Awkward Date & God’s Grace

So,

I went on a date last week, and let’s just say that I have learned my lesson and then some!

I met this guy randomly as my friend Olivia and I were hanging out at Taco Bell. He worked there so he started talking to us and as we left he had his friend ask me for my number. Me, not thinking anything rationally, gave him my number. Skip over a few days, he had set up a day and we were going to go on this “date.” The first hint I got that this date would not go well was I had to pick him up from his house. AND he lived a good 45 minutes away from me. Second, I drove us to Main Event and throughout the date I kept trying to find a way to get back home. The guy was nice, funny, and he paid for the date. I guess the date wasn’t a complete disaster but I knew I didn’t want to go on a second date.

In a way, I’ve been secretly hoping to go on this date, any date for that matter. I mean, I just wanted a guy to look my way and take notice. I wanted to prove to people and myself that I’m not going to be single for life. I know people mean well, but when I get questions about recent boyfriends, dates, and crushes I start to panic a little. I’m only nineteen, but people are looking at me like I’m about to be a spinster!

However, after going on this date I realized some things. One, I am only nineteen! I have time to enjoy this time of just being young and free. I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t like someone to share it with, but somehow I know my time will come sooner or later. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy making new friends and experiencing new things. Second, I’m done giving my number out to just anybody and his mama. I should have just gone on my merry way that day. I need to learn to think things through and maybe venture out of the land of “well, why not?” Third, who exactly am I trying to impress with my relationship status? Honestly, I feel like I’ve caught myself wanting to be in a relationship just so people would stop asking questions and to avoid their advice on how to hook a man. It’s funny and I’m sure it works, but it gets old. Fast.

I just want Jesus. Regardless of being single or being in a relationship; Jesus is the only one that I want. Now, I’m not saying that I’m never dating and I’m done with men. A man would be nice, but when it all comes down to it Jesus is the one I’m after. He is what I need. He holds my heart for all eternity. He saw that awkward date, and knew that I would be running to him surrendering it all a few hours later. It’s funny what He uses to call us back to Him, but I am grateful. Date or no date. Man or no man. I am content in knowing that I am held in the arms of my Savior. He’s written and memorized my story; awkward dates and all.

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Since this picture from yesterday captures awkward almost perfectly.

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Dance Before Me.

Condemnation. It’s been staring me down. Pushing me and waiting for me to crack under its oppression. I feel it when my thoughts wonder, and when I allow words to pierce my heart. It’s a horrible feeling staring at condemnation and having to make a conscious decision to believe the lie or spit in its face. When condemnation approached I fell into its waiting arms. I was ready to pout and wallow in my self-pity. I’m beginning to believe the lies that are being whispered in my ear, and allowing my soul to be drenched in the mistakes of my past. I feel consumed and overwhelmed by it all.

It’s crazy how the enemy is so quick to throw my past mistakes in my face. He tends to bring up things that I’ve already submitted to God. Things that I don’t struggle with any more, but if I let my guard down for a second; I’m caught. He’s crazy. But you know what’s even crazier? Is that recently I found myself believing the lies and accepting the condemnation thinking I actually deserve it. It’s twisted, but that’s how the enemy operates.

However, I have a loving Jesus who sees it all and UNDERSTANDS what I am feeling. In Hebrews it says that we do not have a high priest (Jesus) who isn’t able to sympathize with us because even though Jesus was fully God; He was also fully human. He’s just been reminding me that He knows how I feel. He probably knows more about what I’m actually feeling because half the time I’m just a jumble of emotions and feelings.

He deals with my condemnation the second I give those feelings to Him. I can hear Him clearly countering every lie from the pit of hell with His truth. He tells me that I have been bought with a price. My sin has been paid in full. He loves me, and has covered my sin. I am forgiven, and being made new every second, every minute of the day. The skeletons of my past are out in the open, but He has breathed new life into them and transformed them for His glory!

My past or mistakes don’t have me in bondage like they did before. I have to consistently remind myself to keep my guard up and counter the lies with Truth. I have been forgiven and the yoke of my past is off my shoulders. God not only took my sin, but He made it new. He transformed it not only for my salvation, but so that He gets maximum glory in it all. The things that He has pulled me out of is just a testament of His unending grace and unfailing love.

My sin doesn’t control me. It dances before me. Dancing to the song of forgiveness and redemption.

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“…And then there was God, who’d caused even the dry bones to dance before me.” -Marilynn Griffith

Heart Wide Open.

There’s just something about waking up to a new day knowing that it’s filled and brimming with possibility. I woke up today with that feeling. It’s hard to explain, but in my mind the word that keeps playing like a record is, “new.”

Just, new.

Throughout the day I’ve been taking inventory of all the new things that have happened upon my life.

1. My room has actually been clean for the past 72 hours.  WHAT?!

2. I’ve been going to the gym for the past few days, and instead of buying a Reese’s I actually went to the gym TODAY. This is totally new for me. Reese’s and I have an awesome relationship except the calories are starting to strain the relationship. It sucks.

3. I actually ate a Snickers for breakfast this morning though. So it’s probably good I didn’t get that Reese’s. Honestly, I don’t advice eating Snickers for breakfast because my stomach could not take all that chocolatey richness that early in the morning.

4.  I tried Haitian Beet Potato Salad. It wasn’t  all that great but it was a pretty color! I’m even trying to learn some Haitian Creole. Don’t ask me what I’ve learned either because when I say “learning” it means I am moving at a snail’s pace, but slower.

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5. I took a bubble bath and got distracted by all the bubbles which lead to it overflowing and flooding my bathroom. Then I just laughed and laughed until I realized that I really just flooded my bathroom and there wasn’t enough towels in my cabinet to clean it up.

6. I went to a yoga class. Even though this morning my behind, back, and hips were not all that happy about my latest venture.

7. I’m learning how to be extra compassionate and caring in my CNA class.

8. I’m actually really excited and challenged to be apart of Lakewood Young Adults. I’m finally going to volunteer!

All of these things are really small and a little trivial, but I look at them as new. These things haven’t happened to me and I find myself embracing it with my heart wide open. I can only describe this feeling of newness as a heart change. It has been a gift from God. I’m finding joy in the simplest things, and realizing that this is what God has been singing over me my whole life. I have been liberated from my past and I’m stepping into this new season with all senses on alert.

I’m determined to see things with my eyes wide open, and take it all in hoping my brain will be able to comprehend every precious detail. I want to continue to feel not just with my sense of touch, but deep down. I want my soul, spirit, and heart to be so exposed to the new things that God is dropping into my life, and appreciate it all. I need to continue to search for more things to hear. Whether it be a new beautiful song, a friends tale of what has been going on in their life, or a cute baby’s laugh. I need to be more open to tasting new things. I mean, I need to find a healthier way to get my Reese’s fix. Stat. I long to smell all the flowers,  the perfumes that I can’t afford yet, and the good food cooking in the kitchen. I want to smell it all. except the stinky stuff. Just no. 

These things that I’ve listed probably have already happened in my life, but I think with a new perspective I will be able to see just how “new” they can be.

So here’s to the newness of life! It’s bursting at the seams with new things to see, feel, hear, taste, and smell. All you have to do is maybe have a  good perspective check and  prepare yourself to receive the new things that God wants to shower over you.

“It is only when the mind is free from the old that it meets everything anew, and in that there is joy.” 
― Jiddu Krishnamurti

Where To Next?

The first time I ever considered Haiti was last year while I was in Africa. It was a fleeting thought that I quickly pushed into the back of my mind. Two days after I walked off the plane, with Africa still heavy on my heart; Haiti was in my mind again. August 3, 2013 was the day I knew I was going to Haiti.

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Throughout the semester at LSU, Haiti was not my first priority. I mean, I knew God had called me to go but I wasn’t all that willing to go through the whole fundraising process again. However, now that I’m back at home God has made it crystal clear where I will be this summer.

I am in the process of getting my CNA. Whoop Whoop! At first, I wasn’t too happy about this, but I can see how God is moving. As a CNA I will be able to gain some experience in the nursing field and make some money while I’m in school. (Hallelujah! I refuse to be a broke college student.)  Anyway, as I was wasting time on the internet I came across a website that said they accepted CNA’s in their Haiti mobile clinic. I probably stared at the screen for a hot minute before I was signing up and emailing the director.

Things aren’t exactly set in stone and I have a tentative date of when I will be going. The organization that I will be joining is called Mission of Hope: Haiti. I’m still indecisive about fundraising. I will be working soon so I’m thinking of saving and possibly taking care of things myself. But who knows at this point.

I always get this sense of overwhelming joy when I know I’m being called somewhere. I can’t really explain it, but I know God will have His way getting me to Haiti. I’m glad I get a front row seat in seeing what He will do in my life and others lives these next few months.

He is fulfilling a promise and bringing my dreams into fruition.

“It’s a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”Amy Carmichael

#baylitohaiti

Jubilee.

If you were one of the children that went to New Light Christian Center Church then every time you heard the word Jubilee you were ready for Jubilee Song to play on the big screen. If you don’t know, check it out here. Seriously, it’s a solid children’s gospel song. Throughout my life, every time I heard or saw the word Jubilee, my mind would automatically belt out the lyrics to that song.

I honestly hadn’t really paid attention to the words until yesterday when God opened my eyes to the significance of Jubilee.

Yesterday I was doing my quiet time and Jubilee just kept being dropped in my spirit, but then I saw it was in Leviticus. Inwardly, I was like God please not Leviticus. There is just something about some books of the Bible that I know will completely go over my head so I avoid them. I know this isn’t the best way to go about reading the Bible, but I’m a work in progress! When I first read it I thought it was just a whole bunch of rules and my eyes were literally seconds away from glazing over. I was reading it over and over with no clear understanding. Just when I was about to tell Jesus that this isn’t working and I would rather be reading Isaiah; my mind started to digest what I had read like a bazillion times. I got super excited and I got on the internet to make sure I was on the right track.

The year of Jubilee is the year that liberty is proclaimed throughout the whole land. Meaning that all those who were in bondage are to be freed and all those who lost their land are called back to their property. But the only way to redeem your freedom or property is through a RELATIVE.

See, Jesus came to fulfill this law for good! We are His relatives, sons and daughters of the Most High God. Jesus has redeemed us out of the slavery and bondage and we are being returned to our rightful place with our rightful inheritance! Everything that was sold to Satan when Adam sinned, Jesus bought back! In this we have been ultimately redeemed from death. Death does not hold the right of redemption and has no choice to turn every captive loose at Jesus’ demand. Since we have been redeemed by Jesus we have a new master because according to Jubilee the redeemed slave is bound by the divine law to serve his Redeemer. We have become slaves of God, and we have been bought at a price( I Corinthians 7:22-23). Sin is no longer our master!

I’m just encouraged because this is my redemptive year, my year of Jubilee, my year of rejoicing and where I don’t do work anymore. It’s just Jesus and his chain breaking power that does the work. Last year was when God literally removed the chains that had me bond. When the New Year dawned, and the shofar blew at a little Nigerian Church, I knew that things had shifted in the supernatural. My year of favor, double, redemption, and freedom was announced. This year He has called me back to my rightful place in Him. I am considered a co-heir and Jesus is taking back for me EVERYTHING the enemy has stolen because he has redeemed me and has promised me my portion of blessings. No, wait.

He has promised me my double portion of blessings this year!

So maybe do a little Bible reading of your own and see what God has to say. I know Jubilee Year doesn’t just apply to me, and maybe it’s time you declare your Jubilee Year! This is the site that was super helpful in my little research. Check that out here!

Worn.

A few days ago I was a complete mess.

The day started off well, I guess. I slept in and made myself some breakfast. Things were normal. But they weren’t. I was oblivious to the trap the enemy had set up for my day. Throughout the day I was being plagued with insecurity. Now this is something that I thought I had handled, but these thoughts were relentless. I was being broken down bit by bit and just allowed the enemy to feed me lies. It seemed like all throughout that  day my defense was just being chipped away, and I sat back and watched it happen.

 I didn’t breakdown until I got some alone time in my car, and I just let God have it. The weather was awful, my car was acting up, and I was just tired of trying to find the good in every bad situation. I was angry, hurt, and was tired of fighting. I basically told God, “Look, I feel like I’m walking on egg shells with you because I’m afraid You’re going to take something else away from me. I don’t know what is happening in my life, and I don’t like it. I tired of fighting the enemy and I tired of fighting You trying to figure out how You plan on using me here. I’m tired of trying to force clarity and this huge understanding when I read my Bible when I know I’m not getting anything out of it. This can not be the rest of my life. I’m tired of disappointing You and everyone else.”

At this point I had convinced myself that, that day was a bad day for Bayli the Christian. I was fed up with God, and I didn’t understand and didn’t want to understand what He was doing in my life. I had almost given up. Almost.

That night I got home and text my friends just telling them exactly how I felt, and told them not to lecture me because I didn’t want to hear it. I told them just to pray. I knew I needed prayer because I knew God would not let me go to sleep with an angry heart and I was preparing myself to stay up all night and hash it out with Him.

And boy did He kept me up. I left my Bible in the car, but my journal was my release that night. I wrote pages of the struggle that was going on in my spirit. If someone were to read them they would probably recommend me to a mental institution. Literally, one page is filled with a rant about how I’m tired of trying to be hopeful and basically wanting to give up to the next page being filled with all that God has done for me. Ultimately, I got the peace I was searching for when I stopped writing and begged God for rest. Finally, my spirit was settled and I fell into a restful sleep.

The next morning, I got my Bible and knew I had to give my quiet time another shot. First, I was just flipping through my Bible admiring my highlighted pages, and my little drawings. But God got tired of my foolishness because He led me to Isaiah 41:9-10&13-16 real quick.

9 I took you from the ends of the earth, from its furthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant;’ I have chosen you and have not reject you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 13 For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you, Do not be afraid O worm Jacob, O little Israel. for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. “See I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff. You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will blow them away. But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel. 

In that verse I got a clear understanding that I didn’t need to fight any longer. God was fighting for me and I was basically punching at the air getting absolutely no where fast. The enemy had spent so much time trying so hard to break me down that day and night. It was one of the realist struggles I have ever experienced, but God was constant and faithful through it all. The next morning I wrote this in my journal:

Isaiah 41. What a beautiful verses for my tattered and worn soul. God, I don’t know what was happening last night, but your grace abounded even then. Thank You for Your unfailing love. For the words You continue to wash over me. You cover me and protect me. YOU LOVE ME! You have not and will not let me go EVER. You have set me apart and have called me to the nations. You are the one who given me strength to fight the good fight of faith. I will not give up because You are at my side. Bow down, Devil! 

A song that basically sums up how I felt is Worn by Tenth Avenue North. Check it out here.