Waiting for the Whole Story.

In life, it is crucial to wait for the whole story.

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Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

How many times in relationships do we only see the smallest portion of the story? Many relationships have ended because one person failed to ask questions and assumed the worst. Other relationships have been tarnished and filled with animosity because one person knew a sliver of the story and decided not to ask any questions. They decided to hold onto a small shred of information (possibly not even true). That small shred of information, or misinformation, causes a divide in the relationship if the truth is not sought out. Great damage can be done in relationships and to individuals in these circumstances. As we choose to ask the right questions, we discover the whole story. We discover the motivations of the other person and why they behave in a certain manner. 

Your life currently may not look anything like the life you envisioned. You might wonder what is going on. What is God doing? What am I doing? Wait for the whole story, my friend. Life is often best understood looking backwards. Continue to look forward, as you await being able to look backward one day and better understand. If we don’t wait for the whole story, we may be filled with despair. We’ll lose hope. We must trust God with the whole story. 

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Photo by hiva sharifi on Unsplash

What if the apostles had simply moved on with their lives after Jesus died? What if they decided to forget all about this Jesus Christ that had turned their lives upside down? The story was far from over. Jesus rose from the dead. He then spent another 40 days with the Apostles before descending into Heaven. So as not to leave them alone, He sent the Holy Spirit (Who remains with us, now and forever). The whole story is very, very important. The Cross does not make sense without the Resurrection. The Resurrection does not make sense without the Cross. 

Wait for the whole story. Seek it out, if you have any questions or doubts. Your relationships will look different and you’ll be more apt to be generous with others. Relationships may be restored. Your trust in God will be stronger. You’ll be more hope-filled.

Wait for the whole story. You never know the difference it will make in your life and in someone else’s.

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Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

 

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From Fear to Faith.

Just over a year ago, I posted this. The gist of the article was about my fears surrounding taking a huge life leap–a leap that would disrupt the stability of everything in my life. Believe me, it was a turbulent time.

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Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

A year later, here I am. I’m still standing. I’m not in the same place, geographically, or in any other area of my life. (For that, I am thankful.) I have moved from fear to faith. Of course, this will be a never-ending process. Throughout our lives, we’ll continually be presented with opportunities to choose faith over fear. 

A lot sure has changed in one year! Here’s my testimony:

  • I left the full-time job I had been clinging to, but which no longer brought me life. I knew my Father would provide for me, but I had no idea how. God granted me a job that pays the bills and also allows the perfect amount of flexibility I need at this time in my life. It’s not easy to find that kind of gig–but of course, with God, all things are possible.
  • God has granted me a sound mind in order to continue my studies and to excel in them. I’m so grateful to be in school, studying a subject which interests me and will allow me to be an instrument of healing for others. I’m about halfway to graduation!
  • The clock was ticking, and I had a short time to move to a new home. In the nick of time, God came through with a safe and positive living environment. This also isn’t necessarily easy to find, but God knew what He was doing and opened the door to the place He wanted me to live.
  • I’ve discovered my true friends. The ones that will stick with you even when you (or they) move away. The friends that have seen you through thick and thin and show no sign of stepping out of your life. In this season, I’ve also met new friends that inspire me to grow deeper with the Lord and to discover new aspects of my life. (I pray that I am that kind of friend for them, too!)

Now I know the truth about fear. It’s stagnancy. Fear gives power to meaningless doubts instead of power to an UNLIMITED God! Fear leaves you a shell of the person that you truly are, and that God wants to transform you to be.

Fear is a lie and keeps you from experiencing the wonders that God has for you.

Now I know the truth about faith. Faith brings growth. Faith brings life. Faith brings joy and open doors that you could never have imagined. Decisions of faith mean learning to rely on God above all, and realizing that He truly does care about our lives and care about us!

Faith is the scariest step you can ever take, but it brings blessing and joy.

If you’re struggling to step out in faith, I pray that you will be strengthened today by the Author and Perfecter of our faith!  I pray that your spiritual eyes will be opened to whatever He has for you! I pray that He will release you from the spirit of fear, and pour down the spirit of faith and hope into your life! Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your faithfulness!

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”–Hebrews 11:1

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Photo by Abigail Keenan on Unsplash

Thoughts on Thoughtfulness.

Each day, I see evidence of our Heavenly Father’s thoughtfulness. Even when there are difficulties, He provides solace and blessings in the midst of those difficulties. Every single day, He is sending us “gifts” that reveal His great love toward us. Are we paying attention? 

In my life currently, one of these pieces of evidence is some flowers right outside my house. Every morning when I step outside for a busy day, bright yellow flowers greet me. It puts a smile on my face each morning. Another way I know His presence is when I’m feeling overwhelmed at how much I must get done at work and school, and then an appointment gets cancelled and some time opens up unexpectedly. I know my Father is looking out for me, and He’s giving me little signs that He’s right there and won’t let me be overwhelmed. 

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Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

My thoughtful friend, who is also in graduate school, continually expresses her concern for me. She makes it clear that her door is open anytime for a cup of (real) chai or a meal. So many times, I’ve been able to take a respite from my crazy schedule of school and work for great discussions and delicious Indian food. I’m so thankful to have a friend like her. Her thoughtful gestures fill me with peace. When someone notices a need you have, or something you may benefit from, it is a wonderful experience. Thoughtfulness empowers you to feel supported and receive more strength to continue fighting your battles.

Any thoughtful gesture reveals that you are seen to that person. You are not invisible. Your interests, needs, and wants have been noticed. Not only that, but these thoughtful gestures reveal that you are important. You are valuable.

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Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Let’s pay more attention to the ways our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. Even more, let’s be on the lookout for ways that we can thoughtfully serve others. You never know the difference that your thoughtfulness could make for them.

When have you been on the receiving end of thoughtfulness? What are some ways that you exhibit thoughtfulness toward others?

I’ve Been Nominated: Awesome Blogger Award.

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I must thank the prolific Mr. Peter Adewumi of LifeBlog for nominating me for the Awesome Blogger Award! It’s always a blessing to read LifeBlog! Each time I leave encouraged and feeling motivated to live a better life! Please, do go check him out if you have not already.

What is the Awesome Blogger Award? This is an award for the absolutely wonderful writers all across the blogging world. They have beautiful blogs, are kind and lovely, and always find a way to add happiness and laughter to the lives of their readers. That is what truly defines an awesome blogger.

RULES FOR THIS AWARD

• Thank the person who nominated you

• Include the reason for this award

• Include the banner in your post

• Tag it under #awesomebloggeraward in the reader

• Answer the question which the nominator gave you

• Nominate at least 5 awesome bloggers

• Give your nominees 10 new questions to answer

• Let your nominees know that they’ve been nominated

Mr. Adewumi’s Questions

1. Do you think blogging is easy? This is a yes and a no. My thoughts flow easily and normally I have much inspiration. However, the upkeep of a blog can be time-consuming.

2. Do you support monetizing one’s blog? I do not see a problem with monetizing a blog. Bloggers invest time, talent, and energy. All of these are valuable. If one desires to try and make an income through blogging, all the best to them!

3. How do you get inspiration for your posts? Inspiration usually comes randomly as I go about my day. Sometimes I’m inspired by an event in my life or a conversation or sermon.

4. Which day of the week does your blog receive highest traffic? My blog receives the highest traffic on Fridays.

5. Which category garners likes and comments most on your blog? Faith-based posts appear to receive the most likes and comments. Of course, I try to weave this into the majority of my posts.

6. What is one thing you’re thinking of to grow your blog? I would like to change my blog layout and font to be more “catchy.” Honestly, I would also love to post more and to post more series. However, school is demanding much of my time.

7. What is your opinion of leaving one’s blog for like one month before posting again? I have been guilty of this. I believe that there are bigger priorities in life than blogging, including the people you are given in your life to love and the job you support them with. Life happens, and sometimes blogging is far from one’s mind. One must keep their priorities in order.

8. If you’re ‘unfollowed’, how would you react? I might be a bit sad initially, but realize that the person has a reason for doing so. That reason could be lack of time to read. Perhaps my blog just isn’t offering what they are looking for at this time. I understand.

9. What is your idea on full time blogging? I think full-time blogging would be a wonderful endeavor, if one can truly afford to do so. Blogging is a wonderful way to provoke one to think more deeply while also inspiring others. It is a great way to express one’s self. Some can even make an income doing so, which may make full time blogging a reality.

10. Three advantages of blogging please? 1) Blogging is a wonderful way to connect with like-minded individuals, locally and globally. Through blogging, I even met a dear friend who became a housemate! 2) Blogging is a way to expand one’s mind. For example, I’ve read some blogs with great book recommendations.  3) Blogging can increase one’s writing skills. It’s a great way to practice. For an aspiring author such as myself, it may also be a way to garner readers for my (future) books.

My Nominations for The Awesome Blogger Award

1. Katelyn Skye Bennet

2.  Scribbling Minds

3. Afrotastic Lady

4. Better Than Wine

5.  Larry Kotz Affairs

6. Sacrifice of Love

My Questions

  1. What led you to create your blog?

2. What is the biggest benefit you have found through blogging?

3. What is your dream location to live?

4. Who is your favorite musical artist?

5. What is your favorite topic to blog on?

6. What blogger has inspired you?

7. Did you ever consider quitting your blog?

8. What is your dream job?

9. Ideally, how often would you like to post on your blog?

10. What is one interesting fact about you?

 

Life In Christ=No Limits.

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”~Luke 1:37

A decade ago, I would never have dreamed of the places I’ve been and the opportunities I’ve been blessed with in life. You see, I had a picture in my head of how God “normally” worked in people’s lives. Because of this picture, I placed limits on my life. I expected my life to follow a similar trajectory. I based my vision for the future based on what I saw in other people’s lives, and even what society expected. Very sadly, I was putting God in a box and limiting an all-powerful, limitless God!

As I began to be more open to God’s work in my heart, mind, and each aspect of my life, amazing things began to happen. My Heavenly Father placed people beside me that lived with purpose and did not follow societal expectations. Miracles happened. I was presented with opportunities that cannot be explained except through the eyes of faith.  My mindset shifted. My eyes were opened, along with my mind. I began to see that the only limits on life are those that we place upon ourselves. Yes, you read right–the only limits on your life are those that you allow yourself to believe.     

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Photo by Katerina Radvanska on Unsplash

I have crazy dreams for my future. Or should I say, I don’t have the “American dream.” (Thank God!) Other people sometimes find it difficult to understand when I tell of my dreams for the future or to understand why. I know that God has placed these dreams within me, and has confirmed them over and over again. The reactions of others and the practicalities could easily sway me from striving from these dreams. But, would God be pleased? Would I achieve what God put me on this earth for? NO. Does God want me to live within my comfort zone and let those gifts He has placed within my heart to languish? NO. In fulfilling our purpose and coming to better know our Creator, we find joy.

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Photo by Luca Zanon on Unsplash

Thank You Jesus, that these lives You have given us are limitless in YOU! Show us the limits we have set on ourselves for whatever reason, and show us the dreams that YOU have for us and the path You have set before us to attain them. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen!

“Because you are His sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are His child, God has made you also an heir.”~Galatians 4:6-7

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish.

Nowadays, self-care is “in.” However, some in Christian circles believe that the idea of “self-care” is equivalent with being selfish. Let me put that myth to rest for you right away. There are many accounts in the Bible of Jesus going off on His own for prayer and respite. (The crowds still tried to follow Him.) He was fully Divine, yet also fully human. Jesus needed that time alone to connect with His Father and to be empowered for ministry. 

“Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16

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Photo by Nick Agus Arya on Unsplash

So if the One that we follow also needed time to refresh, how can we say that we’re above Him? Being fully human, we need to make a priority of our self-care. Every single day, we need to make time for God. We need to also be aware of the unique way that we are wired and to make time for those forms of self-care most fitting for us. Once we start making time for our needs, we’ll find ourselves better able to nurture and care for the people we’ve been gifted with in our lives. We cannot pour from an empty vessel.

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Photo by ilya gorborukov on Unsplash

There are seasons of life where we need to be firm & speak up about our needs. This is especially true of moms of young children. Moms of young children may need to let their husband know how depleted she feels. Single moms must pray for loving support and people they can count on.  There is no shame in asking a family member or another trusted person to take over for a few hours once in awhile to tend to yourself.  Every person has their own limits. It’s important to recognize yours and to take the steps to care for you before reaching your limit. Burnout comes after a person has given & given to others without fulfillment of their own needs. This state often leads to depression, resentment toward those one cares for, and tremendous fatigue. For most people, burnout isn’t a “quick fix,” so it’s important to be continually mindful of self-care. 

Every person is the “expert” on what works for them for regular self-care routines. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Prayer
  • Reading Scripture, especially in the context of a Bible study
  • Journal
  • Exercise
  • Therapy
  • Painting, drawing, sculpting
  • Finding a new hobby
  • Quality time with supportive & encouraging people
  • Support groups or “moms” groups
  • Reading “fun” books, such as novels
  • Time in a peaceful nature setting
  • Going out to eat (to a place that offers nourishing foods) instead of cooking
  • Make dates or intentional times to reconnect with your significant other a priority
  • Attend a concert, museum, play, or comedy show
  • Short weekend getaways or retreats

Importantly, don’t feel guilty about taking the time you need for self-care! There are people counting on you. Remember how Jesus told us that the second greatest commandment (after loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength) is to love your neighbor as yourself? (Mark 12:30-31) Jesus’ command assumes that we love ourselves! When you recognize that you were created in the Divine image, you will love yourself because you recognize WHO you belong to! When you take care of yourself, you will be much better able to care for others, and to do it well!

What is your favorite form of self-care?

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

 

It’s All About Moments.

Life is made up of moments. Some people don’t give much power to a moment. “It’s only one.” This gives them an excuse to create destructive habits or to live life without intention or purpose. Each moment is adding up to a future, whether we realize it or not. It is moments that change our lives!

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
  • Moments of choosing to believe lies from the Enemy or the lies that others have told us about ourselves.
  • Moments of choosing to love when you don’t “feel like it.”
  • The moment you choose to respond with peace instead of losing your temper.
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    Photo by Leo Rivas on Unsplash
  • The moment you meet your spouse, whether something dramatic takes place within you or not.
  • The moment when your child is placed into your arms for the very first time.
  • The moment you forgive and let go of what happened years ago, or even a few months ago. You release yourself and release that person.
  • A moment in which you choose to communicate with the other person rather than assume the worst about their motives.
  • The moment a person chooses to reach for the phone and seek authentic relationship instead of porn, alcohol, or drugs.
  • The moment your perspective forever changes due to an experience or a sickness that could have taken your life–but you’re still here.
  • The moment in which you choose love over fear.

It is in each moment that we choose to become a lesser version of ourselves, or to become the image that our Creator had in mind when He lovingly molded us in our mother’s womb.

Moments are what add up to make a life! Be open to each moment and what it has to teach you. Live each moment fully present. God is working through all of them. And in the moments you never expect, He will do miracles!

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Photo by Austin Schmid on Unsplash

Together journeying toward the Creator and becoming the creations we were meant to be.