Gratitude #48

13 Sep

I missed the National Day of Encouragement, it was on yesterday. I had made a mental note to be aware of the day so that I could make sure to encourage someone. Today I’m thinking how silly is that, it shouldn’t take a national day of encouragement for me to be encouraging to someone. I should be doing that everyday. I try to remind myself that no matter how perfect a person’s life seems to be, or how unapproachable they are, we all need an encouraging word.

This is how it is for me. You know how you go to a job orientation and they tell you things like, if you’re going down the hall, say hello to the person you pass by, or at least smile. Basically just show yourself friendly in the work place. I take that to heart. I am that person that’s saying hello to you going down the hall, getting on the elevator, or walking to or from the parking lot. Most of the time I hate it, because not every one paid attention at orientation I guess. For me there is no way I can make eye contact with you and not say, “Good morning or hello”.  It’s not so much about being a happy person, it’s more about just being kind, being considerate. A friendly smile just may be what that person needs. I am just that person to deliver a smile whether they like it or not.

So since I missed the National Day of Encouragement on yesterday, I am going to say a few encouraging things on today. The first thing that I would say is to be encouraged, (that’s an easy one right). When I say that, what I mean is to try to always think on the good things, (as much as you can) at least. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:8 gives us eight things to think about in our daily lives. In biblical terms the number eight represents a new beginning with God. So at the beginning of our new day, if we do as the Apostle Paul says and think on things that are true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, whatever is excellent and praiseworthy, we can be encouraged. We can have a mind where the enemy cannot not get in and mess with our thoughts. Our thoughts are centered on Christ. Christ carried all eight of these characteristics, and I believe we can too.

There can be peace in our every day lives, even in the eye of the storm. That is a powerful thing to have. Peace when things seem to be out of control. It takes strength and faith to know that everyday is new, and we have to stay in the moment. When I start to think too far ahead I have to remind myself that God doesn’t want me thinking on tomorrow. Matthew 6:34 tells me not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about it self. I am also not to boast (brag) about tomorrow because I don’t know what a day may bring. (Proverbs 27:1) So that tells me to stay in the moment and to trust God along the way.

If you’re going through some different things that may be troubling you, like I am, be encouraged. Continue to know that it will get better. The test and trials come to build our faith muscle. If we don’t go through anything how will grow in faith and endurance. Trust the word of God, stand on His promises for your life and that of your loved ones. Always cast your cares on Him, (this one is hard for me), for He will take care of you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. (Psalm 55:22). I am so good at giving a problem over to God and then picking it right back up. I have to release it and trust Him to work it out.

So I guess my word of encouragement for the Day of National Encouragement is to put Philippians 4:8 into action daily, trust God and stand on His word. Don’t worry about tomorrow or anything, but pray about everything. Cast your cares on the Lord, and don’t pick them back up. As we do these things, I declare and decree that we will stand in place of victory. Be ye encouraged!


Gratitude #47

12 Sep

I cannot count the number of times that I have said, “Lord I give myself completely to you.” Only to go back to doing things that I knew were not in line with God’s will for my life. Once I made up my mind to say yes, yes to Christ, yes to giving Him my all. I knew that some of the things that I was doing were going to have to change. I  thank God for never giving up on me, all of the times that I turned back to my sinful ways He was there. Forgiving my sins. The grace and mercy that God extends to us, is so beautiful. We all are so unworthy but yet He is there with loving arms to receive us, our loving Father. For me one thing that I knew I would have to leave behind was drinking.

So I made up my mind, I am done with drinking. No wine, beer, liquor nothing. Let me tell you, it’s so very easy for me to say this and mean it with every fiber of my being. It’s even easier for me to do if, I was always alone, away from the temptations of friends and family. If I had no social life to speak of. It’s hard to be around family and friends and even my significant other, when everyone is drinking and trying to get me to join them. It’s also easier to do if, I’m not having a super bad day, where everything that can and will go wrong, does go wrong. The way that I would normally handle a day like this is to have a glass of wine, or even a shot (don’t judge me), if things are really a disaster. I had to learn that in those times either I would give in and have the drink or shot, and feel so terrible about it, and have to repent for doing something I felt was wrong for me. Or say no thank you to that drink and feel amazing for resisting temptation and passing the test.

The hardest part of giving up drinking for me has to be the spiritual battle. The battle of flesh and spirit. The flesh is so strong, it wants what it wants. The bible tells us in Galatians 5:17, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. So my flesh wants everything that is not good for my spirit, and my spirit wants everything that my flesh doesn’t want. My flesh doesn’t care about me wanted a deeper walk with God, or that I am slowly trying to kill all fleshly desires. It fights back, and it doesn’t feel good. So, I know that if I walk in the spirit than I will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. So to beat this flesh, this stronghold, or any stronghold that is over my life (because drinking isn’t the only one), I gotta walk in the spirit. That means more reading my bible, fasting, prayer, and fellowship at church. I can’t put myself in situations that are going to have me compromise what I am trying to accomplish. I want to completely surrender every area of my life to Christ.

I believe I was led by God to give up drinking, amongst some other things, however I also feel to each his own. I’m not putting anyone down for drinking alcohol, I wouldn’t dare try to stand in a place of  judgement, I don’t have a right to. I feel better about me since I have stopped drinking. It’s still a struggle for me, especially in group settings. I just have to ask my self, do I really need a drink to have a good time? The answer is no, I am having the best time walking in my freedom. I am living for Christ and I choose to forsake anything that will hinder my walk Him. Pray for me as I pray for you, I promise I feel the prayers. They are so appreciated.


Gratitude #46

5 Sep

It’s a new season, fall is in the air. The crisp mornings, the children going back to school. A new season and for me the feeling of a new year. The summer of 2018 wore me out in the natural, but in the spirit, it made me stronger. It’s definitely a summer that I will never forget, but it’s also a summer that is testimony worthy.  I am sure as time goes by the way I feel about this summer will change in so many different ways. As of right now though I just look at this summer with gratitude, and a confident look. The devil sends his little minions to try to knock us off course, but when you trust in God, He will make a fool out of those coming at you.

I’m grateful today for a mental spiritual shift. In making my mental spiritual shift, I am telling myself that my perspective on situations as well as people has changed. It’s my belief that today is just a day. If I can make it through this day with hope and faith in my heart, then I do it again tomorrow with the same hope and faith, it is going to move some situations, some people, and some of the mind sets that I have will begin to shift. My atmosphere will shift. The things that once bothered me no longer matter.

I am so excited for this new time! My heart is full, I feel free. There are still things going on, a lot of things, and some of the things are not going to change without prayer and fasting. It’s out of my hands. And surprisingly I am ok with that. I have to know when to let go, and let God do what needs to be done.

So I am going to enjoy this fall season, and everything that comes with it. I encourage you to embrace this time, the summer had us all on the move, outside, moving fast. The fall has us settling in, preparing for the holidays, the winter season, and family. I look forward to it all. Walking in this season with Joy!!!

Gratitude #45

2 Sep

Gratitude. That’s what my blog is about. Simply things that I am grateful for. I have learned that when I am grateful I feel blessed. I am grateful today for having a spirit to not quit. I cannot tell you where it came from, or even when. The spirit of not quitting just shows up in me when it’s needed.

I am grateful that on yesterday my daughter had her open house, and even though a lot of guests didn’t come as we planned, she was still happy and grateful. I am so thankful for that, at one point I was so discouraged, and then angry. That never lasts for long because I know that God doesn’t make mistakes, there is a reason for everything. Who was supposed to be there was there for her. Sometimes, I just have to stop and search my heart for the blessing. God’s blessing was that, God blessed Ameela with the spirit not to quit, He gave her the spirit to finish high school as well as cosmetology school. It was because of Him that we were even able to have a celebration. While I was looking at the bad of a situation, I allowed God to open my spiritual eyes to see His hand in the matter. See God’s glory in all things, it will help you to have a grateful heart.


Gratitude #44

29 Aug

On yesterday August 28, would have been my grandpa’s 90th birthday. He passed away in February of this year. I didn’t get to spend too many birthdays with him in his latter years, when I was younger things were a lot different, time was always spent at your grandparents house on their birthdays. Those were such good times. Papa, (as he was fondly called by all the grandchildren), loved his family, beer, and a good conversation. The best stories were those of him growing up in the south. He was a great man, as well as an amazing cook. I wasn’t to fond of some of his favorite dishes like raccoon, rabbit, and deer. I didn’t care for those dishes but his collard greens with okra was a dish that always had me going back for seconds. Papa is truly missed, I am very proud that he was my grandpa.

I am grateful today for the matriarchs, the heads of the families, who created memories, and kept the families together. I remember being in my teenage years, how I missed not having a grandmother in my life. Before I was seventeen I had lost all of my grandparents except Papa. Having my grandmothers die when I was fairly young, I didn’t get to have that wisdom and guidance that a grandmother could give. But God will always send you what you need.

When I had to do an interview with an elderly person for a class I was taking, I went to a very dear friend’s, grandmother. Rosetta McDowell, she was an amazing woman of God, I had known her for some years, and she always had a kind word, a godly word, and an encouraging word to give. She made you feel like you were one of her grandchildren, she was a virtuous woman, a pioneer, the matriarch of her family. When I sat down to do my report I just simply said tell me about you, growing up, everything. She took it from there, her story was inspiring, I learned so much, from how she was like a doctor, riding in wagons, healing the sick. There was no modern medicine, but she knew about herbs and plants to heal, as well as the power of prayer. She talked about being a mother and a wife, (really got schooled on that), she spoke of compassion and being a woman of prayer. I left her feeling enriched, and proud to know her.  She loved the Lord all her life, and set the stage for a legacy of a God-fearing family. God knew what I needed from this amazing woman.

God knew my hearts desire to have a grandmother in my life, and when I got married He blessed me with the best grandmother anyone could ask for.  Margaret Covington blessed me with love, courage, laughter, hugs, tears, wisdom, open rebuke, and a ton of wonderful memories to last a lifetime. She was so good to me, I truly miss her everyday. The things I learned from her I will treasure forever. God knew what nuggets I would need from this amazing woman.

Even though my biological grandmothers died when I was quite young. I know from memory that they were both wonderful women of God. They loved the Lord and were God-fearing women. I can remember going to church with my maternal grandmother a lot, she was a quiet woman, she had what I would call a quiet strength. I even shared a bedroom with her when me and my mom stayed with her for a short while. She would talk to me on those nights in our bedroom, I really wish I could remember our conversations, I do remember her praying.  My paternal grandmother was very stern but stern in love. A no-nonsense kind of lady, she loved family gatherings, and wanted everyone to have a good time. I can remember how in her latter years when she became ill, during the holidays, she would always thank the Lord for allowing her to be with us all for another year. My grandmothers were great matriarchs who laid the foundation for their families. I have a little of both them in me, I love Lord with my whole heart, I am a praying woman, I love family gatherings and like them both I had a large family of my own.

I love the memories of all of my grandparents. However there’s something about a grandmother. The women that God sent into my life, were women that paved the way for their bloodline, they knew what was important. They kept the house together, through prayer, and they could make something out of nothing. They were graceful, intelligent and strong. Families are important, they are made by prayer, love, and strong matriarchs that are willing to teach as well as be an example.

Gratitude #43

23 Aug

I have been reading a lot lately. Thinking on what is in my heart to blog about. So many things have been important to me lately. I have wrote a lot of my thoughts down, so much to be thankful for. It’s like when you have a smile on the inside of you. I like to think of it as a smile in my heart. There’s no logical reason as to why it should be there but it’s there all the same. Or when you find yourself whispering, thank you daddy, and nothing hasn’t happened yet, but you know that something is happening right in the midst of the chaos.

I am grateful today for the radical way God is showing Himself to not just me but my whole family. Often times when you go through the highs and lows of life, it effects only you. The people around you, meaning your family and sometimes close friends may know what’s going on but are not really affected by it. The devil has thrown a lot of punches at me as well as my family, it has shaken us, and really hurt us. However, it has also made us closer. There is a compassion, and appreciation for one another, we are praying for one another, because we genuinely love each, and we want our family to be ok. Things are happening, I have a smile on the inside.

The key thing that I see is that God will get the Glory out of a situation no matter what. There’s always a reason to praise God. The thankfulness that I feel has lead me to worship, and my worship has lead to praise, and my praise is going to give me my awesome testimony. There are things that are happening and I have a smile on the inside.

My gratitude for today is not just about how me and my family are putting the devil into a tail spin, (even though that’s what we are doing), we are unbothered, and resting in the assurance that God has everything under control. I am grateful for that. I am thankful for the process, and how God has kept me during this season. Sleepless nights, yes I have them, lots of tears being shed, yes I have those too, crappy thoughts trying to take over my mind. Yes they come. All those things happen to me, and most of the time all I can say is Jesus!  The process to growth doesn’t feel good, it hurts. Job said, though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him, I will surely defend my ways to His face (Job 13:15). Though I am talked about, hurt, distressed, crying, fearful, exhausted, misunderstood, and whatever else may be going on, I will hope in Him, I will press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I see that things are happening, and I have a smile on the inside.

My gratitude and hope is in Christ. He is in me, Jesus is walking with me, He is covering me and my family. There’s a comfort that comes from knowing that no matter what happens I am going to be ok. I am a child of the most High God, He gives His angels charge over me and my family. (Matthew 4:6)

I pray that as you are reading this you feel the same comfort and confidence in Christ that I do. I pray that you will gain an assurance in your heart, that God is indeed in control. I can remember when I was a teenager attending C.O.G.I.C., the church mothers would sing, Can’t no body do me like Jesus. There is no one that can love you, or treat you like Jesus. Things are happening God is turning that situation around in your favor. Keep that smile in your heart.

Gratitude #42

19 Aug

Have you ever said in your prayer time,”Lord if you don’t do another thing for me, I will still worship you. I will still love you.” It’s a heartfelt prayer, I have said it many times myself. The question that I have is, do we really know what we are saying when we say that to our heavenly Father?

In our day-to-day lives we face so many things, not just bad things, but also good  things, things that can pull us away from God, even if they are good, those things maybe time-consuming, or take a lot of mental energy. God asks us to trust Him, we don’t have to be everything to everybody, we don’t have to do it all alone.  He asks us to walk in His ways, to cast our cares on Him. He wants us to love and worship Him and Him alone. He lets us know that He is a jealous God. He blesses us with so many things, so can you still love Him if all the blessings stopped and all you had was your life, just the clothes on your back and the breath in your body. Could you still worship and serve God?

Job went through this very thing. He lost everything, his children, money, business, health. He lost every thing but the breathe in his body. Through it all he never cursed God, he maybe questioned him but he never cursed him. I look at how that would have went in today’s time. To lose everything kids, money, health, home, to just have nothing. Would your spouse stay with you, could you stand the gossip, social media today would kill some. We are so consumed (to some to degree), on how we are viewed by others, we have to be in right standing with our peers. What about being in right standing with God? Does anyone on social media have a heaven or a hell to put you in? Does any of your peers have the ability to breath life into your body? The bible says what profit a man to gain the world but lose his soul. If you lost it all, if He didn’t do another thing for you, would you still love and worship Him?

The bible tells us that we can’t serve two masters, you will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t love and trust the things of this world more than we love God. Make your allegiance known. God says that if we are luke warm He would spit us out. So that tells me that no matter what happens God is always with us, times will get hard and we will go through much hardship but it’s never worth giving up on our heavenly father.

The enemy wants us to give up, curse God, lose our faith and hope. That’s why it is so important to have the word hidden in your heart, so that we won’t sin against God. That we won’t turn to idols, or worry, or lose hope. When we are in the midst of the storm He stands with us, so stand don’t waver in faith. Our faith has to stand in season and out of season. No matter what we loose, or even what we gain, we have to stay in God. The bible tells us that eyes have not seen nor ears heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him.

If He doesn’t do anything else for you, will you still serve Him? If He takes everything away from you, family, cars, money, health, and even your reputation, would you still worship Him and give Him your very best. I say yes, yes I will still worship you Lord. I will let nothing separate me from God, because at the end of it all nothing is better than resting in Glory in eternal salvation.  Proverbs 3:5,6; Deut 30:16; Psalm 55:22; Deut 4:24; Job; Mark 8:36