To encourage and be encouraged

Happy Wednesday! I know I cut it close but what matters is that I did post on Wednesday. Still trying to figure out the best time to start so I can post on Tuesdays. This week hasn’t gone quite as planned which has caused delays across the board. 

I was never a person that had a lot of friends. I know a lot of people but I actually don’t have that much people checking in on a daily or weekly basis. When I was younger this bothered me a bit especially when I would look at others’ friend circles.  Comparison is truly the thief of joy. The past few years I have learnt that although I may not have friends who are always present, I do have a good group of friends who I can depend on. They have shown time and time again that when they are needed, they show up, no questions asked. Ok, maybe a few questions but you get the point. I know who has my back and I definitely have theirs. 

Since I wasn’t used to having close friends, when I did meet someone, I became protective and a bit possessive. It’s like squeezing your fist tighter to keep water in but in the process the water trickles out. I have held on to friendships that I should have left because of FOMO (fear of missing out). Going above and beyond even when it wasn’t reciprocated. But thank God, I started putting me first. By establishing boundaries and not being so much of a giver, eventually those who weren’t meant to continue with me drifted away. I began meeting likeminded individuals who mirrored similar values and the friendships were reciprocal instead of one sided. And I am not saying I wasn’t sometimes the toxic friend. I have had my faults too. I am working on reaching out to my friends. I tend to get caught up with work and assume their well instead of a quick check in. 

Proverbs is rich with wise counsel and Proverbs 27:9 says that a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. I believe our friendships are meant to help us grow on our journey. Some friendships are only meant for a season and others last a lifetime. The right company is important because the people we spend the most time with do affect our lives. Proverbs 27:17 says “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another”. Are the people around you sharpening you or making you dull? Are they leading you toward God and your goals or are they distracting you? Someone not being a good friend for you does not make them a bad person. Friends are meant to hold us accountable. 

On my faith journey, I have realized the importance of Christian friends. They offer me space to discuss my faith and any questions I may have. Sometimes I need biblical reminders and they are there and quick to assist. It is easy to get caught up with worldly things and they remind me of Christian principles. It hasn’t been super easy to find people who are on similar paths. Imagine having a hobby and not knowing anyone else who likes the hobby or knows about it. When you do meet someone who knows about it, you can exchange knowledge and ideas. That is not to say that you only need friends who like the same things you do. It’s also important to respect everyone’s choices.

This week, reach out to that person who has been on your mind. You never know what may come of it. Appreciate the friends you have and be open to making new ones. Most times we psyche ourselves out of great friendships. Do something nice for someone you know. Invite someone out. Exploring adult friendships can be scary because we all have some trauma from past friendships but it’s a beautiful thing when two people connect and help each other shine. We all need support on this journey. Have a great week and I will check in with you next week!  

There is purpose in everything

It’s amazing how you can plant a seed and not only have a plant but eventually fruits. I know I wrote a blog about bearing fruits already so I won’t focus too much on that. A plant was my inspiration for today’s blog so hence all the plant talk. I think plants have life figured out. Plants simply are. Their only focus is to do what they are supposed to do. Plants produce the basic food for all living organisms and they make oxygen. But they do all of this without a thought or worry. I feel like there is such a natural and easy going flow in nature and animals.

And I know you’re reading this and wondering where I am going with this. Humans are more evolved than animals. As we evolved, it seems we complicated things. Our freedom of choice has made life complicated. Each group thinks their choice is best. We worry about what to consume and how to act. And the possible outcomes are endless. What happened to simplicity? At our cores, who are we? I like to believe that we are beings of love because God is love and we are of God.

Our innate choices should reflect love.

Even if you are unsure of your purpose in life, you should still have an understanding of who you are and what you do. The plant that inspired me was a desert rose. Two lanky stems, maybe ten leaves but the stem was bending from the weight of three flowers. Honestly, if there were no flowers, I would have assumed it was dead. It was just an odd image. Despite looking like it was dead, with no bounty of leaves, the plant was able to fulfill its purpose and bear flowers. Sometimes we think we are bare and have nothing to offer God. But He can perform miracles. All we need is a willing heart. If you feel like you have nothing left to offer Him, offer your heart.

No matter where you find yourself right now, you can make your life better. In a song by Koryn Hawthorne, she sings that there is no place where mercy and grace can’t find her. And it’s so true. No matter what negative thing we label ourselves, God doesn’t see us that way. He extends His mercy and grace always. So today, stop beating yourself up for past mistakes. Know that you can be used for good right where you are and start working towards making better choices. Wake up every day with the intention to do/ be better than you were yesterday. It doesn’t take big moments, it takes a series of small moments to become who you were meant to be. You got this!

Plans for good…

She laughs without fear of the future… if only I had known then how God was about to move in my life…

May 2020 was the start of my blog and as it gets closer, I am just excited. To be honest, I wasn’t sure I would still be here writing content and that I would have followers so thank you to each and every one of you that is here.

I feel like the celebrations started in February and despite a small break in July will carry on until the end of the year. Birthdays are a big deal for me. I just enjoy the celebration of someone’s time on earth. Mine is next weekend and I am a bit anxious although I know there is nothing to be anxious about. First, it was deciding if I would even celebrate it, with COVID and all and then, what would I do?

If we start to worry about every minute detail, we will quickly become stressed and anxious. We cloud our minds with all of the possibilities. Half of the scenarios unlikely to play out in reality. We stress ourselves when we try to control everything or think that we must control everything. I think I mentioned it in one of my earlier blogs. Worrying only makes us go through it twice, once in our heads and once when it happens. If we are going to have to live through a specific scenario, why would we want to go through a difficult one twice, especially if there is nothing we can do to change it.

But are your really in control? For me, as I am on this spiritual journey, I know that God is in control. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be in control but I have learnt that there are some things I cannot control. I am also not meant to control those things. So when I start to feel flustered, I take a deep breath and ask myself if there is anything I can do to change the situation and if there isn’t, then I turn to God. (Spoiler alert: most times there isn’t) There are some things I can probably control but turning to God first has proven to be my best plan of action. In order to do that, you need to still the million of thoughts in your mind. If your mind is racing, you will not be able to receive the answer. Some people meditate, do yoga or practice conscious breathing.

Two scriptures stand out to me. Psalms 46:10: He says, “Be still and know that I am God” and Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still”. When things arise in our lives, usually bad, we sometimes run to God and lay it all bare. But my sis Audra mentioned the other day that while going through a difficult time of her own, she decided to be still on the matter. Bless her because I am sure I would have had to have a talk with God. But by remaining still, she was able to receive a message. And for me, I feel like God is telling us He is God and He knows everything and EVERYTHING in our lives will be used for our good. Even Peter would have benefited from being still but his denial was still ultimately used for his good.

I am currently reading Barack Obama’s book, “A promised land” and one of the lines that stood out was when he thought he might have been damaged. (Don’t quote me on this, I am paraphrasing) In life I hear so many people (myself included) wondering if there is something damaged or broken in them. And what I have learnt is that God takes those same people and uses them. I doubt many of us would even think about Barack Obama as damaged. He was the first African American to serve as President of the United States and not just for one term but two. Also while reading about his campaign, things seemed to fall into place for him. I believe we are all born for the times we are in. Our purpose is connected to our now. A lot of times we wonder if we weren’t meant for another time. But there is no other time but now.

There are things within us that don’t reside in others. There are things we must say and do that no one else can say or do. There are also people we can reach who others cannot. So if you are worried about your purpose or if you are meant to be here or if you can overcome that hurt, or anything you can imagine, I am asking you to take a moment, be still and know that God is in control. You got this! Stop trying to do everything and give it to God.

I am currently on a social media fast for Lent and I am not sure how many people will read this but if you are reading this, this is your sign. Let go and let God.

Listen!

Happy Monday!

Hope you are having a wonderful and productive day! Take a minute and think of one thing that you are grateful for thus far in the day. ✨ I appreciate, and I am grateful for, every one of you who reads my blogs! I started this blog with the sole intention of writing again and your support has assisted me tremendously!

Posting on Monday seems like the best option for this season as weekends I am extremely caught up juggling Tropsical and other responsibilities. It also lets me check in at the beginning of the week rather than the end. As I went through the week, I pondered what I would write about this week because I wanted to make sure that I did not skip today’s blog. Nothing was really standing out and I was wondering if I would find a topic. Usually I would get a thought and that thought would come up in random conversations or through some other confirmation. But truth be told, I feel like the communication between God and I has been a little cool lately. Thankfully I know why and have been making asjustments. And God always shows up! I was running through my to- do list and was wondering where I should even start and then I heard “just do it” and no, it wasn’t a Nike commercial.

Let me expand a little bit. God speaks to all of us but he communicates differently with each of us. Due to my relationship with God, I have a pretty good idea of when He is speaking to me. So I also know when it seems like He is quiet. And I know for a lot of us when things go silent, we automatically think we did something wrong and that may cause us to pull away rather than lean in. A few years ago I had a different thought. Sometimes when God is silent is because He has already spoken to us but we haven’t listened and done what needs to be done. The silence is more a reflection of our inaction than our wrongdoing. Let me try and give an example. As a mom, I have told my kids to clean up one set of toys or an area before moving on to something else. So if my daughter wants to play her Switch, she has to clean up her Barbies first. My two year old son likes to dump his containers out but before he can go to a second container, he has to clean up the first set of toys. But kids are kids, they can’t be bothered so sometimes I have to stop them in their tracks and remind them of the rule. And I have heard it all, they are tired, they need some water, and just all sorts of excuses as to why they can’t simply clean up. I listen to them express themselves and I am quiet but I know as soon as I open my mouth, I am only going to repeat what I have already told them. They have to clean up that area before moving on to something else. What if God is doing the same? As our Father, He tells us something and we get caught up telling Him we can’t do it. He may tell us to stop doing something that we really shouldn’t but we’re like; “it isn’t that bad” or “well I will stop soon”. And He listens and lets us do us, because He gave us free choice. But then when we come to Him and ask again, He will simply repeat what He already told us.

Sometimes obedience comes easy, other times we struggle. Especially when we feel like it’s a life changing decision. We can feel overwhelmed and wonder “why me” or “where do I even start”. When I was contemplating my to- do list, it seemed daunting. Then I decided to just pick one thing and do it. After that task was completed, I did another one. Slowly my to- do list was being completed. I am pretty sure I could have sat there for hours contemplating what to do and nothing would have gotten done. It’s the same when we hear from God. Even if we aren’t sure how we’re going to accomplish it, it’s important to start to do something. Start taking the first steps in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong. You do need to take some time to plan out what you have to do but once you know what is needed, action is required. Not sure if this example will work but let me try. Think of it as a video game. To move through the levels you need to accomplish certain tasks. The next level can’t be unlocked until you complete all tasks on this level. But if you spend all day thinking about the task and how to do it without actually picking up the controller and doing it, you will be stuck on the same level forever. If you are being nudged to do something, level up or make a change, trust that God will provide you with everything you need to accomplish the task at hand. Don’t let fear cripple you to inaction. Everything you want is on the other side of obedience.

So this week, take some time and notice how God speaks to you, listen to what He is telling you and take action! As always, remember “You got this”.

You will know them by their fruits

This morning as I was watering my plants, I noticed my peas. I see them every day as I water but today I really saw them. My garden has been invaded by caterpillars and just a day or two ago, I had to pick some off of my passionfruit plant which is in the same area as my peas. Those pesky bugs already ate my cucumbers, pumpkin and other pea seedlings so I was upset and losing hope as most of my crops were wiped out. I planted these plants months ago and they were flourishing at one point but now I was considering pulling them out. Most of the leaves were gone, thanks to those caterpillars and they looked frail.

But this morning I noticed that despite their lackluster appearance, they were loaded with peas! You have to understand, they barely had any leaves but yet there were peas. And I got it then. Something that I thought was “damaged” could still “bear fruit”. God works in mysterious ways. We look at persons and sometimes ourselves and think we are too damaged to be used but all God sees is a vessel. Many persons have brought their broken spirits to the altar as sacrifice and God has taken them and used them. Psalms 51:17: “my sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart you, God will not despise.”

It makes me think of the phrase, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. We are God’s treasure. No matter how beaten down we feel, he sees glory. See the thing is, even though I saw the leaves being eaten and I was losing hope of them surviving, I continued to water them. They were planted in good soil so everything was still there to allow it to bear fruit.

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also were made dead to the law through the body of Christ; that ye should be joined to another, even to him who was raised from the dead, that we might bring forth fruit unto God.”

Romans 7:4 ASV

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; and so shall ye be my disciples.”

John 15:8 ASV

“Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root; they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their heart.”

Jeremiah 12:2 ASV

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; so neither can ye, except ye abide in me.”

John 15:4 ASV

God planted us in good soil (our faith) and provided the living waters ( His Word) we need to take root and grow. Our fruit is meant to bring glory to God. God provides for the birds and the grass of the fields ( in this case, plants) so they are literally just being. There were some high winds a while back and the top of my sugar apple tree broke. It was a decent branch and I was worried about its growth but lo and behold, a few days later I saw green leaves shooting from the broken branch. God did that. He restores. But human beings have been given the gift of choice. God did not force us into obeying Him. So as the scripture says we must abide in Him. When we delight ourselves in Him, He gives us the desires of our heart. If we truly abide in Him, we will have hearts after His own.

We are meant to bear fruit to glorify Hin but what is the fruit we are meant to bear? Galatians 5:22 says : “but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” You will know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16) If we abide in God and bear the fruit of the Spirit, we will glorify God. But as stated in Jeremiah 12:2, He is always on our lips but far from our hearts. Proverbs 14:14 warns us “ the backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways.” So again we see that it doesn’t matter what we look like on the outside but what matters is on the inside. Are we abiding in God as we should and thereby bearing fruit that glorify Him or are we backsliders in heart who will be revealed by our fruit?

Inspiration