Categories
Golden Nuggets

Don’t let me fall

I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.

Psalm 94:18

Because the Lord is so merciful, he keeps us from falling. Life can present us with a slippery slope of trials and challenges. Temptations can lead us on a downward spiral. Emotional challenges can cause us to lose our footing.

In all of this, thank you, Lord, for your unfailing love! Despite what we face, what happens to us and sometimes even what we bring on ourselves– when we call out to him in our distress, he will always hear us. His eyes are on his children, and he listens for our cry. And because his mercy is everlasting, just like he caught Peter before the waves could overtake him, he will do the same for you and me.

Categories
Prayers

A prayer of adoration

Father,

Thank you for always being with us. There’s no place we can go to escape your presence. Your eyes are always on us. Your ears are always open. Your arm of strength is always ready to fight for us. Your plan will always prevail. We know this God, but if we fully internalized it, how much more peace would we experience? Thank you for teaching us more and more every day to trust you and believe your every word. And when we forget what you’ve taught us, thank you for reminding us again. Your patience never runs out. Your love is unfailing. Your mercy is forever. I pray this prayer with love and adoration and in Jesus’ wonderful name,

Amen.

The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help.

Psalm 34:15 NLT
Categories
Prayers

A prayer of blessing

Before the year ends, I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my blog this year. Your support, messages, and kind words have encouraged me more than you know. I pray that something you read was a blessing to you. As we leave 2021 in the past and look forward to greeting a brand-new year, I just want to offer a prayer of blessing for my readers.

Father,

It’s a privilege and a blessing to be here at the close of another year. For the past 12 months you’ve watched over us, protected us and blessed us. You were so generous with your gifts. When things were unstable, you stood firm. When times were dark, you were the light. For everything we lost, we learned that you would always make up the difference. You were always more than enough.

I’m asking you to bless those who’ve read any portion of my blog this year. Bless their families, their finances, their health. Give them wisdom and peace and joy. Keep them safe and in the center of your will. Above all else, give them a closer relationship with you. Give them confidence in you as they embark on the journey of a new year. This year has not been easy, and the prospect of the unknown can seem daunting. Remove any fear and anxiety that may be taunting them. Remind them that when they walk with you, they can laugh without fear of the future.

Let them be full of faith, always abounding, always growing, bearing much fruit and bringing glory to your name. Let them always remember how much you love them. Whatever you have in store for 2022, thank you in advance.


In Jesus’ name,


Amen.

Thanks again to each of you and if it’s in the Lord’s will, I’ll see you in 2022❤

The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

Categories
Selah

The gratitude filter

It’s officially winter and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

That’s debatable.

I love the holidays, but I’m more of a sun and fun girl. But my least favorite season—fall. I kind of hate it. Leaves dying, cold weather inevitably coming. To say I hate it is a little dramatic, but I’ve always thought fall was overrated.

I remember driving one day this fall and realizing the leaves on a specific type of tree had turned a brilliant orange. Others were red, green or yellow. But the orange stood out to me.  I’m thirty?? years old and I’ve never seen them this shade. I’ve always thought the fall colors were beautiful, but cliché as it may sound, I felt like I was seeing them anew. It was so much so that I asked a few of my family and friends if the leaves looked different to them this year.  It looked like the color saturation you see with a social media filter. For weeks, every time I drove I paid attention. I took alternative routes to see what the trees looked like in other areas. It was absolutely beautiful and it gave me a new respect for fall. Still, I couldn’t figure out why it looked so different, until I realized it wasn’t the trees.

It was me. I’m different this year.

I’ve been working on gratitude, being more present and savoring the moments. I guess it was a success because I found myself enthralled by something I used to be indifferent towards.  

I’ve found myself looking at things a little differently lately. I don’t know if it’s because of an approaching birthday, the ever raging pandemic, the innumerable ways my life has changed, or all of the above. Either way, things are different and I am different. The past two years have taught me a lot. Don’t take the small moments for granted. Savor your happiness. Find joy. Seek peace. Wisdom is more valuable than money. One of the most impactful lessons has been an old faithful. Gratitude.

In my lowest and highest moments this year, and I’ve had my share of both, there was always something to be grateful for. During one of my more difficult times I began listing five things I was grateful for during my nightly prayers. Some days my list went over five. Some days it was challenging because I honestly didn’t feel grateful. So I started listing small things like, being able to smell my favorite scent or something that made me laugh or smile that day. That caused a shift for me.

When I started looking for things to be grateful for, I started finding things to be grateful for.

This is a gentle reminder for anyone reading (mostly for myself) that when looking at your situation, it helps to use a filter. Look through a lens of gratitude and see what changes. Notice the difference in color, contrast and tone. Does it look any different? Is there anything you missed at first glance?

As my gratitude practice progressed, I began to list five of God’s characteristics to thank him for. His kindness, patience, love, mercy, forgiveness, wisdom, friendship… I went on like this for a week and I never needed to repeat one.

When my circumstances aren’t overflowing with reasons to be grateful at first glance, I can look again with a different lens. And no matter the season, I can always be grateful to God for who he is. He never changes. He is always the same and because of that, I’ll always have a reason to be grateful.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Hebrews 13:8
Categories
Prayers

A prayer of reflection

Father,

How can I thank you? I’m reflecting today on specific events, dates, and seasons in my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it had not been for you. You have taken me to some high heights and through some deep lows. In my reflection, I can’t trace a time when you have neglected me. You’ve never walked away, never broken a promise. Instead, you’ve been consistent. You’ve been patient. You’ve given me freedom and joy and peace and grace without measure.

The most skilled and gifted among us have written songs and poems and think pieces about you and I can’t attempt to compete with the beauty of those tributes. I don’t have anything beautiful or profound today. I just want to thank you. Everything I am and everything I have is because of you.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Categories
Prayers

A prayer of remembrance

Father,

A quick stroll through memory lane is all I need to revitalize my trust in you. When my path is unclear, glancing into the rearview mirror of my life reminds me of how far you’ve brought me. We have history. Whether in the distance past or just the recent days, you’ve given me uncountable blessings. You have been light and life. Sometimes I rehearse what I should forget and forget what I should rehearse.  Help me to use my memory as a tool to cultivate my faith, courage and gratitude. You’ve already done so much. It’s true that if you did nothing more, I would still have enough to thank you for all eternity. But because of who you are, I know that you aren’t stopping with what you have already done. The best is still yet to come. Help me to remember that, too.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Categories
Selah

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.

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?

Yes!

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.

Selah❤

Categories
Faith

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


Categories
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.

Categories
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.