Tag Archives: Relationship

Surviving The Valley

It’s been so long since I’ve used this space I almost feel like an intruder….lol. I feel like I should give an explanation as to why I’ve been away for so long but if I begin to delve into the details; multiple deaths in my family, moving to Jamaica, starting my Masters degree, etcetera, etcetera, I might be here for an insanely long time and may never get to share what’s currently on my heart. So with that being said, I’m back. Whether for a moment or for good this time is still to be discovered, but I’m glad that I’m in a space where I can communicate openly about my life and encounters with God again!

Today, after a long period of searching and reassessing my life and my relationship with God, I was reminded of a key principle in understanding who God is and reaching out to Him. I’ll go back a little before telling you what that principle is, so you don’t feel out of the loop and I don’t seem like I’m rambling on about everything and nothing in particular.

Have you ever hit a really low place spiritually, where you feel like you’re no where close to God and you’re praying that you’d have even a slight encounter with Him again so you can keep going? Now, this feeling may not be a result of sin or wrong doing, but simply a result of feeling drained by the stresses of life and literally having to take life one day at a time and dealing with each crisis in the moment. It may resemble waking up each day and praying, all the while not being certain if God is even listening or hearing you. Maybe you’re trying to worship and you just can’t find the right words or the right song and it’s as though you’re occupying an empty space and reaching out in futility. In such a moment, have you ever asked God “Where are you?” or “Why won’t you talk to me?” or even “Why have you forsaken me?”. If you’ve been here at any point in life, welcome to the club.

That was me for the past couple months. I woke up each day and I grappled with praying and worshipping and many days I felt abandoned by God. I wanted so badly to hear His voice or feel His presence or at least get some form of confirmation that I was still within His will and plan for my life. And for months I battled, and doubted, and cried because it felt like I was grabbing at straws. I felt like at some point, God got fed up and just couldn’t be bothered to meet with me anymore. I can’t begin to tell you how empty and painful that was for me. To go from being in God’s presence daily and feeling Him close to me, to feeling like there was a wall between us and trying to figure out how to get past it. Of course during this time I kept seeing those memes online that say “the teacher is quiet during the test” and “God has promised not to leave you or forsake you”. These, while comforting momentarily, never proved to be enough to sustain me and definitely didn’t renew my peace. I needed something more, something solid, heck, I needed God!

Then today happened. Today I woke up and was reminded of John 1:1 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I know, this is a serious “what?” moment because it’s such a simple verse to combat all the drama I was facing. But, as simple as it seems, that one verse gave me the breakthrough I was so desperately looking for. You see, I’ve been reading my bible, but only because I’ve been taught to read it. I’ve been told time and time again that reading my bible should be part of my daily routine and so in my low place, I read because of religion and not relationship. What that means is, I wasn’t reading my bible because I wanted to know more about God or because I wanted to apply it’s principles to my life, I was reading it because it became a part of my routine, a chore almost. When I felt drained I cast the bible aside and believed that its words could not offer the comfort I needed, because it wasn’t God speaking directly to me – and ultimately, that’s what I wanted.

This morning though, I was reminded that interacting with the bible is one of the most intimate ways of interacting with God. It gives us insight into the heart of God, the principles and standards He operates by, His thoughts towards us and His promises which He is faithful and true to uphold. This morning, I was reminded that when I feel like I have no emotional connection to God, I still have direct access to Him through His word.

So, what now? What happens now that I’ve rediscovered the truth and simple answer to knowing God and maintaining my relationship with Him? Well, it’s simple, now I move from living out my Christianity as a chore to truly embracing all that God has to offer me through His word. Now, I read with purpose and I live in faith understanding that when God says he’ll never leave me nor forsake me, He means it. Now, I work on my relationship with God and not my christian religion. I’m going back to basics, seeking God’s truth daily through His word and living them out as much as possible every day.

I’ll be honest, a part of me wants to say that this is basic stuff and chastise myself for forgetting it, but I’m more inclined to indulge the part of me that’s grateful for my valley experience because it reminded me that my walk with God is not an emotional one. It’s not about feeling warm and fuzzy inside and being brought to tears every time I think about God. It’s about being sober minded, and living a principled life that’s pleasing to God. My Christianity is about having faith that God is with me always and trusting Him to be my guide even when I don’t “feel” like He’s close.

As I continue to seek God and walk in His ways I’m grateful for the reminder that I have access to Him always even when I “think” He isn’t there.

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You Said What?!

This tongue of mine seems to be the hardest thing to tame. Not for lack of trying though. I must admit that I’ve seen some improvement in the tongue-taming department but I realize there’s still some work to be done.

I’ve been wondering about words used via instant messaging (IM) and social media (SM). Is it that you blame the tongue for words sent these medium? Continue reading

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Lessons On Love: Patient Love Takes Practice

Love is Patient

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is Patient…………….

Remember the last blog I posted where I decided to take up the challenge of choosing to love people in spite of? Nearing the end of that post I wrote “This is going to be one of those challenges where I’m only going to understand it entails after I’ve begun but I’m not going to let that deter me” Talk about hitting the nail on the head! I’ve learned so many lessons in love these past weeks it’s a bit mind blowing.

Reflecting on my experiences, I realize that the messages in the lessons I’ve learned aren’t entirely new to me, the actuality of living through them has given me a greater appreciation for their meanings. Having to put action to advice I’ve given to many people has proved to be a painful task but one which I embraced and appreciated.

I recently got into a relationship ~ yay me 🙂 ~and as expected I was completely lost in the feeling of loving and falling in love. You know what I’m talking about right? That feeling you feel at the beginning of a new relationship, where everything (even the mini fights) make you smile and everything is somehow cute, gorgeous or awesome? Well that’s where I was; I was enjoying the start of my new relationship (enjoying it even now) and not taking note of any tell tale signs along the way which should have indicated that I was getting into some trouble.

Let me add a bit of background here so I don’t confuse you later down in this post.

When I gave my life to Christ one of first and hardest decisions I had to make was to leave a relationship I was in for three years. I was madly in love with my boyfriend at the time and we had plans to get married, have kids and do all the wonderful things married couples do. The problem I faced at that time was being in a relationship which was extremely intimate was getting in the way of my life of worship unto God. My boyfriend and I tried to continue our relationship without having sex but that was impossible, especially because I was a Christian and he was an Atheist (yes I fell in love with an atheist). He couldn’t comprehend my love for God and desire to please Him and I couldn’t come to terms with his inability to believe in God. Our breakup was such that we both agreed to go our separate ways, remain friends while understanding the love we had for each other but respecting the boundaries set. When I left that relationship I left all things sexual behind me. I took a radical stance to keep my temple holy and acceptable before God and I never looked back.

Now that we have the history of my celibacy down I can continue with the point I was making.

Before I got into the relationship I’m currently in it was very easy for me to honor the decision I made to keep my temple pure, holy and acceptable before God. I had my blinders on for about a year or so and I wasn’t allowing anyone into my space. I’ll admit, I did entertain some random conversations during that time but there wasn’t any serious interactions or commitment to be had. During that period I managed to convince myself that I had overcome having sexual desires outside of marriage and I would never struggle in that area ever again. Boy was I wrong! The wave of emotions I felt once I started spending more time with my boyfriend was enough to cause a catastrophic turn of events in my life if not for God’s grace.

Imagine me; a woman who turned her back on all things sexual for the love of her God having to face the reality that her body knew what sex was and having to make a conscious decision on a regular basis not to give in to temptation; mental or otherwise. When the realization hit me I immediately went into panic mode. I bought a promise ring, I gave him “the speech”, I started researching ways to maintain my purity while in a relationship as well as other crazy things. I did everything possible except talk to God. For some reason I didn’t take the emotions that were overwhelming me at the time to the God that I love and trust. Isn’t it amazing how the first step we should take in any situation is somehow the last one taken after we’ve tried everything else that fails? For some reason that escapes me I thought I needed to deal with this on my own. I thought I had to figure out a way to fight my emotions and somehow get rid of them, when all the while what I really needed to do was lay my cares upon God and let Him be my guide. Thankfully in my foolishness God still kept me and I didn’t succumb to temptation ( and I really do me THANK GOD, because he knows it was a hard fight).

Reflecting on my experiences I know that I would not have had to battle so terribly from the beginning if I had asked God to take control. You see, when I realized I was sinking and it was becoming harder to overcome the tide of emotions within me, it was only then that I went to my Father and asked Him for His wisdom to continue pleasing Him especially in my relationship. Only then was I able to listen to his voice as he reminded me of the patience of love.

Patient love; as it relates to intimacy in relationships, isn’t about waiting on the other person to be ready for the next move, it’s about loving each other enough to wait until marriage to enjoy each other intimately. Being in a Christian relationship isn’t supposed to void you of being sexually attracted to your partner, it’s supposed to strengthen your relationship with God and teach you self control, self respect and the meaning of true love. Loving someone enough to wait until marriage, especially when you already know what sex feels like, is a true test of patience. Wanting to share passionate kisses and tight hugs with your intended husband or wife but choosing not to, because of the relationship you have with God is a choice you have to make. Making that choice isn’t always going to be easy but at the end of it all you have to decide if one moment of lustful pleasure is worth disappointing your heavenly Father and forsaking the blessings he has in store for you.For every time I’ve had to deny flesh and not give in to sensual feelings I felt a slight pain but I rejoice a little more with each right decision made because continual denial gets me closer to God and a blessing is added to my relationship.

I can’t say that it’s always going to be smooth sailing, but I can declare that I will not give in! If I truly love this man as much as I think and if he truly loves me as much as he says, we won’t lead each other to sin. Along with our desire to kill flesh and the various decisions we’ve made such as “not liming in the car alone, not hanging out in lonely areas, choosing to socialize in places where there are lots of people and as much as possible go out in groups” we have decided to put the patience of love into practice.

People always say that True Love Waits. I’m testing that theory and I look forward to writing a blog the night before my wedding testifying of the truth of that statement in my life. Keep me in your prayers and where ever possible remember to put into practice the principles of love as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13:4

 

 

 

 

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School of Prayer – Devotional Prayer

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I joined School of Prayer 😀 and as its name suggests it’s a school where they teach you to pray. WAIT………………… before you go off on that tantrum about not needing a school to teach you to pray and praying is just talking to God and all the other thoughts that would discourage you from continuing to read this post, I want to tell you you’re probably right.

That’s right, I said you’re right. However the bible teaches us a lot of things regarding prayer and character and I believe once studied these teachings can edify anyone’s prayer life. So while praying is talking to God and we can do so at anytime, building a foundation for our prayer and understanding the true power we can exercise through fervent prayer and a righteous lifestyle can only add to our lives and our relationship with God.

So, with that being said, every other week for the next year as I attend classes I’ll be sharing with you all I have been learning at School of Prayer. I want to encourage you to give your feedback and your views and even ask questions along the way. I’m really excited about this journey and I hope you become just as excited about it with me.

Yesterday’s class we looked at Devotional Prayer. I’m not going to go into depth about the topics (for fear of the posts being too wordy) but I’ll summarize what we covered in each area. If you wish to receive more information on any of the topics covered you can email me at testifywithme@gmail.com and I’ll send you some notes from class.

Ok. Let’s jump right in shall we……………Devotional Prayer

James 5:16 16 Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

As devotees of Christ we must understand that we are no better than anyone of our brothers or sisters for we all have faults. It is our duty to pray for each others faults in order to be healed. When the bible speaks about a righteous man it refers to that person’s lifestyle. If we live righteous lifestyles; by following God’s instructions for our lives through the bible and availing ourselves to his will then our prayers will have power and effectiveness. Your lifestyle can have a positive or negative impact on your prayers, that is, it can hinder your prayers or help your prayers. Always remember that your prayer can be no more effective than your lifestyle. 

As we aim to be at that place of righteousness before God we need to understand that whatever dominates your mind controls you. We generally move in the direction of our most dominant thoughts. So be mindful of what you focus your mind on at all times.

Finally Devotional Prayer calls for four things:

1. A specific place

2. A specific time

3. A renewed consecration

4. A prayer list

While praying can be done any where at any time, devotional prayer calls for commitment. As you ponder these thoughts, I leave you with these words of encouragement; you have the power needed to live a righteous life according to God’s will, it’s up to you to avail yourself to it.

 

One of the most dynamic things about Prayer is that it brings change through DIVINE INTERVENTION. 

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Protection On Holy Ground

IMG00568-20130212-0702Exodus 3:“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

A lot of us are familiar with the story of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus. Recently I’ve been examining my relationship with God and the change in my attitude toward negative situations and I’ve come to realize that once I’m in the presence of God I need not worry about anything except doing his will. When Moses saw the burning bush he was up on a mountain and his feet would have been protected from elements such as sharp objects, insects and venomous creatures such as snakes by his sandals. When he entered into the presence of God, he was allowed the freedom to cast his care of protecting himself from all of those elements aside by removing his sandals.

I believe that as a believer in Christ Jesus we are allowed the freedom of not having to worry about the dangerous and negative elements of life which surround us because like Moses we are constantly dwelling in the presence of God. Once we recognize that we are in God’s presence then we will have a peace in knowing that he will protect and take care of us. We will understand that our purpose is to fulfill his desire in our lives and we need not focus on the things of the world but keep our eyes constantly upon him.

In the past I’ve always been a bit of a worrier. Not just a worrier but an aggressive worrier!! I know you’re probably wondering “What exactly is an “aggressive worrier?” Well allow me to elaborate.An aggressive worrier is someone who worries and complains while trying to fix a problem they have no control over, without ever considering that they can give the entire situation to God and he will sort it out. That was me. Loud mouthed, control freak, worrier.

Today I am thankful that I am no longer that person and my attitude has made a drastic turn around for the better. Last weekend Trinidad and Tobago celebrated Carnival. In our country the festival is celebrated by revelry, lewdness, drunkenness and acts of sexual immorality. Basically everything that Galatians 5:19-21

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

While I’m not judging anyone who partakes in carnival (especially since I myself participated in the years before I acknowledged Christ as my lord and savior), I made a conscious decision to devote my life and my body to the things of God. So instead of buying a costume and “playing mas” I went to camp with the youths of my church.

Firstly let me say that camp was AMAZING!! Believe me when I tell you that I would love to delve into the details of every aspect of camp but, I really need to share with you my experience of feeling unsurpassed peace in the midst of a depressing situation while in Tobago.

On my way to camp on Friday afternoon I lost my wallet on the boat. I noticed I didn’t have the wallet when I stopped to purchase food after arriving in Tobago. I was with a group of friends so I didn’t worry about finding it then because I knew my meal would be paid for. When I got to the camp site about an hour later I searched my bags I didn’t see the wallet in any of them. By this time I began to worry (not aggressively, but I was worried). I somehow convinced myself that I it might have been in the car and decided to look for it when I got up the next morning. As you can guess, the wallet was not in the car and after checking my bags all over again I realized that I might have lost it on the boat.

The boat could have had approximately 300 passengers traveling on it that evening. I had no control over who might have found the wallet and whether or not they would have left it with the relevant authorities. If you’re like me, losing your wallet means having to replace a lot of important documents. I remember speaking to God and telling him “Lord I really don’t care to get the money in the wallet back, I just don’t want to have to go through the hassle of replacing everything.” That morning I made my way to the port to find out if anyone found the wallet and turned it in. It was on that journey I began to understand my purpose in the kingdom. I started talking to God and I told him that while I wish I didn’t lose my wallet, if he had to make it that way in order to place me somewhere to do his will then so be it. I can’t begin to explain the peace that came over me immediately after I made that proclamation.

When I got to the port I was told that I’d have to come back later in the day to see if my wallet was on board the vessel. The old me would have become immediately despondent and melancholy however I did not harbor any of those feelings. Instead I was extremely happy and full of energy the entire day. I went back to the port at least two times after the initial visit and every time I went I was told to come back at a later time or another day. Still my attitude was one of joy and thanksgiving.

On the third day after I lost the wallet I finally got to go on board the vessel to check and see if anyone had found it. By this time I had already accepted that I might not receive it because God probably had a plan for my future and he needed to take the wallet away in order to fulfill that plan. As I made my way toward the vessel I remember asking God “Lord how is it that I’m this happy even in a situation like this where my situation is bleak and I don’t know what lies ahead?” In that moment I answered the question by acknowledging my feelings to be joy and not happiness. I smiled because it felt good to know that no matter my circumstances I would always be happy because I had the joy of the Lord. Little did I know then that God had an even deeper revelation for me regarding my question.

When I got on the boat the Captain returned my wallet to me with everything in it, including all of my money. I was so elated! When I got back to camp I couldn’t help but boast about the greatness of my God and the joy of being able to trust him in every situation. Now like I said before God revealed the answer to my question to me even after I thought I got my answer already. When I got back from camp and was reading the bible one night I was lead to read the book of Exodus from chapter two. That night chapter 3:5 stood out to me and when I got the revelation of that verse all I could do was cry and thank God.

God showed me that my desire to do his will and have a deeper relationship with him meant that I was constantly dwelling in his presence. Being in his presence allowed for me to cast all my cares and worries aside because wherever he is, is holy ground. And once I am on holy ground I can remove my sandals because he would protect me. I understand why I am able to accept the challenges of life with a smile and not worry about how things will work out because I know that once my eyes are fixed upon God and my desire is to allow him to have his way in my life then there is no need for me to worry about things I don’t have control over.

Just as Moses would not have had any control over any of the elements around him that could have caused injury to his feet, in the same way we do not have control over some of the circumstances in life which can cause us harm. However once we acknowledge that we are in God’s presence we are given the freedom to stop trying to protect ourselves and let our father in Heaven take care of us.

My encounters with Jesus are becoming more and more glorious each and every day. It’s an exciting feeling waiting on God to guide my steps and use me to fulfill a purpose for the kingdom of heaven. I pray that we can all reach to that place of being able to trust God to see us through every aspect of our lives while remaining humble and allow him to have his divine way in us.

If you have had an experience with God that you believe would encourage someone in their walk with God, please share your testimony with us at testifywithme@gmail.com

We look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless You!

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Complaisance: My desire for God

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1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

I’ve been falling away from God. I’m not boasting, but acknowledging my weakness openly and confessing my imperfection before God and man. Earlier this year I developed a relationship with God and I was very very eager to serve him and do work for the kingdom. In the past weeks though I have fallen away. I stopped reading my bible with the enthusiasm I used to, I hardly pray and I stopped making declarations on my life. You can only imagine how empty I feel by now right. I feel like I’ve moved away the covers from over me on a cold night.

Death has yet again caused me to look at my life and its course in perspective to God’s word. Losing a friend who just started living as an adult has me broken hearted and shattered. I feel like my heart is in a vice and someone keeps twisting it every couple of minutes. Most of my pain is coming from the fact that I’m not sure whether my friend had a relationship with Christ or not. I feel like I’ve failed in delivering the good news to him before it was his time to leave this earth.

I know I can’t pray for the dead and I can’t bring my friend back to life but I am determined to save as much people as I can before my heavenly father is ready to take me home. I can’t afford to falter in my walk with Jesus and I can’t allow the enemy to deceive me into thinking that all is well and pull away from the arms of God. I can’t stay in a corner enjoying my salvation while the enemy devours my friends and family.

I am determined now more than ever to remain complaisant in serving God. I will not falter especially when things are working in my favor. I am inclined to please my father in heaven through my lifestyle and the testimony of my mouth. I am a worker for the kingdom of heaven and I will tell of the goodness of Jesus every chance I get.

If you haven’t made the decision to serve God wholeheartedly I urge you to do so now. Don’t wait for a trial to seek him. While you are alive and well seek God’s face and serve him with sincere devotion and a willing mind. Jesus is waiting to be your lord and Savior all you need to do is open your heart to him and watch him work in your favor.

If you wish to know more about the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how to develop a relationship with him please contact me by emailing to testifywithme@gmail.com 

I look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless You!

 

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