Born to Thrive!

Most days, I feel as though I can conquer the world, and then, there are days when I think the world is defeating me. That feeling doesn’t last too long, however. I was born to thrive! At least that’s what I tell myself. The feeling of not just surviving but thriving has been with me since I was very young.

born to thrive

I recognize to hear someone claim that they thrive sounds self-assured and assertive. But, as much as I’d like to think I can face anything and overcome any obstacle, there is always anxiety behind the face of that courage.

The truth is, the fiercest of us experience our share of anxiety. Whether it is dealing with the loss of a job, an end of a marriage or relationship, or a betrayal of any kind, life can get the best of us. When I face struggles, I generally turn to scripture to ease my stress and I pray for guidance as to my next steps. Being a person who tries to control my destiny, I get frustrated when I feel I am not in control. Being a woman of faith, I caution myself to stop trying to control everything. To leave it, only to find myself going back trying to handle the situation again. If you are a control freak and feel you are not in control, anxiety comes. If you are a laid-back and carefree person and deal with those who are not, you probably feel that situation bringing about pressure.

Just remember, for anything that seems to overwhelm us, there is an answer. The answer to me can always be found in scripture. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things with prayer and thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” This scripture puts things into their proper perspective. Stop worrying, focus on what is essential, and thrive mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

What do I thrive? I know it’s because I have the assurance through faith that God has my back. As Tauren Wells sings, “If I am on the mountain, He is there. When I am in the valley, He sees me there.

intention

Anxiety is as much a part of life as breathing but thriving takes intention. Someone said, “An intention is more than a thought or a theory about how you want to live; it is the thought and determination to make that change.” That change starts with our heart, and our attitudes will follow. How can you thrive? Think free like a child. Find an exercise that you will learn to enjoy and do it. Take risks. Take walks. Laugh a lot. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Now, these are easier said than done, but that’s why I say intention is key to thriving.

Valuing Tradition

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Many days I sit back and consider my life. I am generally overwhelmed with emotion when I think about how blessed my life has been. I think about the woman I am today and how who I am was so heavily influenced by my maternal grandparents.


When I was very young, I used to be embarrassed by the religious practices of my grandparents. They were Pentecostals, and if you know anything about this tradition, they (We) are very expressive and somewhat emotional in our faith, especially in worship. I remember how my grandmother would worship unrestrainedly while my grandfather was calm, relaxed, and collective. They were the best people on the planet, and I did not know just how much they meant to me until they were gone. I could be anywhere in the world, and I would call my grandmother just to say hi. I can still hear their distinctive voices encouraging me to run on!


My grandfather would sometimes sit in his chair in the front yard, and you would hear him singing to himself, “I’m gonna trust in the Lord. I’m gonna trust in the Lord. I’m gonna trust in the Lord until I die….” I can still hear those words, and some days I find myself singing them to myself.


Today, many years after they have gone, I find myself sitting and reflecting on them and their influence on me. Longromans 1-16 before they left this earth, I was no longer embarrassed by them and the way they praised the Savior. Instead, I turned into them. My mind goes to the scripture today that reads, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. To all who believe…” Romans 1:16. They were never ashamed. They served and praised God with all they had. They demonstrated true, deep-hearted worship to their King, and that, I believe, kept them from falling for anything.


Maybe that’s what the world needs today; people of faith committed to praise and worship rather than buying into the importance of popularity and worldly accolades. We have come a long way, but that may not always be the best. It may be time to stop laughing at old practices and reconnect to them. Maybe we will find our true selves again. That’s what I find myself doing these days. It may be because I am older. Whatever the reason, I know how important faith has been in my life, and I am thankful my faith-filled, expressive grandparents modeled it before me. I continue to do the same. Anything less would dishonor them.

What are you pushing back, ignoring, and refusing to enter your life? Maybe it’s time to stop and ask yourself will those aged practices help you? Perhaps they will or maybe not, but don’t dismiss something because it is aged; it might be the one thing that can bring you encouragement in discouraging times and value in times when the world may be making you feel worthless.

~LaSharnda

Fan the Flames?

Recently, I have thought seriously about just disconnecting. Some time ago, a person said to me that they could not keep a gratitude journal I had suggested because they did not see themselves writing the same things day after day in that journal. They were thankful, but they would get bored doing the same exercise each day. I remember thinking that I had done it for years and I could do it. But, I also felt that I would never stop doing it.

fan the flames

For years, I have gotten up in the early morning hours to read the Bible and pray. However, over the last year, I have noticed my early morning prayers getting shorter. I can remember saying to God to stir in me the passion for worship, His Word, and fellowship with others, just as I had when I was younger. I prayed that my prayer process did not become mechanical and mundane. Now, I feel that is exactly what it has become.

What do I do when I feel the very thing that has kept me is somehow losing its appeal? What happens when I don’t feel like reading, praying, or even interacting with others? Then it came to me. The reason I read, prayed, and took part in routine fellowship was for moments just like these. When I reflected on the “why” of my emotional state, I found that to be a good process. To ask myself questions that force me to look inward and evaluate my life is what many people go through. Those who have strong faith recognize what’s happening immediately. Do you know why? It’s because we have exercised specific disciplines throughout the years.

What do you do when you feel distant & disconnected from God or the people of God? How do you handle the feeling of ineptness, routine, boredom, or downright “I don’t feel like it anymore?” I will share what I have done. I have stepped back and asked the Holy Spirit to show me what to do. I have also asked the Holy Spirit to stir up a fire in me. I don’t believe that I would know to do that had I not read that in the Bible repeatedly over the years. In 2 Timothy 1:6-14, we are told the following: “That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands.” This scripture speaks to me. Even more is what comes after in verse 7,  “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and love and calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. 

These scriptures are reminders of a couple of things to me. First, I have to know without a doubt that regardless of what I am feeling, God is with me. He said He would not leave me or forsake me. As such, I have to trust that if I would pursue Him, I will find Him. Stirring up the fire to me means to press through despite the so-called boredom. It means to think of the things of God or the enemy will have me thinking, “why bother?” Also, I realize that I have a responsibility to fan the flames and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. Second, I have to be bold enough to say to myself or my distractions that there is power in the disciplines. I don’t have to feel an emotional high; instead, I have to trust God. If I go boldly to the Throne of Grace, He will be there waiting.

So, what do you do when you “feel” you have lost your fire? Fan the flame! We’re not as hot and burning as when we first received the Lord. But Romans 12:11 encourages us not to be “slothful in zeal, but be burning in spirit, serving the Lord.” So, remember, when you go through the season of slothfulness, God wants us on fire for Him. It may not be in your human spirit, but your born-again spirit will be willing.

2 Timothy1-7

These scriptures are reminders of a couple of things to me. First, I have to know without a doubt that regardless of what I am feeling, God is with me. He said He would not leave me or forsake me. As such, I have to trust that if I would pursue Him, I will find Him. Stirring up the fire to me means to press through despite of the so-called boredom. It means to think of the things of God or the enemy will have me thinking “why bother?” Also, I realize that I have a responsibility to fan the flames and trust the Holy Spirit to do the rest. Second, I have to be bold enough to say to myself or to my distractions that there is power in the disciplines. I don’t have to feel an emotional high, rather, I have to trust God. If I go boldly to the Throne of Grace, He will be there waiting.

So, what do you do when you “feel” you have lost your fire? Fan the flame! We’re not as hot and burning as when we first received the Lord. But Romans 12:11 exhorts us not to be “slothful in zeal, but be burning in spirit, serving the Lord.” So, when you go through the season of slothfulness, remember, God wants us on fire for Him. It may not be in your human spirit, but your born again spirit, is willing

We Were Created to be in Relationships

intimacywithGodAs much as I enjoy being alone, forced isolation isn’t something I am very fond of. On Sunday, I went into the office to do a little work and check-in with some consultants. I thought I would get an update and quietly work in my office while they did their thing. I had met one of the consultants but not the other. Once there, another person popped into the office, and before I knew it, 5 of us were in my office chatting away. At first, both consultants were somewhat timid in speaking, but once we got going, so did they. Once we finished with the update, I asked if I could get them lunch. They were about to leave the building when someone said, “How about we walk up the street and eat together?” That’s what we did.


We walked and talked and talked some more, occasionally switching off the person we were walking with ease. As we walked, all of a sudden, we heard Praise and Worship music coming from somewhere close. I recognized the song immediately but did not think the others would. The song kept drawing my attention, and someone said, “Wow, listen to that Praise and Worship music.” Right then, I knew that at least one person in that group shared a similar background to mine. I asked him if he knew that song, and boy did he know it and a host of others. He was a Praise and Worship team member. When I asked at what church? He replied, and it was the same church I attended before the pandemic outbreak and before I moved to another area. It was nice to hear his comments. Later at lunch, he began asking who was my favorite Old School Christian singer. I thought I would stomp him when I recalled The Hawkin singers, and he named Tramaine, Walter, and Edwin. But then he said, “Andre Crouch!” I was thrilled. While we ate, the other consultant began talking about some of the same people, yet she had to be 30 years my junior. I asked her where did she attend church, and her answer thrilled me too. Lunch with this group turned into a more Christian-fest than a business lunch.


christianview of relationshipwithGodAs I drove home, I felt the day was productive. More than productivity, however, I believe that day was ordained. As I thought about a “TFT” (Thought For Today) I post to social media every day, I recalled the one I had posted for Sunday—it was that God created us for relationship. First, relationship with Him and then relationship with each other. The Bible tells us the first command is, Love the Lord, and the second is like it, and that is to Love your neighbor. Loving others is hard, especially when we do not see eye-to-eye. People who don’t think like us can frustrate us, and when we begin focusing on what is so different about them, we lose the opportunity to see what is lovely, even fascinating about them.


Many have complained about being forced to isolate ourselves from others as we faced something many of us would have never imagined facing, COVID. However, I think the forced shutdown caused us to rethink our desire to be alone. As a person who enjoys being alone, I realize that I also enjoy challenging conversations, debates, and laughter. I enjoy learning about people, and I enjoy sharing what God has given me to share. Had I rejected going to lunch with the group that Sunday, I think I would have missed what I believe was a God-ordained moment, learning and laughing with two new people who loved God and shared a love for Praise and Worship music like me.
Maybe now that we are coming out of the pandemic, we might stop and genuinely take time to enjoy each other’s company? Maybe? I think I will.

Just remember this: At the beginning of time, God said it was not good for us to be alone (Genesis 2:18). So He gave us relationship.

Be Courageous, Be Strong, Be Confident

Is it just me, or does it feel like a shift happening in the atmosphere? After a full year of isolation, these past couple of weeks have felt as if a heavy load has been lifted, if only a little. IF you ever lifted weights, you know what I mean when I say, I know I need the heavy weights to build my stamina. However, as the repetitions begin, I look forward to lowering the size of the weights I am lifting. Even one pound lighter brings about a sense of relief.be strong and courageous2

Sometimes when I am using heavier weights, the pressure of having to lift them can be awful. I also know that there will be a benefit later to me lifting those heavy weights. Sometimes, I get frustrated and discouraged by the grueling task of lifting weights and dread the days I have to do them. But I do them anyway.

The last several weeks have felt like a weight has lifted. This week was simply outstanding. I continue to look at what I do day in and day out as something God has called me to do. I know when so many things tugging for my attention, it is easy, sometimes, to forget that God called me to the place I am, whether that is writing this Blog, speaking to a group, or interacting with people I lead.

But what happens when the weight seems to be too much? Do you give up? Do you walk away? No. Why? Because you do not have to handle the weight alone. That weight can be felt in the form of attacks, physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually. The weight can feel so severe that you question your sanity. The attacks can be so overwhelming that you wonder if you have the strength or courage to stand for another battle. Also, something you know God called you to do can come into question. Not Him questioning you, but you doubt you or others wondering about whether you can cut it.

That’s why, for me, reading my Bible daily and praying are essential. I have had acquaintances tell me that they cannot read the same scriptures repeatedly because they become bored. I don’t judge them for that—they love God too. I tell them, for me, I read God’s Word repeatedly so that I am reminded not to be discouraged. Listen, there are people just like you and me in scripture who faced some of the same issues we deal with today: isolation (Elijah), fear (Jonah/Gideon/Esther/Daniel); depression (Jonah), anxiety (Peter), insecurity (Gideon), self-doubt (Moses). Shall I go on? These great warriors of the Bible were human beings just like you and me. They dealt with the same stuff. Their courage did not come from within; it came from someone greater. The God of the universe heard their prayers and gave them what they needed to succeed. God gave prophets and apostles the courage they needed to face the past, face impossible situations, take significant risks, and not give in. Some gathered courage from God speaking directly to them, while others gained it through others.

This month of May, where we celebrate Mother’s Day and Memorial Day in the United States, I am focused on irrevocable-gifts-callingJoshua 1:8-9. I memorized these scriptures as a teenager. There are times I go back to them to remind myself why it is essential for me to read scriptures time and again. Listen to what the scripture says: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then, you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” These scriptures are powerfully encouraging.

So, I say to you today, Be courageous, be strong, be confident at the place and position you have been assigned. You never know; you may have come to your place and position for such a time as this. Regardless of how others see you or judge you, the Word of God says of you—” Your gifts and calling are irrevocable.” You are very much needed where you are. Trust God to give you the courage to face any insecurities and fears. Trust Him to help you battle with your giant. Trust Him to show you what risks you need to take, and never, ever give up praying to God even when others do not understand you or threaten your peace of mind. Hold on to the same deep faith Daniel had in the Lion’s Den.

Dreams Achieved…

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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