Don’t call me strong

I don’t want to be strong anymore.

I’ve decided that the popular definition of strong is something I no longer want to identify with. When black women like me are labeled strong, it often refers more to how much pain we can tolerate, how much mistreatment and stress we can handle before breaking. (Bonus points for breaking privately, while maintaining a polished exterior.) It seems to be some sort of badge of honor, a consolation prize for pain unjustly endured.

I think that subconsciously, labeling someone strong can dampen the labeler’s empathy for the “strong person.” Example: When statements like “I’m hurt” or “I’m struggling” are met with, “you’re strong” as though the latter negates the former. It can feel like your strength disqualifies you from help or compassion. Because you can bear something, does that mean you should have to bear it without help?


No one  should  be pushed to their capacity, just so that others can marvel at the vastness of their capacity. So for me, strong is over.

Strong is over.

But shouldn’t Christians be strong in the Lord? Strong and courageous?


I’m not saying that I’m not strong. I have witnessed my own strength in situations that threatened to overwhelm me. Make no mistake, I am strong and I know this. But I am not strong in and of myself. God’s strength is perfect in my weakness. He gives me strength for the battle. He makes me strong.

You have armed me with strength for the battle.

Psalm 18:39

But strength in society’s context lends to a more toxic definition and the true understanding gets misconstrued. It even tangles my own expectations of myself. Because of the way the label “strong Black woman” is weaponized against Black women, my choice is to distance myself from the burden, not the character trait.

If God remembers my frame, recalls that I am only made of dust and has compassion on me (Read Ps. 103)–I’m going to follow His lead and have some compassion on myself.

So for me this looks like asking for help, acknowledging my uncomfortable emotions, not feeling guilty for crying when something hurts. It looks like softness. Taking off the superwoman cape. Surrounding myself with people who handle me with care and extending the same grace to others. It looks like realizing the fullness of my potential, while fully respecting my limitations as a human.

Human. Resilient. Powerful. Graceful. Creative. Capable. Brave.

Call me any of these things, do not call me strong.



A prayer of gratitude


Thank you for the blessings you so graciously shower on me. I acknowledge my imperfection, I am so undeserving. Yet in your great mercy and love, you’ve adopted me, cleaned me up, and given me a hope and a future. It’s a blessing to be included in your plan. But most of all, it’s a blessing to be included in your family. I thank you for your great gifts and your benefits. I thank you for the table you have set before me. But I understand and acknowledge that the greatest gift you’ve given me is yourself. I don’t take it lightly, God. And today, I just want to thank you.

In Jesus’ name,



A prayer for clarity


You know that I’m an overthinker. Left to myself, I’ll be immobilized in a cycle of anxiety and second guessing. My own thoughts and rationale can’t be trusted sometimes, but yours can. For that I am always thankful. When I don’t know what to do, instruct me. When I’m wrong, correct me. When I’m weak, strengthen me. When I’m stubborn, humble me. When I’m confused, give me clarity. Let my thoughts align with yours. Help me to see what you see. Teach me not to lean on my own understanding, but to acknowledge you in all my ways, knowing that you will direct my path.

In Jesus’ name,



A prayer of acceptance


Thank you for a being a safe place for us. When our hearts are overwhelmed, we can always come to the Rock. Thank you for being a solid foundation, never turning away from us in our times of weakness or vulnerability. We’re never too much for you. We’re never too heavy for you. You delight to come to the rescue of the ones you love. You desire to keep us safe as we dwell in the secret place of the Most High. Help us to bring all of our cares to you without hesitation or shame. Thank you for showing us that your love is one we can never be separated from, you’ll never withhold it and you’ll never take it back.  Thank you for full acceptance in you.

In Jesus’ name,


Plan and Provision

Many resources, one source

I’m thankful for my resources. My education, job opportunities, networking connections, support system. All of it. I think of them as streams, all stemming from the same ultimate source.

God is the source.

Everything else is an avenue, an instrument that he uses to provide for the children he loves. Provision can flow through many means, but God is the source. In times of leanness, whether financial, emotional, or relational, we can find peace in knowing that although a resource may have dwindled, the Source can never be depleted.

The enemy would love to use lean times to sow seeds of scarcity and fear and most of all, to whisper words of doubt and accusation against our good Father. He is crafty and cunning, but we have been made aware of his tactics and his purpose. His purpose is to destroy and devour.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

We are to stay on alert. And with this awareness and sober mindedness, according to 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NLT), “We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” We are able to cast down every thought process or idea that is in opposition to what God has already said. And what did he already say? Matthew 6:25a (NKJV) says “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.”

For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Matthew 6:32b-33 NKJV


God promises to give us what we need, when we need it. When we are about His business, he’ll take care of ours. There is overwhelming peace to be experienced and deeper levels of trust to be reached in times of leanness. As an act of faith, trust God and lay hold on your peace, cling to it. And then thank God for His unfailing provision.


One week can change everything

On the heels of Resurrection Sunday, I’ve been allowing my imagination to dive a little deeper into the perspectives of those who witnessed that day and the surrounding events. Consider where things stood one week ago today, over 2,000 years ago. The crucifixion of the Savior of the world was taking place.

The Messiah, the promised One had come. He gave sight to the blind, he cast out demons, he raised the dead. He was going to set everything right and things were finally going to be perfect.

Except that they weren’t. On that Good Friday, things got worse. Imagine his followers rejoicing on Palm Sunday, not knowing that Good Friday was right around the corner.

On that Good Friday, things got worse.

The rumors and rumbles had started to grow louder. At Passover, when he sat with his disciples, he confirmed it all. He told them about the things that were to come. His betrayal, his death. He spoke of leaving. But how could that be? This was the Messiah they’d waited on. It had to have all been so confusing.

I can imagine how his disciples must’ve felt that night as they watched him betrayed by one of their own. And what about those that had personally experienced his miracles, those he taught in the temple, his family, his mom? They watched him tortured and mocked, watched him carry his cross, bloody and weak. Then they saw him on the cross, the suffering Savior. Envision what they must’ve felt watching from afar.

It had to have felt so hopeless at that moment. Blinded by what they saw, I can only assume the heaviness of the defeat and despair they felt. Where would they go from here?

What they didn’t know, was that though all of this was unfolding in what seemed to be a tragic turn of events leading to Jesus’ crucifixion, they were actually watching the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It was part of the plan, in fact it was the plan. It had to be this way. He was going through with it for them. For me. For you.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

We know what they didn’t know. Sunday was coming. Sunday was part of the plan from the beginning as well.

Even greater than the despair that gripped the disciples’ hearts that Friday, was the hope and joy that overwhelmed them that Sunday morning when they found he had risen, just as he said.

Now a week later, the previous events playing over in their minds, still trying to make sense of it all, I imagine them feeling a myriad of emotions. Relief, that their worst fears would never come true. Jesus was alive and he was in fact, the true Messiah. Regret, that they had doubted him and deserted him at the most critical time in his human life. Yet still, overwhelming love and devotion, for the one who sacrificed it all and welcomed them back with open arms even after they’d failed him.

In this week following Resurrection Sunday, I want to remind myself and whoever is reading this, that nothing negates the promise. The situation may be bleak, it may even appear to be going in the opposite direction of the promise. And yes, it’s only human to have an emotional reaction to that. Some things just knock the wind out of you, no matter how close you are to Jesus.

Nothing negates the promise.

But just like Jesus died and rose again, just like the disciples experienced the worst day of their lives followed by the best day in humanity’s history, in the end the promise will stand. God’s plan will prevail. Jesus is our hope and our promise. He has shown that he does not fail, not even death could defeat him.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Knowing that Jesus is the same God now as he was then, I receive and accept the hope that even in the midst of disappointment, confusion, or heartbreak, no matter what transpires–Sunday is still coming. One week can change everything.

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends!

Lamentations 3:21-22

Live Authentically

Send someone else

Moses definitely had some run ins and close calls (read Exodus chapters 2-4). At one point, Pharaoh was even after him. So he ran away and found himself in Midian where he married and settled in.

He was minding his own business, just taking care of the flock when it happened. The famous burning bush story. Moses sees the burning bush, but something is odd. It’s burning, but it’s not being consumed. Taken aback, Moses goes to inspect. And then he hears a voice. God begins to speak to him and tells him to take off his shoes because the place he is standing is holy ground. Then Moses and God proceed to have a conversation.

God tells Moses that he has heard the cries of the children of Israel as they’ve suffered at the hand of the Egyptians. Basically, God is telling Moses–I’ve seen it all. I’ve never taken my eyes off of them. When they cried, it never fell on deaf ears. I’ve heard everything and now, I’m going to act. It’s time to intervene. And you are the one I’m going to send to help them.

“Then the Lord told him, ‘I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.’”

Exodus 3:7-10 NLT

Moses immediately began throwing out reasons why he couldn’t be the one. “Who am I to go to Pharaoh? Who am I to lead them out of Egypt? What will I tell them? They won’t believe me! I’m not a good speaker!” And finally in Exodus 4:13 he just pleads, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

That last part is my favorite. It’s so honest. Can you relate? I can. I’ve said the same things.

When we consider our shortcomings, at times it just seems to make more sense for God to use someone else. Someone more qualified. Someone more established. Someone without insecurities. Please. Just send someone else.

This is what stands out to me. Yes, at this point Moses was just unwilling and God had heard enough. “Then the Lord became angry with Moses.” (Exodus 4:14) But he didn’t scold him, berate him, or change his mind about him. Because he is so compassionate and patient, God was willing to address all of Moses’ concerns. He provided everything Moses would need. He talked him through each scenario. He told him exactly what to do and say.

God didn’t expect perfection. He knew Moses’ flaws and imperfections before he asked him to do this. He had made provisions for it all. And more than anything, he promised to be with Moses.

God answered, “I will be with you.”

Exodus 3:12 NLT

And he promises to be with us.

Sometimes we become so preoccupied with our imperfections that we forget that God made us and knows us better than we know ourselves. Knowing the job he wanted done, knowing the worship he wanted to receive, knowing the position he wanted to be filled in this earth, he created a unique person to fulfil it. That person is you. That person is me. Each created fearfully and wonderfully with a purpose and plan in mind. Every imperfection is a testimony of God’s power and a chance to give him honor; it’s only because of him that we are what we are.

But by the grace of God I am what I am…”

1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJV

“Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’”

2 Corinthians 12:9

The takeaway: when God says go–GO! If you are afraid and feel inadequate, you are. When you stand in your own strength, that is. But through Christ, you can do all things. When he is with you, you have everything you need.

Just like Moses, there is someone, somewhere waiting on you, too. Someone is praying for you to do whatever it is that God is calling you to do. Someone else’s cries have come to God’s ears and he is going to send you to be the answer to their prayers.

So whatever step he’s asking you to take, take it. Do it. Go there. Share your testimony. And know that he won’t send you anywhere alone. He will go with you every step of the way.

The Blessing

The rewarder is the reward

The Christian life is filled with God’s gifts – His blessings. This is in no way an attempt to count them all, but I want to name just a few.

  • The stability and assurance that no matter what happens, I have a refuge. “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1 NLT
  • The sure hope that no matter what the enemy devises against me on this journey, he will ultimately fail. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper.”  Isaiah 54:17a NKJV
  • The promise that I will overcome it all and victory is and will always be mine in Christ. “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33b NLT
  • The assurance that all I need will be provided for me. And that God already knows what I need before I even ask. “For your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” Matthew 6:8b NLT

As I grow, I see more and more the blessings of serving and living devoted to God. The rewards of a far from perfect, but sincere walk with him. Like Hebrews 11:6b (NKJV) says, “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

He is so careful with the details of my life. He’s faithful to continue to change me and make me more like him. And he is not deterred by my kicking and screaming. (I’m still growing!) I can say with certainty, even in uncertain times, there is no place of greater security, peace, provision and blessing than the will of God.

I’m so overwhelmed when I think about all the ways he has made, all the impossible situations I’ve found myself in that he has delivered me from. All the blessings that I don’t deserve. The favor. The goodness and mercy that I can’t outrun. It’s all so overwhelming for someone like me who doesn’t even deserve it.

The goodness and mercy that I can’t outrun.

But without question, my greatest gift, is the Giver. To know him and to be known by him. It’s everything. He’s the blessing! Everything else is an added gift.

Today, I encourage you (and me) to freshly recommit to seeking him first and reassessing our priorities to be sure that what we value most is always him.

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward.” Genesis 15:1 NKJV

He’s the rewarder.

He’s the reward.

Obedience and Submission

What if I don’t feel like it?

Obedience and submission are hallmarks of the Christian life. As we journey, we gradually learn to release control, to let go of the wheel. The journey gets rocky, full of conflicting emotions, but I am learning that the “feeling” is not what’s most important–submission is. Meaning that our emotions don’t always have to support us, and we don’t have to wait until our emotions are in agreement to walk in obedience. 

The feeling is not what’s most important–submission is”

I often pray, “Lord, I want to do your will, but help me to want to do it.” Sounds crazy, right? I know. Let me explain. I want to do his will. I want to please him by fulfilling all I’m called to do and be. But submission is hard and sometimes I really just want to do what I want to do, just to be honest. So sometimes when I’m praying for his will to be done in my life, in a corner of my heart, I still want my will to be done in my life. I want to submit, but my emotions aren’t there yet. Anyone else, or just me?

“Submission is hard and sometimes I really just want to do what I want to do”

So here’s the thing. We don’t have to be afraid of our feelings. We can be honest with him about how we feel and he will continue to transform our emotions and make our desires line up with his will. Philippians 2:13 NLT says this, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” I so love that verse. It’s a reminder that everything doesn’t rely on us. He is the one that gives us not only the strength to do what pleases him, but even the desire to want to please him in the first place. Ain’t God alright?

And then there’s Psalm 37:4 NLT which says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” When he is our delight, he will give our hearts what he wants them to desire, and then he’ll grant us those desires. Really though, ain’t God alright???

All this to say, don’t wait to obey until you feel ready to obey. And don’t be discouraged if your feelings don’t always back you when you’re trying to do God’s will.  

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. There two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.

Galatians 5:16-18 NLT

The fight against our feelings is normal. Everyone experiences it to some degree. But God is patient in our struggle. We don’t walk by our feelings anyway, we walk by faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” Stay focused on Jesus. Just give him a “yes.” He’ll make everything work together for your good. Obedience is worth it! There is a blessing attached to obedience. There is safety attached to obedience. There is peace of mind attached to obedience.

How joyful are those who fear the Lord- all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!

Psalm 128:1 NLT

Relinquish control to the One who has written each of your days down in his book. He fashioned you for a purpose and He knows what He’s doing. Let go and let God be God, your feelings will catch up.


The substance of things hoped for

What in the world? No, really. What is going on in the world? Watching or reading the news always leaves me with the same response, “Wait, what?” Things vacillate from the comical to the ridiculous to the downright scary and unbelievable all throughout the day. It’s easy to feel anxious, confused, angry…tired.

The future is unknown to us, but God knows all and rules over all. He’s been teaching me about faith in a major way over the past year. It’s about holding tight and standing firm on what he’s taught and what his word says. It’s about digging deeper in him and casting my cares on him. It’s about knowing that he will sustain me and no one can ever snatch me out of his hand.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 10:28 (ESV)

He’s helping me understand that a small, shaky faith in a big, strong God is all I need. It’s true. Matthew 17:20 (NLT) says that with “faith even as small as a mustard seed…nothing would be impossible.” As I grow, he’ll strengthen it, but it’s not about my strong faith so much as it is about the strong God that my faith is in. He’s trustworthy and his thoughts and ways are higher than mine. Isaiah 55:8(NLT) says, “’My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,’ says the Lord. ‘And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.’”

So I can’t figure him out and I don’t understand him, but I know him and I trust him. His thoughts toward me are of peace and not evil. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) says this, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” He promises peace to those who trust him. And we know he doesn’t make empty promises. An activation of faith will always be met with the opportunity for an exchange–our confusion and fear for his peace.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 14:27 (NKJV)

Despite the times in which we live, despite the difficulties and uncertainties, let’s pray for the strength to respond in faith, the endurance to hold on to his promises, and the grace to trust God and know that everything is going to be okay.


Thank you for being a sure place to put our trust and faith. Even when we don’t understand what you’re doing, we trust your plan. We trust your intentions. We know who you are, and we know you well. You’ve been consistent and your faithfulness has been great. Please continue to build our faith and help us to hold on to all that you’ve said to us. Our hope is in you.

In Jesus’ name, amen.