BLOG MESSAGE 3-
Use it all, Jesus, Please use it all!
Lord all of these feelings, all of this hurt, the fear, the abandonment, the loneliness, abuse, anger, feelings of not enough, shame, embarrassment, coveting people beside you that you think have what you pray for, seeing those who have safety, comfort, peace and love and wanting it so much….all the jealousy, crying in the shower, pushed down rage, need to be busy, just pushing forward attitude, masks, mirroring, crying out, hitting your steering wheel, numbness, feelings that you can only do what is in front of you because you can’t deal with more, feelings that you have lost your passion, your compass, your heart, your health, any sense of self, and any desire to care about more than you have to do, Lord any broken relationships, broken trust, spoken words you didn’t mean, actions you wish you could take back….PLEASE LORD JESUS- PLEASE USE IT ALL! USE IT ALL!
Use it all for your glory, use it all in me! Let these broken shards be the solid foundation for the greatest moments, the greatness closeness to you, trust in you, surrender to you, purpose, love and relationships on this earth. Please use it all Lord for a life I never imagined, skills I didn’t know I possessed, a person I didn’t know I was capable of being. Please use it all Lord to lift myself, my loved ones, and anyone I cross paths with up Lord. Lift us all up in your ever loving, all knowing, and merciful, grace-filled plans for our lives. When we feel crushed and useless please Lord use it all and show us where this all is headed. Although we don’t see the finish line please use it all and power us in our lane as you provide safety bumpers through the people and events that come into our lives. Use it all Lord to fulfill your purpose in our lives.
Use it all Lord to shine your love to others and believe that we can do all things. That we will not give up, that quitting, turning to hate, indifference, pushing others away, despair, and deception are not the way. Use it all Lord to give us strength, power, and purpose that we have never felt nor imagined before. Use it all Lord for your glory! Use it all Lord because I surrender my pain, fear, heartache, shame and worries to you and am ready for a life that you have seen for me! Use it all Lord as I hold on to you, cry out to you in faith not fear, and use it all through me to use my gifts in ways I never knew possible.
I love you Lord and I pray you use it all in me for your purpose and glory. I believe!
Blog Message 2 – DO YOU SURRENDER AND TRUST IN THE LORD OR DO YOU PRAY WITH A PLAN B?
When you face struggles or trauma have you ever told the devil he’s a liar? When you pray do you say it, claim it, and move on? OR ….Do you have a plan B in case God is not on board your plan (I mean prayer)?
With all the conveniences we have in the US, with all the luxuries, the controls we are able to put over our lives…..Have you become comfortable enough with all the things you can control to then limit the control you give to God? Do you feel like you need a touch of control in the fruition of your prayers? Is it fear? Is it arrogance and ego? Is it habit? If you are in a trauma experience do you feel you can surrender it all or are you afraid?
In the Bahamas my personal opinion of my resolve in prayer was rocked like an earthquake! While waiting and watching my kids play drums and look at different cultural items in a market on the island I was taken aback at how upfront, in my face, and intrusive a stranger was to me about my prayer life. He was a tall, large man, with a big presence, who walked right up to me and simply asked, “Do you pray over your children?” I sheepishly answered, “Ummmm yes?” He saw my questioning face and said with a bold voice, “No. Do you pray over them, claim it and thank God for it with belief! Sister, without doubt do you pray over your children?”
I was kind of shaken….not in a threatening way, not in an uncomfortable way…..but in a I felt less than him and almost a fraud kind of way. I talked with him a minute or so about how he prays and then we went on with our day. Throughout the day I kept thinking of his unwavering stance and belief in God and his solidified connection to God via prayer. I was a bit envious of his boldness and a bit inspired, but also a bit embarrassed in myself.
The next day brought another in your face experience with prayer. We had a different excursion on the island and had to take a passenger van to get to a locals beach. I was seated in the very back of the van and had to bend over carrying a heavy bag to shuffle to the door and that’s when I felt it! I felt the horrible nerve pain that always preceded my back going out. I dreaded the thought of my right leg eventually drawing up an inch or so off the ground, my waist being an inch or so to the left, and me being no fun and much less likely to play with my children on a beach. I thought God please help me, please don’t let my back go out during this time with my children! I tried to rub it and ignore it and direct my thoughts to the hope that maybe it won’t happen this time.
As soon as we dropped our stuff in the sand my little girl ran to a lady doing braids on the beach and yelled, “Mommy can I get my hair braided?” We walked over and the lady smiled a warm smile to us both as she sat my daughter down and began braiding. The lady soon noticed my fidgeting and rubbing on my lower back/hip area and she said to me in a Caribbean accent, “Whatsa matta mama?” I said, “Oh, we only have one day at the beach and I want to play with my kids but I think my back is going to go out. I just want this day with my kids. “ WITHOUT ANY HESITATION she moved swiftly and put her body about an inch from my face and said in a bold, loud, almost combative voice, “Tell the devil he’s a liar!!!” I looked at her with what I am sure were big quarter-sized eyes and a shocked face and she stepped back and dismissively said, “That’s it!” as if she was saying to me you can go now the lesson is over.
So I stood there uncomfortable and unsure of what to say to her. I returned to my chair and thought a while, then I prayed to God about my children, my back, and as she firmly suggested I told the devil he’s a liar and asked God to rebuke the devil for the first time.
(As a follow up on the prayer- that day I rode a banana boat, swam with my kids, kayaked, ran and passed ball. We had a day of giggles, and forming new island friendships because my back did not go until that night, back on the ship.)
For the next week or so I couldn’t stop thinking of the Bahamian man and woman with 100% hope and zero doubt in God’s deliverance. Folks in the Bahamas have less conveniences, less abundance but what we have in “stuff” they seem to have tenfold in substance, faith, and devotion.
A week or so later I went to my Bible study and as I listened to the discussion I had to impulsively interject, “Have y’all ever told the devil he’s a liar?” The ladies at the table stopped talking and basically all said, “huh?” I then said, “Have you ever told the devil he’s a liar?” There was silence so I continued with, “I haven’t until just last week….” I then asked, “When y’all pray are you able to pray it, claim it, and leave it to God or does your mind start planning an alternative based on what you know in case God doesn’t give you what you ask for?” I told them there was no judgement here because although I hated to admit it and hadn’t realized it before my Bahamas experience, that I had been guilty of this myself. I was very guilty of unconsciously formulating plans B,C,D…. and so on in my mind just in case. Why? Didn’t I tell my kids that you only need the faith of a mustard seed to move mountains….where was my trust, my faith, my hope in God’s deliverance?
Why did I feel that if my own understanding was enough that I should even pray in the first place? It’s rather silly if you think of it in the reverse. If I have enough power and understanding to take care of this need then why should I bother God? But the thing is I do NOT have the power, I am filled with fear, and I DO need God because most of the time I don’t have clue how to do it all, how a situation can turn out, what the resolution is to a problem, how an illness will heal. Why would I not go ahead and surrender it all, all the fear, all the lies in my head of doubt or not being worthy and just rest in God’s love, grace, power, and mercy. Why would I not tell the devil he is a liar and tell God that I surrender it all and ask God to show me my path. Now I am not saying surrender, sit down and watch Netflix while God goes to work. You have to keep praying, keep pushing forward, keep learning, keep working, but STOP DOUBTING the love and plan that God has for you. Sisters open your heart and pray with a full heart of love, hope, faith and trust in the Lord. Pray with confidence because even if you don’t get the answer you are looking for your vision is much smaller than the Lord’s view and you may be headed in a better direction. Tell the devil he is a liar, know that you are enough, you are worthy, and clutch to the words of…
Proverbs 3:5-6 “ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Blog #1 – 7/17/19
When told that I should write a blog to accompany the book I found the word “blog” intimidating because… how do you start….how do you best honor your audience’s time…. which tidbit do you share first…. how do you repetitively capture someone’s attention without losing authenticity….. “blog” to me was scarier than speaking to a room filled with hundreds of folks and told that I had to speak to and connect with 90% of the them directly.
BUT with that said HERE GOES…..
BLOG Message #1-Denial, searching, and your truth
How did you get here? Why did the word HOPE catch your attention when someone may have told you of 365 Women of Hope, or if it flashed on your Facebook feed, or if you ended up here by accident. What brings us all to search for HOPE is different for everyone, but one common thread is typically that none of us would have asked for the event/trauma/or experience that caused us to drop to our knees, either literally or metaphorically, and actively NEED HOPE.
Can you potentially relate to these thoughts?
“God how am I here??? This is NOT my life! This is absolutely ridiculous! I am NOT the woman this happens to! This can’t be my life! I never asked for this! I have actually worked so hard my whole life trying to do the right thing that you’ve got to be kidding me that this is what I get! ….Ok, hold up, I’ll just think…where did I make the wrong choice, the wrong turn….where was the moment I should have decided differently? Who cares now I guess because here I am …. Great! I must be a complete idiot because all of my friends, colleagues, neighbors….they seem to have gotten it right! Why can’t I just have NORMAL like them? Can I even tell all of them what’s going on? NO! Absolutely not! But, if I don’t tell then I have to face this all alone? No way I can do this by myself! God, I don’t even know where to start to handle this. Will people think that I’m at fault, or stupid, or maybe they’ll just pity me and that’s even worse ….. Why oh why God am I now in a bad Lifetime movie that my sister would love, but that I would never even watch – much less live out myself ?? I do NOT want to be here! Please God just make this stop- this can’t be real! I feel like I am dreaming and just want to wake up! Please God! I can’t do this anymore…..” and the tears begin again….
If any of these thoughts have entered your mind in the confrontation of a new life experience you are facing – please know– YOU ARE NORMAL! Perhaps you later felt that you’ve got this and can handle anything. You believe that you have it under control and can face it head on with the chance for a whole new life and future. But then within hours you fall back into the same mental script of why why why are you facing this, it’s not fair and there’s a deep fear of what if you can’t do it- again please know– YOU ARE NORMAL!
No matter what your trauma…. Whether it is relational, addiction, finance, health, suicide, assault, infertility, loss……there is likely a period of shock and awakening where you discover that your expectations of what your life should be and the reality of what your life is- DO NOT MATCH. That may very likely piss you off, it may paralyze you from action because you don’t know or trust anything anymore, or it may just make you cry like you never have cried before. You may even think that you will go crazy because one minute you are fine and then you feel like a hot mess who doesn’t have anything under control. It may feel that this cycle is set on repeat. Again- YOU ARE NORMAL.
Let’s go back to the word “should”- your expectation of how things “should” look or be like. Life has no manual or exact track like a train. You are more than likely living out your “should life” and maybe have gotten really good denying or putting your head in the sand to anything that doesn’t fit neatly into your “should life.” But when life smacks you so hard that you can’t ignore the variance between what SHOULD be your life and what IS your life – then you need hope and faith AND people to walk through this with you. You are capable of getting through what ever you are facing. Turn your heart to God, surrender it all, know that you are strong and capable and please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I encourage you to drop to your knees- not because life knocked you down- but because you chose to ask for help.
Try this prayer….
“Lord I surrender this situation and my life to you, please surround me and my family with a hedge of angels, please Lord help me to hold on to you, your promises, and your love with each step of this journey. Please Lord bring me (us) from this with blessings that are far beyond anything I could have humanly imagined. Send me daily reminders of the strength, guidance, love, and support that I have from you and in this world. When I falter in strength please send me an angel in your chosen form to re-center me. Lastly, Lord please grant me the wisdom and actions needed to navigate this and remain on the path you have set out for me. My hope and strength rest in you Lord. I trust you to never forsake me.”