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Walking into sunshine

I didn’t intend on blogging today, but my son was ill while at school, and so I took the rest of the day off of work to nurse him back to health. Kudos to single moms everywhere. Not everyone understands or appreciate what you do, but do it because God has blessed you with the incredible anointing to raise your little ones.

Anyhoo, I really wanted to write to  you about what I felt the Holy Spirit ministered to me yesterday. It’s not particularly on the topic of relationships, but I hope you can be encouraged by this.

Yesterday, while on my break, I took a drive to clear my head. From the time I got into the car, it started to rain. I mean it was a downpour. I needed to clear my head, so I went away. While driving, my phone rang. I thought I should let it go to voicemail given the conditions on the road, but it was a call that I had been expecting for a few weeks so I answered it (on speaker, of course). The woman that I was speaking with started the conversation by telling me how lovely the day was. I thought perhaps she was out of the city that we both lived in. And so I asked her, “where are you?” She said she was heading back to the office. Seeing that I was literally two blocks away from her office, I found this strange. So I asked her to clarify.

It turned out that she was exactly two blocks away from where I was driving. Actually she was on the same major street that I was driving on, but two intersections further up. Where she was walking, the sun was shining, the breeze was blowing and the grounds were as dry as can be. But where I was driving, which wasn’t too far off from where she was, the weather was not so pleasant. I could hardly see outside my window at one point, because it rained so hard.

I thought to myself…”huhm. This is interesting”. As I focussed to get a glimpse of what was ahead of me, I realized something. I saw what she was seeing. That in just a few more minutes, the rain would be behind me. If I kept driving a little longer, I would drive myself out of the rain patch I was in, and drive myself into a beautiful place. It was only 3 mins away. Where I was standing, it looked horrific, but there was sunshine ahead!

I want to encourage someone today, to go forward. Where you are standing… where you are at right now in life, may seem like a never-ending storm. But a few feet away, you could walk into sunshine. Dark clouds may be hovering over you. But ahead, God has sunny patches prepared for you, bright sunshine and so much more. Keep pressing forward to what lies ahead of you.

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Don’t quit. God is rooting for you.

The last couple of weeks, I had to battle one of the worst bouts of pain I have ever experienced. And I am not exaggerating. It was a pain that was physical, and continuous, lasting about 10 days. On a threshold of 1 to 10, it felt like a 15! 

During this time, I cried, I screamed, I kneeled, I shook my hands in the air profusely. I spent my nights walking on my bed rather than sleeping. And when I did sleep, it was for about 15 mins before a bout of pain would hit me again. I had to miss days of work, church and living. 

I kept thinking to myself, God how much longer, maybe it’s best if I just gave up. What I was fighting for….was it worth it??

I was grateful to have a few friends who were there to comfort me and pray for me. But I am the type of person, that nothing really kicks in until I hear it for myself. And at the back of my head, I heard “Don’t quit!”

I swear, if any human being had said that to me, I would have punched them in the face! Because I felt like they weren’t understanding how great the pain was. But that voice came from within me. And so there was no one to punch if I didn’t like it. I had to believe it.

I remember a song that my mom taught me when I was in my teens…

He didn’t bring you this far to leave you
He didn’t teach you to swim so you could drown
He didn’t put His home in you to move away
He didn’t pick you up, to let you down. No No. 
He didn’t pick you up to let you down. 

(Apparently it’s an actual song. I thought my mom made it up. Here’s the original. 

Mom’s version was better though. 

 

As I rehearsed this song over and over in my head (with the pain still very present and tears running down my face constantly), I saw a picture of a pregnant woman in the delivery room with a glowing man standing next to her. The result was obvious- a baby. But the present circumstance was that she was in the worse pain she ever imagined. Still in the midst of the pain, this Glowing man was there holding her hand, saying “I’m here for you Babe! You can do it! You can get through this!” 

I envisioned that same Glowing man was there rooting for me as I was feeling this pain.

And yes, I did pray for supernatural healing. And perhaps it did happen already in the spirit realm. But now He was present in the natural realm fighting the pain with me until my healing was fully manifested naturally. 

We are all going to go through painful events one time or the other. And sometimes we even pray “God make the pain go away!”. It’s not that He doesn’t answer. But we should know that He is such a present help in the time of need, that He leaves His throne to come right by our side holding our hands and encouraging us not to quit.

Even in the midst of pain… God is there rooting for you until the pain goes away and until you have complete victory. Don’t quit. 

When it seems too much to bear…

A couple of days ago, my car decided to ‘conk’ out as my Guyanese fellows would say. That is, it went dead while driving at an extremely busy intersection. I found myself going into ‘damsel in distress’ mode. Not to mention, I was wearing a rather Springy maxi dress and heels as I was on my way to church. I did the drill of putting on my emergency lights and having all the other rush hour traffic pass by. I didn’t know what the problem was, and yes, I was very unprepared for this event.  It’s interesting though, because no one seemed interested enough or concerned enough to get out of their cars to help me.

Alas, two good Samaritans pulled over (one Barbadian and one Canadian) and helped me. Chivalry (or humanity for that matter) is not as dead as I thought. I found it interesting. One man had just gone to the store to buy one of those towing strap things…. (i don’t speak car). He had no idea why he bought it. He drove a pretty good vehicle. But alas, he had found a reason to use it- towing my car off the road.The other guy had a tool box with enough tools to perform car surgery.

Between the two of them, they began to work on my car. I couldn’t help but notice that although one man was black and the other white, they worked together as a team trying to figure out what was wrong with my car…Alas..distress had conquered discrimination.

After about 45 mins, they couldn’t find the problem. Smurfie (my car) was just dead. They apologized for not being able to help and I thanked them for what they did and blessed them. They called the towing company for me and I sat there waiting for the guy to come.

As I waiting for an additional hour, I couldn’t help but think: Lord why is this happening to me? Health expenses, Bills, Responsibilities all on a part time salary…Now this? When will it end.?..

After towing Smurfie to my mechanic, I went home and just sat there…in silent frustration. Not sure whether to cry, or yell at God, or just through a tantrum. Didn’t do any of that. I just ate. Yes I am that girl who eats in crisis.

After finding out what was wrong with Smurfie (the timing belt and some other words I can’t remember-  total cost of $700) I was at a very low point. I asked God to show me the good in all of this? God reminded me of a few things:

I (God) stopped that traffic light so that your car did not die in moving traffic and caused an accident I (God) had that man buy a towing strap this week even though he didn’t need it. I (God) sent that Myers towing guy back from Alberta so that he could run this particular shift and help you. I (God) will also provide to get this car fixed. My grace is sufficient for you.

I wish I could say, that I was immediately comforted and sprung to my feet in a bounce. But I didn’t. I felt alone. I felt frustrated and I felt overwhelmed. But in all that, I took solace in what the Holy Spirit said (I knew it was the Holy Spirit because the right word -towing strap- only came to me after he said it. Before that, I didn’t know a towing strap thingy existed).

I took solace in the fact that I could have died that day if the traffic was moving. And that my car could broken down in a place where there was no one to help..But God’s keeping grace…

I also took solace in the fact that there are a lot of good things happening in my life: an amazing man, an extension on my contract, my ministry…The devil is not at all pleased. But God has promised victory.

I said all of that to say this: When unfortunate life experiences happen, don’t let them throw you. When it seems too much to bear. pay attention to the grace of God and how that same grace will keep you going. Also, in the midst of everything, keep on praising. Even if it’s just a whisper like Hanna, keep a song of gratitude in your heart and on your lips. He will come through. In the mean time remember what He said:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”- 2 Cor 12:9

Come back to your First Love

I had this overwhelming desire to go back to the cross this morning during my devotion.

As I began to meditate on Calvary (not what is depicted on TV, but what truly took place on the cross), I couldn’t help but wonder : how does a believer  become lukewarm in Christ. Lukewarm for me means ‘unexcited’, ‘not wanting to be or do anything for God’, not even having the desire to commune with God. It’s a love gone cold.

I have asked myself this question several times. Mainly in the times when I feel like I am slipping. But also in the times when I see others around me lose their faith, or become complacent in their relationship with God. I think that often times people feel that God has disappointed them in some way or the other. Or people have disappointed them and God pays for it. When such thoughts come to mind, as they do in any relationship, we slowly shut down. The passion wanes. And we begin to float in lukewarm waters. We have no desire to seek Him or chase after Him.

As I am meditating on this, I think of a hymn that says:

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

I think that core reason that we sometimes become disconnected from God, is because we lose sight of the Cross.

I’ve heard about the cross several times. But there are times like this morning in my devotion,  that I truly am moved by it. When I am done, I can’t help but fall in love with God and the work of the Cross all over again.

The cross- Therein we see God taking on human form, and allowing Himself to be beaten to a pulp, ridiculed, scorned and killed…for nothing.

I don’t know about you, but if I were God—God who is able to speak a single word and cause mountains to tremble… I would have said two words and let all my haters fall to the ground.

But He didn’t do that. Instead, he endured. Think about it. He didn’t have to endure any of the things they put Him through. But He did. He did it for me.  And for you. Why?

He did it so that we would know what real love looked like. He did it so we would know that He loved us so…

This is love. Real love perseveres. This is the love that God gives.

If we were to continually think about that, I think it would be hard to slip away. Hard to let Him go. Hard to fall out of love. Hard to become distracted.

This kind of love is binding. It is compelling. It is constraining. It’s the type of love that makes you want to do more and more for God rather than let Him go. But it starts with how you see the cross.

So today, if you are in a very low place of hurt, pain, disappointment; if you are in a very lukewarm place in your Christian walk; if you are in a place where you just don’t ‘feel’ God.. Go back to the Cross. Go back to your first love.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1John 4:19).

Whose report will you believe?

I was listening to my Accuradio this morning and heard a song about “Whose report will you believe”. It could not have come at a more appropriate time.

Yesterday, I spent a good 6 hours in the ER and I couldn’t help but reflect on the year I have had. I had been in and out of the ER and doctors’ offices more than I would like for my age. I know that someone somewhere is going through worse than I am, but as I watched each doctor last night, come in with a stack of papers with my history  I couldn’t help but feel…tired, weary… fed up.

You know those two imaginary people that sit on your shoulder? Well while sitting in the waiting room, I heard the one in black and red say, why don’t you just give up? The one in white wasn’t saying much.

I began to pray. “God what do you want me to do? Why is this happening? How much longer”. But there was no answer to those questions either.

I have no doubt that God heals. Cuz I’ve seen him do it. But when the doctor comes in with a history as long as my arm and with only one solution to make the pain go away, it makes your spiritual self pause for a bit.

Hearing the song this morning was a reminder, that you can’t trust in man’s report of you. You can’t place all of your trust in what they say about you. There is a report that God has written for your life and how it is to be lived. All the things that you are meant to have and what you are not going to have. You can’t trust the report of anyone else but God. It doesn’t matter how much history the natural world has on you. They might have facts. But the truth…the true report is the plan that God has written for your life. They may be able to piece together certain observations and come up with a history. But God has the blueprint. So the real history is HIS-STORY about you.

This is what I am trying to hold on to- His Report.

His report says I am healed.

His report says I am free.

His report say victory.

He is concerned about the slightest detail

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows Luke 12:7.

I love the way that God works in my life.

Last Thursday, I woke up feeling a little sore in my throat. Before the end of the day, I started having a fever and all the body aches that go with it. I knew that the flu virus was going around. And it had not affected me for almost a year. But I was hoping that it would pass over particularly because it was an encounter weekend that I could not miss and one that my sister was visiting for. I couldn’t afford to stay home.

By Friday night, which is when the encounter started, my body was so sore, that I could hardly turn my head. I struggled through the encounter sessions that night simply because everywhere hurt. That night I wanted to go up for the altar call. It never dawned on me that I should go up and get prayed for, so that the fever and pain could leave. Instead, I went up to the altar to ask God to do a work in some other areas of my life. It took two minutes of trying to kneel and pray before I realized that the pain was in fact way too distracting to pray. So I lied down on the floor (letting God know that I just couldn’t kneel that long) . Out of the blue, I heard an audible voice say to me ” you are not going to get anything this weekend like this. I’m taking this fever away… . There!”
It was so random a phrase, I knew it was God. I was praying for something totally unrelated. But He knew what I needed most. After hearing that, I was so bewildered about what the last five seconds was about, I laid there trying to figure things out. Then I heard “ok get up now!” I did. And there was absolutely no pain in my body. I had the mucous in my throat and I could deal with that. But the pain… Gone!

Isn’t that just like God to do something totally unexpected? That was not what I was asking for. But it was what I needed. And God knew.
From that moment, I realized something…

God is concerned with the littlest detail about me

You see there were 88 other women there, and He had to minister to all of their needs too. But He still took the time to minister to me even though it was just a fever.
If He could minister to that minor of a need, how much more would he be concerned about the major things in our lives? If He could heal a fever and some body pains, is He not also able to heal the major illnesses?

Take heed of the small miracles that God does in your life; they are in fact proof that God is concerned with both the minor and major things in your life.

Enjoy the Journey

I remember listening to a message a long time ago by a minister about a young woman who was going through some tough times.

She lost her job which later led to her losing her house and her car. She soon found herself having to move into an apartment with a not so close friend in another city temporarily  While she was there, she met a young man who really hurt her. She was so hurt that she became an alcoholic and later had to seek counselling and join an AA group. At the AA group, she met another person who was a recovering alcoholic but who had found Christ. That person became her best friend and led her to the Lord. After going to the church with her friend for a while, she met a young man who was in the image of Christ and who respected her. Shortly after that, she learned that her mom passed away. She had never been close to her mom and the fact that she had passed away without ever really getting to know her, was devastating. But she didn’t have to go through it alone. Because she had two wonderful friends to pray her through it. One day she was sitting next to a bus stop waiting for the bus. She asked herself “how did I get here?”. She was referring to the fact that she had a car and now she had to take the bus. Just then a man sat beside her. They began to talk. His car had broken down unexpectedly and he had to take it to a mechanic. He was not even from her town. The law firm he worked for had sent him to the next town to find the daughter of a woman who passed away, but his car only made half the journey. It turns out that she was the woman he was looking for. Her mother, although they had not spoken for a long time, had left her a house and a car and a great inheritance.

You will never understand why you have to go through some things. Sometimes it seems like you’re in the wrong place. Sometimes it seems like you’ve made major mistakes. And perhaps you have. Perhaps you are. But every step of a righteous man or woman is ordered by God. Even in times of despair, God does things to keep you going. You may have lost things and people, but God will position people to comfort and encourage you. You may be going through financial struggles, but your steps are ordered and somewhere, someday you will sit beside someone who God has positioned to bless you. There is never a moment in your life that God is not ordering your steps. Be aware of the journey that you are in. It may have bumps and pot holes, but look out for the subtle blessings God is providing.

Remember:

All things work together for your good. It may not look good. But it is working together for your good.

Enjoy the journey.

He’s brought you this far

The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22And the LORD did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.- Exodus 13:20-22

I was meditating on this tidbit of scripture this morning.

My mind wandered into other times when God ‘showed’ up for the Israel before these Pillars of fire and cloud. And yet, every time after that, the Israelites questioned if He was going to bring them out of trouble. It’s like they didn’t even stop to think of all He had done before.

Do you ever go through that? …Periods when you are just not sure that God would bring you out.

In the midst of our unbelief, His promises are still yay and amen.

He who has brought you thus far on your journey, and given you great blessings thus far, is the God who will bring you into your next victory and rest.

Always remember:

God has brought you too far to leave you now.

He has brought you too far to just quit on you now.

He has brought you too far to just decide not to help you now.

That reminds me of a song…(and yes. I probably have a song for everything I write). This is an oldie but I love it!

Faithful God

The faithful love of the LORD never ends!b
His mercies never cease
23Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!” Lamentations 3:21-23

I read this passage by Andrew Murray this morning and thought I would share it along with this Scripture (note: not my words)

…The sun is never weary of shining.; of pouring out his beneficent rays upon both the good and the evil. You might close up the windows with blinds or bricks, the sun would shine upon them all the same; though we might sit in darkness, in utter darkness, the shining would be just the same. God’s sun shines on every leaf; on every flower….All receive His wealth of sunshine until they grow to perfection and bear fruit. Would He who made that sun be less willing to poor out His Love and life into me? And would He not delight more in creating a beauty and a fruitfulness in me? 

Let these two quotes serve as a reminder to us, of God’s never ending love and faithfulness to us. At every turn of our lives, He is faithful.

A true love story never ends

This Christ that we talk about so often…He is a Living Person. He loves us with a Personal Love and He looks everyday for the personal response of our love. Look into His face with trust, till His love really shines into your heart. Make His heart glad by telling Him that you do love Him.
…That’s what people who love each other do. They continually remind each other that they love each other because a true love story never ends.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.- Jeremiah 31:3

Have a great weekend.