How was your week? Mine was pretty great. If yours wasn’t, it just got better. *smile* Keep reading to get a shortstop for your week.
I was walking Sammy after a rainy day and noticed the ant mounds. They had been pounded by what probably seemed to be gigantic raindrops in their eyes. If I were an ant, I would have abandoned the mounds; they looked unlivable. Some had already dried to form a semi-hard crust of mud. Then, God whispered a reminder in my ear.
Ants don’t leave when it rains.
They stay and rebuild because they know the mud will harden and create protection for what lies beneath. How often have you wanted to quit when it rains? How many of us think of rain as a bad thing? Consider this — the very thing that appears to be destroying what you’ve built is actually creating the form for what you need. The storm is causing you to anchor deeply into your faith. The wind is forcing you to stand firm on what you profess. The lightning flashes jolt you into awareness that life is not a game and that you have a purpose. You could apply this to relationships just as much as your personal life too.
We could learn a lot from ants. Storage, communication, unity… I vote to add resolve and perseverance to their coat of arms as well. I bet I could add those words to yours as well.
Still praying for you all! Peace & Thanks for listening!
Prayer:“Lord, I can’t believe this is happening to me. Why can’t things just go right?!”
My passionate expression probably seems outlandish, childish even, but God knows I’m serious. He knows that I don’t pout at every little thing. I take the brunt of various blows so my friends, family, and teammates do not have to. It’s how I’m wired. Oh, but every now and then, I just have a good old-fashioned fit. I wouldn’t call it a tantrum, but close calls have occurred. The contents of said fit generally include a raw verbal exchange with my Heavenly Father, frustration tears, and deep breathing. Afterward, I usually end up praying words of thanksgiving and leveling up my faith that everything will work out.
Max Lucado calls it “the perfect storm”… the rather imperfectly perfect blend of unfortunate things that could happen all at once. For the most part, I chew up that storm and keep my energy focused on what’s ahead. I channel unnecessary energy to the Truth that there is an end to the misfortune. At times, it just gets too much and I am purely annoyed and frustrated. If I had a fistful of flour, my inclination would be to throw it all over the place. If there was a punching bag, it would ask for mercy… but only for about 2 minutes. Yes, you read correctly. When I need to just get it out, I do and I give myself a time limit to do so. My flustered self may scream, whine, grunt, cry… whatever it takes. Then once it’s out, it’s out. My faith takes over and God reinforces His strength in me and I’m geared up for the fight again.
That “perfect storm” allows God to show Himself strong in me and also in the situation that is trying to smother me at that moment. I’m also crazy enough to believe that He allows me to release the pressure valve if needed. Whenever that is. Without judgment. Without shame. I can go there with Him and I love it.
I pray that you release your real prayer in the midst of your “perfect storm.” Get it out. Say it, breathe through it, and do so unapologetically to your Creator. It’s definitely better out than in.
Here’s a shortstop (500 words or less) for your week. I hope it helps!
Are you guilty of having your phone elsewhere while your Bluetooth is in your ear? Yeah, me too. My headset would say in a pleasant female voice “Out of range. Trying to connect.” One time I was so comfortable with the convenience that I went for a walk outside before I realized my phone wasn’t with me. I could hear my mother’s voice clearly until it was disjunct and ultimately non-existent. I rushed back inside and her voice clarified. So did the Holy Spirit’s whisper. I shook my head and made a mental note to tell you what I heard.
It is possible that we move about life — experiencing new things or getting lost in the daily grind — and eventually slip out of range. The noise of responsibilities, time-sensitive decisions, and pressure-packed expectations can drown out the warning signs that you may be beyond the scope of God’s intentions. I believe His Spirit is always near and His fingerprints are all over our existence; however, I also believe our communication can get cloudy sometimes. So, what do you do when there’s static and His voice isn’t as clear as it used to be?
Let’s consider remote controls for a minute. It’s annoying to keep pressing buttons and nothing works. You may hit the remote, stand up, or even walk up to the television. How absurd that you stand in front of the box and keep pressing buttons! If that doesn’t work, the typical next step is to reach out and touch the television itself. The next step for the interrupted headset connection is to usually return to the phone’s last known location.
So, what about you? Are you out of range? Consider the following questions just in case:
Is there a place where you can quiet the noise? Do you often feel confused and frustrated? Where are your last known whereabouts regarding your closeness with God… where you were close enough to hear His voice clearly? What do you need to do to be spiritually sound?
You may or may not feel utterly lost. Maybe you just realized that you’ve wandered outside of His intimacy. The beautiful part is that you’re not out of the range of His Love. Maybe it means snatching back your lunch breaks instead of working through them. Perhaps you can go for a walk before or after work. You could make your drive-time your new commune-time. I tell you this — there was a little sense of relief when I heard that pleasant female voice say “Connected” and I could resume my conversation.
Get back to the original source of Power, Strength, Joy, and Purpose. Reach out and clear the connection. You may be surprised by what you hear that could clarify your next steps.
Peace & Thanks for listening! I love you and here’s to a blessed week, Sweethearts!
I’m so glad you made it through another week. *fist bump* You’re still here. That makes you a survivor and if no one has told you lately, I’m proud of you. Want to chat about dirt? Great!
I was in a good place before it all went down. For weeks, I kept thinking about Earth… the ground, the air, the resources. Someone even asked me about global warming recently and I shared my sentiments. God didn’t make us dump trash in the oceans and hurl pollutants into the air for decades. We did that. And when was the last time you recall such frequency of turbulent and abnormal weather patterns? Alabama was still breaking heat records with 100-degree days well into October. So, do I also think Earth is aching (Romans 8:19-23)? Absolutely. I believe we are experiencing two forces at work every day — divinity and volition. After all, we are made of dirt and water, right? Anywho, I digress… let’s keep going!
Take this same battle to an internal level and I see the same tug-of-war. The person we became based upon the decisions we made vs. The person God created us to be. It’s a realistic struggle, yet we also have to factor in situations that happened to us, not because of us. This is where I was spiritually before it all went down Tuesday… in a good way. Let me explain…
The Birmingham stop of the Women Evolve Night in the Wild Toursold out four hours before I got off work and could purchase my ticket. So, I pouted for a few minutes and faced the fact that I wasn’t going. The next day, I heard God’s voice clearly say “You need to go.” The only available ticket was for the Nashville, TN and I just knew that wasn’t the method on deck. My financial basket wasn’t prepared for the road trip. I figured someone I knew wouldn’t be able to go in Birmingham and she would miraculously let me know. So, I waited it out. I even had a Gideon moment. If the Nashville stop still had tickets available that Monday, I would go. Needless to say, He tested my faith and I drove peacefully up I-65 to receive the spiritual refreshment I needed. Like soil, I gathered the broken pieces of my heart and prayed that God would nourish it when I got there. My knee burned fiercely, two women cut me off in the parking lot, I had to walk an incline and a significant amount of stairs, but it was minor in comparison to the vulnerability I would face and the strength I would receive. I took this picture before service because I had a gut feeling that I wouldn’t care to take one later. I was right.
During worship service, I held those pieces of my heart as my hands flew up to the heavens. I traveled solo, so I didn’t know anyone which meant there were also no inhibitions. I was determined to get what I came for.
Within the Word, Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts mentioned the importance of women recognizing themselves as beautiful and formidable soil. She invigorated our supernatural selves and I found myself in a sanctuary full of other women that brought their cardiac fragments too. The atmosphere was safe. I cried freely. When she asked for women to come forward if they needed to uproot toxic seeds, I didn’t hesitate to limp down those stairs and receive the necessary work on the soil of my soul. I had roots of abandonment, depression, despair, and pessimism hiding deep within and at the most inconvenient times, they would germinate and I would feel ashamed. The crazy part is that I could see each seed and I knew exactly how it got there. So, those pieces that I brought with me were really sprouts from past pain both inflicted by my decisions and by things that happened against my will. Healing was one thing; I had undergone that spiritual surgery. Allowing infusion of strength in exchange for those pieces was a completely different story. It required a deeper layer of trust — a full submersion into my vulnerability — to the only One who wouldn’t hurt me. It sounds like an easy surrender, but vulnerability makes me itch before I have to do it. When you’re already at a low point, you have nowhere else to look but up. The difficult part is relinquishing your strength in exchange for His once you’ve stood up.
That’s what went down… well, up. And I’m so glad it did. Sweetheart, I encourage you to allow the Lord to aerate the soil of your heart. In the beginning, it may hurt like hell, but that exchange is necessary no matter how many times or levels you have to experience. Each time, remember that you’re beautifully crafted and God wants nothing more than to help you up so awesome seeds can grow out of you.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Have a great rest of the week!
Good Evening, Sweethearts. Here’s a shortstop for your week.
What do you do when you’ve messed up? How do you handle it? Guilt and shame usually wait at the door of any misstep. It’s easy to think that you’re invincible and if others think the same, the fall can feel fatal. So, what do you do next? Where do you start?
One of the first things I do is remember to whom I belong. I remember that God sees me as His daughter because I allowed His Love to envelop my heart. Here are some Bible verses that can help you get back on your feet. They have helped me over the years and have never lost their flavors.
Wherever you are, I pray that you remember that you are loved and that you are never too broken to be valuable. You are worth another try. So, give yourself a dose of God’s grace and smile at your fresh start.
Peace & Thanks for listening.
Bible Verse photos courtesy of my Free YouVersion Bible App
Now, this may seem like a small accomplishment, but it definitely was not. When my insurance changed last year, that meant I could no longer see my beloved primary care physician… that one I boasted about for years, the one who discovered issues that had ailed me for a long time. So, when I had to go on a hunt for a new medical relationship, I was not excited. There was a mass on my neck of which I needed to know the status. After being transferred multiple times, I finally reached an office that accepted new patients and got an appointment scheduled. Then, I received a referral to obtain a diagnosis about the mass, which resulted in the safe surgery of benign tumor. Whew!
There’s nothing wrong with fighting just a little bit longer for what you need. I know it is tiresome to keep getting what you should easily receive, but when it comes to your health (of all kinds), you are worth fighting for. It was difficult; I cried. In the car. In a Waffle House parking lot. It was bad. I was so frustrated and I felt isolated amidst the surrounding traffic. After the tears, I made more calls until I got to the right person to help me navigate through the muddy waters of medical insurance. The fight was necessary to get what I needed and I don’t regret a minute of it. It made me a stronger patient and an overcomer.
If you’re a patient, I encourage you to be an active participant in your health. Ask questions. Get opinions. Do the work. This is YOU we’re talking about.
Peace, thanks for listening, and keep fighting. You’re worth it.
#25 – I watched my students and my cousin graduate!
There are two things I bring to every graduation – water and cough drops. Why? Because I’m going to scream for my students! The joy that overwhelms my soul every time I see them step into the graduation day is the stuff that could make rockets fly. Their smiles light up every backstage corridor and when they walk across the stage, I yell like I birthed them myself. I teach adults, but at that moment, they’re my kids. I embarrass them with cheers, hugs, and words that express how proud I am of them.
The cherry on top of the day was cheering for my cousin. She had gone through hell and high water, but she kept a spirit of determination while balancing family, work, and school. I was so proud of her and all of my students that day. I was simply blessed to be present… and they knew I was coming for them with my camera. lol
The best feeling in the world for an educator is knowing that you’ve given them something that will grow with them forever. The homework, the discipline, the life skills, and the motivation all work together to create a beautiful moment of transition from the classroom to their respective professions. My former students are now business owners, healthcare professionals, administrators, managers, and students once again as they advance in their careers. All of those titles came to fruition because their class time with me came to an end. That’s not a sad thing… it’s a Good thing! That’s why I cheer for my students so hard and knock back those cough drops – because it’s the end of that part of the struggle. Single parenthood, unemployment, inconsistent childcare, undependable transportation, and non-supportive family members were not enough to stop them. And those smiles on that day… that’s the Good no negativity can take away.
So, maybe you think I was joking about the cheering part. Who cares if I was on stage as faculty? Not me. Just check out this clip of my cousin walking across the stage.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Cheer for someone this week! It may encourage them more than you know!
This is for every teacher out there that gives of their time, talent, and treasure in order to see their students “get it.” My co-workers gave me the gift of their professional passion and I couldn’t be more grateful. While I was in therapeutic massage school, they volunteered their wisdom in various ways and enjoyed pouring into all of us. From 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM every day, I was a student and I received all of their awesomeness. Truthfully, I became their fan. They were not colleagues during that timeframe; they were my instructors and their goal was to see me succeed in my new journey. They helped me study and practice after school when I needed it and cheered when I passed my boards and landed my first independent contract. They also hugged me as I cried. I couldn’t have asked for better gurus for uncharted waters.
You truly do give what you get.
I can’t count how many times I stayed after class, drove to campus on my days off, and counseled students to pursue their passions in the midst of adversity. It didn’t matter that I was exhausted or that my bank account was coughing dust… I wanted to give the gift of care to people that were transitioning into their next levels. I didn’t think I would receive all of that back from people that I admired as my friends. The best gift was to be an open vessel in their classrooms. It is truly possible to receive what you pour into others and I appreciate every drop.
Laura is my secret weapon. If you pass by her in a hallway, she has so much wisdom and humor in 1 minute that it will leave your head spinning. She’s witty and brilliant and has beautiful salt-n-pepper hair. We were co-workers for 5 years and that title morphed into friends over my teaching career. You know how you say “Keep in touch! Let’s have lunch!” and you truly mean it, but you never do it? Well, we grabbed intention by the ears and actually did it and I enjoyed every minute.
Friends can be found anywhere and age has no boundary when you have kindred spirits. Kindness can exist among generations and workplaces. Laura and I would check on each other throughout the workday and combine our educator superpowers to increase student achievement. I didn’t know I would have a friend like her in my life when I accepted the job offer, and now I can’t imagine my life without her in it.
Be on the lookout for authentic people. They truly are everywhere.