Preparing for Victory…

Hey readers – thank you for reading! I am blessed that I have this cathartic outlet. Though I haven’t met many of you, I am thankful for your support.

The past year has been very hard.  Many of you have read through my laments and my desperate reach for God during those times. Sometimes it seems like when I get ahead in one way, I have a set back in another.

The past weekend, a couple of unfortunate events took place in the life of my family and myself that I am still working through and processing.  I am not sure when I will have the courage to write about them here in detail, but I am looking forward to seeing God transform this. I mean, he has to! His word says that he will turn all things for good for those who are called by him according to his purposes!

There is healing. There is peace in the broken pieces. There is restoration. There is victory!

I am praying that God will help me to keep my eye on his promises for me. He has not forsaken me. I am not alone. I am loved. I am purposed.

At Last…

My People!!!! I have missed you! Two months without a blog post is something that hasn’t happened in three years since this blog was erected.  A lot has happened, and  must say, it’s been a whirlwind.

As you read in my last post, I finally found a job. God has blessed me tremendously with this opportunity. My schedule has changed, obviously, and my body is more tired than usual so, blogging was not at the top of the priority list. I am currently on vacation and wanted to take some time to update you. I have missed writing so much! It’s cathartic, but it takes mental space, which I haven’t had a lot of these days.

Currently, I am in Beaufort, South Carolina. I am vacationing with my dear friend Cami from Florida. We used to work together at 4KIDS of South Florida. During our sojourn to Savannah, we met up with David, who has been deployed for almost two years in the Middle East. He is finally home and was visiting some of his friends in  Jacksonville. David and I hadn’t seen each other in two years due to his military commitments and my move back to GA.

I am really thankful for what’s transpiring in my life. There have been times over the past year where I have hated my life. I know hate is a strong word – I was in deep, deep disarray and despair. Being in that kind of a pit is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. Not knowing when relief will come, not knowing what to do other than keep doing what you know to do in that moment. It’s hard. Though there were a lot of laments (many I posted on this blog), one thing that never waned was the belief that God was going to make things OK.

See, when we pray, our prayers are answered immediately. Mark 11:24 states:

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer,
believe that you have received it,
and it will be yours.

Where we get caught up and disappointed is when we are looking for that answer to show up in the moment of our prayers. Not to say that won’t happen sometimes, but it shoudl not be the expectation. The answer shows up when it’s time. See, our timing is not God’s timing. He knows the whole story, not just the current event that we are experiencing. God know the perfect time for the answer to come to fruition. God does not hold out on us. He is, however, orderly and will allow the answer to our prayer be apparent in our lives when the time is right.

Just an example:

I pray for a job last year in July 2015 after I decided that Real Estate was not for me (as a sales agent – I still love the industry). I asked specifically for God to allow me to have a job that utilized my skills, talents, and giftings (inherent and spiritual). I also asked that my next venture would be in a place where I would not get bored, be challenged intellectually, be part of a healthy work environment, and have opportunity grow. I spent days and hours looking for jobs through that summer, winter, and the next spring. When I was finished with my lingering transactions, I was on the verge of depression because I was feeling isolated and I had cut out a lot of the extras in my life, like my gym membership, since I was not working as much with my part time position and I needed to make sure I wasn’t wasting money. I didn’t know when I was going to start working, but I kept praying the same prayer and continued to look for jobs daily. It got really hard around February. I gained some weight and my health was poor. Despite this, I still knew God had answered my prayer and the time had not yet come for me to see the resolve.

Fast forward to April, I received an email for an interview with a company called Trees Atlanta. I had an interview and subsequently got the job. When I started, I knew that my exact prayer had been answered. I am learning a lot and I am getting the opportunity to be stretched in other professional areas like Human Resources and IT. God gave me abundantly more than I could have ever imagined. This new position not only met a need, but it met all of my wants. The timing aspect – my first interview was the last day of work for the person who was occupying the position. Additionally, when this job was posted, the company received over 250 applications, yet mine was one of the top three contenders. That’s God’s favor. Also, the position wasn’t available when I prayed for in In July of 2015; however, in April 2016, the vacancy was announced. Before that time came, God already knew I would be the perfect fit. He already knew what was in the heart of the individual who was leaving and that they would be leaving even before they knew. I may have wanted this job back in July, but there were things that still needed to be done before I could move on to this new season.

My nephew was starting a new school and I was needed to help with that transition. My step dad was going to need help with transportation where my car that God has been so gracious to provide, would be needed to fill in the gap. My mother needed respite to do the things that she loves and God would use me to help with making sure my nephew was picked up from school and taken to events. None of these things could have happened if I started working at the exact moment of my prayer. God saw this before I knew it was going to be, and he made everything work out in their appointed time.

I can’t brag enough on my God. He is amazing! We may get anxious, but those are the times to allow God to do what he does best. As Philippians 4:4-7 tells us, be grateful and praise God! Don’t be anxious, just pray. Let God know what we need and be thankful for what we already have. When we do this, we will have peace that goes beyond any human understanding. That peace is invaluable. That peace is precious. That peace is what gets us through the uncertain times. It takes work to maintain the peace because it requires our mind be continually focused on what God says is true, and being obedient to what God says is right. The struggle is real, but the results are worth the struggle.

I am so grateful. I am sure that my world will continue to be rocked, but I know God is there in the boat to calm the storm when I look to him and not at the circumstances that surround me.

Light at the End of the Tunnel…

Back in February, I wrote about some of my frustrations with this season of life. I was in a bit of funk because I was feeling majorly rejected.  While I was still trying to keep hope alive in my heart, I will admit that I was feeling very disheartened. You see, I graduated number seven in my high school class. Through college, I was on the Dean’s List each semester and graduated Suma Cum Laude. I went on to have great job experiences while traveling the world.  I earned a Master’s degree in Higher Education. My relationship with God also grew exponentially. It was in 2011 that I told God that I would surrender my will, and follow his. This meant that I would give up my chosen career and go where he placed me to utilize my gifts and talents.

It was in 2011 that I told God that I would surrender my will, and follow his. This meant that I would give up my chosen career and go where he placed me to utilize my gifts and talents. I never thought I would be working in full-time ministry for the next five years. In 2014… God said, “Go home, be near your family.”

That was weird for me because by that time I had been away from them for well over nine years. I was comfortable and had no desire to move back to Georgia.

I obeyed anyway.

The summer of 2014 began a whirlwind of emotions, experiences, miracles and sweet moments that are priceless memories. I am so glad that I obeyed God. I am so glad that I took the chance in the familiar, yet unknown, world that I never thought I wanted.

Many know that I have been looking for work. I wanted God to yet again give me a position that utilized my gifts, abilities and talents that would be fulfilling in more ways than a paycheck. I tried to find position in Higher Education – my chosen field. Yet, doors constantly closed. I couldn’t understand how someone who had accomplished so much couldn’t get an interview. I had hiring managers tell me to my face that though I had an impressive resume, I am not a desirable candidate. Basically, I had too much experience for entry level positions and not enough for  a lot of other fields.  I was in a funk, and I was fighting depression (something I am prone to having). The depression was starting to take over until I really began to realize that there was joy in this.

The joy was that I was given time to experience and be part of the making of someone else’s breakthrough.  My family. Everyone’s transition was interlocking. Had I been working full-time I would not have been part of the work God was doing through me (what I asked him to in so many prayers). God didn’t, doesn’t and never will need me to complete any of His plans; however, he CHOOSES to use me to do his will. He gladly allows me to be involved, though I do not deserve the privilege.

God’s command for this year was to grow. Growth is painful. Groth is uncomfortable. Growth requires getting up after falling down. Grow demands discipline and persistence.

Growth demands grace.

Oh how I wish I were grace-filled every day! It’s a daily struggle, but that’s the point. I am my worst critic, and I am very hard on myself. Lord, please show me how to have grace for myself the way you freely shower on my daily!

So now, there is light at the end of the tunnel. A new season is beginning. My Florida chapter is closing. As of May 17th, I will begin a new position at a new nonprofit in Atlanta. It’s not in ministry, and that’s OK. I believe that my time in ministry was an incubation period and now I am back out in the secular marketplace to be a light to others. God had refined some things in me, yet I am still a work in progress.  I believe this new position will completely utilize everything that I have experienced professionally. God has strategically prepared me for this. He’s done and continues to do a new thing for my life. I really had no clue when this day would come. Now that it’s here,  I’m glad that God orchestrated it in the way he did.

I pray that I learn how to endure the times while I am waiting a little better. I think this time sent me almost over the edge. My ego was severely bruised. But, it has helped me to see that this experience is not about me. It’s about God and his work. My mind needs to say on what he has promised me – eternity, and that is yet to come. The purpose right now is to be the best steward of the time I have been lent and be as flexible as possible.

Perspective of Miracles…

Happy Resurrection Day! I hope and pray that you have done something that warmed your heart on this day we remember the victory of Christ. My mom and I had initially planned to climb Stone Mountain in Stone Mountain Park, but because of the crazy rain the day before, I didn’t think it would be a good idea (the terrain is slippery even if it hasn’t rained in months).

Side Note: Stone Mountain is an iconic landmark in the Metro Atlanta area. It’s actually a solid piece of granite (think of a rock that you get from the lake and multiply the size times a bagillion). The surrounding area has been made into a park that bodes a lot of family attractions and accommodations. There are laser shows in the summer, lots of cool events and sky buckets! In the winter, they make snow and turn it into “Snow Mountain,” complete with tobogganing. You can also climb to the top of the mountain on a trail, and it was our intention to climb to watch the sunrise for Easter.

3632.Stone%20Mountain

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So, no Stone Mountain – it was OK. I decided to serve at Church. I usually serve every Sunday except for second Sunday; however, this day I was looking forward to spending some quality time with my mom since I don’t get to see her every day. Due to the Easter services, the program that I usually serve with was cancelled, so I ended up serving in other areas as needed. Service was amazing, and I am glad that I was able to go and take part of celebrating my Lord and Savior! My mom wanted to see the movie Miracles from Heaven, and I thought that it would be a good day to go (it was nasty, half way drizzling, and overcast). I am so glad we went to see it this afternoon.

Without giving the story away, you should know that the main theme of the movie is “miracles.” HAHA! I guess you could tell that by the title, but it’s so much deeper than that. We need to be mindful and watchful for these miracles. My mom and I left the theater in tears today. I mean ugly face, can’t breathe tears. The movie was a nod from God about our current situation. Right now my mom is living in another town during the week so my nephew has the opportunity to go to a private school. I am looking for work and it seems like doors are closed in my face on a daily basis. We shared tidbits of how God is showing he is working everything out.We described what we believed to be daily miracles. Miracles and winks from God that let us know we are right where he wants us. The expression of these things made us weep.

These weren’t sad tears. They were tears of overwhelming mixed emotions consisting of gratitude, exhaustion, excitement, frustration and joy (hey look – Joy is still showing in 2016…wink!). As we talked about how God has paved the way with events leading up to today, it was affirmation that we are incredibly loved, cherished and honored. The thought that God would think so much of my mom and I to make these puzzle pieces fit together so perfectly is overwhelming. Why us? Why me? Why anyone? People in general are so horrible and hateful, why does God even want anything to do with us?

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2:4-10 (emphasis mine)

God is rich in mercy. He loves us so much. He gave us life and saved us by his grace. WE ARE HIS MASTERPIECE! Us – one sixth of his creation. Anything that a person would consider a masterpiece would have immense value, maybe even immeasurable. Someone would go through great lengths to protect a masterpiece. Someone would go through great lengths to restore a masterpiece (think of the great lengths of the continuous restoration of the Sistine Chapel). God died. He died for us, and he raised himself from that death to show death that nothing can come in between him and his creation. He did this so that we could have a choice. He DIED so that we could have a choice. And, should we choose him, the floodgates burst open with provision and a path of more than we could even imagine.

Right now, this experience, as difficult and frustrating as it is, is far better than I ever could have imagined. God is good. He is so good to me. I will not lie, nor will I try to give you platitudes about my life right now. It’s unbelievable easy, and it’s the most difficult period I have ever experienced in my life.  It’s easy because I am in a period of waiting and I don’t want for anything. I don’t have any unmet needs. I do have unmet wants and desires that God is using to teach me to be a better steward of all aspects of my life.I have an incredible safety net in my family. I am loved and well kept as I am wrapping things up with my current assignment. I pretty much have a cushy life and lots of flexibility.

This is the most difficult time because for once I don’t really have a next step. I am completely baffled about myself, and uncertain about who I am professionally. I am experiencing a lot of insecurity about my experience, education and goals. If someone were to ask me today to describe where I see myself in five years in the workforce, or even where I would aspire to be, I don’t think that I could answer confidently.  I simply don’t know what I want anymore. I can’t see a vision right now. I feel confused. This is the part that concerns me because God is not the author of confusion. I know that this is spiritual warfare, but I am not sure I am fighting well every single day. This is the area where I am of greatest need of prayer and strengthening in the Lord.

Deep down, I know there is a resolve to this current season that will usher me into the new one. It’s coming. It has to or it would mean God is a liar, and he has already said in his word that he never changes nor does he lie (see Numbers 23:19 and Titus 1:1-3). I want to continue to enjoy this time of rest and reconnection. It has been such a sweet experience, and I feel it would grieve the Lord if I allow my joy to be tarnished because I lack proper perspective.  We have to fight for our joy. Satan wants it to be stolen, lost and clouded by day to day circumstances the normal disappointments of life. God wants us to be able to see the entire forest, not just the group of trees that are directly in front of us. This mean we need to climb a tree so we can see that the forest is at the edge of a beautiful waterfall flowing with promise, replenishment and resources. I need to climb a tree, and quickly!

New things are coming… he is making something new…I just need new perspective, strength and faith…

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
Isaiah 43:19

 

 

An Unexpected Letter…

I went to Passion City Church’s Good Friday service at the Verizon Amphitheater and had an amazing time with some friends. Lacrae, David Crowder and also Passion City’s own worship team gave spectacular performances and we had an inspiring message by Louie Giglio. In between the music performance and the sermon, there was a presentation of this video. It was pretty amazing. Listen to the whole thing. There is victory in the name of Jesus!

Nostalgia From Academia…

Today, I went back to one of my Alma Maters, Georgia State University, to celebrate a good friend’s departure from the school where she has worked for the past 14 years. The last time I spent any significant amount of time on was in 2005 prior to graduation. Yes folks, I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree over 10 years ago! Before her celebration, I walked around a little bit. It even smelled the same! So many memories… I miss academia! I miss being on a college campus. Here are a few pictures. This isn’t even half of the campus. It’s very localized to where my destination was today. The campus as grown sooo much since I went there. I learned we even have a beach volleyball team….yep….#winning.

 

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Bittersweet, and Still Wonderful…

So many of you know that I am seeking employment. Real Estate turned out to not be my life’s passion. It was, however, a necessary part of my homecoming.

::short segue here::

Last May, I participated in my brokerage’s annual volunteer event called Red Day. My particular market center decided to do a clean up and improvement day at The Bridge of Georgia. This is a private school for children with special needs. Many of the children in the school have Autism. The school has only been open for a short while, so it’s still growing and evolving. We spent the day painting, landscaping, cleaning, and playing with children. It was an awesome day! I inquired about the entrance requirements and financial aid. I took the information back to my mother. Long story short, my nephew JaJuan will be starting at the school on March 7th! I am so excited for him! If my stint in real estate was to only get him access to this school then it was so worth it.

The best part of it all is that students who are in Special Needs classes in the state of Georgia receive a certain amount of money each year from the state that is sent directly from the school. This is called the SB10 Scholarship. That money can be used at public schools and some private schools, including the Bridge of Georgia! Outside of the registration fees, JaJuan’s full tuition is fully covered because of this! Had I never started with Keller Williams Atl Partners in Snellville, I wouldn’t have known about this school because we had looked at private schools before and they were just too expensive. Had I not physically been at the school and talked to the administrators, I wouldn’t have known about SB10. The state has information about this on their website, but it’s not highly advertised that the money is portable because that means the public schools would be underfunded. Thank the Lord for giving me the oppotunity to help JaJuan in this way.

::End Segue::

So, I have been job hunting because I need something full time. This has been an overwhelming process. There’s lots of rejection, but I just see that as protection because if I were to have those jobs, I would have had them. I know God know’s what’s best for me and I have asked that He be the one to author this. I am submitting to His will on this. I know that it’s developing my character and faith in a way that wouldn’t happen if this was easy.

I was really hoping to get an interview with a particular company that I like and respect (I won’t disclose the company – this isn’t a rant or negative mark on them), but today I received a rejection letter with a little something extra:

“Having your completed application…provides us both positive and productive time to learn more about your background.  We have thoroughly reviewed your application and have determined that other candidates’ profiles more closely meet our needs. Therefore, we will not be pursuing your candidacy at this time.

While we are continuing to expand in a number of areas there is not a current opening that matches your experience, apparent abilities, and interests. We will, however, maintain your application on file for future reference.

We appreciate your contacting us and giving us the privilege of knowing about you.  Please accept our best wishes to you for every success in the future.”

The line that I highlighted is what stung the most. It was basically saying – um, don’t apply to any of our other positions, please. The way the process works is you submit your resume and if they believe you may be a good fit, they invite you to complete the application. I had reached the application stage, and at least I feel that they actually read my qualifications and experience for a good evaluation. I don’t feel that I just got rejected through some ATS (Applicant Tracking System). It still doesn’t feel nice, but that’s life. We aren’t a good fit for everything.

I am still trusting God. I am feeling a bit down today about it, but I am still moving forward. I know that there is the perfect position for me that will come when it’s time. The good thing is I have my resume under review and will have it optimized for an ATS, since many companies use this.

Life is good, I am doing well – just a little disappointed today. I do feel like time is running short. The original goal was to be employed full-time by the end of March. I do know that God’s timing is perfect, so it’s not running out for him. My prayer is that God remove this anxiety and surround me with his peace today.He is good!

Philippians 4:4-9
 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I have no title for this…

It’s the last day of the month and I haven’t  written anything since December – I try to post at least once a month. I haven’t been so inspired lately. There have been some neat things happening that show God is continuing to move, but of course, the enemy is steadily poking at other areas that are not yet resolved and causing me some grief.

…..

As I was writing that last sentence, my dog, Sachi came up and gave me a few tender licks on my toe. I think she sensed that I was feeling a little down. I moved my computer out of the way and she laid her head in my lap. For a few minutes, there was nothing wrong in my world – just my happy fluffy puppy. See… there’s the joy I spoke about last month in regards to my personal theme for 2016. I am going to miss seeing her every day. Anyway, after Sachi’s intervention, I don’t feel like complaining anymore. I do have some negative emotions tonight. I just want certain areas of my life to be resolved. It’s hard to operate like this, but God is here. He knows that this is a precious time for me to grow, so I am being obedient. I am growing.

Good night (don’t let the bedbugs bite).

 

The Year of Joy: 2016

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I will be honest and say that I haven’t done that much thinking about goals in prep for the new year; however, it has been on the back of my mind for the past couple of months. It will be on paper by the end of the week!

This coming year’s theme is JOY. My anchor verse for the year is Ecclesiastes 3:11:

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

While this isn’t a specific verse about joy in name, it is a reminder that God is still working on me and the promises for my life, and all these things will unfold in according to the timing the God has ordained. There is joy in the hope of things to come. There is joy in knowing that God has this all under control and I don’t have to figure it out. There is joy in the anticipation of a new 365 day long adventure!

Time. HIS time, not mine. I wish I understood about God’s time, but if I did, this journey wouldn’t be nearly as intersting. So there is blessing in the hiddenness of future treatures. As time goes on and I seek Him more, they will be revealed in perfect time.