One Day At A Time

*Sorry if this blog post comes across as choppy, vague, or evasive. Over time, I plan to write more about the time I took to process and the things I learned but for now, it’s good to be back!

It’s been a while and a long time coming. There have been so many instances these last few months that I wanted to spell out everything going on in my life but ended up staring at a blank screen. Somehow, the words and stories fell short of actually reaching my computer screen and I was stuck. I was stuck for a long time.

It’s been a process, a long process. Now that I look back, I had to heal. There were things I had walked through and were walking through that didn’t necessarily need to be publicized. I was learning discernment throughout and realized the Lord was protecting me from a lot. If I were to have written in those moments it would have been out of a place of hurt, shame, pain, and hopelessness. I needed time to let the Lord truly minister to my heart in those moments. He had to take me back to the basics and remind me who He is and who I am in Him.

Today, I’m in a much better place. I took some time to seek wise counsel, I made time for myself to focus on what I was lacking, I made big girl decisions regarding my spiritual growth, and prayed like never before. I had to learn a lesson these past few months. It took me a while to understand exactly what was going on, but now it’s like a lightbulb has gone off.

“Say yes for today.”

I wish I could go on and on about the fear that cripples me as I think about the future, and how it causes me to  immediately start shaking my head. I hear the promises of the Lord and instead of receiving it and claiming it, I immediately allow fear and doubt to take over. This has happened more times that I would like to admit as a “believer” especially since the New Year rolled around with a fresh new set of promises.

I realize now just how much time I have wasted feeding into this fear. I could have been working on seeing these promises come to fruition but I’ve locked myself down and haven’t moved an inch. I realize now this is how the enemy likes to play. To try and make the possible seem so impossible, and use fear to rob you of precious time. I have been robbed of time, sleep, and peace of mind worrying about something that I don’t even have to worry about!

So today, I take back my peace of mind. I’ve been letting fear cripple me, and stop me from sharing AMAZING NEWS!

In January, I got accepted into Coreluv’s Internship. I have the privilege to serve in Haiti for the whole month of June this year. 

I’ve been so hesitant to share or even try and grasp going back to Haiti. It’s been a long time coming and to have it sitting in my lap, I’ve literally been stuck like a deer in headlights. I’ve allowed fear to rob me of my excitement because I knew fundraising would have to happen, and we all know fundraising stretches your faith like no other. I’ll have a blog post about the story and the internship soon!

But today and every day after, I say Yes. I say yes because I have experienced the goodness of Jesus. I say yes because it is Jesus’ nature to be good to me. I say yes because He has never failed me, not once. I say yes because in Him all promises are yes and amen. I say yes because He had this planned out before the beginning of time and He knows what He’s doing. I say yes because I trust Him. I trust Him to do what only He can do, to calm this anxious heart of mine, and give me rest. I say yes because I love Him. I love Him not for what He has done or what He will do, I love Him for who He is. He is mine, and I am His. Always.

Jesus, give me the strength to say yes even when I don’t understand. In the moments where confusion or doubt creep in, remind me of your faithfulness. Give me the peace knowing that when I say yes you have control and you won’t let me fall.  Help me say yes in my weakness, to not let pride rob me of my promise. Let my days be filled with yes.  Forever and ever. Amen. 

You Are

You are a woman.

A marvelous tapestry of nurturing tendencies and emotions.

You have permission to laugh loudly at the wrong time, to be clumsy, and to say the wrong things.

You can be emotional, and allow things to touch you deeply.

You have permission to ugly cry in secret and in front of others.

You have something to say, so why not say it?

You are creative and a force to be reckoned with.

You are filled with grace. Not only for others, but most importantly for yourself. You will forgive yourself for the things done in the past and the things you will do in the future.

You are dynamic.

A constantly evolving story that anyone has the privilege go be apart of.

You are allowed to spell things wrong, spill things on your nice dress, and speak your mind on what stirs your heart.

You are not perfect and you might not ever be able to wear heels after a long night, but you have your whole life ahead of you to improve. And what a glorious adventure that will be!

You are a traveler. One who knows no stranger.

You are not bound by other’s words, misconceptions, or judgements.

Continue to talk fast, sing loud, and laugh till your cheeks hurt.

Remember your Maker, and remember your shame no more.

Let your hair frizz and tangle. Let your hands get colorful and dirty. Let your insecurities know who you are.

You are well-loved, so love deeply and confidently. Continue to study love, learn to love others better and more fully.

You are no fool. Your momma made sure of that. She taught you that you have wisdom granted to you from the Good Lord to get you through every situation. All you have to do is ask.

You won’t forget those who came before you. You honor those who sacrificed for you, and set the foundation for your many years to come.

You are strong and unique. You are all you need to be for such a time as this.

You are fiery and brave. Nothing can stop you or discourage you from what the Lord has called you to do.

You are hopeful. You continue to hope, expect, and pray for what’s to come.

You are confident that no weapon formed against you will prosper.

You are loud! Heard by all and loved by many. However, make sure you continue to use discernment for those times when silence is key and words aren’t needed.

You are a beautiful woman.

You are brighter than any sun, richer than any chocolate cake, and bolder than any strong coffee.

You are a life that reflects freely of your Creator.

Embrace what the Son has to offer you, you beautiful woman.

Lately

May 11, 2015

in the quiet, with clutched and achy hands, you dump out your burdened heart. the hurt, the confusion, the insecurity. you’ve needed this moment. be honest, you’ve needed this for a while now. it’s time to let it go. it’s time to decompress and just lay down for a while. you try to conceive what it would be like. maybe it will come like winter, with a bitter reality encased in a cold chill. or maybe it will come like summer, with a bright revelation wrapped in a warm glow. maybe, just maybe; it will come in the quiet. like the soft wind suspended between two seasons. waiting, anticipating the changes to come. you’ll listen intently for that voice. the voice your heart longs to hear. you’ll begin to pay close attention to the soft rustle of leaves and the quick snap of branches. but for now you wait. in the quiet, you wait with a steadfast hope. what are you waiting for? you’re not sure. maybe it’s reassurance. a word that speaks just to your soul and yours alone. or you wait for something tangible. something that takes you by the hand and leads you to what you’ve ached to fathom. you’ll wait. however long it takes, you’ll wait because you know that in the passage of the middle you are being refined. weeds lose their hold and seeds prepare to sprout life. you long to be truly satisfied in these quiet moments. you pine for peace and the realization that you want absolutely nothing, and have all that you need. you fill your lungs and trap the promise that you lack no good thing inside your chest. you’ll wait to bloom. you know you will. because you’ve weathered too many erratic storms, stilted winds, and wilted harvest to stop you now. you’ll wait with emptied hands and a light heart. you’ll wait for the voice your heart yearns to know; the voice that calls you home.

May 26, 2015

it’s comfortable. this life you lead. but it’s not enough. your comfort is safe and debilitating all at the same time. but there is only so much your soul can take. be honest with yourself, this is not what you wanted. you’ve compromised; something you said you’ll never do. but it’s not too late. it’s never to late when He’s here with you. He was there when your heart cracked open and birthed a strength you thought you lacked. He was there when the foxes prowled in your vineyard and attempted to steal your joy. He was there. patient, and steadfast in His love for you. this comfort isn’t so comfortable anymore, is it? it’s starting to chaff and leave your soul exposed. you’ve patched over it a few times. hoping that lies conceal and your secrets erase, but it doesn’t work that way. He’s the only balm for that patchwork soul of yours. still, you lack direction and courage to listen. it isn’t what you want to hear. to give it all up? but Jesus, isn’t that too much? still your heart beats for something greater. something fills you and calls you out of that comfort, into the unknown. it almost sounds like drums, the beat floods you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. and you walk. you leave your comfort behind and walk into the call placed on your life. it’s daunting, but you know the drums beat out a rhythm of grace that guides your every step. your song of deliverance rings inside of you and overflows to those who have yet to hear of His goodness. you’re out of your comfort and in the hands of the ultimate Comforter. you have tasted His goodness and want for nothing. you sit and listen in His presence. His anointing sweeps over your body and you dance. free and unashamed, you dance to the beat, the song only meant for your heart to hear. you’ve pushed past comfort and reached a place where His love is naked before you. your comfort dimmed its light, but there’s no mistaking the love that shines in His eyes. eyes that blaze with passion, and acceptance. you realize now that comfort can be overrated. you’d much rather dance before the One who created you to do more. so much more.

I Have Issues

I have to be honest.

I have issues.

I am a mess of emotions and poor coping skills.

And I know I’m not being melodramatic because I’ve scared myself on multiple occasions with the vast swing of my emotions.

Like I said, I have issues.

Anyway, now that has been established I’ll get to the real reason behind this blog post. I’ve struggled, BIG TIME. I’ve had the hardest time seeing the good in the set backs and the faithfulness of God in it all. Recently, I had to make a huge decision about school and Haiti. I had gotten accepted into an amazing internship that would allow me to experience Haiti and missionary work in a brand new way. I was ready, and dead set on going. I had it all mapped out, and was ready to fundraise my butt off. However, the day after I got accepted I saw I still needed one more class as a prerequisite for the nursing programs I planned on applying to in the fall. And that particular class was offered over the summer, the exact time I planned on being in Haiti. I was at a crossroads, and I had no choice but to sit and…cry my eyes out. Yes, I cried and I cried. I called up some friends talked about it and cried some more. I knew what I had to do but didn’t understand why I was being put in that place. It was tough. My face was a mess of eyeliner and mascara, but I found the strength to let them know I was unable to do the internship.

I was heartbroken, and confused. I didn’t understand what God was doing and didn’t necessarily want to understand what He was doing. I felt like it was too much. My dream and vision of being in Haiti this summer and doing what I know I’m called to do was gone. I wanted to give up everything. I kept wondering why would God give me a heart for this nation, and then basically block me from doing what He’s placed in my heart to do.

This went on for hours and hours. Stayed up all night just journaling and asking why. Finally, after God heard enough of my ranting He gave me His answer. In that gentle way of His; He whispered to my heart that my life is not my own, and never will be. Ummm…Jesus? At first I didn’t know how to take it. Don’t I have some type of say in my life? Silly question, I know! But then I realized that to live fully submitted to God comes with the realization that my life isn’t mine exclusively. It was a simple realization, but an atomic bomb to all those well thought out scenarios of what could have been my picture perfect life.

In that moment, I realized just one of the many costs there are for being fully submitted to God’s will. Your life is not your own. It is God’s to do what He will. It’s a bit frustrating, let me tell ya. It has come with plenty disappoints and soggy pillows. It’s true, I have seen greater things come out of my own plans being trashed and God taking control. But what’s so different about this time? Why am I having such a hard time trusting Him? Is it because I truly felt I was walking in His will and then just got thrown a curve ball? Honestly, I don’t know. And all it does is make my head hurt if I think too much about it.

Somewhere in the silence of my heart I feel Jesus. Like a stubborn flame that can’t be snuffed out; I know there is hope for the future. As the Spirit moves and weaves a greater story I sit and hope for the goodness of the Lord to shine through. It’s in the quietness of my heart where all the crying ceases and the Lord begins downloading truth of His faithfulness into my soul. I am chosen. I am good enough. I have a dream that can’t be discredited. In that secret place I can lay all my issues, disappoints, swinging emotions, broken hearts, journal pages, and soggy pillows at His feet. Jesus gets me. Jesus understands. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. I might not be in Haiti this summer but it hasn’t stopped Him from cultivating and growing the dream inside my heart. 

My life is not my own, it’s always been His.

Maybe it’s time to start living like it.

With Jesus

That is my car that is currently un-drivable after an accident yesterday

I have got to be honest. These past couple of days have been so trying and exhausting. I haven’t even processed it all. So many things have gone so far south that I sit down and think that this can’t actually be my life. I have questioned God more times than I can count. I’ve lost sight of His promises in the face of all these issues that have decided to sprout up without warning.

However, tonight with Jesus there were no questions, no complaints, just taking the time to sit in His presence. I realized, that all He wanted was for me to just sit and be. Be with Him in our secret place, and let him pour out His love, grace, peace, and mercy. I have been praying/longing for more of Him, and as my longing has been met day by day I can’t help but rejoice in the face of my adversity. The thing that has been trying to drag me down only forced me to lay at the feet of my Savior. To me there is nothing sweeter than that, and I would walk through all of my troubles a hundred times over to just remain at His feet and simply be in His presence.

Sing a New Song

A new season. A fresh anointing. The sun is beginning to rise over days I never imagined.

BUT no one warned me about the fear that would try to cripple me.

The fear of failure and the comfort of complacently has dragged me down. This process of discovering the new season of my life has not been an easy walk. It has caused me to take note of the things that I need to work on and things to let go of. It has been difficult, but extremely humbling. I realize now that as I have walked through the lonely corridor of introspection, that God has been gently molding and preparing me for whats to come.

I have found hope in dwelling on what He has done. He called me to LSU to experience the Holy Spirit on a whole new level. He called me back home in the midst of my brokenness to build up my faith. He sent me to Haiti (TWICE!) to fulfill a promise and reawaken a dormant dream. He has placed me at Lakewood Church to serve; to pour into my church as much as it has poured into me. And now as He is calling me into leadership I realize that all along He has prepared me for such a time as this.

Fear has tried so hard to take away my joy. It’s crazy because the voice of failure has never been so loud and the sting of rejection has never been this sharp. However, Jesus has been as faithful as ever. Quickly refuting the lies with truth. Filling me with a double measure of joy and peace. He has given me the confidence to step into my new season. To taste and see of His goodness.

So, here’s to a new season.

A fresh anointing.

A fresh perspective.

A new song.

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Unexpected

The day I left for Haiti was rough.

I left my phone at the Houston airport, I had an 10 hour layover in MIA, once in Haiti I didn’t have any cash to pay the new tourist fee, and then had to be interrogated by the customs people because I didn’t know the address of where I was staying. By the time I walked out of the airport and under the blazing Haitian sun I was done. I was ready to walk back into the airport and catch the next plane home. I was sleep deprived, near tears, and had the worst attitude.

However, all the crazy stuff that happened wasn’t a surprise to God.

There was a reason I left my phone. The whole week leading up to Haiti I knew I needed to rest. I was running around everywhere. I was constantly on my phone, but then I realized that not having my phone forced me to rest. My whole time in Haiti I wasn’t distracted by my phone and I was able to use the down time I had to rest and actually read a book! I have no profound revelation truth for spending the night in the airport except that I had no money to spend on a hotel. But I learned my lesson, and I will avoid sleeping in the airport in the future. I pulled an all-nighter, and spent most of my time laying on the floor eating cheez-its and watched movies I had on my computer. Never again. By the time I got on the plane to Port-Au-Prince I was exhausted. I don’t even remember the plane ride. When we unloaded at the airport I saw they were separating Haitians from non-Haitians. I read the signs and saw that I had to pay $10 to enter the country. That was when I realized I had traveled to a foreign country without any cash! I was silently freaking out, practically begging God to work a miracle. As always, He did and a woman who was standing in front of me paid for me without any prompting from me. I was in shock, and thought that it would be smooth sailing after that incident. But my bubble was popped when I realized the fake address I put on the immigration wasn’t going to fly. I didn’t have my phone so I didn’t have the real address to the I’mMe house. They made me sit in a room and asked me all sorts of questions. Where is my mom? Does your mom know you are here? What about your dad? Why did you travel alone? Why don’t you have an address? For thirty minutes I had to answer questions. I was on the brink of tears. I was tired, thirsty, and hot. Finally, at my wit’s end I realized I had my laptop! The address was in one of the documents in my computer. I gave then the address and basically ran out of the stifling room. The whole walk to baggage claim I forced myself to keep the tears at bay. It was not the time to break down. I was in Haiti after all, and I knew in a few minutes I would be reunited with my I’mMe family.

I made it to the house, and was greeted with the biggest hugs and smiling faces. I got to meet all the newest additions to the family, and fell in love with them. I was so happy to be at the house that I forgot that I had an almost melt down. After settling in I got to meet the team who was already there. They were the sweetest and welcomed me into their group with ease. It wasn’t until later that night after connecting some info together that I realized that the team I thought I would be with all week would actually be leaving the next day, and I was staying at the house with no team. I remember going into the room and throwing myself on the bed asking God what is He doing aka having a tantrum. I also  felt bad because I didn’t want to be a burden to Lauren and Patrick, who were  living at the house and taking care of all the kids.

Nothing was going how I expected it to go. I didn’t understand why God had me there and why was I back so soon. I still don’t understand all the why’s, but I know that my time in Haiti was blessed.

Most of the week I stayed at the house helping out with the children. I got to learn the story of each child, and my heart broke for each one. There was never a dull moment. Smiles and laughter were abundant. I was flooded with joy just holding a tiny hand, and running around the house chasing squealing children. I have never seen so many melted crayons on the driveway, or played an intense game of musical chairs until I was in Haiti. I had my fill of pomegranates off the pomegranate tree. My soul was at peace, and I was rested physically and emotionally. I got to take naps when the kids had nap time. I had quiet time with the Lord in my favorite place in the house (the porch, the rain, and the rocking chair). I got to hear Lauren’s and Patrick’s hearts, and watch them fight and love for the children they were taking care of. It was definitely a privilege to be able to see how things run when there isn’t a team there, and at the end of the week I was more than grateful that I ended up being there without a team for a few days.

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Leaving Haiti always leaves me in tears. It’s hard to leave the place where your soul finds peace. The plane ride home I was blessed to sit by a man who was talkative. He was Haitian, and white. He was born and raised in Haiti, and owned a shipping company. He met his wife in Haiti, and raised his family there. After the earthquake he moved his family to Miami and he now flies from Haiti to Miami every 3 days. He told me, “My business is in Haiti, but my heart is Miami.” The conversation was such a blessing because I was a little emotional leaving Haiti. He playfully asked me about the boy I was leaving behind, after I assured him is wasn’t a boy he got really serious. He looked me in the eye and said, “you have a spiritual connection with my country.” In that moment I was like, yeah you could call it that, but as he kept explaining I knew the Lord had me sit next to this man for a reason. Somehow, I needed the reassurance that I wasn’t feeling how I was feeling for nothing. My heart wasn’t breaking for the children and this country “just because”, and that Haiti wasn’t just another stop in long list of countries I wanted to visit.

As I said before, I don’t know why Haiti has invaded my life and settled in my soul. The way this trip played out was completely unexpected, but it was everything that I needed.

 My story about Haiti has only just begun.

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*A special thanks to my supporters to making all of this possible. May the Lord continue to bless each and every one of you.