Haiti

The past 24 hours have been a complete whirlwind.

I am sitting here typing this still in shock.

So what all went down? Ha! I still trying to process the huge turn of events. I’ll just start from the beginning.

It is known from an earlier post that I planned on going to Haiti in the summer(you can click here to read that).  I was all set and ready too. Well, until God had other plans. I have been researching/ stalking an organization called i’mMe since I began my search of organizations in Haiti. I didn’t realize they had trips until a little later, and I remember thinking about how much I would love to go with them. I looked at the dates and realized that I probably wouldn’t be able to swing it, and resigned myself to just planning to go in the summer.

A few weeks ago I was on Instagram stalking some of my new friends, and I was clicking on random names, just putting names to faces of people in my church. I came across one Instagram account and I saw the i’mMe logo and freaked out. I realized that this person was somehow involved in i’mMe and I needed to talk to her ASAP. I remember I wrote down her name, Trina, and proceeded to text and hassle all of our mutual friends to try to get in contact with her. Finally, I got in touch with her and I realized how much God had orchestrated it. Her Instagram is usually set on private, and for some reason that day she made her Instagram public. That was the day that I saw her Instagram. That has Jesus stamped all over it! Anyway, she told me more about the organization and how it began. Talking to her I knew I wanted to go on a trip with i’mMe, and I was more than willing to wait for a more convenient time for me and avoid fundraising all together.

Fast forward to yesterday, I was waiting for confirmation from God if I should go through with trying for i’mMe’s trip in April or wait for a more convenient time. On Tuesday I had set up a fundraising page, but couldn’t follow through and publish it. I was desperate for a sign or something. I wasn’t going to go through the fundraising process and realize it’s not what God wanted me to do. That morning at work I got a text from Trina telling me that God is waiting to do a miracle. That was all the confirmation I needed. I knew I had to get myself together and get ready to have my faith stretched again. Last night I went to church and that was just more confirmation of what God wanted me to do. I stayed up way past midnight to make a donation page, and just surrender this whole fundraising process to Him. It’s pretty obvious that I have no way of paying for this trip myself. I am jumping into this with complete faith and total dependence on the One who as called me.

What miracle does God need to do?

i’mMe is taking a group to Haiti April 24-29, 2014. I plan on being with them.We will be the light that God has called us to be to the people of Haiti. We will be visiting orphanages, cleaning up around Port-au-Prince, helping out with feeding program, and much more.  The total cost of the trip is $1,200. The cost will cover my flight from Florida to Haiti, accommodations, and meals throughout the trip. The kicker is that I need $600 two weeks before we are the leave to reserve my spot (April 10) and I have until the day before we leave to have the rest (April 23). Also, I will somehow need to find a way to get a flight to Florida from Texas to meet up with the team. Now you can see why I need a miracle. I don’t even have a month! I could panic, but I don’t even have time! I have a little over 20 days to raise money for this trip to Haiti. I know that if it’s God’s will He will do what He has to do to make this trip possible. I’m just saying yes to the call and just expectantly waiting to see how He’s going to fulfill this promise.

To friends and family I am more than willing to babysit, mow lawns, house sit, watch a pet, wash some dishes, paint something! Just let me know! Text, call, or message me on Facebook and we can set something up.

If you would like to donate click here. Or you can click the link on the top of the page that says “DONATE.”  Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart to those who feel lead to give. Your support means the world to me. If you feel lead to share, please by all means, share! Also, please pray for me in this major fundraising task and for the team that is going to Haiti. Prayer is essential and I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for prayer. Even, though this is crazy and totally unplanned,  I know that in the end God will get the glory!

The facts and figures in front of me say that this is impossible, but I am trusting God with this. I am confident that He is still in the miracle working business, and if He has called me to Haiti at this time then He will provide in a way that I can’t even imagine. 

If you would like to know more about i’mMe check out their website here. You can also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

#baylitohaiti

Advertisements

What Are You?

“What are you, anyway?”

My whole life I’ve been told that I should be a white girl or for a black girl I act “too white.” In a way I’ve been conditioned to just laugh it off and ignore people’s ignorance. But recently a question that has caught my attention is “what are you?”

First of all, the question is degrading. I know the person who asked didn’t mean to make it sound rude, but to me it implied that I was somewhat less than because they didn’t know what category to stick me in. My conditioned response was that I was black, but they wouldn’t take that as an answer. They then started peppering me with questions: “No, you aren’t mixed with something?” “How is your hair that way? Black people hair isn’t like that.” “Why do you talk like a white person?”

At this point I found myself shutting down. These people were relentless. I mean children are dying all over the world and your main concern is if I’m black enough to be black. It’s insane. Anyway, I honestly don’t even remember how the conversation ended but I remembered how it began.

What are you, anyway?

What am I? Well, I am a black young woman. My mother is mixed and my father is black, but that doesn’t mean I’m less black than the next black woman. My hair lays a certain way, but that doesn’t mean that my hair is any better than the black woman with supposedly “bad hair.” I speak well and I even have a hint of a country accent, but that doesn’t mean I’m not black because I “talk white.”

Besides all the things I just listed, I am Bayli. No matter what color I happen to by mixed with; I am human. I am a child of the Most High God. I have special gifts and talents that God has blessed me with to bring glory to Him. I am a successful young adult. I have potential to do great things on this earth. I can make decisions, and I’m wise enough to ask when I don’t understand or when I need counsel. I have hopes, dreams, plans, and I know I will fulfill each one of them by God’s grace.

That is what I am. Who I am. What I have been made to be.

I am not the black girl who talks white. I am not to the black girl mixed with some white. I am neither dark-skinned or light-skinned.  I am no better than the girl who’s fully black and I am no less than the girl who is fully white.

So what am I, really?

I am a young woman named Bayli.

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.

The Year of the Lord’s Favor.

Warning:

First, this post is a bit long. Second, this post is me being super vulnerable. At first I fought writing this tooth and nail, but God must want someone to read this. If you are reading this I encourage you to read it through Jesus’ eyes. No judgement. No condemnation. We have all walked through the darkness, but Jesus  has caught us up in His grace. 

I feel it in my heart to make some things known about myself.  I know it will allow me to truly experience freedom, but I pray some one else will take these words to heart and understand that freedom can be found.

This whole semester has been a semester of God just weeding things out my life. I’m not talking small weeds either. Weeds that have gotten tangled in my roots. These weeds were deep and slowly choking the life out of me. It wasn’t pretty. The process left me bare and cold because somehow I had gotten comfortable with these weeds in my life. Going through the process of removal wasn’t beautiful. It was messy, filthy, and vile.

About two years ago, I fell into the trap of pornography and masturbation. My life was a mess. Things began to get chaotic and confusing.  See, I had a relationship with Jesus, but I was having an affair with this sin. I was bound to it. It had my heart in a vice and no matter how many times I asked God to forgive me, swearing to never do it again; I always found myself doing it all over again. 

I entered college with this burden. Having prayer nights but still struggling with this sin. It’s crazy how God still used me in my brokeness. He still gave me words to pray over my friends, and I could always taste the freedom that I could experience if I truly let go of this burden. Soon, I realized that it was time to get real with myself. I was struggling, and God was gently coaxing me out but I was still determined to be dragged down. I finally gathered some courage to tell my closest friends. It was a late night at Raising Cane’s, and with my heart beating fast and sweaty hands; I told them I was struggling with masturbation. I kid you not, in an instant, it was like I was finally able to take a deep breath. I could breathe again. I got the most loving response from them all, and I realized that’s why God has placed them in my life.

I would be lying if I said right then and there I stopped. I didn’t, but I started to see the escape routes that God was giving me. With each passing time I was tempted I began to see those ways more clearly. It wasn’t until the day after Christmas I realized the last chain had dropped from my life. The weed that was clinging for dear life on my heart; God had effectively removed it. It left me crying because it was painful, and I was confronted with my less that perfect-ness.

But God is merciful. He dealt with me so tenderly that night. Loving me like no other could. I had a meeting with my Savior. I was  ready to be rid of my sin for good, and whatever it took I was willing. God didn’t strike me down. He covered me with His grace. I know I still have to deal with the consequences, like the loss of my innocence and some pictures seem like they can’t be erased from a mind. However, God’s grace will still abound.

But that wasn’t all. I also had to face the issues I had with my dad. I was angry at my dad for the things he had done and things I thought he should have done. In my mind I wanted him to hurt as much as he hurt me. I held on to this for years. A few weeks before I came home I was confronted with all the anger I had built up, and I finally told my dad how I felt. Finally, I was able to hear his side of things. Things aren’t perfect now, but I know that I also have to make a conscious effort to mend our relationship.

He also dealt with other things. Moments in my life that had me waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. Thoughts that held me back from trying new things. Grudges I had against certain people in my past. He dealt with it all.

Restitution.

I learned this word from Lena. She is the sweetest woman who has invested into me, Oyinda, Megan, and Maddie. She told us that restitution is more than just restoration. Restoration is when whatever was taken is given back and it’s leveled out. However, restitution is when everything is given back, but double portion. Restitution means God wins.  No matter how much was taken God will give it back to me double portion. Every area of my life that the enemy has stolen from will not only be restored, but will be covered in a double blessing.

I cling to that because God didn’t intend for me to go through all of those crappy things, and it’s not like I’m going to stop walking into bad situations either. But we serve a God who makes ALL things new. He turns our ashes into beauty, our mourning into laughing, our shattered innocence into purity.

As  I launch into the new year, I am declaring that 2014 will be my year of double portion. I declare right now that my relationships from here on out will be doubly blessed. My health will be doubly blessed. My finances will be doubly blessed. My family will be doubly blessed. My life will be doubly blessed. God is a God of restitution and I rest in that. He will not only restore, but will pour out a double blessing over me.

So in the last few hours of 2013 let God tend to the garden in your heart. I can’t promise you it won’t hurt. Truthfully, it’s not like I don’t get tempted anymore, but I now see that there is always a way out. Please know that in this process: tears will be shed, confessions will pour out, and some things will sting. But it’s oh so worth it. God wants you to be set free right now. He sent Jesus down here to die for ALL of your sins. The dirty, disgusting things that you do in the dark have not gone unnoticed. He’s saying, “give it to Me, let Me set you free.”

Revelation 1:5

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. 

I also encourage you to read Isaiah 61. Revel in the promises that God has spoken, and know in your heart that He is faithful to complete them.

God sings over me and you. His rhythm is perfected to match every little detail of our lives. He has orchestrated and he directs every note that has to be played out in our lives. He isn’t surprised by all of our mess because His rhythms are matchless. Nothing compares to the song He plays over us. He has composed each of our songs before the day we were born with all the loving kindness He possesses. May our feet continue to dance to the melody that He so tenderly created. May our hands clap to the beat of our life songs. May our lives and voices add lyrics of praise at His majesty. His grace is never forced. It is given freely. Since we have chosen Him and He is ours, He will sing over us unceasingly. A song of peace, freedom, grace, and wisdom. The song He sings over each one of our lives will be the only song that will be a balm to our tattered souls. So let Him carry you, let Him whisk you away along the ebbs and swells of your life song. Because NOTHING can take away the unforced rhythms of His grace.

tumblr_inline_mvyv7zc7ML1s5fhrr
Selah. 

Coming Home.

First day home and I’m already on the floor crying.

Why?

I have no earthly idea.

I have so many excuses for my sudden outburst. Maybe I just wanted to sleep, and my brothers kept asking me questions. Maybe it’s that my mom wanted me to do dishes and I haven’t even used any. Maybe I realized all my friends are so far away and I conveniently dropped my phone in a toilet.

All of these lame excuses and reasons for feeling bad for myself, but didn’t I already know that things weren’t going to be peachy coming home? Haven’t I been preparing my heart for this? Praying for patience and thinking of ways just to serve my family. What happened, Jesus? I thought I was ready!

The seven hours I been home have already made me lose my nerve, and forget all the things that I have learned over the semester.  If I’m completely honest I was a complete wimp. In my mind I knew it was the enemy, but I all to readily fell into the trap. I not only made a complete fool of myself, but also made it seem that I didn’t even want to be home which I know hurt my family. I knew that this time home was when I was to really apply what God had taught me, and I failed. Epicly.

Then Jesus came.

I can’t even tell you all that He did, but somehow I found myself willing facing my family. I apologized to my mom who probably thought I had some weird psychotic episode (it was bad, y’all) and I told my brothers I would take them to school in the morning. I felt better and finally stopped crying. When I actually sat down to reflect on all that happened it all became clear. That I was/ am completely selfish, and the moment I discerned it was the enemy I should have just walked away from the situation.

I also realized that I was scared coming home. I had this irrational fear that I wouldn’t encounter Jesus the way the I encountered Him at LSU. I realize now that I had it all wrong. Jesus is with me constantly. He was there in the kitchen watching me throw a fit and pour out my anger on my family. He was there in the restroom that I locked myself in and ugly cried for a solid hour. He was there when I stood at my mom’s door for five minutes trying to muster up the courage to knock and apologize. He is here now giving me words to write this post.

I am not alone. I AM NOT ALONE.

Coming home, I believe will be when God will show me new aspects of Himself. He will continue to mold me and gently correct me like He did today. I will go back to LSU with an even deeper faith, and have an amazing testimony to tell my friends. I will encounter Him more than I did this past semester. Coming home for me is my time to really put things into practice. It’s time I take quiet time seriously. I need to start putting the list of ways I can serve my family to use. I’m not gonna sit and waste this break. This is God’s time to continue the work that He has already started in me.

Today was definitely a bumpy start and I’m sure this isn’t the last bump in the road. It would be a miracle if it was…But I know that God won’t give up on me that easily, and He will continue to discipline me while loving me all at the same time.

So I thank God for days like this. Where I go from crying in self-pity to standing in awe of the transformation He has done in my heart.

Thank You.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6

Also, I’m still not understanding why my phone isn’t working, Jesus. I mean, I know I was getting a little attached to SnapChat. But can my phone please work now? I have learned my lesson! Forreal, though.

Just in time for Thanksgiving.

Well, I’ve meant to write this post for a while and since Thanksgiving is in a few minutes…it’s perfect!

I just wanted to list some of the things that I’ve just been so thankful for this past year and semester at LSU. I have a bunch but I gave myself a limit of 19; since I’m 19 and all.

19.  Warm, soft, fluffy things.

With the weather getting all cold and stuff; I am more than happy to pull out all of my scarves, socks, hats, and bulky sweaters.

18. Peppermint.

I have this thing for all things peppermint-y. I’m a sucker for peppermint tea, and I put mint in just about anything. Go get some peppermint hot chocolate from Starbucks and your world will never be the same!

17. Hot Bubble Baths.

I have definitely taken the luxury of a bath for granted all these years. Since I’ve been in college, and have been completely stripped away from baths; all I want to do when I get home is sit in my bathtub. I know I have some emotional connection to my bathtub, but don’t judge. Some people just ain’t about that college shower life…

16. YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.

Thank God for these wonderful video players. Now I will never miss an episode of Scandal, I can watch all my Touched by an Angel episodes, and I have the privilege to spend hours watching pointless videos that distract me from the important things in life.

15. My Childhood.

I revel in my childhood memories. The good, the bad, the ugly. I love them all. Moments like hiding books and sugar packets under my pillow or picking my switches from the tree; those days have molded me into who I am today. I would never change a thing.

SCAN0054

14. Musical Movies.

I have this thing for movies that have songs that I can sing along to. Hairspray, Prince of Egypt, Sound of Music, Disney Princess Movies, and Anastasia are a few of my favorites. “these are a few of my favorite things…”  See, like that!

13. Books.

I have a healthy/ unhealthy attachment to books. The healthy attachment is that I love to read, and I tear through so many books it’s ridiculous. The unhealthy attachment is the fact that I will buy 7 more books when I haven’t even finished the last 2 I bought the day before, and if somebody tried to touch or sell my books I would rip them a new one.

349

12. Journals.

I pour my heart out when I write in my journal. I appreciate all the journals I have because I am able to see how far that I have come. I love to go back and read my journal from elementary when I had a crush on William Moseley. Those were not easy times, okay… No Judging.

11. LSU.

I go to the greatest school on the planet. All you other schools just need to go sit down somewhere. Say it with me: Geaux Tigers!

1479138_10202525782368913_303559372_n

10. Christmas Music.

Listen to: Dave Barnes – Very Merry Christmas. Matt Wertz – Snow Globe. Nat King Cole – you should already know… Boyz ll Men – Christmas Interpretations. Go, click those links, and let your souls be drowned in all the wonderful Christmas music.

9. Hard Times.

As I’m getting older I am starting to really understand why some things can’t always be easy. Going through hard times and sometimes hurting seems to makes it all worth it in the end.

8. Spontaneous Worship.

Worship. I just love it. My soul sings, and I just come alive when I worship. I love when it isn’t planned and it isn’t rigid or stiff. It’s always raw, real, and refreshing. And it ALWAYS, without fail, leaves me breathless. I will spend all of my days worshiping my Creator.

photo 1454721_10202512285471499_1068920570_n

7. Africa.

Like I posted in Instagram a while ago. “I miss Kenya. I miss the simplicity. I miss the people and their welcoming nature. I miss Manuel, Jeremy, Emmy, Patrick, Grandma, and Annette. I even miss Georgiana! I miss church, and the 5am prayers. Take me back.”

DSCN0273

6. Lakewood Church.

Where would I be without Lakewood in my life? Lakewood will always be the church that God put in my life to be a lifeline to pull me through all the mess I was dealing with. I rededicated my life to Christ, encountered Jesus, and was bathed in the Holy Spirit at Lakewood. I am forever grateful for all that I experienced there.

5. Antioch Community Church: Baton Rouge.

What a community! I am completely blown away at how much I have grown these past few months. I am challenged to live my life radically and truly live out what the Bible says. I am so captivated by God’s presence at Antioch; I can’t help but be thankful for the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in His church.

4. Maddie, Oyinda, and Megan (Cheetah Girls/Double Stuffed Oreo).

I am constantly inspired, encouraged, and challenged by how these girls live so wholeheartedly for what they believe in. They strive to make everything they do pleasing to the Lord. I am thankful for Maddie’s “sugar sweet and intuitive” soul, Oyinda’s “prayer warrior” spirit, and Megan’s “tell it like it is” attitude. God knew what He was doing when He brought us all together.We are force to be reckoned with. Watch out world!

1453507_10202512237150291_309378254_n 1466090_10202512224029963_1338609453_n

3. Friendship.

I am the luckiest girl alive to be surrounded by a community of people who I can just do life with. I have the most honest, genuine friendships. God must really love me because He has granted me with friends I know will be in my life for a long, long time.

1461075_10202512224669979_1746027733_n 1452012_701159783228061_1749578330_n995541_10202512257190792_543287858_n

2. Family.

I can go on an on about how awesome my family is. We are not average. We are messy and chaotic. Loud and spontaneous. Passionate and supportive. Goofy and silly. We are all of these and so much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

1470051_10202512264430973_775363727_n

1. Jesus.

I think y’all already knew this one was coming…

Jesus. My Savior.My Friend. My Foundation. My Creator. My Hiding Place. My Everything. My soul sings at His goodness. My spirit rejoices at His faithfulness. My feet dance because of the joy that He has bestowed upon me.

I am forever in awe and grateful for the wonderful gift of His grace and love that He so freely pours out over my life.

tumblr_inline_mvyv8zbhId1s5fhrr

Selah.