Category Archives: Connecting with God

Holy Shift

I have a beautiful wardrobe if I do say so myself and I collect shoes as if I’m gearing up to open a mini Macy’s.  But after taking inventory of my internal status I’ve noticed that over the years I’ve collected some pretty ugly qualities.  I’ve added some bad habits, stored a bunch of negativity, indulged in a little moodiness, picked up some double mindedness and threw in a bit of emotional instability just for good measure.  In other words my heart isn’t always so pretty.  Now, I’m always roughest on myself and I have taken tremendous strides in my walk with Christ but I still have a looooong way to go.  I can quickly throw the fruits of the spirit out the window and revert to my former ways of pessimism, not speaking in love or sinning in anger at the drop of a hat if things don’t go my way.

Today I had lunch with two girlfriends, one is recently engaged and the other has been married for years and they have just decided to enlarge their family.  As we updated each other on life events, marriage, babies, trips etc it came around to me.  I eagerly discussed some of the exciting things occurring in my life that I’m extremely grateful for including a new home.  I was genuinely happy for them but once I got home I began to reflect on where my life was headed and wondered if I would ever have something as monumental as an engagement to the man God had for me or the arrival of my first child to divulge.  Quickly God answered,  He asked me why I thought He should bring my husband right now when I’m a mess inside?  I realize no one is perfect and after marriage and motherhood some flaws remain, but I could work on preparing  myself a lot more than I have been.  Yes, I have a house, but my finances are shot because of poor credit card choices in the past, I’ve held on to soul ties from previous relationships, my emotions can be all over the place and in times of anger I allow them to lead me instead of the Holy Spirit.  I also get easily irritated by small things like slow drivers or my dog’s barking and I throw spiritual temper tantrums when I don’t get my way.  I’m still eating that mushy baby food and sometimes God has to revert to milk with me.  I wonder if the angels look down on me shaking their heads wondering if I’ll ever learn and just how many times do I want to make my way around this same old mountain!

If you are eager to have a significant other, a child or some other life altering event, have you checked yourself lately?  Would God ask you why He should oblige when you aren’t ready to receive the blessing?  I guess, if I look at it from Gods’ point of view I am a little happy that He hasn’t given me my way because I would definitely ruin a great thing.  One of the women in my small groups bible study was speaking on the talk she had with God about a month prior to meeting her husband.  She asked God for one of His son’s and God told her she had to be His daughter first.  Meaning, she would have to forgo focusing on a man and focus on The Man, Jesus! Shifting your entire focus isn’t easy to do when people around you are getting married or popping out babies like candy dispensers while you sit alone watching your biological clock speedily tick, tick, tick away.  It’s difficult, especially when the world, from your doctor to strangers on the street (yes this has happened to me) are constantly attempting to instill the fear of perpetual singleness into you.   I consistently pray for freedom from people bondage because honestly there are so many other things to focus on, the main one being God’s will.  I’ve given up trying to shift my focus on my own because it doesn’t work and have since started praying that God changes my thoughts and keeps my hand’s off the wheel.  After all, He is the one with the directions! Be blessed & live purposeFULLy Court

Advertisements

How I know He loves me

Happy Valentines day!!!  I love holidays and V-Day is no different.  Although sometimes touted as a ploy to get people to spend ridiculous amounts of money, I’m just as happy making gifts and spending it watching movies with that special someone.  This V-day I don’t have a significant other, but I will be spending it with someone extra-special to me!  All this talk about love and relationships, got me thinking about the most important relationship in my life, my connection with God and how He shows his love for me. These are some ways that I know my heavenly father loves me (and you).

He provides: In the bible God tells us that He will supply our every need and that I need not worry about what I should eat or wear.  Granted I am a shoeaholic so I do find myself obsessing about these things, but I don’t have to and I know that I shouldn’t!  There have been days where I’m extremely low on funds (I’m talking $1 in my account low) and I’ll get a free lunch or someone will give me money they owe me, once I even received an unexpected check in the mail.  Although I’m not weatlhy by any stretch of the world, I’m rich because I’m blessed to have a heavenly father that provides the necessities of life and then some. (Matthew 6:26, Philippians 4:19)

He protects:  There are many examples in the bible of God protecting the Israelites and from what I know He will do the same thing for us today as His children.  God tells us that He will fight for us and He will even send angels to protect us if need be.  I can remember once when I was stuck on the side of the road, as cars whizzed by I was extremely apprehensive about getting out  but not even two minutes after pulling over a tow truck came to help me. I hadn’t called anyone and didn’t have to worry about a thing, God had me and sent one of His angels to protect me.  (Exodus 14:14, Romans 12:19, Psalm 91:1-16, Psalm 34:7)

He chastises: This one is a hard pill to swallow because who in their right mind likes to be chastised?!  But usually when I do something wrong, tell a lie (I’m not a great liar anyway) or am into something I shouldn’t be, I’m usually paying the consequences fairly quickly!  The bible tells us that God loves those that He chastises because those are His children.  When you were a child and did wrong your parent or guardian would have probably scolded or at least let you know where you went wrong out of concern and love.  Our parents were put here to love us by God so it’s easy to see  how much more does God love us. (Hebrews 12:16, Proverbs 3:12)

He says so: I can remember a time when I didn’t read the bible for myself and believed whatever the priest (I was raised Catholic) or someone else told me about God so I didn’t know my father.  But since reading for myself, Gods love for little old me has becomes more real to me every day (if that makes sense).  It has become an easier concept to take hold of because there was a time when I didn’t even know that I could have an intimate relationship with God as a father or lover of my soul.  To me He had been this great unapproachable being that ruled with an iron fist and I was just trying to get through this life to heaven by being a perfect person that did not wrong, or at least tried to most of the time.  When I did do wrong I would beat myself up worse than either of my parents could punish me.  I didn’t realize that I didn’t have to be perfect for Him to love me because He knew I wasn’t, after all He created made me that way!  Through reading His word I’ve learned so much about the type of relationship God wants with me and what He has done to have that connection with me.  It is still astonishing and sometimes hard for my brain to wrap around the fact that such a great God would deem me special enough to call me daughter.  That to me is a miracle in itself and I thank Him. (Romans 8:35-39, 1John 4:16, Luke 12:7)

He rewards: of course we get the ultimate reward when we get to heaven, but until then the earthly rewards are more than enough.  If we continue to reap we will be rewarded.  There are also times when God wants us to be still and know.  If we listen and submit to God’s will we will see the fruits of listening to our heavenly father. I can remember going through a period of waiting for a job, it was 8 months before I got one.  I went through depression, anger and eventually acceptance.  Although I never stopped submitting job applications, I held on to the fact that what I was going through at the time was God’s will.  I studied my bible, watched shows related to getting to know God and practically nothing else (that may be excessive but it was what I needed at the time).  When I got a job I was so ecstatic because it was just the type of job I had asked for, God always comes through!  (Hebrews 6:10, Galatians 6:9)

He forgives:  God sent His son to die for us, Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice and washed away our sins.  God is quick to forgive us and because He is love and love keeps no records of wrongs, our slates are clean once we repent (confess and turn away from that particular sin completely). Many times we have a hard time forgiving (at least I know I have), but we must as followers of God so that He can forgive us as we do others.  (John 3:16, Romans 5:8)

He never give’s up on us:  I have been a wishy washy Christian for a lot of my years here on earth (I wrote about that here).  But whenever I return to God, He is there.  He is not angry with me, He doesn’t push me away or make me feel bad but He embraces and loves on me.  I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a situation where someone let’s you know that ‘they told you so’ or turns their back on you because they feel like you walked away from them, it’s a horrible feeling especially if all you wanted was acceptance and love.  But human’s make horrible gods obviously, so thank God for our heavenly father who will never leave or forsake you! (Deuteronomy 31:6, James 4:8, Luke 15:1-7)

Also take note that all the ways God shows His love are ways that we can show others love as well.  Have a happy valentines day and love on:)

God bless,
Court

When life doesn’t go as planned

Recently I’ve gone through a lot of small life changes financially and relationally that have stressed me ALL the way out and I’m quite sure contributed to this periodic uncontrollable twitch under my left eye.  Aside from the fact that as I write this there’s a huge snow storm going on & I have no power or heat; the situations include some unexpected (extremely expensive) financial woes and the culmination of my on/off again 2.5 year relationship. These situations have undoubtedly made me think long and hard about life in general.  If ever you have found yourself exclaiming, ‘it’s one thing after another’ to no one in particular,  then you definitely understand my plight.

During times when the trials of life seem to hit hardest it can be near impossible to remain positive and we can easily berate ourselves for making terrible decisions that lead to us hitting that brick wall.  The brick wall which we could have skirted around had we listened to our inner GPS (God, family, friends, intuition), but ultimately didn’t.  After much introspection I thought of a few things these experiences and other tough times have given me (and you) the opportunity to do.

1. Draw closer to God.  There are many times in my life where I feel I ramp up my prayer life or time spent with God during a crisis or hard time.  When I do, it helps me realize not only that I need to constantly pray and seek Him, but also that I am nothing without Him.  When in trouble, I usually ask for His help first, even if it’s just a short God help me!

2. Realize just how strong you really are.  Although it’s nice to have assistance in getting through a tough time, when forced to do things alone or get through inner trials you learn to appreciate your own strength.  When I look back on times that should have broken me and didn’t, I kind of recognize the fact that I am one bad mammajamma!  When we go through the fire and come out unscathed, maybe just a little hotter, it’s always a plus to know that you can rely on you.

3. Recognize the people that have your back.  Next to relying on God and yourself there’s nothing I more thankful for than the angels God has given me here on earth. There are certain people that I can call if needed and they are right there, consistently and without complaint.  It’s truly a blessing.

4. Woman(man) up and take ownership for the predicament you’re in and make better decisions going forward.  Towards the end of last year I decided to make better choices in life as I’m a pro at making ‘meh’ type choices. Although many of the things that occurred recently were a snowball from years or months prior.  I found a way to blame other people for the sadness I felt around the situation, which is the wrong way to handle any situation. Eventually, I had to take ownership for my poor choices in the past and forge ahead.   A lot of financial woes, were my fault and stemmed from years of building up debt on credit cards, not saving or investing as I should, unnecessary shopping sprees instead of paying bills, trips that I could almost afford but not quite and simply put just not being a good stewart of the funds I was blessed with.

5. Make room to rectify mistakes .  They say mistakes are lifes way of teaching you lessons and if that’s the case I’ve learned a LOT! But now is the time reflect on what went wrong and how it’s possible to make amends for those choices. One thing I recognized was that I had allowed myself to become super unorganized in the way I paid my bills. And since I knew better, I had to do better!

6. See the sunny side of the situation. I can’t say for sure that there are silver linings to every grey cloud, but I know there is at least one positive that can be drawn from most situations.  And if we love God and are doing what He has called us to do then we should believe that everything will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).  Even now, as I sit here afraid that I could turn into a popsicle any minute now, I’m grateful for the solitude and time to catch up on some reading. Of course we all get down for a minute, but cry it out, watch a comedy but do what needs to be done to help you get it out and find the good in a bad situation. Focusing on the bright side is far more productive than wallowing in the negativity.   The thing with negative thinking is that the more you focus on it the deeper you sink until you’re drowing in it and in some cases unable to save yourself.

2 Corinthians 12:9-And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God bless,
Court

IMG_7979

Fasting…

There are times in our lives when we may feel a tug on our spirits to engage further and delve deeper into our relationships with God through fasting.  During a time of fasting we are able to set aside outside distractions and influences to hear from God and seek His face.  Yes, it is letting go of things we like to eat preferably while abstaining from television and/or social media but ultimately you are allowing these sacrifices to symbolize the fact that your connection with God is above all else, even food.  During those times when your stomach is grumbling or you desire a type of food you gave up, pray to Him, those cravings and hunger pains are reminders of why you are fasting.

It’s beneficial to fast especially when you are searching for an answer, attempting to make a large decision or seeking discernment in a situation.   In the word it states that some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).  There are also plenty of examples in the bible of people fasting:

  • Esther: Before going to speak to the King
  • David: Fasted for the life of his child
  • Jesus:Prior to starting His ministry

There are a plethora of other instances of fasting in the bible I would suggest reading about them, especially if you are considering a fast.

Be grateful for what you DON’T have…

Most of us have been blessed in many ways those we can easily see and some that require a head tilt and a squint to bring the blessing into focus. Things happen that are negative, we struggle, we hurt, we don’t get our way, we get angry with God. Believe me I’ve been there and as a continually evolving spirit I will be again. But after the tears, the tantrums, the outburst and the stormy seas of trauma or heartache have begun to subside its important to remember to thank Him for our trials and tribulations. James wrote to consider it pure joy for trials and tribulation because the testing of your faith produces perseverance and eventually perfection in other words it makes you complete and whole (James 1:2).

When I initially began to read stories like Job and heard about praising God through your pain in church and bible studies all I could think of was why on earth would I be grateful for the things I didn’t want or don’t have? It was crazy to me, but as I grew in Christ I learned that being thankful wasn’t just for the things we deem as good but also for the tiny struggles, the disappointments and hurts, I also began to understand why. It’s at these points in life that we mature as a Christians. God is taking us from that baby bottle to mushy baby food and eventually meat. So why not praise Him? Usually at those times we’re gaining knowledge from life lessons, developing our faith and learning to depend on Him.

God’s word says to give ‘thanks always for ALL things’ (Ephesians 5:20) not just the stuff we want, like that promotion but also for the demotion. Praise Him for not getting that house or job and for the break up you didn’t see coming, you never know what He’s saving you from. Personally, I had to learn to thank God for not being married or having the family I wanted at this time in my life (I go into why a little bit here). I also had to be thankful for the things I went through in my past with men because it educated me, grew me up and now I can pass on what I know for sure to help others.

It may not be easy or something you want to do but it’s an invaluable lesson learning to praise Him through your struggles and pain. As this holiday season rolls around and so many of us gather to be with loved ones find at least one thing you have been wanting and thank Him for not bringing it yet. Think of one thing that hurts your heart and thank Him for the experience. Think of the lessons instead of the loss, focus on the good that has or may come out of a bad situation. Shift your focus to one of Philippians 4:8 point of view. We ALL need encouragement every now and then, so let me remind you that you are blessed beyond measure and He has great things in store for you. Be grateful for eventually being on your journey to completeness and wholeness by thanking Him for what you have and what you don’t!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you

I want to know what you’re thankful for not having this holiday season, comment below!

Here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Court

IMG_5891-1.JPG
My friend Tayo and I on a mission trip in Costa Rica, at the time we were looking at a gigantic spider, but the photo also represents the people living in the tin shanties that surrounded us. They had very little but were still extremely grateful!

Wishy Washy Saints…

Do you ever get to the point in your life where you feel distant from God or that your zeal for studying and reading is waning and you don’t know why? I have and probably will in the future to be honest.

Ideally we are all consistently and progressively growing in the word of God daily. But none of us exist in a utopia and many times we find ourselves waxing and waning in our devotion to spending time with God. I don’t think this means that our love for Him decreases but sometimes our flesh becomes lazy in seeking Him or our world becomes so hectic that we just don’t set aside time to spend with Him. Days without seeking Him can easily turn into weeks and months into years until eventually He is no longer an intricate part of our lives.

I have lived this life of a wishy washy Christian and believe me, it’s painful to look back on your journey that started off so strong and wonder where the time went or why at this point in your life you’re still just a baby in Christ. I don’t pretend to have all the answers but besides remaining active in church or prayer groups, this is what I do in situations like this.

Don’t dwell on time wasted: we have a God that wants a relationship with us, so many times you can pick up where you left off. You’ll be surprised how much you remember even if years have gone by.

Read anyway: this is one of the best things you can do! Even if I don’t feel like reading the bible, I’ll still pick it up and get to studying. Many times I get so wrapped up in the reading that I don’t want to stop.

Don’t wait until it’s late: try to study when you’re still wide awake and not tired. Many people wake early to pray and study, I try but I identify with all the non-morning people out there & realize this can sometimes be difficult.

Turn on worship music: there’s something about music that sets the mood and puts me in a mindset of wanting to draw closer to God. Sometimes I’ll just sing to God on my own and although I can’t carry a note I’m sure He still likes it!

Use notecards or a devotional: If I don’t have a lot of time I use notecards that are a quick study until I can set aside more time.

Pray: talk to God tell Him how you are feeling and ask for the consistency, zeal & time to you wish to dedicate to Him.

Eliminate distractions: some distractions aren’t easily eliminated like kids or a partner, but turning off the television, getting off Facebook or turning off your phone are all thing you can easily control.

Practice self control: put yourself on a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, but don’t beat yourself up when you don’t.

In Isaiah 53:6 it says – “all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; And The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” He is speaking of Jesus taking on our sins even in the case of the people turning away from God. Even if you pull or turn away He is always there, waiting to usher you into His loving arms and for you to draw near so that He may draw near to you (James 4:8).

Here’s to a purposeFULL life!
Court

Psalm 119:105 your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

20141024-013737-5857472.jpg