Monthly Archives: April 2016

Be The Change You Want To See…..

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be-the-change-you-want-to-see-in-the-worldIf, like myself, you try your best to live according to the word of God; and you believe what it says, then you understand what I am about to say: we are truly living in the last days. And yes, many will argue that we have been living in the last days for quite some time. However, I believe things have gotten progressively worse, only to get far worse than what they are. This by the way is a terrifying thought.

As I was riding the train home from work yesterday the Holy Spirit dropped this in my spirit: My heart grieves for humanity. I can only imagine how God feels. The lack of respect, compassion, and love among us today is heartbreaking. We, in our self-centeredness, do not give people the room to just be who they are. We ridicule and speak negatively about anything someone does that makes no sense to us. And the question I ask….even to myself….is how is it affecting you? If it’s not, let it go. We’ve adopted the term petty and somehow use it to justify some of our actions and quite frankly it’s disheartening. And then we wonder why the generation behind us lacks respect, discipline, and compassion among other things.

Many would say I just need to continue to pray for humanity. But quite frankly, I don’t know what else to pray. So I no longer pray for humanity.  I pray for myself.  I pray and ask God to help me be the change I want to see.  I pray and ask God to quickly check me when I began to show lack of respect or compassion or love for my fellow humans.  Sometimes this can be hard as humanity will test every bit of my patience.  But I stop and reflect that every day God shows me compassion.  Every day God shows me grace.  Every day God shows me mercy.  And every day God shows me his love.  Even in my mess none of this ever changes.  God is the same towards me each and every day.  So I pray and ask God to give me a heart like his.  A heart that is full of compassion.  A hear that is full of love.  A heart that is full of mercy.  A heart that is full of grace. A heart that is full of forgiveness.  I often say that I am so glad God is not like us.  If he were, none of us would be here.  But blessed be the name of the Lord for his mercy!

While my heart grieves for humanity I can only be concerned about me. I can only continue to strive every day to be better than the day before.  Because at my day of judgment, there will be no one else standing there with me.  God will make me give an account for my life and my actions.  Until then I will continue to pray, “Lord, give me a heart like yours.

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Never Would’ve Made It

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I GOT THE JOB!!!!!! I could not contain my excitement!!! I was bouncing up and down in my seat!!! I didn’t know who to call first!!! I just kept saying, thank you Jesus!!!! Thank you Jesus!!!! Thank you Jesus!!!! The entire moment was surreal. God blessed me with the job I wanted, in the location I wanted to be in. I could not respond to the email fast enough saying yes I was still interested!

Turns out the hiring manager had been trying to reach me. She said that she had left several messages but I had not received any of them. The email was sent as a last resort and I only had 72 hours to respond. By the time I read the email, I only had 24 hours to respond and it was clear the favor of God was all over the situation. It is said that God works in mysterious ways and this scenario was no exception. If my friend had not called to ask me if I had applied to the job she told me about, I would have never checked my email. At least not in time. But God put it on the heart of her supervisor to call my friend to find out if I had applied, and then put it on the heart of my friend to call me. Only God can move like that!!

My start date was set for three weeks after I accepted the position. I had three weeks to pack up my apartment….again….and figure out where I would stay until I found an apartment in DC. Thankfully, I was able to stay with a friend and on January 10, 2014 I bid Philadelphia a fond farewell and headed south.

I was in awe of how God had moved. Some felt like the job was not from God and that I was being to hasty. But I knew this was God. I had peace about it all. My perfect storm was over. The storm clouds gave way to sunshine. And God opened the windows of heaven and blessed me. And I refused to allow the enemy to convince me otherwise.

It has been two years since my move to Washington, DC., and I sometimes still cannot believe that I am here. For four years God taught me how to trust him completely and to have faith….a faith all my own. I learned that God is faithful even when I am not. I learned that God will stand by his word and that his word will not return to him void. I learned that when I am weak he is strong. And I learned that there is nothing in the world like the peace of God. When all hell was breaking out in my life, I had God’s peace. And although there were days when I felt like I could no longer go on, God kept me. He kept me in the midst of it all.

Since God has restored me, he continues to do the amazing in my life. I pledged Kappa Epsilon Psi Military Sorority; I co-authored a book titled Wounds Healed, Scars Revealed; I joined Toastmasters and I’m three speeches away from earning my Competent Communicator award; I started a home based travel agency business; I started blogging; and I recently did my first speaking opportunity. I’ve still had challenges. But God is good and as been so very good to me.

I am secure in my relationship with God. I’m not perfect and God is still working on me. But I know he is real and no one can tell me any different.

If you find that all hell is breaking out in your life, know that God is faithful. Trust him. Believe his word. Walk by faith. And he will see you through.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:23-23

Trust Is More Important Than Understanding

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Trust Is More Important Than Understanding

It is easy to trust God and have faith the size of a mustard seed when everything in your life is going well. But trusting him and walking by faith when you have been stripped of everything, when your back is against the wall, when the only thing you have is God, is quite a different story. This is where I was. I was fighting to trust God every day. I was fighting the devil for my peace. I was fighting the devil for my joy. I was fighting the devil for my hope. I was in round 12 of a knock down drag out fight with the devil. But I could hear God saying…..

Do not be afraid or discouraged…. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 

Upon returning to Philadelphia I stayed for a brief moment with a sister-in-Christ. I was looking for employment in Philadelphia when the fuel pump in my car cracked. It was going to cost me $1000.  This was not what I needed. I needed my car. I had no money and no idea how I was going to get my car fixed. “JESUS HELP!!”

Shortly thereafter I received a call from a friend. She was calling to inform me I had mail at her home. Because I left Philadelphia so abruptly and relocated to North Carolina, there wasn’t much time to complete a change of address.  So she continued to collect my mail for me. My friend goes on to tell me that she was going through junk mail that needed to be shredded when she came across an envelope with my name on it. She told me that she was about to toss it in the shred pile but God said, “Open it.” She said she hoped I didn’t mind but she opened it and it was a check from my bank for $1500. I said a check? From what bank? She told me the name. I said that’s my bank but are you sure it’s a check? She said yes. I found a ride to her house and just as she said there was a check for me in the amount of $1500! I could not believe my eyes! I called my bank to verify that the check was legitimate and it was.  I could not believe it! I was not expecting a check, let alone a check for $1500!!

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

I was so grateful and thankful!!  The song says “He may not come when you want him but he’s always right on time,” and God was right on time with that unexpected blessing!  I was able to have my car repaired and purchase some items that I needed.

My job search continued.  I reached out to a friend/former colleague at Temple University who hired me to work part time in an after school program.  I also was offered part-time work as a security officer with the help of another friend.  So just like that I went from no job to two jobs in a few months!!  I moved in with my sister and continued to work two part time jobs.  A few months later the Lord spoke to me and said, “It is time to get your own place.” I said Lord are you serious?  Do you know how much money I don’t make? I can’t afford to have my own place right now.  I need more money.  The Lord responded with……

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.”

I still was not confident in my ability to maintain an apartment.  When I calculated what I was bringing home between the two part time jobs, it just did not seem as though it were enough.  But I was learning to trust God and to step out on faith.  I was learning to not depend on my own ability or understanding. But to trust in a God who had a proven track record.

A neighbor from my previous neighborhood reached out to a friend and told her that the apartment upstairs from him was available.  He asked her if she knew anyone that was in the market for an apartment and she called me.  Just like that, without having to do any research, God dropped an apartment in my lap.  It was unreal. But the bible tells me that God does all things well.  So I completed the application and made an appointment to pay the required deposit and pick up the keys to my apartment.  I loved the sound of that….my apartment.  I was beyond excited! The storm clouds were slowly breaking and things were beginning to look up.

Three days before I was scheduled to pick up the keys to my apartment I received a call from a company I had applied to while living in Washington DC.  After three interviews with this agency they decided to go with another candidate.  However, that candidate decided not to stay and they wanted to know if I was still interested.  Of course I was interested! However the hiring manager wanted me to come in for another interview.  I explained to her that I had moved to Philadelphia and asked if we could do the interview over the telephone.  She said they really wanted to meet with me in person.  I explained to her that I was scheduled to pick up keys to my apartment on the day that she wanted me to come in for the interview.  I wanted to know was this a job offer before I made a decision.  She explained to me this was not a job offer and that a decision would be made once they met with me.  I was faced with a serious dilemma.  I had to pray about it.  So I told her I would let her know within 24 hours.

I weighed my options carefully.  I really wanted to live in the DMV and this agency was one of the jobs I was really excited about.  On the other hand, I needed an apartment.  I had been without a home of my own for too long and I was afraid to take the chance of turning down the apartment and not being offered the position for a second time.  I prayed about it.  I slept on it.  And when I woke up the next morning, I telephoned the agency and told them I would have to decline.  Some would think that was the wrong decision.  However, I had peace about it and that was enough for me.  One week later I moved into my own apartment.  I cannot adequately explain the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness that came over me when I received the keys.  I could not stop crying and thanking God for his faithfulness.

Life was returning to some sense of normalcy.  I was working again and I had my own place.  I was offered a full time position with the security company which I gladly accepted.  I was named employee of the quarter. And then five months later I was offered another full time position with another company.  A job I didn’t even apply for.  My supervisor said he liked me and wanted me to have it.  God, you better stop playing with me!!  God was restoring me and I was so grateful.  I still was not at the salary range I was before I was laid off but I had my own and there is nothing like the feeling of having your own.

Before I started my new full-time job I received a call from an agency in Washington DC that I had applied to for employment.  They wanted me to come in for a third interview.  To be honest, I had forgotten about this position; I applied in April 2012 and here it was September 2013.  I debated driving to the DMV for the interview. My rationalization was if God wanted me in the DMV I would still be there.  But I didn’t have peace about not going so I said why not; if nothing else its good practice.  The interview went well and I was told that I would be notified by Thanksgiving.  So I started my new full time job and gave no more thought to the position in DC.

Thanksgiving came and went and I had not heard anything about the position in DC.  I was still in search of a better paying position so I continued to look in Philadelphia.  A friend told me about an open position with her company, to which I applied.  A few weeks later my friend called me and asked had I applied to the position.  I said yes.  She said the hiring manager said they did not receive my resume.  I told my friend that I received a confirmation number via email.  I logged into my email to get the confirmation number for my friend when I saw it; an email from DC Superior Court.  My heart skipped a beat.  I hesitated opening it.  It was probably another rejection and if it was it would not sting as bad as the others.  I clicked on the email and read these words…

We have been trying to reach you.  We want to make you an offer for the position you applied for with DC Superior Court.

Encourage Yourself

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Unlike my relocation to Philadelphia, my move to the DMV did not go as planned. And it is probably safe to say that the move was not God’s will……at that time. But Romans 8:28 reminds me that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.
I had the tedious task of packing up my parents apartment. My parents…..no correction…..my mother had a lot of stuff!!! I joke and say they left me to clean out their apartment because they didn’t want to. Cleaning out their apartment was tedious but fun. I found items that brought back memories. I laughed often while packing their apartment. But there were also moments I cried.

I am grateful to the property manager of my parents apartment complex. She was very understanding and gracious and allowed me to stay there for three months. But the day had come and I was headed to Washington DC. I was excited about moving to the DMV! I wanted to settle in the area so I was really hoping that God made this work for me.

I moved in with a friend. He was leaving soon for military duty so the plan was while he was away, I would house sit. It was a fool proof plan. I would look for employment and by the time he returned the following year, I would be ready to move into my apartment. Turns out I was the fool with “my plan.” It is said if you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. He was laughing hysterically at me.

I spent my days searching for employment. I was desperate. I had no money and I needed to work. Each day I sent out 10-15 resumes. Initially I was choosey about the jobs I applied to. But as time went on I became even more desperate and started applying everywhere. I applied to Walmart, Target, McDonalds; anywhere that had a We Are Hiring sign, I applied. But no one was calling me for interviews. I knew it was bad when McDonald’s did not call. Every day I struggled with trusting God. Every day I struggled with my faith. But every day I reminded myself of the promises of God:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28

“Now faith is the substance of those things hoped for and the evidence of those things not yet seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1-2

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

Day in and day out I encouraged myself in the promises of God. Some days were better than others but every day I dwelled more and more in the peace of God.

One day I was having a bad day. I was feeling sorry for myself. I was discouraged and struggling to believe that things would turn around for me. I was praying and crying when suddenly I stopped crying. Instantly the tears stopped and I felt an amazing sense of peace come over me that I had never felt before. It was as though God wrapped his arms around me and held me. My body relaxed. The tears stopped. And I felt calm, renewed, strengthened, as though I could go on another day. It was in that moment that I learned of the peace of God which surpasses all understanding.

Time marched on and still no leads. I was getting calls for interviews and even had second interviews; but no offers of employment. I continued to encourage myself in the word of God and in song. Three months after arriving in Washington DC my friend learns that he would not be deployed. A month after that he tells me he was ready to have his home back. I had to leave? Where was I going? I had no job. I had no money. I had nothing….literally. I was what I coined as borderline homeless because I also had no place to call my own. There are storms and then there are “Perfect Storms” and I was in the eye of my perfect storm.

The crying continued. I longed for my mother. I needed her to hold me. I needed to hear her say, “It’s going to be ok baby.” I needed her. She would know what to do. But she was gone. I had no one. I was alone. “WHY DID YOU TAKE MY MOTHER GOD?!!!! WHY?!!! And God said, “because I needed to teach you to trust me and live by faith, and if she were alive you would not learn what I am trying to teach you.” That was such an aha moment for me. I thought about it for a moment and then said, “So now what God?”

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” ~ Psalm 121:1-2

But while I was looking to the hills, I was also looking at my friend to fill my emotional needs. I was looking to him to make me happy. I was looking to him to make me feel better about myself. But I heard God say….

“I AM in your life!”

“I AM the one who gives you joy!”

“I AM the one who loves you.”

“I AM your provider!”

“I AM the one who died for you!”

God was also teaching me not to look to anyone else to do what only God could do in my life. Only God is able to fill the void in my life. God is………

I had to move but where was I going? I had options; Florida, Hawaii, or back to Philadelphia. I weighed the pros and cons; packed up my car; said goodbye to my friend; and headed back to Philadelphia. I wasn’t clear what my next move was, but I believed……

He Knows The Plans He Has For Me

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He Knows The Plans He Has For Me

Have you ever watched someone die? It’s agonizing. It’s gut wrenching. It’s life altering. I don’t know why God would make that part of my story. I have asked the question but never received a clear answer. Whatever the reasoning, I wish that on no one. Not even my worse enemy.

After receiving the call that my dad died, I had to go to the hospital. When I arrived the nurse told me she had just come on shift. When she went in to check on him, he took his last breathe. She said she held his hand as he transitioned.

She gave me time to say goodbye. I sat by his bed and cried. I finally got up, kissed him on his forehead and told him he could now be with mommy. As the nurse and doctors came in to prep my dad to be transported, I began to make calls. I called Don Brown Funeral Home; the same funeral home that handled my mother’s funeral. They remembered me and reassured me that they would handle everything. I called family and friends. I notified my dad’s job. I went over the checklist in my mind until I headed back home.

A few hours later Charles from the funeral home called to let me know they had my dad’s body and that I could come in the next day to start making arrangements.

I was drained. I was tired. I was sad. Not even two years after burying my mother, I was now faced with the daunting task of planning my dad’s funeral. This time seemed easier. Maybe because I had been here before. Whatever it was, I am forever grateful for the outpouring of love and support that I received from loved ones. I am also grateful to Don Brown’s Funeral Home for their outstanding service, thoughtfulness, and compassion in planning my parents funeral.

Just as I did for my mom, I spoke at my dad’s funeral. Again, you never know how strong you are until you need to be. It was a lovely service and burial as the United States Army paid tribute to my dad and presented the family with a flag in his honor.

After the last guest had left I was again left alone to deal with the grief. By this time my mom had come to me in a dream to let me know everything would be just fine. But I had no job. I had no money. And I had two months to vacate my parents apartment. I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was going to do. I just knew I did not want to go back to Philadelphia. I rationalized that this was all part of God’s plan. So I planned to throw caution to the wind and move to Washington DC. I had a plan. Find a job. Find an apartment. Start a new life.

I had a plan….it just did not line up with God’s plan.