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.

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.

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.

imme.org

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

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.

When God Provides.

Yesterday.

I have plenty of words and phrases,but I don’t know how I’m going to put it all together so you can get the full impact of what God did yesterday.

I think I’ll just jump into what happened.

After Pastor Jake taught we had a response time where anyone can go and receive prayer. In the middle of response time Pastor Jake got back on stage and said that anybody who needs peace just raise your hand. Now, I thought I had all the peace in the world but the Lord thought other wise and next thing I know my hand is in the air. Pastor Jake continued talking and the only thing I comprehended out of his mouth was financial peace. Who knew that those two words could open up a floodgate of tears? Well they did, and I realized that for this whole semester in the back of my mind I’ve been constantly worried about tuition. As next semester is coming up they released my next fee bill. I haven’t even looked at it in fear that I’ll go through what I with through at the beginning of the semester. And no matter how many times I pep talk myself; that darn financial burden leaves me cowering in a corner.

As I kept praying and crying I felt God’s peace just wash over me. I continued to pray for financial breakthrough for my family and for next semester. He even gave me a promise that I will never lack for all the days of my life. At the end of service I had God’s peace in my heart and was finally able to wipe my tears. In my head I literally said “Thanks God. That was good. I finally got it off my chest.” Not knowing that God had more up his sleeve.

I was packing up and scrubbing my face trying to make my eye make up look presentable again when a man tapped me on the shoulder. He took my hand a placed a bill in it.  Cue the waterworks! I was a mess hugging and thanking this stranger. He hugged me and told me that God has heard my prayer. He walked away leaving me with the money in my hand, and my eye makeup smeared all over my face again. Then I just bolted. Don’t ask, but I felt like I needed to fall apart somewhere. Not in a bad way, but as in did-God-just-do-what-I thought-he-did kind of way. Oyinda followed me to the restroom and I told her everything that happened between in and our of tear bouts. I was still in shock and completely just in awe.

I didn’t open the bill up until I was in the car, and this man gave me $100!  At this, tears began to swell AGAIN. I promise I’m not this weepy, but God kept reducing me to tears yesterday morning.

ALSO, get this. I have never seen this man in my life. I go to that church every Sunday, and I am even on the greet team. I saw him walk in and sit in the corner by himself and he didn’t really engage in conversation with anyone. And then right after service I watched him as he walked out of the door without talking to anyone either. It didn’t really connect in my mind until later, but I am fully convinced that man was sent from God just to confirm to me that he heard my prayer. I’ve debated if he was an angel or just some random man visiting Antioch. But you know what, I think he’s an angel because that’s what God does and I fully believe they walk among us.

“Oh Jesus” was literally the only thing I could say on the ride back to campus. I am so grateful that God would do that just for me. And it just came out of no where! Jesus answered my prayer, and moved mountains just to remind me that he heard my prayer. No emoji can show all the emotions I am feeling now. God is so faithful. He will never leave or forsake us. He hears our prayers and He knows each and every one of our needs!

Philippians 4:19

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Can I get an “Amen?”