be better and do better. What a perfect time to connect with ourselves and with God as we quietly reflect on our lives.
connectwithGodDuring these times of isolation, it is so easy to fall into a state of sadness, depression, and maybe even anger. However, we can also choose to look for the lesson in our current situation and try to redirect our thoughts. Think about it, isn’t this the perfect time to see how we can help someone who may be feeling alone, feel loved? Isn’t it an ideal time to take our loneliness and turn it into a tool that can help ourselves and others? One means of doing that is through social media. What an excellent way to reach out to laugh, enjoy the jokes, the comments, the memes, and some of the silliest things people are coming up with just to connect and make life a little more bearable.
I have always believed that there are two types of people; those who see opportunities in messes and those who see the inevitable disaster in them. The people who see the glass half-full and the ones who see it half-empty. I also believe we can choose which of these two we want to be.
Are we going through a difficult time right now? Of course, we are, but what part can we all play in making someone’s life easier? I believe that everything happens for a reason. God is not surprised by what is happening in this world. I look over the last month and see where the things I grew up being taught, came rushing to the forefront of my mind when I needed them.

I recently left a job I loved because I knew, in my heart, that whatever assignment God had for me there was finished. Was it scary? You bet. For a woman who plans everything, did I have a plan? Yes and no. Did I have a well-thought-out strategic plan? No. Did I have a faith-walk plan? Yes. I planned to seek God and to trust God for the next thing. You see, I had begun to feel alone, and I thought that I was losing a little more of myself each day. During the entire time, I felt these various ways, and I had to keep encouraging myself to trust God. I read scripture more desperately, trying to hear from God. I had friends saying to me, trust God. I heard myself staying to myself, I will trust God, but my feelings to move on got more anxious. One day, I said Lord, I am trusting You for the next thing. It was within days of me resigning, that the “next thing” just showed up. It showed up during a time of uncertainty. It showed up during a time when we were shut-in when I was quiet, reflective, and not distracted by other things. It showed up when God had my undivided attention!

theLordismyshepI am about to begin that next chapter. I am excited about what God is doing in my life. More than that, I am excited about what He will do in yours. I am not saying to be foolish. I am saying to take time to connect with God during these days of isolation. Reflect on His goodness so that you are not paralyzed with fear. Look back on where He has brought your from and what He has done in your past. Trust yourself too.
And always remember, “the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”