Design 

A year ago I had no idea what I was doing. I was thrown into an opportunity that I had no formal training in and not getting trained in something for me was hard. I like guidelines, I like bullet points to what I need to achieve to do well in a role or project. But there was no bullet points, no checkboxes. I literally just had to be me. But it was hard because I see so many flaws in myself that the idea of being me was scary. So last year I did my job and interacted when I had to or if they they needed help. It was very hard for me to be me in front of them so I put on a facade and I tried not to let them see the broken me inside because I was afraid they’d find out how I really felt, fake. 
But this year, God moved mountains in my life. I’ve learned to embrace my flaws as who God designed me as. I’m not perfect, I never will be. I have a tendency to tell myself, “If I only talked more maybe people would like more. If I wasn’t so awkward maybe people would invite more to things and I’d have more friends. If I wasn’t so big maybe then I’d win a guy over. If I lost weight maybe then I’ll love myself.” I could go on, the criteria I put on myself to be able to accept myself is not God ordained, it’s pure evil. I could never obtain it. I’m seeking perfection when God says ‘no, you weren’t designed to be perfect. You weren’t designed not to have flaws, you weren’t designed to get everything right the first time. You were designed to love and to care for others. You were designed to teach others about my Son. You were designed to lead the way for young believers. You were designed to be you. But do you trust me enough to let me use the person I designed you to be? Or do you want to try to constantly aim for something you never hit and live a life we’re all you see are failures because the criteria of perfection is too high to be obtained?’

Don’t live a life of failure. Live of life full of grace and love. One of the hardest things for me is allowing myself to have grace, I’m the hardest person on myself, but there’s freedom found in it. Be who God designed you to be and allow him to mold you to be exactly who he made you to be. Trust in him. 

Vulnerability: God Moments

So recently I’ve battled the question, “Where’s God?”. I didn’t feel him. I longed for a glimpse and connection but I didn’t have it. I read the Word of God but the words just felt like words in a book. Sermons were just someone talking. My bible study was just painful rectorial questions asked over and over again. Prayers just seemed empty.

So I pondered if God forsake me even though according to scripture I knew he wouldn’t. I pondered if I could hold on to the daily routine I had that felt worthless and useless. I pondered my faith, my devotion, my life to Christ. I pondered it all. God was so silent.

But the more I dug into what was wrong I realized it was me. I was the problem. I wasn’t vulnerable, I wasn’t letting people in anymore. I closed the doors on myself. I put my walls backup and I checked out mentally and spiritually. I didn’t let people see me struggle, depressed, anxious, or stressed. I showed up and got the job done and left.

The other day I sat down and I wrote out how I was feeling…and then I began a part of where I began to make excuses to just leave Baltimore and start my life over, at that very moment someone walked through the door. And then later as I continued to write, the youth program weighed on my heart.  

Over this past week, I got to witness this teen girl accept Christ into her heart and life. Then on youth night that same girl pull me aside and tell me her life story and her struggles. Where I  opened up abour my story. Then it was lunch with this girl and more in depth conversation about what’s she’s going through and talk about Jesus. 

All this time I see myself in this girl. I see my struggles I went through at her age. I see the struggles I still face today through this girl. 

Late tonight she reached out to me again. She asked if hiding her feelings was okay. I began to tell her the truths of what Jesus says and I told her my testimony in that area. God is present. God is listening. As I wrote out my response to her, God was reminding me of his truths, of His love, of His plans and purpose for my life. He was pouring this on to me so I could pour it out to her.

My purpose in my life is to be a vessel. To show people the love of Jesus, the love of God , to show them a redeemer, a savior. To show them that they are not alone in this life. 

God gave me a story to share. I didn’t go through my life for just my sake. I went through it for moments like I’ve had this past week and for future moments I have yet to see.

Nailing the Nail in Deeper

It’s Easter time so it’s time for bunnies, eggs, and candy, but most importantly it’s time for Jesus.
It’s time to celebrate his resurrection from the dead. It’s time to celebrate the victory of all victories, the victory of death itself. But he had to die first. 

He had endure torture, he didn’t deserve. He had to endure pain like no other pain. Those nails had to pierce through his flesh and bones. 

So many of us stop Christianity there. We stop and we want the resurrection but we don’t want to face the killing of Jesus head on. We don’t want to face what Jesus actually died for.

He died for our transgressions. He died for our sins. He died so we wouldn’t have to. He died for you and he died for me. But the problem is every time we walk that path of flesh and we give into that sin we are nailing the nail in deeper. 

Every time we put a little pride behind our speech, every time we are a little bitter to that co worker, we are nailing the nail in deeper, crushing him, killing him little by little. 

Some of you maybe thinking “But that’s what grace is for”. Yes, but it neglects that fact that you hang Jesus every time you sin. It neglects the fact that God doesn’t call us to live in sin. He doesn’t say “it’s okay to sin now”. He calls us out of sin. He calls us to glorify him, we can’t do that if we are sitting there trying to pull Jesus off the cross before he even died because all we want is the end result of forgiveness.

Jesus bleed out to heal us. He can’t heal us if we don’t give him all of us because if there is still a part of you in this world, then there is still a chance for infection, for the enemy and sin to engulf  over your life. Which means every day is a battle. Which means that some days you will nail the nails in deeper, but you cannot sit there and keep nailing it in, you need to take a step back and examine yourself to see what part of your flesh you have to give over to Jesus.

Shackles 

We all know that God breaks out chains, right? He frees from everything, because this world isn’t out home. He frees from our past because we are no long bond to it. We no longer have to let our past and our failures depict who we are. He claims us as His sons and daughters. 

But how many of us rush back to put the shackles back on ourselves? You can say none, but think about that addiction to whatever you have or had, let be food, alcohol, porn, drugs, anything. At first when God opened your heart, you realized it was wrong so you gave it up and you stayed away. But how long did it last?

A year? A day? Maybe even 5 or 10 years? And then that moment of temptation hits at the moment where you are stressed and down and you give in just that once.  You feel guilty, sinful, and comepltely unforgiveable in that moment. But then you remind yourself God will forgive me because He already has. You convince yourself you’re okay and it won’t happen again. THEN the next time of giving into temptation came a little sooner than last time, and the pattern just keeps going.

The thing is we do it ourselves. We put the shackles of sin back in our lives. We let that temptation dictate our moves instead of God. We let our own sinful self get in the way of true freedom from God.  But the thing is the shackles aren’t locked, we can walk away at any moment but we don’t and they will just keep getting tighter and tighter the more we give in to our addiction and temptation.

But what if we instead of turning away from God to hide our sin nature in times of stress, depression, and worry, what if we turn towards to God? Temptation will always happen, but instead of giving in, open your bible. Instead of giving in call someone. Instead of giving in pray. 

Your mind is powerful. If you create a system in to battle temptation that comes in front you, you will combat it. But you have to be willing to not only give it up for now, but completely. You have to be willing to talk about that darkness of temptation to other people. You have to be willing to walk away from the shackles of sin and not look back. If you don’t you will hold yourself captive there. 

Don’t be held captive in chains that were broken once. Find yourself a path to get out, because God already created it for you, you just have to find the right one. 

God’s in Control

 

Let’s be honest for a moment, we all know God is in control. But how many of us would rather say, He’s not because we don’t want to face that fact that we are not perfect, that we fall short, we don’t want to admit that we need Jesus every day of our lives. We all do, even the people you see as “they can do no wrong” they too fall short! We can do nothing in our power, in our own strength, to make us not fall short. The beauty is Jesus came and died for us to build the bridge, so that we no longer fall short. He covers our sins.

You can say, “I know that”, but do you? Do you actually sit there and realize that every time you have a setback, that God is in control? I bet if you get the promotion, “it’s all God, thank  you Jesus.” But in the hard moments do we go and say, “thanks God, I know I fall short, and I know you and me have some work to do, so thank you so much for allowing me to go through this hard moment.” No, we don’t, we say, “Where is God” “I don’t understand” ” What did I do wrong”. We underestimate God in the hard moments, we feel if he was in control, then we wouldn’t be going through the things we go through. But sometimes we have to go through the hard moments, to get us to where He wants us.

Those hard moments are when we have our biggest growth. Why? Because you get on your knees, you get back into your relationship with God, you realize the sins that you have been allowing to dictate your life and you give them over to God, and you start focusing on the voice that should be.

So many of us are called to do great things, but sometimes we get discouraged because we have a major set back happen, or maybe we get depressed. And we let our circumstances dicate our life versus letting the Light dictate it.

I have battled depression for years. But the moment I surrender to it and I let it control me, is the moment I find myself, isolated and alone. I have to battle it, I have to fight it because I wasn’t called to live my life depressed, I was called to serve a God with joy, I was called to love others, I was called to be where I am in this moment. I can either take my depression and hide it away and pretend it’s not there or I can help others going through the same thing.

Yesterday, at church was so powerful, we did an illustration on how we are better together. We were told to lift our hands, to feel the burn of burdens we carry everyday by ourselves. Then we interconnected with each other, showing that that if we keep each other lifted, we can hold together longer, we can help each other when someone begins to fall. It was in that moment Pastor read out all the things we wrote down that were battling. We are better together, we get through things together not alone.

So when we face that next challenge or setback, there is a reason, even if you don’t see it. Don’t run, don’t hide, face it because God can use this moment in your life to help someone else out down the road because you’ve been there. God knows what he is doing even if it doesn’t feel right in the moment. Look around you, there are people there who’ve been through similar things, connect with them, learn from them, we do better when we do life together.

 

 

The Brick Wall

There’s a wall. I can’t tell exactly what put it there or when it got put up. I haven’t been able to journal in a long time. I can write posts or do a quick journal but to dig deep, I can’t even get passed it. It’s like road block.

I put on a mask without even realizing I’m doing it.  I pretend that I am who I am on the outside of the wall. Everything is surface level, including most, if not all, of my relationships. I don’t even know what’s behind the wall.

Maybe it’s my heart, my trust, that I locked away because every time I tend to get close to someone, we end up parting ways not on good terms. Maybe it’s my past that I haven’t fully moved on from and that past addiction that keeps haunting me. Maybe it’s because I isolated myself from the world because I don’t want to admit that I’m extremely broken and that I need Jesus every moment of every day. Maybe I’m hiding from fear; fear of failing, fear of being inadequate, fear of  judgement.

In service Sunday we were taking communion. As I began to ask God what I needed to ask for repentance for a full list of things started popping in my head. I was taken back by it but as I repeated them I remembered them. It was a game changer. 

It has allowed me to get back up on my feet and move forward. Even if it means  it’s a slow removal of the wall brick by brick. God knows why the wall is up, even if I have no clue. The best thing I can do is hand him the papers to it so he  completely knock it down. Otherwise, all I can do is fight the wall, and the wall will always win because I don’t have the strength on my own to fight it. 
 

Laying by the Water 

John 5:1-15… Jesus asked the invalid man if he wanted to healed after laying there for 38 years. And after he was healed Jesus had to tell him to get up! You would think that someone who wanted to healed for so long, would realize that they were healed and that they can get up.
How many of us are that way with our relationship with God? Like we made it to church, but that’s it. That man made it to the waters, but he laid there still sick, he laid there no being able to move. We make it to church but we become just people there. We don’t let scriptures move us, we don’t let the Holy Spirit convict us. We show up because we want to healed from our brokenness and sin, but we remain too comfortable in it. We see healing happening but we still don’t move. We see God doing things and others lives and we wonder “why not me?”…

If you’ve accepted Christ in your life then get up. You brokenness and sin has already been paid for. Everything you are fighting against has already been won. Jesus conquered death on the cross. If death has already been conquered what else do we have to fear?

So get up and open your heart. Start serving in your church. Join a small group. Do something to get you plugged in. Let the healing process actually begin. 

Saying “Yes” to God: The Journey

The Journey

I don’t know where you are in your faith walk, maybe you just accepted Christ in your heart and you’re searching, maybe you’ve been a Christ follower for years, maybe you are just struggling right now, but regardless of where you are or who you are, God is there with you. Like what it is written, God will never leave you nor forsake you. He is always be there, you cannot hide from Him, even when we think we can.

I say this because there are many times I struggle and I feel like God hasn’t been with me, that if God was in it would not be this particular way. But that’s just me trying to control my own destiny.Which my path was already written by God, he knows when I’ll  fall, he knows when I rise up. He knows it all. He knows your path too, he knows what he is doing.

But if you don’t trust him, if you don’t hand the reigns over to God, and you try to steer,  your life just keeps repeating it self and you wonder why things are not going anywhere. It’s because you’ve been spinning in circles trying to control your own life. Listen, God has a path for you. There will be some rockiness, there will be storms, but there is also light, joy, happiness. Trust God no matter which direction he calls you.

I’ve recently battled on of my worst depressions of my life. I felt that God was not with me, I felt that abandonment. I had followed what God had called me to do, and I end up in a dark pit. I was scared, I was worn out, I was curled up and was done with life. But here is the beauty of it, God was there the whole time. He never left me. I just had to look up.  I was so focused on my own self pity and my own self worth, that I never realized how much God was trying to steer me, I just had to let him.

If you would have told me that today July 1st would be the last day of my job, that I didn’t hold at the time, if you would have told me that I would start working on July 5th in the administrative side of ministry, I would call you completely crazy, but not to God. If I didn’t follow his calling to quit my job, I would not be here right now, I may have not fallen into that pit, but I followed Him. God was there the entire time, even in my darkest moments.  God is not done with me yet, and he definitely is not done with you yet.

God is on the move in your life. Just trust in Him. Lean on Him.

 

 

 

 

Who God Says We Are: The Light

A Christian cliché, you are the light. It’s a commonly used phrase in todays world. But do we really know what it means. Do we really know what God truly intended for us to know about being the light.

I say cliché because it’s so over used and so under defined. God uses the light to represent him, we all know that. BUT do we really believe it. We can say it, because God says it but doesn’t mean we believe it.

Many of us struggle with who we are in God’s eyes but yet to him we a prince and princess, we are redeemed and saved by God’s glory through Jesus. But many of us still go on day after day and do not practice who God says we are, we simply go by who we say we are.

But God doesn’t want us to do that. He doesn’t want us to sit in our daily lives and repeatedly beat ourselves up over the lies we tell ourselves who God says we are. We don’t believe it enough that God says we are His children, we don’t believe we are worthy, we don’t believe we are good enough, we don’t believe in ourselves, we simply don’t believe we are the light.

Some of us believe the light is someone who has it all together, it’s the “perfect” christian, it’s the “non-sinner”. But that’s all wrong. We are the light because we are BROKEN and we are far from perfect. We are the light because God saved us.

It maybe hard at times to remember we are the light because momentarily we are battling darkness, and that’s okay. But the more we are the light, the more we are who God called us to be, the more we are like who God says we are.

Let’s get the walking shoes on. Let’s start walking in a different manor. We don’t sit sidelines any more. We be His disciples. We be His light shining for the world to see.

 

Getting Stuck in a Valley

I don’t know where to even begin.

Life has its ups and downs. But right now I’m in a valley, I may look like I’m climbing the hill, but every day there’s a struggle to even begin the first step.

The saying is “it’s just one foot in front of another”. Yes that is true but those who are in dark places, are learning to walk again. They need someone to hold on to, someone to help them up if they fall down. 

I’ve been battling depression lately, it’s been really hard. I’m not going to lie and tell you, I’m okay. I’m not.  It’s been hard to get out of bed in the mornings. It’s been hard to open the Word of God in the mornings. It’s been hard repeating the promises of God over and over again. BUT it doesn’t mean I don’t overcome and do it. It may not feel right in the moment, but it’s okay. 

The hardest thing is I feel alone even when I’m not. I sat a Rend Collective concert last weekend, and I literally felt like I brought only myself to the concert. I brought 3 other people and there was  some of my church family sitting beside me. I’ve begun to keep to myself more, and isolate myself. It’s dangerous. 

Today at church pastor touched on some topics near and dear to me and my struggles. He was reading from Hebrews 10:19-25; below are a few verses:

“let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” -‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:22-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pastor stated  “Jesus is faithful, even when we’re not full of faith.”   So I may struggled and I may have some dark places and sometimes I will get stuck in a valley. BUT it doesn’t mean I give up. It doesn’t mean that God has given up on me. It means that some days may be hard, but God still has hold of me. I may fall but Jesus is still my anchor. I’m not less than or more than because I struggle with depression. I’m a human being who has flaws and struggles. God still loves me. Jesus is still faithful.