No Rest for the Weary

There is so much destruction in the world. It makes perfect sense that whenever I catch up on worldly news, it’s saturated with negative images. I know that mainstream media isn’t always pleasant, but it can be downright depressing.

As I caught up today, I read about an 8-year old boy being shot down at no fault (obviously…he was 8) of his own. Through the frustration, my spirit stirred and that voice inside said to me, “You won’t always SEE the good, but you can always BE the good.” That’s when it hit me…isn’t that what it means to smile by faith? To not give in to discouragement. To trust God even when things don’t look so cheery.

That ministered to me in a major way. It was a timely reminder that I can always do my part. It only takes one person to facilitate change. One person called, equipped, willing, and committed. So, hear I am…doing what I was called to do. Posting this blog. Hoping to encourage someone. Preparing for my next group of students. Making a short list of things that I’m going to do to make a positive difference in someone’s life TODAY…TOMORROW…AND EVERY DAY AFTER THAT.

Won’t you join me in this effort?

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. – Galatians 6:9 (KJV)

Keep Smiling,

🙂 SBF

If Love Could Have Saved You…

Four years ago, my life changed. My surprise of a pregnancy taught me the truest form of hope…and my miscarriage taught me what it felt like to feel hopeless.

There were good days and bad days. I told myself that God knew best and that we would try again when we had gotten used to being married. I said the timing wasn’t ideal. We had a few other places to go and things to see. And when our relationship ended, I even tried to convince myself that I had “dodged a bullet.”

Truth is…I loved my baby. With everything in me. From the moment I knew someone was growing inside of me. I’ve never felt more special, loving, sensitive, protective, hopeful, favored, useful, purposeful, or beautiful than I did while I carried my child.

I miscarried in the first trimester. It wasn’t an easy loss physically, which distracted me from the emotional consequences. I was afraid of staying overnight in the hospital and things happened so fast that I barely remember all of the scans and needle pricks now.

I just remember hearing them say, “There is nothing that we can do to reverse this, but we will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.” Tuh.

Friends and family tried to comfort me and most of them said all of the WRONG things with the best of intentions. There were the comparisons to people who’d carried pregnancies for longer and the people who seem to believe that one should view a miscarriage as a celebration of the ability to conceive. There were the people who didn’t know what to say so they said nothing at all, which I actually understood. Perhaps, the most hurtful were the people who believed that you had to birth a child to be a mother…they made sure to remind me that I was not a mom and that I would get a shot at it someday.

Miscarriage is such a taboo topic. Many people don’t know how to deal with it although so many women and couples experience it. Each person’s experience with it is different and the process is never ending.

Today, I haven’t shed a tear. I feel stronger than I ever have regarding the loss of my baby. I also feel more love for him or her than I ever have. I used to try to block out the experience, but bottling it up only made me angry. It hurt more. Peace came in the form of acknowledgment and remembrance.

More than anything else, I’m so thankful that God granted me the opportunity to be a vessel of life if only for a little while. I’m thankful for the flood of emotions that I felt. I’m thankful to feel in my heart, the sweet presence of the angel that I once carried in my womb.

If love could have saved my baby, it would have lived forever.

The Fullness of God

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,

that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

-Ephesians 3:19 (KJV)

 

Created in His image, things of this world are beneath us. He gave us dominion over them and we will never find fullness in them. They will provide us temporary happiness, but they will disappoint us, hurt us, anger us, and leave us. Our fullness…our joy, faith, hope, and love…it is sustainable, but can only be found in Him.

Just my two cents. Have a blessed day, lovelies.

 

Keep smiling,

SBF 🙂

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Expecting the Unexpected…

If you have never taken an assessment of your life and thought to yourself, this is NOT what I expected, then you probably won’t be able to relate to this post. Every now and again (probably more often than I care to admit), I think back on all of the plans I’ve made, the dreams I’ve realized and the ones I haven’t, the successes and failures under my belt, the relationships that have formed and dissolved, etc. When I’m honest with myself, I realize that my life looks almost nothing like I imagined it to be.

This is not to say that I am disappointed in what my life has become. However, I have been disappointed time and time again. God has proven Himself faithful in keeping His promises to me and He has never let me down. So when I consider the source of my disappointments, I realize that it is within me. Too often in my life, I have set expectations based on my circumstances and in doing so, I set myself up for disappointment.

I’m learning that life is a continual series of opportunties to demonstrate faith in God. Not perfect faith. Authentic faith. Faith isn’t the absence of fear, but it presses ahead anyway. Faith isn’t always void of doubt, but it remembers that God will do just what He said He would. Faith isn’t exempt from asking questions, but it knows that sometimes you will have to proceed even without the answers. Faith expects the unexpected and praises God for it all.

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

Work, Not Worry: My Thoughts on the Visionary Work of God

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

-Matthew 6:33-34 KJV

I view Sunday as a day of preparation. It is the close of one week and the beginning of another. On Sundays, I worship, rest, reflect, collect my thoughts, and begin to set goals for the week to come. I also do these things at the beginning of each new month. So on today, Sunday, December 1st…I’m getting a double dose of my norm.

I woke up this morning about 3 hours behind my brain. I was up late working on a project and quite honestly, I don’t know that I ever stopped working on it even with my eyes shut and my mouth open (I’ve been informed that I sleep like that…don’t judge me). I sat up this morning and aside from thanking God for that amazing thing He did in giving me another shot at life today, all that was on my mind was work.

Over the past year, I have become more aware of visions as a mechanism for advancing the kingdom of God. It is how He communicates to His people regarding their purpose in His plan. I have had so many conversations with Him about this. God has revealed some things to me at the oddest of times that just take me out of the present and into the future if only for a moment. Sometimes, the revelation is so quick that I find myself pleading with Him for just one more glimpse of what is to come. Mind you, I’m not pleading because I’m so excited to get to work. I’m not begging Him to show me the end result because I’m so confident that it is pleasant. I’m asking Him for that glimpse because each of the things that God has placed within my spirit to bring to pass while I’m here…and I do mean each of them…takes a lot of time, a heap of work, and quite honestly (excuse my language) each one scares the hell out of me.

There, I said it. God hasn’t blessed me with cotton candy dreams or cupcake visions. He has required me to trust His timing. Submit to His will. Break out of my comfort zone. Believe that He will provide. Do what I said I would never do. Lose friends. Forgive enemies. Accept that I may never reap an earthly reward for the work that I put in as I walk in my purpose.

Fortunately for me, in my little chat with Him this morning, He placed a metaphor in my heart that makes it easier for me to communicate to others why it is important to follow God’s plan for your life and work those visions even if they make you apprehensive. See, to me…God is like a farmer. He plants a seed because He wants it to grow. No good farmer will plant seeds and willingly leave them to fend for themselves. The farmer plants the seed in the appropriate season, waters the seed, makes sure that the soil composition is suitable for the seed, and even removes weeds or pests that threaten the seed’s well-being. Sure, seeds and the plants that they become have natural defensive mechanisms that help them weather a specific range of environmental factors, but they are heavily dependent upon the farmer’s provisions. Likewise, the farmer has planted the seed for the purpose of bringing forth a harvest so He is invested in the well-being of said seed.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that we, each of God’s children, has a visionary seed planted within us. Most likely, we have different visions, but every now and again, we will realize that some of us have been granted a similar vision because God intends for us to help each other bring it to pass. We can’t pretend to know how God intends for us to get things done all the time. We simply must identify what it is that He has asked us to do, commit to doing it, and trust that He will equip us with everything that we need to get it done.

We have to work, not worry. When your vision is God-given, you just work it. Period. Your job is to understand WHAT the task is, not to figure out HOW it will come together. Come what may, you have to have faith that because God wants it done, it will be done. Don’t shy away from what He has placed in your heart. Consult with Him frequently and use the gifts that He has given you. I can imagine that one of the greatest shames that a child of God can face is that of watching someone else bring their God-given vision to pass because he/she wasn’t willing enough, courageous enough, or faithful enough. Don’t let that be you. It definitely won’t be me.

P.S. This is another post for another day (tomorrow maybe), but don’t confuse what YOU want to do with what GOD wants you to do. Not every hustle is faithful and not every grind is God-ordained. God hates sin and will never require you to do so to prosper.

Keep Smiling,

SBF

It’s All Good…

I am truly a work in progress. I won’t use that as a crutch or an excuse. I hate when people do that. I actually get a little frustrated quite often by how MUCH work still needs to be done on me and within me. I have to learn to be patient with myself in that regard because while it is perfectly find to want to do and be better…some things simply take time.

Nevertheless, pressing on is the only option. There is no alternative. I was reflecting on a painful experience today with someone very close to me and was really bothered by the outcome. Fortunately, this week I have been heavily focused on Romans 8:28, which reminds us that “ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.” With each day that passes, new experiences provide different insight on some of my “go-to” verses such as this one.

I look at Romans 8:28 today with new insight. I look at it with the understanding that if I truly internalize the notion that ALL things are working for my good, there is no worst case scenario. Whether the things that I desire from a person or situation come to pass as I would like for them to or not…God is in control. With focus on what He has placed me here to do being of the utmost importance, each situation that I am faced with and every decision made has the opportunity to bring me closer to God, which is always a GOOD thing.

This is yet another example of what it means to me…to put feelings aside and smile by faith.

 

Pain for Purpose

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

She provided a safe place for my vulnerability so I confided in her. I poured out the contents of my heart. Perhaps, I was looking for validation. Perhaps, I sought comfort. Quite possibly, all I was searching for was a listening ear. What I got instead, was a reality check in its purest form. She lifted my chin, looked me square in the eyes, and said sternly, “It is time to get over it. Let it go. You have to move past it.”

I was not expecting her to give me such a definitive, borderline-insensitive response. I was used to her telling me that it was okay to not be okay and reassuring me that my feelings were natural. Her demeanor was different though. It was as if she knew that I was in the midst of an intense spiritual battle and I was on the verge of taking a loss. She wasn’t going to sit by and watch me lose.

Truthfully, I agreed with her words. I was ready to release everything that had me bound. Not because I was so strong or brave, but because I was tired. I was exhausted from carrying around the hurt from my past. It was so heavy and it weighed me down. I feared that it would kill me. If not my body, it would certainly kill my spirit. The problem was, I didn’t know how to move on from it. I didn’t know how to let it go.

My pain had become a part of me. I had gotten so used to being hurt that I began to define myself by the many experiences that had broken me down. Abused. Cheated. Rejected. Abandoned. Betrayed. Denied. Unappreciated. Belittled. Despite the smile that I plastered on each day before leaving my home, I wore those titles like invisible name badges. They belonged to me. I belonged to them. It made no sense to me to let them go because each season of my life brought more of the same…packaged differently, but with the same sting. Still, I heard her words to me…and I prayed desperately for the strength to release my past.

One sleepless night, He spoke to me. He whispered in my ear, “I’m here. I never left even when you couldn’t feel me. Follow me…one step at a time. Move when I say move.” I wanted to argue with Him. I wanted to ask Him why He didn’t speak to me sooner. I needed to explain to Him that I could not move. I couldn’t leave my pain behind because I was responsible for it. It was mine. I needed it and it needed me. After all, it defined me. I wanted Him to understand that if I could have moved on from it, I would have moved already. I tried so hard to scream and shout my protests at Him, but when I tried to speak, no sound came out. Instead of moving my mouth, I moved my feet…one step at a time. Sometimes, I moved them quickly. Other times, I moved so slowly that it seemed that I was standing still. But I kept moving. I moved forward…and I’m still moving forward.

Chances are, my “it” is different from your “it.” However, the message is the same. Your pain has purpose and God is more than capable of guiding you out of the pains of your past and into your purpose in Him. You just have to be willing to move your feet…one step at a time.

Lord, I admit that I am broken and I trust in You for full restoration. I know that I cannot be defined by both You and my past. Help me to release the strongholds of my past hurts and walk into Your purpose for my life. Help me to give my pain a voice so that I may use it to glorify You. Remind me of the promises that You have made for those who believe in You. In Jesus’s name…amen.