Tag Archives: blessings

How God Used Web Development To Prune Me

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

It’s about time I talk about my journey in Web Development. If you follow me on twitter, you will see tweets about events I’ve attended, splashed here and there.

My journey started in late 2017. I learned HTML, CSS and JavaScript fundamentals in a class setting. It was an amazing experience. I fell in love with code: mainly design (JavaScript kicks my butt, but I haven’t given up) and I’m now learning WordPress and PHP.

I learned so much over the span of this experience. It was difficult. At first, it was like a dream. I was excited and dedicated. Then life hit me, and I had to make decisions that challenged my faith.

I mentioned in a previous post about attending a Boot Camp. Well, that was an eye opening experience in itself. I want to start of by saying that the aim of this post is to serve as a source of  encouragement and also a teaching lesson. I almost lost everything – including my life – BUT it was all God’s plan and it was only at this moment that I could fully accept this as truth.

You might remember my angry posts. My posts about not being happy and losing joy. I was in a very dark place. I was worried I lost everything – all that God had given me – over something so stupid.

I won’t get into details over what that thing was but the root of it was – I wasn’t solid in my understanding of who God is. This was a teaching moment for me and God was going to let me fall on my face so I could understand.

We must be rooted in God’s love for us. My greatest fear happened to me and I was thrown off course. I was upset – I questioned God. How could He allow the very thing I was trying to avoid. I was content with where I was and where I was going. I was content with the future I had planned out for myself. It was as if God led me right into my fears and then left me alone to see how I would respond. Prayers were not answered: I ran to and fro to anyone that could give me counsel. I was embarrassed and ashamed.

by: Tim Mossholder

by: Tim Mossholder

I began to doubt God’s love for me and my heart grew dark. I was angry with God. I wanted to shut down my blog – I felt as if I was living a lie. How could I write about joy when my joy is gone? I knew I had to be honest. I knew I couldn’t lie about how I was feeling.

The boot-camp was not the thing that made me angry with God, but because I was angry, I couldn’t hear God’s voice. God’s voice leads us in our choices in life. Well, my spiritual ears were blocked so I couldn’t hear or recognize that God was telling me not to go.

I worked so hard for this opportunity. Every door slammed in my face during admissions. I finally made it to the end and awaited judgement. Verdict: access denied. I was so upset. I worked so hard just to push down every door that closed in my face. I received a call back, saying a spot was opened that I can fill. I accepted but I wasn’t able to celebrate with sincerity. Honestly, at this point, I was so upset with God that I threw everything out the window. I stopped praying, etc and I was beginning to revert to a part of me I didn’t like. I tried to tell myself this was a miracle – but deep down I wasn’t so sure this was God opening a door for me. It felt more like He gave me what I wanted because I threw a horrible tantrum.

Everything was fine in the beginning. I had this major distraction in my life. It was a person. I realized that every time I’m about to do something important in life – a distraction comes my way in the form of a person. This person undermined everything I sought out to accomplish. At first, person was nice and sweet but over time, person began to chip away at my core beliefs. Person tore me down. I made excuses for person. I thought person was my friend and had my back. I want to warn you: be cautious of who you allow in your inner circle. Be cautious of who you share your inner thoughts and feelings. Some people may appear to be kind and loving but their agenda is to destroy you. They might not even know that they are doing it. Remember, we are fighting a spiritual battle. Sampson , a mighty Judge , was cut down and his destiny cut short because he allowed Delilah to wear him down and expose his weakness. Our enemy is Satan. He sends people – like the Philistines sent Delilah – to uncover your weaknesses. They pose as a friend or a lover – someone you should trust.

Everything became chaotic in my life. It has always been chaotic but because I had lost sight of Christ, the chaos began to affect me. Let’s just say I was a mess. At this point, I wanted to give up on life. I had reached my limit and I was tired. It felt as if all of heaven and earth was against me and I was fighting to survive. Desperate – but cautious – I visited a local church because people were nagging me to fellowship with other Christians. This too was another distraction. You might say : but isn’t fellowship with other Christians a good thing? Not always. Again, not all people that say they are Christians, really are. Christians are also human beings that struggle with sin tenancies, some that are not too pleasant to be around. Then there are others that believe in false doctrine.

Honestly, I believe what happened to me was for a reason. I had to see first hand a lie that is floating around in the Body of Christ and allow God to show me the truth in his word. Some churches are so focused on hyper spirituality that they forget to serve the people. Assembly line prayers – I reached out for prayer and all I got was judgement. Prayer full of judgement and when I sought out a listening ear I was told that I needed to sit down because I was already prayed for. I was appalled. I left the building with a sense of emptiness. It was then that I grit my teeth and said to myself : WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!!!!

I got really quiet in my spirit and started cutting people out of my life – again. One by one, I closed the door without a word. I did not care who was confused or upset. I was not concerned with pleasing others – I was focused on getting better. While I was cutting people out, I dropped out of the boot-camp. At the time, I was very sad but I knew I had to. It was the best decision I made that year. I spent 2 months recovering – I stopped coding, tended to my weary body and started praying again. It was a painful process – I was very run down.

God began to speak again, or rather, I was able to hear his voice. He comforted me in ways no one else could. When I opened my heart to see the filth inside of it, God cleaned it up and then told me what He was doing. You see, it was his plan the whole time. I had a lot of inner issues I needed to deal with. I realized I had a lot of beliefs that were not really my own. I just accepted them because I accepted the label of Christianity. I learned about the bondage of guilt and shame and that Christ died to get rid of that. He doesn’t want us walking around with guilt and shame. He doesn’t want us to repay for our sins – he already paid for it. But I was walking around with so much baggage – trying to live holy, not because It truly came from my heart, but because I thought it would compensate for my short comings. I also allowed people to heap on burdens on me. I allowed people to wear me down. God held up a mirror and showed me my true identity, outside of the garbage people kept dumping on me. It was then that I knew what He wanted me to do. The vision of my life became clear and my joy returned.

Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

Photo by Sushobhan Badhai on Unsplash

Now my joy is rooted and grounded even more in God’s love. God was pruning me. It is an unpleasant experience but don’t give up. God showed me my growth: instead of completely running away from him, I told him that I would wait for him in my anger. I had to go through the pain and turmoil of my negative emotions. I didn’t run away.

I can now share this experience with the hope of encouraging you to keep the faith. Embrace the pain, the frustration, the anger and the confusion. Like David said ” wait on the Lord.” Sometimes you do everything a good christian is suppose to do and it’s not enough. We cannot manipulate the situation – all we can do is wait on God to teach us and renew us in time.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

God is refining us. I am no longer bound by the garbage people try to throw at me. I am no longer bound by my preconceived notions about how my life should be – I’m free to accept every good blessing from God. I am free to be myself without shame. I was willing to lose everything I worked hard for to have God and he turned around and gave me so much more.

Love, peace and joy are worth so much more than money and prestige. It’s worth more than any earthly relationship and it’s a true blessing from God. Seek after it with all you have and you will have all that you need.

Please let me know in the comments of how God has pruned you? What did you learn?

Until next time,

Goody Goody Two-Shoes

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Okay.

So, the last few weeks went by slowly AND quickly. A lot was done, tears shed, confusion, and pain. There was also happiness, forgiveness and newness.

Something stood out to me though, as I gazed into the mirror of introspection: that the quest for complete perfection and high expectations is not worth the pain.

It is a crippling mindset that robs you from joy and experiencing life on a day by day basis. It can even rob you of your blessing – that might not always come as you want it to look like. You want your blessing to be perfect, a blessing that makes complete sense to you and acceptable to everyone around you. A blessing that makes you feel comfortable and safe.

But what if your blessing was dressed up as something completely different. Something you never expected? What if it was to show you just how much you are loved and cherished despite feeling as if it is unattainable? What if that blessing was something you never thought you could accomplish but, despite it being beyond your capabilities, God breathed life into it and made it reality? What if you can finally enjoy life without worrying about everything, all the time?

What if you can worship God without fear? To run to God and cling to him even when you fall short? Holding onto Him for dear life and trusting that He will keep you, guide you, fix you and heal you?

Because if you turn away, what else will you live for? Love requires bravery. It forces you to open up and take a risk to give and receive something that has the potential to:

  1. Hurt you
  2. Confuse you

God doesn’t always answer my prayers the way I want him to and that left me feeling really upset and confused. I threw a fit asking God why me and why now and why this? I wanted to hide from God because I thought He failed me.

I wonder if this is how the Jews of Jesus’ time felt, waiting for the messiah to come and save them from earthly oppression. However, they had their own interpretation of scripture and God had his own divine will. We can try as much as we want to control the events of our lives and personally interpret God’s plan for our lives but God’s Will prevails.

If Esther was a modern day Christian, other believers and even her well meaning Pastor would tell her : “Sweet Esther, don’t marry the King, because gurl, he ain’t saved.” Not knowing that sweet Esther was called to be queen so that she could prevent a Jewish genocide. She needed to marry the King to access his status and to demonstrate the power of God in a very meek and humble way.

Nothing in life is cookie cutter, one-size fits all and I’m sick of trying to be the “Good Little Christian Girl”. It’s something all Christians face at one point in their journey.

Jesus died so we can be free. This freedom has become cliche. Free from what? Yes, free from sin. But what God truly wants is not a religious set of puppets that crosses every “I” and dots every “T”, knows all the church lingo and scripture, can debate, lay hands on the sick, cast out demons and speak in tongues.

God wants those with a heart for Him. A heart turned to Him. Hearts that will cry out to Him in every circumstance: good and bad. A heart that acknowledges Him, like David. David cried out to God in good times and bad. David was by no means perfect but he remained true to Himself.

Jesus saved us from the system of religion, the bondage of perfectionism, the opinions of humans, and gave us freedom to worship, love, and to be at peace with one another.

I am tired, aren’t you? I’m tired of all the pressure, internally and externally, to be more than what I am today. I can only do what I can do today but my hope is that as I continue on this journey with God, that I will grow closer to him.

My goal is no longer to simply be a Christian, but to be a daughter of God: to sit at his feet like Mary and listen.

Why the title?

Well, I was stumped. I didn’t know what to call this post so I whispered a little prayer and instantly felt to name it goody two-shoes.

Laughs

Bold right? Imagine that. Well guess what? GOOD! Honesty is the beginning of deliverance. Never be ashamed of what God can deliver you from.

I had to google search the term because it’s been years since I last heard it. A goody two- shoes in simple terms is a people-pleaser and God cannot use or connect with one.

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The Old Things Have Died A Death by Fire…

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Photo by Christopher Burns on Unsplash

Sometimes you want to go back to who you were yesterday but you can’t. The situation has changed you. You can’t go back, no matter how hard you try. Old you, now feels inauthentic, but new, present you feels full of uncertainty.

“What am I suppose to do now?”, you wonder. “How am I suppose to function?” “Will people notice that I am changed?”

Of course! It’s hard embracing mindsets, feelings and goals that are way different from what you had before. I can assure you that it’s for a greater reason. One more stepping stone to get to the other side.

Sometimes we are faced with situations that challenge our beliefs. That takes us outside of our tiny boxes and forces us to see everything outside of it.

Because sometimes, these uncomfortable situations are meant for us to see ourselves and what we truly want. The things we buried deep inside hoping they will go away.

I know deep down with a certainty that God can take that very thing, dust it off, clean it up, and make it new again. He can turn that very thing into something beautiful. He will refine it with fire, don’t be afraid of the heat. Heat purifies. Because while it’s good for you, it’s ultimately for His glory. He does it for his reputation, his name sake. He does everything with excellence, so don’t think you can rush or bribe him into doing things your way. He knows what’s best.

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The Way Papa God Loves Me

I cannot hide from you, O Lord. Your love is so large and too grand to contain, to comprehend.

And yet,it is that love that captivates my soul and brings me to tears. It is that love that changes me.

Lord, you are willing to talk to me, personally. “Let’s talk,” you’d say. “Let’s work things out, my precious daughter,” you’d tell me.

You are a fair Papa with no favorites. I know you are just and I can trust you with my life. You do not leave me wandering in the dark, lost and confused. You counsel me along the way. You comfort me when the heart is bleeding. Wounds that time won’t heal.

You deal with me personally. You are not a generic God. A one-size- fits-all-kinda-problem-solver.

You get right to the heart of the matter. You are brutally honest, your word cuts me down but brings me to life, a better life. Hanging out with you makes me more like you, the ultimate role model!

Thank you sweet Papa God for your everlasting and unfailing love. 

I Am Free At Last!

Everyday is a new day to praise the LORD.  It is a new day to talk to him and learn something new about him and about yourself. A new day to fellowship and connect with others. A new day to help someone rise out of their slump and encourage someone to keep striving. It is a new day to marvel at the power and love of God. It is a new day to hope and trust in the LORD.

Every time the sun rises, it is like a clean slate from yesterday. The troubles from yesterday mean nothing and we celebrate the newness of every new day. No accumulation of junk and burden.  This is the rest Christ has given us in his forgivenss. 

Because I am a Child of God I have rest.Peace follows me wherever I go. I am prepared for resistence, but I am neither afraid or angry. I am prepared to lose alot of things but I am not insecure. I am prepared for criticism but I am not ashamed of Christ.

There are many things I do not know or understand but I will not pretend that I have it all together. I am simply allowing God to take me where he is leading me and along the way I’m giving him the honor for it.

I have depended on my own strength for so long. It’s peaceful to rest in the strong arms of Papa God.

I am finally free to flow with the Holy Spirit. What a joy is that to me!

To finally break out of my shell, the rigid structure and routine of religion and law, and moving into the free and flowing power of the Holy Spirit.

 

God With US

The number 23 holds significance in my life at this present time.

I recieved money to take care of an important task for the week. It was exactly 23 dollars and I also had some spare change which covered everything I needed. 15 is also significant because I had hoped the bill would be no more than 15 and without me counting or making an effort, it came up to exactly 15 on the dot. So, after spending that money, the next day as I was preparing for church, I counted all my money and found extra in the deep folds of my purse. The total amount equaled to 23. The same exact I was given. I was amazed and thanked God. However, I couldnt forget about the number 23.

According to amazingword.blogspot.com, the biblical meaning of 23 means “God with us.”

The more I thanked God for his provision in my life big or small, the more I knew and trusted that he was taking care of me. I knew God was with me in every area of my life. I had no worries, he covers all my needs so I can focus on serving HIM.

I also looked up the number 15 and according to biblestudy.org, the number 15 means rest that comes after deliverance symbolized by the number 14. While the Lord told me to rest all of last year, that day was a sign or a confirmation that my deliverance and freedom to find rest in Christ was near. That rest covered my need to worry if I had enough to pay for what I needed. Spiritually, God’s rest means I can trust and be at peace knowing that he has more than enough to meet my needs!

God is always talking to us in many different ways. Staying true to the original purpose of this blog, this experience is like the quiet small whisper, the unexpected sign of God’s love and mercy in my life.

 

 

I love you Jesus

Continue to do your work in my life. Nothing is in vain. My struggles, the lessons learned, the pain,this blog. And through it all You are showing me exactly who you are and how great you are!

Thank you for calling me your daughter! Thank you for loving me! I will cling to you!  The proof of my salvation is the love and protection you shower over me. Knowing that the devil can only do so much before papa God comes to the rescue!

To those reading this, I pray that God will renew your faith, give you joy which is your strength so that you too may continue to press forward! Life is hard but God is BIGGER THAN IT ALL!

Trust in him and he will work on your behalf! Jesus loves you!

Time For Action!

For the last few months I’ve spent time thinking about my future and all the things I need to do to make my dreams come true. Despite my quest for a simple and stress free lifestyle, my goals are far from the ordinary. I made a rough draft of how I will reach a few of my goals.

Staying true to the title of this blog, to me, joy is found in purpose. I have mentioned this before but it’s so true this year. I believe this is the season of ACTION. All of my skills, talents and lessons learned should be used at this time.

I don’t believe for a moment this will be easy. It’s as if everything was taken from me so I can cherish it all once I sweat and bleed trying to win it all back.

Developing a sense of gratitude for my blessings but  also taking pride in everything I’ve gained.  Now please do not misunderstand, this pride is rooted in the belief that through Christ I can do all things and that with his help and the skills/talents he has given me, I can do all I set my mind to.

Set backs are meant to make us stronger. I don’t have a new years resolution which is why I refrained from posting a generic blog entry. For me, everything I do becomes a way of life. At least, that’s what I hope for.

Now, I am comfortable in my skin and can finally enjoy life the way God wants me to.

So I ask myself this question: “What do I want?” What makes me feel my best. What fills me with joy? Honestly, there’s many but for right now it’s knowing that I have the chance to slow down and enjoy what God is doing in my life.

Sometimes I fail to see it right away, but I know he’s with me. He’s guiding me and showering me with his endless love.

If there is anything that I want this blog entry to do; it is to motivate and encourage those of you that are struggling with your faith. Those of you wondering if God truly loves you and if has any purpose for your life. You’ll be surprised to find out that every little thing you do adds up. We are not born perfect and probably never will be, but there is joy in knowing that we get better with effort. So get up and do something.

A New Beginning/Answered Prayer.

I didn’t expect that God would answer my prayers so swiftly but it came in the form of a man. He came to me with a message that was meant to set my heart free.

I didn’t expect God to surprise me, turn my world upside down and put me on my head, blood rushing to my brain. I didn’t expect it to feel so good but hurt so much at the same time. I didn’t think such a time for introspection was needed. I thought i was headed in the right direction. Well, as I mentioned in my previous blog posts, something bigger than me was unfolding in front of me. Questions I’ve never thought i’d care about were bombarding my thoughts. For so long I didn’t realize i was running from my own fears. As soon as I opened my heart to speak God came swiftly with an answer. However, it came in the least likely way. At first, I was in doubt. I couldn’t believe it.

It amazes me how much God loves us. He doesn’t leave us hanging and has perfect timing. He was preparing me for this time. Change doesn’t happen over night but I know for a fact that he’s caught my attention.

To completely surrender brings true freedom. Easier said than done right? Well, maybe. But surrendering means just that: stop resisting. I suppose i’m a natural fighter? Or maybe a natural runner ( lol).  Either way, my point is this: God can bless us while teaching us a lesson. Surrender to him. It’s to draw us closer to him. Pay attention to all the cues and signs that God gives us when he is about to do something in our lives. Had I paid more attention, i’d be better prepared.

While on the path of righteousness, God will stop us dead in our tracks-knowing it’s time for the next level. He will prepare us for the pain and the labor, but if we miss it, we will flap around like fish out of water. Nothing in this life is perfect. Nothing is guaranteed to be pain free.

I’ve learned a lesson about true friendship and even love : Being defensive keeps us away from love. When we are so caught up in protecting ourselves we are incapable of expressing love. We become selfish. My relationships are changing. I am beginning to see the beauty in everything around me. There is a sense of freedom that I haven’t truly experienced before. I will continue to learn as God continues to remove the thick walls around my heart.

There is Joy in every painful experience. There is peace in every new beginning.

Finding Joy in the Highs and the Lows.

There is always something happening every moment of the day. However, it might take weeks, months or years to finally understand it. Sometimes it’s best to be still, enjoy the experience, and then reflect.

I can write a list of all I am thankful for but right now the most confusing but important is my RELATIONSHIP with God.

Relationships are not easy: days of joy, happiness, doubt and confusion.

The bible mentions so much about perseverance:

1 Thessalonians 1:3    We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 

We are to continue and persevere no matter what. Faith that despite how horrible we are, how distant God feels sometimes, how horrible life/world can be heaven is our goal. We must breathe and live it.

As I started my quest to better health, I realized I was borderline obsessed. That’s exactly how it should be. It’s hard maintaining self control or finding time to exercise, but I make time. It’s no different with how we are to live out our spiritual walk.

Yo-yo, Luke warm spiritual life that God warned us about and I’ve fallen victim to many times.

I think I’m learning something valuable here. That we can spend our whole time listing everything wonderful in our lives but only through EFFORT will things change.

It starts in the mind flows through the heart and ends in action. You have to want it more than you want it.

So if there is anything I am thankful for , it is knowing how to deal with the lows in relationships and mainly the one that matters the most.

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