The Sun Never Stops Shining

If you don’t know, I am a science teacher and I love science! One of my favorite concepts to teach is the solar system. So just to give you a little background: the sun is a star. The sun is the center of our solar system. It’s about 4.5 billion years old and is our primary source of light and heat. Our lives depend on it.

I was driving down the road today and noticed the cumulonimbus clouds as they attempted to block the sun. The sun’s light was still shining through. It dawned on me that just because the sun is obstructed by the clouds, doesn’t mean the sun’s light stops shining.

Even with the presence of the clouds, the sun’s light still remained. Although we can’t see the light from our perspective here on Earth, doesn’t mean the sun stops shining.

I say that to say that clouds may come. They may obstruct you completely but your light still shines. No matter what obstacle, struggle, tribulation, or hardship you encounter—your light never stops shining.

I’m not only talking about the physical presence of light, I’m talking about your light from deep within. Your God-given light. The light that shines through your being. The light others can see. The light that signifies your purpose. The light that justifies God’s goodness. The light that shines resolutely. The light that provides the resiliency for us to push through those difficult times.

While two thirds of Earth’s surface is covered by clouds, the clouds are fleeting; they don’t remain in the same position much like our troubles. Scripture says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Psalms 30:5).

Even when we experience night time, the sun is still shining somewhere else as Earth rotates. So even in darkness, the sun’s light remains. Even in your darkest moments, your light still shines.

Don’t let the clouds in your life cause you to not recognize your own light. Someone is depending on your light the way we depend on the sun’s light. Your light matters. Remember, your light may be blocked sometimes but it’s ever present and unyielding. God bless you on your journey! ❤️

What Goes Up Must Come Down

I’m sure we’ve all heard the phrase “what goes up must come down.” We regard the statement often scientifically in regard to gravity which is a force of attraction by which objects tend to fall toward the center of the earth. You throw a ball up into the air and of course (because of gravity) it returns downwards.

Lately, this phrase has set a new purpose in my life. It’s shifted from its physical meaning to a much more abstract idea.

When I hear the phrase, I think about it in a spiritual sense. When I pray to God and submit my prayer requests up to Him, blessings must come down. Whether my prayer requests are granted or postponed, my faith in God creates a space for my blessings to be released in my life.

When I send my praises up to God, my life is saturated with blessings from God that come down from Him.

What I speak out and up into the atmosphere about myself using positive affirmations like “I am enough” “My biggest dreams are possible” and “I will overcome my obstacles,” I’m literally commanding that these things fall onto my life through my belief in them.

The phrase “what goes up must come down” can easily be interchangeable with “in” and “out.” If I put in the hard work, the fruits of my labor will be what comes out of it. If I put my faith in God to work something out on my behalf, then His blessings will pour out into my life.

I encourage you to be intentional about what you put “up” or “in.” It’s really that simple. While easier said then done, be intentional about your prayer life and what you submit up to God. When you submit those requests, have faith that they will come to pass and even if not, constantly believe that what you think is best for your life, may not be God’s best. If God doesn’t grant it or prolongs it, then either He has better for you or He’s preparing you to receive it. Always remember a delay is not denial.

I also encourage you to speak positivity over your life. Your words literally have the power to shift the atmosphere! Whatever you declare and decree over your life has no choice but to present itself in both tangible and intangible forms. Don’t ever doubt who you are or your purpose! God loves you and wants the best for you! God bless you on your journey!

Amidst the Virus

I have been at a loss for words as the world as we know it has come to almost a complete shut down. Even as I write this blog post, there’s a certain level of hesitation that has built up around my finger tips. I want to make sense of it. I want things to go back to normal. I want to get out of the house. I want to see my friends and family. I want to know the end of this is near. I want people to stop dying. I can go on and on about what I want but I’ve quickly come to realize that it’s not about what I want or what anybody wants. I’m certain that God has taken the “power” from our hands and has rightfully proven Himself again. I put the word power in quotations because as humans we think that we’re in control of everything; we really think we have power to make things work the way we want them to. I’m sure many of us have lived long enough to know that God has a way of showing us who’s really in control in certain aspects of our lives but what are we to make of covid-19?

Maybe we aren’t supposed to make sense of it. Maybe our finite minds could never fathom the outcome of covid-19 if the ending or solution had been revealed to us as soon as the pandemic was. If we knew what the ending would be, why would we need faith in God? There’s so many maybes and so many unanswered questions but there is one constant and that is God is in control.

I have a problem with idolization. I can admit to it. Of course in the 10 commandments God says not to make idols. Some people may be largely confused about this, I know I used to be. I used to think of idols in terms of worshiping another god in place of God. While it still can mean that, the commandment is so much more loaded. Whatever takes the place of or impedes a relationship with God is an idol. An idol is something in your life that is elevated higher than God. Idols are distractions from God and can come in many different forms. So now that there is some clarification, what has God taken the backseat to in your life? It’s quite the question to ponder but like me I’m sure there’s at least something we can mention. It can be the pursuit of love, a girlfriend/boyfriend, spouse, children, careers, hobbies, business ventures, alcohol, partying, money, etc. The list can go on and on. While in quarantine, I encourage you to answer that question.

Let’s be clear, you can still read God’s Word, meditate on it, pray, attend church, volunteer in different ministries at church, serve your community, etc. and still have idols. The intricacies involving idols can be so vast that we have to be increasingly careful as we continue to develop as Christians. Sometimes we get so caught up in the routine of things that we neglect the fact that our bodies are physically present in spaces our minds never attended which brings me to the question of what is God trying to do in this season in our lives? In these devastating times, what is God trying to show us? What is He requiring of us that we’ve never done before? Because once it’s all said and done, we can never go back to the way things were.

Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquirer of at all by them?”- Ezekiel 14:3

I think it’s time for us to really sit and listen to what God is trying to tell us and answer these questions for ourselves. Some of us were too busy. Some of us are merely working just to die with no real purpose. Some of us made time for everything else but God. I hope you spend this time getting closer to Him. I hope you discover your purpose. I hope you find joy in your family and time with loved ones, develop your talents/interests, and/or get some rest. God has literally called the world to be still. As I wrote in a previous post, there is purpose in stillness. What we have to understand is that we are going through trying times but it’s not about what’s happening to us but for us. Hopefully this pandemic has revealed a lot for you. It’s time to get back to God.

I notice families walking around the neighborhood in amounts I’ve never seen before, neighbors being neighborly, families cooking and having dinner together, parents at home spending more time with their children, and children becoming more independent in their learning. I notice the promotion of self care and quality time. There is always good even in the midst of what seems bad; always a light amidst darkness. We still have to be in continuous prayer for the lives that have been lost to the coronavirus, for those in bereavement, for those dying alone, for nurses, doctors, medical staff, cashiers, restaurant workers, police officers, the military, and all persons who continue to put their lives on the line for our well being. We have to pray for children everywhere because everyone’s home environment isn’t the most ideal. We have to pray for those who struggle with addiction, depression, and loneliness. We have to pray for everyone that has lost their jobs during this time. God will make a way! He will never leave us nor forsake us. God bless you and your family on this journey!

How Deep Are Your Roots?

This past week, my hometown (Charleston, SC) was impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Our local news started reporting about it & initially I didn’t invest a great deal of attention on it. As the storm approached, the meteorologists seemed as uncertain as they had been when they initially started reporting about it. This hurricane was different, it’s path was unpredictable, and honestly no one knew if it would hit us. Since we were in the path, our county was declared under a state of emergency, school was canceled, and necessary precautions were underway.

I was used to leaving every time a hurricane (we get them often) would directly hit Charleston. My family and I would pack up & have the best hurrications (it’s a made up word combining the words hurricanes and vacations). My son began to love this time of year just for the trips! This time was different. This time they couldn’t figure out if we’d have a direct hit or not. So for the first time in a very long time I made the decision to stay amidst uncertainty. No matter what came now, I had to weather the storm.

It was midnight last Thursday when the storm passed along our coast. I woke up around 2AM as the power flickered on and off. Through my blinds I could clearly see the trees as they bent back and forth caught by the grips of such powerful winds. I have a lot of trees in my backyard so I did have a fear of a tree or two falling. I gazed on hopeful that my house would be protected from tree falls or any damage.

Eventually the sounds of the wind put me back to sleep. I woke up again to flickering power because I’m used to sleeping with the TV on. I once again saw those trees tossing in the wind and God spoke to me. Since I teach Science, I’ve taught a lot about roots being a structural part of plants that is vital to their survival. As I looked at those trees, I started thinking that many of those trees probably have been standing longer than the totality of my life; that they’ve weathered many other storms before. Then I immediately began to envision the intricacies of their roots. I started to imagine how deep their roots had been in the ground, intertwined with others, and some obviously more deeply rooted than others. As I looked on, I was so impressed that even in the midst of a hurricane, those trees held their ground. God put on my heart this question, how deep are your roots planted?

As those trees tossed and branches broke off and leaves fell to the ground, I started to really question how deeply planted and rooted am I in Jesus? It’s so easy to say we’re believers and we have faith but I’m starting to question whether that’s enough anymore. My son and I even prayed the day before aloud in my living room and we declared that we had faith that He’d protect us during the storm. I was so certain after that prayer. I wasn’t worried about anything.

The tricky thing about faith is, it can’t be conditional. Faith is a consistent and constant belief in God no matter what the circumstances look like. It’s easy to say a prayer and believe initially and then your faith waiver or be completely eradicated when it’s put to the test which brings me back to the question posed earlier. How deeply planted am I in Jesus? While I can’t answer that question quantitatively, I can be honest and say not deeply enough. I want to be like the trees in my backyard; firmly planted.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”- Colossians 2:7

As I looked at those trees the next day more closely, I realized that none of them had completely fallen nor were uprooted but a few were broken. Some lost a number of branches (large & small), one lost the upper half of the tree, and others lost bundles of leaves. Even in the midst of their brokenness, they still stood. Isn’t that what God is requiring of us? No matter how life has changed or even at points broken us we still have to stand firm on His Word and His promises. This hurricane served more than just a mere physical purpose, it provided a spiritual one too.

I’ve learned that it’s unacceptable to God to have front-loaded faith; it’s either all or none. I’m committed to having complete faith in Him. After all, He’s proven Himself over and over. I am like one of the broken trees that stands in my backyard. I’ve had numerous surgeries but like the broken tree God kept me standing. I’ve endured chemotherapy and all the symptoms alike and God kept me. I’ve had a miscarriage but again God kept me. I survived Hurricane Hugo at the age of 1 when our townhouse (at the time) lost it’s entire back wall & all the windows blew out and God kept me. I’ve even survived being held at gun point in my mother’s belly as the gas station she worked at was robbed and God kept me. I have way more reasons to trust Him.

As my son & I cleaned our yard (after the hurricane) and picked up the branches and raked the leaves, I thought about how we have to go through certain storms in life to loose some things off of us. Sometimes we have to remove people, negative thoughts, jealousy, and even bad habits. Sometimes God will take you through a storm to break some things off of you. Those trees in my back yard broke a lot off but they’re still standing and so are we! I’m committed to taking a deeper dive into my relationship with God and having faith in Him, are you? God bless you on your journey!

When Stillness is Necessary

I’ve always had a difficult time making difficult decisions. Typically, I’d think through the reasons that led me to want to make a decision in the first place, I’d present these reasons to my close friends and family, I’d pray, and often times find myself in the same situation that I started off in. After all of the effort that I just mentioned (for one single decision), I’d excessively think about it over and over to a point where I’d often unravel all of my reasons that led me to wanting to make the decision in the first place. I’m an over thinker.

If you look back to what I said in the first paragraph, I realized that I had the whole order wrong. Notice I said that I would start of with MY reasons when I should have started off with a prayer to God.

“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

What I didn’t realize at the time is that I propositioned my reasons for a decision that I wanted to make to God instead of trusting God to lead me to make the right decision. I even spoke to my family and friends before praying as if rallying a team of people to support my decision was more significant than God helping me to make a decision in the first place.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

I’ve learned to start with prayer. Once I present my requests to God, I now have faith that He’ll lead me to make the right decision or to simply work it out on my behalf. Here’s where I continued to lack in my prayer life, I learned that it’s not enough to just pray. It’s not even enough to have faith. I’d never sat in silence after prayer. What I mean is, I’d say my prayer and continue to move on with the busyness of my day. I never realized the significance of simply being still after prayer until now. There’s something so sweet in sitting still after prayer. There’s an opportunity for me to hear God in my stillness. There’s room for me hear His voice in the midst of the quietness.

Prayer isn’t a one-way conversation where God just simply hears me but it’s more important that I listen to Him but I can’t hear Him if I’m always busy moving. I have to be still. God already has the answers. He already knows but if I can just be still enough to hear Him, I’ll receive what I need through prayer and be able to confidently walk in the calling that God has for my life.

So I encourage you to be still. Simply, be still. Even after you’ve prayed, put your faith in God, and have sat in stillness with God, then you have to wait. The beauty in waiting is knowing that it’s going to happen. The difficulty of waiting is being patient for your turn. I’m learning as I travel throughout life’s journey, that being still and waiting on God are paramount. What are you looking for God to do in your life? Have you been still enough to hear Him? God bless you on your journey!

On the Other Side of Divorce

I’ve noticed that it’s human nature to want to disclose the positive things in our lives. Social media has provided a platform for us to do just that. Of course sharing the good things that happen in our lives like graduations, careers, marriages, and children are inevitable but are those the only significant points in our lives?

I’ve learned that some of my biggest blessings were produced in the valleys of my life. I’ve come to understand that people don’t always benefit from the good things that happen in our lives but rather from the depths of our biggest trials which leads me to the purpose of my post: divorce.

I would have never thought that I’d be filing for divorce. Let’s be honest here, typically when people get married, they aren’t anticipating the end of their marriage. I also have to be honest and own that I never imagined being married either. I was different growing up. I wasn’t a girl that fantasized about my future as a wife.

While specific details aren’t important to share, I do want to disclaim that I’m not writing to glorify divorce and make a mockery of marriage. I’m hoping that someone can gain from my story so I created a list to consider before and during marriage.

  1. Don’t get married young. For some it works but for a larger portion, it doesn’t. According to Wilkinson & Finkbeiner Family Law Attorneys, over a 40 year period 67 percent of first marriages terminate, the average first marriage that ends in divorce last about 8 years, and the average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old. I got married when I was 22-years-old and my marriage has lasted a little over 8 years. I’m 31 now. I literally became someone’s wife a mere 4 years into my adulthood. I didn’t give myself a chance to graduate from college much less live. I didn’t know who I was and I handled things immaturely. Get to know yourself, gain some experiences, and be wise with who you choose to make a life partner.
  2. Don’t get married because of a pregnancy. I got married at 22 because I found myself young and pregnant. I think back to being an immature 22-year-old pregnant woman who was vulnerable. Vulnerability caused me to be irrational. I was simply flattered that someone wanted me to be their wife. I didn’t realize that the somebody mattered; that the somebody was tied to the marriage itself. I was going to make a life with my child’s father, what better way to string my life along? Joining a new marriage with a newborn baby adds a layer of stress that is unmatched.
  3. Pray before you get married. I simply didn’t pray. I didn’t pray and ask God if the marriage was what I should be doing. I didn’t pray and ask if my husband was right for me. I selfishly made a decision with my own objective in mind. I didn’t consider the plans of my Heavenly Father.
  4. Seek pre-marital counseling. I didn’t. Counseling has gained in popularity but still is an undervalued resource. So much insight is provided when couples pursue counseling before marriage. It helps with clarity, setting goals, establishing compromises, and further secures the relationship before it enters into a marriage.
  5. Communicate. I know we always hear communication as one of the more prominent keys to a successful marriage but it’s true. Any communication is important but meaningful, honest communication is paramount. If we’re not honest in our communication, the marriage suffocates. Things don’t get better without sound communication.
  6. Forgiveness. As my marriage ends, I learned that as I journey into the next phase of my life, I have to forgive because if I carry the weight of my past into my future, I’ll continue to be pained, hurt people, and operate in a cycle of dysfunction. Forgiveness during a marriage is just as substantial. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes so be willing to forgive and move on.
  7. Consider your children (if you have them). They are innocent and they didn’t particularly ask to be present in your mess. So clean it up but keep the best interest of your children in mind because they need both of their parents. My son is the most important person to me in the world, so I had to lay my pride to the side, relax my ego, and forgive because raising him right and helping to usher him into his God-given calling is bigger than the failure of my marriage. Your children will benefit from happy, functioning parents not miserable, bitter ones.
  8. Keep God first. Everyone says it but they don’t always understand the true meaning. The Bible says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22). The Bible also affirms, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Ephesians 5:22) The Bible continues, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25). I am guilty of reading scripture but not always necessarily applying it. Application is just as important. Remember, “If anyone then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it is sin for them” (James 4:17). It’s way deeper than just being aware of scripture because when we don’t apply it, we risk the demise of our marriages.

For readers who have gone through a divorce or are facing a divorce, please know that there’s still the other side. What I mean is, if God kept you this far, what makes you think He’s going to stop now? Even in our lowliest places, God never leaves us. Even when we mess up over and over, God never leaves us. He’s present. He will be with you as you journey to the other side. Life doesn’t stop. It continues. I encourage you to continue to walk with God and He’ll recover everything that was lost. He’ll restore you. He’s the God of second chances (and 7,549th chances too).

The beauty is you’re still here and He’s not done with you quite yet. God still has a plan uniquely made for you, you just have to wait. Waiting can be hard. Waiting can be the biggest giant we face. Waiting produces patience and it heightens frustrations. The Word says, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). Just wait and in your waiting still be devoted to God. As my pastor said, “God is a wait watcher.” He sees you and He’s watching. You’re not just waiting for anything but for something divine! What He has for you requires more time because it’s not like anything else that anyone else has, it’s just for you. As stated by Sarah Jakes Roberts, be hungry enough to wait! Sometimes you can’t just accept anything; sometimes you have to pass up some deals, some friendships, and even some relationships out of hunger for what God truly has for you! It’s important not just to wait but to be hungry for the right thing; for the God thing!

As I write to you all, I’m writing to myself. I’m excited about the plans God has for me past divorce! I know greater is coming! Please be encouraged on your journey and God bless!

Son, my heart breaks for you!

Since I’ve had the chance to watch the entire series of When They See Us on Netflix, I can’t help but feel heartbroken. I’m at a complete loss. Five innocent teenage boys of color accused of beating and raping a white woman in 1989 in Central Park in New York amidst high racial tension and the debut of the crack epidemic. I was born in 1988, so I was barely two when this happened. I don’t know why I seemed so shocked that this type of occurrence would happen when African Americans were fighting for civil rights up until 1968, making this incident just a little over 20 years outside of the civil rights movement.

Of course there was backlash as is expected for a film of this caliber. Whether everything depicted was completely accurate in the film or not, when they see us, they see our black skin and unfortunately it has caused us to be reminded of a painful past in American history.

The media’s coverage of the story heightened the attention of the case and tainted the teenagers by calling them “the wolf pack” which is inextricably tied to a lineage of racial slurs. As I sat and watched When They See Us Now where Oprah interviews the exonerated five as well as the director and actors from the series When They See Us, I wasn’t able to find any closure. You would think that since the men were freed, all charges dropped, and they received a 41-million dollar settlement that these men would be in a much better place and they weren’t. Yes, some of them have gotten married, had children, moved to new cities, sought education, and even started campaigns for wrongfully convicted people – but they were still largely broken. They reminded viewers that being exonerated didn’t give them back the years they spent imprisoned and that no amount of money could ever justify the injustice against them.

I recently watched The Hate U Give (again) which is a movie about a young black male who was pulled over by the cops and was mistakenly shot to death as a brush is assumed to be a weapon. There are a plethora of cases that I can generate to show the broken justice system and the mass incarceration of African-Americans (a multi-million dollar industry) but for a moment I digress because I’m wondering what all of this means for my son.

I am a mother of a young black boy. I have the privilege of raising him. I say privilege because I am proud of my skin as I am his. I’m proud of my lineage of ancestors that have lived before me. I am proud of the resilience of black people especially after being prosperous in a nation that we have been forced into; for continuing to thrive amidst racial tensions, being treated unfairly, not being given equal access to a fair educational system, and living among many segregated systems.

My son is only eight and I have already began to have the conversations about our place here in America. I’ve talked about our history including slavery. I’ve began to make him aware of some examples of cases and situations where blacks are mistreated (in subtle ways). I’ve explained to him the importance of education. I’ve reinforced that we have to work so much harder and even then we can still be 10 steps behind. I’ve talked to him about the word “fair” because none of what I’ve just said has proven any level of fairness and quite frankly is a broken reality of our place here in America. I remind him regularly that I am raising a strong black man.

In the midst of these confused positive affirmations and harsh realities, I think about the difficult task of having to raise a black man in America. I think about so many incidents near and far that have happened with the sole reason of black skin being present. I think about how soon his father and I will have to sit him down and give him proper instructions about his interactions with police officers. I want him to be aware of his rights but want him to understand that he still has to be very careful about how he pursues those rights. My parenting has become political.

My heart breaks for my son because so much tragedy has happened at the expense of black skin.

I want him to know that our skin is not a weapon and that he should never be ashamed of who he is. Here in Charleston, South Carolina (where we’re from) there have been two major racial injustices in my son’s lifetime. Walter Scott (a black man) was pulled over in his car in April of 2015. He decided to get out of the car and run away from the cop. The cop shot him and killed him as he ran. The white officer was sentenced to 20 years in prison but it doesn’t bring his life back or justify his death. I can’t still help but wonder if Walter Scott was white, would the results have been the same?

In June of 2015, a white man walked into Mother Emanuel A.M.E Church in downtown Charleston and murdered nine African-Americans during a bible study. I grew up in a church in downtown Charleston and although I didn’t know any of the victims personally, this was a lost for all of us. Not only as a city but as a nation we mourned the loss of the lives of these people because this was bigger than Charleston.

I went to see the movie Emanuel two nights ago (detailing the church shooting in my hometown) and I have to be honest, I went in somewhat indignant. I’m tired of being reminded through media of how unfortunate it is to be black in America. I was looking for something different from this film. What happened in that church is undeniably a tragedy but the perseverance and strength of the victims’ family members was so powerful as forgiveness was interwoven throughout the entire movie. I was burdened when I walked through the doors but left with a sense of relief as I walked out.

I was relieved because I was reminded that God doesn’t make any mistakes. He created us in His own image long before we were even conceived in our mothers’ wombs. He is the writer of our stories. He’s omnipotent. With that, I carry hope now. Hope that things will get better. Hope that even in the thick of our history as black people in America, that none of what we’ve ever endured was in vain. I believe in the impossibilities as I am my ancestors’ wildest dream! I am able to remind my son that he is a child of the most high God; that he’s special.

So my heart breaks for my son because everyone won’t understand just how great he is. Everyone won’t tap into his potential. Everyone won’t be able to experience his intelligence and be exposed to his talents. Everyone won’t recognize his God-given light because they’ll be misguided by his skin. The good news is Jesus! Jesus died on the cross for all of our sins. He gave His life to cover everything we’d ever go through here on Earth. He’s bigger than anything we could ever experience.

God’s covering will protect him and others like him as they journey throughout life. Yes, the journey will be arduous and there’s more that we will go through but I have faith that even in the depths of troubling times, God will blow our minds and allow us to come up as we never have before!

If you love me, won’t you say something?

Many of you may be familiar with the song “Best Part” by H.E.R. featuring Daniel Caesar. It happens to be one of my favorite songs. I’ve listened to this song at least one hundred times but there was this one time that as I was singing the portion of the song that says, “If you love me, won’t you say something?” that stuck out to me. Largely, “Best Part” is considered a secular song but as clear as day I felt the Spirit of God say “April, if you love me, won’t you say something?” I was shocked and at a loss for words. At the same time, it made perfect sense.

I was shocked because this was a secular song, so why would I receive a message from God while listening to this specific song? I can’t answer that question but this experience does confirm that God works in mysterious ways. I think deeply about the track I was on in life which was referenced in my previous post “Frustrated to a New Level” and I can understand why to an extent.

I was so caught up in my own mess, He had to reach deep down where I was (in my sin) to save me. Oh God! That’s so powerful!

For me, He met me where I was; He cared that much about me. God was holding me accountable. How can I say I love God and love the things of the world just as much? How can I say I love God and be stuck deep down in sin? How can I say I love God when my life truly isn’t representative of that?

If you notice on my feature image above, it asks, “Do you love me? Yes or no.” I remember when I was in grade school and we’d pass notes to our crush, our notes looked similar to this. They typically didn’t say love, preferably the word “like” but as many coin today, we boldly “shot our shots!” I chose this feature image with purpose because if you notice, there is no “maybe” box which completely eradicates grey areas.

I have been a grey-area-lover-of Christ for far too long. What I mean by grey area is that I loved Christ at my convenience. I’ve manipulated our relationship and abused His grace. I participated in a relationship that was beneficial to me. I misused talents and displaced my gifts. I’ve promoted worldly desires while simultaneously unraveling my eternal treasures. I’ve prayed prayers of forgiveness and repentance with a precarious intention of doing the same things.

God was clearly calling me to action and my spirit was constantly reminded as I kept hearing, “April, if you love me won’t you say something?”

I realized that I had wasted efforts on fruitless endeavors and exhausted myself trying to run away from what was already destined for me. So now what will I do? I don’t have a concrete plan with elaborate details of everything I can do to live my life in a way that displays my love for God but I have committed to giving my life to Him and letting Him take care of the rest.

I began to understand that I didn’t have to do some great work and reach the masses but instead I realized that I could do my part and that God would make it great and captivate those it needed to. My recent blogging has been an attempt to display the fact that I love God! I know there’s much more in store but this is a start. I encourage you to tune your ears into what God is saying because He will speak to you. If you love God, how is your life saying it? God bless you on your journey!

Frustrated to a New Level

You ever felt like everything was wrong but nothing was really wrong at all? I know that question was awkwardly posed but read it again. If you don’t understand yet what I mean give me a moment to expound the purpose of my question.

Lately, I’ve been frustrated. When I say that I’ve been frustrated, I mean largely frustrated with everything in my life which brings me to confront the latter part of my question first, “but nothing was really wrong at all?” What was I really frustrated about? I am a 31-year old woman and I have the pleasure of mothering my beautiful son Peyton. I am a 13-year cancer survivor. I am an elementary school Science teacher with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education. I was even afforded the opportunity to publish my first book For My Good. I have amazing and supportive parents, family, and friends. I take trips occasionally. I read, write, binge watch my favorite TV shows and even lay out on the beach regularly. What can be so frustrating about my life when it seems like I’ve got it all together?

I am a Christian and as many others I have an awareness that God has purposed me for something.

At first, I didn’t definitively know what that something was. Honestly, I avoided learning my purpose because if I knew what it was, then I’d have to be held accountable. As a Christian, I have an obligation to God to not only seek out my purpose but to also walk in it. I realized that if I was going to walk in my purpose then I had to abnegate some things from life. Do you know how hard it is to remove things from your life that you really want? It’s extremely difficult and it feels almost impossible at points but I had to own up to “my stuff” no matter how painful.

I would like to shift the focus to the front end of my question “You ever felt like everything was wrong?” Yes! I’m now in a season in my life where what the world says about me or even if I think I’m successful (according to my own standards) isn’t even satisfying anymore.

Everything is wrong and I’m frustrated with it all! Why? Because God has more!

 "For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable" -Romans 11:29 

This verse shows the momentousness of the calling we have on our lives and is confirmed numerously throughout scripture.

Being completely transparent here -I found myself frustrated (more than normal) at my job, within my parenting (at points), in my finances, with my book sales, and overall with myself. In an aforementioned paragraph, it seemed like I had it all put together. This goes back to my previous blog post “The Good” where we constantly confuse God’s good with worldly good. Yes, all the things I mentioned earlier seem good and may in fact be good but until I accept God’s will and purpose for my life then I’ll never truly be successful. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”- Jeremiah 29:11

The most difficult part of my journey towards my purpose is fear and letting go of some bad habits. Innately, we’re born into sin; it’s human nature. The ability to stop what comes naturally (our sinful nature) requires not mere discipline but the power of the Holy Ghost.

I’ve gotten to points where I’m constantly convicted, tired of letting myself down and praying for repentance for the same sins, and always wondering why I find myself in the same situations when I know better. I feel like the closer I got to walking in my purpose, the greater the attack from the enemy.

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”-James 4:17. So to know God’s standards and His ways and not to do them is worse than someone who is lost. To know my calling and gifts and not use them for my purpose and the uplifting of the Kingdom of God is detrimental; it’s frustrating and in the long run it has caused me to grow weary.

“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”-James 4:4

This verse contributes to accountability. For me, it definitely brings an awareness to how imperative it is level up and walk in my God-intended purpose. This has been by far the most arduous battle in my life but living my life the way I had been has actually led me to the next level. Just because I decided to dedicate my life to God doesn’t mean I won’t suffer or that I won’t get frustrated but it does mean that my suffrage won’t be in vain.

I’m ready to level up! I’m ready for more. I’m ready to walk in purpose. I’m ready to live a more meaningful life and most of all, I’m ready to do God’s work!

I hope that my transparency and honesty encourages you to vigorously seek your purpose. I pray that you find purpose even in your frustrations. God bless you on your journey!

God’s Good Vs. the World’s Good

In my own life, my interpretation of “good” is associated with what is just or right.  As a Christian, I believe in God. God is good, upright, just, and righteous. I believe that by giving my life to Him and allowing Him to use me to pursue the calling He has for my life that I will be used for His good.  My son is what I consider to be good.  Having loving and supporting parents, family, and friends are good. Seeking and achieving education is good. I can go on and on about the many things in my life that are associated with the term “good”.

However, people’s interpretation of good varies because of what I’m getting ready to say. Growing up, I always thought everything that was good was of God. You know, like you’re ten and you pass your spelling test with a 90%- it’s good. When I graduated from eighth grade with the highest averages in three out of four subjects- good, right?  Or when I graduated from high school with a 3.8 GPA, won local scholarships for college, and attended Winthrop University- all still good, right? Through life’s experiences and reading a novel entitled Good or God by John Bevere, I learned that everything that appears good to us does not mean it’s in direct correlation with God’s goodness.

Human nature has a way of distorting what is actually good. The story of Adam and Eve in the bible is about Eve’s attempt to feed her husband Adam an apple from the Tree of Knowledge and Evil after being tricked by a serpent.  God explicitly instructed Adam to not eat from that specific tree. Eve gives the apple to Adam from this tree and they both ate. They disobeyed God and He finds out. If you think about it though, as humans, Adam and Eve thought the fruit (the apple) was visually appealing; to them it looked “good” so they ate from it. If it didn’t look good then they probably wouldn’t have eaten from the tree to begin with.

How many things in life simply “look” good to us? If sin came with all of it’s dysfunctions and disadvantages upfront and didn’t look good then we’d probably be more careful about sinning or possibly would avoid it altogether.  It’s really important for me as a Christian not to simply decipher between right and wrong; that’s easy. It’s to distinguish between what is God’s good and worldly good. They are two very different types of “goods”. One type of “good” is eternally motivated while the other is temporarily motivated.

My challenge for you is to really analyze your life and determine what’s God’s good and worldly good. Remember, this will be a process because innately sin is interwoven into our very beings so I encourage you to pray to God. Lastly, ask yourself, “Am I in search of God’s good or do I accept anything that appears to be good?” It’s a life-changing question. God bless you in your discovery.