Sunday, May 14, 2017

Curl on dem haters!

On the morning of Mother’s Day, I looked in the mirror and did an assessment of my hair. My hair was in a ponytail and it had been a few weeks since I'd been to the salon, so my edges were far from smooth - in other words I had NAPS! I begin to try and smooth them out but they stood right back at attention! As my mind went into its reflective place, I discovered there's a lot that we can learn from naps lol! 

No matter how life presses you down, you can always get back back up! 
Sometimes life comes at you hard and presses you on every side. Life may throw its best punches but girrrl be like the almighty NAP and keep getting back up! 

No matter what outside forces try to lay you down, you should always press through!
Many of you use the product so affectionately called Perfect Edges. You take a scoop of this and smooth it over your naps in efforts to lay them down. The naps may stay down for a day or so but then they come right back up saying, "HELLO!" Life will use outside forces to lay you flat on your back. It could be death of a loved one, illness, financial issues and so on. These things may knock you down and you may stay down for a short time but I encourage you today to be like the tenacious NAP and press through and get back up! 

No matter how people try to change you, be who you are and stand in it.  
NAPS lead a complicated life. People are always trying to change or alter them in some way. They're rarely accepted for their strength and beauty. Sometimes women of God are faced with this same challenge! People try to fit you into their version of you instead of accepting you for who you truly are. Girrrl, no matter what negativity comes your way, be like the non-compliant NAP and stand tall through it! 

Curl on dem haters! 
At the end of the day, be who you are which is a women of strength - NAP strong! No matter what trials come your way stand through them! We call them NAPS but really they're curly strands of beauty! So when life presses and lays you down, and people bring negativity your way, be a NAP and curl on dem haters. (Yeah I said it: I got hot sauce in my bag swag lol)!!!

Let this scripture encourage you during your night season
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Girrrl Stop Running on E!

I had to pick up my aunt from work one day and as usual I was running late. My car’s gas tank was on ‘E’ but I pushed it anyway as not to be even more tardy for the party (yes girrrl I said that lol). After picking them up, we ran into rush hour traffic which caused me to have to detour through the city. By this time, the gas tank was really on ‘E’ to where we were about to have to get out and get to pushin’! At this point I ordered everyone in the car to look for the first gas station There were three stations with the cheapest being the farthest away. I had to go to the first one because I had like 3 miles left til empty! It sucked because the first gas station was the highest priced one, but I had to take the first thing I could get. 

Girrrl, don’t let this be your dating life! 

Many times when we are running on empty or deficient in some areas of our lives it causes us to make thirsty decisions. We feed into loneliness and let it push us toward choosing the first gas station we come to. Fill yourself with the things you need so that you are not desperately searching for others to fill you. For one, that’s way too much pressure for any man to fill you with what you are lacking, let Christ fill you with what you need!

You need love? Love yourself. No one can effectively love you if you don’t love yourself. Know who you are in Christ and believe who He says you are! When you master this thought pattern in your life, you’re less likely to settle and accept treatment beneath who you are. 

You need to feel connected? Get out and socialize! Get busy!! Create the life you want to have so when the man comes along, he can focus on complimenting your already great life, not trying to fill something he’s unable to. 

You’re feeling lonely? It happens to all of us but I encourage you to begin to enjoy your own company! If you don’t enjoy being around you, why would someone else? In those times where you can’t push through, remember what God said in his Word, “…Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b) - you are never alone! Sometimes God wants to commune with you, girrrl enjoy this time with Jesus Christ because He does indeed call you friend! 

Girrrl Stop running on E! Be filled with the things of Christ and those things that interest you so you don’t stop at the first gas station you come to!! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Now is the Time to Renew Your Yes!

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t left you, without encouragement to keep you (said in my Rakim voice lol)! But point is, I’m back after some much needed down time!! I hope that you all are having a productive new year so far. 

I have so many things to talk about but I’d thought I’d start with this thought: Now is the time to renew your YES! 

The YES I’m talking about here is the YES to your commitments, the YES to your ministry and the YES to you! The truth is, 2016 was a hard year for many of us and that caused some of us to fall by the wayside on the things that God has called us to do. We have become slack concerning the things of God due to setbacks and life’s frustrations. It’s time to renew your Yes and get back to business - the kingdom needs you!

With all of this being said, you do not need to say yes to everything. This is the time for a refresher on what your true purpose is and to say yes to the commitments that are aligned with your purpose. Also take a look at why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is critical for a couple of reasons: 

-It will help you become more focused on tasks and activities that move you toward your goals. 
-It will prevent you from becoming burned out because your ‘why’ will be great enough to keep you moving forward

Girrrl if nothing else, this is the time to pray! Pray about commitments before you commit to them. Pray about everything before moving forward. God may show you some things or reasons as to why you shouldn’t move forward. Keep your motives aligned with God’s Word and what he reveals to you. This is particularly important in ministry. You should not take on any task or ministry without praying first. Don’t get caught up in titles! Ain’t nobody got time for that! You need to pray so that you are adequately prepared for the work that will come ahead. 

As women we often times try to be everything to everybody but this is not the time or season for that. We need you to be your best! Fully there, fully energized and fully engaged in the moment at hand. Be kind to yourself by not taking on too much. You’re more effective when focused. 

So as we are almost through the 1st quarter of 2017 let’s commit to: 

-Revisiting our Purpose
-Re-examining our Why
-Re-committing to Prayer
-Re-evaluating our Motives 
-Renewing our Yes!

I’m back!!! So stay tuned it’s definitely more to come!!!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

In the late 80’s Bobby McFerrin coined what turned into a very popular tune, ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’. One line in the song says: 

“In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double. 
Don’t Worry Be Happy”

This song was written almost 30 years ago but still has a timely message today. My mind is filled with so much these days. Worry plagues me at times. I try my hardest not to worry but it’s something I can’t shake sometimes. Then I saturate myself in God’s Word and He speaks to me ever so gently and says, “It will be alright, I got this”. It’s in those moments that I feel a sense of peace that overtakes me. I enter my happy place. 

The ‘happy place’ is a place I love to be in. I rest there, I smile there and I enjoy life there. I’m my best creative self there and I’m refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated in that place. I pray that everyone can find this place and once you find it, come up with a strategy to stay there. 

Here are 5 tips I’d like to offer for staying in your ‘happy place’ (for you and me): 

  1. Be Grateful. 
-Sounds easy enough right? Not so much when we let worry turn into complaining. What I’ve found is that gratefulness can’t co-exist with other folks like worry and fear. When we put our focus on the things that we do have instead of the things we do not have it adds prospective to those issues we tend to make larger than what they actually are. Also, being grateful keeps our focus on the one who keeps us rather than on our problems. 

2. Saturate yourself in God’s Word. 
-This is indeed a ‘fo sho mood-changer! Reading about what God says in His Word about your situation is sure to lift your spirits and send you straight to happy! Beyond that, staying in God’s Word helps you against mental attacks of the enemy. 

When the enemy whispers: “You’re not good enough”
God says: “You are fearfully wand wonderfully made”

When the enemy whispers: “You just need to accept it and be sad”
God says: “Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. The joy of the Lord is my strength!!!”

When the enemy whispers: “You are not going to get that task completed, the resources are not there”
God says: “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you”. 

Saturate yourself in God’s Word and it will surely bring you to ‘happy’. 

3. Love, Love & Love More!
-No matter how hard life seems to get you can always rest in the fact that you’ve got family and friends who love you. Revel in that! Keep love in your heart as it will carry you through those tough times. Love life and appreciate it for all its goodness! Trust me, things are not as bad as they seem!! 

4. Get Focused Man! (said in my Jigga voice!)
-Don’t let go of your dreams and goals no matter what setbacks you encounter! Stay focused on the ‘why’ and pursue it as if your life depended on it. When you’re focused on your goals, your time to worry dramatically decreases - go figure! 

5. Choose Happiness. 
-Life is about choices and happiness is one of those choices. This is something that you have to choose and decide to be daily. Life’s pressures can get us down be it relational, financial, emotional or whatever and regardless of what people may think, depression is a real thing - even among the saints! But we serve a God who is gracious and merciful toward us and as my Pastor preached recently - he loads us daily with benefits!! That fact alone ought to bring you back to ‘happy’. Ultimately, the choice is yours and I say - choose happiness daily!  

Girrrl find your happy place and stay there! Life is too precious to waste it sitting around worrying about something that God has already worked out! 

Girrrl Don’t Worry, Be Happy!!  

Thursday, November 10, 2016

God Will Not Be Trumped!

In the aftermath of one of the most anxiety inducing elections of our time, here we are - still standing. Things are no different today then they were a few days ago. I see the posts on Facebook detailing people’s projections of the future under the Trump administration; some may be accurate and some may not. The truth that I hold to is that God is indeed in control - He will not be trumped! Regardless of the outcome, know that God is still behind the scenes orchestrating all things. (Romans 8:28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who’s in office, God still expects us to carry out the purpose He has set for our lives. Carrying out your purpose and working through your goals will still happen. The grind is still in effect!!! God may use this administration to open up the doors you need to get big things to happen. God said in His Word that He ‘will make your enemies a footstool at your feet’ (Psalms 110:1). Sometimes God allows things to happen so that when we are victorious, we give all the credit to Him, not to any political party, community leaders or whoever. God deserves all the glory and honor. 

This is the time to truly do a foundation check. What are you rooted in? Is it in politics? World leaders? Your own abilities? I believe God allows trouble to come to see where your foundation is. When things get tight or curve balls are thrown, do you get shaky or do you have a firm foundation in Christ? 

If your foundation is in Christ then the election outcome should not cause anxiety or at least if it does (because this is a normal human reaction), your response to it should be different. Stand firm on your foundation and stay focused on your purpose in Christ. God is in control and He will not be trumped!  

Moving on....

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Valley Process Comes Before the Mountaintop Promise

Growing up I used to read a novel series called Sweet Valley High. I used to love to immerse myself into the life of Jessica and Elizabeth and their friends. Things were fun and sweet in Sweet Valley High and I loved to be there (in my mind anyway - the power of a good book). However, the valley has taken on a whole new meaning as an adult and what I’ve discovered is that things aren’t so fun and sweet in the valley season of life.  

Life in the valley is challenging. It can often cause you to be in a perpetual state of sadness or depression - if you let it. The fact remains that life, whether in the valley or on the mountaintop, is about choices. When we are in the valley season we do have to make the choice to be happy. We have to make the conscience decision to have a positive outlook no matter what the situation looks like. It’s a skill that if you didn’t have it before, you would surely gain and hone it because otherwise you would be destined for many dark and grim days. 

The truth is whether we like it or not there is some benefit to being in the valley. The valley develops things in us that the mountaintop is incapable of developing. For it’s in the valley that: 

-We learn how to be more resourceful
There were times before that I would blow through $100 or $200 like it was nothing. Now I find myself having to stretch $40 for two weeks, I’ve learned to be resourceful. I have developed an interest in cooking more because I have to, I’ve developed a knack for finding free events because that’s the only way I’m going out most of the time. Whether it’s cutting out coupons or just disciplining myself to cut spending, I’ve developed a skill for being resourceful that I believe will prove to be extremely useful when (just using a faith word here!) things turn around. 

-We learn how to receive
This may sound weird but for many people including myself, receiving is a difficult task. When you have historically been a giver, being on the other side of the equation can be a humbling experience. I’ve learned how to accept the humbling and the compassion that it’s building. A few years ago my prayer was to become more compassionate toward people. I felt like I could use some improvement in that area so I asked God for it. He has a funny way of fulfilling requests. I asked for compassion so he humbled me in a way that now causes me to be very compassionate toward people and their hardships, struggles and strongholds. I guess that old saying is right: be careful what you ask for ‘cuz you just might get it. 

-We see the harvest of seeds sown and appreciate the small blessings
Family and friends have come through in a way that I didn’t fully realize was a possibility. I didn’t realize how much people really had my back until I was in a tough time. Everything from cooked meals, meals they treat me to in restaurants, checks written, cash given, and encouraging words verbalized, no matter how big or small I’ve seen the harvest of seeds sown. My cousin and I recently attended a crab feast where they walked around snapping pictures that ended up on keychains for sale. The keychains were $10 and believe it not, I didn’t have that to spare. I walked away only for my cousin to come back over to me with the keychain with my picture on it in hand. What a blessing! It’s in the valley that you appreciate the small blessings. 

-We truly depend on God
If the truth be told, many of us get into a valley season because we took our eyes off God and tried to do things our own way. Unfortunately God is used to it, the Israelites did it over and over and over again! I’m in no way implying that every valley and every storm is a direct result of disobedience because there are other reasons you could be in one, but it is a fact that disobedience is a sure-fire way to get there! Regardless of the path, it is in these times that we learn to truly depend on God. Our prayer life increases and we see God at work even in the dark times. I’ve had rent paid when I didn’t have it, I’ve been blessed with help from unlikely sources, and when it’s all said and done, I’m still here, still afloat, not starving with a roof still over my head - BUT GOD!

The valley doesn’t feel good but it’s necessary for our growth and development. You never know how God will decide to prune you, mold and shape you. So despite it’s discomfort, don’t shun the valley process because the valley process is necessary before you get to the mountaintop promise! 

I’m a valley girl for now, but I’ll be back on the mountaintop soon! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Present and Pressing

I must admit, this is really rough season in my life. It’s odd when you know you’re not exempt from having a rough season so you somewhat take it in stride even though it kills you inside. The roughness hits in a few areas, financial, dealing with singleness and just being at a crossroads as far as my purpose is concerned. This blog was created to inspire, comfort and encourage and it is in this season that I’m in need of all three. 

It’s difficult to write during a time when you’re in the valley. I feel like David did in 1 Samuel 30, distressed, saddened and discouraged. The Bible says in 1 Samuel 30:6 that David was greatly distressed but he encouraged himself in the Lord his God. The title of this blog is Girrrl Stop and in most cases this is my mantra. There are some instances where you can’t stop; you can’t help but be distressed. It’s in these distressful times that the encouragement can’t stop, you have to delve into what the Word of God says to find that inspiration, comfort and encouragement that your soul seeks. It is in this time that you have to take time and re-discover who you are at your core in order to rebuild. 

The enemy crept in and said to me, how do you think you’re supposed to encourage others when your life is raggedy? Why should someone listen to you? The Lord placed in my spirit Philippians 3:13-14 which says, “Brethen, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. Before I expound, please know that the enemy will come and try to talk to you, even hold a conversation with you but you have to always hear God’s voice over the enemy. Let God’s Word do the work!

It is believed that Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter to the church of Phillippi. He was locked up and not in the best of circumstances. By many people’s standards or outlook, Paul was in a low place. So now here is Paul, a man who taught the Word of God, preached it and encouraged the new believers at that time showing vulnerability to the people who followed him. Verse 12 of this same chapter states, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which I also I am apprehended for Christ Jesus”. Paul simply tells the people hey, I’m preaching this thing to you but know I have in no way attained it myself. I’m pressing just like you are and as Christ gives it to me, I’m being obedient and giving it to you. 

I’m following Paul’s lead today and being vulnerable, although I teach it, I have not attained it. God can still use the ones that have not attained. I count not myself to have apprehended, I do not have it all together and I’m working tirelessly to keep it together on a daily basis. The usual focus of this passage of scripture is verse 14, that’s the part that usually gets people shouting - pressing toward the mark. But there is so much value in the portion that says, ‘I count not myself to have apprehended’. There is value in being vulnerable and admitting that I indeed, do not have things figured out as I appear to and even more importantly as I many times lead people to believe. 

As I begin to pray, God let me know that even though I’m working on you, there is still an opportunity for you to add value to the lives of others. There are people out there who feel like they don’t have it all together too and that feeling causes them to feel worthless. God says I can still use you in the the midst of your storm, I can still use you for my glory even in your low place. Then I heard God say that there is beauty in the ‘now’ no matter what the ‘now’ looks like. There is value in being present in today. 

So now I am here. I am present and pressing at the same time. Although I don’t have it all together, I am pressing toward my goals, pressing toward changing my situation and pressing toward being better and doing better. This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! I hope that this encourages you during your storm, be it financial, emotional, mental, or spiritual. I hope that at the very least you can see that you’re not alone. 

In the next post I’ll be talking about how to appreciate the low place and how to learn and grow while there. In another post I’ll touch on coming to grips with the events that led you there. It ain’t always the devil who did it, if you spewing that out of your mouth - Girrrl Stop! More often than not it’s our behaviors and decisions that lead us into certain places but even with that God is in complete control and will use those experiences to shape and mold us.

Until next time… 

Curl on dem haters!

On the morning of Mother’s Day, I looked in the mirror and did an assessment of my hair. My hair was in a ponytail and it had been a few...