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MOVING FORWARD

Sunday, November 12, 2017

There was a time when, without fear or hesitation, all God had to do was speak a Word and I would move in His direction. But somewhere along the line I lost my fearlessness and replaced it with anxiety and worry. God's ability to achieve the impossible is not the cause of our unbelief. But it is our feelings of inadequacy that lead us to believe we are unworthy of experiencing the manifestation of a miracle. In Luke chapter five God directs Peter to take his boat out to the deep and let down his nets. Peter responds:

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” 
- Luke 5:5 (NIV) 

Peter's response is familiar. Around this time a year ago I had a "But because you say so." attitude. I left my job waiting tables with no prospect of another source of income but I had an overwhelming desire to help people within the nonprofit sector and a Word that God was calling me to do the same. After a month of filling out applications for AmeriCorps positions all over the states, I finally landed an opportunity at home at an organization called Foreverfamily. With nothing but $20 in my pocket, I flew to Orlando to take my oath and complete my training. Stepping out on faith and leaving my serving job was hard because at the time I was so unsure of myself and my abilities but God was calling me deeper and when He said, "Follow me." I couldn't help but shift my feet forward and it was the best decision I ever made. Obedience to God is never easy initially but I can faithfully say that once you take that first step, every one after it gets a little bit easier.

My posts have been sparse these last few months because the shaking has begun again and it's time to move with the current of God instead of against Him. It seems more difficult this time around than any other season of shifting I've been in. I'm comfortable and I feel settled in a way I haven't felt in a long time but the deep of God will always push you away from the familiar in order to propel you towards the next level of your destiny. Don't make fear and uncertainty your idol, and don't allow a false sense of stability and comfort cause you to be disobedient to the voice of God. Every time you tell God not yet you are moving closer and closer towards rebellion. Peter's obedience was the key to the manifestation of the blessing he had spent all night toiling over.

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
- Luke 5:6-11 (NIV)

If you feel like God has given you a Word for your life, pray and ask Him to confirm it. Once He confirms it move with an expectation that it will come to pass.

Prayer: 
Lord, forgive us for our fear and our disobedience. Though our humanity causes us to be weak, we know that your strength is made perfect in our weakness. I pray that your sons and daughters will be sensitive to your spirit in this season of their lives. Father, I pray that you would empower and encourage them as they move towards the destiny you have prepared for them. We believe that He who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it, so Lord, finish what you've started within us. Help us to be the men and women you had in mind when you created us and send your Spirit to guide us into all truth. Amen.

Study Verse: Numbers 9:15-23

Watch: "All Systems Go" By Steven Furtick at Elevation Church

HAPPY GALENTINE'S DAY

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Over the weekend a few girls and I celebrated Galentine's Day. And if you don't know what Galentine's Day is, it's basically Valentine's Day except you celebrate with some of your closest girlfriends. My friend Shannon is a Mary Kay Consultant and thought it would be a great idea to take Galentine's Day to the next level and have facials, eat an obscene amount of sweets, and talk about the importance of inner beauty as well as outer beauty. So I put together a small devotional for us to do as we stripped our makeup off and shared our hearts with one another.

To my surprise, though some of us were meeting for the first time we had a real and honest dialogue about the things that were getting in the way of us pursuing God fully and completely. We all went around the table and each girl answered fully and completely the areas they wanted God to make over in their personal lives.

I was fortunate to be surrounded by such beautiful and strong women anchored in their faith and committed to being the women God desires them to be. We ended the discussion by giving a compliment to the girl sitting to the left and right of us and I felt an overwhelming amount of love and sisterhood. I was in a room full of beautiful, bright women and not one of us felt the need to compete with the girl sitting next to us. However, we all felt the need to encourage the girl sitting next to us.

And that is what Valentine's Day is about, celebrating the people in your life who you love so even if you don't have a significant other this year, download my devotional and grab a group of your closest girls and talk about what matters most, a heart in pursuit of Christ. Love you!

FOR MY GOOD AND GOD'S GLORY

Friday, January 20, 2017



"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

As the haze of celebrating my 25th birthday comes to an end, I am reminded of what else happened around this time three years ago.

I sat on the bathroom floor waiting for confirmation of what I inherently knew already. “PREGNANT” There it was the one word that would ultimately shape the rest of my life. As the tears started falling in that moment I considered not moving forward with my pregnancy. At 21 I had just gotten my footing steady learning to work full-time, go to school and manage a place of my own all at the same time. A baby would change everything I was in the process of trying to build. “No one would have to know.” I thought to myself. Just as quickly as the thoughts started to form, something deep within me quickly dismissed them away.

I couldn’t fathom the idea of living my life with a secret as monumental as this one. I couldn’t fathom stripping myself of the opportunity to take responsibility for the choices I made. I couldn’t fathom making my innocent child pay it’s life for me to have a few more years of “freedom”. I took a deep breath and began the process of bracing myself to withstand the coming disappointment of my family.

Little did I know at the time, God would use the birth of my beautiful daughter and the subsequent relationship with her father (my ex-husband) to catapult me into the most profound journey of growth I could have ever imagined.

The presence of my daughter forced me to hold up a mirror and expose the deeply broken pieces of myself that I spent my life trying to run away from. So a few weeks ago when she randomly cupped my face in her little hands and said, “Mommy I saved you.” I responded with a huge smile and tears in my eyes and said, “Yes baby, you did.”

Without the birth of my daughter at 21, the pain of my divorce, and the struggle of being a single mother I would have never found the joy of seeking God’s face. Today more than ever I can truly announce with assured faith that all things are working for my good.

Maybe in this moment you are finding yourself in a similar situation and aren’t sure how to move forward. The best thing you can do is trust God and know that every situation you find yourself in whether, by your own decisions or the decisions of others, God can use those situations to grow your faith and groom you for the work He has called you to do in His kingdom. So count it all joy and continue seeking after the presence of God.

MY VISION & GOD'S PLAN

Saturday, January 7, 2017


Every year around this time I create a Vision Board for the year. As I reflect on the things listed on my 2016 Vision Board, I am struck by the visions that came true and the visions that changed completely. Here is a list of the things I placed on my Vision Board last year:

1. Closer Relationship With God
2. More Intimate Relationship With My Husband
3. Conscious/Present Parent
4. Yoga Practice
5. Healthier Eating Habits
6. Build A Successful Photography Studio
7. A Cozy Bungalow in Atlanta For My Family


The number one thing on my list I accomplished hands down, subsequently it's really the only thing on the list that matters the most. This time last year I was not in the place I desired to be spiritually. Because of the strife in my marriage at the time and among other emotional battles I was displeased with who I thought God was. However, the hard to swallow truth was that I had been seeing God wrong most of my life and around this time in 2016 because I asked Him, somewhat desperately, to reveal Himself to me I got to know God on a whole new level.

No I did not develop a more intimate relationship with my husband (in fact we got divorced), a steady yoga practice, eat healthier, build a successful photography studio, or buy a craftsman bungalow, but I did:

1. Develop a closer relationship with God
2. Learn what true love is and how to have a more intimate relationship with myself
3. Learn what God's calling is for my life
4. Became an AmeriCorps VISTA serving my community at a nonprofit built on Christian principles
5. Followed my writing passion and God's prompting to start writing my memoir
6. With God's help was able to rent a home (it kind of looks like a bungalow) in the WestEnd where I get to walk my daughter to school every morning

Although I didn't get the things I thought I wanted, I got exactly what God had planned for my life. Now that I have a deeper relationship with God I am able to tailor the desires of my heart to match the plans that He has for my life. So my vision for 2017 is more in alignment with God's plan than my own.

"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." - Psalm 37:23 NKJV

       
My scripture for 2017 is:

"Many are the plans in the mind of  a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." - Proverbs 19:21 ESV

Above all the things I desire to see happen in 2017, being in alignment with God's plan is what matters the most to me. As you create your plans and visions for 2017 I pray you will seek God's plan for your life first.

Here's my list for 2017:

1. Continue developing my relationship with God by striving after His purpose for my life.
2. Seek Him early in prayer and devotion
3. Instill the Word of God in my daughter by teaching her scriptures to memorize
4. Blog more diligently
5. Continue pursuing a career in Nonprofit Management and finish my degree.
6. Start saving for my tiny house 

FROM MOVIE NIGHT TO REVIVIAL

Monday, December 12, 2016

"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” - Matthew 18:20

Friday night I had the rare but fortunate opportunity to spend some time with one of my good friends Sydney who was hosting a Movie Night at her home for a group of her closest friends. Being a single mom and working full time doesn't leave much space for nights out with your girls so I was grateful to have some great adult conversation while still having the munchkin with me.

The night turned out to be everything I expected and more. Sydney picked us up and we headed over to her house, a car full of girls, laughter, and music. Gorging on pizza, sweets, and soda while watching and laughing at Head of State (it took us at least an hour to pick the movie) it was a harmless Friday night. After the movie ended we decided to end the night in a circle of prayer. Each one of us went around and gave specific requests that we were seeking from God and as we prayed aloud together the room was instantly filled with the Holy Spirit.

What started off as a mundane night of games, banter, and movies quickly turned into a night of worship and prayer. After we ended the prayer we began discussing different Christian topics and the different things we were struggling with as believers. Though the prayer had ended God was still in the midst and I felt compelled to speak into the life of one girl in particular that talked about the confidence she lacked to walk in her purpose as a believer at her job.

Without even thinking about it I began talking to her about who her Father in Heaven was and how she should never walk into any room and feel as though she's incapable of handling whatever position God has placed her in. From there I began speaking to every woman in the room and out of nowhere Movie Night quickly turned into a Revival.

Soon we were all on our knees in tears and although God used my voice to speak to the seven girls that were in that room, all of us, including me, left with a Word for our individual lives. Going into Movie Night I didn't expect to encounter God but He showed up anyway. Friday night taught me that as long as you leave room for God's presence in your everyday life He will most certainly show up and show out.

I'm certainly not a preacher but I am a servant of God who is devoted to fearing her Savior. The first step to making God the center of your life is leaving room for Him to show up.

FINDING MY WAY BACK HOME

Sunday, November 27, 2016


It's been a while since my last post. I took a much-needed hiatus to get my head and heart together. In all honesty, I was really just hiding from what God was telling me to do. Filling my days with endless irrelevant distractions to eradicate the whispers, "Write. Write. You need to be writing." I even went and got a new job to distract myself even further. But here I am, with a new look and a new focus on the content of this sacred space.

In the time I've spent away I regained a new perspective and clarity about the different events that have taken place in my life, the biggest of them being my divorce. This new perspective and clarity derived out of the many days I spent sitting in the presence of my Savior. In that time I found some healing and comfort, but most importantly I found a new definition for a life worth living.

I found the answers my heart was searching for in a quote from a sermon by one of my Pastor's. The quote says this:

"The garden of your ideal life is littered with disappointments.” – John Onwuchekwa

When I began January Blossoms my goal was to inspire and encourage women to reach their highest potential, to bloom into the fullest expression of themselves. But my idea and God's idea were two different things. What I believe God has in mind for the purpose and mission of January Blossoms has nothing to do with reaching the greatest expression of yourself but to realize that a life with God at the center of it is the only life worth living. 1 Timothy 4:7-10 says this: 

"Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe."

Reaching your highest potential is great but if in the end you still aren't in right relationship with God, what purpose will striving toward growth serve? My previous ideal life, the picture I had painted in my mind that said this is what will make me happy had nothing at all to do with my relationship with God. It had more to do with my marriage working, making a certain salary, and acquiring a home for my family. My life has been drastically shaken up for over six years now and it's taken me a long time to realize that God has been trying to get my attention.

Every day we go out into the world and become distracted by all of our human duties and God spends all day trying to pull us out of the haze and bring us back into His presence. I was watching the movie Finding Dory earlier with my daughter, and God spoke to me. 

In the movie, Dory suffers from short-term memory loss. Because Dory suffers from short-term memory loss her parents spend a lot of time training her in case she ever gets lost. Her parents train her by placing a trail of seashells to point her in the right direction and ultimately guide her home. God does the same thing for us. Throughout our everyday lives, He leaves a trail of seashells that will help us find our way back home, back to His presence. Sometimes those seashells look like spilled coffee on your shirt, sometimes they look like a failed job opportunity and sometimes they may even resemble a failed marriage.

What does a life centered around God truly look like? Is it even possible to do such a thing? These are the questions I hope my blog will answer. These are the questions that have been and will be at the forefront of my mind as my feet meet the floor when I awake every morning. 

"Father show me how to make You the center of my joy."

THE LORD IS NEAR TO THE BROKENHEARTED

Monday, January 18, 2016

"I've seen so many women settle for crumbs. But now I know that a relationship built on real love feels good. It should bring you joy--not just some of the time but most of the time. It should never require losing your voice, your self-respect, or your dignity. And whether you're 25 or 65, it should involve bringing all of who you are to the table, and walking away with even more." - Oprah Winfrey, What I know For Sure

"I think we should just let it go." In the last two years me and my husband have spoken that sentence more often than I would like to admit. We decided to get married after I got pregnant in 2013 thinking it was the best decision for our lives moving forward. Our relationship has been a roller coaster of ups and downs since we met back in high school. We were young, I loved him in what I consider the purest form of the word, but he wasn't ready to accept that love.

My unresolved issues of inadequacy lead me to pour out all of myself, in hopes he would learn to trust his heart in my hands. What resulted was insults, infidelity, and more feelings of inadequacy. So many times I tried to leave the situation in hopes of getting pieces of myself and my dignity back but fear kept reeling me back in. Fear of not deserving more, fear of the same thing repeating itself in my future.

But most of the time I returned to our relationship because the idea of loving myself in this broken space seemed like an overwhelming and daunting task. I didn't want to do the work, I didn't want to feel the shame and disappointing looks of family and friends. I didn't want to feel like I failed.

And besides as long as I stayed I could blame him for my bad choices. I could blame him for not being the person that I thought he was. But leaving would force me to take responsibility for not loving myself and I could continue glorifying my feelings of unworthiness, because if I'm being honest with myself "not enough" always felt more comfortable than "more than enough".

As we embark on another journey of separation, and file for divorce, I pray that we find the healing that we both need. It was our brokenness that brought us together but it was never meant to keep us together. We collided in order for us to propel forward towards the lives God had planned for us. And we have the amazing opportunity to take the best parts of who we were together and raise our daughter from that space.

Now is my time to find the places in my heart and soul that need mending and be willing to present those to God for Him to fix. We often take our wounds to other people and expect them to heal us and when they fall short we blame them for not being God.

 When I started this blog my mission was to use my life as a testament of God's glory, as difficult as it is to share this very private personal information, I know that it's bigger than me. And as I prayed before I started writing this post I was assured that I would be protected as long as I trust in Him. God has kept me and I will follow Him wherever He will have me go, even through the darkness.